Growing up, I was a HUGE anime fan. One of my favs was Inuyasha; basically a story about a modern girl sent to feudal Japan who has to battle monsters. Beyond the will-they, won’t-they romance, my favorite part of Inuyasha were the population of monsters and demons. Almost every episode featured a new species, many of them plucked straight from Japanese myth and lore. And while Demon Spring, my new urban fantasy trilogy, doesn’t have quite that level of variety, I did want to give a nod to Japan and their incredibly diverse mythology. To that end, I made one of the demon types a kappa.
Myths and Magic
Kappas are historically water creatures that look like frogs, although there are several regional names (one of which, Mizuchi, I borrowed to create the original demon). Literally translated as “water child,” kappas were used to warn to children to steer clear of rivers and lakes.
As myths do, their antics ranged from the innocently mischievous to the horrific. To escape a kappa, a person could bow deeply. The kappa would return the favor, spilling the water atop its head. The intended victim would then refill the water, and the kappa would be bound to servitude.
Demon Spring Kappas
I was developing the kappas for Demon Spring, I had a wealth of folklore to play with. To add the transformation angle, I played around with the drowning concept. In Demon Spring, kappas use water magic to construct glamours of buildings atop water. Humans walk into the water, thinking they’re in the building, and then once they’re too far out to be saved, the kappa breaks the illusion. At that point, it’s either drown or be transformed.
Most topside kappas look human, as do the other species that live in the human realm. They tend to live along coastlines and marshy areas. The original, Mizuchi, was the second original to appear, after Bael. He’s more in line with your typical froggish monster.
Demon hunter Jack Grenard’s life changed three years ago when his wife was brutally murdered by the very demons he’d been hunting. At the urging of his partner Cam Macarro, he’s starting a new life in Atlanta, hoping he’ll find the man he used to be. But on a routine hunt, they come across a new type of demon–one that saves instead of kills.
Meanwhile, demons across Atlanta are preparing for the quadrennial uprising of their Underworld brethren. Worse yet, there’s a rumor the so-called king of the demons, Bael, will appear for the first time in over a century. Jack and Cam must uncover the truth about the mystery woman before all hell–literally–breaks loose.
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