Fymory, Illyria and Yaralay

These are the core of the elven heart. They each ended badly, and pretty much nobody’s happy about it, though their kingdoms be storied in legend and song.

Before the first age, the elves lived alone and in peace in a paradise called Arvandor. This was the garden of the world tree, and they were its tenders, led by three sisters courageous, wise and strong.
But the breaking of the world came. The elves followed their queens down the branches of the world tree away from Arvandor, and have never been able to return.

The sisters brought with them the wild magic, out of the doom of thr first age. No one really knows the form of it save the three sisters themselves, and at this point nobody’s talking. While the Fomor still benefit from Fymory’s draught, it is an echo of her personal power, and even her nobles were told the import of the rites in which they had participated only after participating — they do not know the nature of their exposure. The societies were built around harnessing it; their cities were bathed in it and powered by it. But the three queens discovered some means by which they could suffuse their very beings with it and transcend all limits, and it is to this we refer when we speak of the wild magic.
It is sometimes called a well, and so let us say that they drank of it, metaphorical though that may be.

Yaralay drank first, in the second age: the boldest and most curious of the sisters, her empire was at the still-verdant tip of the world, nestled in the roots of the world tree which she still tended and guarded. It was she who found the Wild Magic and she who instructed her sisters in the way and she who drank deepest and she who was first lost. The eldest, she was called the Raven Queen for her love of the north and her skill in war.
The day she drank, her palace ruptured as the roots of the world tree sought to find her. And she sought to find it, growing and changing, becoming the incanation of earth power, Qhlu, that had slumbered in the tree through fire and madness. She spoke not with her own voice but buzzing choruses and her sisters became afraid of her and the doom of lost Arvandor: they charged the Frozen Legion beseige her home, girt it with ice, and that the Sea-cloud chip at the roots of her land until it sank. Though they lost the world tree and Labriluthal in the bargain, they were able to contain their sister and mourn her loss.

And so Yaralay did sink and was sealed, leaving the sea elves who turned away to survive, without homeland but bearing the mark old magic.

It is said that Qhlu still dreams of her once-people, and that the queen Yaralay is still within the communion as the sender of gentle rains and good harvests. Others whisper that one does not become a god by accident: for some prupose did Yaralay invite the Green Dream and she executes this purpose still.

Then, Illyria, which fell before the vor at the end of the second age. The queen of Illyria drank of the wild magic in the moments before the fall, betrayed by her creation and her art. The witch-queen sought to retreat and, it is said, did so: she created the moon as a portal to her new realm and passed beyond it, trapped in the faerie lands with her court and all those struck by the full moon light in the moment of its creation.
Plagues and madnesses issued from anyone who entered her palace for a century, though she had sent many of her people away — knowing the fate of Yaralay, she had hoped to spare them, but virulent wild magic cannot be yoked. This created the bacchae-madness, the many fey, the gnoll and other beastmen from those unfortunate enough to be exposed.
This also created the first of the Elflands, Illyria. The borders of Illyria are misty and unstable, and quickly lead to shifting green realms, though its relative stabilility is sought after in the Further Reaches of faerie. Though dangerous, mortals may visit Illyria and the Reaches and, so long as they give no offense, return. The road is unreliable; often visitors are confused or maddened, cursed or stricken or otherwise marked by their journey, but they may leave. The archfey of Illyria may not; they are of the land and each ruler and realm grow together.
Each of the realms is patchwork and different, but tends toward forested dales and hidden glens, glades and brambles and rolling fields. Fairytale castles dot the land, and weather reflects mood. It is a place of wonder and enchantment.

And so Illyria was become a land of Vor and then Men, its rucked borders becoming Berlaine and the green elves its survivors.

The other Fairyland has a grimmer character, and is if anything even more strongly opposed to Vor and Man. At the catastrophic end of the fourth age, the armies of Thrane had pressed once more to the unconquered gates of Fymory. The Fomori, weared by ages of war and by their designs turning against them, aided their queen in a final deep draught of the wild magic and a final doleful working. Their lands were removed wholly from the world to beyond the moon and the Princes of the Church and their armies with them; they were seized by irresistible sorcery and warped to the will of the queen of the realm.
This second world was a thin night-dappled paradise, made with better-forgotten knowledge from lost Illyria as a weapon and as a trap and as a palace for the Fomori. The Fomor now dwell in a misty land of pines and cypress, in endless gardens and lakes and mansion-houses, served by the warped and maddened beasts that had been men. The Lords and Ladies bide their time and welcome visitors from other courts who might oppose Thrane and men more generally, courting Iuzant and the Iron City, envoys from Imix and Illyria, and other stranger more distant realms. They are pale and drawn, inhuman and even the least of them shaped by their forbidden sorceries.
They control the borders of thus nightmare realm strongly,  allowing through a few dreamers for tortured sport, and any who enter feel the mists of the place drawing at their bodies and minds in a strengthened form of the Doom of Illyria.
It is a place of fear and horror.

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About lackhand

I was born in 1984 and am still playing games, programming computers, and living in New York City. View all posts by lackhand

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