The Lín'aoél (Styrásh for "Little Fairy"), also known as the Fairy Mouse, is a mischievous little fellow. An excess of fur leaves it looking like a ball of fur, speeding along the ground. Their speed and cunning often leads them from under the boot of a person finding holes in their food or clothes. This appearance often reminds people of their childhood fairy-tales, of fairies and adventures. But despite mothers’ pleas, children love to keep them as pets. Found throughout most elven forests and many human settlements all over Santharia, these little beasts are the enemies of cooks everywhere.
Image description. The cute, but mischievous Fairy Mouse, resembling a ball of fur - adored by children, hated by mothers. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
The Fairy Mouse is an odd animal to look at. It is ball-shaped with an
extravagantly furred head at one end and a thin, pink tail at the other. The fur
grows wispy and exceeding long. It could almost be thought of as a ball of fluff
were it not for that tail sticking out. When its head is actually seen, its
little nose and big ears make it adorable. This cuteness is the main reason that
children keep them as pets.
The Fairy Mouse stands at about four nailsbreadths and is nearly two palmspans long, including its tail. Being relatively large for a mouse, it weighs a little less than a mut. The most common fur colours are brown, grey and black, but the odd mouse will have white fur. These white mice are more prized by children, as the white fur looks like the mouse’s aura of light, adding to its fairy-like appearance. The fur is also sometimes spotted, marbled or mottled.
On the end of each toe on its tiny feet is an extremely sharp claw. These claws must be clipped if kept as pets. Resting on the end of the mouse's cute little face sits a small, black nose. Behind this nose protrude thin whiskers, usually about eight. Two of the few features visible on this mouse are its ears. On the back grows its usual fur, but shorter, and on the inside the pink skin remains bare. These ears are curiously big, adding to the mouse's adorability.
Though it is nothing to rival that of the Ximaxian rat,
the Fairy Mouse's intelligence and cunning is beyond that of a normal rodent. It
is this craftiness that often leads the mouse out of dangerous situations. In
its constant search for food, the Lín'aoél relies heavily on its intelligence to
escape from under such things as a descending boot.
The Fairy Mouse is often speeding about the floor of a kitchen, searching for food. This incredible speed helps the critter escape any danger it will most likely get into. Its appearance, coupled with this extraordinary speed, is the reason for both its elven and common name.
Territory. The Lín'aoél has spread throughout the Santharian Kingdom, and the warmer parts of Northern Sarvonia, such as the Kuglimz lands. It loves both elven forests and human settlements. Like many mice, numerous Fairy Mice live amongst others, be they human, elf, gnome, or even Brownie. It scurries around houses, darting from food to food, ruining the food as they do. When not living around settlements, this mouse enjoys any dark place it can find. Though, unlike rats, this mouse is not a huge problem. With the help of the Avenor cat, this mouse's numbers have been kept down reasonably low, for a mouse that is. Because of this the Avenor, among other animals, are bred to keep down the numbers of this pest. There is also quite a high concentration of Fairy Mice within the Vale of the Brownies, but unlike the other races, they are viewed with praise not loathing. Among the Kuglimz land, this mouse lives happily, though the fur is often longer and thicker to protect them from the cooler climate.
Habitat/Behaviour. Fairy Mice live anywhere that they can find food. They prefer a sheltered dark place, especially when it is warm. They use this place as a hiding spot from their many predators, mainly humans, and their pets. In this dark place the mouse will then build a nest using anything soft they can find, clothing being a favourite.
The Fairy Mouse's odd behaviour often leaves a quizzical expression on children's faces. Instead of running in straight lines, the Lín'aoél darts in all different directions. This, combined with its speed, leaves it looking like a fairy from the tales told to children around the kingdom. It is unknown why they do this, but this odd quirk brings amusement to many of their child owners.
Lín'aoél are often kept by young humans, about the age of eight. Elven young, or adults for that matter, do not practice this odd behaviour. They find this mouse a nuisance, and unfortunately its cuteness does nothing to lessen their dislike. In the Zeiphyrian Forest, the numbers of this mouse are particularly low. This is mostly on account of the many predators inhabiting this forest, and the Zeiphyrian hunting hound bred by the Quaelhoirhim to control this vermin. In fact, due to the tribe's love for trade, this dog has spread through the kingdom, reducing the Fairy Mouse's numbers. Another major predator of this mouse is the Avenor cat. Its intelligence matches that of this mouse, and so these mice aren’t found in plentiful supply around the shipyards.
When kept by children as pets, Fairy Mice are often kept in little, dark boxes. These boxes are frequently hidden to prevent scolding from mothers. If discovered the events that follow usually involve tears, and a dead mouse. When children reach about the age of ten the vogue of keeping these mice as pets fades away. The children then join their parents with their opinions of the vermin.
Diet. Like many mice, the Lín'aoél is constantly searching for food, but eats little of it. Again common with most mice, it isn’t particular. You give it food and it will eat it, of course they usually steal food instead of receiving it. Food isn’t all a Fairy Mouse will eat; clothes, leather, and even soap are all on its menu. The Fairy Mouse also enjoys munching on insects, leaves, roots, seeds, and any other part of the plant they can find. This mouse is truly a gluttonous animal.
Mating. These mice will mate whenever they can. The mating process is quick; the male simply mounts the female for a couple of moments before they both dart off. Within eighteen or twenty-one days after conception, the young mice are born. The female will have two to five offspring. These mice have no fur and their eyes are closed. Silky fur begins to cover their bodies by the time they are ten days old, growing in little tufts. Four days after this, their eyes will begin to open. Young mice will linger around their mother’s nest for about three weeks after birth, then leave the nest to build nests and families of their own.
Usages. The Fairy Mouse is kept by Brownies, though not, usually, as pets. Owing to its bravery and loud screech, this mouse, known among the Brownies as ooooLaoai, makes an excellent guard. They are treated in much the same way as a human would treat a working dog. Tied up outside the houses, usually the bigger ones near the trunk, the mouse acts as a warning to the Brownies inside. The mouse’s intelligence has helped the Brownies to train the mouse to allow certain Brownies past without reprisal, but their numbers are low.
Not only do the Brownies use the mice as guards, but, being a practical folk, the uses also extend far beyond that. The long fur is often trimmed to provide warmth in clothing and other materials. The fur is also used for decorating purposes, and here the white fur is especially coveted among the folk. When a female mouse is nursing, the Brownies also harvest its milk. The milk has a peculiar flavour, though a pleasant one. It is almost nutty and it is incredible fattening. This milk is also made into a fatty, slightly sweet, cheese. Known among the Brownies as Laoai OieiuhLL, this cheese is made with either Fairy Mouse milk, or the milk of a field mouse. This cheese is often added to with berries, ground grass seeds, herbal extracts, and even bits of smoked meat.
Because of the value of this mouse to the Brownie people a herd, of about thirty, is under the watchful eye of the Ferretmaster Clan. These mice are regularly clipped of their fur for use, and milked frequently. This milk is often distributed between the Hotfinger Clan and the Bubbler Clan, for cheese and milk. Overlooking this herd is the Mousetamer. He organises the other herders and is in charge of the milk distribution. Most notable of these is TahLL Mousetamer, an innovative Brownie who not only tended the herd, but studied them too. When not suckling, the mice are set to work as a house-helper. Their fur must be cut short for the harnesses required, but when done they can be made to pull large objects around - large for a Brownie, that is. The herd also has about ten males to keep the numbers of mice up, and to provide the young mice enjoyment at meals. However, the young of the very few mice in the herd are often kept alive, and then traded as guard mice. This is because of the Brownies' love of their fur. When the male mice grow old they are taken to the Hotfinger Clan to be served at the next banquet.
Myth/Lore. The Fairy Mouse has, in many children’s tales, been the personification of fairies. Given a voice and the ability to walk on two legs, and sometimes even wings, this animal is often used in stories in which the characters are animals. They are often givers of adventures and on the side of good. The following is an example of this:
The Rabbit and the Well. One day, Rabbit decided to plant a
garden full of carroots. He started early in the morning and raked and dug
and raked some more, breaking up the hard ground so it would be ready for
planting. It was a hot day, and Rabbit got tired quickly. But he kept
working to make the garden beautiful.
Researchers. The Fairy Mouse has a scarcity of researchers. The
most notable would be Erron Ratdweller
(180-223 a.S.), the famous rat researcher and
exterminator. He came across this mouse while researching the
city rat. However, he did not research it in the
depth that he did with both the city and the
vilerat, and only mentioned it in his notes of the
city rat. He remarked on their unique appearance and
speed, and some other points, but not much else. Children who keep these mice as
pets usually learn enough about them to keep them, and their curiosity of some
occasionally leads them further. There are also little mentions of this mouse
made by many other researchers. Most of the prior information has been pieced
together from those scattered notes.
One source of research that does describe this mouse in more detail is that of the Brownie TahLL Mousetamer (1241-1298 a.S.). While caring for them as Mousetamer, TahLL grew interested in the mice, not only tending for them but studying too. His notes then became the foundation work for the caring of this herd, and other mice among the Brownie folk. Though shared freely among his community, these notes were hard to come by for ‘Big People’. He also introduced a breeding program that strives for a fully white herd, but though the Brownies covet this fur, their practical nature saw them soon abandoning this scheme.