I often get asked by readers of The Gemstone Chronicles series how I decided on the monsters that guard the stolen gemstones. Did I make them up or are they based actual creatures (or at least mythical creatures)? The truth is that I did a lot of research before settling on my monsters. I didn’t want to have zombies, vampires – sparkly or otherwise – or werewolves or any of the other currently popular monsters. No, I wanted something different, something outside the norm. What did I settle on? Kelpies!
So, exactly what are kelpies? Accounts vary as to the origin, but according to Wikipedia the kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore. Similar creatures exist in many other cultures. In The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, I used the Scottish version of the beast, called each uisge (pronounced as best I can tell ek-wizz-key). Below is an image of the beast in its true form.
Kind of creepy, huh? But, the kelpies don’t always look likes this. The monster often appears as a white horse grazing peacefully near running water. When a rider mounts the horse, an adhesive traps the rider to the horse’s back and the horse leaps into the water, drowning the rider. Beebop and Maggie experience the kelpie but, no spoilers from me on what happened!
One of the more unpleasant aspects to the kelpies is that the creatures will eat the victim, except for the heart or liver, which is allowed to drift to the surface for people to find. Sounds like a perfect thing to guard the Carnelian!
You can see kelpies are unusual monsters and a great fit for The Gemstone Chronicles! Stay tuned, I will be talking about the other creatures in upcoming posts.
What are your favorite monsters? Are they current, well-known creatures or are they more old school? Leave me a comment and let me know!!