Fey Lore

Folk wisdom has it that the fey are mysterious and frequently capricious entities from the Overworld. They are said to slip through the borders between worlds when the moon and stars are right, or in places that have become wellsprings of the world’s life-energy. While the individual variants are innumerable, scholars of the arcane and the wild lands tend to group fey into a number of general classes:

The Elementa: Faeries tied to elemental manifestations, such as storm-spirits and naiads.

The Grotesquia: The low-born of the Overworld, from wizened workers to immense, deformed fomoria.

The Nobilia: Fey that take humanlike form, beautiful and terrible.

The Theria: Animal-aspected fey, such as raven-cloakers and fox-women.

The Umbria: Shadow-fey, said to be as much of the Underworld as of the Over.

The Viridia: Faeries of growing things, from tiny flower-sprites to great and terrible dryads.

These classification are far from strict, of course; a powerful faerie noble may seem like one of the Nobilia, but have an Elementa aspect of winter that defines him. It is in the nature of the fey to defy classification.

Fey and Mortals

The fey have a peculiar relationship with the mortal world. Many seem drawn to it at its wildest, encouraging forests to grow larger and thicker and stranger, drawing in more Overworld magic. Others are intrigued more by the mortal races than by the natural world. Disconnected as they are from mortality, the fae tend to see men and women as ephemeral creatures of peculiarly solid and yet fragile flesh. Mortals make the ideal playthings.

Yet tales persist of fey who learn to love as mortals do. While some portion of this is surely the result of wishful thinking, there exists ample reason to believe that faeries can indeed fall in love with ordinary men and women, even to give up their immortality to be with their earthly beloved. The elves, as scholars maintain, were once creatures of the Overworld. Of course, so were the goblin races—creatures to which selfless love is as foreign as dragons’ tears. They must have had a blacker love to draw them to the mortal races… that, or the story of the elves’ mortality is not quite as romantic as most would like to believe.

Iron

Folklore holds that iron is powerful against the fey. In general, this is true; raw iron, particularly cold-forged, seems to impede and disrupt certain faerie glamours. Some fey are even vulnerable to the stuff, as it leaves wounds that bleed their essence as well as blood. However, even cold iron is no sovereign remedy. A powerful faerie lord may find that the stuff pierces his enchanted defenses, but it will not kill him simply by its touch. For iron to prevail, it must be guided by an equally unyielding hand and will.

Faerie Society

In the Five Realms, folklore persistently refers to faerie knights, nobles and courts, generally casting the smaller sprights and spriggans as the commoners of Faerie. More scholarly works attempt to catalog the various nobles and territories held in the Overworld, but with little success. The penchant of a ruler to transform his or her (or its) domain to resemble itself is notable in the mortal world, but preeminent in the Overworld. Some theories hold that the power of Naming is at the core of succession and conquest: a king who renames his domain will transform it more utterly than one who keeps the name given to him by his forebear.

In many things, the fey seem to pattern their society on imperfect understandings of mortal traditions. Old age and death are not natural states to the fey, but the archetypes exist: hags, for instance, draw on mortal fears of age and weakness, yet most were never young and vital at all. Faeries rarely seem to have children of their own, and are prone to abduct mortal young when they decide to emulate the concept of parenthood. Scholars are not entirely certain where new fey come from; one popular theory is that they are born fully formed from the surging life-force of the Overworld.

Faeries have a waxing and waning interest in philosophical concepts, but they have notable reverence for things that are natural and immense. The fey are enthralled by turning seasons, by huge mountains and roaring storms, by prismatic light and crawling darkness, and by the most passionate and heartfelt emotions. These things are their heraldry, in some cases their identity, and even their meat and drink.

Fey Lore

Tor's Gate Barastrondo