Aes Sidhe

The aes sídhe (also daoine sídhe, s. duine sídhe, all of which translate to 'people of the mounds') is a type of fae. They are the nobles of fae society, considered to be the purest and most powerful fae (at least in their own opinion).


Physiology

Aes sídhe are approximately the same shape and height as human beings - including rounded ears (pointed ears are a mark of impure blood somewhere in their family line). They are usually slim and delicate in appearance, with an ethereal beauty. In terms of skin tones, the majority have nearly pure white skin, but depending on their personal affinities they might have pale golden skin, pure black skin, or some pastel tone. Their hair and eyes come in all shades and hues.

Like all fae, the aes sídhe are deathly allergic to iron. Iron reacts strongly with the magic that is an integral part of their anatomy, and causes a violent allergic reaction in the form of a burn. This starts out resembling a rapid and intense sunburn, but prolonged contact with iron can cause any fae's flesh to blacken and die. Aes sídhe are capable of dwelling in cities, but are uncomfortable in cars, planes, elevators - basically any metal box.

Other than that, the aes sídhe are as immortal as any true fae - they will not die of natural causes. They reach physical maturity after a period of about six centuries, though socially they aren't considered mature until after their first millennium. From then on aes sídhe essentially stop aging. Children are rare occurrences - most couples have only one or two in their lifetimes, and they are fertile for only the first few millennia of their existence.

The aes sídhe are omnivores. Many of them enjoy hunting in the Otherworld (boar being a favorite meat). They do have a typical fae fondness for sweets, however.


Magical Characteristics

All fae are capable of glamour - an elaborate illusion that will fool all five senses (at least for a mortal) - and the aes sídhe are masters of it. They usually use this to disguise their person, but they can also extend the glamour to the environment around them, for example making a hovel seem like a palace, and rotting leaves like gold. Especially powerful aes sídhe can even fool the senses of other fae, although usually touch cannot be fooled. By the same token, aes sídhe are capable of seeing through most glamour. Their own glamour can be defeated in the usual ways: even if they can fool another fae's eyes, it is nearly impossible for them to fool another fae's sense of touch. Even mortals can see through glamour, if they have a special ointment rubbed on their eyelids, have pure iron touching their skin, or turn their clothes inside out.

Like all fae, aes sídhe are incredibly attuned with nature - they can move through the woods without cracking a single twig or disturbing a single leaf. Most have an affinity with a particular element or aspect of nature - for instance ties to the sea, or to light, or to plants. Every one of the aes sidhe has a talent, a power particular to them, which they develop during the fae equivalent of puberty (about their sixth century). Often a certain theme of powers is shared by families (i.e. a family who all have healing powers, or a clan that can shapeshift). The strength and breadth of this power is dependent upon the one who wields it. Usually the most powerful aes sídhe are also the highest ranking.

No fae can tell an outright lie. They can bend the truth, and they can talk in circles around the truth, but if they actually SAY the sky is red, it had better be red, or they're considered an oathbreaker and their magic (if not their life) is forfeit. On that note, all fae can sense magic in their vicinity, usually by feeling or seeing it.


Society and Habitat

The aes sídhe are the trooping fairies, and make up almost all of the noble titles in both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Every ranking noble of the aes sídhe has their own fairy mound, which acts as their fort/castle/palace/what have you. Their society is organized in a manner similar to feudalism, though it was once more closely tied to clientship. Both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts have a royal family, headed by a king or queen (or a regent, if the heir has not yet come into their power). Other noble families maneuver for favor, forming and dissolving alliances with varying success. As aes sídhe are immortal, transitions in power often occur as the result of violent death on the part of the predecessor, or on rare occasions when the previous monarch grows bored and retires.

There are also non-noble aes sídhe, part of the middle/working class of the Courts. Socially, they still consider themselves better than other fae, though they do not have the titles (or power, often) to back up that claim. Almost all aes sídhe live in the Otherworld - they consider separation from it to be a fate worse than death. Although they might visit Earth or other realms, the only aes sídhe who dwell outside of the Otherworld are those in exile.