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July 31, 2017
All in the Golden Afternoon
Dawn breaks over the purple hills. Warmed by the light, iris buds twitch atop leggy stems. They bloom luxuriantly, stretching soft limbs and delicate, violet petal-wings. Tiny white hands ball into fists, rub golden pollen from newly split eyelids.
The iris pixies begin to drop from their stems, giggle as they hit the grass. A high buzz goes up over the field; thousands of small voices, jubilant to be alive. They frolic, admiring each other's wings, rubbing their pollen covered heads, and hugging
Tiny bodies rise from the grass on flickering purple wings, a thousand motile flowers. They flit and cavort under the sun, singing.
They hardly notice as dozens of their kind disappear in puffs of pollen, plucked from the air by keg-sized, hungry bees.
Horton looked up from his knitting. His cat, Dick, had hopped from the garden onto the porch. White and yellow crust covered the feline's muzzle. Something wriggled in its jaws.
Horton beckoned to the tabby. "Come 'ere, Dick. What's that you've got?"
The cat strutted to Horton's rocking chair, tail held high. It dipped its head, deposited a sticky, twitching yellow thing at the old man's feet. Horton squinted at it.
It was a chewed up tulip pixie, covered in its own sticky, yellow fluids. Its delicate, waxy pale arms were snapped, bent askew. One leg was gone entirely. It wriggled in distress.
"Oh, ye damn cat" said Horton. "I told ye not to kill me tulips."
Dick meowed, perked up his ears. He looked at the pixie and thwacked it with a paw. It produced a tiny scream.
"Damn silly cat, don' torture 'im" said Horton. He shifted in his chair, crushed the mangled pixie with the heel of his boot.
The rose reclines, purses her lips. She turns a glance to some pink lads on the toadstool across from her, narrows her pollen-crusted bead-eyes. They grin in unison, begin posing nonchalantly.
One, possessed of flowing, layered stamen-locks, flits his wings. The others cheer him on. He alights on the rose's toadstool. In a high, smooth voice, he begins to serenade her.
The rose closes her eyes, breathes deep. The lad's scent is succulent, heady. In the shaded, musty mushroom patch, his voice is bright and sweet. Slowly, the rose stretches her long pink legs, stands. She approaches the lad, runs a pale, nail-less thumb along his jaw. He flashes white, flat teeth, leans for a kiss.
A crunch sounds overhead. Sunlight breaches the mushroom patch. A giant, pudgy hand reaches from the sky, stubby nails smeared with mud. It seizes the rose round her tiny waist. With a yank, she disappears.
"Ma'm, these ones were gonna snog" says a muddy girl, waving the wriggling rose.
"Put it down, Dora" says her Governess. "We mustn't disturb the landscaping."
Few organisms have mastered the art of sexual reproduction quite like pixiferous plants. Pixifers produce blooms which, after several days of sun exposure, metamorphose into sapient, motile pixies.
Pixies resemble humanoid flowers. They posses a sex, which may be determined by the presence of stamens or pistils atop their petaled heads.
Most species bloom in spring or throughout the summer. In this time, they sing and cavort in an attempt to attract other pixies, with whom they will mate repeatedly and creatively. A successful mating fertilizes the seed pod or bulb within females, which develops upon death. Pixies live for up to a month, depending on species. By midsummer, gutters and roadsides are choked with their small, dry corpses.
Pixies are the target of several predators, the chiefest of which are bees. As pixies tend to be oblivious, they may be gobbled up easily, even by tortoises. Other threats to pixies include cats, who kill them in droves, and small children, who are apt to play with them. Though pixies do not use a language as humans understand it, they use a tonal mode of expression in their songs. Pixies are born with this knowledge. They appear to communicate basic concepts with it. Not all species of pixie are humanoid and sapient. Exotic, tropical varieties, such as thelion poppy, resemble large, ferocious animals.
Pixies are fancied as ornamental plants in Coastal gardens. They are enjoyed for their beauty whilst on the stem, and for their behavior while motile.
Some species are kept for their temperament; be they haughty, playful, or exceedingly lustful. Some are fancied for their song, the arrangement and choral nature of which also depends on species. Some are kept merely for their beauty. Below is a list of the most common species known to pixie fanciers.
Ageratum pixies are treasured for their propensity to remain on the stem if plucked from the ground. For this reason, they make for fine floral arrangements. The purple imagos hang from stems, peeping musically.
Allium pixies are largely flightless. They move about like odd, pink sea anemones, occasionally hopping from branch to branch. They are enjoyed as a sedate counterpoint to more energetic blooms.
Alyssum is a creeping plant apt to spread where other blooms will not. Its pixies are small, exploratory, but unwise. Their little purple, white, and pink bodies may be found in piles where a lack of common sense has lead them astray.
Anemone flowers are fragile, temperamental things. The plant will rarely bloom in excessive drought or rain. Its sweet, egg yolk-and-white pixies are apt to drop dead from any moderate change in temperature. They will make sure to do so in clear view of any available spectators.
Angelica, or wild celery,is popularly picked for its stems and root, which make a medicinal tea. The flowers are often discarded. The grey pixies later develop into sickly, malformed things, bloomed separate from the nourishing stem and unable to fly. Naturally, they are mild, quiet singers, but cry piteously when robbed of flight.
Aster blooms are grand attractors of butterflies. Its pixies, once motile, still produce nectar from their yellow heads. They flee from hungry insects, tittering softly in surprise. Folk often mistake the aster pixies' aerial reeling with butterflies as play, and make an effort to cultivate butterfly gardens with them.
Astilbe, or false goat's beard, was imported to the Coast by explorers on the trackless sea. It is a curious plant, growing well in damp and shade, and producing a markedly unique pixie. Each tall stalk-plume of the astilbe, come pixie season, will separate from the plant and walk away. These stalks may grow to become a meter or more in height. They wander, peeping stochastically, about the countryside.
Goldbasket comes from the craggy peaks of EasternAlagór. It may grow on near any surface, so long as it has sun and a bare foothold. The resulting pixies are small, yellow, and prone to sleeping in piles, thus their name.
Barrenwort, or goatweed, is a rare evergreen bloom that grows only on the inner heel of the Alagóran peninsula. Its greenish, four-petaled pixies lead small, polyamorous lives in the warm forests of the Sarobean coast. They lurk under oily leaves, humming their contented song. Such pixies' idyll existence is often ended, however, as their petals are reputed to be an aphrodisiac.
Beebalm attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Like the aster, beebalm pixies remain attractive to pollinators after becoming motile. They, unlike the asters, are terribly sociable, and may attempt to befriend, ride, or decorate their pursuers. Many a bee has been accoutred with woven vines and muddy paint; many a hummingbird dragged to ground by fatally friendly beebalm blooms.
Azalea, or the "royalty of the garden," is a hardy shrub which may achieve great age. Its pixies, which an old plant may produce in the thousands, are thought to be an ideal species. Their light, choral song and gentle flight make them treasured features of many an antique estate.
Baneberry, or bugbane, possesses a deadly poison. Only its white berries are more toxic than its pixies. Children are discouraged from playing with the friendly, lacy baneberry blooms, whose toxicity may cause stupor or death in all creatures but birds and caterpillars.
Begonia has many cultivars, but only a few are fancied for their pixies. Red, yellow, and pink blooms with fat, layered petals are the most desired. The pixies bloom all summer long, and remain on the stem for a week before flying. There, they hum. Good patches of begonias can be heard humming throughout a garden, a low and calming fugue.
Bellflower pixies are named for their bell-like morphology and tinkling song. A bit of folk advice dictates that wandery children should have a bellflower pixie attached to their collar by a meter of string, that they may be heard and better seen from a distance.
Bergenia, or pigsqueak, pixies are small, round, and apt to roll about amorously in their patch. The name "pigsqueak" comes from the sound their plants' leaves make when rubbed together, as they often are by the rolling pixies.
Bleeding heart in an import from the swamps of the far South. It is named for its blooms, which appear like pink hearts dripping with white blood. These white "blood" petals eventually drop out and unfurl, becoming little pixies. The pixies fly off to sing their melodies. The heart remains.
Bloodroot, or tetterwort, pixies are white with yellow filaments. They bleed shockingly red if squished, as do the plant's roots. This blood, if applied to skin, causes a large, escharotic scab and may be severely disfiguring. If eaten, it will fill the stomach with blood. The poison pixies are playful and sing vibratiously, but shirk away if approached. Some say that ælves are apt to place bloodroot pixies in the clothes and shoes of people they dislike.
Bluebell pixies are minute things, smaller than but quite similar to blueberries with wings and legs. They are sweet-smelling, apt to waft their sugary perfume over many meters surrounding their patch. Their song is best described as a cascade of tiny, disconnected toots.
Bluebonnet, named for its blooms' resemblance to field-worker's sun bonnets, grows on the flat and quiet peperelle isles of the South. Its squat, curvaceous pixies and their indigo hue are currently in vogue, for the Suzerain of Oléroix, a designers, politician, and popular socialite, has taken a liking to them. His work has introduced bluebonnet pixies as a symbol of nouveau sexuality. It has become quite fashionable in the Isles to wear glass charms containing live bluebonnet pixies. Their song, which is infrasonic, causes these charms to vibrate excitingly.
Boneset, or thouroughwort, is used in the treatment of bone-break ague, which is prevalent in the Southernmost Isles where the plant grows. It produces small, ball-like, fuzzy pixies with a single, white tendril atop their heads. These pixies are remarkably fast. If caught, they are dried and taken as pills for ague or other ailments.
Bugleweed is a low, dark plant apt to expand, if left to its devices. The little blue bugle-pixies hide within the wide shade of its purple leaves, producing sounds not unlike tiny tubas. If disturbed, they will flee, shrieking like a poorly-maintained trumpet.
Bugloss is planted at the edges of gardens as a helpful accent bloom. Its ugly foliage is forgiven as shade for clutches of blue pixies, whose curious herding behavior is valued by garden keepers. Bugloss pixies are apt to herd other flying creatures, be they insect or fellow pixie. This behavior is supposedly useful in keeping the flyers of more beautiful plants within the garden.
Buttercup, or ranunculus pixies are beloved for the mirror-like flash of their yellow wings. Self-sustaining plots of hardy, lovely buttercup adorn the gardens of Coastal towns. Wild, yellow-winged imagos rise and whirl plentifully from countryside patches, singing larkishly. Firlish children play a game with caught buttercup pixies, whereby they hold the creature to their chin. A yellow reflection from the shining wings is said to indicate a fondness for butter.
Caladium thrives in shade. There, pink and purple pixies with round heads bobble and flirt in the concealed privacy of green and red leaves. They sing all the day long, a sweet and mellow warble, but only emerge in the golden afternoon.
Calendula is known both for its large, expressively-orange pixies and its leaves, which serve as a spicy culinary garnish. Picking said leaves is notoriously difficult, however, as the outsized calendula pixies will become quite abruptly, unusually defensive if their plant is disturbed. They will employ snapping jaws lined with ridged, hard seed-teeth in their defense.
Candytuft, despite its sugary name, has nothing to do with sweets. Rather, it merely hails from the Isle of Candíe, a tropical paradise. There, candytuft pixies, white and the size of a coin, have no interest in visitors. They keep completely to themselves, selecting particular roosting spots distant from non-pixie life. They sing a calm and highly melodic chorus, but cease immediately if eavesdropping is detected. In floriography, the candytuft aptly signifies disinterest.
Carnation blooms are presented as floriographic symbols of friendship or playful love. They one of few pixifer species to bloom into flying pixies even after being plucked from the earth. The resulting pink pixies are among the most affectionate and prone to human interaction. Most would rather sing upon a human shoulder than reside in nature.
Castor Bean, or ricinus, is a curious plant. In the south, it grows so hardy as to become like a tree. This is unusual, as trees are rarely pixiferous. The female castor pixie, tufted and red, remains on her stem before mating. There, she lurks and sings, attempting to acquire the attention of a flighty male. Once mated, she will detach, leaving a spiny castor bean pod in her stead. This is the selfsame bean which may be made into both castor oil and ricin, a lethal toxin when purified.
Catmint pixies are tiny, happy, purple things born of stiff stalks. Their song is a mere, high buzz of trilling voices. Per their name, catmint pixies and their leaves are well-loved by cats, to whom the plant is a sort of narcotic. Cats will spend hours attempting to swat catmint pixies from the air, dizzy with high. The pixies, true to form, are oblivious as dozens of their lot are smashed from the air and devoured.
Celosia, or cock's comb, is a treasured ornamental. Its large, crestful pixies are long lived, flying for up to six weeks in fertile areas. Their excessive lifespan lends them time to develop startlingly complex choirs and melodies, some of which sound nearly human, and none of which are alike. Celosia originates in the lands surrounding Baramecca. It is that hot land's heraldic flower. There, the plant is eaten as a green and as a cereal.
Chives are often grown by restaurants in perennial garden tanks. The stem, bulb, and flower are all consumed for their mild wild onion flavor. The flowers, large, cone-shaped and purple, are the most desired, for they serve as a decorative element in high cuisine. A live, squealing chive pixie pinned atop a steak is thought to be highly tasteful accompaniment.
Chrysanthemum pixies are often netted, for their sweet bodies are delicious when steeped into a golden tea. They come from the island realm of Maples, where they are the national flower. Chrysanthemum pixies are rarely regarded for their song, which is considered to sound like a squealing mockery of old opera.
Cleome pixies are whiskery, white things with gangly green legs. They were brought in jars from the Isle of Laught, a hot and distant place thought to be an extraworldly locale. They sing constantly, quietly, with many questioning sounds. Only in the presence of cats do they grow silent. They are sold in wire cages, much like mince toads, to detect the presence of mountain lions and other such hungry cats.
Columbine, or heartstop, as the Firls call it; or aquilegia, as it is called in the South, is among the most common meadow flowers of the Coast. North, South, or otherwise, some variety of the bloom may be found. Due to their opposed, equal number of sepals and petals, columbine pixies appear to have little skirts. They are prone to dancing in rings, much like Awnish folk dancers, whilst singing and clapping their thin limbs. The creatures are sweet to the tongue, but quite poisonous. The bloom, stem, and root of the columbine may stop the heart of even hearty man. The clever chefs of Empereaux have found a way to make columbine cocktails which cause mere heart palpitations.
Comfrey pixies are flightless. They may be found skipping over the rocks and roots of shallow Arenlandish swamps. They are unique, for their pistils develop into legs, come separation from the plant. Comfrey pixies thus walk about entirely shrouded by the bells of their petals.
Coneflower, while often cut as a hard-wearing table ornament, produces large, hard-headed pixies of an attractive variety. Each possesses a large and weighty ball of prickly seeds atop its head. Such heady craniums lead the creatures a wending, unstable flight upon their many sets of wings. Their clumsy flight is amusing, so long as a prickly seed-head not collide with bare skin. Coneflower pixies' song is enjoyed in country gardens, and is often compared to a children's choir.
Coreopsis, or tickseed,grows in the hot prairies of Baramecca. These red, orange, and yellow wildflowers may subsume entire leagues with quietly chattering flyers. Coreopsis pixies do not sing, instead flirt and laugh in a language of their own. Though scholars have spent innumerable ages listening to this language, they have been unable to decipher it. It is regarded as a nonsense tongue, one known only by ælves and the artfully mad.
Corydallis is an obscure bloom. It grows in the gardens of nymphs and huldrafolk. Outside these otherwordly lairs, it exists only in the terrariums of magicians and botanists, for it requires precise moisture and heat conditions to flower. Its pixies are long-bodied, purple-blue, and crested round the neck like a cobra. They refuse to sing in company. The nectar in their bellies may be distilled into a serum which induces terrible obedience. Corydallis serum has played a role in many a case of torture or illicit coercion.
Crocus is a woodland wildflower from the North. Its pixies are tender things. They clutch their periwinkle petals like skirts, flirt coyly and subtlety far from prying eyes. Their song, if heard, only occurs in solo pieces meant to woo a mate. For their hidden nature, crocus pixies are rarely fancied by gardeners.
Cupflower is an herbaceous, shrubby wildflower which grows in the damp springtime of southern Alagór. Its pixies are prone to collect raindrops in the upturned petals of their heads. Once full, they topple over, giggling. Their song, a sort of fast minuet, is made spotty by this repeated toppling and refilling.
Daffodils are especially joyous and communal. They fly in droves, reeling and playing in the air. Though their wings are a fine, bright gold, they are primarily a wild species. Most gardeners avoid daffodils, due to their propensity for orgies.
Dahlia blooms are among the largest pixies encountered in Coastal gardens. They are many-petaled, round things, apt to lounge and titter a stringy chorus. Red and white dahlias are most popular. They are also the most prone for a sort of vain dignity, for which the species is symbolic. A Dahlia pixie, if made overly dirty or tattered, will simply hide and wait until death.
Daisy is a prolific species throughout the Coast. It will bloom anywhere, given sunshine. The pixies are truly exuberant things, apt to play with both each other and non-pixies. This often leads them into the hands of children, who spear them onto daisy-chains. Their song is akin to many tuneless penny-whistles tootling in vague harmony. Daisies are cultivated for their astringent properties. Farmed pixies are caught and squeezed for their juice, which it then used to soak bandages.
Diascia, or twinspur, is a curious species imported from a lost isle on the Trackless Sea. Its pink, bibbed blooms each contain two sacs of black oil. To reproduce, diascia pixies exchange oils in a rather sensuous ritual. Before engaging in said ritual, they sing together for a week whilst on the stem. This song naturally takes the form of a warbling duet. Oil of diascia has become a popular product in the Isles. If dropped into the eye, it causes an attractive dilation of the pupils. Profit margins for small-scale diascia farms are immense.
Fennel pixies are rarely observed, for they are truly minute. Each apparent fennel flower is comprised of some three dozen pixies, each of which will eventually fly. These are mistaken for tree pollen floating on the breeze, and are readily inhaled and swallowed. Their song resembles a mere rustling, rarely heard over even the swaying of grass on the wind.
Flax bears a blue and reflective flower. These blooms remain on the stem for only a while before flying as pixies. The flyers are often netted alive and set to mate in mesh cages by farmers, who collect their bodies, which contain seeds, to press for oil. Flax pixies are not valued for their song, which is considered to be atonal in a manor reminiscent of Arenlandish funeral dirges.
Foxglove must grow for two years upon moorland soil before it first blooms. When it does, though, they are revealed as horns of unsurpassed elegance. Such horns are known for fitting evenly over the thumb. Stories tell that ælves place them on the toes of foxes to silence their footfalls. Foxglove pixies are remarkably short-lived. They produce an echoic sort of song for only a few days before perishing. All parts of the foxglove are toxic, but may also be taken in small doses to increase the strength and volume of the human heartbeat.
Guara, or beeblossom, produces a peculiar breed of whiskered pixie. In order to prevent harassment by bees, these flyers will offer up globs of their own sweet nectar to pursuing insects. Often, this allows them to escape unharmed. Guara pixies are notable for changing abruptly to a darker shade of petal the night before they die.
Geranium, or cranesbill, originates from Illa Corvoy. Much like the touch-me-not, a vermilion geranium pixie will burst and fling its seeds when fertile and ripe. This bursting produces a gassy pop. Such pops naturally intersperse the stilted song of geraniums, and are oft-incorrectly attributed to the melody itself.
Geum, or avens, though a cousin to the rose, is a mere wildflower. Geum pixies, which are typically red or orange, are affectionate and notorious for a tendency to incidentally die while interacting with Littorans. They will drown in open drinks, burn in pipe bowls, or simply become crushed under idle limbs. Their song may be described as naught but a lazy sort of yipping.
Goatsbeard pixies sport long, cream-colored tendrils of many florets atop their heads. Due to the ungainly nature of their headgear, they are unable to fly, and instead make a habit of dancing on flat stones, clicking oddly. They are native to the high plains of Lothrheim, where herdsmen treasure crushed goatsbeard as a salve for rheumatic animals.
Gomphrena, or globe amaranth, is a wildflower imported from the deepest dustplains of the South. Its globular blooms metamorphose into rotund pixies, which bobble through the air much like ungainly bumblebees. Their song is a quiet series of fast, undulant honks. Gomphrena is often kept dried, as it keeps its attractive purple shade interminably. The blooms and pixies are much like prickly pinecones, when dried. They are used as adornments for flower chains, and taken as large pills for cough and irritation of the lung.
Gorse pixies are an uncommon variety. They fly in winter, even in great cold, for their bodies produce, unusually, their own heat. The yellow glow of gorse pixies is in part due to reflected light, and also in part due to a small exothermic reaction occurring in their bellies. Every gorse pixie has a limited supply of fuel. Most die within a few days. In that time, however, they produce a whispery rhythm before mating, steaming, in the snow.
Heliotrope is a shade-growing, dark-leafed plant. It produces pixies of blue, white, or purple. These blooms, despite their shady origin, are prone to turn and face the sun, whether on the stem or flying. Long-bodied heliotrope pixies will sunburn until nearly cooked and dried, at the height of summer.
Hellebore, or winter rose, is a poison species native to the North, especially high mountain glades. Its blooms, which are often purple or green shaded with black, are apt to droop on the stem, so heavy with nectar are they. The pixies are much they same. They droop about in a lushly depressed fashion, only flying or mating with apparent reluctance and disinclination. They do not sing. If any portion of the hellebore plant is eaten, it will cause cramping, burning, and, supposedly, a grim mood. Folklore supposes that hellebore, if eaten alongside buttercup, will engender a permanent state of ennui.
Henbane, or stinking nightshade, produces unattractive mustard pixies with black heads. It is known as a plant of sorcery, as its pixies smell of death, and its leaves produce a powerful psychoactive effect. Despite their ugliness, henbane pixies are a recognizable symbol. Their likeness is stamped on the crates and labels of gruit beer, to which henbane is an essential ingredient.
Hepatica, or liverwort, may be found slowly spreading neath dark groves. Its pixies resemble purple buttercups in shape and song, but are not nearly so reflective. In fact, hepatica blooms seem to take in light. They are regarded as unnatural, a sign of the encroaching Other. Hepatica pixies, mild and inclined to dawdle, are easily caught. They are mashed and used to coat the clothes of those who wish to go unseen.
Hollyhock is a popular ornamental. Its pixies have broad, clothy wings and a tendency to reel and glide pleasingly. Their song, a sort of ringing chime, is unusually loud. Attempts have been made to breed the volume out of domestic hollyhocks. Wild ones, which frequently grow on, stream banks, are naturally deafening. Folklore states that one should never drink at a hollyhock stream, lest nearby predators go unheard.
Hosta was imported from the Isle of Witchway. It produces waxy, white pixies from long stalks. Though these flyers are widely fancied, they are prone to becoming ragged in short time. Hosta pixies will regularly hold aerial duels in competition for mates. Their song, a chant which companies the duel, may change to suit whichever fighter is winning. The loser will be thrown to the earth and vaguely stamped upon, thus their ragged wings.
Hyssop is usually harvested as a crop before its pixies fly. Each pixie, when upon the stem, has an oil-rich achene within its chest, like a single, large pip of a strawberry. These achenes grow throughout their three-week period of mating, eventually falling away with the pixies' death. These oily things are harvested en masse and squeezed for their essential oil, which is used as a traditional antiseptic and in the purification rituals of Aveth. Hyssop pixies are small and pink, but poorly regarded, as their song is merely a sort of vague droning.
Irises are a prized, delicate species. Their heavy wings are billowy and desirable, but tear easily. Irises are both vain and oblivious. They rarely notice impending, or even present, doom.
Larkspur is known as the most flight-hardy breed of pixie in the North. Possessed of sharp and durable petal-wings, larkspur pixies will travel hundreds of leagues before dying. They travel to acquire gifts. The more exotic the present, the more impressive the proposal. Larkspur pixies are responsible for the transport of many species of flower outside their natural ranges, and they are apt to carry colorful dead pixies as gifts. Larkspur pixies are often netted mid-travel, as their crushed bodies, when mixed with alum, provide a bright blue ink.
Lavender is native to the seaside meadows and moorland of Firlund. Its tiny pixies are mild. Their song sounds of tiny flutes. Their clean scent and noble demeanor have earned them a place on the heraldry of countless houses of Firlish history.
Leadwort, or plumbago, is a creeping plant which grows on the slopes of Illa Corvoy. It forms mats of greenery on the rocky outcroppings of that hot land. In good summers, its pixies may fly all season long. They are unassuming, soft-singing creatures prone to napping. After a long Southern summer, the streets of Port Corvoy becomes choked with their dry, blue bodies.
Lilac pixies are small and slow. Tiny, soft, purple nodules cover their legs. They are prized for their scent and dust, which they waft lazily through the air. Their song is a low hum. Lilacs are prized for summer parties.
Lily is a bloom popular for its fragrance and prominent petals. Its trumpeting pixies are not so popular. Their long legs are coated in pollen, and are apt to leave yellow stains wherever they go.
Lion Poppy grows only in the highest jungle canopies of Illa Corvoy, where it produces hanging vines. From these tendrils grow blooms akin to pink, petal-maned cats with razor seeds for teeth. They roam the isle, searching for mates and prey. Any kills they make are left, riddled with seeds, to rot into fertilizer. Lion poppies are hunted every summer, for their pink blood is the legendary source of coquelicot: A resinous drug of great popularity.
Loosestrife grows on the banks of streams and ponds. Its yellow pixies are prone to voyaging. They will take up leaf-boats and grass-paddles and float to new shores. As they voyage, they sing curiously deep dirges. Once they reach new land, they will mate and die. Their seeds will germinate into generations of voyagers to come.
Marigold pixies are symbolic of despair and premature loss. They are beautiful, boisterous things possessed of a youthful ditty, but die after only a few days of flight. Dried marigolds are sent in consolation letters to those who have lost.
Monkshood, or wolfsbane, grows in the high meadows of the Gorathian Mountains. Its root and flower are among the deadliest of natural poisons. If eaten or taken parenterally, it will cause sweats, burning, and abrupt death as if by suffocation. The flowers in question are long, hooded purple things. As pixies, they are flightless. They amble about in columns, concealed in their own petals as if robed. As they amble, they sing a light refrain akin to a monastic chant. Thus, they earn their name.
Moonflower, or thornapple, is a poison species whose pixies only fly at night. They are fancied, nonetheless, for said pixies have a habit of sleeping in fetching poses with their wings draped about like bedclothes. It is known in folklore as among the classic "witches weeds," all of which are nightshades thought to come from the otherworld.
Nasturtium is the heraldic flower of Illa Phe, a tiny republic in the Sarobean Sea. Its pixies are large, golden, and fiercely territorial. They will chase all flying beasts, save other pixies, for their trellises, where they are most popularly planted. This proud territoriality is an apt representation of their home island, which has often resisted annexation by the Sovereign Isles and Alagór. Nasturtium pixies' belting song has also inspired that island's national anthem.
Orchid describes a diverse and wildly colored collection of species native to the subtropical Trackless Isles. Though their appearance varies wildly, even within single islands, they are unified by a particular tribal behavior. Orchid pixies will divide into tribal flights by color or body shape, regardless of actual species. They will collectively mate, even between species, so long as their mates are visually similar. Their song resembles a troupe of vocalists performing scales. Over 1,000 species of orchid have been identified, and the most beautiful are kept in terrariums by fanciers.
Pansy pixies are idle creatures. They float through gardens, humming their vague and sonorous tune. In the event they bump into another pansy, they will affect incredible surprise and initiate a lengthy aerial courtship. For these days-long displays of idle love, not to mention their varied coloration, pansies are highly popular garden pixies in all Littoran lands.
Periwinkle pixies are light purple and remarkably long-lived. For the first three weeks of their flighty lives, they live typically; fluttering, courting, and emanating a song like muted harps. After they mate and release seeds, however, a periwinkle pixie changes. It will begin to act as if conscious of its own mortality, an awareness no other species owns. Attempts at long-term survival, such as crude leaf-house building and paranoid stealth, begin to command the periwinkle's life. Some pixies will take up in tree hollows and live for some time, growing progressively more ragged. Others, lucky ones, will be befriended by Littoran children and kept as beloved pets for many years.
Petunia pixies are often likened to floating parasols. Their umbrella-like skirts and drifting flight lends them an unhurried air, but also makes them especially catch-able by birds. Their floriographic meaning imparts a gradual or impending tone, appropriate to the pixie's swelling fugue of a song.
Pimpernel is the best-known distinction of primrose. Its red-petaled pixies are of an officious and courtly variety. They Often lead dances conducted by a single singing official. Of course, once the seemingly-organized dance ends, the lot of pimpernels dissolve into sultry plots of disorganized sensuality.
Poppy pixies, plump and colorful, are legendary blooms. The wilderlands East of Northern Alagór, where myth says chevaliers of old made battle with the awful Fair, are host to unending leagues of poppy fields, some of which are rumored to encroach upon the Otherworld. The bloodred, floaty pixies therein produce a sleepy drone of many thousands of overlapping chords. Superstition says that sleepers midst the drowsy blooms will never again awake to the world they knew before.
Quellflower is naturalized in most Littoran lands, despite being a product of selective breeding. Its pixies are ludicrously, entertainingly bashful. Often, they will abandon their convoluted, gift-oriented courtship rituals at the slightest hint of disinterest. They were originally bred as table centerpieces, kept alive in glass globes for the entertainment of guests. Now, they exist in the wild, often attempting, unsuccessfully, to apply their oft-aborted courtship to other species.
Roses are loud and romantic. Their song naturally divides into a series of solo pieces. Their enormous, many-layered heads keep them primarily land-bound. They lounge about and mate with luxuriant indolence.
Rue pixies are kept for their properties as a mosquito repellent. While some say the unassuming yellow pixies actually catch and eat bugs, this is untrue. Few species of pixie have digestive systems. Instead, rue pixies exude a mild insect-repellent oil. They are sometimes kept in small, mesh cages and used for this purpose. In this state, they live for up to a week, singing like minute peeping toads.
Saffron crocus, unlike its wild cousin, is a treasured cultivar. It is so treasured, as its pixies are the source of saffron. Their styles and stigmas develop into stringy red legs, which dangle weakly neath purple petals. These legs, when plucked from the pixie, are known as saffron threads. Once dried and crushed, threads become the Coast's most expensive spice. Saffron crocus grows only in captivity, and its ancestor plant is long ago unknown. Its pixies are made flightless and dull by thousands of years of selective breeding. They live only long enough to drop from their stem, mate resignedly, and die. Most spend their last hours legless, peeping sadly.
Sage leaf is among the oldest of Coastal herbs. It has a place in every cabinet. The pixies of sage are less well-regarded, but are necessarily paid a place of honor by gardeners. A wise cultivator of herbs will not gather sage until they sight bell-top, trumpeting sage pixies mating upon their windowsill. Only then can they be confident the seeds will soon be ripe for plucking and replanting.
Senna pixies are unique, for they attract ants via nectaries in their joints. The ants do not bother them. Rather, they serve as a defense against those who would eat them. Senna pixies, despite having an attractive polyphonic song, are rather unpopular due to their insectoid partnership.
Soapwort is a widespread, redolent, and plentiful purple bloom. It is kept both for its clean scent, the playful demeanor of its pixies, and said pixies' utility in making soap. Soapwort leaves, still blooms, and pixies are gathered up plentifully, for they may be soaked and converted into a mild soap.
Silvermound gives rise to many thousands of tiny, silver pixies, but is rarely valued for their numbers. Instead, it is kept for its evergreen foliage. The pixies are merely regarded as a convenient means of spreading the plant, which is native to the fjords north of Firlund. It may be fortunate they are so small, for silvermound pixies are apt to make long, creative, and distinctly erotic love in clear view of onlookers.
Snapdragon pixies are a rare, animalistic breed. Their snapping lips are pleased by any insect or tiny pixie which may fit within. They spend their days mating and gobbling til they are stuffed, at which point they die, providing their seeds a fertile patch composed of their own composting corpses. Snapdragon pixies are a fine accompaniment to other garden species, as they east pet insects, so long as their neighboring pixies aren't small enough to eat.
Snowdrop pixies bloom long before other species. Their wide feet are adapted to walking on snow, which they do with a great amount of skipping. Snowdrops cannot fly for long, lest their wings freeze. Their song is an incredibly soft refrain rife with hocket. Its sound is regarded as the first herald of spring.
Spurge is regarded as a pest. The low and thick-leafed scrub produces hordes of nibbling yellow pixies which cackle as they nip. As to why spurge pixies bite, few can guess, save out of spite; though botanists suppose the creatures attempt to bring down minute mammals and use them as fertilizer.
Tansies are a queer and wicked flower. Though their many-petaled orange blooms are surely decorative, they are uncommon garden features, for tansy pixies are pestiferous and disturbing. They tug hair, dance with rude sexuality, and sing with a dissonance unpopular to Coastal ears. Their behavior is no surprise, for tansies are an invasive species spread from the otherworld. Fields rife with spreading tansies are thought to be cursed indeed.
Thistle pixies are a militant sort. Even after leaving the stem, they retain prickly, knife-like leaves on their forearms. They make it their life's work to mass together and launch raids on bluebell and loosestrife pixies, among other species. The product of these raids, unless repelled, is a pile of flower corpses suitable for building a cairn. Under this cairn, the purple thistles bury their dead, whose germinate seeds germinate in the rot of their ancestor's foes.
Thrift is local to the salt marshes surrounding Grey. Despite being quite decorative, thrift pixies and buds are grown for medicial purposes. When grown in the mineral-rich earth of marshes, they become vitaminized and healthful. They are eaten by Firls, who say they boost constitution. Thrift pixies feature in several nanny-songs, which mimic the cantering beat of pixies' own tune.
Tulips are the most common garden pixie of the North. They are easy to grow and sport a variety of colors. Tulips titter and giggle all day, but sing only in the golden afternoon. They are well known for their friendliness, but also their foolishness.
Touch-me-not pixies were imported to the continent from Chantofelle Island, north of Empereaux. They are so named for a explosive dehiscence when fertilized, which causes them to burst into many hundreds of seeds if touched. The high song of touch-me-nots is occasionally interspersed with small puffs of bursting kin.
Valerian pixies are sleepy pink-and-white things. They are tiny and apt to play dead if in danger. They attract cats, who are wise to their tricks and often smash them to bits. Their song is notable for trailing off at odd moments, and is rarely valued for gardens.
Verbena attracts butterflies. Verbena pixies use this to their advantage. They wait to leave their stem until a pollinator draws near. At that moment, they detach and leap astride it. Verbena pixies may ride a butterfly for leagues, only detaching to mate once sure they are in a new locale. Thus, they spread, for their long bodies make them unable to fly effectively. When astride their pollinator steeds, they sing hymn-like ditties to the wind. Some legends will credit this song to butterflies, unaware that it is the pixies aboard who are the performers.
Violet pixies are confused things. They are likely to attempt to woo and mate with any vaguely humanoid thing, be it a violet, a human, or a pixie of another species. Many a springtime sleeper has been awakened by a lustful violet singing whistles in their ear, hoping to gain notice.
Wishbone grows its pixies on individual stems. These pixies are among the few to possess the necessary structures to consume food. They use this ability for strange purposes, however, as they are cannibals. After mating, the male pixie will perish dramatically. His sweet flesh will be consumed by the female, who will proceed to mate and eat several more times before dying quite fat. Only a female wishbone pixie will sing. She does so to attract mates, as her wings become eventually unable to lift her bulk.
Woodruff, though not awfully attractive, produces a scent reminiscent of sugar and newly-mown hay. Its pixies, small and white, are sometimes kept living in sachet-cages to treat laundry. Experimental fashions from the Rue de Couture have involved keeping flying woodruffs leashed by silver chain about the neck. These are eventually an impractical prospect, as woodruff pixies are bound to do obscene things with a wearer's ears.
Yarrow pixies, much like the snapdragon, are hunters. They fly in swarms, hoping to catch an insect among them. Once caught, they will form a ball about the bug and vibrate. Eventually, the built heat from this vibration will lead to the bug, and several pixies', death. They may then be used as repositories for seeds. Yarrow pixies sing and mate only before they hunt, for they become immediately and ferociously fertile afterwards. This song can only be described as akin to a war chant.
My longtime creative prompt is "what if X were people?" It's great. Also, it might be cool to play a series of pixies in an RPG. Die, get a new pixie. Repeat. This article was made possible by Incunabuli's generous supporters on Patreon. To join them and read articles available only to supporters, support Incunabuli on Patreon. Edit: Some time after the original publishing of this article, I've added a significant list of pixie varieties. This will serve as a reference for my later sandbox construction. It is by no means exhaustive, and will likely require me to go back and edit it as corrections or narrative changes are necessary. For now, it is my first d100 list.