Preservers of River Twine Holt
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(article by Trena Driessen - posted 07/31/06, updated 07/04/08, updated 03/06/12)
Preservers are small fairy-like creatures which come in many different colors. They are genderless, immortal and nearly indistructable. Their biggest weakness is their fragile wings. They do not wear clothing, although some do fashion hats for themselves out of different natural components, from flowers to mud. Preservers are all generally the same size, about 10" in height (25.4 cm) -- about as tall as an elf's head.
Preservers produce a sticky web-like substance from their mouths which they call 'wrapstuff'. The webbing has a preservation property allowing creatures cocooned within to hibernate for long periods of time. Anything (or anyone) enclosed in a cocoon of this substance is "outside of time." It has been used, among other things, for preserving food and to prevent gravely injured people from dying until a healer could take care of them. While an elf sealed in wrapstuff does not need food or air, they can still work magic, thus it was used to enable elves who wanted or needed to concentrate on their magic alone for a time.
In RTH, the Preservers wrap-stuff has been used in the creation of 'silk', an airy fabric that can be used in clothes, blankets and screens used as canopies to shield from the sun while still allowing airflow.
While Preservers do not send, they do have some extra-sensory abilities. For one thing, they can tell at any time in which direction the Palace of the High Ones is. (In the tribal territory of River Twine, though, they cannot fine-tune this further -- the answer is "here!" and sometimes they point downward, but they are unable to be more specific. They cannot know or pinpoint that the problem is that the pieces of the Palace are underground, in troll tunnels.) For another, they have a very basic diagnostic ability -- while they have no true "healing" powers, they can assess the condition of a living creature, or a wrapped cocoon, in order to tell whether it is "good/bad" or "wrong/right". They can look at someone who appears uninjured, and are able to say "no, is no good!" -- but they aren't able to be more diagnostically specific than that. (Elves must use their own observation to see if there is a hidden surface injury, or signs of an internal injury. A Preserver would not be able to say what exactly the nature of an elf's internal injury was.)
The Preservers of the tribe carefully guard the cocoons kept in the den below the Mother Tree; both the food-storage cocoons, and the more important ones that hold the sleeping, injured members of the tribe. One Preserver is always "on duty" there, although they rotate frequently on no apparent or regular schedule. They watch over the cocoons carefully, to make sure that incursions by insects or small animals do not damage the cocoons; a Preserver would be able to tell when a cocoon was fatally breached (and it became "no good!"), and would work immediately to repair it.
Preservers often talk in a round-about way, and call different things by their physical description rather then by a proper name. For example, they call the rivers "Big Wet", as to Preservers, that's what they are. These nicknames are are also assigned to elves, determined by how the Preservers perceive the elf.
History with the Tribe
The Preservers have always been with the wolfriders, coming from the Palace of the High Ones along with the first comers, and following after Wolfsister and her band until they settled in River Twine Holt.
Preservers often 'bond' (read: attach themselves) with a particular elf, thinking that they are the elf's sole protector and friend, no matter if the elf has a mate, bond, cubs or other relations. Though the bond between elf and Preserver is not the same as the bond between elf and wolf, the Preservers are extremely loyal, and rarely leave their elf's side.
Preservers do not always bond with an elf.
Because Preservers are asexual, they do not breed, so there will not be any more Preservers in the Holt then there are at the present time.
Daily Life with the Preservers
The Preservers of RTH are not merely decoration. Because of their wrapstuff, they are used to preserve food during the winter, help with healing when neccessary by wrapping mortally wounded elves until their wounds can be healed, as well as used in the making of silk. Preservers also make great scouts, if an elf can keep their attention long enough to do so.
River Twine's Preservers
|Berryflop: eyes are golden yellow with dark red rings around them; skin is dark pink (near magenta) and wings are light purple with red "splotchy" patches. Berryflop likes to use dreamberries as caps. Berryflop is particularly fond of dreamberries, and loves participating in howls, even if it's not horridly sure what's going on during them. Berryflop is an expert berry hunter, being able to sniff them out in whatever form they happen to be in.|
|Dewdrop: eyes are pure white with black pupils and pink rings around them; skin is dark mustard yellow; wings are base-green with white spots. Likes to wear a cap consisting of a white/yellow flower. Dewdrop is a particularly shy Preserver. Seems to almost be afraid of everything, including its own shadow. Dewdrop rarely does anything 'crazy' and prefers to stay in the Holt then go adventuring.|
|Flutterby:eyes are extremely dark purple (nearly black); skin is light spring green; wings are light pink fading to a light purple color with dark pink veins. Flutterby was a special friend of Whispersilk, being the main producer of the wrapstuff that used in the creation of Whispersilk's woven silk. Tends to wear head-coverings consisting of scraps of the silk that Whispersilk (and other weavers) make, in different colors and styles as whim takes it. During Whispersilk's lifetime, Flutterby felt that it was Whispersilk's sole protector, never leaving her side for very long, and was a particular nuisence to Windburn because of it. Flutterby likes to think of new and interesting ways to make funny noises come out of Windburn.|
|Foamspray: eyes are fire-red with an orange ring around them; skin is light sea-green, and wings are extremely light blue (nearly white) with dark purple veins. Likes to wear snail shells as hats. Foamspray is particularly fearless as Preservers go, nothing is too high, too far or too scary. Foamspray loves to get into everything, and is often growled at because of it.|
|Gurgleflap: eyes are large and round, dark navy in the center ringing out to a light sky blue; skin is bright orange, almost neon in appearance; wings are bright yellow with darker yellow veins. Tends to wear acorn-caps as a hat. Gurgleflap is friendly and outgoing, as most Preservers are. Happy and chattery, it prefers to spend its time outdoors, especially near water. Gurgleflap likes to sit on the edge of the rivers and toss things into the water and watch it float away.|
|Muckabout: eyes are different shades of purple, from dark on the outside to light on the inside; skin dark blue (when not coated with dye); wings are light purple (though there's only ever small patches of that color peeking through). Muckabout often wears a leaf wrapped around its head akin to a kerchief that's splattered with paint. Muckabout loves color! It loves dyes, and anything to do with tanning. Muckabout thinks that it is very helpful, especially when it comes to dying leathers and clothes, often times making the process difficult.|
|Mushroom: eyes are storm blue with dark gray rings around them; skin is a muted light yellow; wings aredark orange wings with near-black veins. Usually wears a gray mushroom as a hat, but might wear any variety of 'shroom. Mushroom is a bit of a 'doomsayer' and differs from other Preservers in that it seems to always look on the 'bad' side. However, Mushroom is an expert scout, and loves to spend time with Farscout 'helping' him. The only problem may be how Mushroom is utterly certain that something 'really bad' is around the corner.|
Below: Mushroom, Flutterby, Dewdrop, Berryflop, Muckabout, Gurgleflap and Foamspray; art by Holly H.
(written by Chris T.)
|Trickleclaw: eyes are pale gold and orange with dark goldenrod rings; skin is bright crimson; wings are silver with dark grey veins. Wears tailored leather caps, but this wasn't always so. Captured during the war between trolls and elves, this 'insect specimen' has become somewhat institutionalized over 2500 years of captivity. Since the founding of Underhaven, it has been held in a secret archive, and its needs met by a line of caretakers. It has developed a friendly rapport with current one, Thumbprint.|
The Ancients' Preservers
(written by Chris T.)
|Drizzlecloud: eyes are red and orange; skin is a medium-dark grey; wings are medium-dark blue-violet. Is known to have worn thistles for hats, but may have indulged in other kinds of flowers. A very dour and self-deprecating Preserver, who in contrast to Mushroom applied a pessimistic outlook on life to itself rather than everything around it.|
|Glittergem: eyes are emerald green; skin is a rich medium purple; wings are pale green. Wore hats of formed of leather strips or crustacean shells (it's not really known which). Had a penchant for collecting and decorating itself with jewlery -- even items sized for elves -- which it refered to as "shineybrights." Very cheerful and chirpy, loved to (try to) brighten the mood of unhappy elves and Preservers alike.|
angrytalk = arguing
beesweets = honey
belonging-time = when the Palace first landed, before the Firstcomers were scattered
big highthing-place = Palace
bigthing = anything bigger than a Preserver (later, comes to mean humans almost exclusively)
bigwet -- rivers, lakes, or the sea. Any large body of water. (Smaller bodies of water are generally called littlewets)
birdbasket = bird's nest
bitty bunches = small groups
bitty wingthing = winged insects
bushytail = rabbit
darks = nights
darksleep = unconsciousness
darktime = night
digdig = troll
growler = wolf
hangeydowns = hanging wrapstuff cocoons
hardstuff = rock
highthing = elf
homeplace = Palace
hometrees = the Dentrees / Holt
sleepyplace = cocoon den
snug-safe = sealed in wrapstuff
sparklebits = Palace shards
stillquiet = sleeping
think-do = magic
wrapstuff = (obvious)
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