Egads! A local Redcap has accused his wife of cuckolding with you. The poor Redcap is just eaten up inside with jealousy. He’s also eaten his wife up to feed his insides, and he and his Redcap pals intend to make you dessert. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.
Redcaps are the most vicious of the fae. If most of the fae arise from the collective dreams of mortals, redcaps spring from their nightmares. They are vulgar, violent, and truly terrifying. Other fae fear them as much as humans do. Their name derives from their headwear, a woollen cap dyed in the blood of one of their victims. It should come as no surprise that they are almost universally Unseelie.
This Waylay, however, particularly refers to one of their strangest characteristics. They are not just violent, but also voracious eaters. They eat pretty much anything in sight. In the Redcaps Kithbook (page 31), one of the weirdest and most entertaining kithbooks, a redcap puts it like this:
What do redcaps do, you ask. Well, duh. We eat. We eat a lot. We eat everything we can get our hands on, and a few things we catch in nets and snares as well. We’ll eat stuff that’s alive, stuff that used to be alive, stuff that never was alive and stuff that might conceivably be alive in the dim and distant future, but you don’t feel like hanging around to check the results.
Now, that is not to say that we just eat everything in front of us. We’re redcaps, not vacuum cleaners. You can’t just set us to “suck a lot” and hope we’ll clear up everything in our path. I mean, come on. How stupid do we look? Yes, we eat. Yes, we’re always hungry—not, “Gee, I could go for a Chipwich right now, but it might spoil my dinner,” hungry, but rather, “I haven’t eaten in three days and I’d cut my own leg off and fry it up if I didn’t know I’d be just as hungry in an hour” sort of thing. It’s nothing we like and nothing we can control. It’s just who and what we are, and it’s always with us. We’re always empty, always needing something to fill us up. Stuffing something down the old gullet dulls that pain, at least for a little while. It’s going to come back, the same way the sun’s always going to come up in the morning, but in the meantime you can get a little peace and think straight for a bit.
The next big question is “What do redcaps eat?” The answer is “everything”. However, that’s the sort of reply that results in more nosy questions being asked, so I’m going to save you the trouble and explain it a bit more.
If you want to be technical, we’re omnivores. We eat animal matter, vegetable matter, mineral matter and now that I think about it, gray matter, too. We’re not picky, though generally when we talk about feeding someone a shit sandwich, we’re being metaphorical. All things considered, we’d rather eat something that tastes good, but in a pinch damn near anything will do. You know that story about the bunch of kids whose plane crashed and who ended up eating each other? If it had been us, there wouldn’t have been a plane left, either.
The one question that everyone is curious about but is too chicken to ask is this: Do we eat other people? (More accurately, they want to know if we eat other Kithain—screw the mundaners, even the elfiest of the lot are more worried about their own skins.)
The answer is pretty simple. Think about it. Think about the legends, and the stories, and how we got our name. Think about your worst nightmares, and the answer you really, honestly, devoutly hope isn’t true.
That’s always the right answer in the end, isn’t it? The one you don’t want to hear.
Let’s move on.
(This is then followed by 3 pages of “Eating People: The Rules”…)
This is captured in the Redcap Character card from The Wyld Hunt, which states:
What d’ya want? To talk to me? I got no time to talk to you, get outta my way! What? You really don’t know Redcaps, do ya? Okay, I’ll show you. Gimme your hand. Mmmm. Now outta my way or I’ll eat the other one too!