Another Sunset
 

“The Univese never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.”

--Robert Heinlein

Ever wonder that there are so many strange creatures, loosely grouped together as Fey, that appear in all corners of the world as well as other worlds? Why a Dryad found in the Forest of Eindhoven speaks the same language and acts like a Dryad found thousands of miles away in Panar?  Most cultures mention the fey in some form or another reaching back thousands of years. What are the Fey and where do they come from?

There appears to be a plane, like the Ethereal and Shadow, which parallels ours and in some instances touches it. This Plane of the Fey, or just more simply called, Faery, is itself composed of many mystical realms, rather like an enormous but strange jigsaw puzzle, the individual domains all separated from one another by great tenebrous walls of twilight that rise  up high into the Faery sky well beyond seeing. And like a mystifying riddle, some of the realms touch upon many others, while some touch upon but a few.  Ask any fey though, and they will insist that Faery is not real, and neither are they…

The twilight walls can be quite tricky to negotiate, for a small error in where one crosses might take a person to a domain perhaps altogether different from where one might have intended to go. Hence, care must be taken when stepping through these dusky margins; else one might end up somewhere hazardous, even deadly,  though one could just as easily find oneself in quite splendid surroundings.

Many who dwell in Faery oftimes stay put rather than chance these shadowlight walls, while others - cromss from domain to domain. Some travel well known paths; others fare along unfamiliar routes to cross between realms. Sometimes these paths, called Crossroads and Backroads by some and Portals by others, use the Faery to somehow circumvent geographical distances  without allowing a person to actually step foot into the Faery itself. Some sages postulate what is called the Faery itself is actually many small pocket dimensions all interconnected across the plane of Shadow and these share similar traits but the actual travel mechanism is part of the plane of Shadow. This is one explanation of the walls of twilight which separate the realms. Though there are other paths connecting the Faery to our world.

 
 
 
 

Whether or not this jigsaw puzzle makes an overall coherent picture is questionable, for each of the pieces, each of the domains, seems quite unique; after all, 'tis Faery, an endless place, with uncounted realms separated from one another by strange walls of shadowlight, and with Faery itself separated from the common world by looming twilight as well.

There is this as well: directions in Faery do not seem to be constant; there may be no true east, south, west, and north, though occasionally those compass points are spoken of by newcomers therein; yet when going from one realm to another, bearings seem to shift. Some say the compass points align to sunup, sunwise, sundown, and starwise.

Among the many remarkable domains within this mystical place are the Forests of the Seasons. One of these four woodlands is a place of eternal springtime, where everlasting meltwater trickles across the 'scape, where early blossoms are abloom though some flowers yet sleep, where birds call for mates and beetles crawl through decaying leaves, and mushrooms push up through soft loam, and where other such signs of a world coming awake manifest themselves in the gentle, cool breezes and delicate rains.

On one side of this mystical, spring like realm lies the mortal world, or at least one path through  the twilight leads there. On the other side, though, and beyond another great wall of half-light there stands a land of eternal winter, where snow ever lies on the ground, and ice clads the sleeping trees and covers the still ponds or encroaches in thin sheets upon the edges of swift running streams, and the stars at night glimmer in crystalline skies when blizzards do not blow.

 
 

Beyond that chill realm and through yet another shadowlight border there is a domain where autumn lies upon the land; here it is that crops afield remain ever for the reaping, and vines are overburdened with their largesse, and trees bear an abundance ripe for the plucking, and the ground holds rootstock and tubers for the taking. Yet no matter how often a harvest is gathered, when one isn't looking the bounty somehow replaces itself.

Farther still and past that magical realm and separated from it by a great wall of twilight is another equally enigmatic province, a domain graced by eternal summer; it is a region of forests and fields, of vales and clearings, of streams and rivers and other such 'scapes, where soft summer breezes flow across the weald, though occasionally towering thunderstorms fill the afternoon skies and rain sweeps over all.

How such places can be - endless spring, winter, autumn, and summer - is quite mysterious it is so, for these four provinces are the Springwood and Winterwood and Autumnwood and Summerwood, a mere quartet of the many magical domains in the twilight world of Faery.

Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and other races can be found in the Faery though they are not the majority and not found in most locations at all. Like our world the Faery is home of creatures of all alignments and tendencies. From the very good to the terrible. Many of the creatures found in the Faery never cross into our world, or rarely visit. Some gods inhabit the Faery while there are other powers who are not known to mankind and care not for our world. They also don’t like intruders from our world for that matter.

 
 

Some paths between our world and the Faery have been there for ages. Many others have been since destroyed: shut down either by other Fey, Fey hunters in our world, or by others who are under order by some Lord or other Master. More powerful Fey are always creating new doorways to the Mortal Realms. These can open on our world in any manner: ring of mushrooms, cave entrance, pond, doorways in old houses, or even a hole in the sky. Some, like one using branches of a bush or tree, are seasonal.

Many fey travel from Faery to the Mortal Realms for various reasons: entertainment being the first and foremost. Some will spend several centuries in an isolated glade while others burst through on certain holidays (usually equinoxes, times of meteor showers, and the changing of the seasons) to experience a few hours here. Then there are some who come for less than noteworthy reasons; to enslave mortals for sale in the Faery, to steal what they cannot produce themselves, and in some cases to simply aggressively attack, hurt, and rape mortals before returning to their homes in the twilight.

Not all beings are happy with the crossroads, doors, and portals between the Faery and the Mortal worlds. Fey Hunters believe fey to be an abomination of nature and seek to seal the portals and to destroy all fey in our world. On the Faery side there are Mortal Hunters; those fey who believe their world is “sullied” by mortals, their belongings, or even their ideas. The Mortal Hunters seek their prey mostly in the Faery but often will cross to the mortal world to kill and close gates.