Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business

I've Seen Your Tears Before by Eriyal on Newgrounds

This is all I have to offer for now.  I assure you that much more lurks beyond.  There is much yet that they fair folk would prefer to presently keep hidden.  Is there something worse than a nightmare conspiracy, cross planar war or the elimination of countless lives?  Hard to say.  The fey will remain an eternal enigma to even most planars.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to King Corn and ripvanwormer of thepiazzaforums for some incredible ideas!  Anyway, that’s it for me in terms of fey politics, intrigue and factions.  Additional thanks to everyone who participated in the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  More after the jump.


Unofficial Fey Factions and forces

Nereid by davepalumbo on DeviantArt

Elemental Alliance

The Elemental Alliance is a recent unity pact between Elements-leaning fey and their somewhat related kin.  A truce was declared within the Fair Kingdom, eventually stretching through Inner Planes beyond.  Nereids, Sylphs, Fire Nymphs and Pechs found common ground on the sylvan dimension, before extending branches to other elemental entities as well.  Otherwise, they would be at some minor odds from within their respective elemental dwelling grounds.  Attempts to make themselves known within the Fair Kingdom have been met with mixed reception.  This is mostly because each of them can be fairly analogous to the Seasonal Courts.  While some are anomalies in their own right, the general culture does not want to budge and sees no reason to.  This has lead to plenty of arguments back and forth… and plenty more stalemates.  As frustration builds, these fey have begin to look outwards.  The Inner Planes that best suit them are perhaps the right second home to explore.  Beyond some elemental themed pockets in the Seasonal Courts, like the flying sky orbs, their interests are not best served by their own realms.

This unity does not mean it extends to all elemental based beings, just fey based ones as well as those who surrender some level of attention and respect to the fey.  This is likely a security measure, so that sylvan creatures may explore the Inner Planes in greater detail and greater safety.  More than likely, it’s a power move to impose their presence on a wider multiverse.  After all, the fey must be known and must be heard, for their presence is awe inducing and they will let none forget it.  So far, many of the elemental creatures upon the planes beyond aren’t openly hostile towards the increased presence of fair folk.  Only the City of Brass grumbles at the sightings of Fire Nymphs.  But, in the name of good business, they don’t take aggressive action.  At least, not yet.  Azazazaz, the Fire Nymph, is the key speaker for her band found in the City of Brass.  Her interests largely involve trade as well as “investment” in the culture found around the fiery plane.  This leads to her having to sort out mischief and misunderstandings that often abound within the city and outer limits.  The Summer Court has agreed to help them, should a problem arise.  The rest of the plane of fire is mostly easier.  Some fey have met their match or met their rivals in other ways.  The Ore people, due to their hyper racist nature, do not enjoy the sightings of the Pech as well as other earthen fey.  Some have mobilized attack forces upon spotting them, thinking them as mutants and abominations.

One unfortunate byproduct of this has been spawned, true abominations.  The Pseudo-Elemental Plane of Radiation has claimed its own.  However, these fey are beyond twisted, the embodiment of Nuclear Holocaust.  Alliance search teams were initially sent to investigate the theories of the Planes of Vapor and Sand.  In the end, a deeper curiosity grappled them… Radiation.  Diving through gateways from Earth, Positive, Negative, Fire… even Water and Air; a horrific discovery was made.  The energies overwhelmed and devoured the crews.  They were made into something that would unnerve even the Unseelie.  They are raw and hungry entropy, they hunger.  They wish to spread the murderous death light upon all.  It sustains them, it feeds them all too fleeting power.  If the Dream Courts are the apocalypse of the mind, the Radiation defectors are the apocalypse of the body.  Rumors of contraband arsenal originating from Gamma Terra have surfaced in Sigil.  This is deeply appealing to these sickly mutants, who also seek out the dread cult that floats through the toxic and vile elemental demiplane.  And much like the Hallowed, they revere a force beyond the fey.  The Glowing Entropy, which has manifested upon the Prime World of Toril, is their master now.  For the time being, these mutants reside in the plane.  Not even wanted by the castaways, they are tools of a massively destructive agenda.


The Castaways are the rejects and outcasts.  A Fey lead planar gang of the abandoned, trashed, neglected and lost.  Their formation came from the destruction of several smaller sects as a joint effort between the four Seasonal Courts of the Fair Kingdom, if only to keep them from gaining too much momentum.  Cast off and outcast in their own homes, they wandered the planes; the broken scraps of Thuldanin in Acheron, The Ragpicker’s Square and Trash Warrens below in Sigil, trash heaps descending into the Para Elemental Plane of Ooze, the Brain Freeze of the Para Elemental Plane of Ice, even the hidden cells of Oublié in Carceri.  Many members are fey who have grown too close and too attached to the prime, losing their qualities that mortals see as alien.  However, this is also a betrayal of who they are, marking them for exile by every other faerie world and realm.  However, they find a solace in their new existence.  While alien and disturbing to many planars, they have had an easier time relating to them.  Likewise, their own company is a source of comfort.  It is unlikely to see a castaway for too long, lest they draw ire from other populations than the fey.  In their minds, their free spirit and desire to travel makes them far more fey than the crotchety conservatives locked within their own planes.  The ill feeling is mutual, as they’re considered overly liberal fallen without purpose or fey sentiment.

Their reach has lead to them taking similar outcasts from other realms.  Those who may struggle to survive, often mortals, are usually melded into Changelings for partially their benefit.  But mostly, this benefits the gang itself.  Many of the Changelings have become disturbed by their new existence, as the fey have imposed it upon them out of good intentions.  Others feel a reawakened spark within them, a new purpose that has been kindly granted in exchange for a new family.  Planars who sympathize with them, but are incapable of becoming changelings, still tag around.  However, in the end, their mindset will still change.  One of their members is a “Risen Fiend” who betrayed their own, a former Baatezu soldier who became stranded upon Limbo for too long.  The experience broke his sense of purpose until the gang came along.  Fallen from order and changed by kindness and chaos, they are everything that Baator hates.

The Contained

The Contained, a sorrowful tale.  Its resolution?  Ominous.  An order of fey sentenced to Baator, after accusations of cross collaboration between the Unseelie and the Abyss… and worse, the Hag Countess. The disrespect, the lack of etiquette, no proper polish to one’s being… The Baatezu have their own reasons and more for hating the fey almost as much as Tanarri. Dinner Meeting over such matters was a trap, thanks to carefully crafted word play and meddling. The fey stuck in hell are repressed and stripped of their essence, one terrible law at a time. However, their own tricks have gradually allowed for all of them to be “useful” in the Blood War. They’ve been too scarred to fully be considered Unseelie though. These minions have proved useful, even though they otherwise would be a nuisance in Baatoran society.  Those who aren’t direct soldiers for the side of Devilish Law, they’re employed as spies and turncoats used to infiltrate and subvert however possible.  Seeing as how this reflects a fey nature already, many are more comfortable with this.  In addition to indulging their natural behavior a little more, they are even capable of rewards that they can appreciate.  This is perhaps the easiest way for the plane to condition their prisoners.  There are deeper goals than just messing with acquisitions though.  The Baatezu seeks to make their own Hallowed in the end, thanks to investment from Dispater and Mephistopheles.  Those scarred enough by their time in the Hells even risk turning into this darker version of the Hallowed.

Given how the fey have better propensity for mischief, a number faked most of their conditioning in the plane.  They seek to break their brethren out of the oppressed miasma haze that hangs over them. While scarred by law, these exceptions are not fully bound to it. Through warping Infernal law, they’ve someone created loopholes where there previously were none.  It’s through these distortions that they might break the other unseelie away from the fiends and back to their home.  Their big break may happen soon and many in Hell will be in deep trouble.  But, how could matters worsen for them?  After all, they are contending with the fallout of the Hag Countess and her plans for ascension.  In fact, that’s directly involved.  The hidden pact with the Unseelie has motivated her to do something about the prisoners in her own plane.  Its been through her invention that some Contained are starting to realize what’s going on.  Likewise, she has fed them means of finding tricks and errors within Baatoran scripts.  But, should the Hallowed plans fail, this will all amount to just another distraction for the plane to look into, right?

The Coruscating

No, they were never a true Court.  But, they never aspired to be a true court.  Unlike the Castaways, their backstory is not one of tragedy, but just curiosity.  And as such, the other fey are a little less critical of them.  For the Coruscating, they are adventurers and explorers in their own right.  They seek glory, heroics and more just as mortals may.  However, their means are very true to their roots and may come across as more than just a bit quirky.  Many have were just a group of fey detached from Faeriespace and other spheres, the spirit being who made their home across Wildspace, the Phlogiston and beyond.  Their means of travel started with a massive vessel called the Coruscation Station, a hollowed out wildspace comet converted into a sylvan ship.  This original craft sailed around this space, in search of life and in search of adventure. Tales of the Coruscating Station amazed audiences in Faeriespace and later the Fair Kingdom.  They are all but shushed in the Seelie and Unseelie Courts however.  These stories of valor, inquisitive enthusiasm, new places, new creatures and more launched their own waves of ships.  While none directly cooperate, more than one “fey jammer” has linked up with another to aid each other in the moment or to tag along.

Activity ranges greatly from friendly attempts at diplomacy to the need to learn more by any means necessary.  The presence of Tinkerhold fey has only furthered this, resulting in abductions and experiments from within their ship.  To keep this behavior somewhat on the low, they often disguise themselves as other forms of alien life found within wildspace.  In the end, their strange antics are meant to spark creativity and joy.  One commonality is that victims of the “surprise visits” have found themselves with a distinct speckling dust stuck to them.  It’s quite hard to remove without use of magic.  Others recant the use of probes for various studies.  The massive and chiseled rock boasts an impressive shape worth of a ship, even if it should prove far too heavy to handle in most atmospheric bubbles.  It’s well stocked with active weapons, should threats arise in transit.  Most of the time, they’ve been used to hunt and cook “wild animals”.  Many of these roasted beasts turn out to be livestock on some Primer’s farm.  The fey don’t understand farm property, thus they abduct and cook the animals. Abduction of sentient life is usually by accident, as a sylvan trick or some act of academic intentions.


Curiosities by Fey Standards

Going Native

The Werebeasts of the Vale have accidentally revealed a phenomenon to the fair folk, that other creatures can take on fey qualities.  However, this only occurred for bloodlines that dated back centuries in this sylvan pocket.  This was something known to them thanks to the creation of changelings, who’ve only brought out the hint of fey power in the werebeasts. Likewise, the sylvan blood of the failed god Antorek has influenced his realm too.  The Plant and Beast people of the dominion have found themselves able to access fey magic easier.  This only the first step in them also assimilating into the Fair Kingdom better.  As the Mad Dragon continues to dream within the demiplane of dread, even draconic qualities have surfaced among his more devout.   Likewise, elementals adapting and assimilating to the Fair Kingdom have worked within the Elemental Alliance’s plans.  They’ve adapted to the fey realms just as well.  A joint pact between Oberon and the Spring Court has seen plans to mass abduct populations of Elves, reverting them to a more fey state.  This act of aggression ramps up tensions with Corelleon to new levels.  Should matters with the Unseelie not become too great, this could spark war between the Powers.

However, a shocking truth has recently emerged, the opposite occuring!  This is correct, fey adopting aspects of other planes.  While the Elemental Fey were truly ancient in their own right, many have begun to speculate their their origins truly lie in the Inner Planes.  But, this cause for alarm has better reflected the Upper and Lower Planes recently.  Both are starting to influence the Seelie and Unseelie more.  Both courts have been notified by this, causing much stir.  For the Seelie Court, a division is forming.  On one hand, the nature of Celestials enhances beauty that the fey already respect.  On the other, they can detract from the virtues of purity and truth that the Seelie preach.  The schism could weaken the Seelie Court into destruction from the inside or outside if it isn’t addressed soon another.  For the Unseelie, The Queen of Darkness and Air seeks to isolate those who are more fiendish.  She worries that a takeover could happen, but she doesn’t hate such subjects.  Instead, she’d rather use them in ways to take down her enemies.  Within a few centuries, celestial and fiendish traits will show up in their respective court.  Likewise, the Unseelie Court will be dragged closer to The Abyss.  The Cyst project has sealed their fate.  Within a few millennia, they will lose their ties to the fey and truly represent their primary planes, assuming no greater conflict arises first.

Much of this pales in comparison to the machinations of the Antedilvuian cults.  The Dimension of Dreams, home of the Precursors, has been a desire of the cults for centuries.  A dream of their own, an attempt to reunite with those that came before.  Were they just ancestors?  Did they create them?  Both questions to ask the true masters.  However, fey who have traveled to this distant infinity have returned in states of shock and horror.  Almost all have been somewhat tainted as well, hearing the agendas of the ancient ringing through their ears.  Their new purpose acts like a dream, an extra layer of consciousness that subtly directs them.  For creatures immune to charms and dreams, this would prove a major revelation.  Deep fears seem to be awakening, perhaps literally.  For the time being The Reawakening Cult prefers to keep themselves as hidden as possible.

Other Oddities

Sylvan wildlife is weird to almost everyone except the fair folk.  The list is expansive, but let me name a few things: bees with teeth, flying head parasites, deer a briar bush body made of antlers, hounds made of various vegetable matter and my favorite, The Eee’yech.  It has lower body of a frog, with what looks like stomach or bladder shaped upper body. It hops and vomits on prey before eating the soup like a fly.  Absolutely disgusting, but they enjoy wriggling around in the Autumn dominant realms, sometimes Summer.  They’ve taken to the Unseelie Court as well even!  One questionable creation that dwells through the pain is “The Hooves”, which looks like a ball composed of several horse legs.  Its many hooves clack against the ground as the atrocity rolls about.  Whether along wide plains of Spring or scorched deserts of Summer, The Hooves have their home.  But they remain an absolute mystery as to have they exist and continue to do so.  They don’t serve much purpose, save for labor used in the treadmill power machines of the Tinkerhold.

Fey tampering has made its own offshoots of various life.  The Wriggling Vine is a cousin of Razorvine, changed by the Unseelie.  It’s similar to its relative, but with an added life and seeming mind of its own (It’s predatory). Screaming Oaks are accidents of the Spring Court, mostly in the Fool’s Garden. Some seeds have evaded this. These large and hardy oaks have one distinctive and eponymous court, they produce ear piercing shrieks for no reason. The Unseelie have cultivated them to grow in Pandemonium, acting as a buffer for the winds before reaching the Court.  On the more Seelie side of things, the rose-like parasites that follow the House of Flowers show that even “goodly” can be terrifying.  The creatures have been spoken about before, however their true potential will be showcased soon.  The House of Flowers plans on staging an attack upon an Outpost in the Outlands built by Torilian, Krynnish and Mystaran refugees; the last struggling to bust into the planes.  All of the settlers have one thing in common, they’re outcast elven populations.  These are the Drow of Toril, the Shadow Elves of Mystara and fallen/”Dark” Silvanesti of Krynn.  And for whatever reason, the Seelie-backed House has their sights on them.  Doing this could ultimately push the Seelie into their vendetta against the House… or perhaps all Elves.

While not “going native”, some fey have poisoned themselves much like the Nuclear Spirits have.  Instead, their very bane has become a part of them.  The Iaraan Faur are a corruption brought upon by too much experimentation, too much artifice.  But, what brought them to a lowly state?  Another cataclysm, attempting to rescue fallen brethren taken by the rumored “Blight Plane”, the Elemental Radiation.  While they didn’t fall like their distant cousins, they grew horribly ill.  Upon returning to the Fair Kingdom, their illness spread before being quarantined.  Help was offered by the Tinkerers, but it was quite misguided.  In an attempt to save their suffering peers, the Tinkerers’ skills must be used for the unthinkable.  The dreadful ores and deadly irons that caused their kind much fear and pain ultimately became the savior of the sickened.  The end result was a new atrocity, faeries infused with the lethal cold iron.  Their existence proved to be one wracked in constant agony, causing them to lash out and kill many of the artificers.  The creatures escaped, as all around gave them much space.  Furious, saddened, confused and maddened; the grafted fey have tried to etch out a miserable existence anywhere they can find.  They are the true rejects, turned into monsters out of good intentions.  The Iaraan Faur are an ultimate tragedy, friends to no one but their own pain.  Curiously, they can’t use their infused bodies to end themselves, but only prolong.  The Tinkerers regard them as a depressing failure and will pay outsiders to end the suffering of their subjects.  Sadly, they don’t know how to undo the process, as most of those involved were given Final Death.  If a cure is found, they’ll pursue it to the best of their abilities.

The Ever Watching City – A Dark Amorphous Sprawl

Cutting through the deep ethereal murk can land one in the Fair Kingdom.  However, there’s a chance that you’ll find a fun little side project.  The Ever Watching City is what happens when too many of the kingdom marvel over a piece of the mortal realm.  And in time, they get obsessed over it, want to interact with it, want to change it, want to take it.  In short it’s a Fey infested city, every corner, every cabinet. The Ever Watching City, that is what they call it and they’ve driven the residents mad over it.  From all sorts of cracks, pockets and hiding places; they watch and modify.  The locals have their memories and locations changed, as they’re given new plays to act out.  Every day, they use their control over the city to shift things around, replace buildings with other ones, do whatever through the power of a united sylvan cabal.  And even then, maps change with it.  A new city is readied for the next day.  And this is to say nothing of aesthetics.  Things seemingly shape as if memories and dreams were architects.  A classical stone wall one day could vanish to observe continued building sprawl another day.  Gothic temples become surrounded by a seemingly futuristic style unseen by even most fey, with strange anachronistic leaps in technology.  But one thing is certain, everyone remember idyllic places beyond the city.  They were all there at one point, but they’re either not motivated to find them or can’t remember how.  The Shoreline of Shells is perhaps the most popular, with paintings depicting this idealized and faraway place.

It’s all because of fey enamored with the idea of cities, how so much life can team in a cooped up and seemingly sterile place. The mixture of culture, ideas and commerce greatly inspired the fey. And so, they get involved. Colors flash and angles distort in the corner of your eye. Everything seems to be observing, instilling a terrible paranoia. The strange cabal is called the Onlookers and all in their gaze will accommodate their mission.  Most subjects of the trickery and glamor will ultimately forget this.  Those who don’t are outliers and they could be dangerous.  In the end, how does it all help them?  It isn’t just some vanity project.  Rumor has it that this project might give the sylvan kind ideas on how to build and rebuild in the event of another cataclysm.  The elders on the project have likely seen the sundering of the first kingdom, the initial civil war of the seasons, the 4 archfey traitors and more.  For lands and creatures of such power, their reality is more fragile than most thing.  However, this little vanity project is very much at the expense of the mortal denizens they toss and play around with.  Should even one manage to evade their methods and retaliate, then what to do next?  Do they become the villain of this rebel’s story?  Can they grab them and repurpose them as a changeling or will they fail?  And should they abandon the project, then what shall become of this city?  This entire simulacrum of a city could very well crumble or falter, if enough learn that these Onlookers use them near constantly.

Image Credit: Eriyal – I’ve Seen Your Tears Before; davepalumbo – Nereid; Rodney Matthews – Twelve Towers at Dawn


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.

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