The Bard Queen and the Unweaver are special creations for Fantasy Faire (and have appeared in previous Hunts). But you might be interested to learn that the Winter King, the Princess and all the Champions are inspired by characters from myths and legends around the world.
Flora, the Princess
In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring, a symbol for nature and flowers. While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime.
Ayaz Ata, the Winter King
Ayaz Ata (Uzbek: Ayoz Bobo, Kyrgyz: Аяз Ата, Kazakh:Аяз Ата, Turkmen: Аяз Баба or Ayaz Baba) is a winter god. He comes from Central Asia–the area of the world sometimes call the “Stans”–i.e. Azerbaijan, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Yakutia and Kyrgyzstan, etc. The literal translation of the name would be “Frost Father”. According to legend, he was created of moonlight and caused by cold weather.
Ala (also known as Ani, Ana, Ale, and Ali in varying Igbo dialects in southeastern Nigeria) is the female Alusi (deity) of the earth, morality, fertility and creativity in Odinani. She is the most important Alusi in the Igbo pantheon. In Odinani, Ala rules over the underworld, and holds the deceased ancestors in her womb. Her name literally translates to ‘ground’ in the Igbo language, denoting her powers over the earth and her status as the ground itself. Ala is considered the highest Alusi in the Igbo pantheon.
Duban appears in The Thousand and One Nights (a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age). He features in the tale of The Vizier and the Sage Duban where Duban is described as being a man of extraordinary talent. The ability to read Greek, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Byzantine, Syriac and Hebrew, as well as a deep understanding of botany, philosophy and natural history are only a few of his attributes. He cures King Yunan of leprosy. The concept of an Arab doctor figure to reflect the importance of the medical tradition in Arab (and Islamic) culture.
Britomart figures in Edmund Spenser’s knightly epic The Faerie Queene, where she is an allegorical figure of the virgin Knight of Chastity, representing English virtue—in particular, English military power—through a folk etymology that associated Brit-, as in Briton, with Martis, here thought of as “of Mars”, the Roman war god. In Spenser’s allegory, Britomart connotes the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I of England.
Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a main character in the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West. Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India. In our Hunt he is the Rogue character, although the original monkey, in some tellings, was not so much a rogue.
In Celtic mythology, Arduinna (also Arduina, Arduinnae or Arduinne) was the eponymous goddess of the Ardennes Forest and region, represented as a huntress riding a boar (primarily in the present-day regions of Belgium and Luxembourg). Her cult originated in what is today known as Ardennes, a region of Belgium, Luxembourg and France. In our tale, elements were inspired by the book Chalice by Robin McKinley.
Gassire is the hero of Gassire’s Lute, a West African epic. This lyrical epic narrative (of rather mysterious origins) tells the story of a prince that becomes a bard.
Muromi has a modern origin–and was chosen as a tribute to the great Japanese mermaid creators in Second Life. Muromi-san (波打際のむろみさん Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san, lit.”Muromi-san on the shore”) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Keiji Najima. Muromi is a ningyo who appears to be about 16 years old, but is actually a very old legendary creature, and her sisters and she are guardians of the Earth.
Perkūnas (Lithuanian: Perkūnas, Latvian: Pērkons, Old Prussian: Perkūns, Finnish: Perkele, Yotvingian: Parkuns) was the common Baltic god of thunder, one of the most important deities in the Baltic pantheon. In both Lithuanian and Latvian mythology, he is documented as the god of thunder, rain, mountains, oak trees and the sky.
Raiza stands out in the group as a real historical figure. But then the real Raiza must also have been isolated in her own society, too. Raziyya al-Din, throne name Jalâlat ud-Dîn Raziyâ (Perso-Arabic:جلاله الد دین رضیه), Hindi: जलालत उद-दीन रज़िया), was born in Budaun and was the Sultan of Delhi in India from 1236 to May 1240. Like some other Muslim princesses of the time, she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary. Razia Sultana was the only woman ruler of both the Sultanate and the Mughal period. In many people’s opinions, Razia had all the qualities of a great monarch.
Bisclavret (“The Werewolf”) is one of the twelve Lais of Marie de France written in the 12th century. Originally written in French, it tells the story of a werewolf who is trapped in lupine form by the treachery of his wife. There is a wonderful modern novel about Bisclavret by Gillian Bradshaw called The Wolf Hunt, which I highly recommend.