Faerie, also called Fey, Fay, Fairy/Fairies, and Fairykin are magical, mischievous, and unpredictable creatures that come in a variety of forms. Their plans and schemes are not governed by a higher purpose, simply by their own whim. Their behaviors have borne them the reputation of thieves, tricksters, and nuisances. They are known to steal pouches of gold, sugary sweets like moon sugar, and the foyson essence of food, stripping away its nutrients.[UOL 1] They are also said to pluck the eyes of sleeping children, rolling them around in moon sugar afterwards to eat them as a delicacy.
References to fairies commonly appear throughout many cultures, such as fantasy plays commonly involving fairies, the ability of the Mage birthsign named for the Fay, and expressions based off faerie behavior, notably the term "fairy tale" for mythical stories. Some exclamations among the Altmer and Bosmer are "Faeries of the Grove" and "Faerielight".
Fairies are most commonly described as inhabiting the Summerset Isles, with some variants reported as inhabiting no other province besides it. Fairy civilizations inhabited Valenwood prior to the arrival of the Aldmer.
The Faerie Chain
Ahrtabazus, a scholar studying at the Crystal Tower, developed a controversial theory about Faerie dubbed the "Faerie Chain" by organizing the Fey variants on a hierarchical chain, published in 2E 456 in Firsthold. It ranged from minor creatures like pixies at one end and the godlike beings such as Gheatus at the other. In the middle were human and semi-human beings, generating up to intelligent trees, brooks, rocks, even mountains. He received much criticism for adding the footnote that elves as a whole may be part of the chain, above whilloki and below nephrine, due to their similar features and propensities for magicka that Faerie have.
The chain is not necessarily an order of command, as faerie as a whole are not followers nor leaders. Ahrtabazus was challenged on his assumptions by other scholars based on very slight coincidences. Due to its reliance on coincidental evidence and supporting auxiliary theories, the chain is considered by some to be wrong. Nevertheless, Ahrtabazus modified his Fairie Chain theory, which has gained wider and wider acceptance since its publication.
Sylphim refers to minor fairies, often found surrounding other more powerful faerie, such as Ghaetus or Sygria.
Pixies (called Whilloki by the Redguards) are a type of fay described as appearing as glimmering sparks with the personality of whimsical pranksters. Flame Pixies are a type of tiny Flame Atronach from Oblivion that can be conjured, suggesting that certain Pixies are Daedra.
Nixads are mischievous insect-like fay creatures that fly using elytra and inhabit various forests and glades in Tamriel. They have a penchant for stealing valuables and eating sweets. Though sometimes described as the rarest of the creatures, they can in fact be encountered in most provinces of Tamriel.
Nephrine are a type of fay believed to rank higher than pixies and, arguably, elves.
Ilyadi (or Illyadi) were many-eyed forest giants taller than the trees, with eyes that cover their heads, that once inhabited the Summerset Isles. They attacked the early Aldmer, but were rendered extinct by Torinaan's use of meteoric glass to channel aetherial energy to kill them, and they were exterminated in a few short years. Some have sought out ways to bring them back from extinction.
Gheatus (or Gheateus) were ancient godlike rock-spirits that took the form of a man or a group of men who are formed by the earth itself, that once inhabited the Summerset Isles. They attacked the early Aldmer, but were fought off by Torinaan's use of ancestral lore and meteoric glass to channel aetherial energy in the form of lightning, ice, and fire to kill them, and they were exterminated in a few short years. Legend has it that the excavation of Wansalen was halted, and the halls abandoned, when the Elven miners roused and angered an ancient Gheatus, but the Sapiarchs dismiss this story as a fable with no truth to it. Some have sought out ways to bring them back from extinction.
Chonus are described as "godlike beings" who are considered a variant of faerie.
Sygria are described as "godlike beings" who are considered a variant of faerie, often surrounded by a host of minor Sylphim.
- While most of the info on them was introduced in Daggerfall, much of the content regarding fey was cut or unused in the final game. Graphics for "regal faerie" depicted big-eyed, purple-haired, well-dressed humanoids with tapered ears, and alternative graphics displayed them without the purple hair or big eyes, with all of the graphics remaining unused in the final game. A portrait for a character called the Fey, described as supernatural being in the shape of a woman with unknown origins and motivations, was also included, but the character went unused. The portrait, however, was mistakenly used for various Dark Brotherhood members. Medora Direnni was also called "the fairy lady" by some folk.
- Will-o-the-wisps, though similar to sprites, are considered separate from fairy folk.
- The Faerie — Szun Triop
- Orchid Nixad description
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Dialogue with Old Man Chimere
- Daggerfall User's Guide
- A Gold Coast Children's Bestiary
- Bitter Travels Among the Nixad — Zabia-ko
- A Nixad Made Me Do It
- Arena Occupations and their Descriptions - Imperial Library
- Morrowind Birthsigns
- Poison Song I — Bristin Xel
- Gray Fox, Man or Myth?
- Exclamations — The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- De Rerum Dirennis — Vorian Direnni
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Blessed Isle: Alinor and the Summersets — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Selenwe's Journal — Selenwe
- The Will of the Woods quest
- Flame Pixie memento description
- A Scholar's Guide to Nymphs — Vondham Barres
- Kyne's Challenge: A Hunter's Companion — David S. J. Hodgson
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: The Summerset Isles: Auridon — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- The Lay of Firsthold
- Restoring the Welwas — Ambolisse, Sapiarch of Zoological Studies
- Wansalen loading screen
- Freeing Medora
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.