Faere Folk of the Wyrde Woods (part two)
The wood-dwellers of the Wyrde Woods have a tendency to use the word ‘Farisee’ to denote any creature they associate with ‘Pook Hall’; the ‘other kingdom’ which does not have physical borders as we know them. Instead its frayed edges overlap our world as the ragged edge of our world permeates into the other kingdom. The two fabrics of reality interweave almost continually as there are only four fixed points and the rest of Pook Hall expands and contracts like a living being; here one day, gone the next. The notion that all denizens of this other kingdom are unified as a tribe or nation would draw hysterical laughter from the Farisee. They are not as one but divided on more complex levels than humans can comprehend. Some were around when the sun rose in the east for the very first time. Others arrived as recently as the last quarter moon. Some of those travelled to the Wyrde Woods not on their own pathways but in our own kingdom, having travelled from other homelands to settle anew, accompanying the humans whose power of thought projection gave them the most energy. Of late many arrive as refugees, their own habitats withered into empty shells as our kingdom encroaches upon their traditional domains.
The wood-dwellers know them best and when relevant can identify distinct types of Farisee. The oldest are the sprites, associated to natural phenomena such as streams, hills and trees. sprites cannot – as a general rule –venture far from the physical object they are bonded to. They are at their strongest when they are within the bounds of Pook Hall. Resilient beings they will retain much of their cohesion during the periods that they are bereft of Pook Hall’s influence. If such a period exceeds a century then they will start to slowly fade. As long as their stream, hill or tree exists they do not die though they will slip into a deep dormant state which can last for centuries if not longer. If their bond is destroyed, however, they will dissipate into nothingness, which is the sum of all and their energies will be reborn in another shape.
Dryads are a prime example of sprites. As a tree will perish sooner than most streams dry up or hills erode the Dryads are considered short-lived and those reaching a respectable age – say 500 years or older – are respected for their years which manifests itself in wisdom and strength – or unparalleled malevolence. Even humans are susceptible to the moods of these elders. The Wyrde Woods also knows an entity called Ufmanna; a sprite with slight anger management issues, to use a modern formulation. He was subdued by a construction in the heart of his domain and has lain dormant for centuries; though the building is now in ruins and deep within its sombre soul Ufmanna begins to stir once again. There are more like Ufmanna; dormant now and not much more than a menacing echo of children’s stories. They too can be awakened.
The ‘lesser’ in Lesser Faere Folk is a reference to physical size, not importance. These are the oldest creatures, bound to the magic stones which form a compass within the oldest woods, the Inner Woods as a handful of our folk still know them. The majority of them are small in stature though some are shape shifters and a few tower as tall as an oak.
Centuries of acquaintance with humans have made the Lesser Faere Folk highly sceptical as to the capacity of our race to ever learn to view our environment as a home, and not something to do battle with. On the whole the Lesser Faere Folk are capricious in nature. They, who have been blessed with an eternity of life (provided they are not tortured, poisoned, murdered or roasted & eaten by their fellows) have been cursed with a ragged foothold with regard to long-term memory. They use stories in its stead and many of those tales reflect on the irony of experiencing moments of utmost joy only to retain but the vaguest recall of the sensations which were ingredients of that blessed pleasure. In other words, many have a huge chip on their shoulder and have turned into avid selfish pleasure seekers, regardless of the consequence for others. One of the reasons it is wiser not to accept a drink – should you have strayed into Pook Hall by fate or accident – is that raising the goblet to your mouth will prevent you from seeing the Lesser Faere Folk prankster who is setting fire to your foot – just to see what happens. The sight of a human hopping around on one foot whilst clutching the other yowling and yelping is considered the apex of a practical joke in some quarters. At such moments – which have become rarer as both kingdoms follow a diverging course – others will look away. Their stories reflect an increased cynicism. Always problems are blamed on the humans which they perceive to be a fraud because humans don’t exist; they are but a figment of nursery rhymes to scare the Farisee chavees into some sort of submission. Upon sight of these non-existent humans they look away, willing themselves not to see anything they don’t want to. Ironically enough this power is not a Farisee skill – they learnt it from the very humans they now seek to deny.
There is not enough Ritalin in the world to counter the whirlwind of hysteria and abundance of exuberance that accompanies a Farisee childhood, by the way. The word they use for ‘childhood’ can best be translated as: Daft Frolicker’s Disease.