You travel first to the town of Mayvin, a mostly gnomish community situated a few miles north of the rift. You talk to the locals for a bit and find that fey sightings are common in the area, and have increased greatly since the Great Upheaval, when the land of Markovia disappeared in a great earthquake, and the Shadow Rift opened up in its place. You also manage to collect some bits of folk wisdom about how to attract the fey or drive them away. Staying in town for a few days, you try several of the techniques to lure them out, but have no success.
You take a day trip to the rift itself, and see the land simply seems to end, plunging down steep cliffs into a vast ravine full of churning black mist.
It is a beautiful sight, unlike anything else in the world. But there is no safe way down, short of rappelling for hundreds of feet into the mist. And worse, there is no sign of the fey, or anyone else for that matter. Disappointed, you head back to town, and are about ready to give up when one of the students you brought along reports that he heard a tale around town of a hidden grove in the woods, full of flowers, where the fey gather. You search the woods and find the grove, which is full of beautiful plants of all kinds, but no fey. After a long, fruitless search, you bed down for the night. Soon after dark, a flock of butterflies arrive, a strange sight, since they are usually diurnal. They flit from flower to flower, pollinating, and then turn into a flock of faeries, each about one foot tall, with bright-red hair and butterfly wings. The faeries tend to the plants, pruning them, straightening stems, etc.
When you approach, they at first ignore you, but when you are insistent on talking to them, one introduces herself as Saenliss, and says that if you must talk, you must also work. She points you to a flower bed and asks you to pull the weeds while you talk. Saenliss seems relatively friendly, just focused on her work. From her you learn the following:
At this point, you're done with the weeding, and Saenliss hands you a small cloth bag. She asks you to pick the choicest petals from a certain flowering plant which you don't recognize. She says the petals are for the meals of Maeve, Queen of the Shee. Then in an instant, she flies right into your face, her eyes piercing with a fierce, predator's stare, as she growls, "And DON'T pick the whole flower. Just a few petals from each." In that moment you are reminded that despite the friendly banter to this point, these creatures have a mindset that is not at all human. There is a sense of wrongness about her, that she exists outside the normal bounds of nature, that you could no more predict her actions than those of a thunderstorm, beautiful and terrible and completely other. And as quickly as it came, the moment passes and she is back to her former self.
When you broach the subject of the Fir's comment to you, she is dismissive at first, but then takes a closer look after you show off your Blossom Breath, and gets excited. She flits over to another Alven, and grabs some dust from a pouch she carries, blowing it into the air. It settles over you and the whole group. She stares for a moment and tells you that yes, you do carry the blood of the Alven. And Gavin too, though fey blood ebbs and flows in mortal families and his is very weak, while yours is fairly strong. She gives you a brief hug and then returns to her work.
(Suriana asked Saenliss several questions, as follows.)
Do they (the Fey in general and the Alven in particular) live anywhere else, and how can Suriana find them? Where do the other "races" of Fey/Arak live?
"Some of our brethren, the Sylvan Fey, hail from outside the Shadow Rift;
they remain untouched by The Twilight, and are not Arak. But all Arak call
the Rift home, though no one stays at home his whole life, and many are
content to roam the lands outside for years before returning. You can
always find we fair folk in forgotten places, old hollows, secluded
valleys, dark forests and silent caves. Places that mortals forget, and
places that mortals fear."
|Do they know of the "green lady"?||"The ladies of the forest are friends to us, though they are not kin. We share a love of growing things, and work together from time to time."|
|What are the "ladies of the forest" if not kin to the Fey? What else can they tell me about them?||"Well, of course they are Fey. They are I suppose 'distant kin,' but they are not Arak. They live in the forest and tend to their trees. Highly protective of the wilds. Admirable, and beautiful. Especially fond of the great Oaks."|
|Do they have a name? The Arak, called Fey by us mortals have a name - Fir, Alven and so on. Do these ladies have a name, among the Arak or among the mortals?||Mortals who know of them call them Dryads.|
|She would want to know as much as she can about the Fey... (in game terms what are their stats/abilities/powers etc...)||She flat out refuses to discuss any sort of vulnerability that the fey may or may not have, but eagerly shows off her ability to change shape, and explains that fey are especially adept at glamors and illusions. As beings of magic, they are also resistant to magic and illusions cast by others.|
|If all Arak are one race, does it mean anything that she has Alven blood versus any other type of Fey blood?||"It means everything! Unlike us, you mortals are nothing but the shell you wear. If your fey ancestor was Alven when your lines were combined, Alven blood shall your kinfolk have for all your days until your line withers and dies. It means that whatever fey qualities you possess reflect the Alven way: Alven dedication, Alven independence, and the Alven love of the wild, of the great green places, and the tiny sprouts in the earth."|
|What type of flower is it that she's picking and how is it special?||She gives you a name that seems completely impossible to pronounce, and tells you it’s a special as any other flower.|
|Do they know anything about her destiny/prophecy-wise?||She doesn’t know, and doesn’t seem to care much.|
|What do they know about the mists?||"The Mists are simply the source of all things, at least all things here in the False Realm."|
|What do they know about the Mist Claimer?||She doesn’t know, and doesn’t seem to care much.|
|What do they know about Nidala?||She doesn’t know, and doesn’t seem to care much.|
|What do they know about Azalin?||She doesn’t know, and doesn’t seem to care much.|
|Do they know anything about the Souldrinker?||She doesn’t know, and doesn’t seem to care much.|
|Do they know anything about the Vir, The Mechanical Man, also known as Talos? (he may be gone but the party saw that "hedgehog" who may have been interested in either Vir or the Souldrinker so I’m curious if there is anything there...)||She laughs and says, "That sounds like Bréagáin-Creideann-Sé-Féin-Fear, the Toy Who Thought Itself a Man. Years ago, tales say, the fir called Waelin, master artisan of Anvolee, found the thing in ruins near the edge of the Rift, sunk deep in the earth. It must have fallen from the False Realm above. Waelin repaired it, made it work again. It walked and talked like a Man, but was hollow inside, full of gears and pistons, a mockery of nature. Bréagáin-Creideann-Sé-Féin-Fear gave Waelin no thanks for his repairs, only demands. It wanted to be improved, and Waelin complied. Waelin didn't fear the Toy, of course. He had studied every part of it, and knew its weaknesses; and besides, immortals never truly fear. But Waelin obeyed the Toy for his own purposes; working on such a complex and ultimately useless device was pure joy for a fir. He reveled in the challenge of adding more and more complex features to an already marvelous machine. But one day, the Toy simply disappeared. Waelin would tell no one what had happened, but the whispers say the Toy wanted one thing above all, and it was the one thing that Waelin, for all his craft, could not build him. So Waelin sent the furious thing away, back to the mortal lands whence it came."|
|Do they know what improvements Waelin made to Vir? There was a Fir following Vir - do they know who/why? Will the Fir leave Vir to rest now that he's "broken" or will they try to fix him?||As a collective answer to all three of these, "You'd have to ask the Fir about that. I've too much important work to do to fret over those uncaring gremlins and their silly toys."|
|Any chance I can find some Fir to ask about Vir while I'm at the Rift?||She doesn't know of any nearby, and if you search a bit, you don't find any.|
|Twice they have referred to the "False Realm"... Once including themselves and once seeming to exclude the Rift. If the False Realm the entire world? Why do they call it that? What is false about it?||"The False Realm, The Mortal Lands, The Zellgwylee, The Magic-barren Surface, it's this world above the Rift. The True Realm is the land of raw magic and emotion, home of all fey, of which the Rift is but a small intrusion into your world. We call it false because we can feel it to be so; it lacks the spark of real places, this land woven from Mists. We clothe our spirits in the elements of the False to even exist here, but it can never be home, can never replace the True."|
Eventually, you bid Saenliss farewell and head back to Il Aluk. A bit more than two weeks later, at night, there is a knock at the door of your room in the dormitory. You open the door and see no one, then looking down, you see a small turtle looking up at you. The turtle begins to crawl into your room. Once you close the door, it shifts into a form somewhat similar to the Alven, but where Alven hair was bright red and skin was pale, this man has deep black skin, white hair, black eyes and stands only half as tall. Also, his wings are the dull wings of a moth, rather than a bright butterfly.
He says he is a Portune named Turi, and that Saenliss asked him to research your ancestry. He has spent over a year tirelessly poring through the records at the Malachite Palace to puzzle it out. (yes, he did say "over a year".) He pulls out a scroll and quill and announces that your great-grandmother Edina was the daughter of a mortal mother and the Alven known as Jaen, son of Tama, daughter of Aen (and Gwilith of Esmirth, the Portune), daughter of Irianpor, Keeper of the Royal Garden of the Seelie Court. And therefore, you are by rights, a viscountess of the Alven, and may bear the crown that Tama left behind when she disappeared in the Darkenheights. He gives you the Alven Crown, which fits snugly on your finger.