Because today is the last day for the promotion running on amazon for Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve (click here for details) I thought I’d post some of the background work I did for one of the characters that was introduced in that book: Prince Peryton.
The peryton has long been my favourite mythical creature and I always knew I wanted to give it a starring role in one of my books. The perfect opportunity came in The Shard from Greeve.
It’s important to note that the peryton, while obscure, is a beast from classical mythology (many of my young readers sometimes thing I invented the peryton). There isn’t a lot written about perytons, but I have a fantastic second-hand book from The Enchanted World series called Magical Beasts, and it features a nice spread on the peryton:
As you can see in this beautiful illustration, the peryton is traditionally depicted as casting the shadow of a man. Some stories say that perytons ate humans, or that they were even involved in the fall of the Roman Empire.
I remember finding all of this quite interesting at the time I was working on Shard, but eventually I decided to detach the peryton from these myths and present the creature with its own unique back story for the Kendra Kandlestar world. Usually my characters just evolve organically in my sketchbooks, but at the time I was developing this character, I was teaching a lot of character-buiding exercises in my creative writing workshops. I decided that it was time to swallow my own medicine and complete one of my own worksheets. Here’s the result, complete with a labelled sketch:
This profile dates back to 2008, so reflects my initial thoughts for this character. Many things changed as I wrote the book! For instance, on the sketch it says that the peryton’s antlers would be cut off by Queen Krake—if you’ve read The Shard from Greeve, you know that the peryton does indeed lose his antlers, but it’s someone else who is responsible.
Also, you’ll see that the peryton has a secret name that he doesn’t tell anyone. Kendra eventually will learn it in Shard, though it’s not revealed to readers until Book 4, The Crack in Kazah. (And even then, you have to pay close attention!) Mostly, Kendra just calls him “Prince” since he is of the royal peryton family from Mount Zephyr.
The visual look of the peryton also evolved. Originally, I drew him as a very sturdy, robust character, and then decided I wanted him to be younger and slightly more sleek, as seen in this final illustration from Shard . . .
Prince does make an important appearance in Crack in Kazah. Will he appear in Book 5, the Kendra Kandlestar installment? Actually, I will admit that this is something that I don’t even know yet!