The Shadow-Fae, a sub-branch of the Fae, who have evolved beyond the point of seasonal cycles. This evolution was likely a result of their ancestral colonization of the Plane of Shadows, where no seasonal changes or shifts took place. However, the price they paid for year-round activity was high, as they sacrificed their Seelie or Unseelie natures, becoming more coldly calculating in their efforts to survive - and insure the survival of the Fae themselves.
Shadow-Fae tend to curdle milk within ten feet of them, are allergic to either holly or willow, suffer burn-like injuries from cold-wrought iron( vs. drop-forged or cast iron), can not eat spicy-hot foods(anything with capsaicin in it is poison to them), and must honor the letter of any oath they willingly take.
Shadow-Fae armor and weapons are often made from meteorite metals, volcanic glass, mythril, adamantium, and heavily enchanted. Exotic leathers - ki-rin hide, hydra skin, naugha hide, and giant eel skin - are also used to make lighter-weight and ceremonial armors.
Shadow-Fae of the royal line are identified by the presence, pattern, number, and coloration of their inherent bodygems - tactile gel-like jewel-toned nodules that develop over their entire bodies. These are often mistaken for gemstones or jewelry, despite their notable inner radiance. The bodygems appear in many sizes, from barely noticeable two millimeters to a full decimeter across. They are very sensitive to touch, capable of transmitting light(making lights behind a Shadow-Fae royal visible through his/her body), and are employed as a form of silent communication - a visible series of flashes, flickers, glows, and changing colors conveying information from one Shadow-Fae to another. Bodygems are only present if the Shadow-Fae is of the royal line.
Unlike their more humanoid cousins, ALL Shadow-Fae have some type of insect-like wings, in one or more sets. Many of these wing-types can fold away to be hidden beneath muscle-mass and clothing. All Shadow-Fae can fly. Shadow-Fae range in height from half a decimeter up to two meters or more; tend to be more physically strong than other Fae, having a more sinuous build. Most Shadow-Fae can readily carry up to five times their own body weight on wing, for extended periods of time.
Naturally magical, all Shadow-Fae employ magic on an instinctive level, never using spells or cantrips or spell components of any sort. Magic is literally a part of them, infusing their bodies on a sub-molecular level. As such, they are able to sense and identify magic of any sort within any person, place, creature, or thing. However, just as the over-use of any body part can lead to exhaustion, Shadow-Fae can tire from the over-use of magic. Thus, the prudent Shadow-Fae will refrain from unnecessary casting, preferring instead to employ an enchanted device(recharged later) or some mundane means of getting the job done.
Although generally classified as magical creatures of nightmare, it should be noted that the royal line of Shadow-Fae are almost ethereal in their physical beauty. Often their striking, other-worldly appearances have served to lure the unwary into their traps and deadly games. It has been said that if a Shadow-Fae is smiling at you, your life is about to be turned upside down.
Capable of traversing the Plane of Shadow, Shadow-Fae employ any naturally occurring shadows as though they were portals to other realms. Thus historically, they were seen coming and going through shadows at dawn and dusk, appearing and vanishing without a trace.
The Three Courts of Arcadia
There are three main Courts of Arcadia, intertwined by intrigue, blood ties, oath-bonds, and marriages. Two of the Courts exchange places seasonally - the Seelie(light-hearted) and the Unseelie(malevolent). The third Court remains in power the year round, and is the source of many rumors and whispered tales: the Shadow Court.
During spring and summer in Arcadia, the openly ruling Court is the Seelie(light-hearted) Court. Theirs is a cheerful reign, filled with love and hope. Births and marriages take place during this joyous time, as do Sainings(naming ceremonies) and the Greening(important Fae ceremony).
With the advent of fall and winter, the Seelie Court yields control to the Unseelie Court, as the Seelie Fae go into seasonal hibernation and their Unseelie kin wake from their own slumber. The Unseelie Court is marked by cruel pranks, often deadly games, and orgies of excess. During this time, ceremonies such as the Tithing and Rites of Passage take place, along with various trials by ordeal. Many oaths are taken during the Unseelie Court, as well.
Periodically, the Shadow Court launches a coup against whichever other Court is in power; weeding out the weak and ineffectual rulers, bringing about the necessary changes to help keep the Courts of Arcadia vibrant and in accordance with the Fey people as a whole. Like a trial by ordeal, any Court capable of repelling and surviving a coup from within by the Shadow Court is deemed strong and in line with the interests and well-being of the Fae themselves. Any court that falls to the Shadow Courtís coup is deemed to have become weak and incapable of leading and protecting the Fae people. Thus it is that the Shadow Court relies on treachery and deceit, with eternal secrecy as to their membership and identities. Any public appearance by a proclaimed representative of the Shadow Court is suspect, as only the puppets of the Shadow Court are ever openly revealed. It is rumored that members of the Shadow Court have managed to break the cycle of hibernation and wakefulness, escaping the seasonal shifts of power by somehow overcoming what has been an inherent trait of the Fae themselves. In truth, the Shadow Court consists almost entirely of the Shadow-Fae.
In the Scroll:
Wandering Faer-(ex)Vampyre Prince/Knight; Prince of the Shadow Court,...
~ Shadow Valley