Pooka-ese is what other Changelings call the way the Pooka speak their half-truths and outright lies.

Overview Edit

The pooka tendency to lie has developed into a language all its own; a language with many dialects and nuances. Subtle differences between personalities direct the many ways that pooka express themselves. They have mastered the art of subterfuge and created individual means of never giving a straight answer. Despite what most changelings think, pooka can be very cunning, even Machiavellian in their lies and diversions. They use a variety of methods to avoid answering a question honestly, combining different approaches in a complicated dance of communication that leaves their fellow faeries unsure of what’s true or false.

Rarely is every word that comes out of a pooka’s mouth directly in opposition to the truth. Instead, they confuse things and toss falsehoods in with the truth so that their listener never knows exactly what to believe. They give half-truths and skirt the precipice of veracity without actually stepping into either a completely black or an entirely white realm.

Pooka have an innate urge to avoid scrutiny and to keep their innermost truths out of the limelight. Most importantly, pooka hate being the target of interrogation. When asked a direct question, they instinctively avoid it. No pooka uses only one dialect of Pooka-ese, but combines them all and chooses the tactic that best suits the moment.

Lying Hearts Edit

Everyone knows that pooka lie. The questions are, “How much?” and “Why?” When you have a kith that rarely tells the truth, it becomes difficult to know what to believe. This handicaps the pooka. When a pooka wants to tell the truth, they often find that no one believes them. The situation gets very complicated, very quickly. Imagine the following scenario:

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [telling the truth, because this is important] “No, milord.”

Sidhe Lord: “So you did steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [lying because the Sidhe Lord assumes they're lying] “Yes, milord.”

Sidhe Lord: [getting frustrated] “Well, which is it?”

Many other faeries view pooka as more trouble than they’re worth. Conversing with them usually ends in aggravation. Some have come to call pooka speech, “Pooka-ese.” Just like any other language, this one has many dialects. Not all pooka lie outright every time they open their mouths, despite what the other changelings think. Pooka have the ability to tell the truth and to lie in varying degrees. Subterfuge often replaces the outright lie.

"Dialects" Edit

Enigmas Edit

One tactic pooka use never to have to commit to a definite answer involves asking questions. It’s the “Old Man on the Mountain” technique. When asked a question, they answer with a question. This method frustrates the other faeries as much, if not more, than any other. It especially irritates the sidhe, who often view this as insubordination. Imagine the following scenario:

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: “Why would I do that?”

Sidhe Lord: “Maybe because you wanted to anger me?”

Pooka: “Do you really think that I would steal your cloak?”

Sidhe Lord: [now unsure] “I don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

Pooka: [shrugging] “Well, why don’t you ask the redcap?”

Redcap: “Hey! I don’t know anything about it! You going to listen to him? He’s just a pooka!”

Evasions Edit

Subtlety is the pooka’s ace up the sleeve. Master conversationalists and manipulators, they divert attention from themselves with a wave of the hand. This rarely fails for them and only under the most directed scrutiny do they find it difficult to evade an issue or question. Pooka use cunning and slyness to redirect the conversation away from themselves and onto a different topic. They’ll change the subject, beat around the bush, and never answer directly, as in the following example:

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [leaning forward to brush the sidhe’s sleeve] “Milord, you have a bit of lint stuck to your coat.”

Sidhe Lord: [looking down] “Oh, thank you.”

Pooka: [walking away] “You’re welcome, milord.”

Sidhe Lord: [blinking] “Wait a minute! You didn’t answer my question. Did you steal the cloak?”

Pooka: [looking back] “The one Lady Serella made for you? That reminds me. I saw her the other day and she said such kind things about you.”

Sidhe Lord: [pleased] “She did? What did she say?”

Stalling Edit

Pooka often put off giving the answer until it becomes painful for the listener to wait or can’t stick around for the moment when the answer is finally revealed. To accomplish this, pooka start telling the story of exactly what happened, but far in advance of the moment when the event in question occurred.

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [rubbing their chin] “Well, milord, it happened like this. When I was just a little cub, I had a friend who used to love picking on me. His name was Boo. Boo had an inferiority complex that caused him to bully anyone he thought was weaker, just so he could show that he was so tough. Did I mention that Boo was a redcap?”

Sidhe Lord: [nodding] “Right. Okay. Get to the point.”

Pooka: [holding up their hand] “Okay, I’m getting there. So, anyway, one day Boo and I were playing in the backyard at my place... [insert rambling, detailed story] So anyway, me and Boo, we decided to climb the tree so we could see the baby birds, right?”

Sidhe Lord: [sighing in irritation] “Pooka, just answer my question. Did you steal the cloak?”

Sluagh: [whispering] “Lord. You have a visitor.”

Sidhe Lord: [shaking their head in resignation] “I’ll be right there.”

Pooka: [grinning ] “We’ll finish the story later, milord. It’s really a very good one.”

Lickspittles Edit

It’s amazing how people will hear what they want to hear and accept as truth anything that strokes their egos. Some people call this dialect of Pooka-ese, “sucking up,” but pooka see it in a different light. They bring a hint of blush, a flattered smile, or a boost of self-confidence to their listener. Pooka hold to the theory that the best way to lie successfully is to tell people what they want to hear.

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [smiling] “Milord, you know that I respect you. How could I ever do anything so low to a person of your grace, wisdom and nobility?”

Sidhe Lord: [beaming] “Oh, okay. I didn’t think you did. I just wanted to make sure. Thank you.”

Pooka: [walking away] “You’re welcome, milord.”

Redcap: [smirking] “Can you believe the bullshit flying around in here?”

Sidhe Lord: [turning on the redcap with a noble frown] “You think that’s bullshit? Would you care to explain that, commoner?”

Redcap: [frowning deeply] “No! That’s not what I meant! What I meant was... um... Fuck.”

Lawyering Edit

Pooka get accused of things that no one would ever dare accuse a troll or sidhe or other kith of doing. Pooka sometimes use noble manners to avoid responding to the accusation. Sidhe especially have court etiquette in their blood and often a reminder is enough to get the sidhe to back down. This requires careful wording, however, so that the sidhe does not feel publicly humiliated. This tactic is best used in private.

Sidhe Lord: “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [frowning] “Milord, I take personal offense that you would accuse me of such a thing.”

Sidhe Lord: [unsure] “Well, I’m not accusing you, per se. I’m just asking.”

Pooka: [shaking his head] “I am innocent until proven guilty. I will, of course, make myself available for interrogation and torture when you decide to pursue a more formal investigation.”

Redcap: [grinning] “Can I torture him?”

Sidhe Lord: [frowning at the redcap] “You may not!”

Redcap: [sulking] “Damn.”

Scandals Edit

Pooka learn many secrets in their dealings with the other kith. Many pooka are not above using these secrets to their advantage. If the situation calls for a bit of subtle blackmail, they won’t pull any punches. Most pooka resort to this only when all else has failed and the situation has become desperate. Blackmail is a dangerous game and they realize it.

Sidhe Lord: [for the eighth time] “Pooka, did you steal my cloak?”

Pooka: [thinking] “Milord, did you say whether you’re referring to the cloak that Lady Serella made for you with her loving hands?”

Sidhe Lord: [nods, frustrated] “Yes. That’s the one. Did you steal it?”

Pooka: [scratching his head] “I wonder, milord, did you ever get that satyr brew stain out of it?”

Sidhe Lord: [worried] “You know about that?”

Redcap: [snickering] “Satyr brew?”

Sidhe Lord: [frowning at the redcap] “You may go, pooka. What happened that afternoon... is over and done. Do you understand? ”

Pooka: [bowing] “Oh yes, milord. I understand perfectly.”

The Sidhe's Cloak Edit

Who stole the sidhe lord’s cloak? Although the pooka refused to ever give a solid response to the question of whether they stole it or not, they offered the sidhe lord several clues as to who did. Anyone who speaks Pooka-ese will see in two of the above examples (Enigmas and Stalling) that it was the redcap who stole the cloak. Pooka rarely say things randomly. Pooka-ese doesn’t state the complete opposite of the truth. For example, the pooka did not reply, “Yes, milord, I stole the cloak and the redcap is completely innocent.” That’s too easy. It makes Pooka-ese too obviously translatable. Anyone who knows the pooka’s propensity to speak in this manner immediately knows the truth. That contradicts their very natures. The pooka might as well just say, “No, milord, I didn’t steal the cloak. The redcap did.”

Of Tails & Tales Edit

Just like everyone else, pooka have conversations which don’t involve direct questions. Though most pooka tend to be relatively taciturn, not all of them can keep their mouths shut for long. This varies, depending upon the pooka’s animal affinity. Pooka-ese doesn’t apply only to answering questions. In their every interaction, pooka twist, falsify and exaggerate the facts. Most of the time, they just listen and ask lots of questions, but sometimes they want to tell a story or relay a philosophy. The listener can expect to be entertained when a pooka gets in a talkative mood.

Fairytales Edit

Pooka have a knack for exaggeration. One dialect of Pooka-ese involves embellishing the truth with grandiose magnification of the facts. Every statement becomes a hyperbole, full of mostly bullshit. This type of Pooka-ese entertains other changelings, but is rarely taken seriously. When the tale of how the troll saved their oathcircle a long walk by waving down a taxi becomes an extravagant tapestry of knightly honor and courage against the great yellow dragon on 5th Street, everyone chuckles and shakes their head without paying much attention. The truth lurks somewhere in there, but the pooka, in their telling, turns the story into something quite magical... and not quite true.

Devil's Advocate Edit

Pooka love to play Devil’s Advocate. Accomplished in word-play and debate, they can take the position opposite what they truly believe and argue it as if it were their most holy standard. They don’t do this for any particular reason; it’s just who they are. This does, however, produce some interesting conversations and usually everyone involved comes away from the discussion having learned something.

Advice to the Lovelorn Edit

Just like everyone else, pooka have their own motivations and priorities. When changelings or mortals come to the pooka to spill their guts, they often want advice to go along with it. Not surprisingly, the pooka’s own interest in the situation and their sense of honor bears heavily upon their response. In situations where a pooka specifically wants to help the listener, they will often put forth that concerted effort to tell the truth, though this has backfired many times when the listener assumed the pooka was lying and therefore did the exact opposite of their advice. Pooka have discovered that the more effective method of helping involves asking questions that guide the listener to discover the correct conclusion on their own.

Emergencies Edit

Even Lassie could communicate her needs to her owners in a pinch. Pooka can do the same. Commands and requests come easily to pooka, without the need to temper them with lies. A simple, “Come with me,” “Leave me alone,” or “Get Lord Folderol!” doesn’t need to be twisted. This testifies to the fact that not every word out of a pooka’s mouth must be a falsehood. With these commands or requests, the pooka takes no stand, doesn’t reveal anything about themself and isn’t sharing information. They're just giving an uncomplicated order. If the request gets much more complicated than the examples above, the pooka faces more of a challenge.

Pooka & Promises Edit

Changelings view oaths as the most sacred events in their lives. The Dreaming itself binds them to their oaths and imposes severe consequences for a broken oath. Because of this, pooka may take oaths normally like any other changeling. The Dreaming lifts all restrictions on them for lying when pooka pronounce the words of the oath. The oath comes out shining and true. Perhaps this explains why pooka take oaths so very seriously.

References Edit

  1. CTD. Kithbook: Pooka, pp. 40-44.
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