The "Mad Dancing Faeries" are believed to be ghostly apparitions roaming the woods of the Enclave and sometimes the woods west of Lun - in southern Nybelmar. They always take the form of young beautiful women and they always appear only in groups. However, anyone who happens to see their unearthly mad dance is doomed: the men become mute and unable to take care of themselves anymore, while the women become crazed, talking continuously and not being able to hold on to a certain state of mind for more than a few moments.
Appearance. The Wicked or Mad Faeries always appear as voluptuous young women. They are usually dressed in a very seductive manner, sometimes wearing translucent veils, at times just leaving large parts of their bodies uncovered, but they were also sometimes reported as wearing mail shirts - perhaps as a proof that sometimes the ways of seduction may elude the most wittiest of minds. However, when they are not wearing mail shirts, they are said to have small silver bells attached to their ankles; that, combined with their eternally loud cheering manner, is always announcing their presence in a certain area, a warning for the unwary traveler. They were never seen as individuals, but always in groups, performing their mischief on any unfortunate man or woman who happens to be around.
The Mad Faeries are believed to have the ability to fly. But, obviously, they do
not achieve that with the help of wings, or with the help of any other physical
means. Some scholars are quoting various sources describing them as floating
down from the skies to perform their mad dance, while others are quoting sources
telling that actually it is during the dance itself that they begin to hover
above the ground. Also, there was never an agreement among the scholars about
their actual corporality. Some claim that the Wicked Faeries are themselves
translucent and not only their clothes, but others claim that they are in fact
as real as any other common being of this world. Everyone agrees though, that
they seem to appear every time out of nowhere and disappear just as well, when
their dance is complete. The grounds over which they dance always remain as
burned and nothing would grow there for a year or two it is said.
Also the common belief is that the Wicked Faeries are punishing those that happen to see their mad dance. If the unfortunate happens to be a man, they are often taking him inside their dancing circle, inviting him to dance with them. But if he refuses, their wrath would be fierce, killing the poor man as if being burned from inside out. Otherwise he would just remain mute and helpless for the rest of his life. There is though a possibility that he can be cured if the healer is talented enough and also if the Mad Faeries' punishment is less intense. The situation is different if the unfortunate traveler is a woman. The Mad Faeries would mostly torment her with their vicious taunts and games, not letting her be until she becomes insane. The poor woman would then talk senselessly and continuously, being unable to hold on a certain state of mind for more than a few moments. As with the case of men, sometimes she can also be cured. A woman would never die though because of the Mad Faeries' wrath. If their punishment is meant to be harsh indeed, they are supposed to only ruin her face, twisting her features so that no man will be ever able to look upon her without feeling cold shivers running down his spine. And as much as the Ansaran mages themselves struggle to find a cure for this as well, there is none up to this day.
Territory. Usually the Mad Dancing Faeries are known to appear mostly in the woods of the Venlaken Enclave in southern Nybelmar, but the people living in the Anpagan province of Lun are also constantly reporting such apparitions.
Diet. As incorporeal and most likely unliving beings, the Mad Dancing Faeries seem to lack a traditional diet. Though there have been many sightings of these wicked creatures, there have been no indications that the spirits show any interest in 'normal' food stuffs. Furthermore, when considered logically, it is becomes apparent that even if these apparitions so desired, it is unlikely that the Faeries would be able to physically interact with tangible food as a result ghostly form.
Though it cannot be proven, of course, it is believed by some residents of eastern Nybelmar that they use their strange dance to feast. According to these superstitious individuals, the Faeries actions are semi-ritualistic and allow them to draw sustenance from their victim’s minds. Since the apparitions are in fact draining away portions of these Nybelmarians consciousness, the noted side effects of a Faerie encounter are the result of mental voids. For example, the muteness of a man who dances with these creatures is explained as the portions of his mind that remember how to speak having been stripped away to feed to the Faeries.
The skilled healers and magi able to alleviate the terrible aftereffects of the Faeries’ dance are thus believed to be refilling these mental gaps. Using their tremendous healing power, these samaritans assist the ‘blank’ spaces in the victim’s mind in beginning to regrow and reconnect to the rest of his consciousness.
Habitat/Behaviour. A close encounter with the Wicked Faeries is not really a desirable thing. Yet if one is unfortunate enough to stumble upon them, they would probably be engaged in a mad dance at that particular moment. Holding each other's hand they are forming a circle, rotating faster and faster until it is said that they leave the ground. They are always loudly laughing and singing. Sometimes it is said that they are madly flying around the trees making the woods shiver in their unearthly voices. They do not seem to be affected by the day-night cycle, so the most common advice for those who travel in the region, is to keep their eyes open and their ears pricked up and if somehow they see or hear the faintest sign of the Mad Faeries' presence, they should instantly throw themselves on the ground and, with their eyes closed, start thinking of any earthly matters that could keep them from falling into their temptation.
Myth/Lore. There is nothing known about the real origins of the Mad Faeries but there are some speculations in this respect. Now with the recent finding of the "Daedhir" fragments, the scholars observed that the "Mad Wicked Faeries" are frequently mentioned in the Book of All Fears, along with the strange character named "Inami" (identified with a Void Sail). And since they seem to appear only in the southern regions of the Enclave, sometimes extending eastwards to the Lun province, the scholars have theorized that the Mad Faeries must be, just like the Void Sail, remnants of that ancient and forgotten civilization who left behind the huge ruins of the Venlaken area.
Some are even claiming that the Mad Faeries are one more proof that the lands of the Enclave are "cursed" (and that the Daedhirian magic is actually possible to such an extent only because of the specific natural configuration of the Enclave). These faeries would then be the lost souls of the ancient inhabitants of the Venlaken region. This interpretation does not have too many supporters though. However most of the Ansaran mages tend to agree now that the Mad Faeries must be connected in one way or another with the ruins of Venlaken. Some of them are even going further, claiming that the Mad Faeries are a sort of elvenfolk - hence the name, yet the Anpagans have limited knowledge in this field. In the popular beliefs the Mad Faeries are often regarded as having a godlike status - though not in an explicit way - since only the mentioning of their supposed individual names is thought to have special magical properties (though they were never actually proved). The most commonly accepted interpretation among the Ansaran scholars is that the Mad Faeries are actually the result of some ancient magical forces, unleashed during the cataclysm that probably engulfed the now forgotten civilization, long before the Anpagans' arrival in the area. But just like in the Void Sails' case, these magical forces seem to be beyond the Ansaran mages' comprehension, as not only that they could not reproduce them but also they never managed to realize what their true nature might be.