Allow me to introduce King Vasili, a proud, but progressive, monarch from Maamyriskyt (“land of storms”). I had some down time at the last con so I created a few sketches I shall share in the weeks ahead. He is the first character I’m introducing from my next book called Whiterock. Please comment below and be sure to follow the novel’s page at https://aetusart.com/whiterock/ where you can see all posts and related discussion. Enjoy this excerpt:
As Tristan drew closer to the circle of light, neither bird noticed him. The stranger was an enormous Stellar’s sea eagle. His dark feathers were the stately cloak of a monarch punctuated by patches of crisp white like fresh snow on dark stone. His beak was the brilliant orange of an arctic sunrise, capped by an icy white forehead and ending in a stout, sharp hook. Orange-rimmed, golden eyes peered out commandingly from under dark eye ridges and the flickering glare, without even being fixed on Tristan yet, sent bolts of awe and trust into his breast. Tristan’s hearing was as excellent as any of his kind so he could clearly hear Kor and the stranger discussing details of a jewelry commission, though the eagle’s unfamiliar accent made his words more difficult to discern. Even if he couldn’t understand their conversation, by all appearances, they were busily engaged and Tristan felt like he was intruding. He was about to turn and leave rather than press his query but his gizzard growled loudly and Kor glanced over his way.
“MMaster?” Tristan called, with what seemed like too loud a voice. The eagle followed Kor’s gaze to the slender barn owl. Tristan suddenly felt too conspicuous. The eagle’s fierce stare seared Tristan’s resolve and made his heart flutter. He decided he had best state his business and be done with it. “I’m, uh, I’m so sorry to bother you, master. Will we be needing the forge any longer today?”
Surprisingly Kor did not scowl or grumble. He looked back at his customer amiably and said “Please, allow me to introduce my apprentice, Tristan. Tristan, this is his highness, King Vasili, from Maamyrskyt a land across the sea and he has come to commission us for some special jewelry.”
The huge eagle’s talons clunked and scraped on the floor as he stepped closer to Tristan. He was several times larger and seemed to have no concept of personal space. Tristan took a step back, his heart racing and his tail shaking. Just as Tristan was about to scurry away, the eagle bowed his head down, looking at his feet for a moment and then lifted it saying “I’m so pleased to meet you, Master Tristan!” His beak smiled wide and creases formed behind his eyes, warming his icy stare. “Let me greet you in the manner of my kind!” He briefly tapped each side of Tristan’s beak with his own and then hugged him with his huge wings. The eagle’s words, though heavily accented, conveyed confidence and authority while his mannerisms projected the warmth of a fire on a gray day. Tristan melted immediately in the fluffy embrace.