No prompt Written 19 February 2021
There are many tales of the Folk, many of them contradictory. Some say they are honorable, but follow a code separate to the laws of humanity. Others say they are impulsive and cruel. They are impossibly beautiful, or they are unnaturally angular, with too many joints. There are stories of them falling in love, and stories of them enchanting, using, and betraying besotted humans.
There are those who claim this split is between the Seelie and Unseelie, or the Summer and Winter courts. Then there are those who claim they are all cruel in their own ways. The truth is far more complex.
The Folk are born of stories. Stories we tell each other in the dark, stories of loss and love and trickery. The Folk embody those stories which we tell about them, and as these tales evolve, so do they. When their tales become entangled, as they have now, the Folk follow suit.
It would be easy to say that the Folk are what you believe of them. If you expect kindness, you will receive it. This is not true. You cannot simply tell the Fae in front of you “You are kind” and expect them to be so. Your belief does not hold more weight due to your proximity. For they are born and made of stories, but they, like you, have a will of their own.
You can no longer trust the Rules your ancestors have laid to protect you. It was said that the Folk cannot lie, but how many stories have been written in defiance of that? How do they gain power over you? Is it your name? Do they spin glamours of beauty to entice, hiding the corruption beneath? Can they change you with a touch, or deceive your senses with their words? Do they envy humanity’s creation of art, or are we doomed to create pale imitations of their beauty? It is impossible to say.
Will iron burn, will time run strange. Is their world separate from ours or hidden within it. No storytellers can agree, and this affords them a freedom they did not have at their birth. Your safety within the presence of a Fae is entirely up to them, as it has never been before. Lie about your name, carry iron around your neck and salt in your pockets. There is no way to know if it will matter.
This puts you, dear reader, in a precarious position. If the Rules hold no meaning, how are you to protect yourself?
There is no trick. No secret to keep you safe. Spinning your own tales of the Folk will only add to the mountain of conflicting stories. To tell one anew is to do nothing but invite their interest. And one thing that remained consistent through the centuries: you do not want to invite their interest.
I cannot help you, reader. I cannot protect you. The information I give serves as little more than a warning. You can do nothing besides be careful.