Tag Archives: Son of the Storm

Lord of Thunder Released

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to announce the official launch of Tellest’s phase two.  Lord of Thunder has released today, and I’m excited to bring a follow-up to Bolt Thunderfury’s first adventure.

We’ll see how the book does on Amazon, but just remember, every ten weeks from here on out, another Tellest adventure is coming your way.

Once again, this is just the beginning…

Bolt and Keilana

Hey there folks.  We’ve got some cool new art to throw your way. Our collaboration with Horace, AKA Skence, AKA Hozure has grown to include more than just characters.  Today, we’re showing that off firsthand with the first of three scenes we commissioned from him.

Each of these pieces of art is a “VS” scene.  We decided to start with Bolt, the hero of Son of the Storm and the upcoming Lord of Thunder. His first big challenge was against the beautiful yet vicious harpy arcanist Keilana.  What we decided to capture here was the feel of that encounter, but with a kind of quantum twist.  What we’re about to show you didn’t happen in the canon of the books, but it very well could have.

9_Tellest Vs Bolt_150test

Horace started us off with a test, so that we could see what the battle could have ended up looking like.

9_Tellest Vs Bolt_150

From there, we had almost a storyboard situation, where he gave us a couple different options for the way the scene could have progressed.

9_Tellest Vs Bolt_150 1

What we ultimately decided was to use basically the test version that he came up with, and expand upon that from there.

Bolt VS Keilana

In the full version, with feathers flying around and dwarves in the background, the scene truly does look as chaotic as the encounter in the mountains were.  Bolt and Keilana meet here a little more on even ground, but it’s gorgeous nonetheless.

Stay tuned for more from this series in the next couple of months!

Art Reveal – Lord of Thunder Cover

Well folks, the time has finally arrived.  It’s time to make things official.

We’re working on a new book.  Yes, yes, I know.  It’s quite a surprise. Actually, it’s “at least” five new books, but we won’t get into that just yet.  Suffice it to say, we’re ready to draw back the curtain on one of these books, and this one will serve as the relative flagship release for our other books in this set.

These five books are going to be sequels to the Tales of Tellest that we Kickstarted two years ago.  As such, we knew we needed a face that was going to be… electrifying… to introduce us to the new stories.

That man is—no, not Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—Bolt Thunderfury:

Lord of Thunder Front Cover

The protagonist of Son of the Storm, Bolt has already had an awesome story in his life, but he’s got more.  This follow-up, Lord of Thunder, is the tale of how he and a group of ragtag heroes managed to save a group of people from annihilation.  We’ll be getting the full details of the book to you soon, but for now, we’re really excited to show off the beautiful cover that Leo made for it.

Lord of Thunder 1

Here you can see the rough sketch we began with.  Leo knew what we wanted right away, and there was very little that we needed changed from one form to another.  Seeing as this was the initial sketch, you can only tell very basic things, but it’s starting to come together as to what might be causing the mysterious people issues.

Lord of Thunder 2

Alright, so things are a little more clear here.  That big guy front and center?  An ice giant.  The guy in the top left corner is an avarian, a birdman in the world of Tellest.  We’ve got a dwarf in the foreground, who may be a little familiar to readers of the first book.  In the background, two more folks.  And on the right side, our hero, Bolt Thunderfury.

Lord of Thunder 2-point-5

Leo made a slight change that we ultimately opted out of here.  He thought that Bolt and our dwarf looked a little too similar in their poses, but we didn’t mind.  We wanted to see that dwarf’s face, by gum!  And then you can also see our other two characters with more clarity.  One of them is called a delver—they’re the dark elves of the Tellest universe.  The other is a haudron, a half-giant.  But whose side are they on?

Lord of Thunder 3

And there you have it.  That’s our final version.  You can click on it to see it embiggened.  We’re so proud of it being the first big reveal for our next big push.

We also wanted to give a shout out to Matthew DeAngelo, the man who ultimately inspired a lot of what Bolt Thunderfury is.  His birthday was yesterday, and we’re proud of him too!

Tales of Tellest has Released!

Hello everyone!

I’m proud to announce that one of the last few pieces in our first big push—phase one, I’m calling it—is ready for purchase.  Tales of Tellest went live yesterday, bringing together seventeen different stories and four talented authors.

Tales of Tellest Thumb

Best of all, I think, is the price.  At $4.99, you’re making out like a bandit on the deal.  Since each of the stories are $2.99 (less Mageborn and Awake when they’re free), you’re really being given a decent bang for your buck.  The full book is over 600 pages, and this is just the first course of these wonderful stories that feature characters from the Tellest universe.

Be sure to pick up your copy on Amazon today!

Art – Tales of Tellest Cover by DLeoBlack

I am so very excited to show you the last big component of our Tales of Tellest: Volume one push.  I know it should have been a one year enterprise, but the Tales of Tellest grew a little out of control, and I can honestly say it was probably for the best.  You know when you’re expanding, you get those growing pains.  I think the same happens with a series and a world like Tellest, and the delays here and there made it possible to sort of age with dignity.  It gave us the time to really tackle things with the kind of poise and attention that we needed to give them.

There were a lot of ways that we could have gone at this particular cover, which brings all the stories we’ve created in the last 18 months into one package.  We could have had a series of characters all bunched together into one space, but as of stories that are in this collection, they haven’t actually met each other.  It would be disingenuous to put them all together if they’re introductions wouldn’t be made for several years.  So Leo and I determined that there would have to another thread that tied them all together.

That’s how The Keeper of the Void, the final story I’ve written for this collection, came to be.

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In Tellest, there are some things that are a bit beyond the existential. We’ve seen the Nexus, which connects the waking world with the afterlife, in addition to serving as a means for the gods to travel about the world in short bursts.  What we decided to do was add another layer of impossible to the world.  Whereas the Nexus affects space and mortality, the Void encompasses space and time.

Yes, time travel is a part of Tellest now.  In a lot of ways, it always was.  But we’ll get to that more later.  You can see that draft of the cover up there.  That’s the one we passed on.  We gave Leo the opportunity to create a character from scratch here, and he gave us two versions of a kind of “mad wizard” or “mad crone” to choose from.  We ultimately settled on our crone:

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This is Nyrshia, the eponymous Keeper of the Void.  She’s not really female, but beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.  She (it?) chooses to represent itself the way it does so that she can interact with us on a level that we would understand.

You can also see the orbs in the cover as well.  These are the ways that we’ve bound all our previous stories together.

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Here, you can see that idea beginning to take shape.  Since time is all relative, events sort of float around in the Void, ready to be observed—but rarely manipulated.

In this version of the cover, Nyrshia has been fleshed out a little bit more, and we’ve added the other big character to the story, a lad named Rhys who is a capable soldier that happens upon the Void.

The orbs are filled, as well, with the covers of the stories that we’ve written before.  You’ll see that The Bindings of Fate is in there as well, though it doesn’t fit in the Tales of Tellest collection—if we threw that in there, we’d have to put the other Child of the Stars trilogy books in there, and we’d be looking at around 1,800 pages worth of content, and this collection is supposed to go to paperback!

Orb Legend

We took a step back to our monochrome cover just so that we could indicate which stories should have gone where.  We kept our most popular stories in the biggest bubbles, and eagerly awaited the unfolding of Leo’s own brand of magic.

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This was the finished version of the cover, sans filled orbs.  Nyrshia is a bit more imposing in her finished form.  Leo captured the look of this character so exquisitely as someone who could be so disarmingly fragile but so powerful to behold at the same time. Rhys, meanwhile, looks a bit more brooding.

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Now this is some beautiful work.  The orbs are being used in their entirety here to great effects.  And the stories inside them? Magnifique.  You can also see that Leo did some redraws of some of Kimirra’s older story covers for The Littlest Kobold and Remembered in Gold.  We thought that they didn’t quite stand up to the rest of the thumbnails on this cover, and asked Leo to spruce them up a bit.

Funny enough, we still have some times translating between Leo and I from time to time.  It’s very far and few between and he does some quick turnarounds, but you can see here that we accidentally used As Darkness Falls instead of The Fall.  You can tell that I have too many opportunities to use that word, especially when you consider that another short story in this very collection is called Fallen.

Tales of Tellest Complete

And here you have it.  The final version of our final 2014-2015 project.  Obviously we have to slap the title and back matter on there, and are working with Paul Davies to do so, but this is the Tales of Tellest in all its glory.  We hope you liked it, and we’ll come back at you with more great content in the weeks and months to come!

The Tinker’s Tale Amazon Release

Hello everyone!  We’re happy to announce that The Tinker’s Tale is now out on Amazon.  If you have a computer, smart phone or tablet, you’ll be able to purchase the story for the low price of $2.99, and be able to read it all in one convenient place.

In other news, we’re also going to be making Son of the Storm free for the next five days, so if you’re just jumping into the Tellest universe, now is a great time!

We’re more than halfway through our novella release schedule.  For those of you that have been along with us all the way, we hope you’ll agree that we’ve been delivering a great experience for you.  And for those just joining us, we hope to entertain you for months and years to come!

Cheers,

Mike

Art: Son of the Storm Cover

When Mageborn was being flaunted in front of people, it was during some very tense moments for me.  The Tellest Kickstarter at the beginning of this year was the first big push I’ve made for the series and the brand for quite some time.  I knew that I wanted to take the next step – I could always be a writer, and even one that faded into obscurity, but there was a need to try and do more.  More for Tellest, and more for the fantasy community.  That Kickstarter was a roaring success, and we had to race to put something together for the second book.

Mageborn was a very tame book, and so it had a very tame cover.  It was whimsical and colorful, beautiful for sure, but since the story doesn’t highlight a lot of action, we didn’t want to focus a lot of it in the cover.  Son of the Storm, the second book in the Tales of Tellest series, has a much grittier theme, and culminates in a lot of darker, colder tones.  On top of that, it focuses more on the alien races of Tellest rather than the magical veil that surrounds the world.

We knew that we wanted to focus on the human protagonist, Bolt Thunderfury.  It’s a tale that is ultimately about him, even though its told from the perspective of his adoptive father.  But we also couldn’t set the dwarven people by the wayside.  So, too, we wanted to focus on their ancient foes, the harpies.

As with Mageborn, we had a terrific amount of options and wiggle room.  Here is a selection of sketches that we loved but set aside.

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As you can see, they were all pretty fantastic.  There were a lot of choices to be made, but we finally came to a decision.

cover_second.4

 

 

There was something about that selection that spoke to me more than anything else.  It had a brilliant focus, and we could bring more of the novella into the cover.  After some further sketches, we knew we were onto something great.

 

cover_second copy
It’s always so cool to see where Leo starts to where he ends. Practically magical in its own right.

 

Finally, we arrived with our finished product, which is just breathtaking.  Check out the final piece below.

Warning: if you click on the picture, it will take you an uncensored version.

Son of the Storm

 

Art: Bolt Finished Piece

Bolt was a character that was very near and dear to me.  Toward the end of The Enemy Within, I knew there weren’t going to be too many new characters that I was going to introduce.  The trilogy was coming to an end, after all.  But at the same time, Tellest exists as a kind of grand narrative.  Bolt fits into the world a lot better than you’d think upon first read, and even if you read the Son of the Storm novella first, you’d get the first hints of this.

Therefore Bolt was brought to the front line for new art.

Our first "finished" piece.
Our first “finished” piece.

 

I should also mention to you that as much as Kaos Kreegan was loosely based off of me, Bolt was based off of my younger brother – my initial audience.  Had I not had a younger brother, Tellest might have grown in a completely different way.  When he found out that I had developed a character on him, it really made his day, and he went the extra mile, commissioning this character’s artwork, as well as two others that you will see in the future.

You'll notice here that Joman changed the lightning to a more jagged, electrifying style.
You’ll notice here that Joman changed the lightning to a more jagged, electrifying style.

 

Here’s to Bolt, who we certainly haven’t seen the last of yet.

Boltcolor

 

 

Art: Bolt Concepts

Hot off the publishing of Son of the Storm, we’ve got some beautiful artwork by Joman to discuss.  Bolt Thunderfury is the first non-Bindings of Fate inspired piece that we’ve got on hand, and our character artist did a phenomenal job capturing that effort.

This piece actually came as a portion of a larger request (more on that in the weeks to come), which meant this was the first really big Tellest project for Joman.  He captured the source material just about perfectly, as always.

Below, as with our processes for Steel Tip and Kaos, you’ll see how we came about picking the poses we did, and where we ended up.

Bolt Poses
We really like the dynamic artwork among these choices, and it was a hard decision nailing one down. Because we knew what we wanted in the grand, final piece, we chose number 3.
Next, we tested out how Bolt would look in Joman's tried and true style.
Next, we tested out how Bolt would look in Joman’s tried and true style.
And here we have our final piece before coloring.  You'll notice Bolt shaved prior to waiting around for this lineart.
And here we have our final piece before coloring. You’ll notice Bolt shaved prior to waiting around for this lineart.

 

There was still a good deal of work that went into the final version of Bolt.  This is a good look at what we came up with though.  We hope next week you’ll come back and see what Bolt looked like in all of his glory.

Harpies

General description

Physical Appearance

There are very few races on Tellest that can take to the air.  Among them are the harpies, a people who appear to be women with bird-like features.  They have feathers that sprout from their arms, typically from just beneath their shoulders to the wrist, where human hands are.  Many of them have tail feathers as well.  Their shapely legs will turn into talons at just beneath the knees.  Most harpies have very angular features.  Regardless, their torso’s and faces are very similar to that of a human’s.  There are some subtle nuances, however.  Irises are wider; ears can be slightly longer and pointed, sometimes feathered.

Though most encounters with harpies seem to imply that there are only females, there are, in fact, males of the race.  They just appear in smaller numbers.

 

Clothing and Adornment

Because of their anatomy, most harpies prefer to wear very little clothing.  This makes them a very perplexing social entity, because they appear to have no shame.  Even in battle, harpies will typically wear the bare minimum.  Oftentimes this appears as miniscule smallclothes or a think draping.  Most harpies need to be sewn or laced into their garments.

On the other hand, harpies tend to wear jewelry, or pierce their bodies in many ways.  Colder climate harpies typically tend to paint their bodies or attach jewelry with special adhesive, while others will pierce anything from their ears, to their navels to their nipples.

Conversely, there is a subgroup of harpies that identify themselves as the Kyrie that finds it almost sacrilegious to defile their flesh.  Yet, these harpies take great strides to enter battle with full suits of armor.  Due to their heavier, wider wingspan, they can accommodate the extra weight.  They also conform slightly to human norms, attempting to fit their clawed, bird-like feet into greaves and boots.

 

Relations to Other Races

The harpies did not appear to Tellest until after the return of humans.  Thus, it is widely assumed that the two are somehow connected.  Because their features are so strikingly similar, many scholars believe that the strain somehow led to the facilitation of a bird-winged woman, who went on to spawn many more like her.

 

 

General Personality

Personal

Harpies are extremely territorial.  While they often encounter members of the other races during their travels, they rarely pursue any kind of confrontation.  Many times, the landlocked journeyers below won’t even know they’re in the sights of the winged women above.  When someone is deemed to be intruding on their roost or even anywhere near it, harpies can become violent beyond all reason.

Despite their furious appearance in those moments of aggression, they are quite devoted within their communities.  Helpful to one another and nurturing, harpies are very tightly knit.  This of course leads to more propensity for violence, for their thirst for vengeance also happens to run high.

 

Relationship

Due to the high volume of females within harpy culture, the winged women are typically in control.  Males are not to pick their mates, and often are given as gifts.  Even with that in mind, harpies typically retain a monogamous relationship with their mates.

Because male harpies are so rare, however, it is said that females will often kidnap humans to become their consorts.  The human traits are more recessive, leading to an ongoing line of harpies.

 

Family

Among the races of Tellest, harpies are one of the few that lay eggs to birth their young.  Despite a very human-like anatomy, their biology still has some strange traits.  Harpies lay eggs about every six months.  A male will have to fertilize it while it is still in the female’s reproductive system, however.  It cannot be fertilized after it has been expelled.

Harpy young mature at an alarming rate.  Though the egg that a harpy mother will produce is typically about half the size of a human baby, it is surprisingly sturdy.  After birth, the harpy young will only take about twelve years to reach adolescence.

For unknown reasons, more females are born than males, which have helped to shape their society in a matriarchal pattern.  While females typically rule over their groups, males will stay at home to protect the roost and their young.

 

Society

Despite their fury and their propensity for violence, wisdom is a widely respected trait among the winged women.  Typically, the oldest harpies become the most influential.  There are some that are known to commune with nature in some ways, and are declared matrons, regardless of their age.  These harpies typically choose their own flock and are usually awarded with one or more of the rare males as part of a ritual.

Harpies are also known to mourn for their dead.  It is said that the haunting winds that people hear are the cries of harpies in the skies.

 

Behavior toward Other Races

The harpies are not on good terms with several clans of dwarves that they’ve encountered that lived within mountain ranges.  It has also been said that due to a shared home in Minoa, they do not get along very well with minotaurs.

There is a complicated relationship that the harpies have with avarians.  Because both races fly, they are bound to encounter each other from time to time.  Because avarians police the skies, sometimes some of the questionable actions the harpies endorse, like stealing food and livestock, they’ve come to blows with the other bird-like race.

Despite many of the conflicts with the goodly races of Tellest, there is one variant of the race that will oft protect them.  Kyrie watch after their human neighbors, and will often fight alongside them in order to keep them safe.  They often travel alongside raven familiars, and are one of very few groups of harpies that do not roost in high up places.  Instead, they typically dwell in the trees around lakes and rivers.  Often, they are seen living beside swans.

 

 

Language

Speech

Harpies are well-spoken and intelligent.  They speak common fluently, but are keen enough to pick up on neighboring races’ languages as well.

 

Penmanship

Harpies tend to pass down their tales aurally.  Beyond crude drawings near their roosts, almost nothing is written down.

 

 

Religion

Personal Beliefs

The harpies are one of the races of Tellest that, curiously, do not believe in any of the common gods.  Rather, they believe in various spirits that they invoke in their rituals, including spirits of the storm, rain and wind.

 

 

History

Myths and Legends

Known to many of the races of Tellest is the tale of Babayan.  She was apparently a monster of a harpy that hid in the shadows, or high in a thundercloud and would snatch those foolish children who didn’t give reverence to the skies.  She preyed on the foolish.  Even the harpies were frightened of her, and told the stories to their fearful young.

 

 

Technology

General Technology

Thanks to the ability of flight, many harpies do not need technological advancements.  Their weapons and tools are very rudimentary, mostly because they can utilize their talons to great effect.

 

Magic

The harpies typically don’t express much interest in magic.  Rather, a select few are “chosen” by the air spirits, and are bestowed uncanny powers.  These chosen harpies are then called Matrons.  It is not unheard of to have several matrons within the same flock.  An example would be both a Matron of the Storm and a Matron of the Wind.

The Kyrie, thanks to their exposure to humans, are a little more exposed to the arcane arts.  They primarily rely upon clerical magic, but some are known to dabble in offensive spell casting.

 

 

Military/Combat

Military Structure

Harpies will very rarely meet enemies head on because of their flight capabilities.  Still, when they need to meet a foe in battle, they tend to swarm and surround.  In the air, harpies are excellent warriors and hunters.

 

Wars and Enemies

Over time, the avarians and the harpies have become intense rivals.  Avarians are the watchers of the skies, and they work tirelessly to protect their groundborne friends.  Because of the actions of the harpies, wars have broken out multiple times, where the avarians have tried to cull the other flying race in an effort to curb their crimes.