Flashback Friday: Enchanted Denizens
In the Enchanted Occasions universe, mythical beings from almost any pantheon can co-exist because…well…all mythical realms exist. They may not exist side by side, but the Interstices (the gaps between realms that were left over from any and all creation events) act as an interface—an adapter, kind of like the dongle that lets me connect my laptop to the big HDMI monitor on my desk. In the Interstices, all magic from whatever realm can function, even Earthside technology.
Also in the Interstices, the denizens of any folklore cycle can interact. My long-suffering editors had to put up with several “unconventional” mythical folks in Nudging Fate. Here are five of them.
In my earliest notes for the book, I knew one of the heroes was going to be the Faerie prince, but I didn’t know what kind of paranormal being his co-hero would be or what he would do. When I decided on the event planner occupation, I had this note: “He’s an anomaly—a male version of some kind of supernatural creature that’s always female, except for him.”
My subsequent research turned up norns, “female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men,” according to Wikipedia.
There are three named norns (or Norns-with-a-capital-N) who tend the world tree Yggdrasil in Asgard, and I made one of them—Skuld—Andy’s mother. Hence his last name: Skuldsson.
There are other norns-with-a-lower-case-n elsewhere in Norse mythology, including a number of spots where the hero or heroine of a particular saga blamed a norn for their actions or misfortune. In other words, norn-blaming was a great way to shirk responsibility for your poor choices!
A bwci is a Welsh household sprite, equivalent more or less to a brownie in that it will perform household chores in exchange for food. I’d come across bwci tales years ago when I was working on another book based on Welsh folklore, so when I needed a kitchen minion for Chef, I knew exactly what they’d be!
I knew that one of the candidates for the prince’s hand would be a fire-based entity, so I went searching and found the ifrit—a class of djinn that could have flames “leaping from its mouth.” Of course I always take liberties with the mythological creatures I cast in my stories, and although the ifrit is described in source material as being evil, I prefer to think he’s merely misunderstood. 😉
The vila may be familiar to readers of Harry Potter as the mascots of the Bulgarian Quidditch team in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and as the grandmother of Fleur Delacour. But in Slavic folklore, vila (or wili) are the equivalent of nymphs or sometimes the spirits of deceased women (see the ballet Giselle) who may have an affinity for air and storms and could be kick-ass warriors. While no vila actually appear on page in Nudging Fate, they’re referred to as part of the disastrous Olesson-Pakulski wedding that tanked Enchanted Occasions’ reputation.
Okay, I kinda made this one up. Sure there are goblins and even goblin berserkers all over various gaming ‘verses, but Chef isn’t any of those guys. His “berserker” moniker was inspired by Viking berserkers (in keeping with the Norse origins of some of the other characters), and the “goblin” was my attempt at a generic monster-ish kind of dude. I didn’t even know what he looked like until I drafted the first scene where he appears and as I wrote, he became an eight-foot-tall four-armed guy with six inch tusks and a snout like the Tellarite ambassador in the Star Trek TOS episode, “Journey to Babel.” Go figure.
What about you? Do you have any favorite off-the-wall mythological creatures?
2021 Update: Best Beast introduces frost goblins, a completely different species than goblin berserkers.