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Horlin Maze by LongHomeFox Horlin Maze by LongHomeFox
Made using "old fashioned" cut and paste, black poster board on white. text and tint added with Microsoft paint. Feel welcome to complete it. I've never seen any one try. The Start is at the Cradle of Birth and the goal is The Garden of the Green Eye. More about this maze is explained in the lengthly summary below.

To Fascinate a King

Near the end of the nineteenth century*, the nation of Carthin had reached the peak of its influence. The king of Carthin, Hugh Balla, was growing older, and as he saw it there was not a suitable monument to his rule. He wished to have a grand structure to bear his name for all time so that future generations would remember him. The king was fond of puzzles, and quite good at them, so he chose a labyrinth.
He gathered the finest artists and architects from his kingdom and laid out his monumental plan over a feast in his palace‘s Great Hall. He explained that he wanted the maze to contain grand gardens where galas and ceremonies could be held for the nobles of Carthin. Above all, he wanted the labyrinth to be a challenge, even to him, because he would be the first to conquer it.
The scale of the undertaking frightened off most of the artisans who already had more work than they could hope for due to Carthin’s prosperity. A stone mason named Van Horlin, however, was eager to shoulder the task. He was the head of his own chapter in the small city of Tall Water. At his disposal was an army of master masons, artists and designers loyal exclusively to him. He had more than enough men to do the job quickly, and (more importantly to him) independently.
He told the king that his maze would be built with, besides stone, the fabrics of existence. Its passages would be like the twist and turns of life. Horlin impressed the king immediately with his quick wit and demeanor. They talked into the night, long after less interested guest were dismissed, and Horlin quickly found himself in the king’s favor. He was given an unlimited line of credit to complete the maze, and he did so in less than a decade.
On the day of the labyrinth’s christening, it was the king's honor to be the first to enter. Hundreds gathered at the maze’s entrance to cheer on the king as he and his heritor and son, Eustis, set out together to defeat the maze. They were followed closely by the royal guard and a band of servants carrying refreshments.
Balla and his son found the Garden of Gold nearly right away. They scoffed at the lack of challenge. When they continued on, they unexpectedly found themselves back at the entrance to the labyrinth. The crowd snickered at the king, but Balla shrugged it off with a good-humored laugh at himself, saying that Van Horlin had outdone himself. He then disappeared through another passage, followed by applause from the crowd. His group meandered through the maze while hour after hour passed. Finally, after the sun had long set and the party could barely hold themselves up, Hugh Balla and his son emerged from the labyrinth on the far end. There he was met by Van Horlin and handful of his masons.
Van Horlin revealed to the king that the labyrinth was a test of virtue. He explained to the king what it meant that he had first visited the Garden of Gold; the path was a hollow pursuit of wealth. He then told the king the reason he had passed through the maze without visiting even one more garden was because after finding himself back at the beginning, he chose a path to Death’s Door. He had chosen the path of Illness, specifically.
The king was infuriated. He had never asked for such foolishness. The king had Horlin and his master stone masons immediately arrested. The following day, he had them hanged.
Less than a year later, the king died of a lung illness. Eustis, taking up his father’s rule, swore the labyrinth would never bear his family’s name. So the people of Carthin, who eventually overthrew the heir, named it Horlin Maze.

A Brief History

Horlin Maze is a warren, both physically and historically. A mere fraction of its history is explained here.
Van Horlin was very clever in his conception of the maze, starting with the chosen site for its construction. It was built on tableland with no nearby hills, making it impossible to study from the outside. The outer wall, spanning twenty-five feet high, was built first so to obscure its construction.
Horlin himself only oversaw the construction of the primary paths leading to the various gardens. He left the many diversions to his chief master masons with separate crews so that no one man or crew would become familiar with the entire maze. The crews (consisting of a master stone mason, masons, artists, topiarists and laborers) were not allowed out of their designated areas. This turned out not to be a problem, because each crew became competitive and secretive over their own construction. .
Horlin also forbade any use of a blueprint or even carrying paper by the men. The most contributing factor to the lay of Horlin Maze being kept secret, though, was the stone mason’s covenant of secrecy. Coupling this with disinterest due to Carthin’s crumbling empire and war ravaged lands in the following century, the maze became a forgotten novelty left to looters and vagabonds. Concerns over how to defeat it went the way of the nation itself; forgotten.
Ghost stories surfaced, as they always do concerning dormant places. Tales of a phantom Van Horlin chasing the frightened apparition of King Balla through the corridors of the maze was a fireside favorite. Accounts of people never returning after entering the maze, some true but with rational explanations, fueled the fires of mysterious legend. The maze became a fear to children, a dare and a lark to teenagers, and a pain to adults; especially if they had children or teenagers. Little was done with the maze aside from trying to keep people out of it.
In the twenty-fifth century, the Bearmen of the Calamoot Mountains took stewardship of Horlin Maze and vigorously reclaimed it from its dilapidated state. It became the initial proving ground for young hopefuls that wished to become bearhunters; sovereign protectors of life and liberty.

The Gardens

Garden of the Green Eye(Hulland)-Guardian: Sword Bearer
Garden of the Sun-Guardian: Light Bearer
Garden of the Moon-Guardian: Wolf
Fire Garden (Mercury)-Guardian: Firebrand
Garden of Beauty (Venus)-Guardian: Cup Bearer
Wrath Garden(Mars)-Guardian: Wrath Bearer
Garden of Ages (Jupiter)-Guardian: Behemoth
Garden of Gold (Saturn)-Guardian: Ring Bearer
Garden of Thorn (Uranus)-Guardian: Spear Bearer
Garden of Water Garden (Neptune)-Guardian: Water Bearer
Shadow (Pluto)-Guardian: Shadow

Points of Interest

The Cradle of Birth-The entrance to Horlin Maze (located at the bottom of the diagram)

The Paths (chosen from The Cradle of Birth)
Two paths lead to frivolity: Avoidance and Apathy
Two paths lead to the just glory of enlightenment: Benevolence and Wisdom
Two paths lead to pursuits of greed: Power and Material
Four paths lead to death: Illness, Injury, Deterioration and Choice

Death’s Door
The final exit (located at the top of the diagram)

There are a total of eleven gardens, each watched over by a guardian entity (represented by an effigy) that is in some way connected to the theme of its garden.
The area near the bottom of the maze (divided from the larger part by a thick wall) is known as Childhood. Bearmen children are not allowed beyond this section until they have reach the age of eleven, or are testing to become bearhunters.

The area consisting of curved lines in the top-right corner is known as Dementia.
The dotted mass in the center-left of the maze is known as The Forest of Thorn.
The four circular rooms below the Wrath Garden house effigies of the fore bringers of wrath.

Maze of Metaphor

Horlin Maze is intended to be an allegory for life. The pathways are unmarked, but if attention is paid one knows where one is headed. The paths of frivolity and greed do not go far and are easy to come back from and begin anew. The paths of Benevolence and Wisdom are entwined from the beginning. They are long and difficult, but satisfying, and they lead to grand places. The paths of death are also long and difficult, but enlightenment lies in life; not in death. It should be noted that if one reaches the ultimate goal of Horlin Maze they exit through what is known as The Steward’s Door, which is unmarked on this diagram. It is a false wall that opens to the pathways of death so that the triumphant may leave the maze. This is the source of a common bearhunter saying, “May you find the Steward‘s Door,” meaning: “May you find a good death.” The only other option of exit is to follow the path back to the Cradle of Birth, but this is akin to having never tried at all; undoing what has been done.
Scholars and fools alike have attempted to make sense and prophesies from Horlin Maze, the most popular being that of the Bearmen Stewards. After the maze’s restoration, the stewards opened it to the public and (for a nominal fee) offer an evaluation of the paths one chooses in the tradition of the Van Horlin fable. For some, the reactions are similar to those of Balla. For others, learning from their mistakes in the maze provides inspiration to correct those in their lives.
There are swindlers who have tried to turn a profit by selling maps of the maze. The problem is, there are many different maps and all claim authenticity; an unintended metaphor pertinent to life.

Diagram shown is approx. 1in./ 50ft.

*dates according to The Bearman’s Almanac
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual names, people, places, or events is entirely coincidental and unintended.
Written by John Morrison. Illustrated by David Mishra © 2009
Add a Comment:
AmazingMattsMazes Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
I am very interested in you Maze Art Form, Extremely Nice . I am in attempt to download that maze and solve it. I am really really into mazes. I myself is also a Hand Drawn Solvable Maze Artist as well. Here is a link to view my mazes I have drawn. amazingmattsmazes.deviantart.c…  I hope we become DeviantArt-Friends . I really enjoy talking to you about mazes and the many different Maze Art Styles that Maze Artists have. 
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015  Professional
Ezoah92 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014
That is an amazing story and a beatiful maze!!!
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Professional
Lionessa042 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
mobile707 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2012

That is incredible!
JakeTheFake4 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really intresting, the story and history really drew me in.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Professional
Cool. I really like the story too.
V0rag Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
I really enjoyed completing this maze (after a wrong turn or two!) - lots of shakey red lines in MS paint! I guess sometimes you can see the major sectioned-off areas so know where the cul-de-sacs are. Good Job.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional
That's great to hear. I like that people are willing to give it a shot. It's been so long since I've looked at this, I may have forgotten the way.:confused:

Thank you!
V0rag Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011
I think I saved the file with my red lines on it. I could re-post it if you allow me?
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional
Feel free. Just post a link and an explanation if you don't mind.
V0rag Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Done - apologies for my un-steady hand on the mousepad!
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Professional
Well done.
V0rag Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
Thanks - yeah ignore the wrong try when i went to the right!
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Professional
No worries. :)
C---deTails Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
So, which path leads to the Steward's Door? XD Very nice story, interesting. Can definetly tell this took a lot of payed-off effort, great job! :~)
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Professional
Thanks. The Steward's Door: If you stand in the doorway to the Green Eye Garden, facing inward, it is directly behind you but it is not shown.
nightgrowler Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hey hey! :wave: This awesome artwork was featured in My Journal
Love this artwork ^^
Joebk Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
That is truly a-MAZE-ing!
Have you ever got from one side to the other? Lol, I live it!
inuzuka-carlos Featured By Owner May 14, 2011  Student General Artist
not only you made a kickass maze, but a history to it....

you win!! :D
Arygius Featured By Owner May 11, 2011
I'm in awe. Just... amazing!
MadBillArt Featured By Owner May 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I just wanted to say that this maze is amazing. I am a maze maker myself and I just wanted you to see that after seeing this piece, I was inspired and worked all day on a new maze of my own. You piece was the inspiration and has been noted and linked to! If you would like to see the piece you may find it on DA here [link]
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner May 11, 2011  Professional
Thank you, that's awesome. I checked out your gallery when I noticed you faved this and to tell the truth, I was blown away. I feel really honored that you were inspired. I had actually considered having (and still may) a contest for people to make their own versions of horlin, since part of the "lore" is that there are many.
On another note, I see you used elementals. I just reposted the maze in its frame if you want to check it out and see an interesting coincidence.:P [link]
thanks again,really.
MadBillArt Featured By Owner May 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! Thank you for the wonderful piece. That is quite the coincidence. Great minds think alike. I am still just so shocked at the amount of work it must have taken to glue everything down. I can draw a maze in a couple of hours but to do something like that would take me a week. Congratulations on a job well done. Let me know if you do have a contest. I would be happy to help or maybe even enter.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner May 14, 2011  Professional
I'll definitely keep you in mind. :thumbsup:
daxusflashlight Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
fucking amazing!!
KaitoAozora Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011
I'm going to print this out and try it, if I can persuade my printer not to spaz out on me.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional
Good luck. I hope I don't give you a headache.;)
LillyHRTAke Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011
God damn sir. God damn.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional
I was mildly possessed when I made this.
BobiniK Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
You know what, I can believe that too!
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional
What's better, is I can "tell fortunes" using it by the paths a person chooses. I don't do it, though, because it's too easy to cheat on paper and you have to complete it in one, consistent line (like you are walking through it).

oh, and i don't believe in possession. but obsession...definitely.
LillyHRTAke Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011
...actually believe that. Honestly.

I don't see how an un-possessed soul can pull something like this off!
Luned Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! This looks like loads of work. I love that there is such an interesting background-story, not just the picture. Maybe I'll come back an try to find the way through it sometime :)
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Professional
Thank you. I'm glad you like it. The story really is the more important part. "there are many different maps and all claim authenticity."
TransientArt Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2010  Professional General Artist
Sweet! I figured out one path through it. I love mazes.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Professional
You'll have to forgive me if I question you but this is the first time anyone has made that claim. Which direction did you take upon entering the maze from "the cradle of birth"? What destination did you reach? The goal is not to get "through it".
I know this post is old and sorry for not responding sooner. Thank you so much for taking the time you did.
TransientArt Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
I took the big main right entrance (there's 10 entrances to it'd be the 5th entrance counting from the left up) and got to the Garden of Gold first. From there I was able to work my way around and visit other various gardens, though I can't recall in which order I visited them, eventually working my way to Death's Door by taking a path along the very far edge on the right.

It was a fun and interesting maze, and a very interesting history as well.
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2011  Professional
Wow! I'm glad I got you wrapped up in it. It's probably pretty disorienting to try and do this on a computer screen.
The Paths to the Garden of Gold always lead back to the beginning. They don't go anywhere else. Thanks so much for taking the time. Your "journey" was intriguing. I'm super-glad you took the time to read the history. It's really what the maze is for.
TransientArt Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yeah, I was lead back to the beginning from the Garden of Gold, other entrances I could work my way around to other places. Again, very neat!
looneywizard Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
this is very cool and very hard to properly navigate
gulavisual Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Professional General Artist
I could not do it, but maybe on next time, grate work
Shallon4000 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
Dang this looks far harder than my death maze. Excellent work friend. You topped mine big time. :#1:
LongHomeFox Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Professional
Thanks, I checked it out. Don't sell yourself short. Reading your comments on "death maze" I can relate. "Oh this will be easy," I said.Nice graphic novel work.
Shallon4000 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010
Thanks friend. I still don't think I'll ever get the courage to do another. :pills:
vamp-kitty-meow Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Its so intricate :-D
DiMaio Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Professional General Artist
extremely cool
virtualzelia Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010
I first got to the garden of ages then eventually found garden of gold and then got lost at the garden of beauty. Seriously, I had to stop trying since my eyes could no longer see the black lines properly anymore. This is really nice, a suberb maze work and the story is so cool.
Destro2k Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
damn, that is nice
this is something for me :D
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Submitted on
September 22, 2010
Image Size
615 KB


140 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/64 second
Focal Length
6 mm
Date Taken
Feb 9, 2009, 4:04:45 PM
Microsoft Windows Photo Gallery 6.0.6001.18000