Range: Fairies are native to Elcenia. They live on all continents except Nanela.
Lifespan: 25 Elcenian years (18 Barashin years)
This article is about the Elcenian species. For the Barashin species of the same name, see Barashin fairies.
Elcenian fairies range from two to four inches in height as adults, not counting the wings, which may more than double a fairy's height. They are extremely light even for their size. Fairies are insectile, winged, four-armed-two-legged semihumanoid creatures; each sports a set of butterfly or moth wings, antennae, and exoskeletally-jointed limbs. When they hatch from their tiny, spherical eggs, they spend several years (2-3 depending on ethnic group) in a larval form; fairy larvae are called "kitras" and are soft-bodied, wingless, nonsapient, and grow to a similar weight than they will achieve as adults. Kitras form chrysalises/cocoons (depending on ethnicity, again) and spend one year in metamorphosis before emerging; newly metamorphosed fairies have access to memories formed in the larval stage and can function as adults immediately. Fairies produce scores or even hundreds of eggs at a time, and do not nurture or keep track of their young. Kitra mortality is overwhelmingly high, with single-digit percentages from any given batch of eggs surviving predation, disease, winter, injury, food scarcity, and other hazards. Kitras eat miscellaneous plant matter; adult fairies eat nectar, fruit juices, and tree sap (they can consume only liquids).
Fairies do not form romantic bonds or keep a consistent mate from year to year. They acknowledge sibling relationships, but only within a given year (i.e. siblings from the same batch of eggs), and do not ascribe great importance to these connections; they rarely even know who their parents are. Personal connections among fey are based more on opportunistic resource-sharing and, sometimes, comparable artistic tastes. They tend to form bands of three to ten agemates on these bases, which operate more or less as a unit within the larger society and live together. Bands can and do fluctuate in population over time but almost never include fairies of significantly differing ages.
Fairies are highly artistic, although their visual expression in particular is geared towards altering their environment in a way that, while aesthetically optimized, could have been produced naturally (and so is not readily apparent to a casual onlooker). They share a wizarding tradition with pixies that is substantially different from the one used by larger races (and requires the possession of four arms to learn fully). Fairies also use witchcraft, although this practice bears a greater resemblance to its human et. al. counterpart. See Fey Societies for information about how fairies, and pixies, organize themselves on a societal level.
Fairies come in more than 30 visually distinct ethnic groups, and hundreds of culturally significant subdivisions. They will not be listed here.