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SEVRIN LORE: Varn Squirrel Bane

Legends of the fey persist in Sevrin, even among those humans who no longer believe in their existance.  One of the most persistent of these folktales deals with Varn, a pixie warrior whose ferocity in battle earned him the title “Squirrel Bane.”

Stories about Varn Squirrel Bane are usually told to children and are slightly comic in nature. for most humans find the notion of combat between pixies and squirrel to be amusing, even cute. 

Squirrels are so common in Sevrin that most humans seldom give them a second thought.  Rural folk consider them fit for the pot if other game is scarce, and the glossy pelts of the black squirrels that inhabit the northernmost Crown islands are prized by folk of middling class for trimming gloves and lining cloaks.  For the most part, squirrels are ignored or considered, at worse, a minor nuisance.

But to thumb-sized pixies, squirrel are fearsome foes.  They have sharp claws and teeth,  they are exceptionally quick and agile, and they are clever and single-minded.  A reasonably good comparison would be a human facing a very large and hungry bear, assuming that bear could jump over ten times its own length and run more swiftly than a horse.   

Squirrels are voracious feeders who will decimate any food store they find. A pixie’s larder is one of their favorite targets.  Pixie abodes, in general, are attractive to squirrels, since these are built into hollows in trees and are usually of a size well suited to squirrel nests.  Although pixies take care to build multi-layered defenses against squirrel invasion, the creatures seem to delight in defeating any such efforts.  Pixie portals are small and stout, but a determined squirrel will gnaw until the opening is large enough to accommodate its bulk.

In addition to battling over food and nesting site, pixies must guard their young against squirrel attacks. Nestling birds and young pixies are not usually a squirrel’s preferred food, but it will rob nests if other food is scarce.  An occasional squirrel gets a taste for flesh and becomes a ravinar.  Pixies hunt down and kill these predators, just as humans would a man-eating bear.

Another source of conflict between pixies and squirrels is the eminity between squirrels and feyflight dragons–tiny woodland drakes even smaller than their rodent foes. Squirrels consider dragon eggs a particular delicacy. Robbing a feyflight nest is the only thing that motivates the usually solitary creatures to combine their efforts. These temporary warbands, known as ravinari, mount attacks notable for persistence and disturbingly cunning strategy. 

Varn and the Ravinari  is a favorite tale among adventurous children. It has inspired many a twilight game between two teams of young warriors, who might spent hours or even days plotting traps and tricks and strategies. Minor injuries are such a common occurrence in these games that a family’s store of ungents and bandages is often referred to with amused resignation as the “ravinari box.”