So I don't always create my own monsters. Sometimes I re-cycle from other sources, something I'm not alone in. As I researched creatures for my books, I recognized several from Harry Potter. Because sometimes, the sources for monster and creature ideas can be found in ancient Greek Mythology. Stories rich in character, monsters, places. Timeless stories about the human nature told in the fantastical or grotesque depending on the plot.
I borrowed the idea of Tartarus Prison from Greek mythology. Hades's underworld, a place where once you enter, you can never leave and Hades's rules with an iron hand. No one ever escaped. In my Urban Fantasy, the prison houses the worst of the worst in demons, vampires, dark wizards. So horrendous, no one would ever want to find themselves there, a place that could turn a rather normal person crazy nuts. It is magic you know.
Who should guard such a place filled with the mystical creatures? It can't be the mere mortal, the one who lacks the strength and agility to handle the multitude of beings that pass through the doors. The logical choice could have been Cerebus the three-headed guard dog which defended the entrance to Tartarus. Though it would be borrowing from Greek Mythology and fit in my story, it would be taking from Harry Potter, too new to not be considered stealing.
I ran across the story of the Hundred Handers. The three children of Gaia the Earth Goddess and Uranus the Sky God. Their children so ugly, fierce and frightening, their father tossed them into a pit in Tartarus. They sought revenge against their father, eventually fighting with the Olympians and against the Titans, for control of the universe.
I've asserted in The Day of First Sun, that the giant guards were descendants of the Hundred Handers, with less arms and heads, mere giants, big and strong enough to handle the creatures that paraded through the prison on a fairly regular basis.
Greek Mythology allowed the ancient Greeks to explore and explain the world. I wondered, what would vicious fifty headed, hundred handed creatures be trying to explain. Their mother loved them regardless of their hideousness, their father threw them into a pit. Experts suggest that because these were considered the first beings created from procreation, and their parents disagreed on their care, it caused fighting between the Gaia and Uranus. In other words this is the first instance illustrating marital strife.
There was always a reason for the stories, an explanation, a lesson to be learned if you know where to find them.
Before they became the, it thing, they were monsters; wicked beings without souls. So scary was the concept of the vampire, early cultures used them as an embodiment of all evil. The soul being what makes us human and them, the vampire without. So what the hell happened? How did they go from beings of the devil, missing their humanity, to loved, admired, and dare I say it, sexy boyfriends?
I like my monsters to be the embodiment of evil, to terrorize and then be vanquished with a large pointy stick. We should be so lucky to relieve ourselves of our problems that easily.
Vampire folk in lore dates back Mesopotamia, where inscribed on pottery was tales of blood sucking monsters and through history many other cultures adopted a form of that type of monster.
Vampire fear came to a head in the 18th century, where a frenzy of vampire sightings occurred in Transylvania leading to grave robbers identifying and staking potential vampires. When government officials took part in the staking and killing of the dead bodies, mass hysteria broke out leading to the “18th Century Vampire Controversy.”
So really, how did it get to this fevered pitch where people want to date them? What happened to these monsters, once restricted to life in dark and shadows to now sparkling in the sunlight as if a four-year old dumped glitter all over them? Where the standard is now Edward Cullen, sullen, cranky and frankly not someone I’d want to date, I stand strong and shake my head. I prefer mine to be ridiculously evil, snarky and brilliantly fun.
The vampire known as Sturtagaard, aware that his greatest nemesis currently tracked him, had planned on lying low, but a primal hunger overcame him forcing him to hunt. From an open window in his temporary lair, he gazed out onto the street below as he pondered his next meal. Not an area filled with tourists, it did see plenty of foot traffic, though most ordinary people wouldn't be compelled to come to this side of the town.
Quickly weakening without a source of blood to feed on, he still took time to search for the right prey because for the vampire, feeding under duress felt so crude. Sturtagaard preferred to take his time; enjoyed seducing his quarry and playing with them before finally taking their lives. But now, with his feeding so late, his hand shook in his lap as he finally realized he couldn't afford to be choosy and he would have to settle for someone off the street, someone like…her.
For more about Sturtagaard, the vampire who doesn’t sparkle, read The Day of First Sun on Amazon.com.Continue reading