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Vunderfoxen by BlueNephelim Vunderfoxen by BlueNephelim
Yup. Vunderfoxen. Not the kind of picture I usually make, but I just wanted to take a small break to do something light and fun.

These are a species from my world, a spirit-creature called the Vunderfoxen (same world for both singular and plural, in case was curious). And yes, they are admittedly pretty much a more codified brand of Sparkledogs for people like me who drink Raspberry Cider and study very old mythology and enjoy pretending to be sophisticated/academic/whatever. So make of that what you will. As you can see, they come in a very wide range of colors - the ones above are just a small example of the colors and patterns possible - and have a very long, fluffy tail. Although they have sometimes been hunted for their exceptional pelts, this is rare for two reasons. The first is that, unless am set of magics are applied immediately at the time of death, the pelt fades and looses all it's color and vibrancy within a few minutes. The second is that killing the animal for fur or wearing the pelt after can often have some curse-like side affects, which are rumored to have wiped out entire towns in the past. As with preserving the color their are certain magical steps that will (supposedly) avert these karmic repercussions, but most people prefer not to tempt fate just the same.

Vunderfoxen are native to the spirit world of the Dreaming, but make regular forays into the mortal world. Unlike some of their spirit-brethren they are actually fairly benevolent. They are most known for leading to people to things or places, and the most common stories about them are tales of lost children or travelers who followed one back to civilization and safety, or occasionally helping good or worthy people to find the object of a quest. However, they have a guardian aspect to their personality as well, where mortals intending some harm to others have been led to their doom over the edges of ravines or across thin ice or into the lairs of dangerous creatures. So while it is generally considered good fortune to see one, they do sort of require those they encounter to make an objective self-assessment before deciding whether to follow...
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh yes, I like the grey one and the golden one!  They're so complex in pattern

How did people hunt them?
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:iconbluenephelim:
BlueNephelim Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! They're admittedly a big of an excuse for me to get nuts with bright colors, but I do like them nonetheless - or maybe because of that. ^_^

They hunted them using children as decoys. Either the children would pretend to be lost, or, just as often, they would take a serf or slave child and just dump the in the woods while following at a safe distance - then the child calling out would attract the vunderfoxen to investigate. Sometimes they would sense something amiss and stay clear, which was one of the reasons hunters started using genuinely abducted and lost children - more authentic and more likely to fool the creatures. However, they catch on fast if you stay in the same area, so repeat hunters started having horrific things happen to them on the trail... One of the reasons the practice died out is that you never know if the local vunderfoxen are aware of the ploy. They can live for centuries, so if some guy tried this ruse in the area 300 years ago, they will still remember and take it out on you. Eventually, that and the Green Wars (a territorial struggle of mortals vs. Fey) pretty much put an end to the practice, at least on a large scale.
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Lol I would dare you to draw an entire pack of them sitting on your multicoloured sand desert...but that would just be cruel

Awww that's horrible, I can't imagine any children who would want to do that...well I wouldn't!  And it's just awful that they're so intelligent and are killed like that, it makes it all the worse for some reason, because they know what's happening
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:iconbluenephelim:
BlueNephelim Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
MY EYES NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That is cruel. ^_~

Even the "willing" children were usually being extorted in someway, either because they were very poor/hungry or because they didn't know what the end-goal was. it was fairly awful for everyone involved, and it's good that it has mostly stopped. Unfortunately, that means Vunderfoxen are much more cautious and timid than they were centuries ago, which is a shame for genuinely lost travellers, since the Vunderfoxen are more wary and less likely to help, fearing a trap.
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Lol awww, it'd be like one of those impossible 5 billion piece puzzles designed to make you go insane

Could the Vunderfoxen not sense there was something odd about the children? I do agree that it's unfortunate, especially if people really do need help and the actions of others have now sort of damned them!
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:iconbluenephelim:
BlueNephelim Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hate those things - I'm a 500 piece puzzle person, max. *^_^*

Yeah - that's why they started just abducting kids, so the distress would be genuine. Now the poor vunderfoxen are worried to help anyone, in case they turn out to be unwitting bait for a trap. -_- Still, their instinct to help often overcomes them in the end; they try to just carefully watch and follow as long as they can to assure themselves that it's safe.
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've never actually tried one before!

That's awful, I think the Vunderfoxen should just not even bother anymore, if people are going to treat them that way, then let the people suffer for their actions
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:iconmagpieonmars:
MagpieOnMars Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
They seem like an interesting species! I like the concept behind them. The middle-left design is probably my favourite :D so do any of your characters encounter one of these foxes in your world?
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:iconbluenephelim:
BlueNephelim Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! Honestly, it's partly just an excuse for me to go crazy with colors. ^_~ I liked the dark-inversion one too... And yes, at one point a pair of the characters are wandering the woods, trying to find two other characters who have been kidnapped, and one of these little guys leads them to each other. So huzzah!
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:iconmagpieonmars:
MagpieOnMars Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Professional General Artist
Excellent :D do any antagonists run into one of these?
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:iconbluenephelim:
BlueNephelim Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Catching up on my inbox after hiatus - sorry for the long wait on replies, and thanks for your patience!

No, the vunderfoxen leads them around any potentially harmful people. The vunderfoxen used to be more brash and cocky about dealing with harmful intruders, but then they were heavily hunted for their pelts. Now they try to avoid trouble, or just lead it off elsewhere with illusions, rather than confront them. The hunting days have left a bit of shell-shock in their racial memory.... -_-
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