F#49: Frond

 

Someone emerged from hibernation too early! The deceptively mild weather earlier this week obviously tempted this little frond out from its winter sleep.

They don’t do so well in the snow, however- the usually shy insectivore was surprisingly eager to come inside to harass our spider population.

IMG_1113

F#45: Feral Faerie

Far from the sophisticated faeries of the otherworld, feral faeries are insect-like and aggressive if approached.

 

IMG_0075

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!

 

 

F#44: Rootball

Apologies for the late post! It’s been rather chaotic at the institute this week, what with it being Widowbird breeding season! Also, we have a stall coming up in Gloucester on Feb 3rd and 4th of interesting artifacts and specimens- so if you’re in the area, come and check it out at the ‘What’s Your Game’ larp fair!

IMG_0013

The rootball is found in damp areas perfect for fungus- woodland, rough ground, even some back gardens. Though essentially harmless, make sure your cat/dog/domesticated griffin doesn’t try and eat one- the mushrooms are usually poisonous.

IMG_0008

F#40: Fernling

 

This weeks creature can be found in our shop!

A walk to the woods in the mud and rain might not be your idea of a perfect trip- but it’s necessary if you want to find one of these little specimens!

IMG_8463

The fernling: a creature that loves damp weather, and only likes to stretch its roots with a walk when there’s plenty of moisture about.

IMG_8465

This particular specimen wasn’t thrilled to be put in a jar- but due to their reclusiveness and expertise in hiding themselves away; the fernling is one of our least studied native woodland species.

IMG_8467

So, like it or not, he’ll be spending a couple of weeks in the SFI greenhouse, before I release him back to this spot.

IMG_8457

(This week’s creature report was written by Keeley Claremont, SFI botanist)

F#21: The Guardian of Wistmans Wood

The Guardian of Wistmans Wood

Fae

Warning: Treat with caution, watch what you say and check any wording in a written or verbal contract carefully.

IMG_3993

 

There are places where the skin between worlds is thin. You feel a tingle along your spine, a prickling of your skin and a tang in the air, like the taste of ozone before a storm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is in these places that you’ll find such peculiar beings as the Guardian of Wistmans Wood: cloven feet, horns, a cape and a goatlike face- it’s no wonder people talk of devils and wild hunts in this part of Dartmoor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The guardian lives in a cave beneath the roots of a contorted oak. When we arrived he didn’t come out straight away, but i could see the glint of his eyes inside the dark crevice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘I know you’re there,’ I said.

There was a rustling, then a low croaking laugh. He stepped out into the light.

‘Greetings, Bartholomew.’ His eyes flicked over Jesper and Thursday behind me, but other than that he didn’t acknowledge them.

‘Wistman.’ Those eyes make me uneasy.

‘How’s that soul of yours?’ He said slyly.

‘That’s not why we’re here-’

‘Ah yes, we have a contract to renew.’

And contracts with faeries are almost always sealed with blood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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.

Bartholomew groaned.

‘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.’

‘That too.’

I interrupted then-

‘What contract?’

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.

20170720_115514

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.

20170720_115446

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.

20170720_115348

‘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.

20170720_115414

To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.

F#20: Hekbune

Hekbune- Filauny Male

Fae


For the past couple of days Percy, our resident manticore, has been very interested in the little courtyard garden at the back of the institute. It took us humans a while to catch on- we were being watched.


This is our second encounter with a member of the reclusive filauny species, and after a patient couple of hours of Evelyn and I sitting outside and trying not to look threatening, he finally came out from behind the plant pots.



He introduced himself as Hekbune, still clutching a tiny slate knife and shaking a bit, and said he’d come to thank us for offering assistance to his little sister on her pilgrimage.

So we offered him a cup of tea, and got him to put down the knife (Jesper also offered him a piece of that shortbread Mrs T makes for him and he uses as a doorstop. Jesper is no longer allowed at diplomatic meetings).


We asked Hekbune to tell us more about his people, but he was unconvinced.

However, he said, he would talk to his elders and see what they thought about us meeting them.

He did say that Minluth had been successful on her journey, and is now a fully-fledged clan member.



We offered him a tour of the institute, and he seemed intrigued- but when we took him to the archives he didn’t even make it across the threshold before he backed out, his hands shaking, muttering about ancient evil.

Looks like the archives could do with another cleansing ritual…

F#14: Tuft

Name: Tuft

Classification: Fauna (insect)

Designation: Neutral

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

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑