Transmission: September - 2017

Artifact: Root Beer Fizzie Postcard

Somewhere, far away, through many doors and around many turns, you’ll find a secret place beyond the Woodland. This land has many names, it is the home of the Fair Folk, the realm of the Fae, the Four Courts of Season, and the Lucinox officially recognized as Arcadia.

I’ve never been to that realm. But i know something of it. This is your introduction to what i know about the Neofae, who make their home in Metronox, most specifically in the district called New Arcadia. There you’ll find the largest collection of dreamlings in the city, tucked into the corner of the Clover Quadrant, along the wall that borders Sonder.

Thousands of years ago, even before the Silvergates opened, the city shared whispered stories of Fae creatures. Their essence is found in many children’s books and old folk songs. Some scholars accept that it’s quite likely the Fae know stepways between worlds just as our city has stepways between alleys, which is in holding with their nature. It is often spoken in rumors and folklore that Fae ancestors - or even some who still walk the worlds today - traipsed our city by pathways unmarked and unwatched as far back as when the foundations were first set.

Most of that, however, is debated.

What is commonly accepted isn’t much. The Four Courts of Season live forever somewhere in Arcadia. Their kindred travel the world and often take residence in places that suit their nature. We know that the Fae have lived for many ages, though no one has empirically proven their rumored immortality. We know that the Fae are born of three components: Name, Element, and the magic of Arcadia often called “stardust” or “whisperlights” or sometimes “glamour.”

What’s fascinating to me is the often overlooked fact that Fae folk are not always from their homeland. Any realm touched by stardust will soon find Fair Folk of their own populating the edges of perception. These Neofae reflect the seeds from which they are born, and, consequently, the nature of the realm they come from. They are in tune with the music that surrounds them.

In New Arcadia you will find all manner of Neofae. There are the Ragglings that torment some laundromats. The Burgles that can appear in a sink of dirty dishes festering too long. The Cinderooks, also called Brickhalters, who hole up in stalled out construction sites, often said to lure lazy workers into their hovels, teaching them to eat old cement and pick their teeth with discarded nails. There are Toadies that clog up the sewers, Greechers who make foolish machines in the junkyards, and Gertrolls that eat the rivots from rusted I-Beams deep below the underframe of the city.

A Fae must have these three things to exist: a Name, a Seed and Glamour.

The Seed is easiest to come by. Something physical that carries with it wonder or fear. For instance: the citysprites called “Glinters” are borne from the shards of one broken fluorescent lightbulb that used to be part of a pair. When this one half of a light is broken, leaving the still operational bulb to flicker and glint off of the broken glass, if the shards are somehow sprinkled with Stardust, you end up with this tiny creature made of glinting, spasming light, and bright shiny edges. Glinters can cut you easily, and bite if you’re mean to them. But mostly they are delicate, and like to flit around the brighter parts of the city.

The Name of a Faery is more than just a What You Call Them nomenclature. It has to carry with it the weight of what you’d speak in a story. You can’t just say, “Nixies come from old candle wicks.” You have say, “Nixies are the little people that come from candles that are almost burned but not quite. When the candle knows it will never be lit again, it will burst to life one last time, and from the soft wax, like a bird from an egg, a Nixie is born.” The name of a Fae is also it’s story, it’s reason to be whispered about, it’s nature to be displayed or denied.

When a Fae gets their own personal name, more than just the name of their kith, they become, some would say, immortal. So far it seems that any Faery once named can always be called back again, with some Glamour and their proper seed. I’ve been to at least one taylor that worked with a family-oathed Filchie - a sprite conjured from pocket lint - who had been serving the taylor’s family for unknown generations, always called back by that creatures true name. For that reason alone most Fae will not tell you their true name.

The final element is Glamour, or Stardust, the key to a Seed & Name becoming a Faery. This is the stuff that breaths life from trinkets and shadows. Stardust is something otherworldly, and can take several different forms. Most common in the city, however is the Amber Dew of the Eldertree. Massive, ancient, and planted here, according to myth, by the Faery King Raam, the Eldertree is the centerpiece to New Arcadia. It looms over the city skyline, as tall as the Winterwall of innermost Clover. And from it’s branches, at dawn and dusk, descends a gentle snow of glowing amber motes, little bubbles of light, that fall slowly, and seep into the asphalt and concrete of the city all around. This is glamour, raw, undistilled. It feeds the dreamlike nature of this district, and gives life and laughter to all the Fair Folk that call it home.

Neofae are not always simple magics. There are the named ones who come out of scary stories and bad dreams. Like the Acid Man, who, as it was told to me in childhood, would collect the batteries of children who left their electronics untended, or left old batteries in the garbage. The Acid Man would find what you improperly disposed of, and then sneak out of your closet in the dead of night, and, cracking the battery open, would pour it’s corrosive contents on your sleeping face. Or there is the Wheelwight, a legend that edges on creepy, but has always been spoken of with reverence. When your bicycle breaks and you are forced to leave it behind, or throw it away, if you loved that bicycle very much the Wheelwight will find it, repair it to better than new, and then hang it over your bed as you sleep. I once met a young Draedean who swore with a crossed-heart that this very thing happened to him in gradeschool. He still has that BMX.

I found this postcard among many on a rack of others like it. The rack was mounted on the back of a goat being marched by an old woman through the streets of New Arcadia, a long time ago. It was not my first visit, but i remember desperately wishing i knew who the artist was. It’s such a simple style, but it captures the magic of one of my favorite sprite-kith.

The image is of a familiar dreamling found throughout the Inner City, and from what i understand their kith were first borne here. Their seed is a bottlecap, twisted off of a soda that is genuinely enjoyed to the last drop. The cap is then folded in half, and left where no one can see it. From that afterthought a Fizzie is born. These little creatures often take on the 'flavor' of the soda that created them: color and personality riffing on the brand and make of their beverage soul. In the picture on the postcard you’ll see a Root Beer Fizzie, with frothy hair, and dark bubble-freckled skin, sitting on what i would only guess is the cap for her brand of soda. Most fizzies have their bottlecap as part of their body, like a hard shell on their back, under which they keep their long dragon-fly-like wings, until the cap splits open and they take flight. These wings are often translucent, but sparkle with the bubbles of a carbonated drink, and make the same sound as freshly poured soda fizzing down when they fly by you.

Most none-Fae avoid living too deep into the borders of New Arcadia. Spending time there, telling your name and getting the stardust on you, can alter you. Make you a Changeling. But if you ever get the chance to take a stroll through one of the markets there, or to watch a show as performed by Satyrs, or gamble with a grifting Pentyr, I highly recommend it. And take me with you, when you do. Not just because i would love to go back, but… for your own good, as well.
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