FIRST DRAFT – WIP
The fairies knew that they weren’t very popular with humans. “Annoying beasties” if they came too close, “Peeping flitterers” if they watched from afar. They also knew that they were assumed to be as smart as birds, and everyone knows birds aren’t that smart. Those Needle birds diving to their deaths at the falls didn’t do the birds any favours in the reputation department (the fairies also knew that Needle Birds don’t actually die in their dives, they enter an underground cave system that people did not know about, which just goes to show how stupid humans actually are). So people did not like fairies very much and fairies were smart enough to know that was a good thing.
Fairies weren’t as smart as they thought they were, which is often the case with people who are not. They interpreted everything they saw as a literal event. They could not fathom how one event led to another event, motivation was completely beyond them. The fairies thought that humans were some kind of automaton that appeared to occasionally veer off their programming.
There were humans that did know their true nature. Their “maker” knew, because she made them so. Their maker, who was the latest in a long line of makers, had gone steps further than her predecessor and used the fairies in ways that they had never been used before. The fairies, who had a streak of mischief as wide as the XXXX river, enjoyed their new role as gatherers of information.
There were others that knew about fairies, and had come through their knowledge by use of the dark arts of dissection, memory stealing and re-animation. In the city there are only a rare few who practice these thigs. They do not make themselves known, not even to each other; and nobody misses missing fairies, not even the fairies themselves.
The day fairies gathered in groups in the evening to maintain warmth and for safety. Their small size and constant movement made them very attractive to the feline population. And the rats. And the vampiric bats. Well to just about anything bigger than them that liked to eat meat.
In the gathering dark they would huddle together in a large ball, wings tucked tight against their bodies, sharpened sticks pointing outwards to deter any snaking predator. In the course of the night the ball would reassemble as each fairy took their turn with a stick.
This reforming was really a sight to see, not that many humans cared to look that closely. The outer fairy layer seemed to melt inwards as the fresh fairies moved out. If anyone had been looking, they would have seen that every fairy ball across the city, and there were many thousands, would perform this change at exactly the same time. An ancient scroll, thought to be a work of fiction by a story teller from centuries past, explained how to tell the time at night by this changing of the fairy ball. Modern humans thought this quite amusing, why would you use anything but the position of the three moons (and the mathematical position adjustment tables) for night time telling?
As the light grew gloomy, the night fairies would emerge. These fairies were not social like the day fairies. During the sunlit hours these fairies would be secreted in small spaces under eaves, in logs, in fact in any small dark safe place where it was unlikely they would be seen.
Night fairies had less of the mischief that marked day fairies, and if any one cared to test somehow, they were slightly more intelligent. Night fairies could be deliberately cruel, whereas day fairies were unaware that their actions could be causing pain.
In the past there was far fewer night fairies, so much so that humans were hardly aware of them, country folk even claimed they were a myth. In recent decades their numbers had slowly increased, and reports of seeing night fairies increased with them. So did stories that bad batches of ale would cause you to see a night fairy.
The Maker created the night fairies for specialised tasks. Although most people did not really notice the fairies, the Maker wanted to make sure that on these errands they really were not seen at all. The night fairies are not invisible, but they are very close to it.
Like day fairies they are small and transparent in most places. Where day fairies had small red eyes, the night fairies were black. Where the day fairies beat their wings fast enough to make a fluttering sound, night fairies relied mostly on gliding and slower beats that were silent. Night fairies instinctually stayed to the shadows when they had to come down to street level, never flying under light.