Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXX – A Ravenking is Crowned, Ascension of Harfengel

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A Ravenking is Crowned, Ascension of Harfengel

After such an exceptionally perilous and wearisome adventure, Corvus and the others would naturally have wanted to rest; however, the fulfilment of the prophecy only laid the groundwork for the rest of the journey.

Retrieving the Crown of Crows was the important part that needed to be done in order for the Corvids to be saved from the coming Darkness, but that alone wouldn’t be enough. A Ravenking needed to be crowned, all of the Corvids rallied together as one Colony, and to get to the Treehold Keep and battle the Rattus Rodentius hordes; the long-sworn enemies of Corvids.

All those that had already arrived in Crowshaven and those that has been living there already, gathered together at the Divine Slab of Forefather to see the Ravenking crowned.

Fittingly, Alwyn the White Raven conducted the ceremony and crowned Harfengel making him Ravenking and Chief of all Corvid Colonies, thus giving him the power and authority to bring them all into one Colony.

The glory of this occasion took everyone’s minds away from one thing.

War was coming…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXVII – An End to Sibling Rivalry, Corvus Settles the Dispute

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An End to Sibling Rivalry, Corvus Settles the Dispute

In those tense and emotionally charged moments of Munin and Hugin swooping at each other and viciously fighting over a future that was an illusion of trickery shown to them by the Mirror Pond; Corvus joined the fray and powerfully split the two brothers apart.

“Of all that we have lost so far, the many leagues we have covered together and how close at times we have come to death, you two think it right and acceptable to kill each other? To fight over that of which you have no right? We have come all this way to fulfil a prophecy that doesn’t result in either of you becoming Ravenking!”

Munin & Hugin see that Corvus is carrying the pack that contains the Crown of Crows; they discern that he has no ambitions of wearing it himself and he also spent time by the Mirror Pond. The pair realise that they have become seduced by their own greed and ambition and this was enhance by visions that they saw in the water, but visions that already existed in the depths of their own hearts to begin with.

They heed Corvus’ words, they make their peace with each other and vow to see this quest fulfilled in the right manner.

The Corvids settle down to rest for a while longer before heading back into the Grimwood

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXVI – A Battle of Greed, Munin Against Hugin

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A Battle of Greed, Munin Against Hugin

The idea of kingship has never crossed the mind of neither Munin or Hugin, the fight that the two ended up engaged in is testament to the power of the trickery of the Mirror Pond. It started out as an innocent glance at their reflections in the water and ended in a full blown battle; not only against each other, but also against themselves.

The two brothers from the distant northern Colony end up fighting each other in a meaningless battle of greed.

The other Corvids have a long moment of not knowing what to do, whether to step in and try to stop the fight or to leave it to unfold.

Corvus decides to take matters into his own hands…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXII – A Funeral for Finbar, More Mourning for the Corvids

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A Funeral for Finbar, More Mourning for the Corvids

The Corvids manage to get to the edge of the Grimwood without any further problems, carrying with them the body of Finbar, broken and lifeless. Each of the Corvids carries the body for a way, sharing the load between them in order to reach their destination as quickly as they can.

At the edge of the Grimwood Corvus announces “We shall hold the funeral for our dear friend here, in this spot, before the Grimwood. To carry him through and try to return him to Crowshaven by this route would be folly. The Great Golden Eagle has a keen eye and will find him wherever he lies.”

The Conspiracy of Corvids calmly collected their thoughts for a few moments, and then they sang a funerary song together as is the custom amongst their kind.

They said their farewells and last to say his was Corvus; who had known Finbar since they were Hatchlings, they then entered the Grimwood.

They entered amongst the shadowy darkness of the trees and the dense thickets, hoping against all hope that they didn’t have to face any more loss before this journey ended…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part X – Corvus Gains Some More Quest Companions

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Corvus Gains Some More Quest Companions

The Crowchief of Thornwatch heeds the prophecy that Corvus relays to him and he agrees to take his colony and head to Crowshaven; he also offers the services of three of his most renowned warriors.

The Corvids spend the evening in conversation with the three new companions to their group; Ronin, Ethelred and Everild and they look over the map fragments that were given to them by Alwyn, the White Raven, in order to figure out the best route to take to Ironholde.

They decide that avoiding the Grimwood Forest for now and heading through the Burntwood is the best option; upon coming out of Burntwood they can hug the coastline and avoid the risk of getting lost in the forest thickets.

The Conspiracy of Corvids now has seven members and thus a greater chance of succeeding in the quest of retrieving the Crown from the Man-King; the group agree to leave Thornwatch at first leg to get onto the first leg of their journey.

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part VIII – Corvus Makes a Tough Decision – The Corvids Begin Their Quest

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Corvus Makes a Tough Decision – The Corvids Begin Their Quest

Having heard the prophecy, Corvus is left with an impossible decision to make; does he source the Starshade herb and save his sibling only to see the whole of Corvid-kind eventually wiped out by the Darkness; or does he take up the quest and risk failing and the definite death of his sibling who is just a day or two at most away from death now?

There is no time to do both, the next full moon is less than a week away and the Crown must be retrieved by then.

Alwyn, the White Raven; hasn’t left the land around his Ancient Watchtower in over a century and the reclusive manner of his being suggests it could be just as long again before he even considers doing so, regardless of the reason.

Reluctantly, but seeing the bigger picture and knowing the outcome of not even trying to do so, Corvus decides that the only true course to take is to take up the quest of heading to Ironholde and getting the Crown.

Finbar, Munin & Hugin agree to join Corvus in the fulfillment of the prophecy and heading out on the quest and the White Raven shares with them the fragments of an old map so that they can find the way.

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part V – The Meadow Temple; Astralus Starshade Herb Amongst Ruins

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The Meadow Temple; Astralus Starshade Herb Amongst Ruins

“The herb that you seek has many properties, and a very short lifespan once picked.”

The White Raven had a grim look on his face, and went on to relate to Corvus all that he knew about the Starshade herb.

“There are some ruins on an island to the east of this Watchtower, the Meadow Temple it is called. That is the only place in my knowledge that Astralus grows dependably.

It appears only at night, under starlight; hence it’s name in the common tongue of Starshade, and once picked it will wither and die by the following sunrise. There is no known way to preserve neither the herb itself or its roots and it cannot be replanted once harvested.”

Corvus knew that it would be near impossible to harvest the herb and get it home to Crowshaven in a single night but he had to find a way; meanwhile, two other Corvids arrived.

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part IV – Corvus Meets Alwyn; The White Raven

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Corvus Meets Alwyn; The White Raven

After an arduous journey, Corvus and Finbar finally reach the Ancient Watchtower, exhausted, but glad to find substance to the myths and legends of the Colony; The White Raven was indeed living there.

He introduced himself to the pair as Alwyn, and informed them that he had been expecting a visit soon, despite having not seen a soul in over a decade.

“You have come at a time of great change, oh winged wanderers, and I believe that it is not mere chance that brings you to my abode, nor that just the two of you should arrive under the same sun.”

In the distance to the north, two Corvids can be seen heading towards the Watchtower.

Corvus related the illness of his fading sibling to Alwyn and asked for help in locating a true remedy.

“The physicians in Crowshaven can’t help her now, some have mentioned a herb called Starshade, but none can tell me where to find this herb. The Sages are sure that only you, the White Raven can know of its location!”

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British Mythology/Folklore – Art Project

I’ve structured my days now to help me with my efforts to self-teach different aspects of the art that I wish to learn; the aspects that I have decided to learn are anatomy, figure studies, drawing in many aspects such as observational, still life and drapery, perspective, architecture, and again human form. I also spend time trying different techniques with watercolour paints and I’m slowly experimenting with oil paint; which ultimately will be my medium of choice.

I also have more theoretical subjects to learn and my rotor for those at the moment consists of symbolism in art, colour theory and artist research. Those are the artsy theoretical readings, I’m also always researching history, reading about the ancient Romans in particular and I’m presently reading a book about King Charles I which I will review once finished; as well as Greek mythology, these last few are more for inspirational reasons.

However the reason for that two paragraphs of information is that every month I intend to issue myself a project to work on alongside these other subjects to keep me motivated in creating my own work rather than just all work and no play, I therefore intend to create at least one final work for each project I give myself. I’m thinking ahead a bit here as I don’t intend to issue myself this project until 5th July; that said though, I can here announce my umbrella theme which others will fall under.

My main theme, the subject of artwork that I intend to create for the foreseeable future is British myth, legend and folklore. As an enthusiastic reader of the work of J.R.R Tolkien, it’s my understanding that he created his body of literature around the basis of giving Britain a mythology of its own, one to rival the Greeks and even outdo them in the long run (let’s face it, we’ve all heard of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Gollum; how many average people can name four Greek deities). This thought process inspired Tolkien to create the most incredibly well crafted epic fantasy saga that was bursting at the seams with richness and remains the most influential piece of literature of the modern age (that’s my opinion I’m not certain how it stands nowadays with Game of Thrones growing as much as it has). I am of a similar vision, but what I intend to do is bring to life and recreate the existing British mythology and interpret it into a series of visual narratives, both figurative and landscape and breathe new life into our forgotten history.

There is already a wealth of subject matter available to me to work with, more than enough to ensure I’m kept busy for the rest of my life in fact, and who knows, one day I may even start writing my own mythologies and legends of British history, but that’s an idea for a time in the far off future yet. My main inspiration for British myth/legend/folklore/history is the Arthurian legend. Some historians say he lived, others say he didn’t, most scholars deny his existence because of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fabrications. I stand in an area where I do believe he existed, just that the story of his existence has been contorted somewhat over the centuries since his age, akin to Chinese whispers these legends grow and have bits added and taken away to the current point where some people are expecting Arthur’s second coming; elevating this long dead king to the status of the son of God. The most convincing and realistic telling of the Arthurian legend, albeit a work of historical fiction, was the brilliant saga of books written by Jack Whyte A Dream of Eagles (original series title in Canada) or Camulod Chronicles (USA series title) or Legends of Camelot (UK series title). Without going into too much detail about this incredible series of books on this post, here’s the link to a short review I wrote about them previously.

With Arthurian legend being my main source of inspiration however, I don’t intend to just limit myself to being known as a painter of Arthurian legend, like I said I want to revive as much of British mythology as I can so I’ll also be focusing on other areas as well, it’s just the that Arthur story is the one I am most drawn to.

All that said then, my next post will probably be before my scheduled post, and will be to announce the exact nature of the project I intend to create. I will post everything related to my project including sketches, research, thoughts and such and then follow all that up with the final piece that I create. So if you have happened to stumble across this post, then please check back every fortnight or so to see updates and some new artwork.

Until next time…..

JG

Featured Image: Edward Burne-Jones – The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon – 1881-1898

Jack Whyte – A Dream of Eagles (Camulod Chronicles)

Jack Whyte - A Dream of Eagles
Jack Whyte – A Dream of Eagles

This 9 book series written by Jack Whyte, a Scottish-Canadian author was brought to my attention when I stumbled across the first two books of the series in ‘The Works’ and bought them. In the UK the series is titled “The Legends of Camelot” and having a keen interest in the Arthurian legend, I decided to give them a shot. The UK published versions of this series have also have different titles to the originals, to save confusion I’m going to list the books by their original titles as decided by the author himself.

A Dream of Eagles (Camulod Chronicles)

  • The Skystone
  • The Singing Sword
  • The Eagles’ Brood
  • The Saxon Shore
  • The Fort at River’s Bend
  • Metamorphosis
  • Uther
  • The Lance Thrower
  • The Eagle

I tore through the first two books within a week and I was straight online ordering the rest of the series, totally hooked and hungry for more.

In my opinion, and I have read and watched a vast amount of re-tellings of the Arthurian legend, this is the most realistic, believable and gripping version I have ever come across. Jack Whyte tells the story and places it in a believable time setting and structure, Camelot being formed just as the Roman legions are leaving Britain, starting off as a few villas and some farmland, built up by two Roman-British Legionaries and visionaries, Caius Brittanicus and Publius Varrus.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that is interested in historical fiction, Romans, Arthurian legend, Merlin and Camelot, it truly places everything perfectly and is a really enjoyable read. As I said before there are 9 books in the series and they’re not short books either, but they’re easy to make short work of with their page turning effect.

If you have already read this series of books or want some more information on them, feel free to get in touch via the comment section or email, I’m happy for a discussion.

JG