Pixies (sometimes called “fairies” or “sprites”) are a class of small winged fey mostly associated with flowers and other plants. There are many types of pixie; some scholars suggest every flower has an associated pixie, though this is not a widely accepted belief, as the number of flowers with no known associated pixie greatly outnumbers the number of flowers with a known associated pixie. Most known pixies are associated with flowers of Europe, especially the British Isles; those that aren’t can usually be traced to former British colonies.
Although pixies vary quite a bit in appearance, they have a number of things in common. Their general form is human, with a tendency towards elven ears. Although they’re quite small (generally significantly less than six inches), their proportions are that of an adult human. And all pixies have wings of some kind, though the form of these wings can vary drastically depending on the type of pixie.
A few types of pixie are more drastically different, sometimes having a less human appearance. However, they are still grouped as pixies due to their small size, wings, and human shape. They’re different enough to have a separate article, though.
The wings are the most varied aspect of different types of pixies. Many pixies have butterfly or moth wings, with the more flamboyant ones being more common. Beetle wings aren’t especially uncommon, though, and at least one pixie is known to have dragonfly wings. Other pixies have wings that appear to be made of flower petals, the leaves of trees, or the wing-shaped samara seedpods that some trees produce. Depending on the pixie, they may have four, six, or even eight wings.
Pixies often wear clothing made from flowers, leaves, or other plant matter. These clothes remain fresh as long as the pixie wears them.
Pixies reproduce almost the same as humans, but a newborn pixie grows very fast, reaching at least an inch in the first day and becoming full-sized within a week. Also, unlike humans, they have adult proportions right from birth.
Even though they reach full size so quickly, they’re not fully matured until they’ve lived at least a year. Immaturity is reflected differently depending on the species; the wings may be less vibrant, for example. Once matured, they can live pretty much indefinitely; they’re not known to die of old age, at least, but their populations are usually kept in check by predatory Unseelie fae such as the Cu Sith, so it’s hard to get a good idea of their natural lifespan. The oldest known pixie recorded by the Ministry of Magic was two hundred and thirty-four years old at the time of meeting; it’s unknown how much longer she lived after that.
Once pixies reach a certain age, usually around a hundred years but varying a little depending on the species, their hair turns pure white. Pixies show no other physical signs of aging, however; their skin does not wrinkle, for example.
A pixie’s diet varies greatly depending on the type, but nearly all are vegetarian; a few types (usually those associated with trees) eat grubs, worms, or small insects. Many pixies drink the nectar of their associated flowers or the sap of their associated trees, and berries are a common source of sustenance for many types of pixie. Berries that would be deadly poison to a human usually won’t have any effect on the average pixie.
Like all fae, pixies are inherently magic beings and have some innate powers. Unlike many fae, they are not particularly adept at shape-changing. However, they are skilled in simple acts of illusion, and can call up vines or creepers from nearly any solid surface and control them to entangle enemies. This power isn’t limited to vines; they can make any plant grow quickly.
Pixies can also keep plant matter fresh, as if it were still attached to its source plant. They typically use this ability subconsciously on their clothing.
Some types of pixies have additional powers, like the ability to blank out memories or put creatures to sleep with a touch.
Society and Culture
Pixie culture is generally pretty carefree; they live in the present with little care for the past or future. They are reknowned for their song and dance, and they are among the most friendly of fae, often willing to help out lost travellers. They’re also known to be tricky, though, and their pranks will sometimes result in unintended harm. These pranks are almost never malevolent, however.
Pixies have tended to keep away from all the supernatural historical conflicts, so their presence in the history books is usually brief and fleeting. It’s known (from talks with pixies) that the first pixies came into existence in Cornwall, though they’ve spread quite some distance from there and now can be found worldwide. It’s not so long ago (a couple of centuries) that pixies frequently ventured out of the Shadow Realm, where they were sometimes seen by humans; however, with the urbanization and pollution of the modern world, most pixies now stay in the Shadow Realm their entire lives.
A sample of specific pixies are described below, covering appearance, sometimes diet, and, where applicable, any additional powers.
A bluebell pixie has wings resembling the blue morpho butterfly, Morpho rhetenor. Its human body is just about three inches (7.6cm) tall, and typical garb is a skirt sewn from the petals of bluebells and, for females, a leaf of the bluebell wrapped around the chest like a sarashi. Sometimes a blade of grass may be substituted. These pixies have fair skin and typically flaxen hair, though other shades of blonde are known.
A buttercup pixie has wings that look very much like the petals of a buttercup; each of the four wings has three lobes or petals, though these petals are not separate as they would be in an actual buttercup flower. Its human body is usually a little taller than three inches (8cm), and typical garb is a skirt sewn from buttercup petals and, for females, a single petal tied about the chest. These pixies have fair skin and typically reddish-blonde hair.
The so-called royal pixie has wings resembling the monarch butterfly. Its human body is about four inches (10cm) tall, and typical garb is a hula skirt made from the flowers of milkweed, still on their short stalks; usually there are at least two rows of flowers around the rim of the skirt. Females don’t usually cover their chests. These pixies typically have reddish hair and lightly tanned skin.
A maple pixie has wings resembling the samaras (seedpods) of a maple tree. It has six such wings, and its human body is a little taller than three inches (8cm). Typical garb for the females is a dress fashioned from one or two red maple leaves. Males sometimes do the same, but more often use a single maple leaf fashion into a sort of loincloth, or even forgo clothing altogether. These pixies typically have bright red hair to match the fall leaves of their trees, together with darker skin of a shade comparable to the Native Americans. A maple pixie’s diet consists of grubs and insects that live in the tree, as well as the sweet tree sap.
A dogbane pixie has wings resembling those of the dogbane beetle; this includes both the hardened “elytra” wings and the functional “alae” wings. Its human body is about four inches (10cm) tall. Typical garb is a skirt made from a single dogbane flower; they usually leave their chests bare, even the females. These pixies typically have light brown hair and fair skin.