|Amanda Devereux meets the locals|
This is all under construction at the moment, so please excuse the mess.We'll start off with this picture, which is a commission from the very talented Blunt Katana over at Deviantart. If you decide to do anything with this picture other than look at it, please check the legal bit on the Deviation here and give accreditation where it's due. (Mention the book too, please!)
Here we see Operative Amanda Devereux, freshly arrived via an apocalyptic inter-dimensional accident, having her first meeting with the forces of the Empire of the Thelenic Curriculum, as represented here by Delys, a Swordmaster of the Eighth Volume. It's also very nearly their last meeting...
Amanda is a Level Ten Operative, equipped with high-grade sub-dermal armouring, titanium-weave bone reinforcement, and an onboard nanite factory that can perform advanced self-repair and healing as well as fabricate clothing, weapons and other equipment. With all that, she expected to be able to stop a primitive sword with just her arm, but as you can see she was only just correct and has resorted to more traditional methods, in this case a sword 'borrowed' from one of Delys' comrades. What she doesn't know, but is rapidly discovering, is that the people of the Thelenic Curriculum use magic in the place of technology, in this case meaning that the 5'2" Delys can swing a 5' long great-sword around as if it were made of balsa wood. Beneath the armour on her left shoulder, we can see her Seal (in this case the Seal of the Sword) glowing as it channels her personal Aether to make her faster, stronger and more deadly. Generally speaking, the smaller and physically weaker a person is, the more Aether they attract, a phenomenon known as the Law of Balance, which means the soldiers of the College Guard really do come in all shapes and sizes.
Here's a 'clean' version of the cover of the paperback version of The Wake of Manadar, by the prodigious Sean 'artbrosean' Harrington, of Spying With Lana fame among many other works. (Those links are a little NSFW, btw) Here's a link to the artwork on Deviantart if you want to say nice things to the artist.
We also have several short stories, The Sins of the Mother is a short about a significant event some time before the arrival of Operative Amanda Devereux, where things really started to go a bit wrong for the Lily College. The Oath of Sherenith relates the tragedy that befell the city of Phyre, some time later during the subsequent War of Rule, and Leverage also explores some of those events, as well as visiting some characters who'll turn up later...
Finally, here's a look at the map of the Empire of the Thelenic Curriculum, which is also in the paperback version (though without the 'canvas' effect which it turns out looks terrible in print):
NEW: I've just received a new map for the second book from the fantastic Tiffany Munro, who is available for commissions at http://feedthemultiverse.com/ This map is for the Empire as it is at the start of the sequel to The Wake of Manadar, The Third Mirror, which is now available on Kindle and in Paperback.
Just a little bit better, eh? The version in the book will be line-art, but it's too pretty not to share the colour version.
Finally for now, here's a clean version of the front cover of The Third Mirror, by Sean again:
Come on, you want to know what the hell's going on there, right? The Kindle version costs less than a Starbucks and you can even read it on your phone...