From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: The Undersea.
Today's question is a dangerous one, and comes from an undisclosed source out of Eildon. (Look, I know that people can find out who asked me, but this message goes a lot further than my initial call for submissions, and I have to at least pretend to try.) If you don't want to possibly endanger yourself by knowing things, stop reading now, and come back when we're light-hearted and gay. Thanks.
In case you have the inside scoop -- what do you know about the Undersea that you might be able to share?
And now that our can of worms has been well and truly opened...we begin.
Prior to the Sundering, Faerie was split into three levels -- a division that can be seen by looking at any books of mortal folklore or fairy tales, which, ironically, are more likely to prevent an unbroken (if entirely inaccurate) line of scholarship than our own histories, since they've never had to deal with censorship by whichever side won the Battle of Beanstalk Pass. The land fae, such as most of our current kiths, lived on the Midlands; the realm of Earth. The sky fae, such as sylphs, pixies, and the diverse spirits of the air, lived in the Oversky, and the water faeries, like the merfolk and the nymphs, lived in the Undersea.
When the Sundering happened, it really primarily affected the land fae, since we were the ones who had to co-exist with humanity; the denizens of the Undersea and Oversky just went lower and higher, respectively, and ignored the whole issue. Nothing has been heard from the Oversky in centuries. Most people think this is because they're reclusive and hate people. I, personally, think this is because they're all dead, thank you, Wright Brothers. Big metal machines in sky = Banality where there wasn't any before = lots of people falling from a great height = sky-fairy jelly. So they really aren't a concern just now.
The Undersea, on the other hand, has never ceased to be a concern. They don't have any falling to do, and mankind's exploration of the sea has been slow enough that they had warning. All it did was make them angry.
The civilization of the Undersea is an excellent example of what happens when your feudal structure is never challenged. They had no Sundering, no Accordance War, no Magna Carta. All they've ever had is a firm belief that might makes right, and that the person most right is the one with the most bodies behind them. Think what would happen if the Romulans somehow wound up giving tactical direction to the Klingons, and you're moving in the right direction. Actions speak a lot louder than words in the Undersea, and their diplomats usually speak sweetly and carry a poisoned knife.
The titular leaders of the Undersea are the Merrow, who fill roughly the same position that the Sidhe do on the land. You're never likely to see one, as they can't take any kind of bipedal form, and prefer to send representatives to the land courts, when they have to communicate at all. Sadly, they're reputed to be reasonable people under a great deal of strain due to encroaching Banality, and would probably kill a lot fewer folks than their representatives. Like the Cephali, who are basically Ursula with weapons and PMS. Not fun.
No one has ever compiled a full list of Undersea kiths, largely because they tend to find you and kill you horribly when you start. We know that there are at least nine, and that the Selkies are not counted among them, being as they live between the sea and land. We know that they possess the same level of diversity as the land fae: some are nice, some are cruel, some are totally wackadoo insane. The problem is that their responses are so archaic and inhuman, in many cases, that we really can't tell the difference between them until it's way, way too late. As a rule, if they're throwing things? They're probably wackadoo. I recommend running.
The Undersea also possesses an unholy fondness for big things. Like, kraken. I don't like kraken, actually; they sorta suck, what with the whole 'tentacles' and 'killing you dead' aspects of their personalities. And then there are the giant sharks, lobsters, clams...look, if you've pissed off the Undersea, just don't get into the water, okay?
They respect shows of power. But show too much power, and they'll feel the need to smash you. I'm presently hoping that this little diatribe shows big enough brass balls on my part that they won't feel compelled to crush me like a bug for daring to do research on their existence. Because death sucks.
Be careful out there.
C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!