Beware the Fae

You don’t hear a lot about the fae these days – there’s no trooping rades to worry about, the standard protections of horseshoes over the door and rowan in the garden are more or less abandoned and any mention of the word fairy brings up visions of Tinkerbell and other scantily clad moppets. The fae only exist in fiction, or as spirit helpers to various new agers, and are easily dismissed by the mass populous as foolish fancies. And that’s exactly what they want you to think.

Trapped long ago in one of the many otherworlds touching ours, all they need is one break in the wall then they’ll be back to take over the Earth and we’ll all be in trouble. If they’re not kidnapping you, they’ll be cursing you with strange things, unleashing plagues, swapping your children with changelings or just killing you for kicks and giggles (and the chance to dip their heads in your blood).

Know Your Enemy:

Elves – the posh ones. Usually tall with a figure that would make a model weep, best identified by their pointy ears and a superiority complex bigger than Jupiter. Will claim to be above human affairs but will meddle anyway. Tend to be the top of the fae food chain so any alliances you may make with other fae will falter if the elves interfere. May seem friendly, what with the obsessive gift giving, but be warned, that’s how they get you – doesn’t matter if it’s a nice piece of fruit when you’re hungry, or some nifty looking trinket, once they’ve got an excuse to put you in their debt, you’re done for. Decline politely and never try to outsmart them as they have a grasp of loopholes and small print that puts any lawyer to shame.

Fairies – the famous ones. Found in both forests and urban environments – these are the ones that look like scantily clad moppets with wings. May look cute but are known to be vindictive and will definitely bite. Have a tendency to form attachments to humans and then do violence to any poor sod that takes away their human’s interest. On the plus side, they’re small enough to swat when they get annoying.

Pixies, known in some parts as Pictsies – best exemplified by the Nac Mac Feegle. Primary activities are drinking, fighting and stealing. Known to swarm their prey and will quite happily take down targets many times larger than them. If you hear a collection of voices bellowing their war cry of ‘Crivens!’ run fast. You won’t be able to out run them but you might get points for the effort.

Goblins – the short ugly ones that do the child stealing. The urban goblins build their towns around their king’s castle, usually with a tricksy maze surrounding it. These ones are not the brightest bulbs in the box but with proper direction will get the job done and legend has it that their king has a thing for music and tight trousers. The rural goblins tend to be a tad nastier – can be found lurking in hidden caves in the mountains and are prone to spouting bad poetry when they want to taunt any travellers they happen to have trapped. These ones think you look good enough to eat and will tell you at great length just how they’re going to cook to you.

Trolls – the big ugly ones that will accidentally on purpose squash you. Like their rural goblin cousins, they are both overly fond of going into extreme detail about your role in their next meal and have a fondness for hidden caves, as exposure to direct sunlight turns them to stone (and they need somewhere to store all the loot they nick off their victims’ bodies). That said, if you can keep them distracted until sun up, you can claim their loot and make a profit out of the encounter.

Elementals – back in days of yore, when the fae ran rampart, a wide variety of elementally inclined fae could be found lurking in perfectly innocent items of landscape. Trees conceal dryads, every body of water is teeming with nymphs, kelpie, mermaids and other beasties waiting to drag you in and drown you; there’s sylphs in the air and salamanders in fire and none of them want to invite you over for tea and cakes…


Fae are territorial by nature and take trespass very seriously. Not that they need much of an excuse to mess you up, mind, but if you can stay out of the areas they count as particularly special, you might live a few more seconds than the idiots who go skipping up the wrong hill or dancing around the wrong stone.

Fairy rings are clearly marked by circles of visible mushrooms or toadstools, or rings of darker grass (and rumours that this latter is an effect caused by harmless fungus is just propaganda designed to get you into the danger zone…).  Rings can either mark gateways into fae territory or popular party zones for the feral little buggers, or they can simply trap any unwary traveller who happens to step into them. Mark them as something to be avoided at all costs and you should be fine.

Stone circles, bronze-age earthworks and iron-age hill forts are also known haunts of the fae, especially around Midsummer Eve, so time your tourist trips carefully or you’ll end up laden with curses, taken as prisoner or splatted across the landscape.

Know Your Weapons

Luckily they have allergies. Salt, iron, holy water, bell ringing, holy symbols and holy names all work as deterrents. Four leaf clovers can be used to break fairy glamours and St John’s Wort, red verbena and rowan are known to counter fairy spells.

If you think you can convert the fae to your side or just want to sweeten them up so they don’t bother you so much, then try putting out offerings of milk or food – rumour has it that the Chicago variant of urban fairy are especially susceptible to gifts of pizza (possibly they’ve been hanging out too much with the turtle apocalypse threats in New York).

And if nothing else, you can use their factionalism against them. A little well placed propaganda of your own will get them nicely distracted with a fae civil war and if they don’t manage to destroy each other, they’ll at least deplete the ranks enough for the human resistance to swoop in and finish the job.

battleaxebunny out.

*Fairy poster (c) Lars Elling Lunde

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