It is a question oft-asked: why, with magic fading from the world, do the fae seem to be increasing in numbers? Every other creature of magic and spirit is becoming increasingly rare as reason assaults belief, which is the basic necessity for the existence of the transmundane. And why is it that no one has ever seen a young fae, despite intense interest in their habits on the part of innumerable scholars?

In truth, the solution to that riddle has long been known by the learned of the nations, just as it has been vehemently rejected by their peers.

Man has long been known to be unique among the creatures of his world because he is equal parts spiritual magic and mundane clay. The mundane animals hunted for food or kept as companions are all mundane clay, while the dragons and will-o’-the-wisps and such are pure spirit and magic. In man alone are they present in nearly equal measure.

In the waning days of bronze, when man first began to master the forces mundane and magical of his world, the fae were exceedingly rare and regarded as symbols and portents, their tiny flitting forms omens of great good or calamitous evil. In the present age of iron and reason, they are common enough that whole areas are infested with them, so much that one of the few callings remaining to those skilled in the ark and knack of magic is shooing them away.

The bitter truth is that the delicate and ephemeral fae are, in fact, the sloughed-off spirits of men.

When mankind gives itself wholly over to reason and cruel calculation, tearing out the part of itself that deals in wonder and magic, that ripped-out soul takes the form of a flitting fae, all the spirit and magic of humanity in miniature. That is why they bear no young, and that is why they only seem to fade and die when nobles, mercenaries, or men of means themselves sicken.

For, although separated, they are still bound by a silver thread of common destiny. Sorrowful predictions, unheeded by those who have cast out the spiritual from their souls, see mankind as a race wholly divested of its fae shards within the next hundred years at the current rate.

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