The Fey Courts
The Feywild is ruled, to the extent a plane of existence composed of semi-material, nondeterministic manifestations of story can be ruled at all, by two opposing royal courts: Summer, and Winter.
Though both are ostensibly Elven societies of ancient origin, a majority of the maddening variety of fey creatures throughout the realms have sworn their allegiances to one Court or the other. Accordingly, spontaneous armies frequently coalescence and engage in chaotic battles over territory, resources, and slights real or imagined with dangerous regularity.
Not all Fey are aligned with the Courts, though, and while the power of the Winter and Summer is supreme, it is most frequently directed at each other; many peoples and creatures are thus able to live beyond the influence of the Courts, and count themselves among the Freefolk. Though relatively few in number, should ever the Freefolk throw in with one Court or another, the uneasy balance of power would be shattered.
The Court Of Winter
In recent years a prolonged if tenuous peace has allowed both Courts to focus on less martial and more relaxed pursuits. In the Court of Winter, this has become a deep fascination with three activities: Hunting, Feasting and Political Assassination. The Court is ruled by Mab, a fierce and terrifying archfey. Mab has three children, twin daughters and a younger son, each powerful archfeys in their own right.
Courtly fashions of late (that is, the last two centuries or so by Telisar reckoning) have been to adopt outlandish sobriquets and glamours, and never revealing one’s true name, even to those who already know it. Thus Winter’s royal family are currently known as:
The Enigma of the Absolute: Youngest offspring of Mab, third in line to the throne.
Song of the Sybil and Song of the Stars: Elder twin offspring of Mab, first and second in line to the throne (the order of succession is a matter of some considerable dispute, chiefly between the sisters).
Mab: The Winter Queen, or simply Winter, needs no petty fashions.
Anyone wishing to seem important and connected will contrive to appear at all times with antlers sprouting from their head; the more powerful the Fey the more elaborate the glamour, up to and including the refined use of True Polymorph spells to achieve permanent physical changes.
The Court of Summer
Summer is Winter’s opposite, and where Mab and her children are harsh, bitter, and unforgiving, Summer is impossibly polite and gentle in its intrigues. The Summer court prefers misdirection and indirection to outfront confrontation, and members go to great lengths to present as relaxed, contented, almost indifferent.
The Court is ruled by King Oberon and his consort, Titania, whom it is said hates only Mab more than her husband.
Dealing With The Courts
Best advice? Don’t. Fey as a rule are conniving, mischievous folk at the best of times, and remorselessly sadistic at all others. The influence of the two Courts extends to those who swear their allegiance, and so members of Winter tend also to be cruel, quick to anger, impossibly arrogant, and vicious, in the manner of Mab herself, while the Summer Fey are gentle and composed, right until the moment they pull out your entrails to use as party decorations.
Advice for Travellers of the Feywild
If you are unlucky or stupid enough to find yourself in the Feywild, remember these rules:
- Eat or drink nothing you did not bring with you; and
- Never, ever, make a deal with a Fey.