THE WYSPFLY ("VISK'KO")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

The Wyspfly, or "Visk'ko" meaning "live spirit", is a commonly seen inhabitant of the Forest of Souls proper and the Tinderwood in R'unor. While they appear to be little more than small white balls of fluff during flight, they are a major pollinator of the area and live in moving colonies that float from one location to the next. Though simple, a colony of these insects drifting silently across a clearing on a gentle breeze, sparkling in the sunlight, is a beautiful sight to see. Some children think that if they whisper a wish to one or more of these flies, that it will eventually make the child's wish come true. The Wyspfly is also sometimes referred to simply as "Wysp" or "Wyspy", also as "Poof Fly", "Poofy" and "Foofy".

Appearance. The Wyspfly is a slender bug that grows from two to five nailsbreadths in length, but is only a fourth as wide, and has a hunched back where its wings are folded. When fully grown, it is as white as virgin snow, with one to three silver smudges and black speckles down its sides. In total, it has six slightly short legs, except for the hind pair which are twice as long for the purpose of leaping from trees. The fly's head, when looked at from straight-on, is a slender heart shape, and has two beady black eyes set into either side of the swells of its face. Either corner of its mouth is armed with very strong grey pincers, which it uses to break up bark or other tough foods it wants to eat, and occasionally to defend itself. Two long, white antennas sprout from the very middle of its forehead, sticking out in a V-shape.

Upon close examination of the Wyspfly, you can see that it does not have wings in the conventional way, such as birds or even other flies have. Instead, its wings are flaps of thick, rubbery flesh that are attached at either side of its underbelly, as opposed to at the shoulder on the back. The inside of which is lined with highly flexible cobweb of thin white feathers, that the wings move upwards to encompass the body when closed. When open, the 'skin' of the wings pulls back to encase the insect's belly and legs, cocooning its body in white fluff.
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Special Abilities. The Visk'ko is a particularly heat resistant insect when they are not in flight, having adapted to the fires that regularly sweep parts of the forest away. However, a colony's burrow generally tends to be deep enough to avoid the flames altogether.
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Territory. Mainly living throughout the entirety of the Tinderwood, they make temporary homes in dead trees where they, curiously enough, will not eat the bark. However, the queen of each colony is usually kept in a burrow made deep in the ground at the foot of the tree. While some, or even whole colonies may perish in the fires that occur there due to the volcanoes, the aftermath leaves other Wyspflies an ample feast to dine on. Though they do not inhabit the Forest of Souls proper, colonies have been occasionally seen around the outskirts of the western edges of the forest.
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Habitat/Behaviour. To fly the Wysp has to scale the height of a tree and leap off, at which point it opens its wings, or 'poofs', to be carried away by the breeze. However, it does not merely allow the wind to just aimlessly blow it to wherever, but does not direct the path of its flight so much as influence it. This is achieved by half closing one or the other wing in order to lean it in its chosen direction. It is quite the sight to see an ample group of these insects, seemingly snaking through the air as they ignore the directions of the wind. Sometimes, in flight, a Wyspfly may be observed half-closing and opening their wings very quickly in an attempt to gain height.

Being diurnal in nature, they search for food during the day, leaving them more vulnerable to being eaten as they are easier to spot. And despite being fluffy, they have quite a lot of meat in them and are a good food source for the birds and lizards, especially the P'shuta, or any other animal that may so decide to snack upon them. However, the sheer numbers of each colony makes up for them being an easy meal. They also must be a major pollinator of the area, as they have been witnessed mulling around in flowers, or occasionally stuck to a flower via their wings.
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Diet. For food, a colony of Wyspflies doesn't have to search very long or hard to come across meals suitable for them. Their simple diet consists of an assortment of various things easily found, such as tree bark, and dead or dying trees, flowers, and other foliage. A particular favourite being ashes or anything burnt, fortunate for an insect mainly taking up residency in the Tinderwood, devouring large amounts of it rather quickly and leaving renewal in their wake.
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Mating. The Visk'ko come in colonies, having one Queen that they move from home to home, making nests in burnt out trees. It is there that the Queen replenishes her ranks and strengthens her numbers, spending her life laying many eggs that the male workers fertilize. After three days, the eggs hatch and out climb the larvae, who devour their egg before moving on to other meals. Once one day is spent gorging themselves on food that the workers spend the three days piling up, they will pupate. They stay in the cocoon for barely twelve hours before they break free of it, emerging as fully grown Wyspflies.
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Myth/Lore. Many parents in R'unor use the Visk'ko as a means of getting their children to behave; the myth being that, if they are good, the bug will take the child's wishes to its Queen, who will make them come true. Two familiar children's diddies are:

Wyspies falling from the skies

Wyspies falling from the skies!
They poof! Then shrink back down to size!
With one caught, I'll whisper to
All my wishes, I hope come true!
I'll blow on him - he poofs again!
To take to flight, my little friend!
He'll take my wishes to his Queen,
To weave together my perfect dream.
Then she'll send it back to me,
If I've been good as a Wyspie!

and...

A wish! A wish!

Across the tall flowery glades
I leap and glee without refrain!
And rest in gentle noontime shades!
Praise the Gods!
Who created We!
Of lands with soil, rock and tree!
Of waters from the great blue sea!
And breath of air on winds to thee!

A wish! A wish!
I've whispered to!
A Wysp! A Wysp!
To take to She!
M'rotha! M'rotha!
Grant for me
A wish! A wish!
I pray'd to thee!
Upon a Wysp
Delivered to
M'rotha! M'rotha!
Dreams come true!

On the shoals of salty tide!
Carried by the wind that brides
With storms bubbling from the sky!
Praise the Gods!
Who created We!
Of lands with soil, rock and tree!
Of waters from the great blue sea!
And breath of air on winds to thee!
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 Date of last edit 13th Singing Bird 1672 a.S.

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