A more esoteric addition was the use of magpies. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked up “magpies” but there is a mountain of information on them. Try an internet search on “magpie lore”.
We brought them into Scordril because we needed to use the rhyme about counting magpies – the one that starts:
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy…
To prepare for that (so it wouldn’t look tagged on), we had Morris looking at – and counting – magpies early on when we first meet the two overgrounders leaving the camp site to climb the Law.
That was realistic, because we had already decided he would have an affinity with animals so that he could be okay with dragons (well, you do need some credibility!). To integrate that small point about noticing magpies, we made Flick tease him about his state of mind. When he asks, without warning, what two magpies mean, Flick says:
“I know it’s silly of me, but I didn’t think this tiny amount of sun was enough to turn your head. What are you talking about?”
Later, to affirm Morris as an animal lover, we showed him letting a butterfly land on his arm – it’s amazing how character fills out and grows from the plot just as much as plot grows out of character.
And once the magpies were “in”, so to speak, it was great to be able to use the rest of the rhyme to link to the secret element of the plot. If you want to know who is keeping secrets from whom, you know what to do!