Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anatomy of a Horror Setting #4-7: Out of the Woodwork

The grand exploration of the world that took place in the Victorian age opened the doors to different stages upon which familiar characters held sway cementing the validity of their imagined reality even as it forced alterations. Wherever the British went they found tales of what could only be faeries and other familiar beings and creatures of legend. There were some differences and occasionally new and strange additions to add to the lore of the day. As with at home there were good faeries and evil faeries though dealing with either was something to be avoided if possible. Of course there were exceptions such as the Brownies, which were reminiscent of the Domovoi or house spirits of Russian lore, at least in terms of helpfulness around the house and farm.

It can be hard to differentiate the origins of the beliefs in the fae even between the English, the Scottish, and the Irish so an amalgamation of the mythologies is the way to go. The division between the Seelie--good faeries--and the Unseelie, nasty faeries--courts is a common one. Court in this case indicates groupings or members of the royal fae court more than a place of judgment though the Seelie certain had those and used them to enforce their will upon humans who interfered with their affairs. The fae also fall into several categories or species each with a particular name, or some overlapping names depending on which culture was describing them. Many of them were of human size and stature while others were diminutive, unlike in fantasy where most are small.

Changelings in particular were normal human size, which helped them in stealing a human infant and replacing it with their own baby for the humans to raise, similar to cuckoos laying their eggs in other bird’s nests. As strange as their customs, and in spite of their innate magical qualities, the fae are seen as native to the world, a natural part of it, and in tune with it. This adds to the mystique of the world, the idea that the strange and fantastical is the norm. When dealing with faeries for the setting use less focus on the mischievous members of the Seelie court and more on the malicious and violent types of the Unseelie court. The Unseelie are more frightening figures any way. They are solitary, greedy selfish, and enjoy terrifying their victims even before the real torment beings.

Mood: relaxed.
Music: My Fairy King by Queen and The Power and the Glory by Twisted Sister.

Queen: Queen
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Twisted Sister: You Can't Stop Rock and Roll
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