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A Setting for Changeling: The Lost
Sluagh Rock
wilowisp
The Courts of the Twin Cities

Most changelings, upon their escape from the cruel hands of Fae Masters, are drawn through the Hedge to mortal places that resonate with them - their land of birth, the location they were kidnapped, the place they call home. While some Twin Cities changelings are called back for these reasons, there are many more that appear for reasons unknown. Yet the Fae presence remains average, allowing a strong and historic changeling population to develop. The Cities grew side-by-side, and the changeling Courts with them, adhering to the popular Seasonal Pacts. The rulers of the Courts learned to imbue themselves with primal force of the Minnesota weather, and now it is assumed that all Kings and Queens and their highest officials are Deacons of the Tempest (Entitlement).

Five years ago on July 29th, an unprecedented storm of light raged through the Hedge, bringing nearly a hundred newly freed changelings to Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The storm was seen as an omen in the war against the Fae - it was referred to as the Aurora Libertalis, and those it brought as charmed Auroras. Bewildered, they were welcomed by their changeling brethren, swelling the ranks of the Cities.

But for every flow, there is an ebb. Two years ago on February 13th, a Wyrd horn was sounded at dawn. It signaled the arrival of a covey of Fae Hunters, come to reclaim their losses. Unprepared freeholds were obliterated, motleys were captured in the blink of an eye, and the very Courts themselves were in danger of being destroyed. Then, after less than two hours of chaos, the Fae departed with their prisoners, leaving the changeling world of the Twin Cities badly wounded. This is remembered as the Hunter's Dawn, and the Courts are still reeling from the impact, worried that the Hunters could return at any point to finish what they started.

The Winter Court is old and powerful, with an unbroken history stretching back to the late 19th century. A series of snowskin rulers, all assuming the name Boreas, have protected and guided the changelings of the cities through the storms of both the mortal world and the Hedge. The Saint Paul Winter Festival is a yearly display of success, and its finale is a symbolic gesture of the Court giving way to Spring. However, due to the large number of courtiers and their political clout, the Onyx Court still holds great sway even at the height of summer. Boreas and his courtiers have long held their borders in the downtown area of Saint Paul, where they have developed an intricate social playground hidden just beyond mortal eyes. As with any power ruled by masters of secrets and deception, there is distrust of the Silent Arrow, but more so now that the Hunter's Dawn seems to have mostly spared its ranks, while other areas were decimated by the sudden Fae attack.

The Spring Court was for many years nothing more than a puppet of the much stronger Summer Court - a necessary player in the annual symbolic battle between Boreas and the Vulcans. Always small in numbers, Emerald Courtiers were more likely to fall into motleys of their own than form a formal hierarchy. However, their Summer Court masters were among the most hard-hit on the Hunter's Dawn, leaving a political vacuum in the Crimson Court and freeing the Spring Courtiers to hold the Antler Crown in their own name. One draconic changeling from the Circus of Flesh, an Aurora who evaded recapture by the Fae, took up the challenge at the end of the following Winter Carnival. She bested the Winter champion in ACTUAL combat, rather than the ceremonial performance, and was proclaimed Vulcana Rex. The new Spring Court currently gathers in the Saint Paul Como area, being the Circus' home, but as their ranks swell without precedent, a new location may be sought out.

The Summer Court was traditionally the only other Court with the power to challenge Boreas. Holding the reins of the impotent Spring Court, the Iron Spear poised itself to rule nearly half the year, and countered the power of the Winter Carnival with its own Aquatennial celebration. However, in-fighting among the hotheaded changelings (and ill-advised ventures into the Hedge) resulted in fluctuating leadership that paled in the face of Boreas' cold grip on the Court of Sorrow. The Hunter's Dawn hit the Crimson Court the hardest, taking out many of the most established courtiers. Many ambitious changelings began laying claim to the Summer Crown, and the squabbling escalated in the heat of a vicious August until there was nearly changeling war in the streets. Fed up with the violence, the chirurgeon Saint Sabrina and her entourage seized control. While she holds audiences in the traditional realm of Uptown Minneapolis, she refuses to be viewed as the Queen, calling herself 'caretaker of the realm' until a clear ruler ascends without bloodshed. Some view this as dictator-in-name-only, and while it has calmed the violence, it has also resulted in a defection of the Summer Courts already dwindling ranks to the Margravate of the Brim.

The Autumn Court has mostly kept itself removed from the constant maneuverings between Winter and Summer, preferring to take leadership when it is time, and turning it over to Boreas with as little to-do as possible. Indeed, even members of the Winter Court itself are confused as to how the Ashen Courtiers know when the time of transition has come. The enigmatic farwalker Jacob Gone ruled over the Leaden Mirror for many years, but became even more of a recluse after the Hunter's Dawn. It's unknown if he was taken, killed, or is in some self-imposed exile. Though they claim to speak on his behalf, the bright one Jai Lia and the rot-eater Agatha Debris seem to be in charge these days. The numbers of the Autumn Court are mostly unknown, but it seems likely that they have surpassed the Summer Court as the second most populous. The traditional realm of the Ashen Court is the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and the associated Dinkytown.

The Abbey of Doubt and Shame - somewhere between the Fear of Autumn and the Sorrow of Winter is Doubt and Shame. Though not a Court in its own right, this freehold had numbers to rival the Spring Court. The Abbots and Abbesses were considered by most to be the Winter Court's arm in Minneapolis, but they themselves fiercely defended their position as a political force outside of the courts. While its heyday in the mid-twentieth century was long gone by the time of Aurora Libertalis, there was a noticeable resurgence as Auroras were drawn to the mournful and austere motley. The Hunter's Dawn reduced the numbers to a mere five, a shadow of a once great force in the Twin Cities. There is little hope that the Abbey will make another resurgence, but Doubt is a part of who they are. They continue to dwell in the Mill City ruins by the Stone Arch Bridge.

The Margravate of the Brim has become a more powerful force in just the past two years since the Hunter's Dawn. By its very nature, it has never been friendly with the Courts, but they view the Winter Court as the primary offender and thus have been known to get into bed with the Summer Court on occasion. Still, it's numbers have never been enough to tip the balance of power. The Margraves were hit badly by the Fae Hunters, being among the first lines of defense. However, a large portion of the Summer Court has defected to the Margravate in defiance of what they view as Saint Sabrina's unwarranted seizure of power. They are mostly gathered behind a water-dweller named Locke, a previous claimant to the Summer Crown.

Not a whole lot of this is new to my brain. I started this around the time C:tL came out, which was when I was working for NightOwl. However, rather than work today I decided to let my imagination play for a little while. I like this place, I like these characters. And I love what's lurking underneath...

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