Archive 34: Flesh Part Three

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F#26: Freshwater Undine

Freshwater Undine

Paracelcies Phoxinus

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The freshwater undine prefers lakes and slow moving rivers, but can still be found in deep streams and waterways across the country.

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Whilst the undine is often assumed to be a smaller, feral relation to the mermaid; this is not the case. Undine are closer to fish than men, and have all the intelligence of your average minnow.

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They are solitary creatures and highly territorial, tearing at their prey with needle sharp teeth- and will have a go at an unfortunate fisherman, should they mistakenly catch one.

Wading barefoot in known undine territory is not advised.

Archive22: Kedoaken

‘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.

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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.’

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‘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.’

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F#22: Hearth Sprite

Hearth Sprite

Chaotic Elemental

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The hearth sprite is a familiar and well-loved figure, present in many homes. Drawn in the flickering of a fire, the warmth of a stove or just a trace of coal dust; the sprite is easy to attract.

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Having done so, many people follow the tradition of bottling a sprite, and keeping it on the mantle for good luck and prosperity.

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As long as you feed it with a pinch of coal dust every day, the sprite seems content to live in the jar. (Should its glow start to dim, it should be released immediately.)

F#21: The Guardian of Wistmans Wood

The Guardian of Wistmans Wood

Fae

Warning: Treat with caution, watch what you say and check any wording in a written or verbal contract carefully.

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There are places where the skin between worlds is thin. You feel a tingle along your spine, a prickling of your skin and a tang in the air, like the taste of ozone before a storm.

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It is in these places that you’ll find such peculiar beings as the Guardian of Wistmans Wood: cloven feet, horns, a cape and a goatlike face- it’s no wonder people talk of devils and wild hunts in this part of Dartmoor.

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The guardian lives in a cave beneath the roots of a contorted oak. When we arrived he didn’t come out straight away, but i could see the glint of his eyes inside the dark crevice.

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‘I know you’re there,’ I said.

There was a rustling, then a low croaking laugh. He stepped out into the light.

‘Greetings, Bartholomew.’ His eyes flicked over Jesper and Thursday behind me, but other than that he didn’t acknowledge them.

‘Wistman.’ Those eyes make me uneasy.

‘How’s that soul of yours?’ He said slyly.

‘That’s not why we’re here-’

‘Ah yes, we have a contract to renew.’

And contracts with faeries are almost always sealed with blood.

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Archive19: Blood Donation

A photo diary entry by Thursday Madaki

So, when I joined the SFI no one mentioned the ritual blood-letting. And, since then, it’s only been mentioned in passing- until the other day, when Evelyn said it was time to renew the Whistman contract.

Bartholomew groaned.

‘I’d send someone else,’ Evelyn said, looking unusually sly, ‘but you haven’t left the archives for days and you need the exercise.’

‘Also the guardian will only deal with me.’

‘That too.’

I interrupted then-

‘What contract?’

Instead of answering my question, Evelyn spoke to Bartholomew.

‘You should take her along.’

I hate it when they do that, like I’m the kid in a group of adults. I mean- I am, technically. But I hate being talked about like I’m not there.

Bartholomew was pulling a face like he was going to say no, so I spoke before he could.

‘I’d love to go!’

 

If only someone had mentioned it would involve hiking, and creepy blood drinking goat fairies.

 

Wistmans wood is only half an hour of walking from the main road, but that’s half an hour too much for my liking. I’m not really the biggest fan of the great outdoors, although I can appreciate Dartmoor’s weird brand of bleak beauty.

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The drive to get there had been long, made longer by the fact that Jesper listens to recordings of scientific lectures whilst he drives.

Bartholomew and I played i-spy, but he said I cheated when ‘something beginning with A. M.’ turned out to be ‘abject misery’ because it was on HIS face and therefore he couldn’t spy it.

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The reason we were driving all this way, then walking over uneven, ankle-twisting moorland, was because in the in the middle of nowhere is the kind of place you find a faerie who goes on vicious murdering rampages if you don’t check in on him every once in awhile.

The first contract was made in 2001, after a farmer who walked in the wood came home to find his sheep gone without a trace. Hikers were poked with invisible pins, and a young couple who carved their names into a tree drowned mysteriously in a shallow pool.

Evelyn, just starting out at Seaflower back then, tracked down the creature responsible, and made a deal. A deal that we were now heading out to reinforce.

The woods were beautiful and completely surreal. The entire floor was made up of huge rocks you had to climb and hop between, the trees were dripping with garlands of moss and lichen.

I barked my shins several times as Jesper led the scramble to the far side of the woods, where we stopped before a small cave formed under rocks and tree roots.

Bartholomew took something from his bag, unwrapping it and lying it on the ground. It was a athame- a ritual knife used in witchcraft.

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‘I know you’re there,’ Bartholomew said.

I saw something move in the depths of the dark crevice. Light glinted on a pair of eyes, staring straight back at us.

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To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.

F#18: Lanternhead

Lanternhead

Also known as: Old Man of the Swamp

Homunculus

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In the dark of a summer night, you spot a light that seems to hover half a foot off the ground. Then another light pops into existence.

Then another.

You have come across a rare occurence: a ‘Moot’ of Lanternheads.

This pale skinned, furry-bodied homunculus is normally a solitary creature, wandering large swathes of woodland, moorland or marsh. However, during the summer months it seems that several will congregate in one area- and no one knows why.

There is no visible interaction between the creatures at the moot. They stand several feet away from each other, and appear to gaze skywards. Are they communicating in some internal fashion? Or are they waiting for something?

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We may never know.

Entry compiled by: Bartholomew Moon

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