Oh, the imps.
When I wrote the imps into Hidden, I did it kind of thinking “I love them but everyone else is going to think they’re stupid.” The good thing, I guess, was that I just didn’t care. I loved them. I loved their evolving relationship with Molly, and the way serving her affected them. I needed creatures she could trust absolutely, because at the point in the story where they were introduced, there was NO ONE Molly trusted. And I thought it was sad that the only beings she could trust were those who were required, by the very nature of their existence, not to betray her.
So I did have those moments of “no one is going to take this shit seriously,” but I had fun writing them. And when I started publishing Hidden as a web serial, and then in book form, I was shocked to get comments and then reviews about how much some people loved the imps. Not a week goes by now in which someone doesn’t comment on the imps, and that still amazes me.
So there may be a lesson there, fellow writers: trust your gut and write the things that make you happy/entertain you before worrying about what anyone else thinks.
So in light of the imp-love, I thought I’d write a little bit about how I came up with them.
As I mentioned above, the imps really came into being because I needed someone Molly could trust. And the imps served that purpose as well as a few others:
- They helped highlight Molly’s goodness. She hates the idea of any creature being required to serve her, and she treats the imps far better than any of their previous masters. She makes an effort to actually learn their names as well as other things about them, and they tell her in book one that no one had ever bothered to do that in their over 700 years of existence. Molly comes to see them as friends, and their devotion to her goes beyond what is required of them.
- They helped establish that Molly is the strongest demonic being around. Of course, the reason behind why, exactly, isn’t revealed until book two, but once she starts coming into her powers in Lost Girl, it becomes clear that she’s a force to be reckoned with. When the imps swear themselves to her, it makes it clear to everyone just how powerful she really is.
- They are a constant in her life. Whether she has her friends and team-mates or not, she will always have the imps. They’re the one thing she can really, truly count on.
Here’s how I imagine the imps. Physically, they look quite a bit like the demonic imps that warlocks have as their first minion in World of Warcraft. (Shut up. Best. Game. Ever.) Mixed with maybe a little bit of Yoda.
As far as their personalities go, they’re a lot like Yoda. Wise, trustworthy, and steadfast. They don’t look like much, but when they decide to kick ass, look out.
For their names, I just kind of came up with Dahael’s name because it sounded right. I fully confess to Bashiok being named after someone I follow on Twitter, not because I know him in any way, or have even tweeted with him that I can remember, but because that Twitter handle is the perfect imp name. So thanks, World of Warcraft CM @Bashiok. 🙂
How the Imps Work
As Nain explained to Molly in Lost Girl, the imps follow power. They will only serve the most powerful demon (and for clarification purposes, demons and other beings of the Nether are kind of lumped together. Both types of beings come from the Nether, and their powers have a similar feel to them) and will do so absolutely. The enchantment that created them (and that’s something you’ll finally learn more about in book four) makes it so that they are incapable of disobeying or betraying their current master.
So what can they do? They are invisible to humans, so they can get around quite easily. When they’re in the service of a typical, chaos- and pain-hungry demon, they’ll work, whispering into the ears of mortals, encouraging them to cause pain. They encourage violence and pain, which are two of the things that strengthen demons. Typically, this is the way a master will choose to use them; as a way to strengthen him- or herself. They can communicate with one another telepathically, and also with their master, but not with anyone else. They can fight when they are required to. Both Bashiok and Dahael are pretty vicious with both their daggers and their teeth when they need to be.
Imps. I love them, and I hope this post has been a fun little behind-the-scenes peek at the Hidden world. Thanks for reading!