- General content: | Felaryan fauna | Felaryan flora | Races | Characters | Locations | History and Lore | Science and Magic | Culture and Customs | List of all available articles
Fairies are humanoid creatures found on many magic-rich worlds. They are easily identified by a pair of insect wings growing on their back where the shoulder blades are located, accompanied by a pair of thin, insect-like antennae growing from their forehead. Their frame is lithe and slender, and both their hair and eyes are often of bright colors. Some fairies also posses pointed ears.
Fairies share an uncanny number of traits in common with elves. Aside from having a similar physical appearance, their bones are just as light and ill-suited for physical combat as elves are. Furthermore, both races age much slower than other humanoids and possess a natural affinity for magic. It's interesting to note that many worlds boasting a sizable elf population also host an environment where fairies thrive. Being a world saturated with magic, it's no surprise that a large population of both elves and fairies live in Felarya. All of these facts have led some researchers to theorize that they may have once shared a common ancestor that split off long ago into the two different species we now know today.
Magic is as natural to fairies as breathing and they are almost all born with magical powers. They learn to cast simple spells at a very young age, ranging from illusions all the way to enchantments, elemental magic, and possibly more. As they grow older, fairies often develop an affinity toward a specific type of magic, not unlike how a human develops a talent or interest in a certain field with age. Like elves, they have an innate talent and understanding toward more complex magic arts like rule-based and primordial magic, and are naturally more resistant against spells than other humanoids. Combined with their swiftness in flight, surprisingly good reflexes and craftiness, fairies often stand as far deadlier opponents than their cute exterior would make people think. Many species of Felaryan insects, however, are feared by fairies, as they typically possess very strong magic resistance. Tonorions in particular are among the most dangerous creatures a fairy could possibly face, and some people believe they are their natural predator.
A fairy's magic is stored in their wings, meaning that if damaged, their magic power would decrease drastically or stop working altogether. Fairies are well aware of this crippling weakness and so make full use of their ability to sense the magical signature of other creatures both as a hunting tool and as a way to detect potential danger. Interestingly, dragonfly and butterfly wings seem to be the most common wing type among fairies, though the shape and type of wings have no effect on their magic. Fairy wings are highly sought after by mages, especially alchemists, and can fetch a ridiculously high price on some markets. Quite a few overzealous fairy hunters come to Felarya in the hopes of making their fortune there. Unsurprisingly, they very rarely last long in this perilous world because they tend to bring horribly inadequate fairy hunting equipment with them. It is commonly believed that a fairy's antennae are feelers designed to detect magic, but there isn't enough evidence to support that theory."
The most feared ability of Felaryan fairies is their size-shifting magic. They are able to change their size at will, from 3 inches to about 100 feet within mere seconds, although this range varies from one fairy to another, and in some very rare cases, a fairy may be unable to change their size at all, effectively leaving them stuck in one size. Fairies usually prefer to stay tiny as it gives them more room to maneuver and a plethora of hiding places. Like with their other magic powers, a fairy with damaged or broken wings is unable to change their size. A disabled fairy can quickly get in a world of trouble and fall dramatically in the food chain order until their wings heal again.
Almost all fairies also possess the innate ability to temporarily alter the size of another creature in a similar fashion. This power is however not without drawbacks. In order to effectively alter a creature's size, a fairy must be relatively close to their target and have to concentrate for a few seconds. A careless fairy trying to shrink an armed human right in the open would find themselves wide open for a counterattack. As such, fairies rarely use this ability as a weapon unless they know for certain they can safely get away with it, and prefer to neutralize dangerous preys with other spells first. It is possible for a fairy to affect multiple targets at once if they are powerful enough, but all of their preys must be close to each other.
Naturally, fairies cannot effectively shrink something if its magic resistance is too strong, however the same holds true if the creature's original size is too big. The ceiling on what is considered too big varies widely from fairy to fairy, but suffice to say, shrinking something like a giant naga or even a Kensha Beast to the size of a human would normally be an impossible feat unless the fairy is abnormally powerful. The reverse is also true as fairies are usually unable to enlarge a creature past this same threshold.
A creature who has had its size changed by a fairy usually returns to normal within a time lapse varying depending on the fairy's power. However, unlike a typical size-altering spell whose effect end as soon as the magic runs out, the effects of a fairy's size-shifting spell last indefinitely as long as the affected item stay withing a certain range of the fairy who cast it. As such, an adventurer who has been swallowed by a fairy won't ever revert to his or her normal size while it remains trapped inside the fairy's stomach. Oddly, when a fairy shrinks or grow, whatever shrunken creature held in their stomach grows and shrinks along with them. Some clever fairies have trained to enlarge preys in their belly, either to get the most out of their catch or to compensate for a poor hunt. Similarly, mundane items worn or carried by a fairy also changes size alongside them. Some items such has fairy glass have been crafted specifically to keep preys shrunk indefinitely while the fairy is away. People speculate whether or not this is unique to a fairy's magic, or if the presence of strong fairy magic would also affect a size-altering spell cast by other creatures. Nobody is in a hurry to find out for obvious reasons.
Obviously, shrinking or enlarging an inanimate object is much easier as they are completely devoid of magic resistance. The ceiling on how big an object can be enlarged is substantially more lenient and it's not too difficult for a fairy to keep inanimate items at their new size with dedicated training. Most magic items are a different story, as their mystical nature lends them an inherent magic resistance like other living creatures. The more powerful the magic, the more difficult it is for a typical fairy to affect them. It's important to note that a fairy's magical power do not increase or decrease with their size the same way physical strength does. A fairy's illusions, charms or enchantment would be no more believable or powerful if cast while giant than if cast while tiny and casting a giant fireball or a shower of lightning bolts is just as difficult and taxing whether the fairy is big or small, hence why fairies also prefer to rely on stealth and stay at a small size."
The most popular depiction of fairies is that of playful, curious and mischievous beings who love to have fun more than anything else. While many fairies are indeed light-hearted, carefree pranksters, this isn't entirely accurate. One can find solemn watchmen, serious scholars, mystic sages, and even dark, brooding warriors within their population. It is more accurate to classify fairies as beings of raw emotions. Indeed, they often let their feelings guide their actions, and rarely keep their emotions bottled up. For example, an angry fairy usually yell and vent their rage on the nearest object, and a sad fairy will burst in tears and cry out loud. One would assume that fairies don't work well in groups, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Social beings, fairies tend to naturally form packs and even small tribes, and are usually decently organized. People are often baffled at how such tribes don't immediately devolve into chaos, but it is commonly believed that while whimsical, fairies are considerate of their friends to some degree, and try to act responsibly so as to do them no wrong, not to hamper or harm them. Most often, the smartest or oldest member of the group acts as unofficial leader, whose duty is mostly to solve arguments.
Although they don't have a distaste toward advanced technology like elves do, fairies very rarely craft complex tools. Aside from sometimes making simple devices out of common material, and occasionally making rudimentary clothes and accessories, fairies see little reason to create complex mechanisms and think it's just easier use magic to solve most of their problems. However, they are almost all fascinated by human inventions. It's not uncommon for fairies to rummage through a human's belongings, trying to find new and exciting items to fiddle with in hopes of discovering its intended use, usually with mixed results for both parties involved. In general, fairies tend to be very curious and love to learn new things. A little known fact about them is that they love reading and they form one of the few fully literate races in the wild.
Fairies tend to like the company of dryads, as they are naturally comfortable around trees and they and are always eager to learn about various stories of faraway lands, and they love to bring preys she caught to them as a sign of strong friendship. Fairies also get along quite well with deerataurs thanks to their connection with nature. Their most interesting relationship however is with elementals. For some reason, many fairies choose to mate with them instead of other fairies. This results in a great number of crossbreeds who are often much more dangerous than their parent species. How fairies are able to mate with elementals is a complete mystery, leading researchers to believe that fairies reproduce in a manner far different from other humanoids.
Thanks to their ability to fly, their great proficiency with magic, and the ability to shrink and grow at will, fairies are among the most fearsome predators in Felarya. Though fairies love to eat fruits, they especially enjoy to hunt live preys, as they see the process of stalking and plotting how to catch their meal as a fun game. Fairies like to hunt in groups, although it's not rare to find fairies hunting alone, and because they are able to hide virtually anywhere, they have a myriad of ways to catch prey at their disposal. Fairies like to play with their catches, often teasing or giving them false hope of escape before gobbling them up. They are voracious and love to stuff themselves until their stomachs is full. Such is the threat they pose that a popular -but erroneous- belief is that being eaten by a fairy is the primary cause of death for humans on Felarya.
Despite fairies being so dangerous, some humans have managed to live normal lives among them in the city of Kortiki and have come to understand them better. Among them is the prominent scientist Dr Larken Adroon who wrote several essays on the subject of fairy psychology.
According to her, the first thing important to note is that fairies view right or wrong and perceive other creatures quite differently from most sapient races. Fairies rarely care about the short or long term consequences of their actions. They find it much easier and pleasant to live in the moment than to worry about one's future or dwell too much something they've done in the past. As such, what they consider as right or wrong often boils down to whether or not something will make them feel good right away, or if it will hurt a friend in some manner. Moreover, fairies value friendships above all else. To them, a friend is akin family, and a friendship with a fairy is often one that lasts for a lifetime. Fairies care not for a friend's species, appearance, and especially not sizes since they can change their own at will.
This means that fairies sees befriending something as tiny as a neera as no different as befriending something as colossal as a dryad. Conversely, this also means that they see no wrong in preying on a creature regardless of its race or size if it is at all possible. Likewise, they see nothing wrong with becoming friend with a human even if they are going to happily gobble up every other humans they come across. In any event, their loyalty is such that losing a friend is often seen as either a very tragic event, or a traumatic betrayal depending on the circumstances. The friends of a friend are also viewed as friends, although that usually doesn't stop fairies from teasing them. For example, a fairy who is friends with a human would keep her word that she won't ever eat her companions, but she'll often messily lick her lips in front of them and remind them of how delicious they look. This is all in good fun, really.
Many fairies eat other sapient creatures not just because they must eat other creatures to survive, but also because they act like typical preys. They are always on the lookout for danger, and when threatened, they either flee or become aggressive. From the perspective of a fairy, this is exactly how all preys act, and since they taste good like food, they fill their belly like food, therefore they fill all the criteria to be considered food. With time, many fairies have come to equate some races like humans with meals by default, unless proved otherwise; namely being a friend. That emphasis on friendship is also likely the prime reason why they almost never prey on their own kind. They grow up surrounded with other fairies and most of their friends are fairies too, thus they equate fairies with friend by default. However, in the case of wild fairies growing up alone, it's interesting to note that some specimens can become cannibalistic and keep that habit later on. Plus there are always exceptions to the rules anyway, like Soinee, a fairy whose diet is largely comprised of other fairies.
It's interesting to see Dr Larken Adroon conclude her essay on a surprising note; according to her, pleading with a fairy who have captured you is useless. Stating you are a person and that eating you would be wrong will pretty much seal your fate as food because, for a Felaryan fairy, that's just how prey act! Trying a different approach and saying "Hi! I'm (your name)! Let's be friends!" would grant uncertain but overall much better chances at survival. Needless to say this strange theory raises a lot of skepticism.
- Credits to Shady-knight for writing the revised description of fairies and to Stabs for developing their psychology.