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It’s that time again…
May IWSG Day Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
Mm… Well, my stories have lots of folklore and mythology – all of which I research – so this is a hard one for me. All folklore has cool and weird aspects…
My favourite, though, is the Kelpie. I did a post about this wonderfully capricious Fae for the A-to-Z Challenge last month and had a great time researching it (I even made a Pinterest board dedicated to this creature).
I’m still figuring out the kinks for the story that accompanies the research, but it will probably be ready sometime this week to publish on Wattpad as part of my ongoing series about the Onyx Labyrinth. (I’ll place an update here when that happens.) *Update: Fleeing from Grey is now up on Wattpad. I know, I know it’s only 24 hours later… Blame the Muse!
So how do Kelpies act in my Fae world?
Kelpie (Origin of the Fae Page)
Kelpies use the connection they have to the water they live in to find out everything that goes on in the world around them.
Kelpies can live in any lake, river or stream. Even a murky pool will do if there’s enough glamour to fuel the Kelpie. Part of their magic is to make themselves irresistible – humans and Fae want to touch them, no matter the cost.
Mist surrounds a Kelpie as it shifts form. They have the power to change their appearance at will. Kelpies prefer the form of a horse when on land. Though they can turn into pine martens, stoats, goats, etc. They can even take on a human form.
Kelpies will eat any human or Fae it wants to. They especially like to play with their prey. Though, there are a few who stick to eating fish.
Kelpies only appear outside water when they are summoned, hungry or have to go to a mandatory Fae gathering (like the Tithe every seven years). It usually shape-shifts from an underwater monster to something alluring – like a horse – before enticing humans/Fae to touch it, at which point its skin will become adhesive and it will take its prey down to a watery grave (and the Kelpie will have lunch).
Though it is said that only the liver or entrails are left over from a Kelpie’s meal (seen floating on the surface), that’s just the personal preference of some. Not all Kelpies have the same taste in food (just like everyone else).
Kelpies have power over the water they live in: they can cause floods to hinder or drown pursuers/victims.
They have an odd sense of humour (e.g. laughing when someone nearly dies in a bog).
Kelpies are good in a fight. They change into water as soon as an opponent tries to punch/curse/suck the life out of them.
Kelpies do whatever they wish, whatever whim takes them. Even the supposedly bad ones who feast on humans and Fae can be a trusted ally – just like the supposedly good Kelpies who only eat fish can be your worst enemy.
Kelpies are always dripping wet. Once they start to dry out, they need to return to the water or risk death from dehydration.
How to summon Kelpies:
- A rhyme (if you know the right one) will call the Kelpie from the depths.
- A Cù Sìth can summon one by simply barking.
- A blood offering – a bit of blood on a leaf placed on the water – along with calling: ‘Kelpie, I bid thee forth.’ will summon the Kelpie to your presence.
Though, beware: the Kelpie will demand more, depending on what you want from it.
Like all capricious Fae, it depends on the individual Kelpie whether it will be friend or foe.
Really cool and weird, isn’t it?
Something cool I researched for a story is “kintsugi” also known as “Kintsukuroi”.
The story I wrote where the MC practices this art was a lot of fun to write. And it even won the Wattpad Fantasy Community competition I entered it into.
“She kept her cloak on, not sure how far the curse would travel from the road, and pulled a ladder out of her satchel. She gauged the amount of gold and lacquer needed to fix the sign and got to work.
Some of her own magic seeped into the project, drying the lacquer and gold powder mixture faster than it normally would have. She wasn’t fond of cheating like that, but she wasn’t about to be eaten either.”
– Cracked Dreams, Stories on Scrolls, Ronel Janse van Vuuren
So that’s all the weird and wonderful I have to share this month (I’ll share other wonderful things with you next IWSG day). Anything you’d like to share? There’s a lot of weird on the Origin of the Fae page at the top of the screen and under #FolkloreThursday in the category tab.