Tag Archives: mythological beasts

Eighth Entry: The Redcap


red cap for bestiary 8

The castle should be empty, but as we pass through open doors, the sound of iron-shod feet confronts us, pattering madly. We came wondering, but not, perhaps, believing – now, we know the story to be true. It is the Redcap, haunt and horror, too fast to escape and so we do not move. 

We stay together, watchful, wary, and when the sun sets, hear the screams and run together, but we know what the creature will do.  The sound of feet, the sound of mad, dark laughter – we watch, from a distance, wishing to inspire no more death, as he bends over a body.

An old, small man he seems, but armed with a long iron pike that he grips in talons fiercer than a predator bird’s. His feet beat against the ground while he stands, one then the other, heel then toe.  His cap is in his hand, and he drains blood with it, the red invisible in the dark. He hums, but the melody is nothing human.

Having been witness to the horror, we retreat, but slowly. If the blood begins to dry, he’ll seek another victim. If we run, we might go far, but never fast enough. 

Better not to be noticed. Better to hold our breaths.


Cockatrice References

Redcap Wiki
Redcaps at Mysterious Britain

Image Credit: JB Monge

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Seventh Entry: The Cockatrice


cockatrice bestiary 7

In the wilderness, impossible things are sometimes born that make their way into the world of man – yet it is also the case that occasionally the opposite is true. We have met such a beast, and survived to speak of it – the wizard’s dragon, the sorcerer’s apprentice. 

If the morning is quiet in farm country, and there is no crowing of roosters to welcome the oncoming dawn, be wary of walking alone. Perhaps one is near you, slaying those whose signal is as a death cry – small creatures turned to stone will tell the tale. The rock in the shape of a rodent may once have been a living mouse. 

Bird-footed, bird-faced, born from an egg a toad has hatched, the cockatrice bears a deadly venom and even to be perceived by it is death. In its glare is a swinging scythe – like Medusa, broken beauty of the ancient world, all that look directly upon it turn to stone. 

We see it from above, safe in our watchful silence, perusing the reflection of his horror and mystery in still waters. The creature itself avoids its own gaze, drinks slowly with a tongue like a lizard’s. When the beast rattles his tails and disappears into the brush, we breathe easy again. 


Cockatrice References

Cockatrice Wiki
Cocktrice at the Encylopedia Britannica

Image Credit: Jivu

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Sixth Entry: The Roc


bestiary six the roc

The great bird of the east comes down to the coast at sunset. It is an eagle, and yet its wingspan clouds the sky, colors the surface of the water with shadow. It is the screaming of the storm and the sound of its beating wings is all but the whirlwind.

Men on the boat that it approaches scream in all the tongues of men the region knows, but there is no saving them – already, every other boat but ours flees for the horizon, away from the dark arch of those wings, the glare of the great golden eyes.

It comes fast – a glut of terror as the bird bolts down its meal of men. There is a new pitch to the screams – then there is silence. Strewn across the ebb of the tide, the wreckage of a single sail turns bloody in the current, wrapped around its mast. Broken spars heave, and one breathless body with them, riding the swell of the bosom of the sea.

The great wing-beats return then, a sound like a hurricane, and our boat is pushed back, back, skidding across the surface of the ocean. The golden eyes scan the surface of the water, but the bird has had its fill. With a screech it rises back into the sky, disappears in the direction from whence it came. 


Roc References

Roc Wiki
General Information
The Roc at Ancient Worlds

Image Credit: GENZOMAN

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Fifth Entry: The Bakunawa


bakunawa for bestiary entry five

From the depths of the sea, he comes, fury in his flailing tail and all the ocean whipped to froth around him. We have come to witness his arising, the seeking of his wrath toward the sky. 

He is the dark of the night compelling, a rising serpent on wings of storm who opens his mouth for the moon. A little at a time, the wide maw captures the curve of the lunar disc, turns bright to blackness. 

A bowl of darkness in which the stars intensify, the sky glares for a moment, empty. Then the silence of the night gives way to clamor – banging – drums – a cacophony that comes from the islands behind us and drives against the dark.

As the noise grows, so does the light. A little at a time, the dragon disgorges the moon and descends into the sea. He will sleep until he grows hungry again.

The people will be waiting.


Bakunawa References

Bakunawa Wiki
Seventh Moon Project

Image Credit: Gpotious

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Fourth Entry: The Mermaid


the mermaid, bestiary 4

 “I didn’t mean to hurt you –

The skin of the sailor in her arms is blue with silence. Blue silence, blue eyes, blue, endless, entrancing, the captive perjury of the sea, the dark eternity of broken promises; blue, but her hair is as black as the deepest grotto and entangling as the swaying, twisting weeds.

I was just so lonely –

Her own eyes are green; green shadow, yellow in them, the hue of deadly venom. She carries piercing deadliness with her in those eyes, the lively flicker of the deep, the shimmer that comes from sun on scales.

So lonely!

No movement. Silence; lapping of the surface water in the silence, too omnipresent to be noise. Like atmospheric weight. She lashes out at him, drags him under; pale arms, gray-shadowed beneath the surface of the water, long fingers, long nails, long tail –


She speaks and now, below the surface, we cannot hear her, only see her moving lips. She gets no answer. The last stream of bubbles went up from his cold lips long ago. She turns away angry, flounces like a spurned queen back to the surface. The cove is calm, but her presence roughs the water into roiling. She sees our ship, and at the railing she sees us staring out to sea.

She calls to us, and we know it is time to leave. She sings, as the ship is turning, and we listen but we do not turn back.

We do not answer.

We do not speak.


Mermaid References

Mermaid Wiki
Mermaids at Northstar Gallery

Image Credit: Serena-Kenobi

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Third Entry: The Yuki-onna


the yuki onna, bestiary 3

We came upon her in the snow, crouched in a field empty of all things but the white glare of the moon on the ice. Her hair was darkness cut out of the night, darkness out of the heart of a cave, and her skin and her robe were as white as the reflected night.

She called to us, but we did not dare go closer. In the frigid air her words showed no breath, and her red lips were the color of spilled blood, not paint. When the sun came up, she became like icy mist, turned to smoke and faded from our sight.

We left her behind, and turned our faces to the southern wind.


Yuki Onna References

Yuki Onna Wiki
A Story of Yuki Onna from Musashi Province
General Information

Image Credit: rennerei

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Second Entry: The Fenghuang


fenghuang, bestiary 2

The Fenghuang flies the night like a falling star. Her cry is not more than the wind, but it is not less. It sings to those who hear it, those who are awake, those who are waiting for anything. It is the cry of the firefly, the cry of all bliss, the melody of the Queen of Birds. 

What sight is more beautiful than she? Knowing this, the eyes sting with tears. We see her once but not again – perhaps some other sky a hundred years from now will know her. When the omens are ripe. When the future gleams afresh with golden promise.

All grace, all fire, the breath of life in its most primal shape, she is still singing as she crosses the horizon, seeking the sun. 


Fenghuang References

Fenghuang Wiki
Fenghuang at the Encyclopedia Britannica

Image Credit: suwoh5

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First Entry: The Unicorn

the unicorn, bestiary 1


The unicorn is the stallion, the glade dark with greens, the glowing velvet of lush growth at its peak. The unicorn is fruit ripening on the bough and the scent of the wood, the musk of power.

He is alone, diamond chips his glinting eyes and his horn polished bone, the first spiral – nothing like any mortal material, nothing like the bone of any other life. Magic and dust, ash and fire twisted into breathing shape, he is the powers of the world given form

Then, a  stamping hoof. A flash of gold and the spark among the green, beautiful and deadly as the wildfire. He vanishes.

We’ll not see him again.


Unicorn References
Unicorn Wiki
General Information

Image Credit: Rubis Firenos

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