The world of Fae has always been a convoluted one, with many cultures and mythologies all playing into one ideal. Today, I’d like to talk about the different courts of Faerie, and how they play a role in the Tales of El’Anret.
First, the use of Seelie and Unseelie courts stems from Scottish mythology; while it does not seem to have originated there (think a crossover of Norse light/dark mythology and the like), the idea has certainly held its roots in Scottish and overarching Celtic lore.
According to Wikipedia, the Northern and Middle English word seely (also seily, seelie and sealy), and the Scots form seilie, meaning “happy”, “lucky” or “blessed” and unseely meaning “unhappy”, “misfortunate” or “unholy” are derived from the Old English sǣl and gesǣlig. It also states, as eloquently as I myself could:
The categorization of fairies based on court is whether or not a fairy is light or dark. The Seelie court are known to seek help from humans, to warn those who have accidentally offended them, and to return human kindness with favors of their own. Still, a fairy belonging to this court will avenge insults and could be prone to mischief. The most common time of day to see them is twilight. Other names for the Seelie court are ‘The Shining Throne’ or ‘The Golden Ones’ and ‘The Summer Court’. Seelies are known for playing pranks on humans and having a light-hearted attitude, forgetting their sorrows quickly and not realizing how they might be affecting the humans they play pranks on.
The Unseelie Court consists of the darkly-inclined fairies. Unlike the Seelie Court, no offense is necessary to bring down their assaults. As a group (or “host”), they appear at night and assault travelers, often carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing them to commit such acts as shooting at cattle. Like the beings of the Seelie Court who are not always benevolent, neither are the fairies of the Unseelie Court always malevolent. Most Unseelies can become fond of a particular human if they are viewed as respectful, and would choose to make them something of a pet. Some of the most common characters in the Unseelie Court are Bogies, Bogles, Boggarts, Abbey Lubbers and Buttery Spirits.
In A Tale of El’Anret, the distinctions between Seelie and Unseelie have become less important than a singular Queen over El’Anret, the Land of Twilight.
This change… is a questionable one.
Many traditions of the courts are still upheld, such as the Faerie processions that stunned many a traveler over the centuries, celebrating Midsummer, and the like. But the history of the Courts is not lost on the story; they are a massive part of El’Anret’s history, predating the current system rather than never existing at all.
You’ll have a chance to see some of this firsthand soon!
(PS: Y’all know I like to give credit where it’s due! Please help me find the name of the artist for this feature piece- it’s linked all over the place online, but no one names the artist!)