Fey are capricious, mischievous, and often dangerous beings, but despite their chaotic reputations, they do follow a certain set of rules. These rules—widely misunderstood by outsiders—are codified and enforced by a cadre of lofty fey nobility. Befitting any courtly structure, the fey bow to lords and ladies: eldritch creatures of immense power who rule the courts.
Heads of State. The fey lords and ladies are beings of high station and prodigious personal power. Each rules over at least a great city if not an entire nation. No matter the scope of a fey noble’s rule, in his or eyes, a fey ruler’s word is law, and so shall the rest of the world see it! Outsiders may not understand the edicts and interdicts of a fey noble, but that’s no protection against the harsh penalties that await any who break them, knowingly or otherwise.
Circles of Power. Each fey noble is supreme in his or her own bailiwick, and the rulers maintain a rigid hierarchy among themselves. The Queen of Night and Magic is undeniably the most powerful of all fey nobles, and she rules cyclically with her embittered husband, the Moonlit King. Together, the Summer and Winter monarchs rule over the entire shadow fey race. The River King is next in power, and he rules over the river elves of the Arbonesse forest. The Snow Queen rules among the ice, snow, and plundering reavers of the far north, as wells as commanding the obedience of the fraughashar and ice maidens. The Bear King, the weakest politically, rules a northerly city-state where werebears are common and mead flows like water.
The odd man out is the Lord of the Hunt. Though he is associated with both the shadow fey and the light elves, no one is certain of his true identity or how he fits into the political structure of fey nobility. Because he seldom concerns himself with politics, few have felt any need to press the question.
Other fey courts and rulers certainly exist, though their rulers are more esoteric than those described here.
Vacant Thrones. When a lord or lady dies, the court does not remain leaderless for long. Ambitious beings among the fey always hunger for more power and covet the station of their superiors. After a traditional month or year of mourning, vicious power struggles winnow the weak and pave the way for the most cunning or the strongest to take the court’s vacant throne.