(Artwork in the featured image by Veronica Weser.)
There are no “magical races” like elves, dwarves, imps, and so on in Raea. However, the Fey do not consider themselves to be human, and the vast majority of them claim to be immortal. To emphasize their otherworldliness, they practice what outsiders consider to be extreme forms of body modification, such as surgically attaching large albatross wings onto their backs, growing bioluminescence moss in their eyes, and grafting claws or other animal parts onto themselves. It is difficult to verify their claims of immortality because unlike their cultural cousins, the Selvans, the Fey are geographically isolated from the rest of the world. What’s more, the most influential Fey families have swayed their leaders to practice an extreme form of isolationism.
Many outsiders “exoticize” the Fey and consider them “magical” beings possessed of “magical” artifacts from deep in the Feyland woods. The fact that many travelers return from the Feylands swearing that they are cursed or have seen living nightmares among those bone-white trees adds to this perception.
The Fey themselves often say that outsiders have difficulty understanding the Fey concept of good and evil. “Good” is, in a complex way, most closely linked to an outsider’s concept of “flourishing potential,” and “evil” is the stunting of potential. However, the Fey way of interpreting these concepts is, however consistent, starkly different from how outsiders to their culture interpret them. It is helpful to look at the Fey religion. Their pantheon is called the Lords and Ladies of Night (to the Fey, night is sacred, darkness a thing as holy as light).
The Lords and Ladies of Night
Selvan and Fey pantheons’ major deities include:
Sycora: Lady of shadows, subterfuge, vengeance, justice. One of the most widely beloved of the pantheon among Selvans. Her symbol: the spider.
Amrus: Lord of Love, youthful vigor, potential, possibility. His spirit is said to dwell near waterfalls, especially on clear nights or during silent storms. His symbol: lightning.
Scoria: Lady of Knowledge, secrets, and deadly intelligence. Her symbol: centipede.
Ceros: Lord of the Hunt, bounty, food, fertility. His symbol: the mournflower, which grows on the Selvan forest floor. The Fey also use the same symbol, but it looks more like deadly blooms from the Feylands.
Nox: Lady of Death, resurrection, life. In some myths, portrayed as the god who most typically fights the gods of other religions. Abhors necromancy, which is both a subversion of her power and a tainted mortal form of her energy. Her symbol: stars.
Guardos: Lord of Travels, of the road, of fatherhood, child-rearing, home, safety, guardians. Defense in war. His essence is said to be especially strong near hearths. His symbol: a house.
Ila: Lady of Wildness, debauchery, drunkenness, parties, letting go, feasting, and frenzy. Some berserker warriors pray to Lady Ila. Her symbol: cups.
Demos: Lord of the Earth, Father Earth, weather, natural catastrophes, the seasons. His symbol: roots.
The Crooked Lady: Lady Luck. Her symbol: A hand with a misplaced thumb (near pinkie).
Relic (to the Fey, Reliquerus): Lord of War, especially large-scale, organized war. War that harnesses the land’s resources. For the Selvans (but not the Fey), he is also often the lord of small-scale violence. His symbol: cremation fire. (His symbol in the Fey pantheon: Carcass in glass).
Lady Mera: Lady of Rivers, seas, and related voyages. Her symbol: three waves.
The Underlord: Lord of Disease, insanity, sickness. Sometimes called “The Patron of Illness.” His symbol: a lantern. (In one myth, the opening of a certain lantern let forth the diseases of the world.)
The Tortured Woman: Lady of Redemption, forgiveness. Her symbol: The stranger.
Terpsichorus: Lord of Dance. (For the Fey, this also makes him the Lord of Battle, which is different from Relic, who is the lord of large scale war. The former includes fights among individuals or small groups; the latter deals with nations harnessing their resources to wage large-scale battle. The former does not harness the fruit of the land, the latter does.) His symbol: Harp.
Oneiros: Lord of Dreams. (For the Fey, thus also the Lord of Fear.) His symbol: shadowed eyes.
The Archon: The enemy of the Lords and Ladies of Night. No gender. When the world came into being of its own accord, with its own self being the very divine seed that brought forth the forest of reality, there existed a counterbalance, a thing outside of the woods of creation that wandered the dark tides beyond all knowing. This existence is the Archon, and its very nature is to strangle the seed of existence and all its ramified growths, offshoots, etc. His works on this earth, however, are not simply the evil in the world but the things in the world that prevent it from reaching its full fruition. This concept of flourishing is very complex and outside of the scope of this document, but it can paradoxically entail both “evil events” like war and yet also “good events” like happy marriages and the birth of children. The fulfillment of potential is what is paramount.
Levera: the trickster god, often appears as a rabbit. Considered brilliant, full of mischief and delight, and somewhat suspect (or at least neutral) in terms of ethics. However, in one prominent creation myth, Levera tricked a personification of evil into getting lost in an infinite regression of infinite books in an infinite library. Symbol: rabbit.
The Fey add these gods to the pantheon; the Selvans have not adopted them but in general do not discount them, either.
Sardapalos: Lord of nostalgia, suffering due to displacement in time, and the passing of things you can never return to. Lord of Time. Symbol: Mirror.
Fayros: Lord of Inspiration. An Adonis-like, beautiful, muscular man who cannibalizes your mind but gives inspiration as he does so. Muse as invasive force. Imagination as self-immolation. Lover of Oneiros. Symbol: Contorted-faced angel.
The Mother: For outsiders, the most difficult deity of the Fey to understand. She is somewhat of a creator figure, one who may have nurtured the seeds of existence and/or who may have torn herself apart in order to feed or protect it. The Fey speak of her with reverence but do not pray to her. It is offensive to the Fey to suggest that the Mother intercede in human affairs. Whether she is more powerful than Twylos or the Archon is a confusing topic; different myths portray different things. Symbol: None; associating her with a symbol is considered extremely sacrilegious.
Evra Bira: Lady of Music, hypnotism, seduction, lost potential, and horror. Lover of Terpsichorus. Symbol: Butterfly. Because Bira is the lover of a Battle Lord, the Fey associate the butterfly with violence and combat. And though Terpsichorus isn’t the Lord of War, this association still carries on over into the Fey war banners, which fly the butterfly. Some among the Fey eat butterflies; this represents their desire to internally store battle energies. If they eat them in front of strangers, it is an implied warning or threat.
Twylos: Lord of Dawn and Dusk. The demiurge of the Fey. The Fey believe that The Archon isn’t necessarily a sentient force or being but a principle in the very roots of reality. However, they believe that Twylos is its shoots. Twylos is considered that thing that ushers true evil into the world. But again, the Fey conception of evil is not easy for outsiders to understand. It has more to do with the killing of potential than the failings of what a Heartlander might refer to as “morals.”
Interestingly, a figure like Twylos appears in all of Raea’s major world religions. This is the subject of another post….