Overview EditThe fae of Scotland believe that the preservation of their culture is worth dying for, but their actions to preserve it must not invite Banality. Fae rulers discipline their wayward minions in their fae mien. Attacking a foe's mortal life or livelihood is dishonorable and other fae see this as an acknowledgment of the mortal world's (temporary?) dominance of the Dreaming. When dealing with mortal foes, Scottish changelings use traditional faerie methods: pranks, treachery, kidnapping, and so on.
Many wilders, especially the bards of the Tuath of Shadows, challenge these priorities. They believe that fighting solely against change and time will doom the fae. They concentrate on engendering a resurgence of Celtic culture in human society by mingling it with elements of New-Age philosophies and faux druidism. Traditionalist fae disapprove of the melange of belief which results; some react violently to these affronts against fae culture.
Scottish history invites a theme of "might have beens" and "could have beens." William Wallace almost won independence from England in the late 13th century, but was betrayed by Scottish nobles. Yet with this acknowledgment of treachery, there is also hope. Robert the Bruce, a claimant to the Scottish throne, was one of the nobles who turned his back on Wallace, but he later recanted his misdeeds and went on to free Scotland from the English yoke. Unfortunately. English gold has forever tempted the Scots. When James of Scotland took the British throne, he moved his court to England. And along with English land and money, James and his nobles took on English ways.
The English conversion of their nobles diminished much of the Scots' faith in their rulers. Therefore, a patriotic boast often rings with irony. Too many Scottish rulers have been traitors, too many of their heroes have been betrayed. Throughout their history, the Scots have heard promises from their leaders, but few have been fulfilled.
The Caledonii are often dour and brooding, but remain staunchly determined. Punctuating these dark emotions is an unwavering, blazing love of kin, music, dance and nature. Although the forces of Banality and the Technocracy hold sway over most of the folk of Scotland, there is still an incredibly strong culture which prizes esthetics, faith, and dreaming over profit margins and timetables.
The Caledonii hope and struggle, often unaware of how they cooperate. The fight the mages wage against the Technocracy is a fight against Banality. The fae's engendering of the Dreaming through the preservation of the mythic threads, still strong in Scots' culture, weakens the Technocracy's grip on reality. These efforts make Awakening and Chrysalis far more possible.
Changeling Lexicon Edit
Fae Cant consists of words from Scots and Gaelic which are used in Scottish fee society.
- Cairn: A mound of stones. Cairns are markers or memorials.
- Caledonii: The fae use this word to refer to magical beings in general. Usually it describes mixed groups, mages and fae being the most common. Caledonii might also refer to vampires, werewolves, wraiths, fomori, or hedge magicians.
- Clann: Children. The clann was the basic unit of Scottish fae society during the Interregnum. During this time the clanns took their names from the lands around them, rather than from ancestors. Even though the arrival of the sidhe diminished the clanns' power, most Scottish Commoners still use this term instead of "motley." The unbowed Commoners of the Highlands still exist as clanns.
- Gollach: A satyr.
- Laird: Lord, the person in charge of a freehold.
- Rath, Dun: A fae fort or freehold.
- The '69: The War of Ivy, or British Accordance War.
- Sitheans: Old fae mounds.
- Stane: Stone; usually a single, large stone, erected and often engraved. As with a cairn, it is a kind of marker or memorial.
- Tuath: Tuath roughly translates into tribe, but unlike clann, refers to geographical areas, not merely political or familial relationships. The fae of Scotland use it synonymously with duchy.
Changeling Politics Edit
Caledonia is a broken country. The '69 (the War of Ivy) isn't over; the sidhe quickly fell to fighting amongst themselves. No high king arose in Caledonia, and after eight years of struggle, the royals of Scotland signed the Caledonian Compact. They pledged to fight together should the Sassenach (English fae) come calling,
Ross of House Gwydion, King of Dalriada, is the most powerful noble. He controls both Glasgow, the largest city, and Edinburgh, the most Glamour-rich city in Caledonia. Niall of House Dougal controls the new-money capital of Aberdeen, and has the support of a legion of nocker artisans. Glynis of House Eiluned is the most enigmatic. The Queen of Three Hills controls no major cites, but holds more land than the other kingdoms. Her sorcery and her surprisingly good relations with the commoners keep her kingdom intact,
Ross calls himself High King of Dalriada, and in his kingdom, Dalriada is used synonymously with Caledonia. Ross recently gobbled up the Kingdom of Dew (Edinburgh), and this victory gave him the confidence to claim the throne of Caledonia. Niall claims that Ross' arrogance and treacherous nature keep him from accepting Ross as high king. Glynis has neither acknowledged nor refuted Ross' claim.
- The Clockwork Trod
- The Near Isle Trods
- The Stane Way
Scottish Superstitions & the Sloinneadh EditScottish superstitions are extremely important to the mages and fae. Both of these groups have vested interests in keeping folk beliefs alive.
In the early 1970s, Alasdair, bard to Queen Glynis of Three Hills, invited all the fae heads of state to a meeting on the highest peak of the Eildon Hills. On the grassy slopes, he and six enchanted mortals told the greatest of the tales of mythic Caledonia and thereby recounted hundreds of superstitions. After 20 hours of tale-spinning and singing, they stopped and told the fae that without their help, all of these tales could die, and with their help they just might live anew. Alasdair then outlined a code of behavior for the fae of Caledonia. In order to preserve what was left of the old tenets, he asked the fae to act in ways to strengthen the old superstitions and fables which still existed. It this was done the last vestiges of the Dreaming would not die. In honor of their fae and human ancestors, this code was called the Sloinneadh (sloynu), after the traditional Gaelic recitation of one's ancestors.
The fae are not necessarily bound by these attitudes or traditions. Wise mages use these legends to make their magick coincidental when dealing with persons who are superstitious. (NB: the words Fairy and Witch are tied to superstitious understandings of this beings)
- Bannock: The bannock is the traditional bread of Scotland. To prepare it in the classical way, it is kneaded sunwise into a disk, with a hole in the center. It is then baked on a stone heated on a fire. Bannocks, and the stones they ate baked on, are often regarded as charms against evil and it was generally regarded as profane to waste a bannock in the old days. Daughters passed the bannock stones on for generations as wedding presents.
- Clach-an-Tiompian: Gaelic for "Stone of the Lyre." Clach-an-Tiompian are standing stones that produce musical notes when struck or when wind blows around them. Folklore states that ringing a Clach-an-Tiompian summons the faeries.
- Colored Thread: Witches use colored thread to imbue curses; while common folk use them as protection from black magic and the fae. In one case, a jilted lover caused impotence in her old lover by tying three pieces of different colored thread into three knots.
- Corp Creadha: Gaelic for "clay body." The corp creadha are wax or clay bodies used by Scottish witches as voodoo dolls. They could inflict pain or death, but unlike voodoo dolls, the corp creadha are useless against persons with missing limbs.
- Cuach: A wooden bowl filled with water used to sink boats or drown swimmers. The witches of Lewis placed small effigies of boats in bowls and agitated the water as they chanted their spells. When the effigies sank, the real boats capsized and everyone drowned.
- Eoas: These are charms against evil. They usually consist of a chant, usually spoken by a healer, and some other anti-magical material. Some common things that prevent evil magic are drawn swords, iron, juniper wood, stale urine, rowan wood, stallions, pins boiled in milk, and mothan (pearlwort). Burning brands carried sunwise around a home would ward it from evil influences.
- Fairy Etiquette: For some reason fairies consider it insulting to be thanked by humans for their good deeds. They especially find it insulting if they are merely repaying a service done for them. It is also believed to be improper to speak to a fairy host if taken by free will. Speaking in these circumstances causes a fairy to return the guest to the place of abduction.
- Fairy Food: Eating a fairy's food places a person under her power.
- Fairy Houses: Fairies are, of course, supposed to dwell under hillocks, but in Scotland the people believed they also lived under stone hearths, or sometimes under houses. The subterranean houses with stone slabs for roofs and piled stones for walls, discovered in England and Scotland, were believed the houses of fairies. Their name, pech houses, also hints that they might have been used by the Picts.
- Fairy Stock: The fairy stock is an image of a fairy victim, usually made of wood, moss or wax, which the faery leaves in place of the person it kidnaps. If the person is successfully spirited away before the stock is destroyed, the fairy stock animates and becomes physically indistinguishable from the original person, a doppleganger. This "stock" person usually sickens and dies fairly quickly since people who know the original will begin to notice his quirks.
- The Knife in the Door: If asked into a fairy's dwelling, sticking a knife into the door prevents the fairy from keeping the guest captive.
- The Good Neighbor: The fairies of Scotland always return favors and often help deserving persons without being asked. They always repay their debts, so the fairies arc known as The Good Neighbors.
- Heather Ale: The brewing of heather ale was a secret known only to the Picts, and their secret is said to have died w ith them. The ale gave second sight (enchanted mortals) and was much prized by the fairies for this reason. The last two Picts, a father and son, came before the king of the Scotti who demanded that they tell him the secret method. The father told the king that he would not tell unless the Scotti killed the man's son. The king immediately plunged a spear through the young man. After the father was sure of his son's death, he spat on the king and told him that he thought his son was too weak to withstand their torture, but he was not. They could torture and kill him but he would die with the secret. He was right.
- Milk: Witches and faeries often steal milk from cows, transferring it to the their cows or their cauldrons. Milk could also be stolen by milking the slabhraidh, the pot-chain used to hang a kettle over a fire.
- The Whirlwind: Whirlwinds are supposed to mark the passing of fairies. If you're quick, and can throw your left shoe, a knife, dirt from a molehill, or your bonnet into the whirlwind, the faeries will drop what they were carrying. Other times, the faeries give interfering mortals some kind of gift or curse. Whirlwinds under faery power also carry people off. Donald MacCrimmon, the legendary founder of the MacCrimmon piping school, supposedly received his famous piping ability by tossing his bonnet into a whirlwind.
The Kithain Edit
Historically, the most populous kith in Scotland were the sidhe, redcaps, boggans, and nockers. Of course some sluagh lived in the labyrinths beneath the various mountain ranges. With the construction of sewers many slaugh moved to the cities of the Central Belt. Satyrs were often mistaken for the devil in ancient Scotland, and their numbers are still few. Selkies are all over the islands although their numbers have diminished on the Shetlands due to the Murchison oil fields.
The Seelie court of Caledonia has two related concerns: the War of Ivy and Caledonia's lack of a high king. Most nobles feel that a high king could galvanize the forces and resources of the separate kingdoms and finally take the Cridhe from the commoners.
Caledonia is ripe for a (high) kingmaker. Duke Leyden was the favorite for this position, since it was commonly believed that most of Ross' political successes, such as his victory over the Kingdom of Dew, were due to Leyden's machinations. Since Leyden has turned to the Unseelie, those hopes seem dashed. Although many sidhe feel that Ross would make a good high king, many feel that he cannot take the post by himself. Now nobles whisper about matching Queen Glynis and King Ross, but neither royal has voiced an opinion on the subject. Some have even heard rumors that Ross plans to marry a countess from Wales, but that seems like idle talk. Niall is the favorite of most of the commoners, but his obsession with the Contrivancy makes most of the nobles wary of a "clockwork" throne.
The commoner Unseelie are slow to accept sidhe claiming to be Unseelie. Only recently have commoner Unseelie groups like the Ban-Durrag associated with the sidhe. The sidhe Unseelie, such as Duke Leyden, have found these commoners are difficult to manipulate. Leyden's loss of control of the Ban-Durrag is a serious loss of standing with the Unseelie. Many of the once-socialist Seelie commoners have become Unseelie anarchists since the War of Ivy. They will never accept a sidhe in their midst.