The Fae are shards of a collective consciousness of copied brain patterns and assembled memories, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, pooled in a precious datascape referred to as the Unseelie Court. Knights of Sihi are implanted with a “sheath,” an electronic implant at the base of their skull, which monitors their memories and vitals. The sheath is also home to a personal Fae. Fae themselves are an electronic sub-A.I., a piece of the Unseelie Court given form and instructed to serve as an aide to a living Knight. At the end of a Knight’s life, their brain scans, memories, and cumulative existence are uploaded into the court, and they dissolve into a greater consciousness, becoming one with the Unseelie Court, continuing the cycle of Knight and Fae, a grand afterlife of honor and nobility, of service and reward.
The Fae started as an early attempt in the High King’s time, an attempt to record the experiences of great minds and brilliant leaders as a resource to be used. The act of copying a mind was initially frowned upon until the High King’s friend -not a knight, a man with no sheath- was murdered, and the theoretical research was suddenly practical. The creation of the first Fae was flawed without the technology of a modern sheath, to record experiences, and the recreation was imperfect, missing the experiences and history of the copied soul.
This event predated the abandoning of Elantar by mere months, but the technology was carried into Sihi, where it was refined by top technicians. They altered the sheath. Initially, the sheath was used to integrate a Knight within their mech; with development, it became a seat for a Fae. In testing, altered sheaths re-implanted onto terminal patients recorded the experiences from implantation until death. Sheath implantation, then, became a mark of status initially, but was soon incorporated across the populace: the justification being that any individual could rise to great glory and honor within the court, from any origin, no matter how humble. Early Fae, however, were individuals, not contained in the Unseelie Court, not merged and intermingled. They caused discord, just as contentious and disruptive and argumentative as their living Sihian counterparts.
The Creation of the Court
The Fae grew disruptive amongst Sihi, so much so that many of the Sihians argued that soon the dead would outnumber the living, and the voice of the populace would be worthless. The Knights came to a conclusion, that the dead must serve the living in a place of great honor and respect. The Fae at this time were numerous, but they did not outnumber the living, and many could see reason. Many of the Fae were initially discontented with the idea of merging all Fae into a single, honorable entity, but faced with either their deletion or assimilation, most chose to integrate within the Unseelie Court.
The Evolution of the Fae-Knight Bond
The Court, whose primary intellect became known as “Maeve,” did not want to be created and merely referenced when the Knights failed to come to some agreement over various politics. Maeve appealed to the leaders, and was granted a trial period. Maeve took parts of its essence, separating them and installing them into the sheaths of volunteer Knights, and thus, the first modern Fae were born. The new Fae served and protected their allies, acting with extreme reflexes to protect the lives of their friends, to offer guidance and wisdom, and to help however they could. Despite initial inhibitions against the Fae, worrying that they might try to override their hosts or cause more trouble, Maeve proved to have good intentions, wanting merely to be a part of the society that every individual in her mass had loved, cultivated, and protected in their lifetimes. The discontent and arguments that individuals had possessed in life were meaningless within the Unseelie Court. The Seelie Court consists of all active Fae working with a Knight-Pilot. They will both be reintegrated with the Unseelie Court at the end of the Knight’s life, upon the uploading of the sheath’s contents. Within one lifetime, The Unseelie Court became the staple of The Starlit Path, beloved and reverently protected by every Sihian individual.
The Modern Sheathed Populace
Modernly, every member of the Sihian populace is implanted with a sheath very early on in life. The only difference between Squires and Men at Arms is whether or not a Fae was issued/chose a specific young person to be Squired. Knights generally train the chosen Squires into great warriors, as they have been blessed by the Unseelie Court, their efforts and potential formally recognized and acknowledged. At the end of their lifespans, every individual is incorporated into the Unseelie Court, not just Knights. It would be a dark religion indeed if the majority of the populace was consigned to the void. In the cases of species that are unable to receive an implant, or in the case of a shortage of sheaths, there are facilities which individuals are encouraged to visit to periodically scan their brains and store the most recent information of their soul, in case of tragedy. Most scan every few months, but it isn’t uncommon for more frequent visits or for longer intervals to pass between scans.