The Fairies of Shikoku
Fairies live in many places, anywhere they might find a comfortable nook or a warm little hole in a tree or under a rock. Solitary fairies can make a home in a forgotten shoe or a knothole; small families might be able to home themselves in an abandoned backpack, a hollow stump, or the rafters of a cottage.
However, Fairies are not typically solitary creatures by nature (though certainly a few are). They like to visit their friends and neighbors, to explore their environment, and meeting new faces. This means that Fairies often come together to form towns, much like humans do – places where hundreds of fairies might live, work, play, and come together in a community.
Any ‘soul’ (human, Pokemon, or Fairy) can be a part of Fey society. However, Fairies tend to only ‘see’ creatures that are one foot tall, or smaller. Beyond that, they’re more likely to see them as “Bigyin”, or “Big People”, who cannot interact with their society for obvious logistical reasons.
This means that Fairies have a working relationship with many of the smaller Pokemon species, breeding, stabling, and caring for them as Bigyin Trainers might. The smarter Pokemon among these sometimes interact with Fairy society as full members.
They’ve even occasionally shrunk humans or larger Pokemon down through magical means to tour Fairy villages.
Jobs and Economy
Fairies have many jobs, just like humans. While those fairies that live alone need to fend for themselves, doing whatever needs to be done, any Fairy that’s a part of society will probably fall into one kind of job or another, generally (but not exclusively) called Guilds.
Those Guilds are:
- Farmers, “Seoras”. They tend to Berry plants, cut grass and harvest hay, and provide food and materials for society. This includes miners, shepherds, and anyone who obtain and nurture “that which nature freely gives”. It also includes care for Pokemon, from stablehands to veterinarians, as well as childcare (nannies, teachers, and babysitters, to name a few).
- Makers and Crafters, “Gowan”. These Fairies create things from the materials that Seoras obtain. From sewing needles to swords, end-tables to entrees, saddles to sutures, the Gowan use talent and skill to turn miscellany into merchandise.
- Builders, “Carls”. While Gowan make things that one individual can use, Carls make things that society uses. This can be larger structures, like roads or bridges, or just larger objects that families (or at least, owners and their visitors) are expected to use, like houses or carriages. The line between Gowan and Carls is sometimes blurred.
- Borrowers. These are Fairies that live in a human’s home (or other human-populated area), taking things from humans and using it as materials for themselves or other Fairies. There are a few Fairies that live in a Pokemon’s home instead, but this is rare (since humans are, by far, the best creatures to borrow from).
- Explorers, “Fenella”. These Fairies make their way in the wide world, exploring the lost and forgotten nooks and crannies. These are the most free-spirited of Fairies, quick to move on from one place to another. They might take the treasures they find back to Fairy society, keep them for themselves, or not even take them at all – having seen a place nobody else has might be payment enough for their time.
- Shepherds of inanimate nature, “Paytons”. Paytons keep nature safe from exploitation, keeping the special places of the world safe from humans, Pokemon, and Fairies alike. Fairy circles, hidden groves, and magical trees. They make exceptions for those places that humans or Pokemon are protecting, though those are few and far between.
- Charity-fey, “Effie”. These are the Fairies that ‘pay back’ those that Borrowers borrow from. They’re tasked with maintaining good relations with humans, but occasionally help out Pokemon and other Fairy communities, too. The Fey consider it of utmost import to keep humans happy and productive, and to keep Fey society hidden from them; when Effie help humans out, they keep them sated and fulfilled, meaning they have less reason to seek out Fey society.
- Soldiers and guards, “Thorns”. More akin to policemen than hardened soldiers, Thorns keep Fairies from hurting one another or disrupting their society.
- Leaders, “Haralit”. Any Fairy that leads other Fairies in their task, from quarry foremen to fey queens of mystical power. Of course, the further down in the hierarchy they are, the more informal this designation is.
Borrowers have a unique name as well, “Malmuira”, but it’s an insult to them now. It means “dark-skinned”, and is meant to picture the Borrowers as covered in coal-dust from all the humans’ machinery. However, nowadays it implies that the theoretical coal they’ve been borrowing is the coal that those humans need to not freeze during the winter. Calling a Borrower – or any Fairy, really – a Malmuira is akin to a racial epithet.
There are two other categories of Fairy, not mentioned above: Redcaps and Gremlins.
- Redcaps are the old guard, and don’t come up in conversation much nowadays. They’re the soldiers of the Fey world, and though the legend says their hats must be stained in blood lest they die, that’s really just a metaphor – though that is actually how they dye those hats. Redcaps are only called in by the Seelie Court when the shit really hits the fan.
- Gremlins are the new guard, and they’re kind of the new class of Fairy. They like to mess with higher technology, and anything digital is something they love (and most Fey would ignore or not even notice). Sometimes they help debug, sometimes they ‘Borrow’ a wire or two for their own purposes. So while Gremlins aren’t good or bad per se, if you find one in your computer, uh, do a quick check on your files and hardware, just to be safe.
Fairy Society is broadly called the Seelie Court", though the power of the Seelie Court only begins further up the rungs of fey society.
Fairy society is ruled at the top by a Queen of a given region. (Rumors of a single Fairy Queen are dismissed as just that – rumors – by any Queen who might grant you an audience.)
A Queen is generally crowned when a fey society of sufficient size suffers through, and survives, some calamity. This could be a flood, an attack by the Unseelie Court (more on them later), or a struggle against humans who just want to clean out the rafters of their neighborhood’s houses. When the calamity is over, the fey society comes together and crowns as queen whatever Fairy best served the community (and was the most popular for their efforts).
And yes, male Fairies can be Queens, though of course they’re called Kings then. This is rare, but only because Fairies are 7 females to 1 male.
Politics and the Court
With a Queen comes a Court – advisors, hangers-on, and most importantly, heads of the Guilds.
When the Queen makes a binding decision or creates a law, she consults all these people, and takes their advice into consideration. She also considers how the decision will affect the balance of power between all these people, and what they might do in retaliation. In essence, it’s the Queen’s job to make sure the heads of all the little parts of Fairy society play nicely with one another, and never feel so insulted as to want to leave and join the Unseelie Court.
However, Queens are generally given freer reign over matters like pageants, handing down punishments to ne’er-do-wells, and making proclamations (which are not binding, like laws, but still announce the general political direction the Queen would like things to go).