This is a sneak preview of the Pale mythos and presents background information for players who follow the Pale.

The Wild Ways of the Pale

“The Wild Ways,” the verdant spring zephyrs whisper, “will never be forgotten.”

“For the Wild Ways,” the golden sunrise of summer rejoices, “are the ways of the world.”

“Like all things, however,” the russety autumn leaves warn, “the Wild Ways ebb and flow.”

“And so to understand the Wild Ways,” the howling winter winds caution, “the people must accept the things that have withered, and the things yet to grow.”

“And so,” the seasons call together, “will the Pale live forever.”

A Pray of the Pale

Before the Fading

When the war ended, and the Night of Screams had passed, the structure of the Pale – the druids and archdruids – weakened. The councils and circles of the times before and during the War disintegrated, and the once reassuring hierarchy was no more. However, with the creation of the Two Trees, the whispers of the Green, Gold, and Gray were felt. In some ways, following the War, people found themselves more in tune with the ways of the Pale than they ever had been before. The teachers of the Wild Ways, the druidic heroes, had taken their knowledge, and passed it to those seeking the comfort of the Pale. War had demonstrated that the Pale was resilient, and, in times of great strife, the Gifted could turn to whispers of nature. Bolstered by the sylph sisters and Lord Liendra, the druids, particularly those who had once ventured in Shadowfane, taught to the world the Wild Ways: the world, once more, came to understand the Cycle of life and death, the potency of the seasons, and the hidden songs echoing throughout the natural world. This new Pale, centered on the Cycle and the Wild Ways, served as the new shape of worship. As the centuries passed, the structures of the time before the War transformed. It was, however, fundamentally altered by the Fading of the Fae.

After the Fading

When the Fae Faded from the world, the followers of the Wild Ways were bereft. The sylph Sisters and Liendra were believed gone, as were the other Fae Lords and Ladies who had led them. Those remaining could no longer hear the songs of Faerie. Rather than falling to despair, as some of the Elves did, however, the remaining followers of the Pale decided to return to the roots of the old teachings: The Wild Ways. They returned, seemingly abandoned by the Fae, to the natural world.

They were not alone, however, in this task. The heroes of the Old Times, those of old Shadowfane and their allies, had made protections. Even as these heroes passed from the world, their teachings lasted. While the specific nature of these protections is unknown in contemporary Pale worship, it is certain that the sanctified spaces – the Groves – are, at least in part, connected to the actions of the past.

The Old Ways, the times before the Fading, are gone, but the Pale has remained.

Over centuries, the people, buoyed by the old knowledge, once more realized that the natural world is full of free spirits. With the wonder and curiosity of children, the people learned how to make use of the earth once more. They realized that spirits dwell all around, in everything that is not bound by the hands of the Gifted. They swirl in the trees, the earth, the rivers, and the wind. They people came to once more understand that the veil that separates this world from the spirit world is called the Pale. Those of the Pale learned to listen and watch around them, tracking the spirits of the Pale. They learned to call out to the spirits directly, inviting them into the worlds of the Gifted. They watched the world around them until they instinctively knew where the Pale was thinnest.

As the Wild Ways of the Pale, after the Fading, continued to take shape, the new Druids came to, once more, understand the Pale. The heart of the Pale, it has long been said, is represented by the Tree of Green, the Tree of Grey, and the Gold spirits that guard them. The Tree of Green is the embodiment of the Spring and Summer months, of cool, replenishing rains and warm summer days. The Tree of Grey, it has long been said, holds the Fall and Winter months, a natural balance to its brother and the unyielding harshness of the natural world.

As the Wild Ways continued, the Druids came to understand that, within the spirits of Green, Grey, and Gold, so too were the seasons important. New leaders of the Pale, deeply infused with the spirits of the Wild Ways, emerged. These individuals, though seemingly more powerful than the mortals that seek them out, called – and continue to call – themselves the Teachers. They align themselves with the four seasons, and, more importantly, the times of transition between these seasons. Their teachings, passed down for thousands of years, have become the way of the Pale: The Wild Ways of the Cycle. In contemporary practice, while every Druid and follower of the Pale align themselves with a specific season, more importantly, they keep in mind the constant cycle and transition of life.

The most sacred spaces of the Pale are the Groves. There is, it is said, a singular First Grove for the Two Trees. In this First Grove, the Pale is at its thinnest: this Grove exists somewhere known only, if it exists, to the Teachers and the spirits. Supplementary to this Grove are the eight Groves of the Seasons. The Teachers lead the eight main Groves, which serve as the focal points of contemporary Pale worship. While many Pale followers will never be able to visit all, or even one, of these Groves, the Teachers often make their own pilgrimages to visit followers: to meet a Teacher, who have become increasingly rare, is to fulfill what is, for many Pale followers, a lifelong goal. Since the Teachers, much like the spirits of the Pale themselves, wander the world, frequently Pale followers visit the Groves when it is not attended by a Teacher. To visit one of these Groves in the height of its season is to attempt to connect to a heightened part of the Pale. In addition to the Eight Groves, there are also the Seasons’ Groves, which are local, smaller groves run by Druids who are not Teachers. These smaller Groves are places that, at one time, have been visited by one of the Teachers, or a pilgrim has apprenticed at one of the Eight Groves for the duration of at least ten years.

The Groves and Teachers are the following places and individuals. It is said that each of the Teachers has a title, as a teacher, but also a true name locked deep within the Pale. These Teachers help the different communities of Pale followers to organize their lives. They also help perpetuate and practice the living mythology of the Pale.

The Grove of Late Winter: The Hunter of Consequences

A brutal and relentless Teacher, the Hunter of Consequences seeks out injustices that have remained unmetered throughout the year– he teaches Pale followers the justice of the wild; he also leads hunts to thin herds, and kill off the weak and sick animals to make way for the new spring births. The Hunter also leads the Hunt of Consequences: a yearlong hunt wherein the Druids of Winter decide on those who have violated the sanctity of the Pale, and must be brought to justice.

The Hunter of Consequences aligns himself with the Grove of Late Winter, located in Winterwold. Only pine trees, laden with ice and snow, grow in this Grove. It is a place both beautiful and austere, and only the grimmest Druids of Winter linger in it overly long. The near silent whiteness of the snow-covered Grove is marred only by the red blood of the Winter’s first kills. The Hunter of Consequences presents as an ice-scarred elf, and is particularly respected by the Snowcrown elves.

The Grove of Early Spring: The Lady of Names

A secretive and compassionate Teacher, the Lady of Names gives a name to the new year, death names to those who have died, and life names to the new births. Because the Lady of Names knows the names of the new year’s animals and plants, she calls them forward to be pursued by the people. Additionally, based on the whispers of nature, and the secrets of the people, she names a few chosen Gifted that will remain protected against the Hunts of Consequence. While she can be influenced, the Lady of Names keeps her reason for acknowledging these Chosen to herself.

The Grove of Early Spring, where the New Year of Early Spring is celebrated, is located in the Silken Call. The Lady’s cottage, of dark, intricately carved wood is elegant, and surrounded by plum trees in perpetual full blossom. The Lady of Names presents as a Spidersilk elf, and is a patron to Pale followers in the Silken Call.

The Grove of Late Spring: The Storm Seeker

The Storm Seeker helps to plan the growing and harvesting season, and has taught the people how to brace against Storms that would do them injury. The Storm Seeker has also taught the people how to navigate the natural world in even the fiercest of storms. Capricious and audacious, the Storm Seeker offers a challenge to the bravest among the Gifted: if they are able to survive the monsoons, tempests, and hurricanes of the late Spring, the Storm Seeker offers them boons to protect them against the Hunts of Consequence and the Starving Hunts.

The Storm Seeker’s Grove is located on an island between the coasts of the Seven Charter isles and Belaingarde. This dangerous Grove of Cypress trees is perpetually surrounded by tempests. The Storm Seeker prefers to avoid gendering themselves, and presents as an Air Eurvein.

The Grove of Early Summer: The Tree Weaver

A removed and neutral Teacher, the Tree Weaver watches the trials of the winter and spring, and, in the early summer, weaves the stories and dreams of the people into the branches of trees. The Tree Weaver has taught the people the power of storytelling, and how such storytelling can help them survive from generation to generation. The stories that the Tree Weaver leaves influence the Hunt of Consequences, and the Naming of the Worthy in the New Year.

The Grove of Early Summer, protected by dreams against nightmares, is located in Kyrzenwold. It resembles the Grove of the Lady of Names, though thousands of candles are placed in the boughs of the Grove’s green oaks. Through the branches of these trees are woven the stories of the year. The Tree Weaver is also a Spidersilk Elf, however, upon her skin, manifestations of patchwork quilts, resembling those of the Tatterfolk, appear in the webbing over her face.

The Grove of Late Summer: The Spearman

A patient though distant teacher, the Spearman comes after the heaviest of the summer rains, and, in the clear rains of late summer, leads the people in the largest fishing expedition of the year. The Spearman and the Husk Maiden both caution people against the “arrogance of Bounty,” and have taught them how to preserve meats should blight or illness strike crops and animals. The lessons of the Spearman, if followed, protect against the hungry times.

The Grove of Late Summer is located along one of the rivers between Vellingrim and Belaingarde. His Grove, surrounded by willows that bow heavily into the water, resembles a simple fishing camp. The Spearman presents as a human, frequently in fisherman’s garb.

The Grove of Early Fall: The Husk Maiden

At the beginning of the Autumn, the Husk Maiden brings bounty to the people: she has taught them how to harvest and prepare the grains that sustain settlements. As the Autumn wanes on, however, the Husk Maiden reminds the people of the coming lean times, and the arrogance of the previous age’s Bounty: she acknowledges the weak and sick who, if the Starving Hunts are not successful, will fall to the Hunts of Consequence. The self-sacrificing Teacher, she lives in starvation throughout the entire year, so as to provide food for some deemed worthy by the Lady of Names.

The Husk Maiden has no stationary Grove, and, as a Teacher much loved by the Tatterfolk, is always moving from place to place, teaching those searching for food how to better search. The Husk Maiden presents as a Harvester Grotesque resembling a cornhusk doll- it is said that one can tell if she has visited a place, since she will leave behind many cornhusk dolls.

The Grove of Late Fall: The Starving Huntress

A wild and unpredictable Teacher, the Starving Huntress is always hungry, and always hunting. She comes to her full power in the late autumn, and leads the people in the last great hunt before the hunger of Winter. Part ritual and part necessity, the Starving Hunts are a time of incredible activity and violence. During the late fall, the hunting groups are at their most active.

The Grove of Late Fall is located in the depths of Khoros, and is surrounded by the blood red maples of Autumn. The Starving Huntress presents as a Korred of Autumn, and is known for the blood with which she decorates her face.

The Grove of Early Winter: The Fire Keeper

A warm and loving Teacher, the Fire Keeper steadies the people against the hungry and lean times: she has taught them how to ready their houses against the cold, and how to prepare warm clothes. She invites people to revel in the joy of community, and the warmth and grace that Winter brings. She retells the stories the Tree Weaver has chosen, and reminds the people of the lessons of the Husk Maiden, the Storm Seeker, and the Spearman.

The Fire Keeper’s Grove is located in the mountain peaks between Winterwold and Morgrave. It is called the First Hearth, and is surrounded by leafless birch trees. In the middle of the Grove is the Fire Keeper’s cottage: a welcoming place whose windows always gleam with lit candles. The Fire Keeper is a shoathri: her animal form is not known, but it is assumed that it is an animal able to endure the cold of winter.

A warm and loving Teacher, the Fire Keeper steadies the people against the hungry and lean times: she has taught them how to ready their houses against the cold, and how to prepare warm clothes. She invites people to revel in the joy of community, and the warmth and grace that Winter brings. She retells the stories the Tree Weaver has chosen, and reminds the people of the lessons of the Husk Maiden, the Storm Seeker, and the Spearman.

The Fire Keeper’s Grove is located in the mountain peaks between Winterwold and Morgrave. It is called the First Hearth, and is surrounded by leafless birch trees. In the middle of the Grove is the Fire Keeper’s cottage: a welcoming place whose windows always gleam with lit candles. The Fire Keeper is a shoathri: her animal form is not known, but it is assumed that it is an animal able to endure the cold of winter.