The Fred Memorial Society
The Fey Courts
The Fey are spirits of nature, like Elementals and Outsiders their bodies and souls are linked, so they do not experience an afterlife and can’t be resurrected, but also can’t be turned into Undead or have their souls manipulated. Fey are technically creatures of the Feywild, a parallel plane to the Prime Material where the world is mirrored but without the influence of civilization, where the only Sapient races are the Fey and the Dragons, all else is just nature. While some Fey creatures are native to the Prime Material, being bonded specifically to aspects of the Prime Material or simply born there, the Courts are actually just places where the boundaries between the Feywild and Prime Material are weak, where creatures can enter the realms of the ‘true’ Fey.
The ‘native’ Seelie Fey of the Material Plane are easy creatures to understand, they are often unintelligent guardians of nature bound to a certain area of the world. They are usually peaceful unless they feel the natural order in their home is threatened, at which point they will defend it to the death. Native Unseelie Fey are similarly unintelligent, often just revelling in one particular trick, such as Selkies who spend their lives trying to drown travellers, and Redcaps which haunt battlefields and slaughter those who attempt to loot the bodies.
The true Fey of the Courts, however, are much more enigmatic. Largely separate from the Gods and fully divorced from civilization, they subscribe to a mentality and morality completely alien from that of other races. Morally, there are only two ‘goods’ for the Fey, fun and nature. Hence, all Fey wish to do is to protect the natural order and to have fun, however and wherever their particular brand of fun might be found and expressed. The difference for the Seelie Fey is that, despite their lack of understanding of the mindset of other sapient beings, they respect the right of those beings to choose and subscribe to their own morality, so will not actively inflict ‘evil’ upon a non-Fey or actively try to restrict their freedoms. Unseelie Fey, however, do not understand why they should respect ‘the born’ (a name for non-Fey originating from the fact that Fey are simply created from the Feywild, not born themselves), so persue their strange agendas without any consideration for the other sapient races of the world.
In terms of society, the Fey Courts are strictly hierarchal, with the Fey who prove their worth in Trials gaining positions of higher power. These Dukes and Duchesses have the ability to give a Geas to less powerful Fey, a quest or assignment which becomes core to a Fey’s being to the point where if they spend too long not pursuing an incomplete Geas, they start to wither away. The Trials are a central part of Fey society, used to solve all disagreements, from dispute over rank to accusations of crime and discussions about one’s favourite flower. Trials are arbitrarily determined by an impartial Duke or Duchess (or Queen or King) and the winner of the Trial is voted on by all Fey currently in attendence at Court. Trials can vary from combat, to hide-and-seek, to a pie eating contest to a reasoned debate.
Fey can still interact with other creatures while in the Material Plane, be it on a Geas or simply an adventure. While they are mistrusted, the often beautiful folk can inspire awe and respect from mortals, even so far as becoming friends with Dragons and the like. Fey can even reproduce with other creatures, leading to Half-Fey, rare beings who act essentially as Fey but retain a soul separate from their body and unable to be bound by a Geas. Half-Fey are actually more commonly offspring of Unseelie Fey. Distant humanoid descendents of Half-Fey often become Changelings, an often pariochal shapeshifting race found on the Elven continent of Pacha’ley more than anywhere else.
Each Fey Court wields slightly different powers, and are based around the four seasons. The two axes these powers lie on are between life and death, the two parts of the natural cycle of existence, and between animal and plant, the two parts of the natural world.
The Summer Courts
Fey of Summer have power completely on the side of Life, blooming flowers, healing wounds, growing trees and waking dormant powers. They are slightly on the plant side of the animal-plant axis, but can influence all parts of the natural world fairly well.
The Seelie Summer Court is ruled by Queen Titania and King Consort Oberon, the only Court where the Consort is also allowed to give Geas. Oberon is particularly concerned with creating common ground between the Fey and the other races, hence his creation of the Killoren. On the continent of Pharae, the rift for the Court is located in the Witchwood of Albion.
The Unseelie Summer Court is ruled by the Lord of Light. The most poweful Fey, the Lord of Light has many non-Fey worshippers, who he manipulates and gives Geas to so he can fulfill his own ends, though he does bestow upon them powerful healing and divination magic. The rift for his Court is located in the Lorr’hal Oasis in Muercia, where his followers also gather, believing him to be a physical aspect of their God, the Demiurge.
The Winter Courts
Fey of Winter have their power completely on the side of Death, they deal in sleep and hibernation, the cold and in decay, though they also have powers of survivial, championing those parts of nature that survive against the odds of death – though not those who cheat a death which should have came. They are slightly more on the animal side of the animal-plant axis.
The Seelie Winter Court is ruled by Queen Mab. The haughty masked Queen almsot seems to not have any goals of her own, leaving most of the Court to her Dukes and Duchesses and only speaking to berate her servants. In Pharae, her Court can be found in the Enchanted Forest of Illia, a Lycian state on the Rouen border.
The Unseelie Winter Court is ruled by the Night’s King. A necromancer in his spare time, the King has created the Otrademos, or White Walkers, a form of poweful Fey which raise the bodies of the dead to harvest their energy, and fight in his eternal proxy war with the Lord of Light. His court can be found in the Lands of Winter, a small region in the far north of Roun. He has also recently allied with Noladrasha, the sorcerer of the Witchwood.
The Spring Courts
Fey of Spring have powers completely over the world of Animals, and slightly allied with Life. They deal in the powers of birth, predator and prey, the hunt and the chase, motherhood and fatherhood and all else unique to animals, though on all parts of the Circle of Life.
The Seelie Spring Court is ruled over by Queen Scathach, whose power over magic is unprecedented amongst the Fey, and is also known for taking on champions from other Races, eventually giving them a place among her Dukes and Duchesses as a Fey. Her Court can be found in the Grove of Sages, a small woodland in Sacae, the large region of central Lycia.
The Unseelie Spring Court is ruled by the Verdant Princes, four four-eyed sorcerers said to be part of the same powerful being that Scathach split into four millennia ago. Their court can be found in the Witchwood of Albion, where they were the first to answer the call of Noladrasha and gave him leave to build his great tower within their Court.
The Autumn Courts
The Fey of Autumn hold their power compeltely over the domain of Plants, though they also hold power over invisible organisms like viruses and bacteria, and slightly on the side of Death in the life-death axis. They are being of decay and darkness, but also of fertilisation and paving the way for a new side of life. They are beings of withering disease, but also of essential processes like digestion.
The Seelie Autumn Court is ruled by Queen Morgana, who spend a while a few centuries ago in the guise of a human and ended up on the wrong sides of the campaigns of Arthrus and his Round Court, though eventually joined them to help fight her Unseelie counterparts. Her Court in Pharae can be found in the Witchwood of Albion.
The Unseelie Autumn Court is ruled by the Green Knight, who also holds sway over all the native Fey of the world, both Seelie and Unseelie, and can give even those unintellient beings Geas. However, his own court – found in the Witchwood as well – is the smallest of the four, as the machinations of the Verdant Princes caused the Fey of Autumn to become known as a menace to all the humanoid races for a long time, and he has not yet created enough new Fey to recover his Court’s size.
There are some true Fey, of the Feywild, which are not bound to a Court. Some of these are the free Fey, those without a Geas and without the wish to return to Court who simply adventure aroud the Feywild, sometimes visiting their favourite spots on the Material Plane to have some fun. Depending on how long they have been free, some of these Fey are still visibly members of a certain Court, and some have lost their Court’s features and gained power over all four corners of the Fey Axes. These free Fey often choose their own Geas, beign able to define their being over their own choices.
However, there are also some other groups of interesting Courtless Fey. The first are the Dusklings, a group of Winter and Autumn Fey who received a Geas to master Incarnum, the magic of the soul msot common in the Northeastern Continent. They succeeded in their Geas, but as a result they became a separate race from the Fey of their Courts, gaining a Soul both inside their body and off their body and being permanently warped by it. They became more hominoid, with purple fur and monkey-like bodies, and became bound to Incarnum as their life source. While they often remain in the Feywild, in what are now called the Dusk Lands, Dusklings are somewhat commonly seen on the Northeastern Continent.
The other interesting type of Courtless Fey is the Urban Fey. These Fey are those who, on their travels, have came into contact with civilization and determined that it should be accepted as part of the natural order. They become like native Fey, bound to one specific place, but instead of a tree, lake or grove, they become bound to a city or town, protecting the interests of the town itself and the beings within it. Most Urban Fey are originally of the Seelie Courts, but retain little of the powers of their Court, gaining new powers over the materials and craft of the other Races of the world, particularly those who they settle with.