Guest Post By Taran Matharu
With The Battlemage, the third novel in his Summoner series, publishing in paperback today, author Taran Matharu shows us some of the creatures that inspired his demons.
My debut novel, The Novice, the first in the Summoner Series, features the summoning of demons to act as allies and protectors of their owners. In my research for potential candidates for The Novice’s demonology, I saw many of the better-known legendary and mythological creatures, such as Minotaurs, Griffins, Phoenixes, and Salamanders.
I also stumbled across other creatures that were just as fascinating but previously unknown to me. Some had been lost in the annals of history, others came from the folklore of cultures that we in the West are less familiar with. Below are just five of my favourites, all of which exist as demons in the Summoner world.
This creature was first appears in Pliny the Elder’s A Natural History (AD 77), and is rather like a mix between a lizard and a butterfly. He described it as a four-footed animal with wings, the size of a large fly. Some might say its appearance resembles a dragon, if it were made out of insect parts.
The Tikbalang is a fearsome creature that was ripped right from the nightmares of Filipino children. Going back almost 4000 years, with its roots in the Hindu religion, the creature resembles a tall, bony, humanoid horse with disproportionately long limbs and claws on the ends of its fingers. It is described as a trickster who tries to lure unwary travellers from their paths, and wearing your shirt inside out can counteract its presence.
These creatures are derived from Indonesian folklore; named for their distinctive call A-hool. More cryptids than creatures of mythology or religion, they are described as a flying primate with sizes varying from that of a small infant to one with a wingspan of over 28 feet.
Originating from Scottish folklore, the Kelpie is first named in an ode by William Collins some time before 1759. Whether they are benevolent spirits of nefarious demons is disputed, but what can be agreed is that Kelpies take a horse-like shape and inhabit the waters of Caledonia.
The Zaratan has existed in one form or another across multiple cultures and time periods throughout history. It is an enormous sea turtle with a craggy back, which often trees and animals will take up residence. They are said to be often mistaken by sailors for small islands.