Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Brief Zoraida Grey Bestiary



When I was a kid, my mom read to me all the time. My favorites were fairy tales. I loved fairy tales so much, that someone got me a large copy of Grimm’s fairy tales when I was about eight. 

Yep--the pure, unadulterated Grimm’s.  I’m not sure they knew what they were doing.

Aaaaand I was hooked. 

No more saccharine stories for me. Instead, I became immersed in tales of witches and evil fairies and girls who turned into swans and princes who, honestly, didn’t seem overly bright. Trackless forests and spooky bogs and deep caverns and dangerous mountainous trails and elves and goblins—What’s not to love?

Along the way, I discovered more myths and folktales—even local legends—about little people, strange woodland creatures, and sentient beasts who wanted nothing more than to spirit little children away. So there’s no mystery about why I put all these childhood acquaintances in my own stories.

Below, find a brief Zoraida Grey Bestiary, containing just a few of the things that go bump in the night I’ve used as inspiration in my Zoraida Grey Trilogy.


  • Goblin—A generic term for mischievous little people. Though they may look more like this.
  • via GIPHY

  • Often grotesque and sometimes malevolent, goblins may be anything from forest spirits to hobgoblins. Goblin is a generic term—usually a pejorative-- that encompasses many more specific types of little people such as: 
    •  Hobgoblin—a kind of little creature who attaches itself to a particular family or place—hob meaning hearth.
    • Bogles—May be a kind of goblin, though some of them don’t like the comparison. Bogles may be virtuous or ruthless—sometimes they punish the guilty, but they are also closely related to hobgoblins and do chores or guard the family’s interest
    • Bogeys—A spirit or creature who haunts a boggy or gloomy spot. They may lead travelers out of a sticky situation—or they may lead the unwary or the unvirtuous to their deaths.
    • Boggan or Bogan or Bauchan or Bocan—Various terms for a hobgoblin who attaches to a person or family but tends to be so difficult to handle and so ornery the recipient of a bogan’s loyalty may go insane as a result.
    • Brownies—definitely hobgoblins though they may attach themselves to a place instead of a clan. They do chores and may specialize in one chore like milking or churning butter. They enjoy a bit of cream and honey, but will be insulted if “paid” for their services. They consider themselves part of the clan they attach to.
    • Zoraida meets the Logan clan Brownies—or at least the three who survive. Centuries ago, they chose the wrong side in a family feud and are still paying the price for their betrayal.  They hate to be called Goblins though their heritage is questionable and their temperaments less than domestic.  
  •  Witch­­-- What exactly are witches anyway? In Zoraida Grey, they seem pretty normal—until you make one mad. The Logan’s heritage goes back to the Druids and their practice is a bit Wiccan with a tinge of Old World Bad Witch thrown in. They don’t worship any particular deity—certainly not Satan. Instead, they revere the natural world and many of them have a certain set of skills which they use as they see fit. Zoraida’s Granny taught Zoraida the old ways, and Zoraida’s ancestry on both her mother's and father’s sides makes it quite likely she has inherited Old World and New World magical tendencies. 

    via GIPHY
  •  Bodach--an old man who is used as a cautionary tale for children--"Be good or the bodach will get you", also can be a source of enchanted protection. Zoraida’s grand sire, Jock, may be a kind of bodach.  Even Jock doesn’t know what he is nor where he came from. He’s older than the Logans and remembers the history of Earth but not his own beginnings. He takes the form of a huge red-headed Scot. He lived amongst the Picts for some time and adopted their penchant for painting themselves blue and charging naked into battle.  He may have been cast out for some transgression and left on Earth to find either wisdom or death. Immense magical power makes him fearless, foolhardy, and arrogant.
  • Baibhan Sith—A female vampire who enjoys waylaying young men who wander in lonesome regions. Her favorite sport is seducing them before she tears them apart with her claws and laps their blood. One of these fearsome creatures lives in the caverns beneath Castle Logan. She fell in love with a Logan patriarch. When the man was killed by his own daughter, the Baibhan Sith waits centuries for revenge.
  •  Ghost—Some believe any creature who once lived has a spirit which may return after death as a ghost or shade. Castle Logan is infested with ghosts. The ghost of a burned witch, the mournful shade of a Spanish soldier who died in the oubliette, a couple of castle cats, and several others who show up at the oddest moments.
  • via GIPHY
  • Crystals—According to Zoraida’s granny, crystals are alive and talking if we know how to listen.
    • Smoky Quartz sings a healing song. Simply being in its presence restores health and well-being. The Logans’ connection to this stone may be what drew them to Scotland centuries ago. 
    •  Stone of Adamantine whispers of victory in battle and power over foes. No one knows its source, but it has a hypnotic effect on the Logan witches. Jock knows more about it than he wants to tell.   
    •  Quartz doorknobs—All through Castle Logan these doorknobs adorn the solid oak doors. Many a guest has been startled by ghastly faces in the depths of the stone. Legend has it anyone who stands against the witches of Castle Logan risks eternal imprisonment in the sparkling crystal doorknobs.

A number of different legends come into play as Zoraida travels to the Caribbean in Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, and the Castle creatures are waiting for her when she returns to Scotland in Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes.

Do you have a favorite legendary creature? Tell us about it in comments.


3 comments:

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Sorchia. When you think about the Grimm tales, what were our parents thinking to read them to us??? Parents who deliberately lose their kids in the woods, wolves who eat children, etc. I didn't know about all the other beasties. Wow.

Sorchia DuBois said...

They have no idea😎I guess a certain cartoonist whose name starts with D sanitized fairy tales so much, we forget where those stories originated.

Nancy Gideon said...

May all our goblins look like David Bowie!! What a great compilation of critters and creatures. I've always been inspired by dark, grim(m) tales.