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Literature / Fae Tales

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Written by the same author who wrote the Rise of the Guardians fanfic duology Shadows And Light, Fae Tales is a series of original dark fantasy/explicit erotica featuring, well, fae. Characters and worldbuilding first featuring as supporting cast and antagonists in SaL have more than taken on a life of their own.

Gwyn ap Nudd, renowned warrior and king of the Seelie Court, and Augus Each Uisge, Unseelie predatory waterhorse, should have had nothing to do with each other: Seelie and Unseelie, on opposite sides of a terrible conflict. But dark secrets, ancient grudges, and a growing understanding come together to change the course of events throughout the fae realms.


The series currently comprises three major novel-length works, various short stories, and more in-progress writings yet to be released. The lists below are not complete; take a look at the author's pages on Archive of Our Own yourself.

The primary works in the series are:

  • Game Theory, which begins six months after the events in SaL. The author's summary: Six months after Gwyn's defeat of the once Unseelie King, Augus Each Uisge - and decades after their first encounter - Gwyn has the fae waterhorse and ex-King of the Unseelie locked down in a cell, beneath the Seelie Court. In a difficult position himself, ruling an unwanted throne and waiting out the years between now and the time he can step down as King, Gwyn finds himself unable to stay away.
  • The Court of Five Thrones, the direct sequel to Game Theory. Saddled with a broken Court, the newly-crowned King of the Unseelie and his Advisor/lover have to navigate the challenge of their fragile relationship, face down the looming threat of the Seelie and a chaos-riven world, and learn who they can trust.
  • The Ice Plague: Book 1 - The Forest of Fire, set ten years after the events of The Court of Five Thrones.

Canon short stories:

Alternate universe stories:

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Tropes featured in Fae Tales include:

    In General 
  • Abstract Eater: Many fae have this; the Raven Prince feeds on thought and knowledge.
  • Abusive Parents: Lludd and Crielle.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Augus is this to Ash, no question.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: A status raise for a fae grants increased strength and power, among other things.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Fae being fae....or in the specific examples featured so far, a prayer heard by an underworld god, and a wish upon a falling star corrupted by a Mage's curse.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Seelie Court nobility certainly aim to be this.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Invoked by the Seelie in general, who believe this. The truth is.... far from it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Crielle, oh so very much.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: When the villains do such things as devour forbidden power from the underworlds in order to achieve godhood at the expense of the fae realm's stability, an emotionally-unstable waterhorse who realises that he wasn't entirely in his right mind when he nearly destroyed the Unseelie Court and multiple wetland systems.... well, the latter looks positively heroic in comparison.
  • Blessed with Suck: Gwyn's light is incredibly powerful, but causes him constant pain and injures him whenever he uses it for anything besides teleportation.
  • Born-Again Immortality: Certain fae identities, such as the Each Uisge and the Glashtyn, work on this. If the current Each Uisge is killed, a new one is born, usually retaining the same appearance and powers. They don't retain their memories, however.
  • Breakout Character: Can you believe that Augus and Gwyn weren't originally intended to be the protagonists of an entire series?
  • Broken Ace: The vast majority of the fae know Gwyn ap Nudd only as a terrifyingly capable War General/King who has accomplished multiple improbable things. The readers, on the other hand, are privy to, as the page itself has it, "ugly, writhing mass of self-hatred and Parental Issues".
  • Broken Pedestal: Most of the Seelie Court feels betrayed by Gwyn after a certain revelation, and that's putting it lightly.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A good few counts, both on- and offscreen, due to the number of sadistic characters featured; Efnisien is still the most prominent example, though.
  • Compelling Voice: Most notably, predatory waterhorses have this, though they're hardly alone in this.
  • Cool Boat: The Mantissa, a great warship helmed by Ondine.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: At least half the cast.
  • Decadent Court: It’s mentioned that Crielle’s influence made the Seelie Court increasingly this.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Fae who are sensitive about their true names do this, but the Raven Prince takes the cake by stealing and eating the memory of his name from everyone who'd known it, including his own family.
  • Elective Monarchy: How the fae Courts choose their rulers.
  • Emotion Eater: The Nightingale has an insatiable appetite for misery and despair.
  • The Empath: What Readers are, though inverse of the trope's usual expectations, the only two Readers we've seen so far are both male, and one of them is scarily skilled at what he does.
  • Evil Matriarch: Crielle.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Circumstances have forced Gwyn to do this on occasion; as Court fae, he can suffer no ill effect from eating raw meat and tree leaves.
  • Fantastic Racism: And how. The Seelie and Unseelie have a mutual distrust and disdain of the other, most fae consider shifter fae to be little better than the animals they can change into, Court-status fae have no regard for underfae, classless fae are 'too powerful to be allowed'....
  • A Father to His Men: Gwyn knows his soldiers by name, and can even remember which of them have families and children.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Davix in every appearance he's made so far, oh so much.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Gwyn has powerful and destructive light powers, and a gift for magic. His usual combat style is to just charge into melee with a sword in hand.
  • For the Evulz: Virtually everything Efnisien does.
  • Genius Bruiser: Gwyn is a military strategist, a skilled cartographer, reads dead languages....
  • Glamour: Gwyn calls it dra’ocht, and fae can use it to affect the perceptions and emotions of those around them.
  • Guilt Complex: Gwyn, and how. Three thousand years of emotional abuse can do that.
  • Hereditary Curse: Mentioned in Game Theory and expanded on much further in The Curse, the An Fnwy line was supposedly cursed with a predisposition towards extreme cruelty, a Mage's curse meant to eventually extinguish the lineage; now that Gwyn, who is sterile, is the Last of His Kind, consensus is that the curse has been fulfilled.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Gwyn retreats into himself and becomes unresponsive in response to severe torture or similarly highly distressing situations.
  • An Ice Person: Davix.
  • I Have No Son!: An unusual presentation compared to popular media, in that the disownment is a secret opinion rather than public declaration.
  • I Know Your True Name: It's not clear how much of a danger this actually is, but old-school fae tend to have hang-ups about it.
  • Invisibility: Augus acquires this power after Gwyn purchased it for him.
  • The Lancer: Augus is Gwyn's foil in many ways.
  • Last of His Kind: There's an alarming amount of this going around, with Gwyn being the last of the An Fnwy line, Eran's entire family being dead and Mosk possibly being the last Aur dryad.
  • The Leader: Gwyn gets designated as such a lot, from War General to King of the Seelie to Unseelie King.
  • Light Is Not Good: Gwyn is a light fae, and his power can create lifeless wastelands. That's because his power is Unseelie.
  • Magical Seventh Son: Mosk Manytrees is a seventh son of a seventh son, and this can confer a great deal of as-yet unspecified power. It's also mentioned in A Broken Feather, Straightened that the Raven Prince is one as well.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Blood-oaths, which kill people who break them. Gwyn is the only known exception.
  • Mind over Matter: Telekinesis is a very rare ability among the magically-inclined. On the other hand, the one character who has it is unimpressed by it.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Justified, The Fair Folk being magical beings and all.
  • Myth Arc: Both the personal struggles of the main characters and the goals they pursue through each story increasingly appear to collectively contribute to overarching questions concerning why the fae world is the way it is and how to fix its problems, if it even can be.
  • Offing the Offspring: Gwyn’s parents want to do this, but the family reputation comes first. Crielle begins in earnest after Efnisien's death, and her machinations continue to play out long after her death.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Raven Prince, the Nain Rouge, the Nightingale....
  • Order Versus Chaos: The difference in outlook between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts; the former concern themselves greatly with rules, honesty, and beauty, while the latter disdain rules, placing more importance on loyalty to one's own nature, no matter how ugly or predatory.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Each fae has a heartsong, a core concept (such as dominance or perception) that defines their personality and motivations. It's by no means permanent, being vulnerable to traumatic events/choices that run counter to the fae's heartsong, and can even be consciously shaped.
  • Physical God: Albion, lord of the Atlantic, is a confirmed demigod as he has already received a summons to the upper worlds.
  • Picky People Eater: Predatory waterhorses don't eat the livers of their victims. Augus, in particular, prefers to eat fit, healthy humans who don't smoke or drink.
  • Plant Person: Dryads are these, most notably the Oak King and Mosk Manytrees. They are literal plant people with chlorophyll in their hair and bark forming part of their skin.
  • Playing with Fire: Among others, Kabiri the underworld god and Eran Iliakambar.
  • Power Tattoo: Ash and Augus acquire a glowing mark upon their bodies which indicates the presence of the Soulbond.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While the Nain Rouge doesn't act particularly childishly, the mere fact that she looks like a human child (albeit one with matted, bloodstained hair and wearing rotting furs) certainly creates this effect.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Augus, as he slowly works through his emotional and psychological instability.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Gwyn was made King of the Seelie Court without his prior knowledge or consent.
  • Scars are Forever: Magically induced wounds, such as the Old Lore crystal soldered to Gwyn's rib to hide his alignment, and the removal of it with a knife made of ingrit, leave this kind of scars.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: There is a theory that this is the reason the Oak King chose to step down from Kingship, and that this was one of the reasons the Raven Prince allowed Augus to defeat him.
  • Single Specimen Species: This is what waterhorses such as the Each Uisge are, and it's justified as they are reborn when they die.
  • Society of Immortals: The fae, in general.
    • The Ageless: They even get to choose when they want to freeze their physical age at, with most naturally opting to remain in the prime of their life; exceptions are notable.
    • Immortal Immaturity: As part of their extremely long lifespans, the fae experience a lengthy childhood and adolescence, with the average fae only able to be considered mentally mature at about two to three centuries.
    • Immortality Bisexuality: Gwyn is actually unusual for being strictly gay.
    • Immortal Procreation Clause: Many species of fae (such as common fae like Gwyn's family) have a very low birth rate, while some others (such as waterhorses like Augus) cannot reproduce at all.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: While he wasn’t changed into a monster, nor is he actually a monster, Gwyn spends most of the series largely still in the Denial stage of coping with his Unseelie alignment.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Fae being fae, many of them have Super Strength, but some are notable for possessing such while looking deceptively slight of frame.
  • Super Strength: The higher the status of the fae, the greater their strength, and their actual physique is often quite unrelated.
  • Superpower Lottery: Different species of fae are born with innate powers; this can be random Elemental Powers or a skillset specific to their race. And then there's magical ability, which is an entirely separate lottery - Augus, for instance, has powerful innate ability with wetlands as a waterhorse, but utterly lacks magical talent.
  • Swans A-Swimming: Gulvi and her sister Julvia are swan maiden fae.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Most of the chapters in Game Theory are told from Gwyn's point of view, while the rest are from Augus's.
  • Teleport Interdiction: The cells for prisoners of the fae Courts have this, but Gwyn is still able to teleport from spot to spot within it.
  • Terms of Endangerment: With a twist. Crielle is Gwyn’s mother, and thus to all outside appearances there’s nothing wrong with calling him her ‘darling son’.
  • Time Abyss: All but stated by the Nain Rouge about what she is, calling the other fae 'young things' and claiming to have watched mountains crumble. And then the Spider Queen comes along, calling the Nain Rouge a 'young cousin'.
  • The Un-Favourite: In case it isn't obvious by now what Gwyn is to the rest of his family.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Gwyn's perspective and interpretation of events is somewhat skewed by his issues.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Crielle, Lludd, and the An-Fnwy estate as a whole. When Gwyn is outed as Unseelie that reputation takes a serious hit, but seems to still be going strong.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Gwyn will likely never entirely stop wishing for his parents' love and approval, even though he knows the truth is that they insisted on hating him for things he can't change and that aren't actually his fault.
  • You Are in Command Now: The Oak King chose to step down and have someone more militarily accomplished lead the war against Augus Each Uisge and the Unseelie Court.
    Game Theory 
  • Closed Circle: Technically, Augus is the only one of the two who isn't allowed to leave, but Gwyn feels trapped within his Court too, on account of the responsibilities heaped on him, and is effectively trying to avoid them temporarily by staying within his private rooms.
  • Force Feeding: Gwyn once force-feeds Augus a slice of human liver, which is toxic to predatory waterhorses.
  • Liar Revealed: Gwyn, King of the Seelie Court, is exposed as Unseelie.
  • Villainous Breakdown: With Efnisien's death, Crielle becomes increasingly unstable, eventually resorting to revealing Gwyn's Unseelie alignment to the Court in order to depose him.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 23: Truth, when Gwyn's true alignment is revealed.
    The Court of Five Thrones 
  • Back from the Dead: Augus, with a lot of help.
  • The Big Guy: Gulvi, Queen-In-Waiting and assassin extraordinaire, hardly fits the usual trope image of a literal big guy, but as the only one of the core group aside from Gwyn who sees violence on a regular basis as part of her job, certainly fits this role in their Five-Man Band.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Aleutia and Fenwrel do this in order to heal Augus and bring him Back from the Dead.
  • The Chick: Ash puts his glamour to good use soothing the tensions that tend to build up among the Unseelie fae at court....though ironically not serving this role among the actual core group for a good part of the story. He gets better.
  • End of an Age: The end of the Wild Hunt feels like this, as well as being a sign of everything going wrong in the fae world.
  • Five-Man Band: Gwyn, Augus, Gulvi, Ash and Fenwrel form this as the titular Court of Five Thrones.
  • Genius Loci: The lakes that Augus once Blighted and am now trying to heal have this. They're secretive and eldritch even by fae standards.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Gwyn feels that the all-out war between the Seelie and Unseelie has reached this, which inspires him to call a Coalition of the Classless.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mikkel chooses to take a poisoned arrow meant for Gwyn.
  • Making a Splash: Demonstrated by Albion to epic effect, when he nearly manages to kill Gwyn by drowning him.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Augus sets out to heal a lake he Blighted, and almost got killed by the otter family it was for.
  • Parental Abandonment: Part of Mikkel's backstory.
  • Rock Monster: The smith that Gwyn goes to for a new suit of armour is this, but is actually an affably laconic and even generous fellow.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Pretty much the main point of CoFT, besides the interpersonal dramas of the main cast.
  • The Smart Guy: Fenwrel, the appointed Court mage trying to advise and help the other four as shenanigans ensue, certainly seems to be wiser and more levelheaded than the rest of them. Naturally, she gets the fourth Inner Court seat.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Crielle's backup plan, as the true potency of the mothersbane poison can only be activated upon the death of a mother who hates her child as she dies.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Gwyn wears the red cord that Mikkel once wore as a reminder of the Reader's sacrifice.
    The Ice Plague: Book 1 - The Forest of Fire 
  • Anatomy of the Soul: A fae's heartsong is described as the anchor of their soul, being the core of who they are, but it's not the entirety of their soul or life force, otherwise Mosk probably wouldn't still be walking and talking.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Gwyn loses his light powers, but is still deadly in a fight with nothing more than a sword in hand.
  • Cold Iron: Eran binds Mosk with iron chains, but dragging his captive around with them gradually takes its toll on Eran's own hands.
  • Curse: A set of powerful curses on Mosk prevented him from speaking about what happened to him; not even the gifted Court Mage Fenwrel could touch them without triggering backlash.
  • Dead All Along: Davix.
  • Determinator: Eran is this in a nutshell, as his heartsong is determination.
  • Doomed Hometown: We learn in the very first chapter (heck, in the story summary) that this has already happened to Eran.
  • Empty Shell: Mosk seems to be this, and there's the freakout a passing brownie has when he sees Mosk.
  • Extreme Libido: In a twist on the usual, Mosk doesn't enjoy it and doesn't do more than take it, but he repeatedly tries to solicit sex, including from the other main characters, seeking a distraction from his unpleasant memories.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Kabiri is greatly weakened by the destruction of the afrit-ambaros clan.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How Davix was killed - the magical working he was performing was turned against him by the victim of said working. He was trying to siphon Mosk's heartsong and the anchor of his power; the magical connection allowed Mosk to reach across and tear Davix's magic out of him, unleashing the ice plague.
  • Living Battery: The true purpose of classless fae - the status and its effects were created by Davix and Olphix, in order to gather and store powers, which they can drain for their own use.
  • The Lost Woods: Eran and Mosk travel through a couple examples of these, with varying degrees of creepiness and danger. The Unseelie Court look like a slightly more benevolent, perpetually twilight version.
  • Mind Rape: Anyone trying to question Mosk about what happened to him instead gets their worst memories forcibly recounted to their faces, not that Mosk himself has any control over it.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Old Lore were once a race of powerful dragons, before Davix and Olphix slaughtered and warped them in order to gain control over the dragons' magic.
  • Twincest: Davix and Olphix.
    Canon Short Stories 
  • Arranged Marriage: Court families like the An-Fnwy do this; Crielle and Lludd develop a mutual respect and understanding, and both of them would turn their noses up at the idea of a stereotypical romance anyway.
  • Break the Cutie: The Nightingale and Terho the Mouse-Lad is almost entirely about this for the titular mouse-lad.
  • Cradling Your Kill: In the author's summary for the unwritten final chapter of The Drawn Bead, this is what Gwyn did with Mafydd.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Terho the mouse-lad, by the end of the short story about him. He can't even bear the sight of the blue skies he'd once hoped to see again.
  • Enfant Terrible: Crielle, pretty much from the moment she was born, due to a combination of fae precociousness, her natural talent with glamour, and an insistence upon getting her way in everything.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The fate of Mafydd in The Drawn Bead, for anyone sufficiently up-to-date with Game Theory.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Lludd forces Gwyn to kill Mafydd as punishment for breaking the blood-oath.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: No one knows how to kill the Nightingale, if he can even be killed, so he's imprisoned in the underworlds instead.