An enigmatic fae similar to both pixies and the ancient Danaanites, the shyde is thought to be one of the more recent additions to the ranks of the fae.
- For the most part human, usually beautiful, with slightly pointed ears (just like an elf) and large wings made of semi-transparent film, similar to those of insects such as dragonflies (though the shape is more like a butterfly). A shyde has only two wings, unlike pixies which have four or more (and are much smaller). They also glow softly, just like the Danaanites.
- Life Cycle
- Shydes reproduce in the same way as humans. They reach physical maturity around age 20; their typical lifespan (250 years) is known only from their own testament.
- Shydes primarily eat fruits and flowers. They do eat vegetables, other than those of the nightshade family, but do not eat meat.
- Shydes are not very skilled in shapeshifting (though they can manage enough to lose/regain their wings), but are capable of moving out of phase with reality, allowing them to pass through solid matter. They can also control plant growth in a manner similar to most pixies.
- Society and Culture
- Shydes usually live in fairly tight nuclear groups, consisting of a matriarch and usually two generations. There’s not a lot of contact between disparate groups, to the point that incest is not uncommon, though only within a generation (ie, cousins or sometimes siblings). Some have been known to choose a human and protect or guide them, perhaps inspiring the concept of the “fairy godmother”.
- Brief History
- The history of the shydes is bit of an enigma. The first confirmed encounter with a shyde wasn’t until 1901, at the funeral of Queen Victoria of England, though several other sightings were reported during her reign, and there’s some speculation that some of the art of winged fairies during that period may have also been based on actual sightings. Based on popular culture, they should be a relatively recent addition to the ranks of the fae, yet conversations with them suggest they have a much longer history, going back at least to Shakespeare’s day and perhaps even as far as the legendary battles over the island of Ériu. The very name “shyde” appears to be a corruption of the Irish term “sidhe”, a term which usually referred to the Danaanites. Some scholars speculate that they are an offshoot race of the Danaanites, citing as supporting evidence the fact that, like the Danaanites, they refer to themselves as the Children of Danu. However, this theory does not account for their pixie-like features, like plant control and wings.
A mountain fae of Japan known both for its wisdom and its lack of forgiveness, the tengu played a significant (if not always dramatic) role in the history of Japan.
- A tengu in its natural form is a tall red-skinned humanoid with heavy eyebrows, pointed ears, and a very long nose. They are also often seen in the form of a human with a corvid head, wings, and claws, or as regular corvid, particularly favouring the crow. Sometimes they add the corvid wings to their natural (red-skinned) form, or take a more normal human form (with or without the wings).
- Life Cycle
- Tengu reproduce in almost the same way as humans, the main exception being that, instead of live birth, the females lay an egg. (It’s always one egg, even when multiple births.) They reach physical maturity around age 30 and usually live around 200 years.
- Tengu favour a diet rich in meat, supplemented with rice and vegetables, especially root vegetables. They’re also known to eat bamboo shoots.
- Tengu are skilled in large-scale illusions, for example creating an illusion of a different environment; unlike many other fae, they can include an audible component in their illusions. They can also summon and control fire. And of course they have some skill in shapeshifting, as evidenced by the list of common forms above. Some tengu (often referred to as shamans) study magic, learning skills such as telepathy, telekinesis, healing, or dreamwalking.
- Society and Culture
- Tengu live in small communities, usually on or near mountaintops, and put a great store in their concept of honour, a concept which has been incomprehensible to the Japanese for as long as they’ve been in contact with them (though this is mostly because the Japanese made no real attempt to understand). They retaliate against a breach of honour without mercy, though they seem to prefer to humiliate or torture rather than outright kill. (In fact, they consider it dishonourable to kill an enemy except in certain specific circumstances.) Tengu society is segregated by gender, with the females staying in or near the nest while males often ranged far and wide. Because of this segregation, female tengu are rarely seen by humans.
- Brief History
- The tengu have a long history of animosity with the people of Japan, usually as a result of their retaliation against perceived wrongs where the sinners don’t understand what they’ve done. However, there are also a number of famous teachers who were tengu, especially martial arts teachers; in particular, the tengu are credited with the foundation of ninjutsu, a mixture of martial arts and ritualistic magic practiced by spies, scouts, and assassins in ancient Japan.