The Fae

The start of this story is here.

The document that Mycroft had found was “A Taxonomy of the Fae – A study of the anthropology of the Elder Race” by Ignatus Doyle.

I’m not going to reproduce it here. It’s a 19th Century work so the language is tough going. It comes from a time when Anthropology was not the science it is now and it’s also terribly out of date. I might put an edited version on the website later but now is not the time

You might be surprised that we even need such a document, let alone one that’s so old. You’re probably wondering why this stuff isn’t covered in the basic guide to field work. Well that’s because the Department has always worked very hard at having nothing at all to do with the Fae. As a group they are dangerous, unpredictable and follow physical laws outside the experience of humans.

That is changing since the events of [REDACTED] but we still have a lot of catching up to do. The standing orders are to avoid involving the Fae if at all possible. If not possible then eat nothing, drink nothing, offer nothing, accept nothing, do not ask for names and give only your code name. Seek advice from the Archive at the earliest opportuity. My advice would have been to go home and forget all about it but I couldn’t see Agent Alex going for that.

According to the Taxonomy there are multiple, overlapping classifications. There are Greater and Lesser Fae, Court Fae and Common Fae, Seelie and Unseelie and three ‘racial’ groups; Sith* (also Sidhe**), Hob and Sprite. The first problem with these classifications is that they’re mostly human terms. It’s hard to tell how meaningful they are to the Fae themselves. Oh apart from Seelie and Unseelie. They’ve been at war for as long as anyone can remember. And at the Department ‘as long as anyone remember’ goes back at least as far as the Roman Conquest.

The Seelie and the Unseelie are the largest factions. Each is lead by a Queen who is waited upon by a court – hence Common and Court. The only real difference between the two groups is that the Seelie recognize the primacy of man in on the physical plane. Don’t go thinking that makes the Seelie the good guys. They have no understanding of good and evil as we know them.

The Court Fae of both courts are mostly Sith. The Sith, sometimes called Elves, are tall slender and beautiful by human standards. Their beauty probably stems mostly from their inherently magical state. They generate glamours constantly. They can pass for human if they want to but only staggeringly beautiful or charismatic humans. These days they have very little to do with humans if they can possibly help it.

Greater Fae seems to refer to both the Sith and to the largest and most powerful of the Sprites and the Hob. Unless it’s just a meaningless human term.

The Hob and the Sprites are often bundled together as lesser Fae. The Hob are roughly humanoid and most of them can pass for human but their proportions are off and they look odd. That might be true of the Sith too but you never see Sith in their true form because of the glamours. The Hob can cast glamours but not in the same way as the Sith.

Sprite is a rough group name for the Fae that couldn’t pass as human with all the glamour in the world. The tiny winged humanoids are Sprites as are the shape-changers like the Kelpies. There are also the Faerie animals. The Black dogs found in legend all over the British Isles are known in Scottish Gaelic as the Cu Sith and the Faerie Cattle of Irish legend are the Bo Sidhe.

I said that there were Hob and Sprite in the Court but those are not the powerful individuals that humans count as greater Fae. The Hobs and Sprites in the court have the same status as pets and entertainers in the human medieval courts. The Sith consider them property.

Which leads to why they hate the word Goblin. The Hob who served the Seelie court were called pix or pyx which humans turned into pixie or pisky. The Hob who served the Unseelie court were called Gob or Kob which humans turned into Goblin or Kobold. Once there were armies of them on both side working for Sith masters who treated them like dirt. At some point first the Pix rebelled destabilizing the Seelie then, when the Unseelie tried to capitalize on it, the Gob rebelled.

They hate the word Goblin and the word Pixie because they are slave names. We were lucky to get out alive.

 *Pronounced Shee.

**Also pronounced Shee.


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