Terrific and Terrifying Tales of the Fair Folk – Planescape and the Fey

Of Faeries Great and Small

The Spiderwick Chronicles – Tony DiTerlizzi

Behold, notes on the faerie kind!  Yes, Ramon DeLeon did much in the ways of researching these fine folk, but there is still more to unveil.  So, let me show you some notes from the planar guild.  After all, you’re paying, so who am I to say ‘no’?  Just remember that some information might be dangerous to know, but I respect an inquisitive and curious mind.

So, where to begin?  The divisions of the Wyld Faerie lands have been covered, the politics of the Seelie and Unseelie, a tenuous truce that would risk all fae should it be broken?  All of these have been covered, you desire something different.  I can’t guarantee that overlap will not happen, but I’ll try my best.  Let us journey forward, back into the Deep Ethereal and into the pocket dimensions of the sylvan kind.  And from there, brief treks to both Seelie and Unseelie Courts.

Author’s Note: This somehow evolved into its own post!  This was supposed to be part of the previous one, but it was quickly getting too long.  Also, I found myself coming up with more and more ideas.  In addition, sampling bits from the fey wild articles for dragon magazine.  Special thanks to Matt Sernett and Will Doyle there.   So, that’s why similar names show up.  But hey, this is the planescape version.  Also, have some callbacks to earlier ideas as well.  Likewise, I sneak in a few more Spelljammer references, though I have yet to focus on Spelljammer.

 
Fomorians and related foulness

Summer Isle Minor Races - Connors' Settings

Too many have false notions the fey are a happy spirit people, filled with frolic and laying about.  This is a disdainful stereotype that has been proven wrong time and again.  The fey, fair folk or just ‘fae’ have much grimness within their history and even present.  The Fomorians of the Sylvan Dominions have been known for causing trouble.  While many are quite stupid, some aren’t just smart but exceedingly cunning.  Ever since they were captured and altered by the Unseelie Court, they have vowed revenge against all of the fair blood.  They’ve been branded enemies of the Red Eyed Giants for as long as time has known.  Their latest campaigns have been an organized assault upon the sylvan realms at large, in part to show that despite being giants they are also fey.  Another reason is simply to spark conflict and to sate a craving for violence.  From the kingdom of Mag Tureah, they plot elaborate campaigns in their war against all things fae.  However, they don’t realize that several Wyld Fey, as well as both Seelie and Unseelie have infiltrated their ranks.  These spies have tried to gain influential enough positions in hopes of sabotaging efforts directly (such as through messing up plans) or indirectly (by insuring their knowledge is shared to the right sources).  Early during the battles, Thrumbolg the First Lord, was made to be a mighty warlord who shall be feared by all.  However, countless fights to follow would see gradually more embarrassing defeat.  Many subordinates have begun to assume that the First Lord is slipping.  Meanwhile, he has begun to catch on that something is very wrong and frantically works accordingly. 

“Rooting out rats” has become a major priority, as it’s only a matter of time until all “traitors” are found.  Likewise, he has begun to divide up groups based on his most trusted assets.  This has caused campaigns to slowly turn in his favor.  Thrumbolg’s desires of taking the sylvan lands aren’t enough.  He desires to also rebuild his giants into something more powerful and intelligent, in hopes of spreading destruction and control into Prime Worlds.  But, not even his allies are immune to his wrath.  Bronnor, Fomorian Lord of Hallowhame, has come under fire of this witch hunt.  While fervently dedicated to the Fomorian cause, spies have managed to slip blame to him over time… something he desperately tries to shake off to no avail.  Likewise,  Vor Thomil’s Fomorian Queen Connomae has received criticism for her insane crusade against the Sidhe City of Shenaelestra.  While she has lent forces for Thrumbolg’s cause, her interests lie in her own vanity.  She simply wants the beautiful city as her own play thing and will waste whatever resources she has to obtain it.  Meanwhile, the fae of said city do whatever they can to hold back her raging tides and torrents.  She stands by her furious efforts, as it was by her hand that she united other enemies to crush Cendriane, a formerly radiant and resplendent Sidhe marvel.  Now the city lies in ruins, with many caches and treasures waiting for the taking.  Despite current failures, Connomae still reminds others of her successes against Cendriane.

Is this to say that other fae are absolved of sins?  Poppycock!  The Tower of Zoramadria may be located within the Autumn Court’s jurisdiction, but it speaks of Unseelie activity in a way.  The denizens there are Sidhe enamored with necromantic arts.  While peaceful in their experiments, they have been known to break the mold by recruiting outsiders into their strange crafts.  This has resulted in the undead beginning to manifest around the Autumn and Winter Court grounds.  Because of this, the Seelie Court has petitioned for them to be stopped.  The Killing Grounds, by the edge of the Autumn Court’s boundaries is another macabre site.  Originally, it was for sylvan touched Firbolg to engage in Wild Hunts, in hopes of expanding the Spring Lord’s pursuits.  However, the Red-Eyed Giants who came into that area for a time didn’t take kindly to the violence in the area.  The two sides bickered and fought until they were at each other’s throats.  The far bigger giants ultimately wiped out the Firbolgs of the Autumn Court, mangling their bodies into gruesome works of art as a reminder.  In fact, the whole ordeal caused them to abandon the locale anyway.  Now, it is just a haunting place filled with bad omens.  Meanwhile, Al’Bihel, the City of Stairs ruined itself after its own Sidhe civilians discovered what the courts were up to.  Arcane Lord N’ehlia had great plans to turn the tides against the Fomorians, but this involved using ancient magics to splice his soldiers with the reanimated bodies of Fomorians slain outside of the city.  The results were effective, but too ghastly for the emotive sidhe to handle as they turned on their own leadership.  The revolution lasted only a few days, as even the grotesque super soldiers were defeated.  Those who still aligned with the lord fastened another place for themselves, the Tower of Zoramadria!

 
The House of Flowers’ Wilt

Feywild | The Solari Expanse | Obsidian Portal

So many disgusting and awful things, but not even beauty is immune to the taint of evil.  The House of Flowers at first glance is a place of absolute beauty and splendor.  It is also a sight where one can find followers devoted to Corellon, as well as the “self-proclaimed son” known as The Rose King.  But, under this welcoming house of joy and celebration, there is a darker side.  Besides temples and places for all that is gorgeous in the multiverse, there are secret rooms for meeting.  The cults within have several particular goals in mind.  The largest one is reigniting the Sylvan Wars by convincing Titania to finally kill her sister.  From there, the total eradication of anything not only Unseelie but unaligned Wild Fae as well.  The elven members of the court have convinced the cults within to extend their genocide to the Drow of Oerth and Toril.  One elf hails from Clan Grunalf of the Mystaran Nation of Alfheim.  She petitions to extend this campaign to the Shadow Elves as well.  Their other goal is unifying all creatures of fey blood, who aren’t tainted by “The Darkness of the Unseelie” or other “undesirable” sources.  Their goals are lofty and driven by madness.  They see themselves as Just, seeing as the Rose King was slain by a collective effort of the Drow deities solely by spite.  And worse, the Rose King’s subjects and followers were targeted soon after.  The only survivors were from civilians shuttled to safety, who were also subject to Drow cruelty.  It was through them that the Seelie Court learned of such treachery.  “The Day of Light Extinguished” was what it became known in sylvan history, one that was never forgiven or forgotten, nearly breaking Titania and Oberon when the news reached them.  For them, nothing so wicked should be allowed to continue and thus the faction arose.  The House of Flowers started as a means of memorializing, but its members quickly radicalized and demanded action.  Their omnicidal crusade initially developed out of protection rather than revenge, by their words.  It should be clear that they lack self-awareness, given how loose their definitions are and how willing they are to bring mass murder upon the Prime and beyond.  True to sylvan nature, they’re one to employ a double-speak when reaching out for aid.  Plus, a sense of wit plays off their ambitions like some lighthearted play or humorous series of gags.  That or some noble quest of high heroism. 

One of their creations for these pursuits looks the part of a Seelie work, but acts downright disdainfully.  The Mourner’s Rosebush is a sight to behold, a walking mass of leafy shrubbery adorned with several blooming roses.  But, like with the flower’s thorns, it brings much pain.  Upon attacking a victim, it can infect them with magical seeds.  The seeds move until they find the victim’s skull.  From there, they parasite off of the victim’s thoughts and even mind, as the victim becomes hazier and less coherent.  Eventually, the victim’s head bursts as more of the beautiful roses emerge after being fed the victim’s failing mind.  From there, it quickly grows into a new Mourner’s Rosebush and repeat the process.  Unbeknownst to the House of Flowers, this biological weapon has escaped and begun to seek victims on Arborea in secret.  It has since moved to Ysgard and Limbo.  Should it reach Pandemonium, it’ll only be a matter of time until The Queen of Darkness and Air can use this abomination against its creators.  Or more likely, the greater Seelie will take notice and start looking for answers.  In the case of both the cults and the rose monster, both are creatures that have fallen into Evil.  They both are also affected by powerful magic that makes them come across as Paragons of Good, to better fit in with their allies of the Seelie Courts.  But, such Fae Trickery shouldn’t work on their allies?  Why has it?  So far, they operate besides the Seelie Court who isn’t fully aware of how corrupt they’ve become.  They’ve found ways to pacify their superiors through helping in their approved causes, while associates continue secret plans on the side.  Also, the innocence and free-loving Eladrin have often been turned the other way to focus on “celestial” duties, while the House of Flowers members pontificate on their heinous plots.  In time, their intentions and dangers can be revealed.  After all, they can’t cover up everything they do.  And should they go too far and overextend their boundaries, their court will certainly do something about it.

On the subject of their own enemies, they’ve made plenty on their own.  Fearing for their lives, two elves originally from Oerth have defected after realizing that the group is made of extremists.  They have since fled and taken shelter in the Winter Court, where they hide in a cave of singing crystals.  Since the mostly opaque walls shift and move with enough magical force, they’ve assembled a hiding hovel to dwell in while they plot to expose the House of Flowers.  This would imply the House hasn’t come to the Winter Court lands though.  A group of Drow escapees ultimately changed that.  Torilian worshipers of Eilistraee, the coven fled into the faerie lands to recuperate an attack by the Church of Lolth.  This plane jump caught the attention of the House of Flowers, who have begun to track them in hopes of eliminating them.  Seeing as the hiding elves fear the drow, they are greatly conflicted on providing help and possibly exposing themselves.

 
Gnomish Mania

Shmebulock by TynaEXE on DeviantArt

Surely, there is more to say about the Fair Folk besides politics?  Or, real politics?  Many speak of the Fool’s Grove, glorious empire of the 4th age!  Or that’s what its “leader” calls it.  This is a place of delightful madness and curious wonder that could only come from a “mad king” by the name of “Emperor Gnome”.  Is he actually a ruler, with noble ties?  Doubtful.  But, his companion is a large badger named Francis.  The two have assembled a menagerie of curious and truly mind boggling creatures, for some purpose defying normal logic.  Most activities amount to nonsensical prattling and prancing about in this large spacial grove within the Spring Court turned prison-space.  How this “emperor” is tolerated mostly comes down to the fact that he seems harmless.  But, woe to those who enter the demesne of madness, for his infectious joy and mania is capable of overtaking visitors.  Many who don’t take precautions often find themselves flailing and babbling like a member of the Chaosmen often do.  Those familiar with the grove have sometimes used it as a faerie trick on travelers who prove less than grateful or respectful to their surroundings.  In some cases, it has been used as an experiment to see how fast an outsider mind can crack.  This is likely due to the weird powers of The Gnome mixing with whatever lay-lines made this pocket prison possible in the first place.

But, where does such a blissful maniac come from?  Why, the kingdom of Drochdan, of course!  The seemingly nameless gnome was an exile of this subterranean kingdom well below the mountains bordering the Neutral Lands of the Good Kingdom.  Given how they’ve been given the nickname of “The Fools”, this explains where the grove’s name came from as well.  Many have instead dubbed it “Emperor Gnome’s World of Stupid”.  The eponymous emperor himself pays no mind to this insult, stating that it lacks insight or creativity.  In fact, he has long since forgotten his real name.  Before he declared that he was emperor, the absolutely lost gnome was simply “The Gnome”.  His badger companion was the only source of comfort and relative sanity in his world, until one day he found purpose and motivation.  He’d make an empire of his own!  Others around him began to humor him, until he proved too aggravating and annoying to keep around.  And thus, the Archfey of the Spring Court granted a land solely for “Emperor Gnome” and whatever weird antics followed.  For those thinking about still visiting, the area surrounding this prison pocket is filled with warnings.  Passing through spring gardens and elven-like sculptures, one can notice signs in sylvan and various humanoid tongues.  They all say to avoid the door, which refers to a wooden doorway at the end of the garden.  Said door has Elven letters, “Fool’s Grove” etched carefully.  Opening the door unveils the gateway to the place.  Be warned, staying for more than one hour makes you a prisoner as well, save for strong magic aiding you.  The Spring Fey do not get rid of the prison, but keep it as a reminder of many mistakes that were made from that age.  This isn’t to say that their present age is all inspiring either.

But, what turned this gnome into a raving lunatic?  It’s not uncommon for gnomes as a whole to be hit with a racial prejudice, lumping them all as these goofy or deranged peoples.  But, this nameless one and his animal companion are different.  Someone who looks suspiciously like him joined some natives and adventurers into ancient parts of the Autumn Court.  As it would turn out, the library co-sponsored by the current archfey wasn’t the first attempt at archival in the domain.  The Antediluvian Archival, as it has been named, is a forbidden place of ancient lore not meant for even sylvan creatures.  As has been stated by Ramon the Bard, there are countless empires and lands built on top of each other with the fey.  It would be against their whimsy to knock the past down.  All the same, they often don’t care enough to preserve it.  As such, new things are built on top.  This archive was unearthed by accident, initially considered a treasure trove of lost truths.  Instead, scholars found untold blasphemies and dark revelations that would rock the dimension to its core.  And as it would turn out, both the initial investigators and the gnome’s party would learn that creatures still live down there.  The monsters consumed most of the trespassers, while the gnome escaped with countless “quirky” books to look over.  Survivor’s guilt and the mind rending passages of the book caused the victim’s mind to quickly spiral out of control.  He awoke days later in a spring grove, where he began to babble his heinous realizations to a fey badger who also became infected by the horror.  The two proceeded to unleash chaos upon this part of the Spring Court they landed in.  In due time, the representatives of the land were fed up and sealed him away.  After it was learned that he’s linked to the Archival, passages were sealed and traps were made for anyone who would try to enter again.

 
On the Baba Yaga

The Hermitage: The Baba Yaga Book

The Fomorians and Gnomes aren’t the only barmies bouncing around Ethereal depths of the Sylvan.  Murkendraw, or Marsh Eternium, is a gruesome place of goblins, hags, dark magic and the mind boggling.  To shock none, it is held tightly by the Unseelie Court, once a piece of The Summer Court.  But, it is here that the Baba Yaga is said to retreat to, when she tires of the petty problems of the Prime.  Dark be told, she does more than vacation here, she is a de-facto force of authority here.  She the Queen of Hags declare something fact, the swamp creatures should best listen or face terrible consequences.  Curiously, the major forces of the Unseelie let Baba Yaga get away with her doings here, but perhaps for only one reason.  Despite having this much sway and loving to push around the Murkendraw denizens, she greatly dislikes it here.  She has since found herself more at home within the Winter Court, as well as more frigid Unseelie held realms.  She doesn’t stop with just the courts of the fair folk, even within other planes (such as the Para-Elemental Plane of Ice) have seen her iconic Dancing Hut materialize.  But in the end, what does this mysterious and all-powerful witch want?  Her motivations and beliefs have become so tangled and contradictory, she isn’t fully sure anymore.  Sometimes, she’ll dig up and old idea and run with it.  Other times, she’ll babble in confusion over some mix of half-conceived notions.  And should both of those fail, she’ll leap into some new pursuit.  This isn’t to say she is one known for jolliness, due to a tendency to both evade death and follow it.  Some say that she is on an immortal path of the archfey, while others think she’s just some odd anomaly.  Many will claim that she was never fey blooded in the first place, just a powerful mortal changed and empowered by magical secrets…  And such dark, she’ll never share… nor is it possible to get it.  And that reason, among others, might account for much of her own misery.  Those who treat her like a grandmotherly figure have been treated far better.  Mind you, it’s best if you don’t find her, but for her to find you.

The all powerful queen of Hags is a force to be reckoned with. She can traverse reality, utilize powerful magick and is said to be immortal herself! To many, she resembles the archetypal hag like any other, but this is far from the case. She’s the most powerful of all hags. Some say she’s even the progenitor of hags as a whole. Her dark spawn fill countless planes and spread her dread curse upon many realities. Her motivations are shrouded in eons of mystery. Perhaps she fancies herself as a Queen of Magic itself, seeking to one day take total control over powers she has long since mastered. Perhaps she wants to make all realms her home, unleashing horrible spirit creatures and dark energies to terraform the planes. No one for certain knows, nor do they want to find out.  To those who encounter her, the best course of action is to avoid her claimed land at all costs. For if she doesn’t attack directly, her magical hut will. To those who can manage to defeat her hut, facing her within her own domain is a far more challenging task. It is said that she rests deep with the Good Kingdom, as a means of recuperating from epic conflicts on the Material realm. It is also said she has connections to lands of the dead and then some. In fact, part of her existence is stuck between the Grey Wastes and Gehenna. It is rumored many magical secrets of the yugoloth come from the Hag Queen herself! However, it seems as though she is more than capable of appearing in multiple places at once, all while her hut contains several worlds in one. Her motivations for collecting pieces of worlds are just as vague as her reasons for committing vile deeds. Few mad scholars assume she has a sentimental attachment to the places she visits, collecting bits of them as a visitor would take a souvenir as a means of making memories.

However, Baba Yaga has a strange side as well. While associated with absolute wickedness, she can show signs of kindness… when it benefits her. Those who show her respect will usually be shown some level of respect in return, even her acting grandmotherly towards adventurers who follow her rules. Sometimes, she observes the world around her through her various alternate forms of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Perhaps she desires love, perhaps she wants to learn about a world she’s visiting, perhaps she’s seeking out a weakness of an enemy.  The workings and ways of the Baba Yaga retain much in mystery and it’s best to keep things that way.  But, just recall, she is still a force of darkness.  While it’s possible to befriend her, her allegiances and powers are still ones aligned with evil.  Keeping too close of a connection to the fabled grandmother in the dancing hut is an easy way to drag one down.

 
Murkroot’s Markets

Carlos Ryal on Twitter: "#tbt always bring back good feelings :) #art  #painting #digitalpainting #digitalart #artgoals🎨 #artdreams #environments  #environmentlandscape #swamp #fantasy #fantasyart #fantasylandscape  #drowning #mossy #darkillustration ...

Murkendraw brings more than just the Baba Yaga.  Past the territory is quite the merchant site to behold.  It is Murkroot Trade Moot.  While no Goblin Market by any stretch, it is still quite impressive for a variety of reasons.  Despite being owned by darker fey, these ones are more interested in corrupt capital, rather than lashing out like many of their kin often do.  In some respects, it’s a neutral ground for the Unseelie.  As per the ways of the fey, it is well hidden through varieties of glamored mirages, twisted roots and sinking swamps.  Originally, a retreat from judgemental Summer Fey, it was ultimately rescued by the Unseelie in a shockingly kind act.  When Summer Fey began to storm the swamp, with the aid of Seelie knights, several powerful representatives made a deal with the Unseelie Queen.  For a time, the Murkroot thrived under its new home.  But, the new masters proved to be overbearing and harsh, as one would expect.  Cronies either representing Mab or her factions have a habit of extorting the locale for support, taxation or other spontaneous acts.  These visits are often unannounced, true to sylvan fashion.  Time and again, the mighty facades of the caretakers and sellers crumble into capitulating with these pseudo Cross-Traders and Bureaucrats.  Or rather, this is if they can find it.  The winding warren-like tunnel entryway of thickets, brambles, tons of woody roots, sometimes literal cave rock is always subject to change.  Once in a while, the Unseelie forces do find their way in and make their demands.  But, most of the time, they are outsmarted by classic methods turned against them.  But, a trusted guide can offer the proper passage to this bazaar square of goods, should you also prove yourselves first.  No one with intent of destroying, exploiting or conquering the Trade Moot will find their way normally.  Though, it’s possible to betray it when getting there.  Of course, this is ill-advised.  But, you’ve found the path, do continue.  This isn’t to say that this market is a nice and wholesome place.  The Bogbottom locals, should they be willing to converse, will inform you that ill-repute isn’t unwarranted.  The Faerie Goblinoids make up much of the population in the area, but only so many are actually interested in being vendors.  None the less, goblins are typical guides for buyers and sellers, bugbears are lurking bouncers and hobgoblins are the “fair” arbiters and translators.  And even then, many mill about the actual trade moot to observe and keep things neutral.

Getting there yourself requires a deal struck with the goblin guide.  It could be gold, an item, a future favor or something else that strikes the guide’s fancy.  Usually, it’s multiple things at once, which should be promised or paid; lest you get lost or be led astray.  And then there’s dealing in the quirks and odd behaviors of your host, such as refusing to traverse parts of the swamp, asking the company with them to dance the whole way or some other strange thing.  Entering requires a woody tunnel below, damp and murky with marshy water below.  In time, it opens up into a large warren-like space.  The Murkroot is a place of many things.  It’s where slavers, poisoners, mercenaries, dark alchemists and innovators of the bizarre are known to convene.  Beyond that, it’s a wondrous burg onto its own, lots to explore with your wits properly about you.  While merchants deal fair among their own, outsiders and common rabble will find themselves dealing with fake and counterfeit wares… should one not inspect closely.  The discerning buyer who points out “an issue” will often receive a “shocked” and amused seller, who is more willing to showcase far better wares.  Of course, in the ways of dealing with darker fey, a certain level of respect should be maintained… lest something really bad happen to you.  And this is to say nothing of the visitors who come looking for goods.  Even the Queen of Witches herself has stopped by to peruse whatever there is to offer… especially on one of her good days.  A rising influence in the Unseelie, Prince Rotlinger, has become a regular.  This high court fey resembles something closer to a shambling corpse than a faerie, but he remains a sylvan representation of entropy and necromancy incarnate.  Like his common purchases, a reminder of how grim and disgusting Mab’s court can be.  Even some proxies for the Seelie have found this jink stop to be very useful, as evidenced below.  Mind you, none will admit to gaining any merchandise from here.  A more curious entity does seem to lighten the mood, a Summer Sidhe who calls herself “Bumbleton, Queen of Bees”.  Dressed in yellow and black motifs, she flutters about while purchasing all sorts of plant material and sweets to help feed the hives.  However, she is not against buying the meat of corpses to feed to her “little children” as well.  Her bee-like spawn also sport sharp teeth.  Likewise, some slaves are liberated, only to be turned into bee food.

But, what of regular merchants?  Mazalendia the Wicked Eye is a swampy hag who often disguises herself as a Sidhe seer of great power.  One may get to her after traversing muck, tunnel and decaying dangling fabrics.  Her surroundings are decadent and tastelessly overdecorated, practically goading a visitor to insult her.  As one expects, she deals in curses and cures; often enacting ironic charges for those who want to “purchase” a curse to place on someone.  One must first deliver a pitch to her, as if she was a customer.  If she enjoys the wretched idea enough, she might be willing to cut a deal or discount.  The more cruel for the victim and more involved the buyer is, the less likely the cost will afflict the buyer too heavily.  As her gaudy decor would imply, she does love a good show.  Winning her own favor over amounts to targeting the undeserving with the most horrible of curses, given Mazalendia’s sadistic and hateful ways.  Those she likes, she treats as extensions and eyes of her own.  Her “friends” are often sent out to search for components or strange decorations to bring back to her.  She isn’t without gratitude though, as she is willing to reward those she likes handsomely, often without too deep of a catch… save for more favors to ask later.  Deep within a part of the moot that is more cave-like, there is Bar the Patriarch of Clan Scaldclaw, an ironic title for someone exiled from his original tribe.  Don’t let the slow and fatigued demeanor of this Ursine alchemist and mystic fool you. His works range from the innocent potions of friendship, a watered down variant of love potion, to more fascinating and insidious ones.  His most infamous is a Potion of Sidhe Disguise, a favorite among Unseelie and Seelie alike.  It can last for anywhere between an hour to however long you want, depending on Bar’s trust of you and cash on hand.  With it, one can infiltrate and live among the common fey of the Good Kingdom.  He’s well adept at making potion work on the spot, but his most quality works are only available to those who gain his favor.  Bringing supplies and doing dangerous deeds for him is one way, but there’s a darker path in the form of a saying, “Strike a deal with Ol’ Bar and you take his face, clan and maybe even cubs.”  His Ursine Morphic potion will see to that.  Clan Urso of the Ardeep Woods in Toril owes itself to Ol’ Bar, now related to Clan Scaldclaw too.  Their analogues to Thayan culture likely means they were once part of the Red Wizards too.  Finally, the Wood Cluster is a mercenary who has a side job of slavery.  There’s a strange catch to this one, it’s many as one!  The Wood Cluster is a hivemind of Wood Imps who gained intelligence from accidentally mentally linking themselves together.  Their specialty is in mercenaries and slaves that are bound by oaths or contracts, many of which have failed in some way before being taken by them.  Alternatively, the swarm simply overwhelms, incapacitates and brainwashes whatever victims draw their ire out and about.  And this occurs if their old ways don’t provoke them to just try to eat you instead.  At the very least, they don’t do this while within the Trade Moot.  Fortunately, no other Wood Imps are found in the immediate area, lest they get assimilated.  No one can really win over the Wood Cluster, unless you’re another Wood Imp that they can pluck.  They like their business and view almost everyone else as a commodity to use for labor or fighting.  The most they can hope to do is engage in business to keep them away while “hunting” for new “stock”.  Since they are common sights within the Trade Moot, slaying them would probably draw much ire.

Of course, getting there has its share of problems.  While Mazalendia should have been thrown out of the trade area, few want to contest her power and the protection she does bring to Murkroot.  However, her crime against the area has been noted and known.  Early in her days in the Murkroot, she cursed some goblins who continuously taunted her.  After a few days, they felt lightheaded and ill.  Soon after, their heads popped off their bodies and flew around frantically, much like the dreaded Vargouille of the lower planes.  However, the goals of these goblin heads are to find a new host body.  Curiously, they uncommonly attack other goblinoids, but usually other humanoids outright.  “Neck Gobblers” as they’re called, are cursed creatures that gnaw at the necks of unsuspecting travelers in the misty marshes, before bashing the victim’s head off and replacing it with their own.  The body immediately reanimates as the features become more goblinoid in nature.  However, upon doing this, another Neck Gobbler magically spawns.  And worse, the body they takeover only survives for a few weeks to a few months before decaying and detaching.  The nightmare parasites flap their exaggerated goblin ears in hopes of new hosts.  Ultimately, this has helped keep curious onlookers away, as the goblin guides are well adept at avoiding the abominations.

 

The Great Flying Wingwick Inn

Upon a massive sylvan eagle, the outcropping of a building can be seen.  With its headquarters perched in the neutral/”wild” zone of the Good Kingdom, it is welcoming to all patrons, fey or not  But, this is no ordinary building, this is the Wingwick Inn.  Conceived as a diplomatic gift between the Seelie Court the Summer Court, before a scandal rocked both to the core.  Following much embarrassment, the former Court representatives pawned the ship/inn to whichever associate had the means of purchase.  The current owner?  A wealthy merchant named Flicker-Leap from the Good Neighbors Marketplace within the center of the neutral grounds.  Flicker-Leap is a powerful Sidhe, master spellcaster and trained warrior; he resembles something of a very handsome winged half-elf to the unknowing eye.  Should you become his close friend, he will let you call him “Lance Featherstep”, a name given for his mounted fighting ability.  His genuine best friend is an Elven woman by the name of Dellyessn Gleamcreak, who has lived on board for as long as she can remember.  When neither is busy, it’s not uncommon for them to break out into song or dance.  As for Wingwick the Sylvan Eagle, this resplendent giant golden bird carries an attitude of his own.  But to Flicker-Leap, he’s absolutely loyal.  Gorphilda resembles a hag, but she isn’t one in truth.  She’s just an Orcish Witch Priestess who has been disfigured through all sorts of strange rituals.  She’s a bit slow at times, loves to eat and enjoys being entertained by whatever is on her mind.  She’s in charge of making sure the chef teams work accordingly.  After all, the things she knows the most are magical arts and food.  Mortimer the Wooden Butler is a construct created in Tinkerhold.  He resembles a middle aged man in strange attire, which the gnomes of the workshop call “Terra Victoriana”… whatever that means.  He is prim, proper and speaks in a rather dignified manner sometimes not befitting of this inn.  Pretty much everyone in the main crew is allowed into the Summer Court grounds, except Flicker-Leap himself, due to his direct connections to the previous archfey.  He doesn’t take this personally and often remains within the Wingwick Inn while docked in that land.  The Seelie Court is more welcoming, except in the eyes of Oberon.  Seeing as he failed to claim the ship, he gets extremely emotional when he sees it near him.  As such, any trips to the Seelie Court realms are often short.  Few things offend the main staff, but bringing up the World Serpent Inn seems to be a sore spot, especially for the proprietor of this establishment himself.  He’ll jump from a joyous mood to a frothing anger, cursing Mitchifer the World Serpent Inn owner and those with him, in mere seconds.  The rest of the staff consist of temporary cooks, attendants, bartenders and more.  These are all guests who couldn’t handle the extravagant and often jumping price tags, meaning they had to sign a contract for work for the time being.

Is this to say that Flicker-Leap is something of a devil?  Certainly not.  Signs outside of the Wingwick Inn offer and warn of a unique experience for the right coin, changing coin at that.  While not specific, it gives enough of an expectation that guests should never be surprised.  However, Flicker-Leap can be convinced of showing some mercy depending on the circumstance.  Should it come down to it, Gleamcreak can help him see either reason or compassion.  Should this be the case, the subject isn’t chastised or unceremoniously dropped off.  No, they’re given a party in honor of the host’s hospitality.  But, for those not so lucky?  They are to work for weeks into months.  And should they want out?  The owners are always willing to put up quests that range from bizarre whimsy and whims to downright deadly tasks, usually something tying into either their visiting stop or just something that someone on top wants in the moment.  This can range from the whisker of a water dragon to robbing a Bytopian artist of their prized sculpture.  Anything from Gorphilda’s often addle-coved mind ranges on pure madness, often nonsensical things that are not only hard to pull off but make no sense.  This often amounts to stunts that few would think of normally, such as performing a play naked in front of a royal palace or running for several miles in nothing but a suit made of wooden blocks.  Meanwhile, Mortimer’s are usually reasonable yet extremely lengthy and boring.  These tasks usually amount of buying long lists of essential supplies, to engaging in an extremely long debate on decor propositions to helping to edit a painfully lengthy and verbose memoir being written by the sentient construct.  The operators of this establishment are flexible and each one of them will give a quest, should one turn something down.  Curiously, even Wingwick is on a contract, arranged when the Inn was a gift from Titania.  Sages of a nearby Good Kingdom settlement fear that the contract may some day end and the eagle can finally lash out against the abuse it has suffered to an extent from the owners and very much from the guests.  The harness-like layout, while accommodating to the avian structure of the host, still is quite the burden upon the giant eagle’s body.  While he is capable of rapid flight and can get to a destination in no time, his calls tell of disgruntlement.  He has plans to zoom through the wrong portal when the contract ends, in hopes of delivering everyone on board into some realm of nightmares.  None are any the wiser.

How would one describe the inn itself?  Quite lavish is the abridged version, and likewise quite bizarre.  The shape of the building, nestled into the harness, resembles that of a massive bird egg tilted with the more pointed end facing the eagle’s head.  It is from here that the primary staff gather, with navigation being a rather important aspect.  The rest of the second floor consists of various rooms to occupy and assorted guest services.  Likewise, the third floor consists of more of the same, save for a large meeting room in the middle.  The third floor is modified as a passenger deck, to allow access to the outside.  Much like a spelljammer, an air bubble envelops the area.  But, this bubble on the outside deck is fortified by all sorts of adaptive planar magics, lest total tragedy befall anyone who steps outside.  The first floor contains common rooms, private booths, staff services and personal quarters for the establishment.  The bottom of the egg building consists primarily of storage and secret compartments that few know of.

If this Inn is such a luxury, then who frequents it?  Well, no one consistently.  But, its patrons range from the various rich and famous to all sorts of curious characters from across the planes.  Nobility and the elite are by no means the only passengers.  Anyone with a knack for the planes beyond has been seen upon here, even Factol Rowan Darkwood of Sigil’s Fated Faction has been upon here during a much needed vacation.  Others of note have been the Horned Lord of the Spring Court, a crew of wiped out Spelljammer travelers, a Halruuan mage enclave on their way to The City of Brass, Terran occultists seeking out the fair folk and even the ever infamous Bargle.   In fact, there aren’t too many places that the inn can’t be taken.  Among them, the depths of wildspace and beyond are not appreciated by Wingwick.  While he has been taken to The Rock of Bral, he would rather use his own knowledge of planes and portals to navigate rather than risk contending with the Phlogiston.  While it has been proven that he can survive, the experience was exhausting to the point of near death.  Never again, in his own words.  A most recent patron is actually a druid from a radical sect.  The druid is doing all in his power to twist the contract and free Wingwick on the spot, to the likely lethal detriment of the inn.  Another visitor bound to cause trouble is a disguised Nabasuu, made to resemble a Sidhe Lord.  The fiend wants to coax Wingwick into traveling into the abyss in exchange for freedom.

 

Of Faeries and The Cage

Sigil is not a place exactly known for the fey.  While the stuffy urban nature is unappealing to most, some have found the endless possibility and doors to be all too tempting.  Many Sidhe view Sigil as a whimsical place filled with tons of potential to explore, appealing to whatever catches their interest in the moment or carries a particular weight.  Some have found themselves home in the Society of Sensation, Xaositects and the Transcendent Order.  Other fey races have danced around the streets, in search of wonders or sights to examine.  Due to their disconnect with much of larger reality, they often take offense when questioned by more lawful factions for their at times alien behavior, especially when it reaches the “sociopathic” by said faction standards.  Just as the fey are often detached from wider planar morals and viewpoints, the same can be said for others not understanding the fey.  This disconnect has lead to much conflict within Sigil alone.

Thanks to the Great Flying Wingwick, a close kept secret made itself known to the fair folk.  The Docker’s Catch is a secret club that unites the Spelljammer traveler with the Planes walker.  A group of pixies, while not friendly towards the Fraternity of Order, subtly sneaked information about the Spelljammer club.  Enraged that the portal to the headquarters required membership, legislation was pushed that the club could only persist if at least one Guvner was granted membership access.  The pixies in question used this to their advantage, in hopes of gaining an escort to a Crystal Sphere known as Faeriespace.  The idea of a far off world dominated by their kind seemed all too tempting.  Unbeknownst to them, Faeriespace is quite the unusual Crystal Sphere, as a massive tree dominates the planetary alignment and holds 8 different worlds of the fey within its branches.  Thankfully for them, they were approved in time, without knowledge of their mischief being known to the Docker’s Catch.  As for the Sphere itself?  It is likely that these were early colonization efforts as the Seelie/Unseelie schism began, thus creating the 8 worlds, split in half between the two factions.

All in all, most fey who don’t fly to the sights and elite status of the Lady’s Ward or the many crafts of either the Guildhall Ward or Great Bazaar find themselves lost or confused.  While many Unseelie enjoy the suffering of The Hive and the Seelie like the diplomacy found in the Clerk’s Ward, many others have trouble getting into the hustle and bustle of the often polluted and grim urban environment.  But, the Green Mill has become a temporary refuge for many sylvan travelers.  Its enticing colors and rare sight of trees have made it much needed salvation from the draining nature of The Cage.  Faerie folk particularly tethered to the wilderness find the establishment and its planted tree to be a calming sight.  Some even think that the inn has its own secret portal into the Good Kingdom, particularly another tavern with a remarkably similar layout in the Unaligned/Wild Fey regions of the dimensional space.  In truth, this portal is real.  One of the most popular tables in use within the tavern side of the building is heavily painted with a variety of bright colors mixing and cascading in visually resplendent ways.  But, after serving hours, it can be used as a portal into the other location.  In order to activate it, at least one participant involved must be a sylvan creature.  Furthermore, everyone must link hands and recite a poem in dedication to the fair folk before leaning into the table.  Likewise, the same goes for the alternate version of the Green Mill.  Participants than tumble from the new table and onto new seats.  For those not ready, the experience can prove nauseating.

The Market has become a safe place for many fey as well, especially those under the crushing thumb of Nachtur, a foul kingdom overseeing the Goblin Market.  While Garckle remains a fixture of the old kingdom, many of his allies have fled to Sigil after enduring enough suppression and cruelty from their Goblin King.  Just as the Murkroot has much in the ways of weird goblin things, many tents and shops cluster together in a similar manner.  The Faerie Square is a section of the great bizarre where anything Seelie, Unseelie or Wild Fae related can be spotted.  And even then, the vendors carry far more than just trinkets and bits of their homeland.  Some take a more sinister angle.  In fact, quite a few give the rest a bad name, for a willingness to aid the underworld of the Cross-Trade.  These Knights of the Cross-Trade usually do so undercover, but prove to be valid informants and allies in this seedy underbelly.  While Unseelie are frequently blamed, countless Seelie and Unaligned have been grabbed up by the curious nature of the underground.  In fact, many of those who criticize the obvious criminals among them are hypocrites.  This is no more apparent than with The Simmering Cauldron in the Lower Ward.  The tavern delights in a bunch of unseelie-inspired recipes that seem more threatening than they are.  But, this is a front for an underground gambling hall and drug den accessed through fey magic on a secret door.   All means of illicit sylvan delights and at-times dangerous games of chance are within this hidden basement floor.  And worse, non-fey have been known to vanish, likely through kidnapping or sinister traffic networks.

That hasn’t stopped many from achieving some recognition within guilds and trade orders properly.  In fact, majority of those who come to the twin wards attempt to be rather upstanding, even the evil-aligned Unseelie.  Or at least, upstanding in their own strange way.  Many who don’t feel comfortable within the factions have made their own name thanks to the Market and Guildhall Wards.  While Seelie and Unseelie will bicker within these wards, enact petty measures against rival sellers and find ways to out compete each other, they’re more than familiar with the Blood War’s truce within The Cage as well.  But, fey who stay here long enough become gradually more disinterested in their native politics, getting wrapped up in Sigil’s more so instead.  And the largest field of interest is through the market.

May I thank you again for reading, friends. And do recall, my store is always open for those interested.

 

IMAGE SOURCE: Tony DiTerlizzi; Dave Allsop – Fomorians; Claudio Pozas – Fey Wild; TynaEXE – Shmebulock; Rima Staines – Baba Yaga; Carlos Ryal – Swamp; Xiaodi Jin – L.O.R.D. concept; Fuflon – Sigil

Author: Doctor Necrotic

Hobbyist, amateur writer/screenwriter, wannabe-philosopher, music fan, history lover, cinemaphile, gamer, reviewer, and more. I'm a 30 year old hodgepodge of jobs and interests. My current projects on WordPress creating a wide variety of content for various tabletop roleplaying games, even showcasing published content here as well. When I have the time, I also create editorials and reviews spanning various bits of popular culture. I hope you take a moment to check my content out and maybe tell me what you think.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: