Bring In The Toys
ST Note: I’m posting the entirety of the Escheat as printed in the core for convenience here. You characters are expected to be familiar with its tenets, though how they interpret each tenant will vary widely depending on Kith, Court, and the sort of mentor s/he had. I encourage you to think on how your character views these laws and how they shape their actions (or how they shape them!).
The traditions that make up the Escheat form the basic laws of Kithain society. Believed to have originated among those wise faeries who lived closest to the Dreaming, they were recorded after the Sundering as a way to ensure fae survival in the face of inexorable change. Passed down and enforced by the nobility, the Escheat’s tenets are respected by both Seelie and Unseelie nobles (though each Court has variations on how it interprets each principle). Seelie nobles and their subjects generally follow the letter of the law, while Unseelie nobles and their minions tend to find the loopholes and work through them. Unlike oaths (see below), the authority to enforce the Escheat is not backed by Glamour. Instead, it carries the force of law, tradition and custom. Occasionally the Dreaming works its own chimerical subtleties around the Escheat, making certain that its rules are kept or forcing those who break it to reap the consequences of their actions.
The six basic rights of the Escheat are detailed below.
• The Right of Demesne — A lord is the king of his domain. He is the judge and jury over all crimes, large and small. His word is law. A noble expects obedience from his vassals and respect from all others. In return, a noble respects those lords superior to him.
Reality: Nobility has had to make concessions in the face of modern ideas of democracy and popular rule. Most nobles rule through force, cunning, personal magnetism or custom.
• The Right to Dream — Mortals have a right to dream unhindered by our needs. The Dreaming will die if we steal directly from the font. No one is allowed to use Glamour to manipulate the creative process. Although you may inspire creativity in the mortal mind, it is forbidden to give direct instruction or to infuse a human with raw Glamour.
Reality: Most changelings interpret this as a prohibition against Ravaging — the forcible ripping of Glamour from beings. Many Kithain — particularly Unseelie — ignore this ban, seeking a quick fix or an easy way to instant power. Since this form of acquiring Glamour often permanently drains the victim, convicted Ravagers suffer harsh punishments as a deterrent to repeating their crime. Disturbing rumors claim that some changelings infuse mortals with Glamour, overloading the mortal souls with too much creativity and feeding from their brilliant dreams. This practice, if it exists, also violates this portion of the Escheat.
• The Right of Ignorance — Do not betray the Dreaming to Banality. Never reveal yourself to humanity. Not only will humankind hunt us down for our wisdom and our power, it will overwhelm us with Banality and destroy our places of power. The more humanity knows, the more ardently it will seek us, draining the world of Glamour and petrifying our essence with its basilisk’s gaze.
Reality: Most changelings, both Seelie and Unseelie, respect this rule since it serves as protection against the forces of Banality. Glamour is hard enough to find, and expending it on mortals so that they can witness the Dreaming for themselves is wasteful. Some changelings enchant select humans in order to bring them into their freeholds as lovers or retainers, but they are careful to remove any evidence of their existence from the minds of these mortals when they return them to the mortal world.
• The Right of Rescue — All Kithain have the right to expect rescue from the foul grip of Banality. We are in danger together and must strive together to survive. Never leave anyone behind. Kithain are required to rescue other faeries or any creature of the Dreaming trapped by those who serve Banality.
Reality: Most changelings adhere to this principle. After all, they might need rescuing one day. Seelie and Unseelie will forget their differences and come to each other’s aid when one or the other falls prey to the Dauntain or some other agent of Banality. While many changelings will try to rescue chimeric creatures such as unicorns or griffins, few risk themselves for minor chimera.
• The Right of Safe Haven — All places of the Dreaming are sacred. Kithain cannot allow faerie places to be endangered. All those who seek refuge in such places must be admitted. Freeholds must be kept free of both Banality and worldly violence.
Reality: Competition for the few freeholds that have survived the Shattering makes this tenet a hard one to enforce. Rival claims to the same spot of dream-infused ground often lead to warfare that encroaches upon its boundaries, although in most cases combat on the actual grounds of a freehold is restricted to chimeric battle. Some lords bar their freeholds to outsider changelings for fear that unwanted visitors may waste the Glamour inherent in their holdings. Despite the demands of hospitality and courtesy upon the domains of nobles, commoner freeholds are often more inclined than their noble counterparts to admit changelings seeking refuge.
• The Right of Life — No Kithain shall spill the lifeblood of another Kithain. No Kithain shall bring salt tears unto the earth. No Kithain shall take from the Dreaming one of its own. Death is anathema.
Reality: This tenet is almost universally upheld, particularly since the Dreaming itself seems to enforce it by inflicting Banality upon a changeling who takes another changeling’s life. When two Kithain meet in combat, they usually wield chimerical weapons, although there are exceptions to this (such as nonlethal duels to first blood). No “real” damage is caused by such a chimerical battle. The loser, if “killed,” merely dies temporarily to the Dreaming and returns to her mortal seeming until reawakened by an infusion of Glamour.