Surely the hum of wheels and clatter of printing presses, to let alone the lecturers with their black coats and tumblers of water, have driven away the goblin kingdom and made silent the feet of the little dancers. -W.B. Yeats, Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland
Overview EditAlthough I have encountered a fair share of Changelings, I never completely understood the faerie folk. They possess a power over dreams which awes me. I feel that if we mages could understand the fae and their magicks, we could unlock many barriers along our Ascension Paths. I decided to seek out the faerie Realms of the Middle Umbra, and arrived in the world called Hy-Brasil, a domain of the faeries sundered forever from lost Arcadia. I'm not certain if Hy-Brasil even has anything to do with true faeries, or whether it's a dream Realm, a wish-fulfillment, or a trick. To reach Hy-Brasil, concentrate upon the faerie folk. Recite ancient tales of the western fae and recall the legends of the Fair Ones while following the paths of the Spirit World. The Umbral mists sometimes part to reveal winding trails to Hy-Brasil. Wanderers who reach these roads often encounter minor faeries who often demand a toll before they allow a visitor to pass into Hy-Brasil. These tolls range from a handful of dirt to one's good sword arm. Sometimes it's best not to give them what they want.
Hy-Brasil appears as a land of endless fantasy stories. Here, the seasons never change and day stands locked eternally in twilight. In the western half of the land, the sun sets in a midsummer sky. To the east, the moon rises, cold and baleful, over a midwinter night. The westlands have well-tended woods with little undergrowth. Trickling brooks flow down into fish-laden ponds. Gossamer waterfalls slip over moss-covered boulders by meres that reflect the unbroken blue sky. The western horizon glows with a rose-colored sunset. Occasional scenic manors and accompanying peasant villages break the verdant forests. Knights clad in silver armor and sunlight-spun raiment ride white steeds through the westlands, dispensing justice in the name of their lord. The eastern woods are gnarled and dying. The pools are stagnant, and the mud-filled creeks ooze sluggishly past their banks. Dead leaves and brambles cover the forest floor. Thick cobwebs stretch across the trails. As visitors move farther east, snow and ice gradually cover the ground, making travel difficult. Ancient ruins covered in strangle vines rise from the forest, here and there, and monsters dwell in the east. Ogres and goat-headed men attack the unwary. Large serpents and spiders prowl through the upper branches of trees. Two roads run through the land of Hy-Brasil. The first is a great Roman road cutting through the forest from east to west. The strongholds of the masters of Hy-Brasil mark its ends; in the west, the mighty Gateway Castle of Lord Lysander stands. To the east, the brooding Grim Fortress of Princess Mariana looms. At the center of the land, the main road intersects with a decaying old road traveling north to south. Traveling south leads to cliffs overlooking a great indigo ocean shrouded in salt mist. Bones of ancient and fantastic sea creatures and magnificent shells litter the sandy shores below the cliffs. The northern route eventually leads to a great river, where a sign warns travelers to go no farther. Beyond that river, the road continues up into high-peaked snowcap mountains, where northern lights shimmer behind the peaks. Sometimes, travelers see giants moving among the trees or dragons soaring above the whitecaps. Traveling through the forests, an explorer can quickly become lost; normal spatial relations have no meanings in the faerie woods. Correspondence magicks reveal that space functions in a capricious way in Hy-Brasil, and Time magicks are useless. If a traveler can make her way to Gateway Castle or the Grim Fortress, either of the masters of Hy-Brasil can grant immunity from this disorientation. Spirit magicks may help a traveler find the great road by locating the trails ofspirits moving through the Realm.
Untold ages past, the faeries created Hy-Brasil to serve as a buffer between Arcadia and the Middle Umbra. Lord Lysander, a true knight of the Sidhe, received the privilege of guarding the gate to Arcadia against all who would approach. Lysander's enemies in the courts of Arcadia were glad to be rid ofthe honorable warrior. Even so, Lysander swore an oath to defend the gate until the true king chose a new knight to relieve him. In those days, the Seelie and Unseelie courts alternated rule in Arcadia. When the Unseelie court was in session, they sent Princess Mariana to the Umbral gate to serve their own interests. Mariana was a quick-witted, dark beauty talented in the greatest magicks of the fae. Mariana was young for her ability, and elders, jealous of her imagination, tricked her into swearing that she would stay in the gateway Realm until she destroyed the Seelie Lord Lysander. Both Seelie and Unseelie nobles established their own domains in Hy-Brasil, and soon began their war. Mariana sent monsters into battle against the silver knights of Lysander, and he, in turn sent his soldiers against her. After a few years ofstalemate, the Shattering occurred, destroying the gate to Arcadia. Mariana, Lysander, and their retainers were stranded, and have remained so ever since. The two nobles aged in soul and spirit, if not appearance. Their conflicts alternated between subtle intrigues and vicious all-out battles, and their small Realm soon grew into the world I speak oftoday. Mariana and Lysander no longer seem interested in continuing the conflict, except to maintain appearances; indeed, rumors persist in both courts of a secret romance between the two.
Some dispute the story of Hy-Brasil. They claim that this world has nothing to do with Arcadia, but instead reflects the Dream Realms of the faerie lords, presenting a pale shadow of the beauty of Arcadia revealed in the Middle Umbra. Both the well-told story of the Gate to Arcadia and the reflection theory have merits. I cannot speak for the truth or lie of either. I know only the Realm where I have gone.