A Discourse on House Ailil Edit
Although some may question the wisdom of writing down the history and ways of House Ailil, I believe that the current disruption in Concordian politics presents a unique opportunity for the advancement of the house's greater purpose. To this end, I have compiled this manuscript as a statement of who and what the Ailil are so that even their newest members may act with full knowledge of their ways and means.
The house thrives on power. Over the long centuries, they have perfected their skills in diplomacy and intrigue. They wear their Unseelie natures with pride, despite the efforts of the Seelie rulers of Concordia to paint them as villains. House Ailil has an ancient heritage as the leaders of the Winter Court; a legacy denied them since the Resurgence by the usurpers of House Gwydion.
Their house symbol is the dragon: the most powerful and canny of mythic beasts. They emulate the wisdom and subtlety of the great serpent in their dealings with those outside their house. Unlike the hedonists of House Leanhaun or the nihilists of House Balor, they have learned the lessons of patience and planning. Despite the lateness of the hour, the nearness of Endless Winter, and the sometimes insufferable condescension of their Seelie kin, those of House Ailil rest secure in the knowledge that their goal: to restore the long-upset balance of duality that forms the essence of the Dreaming itself, lies almost within their grasp
To understand what they strive for, the one who reads this must first comprehend their past, for within its clouded memories lie the seeds of their renewal and the keys to their survival and ascendancy.
History of House Ailil Edit
The story of House Ailil begins in the Time of Legends, when history had not yet fallen to the province of historians, but resounded with the echoes of dreams and myths. In that long-ago era, when the world of the Dreaming and the world of mortals blended into one great tapestry of time's passing, Ailil and his sister Eiluned ruled one House. Though the chroniclers of House Eiluned probably have their own version of how the one house became two, this is the tale told by Ailil lore-keepers.
In those days, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts shared the rulership of House Ailil. Lady Eiluned ruled as Summer Queen, leading the house during the Seelie half of the year, while Ailil held the title of Winter King, Lord of the Unseelie seasons. Many of the other fae houses wondered why the charismatic Ailil chose to lead his house during the cold autumn and winter times, leaving his elusive sister to bask in the months of summer and spring. To most eyes, he appeared to embody the Seelie character far better than Eiluned, whose affinities for darkness and mysteries made her seem the more Unseelie of the pair. Nevertheless, both sister and brother felt that this arrangement allowed them to achieve the perfect balance between their dual natures.
So it was that Ailil gathered about him a strong following of Unseelie fae, while Eiluned acquired a Seelie retinue. When Eiluned's visions led her to split away from her brother and form her own house, she brought with her most of her former house's Seelie members. In time, House Ailil became the foremost of the Unseelie Houses, both in Arcadia and in the mortal world.
The Mythic Age Edit
House Ailil prospered during the centuries known as the Mythic Age, spreading its influence among the faerie courts of Hibernia, the Isle of the Mighty, and the enchanted realms of Mythic Europe. The Pageant of the Seasons played itself out in grand style, as Seelie Summer gave way to Unseelie Winter in an endless cycle that celebrated the dance between darkness and light. Although the scions of the silver dragon did not hold a monopoly on rulership of the Unseelie Court, more often than not the rulers of Winter came from that house. Though they did not hold all reins of Unseelie power during the Mythic Age, many kings and queens of the dark half of the year wore the badge of the silver dragon.
In the mortal world, as well, House Ailil left its mark upon history and legend. Ailil himself showed a particular penchant for involvement in mortal affairs. According to the Tain, the Irish epic that details the exploits of the hero Cuchullain, Ailil ruled Connaught along with his wife, Queen Maeve. Their pillow diplomacy sparked the events leading up to and surrounding the infamous cattle raid of Cooley, the central episode of the Tain. In the realm of the fae, Ailil used the same combination of personal charisma and astute politics, deftly maneuvering his enemies into war with one another, and his friends into working to his advantage.
In particular, Ailil advocated cultivating the loyalty of the commoner kith, realizing the importance of having the support of underlings. Many kith despised or distrusted by the other houses found welcome under his banner. Redcaps and sluagh, in particular, learned that Ailil valued their contributions and accepted their less savory behavior. Other members of the house demonstrated their skill in matters of state and of the heart in both mortal and faerie domains. While many of the encounters between faerie knights or ladies and their mortal lovers undoubtably involved the passions of the Fiona and Leanhaun sidhe, the fae of Ailil did not lack for congress with humankind, particularly where they could draw some advantage from doing so.
In political affairs, House Ailil arched its full potential. From the dawn of the Mythic Age their knights and nobles wove their intricate patterns of diplomacy and intrigue, reveling in the subtleties and nuances involved in directing the interplay so necessary to any society's existence. Human politics proved particularly challenging, since they found it necessary to both instruct and oversee the first mortal attempts at sophisticated social intercourse.
In retrospect, perhaps they taught the mortals the dance of politics too well for their own good. Still, it amused them to see creatures who once only settled their differences through open warfare now learn to wage a different kind of battle.
The Teign to Hell Edit
- Main article: Teign
The Sundering Edit
The tale of how and when the Sundering began differs from house to house. Some, like the drudges of House Dougal, hold that the discovery of cold iron first awakened in mortals the desire to fix the world according to one rigid structure. Others merely make vague allusions to the slow separation between the Dreaming and the world of flesh and blood. However it began, once the Sundering made itself felt throughout the lands of mortals, the Ailil realized that something had begun that would leave its mark on the world and the Dreaming forever.
A popular theory put forth by many Ailil states that the Sundering began not only through the rise of human disbelief but also through the actions of those among the fae who sought to bring a halt to the sharing of power between Seelie and Unseelie houses. When the first whispers of the Sundering echoed in the Dreaming, many of the sidhe believed that the only way to preserve what remained of their connections to Arcadia lay in stopping the cycle of seasonal rule, allowing the Seelie or summer houses to hold power indefinitely, or at least until the onslaught of Banality ceased.
While mortal civilizations rose and fell and the new religion of Christianity taught its followers to abhor any magics but their own, the fae waged battle for the soul of the Dreaming, whose essence lies in change. As the gap between dreams and harsh reality grew, so too did the gulf widen between Seelie and Unseelie. Heretofore, although the noble houses of the sidhe tended toward either Seelie of Unseelie courts, most fae recognized the necessary balance between the two and did not look upon the other court as an enemy. The conflicts engendered by the Sundering changed their perceptions forever. Because House Ailil associated itself so strongly with the Unseelie court, the Seelie houses developed a distrust for them that bordered upon enmity.
Lord Ailil attempted to meet in secret with his sister, Lady Eiluned, to see if a way existed to stave off the growing hostilities between Seelie and Unseelie fae. Although their efforts ultimately came to naught, the two siblings shared what information each had gathered wrote the worsening effects of the Sundering. This enabled both houses to prepare strongholds within the Dreaming. Members of House Ailil also joined the fortunate few who migrated westward to the still unspoiled American lands in the early centuries of the Sundering.
Unfortunately, many of the Seelie houses looked upon Eiluned's association with Ailil as just short of treacherous, a fact that did not help Ailil's sister's house's already suspect reputation. In later days, House Eiluned would resent House Ailil's pat in casting a shadow over their Seelie pretensions, making reconciliation between the two difficult.
The Departure of Ailil Edit
In the end, all of the desperate measures of all the noble houses failed. Overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of Banality caused (many think) by the outbreak of the Black Plague and the wholesale despair that followed in its wake, the trods connecting Arcadia to the mortal world weakened. The gates between the world cracked and collapsed, severing ties between the two realms of faerie and humans.
House Ailil joined the other noble houses in the frantic, mass exodus for the safety of Arcadia. Lord Ailil, though, for reason yet to be comprehended, remained behind. The reason for this decision still puzzles the historians of the house. Some maintain that Ailil, after his conversation with Eiluned, elected to barricade himself within a private freehold in Hibernia. There, he hoped to bind some portion of the Dreaming to himself an, thus, to the mortal world. Others who have attempted to piece together the sequence of events in those last, harried days of the Shattering, believe that Ailil was betrayed by another of his sisters, Lady Fainche. Jealous of Ailil's closeness with Eiluned despite their different houses, Fainche convinced her lover, Lord Cillian, to delay Ailil long enough to prevent him from reaching one of the remaining gates to Arcadia. Regardless of the cause, Ailil did not return to Arcadia.
The Interregnum Edit
The house's knowledge of the period called the Interregnum comes from various sources, not all of them reliable, and many of them purely conjectural. The majority of commoners who held membership in the house remained behind when the pathways to Arcadia closed. Moving quickly to fill the vacuum left by the departure of the sidhe, these remnants of the House of the Silver Dragon laid claims to abandoned freeholds and established themselves as the new lords of House Ailil. They certainly cannot be blamed for their ambition, particularly in light of their apparent success. Embracing enough Banality to survive in the mortal world, these "changelings" (as they now call themselves) kept alive the tenets of the house, adhering to the Unseelie Code despite pressure from commoners from the Seelie Houses to conform to their conservative behavior.
There are rumors that a few sidhe besides Lord Ailil remained behind, attempting to exist in the world of harsh reality and cold science. Eventually, though, they must have succumbed to Banality; their fragile bodies destroyed by their inability to adapt to the world made hostile. In any case, none remained after 600 years. Every now and again the house comes across a mortal whose flair for deception and subtlety seems to hint that the blood of House Ailil blended with that of humankind. The house seeks out those individuals, whom they treat as Kinain descendants of those noble sidhe who stayed in the world, as companions and Dreamers, insuring many of them to greatness in the sphere of politics.
Evidence of the House's presence exists in the annals of human history, for those astute enough to read between the lines and deduce signs of Ailil influence. The machinations of church and state that marked the period of the Renaissance, the growth of governments into sophisticated political engines, and the persistence of social upheavals and revolutions bear the mark of the house as well. Certainly, the exploits of Lady Vittoria, a satyr of the house who maintained a villa/freehold in 15th-century Florence and who played host to an aspiring Florentine politician named Niccolo Machiavelli, bear a passing mention. No one from House Ailil who reads The Prince can fail to notice a striking resemblance between the advice proffered in the tract and the customary tactics of their house. In the 16th and 17th centuries, buccaneers and privateers flew the silver dragon alongside the black flag that advertised their trade. Other notable commoner members of the house participated in the revelations of the 18th century, perpetuating the commitment of Ailil to drastic change and the pursuit of freedom. Many sidhe of the house regret missing the industrial revolution (aptly named) and the advent of global politics in the 19th and 20th centuries. One suspects that the commoners of the house figured prominently in the increasingly convoluted politics of conspiracy that contributed to the state of affairs known as the Cold War. If only one could have basked in the heady Glamour created during the era of summit conferences and nuclear standoffs. The sidhe of other houses might find such manipulations Banal to the extreme but those of House Ailil thrive in the midst of political turmoil and uncertainty.
The Other Side of the Gate Edit
A plethora of information exists about the events of the Interregnum in the mortal world in comparison to the paucity of memories the sidhe retain of their time in Arcadia. Many Ailil nobles have reported fragmentary recollections and half-dreams of the centuries they spent locked behind the portals of the Dreaming. A few of those memories suggest the house embroiled itself in Arcadian politics leading up to a great conflict that encompassed all the houses of the fae.
Moreover, it is suspected that their actions either failed miserably, or else came so close to succeeding that exile from Arcadia proved the only way to defeat them. Some minds can devise many scenarios that might have resulted in their ousting, including the attempted seizure of power at the highest levels of the Twin Courts.
The Resurgence Edit
In 1969, a great explosion of Glamour burst open the portals of Arcadia and allowed the return of the sidhe to the mortal realm. That is the simple story. Some Ailil spin a slightly more complex tale of the return of the noble houses... a tale you are unlikely to hear in a Seelie household.
In the first wave of the Resurgence, five of the noble houses, all of them Seelie, reentered the world in sufficient numbers to establish a base of power. Only a few members of House Ailil came across at that time, and they have found themselves scattered throughout the globe. Sidhe from Houses Balor and Leanhaun entered the world along with them, but Ailil has little information on their experiences in the first heady days of the return to draw any conclusions about the reasons for their exile or why the chose to remain in the background of changeling politics.
What we do know is that the five Seelie houses set about almost immediately to reclaim their freeholds from the commoners who now occupied them, and to build the power base that would soon become the Kingdom of Concordia. The Ailil, on the other hand, had their hands full merely trying to survive in their surroundings and lacked sufficient numbers to counter the actions of their Seelie cousins.
Perhaps the house's affinity for political upheavals determined where members emerged. Where many sidhe arrived in places like San Francisco, where the "good vibes" of the Summer of Love called to their Seelie hearts or Unseelie passions, the majority of House Ailil came into the world in places rife with rebellion and political strife. Some of them found themselves in Belfast and Londonderry slammed into the midst of Ulster's sectarian conflict. Other's arrived in Chicago, where the trial of the "Chicago Eight" sparked waves of radical protest and led to battles with police and soldiers. A few entered in Prague, where student protests against the Soviets erupted in violence. Still more Ailil nobles "landed" in Washington, D.C. where the tense political climate energized their fading spirits and filled them with its dark, seductive Glamour. While the Ailil adapted to the overwhelming changes that had come about during their long absence and attempted to deal with the turmoil that seemed to engulf them wherever they happened to be, the Seelie houses made their move.
The Accordance War Edit
Many of the fae claim to see Ailil's hand in the events of the Night of Iron Knives that launched the Accordance War. Not he contrary, had the Ailil planned the mass slaughter of the leaders of the commoners, they would have taken pains to conceal their part in it. The majority of changelings view that infamous night as a tragedy, seeing it as a shameful beginning to the founding of Concordia. Though House Ailil holds the same opinion of that incident, they have different reasons for their judgement.
Yes, the Beltaine Massacre deserves their condemnation. It stands as an example of boorish stupidity and of clumsy, ill-advised planning... just the sort of excess that results when those who are unused to expressing their Unseelie natures suddenly release the constraints of Seelie behavior. Had the Ailil masterminded that bloodthirsty display, they would have taken care to make it appear as if the leaders of the commoners had slain each other in a gross instance of overreaction to internal dissension. Then, in the confusion that followed, they would have stepped in to assert their fitness to rule.
Instead, the supposedly "Seelie" leaders who perpetrated the massacre succeeded only in rousing the wrath of the commoners and ensuring a wasteful war of conquest. Although it led to the establishment of Concordia as a Seelie Kingdom, the war polarized the changeling populace, leaving many commoners and not a few nobles discontent with David Ardry's peace. Though the Ailil came late to the halls of power in Concordia, they maintain a small presence in the Parliament of Dreams and take their token place among the sidhe nobles. In other parts of the world, they comport themselves as necessary to further their own ends. Where they can proclaim their blazon openly, they do so. Otherwise, they keep a low profile and go about their business as usual. The Accordance War, for all that it ended in a triumph for the Seelie Court accomplished on of House Ailil's goals: the proliferation of discontent among many of the realm's changelings. Where there is discontent, the ground his ripe for the Ailil to plow.
The Modern Era Edit
The fortunes of House Ailil grew brighter in the final years of the century. As the millennium approached, the mortal world once again began to latch onto ancient superstitions and old beliefs, thus fostering an atmosphere of uncertainty and wild speculation. Chaos lies just beneath the surface of everyday life, eroding the solid structures of society.
In Concordia, the disappearance of David Ardry has thrown the Parliament of Dreams, not to mention the lesser kingdoms of the realm, into disorder and confusion. Once again, as in the Night of Iron Knives, though they had nothing to do with that strange and unexpected turn of events, they stand ready to take full advantage of the opportunity to advance their cause. The Dreaming cries out for a return to the old ways of shared rulership between the twin courts. After almost three decades of Seelie rule, the time is long overdue for an Unseelie ruler to lead the fae into (and out of) the Long Winter that approaches. As they did in the days before the Shattering, those who wear the blazon of the Silver Dragon once again prepare to take their rightful place as leaders of the fae.
The Ways of House Ailil Edit
Membership in House Ailil is both a right and a privilege. Born into the House of Silver Dragon through the grace of the Dreaming, members still need to earn their place within the overall society of the house through the mastery of their traditions and the honing of their talents. They do this in order to take their rightful place as leaders of the Unseelie fae.
Like their Seelie cousins, they retain many of the traditional practices of the sidhe. They honor the customs of Fosterage and Saining, abide by the Escheat, and follow a code (in their case, the Unseelie Code). They take oaths and usually keep them. They act responsibly toward the commoners under their banner and look to their interests as well as their sidhe members' own.
Of course, they do all of this in their own fashion. They can do no less and call themselves Ailil's heirs.
Boon & Flaw Edit
- Boon: Sidhe of House Ailil are expert political manipulators. All rolls involving Manipulation are made at -1 difficulty. Members of the house can never Botch Subterfuge or Politics rolls.
- Flaw: Those of House Ailil come from a line of kings. Because of their belief in their own fitness to rule, they are complacent. Members of the house take on things others would shy away from, believing that they will succeed just by virtue of their own cunning or talent. They must make a Willpower roll in noncombat situations (difficulty 8) to admit they are wrong, even when it is obvious. If they back down from a situation (such as a battle they know they cannot win), they suffer +1 difficulty to all Social rolls until they can gain some sort of victory that restores their confidence and face. This may take the form of abusing those underlings who cannot fight back.
In the absence of their founder, members of House Ailil owe their allegiance to High Lord Erdath, who represents the will of the house in the mortal world. Beyond their allegiance to him, their house relies on the infrastructure of the nobility to give shape and direction to their actions. In this, they differ little from the Seelie houses.
Where they diverge is in the paucity of their freeholds. Most members of the house hide the locations of their freeholds in order to prevent their invasion by the more fanatic members (i.e., the majority) of House Gwydion. In a few regions of Concordia, they hold fiefs openly, swearing (with reluctance) nominal loyalty to the High King. In other parts of the world, the house maintains a more open and accepted presence, due to the greater tolerance of the British and Celtic fae for the Unseelie in their midst.
Because they place great emphasis on individual achievement and success in the political arena, House Ailil awards titles to nobles in recognition of their political service to the house. Even though they seldom have enough fiefs to guarantee that all titled members of the house will have fiefs to rule, they honor those titles as if the holders, in fact, ruled the appropriate domain.
Though they have a reputation for arrogance among the other sidhe houses, among themselves they seldom find it necessary to pull rank or insist on the proper protocol from subordinate nobles. They make do with courtesy in most cases.
On the battlefield, though, rank means everything. Though they do not fight as savagely as House Balor, members of Ailil pride themselves on their ability to function as an army when they have to. Their knights learn finesse and control with melee weapons, preferring to overcome their opponents with skill rather than brute strength. Their military leaders come from the ranks of those who have demonstrated courage and tactical savvy in battle. The house expects them to exercise their authority with wisdom and boldness, and also demands that the warriors under them give them their absolute obedience.
The balance of structure and flexibility lends strength to the house and ensures that they do not suffer from the hierarchical stagnation that afflicts most of the Seelie houses.
The house takes great care in training new members. When a new Ailil sidhe emerges from their Chrysalis, they undergo a period of fosterage during which they learn how to survive in a house of achievement-oriented, intrigue-loving sidhe. Because the house places such emphasis on freedom and personal honor, they put their fledglings through a deliberately harsh regimen intended to teach them self-reliance and to cultivate their Unseelie tendencies.
The fledgling's "master" (the house term for mentor) imposes upon their charge a long list of "do's" and "don't's". The new sidhe must follow these rules to the letter, even though doing so subjects them to an almost impossible routine. Failure to meet the stringent demands of the master results in swift physical or psychological punishment.
The entire focus of this exercise is to bring the fledgling to the brink of open rebellion against their unfair treatment. If they openly defy or challenge their master, they earn an even harsher punishment than they would for mere failure. Sooner or later, the wiser fledgling learns subtle ways of evading the rules; they bribe others to accomplish their chores or run their errands. They distract their master with ruses designed to draw the master's attention to other matters. They learn how to lie and dissemble. In other words, they teach themself the game of politics and intrigue.
If a fledgling faithfully attempts to obey al the rules without complaint or demonstrates too much humility, one of the other members of the master's household approaches them in the form of confidant and "instructs" them in ways to make life easier for themself. While most fledglings, due to their Ailil blood, do not require this extra tutelage, a few need blatant instructions ini subtlety.
Any fledgling who still fails to learn how to break the rules without getting caught is brought before a soothsayer of the house who examines them for signs that they may belong to the rare breed of Seelie Ailil. If this is the case, the nature of their fosterage changes. Instead of learning the fine points of deception and manipulation, the fledgling takes instruction intended to cement their loyalty to House Ailil and its purpose of reestablishing the Twin Courts. As soon as they undergo their Saining, they are asked to swear the Oath of Loyal Opposition.
The Saining ceremony that follows the period of fosterage resembles a cross between a wild revel and a black-tie ball. The fledge's master formally releases their charge from their bond and welcomes them into the house. A secret ceremony conducted by the household's seers (or by a member of the Ritualists in the case of fledges fostered by members of the Shadow Court) determines the true name of the new Ailil sidhe and attempts to determine whether or not they bear a special fortune or doom. Afterward, all the members of the house, whether noble or commoner, indulge in an unbridled celebration of the creation of one more Unseelie fae.
The Fior-Righ Edit
As part of the Saining ceremony, the Ailil fledge undergoes a trial by ordeal to test what they have learned during their period of fosterage. Usually this involves some feat that can only be accomplished by indirect means or through deception and trickery. Occasionally, the Fior-Righ takes the form of a duel against an opponent so much more skilled than the fledge that they must cheat to win.
On the Taking and Breaking of Oaths Edit
To believe that because they adhere to the Unseelie Code the Ailil have no concept of oathtaking is to fail to understand the importance of such binding vows. Ailil's insistence on personal interpretations of honor rather than a strict definition of honorable conduct makes the act of taking an oath one of their most sacred duties. In some cases, oaths serve as their only constraints. Since the earliest times, those of the house have honored their promises, adhering precisely to their wording and, occasionally, to their intent. Because they place such emphasis on keeping their sworn promises, they do not enter into oath taking lightly. Thus, they rarely bind themselves to an oath. They take oaths only in the most serious circumstances, such as when a new member completes their Saining and claims their place in the house, or when a commoner formally binds themself to Ailil.
Occasionally, it becomes necessary, for some compelling reason, to break an oath that one has sworn. House Ailil recognizes that such things occur and has instituted a process to acknowledge oathbreakers who openly avow their dubious status. Though it seems ironic to trust that an individual who has broken one oath will keep a second "binding" promise, the house has found that those who accept the Oath of the Forsworn often go on to accomplish great deeds for the house, using their shame as a badge of pride and a goad to spur their ambitions. The ill-fated attempt of Yrtalien ap Ailil, the Forsworn Prince, to advance the Unseelie cause proves that even an oathbreaker (or especially an oathbreaker) can aspire to greatness. Despite Yrtalien's failure and subsequent disappearance, House Ailil profited by his example.
- The Oath of Membership is the Oath pronounced by all Sidhe of the House after their Fior-Righ.
- The Oath of Adoption is sworn by non-house sidhe and commoners who join the house.
- The Oath of Loyal Opposition is sworn by Seelie members of the house.
- The Oath of the Forsworn acknowledges the guilt of oathbreaker.
The Unseelie Code Edit
Because House Ailil devotes itself as a house to the Unseelie Court, they subscribe to the tenets of the Unseelie Code as their basis for conduct. Their interpretations of its principles, however, differ somewhat from those of the other Unseelie houses or of the rebellious hoi-polloi of changeling society. They revel in the nuances of the Code, finding in it an endless variety of meanings and inferences. The idea of a single, rigid interpretation of a code that supports and encourages diversity and flexibility is laughable
- Change is Good: One cannot overemphasize the importance of change. Only fools believe that standing still accomplishes anything beyond creating foot sores and stiff muscles. The universe exists in a constant flux of cyclic changes; without the variation of season, the alternation of day and night, or the ebb and flood of the tides, the physical world would lose its capacity to sustain life (another form of change). House Ailil's skill in politics and its adroitness in manipulations come from their belief that everyone benefits from change. Boredom feeds Banality more than the vilest or basest of actions. Avoid doing nothing at all costs.
- Glamour is Free: The world does not contain a fixed amount of Glamour. Those who believe that conserving the source of creativity postpones the exhaustion of Glamour have only to look around to see their error. This century crackles with the excitement of discovery and experimentation. New art forms combine technology and tradition in novel ways; politics (a particular source of Glamour for House Ailil) reaches new heights of subtlety and depths of corruption. In the midst of all this plenty, how can anyone hold back? How can anyone afford to restrain themselves when Glamour surrounds them?
- Honor is a Lie: To often, honor serves as a false and arbitrary set of restrictions used by one group to control another. for House Ailil, honor rests solely with the individual. Each of them defines their own actions according to a personal concept of "honorable" behavior (or not, for many Ailil chose to live without honor). Only the rules they make for themselves are worth keeping. All else is excess. Why stand aside, bound by codes of false honor, while others seize the opportunities for themselves?
- Passion Before Duty: Like honor, duty means nothing unless driven by personal desire. Passion inflames one to act, whether responsibly or rashly. The duty-bound accomplish nothing of value or import, bound as they are by the narrow restrictions of "ought" and "should." House Ailil does not shirk its responsibilities by adhering to this tenet; they merely set their priorities in order: Passion first duty after.
The Shadow Court & House Ailil Edit
Most fae, both Seelie and Unseelie, assume that all members of House Ailil belong to the Shadow Court. This is, admittedly, a fair assumption, since most of them are either members or associates of the Shadow Court. There is no reason to lie about that facet of Ailil existence. They are the undisputed leaders of the Unseelie Fae and the Shadow Court represents for them the remnants of the old Court of the Winter King.
Members of House Ailil see their participation in the Shadow Court as their best means for undermining the stranglehold of the Seelie government of Concordia. Although the house sends a few representatives openly to the Parliament of Dreams, they consider that governing body a pawn of the Seelie fae. Ailil's true voice in changeling society comes from the Shadow Court, and those of the house who have authority within that organization hold the true power in House Ailil.
The Seelie Code Edit
A few members of the House choose to follow the Seelie Code. These aberrant children of the dragon nevertheless express by their decision the personal freedom espoused by the house. It takes a supreme courage to swim against the current, and many respect their Seelie companions for daring to differ. Though most Ailil could never bind themselves so rigidly to the strictures advanced by the Seelie Code, those who do have assigned their own meanings to the traditions they uphold.
- Death Before Dishonor: Honor, regardless of who defines it, means nothing unless backed by actions. Those who fail to live up to their standards or to the codes of conduct they adopt deserve to reap the consequences of their shame, even if this means death. Sometime the only way to uphold honor is to die for it; the examples of martyrs throughout the centuries prove this precept. We remember those who put their lives on the line, whether or not they survive the experience.
- Love Conquers All: Those who love their masters serve them well. Both bedroom and throne benefit from the assiduous adherents to this precept. Affection and devotion to a lover or a cause only strengthen the chances of success in either sphere. Cultivating the hearts of followers usually ensures that their minds and wills follow suit. Love, when used as a weapon, can prove as powerful as a well-placed sword in neutralizing the enmity of others.
- Beauty is Life: Without beauty, life becomes a pale series of endless days and dreary nights. Artistic creations and well-made devices of any sort add to the cumulative Glamour present in the world and available for use. Not everyone defines beauty in the same fashion, however. Some call "beautiful" those things others label ugly or distressing. A Moment of tender pain can sometimes prove as stimulating and aesthetically pleasing as an exquisite portrait or a melodic composition. Do not confuse austerity with dedication. Those who surround themselves with beautiful objects need nothing else to remind them of the importance of beauty.
- Never Forget a Debt: Rewards serve as a powerful impetus in commanding loyalty from followers or fostering love among equals or non-equals. outward manifestations such as paying debts, returning favors, and keeping promises create a favorable impression with others. Image counts for much in both mortal and fae society. Those who prove their reliability through meticulous adherence to this tenet advance themselves in the eyes of those above them in rank. Collecting favors, calling in debts, and exacting promises from others establishes a reputation for fairness and respectability, qualities often perceived as nonexistent in members of House Ailil.
The Seelie Among Us Edit
Seelie members of House Ailil, particularly if they have sworn the Oath of Loyal Opposition, have a special function that serves the goals of the house. These rare Ailil sidhe affiliate themselves with freeholds and courts of Seelie houses willing to accept them. Usually their innate knowledge of intrigue and court politics lands them an advisory position of some sort in the retinue of their adopted liege. Then, their real work begins.
Despite their Seelie legacies, these loyal sons and daughters of Ailil use their skills to counter the attacks on the house by those who seek its destruction. Every Fiona or Eiluned noble who can point to their trusted Ailil advisor wins for the house a victory over their enemies and increases their chances of surviving until the coming of the Long Winter.
A few of the house's Selie members see no conflict in masquerading as a member of another house in order to climb even higher in the power structure of Concordia. Ailil needs all the friends in high places they can get; if they also happen to be members of the house class in the colors of Eiluned (which are Ailil's colors as well) or Fiona, so much the better.
Secret Societies Edit
Though the groups mentioned below are known to most members of the house, most Ailil attempt to keep the other houses (even other Unseelie houses) from discovering them. These "secret" societies of House Ailil serve as a focus for special interests within the house. Most Ailil sidhe eventually join at least one society; some find the time and energy to hold membership in several. It is, of course, possible that there are some truly secret societies within the house.
- Guardians of the Silver Dragon: Ailil's answer to the Knights of the Red Branch
- Les Amoureux: Politics often begins in the bedroom
- The Disinherited: Even the oathbroken need friends
The Escheat Edit
Current interpretation of fae tradition may brand as heresy the idea that the laws of the Escheat are not inviolable. In truth, the set of rules that governs the behavior and guides the actions of changeling society has existed only since the Sundering. Perhaps the rules were necessary at the time to hold together a fragmented population of abandoned and frightened Kithain. They served the purpose of ensuring fae survival during a period of upheaval and rootlessness and gave changelings of many persuasions something to rally around.
Times change. The Resurgence and the war fought to assert the right of the sidhe to reclaim power brought about the restructuring of fae society into one that ensured the perpetuation of the Seelie noble houses at the expense of all other factions of changeling society. In the hands of the present leadership of the fae, the Escheat has become a weapon used to quell opposition and punish those who attempt to reassert their rights to share power. While House Ailil does not wholly repudiate the laws of the Escheat, they do recognize their own interpretations of these laws and follow them rather than the versions proclaimed as dogma by the Seelie fae.
The Right of Demesne Edit
The authority of a lord within their fief forms the basis of Kithain society. Only those who advocate total anarchy can fail to recognize the importance of imposing some sort of order upon society. Those who are best suited to hold power belong in positions of leadership and have the right to command obedience and loyalty from any who come into their territory.
- Reality: House Ailil recognizes only the right of those nobles who rule their own lands. When the noble houses returned from Arcadia in 1969, the Seelie houses quickly seized as many available freeholds as they could, ousting the commoners who had held those sanctuaries of the Dreaming. Many Seelie nobles currently control freeholds and fiefs that originally belonged to House Ailil, refusing to acknowledge their right of ownership. The Ailil do not recognize the right of the usurper. In contesting the false rulers of hearths and lands that rightfully belong to the silver dragon's children, the Ailil place themselves in direct opposition to this tenet. On the other hand, whenever they encounter a Seelie noble who has successfully restored a freehold that belonged to their house before the Sundering, the Ailil give them the respect and dominion to which they are entitled.
The Right to Dream Edit
Most interpretations of this tenet claim that it exists to protect human Dreamers from the depredations of Ravagers and from those who would use direct inspiration to guide the creations of mortals. The careful husbanding of Glamour by indirect cultivation and cautious gathering falls within the compass of this tradition.
- Reality: By insisting that this principle dictates how one gains Glamour, the Seelie Court has managed to exercise a phenomenal amount of control over the dispensation of fae society's most necessary commodity. Further, by outlawing Ravaging in favor of the more subtle method of Reverie and the almost unattainable goal of Rapture, the Seelie rulers seek to curtail the proliferation of certain kinds of Glamour over others. The Ailil find that nightmares as well as dreams feed their souls and see little difference between the two insofar as they are concerned. The few mortals that go mad or fall into perpetual apathy due to the actions of a handful of inept Ravagers comprises an acceptable loss to the Dreaming as a whole. Those who learn the proper ways of Ravaging master the ability to excise large doses of Glamour without causing the Dreamer permanent harm. Humans have proven particularly resilient throughout the course of their history. individuals can suffer untold horrors and eventually recover from them with little or no visible damage. While the Ailil uphold the "right to dream," they also give Dreamers more credit than do their Seelie counterparts.
The Right of Ignorance Edit
If mortals ever learned of the existence of the fae (or their return), they would seek either to destroy them (as they did during the time of the Inquisition) or else the would hunt them down and put them in zoos or research facilities. In order to protect themselves from discovery and to prevent mortals from having their worldview turned upside down, this tenet forbids revealing a fae's true nature to non-changelings. Most interpretations of this principle exempt Kinain and Prodigals from the ban of ignorance. Some enforcers of the Escheat also relax this rule with regard to mortals enchanted by the fae (at least until the period of enchantment ends).
- Reality: Telling a member of House Ailil that something is forbidden them almost ensures that they will test the will of the one who forbids it. Denying them the option of revealing their true selves to those mortals they deem worthy of the knowledge insults their judgment and their intelligence. Let them decide for themselves when they can let slip their mortal costumes and reveal their faerie glory. Perhaps the knowledge of faerie existence might decrease the high levels of Banality that currently lend support to the proponents of keeping mortals in the dark. After all, a sizable portion of humankind professes to believe in extraterrestrials or angelic manifestations. Why not believe in faeries as well? While the Ailil do not condone the wholesale exposure of their existence to the world, they do insist on their right to decide for themselves when and where to drop their disguise.
The Right of Rescue Edit
Whenever one of the Kithain falls prisoner to the forces of the Dauntain or to the Hidden Ones or succumbs to Banality, the fae owe it to the Dreaming to attempt the recovery of that unfortunate individual. This holds true regardless of whether or not the victim is a friend or foe. Faerie survival hangs upon such slender threads that the loss of even a few changelings to Banality threatens to drop them all into the cold well of extinction.
- Reality: While ostensibly the noblest of all the tenets of the Escheat, this rule is most often honored in its abuse. How many instances exist in which the self-righteous knights of House Gwydion ride to the rescue of a captive member of House Ailil? The Ailil take a pragmatic approach to this rule. If they can reasonably succeed in rescuing a changeling from the clutches of Banality or the asylums and prisons of the Dauntain, they make the attempt. If they succeed (particularly in cases where the victim belongs to an enemy house or freehold), they gain the favor of an erstwhile antagonist. If they fail and escape unscathed, they can console themselves with having tried and ensure that no one can add their failure to make the attempt to their list of transgressions. Where one of their own is concerned, of course, they spare no expense to rescue them from captivity or forgetfulness. That should go without saying.
The Right of Safe Haven Edit
Otherwise known as the Right of Hospitality, this tenet enjoins those who rule freeholds and maintain fiefs to honor the traditions of guesting and sanctuary. This portion of the Escheat also establishes freeholds as havens against Banality and the ravages of war. To challenge a noble in their own home goes against the spirit of Safe Haven. Likewise, to admit a visitor as a guest and then perpetrate harm upon their person equals violates this tenet. Custom usually dictates a fixed duration to a visitor's claim of guest rights. During the grace period (generally no more than three days and nights), both guest and host agree to cease hostilities (if any exist) and to undertake no conspiracies or plots against one another. Most unwelcome guests leave after the expiration of the time of grace; those who do not suffer the consequences.
- Reality: Like the Right to Rescue, this portion of the Escheat often falls by the wayside in the face of opportunity. The Ailil have learned not to trust themselves to the mercies of Seelie hosts, should they ever have need of claiming sanctuary in one of their freeholds. Likewise, the Ailil understand that few members of the Seelie houses believe that Ailil freeholders uphold the right of Safe Haven. Occasionally, the house manages to succeed in hosting an enemy or guesting with a foe without treachery breaking out on one side or another. When that happens, it is both a grand surprise and a cause for celebration. Only with members of their sister House Eiluned can the Ailil feel even a modicum of safety.
The Right of Life Edit
No Kithain may willfully cause the death of another Kithain. This constitutes the greatest crime against the Dreaming and puts the slayer at risk of losing their faerie soul. Whether commoner or noble, all changelings exist by right of the Dreaming and not through the whims of others. To deprive the Dreaming of one of its children is the most heinous of deeds.
- Reality: The fact that at least one of the Seelie houses professes its determination to rid the world of the Unseelie fae puts this portion of the Escheat into perspective. Death, both accidental and intentional, happens to all of us. While most of the Ailil rest content with the temporary "death" of the faerie awareness of their enemies, occasionally their passions gain control and they strike a fatal blow in combat. While they do not condone the wholesale slaughter of those who oppose them, they cannot forbid members of the house from exercising their discretion in the use of violence or extreme measures. They accept the consequences of their actions, knowing that any Kithain life they take brings them a little closer to losing their connection to the Dreaming. The Ailil espouse the concept of minimum necessary force, knowing that sometimes this means the permanent removal of those who stand in their way or who endanger their house.
Current Politics Edit
At the risk of belaboring an issue, House Ailil's most important task (aside from surviving persecution by Seelie fanatics) lies in the restoration of the balance between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. They desire nothing less than the return of the pre-Sundering tradition of the alternation of power. They foresee that the Long Winter is inevitable and that, rather than pretending the fae can forestall it by prolonging Seelie control, they should prepare for its coming and trust that it is only the precursor to a new beginning for the fae.
To achieve their goal, they use any means necessary. Ending the 30-year monopoly of Seelie power requires all manner of subtle manipulations and back-room politics. The Ailil participate in the Parliament of Dreams in order to remind the fae of Concordia that the Unseelie are a part of their government, not just a state of mind.
The methods they use to achieve their goals are as varied as the individuals who work diligently to bring it about. Some Ailil excel in the art of persuasion; as diplomats and ambassadors, they travel to many Seelie strongholds and promote the house's cause. Others demonstrate a flair for intrigue. Fae with such talents are used as negotiators, being sent among the common folk and infiltrating Seelie households where they can plant rumors and concoct plots and counterplots to fuddle the normal state of Seelie affairs. Still others exhibit an irresistible sexuality and are sent to forge alliances through affairs of the heart, whether with the Seelie houses or their own Unseelie cousins of Balor and Leanhaun.
Nor does the house neglect the mortal world. In order to prepare for the Long Winter, they must learn to live with less and less Glamour or else find Glamour wherever it is available. They have learned to enrich themselves by surrounding themselves with the atmosphere of human politics. In their mortal guises, many Ailil hold political office or deal in corporate politics. They find the cutthroat practices and internal gamesmanship of mortals not only refine their own skills, but also serve as a source of Glamour. As the world grows more Banal with Winter's approach, Ailil's ability to snatch Glamour from political intrigues becomes more and more important.
In the long run, House Ailil intends to learn how to survive during the Long Winter. Their Seelie enemies, who prefer to pretend that so long as they rule they can prevent the end of Summer, will weaken and perish (or else embrace their Unseelie natures) with the cold winds that herald Winter's approach.
While many Ailil would like to see a master plan for the house that outlines the procedure for overthrowing the Seelie powers that be, the rest of them feel that so long as they outlast their enemies, they will prevail.
Political Impulses Edit
Though house members have one overriding goal, they choose different ways of pursuing it.
- Purists: Many Ailil follow the Purist impulse, desiring a simple restoration of the Twin Courts. Purists do not believe that the Seelie are Ailil's enemies; rather, they are antagonists (a subtle but clear distinction). These sidhe work ultimately for the survival of both Unseelie and Seelie changelings, since both types must work together to preserve the balance of power. Some Purists feel that once the Unseelie gain power, they need to extend their rule to make up for the overlong reign of the Seelie.
- Repudiators: Members of the Repudiator impulse believe in the complete overthrow of the Seelie fae and the permanent institution of Unseelie rule. They, too, speak of restoring the balance, but reckon that the 600-year period during which the majority of the commoners followed the Seelie tradition demands an equal number of Unseelie centuries to counter it.
- Ritualists: A fair number of Ailil sidhe follow the ways of the Ritualists, combining their house goals with their work in the Shadow Court. Ritualists seek not only to advance the Unseelie cause but also to reawaken their lost ties to the Dreaming. Many grumps belong to the Ritualist impulse, seeking solace in the autumn of their faerie existence in the devotion to the cycles of the year.
- Modernists: Ailil Modernists decry the stratification between nobles and commoners. They believe that not only must the house overthrow the Seelie sidhe, but they must also grant commoners the same rights as nobles. A popular impulse among younger members of the house, the Modernists advocate a complete sharing of power between nobles and commoners and an eradication of the titles that mark the differences between the two groups.
- Anarchists: This impulse has the fewest members among the sidhe of House Ailil. Anarchists advocate the violent and immediate overthrow of the government of Concordia. If that proves impossible, then creating chaos and disorder serves as a substitute. Some Ailil wilders join this impulse for a time, but soon discover that the Anarchists have no room for subtle manipulators. Many of the wisest grump Ritualists were once Anarchists who eventually grew bored with the simple art of destruction.
The Disappearance of the High King Edit
Many Ailil argue that the unexpected absence of David Ardry presents the house with a perfect opportunity to make their move and seize power in Concordia. While this is tempting to many of the younger members of the house, the leaders concur with the most recent ruling from High Lord Erdath. At this date, if the house took advantage of the vacancy in the throne of Concordia, it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt in the high king's disappearance, and although the house would like to claim credit for this action, they in fact had nothing to do with it.
The Ailil do intend to make the most of the opportunity David Ardry's disappearance has given them... not to attempt a coup, but to publicize the chaos currently threatening to rip apart the Parliament of Dreams and the internal affairs of House Gwydion. The house's experience with mortal politics teaches them that whoever first seizes the reigns of power during an emergency seldom rules for long after the crisis ends and the Ailil intend to take power when they have the chance of holding it for longer than a season.
Pulling Strings: Relations Near & Far Edit
The accusation that House Ailil exploits their allies and enemies fails to take into account either the subtleties of their relations with other groups or the spirit in which they exercise their obvious talents. What some call exploitation, the Ailil see as making the best use of the available resources. Who among the fae does not seek to draw upon their allies' strengths and maximize their enemies' weaknesses? those who claim they they deal fairly and equitably with everyone delude themselves. At leas the Ailil are honest about their manipulations of others. They pride themselves on the ability to accurately assess those they deal with. "Diplomacy" and manipulation are synonyms. Remember that the next time one of the Seelie houses lauds its "diplomatic expertise."
The Nobles Edit
Nobility has many meanings, and each of the noble houses manifests its noble blood in its own fashion. Both Seelie and Unseelie houses agree on one thing: the right of the sidhe to rule over the commoner kith (well, except the Modernists maybe). Beyond that single patch of common ground, though, they differ from one another in their purposes, perceptions, temperaments, and susceptibility to manipulation. Military philosophers and strategists caution one to know their enemies. The Ailil would add one should know their friends as well. Both can prove dangerous under the right circumstances.
- House Balor
The sons and daughters of Balor have slipped into the ranks of the nobility by virtue of their descent from Lugh of the Long Arm, one of the Tuatha de Danaan. Their blatant and sometimes clumsy bids for power as well as their penchant for violence serve as convenient distractions for Ailil's more subtle schemes. House Ailil know these brutal proponents of strong-arm politics envy Ailil's position as first among the Unseelie houses. The Ailil need killers and assassins in their ranks an House Balor fits the role as if born to it.
Ailil agents within House Balor (does that surprise you?) have heard a rumor that somewhere within a hidden freehold the rulers of Balor keep a cache of iron knives, each incised with the name of one of the leaders of House Ailil. The house almost believes those reports. Of a certain, House Balor works actively to bring on the Long Winter ahead of schedule, believing that they will enjoy a greater advantage due to their relative immunity to cold iron.
The Ailil cultivate alliances with the children of iron cautiously. They do not trust them, regardless of the oaths they have sworn. While the Ailil customarily look for loopholes in the wording of their oaths, Balor thinks nothing of shamelessly breaking an oath whenever it suits its purposes.
- House Dougal
These toadies of House Gwydion have little to recommend them to the Ailil except for their indisputable talent for crafting treasures and ingenious devices. Nevertheless, the house must deal with them whenever they have need of something their own artisans cannot produce. Usually, the Ailil act through intermediaries when treating with these dour and oh-so-somber sidhe, since they share their Gwydion cousins' instinctive hatred for the Unseelie houses. Occasionally, one must interact with them openly... during festivals and other gatherings where all fae are supposedly welcome. House members take great care to praise their skill and commend them for their loyalty to their masters (though they do not use that word in their presence).
The few Unseelie members of House Dougal differ little from the Seelie majority except in their greater willingness to take risks. When an Ailil finds one of these rare individuals, they make every effort to win their loyalty. Their grasp of technology makes them invaluable to the house as allies. Unfortunately, even the Unseelie of Dougal remain loyal to their house and thus to House Gwydion.
- House Eiluned
These sidhe come closest to winning Ailil's trust, an irony when you consider that they are the least trusted of all the Seelie houses among their own kind. The shared ancestry of the two houses creates an unspoken bond of kinship between them and the Ailil work hard to find ways to strengthen that tie. They look upon House Eiluned as their eyes and ears in the Seelie camp, for more often than not, the sorcerers warn the house of plots against them.
Whenever an Ailil choses a lover from outside of their own house, they frequently indulge in affairs with the children of the twin crescents. Though other houses perceive them as cold, mysterious, and aloof, the Ailil take great pleasure in penetrating their enigmatic façade and discovering the passion that lies beneath their surface composure.
The Eiluned share with the Ailil a love for politics and an appreciation for intrigue. Whenever House Ailil can lend its support to them, it does. The more favors they owe the house, the closer the two become. While the Ailil regret the Eiluned allegiance to the Seelie Court, they have hope that in the near future they will see their way to joining forces with the children of the silver dragon. Some house seers have prophesied that a return to the old ways of sharing power between Summer and Winter Courts can only happen when Ailil and Eiluned join hands as rulers of the fae.
- House Fiona
For a good time, call Fiona. Although this seems a tawdry description of a house known for its passionate emotions and brave hearts, it sums up the essence of the sidhe of House Fiona. What they lack in subtlety and finesse, they more than make up in intensity and zeal. The Fiona sidhe's penchant for tragic or inappropriate love affairs plays admirably into Ailil's hands. Ailil's sinister reputation attracts more than a few of this house, for the silver dragon represents danger and excitement to them. They are highly recommended for practicing one's skills in affairs of the heart.
On a more practical side, it is relatively easy to manipulate the members of this house. Their love of pleasure and susceptibility to having their emotions aroused make their responses predictable. Do not assume, though, that the House of the Lion has no teeth. Fiona sidhe are fierce when crossed or betrayed. Keep this firmly in mind when dealing with them and, above all, don't let them catch you in anything they can interpret as treachery. Their swords are as sharp as their passions.
The Unseelie members of House Fiona often rival the Leanhaun sidhe in their rampant pursuit of sensation. The Ailil who fulfills their desires will have them following them anywhere, even into battle against the Seelie Court.
- House Gwydion
Simply put, House Gwydion is Ailil's enemy. The Seelie houses accord them the status of leaders, treating them with something akin to reverence, at least to their faces. Supposedly the members of the House of the Falcon epitomize the Seelie concept of nobility. Ailil will grant them that claim, since they do embody the stiff-necked unyielding intolerance of deviation from their precious Seelie Code. Make no mistake, the instigators of the worst excesses of the Accordance War came from Gwydion and not, as most would suspect, from the "deceivers" of Eiluned.
The insufferable arrogance of this house of self-righteous power-mongers has resulted in the stagnation of changeling society since the Resurgence. Almost single-handedly, Gwydion, by its insistence on a Seelie monopoly of power, has stopped the inevitable and necessary cycle of the Dreaming in its tracks.
Death by Cold Iron would be too good for them.
The have openly advocated the eradication of the Unseelie houses, but members of House Ailil believe that their enmity goes even farther. Every indication suggests that they intend to destroy all Unseelie fae, deluding themselves into believing that such an action will guarantee the postponement of the Long Winter.
The falcon's brood despises House Ailil in particular, since they pose the greatest threat to their sovereignty. Ailil takes great pride in knowing that their mere presence can rouse their infamous temper, driving them to berserk fury. Perhaps if Ailil incites them often enough, the other Seelie houses will finally see them for the pompous posturers they really are.
The recent disappearance of their precious high king has thrown a wrench in Gwydion's plans for consolidating Seelie power in the hands of their house. Despite David Ardry's reputation as one of the fairest of his house, Ailil cannot help but applaud the work of whoever engineered his removal from fae society. No doubt the Gwydion sidhe blame Ailil for the loss of their most prominent member. ironic, isn't it, that they had nothing to do with it?
Most Ailil don't bother attempting to deal with members of Gwydion in any fashion other than the most basic courtesy demands, at least not openly. A few members of the house have managed to infiltrate Gwydion fiefs by posing as members of Eiluned, but too often these attempts (along with those who make the attempts) are short-lived, due to Gwydion's talent for detecting falsehoods. Others confine their dealings with them to public gatherings where the dictates of Seelie etiquette provide them with some protection from their hostilities. Most importantly, when they must treat with the Gwydion, the avoid lying to them whenever possible unless they intend to cause a scene.
As for the Unseelie Gwydion, they do exist, although they risk their lives by defying the conventions of the falcon. Should an Ailil come across one, though, they approach with caution but strive to turn them actively against their own Seelie kin.
- House Leanhuan
Consummate seducers, tragic lovers, and devoted patrons of the arts (although they demand a devastating fee for their inspiration), the Leanhaun sidhe seem fragile and vulnerable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The members of House Leanhaun trade upon their "weakness," their ravenous need for Glamour, to arouse the pity and protection of their Ailil and Balor cousins.
The Ailil see through their ruse, of course, since it is just the sort of pretense their house would adopt if they suffered from Leanhaun's predicament. In truth, House Leanhaun is capable of taking care of themselves; desperation leads to the development of the necessary skills to survive.
As Ailil's allies against the Seelie houses, Leanhaun sidhe have their uses. The secret plans of many Fiona knights have found their way into the ears of a Leanhaun love or paramour. Ailil's main difficulty in acquiring the services of the Leanhaun lies in convincing them to focus their attention on something other than assuring a constant supply of Glamour. Ensuring them a steady supply of potent Dreamers in return for their assistance usually overcomes their reluctance to do what the Ailil want.
So long as the precepts of the Seelie Court forbid the practices whereby the Leanhaun feed their Glamour-starved essence, House Ailil can count on the loyalty and support of the children of the blackened rose. As de facto criminals of fae society, they have no choice but to remain in the good graces of those who do not condemn them or seek their destruction.
Their sensual natures make Leanhaun sidhe exquisite lovers and consorts, while their affinity for the arts lends grace to any gathering that admits their company.
- House Liam
This entire house bears the stigma of oathbreakers. Why House Liam continues to insist on remaining affiliated with the Seelie Court ini light of this crippling label remains a mystery. If Ailil could convince them to change their allegiance... they are, after all, oathbreakers... the balance of power in the Parliament of dreams would shift to a more equal representation of Seelie and Unseelie houses. Unfortunately, all of House Ailil's efforts to affect this change have come to naught. House Liam remains entrenched in its Seeliness, wallowing in its disrepute and abasing itself before the other Seelie houses.
Ailil's biggest stumbling block in winning over the majority of the Liam consists of their overinflated opinion of humanity, and their insistence on playing the self-appointed role of protectors of humankind. They object strenuously to the forcible gathering of Glamour and condemn any fae who indulge in Ravaging for any reason. Ailil's lack of sympathy for the "plight" of mortals makes it difficult for them to achieve any substantial progress in pleading their cause.
Further, House Liam enjoys the protection of House Gwydion since they lack the desire (if not the ability) to stand up for themselves. Their acceptance of Gwydion's largesse usually results in that house's untimely interference in any negotiations Ailil undertakes with the Liam sidhe.
The Unseelie members of the house respond more positively to Ailil's overtures, although they, too, exhibit the same solicitousness for humans as do their Seelie kin. Nevertheless, the bitterness of many Unseelie Liam sidhe leads them to Ailil despite the small differences between the two houses over the fate of mortals.
The Commoners Edit
Upon their return to the mortal world, House Ailil gauged the temper of the times and discovered that the commoner kith had changed. No longer did they meekly acquiesce to the will of the sidhe. Instead, human concepts of equality, democracy, individual freedom, and civil rights had altered the commoners' perceptions of their proper place. That the Seelie houses had to launch a full-scale war to assert their domination over the common folk emphasizes the extent of the transformation of the lowborn kith.
The Accordance War served Ailil in an unexpected way. Because of their resentment of the Seelie conquerors, many commoners flocked to the Unseelie cause. Though it pained Ailil to do so, they saw the advantage of allowing full membership in House Ailil to as many commoners as would swear oaths to them. They benefit immeasurably from their hardiness and adaptability as well as from their familiarity with the ways of the modern world.
While few commoners sworn to Ailil's blazon achieve title or rank, the house keeps them loyal through a variety of incentives. Freedom to act without the restraints imposed upon them by Seelie fae serves as a powerful motivation, as do rewards such as a stable of enchanted mortals, or gifts of dross and small treasures. Commoners who don't respond to the carrot receive the stick. Fear and intimidation work miracles when judiciously applied.
Of course, some kith are more useful to Ailil than others. The following views on the various commoner kith express the general views of House Ailil.
Most boggans shun contact with the Unseelie houses. Their depressingly Seelie natures predispose then to a moral priggishness that clashes with Ailil's more liberal morés. In general, the house tends to avoid wholesale attempts at recruiting these dowdy wallflowers. The few Unseelie boggans they attract, though, make excellent clerks, housekeepers, and managers. the boring minutiae of freehold life exercises an unfathomable hold over these born drudges. Their predilection for rumors and gossip also makes them excellent spies provided they are inserted into Seelie holdings. (A certain noble of House Dougal would faint if he realized that his boggan chef reported his comings and goings faithfully to House Ailil.)
Boggans' penchant for causing mischief whenever they feel slighted warrants caution in dealing with them. In many cases, they are more trouble than they're worth. Let the Seelie fae waste their time coddling their boggan allies. Ailil has better things to do than spend their days in such dull company.
In dalliances, it is said they bring the same thorough and meticulous approach to their physical appetites as the do to the rest of their activities.
Both Seelie and Unseelie varieties of eshu are perpetual wanderers and inveterate meddlers; in fact, sometimes there seems very little difference between members of the two courts. While they as a group tend to avoid political entanglements, a few individuals seem to take pleasure in adding politics to their list of scams. Ailil welcome the appearance of one of these travelers in their freeholds, for their arrival usually signals some significant alteration of present circumstances.
They make good messengers and reliable (if eccentric) scouts when they remember to send reports of their discoveries or deliver their messages. Their knack for knowing where to be at any given time and how best (for them) to get there often allows the Ailil advance warning of trouble. (When all the eshu in residence leave a freehold, one can count on the imminent appearance of a delegation from the Knights of the Red Branch or some other tool of Seelie oppression.)
It is good to cultivate alliances with both Seelie and Unseelie eshu. At heart, all of them resent the second-class status accorded their kith, and often respond to promises to recognize their innate noble blood. Just remember that every contact with one of the eshu represents a calculated risk. Most of the time the odds are in your favor of you remember to stack the cards.
The sheer talent of these foul-tongued inventors alone makes them invaluable to the Ailil. Fortunately for them, Unseelie nockers make up the majority of the kith, probably due to their lack of restraint with regard to the creations of their hands. Nockers represent Ailil's technological edge over the Seelie Court. While the enemies of House Ailil pride themselves on the gadgets and weapons created by their loyal nocker retainers, the house has only to point to the wondrous chimerical machines fashioned by their nockers to demonstrate the true extent of nocker ingenuity.
Their generally unpleasant natures do not bother the Ailil as much as they do the Seelie. They simply leave nockers to their own devices (literally) and ignore their incomprehensible gibberish. Although some say that their unintelligible curses actually comprise a concealed language used to communicate complex technical instructions and pass along kith secrets, most Ailil see little point in attempting to decipher their code.
Keeping these perpetual curmudgeons happy and productive, though, often poses a problem. Their egos do not take insults or imagined slights with good grace. The house's harsher methods of controlling the subordinate Kithain often produce an unpleasant backlash when used against nockers. it is better to treat them with kid gloves, even when one customarily uses the whip and chair on other retainers.
Ignore the pooka at your peril. While Seelie pooka are amusing at best and annoying at worst, the Unseelie ones can kill you with not of their pranks and laugh it off as a mistake later. Despite the unpredictable danger these animalistic kithain represent, House Ailil courts their allegiance (at a distance) because of their kaleidoscopic ability to reconfigure the truth. The house appreciates their mastery of the art of dissembling and disinformation.
The care and feeding of one's pooka retainers involve managing to stay one step ahead of their mental gyrations. For the Ailil, the rarely presents a difficulty, though it is said members of House Balor have trouble keeping up with the twists and turns of a pooka's conversation. Each individual has their own particular manner of communicating; learning the various forms of "pooka-speak" makes it possible to converse with them without going mad.
Because they have such a loose hold on the truth, using pooka as spies or messengers carries a certain amount of risk. They are better employed as infiltrators, insinuating them (once they have demonstrated their loyalty to the house) into Seelie freeholds or cliques. Once they are in place, all that is necessary is to sit back and watch them wreak their own particular form of havoc.
They are exceptionally effective in Gwydion strongholds, since the "noblest" of the sidhe feel bound to protect all the commoners under them. Imagining the sight of a Gwydion lord or lady wincing every time a pooka opens their mouth has warmed many an Ailil heart on a cold night.
While the idea of seeking out a pooka as a lover or companion does not appeal to everyone, this kith can arouse an interest in wild experimentation. Occasionally, the results are more than a little painful, but the experience is always worthwhile (if you survive it).
As rare as Unseelie boggans are, Seelie redcaps are even rarer. Almost without exception, the killers of the Kithain belong to the Winter Court. Since winter represents the death of the world prior to its rebirth, it only seems fair that the executioners of changeling society adhere to the tenets of the Unseelie fae.
In the words of Lord Declan, one of the house's most astute strategists, "When subtlety fails, send in the redcaps." Ailil considers this bloodthirsty, unprincipled kith their shock troops (both literally and figuratively). Their appalling zest for maiming and cannibalizing their enemy decimates the morale of any who oppose them. For this reason, Ailil tries not to arouse their enmity.
As a group, redcaps show little discipline and even less restraint. Thus, the house seldom uses them for pinpoint strikes. Sending an army of them against an enemy is tantamount to declaring "no quarter." Redcaps do not take prisoners, unless their larders need replenishing.
As individuals, redcaps can demonstrate a phenomenal loyalty to those who gain their respect. Intimidation works well with this kith, since they understand the authority of superior force. Occasionally, a redcap will strike up a friendship with an Ailil. When this occurs, the lucky sidhe gains the benefit of having a lethal weapon constantly near to hand.
Don't even think about conducting an affair with a redcap. Just don't. Well... no... don't.
Lascivious, lustful, and wise... there is no better combination outside of the qualities of House Ailil itself. Satyrs, particularly Unseelie ones, demonstrate a sensuality that is frightening in its intensity and irresistible in its allure. While too many sidhe write satyrs off as lechers and debauchers (foolishly considering these attributes as vices), the Ailil realize their legendary sagacity and their cleverness at strategy. Likewise, the house appreciates their musical talent and their love of revelry. The songs of many an Unseelie satyr bard often grace Ailil gatherings and inspire them to heights of sensation and depravity.
More pragmatically, satyrs provide the nobles of the house with the benefits of their philosophical insights and their knowledge of both human and faerie natures. They also occasionally demonstrate their expertise at gathering information from guests through their command of the art of pillow talk and the arousal of their partners' passions. A few members of House Ailil employ satyrs as chief interrogators, relying on them to use their unique ability to combine pain and pleasure in the torture chamber to extract even the most closely held secrets from seelie captives.
Satyrs are highly to be sought in both the halls of diplomacy and the bowers of love. Even the Seelie ones have their "good days."
- Scathach Sidhe
House Ailil counts the diminished sidhe (or half-sidhe) among the commoners because they ape the commoner kith in their adaptation to the world after the Sundering. Their choice to mingle their bloodline with that of humankind forever altered their natures, rendering them less than sidhe. By their own admission, Scathach sidhe remain close to their human kin, thus widening the gap between themselves and others of their near-kith.
Nevertheless, members of House Scathach makes for silent, efficient warriors. Unseelie fae of this house frequently hire out as mercenary knights. Whenever Ailil can, they attempt to employ these soldiers-for-hire; when they induce them to swear oaths of loyalty to the house, Ailil seldom hesitates. Far better to have a troop of trained Scathach warriors fighting under the silver dragon than laboring for the cause of House Gwydion or House Fiona.
House Ailil also finds the Scathach grasp of Dream-Craft invaluable in their attempt to understand the elusive nature of the Dreaming. If the house is to survive and prosper during the Long Winter and beyond, they must learn the secrets contained within the Dreaming. The Scathach sidhe may hold the key to this most important undertaking.
A movement within the house exists to attempt to bring the Scathach sidhe wholly within the Unseelie fold. Restore their house's name and blazon to the ranks of the true nobility, these proponents say, and Ailil will not need to beat their heads against the wall currying favor with House Liam. They will increase the ration of Unseelie to Seelie while at the same time enhancing their strength in battle. Why court a house of pacifists when they can gain a house of warriors?
The secretive sluagh tend to favor their Unseelie legacies over their Seelie ones. Since most of the Seelie houses despise the whisperers, the sluagh naturally gravitate toward the houses that do accept them without cringing from their occasionally distressing presence. The Seelie loss is Ailil's gain.
Sluagh sworn to Ailil's banner provide them with a connection to the largest changeling information network in existence. While the house does not delude itself into believing that even their most loyal sluagh spies report every piece of intelligence they uncover for them (or only to them), Ailil places great reliance on the information they gather.
While sluagh rarely excel in open combat, they make perfect assassins and poisoners. Their ability to infiltrate even the most carefully guarded freeholds in order to perform a piece of wetwork borders on the uncanny. Just remember that they hold their own allegiances as well, and they can just as easily use a knife or poison vial on an Ailil as on their enemies. Keep them happy and, in most cases, one can rest with only one eye open.
A word to the wise: though some sluagh exercise a dark seductiveness, be wary of allowing one into your bed unless to have a death wish or post guards inside your bedroom
While most trolls fall within the Seelie camp, both Seelie and Unseelie members of this kith have an unshakable sense of loyalty to those who hold their oaths. Trolls make the best bodyguards imaginable (similar to possessing a pet tank). If an Ailil can entice one of these giant warriors into an oathbond, they can greatly increase their chances for long life. In the dangerous game of politics, having a few trolls at one's back becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.
Beware of arousing the anger of a troll, especially if they are sworn to you. The legendary wrath of their kind knows no limits.
On the other hand, the judicious direction of a troll's anger against one's enemies can turn the tide in battle. Simply remind then of the injustices their race has suffered at the hands of the (Seelie) sidhe and let them loose. Reminding them that the Ailil have their best interests at heart usually protects the house from the fallout of their anger; most trolls suffer from an innate simplicity of mind and respond easily to manipulation.
The best way to ensure a troll's loyalty, besides with an oath, lies in winning their heart. The love of a troll, while overwhelming and exhausting, provides a sense of security few members of House Ailil ever experience. It is worth it to commission an oversize bed for one's personal chambers.
Some Ailil consider the Thallain as the true children of the Long Winter. They provide a graphic example of what happens when one legacy completely overwhelms the other. Their total lack of a Seelie half proves the horror of denying both sides of the dual faerie nature. A particularly cynical Ailil once commented that when House Gwydion suppressed its Unseelie tendencies, these wild and reckless impulses coalesced into the kiths of the Thallain, thus giving rise to the rotten eggs of the falcon.
Still, individually and a group the Thallain have their uses. AIlil cannot afford to ignore the possibilities they represent in the struggle to upset the current balance of power. Only the Shadow Court seems capable of exercising any control over these nightmarish fae; inclusion of any of them in one's retinue immediately brands one as a member of that secret organization. Since most sidhe assume that all members of House AIlil belong to the Shadow Court anyway, the presence of a few Thallain among their ranks only adds fuel to the rumor.
Though they masquerade as pooka, beasties have none of the winsome playfulness associated with those pranksters. As hard to control as the wild animals they resemble, beasties serve one best when they simply point them in the direction of the target (be it a person, place, or thing) and yell, "Sic 'em!" Do not allow them into your freehold if you wish it to remain in one piece.
Boggarts make up or the lack of Unseelie Boggans. They are among the most tractable of the Thallain, although their penchant for making busywork and bringing whole warrens of their "relations" into a freehold to keep up with the proliferation of tasks (most of which they created for the express purpose of employing more of their kind) can drain the resources of a household unless carefully monitored. Before entering into an agreement with a bogggart, make certain to close any loopholes in the pact with them.
Many Ailil find it better to do without them. On the other hand, encouraging them (in the guise of boggans) to apply to a Seelie household for the protection and employment frequently results in the financial and mental frustration of house enemies.
Bogies make even the most Unseelie of the sluagh seem Seelie by comparison. House Ailil uses these Thallain sparingly, whenever they need an assassination performed in dramatic style or for creating a wave of terror among their enemies. The problem with employing bogies lies in the fact that their loyalty to anyone other tan themselves (and, occasionally, the sluagh community that shelters them) is questionable at best.
Many Ailil find bogies distasteful in the extreme and avoid dealing with them whenever possible. Some would sooner take a sluagh to their bosom than give a bogie the time of day. The Shadow Court uses bogies and manages to exert some sort of control over them. Few know what technique they use, but they applaud it.
Along with bogarts, goblins have some use other than causing panic and terror. Like their nocker relations, goblins possess the gift of craft. Their machines of destruction sometimes reflect an uncannily subtle touch, belying their tru purposes until activated. Goblin weapons, while sometimes treacherous, exemplify the skill of their creators.
House Ailil takes great delight in helping a goblin pass themself off as a nocker and join an enemy's fief. Eventually, the ruse is discovered, but in the time it takes to do so, most goblins can accomplish a creditable wave of destruction. Allow them into a freehold with caution; their implements of destruction often work against the ones who use them. Give their "weapons" to an enemy as peace offerings, then sit back and watch them blow themselves up.
Listen very carefully. Do not attempt to control the actions of an ogre unless you have the complete backing of the Shadow Court and an army of Unseelie trolls and redcaps at your back (or in front of you). Show no weakness of any sort in its presence, or you will die. They have no conception of politics, so do not try to enlist them in affairs that require finesse. On the other hand, if an ogre perceives that you hold some sort of power over it that exceeds its comprehension, the chances are good that it will obey you out of respect for this unknown force, at least for a time.
Unless desperation drives you to seek out the assistance of the ogres, avoid doing so.
In simple terms, the Gallain are those fae whose natures House Ailil does not fully comprehend. They do not fall into the categories of the known kith, nor do they belong among the ranks of the Thallain (though some might place the fomori among the monstrous ones). Nevertheless, the creatures who connect with the Dreaming in any fashion whatsoever deserve careful study and an assessment of their usefulness or superfluousness.
Different from, yet strangely similar to the first children of Balor of the Evil Eye, the creatures known as fomori have apparently risen from human experimentation. House Balor remains the undisputed expert on these mutated former humans, since they perceive some connection between the fomori of today and their ancient near-kin.
Occasionally, on of Ailil's Balor cousins has loaned the house a fomori retainer. While these creatures have their uses and possess a limited capacity for magic, their lifespans are short. Eventually, the self-destruct. This restricts them to short-term engagements.
Ailil's occasional associations with werewolves also indicate that the fomori have some sort of inborn enmity to most of the werewolf population. It is inadvisable attempting to bring the two types of creatures together. Fomori seem to hate werewolves with a single-minded passion that resembles Gwydion's dislike of the Unseelie... only worse.
These enigmatic creatures, bonded as they are to inanimate objects, remain so far from Ailil comprehension that they wonder whether trying to pierce the communication barrier between the two is worth the attempt. What could they tell the Ailil if they could understand them? Some lore masters of the house insist that the Inanimae hold the secret to survival during the Long Winter. Banality does not seem to affect them in their current state. Perhaps Ailil needs to discover a similar fashion of protecting themselves during the worst of the inevitable Winter, so long as they can be assured of reversing it afterwards.
- Lost Ones
One of House Ailil's highest priorities must be the location of the sites of these ancient fae, and the recovery, if possible, of any treasures that the Lost Ones' lairs might contain. If any of the Lost Ones themselves have survived in their Glamour-drenched hiding places, Ailil has the duty to attempt to bring them back into the world as well. The house suspects that one of these Dream-pockets serves as the lair of their own founder, Ailil, the Silver Dragon of Connaught. If this is true, then they must do everything within their power to affect his return.
Even if, as some Ailil soothsayers believe, Ailil has wholly embraced his Seelie nature, surely he will comprehend the need to restore the ancient balance of the Twin Courts. Although the house doubts that Eiluned herself survived the Shattering, the return of Ailil might offer them the chance to reunite with their sister house into one great house of Summer and Winter.
The native fae of the American continents have little reason to love the Ailil. In the house's desperation to find shelter from the early signs of the Sundering, some of their more adventurous members fled westward to the then as-yet-undiscovered lands across the great western sea. The enmity caused by their failure to understand the ways of the nunnehi lasts to this day. Only a few sidhe have managed to come to an accord with these quasi-changelings.
Ailil would simply dismiss then out of hand as irrelevant to the house's goals were it not for the fact that the nunnehi possess a means of gathering Glamour that does not rely on human creativity. If the Ailil could learn how to mimic their ways, they would have an additional supply of Glamour available to them to aid them in the Long Winter. Perhaps, too, they could prove to the Seelie misers that Glamour is not as rare a commodity as they would like to think.
These elemental fae have linked their essences to natural objects: trees, rocks, waterfalls, mountains, and the like. The Ailil know little about them, but they suspect that, like the Inanimae, they possess knowledge that they need. If the society of nymphs revolves around the seasons, as some feel it must, then these Gallain must possess both Seelie and Unseelie natures. Some believe that, because of this, the creatures whose very forms mirror the seasons can teach the house much about weathering the coming Winter. Although studying the nymphs is not Ailil's highest priority, a few of their keenest experts in Remembrance now devote themselves to collecting memories of these site-bound fae.
The lost children of the fae, known as Prodigals, provide a conundrum for most of the other noble houses. Most of the Seelie include the Prodigals in the Escheat's ban on revealing their true natures. Ailil, however, sees it as their obligation to make contact with their distant kin whenever possible. Because of this, they know more about vampires, werewolves, and magi than many other changelings do. The spirits of the dead, as well, while not precisely Prodigals, hold a certain fascination for those of the house who remember the legend of the Bright Road.
Exercise caution when approaching any of the Prodigals. They usually have their own agendas, which do not often coincide with House Ailil. Some of them, as well, present a danger to the fae. If one thinks the risk is worth it, though, the house encourages them to, by all means, take it. There could be great rewards for doing so.
- Children of Lilith
Of all the prodigals, the Children of Lilith appeal to House Ailil the most because of their interest and involvement in mortal politics. While the internal affairs of most vampire groups lie beyond fae kenning, the Ailil have managed to learn a little about the half-dead walking Dreams. While many of them reek of Banality doe to the extreme measures they take to deny the truth of their existence, others exude a dark Glamour that many Unseelie fae (House Ailil included) find unbearable attractive. One group of vampires seems to excel ini the political game. Whether watching their machinations from a distance or, as one or two of house have done, from within their courts, Ailil has learned much about how to fine-tune their own intrigues. In addition, they find that these vampires provide them with a rich source of Glamour (albeit of a sinister vintage) from the glee they derive from their schemes.
It seems, as well, that vampire society has its own version of Seelie and Unseelie courts. The Unseelie vampires call themselves the Sabbath; they have the same contempt for rigid rules and restrictions as the Ailil do and some house wilders have occasionally run with "Sabbath observers," engaging in wild sprees of Ravaging while the vampires pursue their own bloodthirsty games.
One other vampire cult that holds a special attraction for the house must be mentioned. The vampires that take their name from the Spanish term for shadows (Las Ombras) combine the dangerous allure of the Sabbath vampires with the insidious political acumen of the others. Lady Sláine has had the privilege of speaking with one of these shadowy vampire elders about the resonance between the aims of the Shadow Court and their own ambitions. While an outright alliance between the Ailil and Las Ombras (or any vampires for that matter) might prove to unwieldy and complicated even for them, they might do well to look for opportunities to cooperate with the Children of Lilith.
Of all the Prodigals who exhibit the power of shapechanging into animal forms, the werewolves (or wolfkin, as they prefer to be called) are by far the most numerous, and the ones Ailil knows the most about. House Fiona claims kinship with the werewolf family that also calls itself Fiona. The common Celtic origins House Ailil shares with them might also lead to a closer association with the Fiona-wolves were it not for the fact that House Fiona has poisoned the minds of these werewolves with lies about members of the house. A complicated situation, indeed. It is best for the house to trust no one claiming Fiona roots, whether wolfkin or fae.
On the other hand, Ailil has found an affinity with other werewolves. Like them, many display a flair for politics and intrigue and exude a confidence in their own abilities that reminds the house overmuch of its own temperament.
Werewolves often make their home upon sites of natural Glamour, and consider themselves the guardians of these places. While Ailil has heard rumors that many werewolves believe they would steal the Glamour from these glens if we could, the have obviously never learned the truth of the matter. Unless the house learns to extract Glamour from the natural world as the nunnehi do, they can make little use of their precious sanctuaries.
The Ritualists of the Shadow Court, many of whom belong to House Ailil, have an abiding interest in the lands of the dead due to their attempts to revive the Ritual of the Teign. Most of the house's contact with anything resembling ghosts comes about during the Samhain revels, when legends say the barriers between all the worlds weaken. Attempts to communicate with the lingering souls of dead mortals at any other time of the year generally fail. Unless someone can prove that the dead have anything to offer Ailil, many recommend just leaving them alone to their unhappy prowling.
These humans have managed to awaken a part of themselves that can touch the Dreaming in a limited fashion. Though they do not suffer from Banality as the fae do, it seems they also find the unalterable laws of reality difficult to deal with. While most fae avoid modern magi, Ailil has evidence in songs and stories that magi and faeries often crossed paths in earlier times. Few magi today understand the fae. The Seelie would like to keep it that way. House AIlil, while observing extreme caution, has made contact with a few of them however. In particular, the house attempts to converse with the sorcerers of a "house" (commoners...) of death-witches who have an interest in the circle of life. Because they focus on death, rather than life, however, they may be able to lend the fae some assistance in understanding the Long Winter... and possibly surviving it. The Verbena family, of course, has had a long association with the fae. They too understand the crime of trying to stop nature in its tracks. However, the house has yet to determine just what benefit they can gain from magi.
Some groups of magi, however, pose a direct threat to the fae, either because they desire to master them to to experiment upon them (a practice that usually leads to the death of the faerie soul if not the mortal body as well). As with any of the Prodigal, discretion and care is necessary when dealing with them; but Ailil forbids nothing except stupidity. The magi who use science as magic increase the amount of Banality in the world by their denial of mystery and wonder. Calling themselves the World's Order, they actively seek to destroy the fae as reality deviants (a term Lady Sláine heard used by one she escaped from). Like the Seelie who would like to achieve an Endless Summer in the world, the scientist-wizards work to bring about an Endless (as opposed to Long) Winter.
- The Dauntain
These fae who deliberately deny their natures and turn against the Dreaming both intrigue and repulse the Ailil. They see the Dauntain as that which they might become unless they achieve a new understanding of the relationship between Banality and the Dreaming. As the Long Winter approaches and Banality (as the fae define it) increases, the house believes that more and more of the fae will succumb to the despair and self-hatred epitomized by the existence of the Dauntain.
While some fae attack Dauntain with an almost missionary zeal, hoping either to destroy or convert them, House Ailil prefers to observe them from afar. By watching the working out of their pact with Banality, the house might learn how to avoid their plight. Despite accusations within the Seelie Court, they do not customarily lead the Dauntain in the direction of their rivals, though the idea tempts them the more they hear it voiced.
House Ailil strives for supremacy in Mortal as well as Fae society. They believe that their attempts to avoid interference in human affairs actually advanced the Sundering. Had they managed to exert their will upon human history at certain pivotal moments, the institutions that promulgated the spread of Banality, and the rise of disbelief in the supernatural world, might not have taken root.
The house's relations with mortals runs the gamut from intimate to superficial. Other houses call them fae supremacists. Frankly, they're right. Ailil acknowledges that in order to survive they must come twosome sort of accommodations with the mortal world and its inhabitants; after all, they wear a mortal body, at least part of the time. But where many fae, particularly Seelie fae, would treat with humans on equal terms, revere the as "Dreamers," or keep a polite distance form them, the Ailil believe that their survival ultimately lies in exercising dominion over them.
In addition to their genuine fascination with mortal politics, House Ailil devotes so much attention to that subject for a practical reason: to rule mortals, they must learn how to best them at their own game.
- The Enchanted
The enchantment of mortals remains the most effective means of controlling the ones the house interacts with on an intimate basis. Human household servants and slaves receive the full treatment, since they spend so much time within freeholds attending to members' needs. Occasionally, the house will enchant worthy mortals (their protégés in the political or business arenas) if they deem them capable of keeping their secret. Despite their apparent closeness to many of their enchanted humans, Ailil does not consider them equals.
- Kinain & Dreamers
While no mortal may attain full membership in the house, the kinain come the closest to achieving parity. The mortals who form their human relations often manifest some small connection with the Dreaming. The kinain serve the house as allies and intermediaries in situations where house members cannot deal directly with the mortal world. Kinain provide succor and protection when the fae have need of it. While Ailil do not allow themselves to become beholden to them, they do acknowledge the services they provide by assisting the in their own endeavors.
Those humans who serve as Dreamers, usually share house interests. Many come from the ranks of politicians; strangely enough, the goals espoused by these expert manipulators matter less than the methods used to attain them; a rare instance of the means justifying the ends rather than the reverse. The Ailil derive as much Glamour from the orations of certain Southern congressmen as they do from the impassioned pleas of environmental activists and the sleazy evasions of presidential appointees.
The house also selects Dreamers in the fields of corporate politics, the media, and advertising; all areas in which cleverness and subtlety abound. Most other fae find these aspects of the mortal world boring and rife with Banality. The Ailil enjoy the lack of competition for Dreamers in these areas.
Of course, some house Dreamers being to the aesthetic community. AIlil prides itself on the variety of their interests.
- Autumn People
House Ailil defines as Autumn People those mortals who lack any sort of imagination whatsoever. They stay far away from these boring pedants and pedestrian-minded materialists as possible. Most of the Autumn People have nothing to recommend them to the house; their perceptions of "reality" leave no room for any sort of wonder or creative processes. They simply follow the rules, refuse to ask questions, and trundle through existence without ever wondering if there's any point at all. The danger the house sees is that they are multiplying as the world grows colder. In part, Ailil involvement in politics and other areas that other fae label as "banal" comes as an attempt to prevent those aspects of life from falling prey to the true ravages of the Autumn People.
Famous & Infamous Ailil Edit
- Queen Maeve
- High Lord Erdath
- Lady Vittoria
- Lord Giacomo
- Lady Sláine
- Count Declan
- Princess Jessamy
- Lady Arlana
- Sir Lochlan
- Lord Thierry
- Lady Siva
- Donal and Dougal O'Mallory
- Eileen MacNamara
- Duke Florian
- Duchess Kali
- The Summer King
- Count Vogon