The Fantastical Beasts of Nälu
J. L. Mbewe
Thank you so much for having me, Jenelle!
One of the things I love about fantasy are the fantastical creatures and beings we encounter. It can give the story a wild sense of wonder or terror. For today’s post, I thought I would invite you all to journey with me to the world of Nälu, where The Hidden Dagger Trilogy is set.
The world of Nälu has many fantastical beasts. No doubt, you’ll find realistic animals such as horses, goats, camels, and bears among such creatures as dragons, imps, trolls, and harpies. If we travel deeper, you’ll discover other beasties inspired from our own world as well as from movies and myths from around the world.
In Secrets Kept, we have a chance to glimpse the letanili from the third floor of Cuthbert’s Inn. Like a massive elephant with tusks and horns, it was a beast tamed by the Giants. Not too exotic yet.
Fleeing from imps and the men who killed her father, Ayianna and her companions travel into the cursed Inganno Forest, where she encounters a tu’yan mutat, creatures of death bred by Lord Stygian during the dark ages. After Stygian fell, a few escaped the purge and made the forest their home. They can hunt you in your dreams, confusing you, paralyzing you, and before you know it, they’re upon you. It’s a cat-like beast twice the size of a large dog with a mottled coat, a stubby snout, jagged fangs, and a pair of glowing eyes. Once you see those eyes, you know death is near at hand.
After Ayianna and her companions survive the Inganno Forest and the harpies of Nganjo, they set out across the shifting sands of Zriab desert. Here, they encounter a natural predator and an unnatural one, spurred on by the Tóas Dikon, a tainting of the true giftings, a type of dark magic, if you will. The türuza is a giant skink-like creature that lives in the sands and hunts those foolish enough to wander through the desert. The unnatural tögo or sand leeches as they were called, were sent by the Sorceress. These little humanoids are yellow like the sand with a large circular mouth filled with hooked teeth. They latch onto their victims and suck out every last bit of moisture.
In Darkened Hope, Ayianna and her friends set out to find the ingredients that will save her mother’s people from the Sorceress’s curse. Their dangerous trek takes them across steep mountains and deep into the heart of the jungle where ape-like creatures hunt them at night and Kael and Vian take on a gloru’bor, a wingless dragon the seize of a horse inspired by the Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park.
In Curse Bound, the third and final book, Kael enters the stone maze beneath the Kha Vaaro Mountains where he discovers little cave dragons and massive carnivorous centipedes. As the battle between the Sorceress and the Alliance looms ever closer, the Sorceress opens a portal to the underworld and unleashes an army of creatures with a humanoid body covered with fur, bearing wolf heads and sharp claws.
Writing this, I’ve noticed that a lot of the creatures in Nälu are deadly and sometimes used by evil. Something that I intend to mix up a bit in my future story worlds. Ha! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little excursion into Nälu!
Tell me, what are some of your favorite fantasy creatures?
Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is a tale-spinning, stargazing, rock collecting, art dabbling Hufflepuff.
She loves taking readers on adventures filled with fantastical creatures and characters, all questing
about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. When she isn’t writing, she’s an undercover graphic designer at PalaCreative. She is currently living her second childhood with her wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and swords, among other things. Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, was nominated for the 2014 Clive Staples Award.
Her second novel, Darkened Hope, was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Alliance Award.
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