By T.A. Saunders ©2015 v1.0, artwork by Catherine Steele
"As the season of Lasa approached Aldunah, the Everwood, each leaf unfurled upon the Hirsalas trees, a newborn Fae of one sort or another would wake to a new world full of hope and mischief."
Before Asyndi fell from Grace, before the Masar whispered darkness into the ears of Zissah, and turned them upon the Van’Su, there were Fae. The very first children of Zorah, they were born directly of a dream she had, in the first days of the existence of Indaris. She awoke from this dream, and walked through her forest, Aldunah the Everwood and found tiny winged folk, curled up in leaves, happily sleeping, or in the process of waking up with soft yawns and merry singing.
-Tabersham’s Book of Faerie Lore
Zorah realized quickly what she had done, and gathered all her newborn Fae to her, as a mother would gather her children from play and sat them all in a circle. There were not many in the early days, perhaps thirty in all the acres of her forest, but as anybody who has been a victim of Fae mischief can tell you, thirty is enough to cause more than enough trouble, even for gods and goddesses. Zorah gave her children but one rule: that so long as they did not become cruel, and attack other creatures, save to defend themselves, they would always have her magic, and be a part of her dreams. She warned each and every Faerie, that if they broke this one rule, there would be no second chances. Her magic would be taken from them, and they would be cast from the grace of Indaris, the Bright Heavens.
The first Faeries were happy to listen to their mother, and set about Aldunah, planting flowers, tending to the trees and playing little pranks of the other Indarian Gods, most of all Zorah’s husband Kaal, the Flamebringer and their love for the fiery god’s great beard and thunderous, joyful laugh and her son, Trentarius who was nearly as mischievous and the Fae themselves.
As the centuries passed, more and more Fae were born and before long, Fae were sneaking out to other places, besides Zorah’s forest. Other places upon Indaris, and elsewhere, farther away, including some places their mischief was simply not welcome, such as Lyth or Xos. But the one place Fae liked the most, aside of the Everwood that is, was a place Mother said was called Adanum, in particular a place called Imarel and her moon, Ishaela. Zorah warned her children that mortals were not as understanding as the gods (even the grumpy ones, like Miron), but as with all children, experience is the best teacher.
Nyseeli, or Fairie-Folk can be found anywhere across Imarel, indeed across the Cosmos, at any given time. While not always seen, heard or detected, there are far more of them buzzing, floating and zipping around than most realize. That said, most of the Nyseeli are found in the Shei Greatlands of Ishaela, the Tallis-Kah Territories, around the town of Ta-Sayr and throughout Shalzaar, in particular around the area of Twilight Lake. Typically, they will be no more than three inches tall, have wings of some sort, and take a humanoid form. While they are often prone to use their cosmic power to make themselves look like anything from a flickering flame, to a hovering stormcloud, if caught in their natural state, it will generally conform to a humanoid form.
Fae are the embodiment of Zorah’s dreams, in particular, her whimsy and her warmth. They are a reflection of life, and the purest and most innocent thoughts a being can have. They enjoy laughter, love the wild and above all things, they love mischief. While this can take many forms, it is rarely malicious, save for those the very occasional one, born from Zorah’s nightmares. These fae, called the Tal-Nyseeli are malicious in their pranks and are cruel to all life they encounter. But so long as nobody actually dies, and these Fae don’t actually incite direct violence on their own, Zorah allows them to keep their cosmic powers, and accepts them as necessary to maintain the balance of nature.
All Fae are repulsed and can be slain by cold-forged iron. Acting much like divine power acts upon the undead, cold forged iron disrupts the Fae’s connection to Zorah, which is a pretty frightening experience! This scaring the fluff out of the Nyseeli is quite enough to drive most of them off, to never return, though Tal-Nyseeli might go out of their way to make life miserable for those who deploy such things against them.
This cosmic power all Fae have, allows them complete immortality. They can be shot, eaten, hit with Radiant blasts, and be utterly destroyed, but so long as they have kept Zorah’s Rule, they will be born again the next day, fresh and new, in the leaves of a Hirsalas tree, in the Everwood, sans any memories they may have had in their previous life. Fae also have a fragment of Zorah’s power, allowing them to change reality at a whim. This vast power is overruled by the fact that Fae simply don’t consider ambitious endeavours or ventures into personal gain as important. Aside of finding sweet things to eat and drink (cream being above all, favored), and having fun, the thought to be either ambitious, or vindictive with their powers simply does not occur to them.
Those that do cross this path (typically Tal-Nyseeli, but not always), and actually attack a mortal, or use their power for a particularly cruel act (Fae curses, throughout history have been examples of this) cause the Fae in question to be immediately stripped of Cosmic power. For game purposes, these Fae statistically would be treated as wizards (non-paragon) of named rank and have powers similar to Moon Elves, except with all the drawbacks to being three to four inches tall, in a much bigger world. These combative Fae can be resurrected once, like mortals, at a +35% penalty and can be reincarnated as well, but Final Death is just that for these Fae.
Redemption from what the Nyseeli call ‘The Shadowing’ is a rarer thing still, from breaking Zorah’s Rule. The path to this for a Fae stripped of their cosmic power is always one of hardship and trial, that will most certainly require the help of the mortal they set themselves upon initially. Providing they can be forgiven by the mortal they wronged, these Fae are often tasked with doing many an act to the betterment of mortal kind, and will most certainly involve questing that more than one unfortunate hero has been suckered into!
Because the Nyseeli have a sliver of Zorah’s divine power, they also tend to reflect her desires to create life. However, as Fae are creatures of dreams and whimsy, they also tend to create creatures that make no sense whatsoever. These Faerie-Kin, or Fae Creatures are as bountiful as Fae themselves are, are as elusive and because they are creations of Fae, are likewise protected by, and bound to Zorah’s Rule. Some examples of these creatures include:
Bumblebears: Imagine a bear with a bee’s thorax, stinger and wings, with an insatiable need for honey. About the size of a normal bumblebee, bumblebears are more or less content to leave mortals alone, unless honey is found nearby. Then, all bets are off. Bumblebears will swarm whole areas for a small pot of honey, they themselves as creatures have no ability to make (because whatever Fae dreamt them up never thought far enough in advance to actually give them the ability to make their own honey). Bumblebears have stingers, but rather than delivering a painful sting, the sting of a bumblebear induces idiotic laughter for 1d4+1 rounds. Like all bees, the bumblebear dies if it stings, but like all Fae, is reborn the next day.
Button Owlgryphs: The Button Owlgryph, or sometimes simply called Buttongryph, has a ten inch wingspan and is suitable for a Nyseeli to use as a steed. Ranging in colors from tawny, to silver, white and black, Button Owlgryphs for whatever reason, subsist solely on the buttons, snaps and clasps from clothing. It doesn’t matter if they’re made of wood or Vocorium, they will find a way to eat it, even at the expense of picking them off of people’s clothing to do so. If forced to defend themselves, their claws and beek induce small, painful cuts, not unlike a paper cut, that has a 50% chance to put the victim into an itching fit for 1d4+1 rounds, long enough certainly to make off with a button or two!
Dragon Squirrels: While seemingly nothing more than a strangely green-tinged flying squirrel, the Dragon Squirrel is an altogether different rodent. Rather than being able to simply glide on air currents, Fae magic allows the Dragon Squirrel full flight, at a moment’s notice, making them very agile flyers. They also have tiny, vicious hooked claws, that allow them to stick rather well to anything, or anyone they choose, which is part of their more mischievous purpose. Unlike regular squirrels, that feed off of nuts, and berries, dragon squirrels feed off of the sound of people’s voices. Their most common mode of attack is to glide down from a tree, land on a person’s back unnoticed, and breath a little puff of Faerie Dust on their victim, making them forget (85% chance) that the squirrel ever landed on them. Then, as the person talks, the Dragon Squirrel devours the sound, rendering the speaker mute to all who might otherwise hear them. Dragon Squirrels are repelled by a mixture of boiled cabbage, slightly spoiled pumpkin pulp, with vinegar.
Goaticorns: Imarel does not have unicorns, but it does have the legendary goaticorn, largest of all Fae-Kin, aside the Shei. No more than ten goaticorns roam the world at any one time, making them a rare find, but those that do, are (ill-)fortunate indeed. While normal goats quite enjoy grazing on grass, the mighty goaticorn requires massive quantities of wheat or barley, which they eat in very strange patterns that are referred to as crop rings. These strange edifices gnawed into some poor farmer’s field, are places of power of the goaticorn, where it is said their horn is the centrifuge of the magic created in crop rings. It is through this magic that goaticorns bless any farmer who suffers their presence with bountiful harvests. Goaticorns are repelled by old, smelly boots, which must be thrown at them, while they are not looking. If done thrice, the Goaticorn will never return…but may leave a pile of poo larger than any animal should be able to possibly release from their innards.
Pigoats: Pigoats are a fae-kin born of fae mixing goats up with pigs and vice versa one too many times. Appearing as a medley of the two to create a perfect living garbage disposal, Pigoats are capable of eating almost anything—usually with the exception of the living—regardless of how it might appear to mortal sensibilities. Resembling a stout pygmy goat with a piggish nose and tail, they come in a variety of colors—sometimes their tatty wool is even rainbow-colored. (Credit to S.A. Robles)
Screeching Meowls: The body, taloned rear feet, and eyes of an owl, with the head, front paws and tail of a cat, the Screeching Meowl is a surprisingly docile Fae-Kin. Content to eat spiders, bugs and the occasional field mouse, they aren’t usually a bother to anybody. They enjoy small fruit most of all, such as berries or grapes, as well, and will often overcome their own timid nature to eat such things out of one’s hand if they are still and don’t make many sudden movements.
The Screeching Meowl gets its name from the terrible, deafening shriek they can emit, if they are feeling threatened, or Old Gods forbid, some damned fool attempts to take fruit from them. This screech has a 85% chance to stun any unfortunate soul within 50′ of the Fae-Kin for one round, and deafen for another 1d10+1 rounds.
Screeching Meowls are attracted to crinkling paper, and open knapsacks. Conversely, they are repelled by cold iron, as all Fae, and are also repelled by the bold presentation of an unwashed left sock, red in color. A right sock, or one of another color simply does not suffice.
Thimble Hippos: The Thimble Hippopotamus are really nothing more than tiny hippos, that have far better dispositions than their much larger counterparts. They aren’t particularly troublesome, preferring to eat only scraps of food or crumbs from messy mortal eaters during the night, especially little blobs of spilt jam or any sort of cookie crumb. They do however make their nests out of paper and fabric scraps, so they can stay warm and cozy during the day, when they sleep. If such is not made readily available to them, Thimble Hippos will hunt it out from clothing, rugs and especially blankets (the warmer the better). Thimble Hippos will defend themselves with a painful bite to fingers or toes, or if they are made unusually upset, they may release a flatulence that puts the musk of a skunk to shame (75% to cause nausea for 1d4 rounds).