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Daoine Sidh

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A far cry from the cute, diminutive fairies of story-books, the Faerie Courts such as the Daoine Sidh (People of the Hills) are an imposing, majestic sight; especially when encountered riding out on their Rades or Cavalcade. How could they be anything less, for they are the Old Gods of Ireland - the Tuatha Danaan (Children of Dana). Reduced from the halls of worship to the hollow hills of folklore by the advance of Christianity, the various Faerie Courts are the masters of Glamour (transformation and illusion) and should never be underestimated.


 

Trooping Faeries

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Less aristocratic perhaps - yet no less awesome than the Faerie Courts - are the Processionaries or Trooping Faeries. Known also as Gregarious Faeries, Shee-og and Macara-Shee (or by different individual clan or local names) they may be encountered on certain nights of the year as they tread their traditional paths by foot, some carrying sundry possessions or banners, some such as the Manx Hog-men heaving their entire hill-home upon their backs. Woe betide any human who dares to block their way or build upon their routes.
Often amongst the Irish Troops, an Amadan or Faerie Fool is to be found. Though jesters for their own kind, they will not suffer any ridicule from human lips. One Amadan, known as the Stroke Lad, can induce madness and paralysis with the mere touch of his fingers.


 

Merry Dancers

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At night, it is possible to chance upon the Faeries dancing within the confines of toadstool rings or megalithic stone circles, or fleeting across the sky as the ethereal glow we have come to know as the Northern Lights. It is all too tempting to join the Fir Chlis or Merry Dancers in their festivities, but it would be a great folly to do so. Thus indulged, such hapless humans may find themselves dancing unto death or insanity, or otherwise may find themselves trapped in the Otherworld for centuries that seem to pass as single nights.


 

Muryans

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In Cornwall, it is believed that Faerie Glamour is not infinite and that each and every time a Fay shape-shifts or casts a transformation, part of their vitality - the life-force known to mystics as Prana - diminishes. The oldest Faeries (and those who have been wanton in their use of magic) will therefore in their final phases appear as ant-like creatures known as Muryans. Other people, though, believe that the Muryans are actually the souls of Druids who died refusing to accept Christianity, or are the spirits of children that passed away before being baptised.
In Cornwall therefore, it is considered foolish and unfortunate to tread upon ants.


 

Pixies

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Much land in the English West Country of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset is Pixie territory, won by them in ferocious battles with other Fay breeds. Isolated Pixie colonies have also been reported in East Anglia and Northern England and, at times, travelling Pixy-Fairs have been seen operating in other regions.
Pixies are generally mischievous rather than utterly malevolent in their dealings with mankind. Typical Pixie tricks include causing people to become trapped in grassy rings known as Gallitraps, or to become totally lost in familiar surroundings (being Pixy-Led).
Pixies tend to live in grassy hollow hills (Pixy-Mounds) but may at times venture into rural dwellings. A sub-species known as Grigs tend to prefer the surroundings of apple-orchards. Other sub-species such as Bucca prefer the coast, whilst the Derricks are fond of moor-land.


 

Elves

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Though the Elves’ roots lie in the Scandinavian and Germanic lands, many have made themselves at home in the British Isles, especially in Scotland. There are both Light Elves and Dark Elves. The former are pale and radiant and tend to inhabit the crowns of tall trees, whilst the more nefarious Dark Elves prefer to live within the hollows between the roots. Both types are skilful at crafts & metal-work and neither are overly-fond of mankind. They may strike at us with cursed projectiles known as Elf-Shot or Elf-Bolts, induce strokes & insanity and may also weave matted knots (Elf-Locks) into the hair of sleepers and into the manes of horses. Elves can alter their size and shape at will, and as one of their favoured forms is that of the mouse, Elves are also none too keen on cats.


 

Stone Faeries

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During the hours of daylight, they appear as cold stone monoliths and may only give the most fleeting murmur of a melancholic sigh; yet once bathed in silvery lunar light a profound transformation occurs. Boulders metamorphose into the lithe bodies of young women of pale, iridescent complexion and long flowing hair. Either naked or clad in sinuous dresses of grey or white, the Stone Faeries, Saresyns, Pyrenees - call them what you will - then dance in freedom, or spin the threads of life and fabric of time upon huge stone wheels. Come the dawn, the maidens return to stone once more.


 

Hyter Sprites

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An unusual and localised Fay breed, the Hyter Sprites are common only to East Anglia in England (though similar species have been reported in Spain and Mexico). The Hyter Sprites transform their small humanoid frames into the manner of Sand Martins. They may be encountered in small groups or congregated in flocks of considerable size. Though generally shy or indifferent to human presence, it has been claimed that Hyter Sprites will lead lost children home. The Ferier Trooping faeries of Suffolk may sometimes also assume avian form, but this they do less habitually.


 

Spriggans

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Although their music-making is often appealing, the same cannot be said for the appearance and manners of the Spriggans. This species are to be found on the Cornish coast, upon Selena Moor, and to a lesser extent on the Irish coast. They keep themselves busy by looting human houses, stealing from thieves and smugglers, abducting children, blighting crops, infecting livestock and raising storms at sea. Despite their often coastal existence, Spriggans however cannot touch salt-water. Their wondrous ability to change size in an instant can be extremely intimidating and confusing to the senses, and has led some people to believe that this race are in fact the ghosts of long-dead Giants.


 

Korred

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There are numerous differing breeds of Korred, the dominant Fay species of Celtic France. They are mainly encountered in the vicinity of earthworks, dolmens and other megalithic monuments, but may also be found on heaths, marshland, coastal cliffs and by ancient wells. It is often suspected by greedy minds that the Korreds guard vast amounts of treasure, as they will defend their haunts with gusto. They can be bargained with however, as pigs left under the watchful eye of a Korred will be well tended - upon the understanding that a good portion of meat will be given to the Korred when the beasts are butchered. Likewise a blunt knife left on a Korred stone with a coin, will be discovered well sharpened later and the coin removed. They will not work if watched however (but may still take the coin). Korreds like to dance on Wednesdays, but if humans join in the men will find themselves extremely exhausted and the women will find themselves pregnant. When the baby is born, it will strangely bear a strong resemblance to some local man other than the husband of the mother.


 

The Unseelie Court

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As opposed to the Seelie Court, whom are Scotland’s most fair and noble Faeries, the Unseelie Court are a motley collective of Dark Fays, Goblins, Bogies, Supernatural Witches and even the corrupt souls of dead sinners. The Unseelie Court are the unblessed and all are murderous and vile, yet most petrifying to behold are their number that manifest as the Sluagh or Host. They appear moving in from the western sky as a black, writhing cloud. This babbling multitude will seize unfortunate humans from the ground and force them to participate in their heinous crimes. Many of these victims will be left physically and mentally broken, many miles away from their scene of abduction, but any who are already of doubtful character will be assimilated into their number. In Ireland similar mobs of ‘Bad Faeries’ are known as the Adh Sidhe and Slua Si. On the Isle of Man the phenomena is called the Farish or Guillyen and the terrible noises they emit are known as the Sheen-ny-Feaynid - The Sounds of Infinity.


 

The Fomorii

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Also known as: the Fomors, Fomorians, Fomoire, Tuatha de Domhain (Children of Domnhu ) and Sea-demons.
The Fomorii were an ancient semi-aquatic race that would rage, extort and slaughter their way across the land after nightfall. They were the bane of old Ireland, until their defeat at the hands of the Tuatha de Danaan. The Fomorian warlord Balor was a barbarous giant whose gaze from his single eye could cause crops to wither and men and soldiers to blister and burn. It took four Fomorii henchmen to hold open Balor’s eye with ropes, hooks and pulleys. The other Fomorii were extremely diverse in form but generally extremely hideous. Many were conglomerations of human, animal and unrecognisable parts. Other notable Fomorii included the dreadful female warrior, Lot, who had hungry mouths situated on her breasts and four extra eyes in her back, and Searbhan the half-man. This one-eyed, one-armed, one legged Giant was far from being handicapped by his form and was renowned for being a brutal and efficient killer. The Fomorii were dispersed but it is possible that some of the monsters of sea and land that lingered down the ages were originally of their number.


 

Firbolgs

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The Firbolgs were fairly primitive marsh dwellers who escaped to Ireland from a life of slavery in ancient Thrace. Though they ruled Ireland for a while it wasn’t long before they were oppressed by the Fomorii race. However the Firbolgs still decided to ally themselves with these dreadful tyrants in the war against the Tuatha de Danaan. The Firbolgs, though, were defeated before the fall of Balor. The scattered Firbolg took up a secret existence in the quagmires of Ireland and Britain living off rats, frogs, carrion and other meat they could slaughter or steal. Their bitterness and harsh conditions possibly caused them to evolve into Ballybogs, Boogies, Mudbogs, Peat Faerys, Bogles and other similar foul swamp species.


 

The Coranied

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This strange, supernatural race sought to enslave Wales and Southern England in the days of the Druids. So awesome was the esoteric knowledge of the Coranied that they could turn dry leaves into gold coins and could hear whispers on the wind. It was only due to the efforts of the Welsh brothers Llud and Llevellys that the Coranied conquest of Southern Britain was not assured. By crushing the bodies of unspecified insects into water and spraying the brew onto the bodies of the Coranied, the liberty of the land prevailed - for whilst this concoction proved lethal to the invaders, it remained entirely harmless to the Ancient Britons.


 

All artwork and text © Andrew L. Paciorek

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