Greystone Valley: Gremlins

GremlinGremlins are known for their troublesome and mischievous ways. They are generally seen as stupid creatures, although they can actually be very cunning and cruel when they need to be. Overall, the people of Greystone Valley put out charms to keep gremlins out of their houses not so much because they fear them, but because the creatures are terrible nuisances.

Gremlins are born as fey, but tend to make enemies among their faerie cousins very quickly. Fey love good pranks, but generally avoid causing harm to others. When one of their kind becomes too cruel or reckless in their tricks, that fey is cast out. Separated from his kin, the fey becomes twisted and aggressive, eventually transforming into a gremlin.

Many people assume that fey are good and gremlins are evil. That’s not entirely true. A given fey is just as likely to be evil any other creature. The real line between a fey and a gremlin is that the gremlin is viewed as too destructive in his actions and is seen as a danger to his kin.

Gremlins skulk and hide even more than traditional fey. The longer a fey spends as a gremlin, the more obsessed with tricks and traps he becomes. The gremlin’s body often changes form due to the types of tricks he likes to play. For example, a gremlin who loves tripwires and pits tends to be hunched over, walking so low to the ground as to almost crawl. A gremlin that hides in dark places like under beds and in closets tends to grow big, white eyes that can see in darkness almost perfectly but which leave him blinded in light.

Gremlins are not intentionally aggressive toward humans, but they don’t have the common sense not to make their pranks harmful. A gremlin might think that putting a firecracker in an oven is a good way to surprise somebody, only to have the explosion be large enough to burn down the whole house.

Like the fey, gremlins have an aversion to things made of iron, although they tend to be more devious in bypassing them. While most fey will just steer wide of a home with iron charms hung about its windows, gremlins will dig under the floorboards or crawl down chimneys if they think there is something in the house worth breaking in for. This can sometimes backfire on them, as a chimney might have a fireplace at the bottom or a tunnel leading under the house might be home to a badger or other dangerous animal. Gremlins as a whole tend not to think of the consequences of their actions, even when it comes to themselves.

Particularly mean gremlins have been said to have a strong interest in human children, even going so far as to steal them away. Some believe that there is a gremlin king somewhere in Greystone Valley who turns human children into new gremlins. Others believe that the creatures actually see strong-willed children as leaders and want to learn from them. Whatever the truth is, no parent wants his child to be confronted with a gremlin, and many households train a watchdog to specifically chase gremlins away. If a dog is barking at a pile of wood for no particular reason, the odds are good that there’s a gremlin hiding underneath, cowering in fear even while it plots its next trick.

Image: Kobold, by JNL

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