Hark, fine scholars, bookworms and those who crave knowledge! Boskov’s Books has a sale unlike any other. Gain the recipes of the Gold Bariaur Inn, read thrilling works written by well-known factotums, be the first to buy the collected lectures of Ramon DeLeon! Only here, only at Boskov’s Books! – A crier, advertising a book sale in the Clerk’s Ward.
Boskov is best of house spirits, here to serve you, discerning book seeker! Why is Boskov Boskov? Simple, original owner of book store, also called Boskov, bestowed name before death! It was most sad, but the duty of the store continues! What is the book you are doing the seeking for? Boskov can find it with no time spent! You heard of the sale, have you? Luckily for you, gracious patron, there are many excellent titles for next to none. Among them is an exclusive title that the store are premiering, many weeks ahead of the competition! This is because Boskov has exclusive connections with a printing press in the Lower Ward. Let’s say that both parties using knowledge to liberate an ignorant multiverse, views align and whatnot! But, you are obvious well read, fair traveler! You may think, such mannerisms and speech patterns are befitting of other great sellers in the Cage and beyond! Very astute! Boskov helped within the house of the Merchant Zam’Dul too! Such service inspired Boskov to be in charge of sales work too, much like old master!
Please, let Boskov show you some excerpts of lectures of the faerie folk! Boskov assures, it is a great and enlightening read! Besides, this elaborates on those lectures, new content to behold!
Author’s Note: Quite a few people enjoyed my concept for the Fey in the classic Great Wheel. The Deep pockets of the Ethereal proved to work well. Plus, having Seasonal creatures not too far off the Inner Planes made enough sense, in my opinion. Anyway, I wanted to expand upon a few ideas. A couple have stated that for a hideaway for the fey, many D&D fey races didn’t get too much attention. And you know what? That’s a fair assessment… Hehe. Plus, I’m back with another quirky NPC who talks in 3rd person. My reason for this one? I won’t deny it, I’ve been meaning to do a monsters post based on Slavic folklore. That will get done sooner or later, especially since one of the creatures is floating around Sigil now! Also, the only reason I put this in bold is because anything put in Boskov’s voice is meant to be in just italics. In retrospective, not the best idea, but oh well… Anyway, enough bolded text! ENJOY!
FROM THE LECTURES OF RAMON DELEON
*ahem* “Thank you, kind reader, for taking the chance to read up on the vast lore of the planes. My purpose for my travels is not to sate my own curiosity, but to collect information for the vast reaches of all known existence. A more literate reality is a more aware reality! Since my lecture nearly a year ago, I have since collected more lore, complete with an apology to some underrepresented fair folk who wanted a chance to shine as well. So, let the mistakes of the past be corrected and the scholars of the future be inspired.” Yes, you get point. Now, there are many bits to share with you. New lore and whatnot! Well, it is all new for those who couldn’t make it to the lectures. But, no problem, more things to share! Please, give a moment for Boskov’s best “Ramon” voice! … Thank you! Let us continue!
A tri-fold location, rule of threes if you will, all sharing the same name. The realm hails toward the edge of Autumn itself, about to touch Summer. The first is a massive plantation site filled with the freshest, most lush and plump vegetation and fruits one could possibly imagine. The supernatural soil of the land allows for crops to grow at breakneck, impossible speeds. In a mere month, the dominion is ready for yet another festival to celebrate another season well done. Even in a few days, one can notice the rapid growth of life within these blessed fields. Attending to them are Gourd Spirits, animated to ensure that the fields are healthy and well maintained, as well as golem-like creatures made of straw and clothe. The latter mostly attempt to guard the area, while scaring unwanted visitors.
The master of this dominion is referred to as The Gayevoi, The Man of the Grove. While not active in ensuring a rich harvest for both feast or market, the Gayevoi lurks in a clearing beyond. (He is far less handsome than Boskov! Sorry, Boskov continues now…) He often ponders of joining The Horned Lord on an epic hunt or trying to court The Leshenka, a spirit of another Autumn dominion composed mostly of bogs. The Two are not meant to be. Some say he has already met another, a “kindred spirit” known as “Leshachikha”. The Gayevoi himself feels at times out of place, wondering why he was asked to oversee such a mundane and bland task, especially since agriculture is hardly his business. However, he is still asked with observing the fields to ensure that the denizens pay respect to the land and the forests beyond. For the most part, they have complied with the leshy’s demands.. When not busy, it’s easy to spot him in the evergreen forests beyond the fields. He will often be lost in thought or sometimes sparring against whatever opponents might be in his way.
The second is a large tavern at the end of the plantation, where many of the grown ingredients are fermented and/or processed into incredible drinks as well. The emblem of the establishment is a stocky wooden creature carrying two sickles. While an Autumn Sidhe by the name of Dusk Reader “owns” the establishment, the true owners are a couple of planar wandering humans who have attempted to make a life in the alien realms of the fey. Dmitri and Evelyn are the true proprietors of such a welcoming and wholesome looking establishment. A fine mixture of relaxing furnishings and humble agricultural motifs and aesthetics make up the establishment. In fact, it feels like one of the least fey-inspired places within the dimension as a whole. However, the owners have done all they can to ensure the natives are more than comfortable here. For starters, anything resembling “cold iron” is barred from this business, even if it takes away from the comforts of the Prime Material. Beyond cozy lounges and a bar in the front, the back offers a gaming room as well as a non-descriptive shrine. While many choose to venerate the archfey, one mysterious being left a harvest offering for the goddess, Uroda; a cloth bundle of small dried fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure if prayers to her shall be answered from within the Good Kingdom’s borders. Time will tell, of course.
The third is a small village on the other side of both the fields and the forests beyond it. It is a comfortable village nestled in between rocky fixtures leading into another dominion and the forests patrolled by the leshy (particularly The Gayevoi). Life in this little town is subdued and relax. The sylvanfolk work at a relaxed and even pace, some even branch off for a day of readying the fields. However, in their laid back demeanor, many of the fey here are quite weak, less than able to defend themselves. While the Leshy can only provide so much backup, they aren’t enough to hold off invaders. The Fomorians take exceptional joy in this. As such, the harvest festivals which embody the ideals of this land, have been postponed due to expected bouts of violence from the giant invaders. In fact, some break free of the forest barriers to snack upon the luscious crops… if only out of spite.
A jagged mountain crag, populated by mutated satyrs/fauns, estranged unseelie, overwhelmed winter sidhe and then some. This confusing domain of Winter was once a piece of the Unseelie Court. Oorglynn Cursesmitten, a bheur hag, had found her cold heart snatched by a stunning future-exarch of the winter court. Vul’Gandrekk, a promising and charismatic force to be reckoned with, had become an obsession with Cursesmitten. In fact, she abandoned her post to leap to a blank realm near the Frozen Fortress where the mighty Winter Sidhe readied for his final conquest. However, something went terribly wrong. First, an associate caught wind of the secret admirer and delivered a cruel prank to her; a fake letter discussing his disgust with her.
Before wind of that was caught by Val’Gandrekk, his plan backfired and the Unseelie grabbed him. The resulting chaos between Cursesmitten and the fate of her secret love resulted in a bit of the Unseelie invading the Winter Court. However, the broken heart of the jilted hag quickly had its effect on the barren plot. Her grief solidified her place within the Winter Court, as the Unseelie invaders found themselves equally stuck and dampened. Many who find themselves in this mess of shark pointed rock and blowing snow find themselves sinking into hopelessness, lest they bump into the wandering caretaker of the region. Despite feelings of anger and betrayal, love had still softened her cruel heart. Those who come across her often find her to reminisce about her morbid fascinations and obsessions. Those who entertain who ramblings won’t just be spared, but often aided.
Despite having a fair bit in common with the Unseelie Court, this is very much a grim realm of winter. The native Sidhe seem more concerned with maintaining a dull status quo, while fighting back any unseelie creatures that act up from within their quarantine. As for the Lower Court fey themselves? All means of wicked beings that hide in the twisted forests and jagged rocks that snake and wind up the stretching peaks. Goblins, ghoulies, fell spirits, and all sorts of things of nightmare. Some have even acclimated well to this bleak realm. One such horror, the Wendigo, is quite accustomed to such environments.
Frightened travelers who have made their way into this pocket have recalled dwelling in Pandemonium prior, the Layer of Pandesmos to be more precise. It’s very well possible that Winter’s Hall has a portal that connects to this dominion. The reason for this? Completely unknown! Some suspect Cursesmitten building up the resolve to flee from her situation and start anew under a different winter-based leadership. This is not entirely false. In actuality, she wants to leave the Winter Court in hopes of finding her “love” within the Unseelie. However, a nagging fear holds her back. She is unwelcome within the reaches of the Unseelie Court. Stepping anywhere near her old Queen’s court is certain death.
The Wee Lands
The classic image of the fey tends to be of small spritely folk who float and hover around their own little worlds. Sprites, pixies and much more inhabit this neck of the Kingdom. Despite this being a stereotype, it’s quite true within this quirky dominion. Toadstool homes line the way, as the wee folk call the woods, hills, waters and more their home. While neutral and detached from the other courts, they still feel their influence. Wee Folk more attached to various seasons have a habit of visiting, as one side gains enough traction to influence the weather. These tiny spirits often don’t take kind to “the big folk” intruding on their space. Their reactions may range from minor mischief to guide them to a way out to malicious pranks to teach them a “sorry lesson” in treading where you don’t belong. Even to those who befriend them, it’s best to keep an extra eye peeled. Fey trickery has a habit of turning you into someone else’s joke should you drop your guard. And by all means, the wee folk are the most likely to jump into such antics. That’s not to say they’re bad, just a facet of sylvan chaos that helps to flesh out the many colorful realms of the Good Kingdom. So sayeth the wee folk themselves!
However, should one make friends with them, they might impart the gift of “embracing” the ways of the wee folk, at least for a while. This means being shrunk down to their size. And when you can observe things from their height, their fantastic little realm becomes a place of big wonders. Massive critters wandering the lands, incredible architecture with such intricate detail for such a minimal size, denizens traveling all around at seemingly impossible speeds. In a sense, their life mirrors the ways of the “tall folk”, but in ways ranging from the subtle to the absolutely uncanny. Markets containing goods impossible to the mundane eye, sprawling streets of their own, tamed beasts serving by the sides of the folk, to list just a few things.
Of course, staying small for too long will distort your sense of perception, balance, space and more. Many of the scholars within the Wee Lands don’t recommend staying in such a state for more than a day, with around a break time of at least 1 – 2 hours. Countless poor souls have found their minds completely scrambled by the experience, with gradually increasing madness from the event. Mind you, this isn’t intentional, just a byproduct of staying tiny from sylvan magic for far too long. To those well aware of the risks of returning to “normal”, some simply embrace life among the wee folk as sprite-sized humanoids instead. Those who choose this new lifestyle quickly get past any potential mania that comes with the realm’s magic. In fact, these quickly embraced outsiders have helped to bring a bit of “exotic” culture that the wee folk have taken and melded rather quickly. Such motifs have been woven into the arts and styles of these minuscule sized fey as a result.
The Orb-Holds of Tether-Sky
Islands, floating in the air! Surely, you’ve heard of such places. There are rumors that on Primes like Toril that such things exist, probably poppycock! But, within the sylvan lands, sky islands are very much a reality! As the name implies, each pocket of floating land is shielded by a glassy orb made of powerful magic. In a sense, these bubbles provide a dome-like shield. But also, they allow for a greenhouse in otherwise chilly space. A normal atmosphere would have its own reasons for this, but the reason here is because this dominion of Spring reaches close to Winter… somehow. But, the most impact Winter has on the Orb-Holds is the chilling winds outside of the protective orbs. Linking said orbs is a magnificent series of golden chains, symbolic of the unity pact between the relatively diverse populace of the Tether-Sky. And, to connect everything together is the Grand Spire of the Clouds. This marble spire seems to have no beginning or end. More of an ever stretching obelisk than a tower, it acts as the center point for the flying civilization.
As mentioned, Tether-Sky sports quite the mixture of life. Among the most prominent are Spring Sidhe that have a “light as air” quality to them. Some manifest almost cloud like features, while others mimic the wind itself. A troop of air-blooded genasi have also found their way here from both The Elemental Plane of Air and Sigil. While the Genasi have little ties to the fey, some argue that elementals and fey have a lot in common… especially since the Ethereal COULD in theory touch upon the Elemental Planes themselves. While the elves notoriously abandoned their classic ways of life, the Avariel were among the few to return in search of forgiveness. These winged-elves have been known to take pleasure flights around the domes, when the wind is calmer. And finally, the Avians are among the beasts of Antorek who have spread their influence to other dominions. While the mimicked environments of their homeland are satisfying, the fantastical lands of Tether-Sky.
Despite being in service to Spring’s Court, the Lords of this fiefdom of sorts run the land as a Mageocracy. Priority always falls upon users of powerful magic, especially elemental air. This bias has created castes that are among the more strict and orderly within the Kingdom. However, none of this offends the Horned Lord, so he wills it to continue. The Lords of Sky serve as the leading council within the large Aero-Bubble, an orb that always hovers around the central spire. Below them are the Tempest Mages, Priests of the Winds and Cloud Initiates. All other denizens are strictly civilian. Despite this bias, life is more than fair for any creature that is capable of flight. Those who aren’t and are somehow able to access this land are often met with scorn or derision, as per the somewhat closed culture of this territory. However, making a friend with a flying outsider who proves themselves or a local is the best way to find acceptance. That said, don’t expect anyone to provide rescue should you fall from safety.
Torus, the Cycling Seasons
One of the most chaotic lands within the Good Kingdom. This dominion has aspects of all four seasonal courts, constantly in states of flux. In one moment, winter patterns can dominate, while a harsh summer heat can take control in just hours. Travelers who can’t adapt to strange planar environments will find themselves collapsing or going mad under the absolutely illogical weather patterns. The namesake of the realm is a rotating torus at the center of the land. The ring-like object turns around a table of the four seasons, sometimes slowing around a specific one. This artifact isn’t just an indicator of which season shall reign next, but the cause of this radical change. Curiously, its origins have nothing to do with the Archfey of the Four Courts either. This artifact was utilized out of a truce between the Seelie and Unseelie, allowing for a free realm to form and evolve without their intervention. Its power comes from something else though, another realm all its own… contained inside the torus.
In fact, this is the primordial realm from hence The Kingdom of the Good Folk sprang from. At first glance, this untamed place is redundant with the ideal nature of Antorek. However, this place embodies the truly ancient, things before even the fey traditions that are practiced today. This place, for all intents and purposes, is the beginning; when even the Seelie and Unseelie command were young. Perhaps it was even before Queen Mab fell to her position in the Lower Courts! No matter the lost history, truly Wild Fae dwell upon this land. Some are simplistic echos of nature itself. Others feel like throwbacks to earlier versions of modern sylvan beings. Some are completely distant and alien, even by fey standards. These range from animal spirits to bestial ancestors of newer fey to completely incomprehensible beings composed of fanciful shapes and glowing patterns.
The often feral or antediluvian beings of this realm aren’t stupid though. While they lack much of the sophistication and grace of their brethren, this is still very much their land. Play by their rules of nature and they’ll probably leave you alone. But, cross them and you face aspects of nature’s primal wrath. Offending one of the sylvan goatmen, a proto-faun of sorts, by standing in a certain way proved that to be fact. In fact, my backside still ached as I wrote this message to you, dear reader! However, the magic of this realm did help things a little. You see, the realm helps those think in the mind set of ancestors, both recent and very much distant. You might ponder thoughts that ancient beings might ponder, but it’s all natural and mostly harmless. Consider it the plane trying to enlighten you to extremely “classical” modes of thought, like inventing the wheel. I jest, but some does ponder the ways of primitive society. Such a plane could help those trying to chronicle the start of civilization. Perspective, friends, it’s all about gaining perspective!
This last race, The Primordi (or Primal Fey), are fey that intentionally lock themselves away from outsiders. Instead, they often study the multiverse from their own cosmic bubbles within the torus itself. Indeed, the torus exists to hold demiplanes within this very demiplane… which should be impossible. Could this device be like a micro-scale Sigil of sorts? Uncertain! But, this prospects of that is fascinating! However, no mortal has stayed to speak with a Primordi long enough to understand how this works anyway. Try as I may, my strong mind is not resilient enough to handle beings of awe inspiring power… at least, for now! Speculation says that they are “The First Ones”, the very progenitors of modern fair folk. Unlike their other faerie equivalents, they are abstract, vague, distant. To the unknowing scholar, they might be seen as alien beings from the mythic “Far Realm”, as they have much in common. And to be fair, they might just be a distant cousin created by their reality’s circumstances. It’s possible the modern fey already existed when they made contact with these lands.
The Beyond Realms
The Primordi are an eldritch species that primer brains, and even most planar brains, simply cannot handle. But, they came to this realm not long after the proto-Seelie and Unseelie beckoned them. There is said to be its own dimension, also akin to the rumored far realm, of raw energy beings. Raving madmen tell of a Court of Pure Life and a Court of Pure Death. They are but stars, eclipses, beings that are the start and end. Names such as Penumbra and Antumbra surface from these unstable chatters, but these might be mistaken interpretations. This is a subject to address when I am even more prepared. As it is, many precautions must be taken to even interact with the primordial fey species themselves. Entities born within and from unspeakable dimensions, existing for countless aeons.
But to think, an entire realm of sylvan magic coalesced into beings of power so displaced from our own. If not me, I hope someone can establish contact and learn all they can. To be fair, eons have passed since the primordial ones made their way into what would eventually be the Kingdom of Good Folk. Perhaps the natives have become something not too distant from what I’ve researched. Only time and preparation will tell. Of course, it’s hard to probe into an alien realm one knows little about. Scribes who return with the last inklings of sanity tell of a realm that feels as basic as the elemental planes in some regards. Essences and energies boiled down to their most primal and alien. Some spaces within the dimension are literally just energy and essence itself! Proto-Matter formed from ideals, much like the Ethereal that houses much of the Fey, but on a whole new level. Future volumes will no doubt detail the harrowing results! Until then, beware the Eldritch Fey! What is known is that these proto-fey are something of a tale of terror told within the Good Kingdom. It seems that even the sidhe and the like know little of the Primordi and their ilk. Perhaps, that is for the best.
The Serenading Glades of the Hooved Wardens
Whether or not the centaurs were natives to the realm is widely disputed and shall continue to be. The more nativist fey will argue that their kind predates anything related to the centaurs, hailing them as outsiders who have assimilated to the land well. One of their main locations is the Glades. The land itself is a seemingly always warm-to-hot flat plain, dotted with luscious greens and stretching trees in the distance. Besides, the often scorching climate, one wouldn’t recognize this as territory of the Summer Court. But, for travelers scorched by The Duke’s fiery power, such a place proves to be a welcome respite. These sprawling fields allow them to run free and pursue life as they see fit. The namesake of this realm isn’t too different from the werebeasts’ home, found by an exiled werewolf pack.
In the case of the centaurs, this field was occupied by only innocuous creatures that were already out of the way. Many resemble insectoids, but one species could be described as a horse-shaped creature with butterfly properties. Such beings, dubbed eque-flies by the residents, are particularly treasured. And, when these beasts prove to be particularly content, they let out the most beautiful of sounds; creating a chorus unlike any other. In response to finding a lovely new home, the settlers did all in their ability to live in tandem with these mostly docile creatures. The leader of the expedition even dubbed himself a Warden of these Serenading Glades, to which the land gained its name.
The ways of the centaur emphasize personal liberty and well being above many other principles. One of the greatest offenses one can do to the centaurs of the sylvan realms is to insult their fitness prowess or try to restrain them. Some will attest that this is an insult of religious proportions, though few of the residents here actually follow deities. This love of fitness will also extend to sports and challenges. Many of the denizens would be fool to turn down the chance to challenge outsiders to some games of physical skill. In fact, betting against the natives is a fools’ game, but foreign victors have arisen from these challenges.
Those who aren’t content with living among the fey have consulted the more spiritual among them. Supposedly, they’ve fully established a gate to the Chaotic Good Plane of Arborea. The Seelie Court itself has become more aware of this over time and has done much in its power to coax uncertain centaurs to travel into Arborea. Those that the court finds to be truly pure might even be granted access to the courts themselves. So far, the picky nature of the Seelie has kept the centaur waiting at the gates, so to speak. This isn’t to say that Arborea should prove to be overly satisfying either. Many have become drifters beyond the planes themselves. Those who found their way to Sigil have found themselves at surprising odds with the Bariaur. And for those still attached to the ideals of the Glades? They’ve found the Sensates, the Indeps, the Chaosmen and the Anarchists particularly alluring. Though, some have completely circled around in their ideals. Ghor Fallentrample, a Centaur Fighter belonging to the Mercykillers, is an absolute subversion of his homeland. In fact, his own namesake should imply what he does to punish the “unjust”.
The Shadow Void
Some say that a dimension of “Shadowy Fey” or “Arak” once connected to The Unseelie. Queen Mab will deny all accounts of this, if she doesn’t just annihilate or enslave you for saying that. In truth, Shadow Fey probably existed at some point. She has even pinned their existence on Titania, who also refuses to comment on the subject. No matter their origin, they were once probably residents of the Good Kingdom. And in one tragic moment, these shadowy-infused fair folk vanished. What became of them is largely a mystery to even the natives of the realm. The only clues left behind are records of some of the cruelties caused by their sinister and supreme leader. Amidst various ruins lie other clues, including mad ramblings of other realms not too unlike the Sylvan Realm or the Material of the Mortals. These ramblings list esoteric and ensnaring forces, powers that govern over an impossible dimension. The writings are garbled, but show an understanding of the occult that’s likely far outside of what Material mortals can grasp.
Sages tell of a “Demiplane Of Dread”, a horrible otherworld where the worst of the multiverse are kept and tortured by particularly devilish jail wardens called “The Mists”. The “Arak”, as the Shadow Fey are also known as, are one such resident. It is said that these creatures were once far more normal fey, abducted and corrupted by a vicious fiend named “Gwydion”, far before they were supposedly taken once again… this time, by The Mists! By all means toiling under Gwydion, there were few exceptions allowed to revering his fearsome rule. The Cult of the Spider Queen, a corruption of the Drow Church of Lolth, somehow found its way within the ranks of the Arak.
As for the Arak themselves, there is evidence to suggest that they were once divided among the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, complete with their own corruptions of Titania and The Queen of Air and Darkness, respectively. These distinctions are further broken up by the nine “breeds” of Arak that dwell within their loathsome rift. However, they are united under the supreme law created by a grand ancestor, who shares the same name as their race. The Arak interest in mortal pursuits is often out of the desire for various forms of pleasure. They never need any of the things that those on Primes do, but they prefer to emulate it for their own strange fascinations or joys. While little evidence exists of them within the Good Kingdom, there is enough to suggest they were a bizarre and heavily misguided society.
A Fair Folk Addendum
Anyway, this is all Boskov wishes to share. Many wonders of the fey await! If travelers seek to know more, the book is for sale. It is even cheaper now! So, do you stand around with mouth agape or will a transaction take place? Holding up a positive demeanor takes energy and patience, which wear thin on Boskov…
IMAGE SOURCE: Laestr – Sigil City of Doors