And The Runners Up Are…

That’s right; the decision is made and you didn’t have to wait nearly as long this time! Unfortunately my fellow judge from last time seems to have gone missing, but I had her comments on each entry to go on and those were a help. But all in all the runners up were chosen by me alone. These three are all very fine creations, and only didn’t win because other entries were (only in the opinions of myself and my fellow judge, mind you) even finer. Either way you still get a prize so pat yourselves on the back!

Runner Up Number One

This entry didn’t come with art, so once again I’ve drawn up some of my own – I hope it’s not too far off what you had in mind!
I chose this entry myself, because I thought it was a clever idea. My fellow judge felt that this griffin’s powers didn’t fit with established canon, but believe it or not, it’s time for a minor spoiler: this griffin is so scarily close to an actual griffin coming up in a future book that I’m very glad I had already submitted the manuscript before the contest started, lest I be accused of plagiarism! But I swear to you, hand on heart, that it’s a complete coincidence. So the first runner up goes to Akroya, for being a design so clever that I already came up with it myself!

Physical Appearance: He has a reasonably plain appearance, and is slightly small for a Cymrian griffin. His feathers are a very dark brown, and his fur is just a slightly lighter brown. He doesn’t really stand out, which suits him well.

Power: Akroya has the ability to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings, though only slightly. However, using this over an extended period of time, he’s capable of totally manipulating a victim into doing anything that he wants them to. He usually exploits this, as he ultimately just desires political power and control.

Home: Originally he came from Malvern, but he has fled to parts unknown with his partner.

Wild/civilised: Civilised

Human Partner: Yes. He has actually had two, as he abandoned the first because he felt that his first partner did not hold enough sway in the Eyrie.
Runner Up Number Two

I really liked the artwork with this one, and the powers are a neat idea. My judge felt that every griffin seen so far in the series had a “breathweapon” power, and this may be true, but it’s not universally true, so Longwing’s powers are technically possible. All griffins have an organ called a magic gland in their crop, which is of course in the throat (the crop is no longer used for its original purpose; griffins do not have the ability to regurgitate food as they presumeably once did). So when they do use magic, it generally comes out of the beak. But it’s not always visible, and it isn’t always a weapon.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s Longwing! I particularly like the way the tail feathers are arranged on this one.

Runner Up Number Three

This entry has far and away the best artwork of them all, and I suspect may be the work of one of my illustrator Arthryn’s DeviantArt friends. It’s clear that whoever it was put a great deal of work into this entry, and I felt a bit mean not giving it a prize, which was my knee-jerk reaction on seeing this amazing art. As it was, my judge felt that Koen’s powers were a bit too science fiction rather than fantastical, and I felt they were a little too similar to Skandar’s powers. Regardless of that, this entry is truly astonishing and most definitely deserves recognition, and in fact was a major factor in my decision to have runners up.

I’m so sorry that the text on the image here doesn’t show up; I was unable to display it here without severely shrinking it. Perhaps if the original artist can provide a link to the original somewhere, that would be fantastic. However, he or she did provide a detailed description of Koen’s powers, which I will paste in below.

A more detailed explanation of atomisation:

Atomisation allows Koen to turn himself into a coloured gaseous substance that glows softly, in his case; it’s a dark rust colour. In this form he can travel large distances in a fraction of the time it would take using some other mode of transport, it’s not instantaneous like teleporting, but it comes fairly close. The main skill atomising allows him is known as shape and size control (not shape-shifting) that allows him to use his atomisation power to change the way he looks to some extent. However, the rule is that he must always be made up of the same amount of matter. And he can’t atomise just one part of their bodies (like an arm or leg and leave the rest of his body solid). Generally, Koen won’t increase their body size with this power, because in spending atoms to make his form bigger, something else has to decrease in size. The same goes the other way too. When he gets smaller, some decoration (like a feathered crest or wings) must get bigger. However, he must retain the same basic shape they were born with, so as he was born with wings can’t just get rid of the atoms making up those wings in favour of growing a pair of horns. The same basic shape must be held. He also can’t have missing limbs and spare atoms (or floating limbs but no body) that breaks the rules too. Atomisation only allows alterations. Basically, the rule goes like this: every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so it is with atomisation.

An example would be this: Koen shrinks his body to fit in a small space, but in order to do that, he gets extra fluff making him look like a walking puff ball. In this instance, the smaller he gets, the less convenient it would be to walk around with ever expanding amounts of fur. He could also make his tail longer, or grow extra feathers in his crest.

Bear in mind that he could make himself denser to get smaller and thus maintaining the same shape, but it would make him heavier, slower and render him flightless. Conversely, if he made himself less dense in order to get larger, he would have to be careful that his bones, muscles and organs weren’t compromised too much or he would become unable to move. Being crushed under his own weight is also something he would need to be careful of when altering his density. Generally, Koen is smart enough not to do that because of all the potentially fatal things that could go wrong. However, sometimes it is helpful for him to make himself lighter, especially when flying (fleeing from an enemy for instance) as he would then be able to go faster. Increasing density would also help to break through things. But then, these benefits have to be weighed back against the dangers and need to be considered thoroughly. Playing with density is not something to be done lightly.

And that’s that! I hope you’ll all join me in congratulating our runners up for their great work! I have sent notification emails to the first two winners, but was unable to find the address of Koen’s creator, so if he or she could contact me at beachcombe – homepage @ yahoo . com . au that would be great. Remember, the prize is any one of my books, published or upcoming, signed and mailed to you wherever you are in the world. Well done!

In a moment I will post the remaining entries as promised, and the contest will be officially over. Let’s do it again sometime!

Neato text ornament here