Supernatural Seattle was made famous by our sparkly neighbors in Forks, but we had a rich mythic tradition long before vampires showed up in our woods. The Pacific Northwest Native Americans tell tales about the Giant Animal People who lived before humans came to these shores. The animal people are shape shifters: they can turn between animal and human form by pulling back their beaks like a mask and shrugging off their wings like a blanket.
Tales of the trickster and chief Raven are the most abundant, but my favorites have always been Thunderbirds, the only mythic creatures not based on a real animal. Thunderbirds are giant birds that command lightning with their wings and feast on whales. They live on top of Mount Rainier. In some tales, they fight deep water spirits. In others, they slay dangerous reptilian monsters or giant horned serpents called the Unktehila.
Into the primordial world of the giant animal people came the god of Change, Kivati. Kivati and his assistants transformed the land to make it habitable and created the first humans. The giant animal people fought him in these plans, because they didn’t want to cede land or power to the humans. In the Deadglass world, I combined Kivati and the giant animal people to form the race of shape shifters called the Kivati. Like the god for whom they’re named, they are sworn to protect humans and guard the Gate between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. Like the myth of the animal people, my Kivati resist change–they try to preserve their Golden Age before their great enemies, the Unktehila, returned to the Pacific Northwest and started a century of war. Their clothing, architecture, and sensibilities are reminiscent of the Victorian era, and they use steam powered technology.
Immigrants to Seattle brought the legends of their home countries with them. Scandinavians were one of the largest immigrant groups, and they were powerbrokers in the early city. (Anyone shopped at Nordstrom lately?) Dragons are a major fixture of Norse mythology. These flying, fire breathing monsters are a good match for the local Thunderbirds, and their description sounds remarkably like the Unktehila. So into the mix of the Deadglass world, I brought dragons. They’re called Unktehila in the Kivati tongue and Drekar in old Norse, but they’re still giant, fire lizards, and they’re determined to win control of the Gate to the Land of the Dead.
Between animal shifters who wield thunderbolts and dragon shifters who breathe fire, the Seattle of the Deadglass is crumbling beneath a supernatural war. Like Twilight, humans are unaware of the danger they’re in. But the stakes are much higher than the soul of one human teenager. It’s going to take more than sparkles to save the fate of this world.
What are your favorite mythical creatures? Which two would you match in an apocalyptic death match?
You can read more about Hearts of Darkness and the Deadglass world at KiraBrady.com.
Kira’s book Hearts of Darkness comes out on August 7, but here’s your chance to win it now. We have one copy for a VBC reader. Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only and you must enter using the Rafflecopter form below on or before July 30.