When I wrote the first draft of The Bond Stone of Eishe, I imagined Jemarc’s hunting dogs to be very like Irish Wolfhounds, perhaps not as tall, but otherwise similar:
… in the densely-wooded Kannuk Valley, Jemarc was out hunting. He had spent the day with his companions and his pack of shaggy brindle hounds and they had rich rewards to take home. …
As the door opened, sounds of music and laughter ebbed into the quietness then were firmly shut out again. A huge brindle hound lifted its head from Jemarc’s legs and gazed benignly at the the newcomer before returning to its former position…
But Eishe, where the story takes place, was rather ‘Celtic’ back then (weren’t all fantasies?) To make it more interesting, I’m now leaning towards South America as inspiration – Aztec or Mayan culture perhaps (without the nastier aspects – including dog eating). I don’t fancy hairless dogs though. So, for now, despite the changing landscape, I’ll stick with my original description.
Jemarc’s favourite hound, Ree, plays a vital part in the story when he tackles a ferocious nocturnal-boar to protect his master who has been rendered senseless by a corrupt sorcerer. In an attempt to revive Jemarc, his friends are attempting a counter-ritual that relies on death coming very close, but not so close that anyone or anything dies.
Ree growled, low, menacing.
Megora blinked sleepily. “What is happening?”
“Nothing,” Yelveer told her. “Wait a moment, I have to think.”
The tall, shaggy hound rose to stand on stiff legs, a crest of hair raised along its spine, tail held straight, lips drawn back.
Yelveer was lost in thought but Megora, still in a dreamlike state, heard the rustle of dry leaves and a throaty snuffle. “What’s that?” she gasped, then, as she guessed: “Oh no! Yelveer – help me up. Get Jemarc. We’ve got to go!”
A deep grunt sounded nearby.
“Ree! Wait!” Megora commanded. But the hound had already flown forward into the thicket beyond. There was a scream of pain, a roar of anger.
Yelveer, half-supporting Jemarc’s body, laid him down again. “Guard him,” he said, handing Megora the dagger. Taking his stone knife and the machete he plunged into the darkness in the wake of the hound.
“Yelveer, don’t be a fool!” Megora pulled Jemarc up into a sitting position, where he was less likely to be trampled, and wiped the blood from his chest with the cloth. She could not remember how he had come to be wounded.
“Call the hound!” Yelveer shouted. “Call it off!”
“Ree, come here – come back!”
But he only obeyed one voice and that voice was silenced. He did not respond.