Sorrow walked in my clothes before I did. Flocks of shadows followed me. One night I looked at the stars I thought were gods until they disappeared. Some say I smashed my father’s idols and walked away. Or walked towards a desert of barren promises. Or promises that are hummingbirds hovering for a moment then drifting away. Even now, walking towards that mountain, sometimes I will watch my shadow sitting beneath a plane tree, casting dice, ignoring my steps. Some of you made me a founder but it was only that shadow. Some of you made me your father, but it was yourselves you were describing. You plant a tree, you dig a well, and it brings life, that’s all. Everything else is the heart’s mirage. Except what begins inside you. Except Sarah. When she stepped inside my dream the curtains shivered, whole mountains entered the room. It always seemed a question of which love to honor. The land I loved fills with fire. Who should we listen to? It’s true, He offered the world and I offered only myself. But I thought His words were coffins. I was frantic for any scrap of shade. Now everything is shade. Your old newspapers are taken up by the wind like pairs of broken wings. Each window, each door is a wound. One track erases another track. One bomb. One rock, one rubber bullet. What can I tell you? Where have you left your own morning of promises? You remember Isaac, maybe Ishmael, but not the love that led me there. Not Sarah. Just to hear the sound of her eyelids opening, or her plants pushing the air aside as they reach for the sun, twilight filling her fingers like fruit. This afternoon a flock of doves settled on my porch. Their silence took the shape of all I ever wanted to say. Today, the miracle you want aches inside the trees. Why believe anything except what is unbelievable? I never thought of it as a trial, not any of it. Now the leaves turn into messages that are simply impossible to read. The roots turn into roads as they break through the surface. How can I even know what I mean? Beneath the hem of night the rain falls asleep on the grass. We have to turn into each other. One heart inside the other’s heart. One love. One word. Inside us, our shadows will walk into water, the water will walk into the sky. Blind. Faithful. Inside us the music turns into a flock of birds. Theirs is a song whose promise we must believe the way the moon believes the earth, the fire believes the wood, that is, for no reason, for no reason at all.
I'm writing a novel that features faerie culture significantly. Can you give me some tips on different types of fae, the Seelie and Unseelie Court, strengths, weaknesses, etc? Thanks~
There isn’t a cut and dried definition of “fairy”. In some places, fairy refers to an ethereal, human-like creature with no empathy. In others, fairy is a catch-all term that encompasses trolls, goblins, banshees, gnomes, brownies, dryads, leprechauns, redcaps, buccas, elves, mermaids, trolls, and others.
For the sake of simplicity, this article is about the former definition, although you can certainly work the latter definition into your world; I’ve read several books that use the all-encompassing definition to great effect (psst read The Dresden Files psst).
Origin, Appearance, and Powers
Fairies supposedly kept the wild places in the world before humanity entered the picture. Humanity defeated or warded them away with iron, so the fairies became weaker, but still a force to be reckoned with. In some tales, they live on Earth. In others, they live in another plane or dimension that humans can rarely enter. Tales of fairies also came from religions predating Christianity. Fairies differ in their description: sometimes they are dead, gods, demigods, spirits, or halfway-fallen angels. Many sources believe fairies traded their souls to the Devil in return for their powers, making fairies as a whole soulless. Christian scholars also classified fairies as “too good for Hell, too bad for Heaven”.
The first fairies appearing in folklore resembled contemporary versions of elves more than Tinker Bell: tall, beautiful, and even angelic-seeming. The first descriptions of trolls - classified as a kind of fairy - named them as short and wizened. Small fairies often appear in folklore, their size ranging from minuscule to that of a human child. The earliest fairies did not have wings, although they could fly with magic. Small fairies sometimes rode birds.
Fairies had the power to fly, cast spells, and foresee the future. They also had the ability to cast powerful glamours or illusions that could trick mortal minds into seeing anything.
Seelie fairies will seek help from humans and return human kindness with that of their own. They play lighthearted pranks and quickly forget their sorrows. They will not show remorse when they realize the negative effects of their machinations. Seelie appear most often near twilight. You must offend them to bring down their wrath. Seelie are the nicer of the two fairies. They are also called “The Golden Ones” and “The Light Court”. The Seelie Court is closely associated with spring and summer.
The Unseelie appear at night as a group. They attack anyone they come across, often by carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing the them to kill cattle. Some Unseelie can be fond of a human who respects Unseelie culture. However, this human ends up as a pet rather than a friend. The Unseelie Court is closely associated with winter and autumn.
Iron burns them. Rowan repels them. Fairies must keep promises they repeat three times (or just promises they make).