Valkyrie Bestiary

Doing Our Best to Care for the Fae

A Kelpie Tale

August 29, 2076

Here’s a story I heard around a campfire a long time ago. 

There once was a shepherd named Daniel, who lived with his sheep on the moors of Scotland. Daniel thought sheep were boring. He dreamed of being a horse wrangler, like the cowboys he read about in America. Those were real men. And horses were beasts to be tamed. Sheep were already tame and all they did was eat grass and get stuck in ravines so that Daniel had to search all night for them. 

Then one day, while he was tracking down yet another lost ewe and cursing the beast for its stupidity, he spied a herd of horses in the valley at the bottom of a ravine. They were the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen. Their sleek bodies shone like gold in the sun. 

Daniel forgot his sheep in an instant. And for the next week, he forgot everything else. He even forgot to eat. He followed the herd over craggy dunes and across heathered moors. Every time he approached them, the horses would gallop away, but never far, as if they taunted him to follow. The great stallion, king of the herd, watched Daniel with his black eyes. 

Daniel became obsessed. He would not rest until he rode that stallion. He followed the herd until the moors ended. And then he followed them onto the rocky sands of the shore. With the ocean at their backs, the horses had nowhere to run. 

“Now I’ve got you!” Daniel said. The stallion bowed to him in defeat and Daniel mounted onto his back. The great horse reared and neighed. Daniel clung to his mane and shouted with triumph. No cowboy had ever ridden a beast as magnificent as this. 

And then the kelpie stallion ran into the waves and Daniel drowned. The whole herd feasted on his flesh that night. The next day, the kelpies trotted back into the moors, looking for another shepherd who dreamed of greatness. 

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t get too big for your britches, I suppose. But I take another lesson away from this: always look a gift horse in the mouth. And if it has sharp teeth, never, never get on its back. 

So yeah, kelpies. There’s a small herd of them taunting folks in the shanty town outside the ward. And a few folks were dumb enough to ride them…right into the river. It seems the kelpie modus operandi hasn’t changed in the last thousand years. It goes something like this.

Step 1: Lure an unsuspecting dupe to get on your back.
Step 2: Run into the nearest large body of water.
Step 3: Wait for the frail human to drown.
Step 4: Eat and repeat.

This is one of the more difficult cases I’ve had to deal with. Hub wants to call in the militia, but I’d like to find a less drastic and bloody resolution. I was hoping my crew here could offer some advice for dealing with a kelpie infestation. As always, my thanks in advance for any help. 

Comments (3)

Why are you worried about those murdering beasts? I’m with Hub. Shoot them all. 
AllTheGoodUsernamesWereGone682 (August 29, 2076)

We had a problem with kelpies a few years back. Now we plant nightshade and horse nettle around our property. They’re toxic to horses. Doesn’t kill them right off, but turns their stomachs sour. Enough that they moved on to sweeter pastures. 
Homesteader75 (August 29, 2076)

           Homesteader75, FYI, Water hemlock will take care of them much faster. And permanently.
           Homesteader893 (August 30, 2076)