It’s hard to tell which of its unusual features is the most arresting- it’s antlers, the gold marking, thick white fur- or it’s third eye.
Okay, it’s probably the eye.
As it’s name would suggest, the Anomaly is little studied and remains a mystery to the parazoology community. They have never been captured, disappearing like smoke once contained- one popular theory is an ability to move between dimensions at will.
While most assume it is fae in origin, other dare ask- perhaps the anomaly is neither from earthside, or the otherworld. Perhaps there are places beyond our knowledge even yet.
But for now, we can all agree- ‘Anomaly’ is a fitting name indeed.
When the faerie and human realms were sealed off from one another by the great Nightwarp storm; what happened to those left behind?
Some, like the Filauny we have covered previously, formed remote and reclusive colonies. Others turned feral: for example Hominus Minimus or the Little Fairy.
These faeries, once playful and mischievous, suddenly found themselves lost without the guidance of their lost courts; turning scavenger and hunter to survive.
These days it’s rare that you’d see faeries like these in the wild- they favour remote places where the skin between worlds is at its thinnest, where they feel closest to their lost people. However, many natural history collections have preserved specimens like the ones you see here, available to study.
Sometimes called ‘cloud mouse’ or ‘false dragon’, the silkwing is delicate creature that is often romantically described as ‘travelling with the winds’.
As autumn arrives, you’ll see silkwings far more often in the skies along the coast. They’ve flown in from the inland meadows where the spend the summer; riding the strong winds to wheel and gather in flocks of tens to hundreds strong.
Come early October, after a month of socializing and cementing strong flock relationships, the silkwings migrate to winter in the southern hemisphere.
This summer may be full of weird cult activity and necromancer shennanigans, but the Seaflower Institute still has normal work to do.
Well, comparatively normal, I mean. Like, going to check up on an ancient dragon. That kind of normal.
The village of Lyminster in West Sussex is home to Knucker Hole, a supposedly bottomless blue pool. It was in this pool, the legend goes, that the Knucker lived; a fearsome dragon that tormented the local villages, until it was eventually slain- either by a knight in the traditional fashion, or a cunning baker via a poisoned pie.
More likely, the dragon activity subsided due to the dragons hibernation cycle, which typically involves napping for a few hundred years.
We like to keep an eye on the Knucker, so every five years or so, someone goes to check its still alive- and this time it was me and Jesper’s turn. So, armed with dragon repellent and welly boots, we ventured to sussex.
The farmers whose livestock graze in the surrounding fields are certainly taking no chances- as Jesper found out when he accidentally touched the stock fencing.
The pool is pretty secure behind a high gate and barbed wire-topped fence. We were let in, and stood at the edge of the water like two clueless kids on the doorstep of an ancient monster.
‘Look!’ Keeley shoved her handheld ORCID into Lesley’s face.
‘Good morning to you too, Claremont,’ Lesley said, taking a step back so that her eyes would actually focus on the screen. Keeley was practically bouncing up and down with urgency. Lesley grabbed her wrist to keep the handheld still.
It was was a photo of a wall, with a very familiar symbol painted on it.
Lesley groaned. ‘Evelyn is going to be thrilled.’
Evelyn was not thrilled at all. She scrunched up her fists, leant back into her chair and went uuuurgh– which, coming from evelyn was basically a temper tantrum.
Then she produced her own photo.
‘This was pinned to our door this morning.’
‘Is that a… corn dolly?’ Keeley asked. ‘It’s kind of cute. Some little cultist probably spent a lot of time on that! Where is it now?’
‘Jesper whisked it off somewhere- I think he’s dissecting it. I took the photos for the archive, if my dear brother actually turns up for work today.’ She peered at her ORCID owlishly, ever the long-suffering responsible sibling.
If it were up to Lesley, she’d just kick him out.
That’s probably why is wasn’t up to Lesley.
‘…I was just about to ask where Bartholomew was,’ Keeley said. ‘Are you sure he’s not just sleeping in the archives again?’
‘I checked the usual spots- besides, I actually heard him leave last night.’
‘Just…with all of this cult thing, it’s probably a good idea if we keep track of everyone. And not wander around Revery in the dark alone, like, ever.’ Keeley sounded worried.
‘Or,’ Lesley said, ‘We could let him get murdered by ritual sacrifice. Then I wouldn’t have to do it myself.’
Jesper’s note: So says the poem- and the mushroom men have been known to follow home those who harvest the fungi they watch over in woodland areas. However, there is no evidence that they ‘fear the light’- they are simply nocturnal.