the real counterfeit

25 Synonyms for “Deceptive” and “Fake" By Mark Nichol

Assumed: pretended, as in “an assumed name,” referring to a pseudonym used to conceal one’s identity (and, as a verb, to pretend); also, several unrelated meanings Beguiling: deceptive, duplicitous, or diverting Bogus: not genuine Contrived: false or unnatural Counterfeit: imitation or insincere Delusory: deceptive Dummy: imitation (and, as a noun, a mockup); also, several unrelated meanings Ersatz: imitation or substitute (and generally inferior to the real thing) Factitious: artificial or false Fallacious: deceptive Faux: imitation (usually in the sense of a design element or fashion item that deliberately mimics a more expensive material or fabric such as marble or fur) Feigned: fictitious, or not genuine or real  Forged: imitation with intent to deceive; also, an unrelated meaning of being created by pressure and perhaps heat Fraudulent: deceitful Jive: deceitful (said of talk); also, superficial or foolish, or other unrelated meanings Misleading: deceitful Mock: imitation, in the senses of not being genuine or real Phony: counterfeit, false, or fictitious; also, hypocritical Pseudo: false (also a prefix in hyphenated and closed compounds such as pseudo-event and pseudopod) Put-on: pretended  Sham: false, not genuine Simulated: fake but intended or made to look genuine Specious: deceptively attractive, or appearing genuine or truthful  Spurious: deceitful or imitation Synthetic: not genuine; also, several unrelated meanings


Friends! Neighbours! Countrydragons! It is I, your intrepid host of the Science Corner, Beverly Fluff! It has been a while since my last correspondence, and for that, I must apologise. However, you will understand my silence when I say I have been long away in the murky depths of the Tangled Wood, gaining the insight and knowledge required to share with you my latest oological findings – on the Shadow egg, of course!

The Egg
Shadow eggs are one of the few oological specimens known to luminesce of their own accord. The precise reason for this is unknown. The most common hypothesis is that the Shadow egg glows in order to remain camouflaged in the dark pine forest where it is laid, where it may be mistaken for a piece of fungus or, and I quote, “I don’t know, one of those smelly pranks again.” Despite numerous inquiries on the subject, the reason behind the Shadow egg’s glow remains a mystery, in large part because it appears to no longer serve its original purpose. Indeed, modern Shadow parents make no effort to disguise their eggs as anything other than eggs. The nest, you will soon find, is often enough to keep even the most dedicated troublemakers at bay.

Egg-laying and -rearing is typically a community-oriented affair from well before the first egg is laid. Members of Shadow clans who wish to have offspring often enter into agreements involving multiple pairs of dragons looking to nest concurrently with one another. Prior to the actual egg laying event, these Shadow parents gather together to create their shared nests and partake in one of the more involved and elaborate community crafting projects known to dragonkind.

Prior to the egg-laying, Shadow parents who wish to share a given nesting area will come together with an assortment of materials: papier-mache, plaster, parchment, and even wood are common materials, along with various pigmenting agents such as golden milkweed, ground mussel shell, and plenty of bluelipped thresh. While the parents wait on their real eggs to arrive, they construct counterfeits out of their collected materials and decorate them to resemble real Shadow eggs on the outside. On the inside, the un-egg is filled with standard-issue spring-loaded mechanisms and plump pouches of pigment powder, all bound together with a little household trickster magic. When the real Shadow eggs arrive, they are placed alongside the counterfeits in the community nests and tended normally. Often, nothing seems to come of these counterfeit eggs, and it sometimes looks as though all that work was for naught – until a shame-faced dragon, splattered in loudly-coloured pigment powder, is seen skulking through the clan and trying desperately not to be noticed.

Fig. 1. Components of what we are assured is a healthy specimen

The Nest
Of the known nesting behaviours of dragons, that of the Shadow dragon is by far one of the more complicated. Once the counterfeit eggs are ready, the Shadow parents will construct elaborate maze-like nests out of brambles, driftwood, pine switches, shelf fungi, and bracken. These mazes are very difficult to navigate for dragons not currently using the nesting ground, and contain multiple nests of both real and counterfeit eggs throughout their entire length.

Often, these maze-nests are booby-trapped and proofed against an assortment of would-be egg-nappers. Even tundras – who were, for a long while, one of the finest breeds for egg-napping, given their powerful olfactory skills – are no match for these mazes, which are often laced with sneezing powders and powerful perfumes on top of everything else.

The construction of these maze-nests and counterfeit eggs is often seen as a form of friendly competition between parents of the same or of different agreement parties or clans, with the involved dragons striving to create ever-more difficult-to-navigate mazes and realistic-looking counterfeits. Unsurprisingly, some clutches are almost lost in the push for obtaining the trickiest nest of all. I say almost, of course, for – as all Shadow parents proudly know – no true Shadow hatchling is ever lost for long in a nest, even if they may come out into the world sneezing and covered in various pigments and spell-fragments. 

Final note
Should you by some divine(?) providence(?) encounter a 100% genuine, totally not-at-all-counterfeit Shadow egg out in the wild, ancient Shadow customs say you are allowed to keep it as a good luck charm. The same customs go on to suggest you “take it with you to the Lower-or-Higher table, find out for yourself!” These same customs assert that there is no chance whatsoever that you may be conned or “taken for a ride” by a crafty Shadow clan using the egg in their search for a new place to set up shop. This latter claim has yet to be verified and is mentioned here only for intellectual curiosity’s sake.

My research has yet to reveal any substantiated correlation between the presence of any number of eggs and increased payouts in Fairground hazard games, but don’t let greed or the thrill of risky pursuits overshadow your conscience in matters of egg-rescue and child-rearing.