Disclaimer: UPG. I am writing this as a fox phouka, and I will write about both myself and the other ones I have met.
Spelling: When I look around I have seen Phouka spelled 7 different ways on average. I have always preferred Phouka, and I haven’t tried to consult too many other phouka about it because many of us struggle to grasp the complexities of human language (I am a rather stark exception, but that is because I am here). Some of us remember the old spelling Puca, but it also requires accent marks that aren’t as common in languages anymore. However, Pooka is never acceptable. Please don’t spell it like that, it conveys a sense of cuteness that, the majority of the time, you will not experience encountering one. Additionally if you search for information about us under that term, you are very likely to be misdirected to information regarding our race in an RPG game, 90% of which will misinform you, and should rightfully be ignored. This being said, it is pronounced this way.
Species and forms: Many sources say Phouka are “horses, period”. Other say we come in a variety of species, and yet others, say we can be any species we want, and we can shapeshift into other species. The third statement is the correct one. We come in as many species as the world has, and then some. In most cases, Phouka take the form of some kind of animal, either in natural form or anthromorphic, but there are some rare exceptions of them having some humanoid attributes. Somewhat more common is a Phouka having the attributes of two different animals, such as a fox and a snake, or a horse and a fish. Phouka that take many different forms often take horse form because it affords them a great deal of speed and strength. Almost all Phouka, however, have a preferred form, usually a form they either relate to the most, or were born as.
How is Phouka formed: Phouka can come to be in 4 different ways I know of. One way is simply to have Phouka parents. Another is for a fae spirit to be born to an animal, or for a spirit to be taken from an animal and replaced with a fae one. It is also possible for an animal to wander into the Faerie realm the same way humans sometimes do. Once there, some circumstance, even long enough exposure, could give them fae nature, thus them becoming Phouka.
Regarding the rumors that everything we say is a lie: This is roleplaying lore claptrap. In fact many of us are actually truth-bound, and most of us will tell the truth sooner than lie. This is because lies are exhausting and unsustainable in the long term. I certainly do not want to keep track of what of what I have said to some mortal is true and what is false. This being said, this is not universal, you’re bound to find Phouka that lie eventually. Additionally, if a truth might be inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even harmful, you can expect to have some statements worded very carefully or facts omitted. That said, however, that occurs all the time even between mortals. You may believe yourself to have been tricked, but in general, if we haven’t spoken in truthful, even blunt terms, then there was a reason.
So one thing I have been asked, is how do predator and prey Phouka interact? In general, we do not eat other Phouka. However a fox Phouka like myself would think nothing of eating a rabbit, even if I have rabbit Phouka friends and even if they are present. Because in general, nature fae understand that we are all part of a cycle of life, the seasons are a cycle, the year is a cycle, even the ages are a cycle. We also understand that in order for one creature to eat, another must die, whether that is a grape or a rabbit. All life struggles to live because that is life’s basic drive. But spiritually there is typically no hate retained over death. I say typically because again, there are exceptions. Fear of death and fear of fate are typically mortal concerns.
What court are Phouka part of? Typically nature court. I will explain this one in another article, but I will summarize that Phouka are generally not beautiful and pure enough for the Seelie, nor strong enough for the Unseelie. Additionally, Phouka typically do not like to walk a path of either shining light or the total darkness. Almost all of us are either seasonally associated with either spring or autumn.
Some other notes I should add is that some Phouka decide to become familiars, typically to witches who are truly practicing the Art, because it is of benefit to both sides that interaction with nature, and with us, like we exist and can be spoken to like people, that it be encouraged. You won’t find this attitude amongst all fae, particularly Seelie and Unseelie, partially because they believe that taking care of nature is solely their function.
Our general disposition towards humans are … I don’t think many of us are happy with humanity and the direction it’s going right now. It’s pretty much like you’ve all fallen away from nature. However having become a human this time around (Sometimes I cannot fathom why I did this, and other time I think it was to understand you all), I have come to understand that humanity is a victim of its own circumstance, a drinker of its own wine, as it were. There is a belief that humanity is the pinnacle of life, the chosen species, and other such nonsense. Because of that, nature goes ignored. You are distant from your roots. You are distant from your walk with fae, to the point where we are not recognized as existing in your reality. Still many of us would still deal with the ones who want to talk, and want to listen. That is actually a refreshing beat, a glimmer that there is still hope for the lot of you .. Some of us will be angry, especially when we are found in a place that humans have trashed. And some will be friendly, especially in places that humans have restored and preserved. The ones that are angry will probably bite, and the ones that are not, might at least talk to you.