I’m mad about dragons, elves and other popular fantasy beings, but I wanted to be a little more original in my Legends of Origin series… and so the mighty ryokin came into being.
Minus any spoilers…
The ryokin are sentient beings whose nature is as mysterious to their riders as to everyone else. Winged sabre-tooth cats with thick golden fur and powerful tails, they are three times the average human height when standing on their thick legs, and just taller than the average human when lying down. They are literally ‘made to ride’. Their wings span at least five times their tree-thick torsos, and have natural handholds to use for climbing onto their backs, and their backs have natural indents for their rider’s legs to slip into, over which skin flaps close, to prevent the rider from falling mid-flight. Ryokin have long, thick necks, and their call sounds much like that of a bird, but includes a ‘click-clicking’ sound, often used in greeting or urgency.
Ryokin have terrible night vision and a wicked sense of humour, especially if they sense a new rider is afraid of them – or heights, as in the case of Legends of Origin protagonist, Liam MacAskill.
Not all ryokin have riders, but those who do will only allow the rider to climb onto their backs. Others are allowed on only if the rider, too, will be flying. It’s thought to be due to the fact that their pheromones mix with their rider’s, and any other lone rider would then be included in the pheromone mix, which creates confusion and chaos in the ryokin’s mind. Once a ryokin has chosen a rider, he or she can sense the rider wherever he or she is.
If you are an illustrator and/or a Legends of Origin fan, I invite you to submit your illustrations based on the below specs. The artists whose illustrations I choose to use in advertising and/or on covers will receive the entire series for free (including any books not yet written). I will also showcase you and your work on my blog, at least twice a year for as long as the blog exists – more often if you have plenty of interesting things to share that I think my followers will enjoy.
Submit one or more of the following illustrations:
- Two ryokin flying side by side, facing the viewer. Both riders are males in their mid thirties. Rider 1 has black hair and dark blue eyes. Rider 2 has blond hair and blue eyes. A dark blue sky with thunderclouds and/or lightning is the background.
- Multiple ryokin circling in the sky.
- Ryokin (one or more) in any other pose – you are welcome to be creative and include other characters or beings from the Legends of Origin series.
Please note that, by submitting your illustrations of ryokin, you’re granting me the exclusive right to usage of those images, on book covers and in marketing material or promotions. While I wouldn’t like to see ryokin on another author’s book cover, I have no problem with you using them for your portfolio and/or website, or to otherwise market yourself.
For all you authors out there, if you’ve invented creatures and beings for your sci fi or fantasy books and would like to showcase them on my blog, please contact me to discuss writing a guest post for me, or, if you don’t feel like writing a post on your character/s, please feel free to mention them in the comments.
Many thanks to Amy Staff for the ryokin illustration in this post.