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Where did Theriomorphs come from?

An Author’s Creation

My passion for mythology has always been strong. I am a proud collector of a respectable personal library of anthologies of myths, encyclopedias of fanciful beasts and beings, and theoretical discussions of how certain concepts and religions came to be. Though still on the lookout for new books that could open my eyes to a novel theory or unheard of creature, I am fairly confident of the resources in my collection.

Years before Lluava and her adventures were conceptualized, I stumbled across a book in the mythology section at Barnes & Noble. Based on both the cover design and the title, Vampire Universe by Jonathan Maberry, I assumed it would contain contrived information. I was wrong.

It has become one of my favorite reference books for the multitude of vampire entities and other monstrosities that lurk in the dark recesses of whispered fables and all but forgotten beliefs. As with all my books, I try to cross-reference my “facts” from one source to another to make sure that they are not fabricated by one particular author. However, this book was a gateway to discovering new lore and myths that I would not otherwise have come across.

In the introduction to Vampire Universe, there is a breakdown of vocabulary terms that help categorize certain creatures and their abilities. One word was totally foreign to me: Theriomorphs. The book defines a theriomorph as “a creature who possesses the ability to change its shape into that of another creature. Most often this is a human who can take the shape of an animal, bird, or insect.” The book further explains that theriomorph is a term that collectively encompasses vampires, werewolves, witches and more.

Looking up the word, I found that dictionaries define the adjective Theriomorphic as, ‘(of deities) thought of or represented as having the form of beasts.’ The word itself comes from the Greek words thērío (wild beast) and morphos (form, shape).

Yes, that was a bit of a vocabulary lesson, so I will now move onto the point. After the dream that inspired the Incarn Saga (see earlier post), I needed a name for the race of beings that I was envisioning. The word Theriomorph came to me immediately. Now the Theriomorphs in my book series are different from the original categorical concept of the term. They are a race of humanoids each of whom has the ability to transform into a specific animal shape. The animal form is not chosen by the person; it is, however, representative of the physical and emotional characteristics of that individual. All in all, I hope my readers fall in love with the Theriomorph race which includes Lluava, my young heroine.

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