The Autumn Queen
The Autumn Queen is perhaps the most important figure in Tairos' modern history. Some may even say she is the most pivotal figure in its entire history.
Her's is the story of the Fae people, a story born desperation and devolved into decadence. It's a story that concludes with bitter scorn and irrevocable tragedy.
A Queen is Born
The Autumn Queen, as she would come to be known, was born ages ago on a world whose name has long since been forgotten. And, She was given a simple name to reflect her simple upbringing. Farah. Daughter of a modest noble governor and born in a small hamlet of an unremarkable statue; she lived a life identical to those around her... comfortable and without note.
While she learned and played and grew into a young woman of grace and dignity while her world died around her. Disaster on a cosmological scale was unfolding in the heavens. The sun that had kept her world warm and bright for so long was withering, growing dimmer, colder and shedding off solar winds made of dangerous energy.
The rapidity of the unfolding danger suggested some malign intelligence must be behind this event but Farah was too young to know about this. For her, the days were darker, the nights longer, and rumors of burning sicknesses a distant worry.
The Harvest King had tasked his greatest magi with studying The Gates that dotted their land, hoping that they might be used to escape the coming disaster. The network of gates that were found on Tairos seem to have counterparts on many worlds, the Fae homeworld included, and they were equally as mysterious and ancient to her people as they were to the people of Tairos.
Her sun's decay spiraled further and further out of control. During Farah's life she would watch a lush world with verdant bounty turn barren. Fields burnt, forests withered, whole cities were stricken ill with burns from invisible fire. No one was spared. Both noble and commoner alike were helpless in the face of their world's extinction.
By the time the exodus from the fae homeworld was at hand Farah's family had perished from the solar sickness and the sun was a bloated, dim giant in the sky. She was barely old enough to be considered an adult and yet she was responsible for the last remnants of her hamlet. When word finally reached her of the plans for the exodus she was at first grateful. It meant her people would be safe, hardships would be over and she could fulfill the promise she made to her father on his deathbed... save them, no matter what. Save every one you can. Every one of them matters.
However, the message she received from the Harvest King was not what she was expecting. Every word of it fell upon her heart like a crashing wave against the rocky shore. Gather your kin and your confidants. For our people to have a future we must preserve the nobility, the leadership and the innovators first. We'll save what commoners we can but the Houses must survive if we are to survive. She was betrayed. Everything Farah had been striving for, everything that had meaning, it was all for nothing. All the lives she saved were a petty consideration to the Harvest King.This would not stand.
Let the Past Die
Farah confronted the Harvest King and his court about this betrayal. She laid bare her heart and tried to impress upon them that the fae were more than just the noble traditions and the cycle of Harvest Kings and Queens. The King and his court were deeply sympathetic but ultimately deaf to her pleas. They wanted to survive beyond anything else and reasoned that the commoners could ultimately be replaced but the Houses could not be.
The Harvest King feared that Farah would return to her hamlet and spread panic about the plan to evacuate the nobility first so they detained her and her entourage. Only once they were through the gates was Farah allowed to leave. By the time she returned to her hamlet most of the world's nobility had already left and only select groups of commoners were being allowed through -those that would be compliant to the rule of the nobility.Cities were burning, entire regions left as wastelands and the sun was nothing but a toxic ember in the sky. In those final days it became too dangerous for the Harvest King to even open the gates anymore. The corrupting touch of the dying star was capable of seeping through the active gates to harm the new homeworld. Commoners by the hundreds of thousands were left to their fate as well as any nobles that reject the genocidal plan of the Harvest King, including Farah.
While their homeworld crumbled Farah returned to the Harvest King's now abandoned capital. She scoured the reliquaries, vaults, and libraries for anything they might have left behind that she could use to save her people. Yet, at first, nothing was found. The city was picked clean of everything she could use but as Farah moved survivors deep into the depths of the Harvest King's castle they found more than just a temporary reprieve. They found the things that were meant to die along side this world.
Dangerous relics, spell books belonging to nefarious fae wizards of old, artifacts said to have fallen from the stars and in particular one ancient scroll that stood out from the rest. A scroll that taught the user how to pull forth the raw magical energy from a world's Leylines and condense it down into a potent power source. The secrets to creating Manacite. She shared the knowledge she found with the surviving hedge wizards left behind and they quickly began developing a ritual to pull what power they could from this world and transform it into a usable energy source that they could open the gates with.
While the wizards prepared and the world above burnt Farah felt a strangeness calling to her from deeper within the underground repositories. Something far from the wizards and the growing number of survivors that flocked to the castle ruin every day. She followed this pleading presence to a distant chamber that contained only a single pedestal with an orb of black glass upon it. The depthless dark within the orb pulsed with violet flames as she entered and its whispered pleas intensified.
He left me here too, left me to burn away and be forgotten. Just like all those souls you've worked so hard to save and that HE so callously condemns to die. I am your people as well, Farah. Your promise to them is a promise to me.
Farah, examined the room and the old runes that bound this entity here. The voice belonged to an entity of pure chaos and destruction, a thing of ancient times committed now to legend and myth. The Jabberwock. In that moment it became immediately clear what she must do, what had to happen for her people to survive. She laid out her bargain with the beast very clearly: That it would obey no master but her and that it would serve her and her people. And in turn she would save it today and treat the beast as one of her own, one just as deserving of a future as any other. To seal the bargain she said the creature would have to submit to a powerful gaes, a magical connection that could not be broken. These mythical agreements were commonly used among the nobility and she was well versed in the creation of them. In that moment Farah and Jabberwock struck an accord. She shattered its prison and the beast slithered into the invisible emphera so it could always be near her but never seen unless she willed it.
She returned to the others and soon the ritual was ready. She and the thousands of survivors that rallied to her escaped the city and left for the nearest gate. On that short journey, they saw what was left of their world, a place surrounded by permanent night, bathed in the death energies of their now-dead star. She hoped her world had enough life left deep within it to allow the ritual to work.
Her wizards struggled against the entropic power that now infused the land but with their efforts and the efforts of the hidden Jabberwock they wrenched open the leylines of their world. They were sliced open, gushing their power and bleeding the last of this world's life. They harnessed it, captured all they could and solidified it into manacite. When they had what they needed the wizards would ask Farah where she wanted the gate to connect to and to her, the answer was obvious. To where the Harvest King escaped to.
No concrete records exist from this time what little of the fae history survived speaks volumes. Farah and her survivors marched upon the Harvest King's new city while it was still under construction. He and his nobles were given a choice, step down and submit to a new order, one that sees all fae as equals or perish at the hands of that new order. To the Harvest King and the Houses this would have been unthinkable. The tradition of Harvest rulers was one that dating back to the founding of their society. Winter, Spring Summer and Autumn. When the time for a new ruler would come a leader would be selected at the time of the nearest harvest and they would rule until they could rule no more. This was how it always was and they could not imagine anything different. History says that lack of imagination cost them their lives.
Though the King's army was numerous and potent, they had not prepared for the overwhelming number of commoners that joined Farah's cause. Nor had they ever imagined a horror such as the Jabberwock could be anything more than a story. Resistance to her new order was broken immediately and the Harvest King and his court crowded into his castle and locked themselves away. Farah's solution was simple. She asked her Jabberwock to use its most powerful... and perhaps poetic weapon. The violet fires of his breath did not burn flesh but ravaged the mind instead. The creature filled the castle with its flames of insanity and Farah watched as the Harvest King and his court tore each other part in fits of madness. In the end, she thought it fitting that it wasn't her who put the old system to death. It was instead done by the panic-stricken hands of Harvest King himself.
Many of her followers wanted to name her as the new Harvest Queen but she rejected the title and everything it meant. Instead, she chose a different name, one that she felt represented the new order and its push to undo the old ways. It was pure serendipity that the nearest harvest was the Autumn Harvest. She became the Autumn Queen, the undisputed ruler of all fae kind. Her ascension was predicated on one simple promise: she would never put another life ahead of her peoples'.
Prosperity and Plunder
The fae quickly adapted to their new home. With the help of manacite they overcame any small resistance that native species may have put forward. They built grand cities, harvested wealth from the earth and mastered the usage of the gates. All of this required manacite in considerable quantities. The leylines were tapped into and the production of stone escalated quickly.
This is also when the Autumn Queen first discovered the harmful effects of mining the leylines of a world. Storms wracked the skies, fissures opened in the earth and temperatures skyrocketed. Production of manacite was halted and the Queen's new home was forced to be abandoned only a century or so after it was settled. The fae fled through the gates again, on to a new and lush world and leaving behind one that was steeped in disaster.
The process would repeat over and over. The Autumn Queen would find a new world and the fae would settle it. By force if needed but usually these worlds were sparsely inhabited and rarely offered resistance. More often than not the few indigenous people would serve the fae or mingle with them. The depth and variety of the fae sub types is often credited to this nomadic mixing of races. When the world's breaking point was near the fae would prepare to leave. Abandoning most natives to the same fate that had befallen countless worlds before.
Every world that was touched by the fae would eventually show signs of mana depletion though the signs varied from place to place. For many it was ecological disasters such as drought, severe storms, temperature fluctuation or geological upheavals. Others would display more extreme and supernatural signs such as fractures into more dangerous planes or tempests of devastating magical energy raging across the landscape. Whatever form the depletion would take the Queen and her people had no interest in remaining on their host world to help repair the damage. She and her people always assumed the impact of their mining could be undone and in may cases they would send scouts back to earlier host worlds to confirm they were slowly mending themselves.
Arrival In Tairos
The world prior to Tairos, Elinune, was by all accounts a paradise. Many of the longer-lived fae cited it as the most beautiful world they'd ever settled. The one flaw of this utopia was its fragility. The mining of manacite here caused a terrible reaction within the leylines of this world that left it shrouded in unnatural darkness. Within this darkness pieces of their world would breakaway and be swallowed up into nothingness. This disaster was coupled with the terrible knowledge that no other habitable worlds were being identified. Many believed they'd ran out of new planets to settle and that this world was the last. While hope was fading all across Elinune the Autumn Queen never relented. And as the darkness threatened to devour her people a new world was finally found. Tairos.
The Autumn Queen cast her voice through the gates and made contact with the High Elves of Melanthris. They were a prideful people, strong willed and certain of their superiority. And the more she spoke to them the more she saw the old Harvest Kings of the past. The Elves ruled through systems of peerage, bloodlines and intrigue and they cared so very little for the other races that shared their world. She knew this system very well and how to exploit it.
Queen and her fae fanned the flames of Elven arrogance and eventually earned their passage into Melanthris. They mimicked what the elves defined as grace, elegance, loyalty and wisdom. They showed themselves to be superior compared to the elves many detractors such as the dwarves, gnomes and humans. The friendless and peerless High Elves suddenly had an influx of near equals who fawned over them. It was the first time the Autumn Queen and her people were invited into a new world. And from Melanthris they spread across Tairos, working their way into every major civilization. To the dwarves they presented the hardiest and most duty bound of their kind. For the halflings, gregarious and cheerful fae settlers were sent to join their communities. Humans received the most beautiful, kind and capricious of the fae race and the High Elves lived side by side with imperious fae nobility.
Only the Gnomes refused the fae. Only the Gnomes actively spoke out against them. The gnomes were not native to Tairos either. They too were travelers from across the heavens and in their travels they found worlds picked clean of their resources, left in shambles and the natives displaced or extinct. All the evidence they had pointed to the fae as the cause. Yet, none would listen. The gnomes were already a distrusted people and their opinions on the cherished new visitors was not welcome at all. In fact, the only person to take their opinion seriously was the Autumn Queen. She despised the Gnomes for they represented a threat to the entire fae presence in Tairos.
The Queen's War[
The fae had come to love Tairos above all other previous homelands. It was more plentiful than any other. And the leylines were more robust than they had ever seen. There was so much potential mana flowing here they could never mine even a fraction of it on their own. So instead they taught others how, built great factories in the dwarven lands to process it and shared it's secrets with all of Tairos. And all they asked in return was a small portion of what the others pulled forth. This way, they had their own mines plus the tithe of the other races. This new tactic proved to be the most fruitful they had employed since their nomadic journey began. It also marked the beginning of the end of magic in Tairos.
The leylines were being devastated at such an exponential rate that many of the other native races began to notice and couldn't refute that manacite production was the cause. The Autumn Queen tried to manage the political landscape as best as she could. She offered them methods for reducing production, offered wealth and other resources instead but all this only bought her time. Magic was becoming impossible to harness without manacite and the gods of this world were slowly being cutoff. The Elves supported the fae for they had never been more powerful and respected than under their alliance with the Fae. The stockpiles of manacite they had amassed also meant they were largely immune to the death of magic. As for the silence of the gods, the High Elves could not have been more resentful toward their gods anyway and their silence allowed them to solidify their hold over the elven peasantry.
Even the alliance between Fae and Elf would not be enough to stop war from breaking out. The other races banded together to try and turn back the destruction unfolding. Conflicts erupted, factories were destroyed and above all else... fae were killed. This enraged the Autumn Queen, this outright and violent disloyalty could not stand. She called upon the most nightmarish of her followers, those kept hidden from the light of day and set them lose on the other races. Her soldiers marshalled and marched upon cities such as Ghal Ankhar and Balmoral. And, for the gnomes, she prepared something very special.
The gnomes had been vital in bringing evidence to light that would convince the other races of the Autumn Queen's deception. For them the Queen wanted nothing less than total extinction. She searched far and wide, casting her voice across the oceans of this world till she found what she was looking for. The ravenous Sahuagin empire would be the executions she needed. These aquatic nightmares were largely unaware of the people of this continent, living their lives in the deep ocean far from the coasts. But, the Queen's voice whispered to them of the defenseless and plentiful gnomes who lived on the coasts. This promise of blood was too much for the hungry Sahuagin to resist and they uprooted their entire empire for the coasts of the gnomish lands. When they arrived it was as the Autumn Queen had hoped, bloodshed on a scale that even she had never witnessed before. And, with her most trusted soldiers waiting on the border roads of the gnome lands that bloodshed turned nearly into the extinction she'd hoped for. The gnome race would have been wiped out completely had cities like Balmoral, Ghal Pelor, Ghal Ankhar and Frostmere not pushed for war.
In the end, it wasn't the courage or conviction of her people that broke. It was their numbers. Beset on all sides by enemies, the Queen and her people were eventually undone. It was the Elves that turned what could have been a stalemate into defeat for the fae. When the fae battlelines were failing the High Elves decided it was time to join the war on the side of the people of Tairos. The Autumn Queen had succeeded in eliminating the gnomes as well as the human capital of Balmoral but it had cost her dearly. Her Jabberwock was slain and her armies decimated.
With her once beautiful palace besieged and in ruin she took one final look at all that remained of her people. The fae were once plentiful and numerous but now only a handful remained at her side. The rest had been scattered or put to death by her former allies. If she could not save them, she would avenge them. The stockpile of manacite intended to help them rebuild on the next world was instead detonated and most of its apocalyptic blast channeled into the leylines of Tairos. This event would come to be known as The Queen's Rebuke, a final act of vengeance that would leave Tairos on the verge of death. Magic was made impossible, the gods were silenced and kingdoms broken.
The Autumn Queen and the last of the fae were consumed in that blast. Her castle and the surrounding forest were transformed into the dead region known as The Scar. Though she has been dead for centuries now the impact of her life has had far reaching implications for not just Tairos but for countless other worlds prior. So much so that even today, in modern Tairos, cults of humans, dwarves, elves and halflings claim to hear her voice, cherish her teachings and pray for her return. Many believe the world was a better place under the reign of the fae and their loss has left the world a much bleaker place. If there is any merit to their beliefs none can say for certain. Though, if some fragment of The Autumn Queen still lived on many suspect it would want to finish what the rebuke started.
Pale lavender wings
Vast magical abilities tied to manacite consumption.
Accomplishments & Achievements
The survival of the fae race, depletion of countless worlds across the stars, breaking the nobility system of the Harvest Kings and Queens, The Queen's Rebuke
Failures & Embarrassments
Not being able to save her race during the Queen's War
Believed by many that her connection to the Jabberwock may have made her mental state delicate
Morality & Philosophy
Survival and prosperity of the fae race before all others
Inequality among the fae, loss of fae life
Prosperity of the Fae people. Finding a permanent homeworld for them
The Autumn Queen held no religious preference. She believed the gods were more like the Harvest Lords of old and that system was one of social enslavement
Hobbies & Pets