Book 3 of the Faerie Apothecary Mysteries, Elixirs and Elves, introduces us to a new type of faerie known as the Rhys Dwfen, but what are these fae?
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Imagine a plant. I know it's difficult with such a general statement, and I wish I could give you details about how the plant looks, but no human has ever seen this particular plant before. That's because this flora has the property of invisibility. In fact, the beautiful island on which this plant grows abundantly is entirely invisible because of the plant's magic. We don't know much about the island, except that it exists (in myth) off the coast of Dyfed (Harapea, 2018).
On the invisible island, a race of incredibly handsome/beautiful Welsh faeries lead blissful lives away from the prying eyes of humans (Faeriepedia, 2018). These faeries call themselves the Plant Rhys Dwfen or Children of the Deep Rhys. I don't know if these names mean that the fae are related in some way to the plant itself or what the "deep rhys" means. I call them Rhys Dwfen for short.
Speaking of short, they are supposed to be tiny but, like many fae, they can shapeshift into human size when around us (Harapea, 2018). In Elixirs and Elves, we're introduced to the character of Toffee as a short faerie man in a tailcoat and red vest. He's a head servant to the royal family and referred to as a Rhys Dwfen. He's bubbly, friendly, and happy to serve the fae and humans around him.
I based his personality on the fact that the very few interactions between Rhys Dwfen and humans show them to be good natured and generous fae. (Side note: According to https://www.behindthename.com/name/rhys, Rhys is a name in Welsh meaning enthusiasm, of which Toffee has plenty.) The meetings between humans and this fae type have occurred largely in the Cardigan marketplaces of Wales, where they trade with such wealth as locals find baffling (Faeriepedia, 2018). One would say that they flaunt their wealth, but descriptions make it seem more like they don't know the value of money or how to bargain. They offer such high prices, it inflates the costs so that locals cannot compete (Faeripedia, 2018).
People so naive as to not know how money works and who, according to Faeriepedia (2018) are friendly and apt to show gratitude to those who are kind to them, must have generous, unselfish personalities. I also picture them as being somewhat childlike in their understanding of the world. Toffee is the embodiment of a good-natured, generous, and helpful fae, as I pictured of the Rhys Dwfen. The use of names of foods, like Fudge and Toffee, was my own quirky idea, but it seemed fitting that they would have names to match their sweet personalities.
Except that Fudge isn't very sweet. Fudge isn't like the other Rhys Dwfen. Why is that? This is explained, in part, in Elixirs and Elves, but more may come to light in other works. (Some more is shown in the poem Chaos' Christmas Carol, available to subscribers.)
So, why include Toffee and Fudge or any Rhys Dwfen on the island of Moss Hill in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries?
This particular fae intrigues me. We don't know much about the myths of this faerie type, but to live on an invisible island and have no fear of humans, I imagine they have some potent magic at their disposal. At least, it was fun to imagine that was the case.
In Elixirs and Elves, I wrote Toffee as being able to make himself invisible to the ankou, thus avoiding the grim reaper for days. This is not an easy task and certainly makes it seem that Toffee's magic is powerful. Could the Rhys Dwfen characters have powers that will come in handy in a future book as well?
You'll have to keep reading the series to find out!
(2018). Retrieved from http://www.hafapea.com/thelandoffaepages/thefae2.html#rhys
M– R. (2018). Retrieved from https://faeriepedia.weebly.com/m-ndash-r.html