The enfield is a strange creature appearing in history as solely a symbol for heraldry. Unlike most mythical creatures, there does not seem to be an origin story for it. The best I was able to find was that enfields were first used by the Ó Cellaigh clan of Ireland, where it is the crest on their coat of arms.
I first heard about enfields while reading Dracopedia: The Bestiary by William O’Connor—a mock field guide depicting various mythical creature. I already really like foxes and birds of prey, so when I found a creature that mixed them together, of course I fell in love with it. I’ve been saving the idea of enfields for a while, not entirely sure how to use them. But now that I’ve started my novel where humans and mythical creatures live together—enfields seemed like the perfect creature to have roaming about. They won’t play a huge role in my story. Rather, they’ll just be something to help characterize my fauna and hopefully make it unique.
Descriptions of enfields seems to vary slightly. One account says that they have the head of a wolf (or fox), body of a lion, back legs of a wold, and claws of an eagle. Another says they have the head of a fox, chest and claws of an eagle, and the rest of its body made up of a wolf’s. However, my favorite description is O’Connor’s which is simply a fox mixed with a raptor—bird of prey, not raptor as in dinosaur. Though that would be pretty cool…
For simplicity’s sake, and because I don’t want to mash so many animals into one creature, I am going to keep my design similar to O’Conner’s.
My enfields will have the body of a red fox, wings of a red kite, and talons in place of forepaws.
They will also have feathers mixed with their fur along their haunches and tail. The wings will be on the back of the enfield’s back and will be tucked tight against against the body when not in flight. Here are some rough sketches I did while working on their design:
I’m using the term flight loosely. Enfield’s bodies are too bulky to for prolonger flight. Rather, will be used to increase jump height and distance. Where a regular fox might be able to jump 6ft (for both height and distance), an enfield is able to roughly leap a distance of 10ft and jump about 12ft into the air.
Enfields inhabit mostly grasslands and forests, and have an omnivorous diet of wild fruits, vegetables, and small animals.
Male enfields are larger and will have vibrant red pelts and feathers. The females’ coloring, on the other hand, will be closer to brown. This is in the benefit of raising kits. The smaller size allows females to get higher in trees where they build nests, and their color keeps them from standing out to larger predators.
Because of their color, male enfields are hunted for their pelts. This has led to a decrease in their population and makes them a fairly rare sight around the time my novel takes place. Still, they will be encountered by my characters travel. I’m thinking they find one caught in a trap and my beautiful cinnamon roll character goes out of his way to release it—maybe getting them in trouble with the hunters. But I don’t know yet…
I’m also still debating whether I want enfields to be fluffy or for them to have shorter fur—or should it be a seasonal thing? Suggestions?