May. 4th, 2008 10:21 pm
ladye_bright: (and sigh'd full sore)
[personal profile] ladye_bright
Stories collect around the Queen of Elfland, and most of them agree -- she is a woman to be wary of. Beautiful, seductive, and commanding, she has a fondness for mortal men. Any beautiful man will catch her eye, but the creative ones -- artists, poets, musicians -- are of special interest. Fairies aren't creative types. Their skills lie more in imitation. But they're easily bored with their own entertainments, especially the Queen.

And at the end of seven years, she pays a tithe of one of her own to hell.  If she cannot find a substitute -- a mortal, for preference, since members of her own court are more likely to object -- the Devil will come f or her, instead. And, quite sensibly, she's most anxious to avoid this.

Right up until the tithe comes due, though, her land is a lovely place for her mortal favorites.

The Queen is tall, dark-haired, and inhumanly beautiful. Her eyecolor is never quite definable. Her appearance as a whole may vary slightly from time to time, depending on who she's talking to or when she's living, but the basics are constant.

Her powers are relatively limited. When dealing with men, she relies on their desires to put them in thrall and bring them back to her land with her -- more often than not, that is enough. Most of her power stems from her persuasiveness. She can convince someone of the right mindset to forget her, to be paralyzed, to obey her. The stronger-willed or more magically resistant someone is, the less likely this is to work.

Like most fairies, she can cast highly realistic glamours -- turning Tam Lin into a bear, a swan, a burning brand, and so forth. These will not last forever, and can be broken by distracting her, or application of iron, salt, or running water. The Queen can be hurt by iron, and avoids salt and running water as much as possible.

My Queen is primarily from the ballad of Tam Lin, but she's influenced by numerous other ballads, songs, and poems. Those stories have in turn inspired a number of contemporary fantasy works that I'm also borrowing from, most notably Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock, Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, and Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. In some of these stories she's nicer than in others -- Thomas of the Rhymer doesn't do too badly for himself, for example, although telling only the truth is a rather awkward gift to be given -- but part of my goal with apping the Queen is to bring a villain into the bar who is most definitely not going to be redeemed, and who will hopefully stir up some plot and drama. Should she get one or more mortal men in her thrall by Halloween, the involved muns and I will have a long talk about whether the mortal men are going to have to be pulled from their horses by a woman pregnant with their child, or if it'll be something easier.


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