Frost Faeries

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Winter Fae Return by Enuryn
(commissioned by Pirateaba)

The Frost Faeries, more commonly known as Winter Sprites, are an immortal race of creatures known as Fae that are not native to Innworld.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

The form Frost Faeries have is not their true appearance. They take on these smaller bodies when bringing the winter.[1]

The faeries are small enough to stand on a human's hand.[2] Their bodies, which have no breasts or other genitalia, look as though they are made of fluid ice and pure crystal. They have pupil-less eyes, sharp teeth, and dragonfly-like wings.[3]

Briefly, in Chapters 2.29, 5.11 E, and 6.44 E the Frost Faeries frozen crystal skin changed, and grew brighter, with the colors of spring running through their bodies, bright and green, the color of grass and sunlight and clear blue skies.

Under the effect of their glamor, they look like fuzzy shapes in blue and white to the people, monsters, and creatures of horror and blight of the world.

Powers and Abilities[edit | edit source]

Some if not all of the powers mentioned below are probably just a subset of a more general underlying power: Faerie magic affects the perceptions of reality to a point that would seem like they are altering it - for example, they can make great distances closer than they should be, and change the way people speak. To spice up drama, they may for example force mortals to speak in rhymes. They are only very rarely willing to use these abilities on the behest of mortals, however, but often to their own amusement.[4] When they discard their appearance, so too do they lose their powers as Frost Faeries in exchange for the powers of their true forms.[1]

They can make a small sanctuary, where the air becomes warm, snow melts, and grass and flowers grow and flourish.[5]

They can also move across paths beyond worlds.

When they want to get physical with mortals, they can bite off fingers.[6]

Flight[edit | edit source]

Faeries are able to fly thanks to some natural affinity to wind magic - or thanks to their space-bending abilities. Their flight speed cannot be matched by mortals, and they regard even high-level [Couriers] as stupidly slow.

Frost Powers[edit | edit source]

The most obvious use of Faerie power is their ability to conjure snow, ice and avalanches out of thin air. They are also capable of dropping the temperature and freezing anything that touches them.[7]

Glamour[edit | edit source]

They are regularly obscured by a glamor so that most mortals can neither hear them nor see their true forms. This appears to be a natural property of them. When inside of buildings built with iron, they become visible, which is another reason for them to avoid those structures.

Other ways to perceive the Frost Faeries are standing in the right place under the full moon, or to ingest a "secret drink", made out of many rare or disgusting ingredients, like certain bugshells (E120) and possibly parts of incense or processed fruit acids (E211).[6] Humans from Earth usually have eaten either the exact mixture, or just the right amount of those ingredients separately, which is why they are awakened to the activities of Frost Faeries.

Limitations and Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

They fear cold iron, as they lose their powers around it and thus become vulnerable.[8] As a result, they won't enter buildings that are made of it.[9]

It has been implied that Faeries can't enter private dwellings without an invitation, while public places are technically under the same restriction, by the nature of them being public they give an open invitation to all comers.[10]

Frost Faeries are bound by the laws of their King, that prohibit interference with this world. While the Frost Faeries have a loose relationship with rules in general, they DO have their own rules and they don't lie, merely twist the truth.[8] Once they make a promise they can't break it without dire consequences for themselves.

The Fairyfolk is easily flattered.[8]

Frost Faeries love all kind of sugary foods[8] and once Erin realized that she started bribing them with free food or distracting them in that way.[9]

Background[edit | edit source]

The Frost Faeries are not from the same plane of existence than Innworld. They travel between worlds, and so they have different perceptions. In some places the will of the world and fate can conspire against interference and punish those who would dare such folly. In the same way, Gods guard their demesnes jealously. Even the fae would not tempt the wrath of such beings lightly, when in their worlds. Hence, their rules are kept and enforced among their kind.[11] The Frost Faeries (or at least some of them) are members of the Winter Court.[6]

Their superstitions and internal laws are meant to protect, but sometimes become redundant, like in Innworld where the Gods are dead. They have more authority there, hence their control over the weather. But the fae seem to dislike attachments and debt in any case, which is why they would refuse to help. Since they love tradition, they would demand a gift for any great aid freely given.[11]

Winter Sprites appear at the beginning of every winter, as they are responsible for bringing the snow to the world, which was entrusted to them by their king.[12] They are presumed to be quite ancient, as they were friends of the Elves. They are immortal.

They can travel between worlds, and were on Earth in the past. When asked about their relationship to the Tuatha Dé Danann, Ivolethe denied that they were related to either the Tuatha or the Fomorians, and suggested that these mythical people as well as the hero Cú Chulainn walked other worlds which they visited. They left the Earth, apparently for environmental reasons, as Ivolethe put it: “We left your crumbling, dying world centuries ago. The earth dies, and death fills the air. We want nothing of it.” For that reason, the Faeries never heard of modern-times myths, like superheroes.[7]

The Frost Faeries vehemently denied finding delight in harming children and innocents, and are proud to not resemble Sluagh, Finfolk or Redcaps in that respect.[13]

They indicated that they knew King Arthur, but made misleading statements about him and the sword Caliburn or Excalibur, calling Erin a fool for believing that it was the Sword in the Stone[14] but later not denying that when Ryoka made the same assumption.[15] Other references they made about Earth are the names Culann,[9] Lugaid, and Myrddin.[6]

“Faeries can’t be trusted. Never go near a faerie mound, never thank a faerie, never eat their food or tell them of your child. They fear cold iron, though, and I don’t believe you can enter a place without invitation.”
- Ryoka Griffin[15]

Chronology[edit | edit source]

Frost Faeries were first mentioned in The Wandering Inn when Relc was giving Erin a rundown of the local dangers.[16]

They appeared on the same day Erin and Ryoka rescued Ceria from the Ruins of Liscor, after Gazi had returned to Chandrar being wounded by Erin. After decending from the High Passes, they pestered and insulted everyone present.[17] They soon found that both Ryoka and Erin could see and hear them, and struck a deal with Erin not to disturb the rebuilding of Erin's inn in exchange for a permanent invitation to the place, including a restriction to copper instead of iron as the building's material.[18] Using that invitation, they later invaded the inn and brutalized Ceria as well as chasing away Ryoka and Relc.[15]

To gain their favor, Erin prepared a banquet for them the next day, and was rewarded with the Faerie Flowers.[12] Meanwhile, Ryoka was chased by the Frost Faeries for almost two weeks before they finally relented and claimed that they would stop hounding her. Ryoka then endeared them with superhero stories from Earth.[7] As the Fae learned that Ryoka had never accepted a level, this gained her their snarky companionship. However, shortly afterwards she strained that friendship by asking their help to find Mrsha.[13]

The Frost Faeries helped not only in finding the lost Gnoll child, but also changed the fate of Izril when Ryoka and the Stone Spears Chieftain Urksh begged them to save Mrsha. By drawing Zel's attention to the fighting Gnolls, they prevented the death of the Goblin Lord as well as the death of Ryoka and Mrsha. They even hastened up Ryoka and created her a sanctuary in order to save her from the Goblins.[5]

The next fateful appearance of Frost Faeries was when they helped Ryoka to get to her third meeting with Teriarch, and then stayed in his cave to comment on the drama.[4] When not much drama was to be had, the Frost Faeries were largely disappointed. They stuck around for some longer time around Ryoka, but eventually lost all interest, except for Ivolethe who became Ryoka's friend.[9]

Culture[edit | edit source]

Frost Faeries pride themselves on being ancient and not to interfere with mortal affairs (although Ryoka proved that they do so regularly), and they love stories,[7] mysteries, riddles and drama[4] - especially when they are the mystery themselves.

Faeries love to strike dubious bargains,[8] but rarely on matters they take serious, usually tricking their victims with loopholes or unclear statements. When they make serious deals, they like to remind the mortals of the danger involved.

Relations[edit | edit source]

Frost faeries are known to call other races by mostly insulting nicknames.

Half-Elves[edit | edit source]

For reasons not yet clearly stated, they strongly hate Half-Elves and will torment them whenever they can. The most common assertions they make about Half-elves is that they are filthy and the sons/daughters/spawn of whores/bastards/sluts/cravens. This extends to female Half-Elves themselves who are similarly called whores. Less insulting names include half-breed, halfling or half-spawn.[17][15]

Ivolethe implied that the existence of Half-Elves is what insults them, and alluded to the sin of the Half-Elf people. While Ceria had no idea which sin was meant, she understood the general meaning well enough.[19]

Goblins[edit | edit source]

For reasons not yet stated, Frost Faeries call them the children or the youngest,[20] and they never watch and listen to them, as they might cry if they did, and the fae did not like to weep for the past.[21] They also never bothered them with any pranks.[22]

Relations with other Races[edit | edit source]

Known faery-expressions for other races include...

  • For all leveling races: playthings[13]
  • For Gnolls: dogs,[17] dog people,[7] walking dogs.[13]
  • For Drakes: once-Dragons,[17] children of Dragons[13]
    • For Relc: hot-headed oaf[15]
  • For Humans: humans[17]
    • For Erin: stripling[3] frail thing,[23] foolish human, silly wench, daft cunt,[18] stupid wanker, slow thing[15]
    • For Pisces: fool who revels in death[3]
    • For Ryoka: foolish wench, smelly human,[24] bratling, short-sighted fool.[15] After Ryoka gained their general respect, she upgraded to be called mortal[4]
  • For Antinium: the slaves[17][18]
  • For Teriarch: old smoker, old grumpy one,[24] bag of scales, old fool, oafen clod!, foul breath stupid snake-with-legs, fat old one,[4] wyrm, lazy oaf[9]
  • For Undead:
    • For Toren: dead thing,[17] bag of bones, foolish thing[23]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Time and distance affect them differently, allowing them to travel at what seems to be impossible speeds to onlookers. At the same time, they can't perceive how Val and Ryoka run at different speeds.
  • They first met Teriarch when he was still a whelp, though just in passing.[25]
  • People from Earth can see their true forms and hear them, because, unknown to them, they have eaten all the ingredients for the faerie’s drink.
  • Once someone kills a Fae they will be killed before the next moon rises.[6]
  • In Ch 3.11 E Laken gave some of them noble titles, such as Comtesse of the Soup Spoon, Herzogin, Reichsgräfin, Duchess, Viscount, Baron, a score of them Blumenritter, and several Ladies.
  • Frost Faeries tend to call those that level "playthings", as they are playthings of greater powers. The Fearies think little of them, given that they put willingly chains around their necks, not realizing what they've given up.[13]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • (To Ryoka) “We grace your filthy ears with words. Answer back!”
  • (To each other) “If she’s used the ointment of our kind, we should blind her now. Take her eyes, one or both and let’s have done with it!”
  • (To Erin) “We don’t hate ye, fool! You mortals are nothing to us but pests. Tis iron we hate! If ye’d take away the iron in the building, we might, might reconsider.”
  • (To Erin) “Copper! Make them of copper, you daft cunt!”
  • (To Erin) “Ye aren’t that smart, are ye? The fey answer to no one, mortal! We speak and bestow our gifts as we please, and none may command us! No god, no king, no lord or master. Have ye not heard the words? The fey obey no one, and we bow to none either. So what if we offended your honor? We do as we please. So long as the worthless child was not a guest we could do as we wished. Now she is your guest.”
  • (To Ryoka) She did what few mortals remember to do in any day and age. She honored us. She followed the traditions. But most wondrous of all: she made food fit for the fey.”
  • (To Ryoka) “Anyone can fly for a few seconds if we push them off a cliff!”
  • (To Ryoka) “Worry not, pathetic human. All you mortals do is disappointing and sad.”
  • (To The World System) “Nae, she will not be learning anything. Not from you at least. Leave the fool alone, ye thing of dead gods. She is different.”
  • (To Erin) “Innkeep! A mug of your finest swill!”
  • (To Erin) “Who is Santa Claus? Does he eat children?”
  • (To Ashfire Bees) “Wretched insect! Know your place! Begone!”
  • (To Ashfire Bees) “Bring out your Queen! We’ll duel her!”
  • (To Laken) “Can you not hear us, oh Emperor? We are here, Frost Faeries of the Winter Court to meet you! Are you not honored?”
  • (To Bevia) “I am a Baron, foolish mortal! Kneel before me!”
  • (To Bevia) “Why would I be a Baroness? I asked to be Baron and so I am! Will ye not kneel?”
  • (To Durene) “Come, daughter of Trolls! Dance with us!”
  • (To Tourant) “Steel? Hah! If you’d duel us, bring cold iron and star metal! Bring blades forged of magic and legend! And if you thrust, do it with your heart in your hands for we’ll pluck it out if you miss!”
  • (To Tourant) “Bare your sword, lordling of men! Shed blood and life like wine on this night!”
  • (To each other) “Find them! Hound them! Tear them apart!”
  • (To Laken) “So long as hospitality is not broken entirely and the host agrees, we abide. But a second breach and we will hunt. Honor demands it!”
  • (To Nobles) “To the Emperor of Eyes! To the Ruler of the Unseen! To the Protector of the Cottage!”
  • (To Ryoka) “Tell me. Why should I tell you? Now, begone. We are trying to see.”

References[edit | edit source]