I've been, and I want to go back to bad my heart aches. Should I go, I know I'd never return. If I did, it wouldn't be me, but some smiling horror wearing my skin.Deep within the Beyond, the Faelands beckon through dreams and ill-omen. It is a land of wild and primal power, lust and whim unfettered, emotions raw and untamed. It is a part of the Beyond, far past the boundaries of mundane reality. It is ruled by the Fae, an ancient kind of spirit known for their cruelty and capricious whims. Driven by alien hungers, the Fae live in castles of spun crystal and living flesh, on caged titans the size of mountains, or in festering warrens deep within the tainted earth. In the Faelands, the land itself is a slave to the Fae's whim, remade to match their fancy. Mortals, magi or not, must tread lightly here. To the Fae, they are playthings, morsels to be consumed, or worse. To mortals, it is a pitiless, dangerous place where unwary travelers can find the Faelands a continent-spanning cage from which they can never escape.
A World of Hungers
Careful where you sit - the cliffs have teeth here.Fantastical and deadly, the Faelands is a land of dark woods, sweeping sunlit plains, mountains that rend the sky, and furious oceans. Everything in the Faeland is grand and exaggerated, like the imagined version of their true selves - trees grow to the heavens, leaves the size of horses blotting out a sun that burnt with impossible glory. Elsewhere, deserts of gem-dust glitter and threaten to pierce onlookers with their stabbing reflections and rivers of gold circle majestic mansion-courts.
Depending on which faction of Fae is currently in control, the Faelands are either in perpetual twilight with the sun frozen below the horizon or at its zenith, eternal on its throne in the sky.Impossibilities make their home here to suit the Fae's whim and fancy. Springs of molten magma can be found next to a field of wildflowers, or a path ringed with razors. Whatever they will, the land is made to obey.
Abandon hope, all who enter here.At the edge of the Faelands, as much as such a thing exists in the Beyond, lies the Wilds. They are the untamed parts of the Faelands, where dreams of ancient and primordial wilderness are chained to immortal masters. In this part of the Faelands, few structures can be found, save for the ruins of those lost and devoured by any of the Fae's endless conflicts. Instead, Mansions take the form of great, hollow trees, inside of giant animals, or made entirely from vegetation.
The Fae who live here tend to be a more feral breed, eschewing complex schemes in favor of amusing brutality.
Passing the Wilds is a trial - like the rest of the beyond, gaining entry into the Faelands beyond is not a matter of steps taken but lessons learned.Even avoiding those, a Fae-fog shrouds the Wilds, emerging and disappearing as it wills, sapping strength and memories from those who get lost in its oppressive gloom. It is no place for the unprepared or ignorant.
The fae fog that roams the Wild is alive - and often hungry.Beyond the Fae and their minions, the Wilds is filled with creatures stolen from other places. Cannibalistic horrors, lost mortals, even monsters from other part of the Beyond are abducted and released in the Wild to whet the Fae's appetite for a thrilling chase. A menagerie of critters still lurks the Wilds, survivors from such hunts or still waiting to be hunted. Others are forgotten, snatched away to be some Fae's plaything, only for the hunter to become distracted by something else. Among all these creatures, a Walker can expect to find few allies.
We're finally out of the Wilds, but on second thought, I'm not sure that's a good thing.The heartlands of the Fae, it is in the Whims where they wage their endless wars and schemes to keep themselves entertained. Most Fae-lords and ladies hold court and build their mansions here, in lands savage than the Wilds. The land here is majestic and sweeping, but often violently clashing visions. Carved for countless ages by competing Fae, the Whims gets its name for the competing Fae's endless changing and shifting of everything from paved roads to the color of the sky.
With the ascension of the Countess of Cages and Chains, the Whims are sprouting her trademark gallows and gibbets everywhere, as if the land itself wishes to curry her favor.
In places, the Faeland is scarred beyond repair or recognition by the constant alteration, much to the Fae's delight.Monuments dot the landscape, in various stages of construction or demolition. The Fae raise them on the back of their slaves, only for competitors to tear them down again, or the whimsy to end somewhere in the middle of construction. Some of these abandoned monuments become sanctuaries for hobgoblin and changelings, escaping their masters.
In the Whims, there's always some conflict going on, something to keep the faelords and ladies occupied. Thousands of hobgoblins march to war on manufactured drama, just someone can hear the call of a warhorn above the rising swell of screams.The Fae also borrow liberally from the Prime when changing the Whims, sometimes copying things whole before adjusting them. Called mirrors, they range in size from countries to individual buildings or even rooms, sometimes constructed for the purpose of breaking in Changelings to their new life... Or to bewilder Walkers who have wandered into the wrong neighborhood. No matter how similar, there is always a feeling of wrongness about them and few Fae have the patience to maintain the illusion for long. The most notable and perhaps cruel mirror is that of the Heartbreak Hotel, made whole in copy by the Countess of Cages and Chains, complete with simulacra of the staff. Whatever the Countess means by the mirror, nobody knows for sure.
Just when you think it couldn't get worse.Located beneath the Whims in a thousand rot-infested burrows and warrens, the Woe is where the Fae who favor the dark make their homes. They live here in mansions made from great grottos of crystal and stone, among rivers of magma and colossal mushroom. Jealous of the Fae above, the lords of Woe have forged their own stars and made them travel through the vast cavernous halls, with a piece of the moon impaled above the chamber of the Midnight Lord, current rules of the Woe's scattered lords. Rumor has it that the Fae Archlord is looking to complete the set with a piece of the sun to go along with it.
The BeyondThe Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse. The Faelands are a particularly dangerous part of the Beyond, and that should be a warning to all would-be visitors. Not only are its inhabitants wicked, but the land itself shares their all-consuming lust.
The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.
MansionsThe Fae live and stay in what they call mansions, ranging in size from a hut to a city. The greater the Fae, the more splendor is lavished upon their home, often forcing lesser spirits to expand and maintain their dwelling. If these efforts cease, either through war or a decline of influence, mansions crumble and reduce back to whatever size their owner can still cling onto. Abandoned or ruined mansions dot the Faelands, victims of intrigue or war. Fae leaves them be, for the most part, delighting in the picturesque touch they add to the landscape. Mansions come in any number of forms, from a grand estate to a horrid dungeon. Almost all incorporate elements of magic and majesty, anything to placate the Fae's sense of grandeur and questionable aesthetic.
HobgoblinsThe Fae share their lands with a thousand kinds of slaves, collectively known as hobgoblins. Every Fae has their own cadre of Hobgoblins at their beck and call, able to create them with a passing thought and thinking just as little about destroying them again. The greatest among the Fae have entire legions of Hobgoblins bound to their will, using them for anything from waging war to erecting monuments to entertainment and experimentation. These lesser spirits have all the malice and whimsy of their lords, but only a fraction of their power.
A minor fae spirit-creature, imbued with all the malice of their greater kin but only a fraction of the power... Or smarts.
ChangelingsStolen from the mortal world and changed to something else, Changelings are one of the favorite playthings of the Fae. From the moment they are bound to the Faelands, the mortal begins to change into something else, a creature not quite human and not quite fae, but oh so full of delights for their masters. To the Fae, mortals are endlessly fascinating and able to satisfy such a range of unholy cravings for an inventive Fae. Once too far changed, once spark of mortality goes out forever, the Fae tend to lose interest, and so another mortal must be snatched from the Prime and another changeling made.
Mortals stolen away to the Beyond to be the plaything of Fae, Changelings are forever changed by their time in a world they were never meant to visit.
And once too far gone, Changelings can no longer survive in the mundane world, choking on its magic-poor atmosphere like a fish out of water.