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True Fae are worlds. When they choose to manifest as such, as Realms built from their thoughts, they can support civilizations, ecosystems, and myth-cycles spun from the Titles and Wyrd energies. Realms obey the rules of dreams and minds, not physical laws, and do so to accommodate visitors, including fellow Fae and foreign visitors. Realms can challenge visitors, but not utterly vanquish them. As always, free will is meaningless unless it can be exercised against the Other’s desires, so she must disarm them to an extent to allow opposition.
All Realms have at least one gateway. This always features a symbolic threshold: a door, bridge or even just a tattered sign that says, “Now Entering the Land of Tears.” A Realm isn’t a Realm unless it can be visited. By definition, anything else would just be the inaccessible depths of an Other’s mind. True Fae can’t lock their Realms away but they do appoint guardians to keep slaves in and unwanted visitors out.
Note that this isn’t the only way a True Fae can rule over an Arcadian fief of his very own.
The Law of HospitalityEdit
Realms must be hospitable. They can have dangerous features, but the Realm can’t be an inescapable death trap for visitors. This doesn’t mean they have to resemble the mortal world. Instead, they’re livable regardless of appearance. If a Kindly One takes the form of an ocean without end, guests can breathe its water. The law of hospitality isn’t universal: dangerous places do exist, but they can’t encompass the entire Realm. Unusual phenomena and hostile encounters injure or kill travelers just as comparable phenomena would on Earth.
The law of hospitality doesn’t apply to anything born of or ruled by the Fae herself. She can kill entire Realm-born species with a thought and holds the power of life and death over her changeling slaves. Former slaves need not worry; they broke the master’s bond when they escaped.
The Law of PatternsEdit
Fortunately, travelers can understand Realms if they uncover underlying signs, metaphors and rules. Realms must have them; the law of patterns demands it. Consider the strange, lethal ice in that volcanic Realm. Nothing on Earth is like it, but its meaning is easy to understand. In a realm with seas of fire and ash, ice represents a radical temperature extreme, just as an active lava field would be the same thing for someone on Earth. In one Fae Realm, anger lights fires and true love makes the air fragrant with sweat and cherry blossoms, but there’s never a moment where anger suddenly makes trees grow instead — unless that change is also part of some underlying, comprehensible pattern. Realms exist to be experienced by other beings, including changeling slaves and Feud rivals.
Realms also support a Keeper’s changeling retinue. Not every Faerie lord swallows up slaves in a Realm but most at least manifest as the “master’s estate” to admit servants and their dues from time to time. Merciful Gentry support most of their slaves in a Realm, because it’s the only place where the Taken can find comfort without striking a Contract. The changeling has already paid for her lord’s “kindness” with her service. A Kindly One can withhold his Realm’s grace from his slaves whenever he pleases, for the law of hospitality doesn’t apply to them. Holding Realm form for the sake of the slaves is onerous but secure. It occupies a Title with the business of keeping the form, but the changelings within are utterly confined by their master’s power and can always be spied upon.
The King is the LandEdit
True Fae are potentially aware of everything that happens in their Realms, but unless a pressing need arises they don’t bother with every detail. Just as mortals don’t consciously examine every thought or sensation, the Others, while dimly aware of everything, concentrate on a few special concerns, such as a Legend’s progress or a slave’s amusing escape plan (provided the latter is especially amusing).
As a Realm, a Kindly One can reshape herself with a thought, but no matter how radical the changes are they must accommodate the law of hospitality. He can’t put impassable obstacles or unstoppable threats before visitors. The rules depend on the desires and destinies of visitors too, so situations that are not so much dangerous as unacceptably inconvenient aren’t allowed, either. If a motley searches for a city in the Realm, its lord can move it to the moon, but a flying ship will inevitably appear to take travelers beyond the clouds — whether the Fae wants it or not. He can make it rain heavy stones, but he can’t throw a million-ton block of supersonic granite. Realm-shaping obeys the law of patterns, too; changes can’t be instantaneous and always follow some kind of detectable processes.
A Realm’s inhabitants belong to three categories: independents, extensions, and slaves.
Independents - are free-willed inhabitants. This category includes visitors from Earth, other True Fae and other forms (Actors, Props or Wisps) of the same True Fae as the Realm itself. They can leave the Realm at any time, assuming they overcome intervening hazards. The laws of hospitality and patterns apply to independent visitors.
Extensions - are parts of the Realm. They’re animals, plants, people, and less easily defined entities that were created with the Realm. They cease to exist when the Realm ceases and they can’t leave. Extensions are never as powerful as Actors born of the same faerie. Plant (and some weird animal) extensions bear goblin fruits from time to time. In an exception to the normal rules for extensions, characters can take these out of Realms, though they can’t take the things that grew them.
Slaves - are changelings who belong to the Realm’s creator. They can leave and can’t be forced to act against their will, but they can be reshaped or killed whenever their master desires, as they dwell within her.
- Equinox Road, p. 93-95