Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a world that was quite different from what we know now, there were two types of people.
There were the humans, who were very much like what we know now. And there were the fae, whom we have forgotten the reality of. At the beginning, one of the first fae, Achelus, rejected the land, and left it to live in the sea. He was the first of the people that would become the Fomoir. The humans and the fae lived together in peace until the humans turned their backs on the Truth that the fae held sacred. When they did this, there was a breaking so fierce that the world itself broke apart.
The fae, unwilling to live any longer with humans who had chosen such a different way of life from them, were separated from their human neighbors. They settled into their new homes with their own courts. Those who enjoyed the heat and the sun went with Maeve, the Queen of the Light Court. Those who enjoyed the dark and the cold went with Mora, the Queen of the Dark Court. And those who enjoyed neither extreme went with Mab, the Queen of the Shadow Court. Each Court lived and acted according to their own nature. And the Queens, sisters who loved each other as much as they loved their children, worked together to make life better for their people.
Life became hard for the humans after the breaking. They also divided themselves into their own groups and adapted to their new lands. Some turned darker, some turned paler, and some stayed the same. But no matter where they went, they disagreed with each other. Wars were fought. People died. And the humans became more and more fractured.
They fractured so much they could not continue to live so close together and they started to spread out, looking for new lands to conquer. Eventually, they delved into the lands where the fae had made their homes.
Being apart from their friends for so long, the fae tried to welcome the humans. But the humans had forgotten the fae by then. In their self-inflicted desecration, the humans had shortened their own lifespans. Hundreds of generations had been born and died by the time they saw their old neighbors again. The fae tried to remind the humans of who they were, but the humans did not believe them. Instead, the humans feared them. And what the humans feared, they had to destroy.
In order to stop the fighting, the fae Queens came together and made a pact with the humans. It was a simple agreement, the kind anyone might make with their neighbors. “We will help you as we can, so long as you do not act against us.”
But not remembering their past led the humans to repeat it. Within a few generations, the humans had made up their own stories about what the fae were. They called them gods or demons. They worshipped them or hated them. That was another thing the humans could not agree on. And it led to even more wars and death. And they blamed or praised the fae they knew for their actions.
Disgusted at their lies and their warlike ways, the fae moved on and left the humans behind.
But no matter how far they moved or how often they made pacts with the humans, the humans always followed. In desperation, the Dark Court moved to the poles of the Earth and the Light Court stayed in the deserts around the center. Lands that were too harsh for the humans to live in easily. But the humans were so used to strife by then that they moved into those inhospitable lands.
Maeve and Moira left their lands, going to their sister’s Shadow Court where she lived on a group of islands. Those islands had both light and dark times, but not a lot of either. The Light and Shadow fae were not as happy as they might have been, but at least they were among people that loved and trusted them. Together, the three Courts lived in peace and prospered. Several centuries went by, and during that time some of the fae chose to travel the world. They reported back to the Courts what had happened with the humans. Civilizations had fallen and been rebuilt. War had scorched the land. Famine and destruction rampaged. The fae had helped where they could while they were amongst the humans, but the humans never understood why, and even worse, they did not understand who the helpful fae were. Once again, humans had forgotten their neighbors.
Until once again the humans appeared. A boatload of humans crashed on their shores. The fae, keeping with their original pact, helped the humans. When the humans asked who they were, they explained themselves again. They were the fae, the Tuatha Dé Danann who followed Danu, the goddess of the land. Explaining who they were in regards to a goddess seemed to finally make the humans understand how they were different. And the fae were both pleased and hopeful. They took care of the humans until they were well enough to travel again.
These humans travelled all the lands, and the Tuatha Dé Danann requested that they spread the story of who they were. And told the humans that they would no longer live among the humans, if the humans would simply leave them alone on their island. They warned the humans that if they came to their sacred islands and tried to make homes there, or started fighting with the fae, that this time the fae would fight back. Humans were no longer welcome to live among the fae.
But of course, the humans either forgot or did not care. Wave after wave of humans came to the shores of their islands. Not by accident, but by intent. And they came with weapons. Each group of humans tried to take over the land. And the fae fought back. It was the last place on the surface of the Earth that had not been desecrated by the humans. It was the last place that the fae could live without being subjected to that desecration. And they were not going to let the humans take it and defile it as they had the rest of the planet.
The fae fought back.
Every group that came to the fae lands was given the same warning. Leave or die. Most of the times, the humans chose death. And the fae gave it to them. Each group that showed up was more determined than the last. Despite their determination, they stood no chance against the might of the fae who wielded the strength of reality and nature against them. Except for their young. The children of the fae, those still young enough and small enough for the humans to win against, died in droves when the humans landed on their shores. Imps, fairies, wisps, children of all kinds, fell under the hands of the humans. Their destruction was so unending, it caught the attention of the Fomoire. The Fomoire had also prospered away from the humans.
When their siblings grew weary of the fighting, the Fomoire gladly took it up. Every ship that came close to the island, the Fomoire destroyed. And grew stronger on the bounty of those that they killed. Still, that did not put a stop to the humans. Nearly every decade another group of humans would try to force their way in and be killed.
The living humans were kept from their lands. But the blood had soaked deep into the soil and water, polluting it. The land started to change. The corruption was setting in.
Danu, the goddess of the Earth, and Sky, the god of the air, saw what was happening to their children and together they made a new type of land. One that was in a realm apart from the Earth but still connected so they would not have to permanently leave the world they had been born on. With no safe place left to go on the Earth, Danu came to her children. She offered them a new place to live, away from the corruption. A place that the humans could not enter without permission.
The Underhill. A land betwixt and between the here and now, aware enough to change as needed and protect itself and the people that lived inside it. There were a place for all of Danu’s children to live safely and in comfort. The different courts would have lands of their own that were suited to them. They were offered paradise. And they happily accepted it. The Fomoire rejected it, as they did all direct gifts from Danu.
At first, the Tuatha visited their old lands frequently. But as the Underhill and the fae became better acquainted and learned to live together more easily, they visited less and less. The Dark Court could once again live in the darkness they adored, the Light Court could bathe in the heat of their suns, and the Shadow Court could enjoy their moons and stars and shifting lights. The Underhill made that all for them and expanded until everyone could have the space or the cozy comforts they wanted. Plants and animals, some of which they had kept with them for thousands of years, flourished and filled the fields, rivers, and forests of their new homeland. And as they became more accustomed to their new courts they visited the other courts less often. So it took a very long time before the fae noticed that some of their own were missing. There had never been a census done among the fae, but they were a family. Widespread and privacy loving, but a family nonetheless. Great gatherings were called. Some for the individual courts, and some for all the courts to attend.
It took time, and the Queens working together and talking with all their people, but the truth came out. Some of their people were gone. They had gone out to visit the human lands and never came back. Search parties were sent out. The fae tracks all led to the same place. The docks. The missing fae had all gone to investigate the new world in the human lands. The Americas. And as far as they could tell, not one of them had ever made it back.
Find out what happens when Mab decides to send someone to bring down the rogue fae in Moss and Clay by Rebekah Jonesy, available now!
The featured image on this post is by James Christensen