This week I want to talk about something else that I thoroughly enjoy in fantasy writing: ancient beasts.
In this case, I'm not talking about something that's just old like dragons. I'm talking about something more primordial, something from a forgotten age unlike anything else seen in the setting.
For instance, in Middle-earth you have the Fell Beasts that the Nazgul ride in The Return of the King:
In Harry Potter you have the basilisk:
In Star Wars, we have the Sarlacc Pit
In the Wheel of Time there is the Grolm:
And so on. Sometimes these ancient beasts are conglomerations of other animals. Manticores, Chimeras, Hydras, Sphinxes, and Dragon Turtles fall into that category. Those kinds of monsters interest me the most because they seem unnerving more than anything. Your brain tells you that such a creature can't be right.
So, at any rate, I hope to use a creature or creatures like that at some point in my books. However, if I do, it will be sparingly. The impact of such an odd and terrifying monster is lessened the more it is used. So if I really want the reader to remember it, whatever strange creature appears in my series will be cloaked in mystery and seldom seen.