On Vyes

I’ve received a number of emails about vyes over the past few years – the inspiration behind them, how they’re differentiated from werewolves, and all sorts of interesting questions.

For those unfamiliar with the creatures, vyes are the first villains that Max encounters – the advance guard of the Enemy. Vyes are wolfish, jackal-faced shapeshifters who enjoy toying with their prey and often work in pairs, saving their feral aspects for the final moment when their quarry is beyond escape. Tapestry readers further know that riddles both fascinate and torment vyes who suffer from a peculiar compulsion to stop everything and solve them. If you ever think you might be in conversation with a vye (be wary of any human with red, itchy eyes and a penchant for violent, ominous language), you should immediately identify their partner (the other vye is probably somewhere behind you) and extricate yourself from the situation with a clever riddle. The vyes will attempt to solve it and this may be just the window of opportunity to you need for escape….

Of course, readers of The Tapestry know all this. They may also know that vyes are the byproduct of nightmares I had as a little boy. It’s true – I dreamed of vyes as a three-year old and the memory is still very strong. In the dream, I was lying on my bed with my arm dangling over the side while my mother tried to fix my plastic record player. The door to the room was open and from my vantage point I could see the banister and stairs that led down to the first floor of our house. A blur raced up these stairs – a dark, sinister shape that momentarily disappeared and then rounded the corner into my room. It was a vye and it made straight for me, dropping down to all fours and gobbling up my arm before I could utter a peep.

Not so pleasant.

As you can imagine, I woke from my nightmare and ran into my parents’ room. They asked me what was wrong and I reported that the “vyes” were after me. To this day, I have no idea why I assigned that name to them. But, the name stuck and “vyes” came to represent my personal bogeymen.

That’s all well and good, but it still doesn’t answer some of the more persistent questions. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but I can assure you that you’ll be learning a great deal more about vyes in The Fiend and the Forge when it arrives next spring. Among the many tidbits, you’ll learn….

  • Why vyes can use magic and werewolves cannot
  • The origin of vyes
  • Why not all vyes are evil or in league with the Enemy
  • The various breeds and types of vye
  • Why vyes work in pairs and are obsessed with riddles
  • Some intriguing aspects of vye culture and sub-cultures that hark back to the Romans

My hope is that we’ll all have a richer understanding of these strange, scary, and – in a few cases – wonderful creatures. I’ll be posting some sketches of vyes soon so that you can see that they’re just as varied in appearances as the humans they seek to counterfeit! Sweet dreams!