My understanding is that Earth is the fundamentally mundane locale to which we (and thusly the reader) are accustomed. "Magic" and the paranormal are generally explained away by science or technology. TwinWorld, on the other hand is fundamentally magical, and our concepts of technology (a machine that is driven by another machine that is ultimately driven by the conversion of a fuel material into heat) have little application. Even their "machines" are ultimately run by a force that we would consider to be paranormal (be it an elemental force, or actual "Faerie Magick"). As such, both worlds hold some mystery for the other.
A large basis for Earth's mythology in the real world are actual and generally inexplicable events in our planet's distant past. Be they greatly exaggerated stories, or losely hyberbolic relations of actual supernatural events, most of our mythology has its roots in these ancient stories.
In a cosmology that allows for interaction between Earth and TwinWorld, and where the expectation seems to be that this has happened before, it seems like Earth would have a lot of mythology based on human interaction with the Faerie (and possibly Zarth; I think they would tend to be related as demons, which are less popular in myth) in the distant, and perhaps not-so-distant, past. With that in mind, have there been any significant interactions (of either variety) that would give rise to particularly prevalent myths? Has there ever been a Human-Faerie war? Did the Zarth attempt subjugate humanity in the distant past, only to be driven back by the combined forces of the Faerie and the ancient humans? I realize that I am over-typifying the Zarth and Faerie into Evil and Good types, but this is mainly for the sake of example. Do humans generally believe Faerie abductions to be the work of Faeries? Is this prevalent enough to put official effort into repelling Faerie abductions, or is this generally rare enough to fall into the same category (or be mistaken for) "alien abductions"?
Religion in Twinworld
Something else came to me after our conversation about the Fay and Zarth as pagans. Perhaps, as an opposite of Earth, the mainstream cultures in Twinworld are generally godfearing? I think this would make sense for a couple of reasons.
Religion Amongst the Fay
The Fay are the embodiment of the female gender; that is, they were created in the image of God's "female" characteristics. With that in mind, what God would expect of them is that they be the best "females" they can be. God would probably present to them as a Goddess, a mother to Faerie who sets the bar for the harmonizing, nurturing spirit. God(dess)fearing Fay would aspire to be more like their Goddess, seeking to lovingly care for each other and their world with the same tenderness. It's harder to have a Christ analog in a situation like this, but they don't necessarily need one. Christ is what Earth needs. Perhaps the Fay don't.
Religion Amongst the Zarth
As the embodiment of the male gender, the Zarth are created in the image of God's "male" traits. Again, God is expecting them to make the best "males" they can be. God would present as a high king and commander, and his tenets would emphasize respect, honor, and obedience. Godfearing Zarth would uphold the military structure as sacred and would treat their superiors with the respect they deserve. Acting with honor would be paramount.
With these things in mind, I think that having the mainstream Fay and Zarth as generally godfearing (even if not especially devout) makes sense. God presents as an obvious representation of what they want to be, and their societies are easily oriented in a godward direction.
Gender in Twinworld
I am having trouble distinguishing gender among the Fay or among the Zarth. What is a Fay man, and how does he differ from a Fay woman? In my recollection, I can't think of many stories that involve fairies having offspring in the traditional sense. I suggest that Fay and Zarth be essentially androgynous or hermaphroditic for reproductive purposes. Alternatively, they might be asexual altogether, and new Fay and Zarth are essentially created and delivered to a parent. If we want to avoid the "stork", reproduction for both species should still be a much more dispassionate act than it is for humans. When a Faerie community decides that there should be an offspring, a one or more Faeries act together (performing the same role as each other) to grow the offspring. When Zarth require more soldiers, perhaps they hew them from the rocks.
Amongst the Faerie, in particular, I can see this giving us more options in a few places, and also giving us a reason behind their abductions of humans. If Faerie don't birth their own offspring, but instead contribute to a communal effort to nurture new Fay as they grow them in a sort of garden-creche, there would be very little sense of "ownership" of a person. If a Faerie (sinfully) craves a person to call her own, she essentially has to take one for herself. Taking another Faerie might be difficult, or illegal, but taking a human might be more generally accepted (or at least more commonly overlooked).
Zarth don't abduct humans because they already have that sense of ownership built in. If you want a "son", carve him from the rocks yourself!
I think that Fay should have two genders. To reproduce the females plant a flower and the male fertilizes it. Upon maturity the flower blooms to reveal an infant fay. The flowers take a long time to mature which limits the rate of reproduction. One male may fertilize many flowers. --Hugh 00:57, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
The males are rare, dispassionate, and itinerate. They have relatively little magic power. Because of their steadier minds they are valued as advisers. Often they will be used as diplomats to the Zarth. The males chief role is to fertilize the flowers from which new fay are born.--Hugh 00:57, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of Zarth having females. Their culture has a whole demonstrates masculine traits rather than their species being entirely male. However if we do go with endogenous reproduction here's an idea: Zarth must carve a symbol from a special rock and then embue it with their own life force through a sacred type of mechamagic. The stone grows into another zarth. Once it is fully mature the "father" dies. Zarth may embue several stones simultaneously in order to multiply. This number is limited to two, or for great zarth, three. Higher numbers often lead to a premature death and and underdeveloped offspring. --Hugh 00:47, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Paul wants to have single gender races. I disagree. Not only are the sociological and psychological implications of a single gender race incredibly hard to accurately model, removing a gender from the race detracts from its ability to truly model the male and female virtues. An all male society cannot model manliness. Neither can an all female society model womanhood. Additionally removing a gender from the Fay creates plot problems. How would Durand live for so long inconspicuously in a single gender world? How would the legends of Fay-human love work? How is Zack going to get all the Fay chicks? Finally I believe we are attempting the ridiculous by treating gender as a dichotomy when it is not. Woman was made from man and man the image of God. A society cannot possibly exhibit only female or male virtues because they overlap substantially. I believe we should have the Fay and Zarth emphasize the male and female aspects as a society but not take it further than that.--Hugh 21:53, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Also, while I like the idea of the inhabitants of Twinworld being more religious than those of earth there are problems without having a "Fall" correlate. If most everyone is perfect then there's no room for death, conflict, war, strife, political intrigue, etc. We miss out on a lot of plot potential this way. Trying to figure out what a pre-fall world looks like is a challenge in of itself. If you think about it, in a pre-fall world, the hozz brothers would be among the antagonists. That is unless we want to make them sinless as well, which is silly.
A large part of the general female identity is centered on raising children, so I think Toad's idea about group nurturing and child snatching is right on. I don't think we should include fay males, as they would essentially be the "drones in the anthill", but really it wouldn't be that much trouble. It would be simpler to leave them out, and I don't think we would loose much by it.
Part of me really wants the Zarth to have females. How men behave toward women tell a lot about them, and it would be a great way to show the quality of the Zarth culture in how it deals with females. Competing for them (like they compete for everything else) has huge potential. On the other hand, I'd really like the Zarth to be free from females, since constantly dealing with the strife that they would cause could obscure other things we're trying to say with the Zarth, and overcomplicate the picture.
Ultimately, it could be interesting to include female Zarth, and male Fay, but I think it may be better to leave them out. However, if someone can make sense of what that would look like, let's do it! Ziggy 19:30, 23 February 2009 (UTC)