Sunday, April 28, 2013

Household Fairies

Seed-brownies toil in the garden.
The Wampus Country is home to innumerable fairies, many of which are so small or minor as to avoid general notice; not every fey creature can command the respect of a rapacious devil-fairy.  However, each of them has their role to play in the byzantine ecology of the frontier, and savvy travelers are well-advised to be aware of the circumstances of their appearance, and means to appease them.  Fairies tend to fill roles which are associated with human foibles, obsessions, and concerns - today we take a look at fairies of food, and of cleanliness, both of which might be considered 'household fairies'.


Many frontiersmen know of the gastrognomes who live in the forests, but these fairies cannot be considered household fairies.  A proper household fairy's ecology and life-cycle is intertwined with human habitation; the common brownie is a good example.

Another often-observed type are the feast-heralds, friendly atomies which feed on the human feelings of joy and anticipation; it is no wonder that they make their appearance (and feed) immediately prior to dinnertime, or especially before a large family feast.  Many holiday suppers have been presaged by the appearance of tiny fairies dancing on a table, or charging across a kitchen floor, absorbing some of the ambient anticipatory energy.  Feast-heralds may be related to certain types of least sugar-plum fairies, who are also known to feed on the anticipation and hopes of children.

However, the fairy world does enjoy its dichotomies, so there are also lesser fairies who thrive on ruining meals, and the enjoyment thereof.  Some seem to be much like the malevolent redcaps, while others are pixie-like, but these "spoiler-fairies" universally enjoy the ability to sour milk, rot food, turn bread to mold, and make water unpotable, either by touch or simply by looking at it.  Various charms and wards are employed to avoid these creatures, with dubious efficacy.  Spoiling-fairies should not be confused with any of the several lesser spirits who actually steal human food; spoilers leave the food where humans can find it, so that they might feed on the disappointment, anger, and alarm at the time of discovery.

Straddling the categories of 'food fairy' and 'healing-spirit' are the pixies who combat overindulgence, attempting to aid humanity in an ongoing secret war against the Lords of Vice.  A tiny fairy may appear to a human whose belly is full (and sour) after a night of gluttony, and attempt to teach a lesson about self-control.  Interestingly, these fairies seem to feed not on the lesson learned, but on the human swearing "never again" - generating an ecological feedback loop wherein the pixie wants the human to accept its assistance, but not actually learn the lesson.


The human obsession with cleanliness is a reflection of Law - after all, "dirt" is merely matter which is arbitrarily considered to be "out of place" - and people spend a good deal of time ensuring that their habitats are comfortable and clean.  Many household fairies have adapted to this peculiarity by assisting in the cleanliness crusade, and these fairies are often welcome in the home.  Often working in groups, these pixies aid in cleaning, straightening, and the like - sometimes while the humans are absent.  Fairies of cleanliness need not appear as little people, and sometimes take animal form, or stranger shapes.  Specialization is the key to survival for these creatures, and a caste system has followed suit; fey spirits which scrub kitchens do not often deign to associate with those brownies who muck outhouses.  For a cleaning-fairy to have plenty of food, they need plenty of work, and thus must find a new area to clean, whether it's in the home, livestock, carriages, weaponry, or a particular part of the body.

Wizards who study such things have posited that many of these cleaning-fairies pay homage to a powerful seelie lord with demigod-level power.  A rumor circulating around River-Town suggests that this fairy lord has, on occasion, empowered a mortal champion of the Wampus Country to be his knight, riding forth across the land in pursuit of cleanliness.

A feast-herald fairy which has adapted to feed on the joy of household pets.
Spoiling-fairy, the bane of any kitchen.

Some sanctimonious pixies lecture humans on the evils of overindulgence.
Any household would be glad to host hard-working cleaning-pixies.
This cleaning-fairy has adopted animal and mechanical characteristics to aid in its survival in a very foul environment.

Another cleaning-pixie who looks after carriages; possible connection to the Lost Gods of the Sixty-Sixth Path.

A paladin of cleanliness.
Cleaning-fairies work in concert, using pack tactics and close coordination to attack dirt and grime.

Legends of a powerful cleaning-fairy ruler continue.


  1. Don't forget the fairies that battle over the health of human teeth.

  2. Oh, yes, there's a whole saga there that dovetails into a later discussion of sucromancy, I think.