Despite what those cartographer imps may suggest, the Hedge is not an easy place to map — it’s not certain what shape this “between-realm” even takes. A flat plane? A disc floating on the back of a rose-eating beetle? A globe? A tangled weave of dream-stuffs? It seems therefore impossible that the Hedge has an edge, and yet, it does — eventually, the Thorns cease to be, and across that line lurks the splendor and madness of old Arcadia. Where this edge is doesn’t really matter.
It’s a conceptual end to the Hedge, a place outside of space where Faerie’s dark and pulsing heart thrusts up out of nothing. And long ago, somebody built a series of six towers of colored stone to mark the border between the two realms. Each tower is easily a hundred stories tall, a coiled spire like a strange hobgoblin’s twisted horn. Once, long ago (200 years? 2,000? 2,000,000?), these towers were manned fortresses keeping both the True Fae at bay and ensuring that no foolish wanderers could accidentally stumble into Arcadia and lose themselves entirely. It didn’t last. Being so close to Faerie was troubling enough on the mind, as was living sequestered in a tower where one could routinely gaze out and see the mind-breaking majesty of Arcadia just next door.
It wore down the minds of those within. Suspicions arose, became alive. Phobias bloomed, whole flowers of fear and loathing. It didn’t happen all at once, the murder of those within. It was slow; one night at a time. But eventually, the halls were stacked with bodies. Food spoiled. Metal rusted. Now, the towers — each just close enough so one can see the other tower as a tiny needle in the distance — are home to vagrant hobs and other strange creatures, places of dust and death.
- Changelings who enter one of the six Marchland Needles find it has both bonus and detriment. The bonus is, the True Fae cannot enter the towers. It’s impossible. It’s as if the very air resists them. The downside is, the towers slowly drive inhabitants mad. Every two days, the changeling gains a new mild derangement, has a mild derangement turn to a severe derangement, or has the same thing happen with minor/major frailties (though when they leave the tower for a full 12 hours, all such madness flees).
- , p. 83