Feature: Halja’s Demons and Beasts
of the fun things about writing a dark fantasy series is that I get to create
different creatures, beasts, and demons for each book. Many of the characters
in my novels are true monsters. But others are harbingers, mentors, tricksters,
honor of Halloween, our darkest holiday, here’s a sampling of demons and beasts
from the NOON ONYX SERIES.
my first book, I stuck with the familiar – literally. One of my favorite bit
characters from that book is Serafina, a demon familiar. Noon should have been
more careful… Pandora’s box isn’t the only thing that shouldn’t have been
My hand shook slightly as I held the ball up by its chain to peer at it more
closely. There was a demon in there. No matter how small, the thought should
have been mildly terrifying. But instead I felt wonderfully intoxicated and
numb around the edges, like I’d drank too much wine at a party. I looked for
the button but couldn’t find it. I twisted and turned the ball, holding it up
to the afternoon light streaming through my dormitory window, and finally found
the catch. I pushed it gently with my thumb and the ball sprang open.
the intoxicated, numb feeling went supernova. Serafina’s signature made me feel
like my body had been liquefied and then turned inside out to congeal in the
cold. I suddenly craved warmth and this demon was the only source that could
her, hardly able to reconcile her with a lifetime of imagined fears. Haljan
myths and legends spoke of brutish beasts hell-bent on fury and destruction.
Haljan paintings, bas reliefs, and statuaries also often depicted demons as
cruel fiends and vicious monsters. But Serafina didn’t look dangerous. She
and stretched, glaring at me through two black eyes the size of beads. She was
naked but it was no pretty sight. Her body, though diminutive, was bloated as
though she’d died in the Lethe and been left too long. Her skin was a grayish,
sickly looking green, and she rubbed her distended belly with one clawed hand
as she grinned malevolently at me.
the second book, I introduced two mythological characters, who underscored one
of the book’s main themes – knowledge. Like many folktales, their story is
playful… with a hint of deadly…
Curiositas killed Cattus.
was a fairly youngish demon living in the twelfth century, only a few decades
old, when he met the gorgeously supple and fiercely feline demoness Cattus. When
he asked her what she most wanted to do on their dates, Cattus kept telling
Curiositas, “You don’t want to know.” But Curiositas, being Curiositas, kept at
Cattus day and night, although mostly by night, because Cattus was nocturnal.
Curiositas, on the other hand, was a day creature, all flecked with gold and
shining brilliance. His preferred haunt was the Lethe and the two met at the
docks every day at dusk.
stare into the great murky depths of the Lethe, searching for any sign of
Curiositas. Sometimes her ears would twitch. Sometimes her tail. Sometimes her
eyes would grow big as saucers and her haunches would wriggle in anticipation.
Curiositas never fully breached the surface of the water. He liked to tease
Cattus, as she teased him. He gave her glimpses only of himself: a tiny bit of
fin, a stream of bubbles, a patch of orange gold twisting just beneath the
surface, sparkling, shimmering, just out of reach.
romantic version of the story the Hyrkes like to tell. Some nonsense about the
two demons being doomed lovers. But that’s not the version I was told, nor is
it the version I believe. Unlike the Hyrkes, I don’t have any romantic notions
about demons. They’re much worse than Maegesters. Much. And that’s
why I know—although I wish I didn’t—what Cattus most wanted to do with
Curiositas. And that’s why I believe the version that puts an end to Cattus’
roommate, never gets my version of the story.
hunger?” she always asks, frowning and exasperated. “What does that mean? Did
Cattus finally catch Curiositas? Or did Curiositas really kill her?”
time, I always wink and tell her:
want to know.”
mix of creatures featured in the series.
in the vaguest sense did they resemble dogs. They had four legs, a tail, claws,
and jaws full of sharp canine teeth. But barghests are to dogs the way drakons
are to bats. First off, they were huge. Everything about them was bigger and
meaner. On four legs their faces were even with mine. Upon seeing them it became
easy to imagine a demon like Lilith riding one. They had barrel chests and
wolfish grins. Their teeth were as large as horns and their paws four times the
size of Rafe’s booted foot. And their fur . . . well, let’s just
say seeing it on the living creature didn’t improve its appearance. It reminded
me of long, thick, tangled rat fur. I shuddered and tried to reconcile myself
to the fact that, so long as I didn’t get eaten by one in the pen today, two of
them would be under my care by midday.
his pockets, he rocked back and forth on his heels surveying them. “Cast a
spell over them?”
first. In time, as they get used to you, you might be able to cast something
simple over them, but don’t start that way. In the beginning, all you’re going
to do is let them get used to you. They’ll try to push you around. See what
you’re made of. They’re as curious about you as you are about them. Don’t show any
“What about waning magic? What’s their response to that?”
depends on the user.” She walked over to the gate and held it open for me.
growls coming from the beasts behind her.
winking at me.
place in Rockthorn Gorge, a bustling mountain town where so many demons live,
it’s often called a “demonic anthill.” Noon is sent there to make nice with the
demons who follow the law… and to find the one who isn’t.
sunrise, we reached the rim of the gorge. Even though I stood on solid ground
and there was no immediate danger of falling into it, my stomach dropped as if
I had. The gorge was enormous – a near-vertical drop into a dark chasm hundreds
of feet below us. At the bottom, the Acheron River was dry. I knew from the
materials in my dossier that the river had been diverted during construction.
The plans and specs called for the viaduct to be converted into a dam. Gazing
at the wreckage below, however, I knew the project had once again been set
back. Huge stone blocks and other pieces of debris were strewn about the dry
riverbed as if they were toy building blocks that had been kicked over by a
child with a temper. But it hadn’t been a child. It had been a bomber – one
who’d killed almost a hundred people, possibly more.
possibly killed Ari.
night, I’d managed to ignore my growing panic. Ari was strong and powerful…
robust and nearly invincible…
the edge of Halja’s northern-most ravine, staring down at what looked like an
army of ants rather than a rescue party made up of demons and men, I could no
longer ignore my feelings. I was afraid. Not of falling into the gorge, but of
what I might find at the bottom.
So I know I said this last time but.... This one is the best so far! Each book gets better and better. Noon Onyx is back and we return to the dangerous world of Halja, where demons, angels, and humans coexist in an uneasy state of détente. I am still getting over some past happenings from the last book, but here we go again with awesomeness. So in the first two books, we learn that things are not the same anymore, I mean Armageddon did happen. Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx is back in action and you'd think she'd have seen it all, but nope. So, by request, Noon heads to a northern post of Rockthorn Gorge. She's supposed to help the neophyte demon lord build his fiefdom and keep what’s his. The problem? Lord Aristos – Noon’s new employer – is her former lover, and Ari Carmine, the heart breaker. And the number one thing he wants is her. And some things just get crazier from here lol!!
Noon is a seriously strong girl and awesome heroine to read about. When Rockthorn Gorge’s town has some destruction by Displodo, an enigmatic bomber, killing a dozen settlers and wounding scores more, Noon sets off early to aid in the search and rescue. Ari is listed among the missing and the suspects are legion. But Noon’s search is just the beginning. Her journey forces Noon to confront not only those she loves, but also enemies hell-bent on destroying them.
This is such a great world to be in. The creation of things are so fantastic. I wanna see all those cool things, and I totally wish my brain worked where I could really see TarTarus in my head. And those Berghests, I wish I had one! :) and that was all from the last few books. This book has even more. And her new journey has made Noon more bad ass!! Overall, how can you not want to be a part of this one! I cannot wait for the next step. Jill Archer is a must have, need to read, can't wait for more author!! 5 MAGNIFICENT BERGHEST PAWS!!! I still want one!!
genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of
Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder.
She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.