The tale of Ultan of the Shell and Oella, a Fae queen, began in the forlorn years following the Scouring of the Great Grove. Though the Sylvan Watchers had triumphed against Siroth, the cost was dire: great swathes of the Mistwood had been burned and its core ruined with corruption. Many Sylvan remained lost to bloodthirsty madness. To this day, the Watchers and their Fae allies launch forays into the forest in hopes of reclaiming their home.
On one such undertaking, a young Sylvan named Ultan met a radiant Fae monarch. Renowned for her empathy, Queen Oella was heartbroken by the atrocities inflicted upon the Mistwood and had sworn to restore the wondrous paradise to what it once was. She was wise and charming and beloved by many, but it was her passion for her cause and love of life that captivated Ultan’s heart and inspired him to seek her out again and again.
Ultan’s curiosity had amused Oella at first, and she humored the Elven warrior with a handful of chance meetings. She learned that Ultan was sagacious in his own right, kind-hearted, and as dedicated to the Mistwood as Oella herself. She was even more surprised by how driven he was to learn and master the ways of her kind. This was a daunting task, even for one attuned to the Rhythm, the energy which permeates the Mistwood, and the beings who dwell near or within it.
As decades passed, Ultan rose to great esteem among the Sylvan Watchers, his accord with the Fae earning him the position of envoy to Oella’s court. Their curiosity in one another evolved into trust and respect, then turned to friendship. Over time, this became love. The other Fair Folk disapproved. Oella cared not – she inducted Ultan into her court as her knight and champion.
Many ventures together led the lovers to the charred remnants of the Great Grove itself. There, Oella and her handmaidens sought to find the source of lingering corruption and a way to heal it. But all they found was death. Twisted monstrosities, maddened Fae and Sylvans, assailed them on all sides.
Oella’s handmaidens would have surely perished were it not for Ultan’s courage and skill. Heavily outnumbered, he fought with the ferocity of a dozen warriors and bought the queen’s retinue time to withdraw. His injuries were grievous, and he would not have lived were it not for a miracle born from Oella’s love. She held Ultan and poured her very essence into the terrible wounds he had suffered. It was an act guided by desperation and instinct in equal measure, and it bound their spirits together. Ultan awoke soon after, changed. He was no longer just a Sylvan Elf. Fae magic flowed through his veins. He could feel its power, and to his joy, he felt closer to Oella than he ever imagined possible.
Upon their return, Oella named Ultan as her consort – a faithful friend and ally to rule by her side. His bravery and sacrifice had earned him a modicum of respect among the Fae, but it may be many centuries still before the Fair Folk accept Ultan as one of their own.