Wisps are servant legions, monsters that are both creation and creator. An Other is his Wisps as much as he’s a Realm, Actor, Prop or the entity behind all such manifestations. They are weaker than Actors but stronger than a Realm’s living extensions. True Fae even give their Wisps true independence from time to time, by severing them from the Fae souls. Wisps are strong in numbers: enemies must kill every Wisp in a pack to destroy their bonded Title. They can travel beyond Arcadia, so Gentry use them as agents and “hounds.” On the grandest forays, a faerie might appear as an Actor with a pack of Wisp-wolves as her retinue.
Court sages say that when the world was closer to Faerie, the Others visited humans in Wisp forms. They were house-elves and hearth gods for anyone they favored — and monsters for anyone they hated. True Fae know the old tales, too. They make Wisps that look like the little fairies and gnomes of old, but these are rarely the kind, hidden folk of old stories. The old hearth-bonds are gone, or people don’t know how to call upon them, so Wisps are as cruel or kind as they please.
Motley Minds and Severed SpiritsEdit
A True Fae is her Wisps — mostly. In Arcadia, Fae’s manifestations share a common mind. Implementing an idea falls within the realm of each Wisp’s individual mental capacity, however, while a Wisp is bound to the sublime mind of a Faerie, it can still make stupid decisions.
Like Actors, Wisps who leave Arcadia lose this connection. Traveling Wisps have a separate group consciousness that follows them wherever they go. What one knows, they all know. This bond also prevents Wisps from dividing themselves across different spiritual realms. Ten Wisps under the same Title could dwell on Earth, in Arcadia or roam the Hedge, but they couldn’t scatter across these Realms simultaneously. Wisps freely roam different regions of the same Realm, however. In Arcadia, a Wisp litter can divide itself between multiple domains and Fae Realms.
While it might seem possible for a clever changeling to hold one Wisp hostage to keep the others in a particular Realm, the pack always has the power to sever a Wisp from the whole. Fae sometimes do this intentionally, giving birth to free-roaming monsters. Severed Wisps have individual minds and can never rejoin the pack, but they also have free will and might even develop a sense of Clarity. They can disobey their old masters if they choose, but many stay loyal and become the Others’ agents in far-flung places. The Severed can accumulate experience and improve their abilities, so they’re usually more powerful than their old litter-mates. Bonded Wisps do not improve over time, however. They are static, disposable forms, so unless something threatens an entire pack, Fae think nothing of sacrificing them, leaving a few safe to hold their Titles.
- Equinox Road, p. 95-96