|Images of will-o'-wisps|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 277
Will-o'-wisps are cruel creatures that lurk in swamps, luring travelers to their doom and feeding on their fear.
A will-o'-wisp is a living globe of spongy flesh about a foot in diameter, translucent almost to the point of complete transparency. They can emit bright light from every surface of their bodies (or extinguish their light to become effectively invisible), and can glow in any color they desire, most often pale shades of white, yellow, green, or blue. They can form patterns with their light, often displaying the apparition of a skull to terrify their victims.
Despite cities offering far more sustenance to these creatures, will-o'-wisps prefer to dwell in swamps for unknown reasons. When they discover travelers, will-o'-wisps float in the distance, attempting to trick their victims into believing they are signs of safety such as lanterns, while actually leading the gullible into traps such as quicksand. When their victims begin to die, will-o'-wisps come in close and absorb their psychic emanations, literally feeding on fear to gain sustenance. Will-o'-wisps can discharge a powerful electric shock to deter attackers, but prefer to save it as a last resort.
Will-o'-wisps are highly intelligent but possess an alien mindset that other sentient creatures have a hard time understanding. They are capable of rapidly vibrating their bodies to create sounds of speech, but communicate with each other via complex light patterns.
Will-o'-wisps sometimes organize into small groups called strings, but their goals remain obscure to outsiders. Will-o'-wisps do not age and can be valuable sources of ancient knowledge to those who can figure out how to coax it from them.
Will-o'-wisps sometimes cooperate with marsh giants or ahuizotls in catching prey. They have an inherent relationship with witchfires, as the witchfire can summon will-o'-wisps, and her aura of terror affects them like a drug, inflaming their passions and making them highly willing to follow or serve the undead hags; will-o'-wisps are thought to have played a role in the creation of the very first witchfire.
Some of the ancient Azlanti captured will-o'-wisps and bottled them to serve as street lights and living art pieces. The survivors and descendants of such "will-o'-wisp gardens" now hunt Azlanti ruins, including the Sun Temple Colony and Nal-Kashel.
Will-o'-wisps inhabiting the Crown of the World sometimes approach travelers under the guise of helpful spirits, directly trying to lead them astray across the endless ice, but the native Erutaki are aware of their ruses.
The demon lord Mestama counts will-o'-wisps among her minions. Will-'o-'wisps are also found in the First World; the fey lord called the Lantern King is called by some the progenitor of the will-o'-wisps, but he laughs off such claims.
A rare, more powerful type of will-o'-wisp, known as Groetan candles, are associated with the god Groetus and are attracted to sites of his worship, where they may linger for centuries due to their lack of conception of time. Rather than emit electrical shocks, Groetan candles emit bone-chilling cold. They appear as normal will-o'-wisps with a skull-like shape in the center of their aura of bright blue light, surrounded by a nimbus of shifting runes.
Will-o'-wisps have many colloquial names, including jack-o'-the-lanterns, corpse candles, corpse lights, walking fires, pine lights, spooklights, rushlights, and, in the River Kingdoms, Hanspur's night lights.
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