Faelands

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.  

The Wilds

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.
 
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
The Wild also functions as a buffer between the Fae and any would-be invaders, either mortal or from the rest of the Beyond. Mazes of trees and overgrown jungle paths misdirect travelers, all while harried by lashing vines and vindictive hobgoblins, eager to take their anger out on whatever they can catch.  
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.  

The Whims

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.
 
The mansion homes of the Fae dominate swaths of the landscape, the sprawling grounds spilling out far enough to cover the size of cities. Each mansion is unique to their Fae, with the creatures often drawing inspiration from the mortal world. Castle keeps are classic, but some Fae construct neon-lit skyscrapers and industrial nightmares from which to rule.  
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.
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by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
 
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.    

The Woe

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.  
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by Unsplash (Mark Tegethoff)
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by Pixabay
 

The Beyond

The 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 Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

 

Mansions

The 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.

Hobgoblins

The 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.  
Hobgoblins
Species | Jul 11, 2021

A minor fae spirit-creature, imbued with all the malice of their greater kin but only a fraction of the power... Or smarts.

 

Changelings

Stolen 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.    
Changelings
Ethnicity | Jul 12, 2021

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.
 

Gates

Gates are mystical passages between worlds, cast in many forms, and not all of them are so straightforward as a locked door. With a key to open them, a Walker can travel between the Prime, the Shadow, and the Beyond, allowing them to get in trouble across the worlds real quick-like.   There are many Gates into the Faelands, found in moonlit glades and blood-stained basements alike. Where there is whim, cruel or fanciful, there are gates.    
Gates
Building / Landmark | Dec 6, 2020

Gates are pathways between worlds, hidden in plain sight.

Fae & Friends

Buckle up, we're going for a ride.
  Despite the dangers, there are many reasons for a Walker to risk a trip into the Faelands. Like all parts of the Beyond, it is suffused with magic and a clever magi can find rare and valuable ritual components just laying around. Others go there in search of ancient knowledge, fae-forged relics, or fresh insights to help guide their research. Then there's those who go there to find and rescue the ones previously mentioned who didn't quite make it.  
Catch one on their good day, the Fae can be downright helpful. Many of them are fascinated by humanity, even those who aren't can be tempted by the novelty of some exchange - be it a modern trinket, piece of media, new idea, or other experience. Most Fae are at least amicable to being bound by a pact, finding a certain thrill in both the process and the end result. A few are almost addicted to it, willing to make pacts for the change of pace that comes with a mortal empowered by fae magic.   A rare few even become Familiars - usually the least fae, or hobgoblins looking for escape. Either way, the price demanded by the Fae usually falls in the same few categories; an experience, something entertaining, chaos, and mayhem. Even if the Fae doesn't benefit directly, they get their jollies knowing somewhere, trouble is brewing.
  On the other hand, the Fae are some of the most implacable foes a magi can have. The very act of conflict is as much motivation for them as any prize at the end of the road. Again and again, the Fae cause trouble for mortal and magi alike, snatching children to raise as changelings or breaching the Shadow to engage in merry mischief or murder. Even if the Fae doesn't mean to cause mortal damage, their understanding of the human condition and why that limb isn't supposed to bend like that is limited at best. At worst, they simply don't care. When Fae roam the Shadow, it pays to be careful.  

The Wild Hunt

The worst expression of Fae intrusion into the world, the Wild Hunt is a rare occurrence of Fae organization that select worthy prey among the mortal kind, then hound them until their death. Nowhere is safe from the Wild Hunt - not the Shadow, not even the Prime. The hunters can breach through to any reality and hunt any prey, with only the most cunning or most tenacious standing a chance of surviving.  
Oh, I remember these motherfuckers.  
— Amelia Korp, talking about the plot of that potential Shedim book perhaps.
 
In ages past, the Wild Hunt took the form of savage Fae riding on elks and wolves, hunting with spear and bow or fang and claw. Great hounds drive the Fae's prey to exhaustion, and the Fae sup on the terrors they cause.   While the hunger remains the same, the style has changed to match the times. Fae in recent times has favored the aesthetics of horror cinema, taking the forms of relentless slasher-killers. Modern weapons and tools of torture have been added to their arsenal, picked more for their ability to cause fear and pain than inflicting deadly wounds.  
With so few hunts, the Fae take their time and savor every tear.
  Reality bends and cracks where the Wild Hunts emerges, victims becoming trapped in a sort of pseudo-reality where the Fae hold sway. The torment lasts until the last victim has given up breath or the Veil tolerates the intrusion no longer and eject the Fae from reality... Or if the hunted bests the hunters, rare as that is. Organized or not, the hunters are still Fae. The Hunts are rife with schemes and betrayal, of dramatic turns and unexpected action. Some Fae even help the hunted, all to prolong the chase and inject some uncertainty.   After all, it wouldn't be much fun otherwise.  
A change has come to the Faelands with the rise of the Countess. There is a tension in the air that has even the most jaded Fae stirring from long dormant mansion in anticipation for whatever chaos is sure to follow. As the skies over Faeland turn iron-grey, armies gather in number not seen since ages long forgotten.   Some Walkers have emerged from the Faelands, owing their lives and escape to the grace of the Countess... And no one is quite sure what that is all about, but few believe in the supposed benevolence.
 
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by Pixabay (Stephan Keller)


Cover image: by Unsplash

Comments

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11 Jul, 2021 12:34

This an awesome article that really well displays the mix between wonder and horror that I feel stands at the core of the charm of "Fae" beings when compared to other supernatural creatures such as angels, demons, or eldritch abominations ^_^   Also, this Countess sounds like a great being to "hang" out with :P

Author of Cenorad ; a bleak-dark sandbox of creativity.
12 Jul, 2021 11:51

She may or may not make additional appearances this summer camp ;)

12 Jul, 2021 01:00

The Fae are terrorific but... I kinda like them? XD Also, I need to know more about Amelia :D

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy
12 Jul, 2021 06:14

I can bore you to tears about her, pretty easily XD Lots to say there, hahaha   The Fae are 'fun', I am glad you like 'em :D

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 Jul, 2021 15:46

Oh no! Nowhere is safe from the moon!!!   Seems that the plot is thickening! I'm looking forwards to see more of the faelands in that mystical book :p Being hunted by slashers serial killers sound fun XD   Random questions: Would the Lord of Midnight be the equal of the Countess and a kind of rival or is he her inferior? When do the Wild Hunt take place? Is it linked to the Hunter Moon? It would be chaos if the fae could start one whenever they feel like it XD

17 Jul, 2021 16:59

Being hutned by slasher serial killer Fae is kind of what started Shedim, in some ways :P I'm not sure, but it was one of them!   Hmm... I think he's probably her equal. That would make sense. It's definitely linked to various celestial shenanigans, but I haven't exactly decided what. Only that they can't do it whenever they like. xD   And now I definitely have to start plotting out that book... :D

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 Jul, 2021 18:24

I think the legends say that it's supposed to be on the Hunter moon, which is the first full moon after Halloween - if the once a year timeline works for you

7 Aug, 2021 18:04

The descriptions in this article are absolutely amazing. <3   I definitely do not want to visit the Faelands, though.