I’m catching up tomorrow over lunch with Timothy Ferguson, line author extraordinaire and a great inspiration to me. To this end, I was rereading his collated “Marco the Liar” posts over breakfast. Theses short tales were originally written as part of an attempt at NaGaDeMon, but he became ill during the writing process, completing only 15 posts and then a final post that winds up some of the loose threads. It’s complete enough in its own right, although I do hope for more Marco tales in the future.
The Tales of Marco the Liar is not only a great piece of fiction IMO but also a very interesting insight into the subtle and sophisticated “Fergusonian” meta-game philosophy that underlies all of his contributions to the line and his unofficial material that surfaces in Sub Rosa or his “Games From Folktales” blog (itself constructed mainly from high quality offcuts and extras from his published works).
Although initially appearing to be just about an irascible Redcap telling tall tales to his granddaughter, it’s really a compilation of recursive tales illustrating the mutable nature of faeries in ArM5. It took me a while to grasp the full beauty of the piece but if you read through Chapter 2: The Faerie Realm in RoP:F, particularly the section on “Adventures in Faerie” dealing with the power of creativity and the construction of fable within the Faerie Realm. In some ways it acts as a tutorial series of illustrative examples about the mechanics and paradigm of Faeries in relation to humans and stories.
It’s value to understanding the relationship between Faeries and stories aside, the work also contains numerous interesting side references to some of Timothy’s other interests: Venice, Tremere, psilos (the Magi Slayers hinted at in AtD), Africa, Criamon adulterations, shamanism and more. Some of these would make great Story Seeds or even the basis for full adventures.
Marco the Liar’s Shoes – an example of a Faerie as Item
My favourite concept has to be Marco’s amazing “Unloseable” Faerie shoes that grow from a hobnail and allow the wearer to escape anything – walls, regiones, curses and perhaps even their own natures.
I like this concept particularly because I think the concept of Faeries as objects could be explored more. I’ve been keen to develop the idea of legendary books such as the Alf Laylah wa-Laylah (Arabic: “The Thousand Nights and One Night”) being manifestations of a Faerie that reforms and resurfaces throughout the ages but haven’t managed to sort out the exact approach yet.
Having reread Timothy’s piece, some sort of link to Redcaps seems inevitable however!
I’ve now linked to the stories from my More than Messengers Redcap resources page. If you haven’t had a chance already and are interested in Redcaps and more importantly Faerie, I strongly suggest checking out Marco’s lies… I mean embellished tales.