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Fair Folk

Average Lifespan: 70-100 Years
Average Height: 5'2“ - 6'2”
Horn Size: 2-4 Inches
Complexion: Cool pastel colors, blues, purples, greens, and human colors, in order of common to rare.
Physique: Humanoid
Origin World: Colico



The Fair Quarters, I - Civil War & Serenidad

The Fae are indigenous to the islands and mainland coasts of the Migrant Sea, and are known to have resided there since the earliest days of recorded history. Unlike more static cultures, however, the Fair Folk of the early 31st century share minimal customs with their ancient predecessors, and most facets of modern Fae life emerged in relatively recent history- Less than four hundred years ago.

Like the Vani, the Fair Folk have always favored a deeply collective and spiritually exciting existence, placing few things higher in value than one’s sense of belonging to their community and maintaining close ties to family and friends. Though customs and festivals may change over generations, the Fae are known to have a great appreciation for creative persuits, theatrics, magical practice and rituals that put them in communion with nature’s (typically benign or more playful) spirits. For most of history, in the long, dark stretch between the ancient Kingdom of Cascadia and the emergence of the Migrant Sea’s modern countries, the Fae have carried little animosity with their neighbors and integrated themselves into other societies with ease. Sometimes, they would even allow Humans and Elves and others to integrate into their own.

The modern segregation of the Fae began between 3-4 centuries before the present, in the aftermath of a devastating civil war in Serenidad where the royal family and their vassals were discovered to be vampires. Over the course of three gruelling years, militias formed across the countryside and razed their homes and fields to the grounds to expunge all blood-feeding folk and their undead servants from the land, during which time a Human commoner would be crowned the new Baron for her ruthless efficiency in hinting vampires. In the chaos, the Fae were the most adamant of Serenidad’s people in their opposition to burning down their communities, and they would become refugees in their own country.

In the aftermath, with the country in ruins and people bound together only by shared suffering against occult forces, Serenidad’s new Barony would impose harsh restrictions on the practice of many forms of magic that persist into the present day. Most notable of these would be the Residential Academies of the Arcane, wherein all children in Serenidad (including those of non-citizens and travelers), if they are discovered to have magical talents without the need of a Catalyst (like a wand or a book), could be separated from their families by the state and placed in heavily reclusive boarding schools to be taught how to use their gifts in a legal manner.

Policies as these may have applied to all of Serenidad’s citizens on paper, but in practice, were disproportionately enforced upon the Fae, where the unfortunately talented children of nobles and powerful merchants could often be overlooked. As common folks’ fervor against arcane arts grew, the Fae would often clash violently with state officials who came to separate their families- Almost immediately after some of the Fae fought alongside those same officials to eradicate vampirism from the country. Those who stayed in Serenidad would seclude themselves to Fae-only enclaves, while others would disperse into the southern isles nearby.

The Fair Quarters, II - El Quattor & the Blood Tide

While the Fair Folk inhabited many other states already, Serenidad held the greatest population of them, and the Fae’s exodus over the border would not be a kind or well-timed experience for the vast majority of them. Those who sailed eastwards, to the Arcadian subcontinent would find themselves lost within a desolate landscape and largely perished within only one generation. Those who fled west beneath the canopies of Vhima Sola largely disappeared, as most who enter the hidden kingdom do- But a few scattered historical accounts tell of the Vhiman Fae having little love for their Sereni cousins.

Those who sailed south would find respite in the Baronies of Dorado and Victoria (which would later form El Quattor) and various smaller island sates, welcomed in by the local Fae and more diverse communities, but this break from their troubles would be short-lived. Around 3 centuries before the present day, the Dominion of Charity would make its first major military push into lands beyond the Orient. As one Barony fell after another- First Laika and Prester, and then the isle of Sessney- to the Imperial fleet, Dorado and Victoria’s capacity to accomodate the migrant Fae would be severely diminished. In a rush to amass a defensive force, at least one adult (and sometimes unlucky teenagers) of every Fae family was expected to join the military to secure citizenship for their kin. With few other places to go, many accepted this offer, and would see combat with the Dominion’s forces in less than six months.

The war would last just over two decades, alternating between periods of dire fighting and unnerving ceasfires. Though the Dominion would eventually retreat from the Migrant Sea in defeat, the Blood Tide devastated the land and a generation of Fae, as well as all others who lived there. As martial prowess was not in the cultural character of Serenidad’s Fair Folk, many would perish to the Dominion’s sophisticated war machines, and those who survived to the end would be scarred from a lifetime of brutal combat.

The Baronies of Dorado and Victoria, as well as Brasilis and Meridia, would unify into the modern country of El Quattor, and all living veterans of the conflict were rewarded quite generously, Fae and all. With few roots in this unfamiliar land, and their communal ways destroyed by over twenty years of wartime, however, the respected Fae veterans would struggle to hold onto their earnings. Where other families had the means to rebuild their homes and move upwards into a higher standard of living, the war payout was too little for the Fair Folk to buy desirable homesteads like the ones they left in Serenidad.

In order to try and preserve their ways, the Fae of the isles pooled their money together and bought small plots of land for very large numbers of people, which would go on to become the first Fair Quarters. Within a generation or two, the Fae returned to a simple and peaceful way of life, albeit one built on thinly stretched funds and uncomfortably cramped living conditions. Over the next few centuries, Fae abroad would learn of the tragedies in Serenidad and El Quattor, as well as the success of tight-knit, frugal community living in protecting their way of life against the troubles of the outside world.

Scions of the World Tree

Among the Fair Folk, a rare few are born into every community destined to undergo a series of peculiar bodily changes upon reaching an age of maturity, taking on the mantle of ‘Scion’- A term given to one whom the Fae believe has a soul cut directly out of the World Tree, Irminsul. Manifesting as soon as one’s mid-20’s, and as delayed as their late-30’s, a Fae Scion’s transformation begins from the top down. First, their horns grow longer and larger in size, sometimes taking on the appearance of a deer’s antlers, and at other times, something akin to gnarled, symmetrical tree branches. A foggy, crystalline bead dubbed the Third Eye emerges from the forehead with some pain, followed by the formation of peculiar scales or ridges around it. As Scionization spreads, different parts of the Fae’s flesh take on a tougher, less smooth form, and additional beads (All of which are still called ‘Third Eyes’, regardless of their number) may form. One who previously bore feathers or flowers may find them multiply in number.

In addition to surface-level changes, Scions almost always suffer a not-insignificant loss in muscle mass, particularly in the arms and legs. As most Fae tend to avoid martial pursuits, especially those reliant on sheer strength, this is often easily missed. More significantly, a Scion’s ability to wield magic of all varieties is considerably heightened, and they gain the ability to wield such without the aid of tools- A gift few are capable of.

The emergence of a Scion is almost always a celebrated event among the Fair Folk- With a particular sort of exception in some cases. Preparations for the necessary rituals and festivals often begin quietly as a suspected Scion’s horns first begin to enlarge, though most Fair Quarters mark the emergence of the Third Eye as the proper starting point, as to not confuse a late growth spurt with scionization. As the festivities begin, the Scion is lifted onto a wooden throne and bestowed with a multitude of gifts and (figurative) blessings from their neighbors, before being invited to take part in a night of merriment.

As time goes on, the Scion is taught by the Quarter’s elders to be a spiritual leader of the community. For many, the education is a long-winded and frustrating one for two particular reasons: The first being that the Fair Folk have little reliable documentation on their ancient history, and many different Quarters may have wildly different interpretations of certain traditions- The second being that, as Scions are believed to be an embodiment of the World Tree’s will, it is expected that they figure many of their duties out on their own, and anything they come up with may or may not be taken as them simply remembering something they always knew.

On some occasions, the appearance of a Scion is a grim event- Specifically for the Scion. As the process is thought to be determined at birth but does not make itself known for two or three decades, there is no reliable way to delay or prevent it from happening, and a Fae bestowed with such transformations has little choice in they fulfill their myriad new duties. Unwilling Scions are prone to running away at the first sign of change, provided they are brave enough to leave the dramatically communal life of the Fair Quarter behind for the life of a wanderer.

If the transformation is noticed before the Scion runs away, a very different and dire series of festivals engulfs the community, wherein the Quarter’s elders (or other Scions, if any are present) brace themselves to receive a multitude of bad omens and hard times. In more moderate communities, these rituals may involve smashing cherished plates and dishes to the ground and inciting youth to sob loudly. The most orthodox of Fair Quarters take this further, and may draw a lottery to choose one (or several) persons’ prized belongings to be tossed into a bonfire. The spiritual reasoning behind such actions, at least as the Fae describe, is similar to ripping a bandaid off a wound- A Scion’s rejection of their community means misfortune will inevitably follow, but can be mitigated by enacting them upon themselves.

Wandering Scions are ill-trusted as far as strangers go. In most societies, Scions are seldom seen outside of their Quarters, and so their appearance is often shocking or upsetting to others, making it particularly difficult to find work or go about daily life. Should a Scion ever pass too close to a Fair Quarter that was not once their home, the experience worsens- Children of the Quarters are taught that Scions without a home are a reminder of their gods’ disappointment in their mortal condition, and will often- As encouraged by their elders- Throw eggs and over-ripe vegetables while shouting curses at the wanderer.

Scientifically speaking, it’s unclear what particular quirk of Fae biology causes scionization to occur, if any. Any Fae child can grow up to be a Scion, though a majority (about 70%) tend to be female. In recent decades, a medical journal published in the Dominion posits that scionization may be a lingering side-effect of a profoundly terrible bio-weapon unleashed on the Fair Folk in ancient history, which would mean the process is a dormant mutation written into their genetics that just happens to awaken in a tiny fraction of any Fae population. In the folklore passed down through the Quarters, the Fae believe their gods were once mortals, and ascended to divinity when they merged their physical form with the metaphysical bark of the World Tree.

lore/races/fair_folk.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/19 17:04 by sage