The term "Fae" is an umbrella term for a number of mystical races that typically exist outside the mortal realm. Their lives are measured in thousands of years, if not true immortality, though they are vulnerable to unexpected death. Most are vulnerable to the touch of cold iron, and react violently to contact with it.
There are, usually, two types of Fae: There are the spiteful, or Unseelie, and the just, or Seelie. The first tend to be nightmarish creatures, exacting pleasure from pain and generally revelling in suffering. The second are more righteous and usually considered to be ‘good’. It seems they try to fill out the role of good and evil and the struggle between them. Do not be fooled though, for both sides are equally capricious as the other and neither side is to be trusted.
One of the more famous of Fae manipulations was the taking (and returning) of the then Prince Arlok of Arangoth by the Mitrodgis, a Fae-ish race of little people. The Mitrodgis, however, make no claim that their act was to assist either of the sides. Despite this, the Seelie and the Unseelie both point fingers at how the taking of Arlok assisted them both and crow delight at how effective it was.
Fae who don't claim a side of the conflict are rare to come across, and these Fae are usually found within Tor Anan.
Both the Seelie and the Unseelie have formed into vast courts, styling themselves after the courts of mortal legend. The great Seelie court is usually awash with bright colour and filled with Fae playing at gallant knights, princesses and princes, minstrels and bards playing uplifting tunes and ballads of great heroic battles, presided over by a King or Queen or both. The Unseelie too has a King or Queen, though their court is usually dark and dreary with ghostly apparitions, nightmarish creatures and sadistic mistresses, the bards singing sorrowful tales about lost love and death. However, the fae of both courts are known to be capricious and it is said that these stylings of the courts has changed at the whim of their rulers.
For as long as the courts have existed they’ve waged war upon the other: Whether through direct conflict or other, subtler means. As of late the Fae courts have found a new ground upon which to do battle: The mortal realm. There they sow discord or weave order through whispered words and messages. So far such manipulations have been kept on a small scale, perhaps causing a death or fortune of a merchant, each side claiming small victories.
Only one court can rule the fae world at a time. When one is dominant, the other is held back, patiently waiting and scheming for their day. Through ancient accord, the Seelie and Unseelie courts take turns, as patterned by the equinoxes of their world. In spring, the Seelie Court emerges to take control of the fae world and reigns over it until the fall, when the Unseelie resume stewardship. Each side dreams of the day that they can break the accords and take control in perpetuity. Despite many attempts, neither side has gained advantage over the other.
The Seelie Court, also known as the Summer Court for the time of year that it holds dominion over the fae world, is ruled over by the two sidhe, King Artair and his lovely queen, Eithne. Their court is a beautiful, light filled extravagance that is held in bright gardens scented with rare and fae-grown flowers. Large marble-like pillars decorate the edge of the expanse, holding nothing aloft for there is no ceiling, only the mist-filtered sun shining down on the fae. At the far end sit two, exquisitely carved white marble thrones on a small dais. Here on a carpet of lush, green grass, the Seelie fae pay tribute to their King and Queen.
Those of the Seelie Court tend to be less malicious outright, though every bit as whimsical in their desires as their Unseelie cousins. Their gifts tend to be double-edged, such as inviting a mortal back to their court but not explaining the difference in the way time passes there. While only a few days might have passed in the fae court, decades, or even centuries could have passed in the mortal realms, effectively robbing the hapless mortal of their friends and family.
The Unseelie Court, also known as the Winter Court, controls the fae world during the time of year that the sun is furthest away. Ruled over by Queen Liandra, a sidhe of exceptionally cold beauty and her consort, Jantros, the Unseelie Court is a place of brittle starkness. Towering oak barren of leaves dot the courtyard where Liandra holds her court. The sun is weak here, its cold light filtering through a wintery shroud of clouds. Snow blankets the ground, pristine and white without anything to disturb it, not even the courtiers that come to attend their queen. Fae learned long ago that to disturb the snow was to invite Liandra's ire. Her throne is a great, black wooden chair, exquisitely carved and twined with a series of vines twisting about it that seem not to bother her as she sits there. Her consort attends at her right hand, standing behind her throne.
Liandra, through her Huntmaster, controls the Wild Hunt, a group of fae that ride the winter nights of the mortal realm. Appearances of the Wild Hunt are said to precipitate catastrophe and disaster. Currently, the Huntmaster Fa'el has disappeared and Liandra cannot command the Wild Hunt without him. She has sent multiple trackers to find him, several of which have not returned.
Members of the Unseelie Court tend to be harder and more openly vicious than their Seelie cousins. Their malice takes many forms, and indeed, many Unseelie enjoy the suffering and terror of their victims. Many of the darker breeds of fae tend towards the Unseelie Court.
Main Article: Tor Anan
Tor Anaan exists as a neutral place between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, open and welcoming to all fae. Tor Anan is ruled over by a High King, whose reign is as long as his life. They cannot retire save through death.
The Dreamlands are a fae realm set apart from the warring courts. Ruled over by the Raven Twins, Velsarius and Velcretia, on behalf of Raven Father, the Dreamlands are effectively cut off from both courts, as well as the mortal realm. Access to the Dreamlands is by invitation only, granted by one of the two twins that steward their lands. Unlike the fae courts, the Dreamlands are populated entirely by a race of raven/humanoid hybrids, who all have some aspect of raven in their human guises. The denizens also have a sort of religion, setting them further apart from the fae courts. They worship Raven Father, their creator and their god, and look to his two children as extensions of his living will.
The realm is shrouded in forever night, with a great full moon at all times to give light. There is no waxing and waning of this moon, just the steady silvery light that shines down upon the Dreamlands. It is said that this is Raven Father's great eye, with which he looks down benevolently over the Dreamlands.
The Nightmare Realm is connected to the Dreamlands and falls technically under the Raven Twins' purview.
The Twilit Reach
The Twilit Reach is a realm of perpetual autumn and eternal dusk. The sun is always setting and always partly obscured by distant bands of grey clouds, and its warmth can barely be felt through the slight chill of winter's inevitable approach. It appears as an autumn forest, the leaves brightly coloured and always falling. All structures in the Twilit Reach show disrepair, decay, and neglect.
Unlike many fae realms or planes, the Twilit Reach can be accessed with the same magic one would use to travel into or through dreams. However, the Reach is the sole domain of the Queen of Dusk, who holds absolute and indisputable power within it, even from other fae monarchs. She is a controversial figure among many fae because she refuses to glamour her appearance, choosing to show her true form: An old woman whose body and clothes show every sign of age. When she appears among other fae, she serves as an unpleasant reminder that everything dies eventually.
The Queen of Dusk is a recluse of a fae who presides over and represents endings. All things are part of a grand cycle, and as decreed by the rules of nature, everything must eventually end. She has many enemies in the form of those who deny death, especially vampires, liches, and others who voluntarily seek undeath, and she has allies and followers in those who fight against undeath and the corruption and defiance of the natural cycle that immortality brings.
The Queen of Dusk's authority extends not only over natural death, but also over cycles of society and and nature: Empires fall, governments collapse, new leaders are chosen, mountains erode, rivers change course, lakes dry up, and even the stars themselves burn out.
Fae have a number of sub races that make up their race.
- Cat Sith
(This is not an exhaustive list, and can be added to.)