Moving away from the mysteries of the deep, this week we travel into another element and take a look at faeries. Fairies, fae, nature spirits, trickster spirits…faeries go by many names and more guises. They can be tiny, mischievous creatures, belong to rival courts, steal and replace children, blend in with humanity, etc. Faeries are one of the most versatile of fantasy races because the legends linked to them are so varied. Here to tell us a little bit about the fae is Erin Zarro.
The Magic of Fae
I’ve always been fascinated with the Fae. They’re immortal, they can be tricksters, and they can glamour themselves to look like anyone, even a loved one. (That part is a bit scary). Some have wings, and some are monsters. They live in a magical, mystical place called Faerie. I’ve been reading novels with Fae in them for years. My first ever Fae book? Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series book one, A Kiss of Shadows.
My favorite Fae books? Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. They are beautiful, dark, and just plain amazing.
I began writing about the Fae in 2005, when I began my yet-unpublished novel, Pirouette, which features a Fae princess who can communicate with the dead through dance. In the Pirouette world, female Fae get their wings when they are grown by their true mate. They also can do glamour and are, naturally, immortal. They have a magic called vitae which is the magic of life. The Fae in Pirouette have no court affiliation, except there are highborn, aristocratic, common, and of course, royal Fae. The Fae have a Queen and a King, and live in a parallel world called the Varshella, which is roughly equivalent to Faerie. Why did I give it a different name? Because Faerie just seemed too common, and the Varshella is a parallel world to Earth (Erta, in the Varsi old language). It isn’t in Faerie mounds. It just is. (Interesting tidbit about the name: the original name, waay back in 2005 when I was building the world, was Vehella. I did some poking around online and discovered Valhalla, the place were Norse warriors go when they die. I realized then that the names were too close and played with the letters a bit. I finally arrived at Varshella, and the people are called the Varsi. (It was either that or Varshellan, and I liked the look and sound of Varsi better). But I digress.
My Fae also have specific rituals that they observe for various things. There’s a mating ritual, betrothal ritual, a death ritual, and a ritual that honors their beloved fallen Queen Resanna, which is called Resanna’s Day. And I suppose the growing wings ritual counts, too.
Royal Fae can shapeshift into leopards, too, to defend themselves.
So the Fae of Pirouette are somewhat close to the mythical Fae you read about. My other Fae, the Fey in my debut novel, Fey Touched, are completely different.
When I set out to write Fey Touched, I was working with a book I’d written in 2003 for NanoWriMo called The Sacrifice, which had vampires, vampire slayers, and guardian angels in it. It was my first finished book ever, and it was when vampires were still cool. Now, nine years later, not so much. So I set out to change them into something better (and more unique). My first thought was the Fae, but even Fae are getting overdone (although I still love reading about them!). So I was stumped as to how to make it different.
I remember the exact moment it hit me. I was at work, doing something tedious, when I had this thought: what if my Fae were not mythical, but based in science?
Since I’m a huge science buff, this really appealed to me. I decided that the Fey (note the spelling change) were genetically engineered humans, made to be immortal, faster, smarter, and healthier than their human counterparts. I also decided, since I needed a regulatory force (Hunters!), they wouldn’t have souls because the scientists couldn’t replicate them. So my Fey would need to feed from legal donors, but some of them turn into monsters who kill and drain the sousl from the humans. These are called rogue, and the ones who hunt them are called Fey Touched. This is because they have some of the enhanced genes of the Fey, but not all. They also have souls.
There is no Faerie in the Fey Touched world, but there is the hereafter.
The Fey have clans and a Breeding Queen for each one. The Breeding Queen is like a queen bee. She mates with many males and needs to produce a new Queen, who in turn kills her for her position. They also have a royal clan with a First Breeding Queen who rules over them all.
As far as glamour is concerned, my Fey have a form of it. They use mana (life energy, or souls) to weave illusions. The Fey Touched cannot. Also, the Fey Touched have wings from having a bit of avian DNA.
There are rituals that the Fey and Fey Touched observe. The Fey Touched burn their dead and do an aerial dance to honor them. The Fey Touched worship Artemis, and believe that the falcon, their animal companion who is called during the ritual, carries the soul home to Artemis.
The Fey have a mating ritual of a sort, where the Breeding Queen must marry all males of the clan.
So that’s how I write my Fae. They are distinctly different, but similar. I enjoy playing with established stuff and making it my own. I’m not done with the Fae yet! They are so much fun to work with.
Erin Zarro is an indie novelist and poet living in Michigan. She’s married to her Prince Charming, and she has a feline child named Hailey who she’s convinced is part vampire. She loves all things scary and spooky, and is on a mission to scare herself, as nothing lately has scared her. She writes in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Her first published novel, Fey Touched, is a blend of sci-fi and fantasy. She is currently working on Book 2, Grave Touched, and is trying to stay out of trouble. Mostly. Her website is at http://erinzarro.com.