Health 'Bubble' with sword in Art & Sound
I tried adding more, but it eventually just got looking way too cluttered.
Here's the finished product, with anti-aliasing, some shading under the bubble, and a bit more colour in the bubble.
I'm no professional pixel artist but let me share a few things I have learned. Yeah, you posted in the showroom, but I'm critiquing you anyway. First, don't pixel on a white background, it bothers your perception of other colors. I tend to use some desaturated grey-brown color. Another interesting point is that you should never use black, it's boring, and other colors generally convey the message much better. This also lends to your AA, if you must use dark outlines don't AA on the outside of the figure, you won't always have the same background behind it.
<font size="1">(see what I mean?)</font>
You introduced some nasty banding in the life orb in your update...
I would like to touch on jaggies too, but I'm split on whether you left a lot of it in because this was stone.
Your current approach seems to be putting too much emphasis on the grainy texture of stone and not enough on the facets and blocky nature of carved stone. Look up some reference images.
Here are some ancient Korean swords
The second to last image on this page, while grainy, is centered on some awesome evil looking stone chopping weapon.
I've done an edit addressing some of what I've mentioned:
Yours | Mine
Most of my attention went to the blade and crossguard, I thought about doing some fun stuff with the stone around the health orb and handle but I got sorta bored.
It still looks boring; there are WAY too many shades and there needs to be more contrast between the shades.