Trow

(Bulya)

Basic Information

In the Lyften and surrounding islands, a Trow is a small, trollish fairie creature . Trows, in general, are inclined to be short of stature, ugly and both shy and mischievous in nature. Like the Goblin* and Troll* of Mainland Legend*, with which the trow shares many similarities, trows are nocturnal creatures; venturing out of their ‘trowie knowes’ (earthen mound dwellings) solely in the evening, often proceeding to enter households as the inhabitants slept. Trows traditionally have a fondness for music, and folktales tell of their habit of kidnapping musicians or luring them to their dens.

Trows love to play at being human, collecting odds and ends to wear and often decorating their mounds in mockery of local households. In isolated holdings, unless the doors and windows were barred securely, when a household had retired for the night, the Trows would enter the building and sit by the glowing fire. Numerous tales recount how the terrified farmers and their wives would lie in bed listening to their unwanted guests scuttling around in the other end of the house. This explains the Trows' documented hatred of locked doors, which can work against them if one wishes to raid a 'trowie knowes' for the rich treasures said to lie there. Whilst these faerie beings are generally seen as a nuisance and may become grudgingly loved 'local bugaboos', there are dangers associated with such a lax attitude. Trow will and have killed and eaten many Humans* over the centuries and whilst farmland trow are often somewhat 'fond' of their pet Humans* those 'Wild Trow' who live in the hills far from habitation or those Trow whose 'knowes' have become influenced or ruled by darker beings such as Hags* or Trolls* are not above hunting down and devouring any human they can catch, though even they will usually frown upon eating them raw.

Appearance

Though some exceptionally large Trow* could pass for a human at a distance - although an old, wizened or deformed human to say the least- in general they are short, ugly, stunted creatures and considerably smaller than a man. Trow have large flat noses and tufted ears, their mouths are wide and full of wicked teeth and they possess a long ropey tail and clawed hands and feet.

Known or supposed origins

Faerie beings; their origins are mysterious as all their kin.

Special Abilities

Trow are capable of the same minor magics as Goblins*; those who have Hag* matrons may learn how to brew potions and the like and fly through the air on dock stems. Though said to be able to become invisible, they are actually simply very stealthy, and capable of feats of sneakery that would shame a master Assassin*.
Trow are turned to stone much like Trolls* and Hags* by the first rays of the sunrise, they may however move about in the shadows at other times of day.

Geographical distribution

Trow are limited to the islands of Thuland* and Ellesland* where they seem to occupy a similar role to the goblins and hobgoblins of Ellesland*.

Average statistics

As Goblins*.

Further notes

Trow can and do engage in the practice of kidnapping infants and at times adults to live in their mounds, Humans* raised as trow are often extremely fierce and can quickly rise to positions of power, their physical prowess and aggression make them fierce warriors often leading their adoptive clan into openly attacking neighbours both Trow and human.

Stolen adults can only look forward to lives as servants, entertainers or in some cases breeding stock...

Appendix

(Tom Clare's Trow notes)

Here are the slightly disjointed notes I was going - one day - to pull into shape for inclusion on the Trow. Now I don't have to! It's interesting how similarly the ideas of Bulya and I developed (except, most obviously, in the scale of the creatures). I assume we were looking at the same source material.

Among the bleak hills and cliffs of the eastern coast lie the kingdoms of the trows, dour people of salt and stone. Gnarled, grim, and typically taller than a mortal man, the trows will only be encountered by night, when they leave their hollow hills to walk the starlit lands of men. They are powerful yet twisted figures. Many are hunchbacked, barrel-chested, or inhumanly long limbed. They sport knotted hair and beards, woaded tattoos, and occasionally even horns. They wear rough grey and blue clothes spun from the wool of the great sheep they herd inside their hollow hills.

Trows are well known for their jealousy and spite, and for their tremendous greed for gold and precious things [1]. A Trow, taking a liking to a fine ornament or weapon, will immediately begin plotting how best to obtain it. First they will attempt barter, haggling for it in their abrupt manner; a wise character will exercise great caution while bargaining with these grim creatures, for a Trow will always seek to come out best in any trade. If bartering fails, trickery, coercion, and threats will follow. Once a Trow sets his mind to having something he will not give up with good grace. If all fails he is likely to pursue a spiteful revenge.

But Trows are a contradictory people, and for all their ill-nature they are not ignoble. Trows always reward services rendered to them, dislike the wicked and slanderous, and are doughty warriors and fine wrights. Their arms are plain but strong and will never break. A suit of armour made by the Trows never needs the constant maintenance mortal armour requires.

Sunlight is anathema to the Trow, hurting them and sapping their strength, leaving them helpless until nightfall. Those dwelling near trowlands know to begin taking special precautions against their forbidding neighbours as the nights lengthen with the approach of winter, for the Trows use these times for excursions further afield. Between Christmas and Midwinter Night the power of the Trows is at its peak, and they are at their most dangerous.

The Trows are passionately addicted to music, often luring mortal harpists or pipers into their halls beneath the hills to play for them. Furnished with long stone benches, stout oak butts, and a great fire, these tall red-lit halls are filled with the smell of roast mutton and the noise of trows feasting and dancing.

[1] Including pretty maids, who, if they are not quick-witted or lucky enough, are likely to spend the rest of their days underground married to a dour Trow husband!


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