Lore, Sagas, Scenic, Weekend

The yellow fox and the Clúanaire [archived].

Of the many things in the world to which one should be made aware, there are some, rare and half forgotten which should never fade from memory. They live and linger near and far from folk of every walk of life regardless of whose banner their land falls under. Only the Sages know for certain, but outside them it is almost lost to the noise of new importance. Until trials and tribulation come as can be seen in the land of Roves.

One of those such things, half forgotten but told in whispers has been present in throughout the ages as a phantom on the back of truth. It takes on many forms and keeps itself far from those with power, as long as that power weaves the forces of the Arcane like itself.

It would not be noticed by many at first in a shape which the stories tell. It has already noticed you long before you notice it. Hearing its steps and seeings its movement being done only by the creature’s will. A relic of faerie races, eager to bring itself closer. And in that effort it takes the form of a yellow fox.

Between the thickest ferns and shortest blades of grass it moves, silently and unrecognized by any who would manage a glimpse of it as it went. No leaf, no twig nor pool of water will make a sound as the yellow fox makes its way to stalk. Behind a tree it usually emerges, showing itself by attracting attention, and it shows off its yellow coat and innocent looking eyes.

Many are drawn to the coat it has, a color unique in nature. Like the color of a buttercup but softer, mixed with light filtering through water. Its appearance often heralding the arrival of its true and wicked form. It comes as the yellow fox to see if it has picked the right person for its goal.

Not all who see the yellow fox are those who deserve what it is that will come. But in the moment where it reveals itself and watches the reactions it inspires, it will hold fate within its hands. For if they know the stories of a fox which follows and stalks, those who see it will look away, back to their fire or to their destination.

Those who do not know of the yellow fox might offer food or seek profit from its coat. They are those who will meet one of the ancient faerie folk. The ones who seek for their own reason a thrill when fate is shaped and woven for perverse delight.

For those who return the attention given to the yellow fox will encounter the Clúanaire. A race of faerie folk who appear as any mortal would, one who trades in charity for a price. They wander the world alone, hiding with ease in plain sight, and often none know of their existence outside of forgotten children’s tomes.

But as the yellow fox will vanish, the Clúanaire will appear to greet with a smile and open hand to ask for basic aid. They might ask for a drink of water or even to sit down by a fire, its game will not begin until it hears the answers that it seeks. To those that have said yes, it will offer a great compensation. To those who have said no, it will offer to pay for charity.

Those who allow a drink or place at the fire might be lucky, should they refuse exorbitant thanks outside of a thankful word. They will wake in their camps remembering nothing but a beautiful fox, a memory those who gave with expectation or payment might only ever dream.

For those who offered no warmth or drink will find themselves rewarded in ways they had never dreamed. But the Clúanaire in the end will always be given reason to smile.

Temptation comes in many forms, often desire for self rather than that of the whole. But most disturbingly is charity given with the intent of receiving in return. Whether coin or flesh or reputation, there are those who help others solely to help themselves, so will watch the yellow fox.

So it is Clúanaire is often forgotten, perhaps to ease the desires of those who want what they cannot achieve themselves. Its stories a warning for greed and carelessness. When a Clúanaire was seen once he asked for shelter from a storm, he was turned away without hesitation until he was offered all that he desired.

As the man who wished for happiness and wealth, to be with the woman whom he loved, a woman who was infatuated with another. So it came to be that her infatuations turned to him together with a promise for a wedding where she would become his in body as she was in heart.

But he asked not for both at the same time and so received one after the other instead. His lover would indeed became his wife, but she was turned to gold before the wedding night. When offered the chance to undo what he wished, the man agreed without hesitation to which the Clúanaire only gladly complied.

In an instant it occurred, in a flash dulled by what was left, as the Clúanaire wove the Arcane to complete the wish as he smiled and laughed. When all was said and done, the man was left alone, as the Clúanaire had taken away his golden wife before vanishing himself.

Such is the humor of the ancient Clúanaire, who often seeks out those deserving of a wish in the form of a yellow fox.

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