Well ladies and gentlemen, the time is quickly approaching. I am actually counting down the days, because we are likely within one month of a publication at this point. It has been a long time, but the trilogy is likely going to be complete by this time next month.
It’s not set in stone just yet, but my editor was intent on trying to get me his final edits this weekend. If that’s the case, all I’ll have to do is look at his changes and approve or deny them. That might take a week or two if I’m really diligent. After that, I do one final read through the material myself, give it the go ahead, and publish. The artwork is already done – you’ve seen it if you looked at the Kickstarter we ran a couple months back. The only thing I would have to do after that is begin resizing the artwork for a paperback release – maybe around November of this year.
Meanwhile, I haven’t just been sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. I’ve been working on my short stories, in an effort to tide over anxious fans once The Enemy Within has been released – the fact that nothing has been set to paper (digital or not) since November of 2011 is a sad thing indeed. I want to try and remedy that going forward.
I’ve been working on two of the stories simultaneously – and I’ve been treating them as gifts for two of the people closest to me. Adelia is a fan favorite of my wonderful artist and girlfriend Rhianna. When you get a chance to read that story, you might notice a more playful, whimsical approach than the Child of the Stars trilogy presents. The other character is Bolt – he’s the one I started with, regarding these shorter tales – and he’s dedicated to my brother. I’m noticing as I spin these yarns, they’re growing bigger than I expected.
Allow me to drop some history on you.
When I first started writing the Tellest mythos back in 2001, it was such a miniscule idea. Tellest wasn’t part of the name. Tellest wasn’t even an idea. It was just supposed to be a short biography for Kaos Kreegan.
At the time, it was being written in the Forgotten Realms world – essentially just some heavy fan fiction. The profile was for a character I was making in Baldur’s Gate II. Subconsciously, certain facets of that game series even made their way into my long term writing – Duke Eltan, as I came to discover long after I had written my original Kaos story, was a character from Baldur’s Gate. I think that even the last name Kreegan was probably subconsciously pulled from the Heroes of Might and Magic series. They were the series’ devils and demons.
Of course, I didn’t even realize that those name choices had been made. In 2001, my imagination was still stretching slowly over time. Kaos’ original name would have been Kaos Brightblade – for the sake of a videogame profile, that would have been fine. I don’t think Wizards of the Coast would have come after me for that. But Kaos, and the world around him continued to evolve.
What was originally just a two page biography that I wrote in math class stretched and pulled until much of what you see in Bindings of Fate today was written (although in much cruder fashion). From there, 140 pages evolved to close to 300 when I added some solid backstory for Kaos. You’ll get to see the natural growth of that original tale when “The Veil of Mists” comes out in 2014/2015.
What I’m noticing, though, is that Adelia and Bolt are experiencing the same manner of growth. I don’t think I can call their solo tales short stories at this point. They’re more like novelettes. By the time I’m done with Adelia’s tale, I know I’ll be close to 20,000 words.
Of course, with a slightly longer length comes a slightly longer wait. These short stories aren’t going to be coming out until liikely around November of this year (and even then, on a weekly basis for each chapter). But, I figured, I have a good amount of writing done thus far, and much of the content is unlikely to change. So what do you say? Would you like an introduction to the first 1,000 words of the first short story?
The bluebird’s song was familiar. It sat upon the stone windowsill, mere inches away from the jars of ancient substances. Looking at the nearby dried roots, it would hop toward it quickly and then abruptly back away. After each cycle, it would tweet its song as though it was trying to remain discreet.
A sweet-smelling spring breeze turned a page in the large nearby tome, and the small creature hunched low, considering a hasty flight. The man who sat at the desk began to whistle. His song seemed to soothe the bird – perhaps because it was identical to the earlier tune.
Gaston Camlann was known for such precise observations. He was a man of great renown, gifted in many arts, both ancient and modern. It was a wonder at all that he was able to excel at so many things. He was, after all, human. They didn’t live forever.
The sage, who fancied himself more a scholar, was beginning to show his age. His once attractive features were replaced with wrinkles and rosy cheeks. He wore a long, dark grey beard and moustache to hide most of his weathered face. Long, wavy locks had been stricken a little brighter by the sun, nearing the color of snow. He hid that indicator of his age underneath a wide green hat.
Though preferring to wear the tall, pointed head piece back somewhat, he had learned much earlier on in life that the hat and his glasses often fought for a place upon his ears. During his studies, those thin frames took precedence.
As he whistled a second verse to his winged companion, a series of knocks upon the door played the percussion in their song. Gaston was so engrossed in his studies that he was ill suited to notice, even when the rapping on the door became louder and more frequent.
More aware than the sage, the bluebird hopped off of its stone pedestal, diving into the northern wilderness. Gaston was shook from his task at that sight.
He chortled to himself. How easily Homer has trained me, he thought, recalling how often the bird returned to him.
Another series of knocks on the door had his full attention, then.
“Yes, come in,” he pleasantly permitted.
The sturdy slab of elm slid open, and a well dressed man walked in, his polished boots tapping across the floor. To his left, a laze feline lay peacefully, its tail floating to and fro as the visitor was seen.
After removing his leather glove, the man reached out, petting the cat on its side. Rolling over, the feline gleefully accepted the attention.
Gaston placed his quill down, then, and turned to acknowledge his guest’s arrival.
“Ah, Edric,” the sage said, standing quickly, and slamming his legs into the desk. He winced, but worked at ignoring the pain. “It’s been some time.”
Preoccupied with the animal, it almost seemed that Edric would not find the focus to reply. The black cat had wrapped its arms around the man’s wrist, and was contentedly licking his knuckles.
“That it has, my friends,” the visitor said, giving a quick, rough little scratch to the cat’s belly before retrieving his hand.
“And what brings you to my dusty old closet on this beautiful day? It’s not often that a White Knight of Gardone visits a meager hamlet like Forsynthia.”
“Forsynthia is anything but meager, and I believe it has evolved from a hamlet some time ago. Also, my time in a white cloak has long passed.”
A smile crossed Gaston’s face. “Just as always, you focus on the corrections while you ignore the questions.”
“Anything to gain a few extra moments to speak with an old friend,” Edric said. “One of Jonathan’s birds came through. Apparently, your pupil had just arrived at the toll road. I don’t think she’ll arrive too long after I did.”
“And depending on the driver, the poor girl will be arriving without a coin in her pocket. What a foolish idea those roads were.”
Edric paused for a moment, considering how to react. A moment later, he was shaking his head while smiling. “You know the countryside better than most, Gaston. Between the beasts and the brigands, all of Daltain is a dangerous place. But with paid patrols on watch… well, you know what Lord Kerrigan says. ‘Good roads b –’ ”
“Build a better country, yes,” the old sage finished. “And there’s quite a bit of wisdom there, too. Far more than this wizened old wizard cares to admit often, anyway. And I’m sure those pampered, spoon-fed princes from Sungarden were happy to keep the hands out of their pockets.
“Ahh, but I’m rambling again,” Gaston said. “Are you staying for some time? Can I offer you some tea?”
A weak frown could just barely be seen upon the retired knight’s face. “Alas, my friend, I haven’t come to Forsynthia just for reprieve. I’m moving a caravan of weapons up to the Basalt Flats. Lydick should be awaiting me in the armory if he’s been properly advised of my arrival.”
Gaston nodded. “Always too short, these visits. No matter. It will give me some time to stretch these old legs in preparation to meet the young lady.”
“And I’m sure there are a great many surprises you have prepared for this one,” Edric mused. “I’m staying in Forsynthia for the night. If my task is kind to me, perhaps we can meet for the tea later this evening.”
“I should like that very much,” the sage said.
Following a polite bow, Edric turned and began out of the room. He stopped beside the black cat, and gingerly scratched beneath its chin.
“Farewell, Dell,” the retired knight said. “Keep your master from falling too deeply into those tomes of his.”
Once Edric had gone from the room, Gaston turned to his pet, glee etched upon his face. “Worry not, my old furry friend. You’ll have a new companion to play with. There will be time for books later.”
Dell let out a contented meow, but remained on his side, even as his master stepped clear of the door, and drew it mostly closed.
It’s a very brief intro, but I think it gets the point across. Dell, the cat, is likely going to be renamed, but I want to be careful to give him some anonymity for now. His real name may give a little too much of the central Tellest stories away. Now, how could a cat’s name ruin that for anyone? That’s my secret for now. The title will be tweaked once I get a feel for what the most important facet of the tale is as well.
I hope you liked that little tease, and I hope you’re excited for The Enemy Within. I went through all the emotions with that one – but I’m at a point now where I think it’s one of my better works. The epic conclusion to the Child of the Stars trilogy is nearly upon us, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!
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Michael is the creator of the Tellest brand of fantasy novels and stories. He is actively seeking to expand the world of Tellest to be accessible to everyone.