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Grump is one of the Seemings of Changelings and are the "grown-ups" of Kithain society. 25 years or older, few changelings manage to reach this age, succumbing to Banality long before.

Overview

Grumps are the adults of the fae community and have lost the innocence of their youth, often becoming irascible or bitter. They no longer have the Glamour of their younger days and their power dwindles. As the Kithain are very sensitive to Banality, increasing age can destroy their idealism. The average grump is still less banal than the average mundane but by faerie standards they can be seen as stubborn or sedentary.

Lifestyle

Only one out of every twenty changelings is a grump. While they prefer the name graybeard, the term grump has stuck among the Wilders and Childlings. By the time they reach their late 20s, most kithain have succumbed to Banality and lose their fae essence, while the less fortunate have become Undone and lose all memory of their changeling life. If they have managed to hold off this doom for a long time, they have obviously gained some wisdom. The strongest of them find ways to keep off this slumber though they can find it hard to leave their mortal lives aside.

They see themselves as the most reliable and responsible of the Fae and usually take up the duties of caring for Childlings and Fledges as the Wilders tend to think they have more important things to do. On top of this they are the keepers of tradition and lore and are always eager to pass this on to their younger charges. When the ingrates care to listen...

When the heaviness of the mundane world sets in, they often escape into the intrigues of the court. They see themselves as the real movers and shakers in society even if the Wilders or rulers think differently. They can often see fae society as antiquated but like the sense of stability it gives and appreciate it. They see the wisdom in the tradition and treasure it.

Autumn

Very few changelings survive the cold and banal world long enough to become grumps. Perhaps only one in twenty make it this far with their fae miens and memories of Glamour and the Dreaming intact. This makes grumps the rarest of changelings, and gives them the respect of the Kithain.

Grumps are also the objects of some humor and sympathy on the part of other changelings, because one doesn’t make it to being a grump without showing some scars from it. Grumps are the most cynical and banal of changelings, their youthful vigor and innocence worn down by the passing of years and their experiences. Other changelings see grumps as wet blankets and fuddy-duddies oftentimes, while only the grumps know the lessons that come with age and experience.

Grumps are respected for their knowledge and wisdom, at least when they deal with wilders and childlings who can sit still long enough to listen to the them rattle on about their stories and such. They are also the real movers and shakers of changeling politics, culture, and society. They protect the ancient knowledge and see that it is passed on and kept alive, if only because no one else can.

Family & Children

Some changelings say that having children of your own is one of the sure signs of becoming a grump. Childlings are children themselves, and only think about family in terms of playing house or going to court. Most wilders become positively green at the idea of being tied down with a family and offspring. Only the grumps understand the important role they play in having and raising children, both their own and those of the fae community.

Since few changelings have permanent marriages or even long-term relationships, grumps often cooperate to raise their children, both natural and adopted. Most grumps feel a kinship to others their age who have similar experiences and backgrounds, and they often work together to share the load of caring for and teaching the children.

Many grumps are single parents, and it is fairly rare to find a changeling couple with children. Rarer still is a changeling/mortal marriage that has managed to survive the difficulties of living between two worlds for very long. Some changeling/kinain marriages have managed to work out well and produce children with a fair likelihood of being changelings or kinain.

Whether a child is a changeling, kinain, or mortal, a grump parent cares for them and loves them just the same. Some kith are less hospitable to children in general, and mortal children in particular. Boggans, obviously, make wonderful parents, giving their children all the love and attention they could possibly want. Other kith, like the redcaps and sluagh, often abandon their children or leave them with mortal families to raise them, leading to no few confused childlings and wilders in later years.

Kinain children raised by changeling parents grow up around changelings for much of their lives. They tend to be less banal than other kinain, and they are often enchanted, allowing them to spend time in freeholds and with changeling friends and playmates. Kinain children still need some reminders of their mortal heritage, though, or else they will become Dream-Struck.

Mortal children can be both a joy and a sorrow for changeling parents. A mortal child has much the same innocence as a childling, and grump parents often recapture some of their own innocence through the act of raising a child. A child’s first steps or first new game can even prove to be an epiphany for a parent, who sees the Dreaming reflected in their child’s happy smile.

But mortal children eventually feel the call of the mortal world. Mortals cannot long dwell in the world of the Dreaming, and there comes a time when a fae parent must let a mortal child go out into the world. The child’s innocence fades, and the parents must watch Banality gain a foothold in the child’s spirit. Sometimes it can be delayed, but it can never really be prevented. A mortal child who lives to long in the world of the fae becomes Dream-Struck and helpless, while a child who becomes too wrapped up in mortal, mundane life is lost to Banality and forgets the Dreaming forever. Such is the struggle and tragedy of changeling parents.

With the power of Glamour, it is possible for a changeling parent to outlive their mortal or kinain child. Many changelings cannot stand the pain of losing their children or watching them suffer the ravages of age, and many grumps choose the Forgetting rather than live with that possibility, slipping into their mortal seemings permanently and forgetting painful memories of a life that could have been.

Mentoring

Part of their roles as parents gives grumps the responsibility of caring for the childlings of changeling society. The wilders simply can’t be bothered to look after the younger ones, and the grumps know well that the childlings represent the future of the Kithain and must be protected. Grumps and childlings are often close and look out for each other while the wilders rush off on their adventures. Sometimes grumps insist on going along with childlings to take care of them. Grump members of motleys (both male and female) often become the den mothers of the groups by looking after the welfare of the childlings and offering advice to the wilders whenever they bother to listen.

Grumps make up the greatest percentage of fledge mentors (see Fosterage), and mentoring new changelings is one of their greatest responsibilities. A mentor teaches a fledge all of the important things they need to know about changeling custom, tradition, history, and manners. A grump mentor is the best at this because the grumps have both the experience and (usually) the patience for this important task.

In this way, the grumps shape the new generation of changelings who will be Sained, and many well-known grump mentors have social and political influence far out of proportion with their stations. A grump who has mentored many important fledges might be able to bend their ears when necessary to get things done, and such a grump could have a great deal of pull at court as an advisor or even power behind the throne. Although the wilders might do most of the work of ruling and holding court, the grumps have the knowledge, experience, and the connections to make things happen when they so choose.

Custom & Ritual

Grumps are the guardians of changeling custom and ritual. They have learned both the form and the deeper meaning that goes with those rituals. They have gained an appreciation for the formalities of changeling culture that wilders and childlings cannot quite understand. This makes grumps well-suited to be the guardians of changeling cultural traditions.

As the older members of the community, grumps have a duty to remind other changelings about the traditions of the Escheat, the honoring and celebrations of the Wheel of the Year, the customs regarding Saining, fostering, change, and death. In short, the grumps are the ones who oversee all the many traditions and customs spoken of elsewhere. (See Changeling Festivals)

Most important rituals will be presided over by the eldest grump in a changeling motley, community, or freehold. This is one reason why court seers are often grumps in charge of rituals like the Saining and the Togail. Grumps take their role in sustaining changeling traditions very seriously, as tradition is one of the ways that the Kithain remember the Dreaming and keep Banality at bay. During the time of the Interregnum, their traditions were one of the few things that the exiled fae on Earth could cling to.

The Forgetting

For more on a grumps final years, see the article Forgetting.

Winter: The Journey of Death

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Half of the heritage of the Kithain is mortal, and in time even they die. The death of a changeling is a sad occasion, but it is also a celebration of their life and their passing on into the Summerlands, where they will be reborn once again. Changelings are great believers in the idea that funerals are intended more for the living than the deceased, so they make the celebrations of life and a fitting way of remembering a departed loved one. Only the occasion of a changeling’s True Death by cold iron, which destroys their fae form forever, is considered a tragedy by the fae.

The sidhe have a much different view on death. Since no one knows for certain what becomes of the sidhe after death, it is a frightening mystery for them. Sidhe funerals are somber and sad occasions where the sidhe mourn the loss of their immortality and the paradise they once knew.

The Passage

Death can come to changelings in all the many ways that it does to mortals, and quite a few others that most mortals have never even imagined. Kithain mortal seemings are just as vulnerable to injury, illness, and other forms of harm as any other mortal. The powers of Glamour, particularly the Primal Art, can be used to help changelings quickly recover from many forms of injury, but some damage is too great for even the most skilled healer to repair.

Physical harm is something that all changelings do their best to avoid. Among themselves, most changelings prefer chimerical combat to settle disputes when combat is necessary, since it causes no permanent harm to the combatants. The same is true of combat with chimerical creatures that changelings may encounter on quests or other adventures. Chimerical Death can be inconvenient, even seriously debilitating as it brings the changeling one step closer to the Forgetting, but it is never fatal, an important distinction for changelings.

The Kithain’s mortal enemies, though, know nothing of chimerical combat. The Dauntain prefer to attack changelings with their bane: weapons of cold iron. Although other physical weapons will overcome most changelings, they do not bring the final death that is the Dauntain’s goal. In their view there is little point to killing a changeling who will simply be reborn into the world somewhere else at some point. The final destruction of all fae spirits is their goal.

When a changeling accumulates too much physical damage for their mortal seeming to survive, they die. The same is true of any changeling who falls prey to a serious illness or the ravages of old age beyond the power of Glamour to cure. When the time comes, as it must to all mortal things, the changeling passes from the mortal world.

Rebirth

Fortunately, most changelings who suffer mortal death have their fae spirits pass on to the Summerlands. Many changelings believe that their spirits return to the Dreaming in death for a time before being reborn into the mortal world again. No one can say for sure, since memories of the Dreaming are obscured by the Mists, and changelings are uncertain whether their recollections of the land of eternal Glamour are from before the Sundering or from times when their spirits have passed through the Dreaming between mortal existences.

Some time after passage into the Summerlands, a changeling is reborn into a new mortal seeming somewhere in the world. Oftentimes, changeling nature is passed through family lines, and the same changeling spirit may become part of many mortal lives in that line.

For others, their mortal seeming appears to have no connection to each other as far as they can remember. Most changelings recall nothing of their previous mortal seemings in the world. Each rebirth is a renewal of the changeling’s innocence and fae nature, and they are allowed to see the world through the eyes of a child once again. Some rare Kithain have fragmentary memories of their mortal lives. Such changelings are often seers, soothsayers, or mystics.

Some Kithain scholars believe that changelings are able to recall all of their experiences in the mortal world, from all of their incarnations, during that time when their spirit dwells in the Summerlands. This gives the changeling an opportunity to reflect and learn from experiences in the mortal world. It is even speculated that changelings who achieve sufficient wisdom from their experiences are able to return to fabled Arcadia, but if this is so, no Kithain has returned to tell of it.

Initial Temper Scores

References

  1. CTDChangeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 86-87.
  2. CTD. The Enchanted, pp. 58-61.
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