The Eighteenth-century was a strange time for the faeries who lived in Europe. Edit
Don't get it wrong, it was an incredible era for everybody. The last death rattles of the renaissance. the dawn of the age of reason. the first decades of the modern scientific methodology, and the faint first skirmishes in the industrial revolution. the roads and the carriages and the boats got faster, the world got just a bit smaller. the styles of arts changed, music evolved by leaps and bounds, and literature spread even more diversely to the masses. The colonial empires of Europe cast wide their nets and drew treasures and marvels from across the globe together, and wars... so many bloody wars. It was all enough to rattle just about anybody's view of the world.
For those with long memories, perspective, or the gift of foresight, it was plain that the world was on a track to wild change. And few have memories or foresight quite like the Fae folk. Faeries, like all kinds of beasts and beings of myth, were quite real of course (if misunderstood). Beings of magic and dream-stuff, they have been a part of the world for as long as there have been people to dream them up, and they were many and varied in ancient times.
All manner of creature from myth and legend still existed of course, from the frightful boogie men of the Sluagh to the secretive little housework helper Boggans, from the wandering trickster Piskies to the romancing Satyrs, from the goblin-like crafters known as Nockers to the sea-born beauties known as Selkies. All manner of Faerie still lived in the world, hiding from the doubtful, mistrusting gaze of humanity, eking out lives in the fringes of communities, or walking among mortals in disguise, concealing their true natures while they cultivated and fed upon humanity's creative potential. And it was a strange century for them as well, as things seemed to happen at a breakneck pace. But none of that compared to when, in 1776, something miraculous happened; the Sidhe returned to the world.The Sidhe, the nobility of Faerie kind, had long been absent from the lands of mortal men. In the depths of the dark ages, they were driven away, fleeing into the depths of the dream world to take shelter from tides of horrors, nightmares, and plagues that poisoned the world. When they returned, many fae saw it as a sign of great things to come. Others saw it as an invasion by would-be monarchs who did not deserve to rule. The Sidhe, natural rulers and leaders, found themselves returned to a much-changed world and set about to take back their mantle of dominion.
Of course, there were many conflicts that followed. Sidhe Counts and Dukes rallied armies against one another to fight over territories they desired. Commoners and Nobles fought when free faeries refused to yield to new lords and ladies. Eventually, some declared themselves Kings or Queens over huge domains and fought any who challenged their claims. It may not have been a long time of war, but neither was it bloodless.
Fortunately for all, a young Sidhe Lady rose among the conflicts named Johanna Lockhart. With a keen mind, great compassion, and no small amount of luck, she worked hard to bring peace to the lands. She and her comrades campaigned for fair treatment of the common folk and negotiated peace treaties between kings with a skill far beyond her years. What's more, she rose in position herself and was widely believed to be a prophesied successor to High King Oberon of ancient times. Within a few years, through clever, careful, and charismatic politics, she and likeminded people had brought a precarious peace to the many faerie kingdoms of the world.
That was over two decades past; it is now the beginning of the year 1803, and while the mortal world is still in a tumultuous time, it is an era of relative stability and very cautious optimism for the fae. While the empires of men war and squabble, the fae kingdoms stand together in a peaceful league known as Concordia, looking forward to a bright future for all.
But a grim affair casts a pall over these bright times. Just days into the new year, tragedy struck when Duke Arnold Pinebrook ap Eiluned, one of the most powerful fae in Britain and commander of a potent army, was assassinated in his home on the southern coast of England. The culprit has been captured, and a trial scheduled to take place after the upcoming funeral, both of which are expected to be public affairs and state functions.
Faeries from kingdoms and duchies across the world are expected to show in force for the grand spectacle. Johanna herself, now High Queen of Concordia, plans to winter at the nearby freehold of Ramsgate, to hold court in the winter months and oversee the trial.
What terrible truths shall out from these dark affairs? Who is this Johann Fleck, and why did he plot murder? How could such an unremarkable Commoner kill such a well-practiced soldier and Nobleman, and nearly kill his young wife Duchess Natalie? Did he have help? Is this some nefarious bit of spycraft by an enemy kingdom? Does this portend of further strife to come?
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