There is a city stretching to meet the sky, and around it there is nothing to see but sand.
Sand and the occasional large rock, and a figure stepping out from the shadow of a large rock without first having stepped into the shadow. They look like an unusually tall human, with long dark hair and dragonfly wings, dressed in clothing pieced together from animal skins and leaves and spider-silk.
This isn't what the surface world looked like last time they came up from Underhill. Perhaps the mortals cut down all the trees for some reason and used them to build a bigger collection of the structures they're so fond of. Or this could be a different part of the surface world, which would be interesting.
Either way, those tall constructions mean mortals to observe and maybe play with. They head for the city.
They'll encounter some mortals not far into the city. Mortals who look... confused and upset to see them.
..honestly, that's fair. They grin at the confused mortals anyway, because it's funny to see their reactions.
Those who are close enough (or too close, depending on their feelings on the matter) will notice the flash of sharp teeth and the inhuman glint in their eyes.
One of them says something, and then tries a few other languages.
"What are you?"
Now that's interesting. They stop walking. "You don't know?"
Their wings flutter, as if some part of them has to be in motion at all times.
"You look half fae," they say uncertainly.
Wingflutter. "Accurate as far as it goes," they say, holding back laughter. "And the other half would be, what, mortal?"
"Wrong!" they chirp. "I'll tell you the answer if you tell me what a full fae would look like."
"More... colorful. Blue or red or so on."
So that's the latest fashion trend they're missing by wandering in the wilds all the time. Hardly ground-breaking.
It's the work of a moment to pull an illusion over themself, painting their skin in the reds and golds of a sunset. "Like this?"
"...No. Um. Fae don't change colors."
"This one does." They like the sunset effect, though, and decide to keep it for now. "And you haven't seen other fae change colours. Doesn't mean they can't."
...That seems unlikely but okay.
"If you're fae, you have to leave. You're trespassing in the human quarter."
"Oh, I didn't know we were obeying mortal laws now," the fae says, in a tone that implies merely genuine surprise rather than hostility. "Perhaps you could point out the edge of the human quarter to me."
"It's fae law. The edge is that way."
"I take it I'll know when I've crossed it?" They turn to see if there's anything obviously border-like visible in that direction.
There isn't anything immediately obvious.
"Yes. It... looks different. Less full."
This human looks uncomfortable and seems to want this conversation to end just as much as they do. They nod acknowledgement and set off towards the border.
The buildings thin out pretty suddenly.
Good; that means they're now on the fae side of the border, assuming the human was correct.
They pause and look around, taking in the sights and sounds of this new area. Strange to see what must be structures built by the fae, when such things are almost unheard-of Underhill.
They're tall and elaborate and made of materials that seem unlikely for the middle of a desert. They look old, too--mostly well-kept but they've still clearly been around for a long time.
Any people in the vicinity, fae or otherwise?
There's a human looking at them sort of suspiciously but without any particular judgement or anger.
The human can get a considering look right back. Are humans allowed in the fae quarter, then? That seems unbalanced but maybe there's something else making it come out even.