My debut novel, The Novice, the first in the Summoner Trilogy, 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 ten of my favourites, all of which exist as demons in the Summoner world.
Origins: Hawaiian Folklore
Morphology: A humanoid shark with arms and legs.
Why it’s awesome: It’s a land shark! Set one of these things on your opponent and they’ll run away with their tail between their legs.
Origins: Persian Mythology
Morphology: The body of a dog with the head and wings of a bird.
Why it’s awesome: Rather like the Greek Griffin, I like to imagine the Chamrosh as its cuter, smaller cousin.
Origins: Ancient Greek Mythology
Morphology: A white bird, often described as a dove, with the ability to heal the sick and injured.
Why it’s awesome: The power to heal is rare and rather useful. As legendary birds go, that puts it right up there with the fiery Phoenix.
Origins: Japanese Folklore
Morphology: A blue-furred, mammalian creature, with lightning abilities. Often described as a dog or a weasel with an affinity for sleeping on peoples’ navels.
Why it’s awesome: The lesser-known inspiration for Pikachu and its evolved form Raichu, what’s cooler (and rarer) than a lightning powered fur ball?
Origins: Medieval European Bestiaries
Morphology: The head, forelegs and antlers of a full-grown stag with the wings plumage and hindquarters of a bird.
Why it’s awesome: The Peryton is a majestic beast, with fearsome antlers and talons as their weapons of choice. Imagine riding one of these into battle!
Origins: Bavarian Folklore
Morphology: The Wolpertinger is a hare with antlers, fangs and wings. Occasionally confused with its North American cousin, the Jackalope, which is simply a horned hare.
Why it’s awesome: A cute but fearsome ally, this little creature could swoop in alongside your Griffin as you fly into battle.
Origins: Japanese Folklore
Morphology: A formless creature of smoke and shadow.
Why it’s awesome: Not so much awesome as terrifying. One of the more interesting elementals I found, this monster is not to be trifled with.
Origins: European Heraldry
Morphology: There is no definitive description, but all Enfields will share the head of a fox and the forelegs of an eagle. Other versions can include the chest of a greyhound or lion and the hindquarters of a wolf.
Why it’s awesome: Regal yet deadly, the Enfield makes a powerful and cunning ally.
Origins: Chinese and Japanese Folklore
Morphology: A furry creature with elephantine tusks and trunk. The fur is often striped like a tiger or zebra. Many believe early sightings of tapirs inspired this creature.
Why it’s awesome: It’s like a streamlined mammoth, but smaller, cuter and faster.
Origins: East Asian Mythology
Morphology: A partially scaled, horse-like creature with an extensive mane, dragon-like qualities and a varied number of horns/antlers. Many call it the Asian Unicorn, though the inspiration is most likely from the giraffe.
Why it’s awesome: A dragon-horse of sorts, the Kirin is the ideal steed to carry you into battle, while still being able to hold its own in a fight.
Taran Matharu wrote his first book when he was nine years old. At twenty-two, he began posting The Novice on the online writing website Wattpad and reached over three million reads in less than six months. His fiction debut, The Novice is the first of three books in the Summoner series—available now from Feiwel & Friends. Follow Taran on Twitter at @TaranMatharu1.