Welcome to the world of Trianukka!
Be mindful where you dive, for if you find a shipwreck, the waters will be rocky, and stuffed with hagfish, gulpers and merwraiths. And whatever you do, beware of terrodyl attacks – be ready to string your longbow in a heartbeat!
Trianukka is home to Mouse and her Tribe. They live aboard a trading galley called the Huntress. The captain of the ship is Wren, Grandma to Mouse and her little brother Sparrow.
There are some unusual creatures inhabiting Mouse’s world, such as…
- Moonsprites. These dainty, silver-winged sprites are made when moonlight is gathered between the hands of someone with magyk. When the moonlight is dripped into a bottle, a lamp that will never cause a fire is created – perfect for living aboard a wooden ship. But if any of the drops of moonlight escape, they turn into these mischievous sprites, who famously love to brawl. Sparrow has a pet moonsprite called Thunderbolt. It is worth noting that moon-gathering should be attempted during a waxing moon (when the moon is building up to full). Otherwise, any resulting moonsprites will be full of menace and mayhem.
- Merwraiths. These are the ghosts of people who have perished in shipwrecks and turned partly to creatures of rust, rot and weed. They have powerful tails made of metal scales and their eyes seem blind and pearly. They drift through the seas, half real, half ghost.
- Terrodyls. Can you imagine a world where some of the creatures that existed millions of years ago survived and went on to co-exist with humans? Trianukka can be like that at times, because the enormous, shrieking, winged terrodyls that plague Mouse’s ship are quite a lot like the pterodactyls of years past. They build great nests inside the caves of the ruins of Castle Whalesbane and lay huge black eggs in its crumbling walls. I found these amazing sculptures at a museum in Belfast called the Ulster Museum, but terrodyls are in fact much larger and more terrifying than these creatures!
- Gulpers. These terrifying beasts quiver on the sea-bed, looking like a harmless pile of jelly. But when a creature swims near, they open their mouths wider and wider, becoming one huge, gaping void. They are able to inhale limitless gallons of seawater, dragging their victim closer one frantic heartbeat at a time. As Mouse herself would tell you; if a gulper claims a victim and their crew manage to fish it from the sea and cut it open on deck, no trace will remain of what the gulper has eaten…Mouse has been told never to dive near shipwrecks. But that doesn’t always stop her.
- Big tooth sharks. As with terrodyls, there are some creatures lurking in the seas of Trianukka that are just like the prehistoric sea creatures that once glided through the dark currents. With these sharks, the clue is in the name.
- Sea-hawks. You may know these beautiful and cheeky-looking birds by their commonly used name: osprey. Gifted to captains and future captains on their thirteenth birth moon or sun, they can never be truly owned (can any creature?) but instead form a close and protective bond with their human companion. For Mouse, having the gift of the beast-chatter means her bond with her hawk, Thaw-Wielder, will become even stronger and will be tested throughout the book.
- Polar dogs. These are the huge, shaggy dogs that live on the Frozen Wastes, in the far north. They are used by the Fangtooth Tribe to pull their sleds across the ice.
- Poison Frogs. Tiny, yellow venomous frogs which dwell in the Icy Marshes. Mouse likes to dip her arrowheads in the poison to lend her arrows ‘added bite.’
- Wolf fish. These deep-dwelling arctic fish have blood which lets them swim in freezing conditions without dying. Mouse uses drops of their blood to dive in northern waters. This is a discovery of Grandma’s, along with stingray venom for numbing wounds, dragonfish eyedrops for seeing in the dark and a potion she is working on to help stop Sparrow’s shaking fits.
Books two and three of the trilogy will introduce even more of the strange creatures of Trianukka.