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Title: Fey Courts


alesian - August 22, 2007 01:46 AM (GMT)
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Thanuir - August 23, 2007 06:55 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Briar Rose is the ruler of the fey Court of Love, more commonly known as the Court of the Red Rose (although it is not subservient to the Court of Flowers). She was once a human maiden, curse by Queen Carabosse of the Unseelie court. Her parents sought to win her boons by inviting fairy nobles to her christening, but they forgot to invite Carabosse. She arrived anyway, and cursed Briar Rose to sleep eternally once pricked by a spinning needle. She was eventually rescued from this curse by the kiss of her one true love, but Carabosse murdered him and ravaged Briar Rose’s kingdom. Donning the armor of her fallen lover, Briar Rose invoked the gifts the fairy powers had bestowed upon her and defeated Carabosse.
Pure genius.


How does the court interact with mortals? What kind of pathways to the faerie lead to this court, generally? How would you use this court in game, as a game master or a player?

alesian - August 24, 2007 04:01 AM (GMT)
The Court of Spring has the most amicable relationship with mortals out of all the fairy courts (although their views of mortals are not universally positive). Most fey of the Court view mortals as needing help, healing and guidance. A fey believe that mortals are inherently flawed creatures who debase anything beautiful that they come into contact with.

The Court of Spring draws closest to the mortal realm on the first equinox of the year. During this time, portals to the realm open up in hedge mazes, especially those composed of or incorporating rosebushe, in garden gateways, and at crossroads near some form of natural beauty.

The Court of Spring is most easily used as a patron or ally of the PCs, but it could be used as a villian. For the former, several prestige classes sponsored by the Court could definetly be made (specifically for followers of Brigid or Briar Rose). The Court could also employ the PCs in finding lost works of art or restoring places of natural beauty. For the latter, a malevolent fey might be working to drive mortals away from a place of great natural beauty.

Thanuir - August 24, 2007 08:12 AM (GMT)
If some random characters accidentally stumble into the court's lands through portals, how will they (likely, usually) be treated?

Some interesting cases: Stereotypical knight, druid or other nature type, a pilgrim and a wizard.

Are they helped out of there? Geased to do something? Do they receive romantical interest?

alesian - August 26, 2007 02:26 AM (GMT)
Any of those would be possible, although the geasa is unlikely unless the Court has a pressing concern it needs mortal intervention on.

Thanuir - August 26, 2007 08:16 AM (GMT)
Include this stuff in your write-up. I, at least, find it useful.

alesian - August 27, 2007 03:42 AM (GMT)
Alright.

Anyone else have comments?

...Please?

Galliard - August 27, 2007 04:20 AM (GMT)
This is really good...I like the eclectic nature of it, with the inclusion of different flavors and legends into one (especially when you touch on fairy tales). Wish I had actual advice, but I can't think of anything really constructive at the moment.

You may not be done this one yet, but have you thought about the other courts at all (other than what you have in "Relationships")? If so, could you give us a preview (thumbnail sketch, as it were) of what they're like? knowing a bit more about them might suggest ideas...synergy, the big picture, and all that.

alesian - August 27, 2007 04:32 AM (GMT)
Thanks.

More about the other Courts can be found in my other thread "alesian's setting," although most of the information relating to the courts is rather brief.

Currently I am working on the Court of Autumn, which is ruled by Cernunnos (who I have designated as being Brigid's brother.) I am having some trouble with the Courts of Summer and Winter, because I am not sure of who I want to be the ruler of those courts. I currently have Cold Bringing Woman (a figure from Hopi mythology) as the leader of the Court of Winter, but I am not sure she is the right person to go with. Any suggestions pertaining to these two courts would be especially appreciated.

I have also included the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, as well as other Courts that are either subservient to the 6 major courts or function outside of them.

Galliard - August 27, 2007 04:49 AM (GMT)
Hmm...off the top of my head, rulers for the Winter Court:
Father Winter; a tall, powerfully built fey with the face of an old man and a long white beard made of snow and ice.
Jack Frost; a thin, rakishly attractive youth, with blue skin and a frozen heart.
The Snow Queen; white and pristine, cold and beautiful...

Don't forget to add Kringle and his "polar elves"...

Edit: oh, if you're going to have Kringle, you have to give him his Unseelie partner, Krampus!

alesian - August 29, 2007 02:45 AM (GMT)
Thanks for the suggestions. How about something along these lines:

The Snow Queen is the current ruler of the Court of Winter, a position she inherited from her parent, Father Winter. She is the sister of Jack Frost, the ruler of the Court of Ice, who was too much of a ne'er-do-well to have properly ruled the Court. Father Winter now rules the Court of Joy. Because of his long standing association with the Unseelie Court (a stance his daughter, the Snow Queen has continued), Father Winter is accompanied by an Unseelie retainer, the diabolical seeming Krampus.

How's that for a start?

Galliard - August 29, 2007 03:24 AM (GMT)
Nice...I take it Father Winter goes by the name "Father Christmas"* in some mortal cultures? Perhaps his private lands are covered in thick evergreens, each bedecked with tiny sparks of starlight. He might occasionally leave little gifts under the grander trees for the local fey, who further decorate the boughs with bright ribbons and trinkets.

I'd also imagine her Majesty, the Snow Queen, has little liking for her father's court...she'd probably have little use for 'joy' or other frivilous emotions. Her palace could have a gallery of flash-frozen creatures that struck her fancy. Beautiful youths and maidens that caught her eye...as well as animals and even some fey. Each frozen hard as stone, eternally preserved.

She might have a magical fur coat of pure white; when worn, it automatically blankets the land around her in deep winter...soft snow flows out in all directions, frost coats every surface, and the temperature drops to a bone-chilling degree. I like the idea of the ubiquitous snow melding seemlessly into the hem of her luxurious white fur cloak, as if covering the entire world with its folds.

Edit: if the Christian name is uncomfortable, perhaps "Father Yule" might sound more attractive than "Father Christmas".

Sig - August 29, 2007 03:27 AM (GMT)
Interesting. ;)

Galliard - August 29, 2007 03:34 AM (GMT)
Jack Frost...at first I suggested he had a frozen heart, but on second thought, perhaps he does have a soft spot for mortals...or at least a 'burning' curiosity. He often leaves his court to go to the mortal world (at least in winter). There, he flits from house to house, standing outside the windows and watching the mortals within. It's his breath on the panes that forms the frost, after all. No matter how many times he sees the mortals, he always returns time and again to watch their antics.

In true fey fashion, though, I could also see him continually forgetting that no mortal can withstand his touch, and every winter at least a few attractive mortals die as he kisses their warm lips. Perhaps this is one of the sources of the statues in his sister's palace? Perhaps it's not just curiosity that compels him to mortal lands...but also hunger and need...

Galliard - August 29, 2007 03:42 AM (GMT)
Let's see...how about Ymir? An impossibly colossal giant, tall as a mountain, that lives in the most distant northern realms. He can exhale fierce winter squalls, and grind flat the land as sure as any glacier (though certainly much quicker!). Frost, storm and hill giants all recognize and respect Ymir, who is known to ride in a chariot pulled by a team of elder white dragons. Luckily for the Court of Winter, he has no immediate designs on rule beyond his own immediate sphere of influence, the Court of Storms. It is said the Snow Queen is in clandestine talks with Ymir's greatest rival, the king of the fire giants, Surtur.

Edit: Some whisper that the Aurora Borealis flares red when Surtur is at court.

Galliard - August 29, 2007 04:07 AM (GMT)
A thought on Cernunnos...he should be one of the few beings that can cross any boarder and pass on any land, regardless of court affiliation or wishes of the tenant. Of course, this is only when on an official Hunt (note the capitalization). Not just a desire to chase and kill a quarry, a proper Hunt is more akin to a geas. The Horned Lord must sound his hunting call, release his hounds, and spill his own blood. Once done, nothing known can stop him from eventually finding and attacking his prey, even if he himself wished it. In theory, the prey can survive if it actually defeats Cernunnos...though this has yet to happen. He would still have his duties as Lord of the Autumn Court.

alesian - August 29, 2007 04:14 AM (GMT)
Galliard, I've loved pretty much everything you've written so far. It's all been excellent.

Yes, Father Winter does love his pseudonyms. He probably has contacts in the celestial realms as well. His daughter certainly doesn't like his association with joy, but she's far too pragmatic to make any direct move against him (at least while he still has traction in the court).

Jack and his sister are both fascinated by and baffled by the mortal races, but they satisfy their curiosity in different manners. They both seem to have a particular attraction to human emotion as well: Jack seeks to see and experience it, while the Snow Queen seeks to snuff it out.

Jack Frost strikes me as a trickster archetype, so perhaps he stole his position in the Court of Ice from some one else-probably some one in the Court of Water, since Ice is a form of Water.

Ahh, Ymir. How could I have forgotten Ymir? Your description of the Court's interactions with him is perfect, Galliard. Also, its always good to expand the scope of the fey beyond their Greco-celtic roots.

Galliard - August 29, 2007 04:25 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (alesian @ Aug 29 2007, 04:14 AM)
Jack Frost strikes me as a trickster archetype, so perhaps he stole his position in the Court of Ice from some one else-probably some one in the Court of Water, since Ice is a form of Water.

Maybe not stoled...but perhaps won. Aren't fey know for things like riddle contests and other gambling type pacts? Perhaps the former Lord of the Ice lost a bet he made with Jack, and now lies trapped like a fly in amber inside a giant iceberg, floating in the ice choked waters of the far north. If a hero could find him and free him, a most valuable boon could be bestowed...if the mad, eldritch being doesn't just kill the hero first.

I tried to think of something for the Aurora Borealis, but nothing really good came to mind. I mentioned a tidbit about it in the entry for Ymir.

alesian - August 29, 2007 04:40 AM (GMT)
Oh, yes. The fey love that sort of thing.

On the Aurora Borealis-a lot of legends link it to spirits of death or the dead themselves, so perhaps it has some sort of connection to a fey lord of death. During the Alaskan Gold Rush, prospectors believed that the Aurora was a reflection of an enormous lode of gold, so perhaps the Aurora has some connection to a great store of fairy treasure.

On a slightly different subject, I've found a few more figures who might fit in to the Court of Winter.

Holle-A northern European triple deity (maiden, matron, crone), the wife of the King of Winter and Frost. She is also known as the Queen of Winter and the Queen of the Dead. She also has some connections to Baba Yaga. Could she be a better ruler of the Court than the Snow Queen? Could she have some sort of connection to the Northern Lights?

Sedna-an Inuit deity of deep waters, the daughter of a major Inuit deity. She is also the queen of aquatic animals, especially seals (selkie connection?). She was thrown out of her canoe by either a bird spirit or her own father. She is also the ruler of the Inuit underworld.

Cold Bringing Woman-the Hopi kachina of winter, a woman with a monsterous face and a bag of cold winds. She could be the wife of Father Winter, or perhaps a pseudonym of one of the female winter lords.

Any thoughts on these?

Galliard - August 29, 2007 04:49 AM (GMT)
I also came across the dead references for the Aurora. I never considered the possibility of necromantic fey, but the Winter Court would certainly be the best fit (though Autumn might object, what with Samhain in their jurisdiction). That brings to mind The Nightmare Before Christmas...perhaps a Pumpkin King? (Definitely Autumn, though). Still, death would manifest in all seasons to a degree. Perhaps one can pass through the Aurora to enter the dark lands of the silent Court of Graves.

Holle and Cold Bringing Woman could be mortal interpretations of the Snow Queen. It stands to reason that, just like her pop, she'd be seen in more than one guise.

Holle could also be another interpretation of the Three...the archtypes of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone appear in many cultures as well.

I like the idea of the selkies, of course...Sedna-an could certainly represent them at court.

alesian - August 29, 2007 05:01 AM (GMT)
Maybe not necromatic fey-but fey with powers tied to death could certainly work.

Cold Bringing Woman and Holle as guises of the Snow Queen makes sense. The Snow Queen may not like her father, but that doesn't mean she hasn't learned from him.

On Cernunnos and the Court of Autumn-perhaps Cernunnos isn't the ruler of the Court, but is instead a vassal, and rules the Court of the Hunt. The ruler of Autumn is instead Gwyn ap Nudd, the Celtic deity of death and lord of Annwn. One of his titles might be Pumpkin King, and he could be a harvester of the souls of the dead.

The only issue with that would be it hurts the dichotomy of Cernunnos being slain by the Snow Queen and ressurrected by Brigid, but it could still work.

Galliard - August 29, 2007 05:05 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (alesian @ Aug 29 2007, 05:01 AM)
The only issue with that would be it hurts the dichotomy of Cernunnos being slain by the Snow Queen and ressurrected by Brigid, but it could still work.

Oh, and wouldn't she be pissed when he thunders across her realm with his hounds, tearing up the snow and raising a racket (get your damn dogs off my lawn!)! The ancient pacts and geases would only allow her to kill him at the appointed time. Maybe she kills him partially out of spite...she secretly desires him, but (what with prey being few and far between in winter) he tends to ignore her...a woman scorned, and all that. When her father ruled Winter, he would sacrifice the Horned Lord with much reverence and care, as mercifully as he could, respecting the need for the act in the cosmic scheme of things. As with most of her motives, the Snow Queen does it with cold vindictiveness and a good dose of malice.

Edit: lol...I just realized I mispelled Holle's name...thought it had a -A at the end! Oh, and I like the Gwyn ap Nudd idea.

alesian - August 29, 2007 05:23 AM (GMT)
Sorry, it's my fault for blatant hyphen abuse.

Anyways, so the Snow Queen secretly desires Cernunnos, but because she views emotion with such disdain, she has no idea what her feelings are and cannot properly express them. So she is his enemy because of love, a fact that her cold, heartless reason cannot reveal to her.

Also:

QUOTE
Perhaps one can pass through the Aurora to enter the dark lands of the silent Court of Graves.


I was thinking about this, and I remembered Baron Samendi (Saturday), the loa of death in Voodoo. One of his other names is a variation on Baron Cemetary. Better yet, he is married to Madam Brigitte, who is derived from the Catholic Saint Brigit, who-wait for it-is derived from the Celtic goddess Brigid. The symbolism practically writes itself:

Some fey secretly believe that Brigid, Queen of Spring, is married to Baron Saturday of the Court of Graves. The implication-that birth (heavily associated with Spring) could be so closely tied to Death-is quite disheartening to many fey who believe this. No one has ever asked Brigid if this is true or not, however.

Galliard - August 29, 2007 05:26 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (alesian @ Aug 29 2007, 05:23 AM)
Some fey secretly believe that Brigid, Queen of Spring, is married to Baron Saturday of the Court of Graves. The implication-that birth (heavily associated with Spring) could be so closely tied to Death-is quite disheartening to many fey who believe this. No one has ever asked Brigid if this is true or not, however.

Which also brings to mind the whole Persephone/Hades affair.

alesian - August 29, 2007 11:18 PM (GMT)
Yes, definetly.

On the Autumn Court, I'm thinking something along these lines:

Gwyn Ap Nudd, also known as Jack O' the Lanterns or the Pumpkin King, is the King of the Court of Autumn. He wouldn't use necromancy, per se, but he would have many ethereal undead servants (perhaps with some sort of special template).

Second to Gwyn is Cernunnos, who has much mystical importance in the Court, and can be considered the Prince of Autumn (even though he is not the son of Gwyn). He is the Lord of the Hunt and the master of predatory animals, especially canines (I'm also thinking that he could have a relationship with lycanthropes, especially werewolves).

Ru Shou is a Chinese dragon deity associated with the west, misfortune, and autumn. He might be the leader of the Court of Sorrow-but he might be a little too "heavenly" to fit in with the fey.

Mokos is a Slavic harvest deity also known as "Damp Mother Earth" whose festivals where usually held in autumn. She might rule the Court of Decay, but represent its rejuvantive aspect, which ties into autumn (what with rotting leaves and all).

Galliard - August 29, 2007 11:55 PM (GMT)
I imagine the Baba Yaga would have a special affinity for the Autumn Court...she just seems like the type that would appreciate the whole “Halloween” vibe. How about these...

King Gwyn Ap Nudd has somehow acquired the Head of Orpheus, the legendary bard. He keeps it on a mossy, green stump, surrounded by candles made of human fat, each glowing with a dark orange radiance. It sings at his majesty’s command, songs so sad as to drive a mortal mad with the unbearable sorrow. In an uncharacteristic show of whimsy, the King has declared Orpheus "Lord of the Court of Sorrow". Banshees are known to cluster around Orpheus, drawn by his unspeakable gravitas and transcendant voice (hey, the first emo musician...groupies included!)

Redhood, a favored servant of Cernunnos, is a large, wolfishly-handsome man dressed in (as the name suggests) a long, blood-red hooded cloak, carrying a large woodsman's axe. He claims a fair mortal girl gave him the fine garment, as payment for safe escort through the woods to her grandmother’s gravesite...he then laughs in a most disturbing way. He can transform himself into a wolf or dire wolf at will, as easily as breathing. His most terrifying transformation is into a monstrous wolf-man, easily as large as an ogre. Wolves of all types must obey him, and even dangerous lycanthropes seem easily cowed by his casual glance. Domestic animals of all types will flee his presence, but this is hardly a unique trait amongst powerful fey.

Old Mab...once a very powerful fey, possibly (if her ramblings are to be believed) the first true fey. Her glory days are long past, and she contentedly sits by the fire in the hall of King Gwyn Ap Nuud, cackling to herself and stirring the embers. Occasionally she’ll stand up, showing a glimps of her former presence and majesty, and make strange, prophetic pronouncements of doom to one individual or another. Such fell predictions always come true.

Raven, the trickster spirit, has set up in the Autumn Court, if no other reason than the King enjoys his presence...he feels Raven and his black-plumed kinsmen add to the ambiance. Occasionally Coyote, Rabbit, Fox, and Bear will come to visit with Raven, and they will celebrate loudly for days on end, drinking wine stolen from this lord or that lord. Many of the other fey resent Raven and his thieving ways, annoying jokes and pranks, but they put up with him as he has the King's favor...for now...

The Headless Rider...another member of the Hunt. Said to have been a mortal at one time, a human general who lost his head on a most auspicious night. The then ruling Lord of the Unseelie descended upon his body the moment his head left his neck, sealing the stump with balefire, virgin blood, and old magic, trapping his soul inside his headless corpse. The Unseelie claim they did this to save him from an unfortunate accident, though most believe they engineered the decapitation as well. Either way, he cannot rest til he regains his original head...which has been lost since its removal. The Rider, on his dark, terrifying, balefire-breathing steed, is the best of the Horned Lord's horsemen. He usually uses a sword, but has been known to use many weapons, including sythes, axes, sickles, and even thrown skulls and jack o' lanterns.

The Keeper of Secrets...this gaunt, ancient-seeming figure is dressed in the attire of a proper gentleman, though his finery has seen better days, being dusty and a bit faded. His manner is polite, even fawning, though his rictus smile is hollow, and his cloudy eyes look dead. He lives in large, decrepit mansion; once a stately manor, now adorn with peeling paint, broken shutters, dead vines and cracked windows. Anemic light seeps through the sickly, torn lace of the curtains. The house, known as the House of Mystery, is filled to overflowing with countless books, chests, journals, maps, brick-a-brack and odds-and-ends. They cover every surface, pour out of drawers and boxes, fill closets, and stack to the ceiling. In addition, the place is filthy, coated in dust and cobwebs. The scent of mildew, (seemingly useless) mothballs, and wilted lillies hangs in the still, cool air. Slithering and chittering can be heard amongst the stacks and piles, and whispers, loud thumps, creaks and footfalls can be heard throughout the house, even though the Keeper claims to live alone (except for his mangy gray cat). All manner of secrets are said to lay about the house, waiting for discovery. Over the foyer is inscribed the following warning, in faded gold letters; “Take care in what you seek, for truly you may find it.”

The Boogeyman, also known as "The Shape"...rarely seen, much to everyone's relief, this near mythical figure chills the blood of even the most jaded Unseelie rake. It is said to stand like a man, but to be more like a primal force of darkness. Some theorize the Shape is the personification of Murder, itself. It moves through the darkest night, bent on catching its chosen target, and viciously, efficiently destroying any who cross its path, using any means at hand. Though it seems tailor-made for the Hunt, not even Cernunnos will seek it out...and none can blame him. No one has ever spoken to it, nor heard its voice...and precious few have lived to describe it.

Jack Frost is a frequent visitor to the Court of Autumn, as is Corn-Woman (also known as Selu), a spirit of the land, more often associated with the Summer Court. Some whisper Corn-Woman visits to see Raven, who she dotes on, but that Raven is simply using her for feed.

Will o' the wisps, some kind of zombie-lord and maybe an elven vampire or two could be interesting...but I'm not sure if they fit the "faerie" nature of the place. Just cause something seems thematic doesn't mean it will blend well.

alesian - August 30, 2007 06:12 AM (GMT)
Looks good, although some of these fey might do better as members of the Unseelie Court than of the Court of Autumn (although I imagine the two courts have frequent dealings with one another).

Redhood...the concept is good, but I don't like the name. Its better than the Big Bad Wolf of course, but I wish there was a specific name for the creature. Possibilities: Romulus, Lycaon, Peter, (Maybe even Cernunnos himself)?

Expanding on the lycanthrope connection, here's another possible member for the Court:

Selene, the Queen of the Moon, is member of no Court, but many have long suspected her of favoring the Autumn Court. She is fickle and mercurial, but the Court always seems to be on the receiving end of her more gentle moods. In particular, one member of the Court has seemed to consistently receive her favor: Cernunnos. Cernunnos is known to have never taken a consort, but hearsay has continuously linked him with the lunar maiden. Selene appears in many guises, matching her mood and the phase of the moon. Sometimes she is a soft and gentle maiden with shining silver hair; other times she is a bloodsoaked warrior, armed with silver and ready for war.

Will-o-the-wisps definetly have a place in the fey (they were occasionaly called elf-lights, after all), although they don't need a specific lord to rule them. Zombies and vampires, maybe not. Although I can imagine Baron Saturday (whom I mentioned earlier) having dealings with them:

Baron Saturday is the ruler of the fey Court of Graves. Rumor and hearsay connects him with Brigid. Baron Saturday is said to claim that Brigid is in fact his wife, and that it is he that she mourns with the coming of every spring, for he has “died” as the ruler of the Court of Graves. He also claims that they are not in fact estranged, and they still meet in secret, out of the eyes of the rest of the court. No one who has heard this tale from Baron Saturday has ever ventured to ask Brigid if it is in fact true. Baron Saturday appears as a tall thin man wearing stylish clothing and a large top hat, and carrying a cane. His face resembles a skull.

I have already written up a description for Baba Yaga, as a memeber of the Unseelie Court:

QUOTE
Baba Yaga- Baba Yaga is believed by many to be the source of the Unseelie Court's recent movements against the Seelie Court. She has a fascination with mortals that has led her to make many pacts and bargains with humans who have wandered into her court. Among mortals, it is rumored that she has a taste for the flesh of children, and that she resorts to numerous tricks to obtain this delicacy. She is also believed to have been the creator of hags, having bargained with mortal women to give them magical power in exchange for their beauty. She is the foremost of witches, practicing magic that even the leaders of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts seem to fear. She appears as an incredibly ancient old woman, dressed in peasant's clothing.


Although I will add more as time goes by.

Speaking of Raven, this is something I have been working on for a little while.

The Parliament of Tricksters

The existence of the Parliament of Tricksters is a hotly debated topic among the fey. Its existence would break all known courtly precedents and would seemingly defy centuries old geasa and bans, but the rumor of its existence persists.

Anansi is the nominal ruler of the Parliament. He does not truly direct the members of Parliament, but he does provide them with guidance and advice. He is the King of All Stories, the Spinner of Fortune and the Grinning Trickster. He is said to be the son of the Sky and the creator of the lights of the world, having spun them out of the darkness. He may have once been the representative of the creator of the universe. He appears as an enormous spider with impossibly long and spindly legs, supported on a thousand intertwining silken threads. His head is humanoid, but covered by an intricately carved, grinning wooden mask.

The formation and history of the Parliament is complicated and confusing. It is commonly known that Anasi abjicated his throne on the Court of Spiders to the former mortal Arachne before vanishing to parts unknown. He then resurfaced, and has made appearances before most of the Courts, sharing tales and stories but revealing nothing of his disappearance and his goals.

The Parliament does not truly have vassals in the way the other courts do. All of the members are equal to one another, and have no enforced duties or obligations to one another. Several important members of the Court are members of other courts or even rule their own courts.

No one can say who exactly are members of the Parliament, but several names surface repeatedly. Jack Frost, Raven, Inari, Coyote, and Puck are the typical suspects, but other names are occasionaly linked to the Parliament, from Ariel to Zephyr.

Galliard - August 30, 2007 04:44 PM (GMT)
Have you considered making the Seelie/Unseelie courts more undefined? I'm not saying don't have them, but perhaps they're more umbrella-like...fey that belong to the Seasonal Courts and others would also belong to either the Seelie or Unseelie. For example, Father Winter, as indicated above, would probably be Seelie, while Krampus and the Snow Queen are undoubtably Unseelie. It might even be common for some courts to have both types of fey in their make-up.

I like the Parliment idea...I somehow envision chibi-versions of them meeting in a super-neato secret tree-fort/clubhouse, with a rope ladder and a poorly painted "NO GIRLS!" sign tacked to the trunk (by the way, are there any female trickster archtypes?). Loki would probably want to join, but not be allowed because "he has cooties and is a stinker-head". (Lest you misunderstand, I'm not being serious, here).

I'd also add Monkey King and Puss N' Boots to the list of trickster member...

Guest - August 30, 2007 07:29 PM (GMT)
The way I have pictured it, the Seelie and Unseelie Court are like the Yin and Yang of the Tao- one is dependent on the other, and neither is good or evil. Its difficult to completely divorce them from the "good vs. evil" concept, since that is where the two courts originated in folklore. They are supposed to represent the concept of Dynamic Equilibrium, constantly struggling against each other. I am of course open to changing this, its just what I have currently at the moment.

Inari is female, but she's also a gender bender, so she might not truly count. Beyond that I am not aware of any female trickster archetypes.

alesian - August 30, 2007 07:29 PM (GMT)
That was me posting, fyi.

Talisman - August 31, 2007 11:26 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Guest @ Aug 30 2007, 03:29 PM)
Inari is female, but she's also a gender bender, so she might not truly count. Beyond that I am not aware of any female trickster archetypes.

Most trickster archetypes are male, but the Trickster as a mythic figure is a gender-bender, simply because he/she is an agent of change and chaos, Witness Loki's transformation into a mare (not just a horse), in which shape he bore Sleipneir, Odin's eight-legged horse.

Thanuir - September 1, 2007 07:54 PM (GMT)
Is there a particular reason why a particular fey couldn't recognise him/her/itself as, say, unseelie and a winter (or any other combination of (un)seelie and a seasonal court)?

alesian - September 2, 2007 06:33 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Thanuir @ Sep 1 2007, 07:54 PM)
Is there a particular reason why a particular fey couldn't recognise him/her/itself as, say, unseelie and a winter (or any other combination of (un)seelie and a seasonal court)?

Why would they need to?

If a fey was members of more than one, where would their loyalties lie? Who would a Fey member of the Unseelie and Winter Courts place their true loyalties with-the Snow Queen or Carabosse?

alesian - September 2, 2007 06:39 AM (GMT)
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alesian - September 3, 2007 10:46 PM (GMT)
Any comments at all are welcome, on this or the Winter Court.

So, I had a little revelation about the arrangement of the courts, which I will lay out here:

There are three court systems, which are equal to and independent of each other.

First are the Courts of Dynamic Equilibrium (the Seelie and Unseelie Court), which function similarly to the Yin and Yang of Taoism. The conflict between these two courts is most likely to spill out and effect the other courts.

Second are the Seasonal Courts (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring), which are more rotational and cooperative than the Dynamic Equilibrium Courts, but do occasionaly battle each other. The relationship between "opposing" courts (Winter-Summer and Spring-Autumn) is unusual in that they rarely encounter each other even though they theoretically oppose each other.

Last are the Elemental Courts (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Ether) which have the most complicated relationships out of all the Courts. Each Court opposes two other Courts and is allied with two other Courts. Water opposes Metal and Fire and is allied with Air and Wood, Air opposes Earth and Metal and is allied to Water and Ether, Ether opposes Wood and Earth and is allied with Air and Fire, Fire opposes Water and Wood and is allied to Ether and Metal, Metal opposes Water and Air and is allied to Fire and Earth, Earth opposes Air and Ether and is allied to Metal and Wood, and Wood opposes Fire and Ether and is allied to Earth and Water.

Not all Courts fall into these three paradigms, and there are rumors of a Court that transcends and rules over them all.

Galliard - September 4, 2007 03:05 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (alesian @ Sep 3 2007, 10:46 PM)
Last are the Elemental Courts (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Ether) which have the most complicated relationships out of all the Courts.

I like the Winter Court...is Lugh king of the Summer Court?

I thought to use the elements too, but I decided to leave them to the various genie and (obviously) elemental races...though certainly a few fey could also find homes in any of the Elemental Courts. This would allow for things like diplomatic envoys and such.

Also, I must admit, the number of elemental courts you propose is dizzying! It would be hard to find fey to fill all of them, I fear...unless you resort to templates on top of existing fey (which might work, mind you).

Just curious, what sort of flavor are you using for the Ether Court?

Have you considered not going the "Classical Elements" route? (not that there's anything wrong with it...just lots of work!) For example, perhaps these might do:
The Green Court: Plant-based fey, some plant creatures (such as treants), and even a few earth elements. The Green Man, sometimes known as the Green Knight, could rule this court...or perhaps you can go with the Parliment of Trees angle. Strongly aligned with Spring and Summer, fairly neutral with Autumn, and rather 'cool' with Winter (they do have evergreens and holly, after all).
The Sky Court: Flying fey (winged or otherwise) and a few air elementals. You've already touched on this in the Air Court. No real difference, actually, but calling it Sky instead of Air slightly differentiates it from the classical elements.
The Chthonic Court: Subterranean fey and some earth elementals. Vast chambers, labyrinths, and jeweled cities. Perhaps ruled by the Goblyn King, a renown artificer and craftsman.
The Ocean Court: To the Water Court what Sky is to Air...and for the same reasons. Lord Neptune rules here, of course...or is that Posideon?

Those few fire-based fey could also align with the Summer Court (or Autumn, if you go with a 'balefire' theme). Also they could be in the Sky Court (sun, stars, and whatnot).

alesian - September 4, 2007 03:19 AM (GMT)
I haven't decided on the Winter Court...Lugh would fit nicely, but I already have two Courts ruled by the Tuatha de Danann, and I'd really like to exapand their scope beyond the typical Greco-Celtic fey.

With the elements, I was trying to combine the four Greek Classical elements with the five Chinese/Taoist elements, which meshed much better than I thought they would. However, you are correct in that it is a lot of Courts.

Ether would have been fey tied to celestial bodies, like the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.

Your four tiered system would probably work better for simplicity's sake, however. Many of the elemental courts could be subsumed into them, I suppose.

Galliard - September 4, 2007 03:23 AM (GMT)
Perhaps Freyr of the Vanir as ruler of Summer? He has a cool golden boar that he rides. His sister, Freya, rides in a chariot pulled by pussy cats...how awesome is that! The Vanir were supposed to be elfin/fey anyway, right?

alesian - September 4, 2007 03:34 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Galliard @ Sep 4 2007, 03:23 AM)
Perhaps Freyr of the Vanir as ruler of Summer? He has a cool golden boar that he rides. His sister, Freya, rides in a chariot pulled by pussy cats...how awesome is that! The Vanir were supposed to be elfin/fey anyway, right?

Yes, very true. I was already thinking about making Freyr king of the Light Elves.

However, what I'd really like to do is find a non-Western deity to ruler one of the Courts. Its proving difficult, though. Information on non-Western mythology that could fit as fey is frequently scanty.

Galliard - September 4, 2007 03:44 AM (GMT)
Probably due to our cultural lens that we view "fey" through. We try to be inclusive and open, but most other supernatural creatures and entites of folklore more easily fit into other catagories. Perhaps, to be truely inclusive without having to shoehorn in clashing flavors, you might consider renaming these the Spirit Courts. You wouldn't have to change anything else, and they can still be very fey-oriented. With less of a cultural focus, perhaps asian-style celestial dragons, genies, orisha, and animal spirits (and animal lords) might seem more at home, not so much "quirky newcomer".

This creates a spiritual kaleidoscope that the mortals only see a small part of...therefore different cultures tend to percieve (or focus on) only a few of the court members. Mortals have basically "gotten it wrong"...at least in the big picture.




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