Greetings Chronicles of Covent® readers! Above is another world famous design Ben Wootten completed for the iconic Lord of the Rings movies, the legendary Nazgul, or more commonly known as Ringwraiths. I apologize for the lack of updates, but the cover for Path of the Magi was delayed due to unforeseen events outside the control of Mirror Images Publishing. Ben Wootten was hard at work on the cover in the early spring, but events occurred in his life that required some emergency time off. Of course, as important as the cover was to me, real life needs trump art covers. Begrudgingly, I accepted and explained I understood, wishing him the very best. I’m glad to say Ben is doing much better now, but this left the project in a state of flux for several months.
In the meantime, I embarked on a personal quest to find a replacement artist of Ben’s caliber, hoping to take our artwork to the next level. This began three frustrating months of tireless searching, which sadly yielded too few results. As result, I had no answers and no answers meant no blog updates. However, time has proved to be the healer of all wounds. Ben and I have recently reconnected. He is back at work and has taken the project back up. He has completed a couple extreme rough draft variations, of which I shall show off here. Please keep in mind this is a work in progress.
This is the first draft we received, more an extreme rough of the cover, but already even in simple blotchy inks you can see the extent of Ben Wootten’s gifts. The scene is truly epic, the fiery mountains of Doruggdoom is the setting. Plumes of black smoke rise from the black basalt, volcanic mountain range choked with fire and brimstone. Lava flows down the mountainsides snaking and pooling into lakes and rivers of terrible hot burning magma. This is where the climax of Path of the Magi takes place.
There are no roads in Doruggdoom. The homelands to the winged race of Drakor, or dragon men, as you may have read in other novels have no need for such land based conveniences. Their legendary tower cities rise up like gigantic spires of death from the jagged mountain peaks. Each tower is a superstructure housing thousands of dragon men. The hordes of Drakor swoop down from the Dragongates suspended hundreds of feet high from the tower cities, patrolling their dark lands and capturing prisoners in nets to be made slaves or sacrificed on the black altars.
There is no escape from the tower cities of Doruggdoom, with no land based gates or lacking many common stairwells, it is said escape from Drakoran slavery is impossible. The tower cities are also virtually impregnable. Footed in the mountain peaks, any siege forces face an impossible uphill battle to the tower cities, with no gate to lay siege. Tens of thousands of soldiers have lost their lives trying to attack such terrible pillars of construction.
As you can see here, we went with more a portrait look on this draft of the new cover. A classic fantasy cover, this concept portrayed three of our heroes: Davril, Edronius and Festan. Many of you may have recognized Festan La Faun, Merrymaker Extraordinaire and Minstrel at Large, as he calls himself. For those of you who have been asking about this Faun since his cameo in Shade I: Waiting Game, yes, Festan is a far more important character than the small comedic role he played in Shade’s first novel. Festan’s antics and tendency to see the world through rose petals adds a lot of fun to our first adventure novel and shows the dark consequences of living too carefree in a dark and dangerous world.
This is a second option for the cover. In this draft we decided to go for a more action-oriented approach. Given the Drakor are swarming our heroes, it does seem a little strange that the companions might pause for a Kodak moment. This option adds a bit more danger and suspense to the cover. It also ties the entire scene together from the back to front cover a bit more organically. I love the Drakor swooping down to strike Davril’s raised shield and Edronius’ pose, once the magic is added, will certainly heighten the sense of action and adventure.
Now let’s learn a bit more about Davril and Edronius themselves. Besides a few small parts, magic has played a very minor role in our other novels published so far. Magic has been more a tool of a hero or a weapon of a foe, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the arts of magic in the world of Covent just yet. Magic is at the heart of the struggle in the Triloriad™ itself and has vast effects on our lands. We’ll start exploring the beginnings of the vast mysteries of magic in the Adventure Series, learning more and more with each new novel. Much of the detail is disturbing and shocking, building until eventually it hangs over Covent like a threat of nuclear proportions.
That’s all I’ll say for now. Edronius is a red robed mage. Schooled in all the arts of both the light and dark magics, he represents the balance of magic. He has a full arsenal of spells and combination magic at his disposal, although his personality is a bit wild and rebellious. Edronius is good at heart, but thirsts for adventure, a trait which his best friend Davril both loves him for and grows wary of. Edronius grew up near the coliseum in Doljinaar where he spent a lot of time play fencing with gladiators. His father was a famous trapper who traveled the lands capturing impressive beasts for the games. Edronius journeyed with his father on many of these hunting expeditions developing a constant need to put his boots to the road and strike out into the world.
Davril, on the other hand, likes more order and predictability in his life. A son of a Doljinnarian soldier who fell in the line of duty, Davril is well disciplined. An expert swordsman trained at the same infamous magic tower as Edronius, he mixes his blade with magic. Davril is a kind of a warrior mage with a good head on his shoulders, but he is also a powerful caster. A natural leader and levelheaded filter for Edronius’ crazy ideas, the pair have formed a powerful combo. Expect to learn far more about the depths of magic and its consequences on our world in future Chronicles of Covent novels.
To learn more about Path of the Magi, read on our website. Samples to be put online soon! More updates to come as Ben Wootten’s cover progresses. In other news, Kindle is running a sale on The Last Field of Honor, Book One of the Elf Wars Trilogy. For a limited time it is on sale for only 99 cents! The linkage is here. Now to decide on which cover design to go with. Mmmmmmmm. Decisions. Decisions…