Hi, all! I’ve fallen a bit behind in my posts – I was a bit too ambitious in my Summer Reading – so please forgive me. Here, I’ve got a great author post from Keira Gillett, author of the Zaria Fierce Trilogy, who’s going to talk about one of my favorite mythical creatures, the Wyvern. Enjoy!
Good day everyone! I’m so happy to be back here hanging out with Rosemary and all of you. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Keira Gillett and I am the author of the Zaria Fierce Trilogy, which is about a young girl who moves to Norway and discovers that trolls and things from her fairytale books really do exist. Along her journey, Zaria and her friends encounter all sorts of beings and creatures. Today I’ll be talking about three of them – the wyverns.
Now traditionally, wyverns are two-legged winged dragons. I already had dragons in the books, so I used the wyverns as beasts of burden. I made them hybrid creatures so that they could live in the far north of Norway and still be part reptile. My hybrid wyverns are able to regulate their core temperatures, spew fire under various conditions, and some of them can even fly.
Let’s start with the first wyvern. I call this wyvern a winter-wyvern. The most famous one is Norwick, who helps Zaria and her friends throughout the books. What sort of creatures might you expect to be smushed together to make this creature? I’ll give you a hint, here’s Eoghan Kerrigan’s illustration of Norwick in the books:
If you guessed saber-tooth tiger/snow leopard, bear, bat, and wyvern you would be 100% right! How many did you guess correctly?
Winter-wyverns are the only ones that can fly. They have bear-claw feet with dragon scales, a body that’s a mix of bear and tiger/leopard, a saber-tooth tiger head, snow leopard markings, and bat wings. They can comfortably fly two people and can pull a heavy load over short distances. In duress they’ve been known to spew fire, but it takes some time for them to build up to that, making them highly susceptible to attacks by trolls who employ devious tricks against them.
Now the second wyvern is a water-wyvern. In book three we meet one for the very first time guarding the entrance to some terrible dwarves and their city-state of Malmdor. His name is Vingar and he’s very upset because he’s too big for the quarry lake the dwarves stuck him in. Knowing that he must live in the water, what animals do you think make up a water-wyvern? Hint, here’s a picture that Eoghan drew of Vingar for the book:
If you guessed seahorse, shark, eel, crocodile/alligator, and wyvern, you would be correct! How many did you guess right at first glance?
Water-wyverns have seahorse faces filled with rows and rows of serrated shark teeth. His roar of rage would send you scurrying under the covers if you could hear it. Grr… Their body is the shape of an eel with small limbs like a crocodile/alligator. Their legs let them propel their bodies onto the short to snap at unsuspecting prey coming in for a drink of water. However they can’t stay out of the water for very long. They have smooth shark skin that cuts into the delicate skin of its prey at the merest brush. Vingar never used his inner fire in the books, but water-wyverns are able to spit boiling hot water at victims, but only under the water, and only when extremely vexed. Thank goodness!
In the book, Vingar has an unfortunate run-in with Zaria and her friends and gets shrunk to the size of a small dog. Now his roar of rage is much much cuter sounding. I’m told that when he got small I wrote some of his mannerisms and behavior after my dog, Oskar. I don’t know about you, but I would totally prefer a run-in with my dog vs a run-in with Vingar. I mean, just look at his cute little face.
The last wyvern is a weather-wyvern. Do you sense a alliteration theme going on yet? This wyvern is introduced within the heart of Malmdor. The original ones in Norway were gifts from Vikings who found them while on their travels to the eastern countries along the Mediterranean. Knowing that they come from a different part of the world, somewhere hot and dry, what do you think they look like? Hint, here’s a statue of one that the kids come across while they’re underground. This one is a bit cheating for me because I know what makes up the head, but go ahead and guess anyway, let’s see what you can extrapolate from Eoghan’s drawing.
The weather-wyvern is a combination of thorny lizard its body, road runner feet (if you said bird that counts), and jerboa (tail). Now the head, which you can’t see is lizard-like with great big and tall goat horns. How close were you to the truth?
The weather-wyverns are used by the dwarves to stoke their great forges and furnaces. Weather-wyverns are the only wyverns that can spew fire easily whenever they want it. They prefer burning hot and dry spaces, which means they live in the forges and furnaces. It’s a win-win as far as the dwarves are concerned they get magically hot fires that last for ages, the weather-wyverns are treated well and given homes to suit their needs.
Of the three wyverns, which is your favorite? If you created a hybrid wyvern, what animals would you use to make one up? I’d love to hear your thoughts, be sure to leave a comment!
Thanks again Rosemary for having me here at Mom Read It.
Book Three in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy
Summary: “Nothing can save you now, Princess.”
How can anyone be tricked twice? Isn’t there even a saying about that? Zaria Fierce is determined to get things right this time and with the Drakeland Sword in her possession she’s ready to take on trolls, dragons, and whatever else may come… but first she and her friends are going to have to figure out just how much trouble they’re in at home.
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes (Book 3):
“That’s the great thing about the Zaria Fierce trilogy: adventure is fast, furious, and loaded with Norse mythology, but the friendship between Zaria and her group of friends is the heart that drives this story.” Rosemary, Mom Read It
“I think the Zaria Fierce series mixes together all the things that I love about reading fantasy books, there is a sense of good versus evil, strong friendships, dragons, gorgeous illustrations, a captivating world, a perfect middle-grade book for someone looking for an action packed story filled with Norse mythology.” – Brenda, Log Cabin Library
“Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was a spectacular conclusion to a great trilogy (though the ending left the door open for more adventures). Filled with magic, a great story line, amazing and real characters, wonderful settings and beautifully explored themes, Keira Gillett created a trilogy that I will always cherish and will visit anytime. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Spiderwick Chronicles or simply love a book filled with Norwegian folklore and fantasy, then this is the ultimate series for you to read, devour and lose yourselves in.” – Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book
Hector was right that the group wasn’t far from Malmdor. They reached the entrance before night fell, and in the gloomy dusk that slipped around them like a cloak, they reached the edge of the forest and stopped. Below them in a wide clearing was an abandoned quarry filled with water.
The lake was nestled at the bottom of a deep, steep pit. Its deep blue water was smooth and glassy, protected from wind by the rocky walls and surrounding forest. Zaria could see the lakebed in the shallower areas. Something large swam in the center, too deep to see clearly.
“What is that?” asked Filip, having spotted the creature at the same time.
Hector said, “It’s a water-wyvern.”
“Is that like the Loch Ness Monster?” asked Christoffer. “Cool. No wonder they can’t find it in Scotland.”
“You haven’t seen a winter-wyvern,” Zaria said. “I bet it’s more like Norwick.”
“The flying snow leopard-bear-bat thing you told me about? Even better,” Christoffer said, rubbing his hands together in glee. “Do we get to meet it?”
“Is it friendly?” worried Geirr.
“The beastie is not friendly,” said Hector, grimly. “And yes, we will be meeting it. Water-wyverns are wild, unpredictable creatures. This one is particularly nasty. It was captured and transported to this quarry lake over a century ago. It can’t escape – water-wyverns aren’t able to live out of water for very long. This makes it very angry. The lake is too small for him.”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” Geirr said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “So, can it eat us?”
Hector nodded. “It once devoured an entire legion of dwarf handlers because they smelled bad. They’ve showered regularly ever since.”
Geirr looked at Zaria. “Why?” he moaned. “Why do we have to meet it?”
“Look on the bright side, mate,” Filip said, clapping Geirr on the back. “Maybe we get to ride it.”
Hector shook his head. “The water-wyvern is the guardian of Malmdor. Its job is to keep out all trespassers.”
Christoffer sighed, disappointed. “Too bad. I would have loved to ride him.”
“Will we have to feed it to get by it? What does a water-wyvern eat?” Aleks asked, readjusting his backpack and bow.
“It eats whatever it can catch,” Hector said forebodingly. “We’ll have to be careful as we near the shoreline. A water-wyvern might not have much in the way of limbs, being adapted to the water, but it has enough leg-power to propel itself onto the shore and attack.”
“At least it can’t fly,” said Geirr, relieved. “Small favors.”
Zaria and her friends gasped as it breached the surface, blowing out a large stream of air. The water-wyvern was magnificent with a gray-and-white pattern. It had a seahorse face, with a long snout, and no ears. The top of its head bore a wavy crest that trailed down its neck.
As the creature dove beneath the water, it flipped its body into the air. There were no scales anywhere on it, as far as she could see. Zaria half-expected a whale fluke, but its tail looked like an eel’s. The thing was massive, at least four times bigger than Norwick, and hideous.
They stood there, watching the shifting, undulating, shadow in the water. Aleks wore a pensive frown, his brown eyes narrowed. “Does it have a name?”
“The dwarves call it Vingar.”
Author Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.