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The Child of Air and Darkness

Born of the loveless tryst between Titania and the elf Avernus, the infant Mab, only moments old, was remanded to the Crossroads in order to settle the faerie queen's debt.

For the next thousand years, the First Fae dwelled within the Crossroads, raised in darkness, deceit, and power. So much power.

The crossroads poured their power over the child like water, granting her authority enough to challenge even that of her mother and sowing the seeds of hate in her young heart. For every great triumph of Titania, the Crossroads stitched together a dark and frightful mirror as a gift to Their most beloved child.

Whereas Titania carved the Summerland from the very walls of reality, a paradise in which she could raise a family, the Crossroads provided Mab with Anynn - a realm of ice and terror, sunk in perpetual night. While Titania married Rosalind, the Crossroads provided Mab with an endless parade of the damned for their dark child to enjoy. Where Titania bore a family, the fruits of Mab's womb were monsters, born baying and hungry for flesh.

And when Titania wove herself a crown of gold, the Crossroads presented Mab with a throne of ice, great and terrible.  

The Queen of Nightmares

circa 3,000 BC

Released at last after a millennium from the Crossroads' dark embrace, Mab stormed into the mortal world in a frozen whirlwind of beauty and wrath at the head of her Wild Hunt. Masked riders poured out into mortal streets riding grim steeds, leaving only ash and ice in their wake. The skies went black and starless, blotted out by cackling harpies and dark horses with wings of ravens snorting balefire overhead. The gibbering of trolls and ravening cries of other, darker creatures flooded the night with screams as shadows themselves came to life to eviscerate those who had cast them with claws and teeth.

For years, the Wild Hunt rode through the night, slaughtering those mortals who fled their onslaught or dared to hide but offering a choice to those brave enough to stand and fight - don a wolf or bearskin and join the hunt as a creachadair or be put to the spear.

Despite the counsel of their Queen never to engage Mab's forces, there were many among the Seelie court whose hearts grew heavy at the suffering wrought by the Wild Hunt. It was Oberon, firstborn son of Titania, who first rallied an army of his daoine sidhe descendants to stand against the Hunt as it bore down upon the Leawood.

Together, the sidhe managed to hold back the hunt from obliterating the final stronghold of the elves but at great cost, and not without sacrificing the life of their father in the process. Titania mourned the loss of her son for a year and a day before allowing Oberon to be interred, and once he had been laid to rest she announced her intentions to all of Faerie.

There would be war.  

Shackled in Iron

Even by the reckoning of Faerie, war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts was long.

For nearly three millennia, Mab's ravenous hordes swarmed into Titania's beinns and sidhe armies drove back hordes of dark monstrosities back into the depths of Anynn. But, as Titania grew ever more distraught at the losses among her immortal family, Mab grew only more cunning - seducing many of her mother's children into darkness with promises of power and safety from the baying of the Wild Hunt.

The last of these was Caoilfhoinn, who fell into Unseelie hands at the Battle of Oakshade and agreed to abandon her position as spymaster of her mother's court in exchange for her freedom. Mab granted Caoilfhoinn's request and placed a spell upon her sister that bound Caoilfhoinn forever apart from the Summerlands and absent from her mother's sight.

This loss marked the end of Titania's patience with her dark daughter's machinations and the Queen of Faeries commanded that all inroads between Summerlands and the mortal world be sealed before marching the full force of her armies upon the frozen citadel of Anynn. The pure offense of the strategy caught Mab off guard and the battle which took place upon those icy walls left both sides in ruins by the time Titania herself strode into Mab's throne room.

None can say what happened between the two queens but when at last the dust settled, Titania had vanished leaving behind only the charred corpse of Mab, shackled to her terrible throne with great chains of iron.

Legend tells that the spark of Mab's power yet lives within that seared husk, ruling her court through lingering shadows and haunting whispers, biding time until she can shed the chains which bind her. If that were ever to happen, the gods alone can say what terrible fate awaits the mortal world at the hands of the Queen of Nightmares.

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