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Story of the Shadow

Author: Metron Dragonsvalley
Date: March 7, 1012
Written as part of the trial of Ma for the Shokensai Munuko.


INSECTAFAE: the child-like race

Insectafae are a race of creatures from Fae that are organized into clans around a central Tree. The Tree has a Spirit that guides the “children” of the Tree. They are vegetarians and speak Common and a different language (OOC: French). They can act very child-like, but largely exhibit the personality traits of the Spirit in their Tree. They have insect-like carapaces over their torsos, even if their arms and legs and head look like traditional humanoids, save for the antennae upon their heads that poke through their hair and the wings sprouting from their backs.

LORE (received at the cost of silence from the deity Xaos):

The lore of the Insectafae is a harsh story, with every Tree having its own legend. The story in the Realms goes that there was an elf male who fell in love with a human girl. This elf was very skilled in magic and was well-respected in the lands of Fae, but the girl’s family did not wish her to marry such an alien. He, however, won them over with gifts and monies. The girl was courted, and much love was shared.

One night, he decided to ask her to marry, to stay with him forever in the realms of Fae. However, this was not to be.

He brought her to a Tree that was a Soft Spot for the crossing, and told her to wait while he got her his wedding gifts. There were six seeds. When he returned, however, she had been slain. He could not bring his love back, and dropped the gifts upon her body, sobbing for his lost love. For six days and six nights he kept trying to bring her
back, beseeching the Fates to look down and smile, or to Death at least to bring back his beloved; for surely if Fae can be reborn in the Cycle, and she was almost there …

On the sunrise of the seventh day, six Fae beings sprang forth from the woman. He named them all and set his Children immediately to the task of helping him resurrect his love. But they were, after all, merely Children, and could not assist the Fae Elf as he wished them to. For all his vaunted power, he could not bring back his love.

In sorrow, the Elf aged, and left Fae to die in the mortal realms. The Children, however, were taught only one thing – to bring the Elf’s love back. Each of the Six went about its own way, trying to do so. Each failed. Eventually, they realized that being spring from a human body but of Fae magicks, their lifespan was short, unlike their father’s. They did not wish to give up, however.

Each child, housing traits from the girl and the Fae Elf then named itself and planted within Fae a seed, the husks they had spring from, and from there placed their magicks and spirits. The following four seasons, the Trees grew, and from them more Children came.

SEEING THE LEGEND:

At a gathering, we actually saw a part of the past – the legend of the Insectafae:

There were calls of “Wayland!” in the distance. There was a group of insectafae (who would become the Spirits within the Trees) huddled around two torches. Lumineux was imploring to the others, asking what they were to do, as the second Purging was at hand.

The Fleuris twins wanted to give hugs – and then ran off to see their reflections in a nearby pond. Miserablé proclaimed that faith would save them. Baldaquin was stoic and didn’t say anything. d’Amandes was wondering what was going on, seemingly oblivious or just lost.

The remaining insectafae started arguing back and forth. Lumineux stalked off after Coupant took down an attacking goblin using sword he found on the ground. d’Amandes was finally alone, asking what was going on, again. A Fae came into the clearing and introduced herself as Bouquet, and finding only d’Amades there, took the insectafae off
to protect her.

Lumineux came back into the clearing afterward, asking, “But what about me …?”

THE SHADOW, THE MORTALS, AND THE ONE:

A creature known only by the name “The Shadow” sought to wipe out the Insectafae by destroying the Trees and the Spirits within. There was confusion about who he or it was, at least amongst the heroes of the Realms, but he was found to be an angry spirit who could not be reasoned with. In addition to this, he was a cruel trickster. He wanted eradication of all insectafae – imperfect beings made from an imperfect being. All signs showed finally in 1005 that he was likely the corrupted or mad spirit of the Fae Elf who lost his love.

The Spirits reached out to the heroes of the Realms in 1004, and received it, though there were some setbacks at times. Through interaction, and bonding with, some of the heroes of the Realms, the Spirits and the Trees were able to start to get stronger, and the puzzle of what was going on started to be figured out. The Trees chose Guardians – mortals whom they would bond with (The Guardians at the time of the endgame were Sir Vawn of Eagle’s Rook for Coupant; Phoenix
and Kwartz of Folkestone for Fleuris; Buredan of Chimeron for Baldaquin; Cimone of Chimeron for d’Amandes; Kyomi of Pax Tharkus for Lumineux; and Gryffin for Miserablé). This offered the Spirits some extra protection, as well as learning from their hosts, and influencing them. Unfortunately, not all of the Trees had remained hidden. One was stolen away by the Shadow, and made to merge with a goblin. Another was hidden away by Black Annis, a terribly ancient Fae creature, with the promise that she would help him.

The Shadow worked through lesser-powered agents, such as Shadow Goblins, Shadow Trolls and human mercenaries. The Shadow Goblins and Trolls were could be denoted by the black tabards they’d wear, with a half of a white face staring out of their chests.

In order to protect the Trees and the Insectafae themselves, the Spirits brought the heroes of the Realms on their quest to resurrect The One. It was unclear at first who The One was, but it became clear before long that she was the “mother” of the Spirits that became the Trees. For a long time it was thought that she would somehow protect the Trees and the Insectafae when she was brought back, but it was very unclear.

BLACK ANNIS:

The first that the heroes of the Realms started to know of Black Annis was when she began interacting with people through the Dreaming. She had her own Skerry in which she made the rules (a Skerry is a “personal” part of the Dreaming). Mistakes were made and people were sacrificed unneeded.

While the Shadow was trying to destroy the Insectafae, because they hadn’t been able to bring the One back – Annis was doing all she could to keep them from fulfilling their mission to bring the One back. So while it initially seemed as though they were working together, or could have been, it turned out that they really were not.

Black Annis was actually the jilted lover in the scenario. She was in love with the Shadow, or at least thought she was, but he was smitten with the human woman. When the human woman was told to stay by the Soft Spot, Annis saw her chance, and commanded beings to find and kill the human while the Fae was not there. She did not figure for how
inconsolable the Fae would be and he wandered off to finally die on his own.

She became embittered and found the Insectafae that had come from the One. Baldaquin succumbed to the Sleeping Sickness that occasionally crops up in communities around the Realms. She brought him to her Skerry with promises that she would help him, but she only kept him trapped instead. She also trapped Alice, the sister of the One; and later trapped an adventurer named Varend and a human soldier from Eagle’s Rook named Michael.

The heroes of the Realms finally quested into her Skerry to free these people and eradicate her. She’d had a long time to gather power and entrench herself in the Skerry. The heroes attempted to find the missing people from years gone by and convince them to wake up, so that Annis would not be able to take power from them. The heroes finally battled her, and she was angry. She was able to strike out with her cold iron claws in the manner of many different weapons, one
of them being Wayland Blades. As the heroes kept trying to defeat her, they misunderstood divinations that told them that the way to win against her was simply “to try.” The battle continued for what felt like a long time, and one of the Guardians was Wayland’d. Thankfully, the goddess Diskordia (one of The Five Ladies) caught his soul before
it entered Bedlam, but he was still greatly affected by the blow, as to be a Guardian for Insectafae, which were at least in part Fae creatures, would make the Guardians effectively Fae as well.

While most of those woken from being within Black Annis’ Skerry were able to be healed, Alice was not. She had been dead for far too long, though her soul had been released back into the Cycle.

ENDGAME:

The time came for the Guardians and their allies to help the Insectafae fulfill their purpose, and bring back The One. Shadow Trolls and Goblins harried the Guardians and other heroes through the day. Some ‘heroes’ were also enthralled by The Shadow to fight against their compatriots.

Fighting went on and on, and eventually the time was right, and the Guardians were whisked away by the Spirits within them. They had to be “planted” and made to “sleep for an extended time” (as a child might understand death), but as they were being set into the ground, they were extremely vulnerable. Heroes and Insectafae guarded over them while they were buried, and after they’d been buried.

The Spirits of the Trees had finally learned enough that, thanks to the heroes of the Realms and in particular the Guardians, they were able to bring forth the spirit of The One, the human woman known as Sara Liddell. She eased away the madness of The Shadow, let him come back to himself as the Fae Knight Veryan, and they passed into the
spirit world together. The attacks stopped.

The Guardians, however, were still in the ground. They had to wait to be reborn into their lives anew, and were given choices when doing so. They could come back as any race they wished, but all the Children of the Tree they were the Guardian for would become the same race as them. (For example: since Cimone, who had been the Guardian of d’Amandes, came back as a Fae Elf, Sarriette was turned into one as well, having a “normal” humanoid body for the first time).

IN CONCLUSION:

We found that there are very rarely absolutes in this world. No one is entirely evil. Almost anyone can be redeemed.

Love truly can conquer all.
Created by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 03-08-12 07:19 AM
Last Modified by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 03-08-12 07:19 AM