Chronicles of Adair: An Interlude with a Shapeshifter

Um, hello. Can you all hear me? Oh, what am I saying? You’re reading this note, after all, (or at least I hope you’re reading it!), and I’m writing it.

You’re probably wondering who I am. I’m not so good with introductions. (And no, you jokesters out there, my name is not “Not So Good with Introductions.”)  I generally try to blend in with the scenery, you see, and whenever I don’t, people gawk at me and call me a freak. But you all—you’re not like the other Mainland folk or the Outland folk, are you? You’re Fairelanders, like me. So I hope you won’t think poorly of me when I say that I am a Shapeshifter with no name, and Fantasy Faire 2019 is my very first Faire.  

Two weeks to this day, the Fairelands Junction opened, and I think I can say that these two weeks have been the best in my life. No one here asks me why I suddenly change from a heavily bearded Dwarf to a baby lion in the middle of Faireholm. (I can’t control it; it’s just something I was born with.) No one cares that I look like an Elven lady now and that I might look like a Centaur stallion tomorrow. It’s because we’re all too busy enjoying ourselves, taking rides on overpacked buses, disco dancing at the Fairechylde, sitting down on cozy logs at Sanguinely Garden to wax poetic, shopping for Goblin figurines at Tensor’s Flying Market, and praying for loved ones lost under the shade of The Shrine Tree. It’s because we’re weaving a story, one life and one Linden at a time, about a world after the Unweaver, and that story can never be unwoven.

MBT-01

It took me two weeks to realize all that. (Is that a long time? Not long enough? Sorry, I’m not good at judging time.) I spent the first week creeping around the Fairelands, hoping that no one would notice me or my uncontrollable shifting. I certainly learned a lot by just listening. (But I won’t get into that just yet). The second week, I began the quest for the Lair of Lantoris and started approaching a person here or there to ask where I could find that gold leaf at Midas or that tricky wisp at Nightshade Blossoms. To my delight, you smiled at me knowingly and whispered a hint in my ear. And when I finally found that gold leaf and that wisp and came back around after seeing the Bard Queen to fetch my gifts, you clapped and congratulated me on a job well done.

Welcome to the party, Fairelander,” you laughed as I stared starry-eyed at the gold vase that contained a secret garden, the garden in which I now stand.

And that’s when I realized that I do have a name. It’s Fairelander.

I fear that I’m not worthy of it. What does it even mean to be Fairelander? Is it a little certificate you earn just by attending the Faire? Is it access to an exclusive club gifted by the merchants whose wares I bought? Is it a station, like a knighthood, bestowed by the Junction?

fairefolk-portrait

As I stand here in my little corner of Mainland, admiring all the mementos I’ve collected, I think it’s none of those three. It’s immaterial. It’s more like a nationality that knows no gender, race, creed, or class. Anyone can be a member of this nation as long as they open themselves to the spirit of the Faire, whether that means building the Lands, taking photographs of the Lands, weaving purple silks for purchase, purchasing those silks, recounting their quest to battle the Unweaver in the Outworld, or simply lending a hand to a fellow quester.

We are collectors. We are explorers. We are relayers. We are builders. We are fighters. We are One.

So maybe, after all, there’s no such thing as being “worthy” of the name Fairelander. It’s a thing as inherent as me being a Shapeshifter.

And as long as we Fairelanders exist, so do the Fairelands, in a way, even after the Mists have faded. If I may be so bold as to say so, the Faire is, to borrow the words of a bard from the Outworld, a movable feast.

fairefolk

These marvelous mementos that surround me—this skin-changing potion by Elemental, this crystal and these lanterns from Tensor’s Flying Market, these lotuses by NAMINOKE, this tower to hope by The Olde Attic, these mirrors by *lunacy*, this voodoo spirit from Bayounimba, and this Fantasy Faire emblem from taking on the Lair of Lantoris quest—these mementos are morsels of the movable feast. We are the diners, and our payment is Hope with a capital H.

Mementos are not limited to physical objects, however. (Though I do love my shinies.) They also take the form of words.

Earlier, I wrote that I learned a lot by just listening at the Faire. Some of the things I heard were bits of conversation. A winged lady arguing with a Goblin. A crazed, naked Elf declaring his freedom from the Pawlice. A bald woman asking passers-by where she was and who she was. I followed these people (but not in a stalkerly way!) and read the journal entries left behind, and I have learned that their accounts of the Faire will continue to be written, even after the Mists fade away. If you haven’t read these accounts yet, I highly recommend them, for they date back to last year’s Faire and tell tales that helped me realize how diverse yet interconnected we Fairelanders are. I will put bookmarks to them here.

But their tales are only a few among many I heard at the Faire, and there are surely hundreds if not thousands more. Perhaps there are tales not yet sung by Fairelanders who, like me, are timid and tend to keep to themselves. Or perhaps these tales have been sung—but only privately, and not published by a Faireland crier.

To those of you who have such tales, I beg you to share them, for they too are morsels at the movable feast that is the Faire, and we all will need many morsels to keep our stomachs full until the Mists regenerate next year.

Tell me of your journeys in the Fairelands. Tell me of your battles against the Unweaver, both in the Fairelands and in the Outworld. Tell me of people you’ve met, things you’ve made, things you’ve bought, and things you’ve learned.

Another strange feature (blessing?) that Mother Nature has bestowed upon me is the feat Breaker of the Fourth Wall, which allows me to sense that there is a sort of box underneath my writing, into which you can shove bookmarks to your tales or write brief comments.

I eagerly await your tales, for my stomach is beginning to grumble.


This Fairelander wears the following Fantasy Faire exclusives:

For more detailed credits, please see Nadjanator’s blog.

For a complete catalog of the Chapter 1 prizes for the Lair of Lantoris Quest, please see the Prize Catalogue Pinterest.

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