Published 2019-07-01Carol E. Leever
Several people have asked questions about what or who this little guy is, so I thought I'd write a brief bit about him. Along the way, I ended up painting another picture of him to show what he really looked like. No, he doesn't live in the shell, and he isn't a turtle.
One of the things that always fascinated me about fantasy stories and fairy tales was trying to imagine the microscopic world they co-existed in. Most fantasy stories are about the big things -- the dragons, unicorns, griffons, goblins. We hear about the heroes and the gods of a land, and their great deeds and adventures. But I always wondered what was life like in those worlds for the simple farmers and shopkeepers -- the people without magic, who didn't know how to use swords. But who still had to exist in the world of giants and monsters.
I used to imagine being a child growing up in a world like that. In our world, children go off and have adventures in their backyards; they collect bugs and polliwogs, climb trees, hide in bushes, catch fireflies in jars. Or at least that was the sort of thing I did as a child.
Now imagine being a child in a world of magic -- where the fireflies are actually sprites, and gnomes hide in your bushes. And if you wander into the woods, you might find a faerie house built inside a toadstool.
If you live in a world where horses are actually unicorns, then what might lizards and grasshoppers actually be? If the macroscopic world is magical, then the microscopic world has to be magical as well. Magical plants, birds, insects and trees.
As a child I used to make tiny little creatures out of yarn and cotton balls -- I'd give them names and magical powers and would tell myself all sorts of stories about them. Mostly I just told my stories to my cat -- she was quite appreciative, and would happily chase my little yarnball monsters around my room.
Now, I can draw them. I imagine a place like Melia is filled with all sorts of amazing little things. In Lilyth's Hunt, Lily tells Templar about the magical squirrel that lives in one of their oak trees.
Templar stopped short. "Squirrel gardeners?"
"The squirrel ones don't garden. They just watch over things." Lily pointed to an ancient oak tree; its leaves had turned the color of rubies to suit the season. "There's one living in that tree. He wears an amulet and flies."
"He wears flies?" Templar said, studying the tree. "That's unusual."
She wasn't sure if he was joking. "No, he can fly. The squirrel. He flies like a bird. He soars. He lives in that tree. They say his name is Kiblet."
From Lilyth's Hunt
So when I first created this little creature I was imagining a back story for him as well. He's called the glintstealer. They're a tiny race of creatures who live in the Melian woods and steal shiny objects. They're distantly related to dragons -- notice the six limbs. And while they never developed wings like a dragon, they do grow little feathery appendages from their heads that might be feathers or might be antennae. They're quick and mischievous, but mostly harmless.
In the original picture, he'd just found himself a pretty pink shell, and desperately wanted to get it home. But he couldn't carry it. So finally he just stuck it on his butt, and wore it home. Happily, he does eventually make it back to his little hoard with his new prize.