The pecksie is a small, fey creature of unknown origins and often mythical reputation.
With silvery, grey-coloured skin, which gleams when exposed to a light source, the pecksie is approximately half the size of a common house cat in stature. Despite its thin, diminutive appearance, its limbs and extremities are quite elongated in proportion to the remainder of its body. Its hands, in particular, are long-fingered and disproportionally long.
The small face of a pecksie has a split upper lip, like that of a kitten. This cat-like mouth houses a small, red tongue and rows of sharp, pointed teeth. Some pecksies have been sighted with webbed feet while still others have been seen with a long, narrow form of human-like, toed feet.
Whilst the pecksie is known to have hair of unspecified or undocumented style and colour, its eye colour has been identified as varying from pecksie to pecksie, ranging from agate through to jade, green, the colour of verdigris and also yellow.
The pecksie is known for dressing in garments made from natural materials such as leaves, fur, feathers and bark cloth however some have also been seen to adorn themselves with jewellery or charms. Despite walking upright in a human-like manner, the pecksie tends to wear no foot covering, preferring instead to remain bare-footed.
Although the pecksie is considered a mythical creature in certain regions and folklore of the Six Duchies, it has been sighted in significant proportions, so is therefore known to exist, at the very least, within the region of Tilth duchy, in the Six Duchies' north.
The presence of a pecksie can be evidenced by the leftover silver, pecksie-dust smears which may appear on objects it has previously handled, or within an area it has visited. This pecksie dust is transferred directly from the pecksie onto the touched object, and is recognized as being extremely dangerous to humans in any form, particularly if ingested.
Reputed to have a hole near the Witness Stones in Buck, and with an acknowledged connection to the other Skill pillars that dot the entire Realm of the Elderlings, the pecksie is also thought to customarily inhabit areas within range of these black-stoned monoliths. Old legends of the Skill pillar standing stones go so far as to suggest that they are even gates to the land of the pecksies, where a year may pass as a day, or a day as a year.
In addition, there is the folk belief that pecksies are responsible for strange things that happen to all of those who wander too near these places and it is said that a pecksie will take a new lamb or a child, or even a strong man if he's in his cups.
As an apparent consequence of being taken underground and fed upon by pecksies, one who is taken from these regions or enters the Skill pillars and returns is said to appear as "pecksie-nibbled". Symptoms of having been pecksie-nibbled commonly include nausea, dizziness, headaches, a loss of sense of time and vagueness with a detachment to one's surroundings.
As the pecksie is thought to not be able to abide garlic, the setting free from a pecksie, or the presumed cure for being pecksie-nibbled, is to place the sufferer on a diet of mint tea and meat cooked in garlic. The daily consumption of this cure, as well as the cutting of the sufferer's fingernails once long enough, is thought to cause the pecksie to "let go".
The pecksie is well known for its consumption of rat meat as a main component of its diet. There is a saying "where rats go, pecksies follow". A pecksie hunter and/or butcher uses a small, black knife with which to kill, slaughter or skin its quarry whereas a pecksie archer uses a bow with twig-sized arrows to down its predominately rat prey.
It is also known to digest eggs, which are often taken from the nesting boxes of human henhouses and, in addition to drinking the blood of the rats it captures, the pecksie takes in water and milk from cows for rehydration.
As for a dragon, no words are required for a pecksie to communicate. This mind-to-mind communication without the need for words is also not unlike the ability to Skill, using the King's magic. The pecksie tends to complete all tasks in silence, including hunting at night.
When the need arises for a pecksie to communicate verbally from pecksie to pecksie, it communicates in a squeaking, bat-like manner. When speaking verbally to a human in the native tongue of Six Duchies folk, the pecksie uses a noticeably oddly-accented dialect. In this, it is apparent that speech is entirely foreign to its natural means of silently communicating.
As a consequence of its silent nature, a pecksie places great importance on the value of the spoken word and lives by the adage that "words are like coins". Words, to a pecksie, are to be used carefully and only when needed. A pecksie can become angry and frustrated with a human who does not keep to their word or who uses speech either incorrectly or unnecessarily. As words are known to bind a pecksie, a careless use of words by a human may be detrimental, even fatal, to the small creature.
As for a human, a pecksie is capable of possessing special, individual talents and abilities, or taking on specific roles and tasks within the pecksie community structure. In addition to functioning as a hunter, butcher or archer, a pecksie is also able to learn and competently make or use hedge-magic charms. Further to the pecksie community, such skills as these are also able to be used in service to a human.
It is known that humans have learned how to "use" a pecksie. One "uses" a pecksie by binding it and then asking it favours. This foremost binding occurs once a human helps or provides assistance to a pecksie. An example of such a favour would be to give a drink to a thirsting pecksie. After accepting this assistance, willingly or not, the pecksie is then said to be "bound" to that human. The binding of a pecksie cannot be reversed or undone.
People have been known to abuse this arrangement by deliberately binding a pecksie to them, to thereafter ensure the service of the pecksie in their household. Once bound, a pecksie is often instructed to perform a number of duties for its human master and this service is usually and primarily performed as everyday household tasks such as cooking, cleaning and taking care of infants and children.
Though its diminutive physique prevents it from safely completing many tasks, such as heavy sweeping or washing clothing, the pecksie is still able to undertake additional chores such as egg collecting, dusting, tending fires, sewing, weeding, harvesting garden vegetables and keeping rats at bay.
Once a pecksie is bound by a human into a state of servitude, it absolutely MUST do whatever it is then asked by the human, to whatever end that may bring or no matter the cost to others or itself. After the binding of a single pecksie, the bound pecksie's entire clan typically appears at its location. To further benefit them, some humans have successfully lured these remaining clan members into bondage also.
Even in the face of positive and helpful experiences, over time the pecksie has developed a negative, if not evil, reputation in the eyes of the majority of humans. This is particularly true of many people in whose service a pecksie has been placed. Often, these humans have attributed all manner of horrific incidences to the assumed wicked intent of the pecksie, such as the death or unproven murder of an infant or other member of the household. With a reputation for being dangerous, the pecksie is also known to thieve anything it can carry.
The pecksie is renowned for its intense dislike of cats.