Courts

The Seelie Court

The Seelie have a reputation as guardians of fae traditions. They see themselves as peacekeepers, proponents of courtly love, protectors of the weak and embodiments of the ideals of chivalry. They tend to be traditional and often conservative in their outlook, preferring the tried and true over the risky and innovative.

Most Seelie seek the reunion between the mortal world and the Dreaming, and would like nothing better than a return to the time before the two realms split apart. To this end, many members of the Seelie Court consider the gathering and preservation of Glamour to be their sacred duty, a process of reawakening in mortals the ability to dream. Through they may consider the Unseelie Court their reatest rival, Banality is their greatest enemy.

Seelie changelings place honor above most other virtues. For them, the concepts of oath-breaking, treason, cowardice, and other dishonorable behavior comprise a litany of the most grievous crimes imaginable. In addition to honor, they value courage, truth, beauty, justice, and other attributes of the code of chivalry.

In many ways, Seelie Kitain concern themselves with the past. Bards and lore-keepers occupy places of honor in Seelie households. These keepers of legends and knowledge counsel their Seelie lieges with storehouses of information on how things used to be and on proper behavior in any given circumstance. many Seelie, especially the noble sidhe, devote themselves so entirely to recreating the past that they affect the dress and manners of the Middle Ages, the period they last remembered from their time on Earth before the Shattering.


The Seelie Code

  • Death before dishonor.

Chivalry still lives. Honor is the most important virtue, the source of all glory. Personal honor must always be kept stainless. Sometimes death is the only path which can erase a mark of dishonor.

  • Love conquers all.

Love lies at the heart of the Dreaming. True love transcends all and epitomizes what it means to be Seelie. Courtly love best expresses love in its highest form, although famiilial love and love of compasions also serve as pure embodiments of that exalted virtue. Anything is permitted in the name of true love.

  • Beauty is life

Beauty is a timeless, objective quality that, while it cannot be defined, is always recognized for itself. Beauty is the muse of creation, the ultimate flowering of the Dreaming. Once found it must be protected, for it is both eternal and fragile. To die in the service of beauty is an honor and a privilege.

  • Never forget a debt.

One figt deserves another. The recipient of a gift is obligated to return the favor. Likewise, a currse should be returned in kind. An oath of friendship should be answered with a corresponding oath. Never refuse to aid anyone to whom you are indebted. Never forget a kindness..or a cruelty.


The Unseelie Court

Where the Seelie dedicate themselves to preserving the traditions of the fae, the Unseelie style themselves as mockers of those traditions. They stand for the principles of constant change and impulsive action. They have a reputation for fostering war and madness, despising those weaker then themselves, and valuing freedom and wildness over any chivalric code. The Unseelie see themselves as radical visionaries, bring about vital change and transformation through whatever means necessary, including violence.

Most members of the Unseelie Court believe that the Dreaming has abandoned them, and, therefore, that they owe no special loyalty to it or to their lost home of Arcadia. Unseelie fae use Glamour for their own ends, to gain strength and personal power and to further their political ambitions. The Unseelie feel that they should be the masters, rather than the servants, of the Dreaming. Furthermore, most Unseelie hold the conviction that the fae should rule humanity, since that feeble race of short-lived mortals exists only to provide the Glamour necessry for faerie existence. This, many Unseelie changelings lord it over the mortals they come in contact with, often surrounding themselves with groups of enchanted and enslaved humans in order to feed shamelessly on their dreams.

Some Unseelie, like their Seelie kin, wish to return to the Dreaming, but only to increase their own power and to bring the Dreaming under their rule. Unseelie changelings consider Banality a powerful opponent, but do not fear it in the same way that the Seelie do. Rather, they would like to conquer and harness Banality. making it, like the Dreaming, serve their purposes. A few truly radical Unseelie changelings believe that Banality represents the wave of the future, the true synthesis of reality as aopposed to the illory flimsiness of the Dreaming. These ultra-radicals think that their strength of will can overcome Banality, and ise it as a potent weapon against their Seelie rivals.

The Unseelie forswear the past, looking instead to the uncertain future. They consider stagnation to be crimes against the free exchange of ideas. They take on the roles of champions of freedom, harginers of change, advocates of free thought and breakers of rules. Many show outward contempt for courtly ways, going to great lengths to mock the chivalric behavior of the Seelie. Other members of the Unseelie Court follow many of the tradtional ways, but do so because they are free to make that choice, not because custom dictates their behavior.


The Unseelie Code

  • Change is good.

Security does not exist. The slightest of circumstances can transform a king into a peasant. Nothing is certain in a world where change is the only constant. Embrace change or else fall before its onslaught. Chaos and discord rule the universe. Adapt or die.

  • Glamour is free.

Glamour is worthless unless used. Hoarding Glamour makes no sense, since it is an eternally replenishable resource. So long as humans exist, there will always be dreamers - hence, there will always be more Glamour. Acquire it by any means possible, and you will never be without a constant supply.

  • Honor is a lie.

Honor has no place in the modern world. It is a fairy tale constructed to cover the essential emptiness behind most traditions. Only through enlightened self-interest can any truth be attained.

  • Passion before duty.

Passion is the truest state of the fae spirit. Follow your instincts and act on you impulses. Live life to the fullest without regard to the consequences - they will come about regardless of what you do. Youth passes quickly, so have fun while you can. Death can come at any time, so live without regret.


The Shadow Court

During the Interregnum, a tradtion known as the Shadow Court arose. established by the Unseelie to mimic the lost custom of alternating rule, the Shadow Court became the primary way in which Unseelie changelings could retain some vestige of their lost position as shared rulers of the fae.

Called together during the evening rites of the Samhain celebreation, the Shadow Court rules the changeling community for one night only. During its brief reign, it bestows honorary titles which carry over for the Unseelie half of the year. It also openly mocks the Seelie traditions, providing sometimes humiliating or painful reminders to its rivals that an alternative path exists for the fae to follow. Most Seelie fae dislike being made fun of, but grudginly put up with the Shadow Court as a harmless outlet for Unseelie proclivities.

The Shadow Court occupies the current status of a Mardi Gras-like celebration, allowing changelings of hoth Courts to cast aside their inhibitions for a single night and revel in their deepest passions and most perverse dreams without fear of censure or punishment. seelie changelings pay homage to their Unseelie natures on this night, becoming their dark halves for the duration of the festivities. The fallen fae are also honored during this time, for the Shadow Court feels a special affinity toward the spirits of the dead, who are central to the Samhain rites.

What most changelings do not know is that the Shadow Court meets at other times of the year as well, and has its own secret agenda known only to its members. The honorary titles bestowed at Samhain make it obvious to all changelings who currently lead the mock court, but since these positions are only nominal, few Kithain take them seriously. The clandestine - shadowy in fact - meetings of the Shadow Court taje place under conditions of utmost secrecy, and only the Court's most trusted members attend.

Although most Unseelie rulers tend to be on friendly terms with the Shadow Court, and may even suspect it of existing as an independent entity apart from its annual incarnation at Samhain, the leaders of the Shadow Court do not consider themselves bound to notify their "allies" of their every action. In fact keeping even Unseelie rulers in the dark about the workings of the Shadow Court ensure a low profile for its members, who like it that way.

The real purpose behind the Shadow Court lies hidden to most Kithain, and its sinister plans for the future continue to unfold, appropriately, in the shadows of changeling society.