The Escheat is believed to have been recorded during the Sundering as a way to ensure the survival of the fae in the face of great change and to have originated among the wisest of faeries who lived closest to the Dreaming. Passed down and enforced by the nobility, its tenets are followed by both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, though they may have disagreements on how to interpret them. Seelie tend to follow the letter of the law while the Unseelie try to find loopholes to work through.
Unlike Oaths, the authority to enforce these tenets is not backed by Glamour or the Dreaming. It is carried by the force of law, tradition, and custom. Occasionally, though, the Dreaming will still subtly work around the Escheat to make certain rulers follow its dictates and causing those who break them to suffer the consequences.
There are six basic rights protected by the Escheat.
The Right of Demesne Edit
A Lord or Lady is the ruler of their domain. They are judge and jury over all crimes, large or small and their word is law. A noble expects obedience from vassals and respect from all others. In return a noble respects those nobles superior to them.
- Reality - The nobles have had to make some concessions to Democracy in the face of the modern world and popular rule. Most now have to rule with force, cunning, charisma, or custom.
The Right to Dream Edit
The Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve have the right to dream unhindered by Fae needs. The Dreaming will die if we steal directly from the font. No one is allowed to manipulate the creative process with Glamour. While the fae may inspire creativity, it is forbidden to instruct or infuse humans with Glamour.
- Reality - This is usually interpreted as prohibiting Ravaging and many fae, particularly the Unseelie, ignore it, especially when seeking a quick fix of Glamour or power. Since ravaging often permanently drains a victim, convicted ravagers suffer harsh punishments to keep them and others from doing the same thing. It is rumored that some changelings will infuse mortals with Glamour, overloading their souls with too much creativity and feeding on their bright dreams. Such a practice would obviously go against the tenet.
The Right of Ignorance Edit
Do not betray the Dreaming to Banality. A Fae must never reveal themselves to humanity because Humanity will hunt them for their wisdom and power, overwhelming the fae with Banality and destroying their sacred places. The more humanity knows the more forcefully it will seek the Fae, draining the world of Glamour and petrifying them with their Basilisk's gaze.
- Reality - Most changelings, Seelie and Unseelie alike, respect this rule because it does protect all from the forces of Banality. Glamour is hard enough to come by so spending it on a mortal so they can witness the Dreaming is wasteful. Still, some Changelings will enchant mortals to bring into freeholds as lovers and retainers but will carefully remove all evidence from their minds when they return them to the Autumn world.
The Right of Rescue Edit
All Kithain have the right to expect rescue from the clutches of Banality. The fae are in danger together and must work together to survive. Never leave anyone behind. Kithain are required to rescue other faeries or other creatures of the Dreaming trapped by those who serve Banality.
- Reality - Again, most changelings follow this tenet as they themselves might need rescuing one day. Seelie and Unseelie will come together, forgetting their differences, to go to the aid of others when they are captured by Dauntain or other agent of Banality. While most fae would risk their lives for a Griffin or Unicorn, most won't for minor chimera.
The Right of Safe Haven EditAll places of the Dreaming are sacred. Kithain must not allow their faerie places to be endangered or threatened. All those who seek refuge in such a place must be admitted and these places must be kept free of Banality and worldly violence.
- Reality - This tenet is a hard one to enforce because of the competition for the few Freeholds that have survived the Shattering. Rival claims to the same faerie place often lead to warfare that can enter the sacred boundaries of Glades and Freeholds, though this violence is usually restricted to chimerical weapons. Some lords will bar entrance to their households if they fear the visitor will waste the Glamour there. Despite the demands of hospitality on the nobility, Mews are usually more inclined to admit a changeling seeking refuge without question.
The Right of Life Edit
No Kithain may spill the lifeblood of another Kithain. No Kithain shall bring salt tears upon the earth. No Kithain shall take from the Dreaming one of its own. Death is anathema.
- Reality - This rule is almost universally upheld, especially since the Dreaming itself seems to enforce it by inflicting Banality upon a Changeling who kills another. When two Kithain meet in combat they usually use chimerical weapons, although there are exceptions, such as nonlethal duels to first blood. No "real" damage is caused by such chimerical combat. The loser, if "killed" merely dies temporarily to the Dreaming and returns to his or her mortal seeming until reawakened by an infusion of Glamour.
A Commoner Take Edit
The Escheat is a set of rules and rights that forms the basis for Kithain society and politics. Depending on a fae's political outlook, they may follow these codes to the letter or bend and adapt them to suit their needs. A commoner's Court, kith, and station will affect how they view the Escheat. Trolls and boggans tend to be among the most letter-of-the-law fae, while many pooka, redcaps, and sluagh bend the rules almost to the breaking point. With satyrs, eshu, and nockers, outlook is really impossible to predict.
The lord or lady who oversees the domain has the right to set and enforce laws there. By the same token, they should respect their vassals and be gracious hosts. Likewise, they should not set down rules that are impossible to follow. Commoners are obligated to follow the laws of the demesne, particularly if they owe fealty to the fief's lord or lady.
- Reality: Some nobles run their freeholds like armed camps and punish the slightest disobedience. Faced with these attitudes, many commoners find new places to dwell; occasionally, they stage protests. Many commoners can't understand the absolutism nobles enact in their domains. It's a hard choice for a moderate commoner to make when faced with a staunchly Traditionalist noble on one side and the Banality of the outside world on the other.
- from Kabali, Seelie eshu minstrel: Do we honor the wishes of a master or mistress of a freehold? Yes, to a degree. Thank them for their hospitality. Abide by their laws. But leave quickly if you find it a place that discourages free-thinking and polite expression of opinion. Rules of respect work both ways.
Inspiring creativity and dreams among mortals is honorable, but stifling their imagination or taking Glamour by force is a crime. Flooding them with too much inspiration is an equally foul practice. Commoners closest to mortals consider the Right to Dream the most important rule of the Escheat.
- Reality: Like their noble counterparts, Seelie commoners refrain from ever stealing Glamour from mortals, except, perhaps, when the need is so great that many mortals and fae will die without it. Some rumors floating about speak of trolls who refuse to take Glamour from a mortal, even at the cost of their own lives. The Unseelie commoners, again like their sidhe brethren, don't have compunctions about taking Glamour in time of need. Maybe they feel a slight guilt, having a stronger connection to humans than the sidhe, but then again, maybe not.
- From Tathy Gams, Unseelie redcap hacker: Sure, I've taken a dab go Glamour here and there from a mortal. So what? I had my reasons, pretty good ones considering one of my chums was bleedin' to death. You wanna make something of it? You gonna spank me? Sounds like fun.
No fae should reveal the Dreaming to mortals, for they are a force of Banality. They will seek out and destroy the Kithain and our places of power through innocent curiosity as well as malevolent hunts for out knowledge. The more humans know, the less Glamour there will be to sustain us.
- Reality: Seelie and Unseelie alike agree on this: Do not reveal knowledge of the Kithain to humans. Punish those who do, and make sure all traces of fae presence have been removed from the mortals' minds. The only possible exception to this rule are the Kinain, humans who have fae blood in their veins. Many times they can be staunch allies. Commoners, unlike the sidhe, don't find anything degrading about sharing kinship with humans; it was a means of survival and has led to many good times through the years.
- From Pierre Chazell, Seelie sluagh entomologist: Secrets are quite important, my dear, and while keeping them from mortals is difficult, it is necessary for our protection and theirs. Have you not heard of the sidhe who kill enchanted mortals, lest their memories of us remain intact? No? Perhaps you are not listening, then.
All Kithain have the right to expect rescue should they fall into Banality. The loss of even one fae is a blow to changelings everywhere. To save a fellow fae is to save a portion of the Dreaming itself.
- Reality: Commoners abide by this rule to the letter, Seelie and Unseelie alike. The bond between commoners is strong, past all differences of Court and kith, in the face of Banality. They'll generally ignore danger to save someone from the terrible fate of Forgetting. This right also extends to beloved personal chimera or chimerical creatures. The one instance where the Right of Rescue gets blurry is in regards to newly arrived sidhe from Arcadia. Most Seelie commoners gladly welcome the newcomers; many Unseelie do so as well, if a bit gruffly. However, members of radical antimonarchist groups, such as the Ranters, often hold important sidhe arrivals as prisoners in exchange for ransom. The very worst kill these newcomers; fortunately, this is a rare event.
- From Annalise Torgsdottir, Unseelie troll cop: No shit, there we were, glass beakers flying, frogs everywhere, mice gettin' squashed underfoot. Hey, don't turn so green! It was great fun. Sure, things were Banal and nasty, but it was worth it to see poor Soren so happy to see us. I'll never forget how old he was to get out of there.
Safe Haven Edit
All places of the Dreaming are sacred and must be protected. Likewise, beings such as fae and chimera should be given succor and shelter when they require it. No one should be turned away and left to face Banality alone.
- Reality: Commoners have always welcomed their fellow changelings, no matter what Court or kith. They consider this extremely important as some nobles have turned commoners away in the past; while they may want to say turnabout is fair play, commoners are too concerned for the Dreaming to do so. Some Unseelie may put desperate nobles through a to of taunting, but they will eventually open the doors of the freehold and let the sidhe inside.
- From Brian Saven, Seelie nocker gunsmith: Am I bitter? Damn right I am! There's too many people here, she said, in that sickly sweet voice of hers. The Balefire will wane and we can't have that now, can we? I swear, she treated me like I was an ignorant kid. Do you see this scar? It's from the Accordance War. I only fought for one day, but hell, I was there just the same. And then to be denied safety in a freehold with a pair of gorehounds after us. Stuck-up bitch.
No Kithain shall spill the lifeblood of another Kithain. Death is anathema and steals from the Dreaming itself. To die in honorable combat with chimerical weapons is acceptable, provided the one slain will be reawakened with Glamour.
- Reality: While the vast majority of commoners firmly uphold this law, others consider it a hypocritical machination of the sidhe. After all, weren't the Shining Host responsible for the Night of Iron Knives? More brutal and cynical commoners, largely Unseelie, note that the sidhe are quick enough to make laws that protect their own skins but have little regard for those of the commoners.
- From Martinet, Unseelie pooka, supposed member of the Ranters: Have you ever heard a sidhe beg for mercy? No I can see you haven't. They moan and cry, terror striking them a thousandfold when the cold iron touches their thin necks. I wonder how many nobles felt pity on the Night of the Iron Knives. Did they turn aside their blades? Did they protest the terrible wrong of it all? If so, we have no record of it, just the silence of the dead. I reward my victims with the same.