Deleted Interlude #5: Grim Faerie Tales

Here’s a deleted interlude from Charming about why the Fae created the Pax Arcana.

Son of Interlude

Here’s what I do know about the Fae. It’s not much.

The Fae are an ancient, ageless species capable of traveling to some realm other than our material world. They lived among us for a time, and they had vast powers, unknowable motives, and no interest in conquering us whatsoever. There was no point. We didn’t have anything they wanted. They were wealthier than we were, considered us unattractive, and thought our language and stories and music were little more than pig grunts. Our only value to them was as a distraction.

While the Fae may be old as a species, they have never existed in large numbers, at least not on this world. When you don’t age and have no natural predators, evolution demands that you have an insanely low birth rate, and as I understand it, it is rare for more than one pure blood Fae to be born every hundred years.
To put that in perspective, almost half a million humans are born every day.
Another side effect of never aging is purely psychological: the Fae have to deal with near crippling cases of boredom, depression, and isolation to the point of sociopathy. The French call it ennui, that sense of inertia and apathy that occurs among those who have experienced every material pleasure and shade of emotion.

To summarize: ageless but not immortal, cursed with a low birth rate, the Fae essentially have two driving concerns (1) to not be bored to the point of suicide, and (2) to avoid having pureblood Fae killed faster than they can reproduce…because those are the only real dangers that the Fae face as a species. In practical terms, that means having more than one Fae die every century is considered a crisis.

For most of their time on our world – at least a thousand years and probably longer –the Fae were essentially a small number of bored, jaded, wealthy tourists who regarded humans as a mildly amusing diversion. They could set themselves up as gods of the sun or thunder or oceans among the primitives or role play magicians or demons or heroes depending on their mood. They could hold wild parties that lasted centuries on mountains or among sea coasts or in deep woods. They could pursue artistic or academic pursuits in isolation or walk among humans in disguise.
Some of them lived among us and studied us. Some of them hunted us for sport. Some of them had sex with us just to flirt with perversion and see what it was like. Some of them taught us arts that were unknown to us just to see if we could learn- the way human zoologists train monkeys and dolphins Some of them started wars between us and bet on the outcome. Some of them hated us, some of them loved us, and some of them regarded us as pets. They had no master plan, no consistent motivation, and no divine purpose, or at least none that a human perspective can recognize.

And this went on for centuries.

What the Fae did not account for was that races made up of people with short life spans tend to grow and evolve far more rapidly than species made up of immortals who have no imperative to rush. The Fae believe that they have achieved the pinnacle of culture. They do not believe that their music can be improved, that their poetry can be equaled, that their current level of magical mastery can be surpassed. The Fae experiment with different forms, but these are mostly variations on a theme. True innovative discoveries that change the face of their arts or magics or political structures occur rarely, perhaps once every millennia although that’s just speculation on my part.

In any case, the Fae’s culture is magic based, and they have protections and procedures against almost all natural elements. The Fae can protect themselves against fire, for example, or weapons made of stone, or wood, or bronze or copper or flint or so on. But by the 12th century, humankind was coming up with new and unprecedented ways to kill Fae faster than the Fae could effectively counter. We were mixing natural elements and chemicals together into compounds, poisons, explosives, combustibles, and alloys that the Fae had never dealt with, and we were doing so faster than the Fae could develop spells and rituals to counter them. Again…the Fae do not react or adapt quickly. Before crossing paths with humanity they had never needed to.

By the fourteenth century, an intolerably high number of Fae (say five perhaps, or fifty) had actually been killed. So the Fae did what most tourists do when a vacation spot that they don’t really have any strong emotional connection to becomes dangerous – when sharks infest the waters for example, or rioting breaks out in the streets. They packed up their bags and left our world.

The Fae went back home to Fairyland …but they left us a present on their way out.

Why the Fae created the Pax Arcana is a subject of hot debate among those of us who are immune to its influence. Some say that the Fae felt a sense of responsibility for the various supernatural subcultures that had followed them into our world – the ogres, fox spirits, vodyani, and so forth. Others say that the Fae wanted to protect their experiments…the new magical species that they had created while playing around with human genes. Some even argue that the Fae who were biologically compatible enough to mate with humans – specifically the elves – had paternal impulses towards the half elf children they’d sired while mating with us primitives, even if their bastards’ bloodlines weren’t pure enough to take back to the courts of Faerie.

The most cynical and paranoid of us scoff at the idea of the Fae caring for anyone but the Fae, and suspect that the Pax is a form of revenge – there are conspiracy theorists among the knights who speculate that the Fae are coming back some day, and that they want the world to be repopulated with supernatural beings to fill their armies when they do so.

All I know is that there have been massive population explosions in both the world of magic and the world of science in the last seven centuries, and the two worlds are largely incompatible. Something, at some point, is going to have to give. Or take. Or start dying.


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