The steed stepped into the clearing. Its white hide glowed in the moonlight. The creature lifted its head. A twisted silvery horn protruded from its forehead. Its long mane waved as the wind blew. My mouth dropped as I stared at the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Then the unicorn turned and moved forward, disappearing into the forest again.
I most often think of a unicorn as a horse – usually white – with a horn. However, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a mythical animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse, the hind legs of a stag, the tail of a lion, and a single horn in the middle of the forehead.”
There is quite a bit of lore around unicorns from them preferring a virgin’s touch to their horn’s magical healing power. But the great thing about being a writer is that there are no rules. You can make up your own rules about unicorns, Pegasus, mermaids, fairies, dragon and all sorts of other creatures. (For a great comprehensive list of mythical creatures, check out this website.)
And it isn’t just about adjusting mythical creatures to your storyline, as a writer you are free to do anything your imagination can come up with including creating your own creatures. In my trilogy, I not only have telepathic cats and dragons but many creatures that I created. My two favorite would be the Gunn (pronounced like the weapon) and Quietus (see Saturday’s post on my pronunciation error when I chose this as its name which is also the title of the second book in the series).
The Gunn (which appears in Summoned) is a creature created by magic for protection. It’s a huge beast, standing over six feet tall with arms and legs as thick as tree trunks. It has black hair covering its body and an impenetrable hide (except in one location because every creature needs a way to be killed). It has sharp black claws and fangs, but its deadliest feature is the light-green venom that it shoots from its mouth, which kills (quite gruesomely) on contact.
Quietus was also created by someone with magic. The creature’s only desire is to devour everything in its path. It is a small, purple insect which of course is nearly impossible to kill. Its bite is poisonous. This creature causes a lot of havoc and is prominent in both Quietus and Destiny.
As much as I enjoy creating my own creatures, I have only created one for my current work in progress. But I am only halfway through the first draft, so there is plenty of time to use my imagination and branch out from just unicorns and dragons.