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Author Topic: Fae forced to be human (a character brainstorm request)  (Read 1710 times)
Zeppelin Admiral
Scotland Scotland

Caledon MacHinery (they/them)

« on: April 14, 2016, 10:21:29 am »

hello! I was struggling with some character development and I thought maybe you have some ideas.

the first character I want to bring up has the placeholder name "Forth" and Forth is a Selkie.
Selkies are creatures from celtic mythology that appear as seals, but can take off their skin and then look human. If you get to the possession of a Selkie skin, you can force the creature to stay with you as a lover or a friend, though you should make sure they never find the hide, because they'll be gone as soon as they can.
Forth has not had his own skin for ages, because he couldn't find it even after the human that had 'tamed' him died. As such he is now forced to live a human life.

The second has the placeholder name "Clyde" and Clyde is a Eachs Uisge.
Eachs Uisge together with Kelpies are often generalised as Waterhorses. Waterhorses are a dangerous branch of Scottish Fae that live in landlocked waters and prey on humans. they appear friendly, inviting the human to take a ride and then dragging them into the water and drowning them, after which they eat them. Eachs Uisge, unlike Kelpies, also have the ability to take a human form. waterhorses can be tamed, to do so one must replace their reigns and halter and lead them away from the water.
Clyde, like Forth, lost his freedom to a human that passed away, leaving him with the choice to live as either a human or a horse and he decided human would be better.

the two know each other and get along on friendly terms, relating to each others stories while obviously very different from each other.

my main problem for them is that I am not sure how much their species would influence their behaviour, even after he's been living as a human for very, very long. Fae are basically immortal, so they were tamed generations ago and still look exactly like back then, this is also a problem, because I'm not sure how this would influence their relationships with humans, if they could have those at all, because I'm not sure how capable they are of understanding human emotions.

so if somebody wants to brainstorm I'd be thankfull!

I struggle and arise
Clym Angus
Zeppelin Admiral
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Lord of Misrule

« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 03:42:34 pm »

Look at the sum of the individual experiences that will help you gauge reaction.

Here you have two creatures united by loss.

The horse, used to humans as a food source suddenly discovers that they have a rich culture, are creative, inventive and capable of atrocities that far out strip it's megre capacity to kill one or two every so often for food.

Imagine eating carrots. You feel nothing for the carrot because hey it's a carrot. One day your turned into a carrot and you receive help, aid even possibly affection from the other carrots whom you discover have a rich and diverse culture, full of history, poetry, love, hate, destruction and hope. All the time you know you killed hundreds of them because you know they were carrots and you knew no better.

A Selkie on the other had would be dealing with a whole different band of emotions borne mainly from resentment. He resents and misses his lost skin, he resents having relationships with people that wither and die, he resents the newer laws that make it easier for the authorities to notice someone who as lived for 300 years. He doesn't want to admit it but he's been changed by living round humans. He has had to learn responsibility, subterfuge, social graces.

Also he was a seal skin, there is one kind of person who would have caught him fishermen. Would he have been lucky enough to be caught by an all female fishing crew? I doubt it. It is quite possible that he has a lot of "capture and early treatment" issues that he's avoiding or has failed to deal with.

So there you have it the remorseful killer and resentful ex-slave rentboy. What a fantastic combination! These creatures have had humanity (the thing we take for granted) forced on them and they're struggling with it badly. Very badly indeed. These are two creatures of pure light, who have been thrown into the cesspit of being human. They're treading water trying to keep their noses up occasionally one of their limbs might touch a gem of humanhood hidden in the filth as they desperately tread water but mostly they're just trying not to sink.

I'm only unhappy about the fact that I didn't think of this idea first. If you would like some more help with this then my door is always open!


oh I found this quite interesting too:
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 04:14:02 pm by Clym Angus » Logged

Inflatable Friend
Zeppelin Admiral
Italy Italy

« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 11:03:46 pm »

Happy to throw my wobbly-brained wonderings in on this, it seems like a fantastic idea!

My first thoughts on reading this was the classic Wittgenstein quote "If a Lion could speak, we would not understand him." Even if the two fae in question can look human the way their minds function and societal interactions work would most likely be utterly, utterly alien. A shared form (unless your going to go the Pratchett route) means nothing. I heartily recommend reading this piece, if not just for the crackingly suitable Xenophanes quote "But if cattle and horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do, horses like horses and cattle like cattle also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies of such a sort as the form they themselves have."

Clym is spot on that loss is going to be a driving emotion for them both. They've lost everything that they were, their habitats, relations, social structure - all stolen from them by selfish humans, this terrible, alien, may-fly quick race that's destroying the planet and generally being rather terrible. They've been forced to become eternal prisoners, slaves to an alien form in confusing ever-changing and noiseome shams of society. For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years they've been something else - Swum the oceans, drowned and eaten people, had connections and an perspective of the world that no-one at all but others of their kind could possibly comprehend, they saw man worshiping animals and the spirits of the place, watched countless human empires rise and fall, watched faiths, martyrs and deities come and go, watched the march of progression and destruction over tens upon tens of these blink-and-you'll-miss-it life spanned creatures. But now, thanks to the duplicitous, thieving way these quick things grub for power over everything regardless of the cost they've become trapped until the end of time as one of them. I suspect disgust and self-loathing would be high on the list.

That said, perhaps they've been conditioned away from their former lives, think Stokeholm Syndrome or other examples such as the Chibok schoolgirls being conditioned as suicide bombers. With their old fae identities broken and shattered, forced down into dark mental closets with mental iron bars on, and they now like human folk like only a newly converted zealot can, with a strained all-too-keen smiling edge.

The Eachs Uisge goes back to the lion quote at the top - Here's a creature that preys on humans, uses intelligence and guile to do so. Is it that likely to be suddenly remorseful? If it's been eating people for hundreds or thousands of years, is it going to go back on that so quickly, would it understand or even care about poetry, art or anything else? Put a lions brain in a human body and it'd still think and act like a lion, form doesn't equal comprehension.

Also, how does the realm of the fey fit into the universe you're working within? If it's a hidden realm that no-one knows about then do the two trapped-as-people fey represent a colossal liability to other fae? A good example of what I mean would be found in Charles Stross's 'Rhesus Chart' which deals with the vampire myth in the Laundry setting - There vampires are very much apex predators that can easily create infect others, but any vampire that's lived for a decent period will understand the utter imperative of destroying any other vampires it discovers. After all if it can find out about other vampires then so can other people, and if people find out that vampires actually exist then it'll be mandatory mid-day role calls all round and the destruction of everything they've built. Keeping vampires as nothing but a silly old myth is critical to their ongoing survival as individuals.
Zeppelin Admiral
Scotland Scotland

Caledon MacHinery (they/them)

« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 09:47:57 am »

thank you for your thoughts!
I'm glad you like the idea...! I'm trying to make out what exactly you're saying, so I'm taking a while to respond.sometimes I think I'm good at english, and then you come using words I've never heard before... oh well.

I do agree that Clyde is unlikely to feel very remorsefull right away, I mean, a man's gotta eat and fey probably view themselves as above humans. maybe if he strts making contacts and actually talk with humans, he could find they are not actually very different, and that might trigger feelings of guilt.
Oh well, I'll just keep thinking....
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