Ah, here we are again! The Civic Festhall! Some time ago, I was here to deliver my information on the fair folk, after a wondrous trip to Ecstasy. Since then, I have been criticized and lambasted with an incomplete or biased take, especially by the mysterious Narrator. After all, focusing on such matters can deeply upset the fey. And that can cost one an eye *tap*… or even your entire being. Just look at me, I’m a one-eyed cat man now. But, I am not here to defame or bring attention to various characters. Likewise, my own association to a bookshop should not paint any bias either. Let us speak on more joyous occasions, the realms of knowledge. And specifically, let us study more on society and politics of the fey. For you see, they are far more complicated and organized than we could initially fathom.
I speak of the faerie kind that span the many planes. We know to some degree what they are, but how do they operate? What can we learn from their daily directions and general politics? Let us dive a little further into their own planes, as well as their own takes on our fair City of Doors. I shall await all to seat and properly get comfortable. I assure you that once I start my lecture, I shall continue through conclusion.
Author’s Note: The ways of the fey! Why not? I keep coming back to this topic one way or another, so let’s go! At this rate, I may as well be making my own fey content for a new setting. Also, it happens to coincide with the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival! Should you be interested, please jump on board. Also, if you’re curious about my writing process, let this video explain it for you. Also, accompanying each part is some artwork from DiTerlizzi. This is mostly because I love his style and it’s perfect for this, considering he did artwork for Planescape, Spiderwick, Changeling and more.
The Fair Kingdom/Free Realm of the Fae
This deep ethereal dominion pertains to the original political alliances of the fey, as well as some new ones that stayed closer to the olden ways. Or rather, this includes those who stayed true to Rhiannon’s realm as The Queen of Air and Darkness and Titania drew their lines. The primary force of realms are the 4 Seasonal Courts: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Minor Courts still hold some sway, as do smaller individual sects. None the less, they are as significant as most sects upon the other planes. As a brief note on planes, even the seasonal courts have found their way upon the wider cosmology, but such matters will be touched upon in reach respective group. But first, let us take a brief overview of this plane’s workings. Despite no longer being a true kingdom, the name has been upheld out of respect for the original Faerie Queen.
The 4 primary Courts hold sway over natural forces and supernatural alike. Their interactions with the Prime are limited, but it is said that Archfey are capable of influencing weather and the natural order when a land rolls into their respective season. Likewise, they gain additional power, despite being separated between the Ethereal Plane. Curiously, this hold was once stronger. Such change only occurred in recent times. This was incurred by the wrath of other Sylvan Powers, after the previous Seasonal Archfey nearly tore apart the demiplane. Flagrant abuse of power, corruption and overly destructive mischief lead them to losing their titles and having their names erased from existence. One of the transgressors was certainly purged from all existence too, perhaps the others were as well. As such, there are finite limits on how much power one should have, an agreeable sentiment.
The Court of Autumn
Archfey: Bountiful Mind. More muted and rotund than most depictions of the fair folk, she defers from the typical depiction of a mighty Sylvan Power. Despite this and a rather dry and cynical attitude, she is very much a revered and respected leader of her court. Likewise, her guise provides a good trick to fool the uninitiated, as she proves very agile and quick witted. Otherwise, she seems rather bookish and shy, the latter not being a complete act. When not engaged in political matters are clever maneuvering, she’s often found within her own realm of The Learning Harvest, something of a fortified private library and sanctum.
The Autumnal Fey. Sidhe and others alike tend to be more moody, but often focus on their own work or studies above constant interaction. They’re focused, with a raw determination. While often tainted by a bitter and jaded outlook, many take the time to appreciate beauty in the most unexpected of places. For in their terms, it is quick to fade and fall to decadence. More so than others, the sylvan kind are prefer to be simple and efficient, letting beauty happen naturally rather than forcing it. Likewise, they prefer to find satisfaction in their own duties and work, rather than overindulgence. Many sylvan gnomes find this court comfortable, despite their own eccentricities. And unlike the other courts, they do not fear or anticipate True Death. All Autumnal Fey are taught to be ready and appreciate what exists in the moment. While as carefree as the rest of their kind, their approach and actions are far from the same. Their seeming aloofness to some matters, while buried in books or busy with work, has lead to a variety of issues though. The infamous Killing Grounds came about due to a lack of investment in Red Eyed Giant activity. Likewise, the fall of Al’Bihel due to the corruption and madness of its overseer.
Holdings. The Autumn Court has many lands over its wing. Al’Bihel is a city that still lies in ruins, despite best efforts and intentions to restore it. Many within the Court are debating how much should be built back up, lest things be too tampered with matters of life and death. The nearby Tower continues to operate, where fey are more welcome to practice more questionable means of magic without judgement. Jubilation’s Harvest represents an effort for native fey and outsiders to unite and work together. The success of this establishment is heavily propagated for cross-planar relations. The Red Leaf Tinkers are an independent enclave that split off from Tinkerhold. Mostly “fallen” Gnomes, they approve of more rational and thoughtful methods to their work. They are joined by Goblins who have left the Unseelie behind. However, some of them are actually disguised Gremlins. These chaos creatures seek to steal and sabotage, hired by vengeful Tinkerholders and Unseelie alike. The Learning Harvest is the main domain of the Archfey herself.
Alliance. The easiest way to join the Court of Autumn is to be a neutral Sidhe or other fey within the Kingdom of the Fair Folk. From there, prove that you are dedicated to your focused study and not be over burdened by idealism or outsiders’ morality. But, should one be an outlander, the protocol proves much more discriminatory. The core is the same, but the subject is scrutinized and observed with paranoid vigilance. Likewise, outsiders seeking the Autumn Court are disregarded and criticized at every mistake. Those who see this as a means to improve themselves have a stronger chance than those who react poorly or lash out. From there, a representative in the Court must test the new ally, usually how they see fit. This can often result in a task that the trainee is not remotely proficient in. Following a given amount of time, those who complete them with finesse are welcomed in. These measures are by no means the only way of handling things. While strict, dour and more conservative; the Court is no stranger to breaking code and tradition. Many seeking to join will be faced with far stranger and seemingly random challenges, all of which make complete sense to the Archfey and her allies. Take heed though, their own tendencies to distance themselves from others and focus on their work makes them cold and truly alien. An outlander sticking around too long could become a volunteer for all sorts of gruesome tests and experiments.
Open and Hidden Agendas. The Autumn Court claims to have a stake on rationality. For the court, the whole lot of the Free Fey would prosper under a harder work ethic and focus for study. Their goal is to have the free fey operate upon autonomous syndicates, without need for order; just a society of endless work and study. However, with these directions comes a distinct and at times uncanny detachment. While others approach outsiders with wonder, they see them as something to use for learning. This can result in amoral scientific methods that ultimately torment or kill the subject. While considered humorless, they prefer a reserved and dry approach to trickery and humor; especially on those who do not understand the ways of the fey. Likewise, calm and earthy tones suit them well, an aesthetic they feel should be essential for survival. They hate unnatural vibrancy and seek to have it removed from the kingdom. And while Tinkerhold is a free province, they still hold it in some regard, as the gnomes from within it rigidly apply themselves to their crafts. However, their penchant for absurdity is a slight turnoff. The Autumn Court has used proxies and agents to make the gnomes “go mad”, losing their bizarre and dangerous methods, and thus fall in line with Autumn goals instead.
Relations with other seasonal courts. For the most part, they do not feel especially warm or welcoming to the other courts. But, out of all of them, they feel the most kinship towards Winter, if barely. In their eyes, the Court of Winter is too lazy and depressive to accomplish anything; so wrought and overcome with woe rather than questioning and finding solutions. When forced to work with Winter, they have a habit of being pushy and forceful. However, Summer is seem as almost the opposite. Their perceived hyperactivity and overactive emotion paints them as hyperbolic, vitriolic and generally unstable. The Autumn Court fears them to some degree, working with them sparsely and taking a light approach. In regards to the Spring Court, they are often treated as vapid morons. They are seen as indulgent and air-brained, chasing foolish trends and decadent contrivances. While all fey are flighty to some degree, the Spring Court is considered a negative stereotype. For the Autumn Court, this one proves the hardest without getting into deep arguments.
Relations with Wyld/Seelie/Unseelie. Still angry about what happened with the Lost Archfey, most of the Autumn Court attempt to distance themselves from the Unseelie as much as possible. But secretly, certain trades in secrets and dark lore always bring some back. Their opinion of the Seelie Court is barely more positive, still seeing them as part of the problem, but in a more self-righteous and holier-that-thou sense. While the mighty Oberon is held in high respects, the Court still considers him highly obnoxious. In terms of the Wyld/Neutral Fey, they consider them almost as Clueless as any Primer. The Autumn Court operates under a pretense that they understand all the dangers and horrors of the multiverse, while everyone else does not; treating them as some degree of Addle-Cove as a result.
Relations with the Planes. Thanks to careful diplomacy on behalf of Bountiful Mind, the Autumn Court has a pact with the Power Oghma, for use of the Library of Knowledge in Tir na Og. Considering a general distaste of True Powers within the Kingdom of the Fair Folk, this is kept a close secret to those trusted. While not Unseelie, the Autumn Court has a macabre fascination with Life and Death. They have allowed planar necromancers to study within the Tower of Zoramadria, in hopes of helping the fey understand these curious puzzles of existence. This extends to kidnapping outsiders to use for experiments, in the pursuit of raw knowledge and understanding. Traders and farmers from Prime and Plane both agree that the agricultural hubs throughout the Court are of incredible quality. As such, several plantations and farms within court grounds specialize in different kinds of fey-touched specialties considered exotic by wandering merchants and more. Jubilation’s Harvest stands as a cross-dimensional effort between fey and primer to create a workable agricultural enterprise. For the equivalent of 3 mortal years, it has proved successful. A pact with Leshy have made this especially durable, especially against Fomorian invaders. Likewise, fey dwelling in the Demiplane of Shadows look to the Autumn Court for aid. The dwindling numbers have been in decline well before the “Tragedy of Arak”, with matters only growing worse since then. Likewise, their presence in Gloomwrought has gained some strength thanks to them. However, their assistance and aid is often passing, as to not tread too deeply into Winter Court aligned turf.
The Court of Spring
Archfey: The Horned Lord. A mighty lord of adventure in his own right, he may as well be the spirit of it. He broke from both Seelie and Unseelie, in favor of deeper independence. Despite his court engaging in collective activities, he is very much an extreme individual. In his view, when life offers an opportunity, one must seize it to its fullest. It’s perhaps for this reason why numerous members of The Fated in Sigil align with him. His own realm of The Wild Horizon is where he stages his wild hunt campaigns, where his subjects become beast spirits to playfully be hunted by others. Despite much of the court not getting along with the Seelie, he has formed a deep respect and relationship with Oberron, King of the Seelie Faeries. It’s still up for debate as to whether or not he is an avatar of Cernunnos or merely a being who fancies himself after the Power. While the Archfey’s various festivals and acts of debauchery line up with how said being would act, he attests that he is a true archfey and not a deity. Many of his critics in The Beastlands like to form propaganda defying this.
The Seasonal Fey. The Spring Fey are pure idealism. They think on romantic terms rather than rational, trying to see the beauty and joy out of life. They represent a mix of blissful innocence mixed with refined taste in only the best. They seek pleasure in various pursuits that range from hobby activity to the romantic. While the fey are known for curiosities in the latter, the Spring Court is not one to shy away from extremes, likewise incorporating trickery to heighten passions. They have a renewed sense of energy to them that feels like an awakening spring dawn, the sun over a new day. Green motifs that represent the new growth of plants are often incorporated into their being. The Spring Court is extroversion in its extreme. They will meet and socialize with whatever falls under their sway, with subtlety often lacking. But, they aren’t above pulling strings and messing with matters from afar. To keep with their love of fine things, much of their domain is decorated and curated to match distinct approaches to beauty. While lacking the heavenly glow of the seelie court, there is still a resplendence to spring’s approach. When not indulging on their own activities or viewing all around them, they can be discussing all that is curious and wonderful around them. Don’t let their free and flittering nature fool you, as they’re very perceptive and keen on drama.
Holdings. The Tethered-Sky is a sylvan colony up in the air. It’s a mageocracy favoring not just fey and spirits, but air elementals and related creatures as well. The Tended Gardens are a symbol of deep pride for the Spring Court. Ideals of the court shine through here as this arboretum of sorts hosts all sorts of incredible plants seen throughout the Seasons as well as the Free Realms of the Wyld dominions. Even greenhouse like creatures contain wonders from other planes, well maintained and secured in bubble like fields. But, the garden has had its own issues. It is here where a lost Treant Lord was kidnapped by the Unseelie though, only for him to fall on his own accord. The Fools’ Grove is another problem, a prison designed for one of the court’s deepest mistakes. It is a quarantine for Spring Court creations gone horribly wrong, including a deranged gnome who watches over them obsessively. While the Spring Court has lost forces and property to the Seelie, the Emerald Citadel stands in spite of them. This massive structure is both imposing and breathtaking. Painstaking detail has etched all sorts of intricate designs into every layered brick and every polished stone. The building and foundation aren’t just fortified, but gorgeous. It is here where the Horned Lord meets for more troubling matters, but otherwise it is well maintained as a base of operations for court garrisons.
Alliance. To be part of Spring is to love life itself. To fill yourself with great passions and celebrations is to be on your way towards acceptance. However, they aren’t flower smelling idiots like the other courts think. They are serious about their devotion towards energy, excitement and festivity. While their decadence and hedonism is enough to kill many a mortal twice over, it’s something other fey could easily survive. But, should their extravagant lifestyle not destroy an interested mortal, they’ve made friends for the rest of their life. But, compared to the other courts, they’re quick to ask tribute as a show of good will and faith. After all, if you truly love life, you should be able to show it. Likewise, a deep appreciation for natural and created beauty is a trait respected by the court. Those who display a knack for fashion and truly deepened aesthetics are given much acclaim. Likewise, those who can focus their artistic visions into something truly driven and truly “alive” can garner much reception. Far snobbier about art than Summer, they favor something that best exhibits their love of life as well as a high level of skill. But beware, while they love to share their tastes and enjoyment with others, do not stay too long. You are likely to die from their confused hospitality.
Open and Hidden Agendas. Spring isn’t all happiness, indulgence and fun. There is a sinister darkness to the Spring Court. While they aren’t aligned with the Seelie, it has been shown that they have cooperated before. In a contemporary instance, they have loaned magic and other supplies to the House of Flowers. Some within the Spring Court admire the secret society’s genocidal methods to achieving beauty. Most of the court is too lost in frivolous pursuits to discovery this dark secret, let alone any connection to said secret society. Likewise, there are arguments back and forth as to whether or not the Horned Lord is actually a Power in disguise. Provocateurs and saboteurs from The Beastlands have heavily pushed the campaign against his favor, due to his hunting practices continuously upsetting them. Taking the bait, the archfey has sometimes sent agents to hunt in the Beastlands, taking back trophies.
Relations with other seasonal courts. While they can appreciate the raw expression of Summer, they find their court to be largely unfocused and incapable of making something greater. The tendency for Summer to be aggressive and argumentative likewise keeps much of Spring away. As for the Winter, they find them deeply boring and problematic. Their perceived focus on death troubles the lively Spring folk and makes them consider Winter fey to also be creepy. They are reluctant to accept that without the duties of Winter, the renewed life of Spring cannot begin. But, they prefer to distance themselves from their “depressed” cousins. In terms of Autumn, they consider them rigid and very un-fey-like. In fact, they’ve been known to refer to that court as “too lawful” behind their back, a deep insult of sorts. But, the lack of deeper aggression means that the Spring Court knows that it’s easier to make fun of the Autumn Court. However, there are times where a love of intense skill can form some overlap. When an Autumn fey gets an interest in the arts, you will be sure to see a Spring fey greet them far quicker than Summer.
Relations with Wyld/Seelie/Unseelie. The Spring Court does not understand why the Wyld Fey cannot always find joy around them, why they are incapable of feeling as they do. Many try to aid their unaligned relatives, only hampering their lives in the process. The relationship with the Seelie is a complicated one. Following a powerful sidhe’s betrayal and defecting to the Seelie Court, the reputation of the Spring Court was damaged. In this regard, Spring and Summer show some solidarity. As such, there is an awkward rivalry between the two, each trying to outdo each other in terms of beliefs and beauty. Their distaste for the Unseelie comes across as far easier. They find them gruesome, devoid of joy and only gaining happiness from the overt misery of others. The Spring Court is mostly content ignoring them, save for the incident when they stole away a Treant’s sacred grove. Such matters still deeply upset the Spring Court.
Relations with the Planes. Despite their tension with much of the Seelie, the Spring Court enjoys much of Arborea itself. Its idyllic take on nature is oddly appealing to the otherwise distant faeries. Despite the plane itself butting heads with the Archfey’s methods, the Court of Spring still maintains decent relations with the Forbidden Plateau upon the Beastlands. Many of the dinosaurs are treated quite well by the Spring visitors even. The overall lack of malice or violence on the plateau has helped to shift some opinion of the court. However, the Horned Lord is still rejected. Should any member of Spring have to go to Sigil, The Green Mill is always an immediate destination. They always aspire to brighten the atmosphere of the establishment, while conversing and learning from the patrons. For the court, visiting here is something of a holiday and a means of getting out to truly explore. After all, the Cage is the central point of the multiverse. Beyond one bub house, there aren’t many other places in Sigil that the Spring Court finds appealing. The Faerie Square often has Spring goods fighting for market attention with Summer goods, but these business rivalries are mostly friendly… at least until a Summer fey inevitably blows up in frustration. One project that has caused Spring trouble is the creation of propaganda posters meant to mock a racist critic of the fey known as “The Narrator”.
The Court of Summer
Archfey. The Duke of Flame is perhaps the most directly dangerous of the seaonal archfey. He is impatient, quick to anger, easy to make threatening claims and perhaps easier to provoke into violent outbursts. However, he isn’t just an ultra macho and reckless buffoon. The Duke has a passion for combat, warfare and much more. His collection of wares throughout the planes is multi fold. For one, he desires to learn and sample tactics from across the multiverse, despite the lack of trust his people give towards others. Likewise, he aims to know what forces can hurt him and how; finding ways to counter by any means necessary. Likewise, it is not impossible for him to show displays of affection. However, he is quick to incorporate his aggressive demeanor in a range from roughhousing to letting his strength get carried away. Those who can’t withstand feats of near divine strength often get crushed by his attempts to be welcoming.
The Summer Fey. These fey find themselves overwhelmed and dedicated to a moment of pure empathy and unfiltered passions. While they aren’t as decadent as the Spring Fey, this is a matter that they take very seriously. Likewise, they don’t become as obsessed about work itself as the Autumn Court. Rather, they see work as a means to an end to help with expression. As such, incredible works of art are immense labors of love. For the Summer Fey, why indulge in personal moments that will never last, when you can immortalize feeling through incredible means. After all, a fey is immortal, so why can’t a moment be as well? Like the Archfey, their feelings are never held back. Expect the most blunt and upfront response when contending with Summer Fey. Likewise, when angry, hope you are not their target. When in a frenzy, the Summer Fey become obsessive to the point of destructive. What became The Acres of Flames were completely blasted by the Duke and his team before becoming Archfey, in reaction to the previous Archfey’s treason. Even the memory of the original realm was literally burned away by unleashed wrath.
Holdings. The Summer Fey have their share of dominions, despite many being kept away from prying eyes. The Flying Wingwick Inn stands as a testament that the Summer Court isn’t made of just angry xenophobes. What started as a gift became a means of opening up hospitality and culture of the court, despite the massive eagle’s own dark secrets. The Serenading Glades of the Hooved Wardens consist of fields populated by sylvan centaurs. The creatures are strongly aligned with the summer court and share their distinct drives and motives. The various tribes and orders rigorously preserve their lands while joining allies in epic battle. Insect-like beings join them. Compared to the rest of the season court, it’s far more mild in nature. That shouldn’t mean one should trifle or underestimate the residents. The Mighty Green is a lush but brutal jungle where survival is paramount. Draining humidity combines with scorching heat to provide a humbling experience to all who visit. Likewise, fearless sylvan beasts prowl around, always waiting to strike those who drop their guard. The Acres of Flames consist of the fiery wastes that the Duke dwells upon.
Alliance. The Summer Court views reality beyond the fey with suspicion and contempt, feeling that outsiders are unworthy of trust. This bias makes them unlikely to deal with non-fey races unless some great tasks are undertaken to gain their trust. However, those who they welcome they will defend rigorously and passionately. Woe to those who betray, for as many resources as possible will be expended to track down and severely punish the traitor. For the Summer Court, Emotional Bond is all important. To disrespect raw emotion is to disrespect the court. Those who have innate distrust often see a subdued version, at least until further provoked. But, those who goad these fey see a figurative and literal fiery temper. Like a wildfire, their passionate blazes of pure and unfiltered feeling cannot be so easily stopped. While they can express great joy and festivity, they excel at unremitting rage and fury. It’s for this reason that the Summer Court has taken more mercenary outlets to those they trust. One way to get to the heart of the court is showing a distinct passion and care for what you believe and work in. It’s not just doing repetitive tasks, like what Autumn likes, but bringing and energy, expression and meaning behind it. Use of sharp and vibrant colors also catches their attention, especially works that carry a certain intensity or unrestrained emotion to them. Works depicting brutal scenes, epic drama or moments of unbridled passion interest them greatly. Do not trifle with them, as you’re likely to be torn up or burned up from pure sylvan fury.
Open and Hidden Agendas. The method and means of the Summer Court is a surrender to pure emotion, never overthinking matters too deeply. While not purely instinctual, they view expression as a key to existence and survival. Any muted form of this is heretical to them, throwing them quickly into rage. As such, expression must be abundant and extremely obnoxious to outside creatures. Much like other courts, they too have set their eyes on ambitious little secret projects. They’ve been sending agents into the Plane of Limbo to harness whatever chaos stuff to enhance their own vibrancy and emotive powers. Likewise, they have kidnapped whatever creative and powerful minds can be found on the plane, in hopes that they’ll cooperate with whatever over the top project they desire at the time. While not enslaved, these kidnapped creatives are subjected to all sorts of numbing over stimulation. These overwhelming and extreme efforts have bewildered and destroyed even the strongest psionic minds, reducing them to hyperactive madmen. Those already partial to such ways find themselves wrapped up in intensive projects that would overwhelm mortal senses. Like the Archfey, many Summer Fey aren’t against communication with the Doomguard faction of Sigil.
Relations with other seasonal courts. Being often hot tempered, they scare away the other courts. However, in terms of creative thought, the Spring Court gets along the best with them. But, they are still quick to clash. Spring’s methods are a surrendering of rationality in favor of indulgence. While Summer has its passions, they view whatever helps spur emotions over simple delights. Often, collaboration with the courts will spark arguments that Summer will always find a way to win. They find that the Spring Court lacks commitment and would rather tamper with silly tedium than become the embodiment of creative thought itself. While Summer admires Autumn’s dedication, they find them dreadfully boring and pretentious, too focused on studying and not enough time on action. Meanwhile, they are quicker to find Winter even more tiresome. Such fey are considered too grey and pointless to be around. And should Summer fey flare up, as they often do, the Winter fey rarely fight back; which often infuriates Summer even more. In fact, the Summer sees no reason to acknowledge Winter. Despite Autumn being too caught up in details in the driest way possible, collaboration is still possible. While creations and magics tend to be more methodical, these crossover works are still just as stunning.
Relations with Wyld/Seelie/Unseelie. To the Summer Court, the Wyld Fey are cowards who will never be true to themselves. They are halfway to unlocking the potential of deeper sensation and spirit. However, something always holds them back. As has been known to happen, attempts to help broaden their sense of liveliness and spontaneity often do not work. The Wyld fey often get confused and see their attempts as a mockery of fey emotion. This often provokes bouts of outrage. Both the Seelie and Unseelie are given a begrudging amount of respect at most, due to them embodying their causes and showcasing them passionately. However, Summer cares very little in the ways of preserving what the Seelie consider beautiful. Their aesthetics are seen as bland as Autumn to as gaudy as Spring. Likewise, much of their time is paradoxically hating the Seelie Court due to the treason of Lady Tiandra of Castle Senaliesse. The mere thought of this instantly sends many Summer Fey into a berserking frenzy. Unlike with Spring, Summer is quick to mark the Seelie as enemies, should it not prove convenient to work with them. But all the same, they have a deeper dislike of the Unseelie. However, they look too muted and unnerving to be respectable otherwise. For Unseelie, their dedication to anger and revenge is admired by Summer. In some ways, Summer likens the Unseelie to a corrupted version of Winter… one devoured by hatred. While more interesting, no one they wish to tolerate. They see burned out and bitter husks in the Unseelie, a cautionary tale of what happens when Summer’s flames burn out from too much loathing. Their dislike of the Winter Court only magnifies this.
Relations with the Planes. Even the Plane of Ysgard has seen these fey visiting to blow off steam. Within these heroic grounds, the fey are still quite violent, but they express such in an almost jovial manner. These escapades are often cut short when Summer fey march onto Fimbralwinter, clashing with visiting Winter fey. Likewise, their presence on Acheron exists to a degree, but their alien chaos unnerves the forces that camp and fight there. Their primary “export” upon the planes is through the Sylvan Embassy within the City of Brass. For the Efreeti, the Summer Fey are a curiosity. Their tempers somewhat shock and concern the far more orderly genie-kind, however the fair folk are tolerated due to boons that they bring. Arcane secrets and wondrous trades only strengthen bonds and defenses for the city. Likewise, their blazing yellows, oranges and hints of bright green within their being and garb alike makes them easily blend into the fiery city. Some Autumn spies have attempted to blend in with more reddish Summer fey, to various degrees of success. Not all is well for them on the planes. Few experience hate more than the Summer Court does, save for the secret agendas of the Seelie. The grey wastelands of Hades draw their absolute ire, with cockamamie plots to somehow erase the plan sometimes being drawn. Despite their knowledge of the Blood War, this is a failure musing that they keep coming back to. Likewise, they refuse to work with overly Lawful-aligned creatures. While they can tolerate Archons in short bursts, they loath Modrons and Baatezu, as well as several other creatures. Even Eladrin of Arborea draw their ire when they refuse to let pure emotion take them over. Some aren’t above insulting them, going as far as being glad that they are Celestials and not Fey. Overall, Ysgard and Limbo seem to be their preferred Outer Planes to visit.
The Court of Winter
Archfey. The Queen of Ravens is a true enigma. She prefers to wrap herself in endless mysteries rather than expressing or saying too much about herself. Often devoid of emotion, save for an ominous fugue of the gloomy and macabre that hangs about her, she is considerably the most unnerving of the Archfey to those not initiated. Contrary to popular belief, she is not the Raven Queen, nor is she a complete tribute to this lost deity. Due to her lack of elaboration, many have speculated all means of conspiracies revolving this. Rather than answer them, she has reveled in them and exploited them to her own aims. Unlike most of the fey serving under her, she is very much capable of emotion. However, she is ashamed of expressing more than the occasional showing of sadness or grief. In fact, when she does so, a depressive aura often ensnares and overwhelms outsiders not prepared for her power. This often robs them of all joy and can cause long-term damage to their minds, such as illness. But, for this to happen, a great tragedy must fall upon the fair folk first; regardless of court. Unlike her hot headed relative, she does not wish pain or tragedy to befall any of her kind from any court. Within the Somber Frost, she often meditates on memory and those gone. When faced with another, they have her full attention. Her icy gaze falls upon them, well ready to pass judgement as she already does upon others in her view.
The Winter Fey. Typically glum and gloomy folk of the fey. However, they aren’t always lost in such dour emotions, or lack there of. Like the court they reside in, they prefer to step back and deeply reflect on matters. Contemplation over quick action is preferred by the Winter Fey. Instead of seeking the future, many find themselves more comfortable in nostalgic recollections and looking at the past of reality. Perhaps it’s for that reason that they’re invested in keeping the Ancient Ones at bay. Social ties among themselves are often loose, lest personal aspects about themselves risk getting lost. As such, the Winter Fey come across as more shy and introverted. Despite living in such a dark world, many assume that they follow a path akin to the Unseelie. This isn’t true. For them, dampening reaction to matters and carefully assessing options sets them apart from their counterparts. Likewise, they often detest indulging in aspects of evil if it can be helped. Likewise, few care about doing too much good. In the Winter view, what must be done shall be done instead. While considered the opposite of Summer, they too can feel hatred. However, it is often channeled through a distinct melancholy. This can also be done through acts of spite when not seeking out respite themselves.
Holdings. The Somber Frost is the dominion of The Queen of Ravens. It is here where she reflects on all matters sylvan. It is here where she is shrouded from outside eyes, left to her own unknown devices, while finding herself deep in thought. It is here where she is deepest in trance-like state, often slow to reaction. This doesn’t make her vulnerable physically, just emotionally. The Defectors camp from the House of Flowers has set up here. So far, conditions are haggard and threadbare, with the micro settlement doing what they can to evade Seelie eyes and live in solitude. They trust no one, but won’t directly push them away. When asked about The House, they’ll consider it a place of trauma and horrors, which is odd for something of the Seelie Court. In terms of the Unseelie, Winter has proved transformative for some. Sunderheart Peak is one example, with the primary resident being a hag changed by her love for a winter fey. When her love’s plots to take bits of the unseelie failed, she was left stranded in the wintery realm. Ultimately, she had changed as did many invaders changed under her power. Unlike other hags, she is quite helpful to those who hear and empathize with her plight. The Graveyard of the Fey is a project that the Queen of Ravens has helped to accomplish since she became the Archfey of Winter. It is a stark reminder that True Death can still come for the fey themselves. Plus, it stands as a neutral ground for all to witness their fallen and honor them as such. Its sheer force of power through her suppresses all urges for conflict and directs focus to a sylvan being you wish to seek out. There is a dark secret here, a hidden marker for Rhiannon. Only members of her cult can access this, as the Archfey is someone oblivious to it too! However, not all is immediately dark and depressing. But, glimmers of hope in Winter are often farcical or a grab at memories or nostalgia. The realm of The Jule Lands embodies this. St. Stephano, a fey-blooded humanoid, works alongside strange elves to ensure that his brand of cheer gives a sliver of motivation and joy within the Winter realm and beyond. He is empowered by a nostalgia for a lost age and childhood innocence, works of memory and artificial calls to wonder. If pushed, he will admit such.
Alliance. The Winter fey are largely indifferent to realms beyond, unless there is something for them to observe and catalogue. Should one seek to join their ranks, one can expect an odd reaction. Much like with the Bleak Cabal of Sigil, they will be quick to ignore or be dismissive of outsiders. But, those who show a respect to what the Winter Court believes in will garner some level of acknowledgement. Those who show a deeper respect for the deceased, those who honor lost memories, those who prefer to think deeper on matters in solitude and those who feel safe within shadows are the most welcome. This doesn’t mean that they’ll tolerate behavior that proves too antagonistic or reactionary. While conservative in nature, they aren’t about lashing out like Summer against things that they don’t like. However, just because someone likes the forces of Winter doesn’t mean they are friend. Winter’s Hall, within Pandesmos in the Plane of Pandemonium, is where Loki often hides. Several Winter fey have been captured upon being lured there. Be warned about Winter itself, as they do not care if an outsider dies. In fact, they’ll watch it happen and make a detailed write-up of the event.
Open and Hidden Agendas. It is no secret that the Winter Court dwells upon Fimbralwinter is Ysgard, where humanoids tired of the constant bickering commune with them. But, part of the Winter Court is deeply fascinated with the emotionless melancholy of The Grey Wastes. As such, many have visited the less violent parts of that planar lair. The majority are not corrupted, but a small handful have found themselves wrapped up in the politics of The Hag Countess and her wicked cults. Part of the Winter Court hopes that the Seelie and Unseelie burn each other out, so the court can catalogue them among their dead. Likewise, any information that can be garnered from their wreckage could be repurposed into something that could benefit the Seasonal Courts as a whole. While not aggressive or expansionist, they have made their disdain for both of those courts known among their own ranks… as well as defectors who tired of their Upper or Lower planes cousins. Likewise, there are creatures serving the Winter Court who claim that they helped to assassinate the Raven Queen. Whether or not this is true, they are protected under the Archfey. Likewise, they have alleged companionship with active killers of the Raven Queen’s cult today. Despite troubling allegations, the Archfey has made no comment.
Relations with other seasonal courts. The Winter Court sees the others too caught up in emotion to properly think and reflect. Many see them as too depressing or lost in thought to be worthy of interaction, something they’re okay with. They see the Summer Court is too hyperactive and always jumping around on matters, if not letting their aggression get the best of them. In terms of the Spring, they see them as self-destructive and too persistent on finding joy where it may not exist. At best, childish wanderers, at worst destructive morons. The Winter Court tries to get along with Autumn the best. However, the Autumn Court is perceived as overly anxious and weighed down by worry and false woe. Likewise, they are too burdened by the desire to always work on something and improve what might not need it at the time. However, many scholars have collaborated between the two on more than one occasion.
Relations with Wyld/Seelie/Unseelie. The Winter Court pays the unaligned Wyld fey little mind. In their view, they have done no ill to them, so the same is granted to them. However, their lack of greater choice saddens Winter. All the same, they keep safe distance and mean them no harm. For the Seelie, they are seen as full of pretense and signaling of virtue. Seelie calls to protect beauty and aid in good are seen as hollow and self-serving, under a false notion of actually aiding the multiverse. While the Winter Court does not care for the Eladrin, they can at least respect that they’re adamant about protecting liberty for the good of reality. As for the Unseelie, much of Winter finds them despicable. In their view, the Unseelie are either spiteful contrarians keeping up with a cultural war or emotionally damaged fey incapable of seeking help without tearing others down. However, there are those in the Unseelie who look to Winter with some level of connection. Rather than being fully evil, such beings more pertain to the grim and dour side of the court. These Unseelie connect much better with the Winter Court. In fact, a hag within the dominion is a former unseelie.
Relations with the Planes. The Winter Court is typically disinterested with much of the planes. But, they aren’t without their allies. One major one is in the form of Prince Rolan of the city of Gloomwrought. This strange demiplane has offered a habitable space for the court, thanks to a wing of the palace itself. Likewise, secret enclaves and memorials have been set up across the planes. One such shrine is found in the Elemental Plane of Ice. It is unknown if the infamous Ravens Shrine was sanctioned by the court itself or made by a renegade winter fey. But, it allegedly teases clues on the fate of the true Raven Queen, as well as the mysteries of the fey tied to the Nerathspace prison sphere. This connection to Gloomwrought and Ice is largely thanks to the few Unseelie who mutually tolerate Winter. In particular, the Hag Queen Baba Yaga acts as something of an intermediary between the two forces. While reconciliation is near impossible, she remains aligned with both sides, drawing respect instead of criticism from both. It is not uncommon for those in the Winter Court to join the Witch Grandmother on a huge expedition, joining other creatures of spirit-kind.
IMAGE CREDIT: Tony DiTerlizzi – Various