Flutterfires Species in Shadowfire | World Anvil

Flutterfires

A unique species that has been discovered living within the hollow areas beneath the Shatterbright , and in particular within the ruins beneath the Kyroshi Pit . They are a form of butterfly that has been mutated by its long exposure to heavy concentrations of crystalline Uhd and the extreme conditions of the deeper layers of the Shatterbright.   They look like a Butterfly made of thin flakes of crystalline wings which glow with a bright red, yellow and white phosphorescence. They fly drunkenly through the dark, and the light they shed can reflects off the surfaces of the caverns in which they reside.  
The swarms of them in the caverns beneath the Kyroshi Pit have to be seen to be believed. In the long dark, there are thousands of them, like tiny flames dancing and sparkling into the depths. And the sound, a thousand tiny chimes tinkling in waves. It must be what rain sounds like: music to a parched ear.
  Flutterfires tend to congregate around outcroppings of Crystal uhd, on which they feed.

Basic Information

Growth Rate & Stages

The Flutterfires reproduce through a form of budding. When parts of a Flutterfire are broken off the original, they will shatter, or crumble into 'egg shards'. These will lie dormant, unless brought into contact with a source of Uhd. This is quite common where Flutterflies congregate.   Once a source of magical energy awakens the egg shard, they begin t grow, and transform into their pupal stage - a segmented worm of crystals, barely 5mm long. This will begin devouring the Uhd, and building a cocoon of crystal shards.   Within the cocoon, the Flutterfire will complete its metamorphosis into the adult form, emerging in a few days with its wings fully formed.   The entire lifecycle only lasts a few weeks at most, but the colonies of Flutterfires can grow incredibly large - sometimes into the many thousands - dependent entirely on the availability of the Uhd food source.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Flutterfires are used by miners and explorers at Kyroshi Mine as a way to detect sourcs of ore and Uhd. They will release flutterflies into newly discovered tunnels and follow them to find the sources of ore.   Others have used them as a method of detecting magic use, as the flutterflies usually light up in the presence of strong magics.   Artists and calligraphers will use the carapce and wings of the Flutterfires to create uniquely coloured glowing ink. These have been used in artworks, scribing upon surfaces, and even tattoos.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

They do not see in the normal sense, but use echo location. As they flap their wings, they forming high pitched clicks and chimes. This noise bounces off the walls, and the Flutterfires make sense of their surrounding through this.   They also have a very finely tuned homing detection on sources of Uhd, and will unerringly fly towards local sources. They can sense sources of Uhd up to about one hundred metres away, even through solid rock.
Origin/Ancestry
It is believed they are descended from buterrfles that survived the original destruction through rapid transformation with the Uhd that was expelled
Geographic Distribution


Cover image: by Midjourney

Comments

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Jul 26, 2022 14:43 by Anna Katherina

I thought these would be entirely different than they are based on their name, but I was very surprised! I love them! I was curious how things would break off of them, though, to produce the egg shards. But when I thought about the fact they were paper thin and "flew drunkenly" that makes quite a lot of sense actually. what happens when they break, though? Do they die? How much can break off before they eventually do?   I love their uses, too. So fascinating to see the ways they've been used. The art and tattoos one is particularly creative. What a wonderful job!

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Jul 27, 2022 01:18 by Tim Day

Thanks Anna! Glad you liked them... and great question. I think i assumed they were quite brittle and bits would chip off quite easily. But you've made me realise I hadn't really added death into their life cycle... i think death comes pretty easily to creatures made of thin crystal... lets say: the inteded cycle is to do with reproduction: flight is to ensure they can travel to new forms of Uhd as a ready food source, and once found, they purposefully shatter themselves upon it to create a new generation of flutterfires and spread the species.

Jul 27, 2022 17:42 by Anna Katherina

Oh, I quite love that. It's almost parasitic in nature! And yet they're so beautiful and harmless- and useful in ways. A lovely addition, I think.

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Aug 10, 2022 14:34

A related reproduction question I had: can any part become an "egg" when shattered or just the main body?   Also, given their fragility, how do miners catch and transport live ones to release into the tunnels?   Overall awesome creature. Great job.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.