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Author Topic: The Forgotten Fey - The Wold  (Read 1238 times)
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Kane
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« on: June 11, 2012, 04:54:19 AM »

The last of the forgotten fey series. Enjoy.

The Wold – the Eternal, the Aryth Mothers

99 Last Age, Keeg’s Tor, the Barrens:   The lack of rain and rising heat, had leached the life out of already poor soil. The wheat stalks were barely two feet tall and brittle to the touch. The Boro herds were thin and sickly, with little forage. Without heavy and prolonged rain, the harvest would fail and the village would not survive. There was no stored reserve, no neighbors that could assist in our time of need. We were two hundred families, refugees from across the north, trying to survive in this inhospitable waste. We’d come so far, braved so much, only to die of starvation.

In desperation, I clutched at old stories, legends of the Aryth Mothers; spirit women who nurtured the land and could bring forth its bounty.  The tales of my childhood were dark, relating the power of these hidden fey and the terrible price of that power.  Looking at my son, pale and gaunt, and seeing the aged refusing to take food better suited for the young, I knew I had little choice. I had to find out if the stories were true and pay whatever cost was asked of me.

That was why I was here at the Tor on the night of the waning moon. I ran my blade lightly over my arm and let my blood slowly drip to the dry ground. As the stories told, I was at the summit of the Tor as the moon waned, letting one drop of blood fall for each arc of the year. It may have been my imagination, but as each drop hit the ground the temperature dropped, leaving me to shiver in the cool northern wind. As the last drop hit the ground and I covered my wound, I waited, feeling the fool that I had wasted my time with a child’s tale.

I was desperate, so I stayed on the Tor for almost an hour praying for the Ayrth Mother’s arrival. It was as I turned to leave that I saw something; seeming to emerge from the rocks. I clutched my axe as the figure approached. In the scant moonlight, I could barely discern her features, except for her catlike eyes, and long, wild hair. A head taller than I, the Ayrth Mother looked down on me. I could feel both her amusement and scorn. In voice deep and pure, she asked if I had to come to bargain.

The stories were true, the Aryth Mother existed. I knew what she wanted and even though I thought I was prepared, it took all I had not to flee. I told her the land was failing us and my family, my village was dying. I asked if she could help. With an almost cruel smile, she nodded and held out five fingers.  She wanted five cycles for her aid, five years of my life. I took a step back; five years, so much time. I thought of my son, of all the children, and took a step forward, my head bowed. I nodded slowly, not looking into her eyes as her hand stretched out. The hand was cold as winter snow and the chill spread through my body. I could my muscles weaken and my breath was labored. In just moments, I had lost five years; how would I appear to my wife, my child?

With the whispered phrase ‘the price has been paid’, the fey turned away and walked toward a narrow cleft in the rock. She was soon gone from sight. As I slowly walked down the Tor, I wondered if the cost was worth the gain. It wasn’t until I reached the outer fields and had to brush the stalks away from my face that I knew I had made the right, the only choice. The fields were tall, nearly ready for harvest. My people would survive at least for this year. I looked back at the peak wondering if I would be returning the next year to bargain once again.


Description/Influence: The Wold are an ancient and very rare fey race tied to the natural cycles of the Aryrth. They once could be found across Eredane, but with the growth of the Kingdom of Erenland in the Third Age and the corruption caused by Izrador’s dark mirrors, they have been forced into desolate or isolated areas, far from the major cities. The tallest of the fey, they can easily reach eight feet in height. They are slightly built but have the strength of old oak. Their grip can break bones. Besides their height, their most notable feature is their long silver, cat-like eyes. Those seen are always female and often have long, unkempt hair that reaches below their waists.

The Wold live beneath the surface in the cold, moist Ayrth. They can tap the same power that the Dark God steals with his mirrors. Unlike the mirrors, the Wold can enrich the soil, acting as a channel for life energy. They can drain life from a willing or unwilling host to strengthen the Ayrth and to sustain their own lives. In ages past, the Wold were shunned by their fey cousins. The Dorn both feared and revered them; often seeking their aid to preserve a harvest or heal land corrupted by blight.

Due to their ability to sustain their own lives by draining life from others, the Wold are ancient; many having witnessed the Sundering. In the last Age, the Witch Queen has sought out the Wold, both for their wisdom and their ability to heal the Dark God’s blight. Queen Aradil knows the cost that has to be paid and will sacrifice orc captives and even her own people to preserve Erethor.
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