In The Gemstone Chronicles Book Three: The Emerald, our heroes, Maggie and Aidan have to strike out on their own to free their parents, grandparents, and elf friends from the clutches of the witch Maeva. Once they complete that onerous task, they all have to journey to fight a cockatrice to recover the Emerald for the Elven Bow. Facing this monster is a momentous task!
What is a cockatrice?
What exactly is a cockatrice? According to Wikipedia, a cockatrice is a mythical beast that is born from a chicken egg incubated by a toad. Often confused and somewhat synonymous with the basilisk, the difference is that the basilisk has no wings.
Among the mythical powers associated with the cockatrice is the ability to scorch the very earth with its breath. In The Emerald, the cockatrice blasts the area around the second tower with its horrid breath and leaves the area devoid of vegetation. A second power is the ability to turn any creature into stone simply by looking into its eyes. While this may be a takeoff on the Medusa myth, it serves its purpose in well in the book. The beast protects the Emerald given to it by Naesse.
The picture above depicts the seal of the City of Zwolle from 1295 and it shows Saint Michael battling a cockatrice. Note the weasel in the bottom corner of the picture. Weasels (and their cousins the ferrets), have the ability to withstand the beast’s gaze – something that plays a very important role in the book!
I tried to create a unique monster to guard each of the stolen gemstones. I think the cockatrice fits that bill quite nicely.
For my final monster, I have a very unusual creature that will be the subject of the last post in this series. Without knowing what that monster is, which of the first three is your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know!