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Maev and Mab are the light and dark faces of the queen of Faerie

Creatures of Faerie: Queen Maev and Mab

Just as all the fay have two faces, so too does the Queen of Faerie. Unlike many fay, though, the physical differences between the two fay are subtle. The unwary might mistake one for the other, and that might prove a mortal’s undoing.

During the months of summer, Queen Maev rules over Faerie. Quick to anger but just as quick to forget, she takes her joy in simple things, seeking only comfort and pleasure. She is ready to laugh and ignores weightier matters in favour of frivolity.

Queen Mab, on the other hand, has more sinister thoughts. She makes no secret of the fact she enjoys her position over others. She sneers at simple pleasures, taking her joy in humiliation and control. Her smile is a rare thing and never pleasant to see, for it often preludes discomfort for the viewer.

Yet both Maev and Mab have one thing in common: they are manipulators. They are expert in working the will of others to their desires. Nowhere have their charms worked better than on Thomas Rymour, who is in love with both. It is for them, more than anything else, that he wants to go back to Faerie.

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You may recognise Queen Mab from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, though the similarity is in name only. The name always seemed sinister to me, making it an easy choice for the queen’s dark face. Maev is an Irish name meaning “she who intoxicates”; perfect for the creature that seduced Tom away from mortal life.