Many a year ago, mortal beliefs flowed more freely than they do today, and miracles took place daily. Gods fought and seduced each other in the heavens, heroes fought giants and monsters, elves lurked in the forests and goblins in the mountains, and the honest village folk without fail left a saucer of milk out at night for the faeries.
Such times faded with the dawn of the Age of Reason, but they are not lost forever. Nowadays the wild power, the power of the land, isn't even fading any more. It's returning. Occultism, New Age theories, Green movements, neuroscience, VR and the internet… Slowly, the people of our world are starting to dream again.
Believing themselves under siege from the relentless logic of humanity, the people of Arcadia lay in wait for their demise. For more than two centuries they believed the long Winter to be coming, a time in humanity's development that the fair folk may not have survived. But their deaths did not come. Humanity dreamt of them again. Books, television shows, movies and comics; the humans dredged up their own past and found out how to give the Shining Ones power again.
The threat that towered so high for so long cracked, and began to blow away on the wind. The faeries breathed a sigh of relief, and set out to reclaim their influence on humanity again.
But is it ever that easy?
After so long powerless, the newfound rush of energy was so monumental that they no longer had to band together to survive. Its royalty dead, Fairyland was leaderless and divided. The great Arcadian Houses schemed and politicked and plotted to take total control. From the mess emerged not one contender for the throne but two.
Duke Richard of the House of the White Rose. Duke David of the House of the Red Rose.
Arcadia's very own Wars of the Roses had begun.
Fairyland was ruled for a very long time by a King and a Queen. The King's strength, the Queen's beauty, and the respect that was shown to them both were unequalled in all the land, although the actual power they wielded over their country was equalled by the average serving boy. They were the beloved figureheads of the entire country, and utterly timeless and immortal. The important word being “were”. The King and Queen have disappeared, and now for the first time in history the throne is up for grabs.
The highest remaining authority in Arcadia (and the only one that ever made any decisions anyway) is the Royal Court, made up of the heads of the 13 most powerful houses – or more often, their representatives. Power makes people lazy, often as not.
Each house, of which there are as many as there are species of flora on the Earth, is headed by a Duke or Duchess (and often both). Each House itself consists of one or more families of nobles, and Houses vary greatly in size. The House of the White Rose, for example, has many hundreds of members across dozens of families, while House Whitethorn currently consists of its Duke and no-one else.
The larger houses have many ranks of nobility within them. Heads of the major families within a large house are often Marquesses, and beneath them prosper all manner of Earls, Viscounts, Barons and Knights.
Each House has its own plethora of servants, maids, soldiers, bureaucrats, peasants, artists, musicians, cooks, and all the other members of the lower classes without whom the world's wheels would come screeching to a halt.
Interaction with Humanity
The Fair Folk's very natures are shaped by the thoughts and dreams of humanity. Whilst it is becoming easier for you to travel to the human world, it is still difficult. Many choose to spurn the humans as revenge for the centuries of rationality that hurt the faeries, some try to pretend that life continues as it always has, while others still visit humans more frequently in an attempt to ensure that their foothold is not lost.
There is also a game known as the Alice Game (not to be confused with the Alice Game, the Alice Game, the Alice Game, or the Alice Game.) played by some of the more inquisitive or more cruel faeries. This is a game of creating fairytales; giving humans a chance to step outside their everyday reality and experience some of the weirdness that is fairyland. Then, the mortal is put back in their world and the consequences observed, often with amusement.
The Wars of the Roses
Three years ago, the political manoeuvring between the two factions that sought the throne erupted into war. Barely a House stayed neutral, and thus the entirety of Arcadia prepared itself for battle.
For three long years the war has raged, with territories being taken and retaken by each side in turn. Neither side seems close to victory – in fact, the Houses' alleigances and territories have changed little since the beginning.
Both sides are now getting… desperate.
The characters are all members of, or affiliated with, House Poppy. A loose ally with the Red Rose, the Poppies' land lies firmly in contested territory between the two major factions. Since they have a lot to lose, their commitment to the war in the beginning was somewhat guarded. They did not much want to go to war.
Unfortunately, the war came to them.
Facing an army that the forces of tiny House Poppy could not hope to defeat, their soldiers covered the nobles' retreat as best they could. The entire staff of the castle, plus those nobles who did not fight, and a rag-tag bunch of displaced peasants made their long, slow evacuation to the East.
For a year or more they travelled away from the battles, relying on the kindness of the other Houses whose land they crossed, until one day they heard that the tide of the war had turned and that their land was back in Red control. With hope in their hearts once more, they headed back home to their now-free lands.
Commoners, Kiths and Glamour
Not everyone in Fairyland has a kith in the traditional sense. The majority of nobles do have a traditional kith, although some are “vanilla” faeries or other obscurities (such as Nyano, a raccoon – not a raccoon Pooka). On the other hand, the majority of commoners are “vanilla”. Those who do have a kith are often either celebrated or persecuted depending on how they act because of it.
As with kiths, Glamour is almost ubiquitous amongst nobles, and rare amongst commoners. A few commoners have simple glamours to make life easier, and these tend to gravitate to positions of wisewomen and sages, though occasionally one remains a farmer or a baker. The grand glamours that nobles are capable of are almost unknown amongst the lower classes.