"If the sun and moon should ever doubt, they'd immediately go out.." ~William Blake

July 1, 2012

Critters and Creatures ~ part 6

Outside at Night

From wailing Banshees and gloomy Gargoyles to tricky Phookas and Will-o’-the-Wisps that lead the unwary astray, these Creatures make it obvious why Humans have grown afraid of the dark.

Banshees (Family: Circulifestidae?)

Like Brownies, Banshees are loyal to their households, but rather than help with chores, these eerie and gloomy beings wander the grounds of estates, keening and washing the grave-clothes of those about to die.
Although Banshees are described by some as beautiful and by others as hideous, all agree that there is something terrifying about the sight of one. There are even reports that a few unlucky people who have looked into the face of Banshee died of fright. The song of a Banshee is similarly lovely and unsettling.
Some believe that preventing a Banshee from mourning or refusing to listen to its song will delay death, but this seems unlikely as, in most cases, a Banshee is not the cause of death but merely its herald.

Gargoyles (Family: Bestialapidae)

Possibly a species of pygmy domesticated Dragon, Gargoyles actually cannot fly but are extremely agile and able to leap great distances, which may give them the illusion of flight. In fact, their movement is very similar to a Monkey swinging through a jungle canopy. While not aquatic in makeup, they are efficient and excellent swimmers.
Only active at night, the Gargoyle has adapted itself to remaining still for long periods of time so as to better guard the buildings on which it perches. With a stony skin that mimics brick and plaster, Gargoyles are not affixed to building tops, but grip hold of them with incredible strength. Even though there may appear to be many Gargoyles on a rooftop, only one will be a living Creature.
They always look for the highest roots possible, usually on cathedrals, skyscrapers or other tall buildings.

Phookas (Family: Praestigiatoridae)

This mischievous and roguish trickster can appear in the form of a Horse, Rabbit, Goat, Dog or sometimes even a Human. But no matter what form the Phooka takes, its fur is almost always dark.
In a Horse form, a Phooka will lure Humans to ride on its back. Unlike the Kelpie, however, the Phooka will not do the rider any real harm but will take the unfortunate person on a wild and terrifying ride.
On occasion the Phooka can be persuaded to advice and has been known to shepherd people away from great danger. For those reasons, despite the Phooka's delight in confounding and terrifying Humans, it is considered more benevolent than malevolent.
It is the Phooka who spoils the Blackberries after the first of November. Anyone who eats one after that date is stealing from the Phooka and likely to be on the receiving end of this Faerie's displeasure or devious sense of humor.

Will-o'-the-Wisps (Family: Falsilucidae)

The luminous Will-o’-the-Wisps are spotted deep in forests, swamps and other desolate places and appear as glowing orbs that move slowly over the landscape. These phantom lights are called by many different names and are even sometimes thought to be a prank of some malicious Faerie. Elves particularly delight in using Will-o’-the-Wisps as a source of illumination and decoration for their revels.
Lost travelers spotting Wisps often believe they are seeing an artificial light and head toward it, causing them to become even more lost. Many have died, lost and alone or fallen prey to some more dangerous Faerie. As with Stray Sod, it is unlikely that the Wisps know that they cause so much havoc for mortals. Even if they did, however, there is little reason to think that they would change.

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