Today we have Aldrea Alien giving us a top ten. This top ten?
Top Ten Mundane Animals in Fantasy
(Loni) Take it away, Aldrea!
Usually when someone says fantasy and animals in the same sentence, it brings to mind dragons and unicorns and griffons and the like. Fantastical creatures, while fun, are not always practical. Sometimes, you need something a little … ordinary.
So what are the more common animals the fantasy worlds I’ve read so far?
10 – Cows.
Your basic fantasy drinks tend to come in three flavours: milk, beer or wine. Meanwhile the roasts are generally beef. There must be a ton of cows kicking about in them fields, but you rarely see any unless they’re in a cattle yard or people are fleeing their homes.
9 – Sheep.
All that wool everyone is wearing about town has got to come from somewhere and the fields just don’t look right without those woolly little bodies dotting the landscape. They also tend to be white, not sure why.
8 – Cats.
Whether they’re used as an omen or passing evil, a companion for your local spellcaster or merely the in-house mouse trapper there will be a cat somewhere. Especially if there’s an extended stay in a tavern. Yet, for some reason, this lower down the list than the vermin they chase.
7 – Dogs.
You need a guard, a pet or a working animal to round up wayward sheep because your sheepherders are lolling about letting your livestock wander all over those hill, you’re going to have a dog.
6 – Rats and Mice.
Ah, the vermin. Rats are a common method to hint at how neglected a place is and no dungeon, cellar or ship is complete without at least a mouse or four. They also make light snacks for vampires.
5 – Deer.
They’re everywhere in the forest. Doubly so if someone has a bow on hand. Just once, I’d like to read someone taking down a wild pig instead. They fight back and have more meat on them.
4 – Wolves.
Coming from a country with no wild wolves, I can’t help but wonder why there always seems to be wolves in the forest. Maybe they’re after the deer. But then why are they always attacking people? You’d think with all the deer around they’d be well fed.
I guess they got tired of venison.
3 – Rabbits.
Honestly, if a meal must be caught in the bush it is, more often than not, going to be a rabbit. Yet all the wild rabbits I’ve come across tend to stay underground for much of the day. Now hares … hares don’t dig burrows and they’ve more meat on them. Just something to think about.
And please, for the sake of my sanity, don’t call a rabbit a smeerp for the sake of it.
2 – Horses.
Unless there’s a plethora of dragons or other types of mythical creatures routinely used for transport, your average method of travelling will involve these beasties. Even in the worlds were teleporting is commonplace. Less drain on the body, I suppose.
1 – Birds.
Yes, I’ve gone for the group lump here. But birds are everywhere. Every wood/forest has at least one owl. Cities aren’t complete without pigeons or sparrows. And the evil places generally have ravens or crows for ambiance if not used as spies by the big bad himself. If it’s mostly based at sea I’m practically waiting for a parrot. No parrot? That’s okay, you still have gulls. They’re the rats of the sea after all.
So there you have it. An animal doesn’t have to come from mythology or the depraved mind of a writer to end up in a fantasy novel. And I’ve used most of them at least once in my writing.
(Loni) And some awesome writing it is. Here is her book, now published and available:
Title: Dark One’s Mistress
Author: Aldrea Alien
Genre: Fantasy Romance
For centuries, the people have lived under the protection of their so-called Dark Lord. Now, with news of his death reaching the quiet village of Everdark, rumour whispers that his son, Lucias, is hunting for a mistress to beget him an heir.
Clara doesn’t put much stock in village gossip, until she finds herself forcibly taken to the Lord’s fortress. Escape is not easy. She has no way out and, against a man with magic, little chance of fighting back. But the Lords are still men and the death of Lucias’ father is proof that they die just the same. And yet, if Lucias dies heirless, his army will be free to terrorise the land.
Such is the goal of Lenora of Ne’ermore, an old enemy and ex-prisoner of the kingdom. She is sending a man to slaughter Lucias and, to ensure there’s no chance of an heir, his mistress must die as well.
Caught between regaining her freedom or losing it for the good of the kingdom, Clara struggles to decide her path before certain death breaches the gates.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Aldrea Alien lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind.