Where is Thiran Nar, you ask? You think you can pull out a map and follow a dotted line across some mountains and cross a river or two and find it? You are a fool. Thiran Nar cannot be found on any mortal map, it is not some smudge of ink scribbled out 'Here their be faeries.' Put away such mundane perceptions. Thiran Nar is the mystery beyond the edge of the firelight. It is the darkness the nestles between the trees, it is the gloom of twilight as the sun sinks and the moon rises. It is also the intimate black between the lover's sheets, and it is the warm darkness of the maiden's sheath. Now I see you are beginning to understand, now you understand that it is a place of the fae, and it is where it decides to be, and it is not Thiran Nar that moves, but the world itself that moves around it.
- The Sage Nightshade Speaks.
Thiran Nar is the realm of the Unseelie, or dark fae, and at it's center is the Manor of Rampant Shadows, a Roman style fortress of stone pillars and vast stone works. The King of Thiran Nar rules the realm of the Fae throughout the months of Autumn and Winter, gaining power at Samhain, and then relenting it only on the night of Beltane. Then the realm of Thiran Nar is reduced as the fae of the Seelie, or bright courts, take up the mantle of leadership.
Skraeling King Bioch
Skraeling Prince Moonsong
Skraeling Princess Star Dew
Wolven Lord Scar-Fangs
Ogma, the Blood Witch
Blood Throat, vampire lord
Eaters of the Dead
The Emerald Serpent
King Alraunes the Elder has not announced which prince will follow him on the throne, and as the days to Samhain draw close, both camps, those of conservative Prince Courge and liberal Prince Mandragora are girding themselves for a civil war among the Unseelie. Both sides are soliciting allies from the native Skraelings, the Wolven, as well as other unique personages of power.
Manor of Rampant Shadows
The Manor was raised an unknown number of years ago, this is not to a lack of records, but rather the peculiar flow fo time within the demenses of Thiran Nar. The structure itself is built along Greeco-Roman lines, with long straight lines punctuated by vast rotundas and long porticos that are lined with thick stone pillars. The central axis of the building is oriented towards the elemental pole of wind, and the perpendicular axis, or the wings, are oriented along the magnetic axis of creation. Though quite solid, the manor actually exists entirely within the Fae realms and as such is contructed entirely of extranatural materials.
The stone of the manor's construction, Star Basalt, is hewn from the vault of the heavens, from the darkest parts of the sky between the stars. The material completely absorbs light that falls upon it, and a small piece can leave a bright room left dimmer for its presence. The accumulation of so much stone in Thiran Nar has lead to that realm's aspect of twilight, and only the regular change of seelie and unseelie prevents the realm from slipping permanently into darkness. The material is sensitive to touch, and physical contact causes the stone to release the light it has contained. A casual brush of a hand ignites a sunset panoply of tracer lights in the stone, or fluctuations like the surface of water in a rain storm. A hard strike from a weapon might cause the stone to flare bright enough to blind foes.
If the Manor of Rampant Shadow is the heart of Thiran Nar, then the Balefire is it's soul and source. Located deep within the bowels of the Manor, this billowing conflageration is the font from which Thiran Nar flows. Tending the Balefire is the duty of the current King of Thiran Nar and it is by the flame that a new king is chosen, and it is by the flame that an old king knows his reign is ended, even if his life and power haven't.
The House of Alraunes
For generations, the great and noble house of Alraunes has been the steward of the balefire and masters of Thiran Nar. Heralding from the charismatic and dangerous kith of Dark Elves, their virtues are cunning, oration, warfare, and sorcery. To the Alraunes, nobility isnt a privelage, its a birthright, an inherent part of their essence as much as blood or glamour.
Alraunes the Elder
The balefire started flickering, signalling that the time of the elder as coming to an end soon. While some precipitate an uneventful change of power, others have siezed on the event asa herald of a revolution. Alraunes himself sees this with a mix of trepidation and joy, as the years of tending the flame have left a toll on him and he desires to pass on the flame, but the flame has chosen a successor. Long in the beard and wizened, Alraunes the Elder is a tired old man.
As dark as the new moon over the moors, Queen Alraunes knows that once her husband steps down, she will loose her power as queen. But the flame has brightened in her presence, which she has taken as a sign that she remains a contender for the crown of Thiran Nar. The dark skinned she-elf bides her time and gathers allies to her as quietly as possible, but wonders if her duty is to protect her ailing spouse or hasten his end.
Young and vigorous, Alraunes the younger is a hunter, a lover, a poet, and a sorcerer of some skill. He has some desire in the flame, but would rather see it pass on to another, but knows that such a passover would be a black mark on the blood of the Alraunes line. While he would not desire the power, he would also never shirk from it, and has since started gathering allies to him should the flame choose him.
There are many elves who dwell in Thiran Nar, much alike to the Alraunes in disposition and attitude. Most of these elves are royalists and default support the Alraunes line, mother or son, in some fashion. A few have sided with the opposition, but they are a minority and principally hail from the lower end of the elven society.
The Sage Nightshade
Older than Alraunes the Elder, Nightshade is ancient. The sage recalls a great number of tales, and has more arcane magic at his command than a cadre of human sorcerers. His primary focus is in keeping oral records and sagas, as well as performing divination and magics of illusion and entertainment. Rumor says that Nightshad was once a King of Thiran Nar, other call him a vagabond spirit, a demon is disguise, and the son of a dragon and a banshee.
Ostenably Alraunes paramour, Belladona is a lovely elf from a scion family long loyal to the Alraunes. Quite the opposite of Romeo and Juliet, Alraunes the Younger and Belladonne despise each other with an unnatural ferocity. Headstrong and bullish in demeanor Belladonna claims she needs no man to support her and has made her own claim to the seat of Thiran Nar known.
Courge and the Commoners
The wildcard in the game of houses is self-styled Prince Courge and his motley of retainers and host of supporters. A red-headed Hobgoblin/Knocker, he has gained a large amount of popular support among the commoners and peasantage. The bulk of the hobgoblin/Knocker community supports Courge, as does a signifigant portion of the boggan/halfling septs. The trolls and trollkin are split between the nobles and the commoners, though freetrolls support the common kiths, while knight errants and oath-sworn trolls stand with the nobles.
Grassroots and Coalitions
While the nobility garner the support of various noble factions and their oath-sworn and retainers, Courge has stepped outside of the realms of the fae kiths to the other denizens of the realms, most notably the lupines, the Skraelings, and the vampires. The nobles have attempted to follow suit, but have already been beaten to the table by Courge and his people, however the nobles were able to gain the support of the Emerald Serpent, and the Blood witches.
Courge is planning a coup d'tat that will remove all of the nobles from Thiran Nar and place himself as the new leader of the Unseelie. Rather than adopting position as an absolute king, Courge plans to have a supporting council that will keep the seat of leadership from being usurped by the treacherous nobles when his time is ended.
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? Responses (4)-4
Updated: As with the wretched school work has ground to a halt on this piece as well. Out of the nest with you.
Keebler Elves need not apply! We seem to have a pretty grim take on elves lately.
I really like this court full of scheming fae and their supernatural allies: It has an interesting Marion Zimmer Bradley vibe to it. It may not be 100% complete, but there are plenty of usable hooks and potential surprises for any band of adventurers that falls into the clutches of the fae.
Wulf sums it up decently. Nice work, even though it could use a bit more fleshing out. The core is here, at least.
Interesting, though the fear and alienness of the intro clashes with the common intrigue of the the court that follows. I like both ideas, but they do not seem to have been well integrated.