Commoners have lived on Earth since the beginnings of the fae. Trapped here after the Shattering, they survived by placing themselves in mortal forms, undergoing continual reincarnation. By being born and reborn into human families, they have both protected themselves from the worst effects of Banality and have developed close ties with humankind.
Nobles consider commoners to be lowly and tainted with the trappings of mortality. Commoners see nobles as arrogant and unfeeling, concerned only with power and status. Although some commoners and nobles may like and respect one another as individuals, in general, the two classes of Kithain share a mutual distrust and dislike. The Treaty of Concord enforced the feudal system on commoners, but most of them still do not fully adhere to all of its strictures, privately rebelling against the more onerous duties relegated to them as "lower" Kithain. Most commoners pay lip service to the local lord while reserving their own private opinions, considering themselves fully the equal of any noble.
The commoner kiths include:
The noble kiths include:
Views on Others
Even commoners who despise the concept of nobility admit the sidhe are hard to resist. No matter how hard a commoner tries, they can't make a sidhe look bad. Worse, unless they've got a heart of ice, they're helpless if a sidhe should make romantic advances. All too often, these affairs end with the commoner's heart being broken; chances are the sidhe's social standing won't allow them to maintain the affair for long. Finally, centuries of tradition and indeed the force of the Dreaming to some extent have set sidhe above commoners. What's a poor peasant to do?
As with politics, many commoners go along with the sidhe; if this is what the Dreaming has ordained, they say, why should they go against it? Others dislike the Shining Host but maintain a low profile; they deal with the sidhe only when necessary and otherwise keep to themselves. The smallest number openly oppose the sidhe, perhaps by joining a radical motley bent on terrorism, for example. The bottom line is that commoners are in a tough position with regards to the sidhe; for them, it's the ultimate love-hate relationship.
Of course, feelings towards some sidhe are different than others.
Nockers in particular admire the goals of House Dougal and often work alongside the apprentices. Other commoners, in whom the House has little interest, pay no special heed to its members. Pooka laugh about the dreary Dougal sidhe being locked up in their workshops all the time. Of course, none of them dare to play many jokes on these serious crafters, either.
- From Ellie McCrumb, pooka: When I was a childling, I had a playmate who was from House Dougal. We did all kinds of things together, then poof, he had to go work on some kind of big project. The next time a saw him, he was a grump, I swear it!
Many commoners are suspicious of House Eiluned and well they should be. That being said, eshu and sluagh often find welcome at Eiluned courts, which are fine places to pick up the latest gossip.
- From Gavrel Sturminster, sluagh: The lords and ladies of the House have been exceedingly kind to me, even allowing me to be a scribe. Well, no, I don't write very much, but it's quite an impressive tabard they gave me, isn't it?
Most commoners have relatively close bonds with House Fiona, so well known for its good relationships with the common ilk. Among the House are a large number of oath bound satyrs, trolls, and eshu. On the other hand, many common fae have been stung deeply in matters of the heart when dealing with House Fiona. A few have even gone so far as to seek revenge.
- From Mikala Philopilodes, satyr: I loved her with the passion of life itself, and I never denied any desire she had. Then one day she refused to grant me an audience. Had she found another lover, I would have rejoiced in her happiness, but that she wouldn't deign to speak with me... that is base and cruel.
Many trolls have eagerly given their service and deep respect to House Gwydion, for quite honestly, no finer warriors are to be found among the sidhe. Other commoner kith of upstanding character, strong values, and good behavior find welcome, if not complete equality. Underlying even the most honorable Gwydion's noble visage, however, is a strong holier-than-thou streak that some commoners find demeaning.
- From Tostig Haraldsson, troll: The greatest day of my life was swearing fealty to Duke Karel Coeur de Lyon. He is everything a fae should be: strong, honorable, and just. When you teach childlings, advise them to be respectful of their elders and emulate them in every way. Thus does the way of Kithain and the Dreaming continue to be strong.
Commoners have an interesting relationship with House Liam. Many of the conservatives turn up their noses, offended at the House's poor reputation. On the other hand, most commoners realize that should every other bolthole be closed to them, a sidhe of Liam would grant hospitality, at least for the requisite three days. Of course, few commoners would admit to seeking such shelter, but it's nice to know it's there for the asking.
- From Crookmanning, sluagh: It was a misunderstanding, of course, and certainly no my fault, but I had nowhere else to go. Even Lady Lynette of House Fiona turned me away with just a bag of moldy bread (Very tasty, I might add). Then Sir Casbah took me in. It wasn't much of a freehold; the Balefire was no bigger than a candle, but it was a warm place to rest and make my plans.
The lore about House Scathach is not well known among commoners, despite their many similarities. Commoners do know, however, that these sidhe stayed behind and mingled with humans. Many commoners would like to know more about the Scathach, who seem as hard to pin down as the wind.
- From Kalana Tomas, eshu: I was fortunate enough to meet one of the Grey Walkers just outside Istanbul. We shared coffee and swapped tales. Than she slipped away; I had turned to ask for the bill and she vanished into thin air. Maybe they don't want to tell us too much about their past.
Few commoners could pot a member of House Ailil, House Balor, House Leanhaun, or the others on sight. The strange heraldry might alert them to a degree, but unless there's a long discussion, no chance meeting will warn the commoners away. They'd be likely to think those of House Ailil or Balor members of House Eiluned or Dougal respectively. Rumors of fae who burn out humans with Glamour are prevalent, and a commoner might take hasty action if they found a sidhe up to this sort of crime.
- From Dorrie Donaldson, boggan: There are dark houses, to be sure, but most of them have better sense than to mess with us. They keep to themselves, and I say it's better that way. If they should come calling at your door, be polite and courteous, but cautious, like you would with a rattlesnake.
Most faae feel strongly about their political convictions. They'll give a fire and brimstone speech if someone listens, but many of them will shut up and share a drink with the one who was arguing with them a moment before. Most commoners don't let politics stand int hew of friendship. There are always those few, however...
- From Leychard, nocker farrier: What kind of question is that, do I like the nobles... Hell, if it weren't for the kindness of the Shining Host I'd be out of business! And I tell you, I'd like to kick the tail of any namby-pamby sluagh or eshu who wants to say anything against the sidhe. They've done a wonderful job of running Concordia since their return. They didn't have to let us into the Parliament of Dreams, but they did. What's more, they always pay their debts and keep coming back for more. Give me sidhe rule over a bunch of incompetent commoners any day.
- From Clara Sterling, boggan tour guide: Well, we can talk freely, can't we, both being boggan an all? I tell the truth, I've lost my faith in sidhe rule. I was young when King David founded the Parliament of Dreams. I thought finally the sidhe had come to their senses, having seen that this century was quite different from the one they'd left. Was I wrong! Listen, the Parliament is like a big vanity cake, pretty on the outside, hollow and empty on the inside. It's a waste of time and resources, and what's more, it gives commoners a false sense of hope. Do away with the whole mess, I say.
- From Mahaley, sluagh theater critic: Some say the sidhe have done us enormous good since their return while others imply the opposite. I say there's good and evil mixed in all people, Seelie, Unseelie, commoners, and nobles. You can't judge a whole group by one individual. Certainly the sidhe have much to offer all Kithain; call this conservative if you will, but generally speaking, they are the best trained and experienced leaders. That said, they'd be utter fools to ignore the wisdom of commoners and their connections with mortals. Mark my words: the sidhe stop up their ears to commoners' cries for justice and equality at their own peril.
- From Wadsworth, redcap demolition expert: We don't need no law! Rules and orders are for the pansy sidhe and their commoner toadies. When all the radicals talk about freedom, they don't got no sense of what the word means. It's only without any kind of government dragging us down that we reach any kind of life that's worth a damn. And before you get your drawers in a wad, let me say that there's nothing wrong with a a little mob rule to make everyone tougher. It's like culling chicks back on the farm; you gotta drown a few to let the best survive.
Ennobled commoners are in a tough spot. Some sidhe loathe and despise them while others are condescending. Untitled commoners are envious, distrusting, and pandering in turn. A few among both groups genuinely respect the titled commoners; General Lyros, for example, is an extremely admired ennobled commoner. Few if any commoners, though, have refused a title or position given them by a sidhe noble. The trouble with a commoner receiving a title is that land seldom accompanies the new rank. Ennobled commoners often live off the good graces of the local sidhe or strike out to build their own freehold, usually with a motley's support. House Fiona usually grants the most commoner titles, though House Gwydion has its fair share.
- From Tibbett Clemmons, pooka: I know there's some bad blood between titled commoners and others of their kith and station. But shoot, if the person deserves the recognition, they should have it. I think most titled commoners have done a lot of good for their friends. And if the sidhe laugh or get huffy, what of it? Life's too short not to enjoy a few rewards.
Commoners don't really like to think too long on the Shadow Court. The advancement of Winter frightens the and to think that some fae are deliberately hastening its arrival is pretty terrifying. Then again, some of the common kith have their own shame to hide. While most couldn't name a Thallain on sight, they know how far some among their ranks have fallen.
- From Heelnipper, redcap: Don't listen to gossips who say there is no Shadow Court. There are some Unseelie who pretend to be members, but they probably aren't. Someone who truly belongs won't tell you so.
Some commoners have made a study of the Gallain, and during the Accordance War received valuable assistance from these distant cousins. By sheer power of numbers, more commoners than sidhe have encountered the Gallain, and they're usually more cautious in their approach than the Shining Host. After all, a shy Gallain might take more kindly to the curiosity of an innocuous boggan than a sidhe knight in the splendid raiment of House Gwydion.
Many commoners are't unsympathetic to the nunnehi plight, yet they're still not quite sure what to do. They agree the Native American fae received an unfair shake, but the Kithain aren't ready to pack up and leave, either. In the past, several commoners have made friendships with the nunnehi, and many hope to do so again. While several nunnehi fought with the sidhe in the Accordance War, more than a few helped the commoners. Yet, relations overall are far from warm and cordial. Some of the nunnehi nations are even allied with the Native American werewolves, which makes the situation potentially explosive; no commoner really wants to get involved in a tussle between European prodigals, the nunnehi, and their Native American allies.
- From Sekelaga, eshu photographer: I was camping alone out in the Kingdom of the Burning Sun when a sound of music and drums awoke me. It was a bunch of children! I saw no adults and assumed they were lost or had run away. Then I saw their faces, and so beautiful they were, I suspected these little ones were not human. They wore leather garments, decorated with beads, silver, and turquoise. I joined in the dance for a short while, and it was a joy I will treasure always.
Commoners who fought in the Accordance War often tell stories about strange allies who fought with fire, water, and stone; today, most Kithain scholars believe they were Inanimae, who woke from their long slumber early in the Resurgence. For the time being, these unusual creatures are keeping to themselves. Many commoners would like to renew their acquaintances with these beings, fondly recalling a time when they shared stories around the Balefire before the Sundering.
- From Gijs Gustaf, troll farmer: It was the Battle of Concord Forest, a minor skirmish in the scheme of the Accordance War, and we were striving with all our might against Lady Valentina Wilderwood and her knights. Just when we thought they had surrounded us, a terrible wind stirred the trees, and from everywhere came crashing branches to knock the sidhe from their horses. Well, things were easy after that; we bound those nobles and traded them a few weeks later for some of our own companions. It was during the time we tended the prisoners, and I'll add that they were well cared for, that I heard one telling how he'd chopped down a tree just before the battle and burned it for firewood. Shoot, we'd all heard that something funny was going on in the forest and it was better to leave it alone. Too bad the sidhe hadn't heard the same rumors!
The Prodigals seem pretty far removed from Kithain blood, although some of these beings are considered friends or even Kinain. Most commoners are cautious about approaching prodigals, having been spooked by rumors of abuse. While occasionally enjoyable company, the mages and vampires are sometimes dangerous Banality magnets.
Children of Lilith
Rumors continue to persist among the commoners that the Children of Lilith have some link to the redcaps, and needless to say, members of that kith enjoy the gossip. If commoners mix with the vampires, it's usually with those who are somewhat outcast, such as Malkavians, Nosferatu, or Gangrel, or with neonates. Most of the other clans and elders are too tied up in their own dirty politics to mess with a bunch of faeries.
- From Hercules, satyr fashion model: Well, how on earth was I supposed to know what one of the Children of Lilith look like? She was friendly enough, sat in my lap, cuddled, cooed, and did all that crap. So we go out to my car, and she starts nibbling my neck. Hey, that was pretty fun. Then, get this, she starts biting me! It was like nothing I'd ever felt before, really wonderful stuff. Things might have been okay, but the stupid girl gets kinds crazy, like she'd taken an overdose. It was damn scary, and she tore out my dashboard before I could stop her. Do you have any idea how I'm supposed to explain that to my insurance agent?
Many of the werewolves' ancient pacts are with the sidhe rather than the common kith; the Silver Fangs and House Gwydion, and the Fianna and House Fiona are particularly close. However, it's the rare werewolf, particularly the Fianna, that isn't at least a wee bit interested in the commoners, too. Nockers, trolls, and the Get of Fenris have been oathmates in the past, swapping weapons, mead, and stories. The sluagh, piskies, and eshu are rumored to have contacts among the Silent Striders, while the Children of Gaia also treasure the common fae. Riddle contests, wild treasure hunts, and epic double crosses are all part of the legends commoners and werewolves share.
- From Molly Atwater, pooka: That thing was the biggest, meanest, and ugliest troll I'd ever seen in my life. So much for getting shelter for the night; I was worried about my life, I tell you. I figured my time on this mortal coil was at an end. Then, I'll be darned if the golden-coated wolf didn't show up out of literally nowhere. She was a pretty thing, and before I knew it, I was straddling her shoulders, hanging onto her neck for dear life. Later after, we'd made our way clear, she took me to a camp, gave me supper, and let me wear this necklace home. No, I don't know what that sigil means; looks like a humped-back lizard, doesn't it?
Hermetic mages of House Merinita were once friendly with commoners as well as nobles; unfortunately, that particular group of willworkers seem to have faded from the waking world. Commoners are exceptionally superstitious and, as such, a little reluctant to get too cozy with wizards. They've heard rumors of corrupt or evil mages using commoner body parts in experiments and other such tales; these are enough to make commoners quite cautious.
- From Peigi O'Moor, sluagh: I couldn't help myself; it was a garden full of delightful things like aconite, foxglove, and belladonna. Only the moon was out, and that a mere sliver. As I curled up under the verdigris bench, I saw them, all six, naked as jaybirds. They danced and called out into the night. Positively thrilling! Of course, I'm just as grateful that those witches didn't catch me watching their ritual; I don't think I would have liked being roasted in a bonfire.
The restless dead are perplexing to many commoners. Most of them accept that they will pass on into other bodies soon after their current lifetime, and it is troubling to find that some human spirits linger behind. Because of their mingled fear and awe, commoners generally have little to do with wraiths.
- From Benjamin Armitage, boggan vintner: My predecessor said the wine cellars are haunted, though I had n cause to believe him until just last year. I'd taken down the Steinberg Rheingau 1976, and boy, you'd have thought I danced around the Balefire naked or something. Bottles flew off the walls, corks popped, and then there's this guy dressed up in a butler suit sitting there. He didn't speak but motioned for me to put the bottle back. I did exactly what he said; hey, my mentor didn't raise no dummy!
Commoners probably come into contact with Autumn People more often than do the sidhe for, after all, they spend more time among humans. Sad though it is, for every creative, kind, and loving mortal, there's at least one dark reflection who's destructive, spiteful, and cruel. One reason motleys are so important to commoners is that they can keep an eye on each other, for the Autumn People and Dauntain are an ever-present threat.
- From Neomi Grenheim, nocker, Order of Bianca: Yes, I have occasionally experienced a taste of Forgetfulness, and the experience was bitter and horrifying. But the risk is worth it. If we are not prepared to make a sacrifice for our people, than what good are we, eh? And if we can save one fae from the clutches of Banality, then that's a victory. Are we outlaws, you ask? No, I don't think so. We're just willing to sort of bend the rules. Someone's got to do this, don't you agree?
Sons of Adam & Daughters of Eve
Commoners opinions on mortals, in large part, relate to the beliefs of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Those commoners who are Seelie usually protect mortals and often form close bonds with certain people. Members of the Unseelie Court are much more pragmatic in their dealings with humans; this isn't to say they can't have affection for mortals, just that they aren't afraid to use them to suit their own darker purposes. The thing about humans that causes fae problems is their insatiable curiosity. A persistent mortal can make the Right of Ignorance difficult to follow. Some commoners are a bit more willing to bend this rule than the sidhe.
- From Tom Holcomb, piskey: Mortals are necessary for the Kithain to live; their dreams once spun our forms, and now their imaginations keep us alive. It's true that Banality is a problem, but hey, it could be worse. Think back on the industrial age. Or how about the late '70s, when all anyone cared about was themselves? Sure, you'll find a lot of brain-dead mortals out there; on the other hand, look into the eyes of a child every now and then. You'll see hope and wonder there, I promise.
Manners, Beliefs, & Morals
Commoner manners and morals, as a general rule, are much simpler than the elaborate machinations and rituals of the nobles. Unlike the Shining Host, the main commoner tenet is the tried and true golden rule; they usually treat others the way they'd like to be treated. Boggans and trolls particularly take this to heart while redcaps are usually excused their poor manners. Another important belief is sharing. Especially within a motley or in mews, commoners share food, clothing, and Glamour; it's part of what binds them together. Now, usually the borrower is careful to repay the debt, since that's part of the Escheat, but the timeframe is often flexible. It's much like the situation between trusted roommates or pub buddies, who take turns buying dinner or the next round of drinks.
The sidhe in large part view life as a game, whereas commoners view it as a learning experience. Most of them believe strongly that they will return into new bodies after their death, carrying over lessons from their previous lives. This belief also affects the commoners' perception of time; often, they're not in the position of living every moment to the fullest nor trying to live in the past, present, and future all at once. Only with rare exceptions do commoners posses the Chronos Art, and those who do keep it secret. Commoners live in the present; this isn't to say they can't plan for their best friend's birthday party next week, but they're much more concerned with what's going on right now than in some nebulous point in the future.
Each commoner has their own set of morals, evolving from their kith, seeming, Court, and upbringing. So it's theoretically possible for a redcap to be somewhat cultured and polite or a troll to be a callous, lying brute, though these are probably exceptions to the general rule. The thing about commoners is that most tend to get set int heir ways pretty early in life; this is why proper upbringing and fosterage is so important.
- From Miss Wendy, satyr columnist
Commoners' manners mark them as proper lords or ladies, even if they have no title. Or should I say especially if they have no title. Nobles have a somewhat different set of manners they must follow which are both more indulgent and more restrictive at the same time.
Rule number one is to be a polite host or hostess. Tend to the needs of your guests, first and foremost. Let their conversation be the center of activity. Do not worry overmuch about doing the dishes while guests are still in your abode; you can always take care of tidying up later or get a childling to help you; it's good practice. Make sure everything in your larder is of the freshest and finest quality possible.
Rule number two is to maintain a tidy appearance at all times. This, of course, comes easier to some commoners than others.
Rule number three is to show respect for those gentles with noble titles. Of course most will be sidhe, and it is none too hard to display proper regard for the Shining host. As far as ennobled commoners, well, use your best judgement. Yes, some are truly deserving, so you should perhaps give them 95% of the deference you would to the sidhe. Others may not be, though they are technically still your superiors. Be polite, always, but it is permissible to be cool and distracted in their presence. After all, they're not quite as good as the Shining Host, are they?
Wait, why are you leaving? We haven't finished even a third of the rules!
Duty & Honor
Duty and honor are the meat and drink of commoners. Through heavy reliance on each other during the Interregnum, unbreakable bonds of trust and mutual respect have entwined all the commoner kith together; most understand and freely accept that the word of one commoner to another is nigh inviolate. Regardless of political perspective and outlooks on the sidhe, all commoners feel some kind of tie with others of their station. This goes far to explain why commoners are willing to put up with each other's more annoying character flaws. Duty to each other far outweighs personal feelings. Likewise, most commoners keep their promises, even the Unseelie. Of course, the commoners are careful to whom they pledge their honor, but once the word is given, it will be kept. Some of the common kith, such as the sluagh, have found this to be their undoing.
- From General Lyros: It is wise of you to come to me for advice on duty and honor, young one. I have had many years to watch the Kithain, noble and commoner alike. And when you ask me what the words duty and honor mean, I am inclined to say that although we can set high standards for everyone, it is the heart, soul, and mind of the individual that determines how duty and honor become real. Even the basest redcap can have a moment of charity while the bravest troll turns away their face in fear.
Rank & Order
Commoners usually think of themselves as one among equals. Each Kithain is a member of a society where they are cherished for their bad traits as well as their good, and few crimes are so wretched that someone who is truly repentant can't be forgiven. If a commoner swears an oath of good behavior, most others are willing to forgive and forget, at least for the first offense. Note that this doesn't always sit so well with the sidhe, which in turn leads to some hostile feelings against them. Having lived so long in the world, all but the most cynical of commoners, even Unseelie, are used to taking things at face value and accepting a stranger's word as truth, until they prove it otherwise. Lawlessness also has some different connotations among commoners; most are fairly laid back about the idea of their motley companions borrowing things because they know they will be returned. The Escheat forbids killing each other, so why worry about it? This attitude is what makes folks like Toren na Gulon and the Iron Brigade all the more wretched; not only are they sadistic killers, they also go against every ideal of law and order the commoners cherish.
- From Densloe Maddingsley, boggan record keeper: If there is a division of rank and order among commoners, it's in terms of seeming rather than any stupid title. Young ones respect their elders, who likewise take it upon themselves to rear the childlings right. Sure, if some muckety muck has a title, that's fine; we'll be polite. But from my experience, I'd say most commoners will honor a wise graybeard more than some upstart wilder countess, even a sidhe.
Noble Houses & Commoners
Each of the Noble Houses has its own outlook on commoners and granting them noble titles. Following are some opinions and facts about the relationship between the Houses and the common folk.
- From Lord Walter Burroway, Master, House Dougal: A pooka made this? Are you sure? 'Tis one of the finest crystal goblets I've ever seen. I don't care whose work it is, and I don't care if he has a tail. Just bring him here immediately!
- Reality: House Dougal respects gifted artisans, whether they be sidhe or commoner. On the other hand, they could care less about the unassuming sluagh who collects pretty trinkets and tells secrets. Nothing but duty and their craft matters to members of this House. They reward commoners with titles only if their work is deserving of such honor.
- From Countess Cyndia Sinclair, Kingdom of Grass, House Eiluned: If the chosen leader of a demesne be sidhe or commoner, it matters little to us. We do not make our oaths of allegiance lightly, and once spoken, so shall it be done.
- Reality: House Eiluned gives their loyalty to whomever has the upper hand, noble or commoner. Few members, if any, consider commoners their equals, and believe that granting them membership in the House is a generous gesture; obsequious shows of gratitude are expected in return.
- From Baron Kendall de Witt, Kingdom of Northern Ice, House Fiona: We judge no Kithain by their face and form, but rather by the deeds of their heart and soul. Even the most humble fae can be a friend in joy and sorrow.
- Reality: Most members of House Fiona do respect and admire commoners; a few of these sidhe even sided with the commoners during the Accordance War. A number of commoners have titles in this house, though few have lands. On the other hand, no kith is immune to Fiona's fickle ways. One day a commoner may be a Fiona's dearest love and the next, their fair-weather friend. Such attitudes can wear down feelings of trust and obligation.
- From Lady Margala of Dovedale, Kingdom of the White Sands, House Gwydion: A comrade brave and true, whose mettle has been tested on the field of battle, is worth a thousand times his weight in gold. We welcome any who stand strong against falsehood and dishonor.
- Reality: House Gwydion sees the protection of all Kithain, commoner and noble, as its paramount goal. They have among their titled members several trolls, but few of other kith. Not only great service but skill in battle and leadership are prerequisites for joining the House. Needless to say, most sluagh and pooka aren't up to the task, and the house doesn't really believe in making exceptions.
- From Sir Eric Silverkeys, House Liam: We accept anybody, as long as they can uphold our beliefs and put up with all the bad press we've accumulated over the years. Pointed ears or not, what does it matter if the person's heart and mind are in the right place?
- Reality: House Liam gets along with some commoners better than others. They admire and respect the quiet nobility of the boggan, the pooka's warm personality, and the wisdom of the eshu. On the other hand, redcaps, nockers, and sluagh repulse many members of the House. Still, they understand the rough life of an outsider and would probably be sympathetic to a commoner in need.