Lore: The Birth of the Fae/Shaed

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The Rebirth of the Fae

Since the beginning times, the Fae have suffered from a terrible disease known as the Wasting. None are safe, for the Wasting strikes both young and old, rich and poor. And it has neither cure nor remedy. This is the story of how the Wasting will be conquered.

Day and night, the Fae prayed to their creator with tears and blood. “Hear us, Great Spirit of Light, and show us what we have done! We no longer drink blood nor kill in revelry. These laws and more we have upheld. Tell us our sin, O King, and we will repent!”

Yet for all their fervor, the Great Spirit did not answer them.

“We must seek him out,” said one, a warrior named Aramin.

“How?” the people asked. “The Great Spirit dwells beyond the sun, where no Fae has ever gone.”

“No Fae but ourselves,” said Aramin’s brother, the hunter known as Aramor. “And who better?”

Aramin agreed. “We must. For if the Spirit will not hear us, every Fae shall perish.”

So the two brothers set out to find the home of the Great Spirit, taking with them Tola the Dreamer and Sa-ril the Seer. Together, these four undertook the long, impossible journey to the temple beyond the sun.

In the weeks that followed, Sa-ril guided them down the Queen’s Byway to the Wild, and from there to the Forbidden Peaks, where not even Aramor could find sustenance for them. The suns blazed upon their heads. Their legs became like chests packed with sodden clothes, and hunger tore at them from inside.

On the seventeenth day, Tola fell to the ground with a sharp cry. Aramor ran to her, but she did not respond to his pleas. Her face bore the first outlines of scales—a sign of the Wasting.

Sa-ril wailed in anguish. “The Great Spirit has abandoned us! We are nothing to him!”

Aramor rebuked her. “No! Our sainted Creator would not discard us so. This is but a test of our faith.”

“We are close,” said Aramin. “We need only reach the peak of that mountain. There, we shall find the Great Spirit and end this curse, for Tola and all of us.”

Sa-ril nodded, though tears dripped from her eyes. For the mountain was tall, and the days were long. Tola regained consciousness, but her scales became more pronounced. Soon, she could not bear her own weight, and Aramin had to carry her.

Then, the scales appeared on Aramin’s face as well.

“It is useless,” said Sa-ril. “We are not even halfway to the summit. The Great Spirit cares nothing for us.”

“Silence!” Aramor drew his knife and slashed at the seer. “You will not blaspheme the Creator again!”

Aramin grabbed Aramor’s wrist, though his grip was weak and his hand trembled. “Peace, brother. Do not stain your hand for one who grieves. Above all others, we who undertake this journey must not sin. This is the test.”

“Her heresy undermines us, brother. The Creator would relish her death!”

“We do not kill!” Aramin sat down then, drained from the force behind his own words. “We must carry on, whatever the cost.”

For days more, they climbed, until Aramor had to carry his brother, and Tola slipped in and out of consciousness. Starvation clawed at their stomachs, but the summit was near, drawing them ever onward.

They reached the peak. The suns blared on their faces, and the wind breathed cold on their necks. Yet the peak was barren. There was no temple—only a sea of mountains beyond, each taller than the last.

Aramor dropped to his knees in despair. Aramin fell from his back to the ground.

Sa-ril, who had not yet seen, scaled the peak behind him then cried in anguish, “Tola! No!”

The brothers turned. Sa-ril buried her face in Tola’s chest. Tola’s skin had turned ashen white, her cheeks fallow. Her eyes lay open, staring out at the vast mountain range yet seeing none of it. Tola was dead.

Sa-ril lifted her face to the sky and cried, “Why? What good is any of this? The Great Spirit has disowned us. We are nothing to him.”

“Damn you, Seer!” said Aramor, though tears of anguish dampened his face as well. “Silence your blasphemy, or I will silence it for you! The Great Spirit—”

“Does not exist!” she spat. “Or else he is a useless being, unworthy of worship. Your ‘Great Spirit’ has brought us nothing but anguish.”

Aramor gripped the dagger at his belt, his knuckles whitening about the hilt. “You live only because my brother has spoken for you. Our anguish is caused by you.”

“No, you caused this! We should never have come. If it weren’t for your foolish plan, Tola might yet live!” She pulled the blade from her sister’s sheath and stood to her feet, her chest heaving with each fiery breath. “No more! No more will die for your dogma!”

Sa-ril leapt atop Aramor. The hunter tried to pull his own knife in defense, but it caught in the scabbard. He glared defiantly as the seer brought her blade down on his neck.

Suddenly, she cut short, releasing a strangled cough from her lips. Blood dripped from her chin, and Aramor saw Aramin beneath her, two hands on the hilt of his own blade, sunk deep into her chest.

Aramin stood with sudden strength and shoved her back. The blade slipped from her body, and she fell to the ground by her sister, her blood crystallizing in the cold mountain air.

“Brother...” Aramor breathed. “Your skin.”

Aramin looked at his arms and he touched his face. The scales had fallen, and his strength returned. The Wasting had left him. “But I sinned. I killed for you, yet murder is...”

“You murdered a heretic, brother,” Aramor said. “It is a sign.”

Aramin stood a while longer, rubbing his hands up and down his arms in amazement. Finally, he nodded. “So, the Great Spirit is on our side. Let us press on.”

It was still many days before they reached their destination. The Wasting returned—to both this time. As the days passed, their strength fled. Their weapons and packs became too heavy for them and were left behind. They could no longer lift their arms, and their lungs felt as though they breathed sand. Finally, they crested the tallest summit and saw, silhouetted in the light of the suns, the temple they had sought for so long. With a small, fresh store of strength, they pushed through the doors and stepped inside.

A glorious being towered above them, radiating beauty and light. Instinctively, the brothers fell to their knees. Aramin was the first to find his voice. “Oh, Great Spirit! We have come to beseech thine help for our people!”

The being gazed upon them but said nothing.

The brothers glanced at each other. Aramor spoke. “We have undertaken a long and hard journey to save the Fae. They are beset by a disease—the Wasting—which we ourselves may die from even now.”

“We have kept all your laws,” Aramin said. “Yet the Wasting remains. Please, tell us what we must do that we might repent.”

The Great Spirit did not move. It stared at them for what seemed an eternity.

The brothers pressed their faces against the temple floor. “We have come so far,” said Aramor. “We need you, Great Creator. We are nothing without you.”

Again, silence stretched until the brothers wondered the Spirit could even hear them.

Finally, though it did not open its mouth, the Great Spirit’s voice boomed throughout the temple: “I did not create you.”

Aramin and Aramor glanced at each other in confusion. “Surely, you did,” said Aramor. “Thou art the Great Spirit, the king of all Fae.”

“I am your one true king,” it said, “and truly, I do rule over all Fae. But I did not create you. The creator gave its creatures free will—a wasted and squandered gift, for the Fae are a wicked people of chaos and destruction. I have tried to contain you, offering guidance, laws, and teachers—all of it betrayed. The Fae love only death, and I can only try to contain your ruination. No, seekers, I will not save you from that which saves the world.”

The brothers gaped in silence, until Aramor said, “The Wasting... It came from you.”

The Great Spirit said nothing but turned away from them. The light of the temple dimmed as it did so.

“It came from you!” With a shout, Aramor stood and leaped at the Great Spirit.

Aramin did the same, and the brothers grappled their king, clawing at its eyes and sinking their teeth into its flesh.

The Spirit howled and tore at them, calling upon the rage of the storm. The doors of the temple crashed open. Gale-force winds whipped around them, slicing their skin with debris. Lightning shook the very walls, until the floor itself cracked, yet still, the brothers battered and thrashed their ersatz ruler. Until finally, with a cry that shook the sky, the Great Spirit fell to the ground. Its blood filled the temple, and the light faded from its eyes.

Aramin and Aramor lay next to it, breathing heavily. The scales fell from their skin, and their wounds healed. The Wasting left them—left all every Fae—in that moment, never to return.

“Brother,” said Aramor, “what have we done?”

Aramin pushed himself to his feet and gazed over the massive body. “We saved us.”

“But the Great Spirit... We have killed our king.”

“Not a king, brother. He never was.” Aramin turned and looked through the temple door to the world beyond. “There is no king but ourselves.”