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The Glowing Empath

Thelea was collecting herbs in the forest on a dark autumn day when she noticed a blue dimly glowing butterfly sitting on a nearby flower. She immediately recognized its species and smiled. Glowing Empaths were rare around here and she considered herself lucky to see one. It took to the air and landed directly on her hand while changing its colour to a bright gold. As it continued to accompany her for the rest of her trip, she realized she had made a new friend.

Basic Information


The Glowing Empath is a butterfly which grows to up to 4 cm in length and a wingspan of up to 5 cm. Its solid coloured wings are biolumi­nescent and glow slightly in the dark. Their actual colour changes based on the emotions the butterfly senses in its surroundings. For ex­ample, when it senses the hunger or bloodlust of a predator, it turns leaf green. This also doubles as a clever protection mechanism: Its natural habitat, forests, are predominantly green, so it blends in naturally in that colour making it harder to spot by potential predators.
Colour Emotion
fire red anger
leaf green hunger, bloodlust
deep blue calm, relaxed
gold joy, happiness
bright pink disgust
orange confusion
pale white sadness, depression
dark grey fear, anxiety

Ecology and Habitats

The Glowing Empath lives in dense forests or jungles of a temperate to tropic climate. There, it feeds on nectar and juices from sweet fruits using its small trunk. It prefers darker regions and if the leaves do not provide enough shade it switches to a nocturnal lifestyle.

Biological Circle

Like most butterflies, the Flying Empath hatches from its egg as a caterpillar and undergoes metamor­phosis to its final form once it has the energy to do so. Its life ex­pectancy of up to 3 months ex­cludes the cold winter months in which it hibernates.


The Glowing Empath has excep­tional sensory capabilities. Its eyes have adapted well to the gloomy to dark environment allowing it so see using only the dim light provided by its bioluminescent wings. Its keen sense of smell detects places which provide food from afar and directs the butterfly towards them.
But most interestingly, it can sense the emotions of living beings in its vicinity. The nature of this ability is unknown, but most conjecture it to work in a similar fashion as the ability to see the Arcane Weave. It is also assumed that it possesses a form of emotional intelligence be­cause swarms have been observed to change colour without an obvious external reason.

Additional Information


Many people are amazed by the appearance of the Glowing Empath. Especially elves are so fascinated that many want to keep one as a pet. However, that has proven to be quite difficult, because it requires the company of its swarm and its freedom to live. In captivity, the butterfly dies quickly of solitude and lack of freedom.   However, if someone's emotional patterns resonate with those of the Glowing Empath—some interpret this as the butterfly liking the elf—it may return to someone regularly if they provide it with food and a safe space to sleep. But even then, the very limited lifespan brings these "relationships" to a quick end making the Glowing Empath a very rare pet. Nevertheless, a few more eccentric individuals have dedicated entire rooms of their home to provide a room for the butterflies to live and breed in. Every few weeks, they then try to befriend the newborn to make at least some of them stay.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

While the butterfly itself is revered for its beauty, its cocoon is known for a very different reason. It can be woven into a very fine thread often used in expensive clothing. Besides, wizards and runeweavers like to use it for its ability to bind arcane power and guide it where it is needed.
2-3 months, ecxept hibernation
Average Weight
up to 0.2 g
Average Length
4-5 cm wingspan
3-4 cm length

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Please Login in order to comment!
28 Jul, 2018 22:35

I like the idea of a bioluminescent species, and the fact that it can change color makes it even cooler! I have to say that the idea of the butterflies dying if not living with it's kin and having freedom is an interesting idea! Really does make for a rare pet if they're difficult to keep as a pet. Great work!

Grab your hammer and go worldbuild! :3
28 Jul, 2018 22:36

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

Journeyman RwbyMoon
Benjamin Andula
28 Jul, 2018 23:20

Your article is extremely rich and interesting, but I find out that it lacks something.. Perhaps complete a bit more the sidebar ? You could perhaps move your table of colors to the right, and add a new quote ? Otherwise I'm interested how peoples live with a swarm of them as pets :p

"Nothing great has been accomplished in the world without passion" -- G.W.F. Hegel
29 Jul, 2018 08:00

Think of people living with them as having a winter garden full of butterflies flat bowls of sugar syrup and open windows for them to come and go as they please.
The sidebar is a bit empty, yes. That's a common problem in all of my articles.

Journeyman RwbyMoon
Benjamin Andula
29 Jul, 2018 08:19

Eh eh you can easily transpose a few things I guess to the sidebar, I didn't watched that much of your articles, but if they are all that rich, you can do it easily ! :p And thanks for the precision uhuh.

"Nothing great has been accomplished in the world without passion" -- G.W.F. Hegel
29 Jul, 2018 02:03

I love your species, the details about how its partially a defence mechanism with it turning leaf green with bloodlust was really cool!
By the way, you need to remove a space and a dash in exceptional. Its under the perception header.

29 Jul, 2018 07:39

Argh... the hyphens were exactly right on my screen but of course column width changes on different devices. Unfortunately, CSS solutions for this are not universally supported yet, so it'll have to look bad for someone out there.

29 Jul, 2018 20:03

Well done on being featured in todays stream!

GorgeFodder - Former Forge Father & Former Community Director of World Anvil
30 Jul, 2018 00:20

Thanks for featuring me!