Chapter Thirteen: The Nature of Fae
Dust like motes of black light whirled themselves into existence less than a metre away from Brandr. The dungeon core stared intensely as his aide came using the flashy method. He was already dissecting the principles in play and figuring out ways it could be used. When Brandr moved through his dungeon, it was more akin to focusing omnipresence. The whole dungeon was him. Technically, he did not even need to move. That was as stupid as needing directions from someone else to find an itchy spot on your own body.
He could already see, smell, hear, taste, touch and communicate with everything in his dungeon with a thought. He did not need his core to be physically present in the immediate area to do so. However, should he ever want to, he could simply project it there. Barring interference in the form of non-dungeon creatures, wherever he wished his core to be, it simply was. Thorn’s form of transportation was vastly different from his. It was more akin to traditional teleportation. The Sprite Lord was using his permissions as Brandr’s aide to open a pathway between two points in space. The only downside was that it was flashy and not instantaneous.
Nevertheless, that could be considered a boon under the right circumstances. If the faeries were going to be allowed to roam the dungeon, they needed a way for the adventurers to distinguish them from the rest dungeon monsters, especially if they started getting summoned like Brandr had.
Thorn glanced around, catching several sprites looking his way. Most went right back to their duties, but there were a few that gave him pointed and angry looks. Clearly, his disappearance had not gone unnoticed. The sprite lord was surprised at how deeply their admonishment cut. If they felt this betrayed without knowing the reason he left, what would happen if they learnt he deliberated choosing the adventurers over them. The fear this thought sparked only served to strengthen his resolve and affirm his decision.
Flying up to the small crystal pavilion the dungeon core lived in, he was surprised at how small everything looked. Granted, he had not been back after his promotion still, everything looked so tiny. Was this how the humans saw him before?
“You should have run those terms by me before handing them over to the adventurers!” Brandr’s voice sounded in his ear.
Thorn looked at his master, smiling wryly. The dungeon core had grown as well. It was now the size of a three-year-old human.
“You’re saying that you didn’t read it over my shoulder while I wrote it.
“I have neither the interest to spy on my inhabitants nor the time to waste on minutia”, Brandr said curtly. “You should have told me. End of discussion!”
“Relax!” the dungeon knight said, finding himself a seat on the upper branches of the faerythorn. The plant trilled, soft faerie chimes, welcoming his return. “They’re never going to agree.”
Tossing copies of the scrolls at Brandr, Thorn sat back and watched the faeries below go about their daily tasks. Many were training around the small spring, elemental mana being actively drawn into their bodies. All around, Thorn spotted at least four different variants of sprites. So much had changed. His people were nearly unrecognisable. Then again, so was he.
Brandr read through the documents. The terms encapsulated were simple. His guide wanted the dungeon to be recognised as sovereign ground. He also wanted the fae within it to be considered a separate fae court, whatever that meant. No adventurer was allowed to hunt the fae, and all delving parties were to adhere to a strict schedule decided by him. He also wanted an embassy to be sited in the new dungeon town and the freedom for him and his people to come and go as they pleased. In return, he was willing to consent to letting his people be summoned by adventurers in search of directions and guidance. He also pledged to never personally take action against any delving unless in the event of a dungeon siege.
The dungeon core tossed the scroll aside. It was preposterous. There was no way they would agree to let Thorn limit their power and access to the dungeon, and the former sprite knew that. If the second scroll was anything like the first, he did not even need to read it.
“What’s a fae court?” he asked. He had seen the term pop up a few times now, but he had no idea what it was. “Does it have anything to do with how that spirit caller reacted to you?”
Thorn sat up, his face, pensive as he thought about how to best answer his question. “There are three things you need to understand about the fae”, he began.
“One, all fae are simply reflections of some aspect of the world around them. Sprites are reflections of their locale. Pixies reflect the magic around them. Satyrs represent the wild aesthetic. Nymphs reflect the nature of their homes, be they plants, rocks or rivers. Banshees, death, and so on. Normal fae do this to a less extent but the greater a fae is, the more he or she is bound to that aspect, empowered by it and enraptured by it.”
Calling up a panel to display an image of their resident flower maiden, Thorn continued with his explanation. “We call Lindrea, Flower Maiden because that is what she is.”
Brandr listen with rapt interest. His experience with the subject was limited to his strange inhabitants. Hearing that there were other kinds was novel enough to compel his attention.
“All sprites are creatures of the forests and plains, but Lindrea is something else, her connection to the bloom supersedes ours. It is the reason for her special powers as well as her title. Her touch can make flowers bloom and trees bear fruit. With luck, this ability would only grow with time and with it, her powers.”
“The second thing is position. Fae are defined by their relative positions. For us, kings and queens are not just fae with titles. They are a different kind of fae. It’s best to think of it like bees. They are all one species, but every hive has a queen, soldiers, grubs and drones, each of these is a whole different kind of creature. They are all bees, but they are all different in some significant way. It is the same with the fae. The only difference is that these special roles only come into play when we are in congregation.”
“Same as when a worker bee transforms into a queen in the absence of one, whenever a group of fae form a group, one of them will slowly transform under their collective energies. I am a Sprite Lord. This means I lead a group of sprites. My existence acts as the nexus of our magic, and collective power. Were our numbers large enough, I would be a king and my power as well as the boons granted to those who serve me will be even greater. Take now, for instance, our numbers are decimated but I remain a lord of my people. Ordinarily, this number of fae could never have a lord in their midst but because I am already one, the magic pulses within me, pushing both myself and the other sprites to be at our best.”
“The last thing has to do with our laws”, Thorn said winded. “I do not know how to explain this properly. It is something both intuitive and trained. In truth, I barely understand it myself. All I know is that fae like most otherworldly creatures are bound by certain covenants. We draw power from our connection to the world these same connections act us our chains restricting how we use them and how we interact with other creatures. By creating covenants of our own we can amplify or restrict these same powers.
“Some of the adventurers used to say it was because fae, like daemons, have no souls.”
Unable to help it, Brandr gave an audible snort at that statement. The very idea was preposterous. He knew for a fact that the sprites were all soul. He had since they accepted his pact. They lacked proper bodies. That was why their forms were subject to such extreme transformations and mutations. Whenever their souls or essence changed, their entire existence changed as well. The people in this world must be dumb if they believed tripe like, ‘fae have no souls’.