Tag Archives: Fairelands Saga

The Book of the Champions – and stories behind the Hunt

The Book of the Champions
The Book of the Champions

Over the days of the Faire, we have been featuring extracts from the Book of the Champions on the blog, featuring a Champion each day. You can read the complete book on the website; you can also read it as an online magazine.

Now it also available as an inworld book. The cover and page design is by Alia Baroue and it makes a gorgeous souvenir of the Faire.

You can collect copies at the points on each region where you can pick up the Hunt HUD – the main landing points for each region.

The Book of the Champions by the Hunt HUD kiosks in Spires of Andolys
The Book of the Champions by the Hunt HUD kiosks in Spires of Andolys

The book tells the origins of each of the Champions as they feature in the Hunt, and an Afterword explains the myths, legends, poems and anime that inspired them.

In addition, on Sunday, 3rd May, from  8am – 9am at the Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells, Saffia Widdershins will be giving a talk called Stories within Stories – the narrative of the Hunt. She will be talking about the narratives and characters she drew on to write the Hunt – from sources including classical mythology, folk ballads, legends from around the world, modern fantasy classics, Breton lays and Japanese anime – and combined them with the legends that have grown up around the Faire.

For example, in the second part of the Hunt, Flora asks the hunters to gather wool from sheep to make the shirt which she hopes can be used to save the Winter King from the wiles of the Unweaver. But that task of gathering wool owes its origins to the story of Cupid and Psyche. One of the impossible tasks that cruel Venus sets Pysche when she is searching for her love Cupid is to cross a river and fetch golden wool from violent sheep who graze on the other side. Our sheep are not violent, fortunately, but it’s still not easy to gather their fleece either as you have to unlock the gate first!

Fantasy Faire Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells
Fantasy Faire Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells

But these tasks also have a deeper meaning. “I drew on legends,” says Saffia, “and almost everywhere you look there are references to different stories and legends. But there’s a deeper level of meaning too.  You’re not asked to undertake a brave battle to save the Winter King. What you do as you help Flora are essentially mundane tasks, and the idea behind that is that this is the role of the carer: the heroism is not in the larger, bolder deeds but in the simple tasks undertaken daily. And that is is the final message of the Bard Queen. It’s been really exciting to me when people say that they found the final part moving or inspirational. That was the intention.”

Saffia will be talking about this more, and answering your questions, at 8am in Sylvan of Spells.

Champion of the Faireland: Razia, the Artist Archer

This year’s Fairelands Hunt – the Lost Land – sends you on a search for the Ten Champions chosen by the Bard Queen to mentor, protect and instruct her daughter, the Princess Flora. Each day the Faire is running, we will be introducing you to a different Champion. They all have stories to tell … and some of these may give you clues to help you find them!

Razia, the Artist Archer
Razia, the Artist Archer

Razia, the Artist Archer

Razia was the daughter of a great Moghul sultan and his favourite wife, who was not only a woman of great beauty but also, secretly, a deva, one of the race of benevolent supernatural beings who are constantly at war with their power-hungry rivals, the asuras. His wife concealed this from the sultan, whose faith was different from hers, but when she discovered that she was with child, she prayed to her gods that the child she bore might be a warrior, an archer as famed as Arjuna. At the same time, her husband prayed that the child would possess all the gifts of the arts so beloved by the Moghuls in their beautiful palaces and gardens. In their different ways, both parents dreamed of producing a great ruler for the land.

But what both parents neglected to pray for was a son.

And so Razia was born, with all the grace and beauty of her mother, and the artistic soul that her father desired. But as she grew, it became clear that she was as skilled with a bow as she was with a brush. Perhaps in skill she never surpassed the legendary Arjuna, but certainly she was as famous as he in the kingdom for it was rare to see a woman who could use the bow not only in feats of skill but also from the back of a horse and from a war chariot. Gifted by her supernatural mother, her talents clearly outweighed that of her half-brothers. She proved a skilled and brave opponent in battle, and more than once led the charge and put to flight the enemies of the land.

As a result, much to the alarm of the court (but to the delight of the common people, who greatly loved their unusual princess), her father named her his heir.

But he was prudent and aware that no untried girl would be accepted by his ministers and the powerful lords of his court. So he sent her to the court of the Bard Queen to further her training, in the knowledge that such training would, when the time for her to reign came, prove invaluable.

The Bard Queen, swiftly recognising the qualities of Razia, not only welcomed her to her Court, but also appointed her one of the Champions of the Princess Flora.

You can also read this page as part of an online book here.

Champion of the Faireland: Sun Wukong, the Rogue

This year’s Fairelands Hunt – the Lost Land – sends you on a search for the Ten Champions chosen by the Bard Queen to mentor, protect and instruct her daughter, the Princess Flora. Each day the Faire is running, we will be introducing you to a different Champion. They all have stories to tell … and some of these may give you clues to help you find them!

Sun Wukong, the Rogue
Sun Wukong, the Rogue

Sun Wukong, the Rogue

Sun Wukong was a powerful and proud Prince, the son of a great Queen and her demon lover. As a young man he was seen as an idle wastrel; he loved to drink and gamble with his friends–and there were many tales of beautiful women, too.

One night as he sat at dice in a tavern with his chosen associates, a mysterious stranger entered. He chose to drink alone and quietly, but the haughty Prince disliked to see anyone failing to acknowledge his presence and his importance. He therefore sent one of his companions to issue a challenge to the stranger to play dice with the Prince.

The stranger looked long and hard at the prince, and then nodded. He took his place opposite the Prince, and the game commenced.

Very soon, Sun Wukong realised that he faced the most skilful dice player he had ever met. Where skill was needed, his opponent possessed it in ample measure, and the luck of the game seemed always on his side, too. The Prince lost, and lost heavily, and although mere financial transactions troubled him not at all, a far more important commodity to the spoiled Prince–his pride–was hurt.

But as he played, he saw a way in which he could win–a cunning cheat through a spell taught him by his father, cast upon the dice. No-one, he thought, would realise what he had done and even at this stage, he would win the game. He stretched out his hand…

…and the stranger caught that hand and Sun Wukong’s hand opened… the spell lay like purple smoke in his hand, then gently drifted up and dissipated. But not before it had been seen by everyone in the tavern.

Then the opponent rose to his feet, and everyone recognised him as one of the gods of the land. He pronounced a curse on Sun Wukong. Until he had recovered Seven Sutras (sacred books) from a land far, far in the West, he would be forced to remain in the form of a monkey. If, said the god, he lived a virtuous life, then in times of peril he would be able to transform into other forms–but he would never lose the monkey’s tail.

Many are the stories told of Sun Wukong’s journeys in quest of the Seven Sutras. Did he live a virtuous life on his journeys? Well, it seems that he was not able to transform himself as often as he might wish, so judge for yourselves! And the tales are full of daring tricks and deceptions practiced, and very narrow escapes. But eventually he returned to his homeland with the Sutras and once again took up his role as a Prince, in human form.

So he was when the Bard Queen summoned him to become a Champion for the Princess Flora. It was declared this was for his peerless skills as a traveller. Some thought that the Bard Queen also believed that a little touch of the rogue remained, and was not averse to her daughter learning such skills too!

You can also read this page as part of an online book here.

Champion of the Faireland: Britomart, the Warrior

This year’s Fairelands Hunt – the Lost Land – sends you on a search for the Ten Champions chosen by the Bard Queen to mentor, protect and instruct her daughter, the Princess Flora. Each day the Faire is running, we will be introducing you to a different Champion. They all have stories to tell … and some of these may give you clues to help you find them!

Britomart, the Paladin
Britomart, the Warrior

Britomart, the Warrior

In the desolation that was the land after the fall of the Round Table, some knights held to the true way and devoted their lives to redressing wrongs, and protecting the weak and defenceless. First among their number was Britomart.

Little is known of her origins. Some say she was the daughter of Nimue (who some call the Lady of the Lake) and Merlin. Others said that Nimue seduced Bedivere, Gareth, Lancelot or even Arthur himself. Those who loved her less claimed she was the child of a farmer who had his way with the Lady of the Lake. Certain it is that Britomart would never speak of her origins or, indeed, her past.

All that is known is that after the last great battle, the Battle of Camlann, where both Arthur and Mordred were slain, a warrior on a white horse began to be seen, a knight of peerless chivalry and courage, and matchless skill in all feats of arms.

And this warrior was Britomart.

Britomart was the peerless warrior, the brave and beautiful knight whom no man could match in tourney, whether jousting or in the melee, where she unhorsed more knights than any, save Lancelot in the days of his glory.

She wore no crest or lady’s favour, and although her armour and her horse suggested wealth, she would sleep as peacefully in a cottage as a castle and spoke kindly to all. Her greatest weapon was her sword, which some jealous men claimed was enchanted. When she heard this, she offered to fight her accusers with their blades exchanged. Britomart always gained the victory.

When the Princess was born, the Bard Queen summoned Britomart and instructed her to teach Princess Flora all she knew of feats of arms and chivalry.

You can also read this page as part of an online book here.;/a>

Meet the Champions of the Fairelands!

This year’s Fairelands Hunt – the Lost Land – sends you on a search for the Ten Champions chosen by the Bard Queen to mentor, protect and instruct her daughter, the Princess Flora.

Each day the Faire is running, we will be introducing you to a different Champion. They all have stories to tell … and some of these may give you clues to help you find them!

To get you started … here is the introduction to The Book of the Champions.

The Book of the Champions
The Book of the Champions

This is the Book of the Champions of the Princess Flora.

When the Princess was a child, the Bard Queen gathered the ten champions from across the Fairelands to be Flora’s teachers, champions, and companions.

Each was chosen for their gifts and abilities. Over the years, they taught her, mentored her, and loved her.

Princess Flora
Princess Flora

But they could not save her from the Unweaver.

Stolen by his proxy, Ayaz Ata, the Winter King, she vanished from the Fairelands and became forgotten in the minds of human and fae.

The Champions rode out to find her and to bring her back, but one by one they were lost.

Your task, brave hunter, is to find the Champions. They are scattered throughout the Fairelands. Take what path you will, but find them all. Hear their memories of the Princess so that she might be restored to memory and returned to the Fairelands.

The Champions
The Champions

You will be able to buy HUDS that will enable you to join the Hunt and all the games it involves at the Landing Points on every region.