Beyond The Shore
The Island of Faerie
In which shall be contained all that the party has learned about the Fae Realms…
This handy hex-gridded map is provided for reference (open image in separate tab to view larger)1…
1 Each hex has a diameter of 6 miles (and thus contains slightly more than 23 square miles of area). Fully exploring a hex takes roughly a day (as mortals measure it, not that time has any meaning in this place). Simply passing through a hex to another takes roughly 3 hours (due to the rough, weird, and often magical terrain) at normal speed, or 1 hour to navigate nautical hexes by ship.
Major Locations in Faerie
|Grid||Thing of Interest|
|0112-0113||Edge of the great storm that brought The Dümplom here.|
|0116||A white-marble city of ancient Greecian design lies on the floor of the ocean hear, easily visible through the crystal clear water.|
|0213||One of the two ships of the Seelie court was sunk here.|
|0214||Surrealist forest with a statue of an iron titan at the top of a cliff. The Dümplom is currently careened on the beach here undergoing repairs.|
|0215||Here there is a valley, with a large lake, and a manse on the lakeshore. ?|
|0314||1500-ft. rocky mountain with a white-stone statue of Toddler-Caddis at the top.|
|0414||A swamp, in the center of which is Caddis’ mom’s house.|
|0416, 0516||Two large coastal towns, each large enough for a couple thousand souls, only three miles apart.|
|0816||A long stone breakwater juts into the water here, ending in a red-stone statue of a viking warrior.|
|0815, 1603, 2013, 2310||Proposed possible locations of the Unicorn herds.|
|1209||The Unseelie Court and the Royal Palace of Thelbane.|
People of Faerie:
The Nereids: These beautiful water spirits command the ships of the Seelie court, keeping them in their destined courses and defending them from assailants. Taking the form of beautiful pale-skinned women, clad only ever in their shawls, their nature is that of the love of the sea for those that sail upon it, but also the dangers inherent in the waves. Even to gaze upon them floods the minds of men with amorous thoughts, though to make love with them is to die. The Drowned worship them as patron gods.
Abere: Caddis’ mother and a high-ranking member of the Unseelie Court. Abere is worshipped, or at least feared, in Melanesian mythology as a cannibal demoness or evil swamp nymph. She is said to reside in marshes, drawing people to her by her fake beauty (she is monstrous in her real form) and entrapping them by causing reeds to grow around them. Once they are trapped, she proceeds to devour her victims. According to mortal legends, she eats the flesh of her victims and feeds the blood to her plant allies. When she kisses a male victim, that same victim will slowly mutate into a plant-like, female humanoid called a Faduah that serves only her. Clearly some of these tales must be false, since Caddis was born. She also makes pretty good apple pies.
Leannán Sídhe: A great noble of the Unseelie Court, Leannán is a Muse, the embodiment of human inspiration and a patron of all arts. Among the most well-known of the great faeries, her common name, Leannán, comes from the Gaelic words for a lover and a burial mound. Among scholars of faerie lore, the Leannán Sídhe is generally depicted as a beautiful woman, always dressed in finery, who offers inspiration to an artist in exchange for their love and devotion; however, this frequently results in madness for the artist, as well as premature death. Death is no escape from her. She is the Gaelic muse, for she gives inspiration to those she persecutes. The Gaelic poets die young, for she is restless, and will not let them remain long on earth.
Fond as she is of mortals, Leannán makes no objection to be called Lean, or Lea, or any other simplification of her name, though she does take offense at being called a fairy, rather than addressed properly as one of the Sídhe. Both flighty and dangerous, she goes to great and often disturbing lengths to get any promising mortal to accept her “gifts”—granting them exceptional talent, both magical and mundane in an area at which they already excel. If they consent, they are hers, and can only escape by finding another to take their place.
Fiona: Abere wants grand-babies, that much is known. To this end she has dispatched Fiona, one of the Baccae who serve the unseelie court, to be her son’s constant companion (whether to be the mother of his children or to find someone else to fill that role is yet to be seen). Like all Baccae, Fiona is a lush, easily swinging from beautiful and ladylike to savage and bestial at the drop of a cup of wine.
Flora and Fauna of Faerie
Kanuku Wani (Skunkalope): This beast from the Fae Realm resembles a three-hundred pound skunk. The Kanuku Wani has a body as thin and sinuous as a snake, and its head is crowned with an impressive rack of antlers. It can fire its needle-like claws at opponents at a range comparable to a longbow’s. Unlike a mundane skunk, the Kanuku Wani are an aggressive lot, feeding on creatures beyond just grubs and insects, often hunting small mammals and reptiles by night in addition to giant versions of insects. While Kanuku Wani are dangerous to nearby settlements, farmers find a positive aspect in their presence, valuing the creatures’ taste for giant insects and other more dangerous vermin.
The Manekineko Parade: One of the odder sights in the Unseelie realms. The manekineko are tiny fey creatures that take a form that is vaguely like a bipedal kitten, with blurred, rounded features, smooth fur in a variety of pastel colours, and tiny monochromatic eyes above perpetual smiles. Manekineko tend to assemble in large packs, numbering in the hundreds, called parades, which march through the realm seemingly at random playing adorably discordant melodies. Mortal musicians who find themselves lost in Faerie often attract devoted followings of the strange little creatures.
The Red Bull: This enormous, flaming-red bovine is 15 feet tall, measures nearly 30 feet from horns to tail, and weighs approximately 16 tons.
The Red Bull is a powerful demonic beast that attacks single-mindedly. Created by the lords of the Unseelie Court to protect the herds of unicorns which roam the plains of Faerie, he persues whatever target his master sets him against relentlessly. Anything or anyone that gets in its way is destroyed with hardly any awareness from the Bull. Even the immortal creatures of faerie, like unicorns, become filled with blind terror at the sight of it.
Wha-waewae Manu: The Wha-waewae Manu is a predator and scavenger of the fae realms that looks like a five-foot tall, four-legged, roadrunner covered with sharp thorny scales in place of plumage. The bird-like beast has an impossibly long, sticky tongues, like that of a frog, and piercing red eyes that hypnotize and fascinate their prey.
Wha-waewae Manu live and hunt in the twisted and unnatural plains of the Unseelie side of the Faerie realms, where they make excellent use of their long, stilt-like legs in running down any lost souls who stumble into their feeding grounds. Once it has closed with its target, a wha-waewae manu attacks with its two front legs, rending and slashing. Far smarter than their animalistic form might suggest, wha-waewae manu prefer to hunt in shrieking packs and use their prey’s confusion and their grasping tongues to their advantage, circling their quarry and darting in to attack as soon as the victim becomes distracted, then holding their prey within range of their beguiling gaze to prevent them from retaliating. They have been known to wander through battlefields in the fae realms, picking over dying and regenerating creatures and souls, which has earned them the nickname “Faerie Vultures.” Wha-waewae Manu are fond of disemboweling their targets and feasting on the hot entrails while their mortally wounded prey screams itself to death.
Baccae: These unseelie spirits are living incarnations of drunken revelry. Tales say they were once mortal priestesses who succumbed to the madness of the grape. When in peaceful playful moods, these women are comely and attractive with long hair the color of red wine and eyes the colour of grape-leaves. Baccae carry jugs of neverending wine which quickly make the imbiber become complacent around them as if under the influence of a calm emotions spell. Like many creatures in the unseelie realm (such as the Manekineko parades and unicorn herds), the Baccae travel in great mobs, constantly drinking, dancing, and carousing, and inviting mortals to join in their revels. While initially inviting, these mobs can quickly turn into horror shows as too much drink (which is an inevitability with these creatures) turns the Baccae into howling, murderous beasts who will happily tear a man limb from limb.
Unicorns: While mortal tales speak of unicorns as tall, noble beasts and solitary guardians of the forests who keep their own council and only appear to defend their homes against evil, this couldn’t be farther from the truth of the unicorns of Faerie. The unicorns of Faerie are social creatures, roaming the Seelie and Unseelie hinterlands in great herds or congregating in the coastal cities of the fae realm. Among their own kind they are talkative and cliquish, adhering to those with similar interests and prizing friendship above all else. Unlike the tall, regal-looking white horses of legend, unicorns are short, seldom more than three and a half feet at the withers, and brightly coloured with coats in a variety of pastels and manes and tails often of brighter, complimentary shades. As creatures of the Courts, every unicorn has a ‘brand of destiny’ on its flank, giving some hint as to the natural wonder or abstract concept that unicorn is meant to embody.
Interesting Features and Magical Effects of Faerie
The Faerie Ships: Four ships, two each for the Seelie and Unseelie courts constantly circle the island at a slow steady pace, never deviating from their courses. The two amorphous, rainbow-hued ships of the Unseelie court sail constantly clockwise around the island, while the two pristine, flower-laden ships of the Seelie court circle the island counter-clockwise. Nothing short of their destruction, not even the mighty storms that guard the island, will keep these ships from their destined patrols.
The Faerie Storm: A massive tropical storm lies just off the coast of Faerie, never ceasing. The storm extends into the mortal world and is one of the most consistent, if most dangerous, ways to pass between the realms. In the mortal realm, the storm’s location is not fixed, but circles the globe according to the vagaries of winds and currents. Within Faerie the storm waits, always just a few miles off the coast, though it may drift slightly according to the whims of the lords and ladies of the Courts.
The Seelie and Unseelie Courts: Hidden high in the mountains of the Faerie Island, The Courts are home to Sídhe, the high nobles of faerie-kind.
The Seelie fae are embodiments of nature, from the lowliest seeds and cobwebs, to the high lords such as the West Wind or the Nereids. They take pleasing shapes and cloak themselves in veils of flowers and mist. Likewise, their side of the island is a place of pastoral beauty and wild ruggedness. Their Court lies in the heart of a deep forest, quadrated to reflect all seasons at once, from whence they are ruled by the Queen Titania. Mortal scholars speak of the Seelie as the “Summer Court” and associate them with concepts of goodness and luck, though human morality is just as alien to them as it is to the Unseelie.
The Unseelie fae are creatures torn from human imagination, embodiments of ideas and abstracts—pain and loss dwelling alongside joy and inspiration. While able to assume pleasing shapes in the presence of mortals, their natural forms are indescribable masses of discordant colours and shapes. Their realm is that of the surreal—trees not made of wood, rivers that flow uphill. Their Court lies above, below, behind, around, or atop the highest peak of the island, beyond a wall of shimmering colours, under a spiraling rainbow sky, and beyond that is the Abyss. There one finds the castle of Thelbane, the Plaza at the End of the World, a study in black, grey, mossy green, deep red, chandeliers like stalactites, fire sculptures about the walls, scaly hides hung behind them, drifting globes of water in the middle air, creatures swimming within them. From here Mab, called the Queen of Air and Darkness by mortals, rules over them and here all the monsters of human nightmares are made manifest.