The Lands of Fairy are vast and divided, not only by seasons, but by thoughts and emotions. If you were to look at the lands from above it would resemble a patchwork quilt of various colors, as a small desert borders a frozen wasteland and a green filled forest that gives way to a rocky ocean that inexplicably melts into a swamp. Hedgerows of thorns protrude around each smaller land, dividing them into Baronies, Duchies and Provinces.
To the traveller, the lands exude the emotions as well. A happy swamp could be filled with verdant life and fireflies that glow every color of the rainbow and a heat that is gentle yet not choking, while an angry field could be swelteringly hot, breaking out into fire storms that are all too common.
The lands of the Fey are in constant flux, much like the faeries who live there themselves, and all are in constant conflict over the ever dwindling resources of the fey lands.
The fey society is broken and stratified by different ranks. Each member of the society is born into that strata, and only by a boon from someone above you can you rise in station.
This class is considered outside the normal social ladder and therefore is one of the most difficult to classify. Any fey that is considered an outsider can be treated as if they are a nothing and a nobody by any other class, yet, if the Outsider has proven their worth in society, they can also be treated as if they are upper class.
Of all the social classes in the fey, this one is the most unique in that what you do ways more heavily than what you were born into. It is also unique in that you can be made an Outsider due to an order from your liege lord, or you may choose to become an Outsider and renounce your class.
Even in this social class, there are two unique Outsiders, those of the Oathbreakers and those of the Harlequin Courts. In the Former, you are made this class and typically exiled because of an Oath unfulfilled to your liege lord. Of the former, it is one you choose, renouncing your class and choosing a Harlequin Court. If the Court accepts you is another matter entirely. The Non-Citizen: This societal rank is considered the lowest rank in fey society, much like a commoner in any other society.
This is the lowest class in the fey society. Although it is a needed job, the Merchant merely moves the products that someone else created. In the fey society, they are often regarded as a necessary evil, much like a leech, something that is slimy and feeds on others, but good for the blood nonetheless.
Unskilled laborers, farmers, fishermen, and many other typical jobs are considered non-citizens. They may live in the city, but have no power.
The common city guard and soldiers for the armies of the fey are treated the same. If you do your duty with honor, you have a chance to be inducted into Citizenship.
Citizens are considered the next level up in fey society. Although, from the outside looking in there is almost no difference for many citizens, they do live in nicer homes and are shown respect by other fey.
Elves born in the fey wylds are automatically granted the Citizen status.
Carpenters, craftsmen, leatherworkers, pottery makers are all considered low-artisans. They have Citizenship and the rights to law and the courts, and are afforded better living conditions than non-citizens.
Captains or higher rank in the city guard or army is automatically granted citizenship with the rank. House Guards for the lesser and Greater Houses can only be attained by someone of Citizenship status. This can lead to a Guard Captain getting “promoted” into a lesser rank of a Lesser House, losing some income but gaining prestige.
This is the beginning of the nobility in the feywilds, with lesser Houseborn something akin to unlanded knights. Eladrin born into the feywilds are automatically considered of Lesser House status, regardless of their parentage.
Lesser Houseborn are the beginning of rule in the kingdom, taking on the scribes, lawyers, magistrates and other important yet smaller functions needed to govern a kingdom.
Lesser Houseborn is ranked in society on how high they climb in their chosen profession, unless actual nobility in a Lesser House. For instance, a lawyer of 200 years and a magistrate of 50 years would be looked at in the fey society as having the same “rank” in the society, even though our own society would automatically defer to the Magistrate as being in a higher social strata.
The Lesser Houses are many and varied. Every Lesser Houseborn owes his allegiance to one of the Thousand Lesser Houses that exist in the feywild.
There are four Great Houses that rule over the feywild. Every member of the Great House has a title of Duke or Higher, or is a landed knight with territory to protect and a banner carried for a Great House.
In addition to ruling, all High Artisans are considered to be from the Greater Houses. Swordsmithing, jewelry making, painting and composing are all considered a Great House artisan skill. If a low-artisan is of sufficient skill, he can be “mentored” into a great House.
Each Great House holds the allegiance of hundreds of the Thousand Lesser Houses, and through that allegiance rules the feywilds. Of the Four Great Houses, one House rules over all of them, although it is known that each great House takes on rulership during the cycles. The Current Great House that is ruling the feywilds is the House of Fallen Leaves.
The House of Fallen Leaves has ruled the feywilds for the last two thousand years or so in the mortal realms reckoning, though time has a tendency to flow differently in the feywilds. The House is a strong House known for its poignant leadership in these dire times. The House stands for the binding of Oaths and the swift retribution on those who break them. The House is often spoken of in a negative light in the mortal realms, but it is more through misunderstood or misremembered tales than any true action that the House has taken. This melancholy from the mortal realms pervades this House and it seems that tragedy has struck this House more than the others.
During this House's reign the Fey typically become more insular, with a focus more on the Fey themselves and what they can gain over the other realms versus equal trade. Military might typically flourish during these periods.
Like the burning summer suns this house shines a light unto the world. Generally viewed as a great and powerful house with just rulers and stringent code of honors, this House ruled last before that of the House of Fallen Leaves, and it was through this House's misstep that the Shadowed Plague took root in the feywilds.
Though they were to bring light to the world, the shadows they cast were too great for them and now they are dwindled and nearly lost.
Typically considered the most peaceful periods. This House typically is considered the most stable House, continuing and improving on the previous House's policies.
A curious House that clamours to lead the other Great Houses, promising new found glory and prosperity, yet when they have the power they seek are quick to lose it. Their last Reign brought forth hundreds of years of booming growth, to be shattered suddenly in fire and doom. Perhaps they relied too much on the Mortal Realms?
During this House's reign, trade with the other realms typically plays a major part and it is a time of new ideas and new progress. Art typically flourishes during these periods.
The quietest House with the heaviest burden. They are to Lead during the end of an Age ushering in a new era. Some look forward to this, pushing for the House to take power back from the House of Fallen Leaves, while others fear what would be the outcome if they did.
This House ushers in the ending of an era and the beginning of a new Age. This House has always been in power when the Ages have come to a close and it is considered the Houses solemn duty to make sure the Fey survive into the new Age
Each Lesser and Greater House holds Court with many nobles from each calling on them, so it can be difficult for someone outside the feywild to fully understand the lexicon when a Fey speaks of the Courts. Generally, they are speaking of the Harlequin Courts. The Harlequin’s are more like a group or organization that serves the Houses, but is not part of the Houses. Each Harlequin member can work for any of the Houses as long as the House pays for their services.
Any Lesser or Greaterborn Fey may renounce their status, then petition a Court for acceptance. This always comes as a risk, as the Courts do not need to accept new members, and if they don’t the petitioner is left in the unenviable position of an Outsider. It is believed that the Harlequin Courts are called such due to the ranking members of each group being called by a Court Card that is used to play the commoners game 5-dragon ante.
This Court is the most well travelled Fey in all the Feywild and take their duty of exploring new lands and bringing back that knowledge to the Houses. They are also known to begin negotiations for trade with those who are not the Fey.
Known as soothsayers and talespinners amongst the Fey. They typically work hand in hand with the Wayward Path, recording the tales of their adventures but from the comfort of their homes.
Said to be the guardians of lost places, not much is known about this very secretive Court. There is only a handful of them in the feywild and no one really understands their purpose. Out of all the Courts, this is the only one to seek out other Fey and invite them into the Court, a method that is perhaps needed as not too many apply for membership.
Considered a divine and holy Court, they are the keepers of the shrines and holy temples in the Feywild. Every feast and holiday begins and ends with a sermon from these typically cheerful people.
A unique group amongst the Courts, there are only 6 members of this Troupe. It is said that there has only ever been six and forevermore will only be six. This Group is known as messengers for the Houses, and can bring a message to any place in the Realms. It is rumored that sometimes the message that is delivered is that of death…
Led by Leanna Selissaryl, a Fey outcast.
Their goal is to overthrow the Queen and give power to her children, who they believe are prophesied to relinquish the throne and give it to another House. The Renunciates do not have a particular House in mind, they just feel that the
This belief stems from the reverence of The Cycle, which is an almost religious belief held by the Fey in the Feywilds.
The Renunciates were forewarned that Ashe Ne’Estellon would come from The Herald of Concordance of Empires.
It is said that the Shadowed arrived because of the terribly misguided policies that the House of Dawns Remembered had put in place in regards to the wyldlands at the edge of the Feywilds. The Shadowed game out of the wylds and struck deep into the Fey controlled lands. The onslaught was so sudden that the armies barely had a chance to gather at The Fallow Fields before they were engaged.
The battle was a complete rout, and the Shadowed quickly conquered the original Palace of Changes. If the Herald had not arrived with his Quintet it is uncertain if the Fey would have been able to push back the Shadowed at all. Now the Shadowed remain, like a stain at the edge of the wyldlands, occasionally encroaching but never in strength. Until recently that is…
The Cycle is the prophesied change of ruling hands of the Feywilds, with each House purported to rule for a Thousand Years, and then peacefully relinquish control to another House. It should be noted that there is no common rhyme or reason for a House to take control and Houses have voluntarily passed control to other Houses regularly throughout history before their Thousand years have been up.
The common people believe that which House is in control will signify what will happen during its reign:
House of Verdant Blossoms- During this House's reign, trade with the other realms typically plays a major part and it is a time of new ideas and new progress. Art typically flourishes during these periods.
The House of Dawns Remembered- Typically considered the most peaceful periods. This House typically is considered the most stable House, continuing and improving on the previous House's policies.
House of Fallen Leaves- During this House's reign the Fey typically become more insular, with a focus more on the Fey themselves and what they can gain over the other realms versus equal trade. Military might typically flourish during these periods.
House of Frozen Thought- This House ushers in the ending of an era and the beginning of a new Age. This House has always been in power when the Ages have come to a close and it is considered the Houses solemn duty to make sure the Fey survive into the new Age.
The Herald is something relatively new to the Fey, having only arrived a mere 10 thousand years ago. The Herald brought with him new ideas from the Realms and new technologies, expanding the horizons of the Fey.
The Herald has made regular visits to the Fey over the Millenium, always bringing with him portents of great change that affects both the Realms and the Fey.
His last visit was roughly three Thousand Years ago, when he brought the Quintet to the Fey lands to help fight against the Shadowed.
His most recent appearance was roughly three years ago, when he told the Renunciates that Ashe Ne’Estellon was coming. He charged them with her protection in the Fey lands, and informed them that he was heading to the Capital next, to warn the Queen of a danger to the Fey. He told the Renunciates that Ashe would be on a mission of utmost importance and to provide as much help as they could to see her goal was complete.