Moonlit Tavern 1 Picture

October has come, the nights grow longer and the shadows in the darkness begin to stir. October is a fun month that leads to some interesting projects. I've been waiting to post this one for a long time. Its a longer series and I hope to post one page a day for October (if my scanner cooperates). Please tell me what you think! I tried to push my boundaries on this one and any feedback is appreciated on how I can improve!

A bit of background information to start. In addition to my normal TF and fanart, I also have an original fantasy series (still in developmental stages sadly) called Kroashent, in which world this sequence is set, starring characters from it. The world of Kroashent is based on celtic mythology, especially of the Brittany region of northern France. The barrier between the worlds has become strained, with the Fairy Otherworld and the Human realms bleeding into each other, while other realities seep into the scarred landscape. Kathalia (the redhead) is a former Paladin who has fallen from grace and turned to life as a highwayman/sellsword, while carving out a bloody path of revenge against those who wronged her. Gwaeron (with the silver hair) is a Fae magic weilder who has become an agent of a powerful merchant's guild. Together, they try to traverse the chaotic world, while dealing with their own pasts and hidden agendas. I really wanted to use this as an opportunity to work out their expressions and personalities a bit more than stand-alone pictures can do. I've tried to do some worldbuilding in this sequence, so I'll put some "artist's notes" in the descriptions for any of the In-Universe stuff, in addition to trying my hand at a written story to coincide with each part. Lots of people I want to thank for their help or inspiration on this project, but I'll get to that in a future post in the interests of space.

Story Begins Below:

A wise traveler avoids the roads along the darkened wyldes of the Broceliande, for within its twisting branches, the forest is its own master, and cares little for the laws of man or gods.

  • Travels in Breizh, Timothea de Cluny
The dead leaves crunched beneath her feet, the tatters fluttering away in the biting autumn wind as her boot lifted with each new step. Though the traveler's stride was confident along the twisting path, her subtle motions betrayed an unease about her. The cold did not bother Gwaeron Sulime Dethemir as she strode forward, but she shivered as she glanced towards the edge of the dark forest along which the packed earth twisted like a river. She stopped brief moment, unsure if she had missed her destination. She had passed the last Cavalry marking a hamlet's territory what seemed like leagues ago, with very little signs of civilization outside of the packed earth road. Frowning, she pulled out the crumpled map that she had been given, Kathalia's near-illegible scrawl annotating the already poorly drawn chart to full incomprehensibility. Gwae held up the yellowed parchment to the fading light of the sun setting over the treetops and tried to make out the letters. After a few moments, she shoved the paper back into her bag, cursing under her breath. Apparently there was more travel ahead, with the tavern still a good way off. Gwae hurried along, hoping to make it to the inn before the sun disappeared over the horizon.

Despite making good time, Gwae's wish was not granted, and night had fallen when she spotted the warm yellow glow of the tavern's windows, shining through the dense foliage like piercing eyes, dancing and flickering as shadows passed them. The tavern was modest in decor, but a reasonable size, its half-timbered frame sunken back into the woods with only a token effort to keep the forest from overtaking it. The wooden sign above the door clattered in the cold wind, but the lights seemed to offer a warm respite from the darkness and the cold. Gwae sighed, wondering what scheme had drawn her friend to such a remote locale. Gwae took a deep breath, trying in vain to hide her annoyance as she pushed open the heavy oak door. The warm air of the blazing fireplace enveloped Gwae as she stepped into the doorway, the sights before her unfolding as her eyes adjusted to the light. The tavern was surprisingly lively for the distance it seemed to be from civilization. Perhaps there was a closer town in the opposite direction, Gwae thought as she surveyed the motley crew imbibing their drinks. The loudest patron was a blonde swordswoman, wearing the armor and insignia of a guard of a city that Gwae was unable to recall the name of, who had been there for quite some time, as evidenced by the many mugs scattered around her table. A strangely dressed merchant of some sorts made a pitch to a group of unimpressed farmers as the bar wench served a round to a ranger seated away from the others, keeping to herself as much as possible in the crowded room. In the center of it all, a redhaired warrior sat, her emerald eyes twinkling with mischief, her expression set in a smirk as she saw the frustrated Gwae enter the room. Kathalia raised her mug in a mock toast. "Took you long enough! I'm already on my third round!."

To be continued . . .

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