The Fae

Fae is a term used as a catch-all for various races that exist simultaneously in the Aether and the material plane. It includes elves, pixies, brownies, changelings, and other races. The primary difference between fae and other supernatural creatures is that fae are considered mortal and can be killed on the physical plane (whereas Demons, Elementals, and other creatures destroyed on the physical plane are merely banished back to their home planes). Fae are also capable of shape-changing into a human form at will in order to pass as human. In most cases, this is a “fixed” form (i.e. the fae has its real form and a single human form it can switch back and forth between).

The Worker Fae

The “worker class” of fae include those fae races that have lived alongside humans in a strangely symbiotic relationship. Each type of worker fae has a unique compulsion that drives it to interact with humans.

Brownies: Brownies thrive in household environments, cleaning and fixing things in the home. Brownies generally hate being watched while they work, however. In the past, they would perform their work late at night while the family slept. A household blessed with the presence of a brownie would leave out honey or sweet cream as “payment” to encourage the brownie to remain. A brownie that feels it has been slighted or abused, however, will cause all of the food in the house to spoil and then abandon the family.

Gremlins: Gremlins began to appear during the industrial revolution and are believed to be a natural evolution of the worker fae races. Gremlins love machines of all types, and spend their time oiling or repairing machinery. Like all of the worker fae, they can be temperamental when they are insulted or mistreated, leading them to break or sabotage the machines they love.

Hobs: Hobs enjoy working on farms, where they tend to plants and farm animals. Like Brownies, they hate being watched so they tend to perform their tasks late at night. Mischievous hobs that have been slighted may leave barn doors open, allowing animals to escape or cause crops to wither.

Leprechauns: Of all the worker fae, the leprechauns are the most industrious and businesslike. They love to tinker and repair items, particularly shoes and watches. Unlike other worker fae, however, they expect real coin as compensation. The fabled “pot of gold” leprechauns possess is the result of the payments they receive for services rendered.

The Children of the Woods

The Children of the Woods are those fae that live on the material realm but stay apart from humans. Though collectively referred to as Children of the Woods”, these fae appear in a variety of natural settings. There are dozens of varieties of the Children. The most common are explained below.

Pixies: Pixies are invisible in their natural state, but can will themselves to be seen if they wish. Pixies tend to congregate in wetlands and marshes, and when visible are often mistaken for dragonflies at a distance. Pixies are generally considered harmless but mischievous, and may play silly pranks on humans that get too close to their territories. They will rush to action, however, if a child is in danger, as their own innate innocence makes them protective or children.

Sylphs: Sylphs are fae found in mountains, canyons, and similar remote environments. Sylphs dislike humans “invading” their homes and have some limited control over the wind, which they can use to push people off ledges. Their wrath can be calmed, however, by whistling or melodic singing. In which case, they may follow the human in order to enjoy the music, and then leave them alone as “payment” for their service.

Sprites: Sprites live in freshwater lakes and rivers and generally try to avoid interaction with humans. Sprites will ignore humans so long as the human is not polluting its home and have even been known to save drowning victims. However, they can grow violent if their lake or river home is threatened. Like pixies, sprites are invisible in their natural state. When they chose to allow themselves to be seen, they normally take the form of a young girl.

The Noble Fae

The Noble Fae are those that reside in the Aether and avoid coming to the physical realm as much as possible. The true number of Noble Fae races is unknown, as the majority of them avoid mortals. Those that are known to mortals fall into the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, as these two groups have the most interaction with the physical realm.

Both maintain “embassies” on the physical realm in order to manage those affairs that require interaction with mortal races. Both “Courts” are known to interact with the various colleges of magic and tend to be most comfortable dealing with witches. The Seelie will occasionally deal with werewolves, but refuse to associate with vampires. The Unseelie consider werewolves too feral and no better than semi-intelligent hounds. While they dislike the smell of vampires, they will work with them on mutually beneficial issues.

The division between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts is a matter of politics that go back thousands of years and would take another thousand years to unravel. While mortals tend to think of the Seelie Court as the “good” fae and Unseelie as “evil,” the truth is more complex. Neither group is fond of humans (whom they blame for driving them from the material plane and generally making a mess of everything). Neither would lose any sleep if humans spontaneously vanished from the universe. The Seelie are simply less inclined to “force” that to happen.

While the Noble Fae are considered “mortal” insofar as they can be killed, their natural life span can exceed a thousand years. Noble Fae aren’t even considered “adults” until around the age of two hundred.


Cats and fae have a hostile relationship. Cats are the only creatures that can see fae even when they are in their natural invisible state. While other creatures like dogs may be able to “sense” their presence, only cats can see and pinpoint the location of nearby fae. Cats treat any fae smaller than themselves as prey and will attack accordingly, and are considered one of the few “natural” predators that fae have.

Fae, for their part, seem to suffer allergic reactions to most cats (even so-called non-allergenic breeds). This can cause sneezing fits, hives, and other reactions depending on the type of fae.

Fae in the Modern Era

The rapid change of the two centuries has changed the dynamic of the worker fae/human relationship. Most fae looking for placements work with agencies, much like the employment agencies used by humans to find jobs. Agencies screen fae and prospective placements to make sure that both the employer and employee will be safe. One of the largest such placement agencies is The Flugalmorph Agency, which has long-term contracts with all of the Colleges of Magic to provide services to member witches.

Fae Appearances in the Nancy Werlock Universe

A brownie representative of The Flugalmorph Agency appears in the story A Clean Sweep in Episode Seven to discuss contract services for Nancy.

A brownie named Harlan appears in the stories Like a Kick in the Head in Episode Eight and Animation in Episode Nine as the brownie assigned to clean Nancy’s house.

A leprechaun that attempted to destroy some construction equipment appears in the story Magically Delicious in Episode Seventeen.

Creative Commons License
The Fae by Julie Ann Dawson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

One thought on “The Fae”

Leave a Reply