Tag Archives: The Bindings of Fate

Dirk

Biography

First Appearances to Kaos

When Kaos Kreegan and his sister were young, their mother brought them to the city of Viscosa to prepare for a celebration at Atalatha.  On the way there, the children noticed the presence of a wolf at their heels.  Still, the wolf shadowed the Kreegan family for the duration of their travel to the capital.  At some points, they even thought that he was playing with them.

 

Reconciliation with Kaos

Following his time in Fostervilla, Kaos returned to his childhood home, rebuilding it for the second time.  After some time spent there, he noticed that a wolf frequently spent time nearby.  Initially, he had planned on trapping and killing the animal, wary of the wolf’s fearlessness.  However, after some time reflecting on its behavior, Kaos determined that it was a simple curiousness.

Dirk was named as such because of the lighter patch of grey that appears on his forehead.  After that meeting with Kaos, the two were nearly inseparable.  Whenever Kaos needed to gather supplies, Dirk wouldn’t be far behind.

Eventually, when Kaos determined that dangers were still encroaching on his home and his country, he traveled north to meet with his old family friend, Stephen Caista.  Once there, he joined the Raleighn military.  However, with his personal knowledge and skills, Kaos worked better as an individual, and was permitted to serve with Dirk beside him.

 

Dirk1

 

After the War and Capture

After the fall of Ippius and Blacklehn, Kaos and his allies spent time rebuilding various hamlets and towns along Raleigh’s northern borders.  Dirk remained by his side during this time.

When Kaos returned home, Dirk traveled beside Steel Tip for a brief while.  However, during those travels, Dirk was captured by Atalathian poachers due to his size.  From there, he was brought into Atalatha, where he was intended to fight the reigning champion of the coliseum, Geylard the Great.

Art: The Bindings of Fate Cover

You know, technically this is the grand reveal of the new The Bindings of Fate cover!

This is going to be a pretty massive post, because Leo and I never worked harder than we did on this incredible cover here.  There was so much back and forth, and I felt it was important to get the protagonist just right.

When we were successful with the Kickstarter campaign, we managed to nab a stretch goal that would see us updating all of our older titles (that being the original trilogy).  Though The Bindings of Fate already has a half cover on the ‘zon, we knew we needed a full cover when we were ready to go to paperback.  Here was our process:

 

Initial Sketch 3Initial Sketch 2Initial Sketch 1

 

 

As you can see, we came up with a basic concept for what we wanted on the front cover.  This has been the front cover that’s been on my brain since I wrote the book, I just didn’t have the means to make the version I wanted to with my limited skills.  Leo managed to take what I had in my head like Dumbledore did to Harry in that one movie with the wizards.

If you’ll notice, the background doesn’t change at all.  We knew what we were going for as it pertains to all the players in back – it was the foreground and front cover that needed the most love.

The top two were the runners-up.  The first one was easy to discard, just because I didn’t like the idea of our hero looking straight at the reader.  That, and the antagonist – Raithly in this instance – teleporting to the back cover seemed a little jarring.

Our second choice was a little more dynamic, and most likely would have made the cut were our winner not so spectacular.  It features Kaos doing battle with Essex, and had the bonus of having Dirk in the foreground as well.

But that third one put Kaos in the spotlight, with Essex in the background.  It would have featured Dirk more prominently as well, but the final picture didn’t end up like that.  You’ll see the changes we made as things continued along.

Here, you can see the progress we began making.  At first, Leo did some magic on the whole piece.  The characters had more life, and you could really distinguish who was who in these particular sketches.  Steel Tip, Juramentado, Raithly and Adelia are preparing to do battle in the fight for their lives.

Kaos and Essex, too, are coming together, including the layout of the equipment and the armor.  Dirk is still an amorphous blob, but it looks wholly promising.  Even the locale itself seems so full of life here!

 

Sketch Followup

 

 

And here is where things are beginning to look spectacular.  The back is almost entirely done at this point, and the characters seem fully realized.  The castle has textures and lighting effects, and even the front of the cover has a background that really pops.

The only thing that really needs to be adjusted at all are the characters that we’re going to be focusing on in the book.

 

 

 

 

 

BookCover copy

 

 

The cover really came together in that next step, but some sacrifices had to be made.  Dirk just didn’t fit into the overall picture, and we had to make a very difficult cut with that in mind.  Kaos and Essex, meanwhile, made some astonishing progress, including the display of Wildfire and the Sky Talon.

Of course, things just weren’t quite perfect yet, and we needed to rectify those things.  For one, there was a little too much Jack Black to our hero.  He looks a little bit too much like a hobbit in this variation, and Kaos is old enough and fit enough here where he shouldn’t have had as round a face as he did.

 

BookCover prefinal

 

 

Leo proceeded to age him up and skinny him down a bit, and you can also see that the saturation was brought down a little bit.  I’m usually very flexible with these covers, and I think that Leo did a great job with it, as he always does, but I wanted to perfect it.

 

BookCover prefinal2

 

 

I had to bring in help, in the form of Rhianna.  You can see, here, the steps we took to alter him sufficiently, and give him the look we were ultimately going for.

The first thing we needed to do was dial back his jawline a bit.  He was still a little pudgy, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t the view we were expecting to put out.

 

Kaos Alterations

 

After that, we knew that we wanted to tighten the lips, raise the hairline and shrink the nose just a bit.

 

Kaos Alterations 2

 

 

Here, you can see the difference from the original version to the variations we made.  And here’s a fun fact: all those changes that Rhianna made?  They were from her iPhone.

 

 

 

Kaos Comparisons

 

 

Leo was great about making those alterations, and before long, we had our finished cover.  With almost no more fanfare, I give you the completed piece for The Bindings of Fate:

Da da-da da!

 

BookCover - layer

 

I’m incredibly happy with all the work that was put in here.  While we’ve always had our artists cranking out impressive cover after impressive cover, this one took a lot of effort, a lot of creative input, and it came out on the other side looking so darn good.

Deepwater Oasis

General description

Geography and Environment

South of Fostervilla, a great oasis stretches through the sand.  It is thought to be the widest oasis on Draconis.  The people of the city use it to provide water for drinking and sewage.

It is also a small, self contained ecosystem.  Birds of the desert frequent the area, as well as several different species of rodents and insects.  One of the only known creatures to endure the vile deathwinds outside of Fostervilla, the yulik, also calls the oasis home.

 

Entymology

Visitors to the oasis have taken to calling it the Deepwater Oasis for centuries.  The sultans of Fostervilla have always deemed it a crime to place a boat within the sacred place, and as such, the depth of the place has never been proven.  Still, various people have attempted to swim to the bottom, and none have found success.

 

Mythology

The Deepwater Oasis is thought to be a gift from the god Hudorian.  It is said that he took pity on the people of Fostervilla, and blessed them with the reprieve of water and shade.  As such, the citizens built a temple to Hudorian in the sand that faces the oasis.  It stands just outside of the walls of the city, and can be accessed via a subterranean passageway.

It is also thought that the oasis may hold healing properties.  Some even believe that the malignant illness that affronts those affected by the deathwinds could be remedied by the waters of the oasis.

Art: Wispus’ Woods

I’d like to preface this post by saying that there is a bit of a spoiler here, if you haven’t read The Enemy Within.  It’s a very modest spoiler though, so you won’t be too agitated by its reveal.

We return to Dena Helmi after a month to see her newest endeavor, this time with Wispus’ Woods.

In The Bindings of Fate, Christopher and Steel Tip found their way to the mayor of Westwick’s mansion, which was secluded deep in the Spirit Woods.  They managed to break in and steal away one of Wispus’ artifacts, and used it to secure information (and long lasting companionship) from Holklund.

In Dena’s interpretation, we see an almost Alice in Wonderland-esque view of the mansion, which I really dig:

 

Wispus' Woods Sketch
Coming together…

 

You can see that the place around the mansion looks incredibly lush, especially as the sketch went into its next phase.

 

Wispus' Woods Sketch 2
A much more whimsical take.

 

When the piece was finished, you see just how tremendous that tree is in back of the mansion.

 

Wispus' Woods

 

 

The mansion itself looks a little small in comparison, don’t you think?

Art: Valley of Kathka

And hello again!

Once again, we are back with some lush, beautiful art, this time courtesy of Dena Helmi.  We’re looking, now, at her interpretation of the Valley of Kathka.

In The Bindings of Fate, the protagonist, Kaos, is sent to the Valley of Kathka to investigate the ruins there.  It has long been foretold that a castle once resided in the valley, the last vestige of the goodly races stand against Semia’Laz and his unholy troops during the demon wars.  When he arrived there, it was mostly scattered stones and remnants of a time long past.

Dena did a wonderful job capturing the awe of the place, even when its ancestry seemed diminished.  It still has this almost otherworldly presence.

Valley of Kathka

 

 

After a few touch ups following that initial sketch, she really brought the Valley of Kathka to life.

Valley of Kathka complete

Grand Rerelease – Free Story Until End of Month

Hello to all you wonderful fans of fantasy out there.

It isn’t that often that I stop to think about how lucky I am.  Usually, my nose is deep in the pages of whatever notebook I’m scribbling in. My eyes are glued to the computer screen as I toil away trying to make Tellest all that it can be.  But as much as I’d like to take credit for that, I can’t.  Not on my own.  Tellest is this growing force, and it had so many hands in it.

Let me step back for a moment and give some context.

Nearly fourteen years ago, I would have never thought that I would have started writing.  It just didn’t seem like something I’d be able to stick with.  I’d always had an active imagination, and it always led to me creating these minor flights of fancy.  I’d doodle a level for an imaginary game, or design some really basic story for a narrative that I’d never really focus on.

And then one day two paragraphs became two pages.  Two pages became two hundred.  That became a full book.  What was this thing I was doing?  I had never stuck with anything for that long, and surely it was some kind of mistake.

But I’ve stuck with it for all these years.  Writing is as much a part of me as anything else I can remember, to the point where I don’t think I could stop if I wanted to.  I’ve got stories bursting out my ears, and while I’m always aspiring to be greater than I am, you can see it in my history – I’ve come a long, long way.

In May of 2011, I released The Bindings of Fate.  It was around then that I first heard of the Amazon KDP program, and jumped in with both feet, even though I was wet behind the ears already.  Now, three years later, Tellest has grown into this giant almost overnight, in my perspective.  Even in my dreams of grandeur I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be working with so many great people – friends that I’ve known for years and new partners from all over the world.  I couldn’t have guessed that I would have made a community out of the world that started in my mind, and that it continues to expand every day in awesome new ways.

On May 27th, 2011, The Bindings of Fate was delivered to the world. Today, we’re announcing that we’re giving The Bindings of Fate a new treatment that will help us make it the best it can be.  It’ll bring it up to the same quality you’ll know from the Tales of Tellest novellas, and make it the proper entry point into the Tellest brand that it needs to be.  This endeavor will take us back to the first fourteen or so chapters of the story, where we will tweak and rearrange the narrative so that it doesn’t feel so rushed, and doesn’t feel like it lingers too long on Kaos.  You’ll get a cleaner story with some new surprises that will lead you by the hand instead of dragging you through the streets of Atalatha like an angry tour guide, shouting exposition at you.

You’ve likely also seen the new cover for The Bindings of Fate, which was our first big push in the right direction.  Over the next year, you’ll see the rest of the series begin to transform further.  As Darkness Falls and The Enemy Within are getting new covers as well, and we’ll be releasing three more Tales of Tellest in 2014.  Those fourteen new chapters of our entry book will be seamlessly replaced in the eBooks that have already gone out to buyers, and when we convert the paperback to the new cover, all that content will be there.

Our ultimate goal is to continue delivering you some great content, broadening our audience and making Tellest a place that’s open and interesting to all fans of fantasy.  Starting tomorrow, May 27th of 2014 until the end of this month, Mageborn will be available for free on Amazon as our way of saying welcome to our world.

This year has already been so amazing to us, and we hope that it continues to deliver for you as well.  We could not have made something as enriching as this without a hand from everyone, and words cannot truly convey my appreciation!