The little abefae leads you through the greenhouse. After leaving the path and trudging your way through a dense section of hedges, sapling trees, and vines, you see the creature land on an older tree directly in front of you. There, in the middle branches of the tree, there is what appears to be a bird's nest. As the abefae moves into the collection of twigs, vines, and leaves, however, you realize that it is not a bird's nest, but an abefae's dive.
The structure is quite large... many times the size of the tiny abefae working on it. The bottom section seems the sturdiest, and it appears to be sealed with leaves and clay and held in place by clay and thick vines. The upper portion, which must stretch a good three feet upwards into the tree, is still under construction, it seems. The little blue abefae carefully weaves the leaf tightly into the other fibers, then flies off into the dense foliage of the greenhouse. Looking at the huge dive and the tiny creature, you can just imagine how long the construction is taking it. Why is it building something so large? you wonder. It is the only abefae you have seen in the greenhouse and no others appear to be working on the dive.
You remember that abefae live like bees usually, in large colonies with a queen abefae. This one looks a little forlorn and confused. "Maybe it isn't sure what to do without a queen around," you mutter to yourself, and you begin to pick your way carefully back to the greenhouse path. Something about one abefae working alone is very sad. "I certainly hope Indyana's planning on getting more..."
"Oh, I am," a voice says behind you, causing you to start in shock and nearly fall over a bush.
"Umm, sorry," Indyana says, peering down at you before offering you a hand back to the path.
"I didn't see you there," you say, brushing the mud off your legs and hands.
"Sorry," Indyana says sheepishly. "I was just checking on the abefae we brought here. Since they are our first, we aren't certain how well they will adjust to the greenhouse. I just wanted to make sure they were doing all right... I see Shiko's been busy building."
"Yes," you say, "that dive back there is huge! Why is it building it if there are no other abefae here?"
"Well, Shiko isn't alone here, but it is the only worker present. It has an instinctual drive to support its colony. Since there is no colony, Shiko assumes that it is its job to prepare for the arrival of its queen. I'm surprised frankly... I thought for sure that without a queen around, it would just eat and sleep and wait for one. From what I've read, it's usually the queen's job to start building a dive and recruit other abefae into her colony." Indyana shrugs.
"So it's building a palace?" you ask.
"In a manner of speaking, yes, I suppose," Indyana says, looking up. You follow her gaze and see that the abefae, Shiko, is back, this time dragging a vine through the air with it. You watch it amazement as the diminutive abefae lugs the cumbersome burden back into the plants, toward the dive. "Plucky little fella," Indyana observes. "I hope it doesn't tire itself out... I don't know if it's healthy for it to be doing all this work without a colony." She furrows her forehead in worry. "I better go check and see if it is feeding at all... I don't know if it will like the plants I've brought... I might have to import some more varieties from Tekarani."
"So, wait, you said that Shiko wasn't along here...?" you prompt, interrupting Indyana's train of thought.
"Right," Indyana answers, nodding. "Shiko was followed shortly after by a very special abefae. It is an aruspex."
"What's that?" you ask, not recognizing the word.
"Umm, it's a rare type of abefae... basically, it's a seer of sorts for the colony. They bring luck to colonies they associate with. We were really lucky to get one."
"Oh, congratulations!" you exclaim. Indyana smiles.
"Why don't we go see if we can spot it," she suggests. "I think over by the new plate of grain mash is a good spot."
"I thought they ate nectar and pollen, like bees," you say questioningly.
"Well, they do, but they are supposed to also have grains and meats in their diet every so often," Indyana tells you. "I'm trying to figure out what they like."
"Right," you say.
You and Indyana move back to the central clearing cross into the other side of the greenhouse. Indyana motions for you to duck down and you end up taking a quiet seat on the ground in a spot where you can see the plate of food she has put out. For long minutes, the plate sits alone on the rock near the far edge of the clearing. Then, you hear a soft sound, like humming. Soon, the familiar blue abefae, Shiko, flies into view, weaving out of the foliage and circling the plate curiously. Finally, it lands on the edge of the plate and begins experimentally nibbling at the mush. Indyana watches intently as the abefae begins eating the mixture.
"I think it likes it," you say quietly... but not quietly enough. Shiko snaps up its head and spots you and Indyana. It doesn't bolt, but it must not feel comfortable at the plate anymore because a few moments later it lifts off and heads back into the ferns. "Sorry..."
"No problem," Indyana says. "I want to wait and see if the aruspex shows up. It probably knows we're here already anyways."
You wait patiently, listening intently for any noise that might announce the arrival of this elusive abefae. Eventually, you are rewarded. With barely any sound but a faint flutter of wings, a tiny lavender-marked abefae emerges from the depths of the greenhouse. It lands onto the plate and crouches there, glancing around. It seems to be making sure that Shiko has left. Then, it turns to stare directly at you and Indyana, as though judging you.
"Wow..." you breathe unintentionally. The aruspex doesn't flee, however. Seemingly satisfied that it will not be disturbed, it begins testing the mixture on the plate. You examine it more carefully from your vantage point. Its fur seems silkier than Shiko's somehow... it almost has a glowing sheen to it. Its eyes are a pale purple, contrasting sharply with Shiko's dark black ones, and its coat is calico patterned. After a few moments of eating, the abefae leaves the plate and almost casually flies back in the direction of the dive that Shiko was constructing when you last visited.
"What is its name?" you ask.
"Miekio," Indyana answers. "Hmm, I think this multi-grain mash experiment may have been a success."
"Looks that way," you agree, smiling. "So what does Miekio mean for the colony?"
"Well, if we get a queen and she forms a colony, Miekio will mean good luck and prosperity for it," Indyana says smiling.
"Cool," you say. "I have a question though. Why was it so careful about waiting until Shiko was gone? Aren't abefae supposed to be social?"
"Well..." Indyana begins, chuckling a bit. "I think Shiko's, umm... exuberance may have made Miekio a bit reluctant to interact with it. You see, aruspex are a breed apart from normal abefae. Their abilities and rank let them act independently from the colony. They don't take orders from a queen or anyone else for that matter, and they tend to be a sort of silent partner in colony leadership. Shiko, in its eagerness to build a colony, seems to have decided that Miekio should be working... or at least sitting near the dive and looking interested. Miekio, on the other hand, wants its space and wants to be left alone. Maybe if Shiko had brought Miekio a gift or something instead of pestering it..." She shrugs. "I've been bringing the both of them little things like berries and flowers and giving Shiko interesting ribbons and such to weave into the dive, just so they feel at home here. I think Miekio likes it here, but it will probably avoid Shiko for a while... at least until Shiko calms down a bit."
"Wow, I would have thought that they would take comfort in each other," you say, remembering how lonely Shiko looked before.
"I think they are, in a way," Indyana says. "Miekio's appearance means that Shiko is a little more certain that a colony will be formed here and that a queen is on her way. Meanwhile, the fact that Shiko is here and building a dive tells Miekio that there should eventually be a colony that will need its help... although Miekio might know that already, seeing as it's psychic and all." She shrugs again, obviously a bit mystified herself. "At least they aren't openly being hostile to each other... then I would be very confused..."
You smile and slowly get up. After a brief conversation with Indyana, you wish her farewell and head back into the Faewoods.
Abefae from Abefae Gardens
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Page Created: November 24, 2002
Last Updated: June 18, 2004