Windemere Monsters: Cockatrice

From D&D again

From D&D again

My first encounter with a cockatrice was in my first Dungeons & Dragons game.  I was playing a Dwarven warrior and opened a treasure chest to find this dangerous creature lurking inside.  It turned me to stone before I could get a look at the tiny figurine.  What I saw was that my character was turned to stone by an angry chicken.  So Cockatrice and Chicken shall forever be entwined in my mind.  Now, this is a real mythological creature with a complicated birth and a relation to the Basilisk.  I think I remember it being born in a certain material on a certain day with a certain star in the sky.  Really exact.

The picture at the top is kind of right for the Windemere version only it’s more feathery and no leather wings.  Some have colorful tails if they grow big enough.  Their ‘stone stare’ is not as potent as one would think since it is a slow enchanted instead of an immediate change.  In the wild, the Cockatrice will pin its prey or injure its legs to give itself enough time for the change.  Then they shatter the statue to eat the internal organs that have been turned into clay.  Being a favorite dungeon and treasure horde trap creature, most of these are found in abandoned ruins.  Small flocks of 4-5 can be found in the wild, but only those areas that have barely been touched by even the most basic civilization.

I’ve yet to decide how big a threat the cockatrice will be throughout the Windemere stories since they are a tough one to include.  It’s really a high fatality monster even with the reduction in stoning ability.  Unlike the ‘version’ found in the series so far, the ‘true’ Cockatrice’s power can’t be reversed simply by looking away.  It means I’ll have to decide if I should cripple a character, add fodder solely to show the power, or never give them a chance to use it.  A warning to all fantasy authors: Think before unleashing a deadly beast on the group.  No kills can reduce their future potency.

Check out these two books for more Cockatrice fun.  Click the Covers!

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

The Cock of the South By C.S. Boyack

The Cock of the South By C.S. Boyack

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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29 Responses to Windemere Monsters: Cockatrice

  1. Thanks for the nod. I loved Gallicus the cockatrice. He was a lot of fun to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    Gallicus the cockatrice gets a nod in this post. Visit Charles’ blog first, then check him out in The Cock of the South. It would be fun to compare to the version in The Compass Key.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Marie says:

    Your vivid descriptions makes me want to add one to my world. 🙂 But I don’t see how it would fit.

    Like

  4. Ha ha ha – “my character was turned to stone by an angry chicken” 😀 Classic!

    Good writing tip on the fatality aspect 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. One of my first encounters with a cockatrice was in A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony. The cockatrice (or it might have been a basilisk, but in that series they’re interchangeable) started off being a serious threat, but then the hero actually ended up using the cockatrice to help stop an evil bug infestation.

    Also, I love that you think of them as angry chickens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do look very chicken-like in that picture. I think I heard about the cockatrice/basilisk eating evil insects. A great use for them beyond the ‘monster that needs killing’.

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      • It was actually a really cool way they used the cockatrice. They gave it to a centaur, who basically held the cockatrice facing away from him and then ran in a big circle around the bigs, stoning them all. Well, most of them. There was also some wildfire involved. But the cockatrice did some serious work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry. I was laughing at the phrase ‘stoning them all’ because I just thought of another comical version of a cockatrice. 😀

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  6. Ali Isaac says:

    Excellent post, Charles! That creature is certainly a feathery little fiend, although in Craig’s book, he was really rather cute! Mind you, he was just a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicholas took my joke so I’ll just say this sounds like a bothersome creature.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    An almost handsome monster! I find it rather enchanting (sorry for the pun)!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sue Coletta says:

    I learn something new on every visit. Fantasy writers have some cool characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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