Episodes three to eight are now on tapas! Click the images below for links to each chapter.
F#45: Feral Faerie
Far from the sophisticated faeries of the otherworld, feral faeries are insect-like and aggressive if approached.
Preferring to stay away from humans, they congregate in remote areas and ancient places where the skin between worlds is at its thinnest.
They’re highly territorial, and will attack if approached. Treat with caution.
Bottled faerie specimen now available on our etsy!
(Adopt a sprig from our etsy shop! Six available.)
It’s been a busy week at the SFI- festive preparations, major storms and power cuts abound! The greenhouse heater has given up, so some of the more sensitive occupants have come inside.
Meet the sprigs; a faeries species also known as wandering roses or meadowmaids.
During the summer months they are often found in the company of bees and other pollinators- so much so that at one time they were thought to be farming the insects.
In a way, they are- flocks of sprigs will wander towards bee hives for a taste of honey; and, naturally, the bees are drawn to their flowers.
During the winter, however, cold conditions threaten the survival of these fae creatures.
And so, we have guests for the festive season, and tiny footprints everywhere. Good luck keeping them out of the chocolate.
Bird feeders watch out! The Phoot is about- and it’s stocking up for the winter!
During October and November, the phoot consumes nearly three times its body weight DAILY, in preparation for its hibernation from December to march.
It’s during this time of feasting that you can best hear the distinctive call that gives it its name: ffff-oot! ffff-oot!
So consider putting extra on your bird table this year- to give the birds a chance.
F#30: Feral Faeries (Hominus Minimus)
When the faerie and human realms were sealed off from one another by the great Nightwarp storm; what happened to those left behind?
Some, like the Filauny we have covered previously, formed remote and reclusive colonies. Others turned feral: for example Hominus Minimus or the Little Fairy.
These faeries, once playful and mischievous, suddenly found themselves lost without the guidance of their lost courts; turning scavenger and hunter to survive.
These days it’s rare that you’d see faeries like these in the wild- they favour remote places where the skin between worlds is at its thinnest, where they feel closest to their lost people. However, many natural history collections have preserved specimens like the ones you see here, available to study.
(Like what you see here? These framed fairies are now available on our etsy store!)
F#22: Hearth Sprite
The hearth sprite is a familiar and well-loved figure, present in many homes. Drawn in the flickering of a fire, the warmth of a stove or just a trace of coal dust; the sprite is easy to attract.
Having done so, many people follow the tradition of bottling a sprite, and keeping it on the mantle for good luck and prosperity.
As long as you feed it with a pinch of coal dust every day, the sprite seems content to live in the jar. (Should its glow start to dim, it should be released immediately.)
Archive19: Blood Donation
A photo diary entry by Thursday Madaki
So, when I joined the SFI no one mentioned the ritual blood-letting. And, since then, it’s only been mentioned in passing- until the other day, when Evelyn said it was time to renew the Whistman contract.
‘I’d send someone else,’ Evelyn said, looking unusually sly, ‘but you haven’t left the archives for days and you need the exercise.’
‘Also the guardian will only deal with me.’
I interrupted then-
Instead of answering my question, Evelyn spoke to Bartholomew.
‘You should take her along.’
I hate it when they do that, like I’m the kid in a group of adults. I mean- I am, technically. But I hate being talked about like I’m not there.
Bartholomew was pulling a face like he was going to say no, so I spoke before he could.
‘I’d love to go!’
If only someone had mentioned it would involve hiking, and creepy blood drinking goat fairies.
Wistmans wood is only half an hour of walking from the main road, but that’s half an hour too much for my liking. I’m not really the biggest fan of the great outdoors, although I can appreciate Dartmoor’s weird brand of bleak beauty.
The drive to get there had been long, made longer by the fact that Jesper listens to recordings of scientific lectures whilst he drives.
Bartholomew and I played i-spy, but he said I cheated when ‘something beginning with A. M.’ turned out to be ‘abject misery’ because it was on HIS face and therefore he couldn’t spy it.
The reason we were driving all this way, then walking over uneven, ankle-twisting moorland, was because in the in the middle of nowhere is the kind of place you find a faerie who goes on vicious murdering rampages if you don’t check in on him every once in awhile.
The first contract was made in 2001, after a farmer who walked in the wood came home to find his sheep gone without a trace. Hikers were poked with invisible pins, and a young couple who carved their names into a tree drowned mysteriously in a shallow pool.
Evelyn, just starting out at Seaflower back then, tracked down the creature responsible, and made a deal. A deal that we were now heading out to reinforce.
The woods were beautiful and completely surreal. The entire floor was made up of huge rocks you had to climb and hop between, the trees were dripping with garlands of moss and lichen.
I barked my shins several times as Jesper led the scramble to the far side of the woods, where we stopped before a small cave formed under rocks and tree roots.
Bartholomew took something from his bag, unwrapping it and lying it on the ground. It was a athame- a ritual knife used in witchcraft.
‘I know you’re there,’ Bartholomew said.
I saw something move in the depths of the dark crevice. Light glinted on a pair of eyes, staring straight back at us.
To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.
Classification: Fauna (insect)
Description: A fluffy green winged creature with a leafy face and shiny black eyes.
Notes: The tuft is possibly of fae origin, and is found in places where the skin between worlds is at its thinnest. When capture of one is attempted; the tuft appears to be able to manipulate its own corporeality, literally slipping through the fingers of its would-be captor.
Entry Compiled by: Evelyn Morris
F#13: Minluth (Filauny Child)
Name: Minluth, Filauny child
Description: Small grey-furred humanoid with powerful hind legs; solid blue eyes; face markings: intentional, possibly traditional (some sort of dye?).
(Note on the name Filauny- we couldn’t ascertain if this was the name of her species, or just of her people/family group. One and the same? Are there others?)
I try to keep these entries purely factual, but today I’ll have to descend into anecdote. I apologise.
We came across the filauny child Minluth in our own back garden/courtyard at the seaflower institue when she tried to use it as a short cut. We were outside, making the most of a rare dry day, when the small figure scrambled down the fence.
Needless to say, she was not expecting a curious party of researchers; just as we were not expecting a small intelligent humanoid no one had ever heard of.
At first we weren’t sure if she could speak english, though she seemed to understand it. Turned out she was just shy; and after Thursday offered her a piece of chocolate the pair of them got quite chatty.
A forest dwelling species of intelligent small humanoids, we gather that the Filauny are proud hunters and have a complex societal structure and culture- more than could be learned in such a short, chance meeting.
Minluth is ten years old, and seems to be taking part in a coming of age ritual, wherein she carries three vials from her home settlement across the countryside to a sacred location. One contains soil from the forest, one an assortment of seeds, and the third water. Once she reaches the sacred place, she tells us, she must plant the seeds with the water and soil, then fill her three bottles with sap tapped from a particular tree. She then makes the return journey and, if she survives, becomes an adult.
She’s not allowed to ask for help on the journey, but is allowed to accept if it is offered to her freely and without prompting. Until the chocolate we gave her, she said, she hadn’t eaten for three days.
She had to leave and continue her task, much to my disappointment, but told us that her people live in deep woodland east of here. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll visit and learn more?