- 1 On the Ways of House Eiluned
- 2 History
- 3 Society
- 3.1 Boon & Flaw
- 3.2 The Escheat
- 3.3 On the Taking of Oaths
- 3.4 The Laws of Light & Shadow
- 3.5 Fosterage
- 3.6 The Courts
- 3.7 Societies
- 3.8 Relationships With Others
- 4 Notable Nobles
- 5 Objects of Mystery & Power
- 6 References
On the Ways of House Eiluned
This house has always been tainted by the scandals of its founder, Lady Eiluned. As the creator of the so-called "House of Secrets," she conspired with many dark and mysterious beings and powers to gather magical knowledge. Although many now work as counselors and advisors for the Seelie Court, some whisper that Eiluned will eventually become an Unseelie House. Regardless, Sidhe of this house seem to enjoy the best of both Courts.
History is not a flat thing, like a piece of paper that one reads and, in so doing, understands. No, History is more like a sculpture; one who sees a single side only may come away with a completely different understanding than one who viewed it from another perspective. All is subjective. It is important to keep this in mind when reading any account of "history," including this one. With years of undivided attention, one could get a fuller, more accurate representation of the way things happened in years past. What follows is but a brief account to be the basis of your one explorations. Do not think there is but a single truth.
Founding of the House
For more on the founding of the House, see the article Eiluned (Founder).
The Mythic Age
The "Golden Age of Myth," as some have called it, was not all sun-lit fields and prancing unicorns. Creatures of the dark terrorized the land and, despite what the histories written by House Gwydion say, it was not through the might of the sword alone that the darkness was driven back.
To this day, many call the Eiluned sorcerers, which some suppose they are intended to perceive as an insult. As if those who fight with shield and steel are innately more "noble" than those who harness the primal energy of the Dreaming in battle! And yet it was the very ability to weave Glamour and reality to their bidding that cemented House Eiluned's place among the 13 noble houses during that time.
In this long-forgotten age, the Thallain were far more common than they are today. Twisted creatures of nightmare and terror, the Thallain allied with the fomorians and sought to wreak havoc on the lives of fae and mortal alike. It is said that Ailil, Gwydion, Fiona, and many more whose names have been forgotten, fought valiantly against these beings with a fervor unknown in these times. But while a great many houses competed for the honor of being renowned as the mightiest warriors, none came close to matching Eiluned's skill at weaving Glamour to befuddle and assault their enemies. It was their magical skill in tandem with the martial prowess of the other houses that felled their enemies in the end. With blades alone, it is doubtful that the sidhe would have triumphed, but with spell and sword in marriage, they were more than a match for their enemies.
Even the most martial among the fae had to grant the House a measure of respect from that point onward. House Eiluned risked as much on the battlefields as the others did, if not more, for when dealing with the powers of sorcery, one puts both mind and body at risk. Eiluned skill with primal sorcery was as great as their well-known talent for prophecy, to say nothing of their abilities with subtler arts. To be sure, not every member of Hose Eiluned was (or is today) a paragon of sorcerous skill, but as is typical, they became best known for the traits displayed by the most prominent members during those early days.
As the ties between the Dreaming and the mortal world began to snap, the Eiluned looked to the past and the future for some indication of how things would unfold. Some foresaw a bleak and grey future, devoid of Glamour. Others saw this as a warning of what could be and worked more diligently to interweave the Dreaming and mortal world in the hopes that this future would be avoided.
It is widely thought that the most learned of the House were among those who proposed the notion of fortified freeholds, where they and their companions might remain near to the world of mortals, yet safe from Banality. House members believed in their hearts that the tide of Banality might be turned and that the world could return to a second "Golden Age." Sadly, wishes for the future clouded their vision and their scrying had shown them only what they wanted to see. So they constructed freeholds, whose walls they hoped would shield them from Banality's chill.
If the tales are to be given credence, many of these freeholds were torn from their moorings in the mortal world by the Shattering and now exist as islands, albeit intact, in the Near Dreaming. It is believed trods are in some of these islands, though the ways there and back are seldom the same. Other freeholds of this period failed, collapsing spectacularly under the increasing weight of Banality in one final conflagration of Glamour. Still others faded slowly. But a scant few survived and they remain some of the most potent freeholds in the world to this day. One such freehold still stands in Glastonia, Kingdom of Mist, England, in sight of the fabled Tor of Avalon.
One freehold that did not survive is stipulated by scholars to have been the basis for tales of "Shallot"; an enchanted tower whose inhabitants were cursed to know the mortal world only through visions of it that appeared in a magical tapestry. Although it is impossible to know with any certainty where this tower once stood in the mortal world, many say it was in the Brocilande Fôret in Brittany, France. Those who left the shelter of the tower, which some claim survived the Shattering and existed for several hundred years afterward, died after a few hours, struck down by the "curse" of Banality. It is also rumored that a band of wilders claiming allegiance to the Order of Shallot have made it their quest to discover the remains of this freehold.
Others fled to distant lands, where they hoped to found new kingdoms. It is commonly thought that a band of sidhe and commoners under the black and silver banner founded outposts in the Americas and in the mountains of Eastern Europe. Some go so far as to say that many intermarried with the Kachinas and Inuas native to the Americas. What became of these far-flung outposts remains a mystery. They may have adapted to their new homelands, changing to reflect the character of the land and the dreamers there. Or, they may have simply died off. Who can say?
When the Shattering tore the Dreaming asunder, rending from the rest of the world those lands more dream that mortal and fraying the threads that the trods and paths were woven of, most sidhe of House Eiluned were prepared. Whether they had chosen to depart for Arcadia or the uncharted wildernesses of the world, they had taken precautions. It is said that a great many mirrors and "scrying pools" of that age were gateways of limited enchantment, whereby the initiated could view the goings on of those on the other side. Some mortal wizards possessed these enchanted mirrors, though the majority were either forgotten or viewed as simple curiosities by the local peasantry. The sluagh were alternately responsible for maintaining or destroying these tenuous gateways, depending on whom you talk to.
When the Eiluned departed, they entrusted the guardianship of their lands to their chamberlains and seneschals; commoners whose judgement and loyalty was such that they felt them to be trustworthy. Most were granted the title "Lord Regent" of the Eiluned lands, with the understanding that one day they would return to claim them. Most upheld the agreement for a time, in some cases for a dozen generations or more. But in time, the power of oaths sworn faded.
The Age of Twilight & Exile
And then comes the Age of Twilight. For centuries, nearly all surviving members of House Eiluned were cut off from the mortal world, either in Arcadia, or exiled in lands far from those of their birth, or, of the handful that remained, virtual prisoners in their freeholds. It is no wonder that the majority of those who stayed behind fell into their Unseelie natures, cut off as they were from all that they had known. Who would not grow more concerned with their own survival in such dire circumstances? It is unfortunate, and some believe that the house had overcome in part their reputations as "dark sorcerers" by their collective role in the wars. Of those who remained behind, nearly all went mad. Such was their agony.
And what of Arcadia? It is to the sidhe's constant torment that they cannot know with any certainty what happened there, or what transpires there now. They are filled with a profound sadness and sense of loss, often felt all the more sharply by those who experience occasional flashbacks. The story goes that the High Court of Arcadia took back those who had spent generations in the mortal world, but some have memories of a less-than-warm welcome when they returned.
Departure from Arcadia
Why was hose Eiluned among those who returned in 1969? There are many within and more without the house who will tell you what they know. But, as is the case with much of their history, little is known with certainty.
One tale tells of an artifact of great power whose destruction one from the House prevented. Interestingly, this seems to have a ring of truth to it because many of the house are loath to see anything magical destroyed. It remains a mystery as to what the nature of the object was, or why the Eiluned felt it was worth the wrath of the lords and ladies to keep it intact. Whether this is the only reason for the exile or not, it sounds like there is more than a little truth to it.
It is claimed that ties to a band of "sorcerers" caused the rift between the Arcadians and the Eiluned. Now, there are many different groups who fit this profile. Eiluned sidhe have been referred to in this way but it seems this means another group. Some assert to know that the sorcerers were undead Prodigals who followed an extinct branch of one of the Hermetic houses know in the Mythic Age. Most Eiluned would see this as a grave offense, meriting banishment, but on deeper inquiry, few can help but wonder what two members of these disparate groups would have to talk about. From what can be gathered, these vampiric warlocks are concerned with knowledge only of immediate and temporal natures and it is unlikely that anyone in Arcadia would have anything to say that such narrow-minded creatures would consider "useful."
Others have suggested the various "Traditions" of mortal magicians, though this, too, is found suspect. Although many of them have a thirst for knowledge more abstract than that of their brethren who have chosen the path of undeath, only those who follow the path of the "Dream Speakers" seem to have any real understanding of the fae. And of all their kind, these Dream Speakers appear to be the least concerned with anything that would threaten Arcadia.
More likely (though still without sufficient evidence to pursue with any degree of force), is that the beings in question were werewolves who call themselves the Lords of Shadow. These savage scholars know how to walk between the worlds using mirrors, such as those said to have been left behind by Eiluned forebears. It may well be that the Arcadians, longing for a way to journey back to the mortal world that they had left, attempted to form a compact with these Lords of Shadow. The one or two such lycanthropes who have been met claim to have no information of such a compact.
The third story of the exile tells of a secret pact between a leader of House Eiluned and an Unseelie High King also sentenced to exile. Where one to hazard a guess, the most likely candidate for this is House Ailil, since relations between the two houses have always been that of siblings, hating and loving each other at once, and sharing a common heritage, if one that has diverged in wildly different directions. But what sort of pact would the Eiluned have willingly entered into that would have been seen as such a threat?
In the end, does it matter? Strange words to hear from an Eiluned. No one is suggesting the mystery be given over to the mists of time, to remain unsolved; leaving desires unsatiated, of course. Time will reveal all. It may be a combination of the three stories or nothing of the kind. There would probably be a title in it for the one who found out, though.
For most sidhe, their awakening in this new-old world was traumatic. For the first to cross over, disorientation and confusion made for a difficult Chrysalis. But the Eiluned are survivors and they are able to look beyond what is immediately apparent to see the mysteries that lie behind. It did not take long before the House, newly awakened, was drawn together. They learned what they could of their new state of affairs and soon sought out members of the other houses in exile to show what had become of the world in their absence.
Being the seers and advisors of the sidhe has its price, and the Eiluned paid it in full shortly after the Return. Their sources among the common folk provided the first word of the coming conflict, as they began to hear the rumblings of discontent grow to a dull roar. Those who pretended to have noble titles during the absence of the sidhe had grown protective of their titles, as they feared the arrival of the sidhe meant their downfall. And while it is true that the Eiluned felt it was only their right that they resume their place as leaders of the fae, they were not heartless, power-mad bastards that most of the commoners made them out to be. Alas, the lines between Seelie and Unseelie had blurred to such an extent over the years that many were unaware of the differences. Some of these "nobles" who claimed Seelie allegiance had a defiant spirit and such treachery in their hearts that they debased the honor of the Seelie Court. Other "Commoner kings" who claimed allegiance to the Unseelie Court were little more than foul-mouthed bullies who set about to convince the populace that the sidhe, the rightful rulers of the land and her people, were weak and ineffectual, too used to life in the ivory towers of Arcadia to be capable of taking any action in the modern world that benefits the fae as a whole
The Night of Iron Knives
And so it was the plan for the Night of Iron Knives was formed. Through their magics and fleshly sources, the Eiluned learned of a gathering of many of the noble pretenders who sought to murder any of Arcadian lineage. In cooperation with the leaders of the other houses (many of whom today pretend to have had no knowledge of it), they staged a quick and brutal attack on these who sought their death and downfall. They hoped that through a show of strength they would prove they weren't the spineless the commoners hoped they were, nor were they going to stand blithely by and watch others plan their assassination.
The sidhe were not as successful as the Eiluned hoped. Gwydion and Dougal scholars can account the particulars of actual battles; suffice to say that from that single battle, a succession of smaller battles stretching out for several years ensued. Many Eiluned cannot help but wonder if things would have gone differently if all of the sidhe stood together in strength that night. The Eiluned held the line in the face of the opposition, striking with both deadly force with Cold Iron weapons and wyrd eldritch power. But, as any strategist will tell you, if one group breaks rank and flees battle, the betrayed comrades have little hope of winning the day.
A great many Eiluned who indulged their Unseelie natures during the battle found it difficult to change back. Their plan to demonstrate strength and leadership had backfired, mainly due to lack of commitment on the part of their allies. How could they not feel betrayed? Is it any wonder that many of their number took it upon themselves to finish what was begun then? To this day, mention of that night casts a dark shadow over any of their number who were present, as well as over many who were not.
But all's well that ends well, right? Compromises were made and today, commoners can hold any rank up to and including that of king. Sidhe hold the majority of the senior noble titles in most lands, but many commoners have shown themselves to be worthy of title. The Eiluned have let their disgust for those who championed their plan until the moment came for executing it fade with the years. The do and will continue to advise those who bear the crown, whether of noble blood or not. Should the commoners rise against them once more, though, there will be a bloody reckoning indeed.
The Information Age
In the naming of the various ages, some wag has called this the "Age of Silicon." And so it is; the world has changed in ways the Eiluned had scarcely imagined, but they have adapted. It is perhaps fitting that they, of all the houses, have been best suited to adapting to this "Age of Information," as others have called it; House Eiluned understands the value of knowledge, as well as how to use it best to their advantage.
Today, they sit as advisors to kings and princes, many with title but some without. The majority of them are Seelie, though they do not share the puritanical hatred for those who engage in the odd Unseelie dalliance the way some of their more rigid fellows do. A lot of them have parlayed their knack for cryptography as well as creativity into successful careers in the computer sciences, and they have been at the forefront of those who have helped to prove that "modern" is not necessarily equal to "banal."
Let the other houses squabble over who wears the crown and who sits where at the high table. Many Eiluned see themselves as a little beyond that kind of juvenile one-upmanship. They understand that while titles are a good measure of respect and social status and, therefore, useful in certain circumstances, but to have the ear of the king is often a far better position to have than the title of king itself.
Boon & Flaw
All members of House Eiluned have an impressive talent for magic. All cantrips cast by Kithain of this house automatically gain an additional success.
These sidhe also know darkness as well as light. When one of them needs to work with treacherous or unscrupulous characters to gather secrets, they are capable of deliberately becoming Unseelie until they get what they want. This state must last either from moonrise to moonrise, or sunset to sunset; that is, at least a full day. If they don't get the secret they lust after, they cannot become Seelie again until they learn what they seek.
Members of this house have an overwhelming curiosity and are attracted to mysteries and conspiracy. An Eiluned must spend a point of Willpower to avoid meddling in a mystery or becoming involved in a plot. Some even have a treacherous streak, briefly becoming Unseelie to form a dark alliance and then turning Seelie again to prove their innocence. The Kithain distrust many of them; the difficulties of all their Social rolls are increased by one.
The members of House Eiluned hold themselves to a higher standard of behavior than they expect from others and usually learn the Escheat by heart, as well as the written and unwritten laws of the kingdoms they inhabit.
A tradition passed down for time untold, since the days of the Shattering and beyond, if the old tales are to be believed, the Escheat forms the foundation upon which fae society is based. To the commoners' credit, they did a passable job of holding to most of its tenets for the centuries during which they were unsupervised. Of course, the way the tenets are interpreted has varied over the years, and they differ from one kingdom to the next just as from one person to another.
The Right of Demesne
Fae society exists and thrives because of the societal hierarchy, not in spite of it. There must be leaders and followers in any group. A society where the rulers hold no true power and where the subjects can rise up at any time is destined for chaos.
- Reality: While the other houses squabble frequently over titles, those of House Eiluned have learned that the formal hierarchy, while necessary, does not always show accurately who holds the power. One need not hold the highest title to wield the most influence in a given area. By virtue of kith, inborn grace, and the training received during fosterage, those of noble houses are better suited to rule than average commoners. There are exceptions, and the Eiluned claim they are not elitists who think that no commoner could ever rule well. Even so, the exceptions do not mean the rule is wrong. Sidhe are uniquely well-suited to the task of leadership and this responsibility to rule is theirs in the end. If others of common stock are worthy, they may be granted title, but should they fail in their duties, it falls to the sidhe to remedy the situation, thus the unpleasantness of the Accordance War.
The Right to Dream
Mortals are fragile creatures and the most vibrant dreamers among them are often the most easily manipulated. While most agree that Ravaging is a crime, there are many who delight in inspiring greatness in mortals. Do they not understand that this is as much an infringement upon their right as dreamers as it would be to Ravage them senseless?
- Reality: Perhaps out of an adolescent need to disobey those born of a strong Unseelie nature, or out of a misguided sense of affection, there are those among the Eiluned who insist on tampering with the goose that lays the golden egg. To do so goes beyond selfishness; it is a crime against the Dreaming and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent
The Right of Ignorance
If one is truly born to House Eiluned, one has no need to explain that a secret shared is a secret lost. Should the fae ever "go public," the mystery that is their meat and drink is the forever lost.
- Reality: The burden of secrecy becomes too much from time to time, and the sidhe are known for revealing their true nature (or some part thereof) to mortals, or even to members of the Prodigals. Confession is good for the soul, as they say, and the Eiluned are fortunate enough to be gifted (well, most of them) with the ability to confuse the mind so sufficiently that confession need not mean betrayal. Don't think this means you can chatter all you please and expect to wipe all knowledge away in a puff of Glamour. Fate is fickle and Glamour often more so; anyone who depends on magic to undo what poor judgement has wrought is in for a rude awakening. Any time a fae reveals a part of their true self to the unenlightened, they put all fae at risk. Autumn Warriors seek out glib-tongued, overly confident youngsters to prey on, and the golden boys of House Gwydion and the odd, slumming Liamite will not satisfy the desire of the Dauntain to destroy the fae. Don't make yourself a target.
The Right of Rescue
The struggle against Banality is one all fae must face, individually and collectively. However, the Eiluned aren't the militant type, like players in some war-time drama, diving into danger to save a buddy. This right means something more.
- Reality: It is often up to the Eiluned to seek out and rescue those who have succumbed to Autumn's chill. Though skill with a sword may win one a tournament, when dealing with the vagaries of the mortal world, cunning and wisdom are their greatest weapons.
The Right of Safe Haven
A poet from the beginning of the 20th century once remarked on the need for a "room of one's own" if one is to be able to create. So it is. The fae all need to have places where they can be themselves, where they can be free from Banality for a time. It is for this reason that freeholds are thought by most to be neutral ground, at least, where no one should be turned away. Freeholds and glades must not be used as a means of having power over others.
- Reality: Eiluned rarely quibble over court affiliation or other political matters when lives are at stake, but neither do they fling wide the doors of the freeholds to all comers. Providing needed shelter and succor to another child of the Dreaming is one thing, but one can find the desiccated remains of more than one freehold that welcomed a meek, would-be dreamer, mortal as the day is long, only to find out too late that the creature was a magus seeking to drain the balefire of the place. Be on guard and do not mistake naiveté for generosity.
The Right of Life
To take the life of another being brings sadness and pain into the world, and all the dreamers cannot undo that. There are countless ways to defeat an opponent that do not involve death, and the Eiluned are adept at many of them. Do not think that spilling someone else's lifeblood will make you right.
- Reality: The Accordance War is one of House Eiluned's greatest sorrows. Some have interpreted their actions to mean that several of the prominent members of the House held this aspect of the Escheat in contempt; they could not be more wrong. There are many times when being a leader among one's people means that hard decisions must be made; it is never easy, except perhaps for the most callous among the Unseelie to end the life of another. When the alternative is the slow, agonizing deaths of many people, though, is it not better to "do a little wrong to do a great right?"
On the Taking of Oaths
Do not take the swearing of an oath lightly or jest of such matters. To break either of the first two oaths below through swearing its opposite is to devastate one's faerie soul. There is a tale of only one who attempted it, and once forsworn, the pat of her that tied her to the Dreaming was shredded utterly, destroying all that she once was. It is said she went mad soon after.
- The Oath of Silence prevents the swearer for speaking of hidden things.
- The Oath of Truth prevents the swearer from lying.
- The Oath of Fealty is the Oath spoken by all members of the House.
The Laws of Light & Shadow
The Laws of Light and Shadow can be said to be the Code of House Eiluned. For details, see the larger article.
It is a great honor to be born of the noble houses, but also a great responsibility. Certain things are expected when people know a fae to be of House Eiluned, and each member must stand as an example to their fellow changeling; noble and commoner alike. It is for this reason that fosterage for those born to the house is longer and more rigorous than it would be for a commoner or one of the other houses.
Training always means a solid grounding in the sorcerous Arts, with each student's training tailored to their own strengths and interests. While the Eiluned firmly believe in the need for a strong foundation, they are not old school marks who force pupils to learn things that are of no interest to them. At the same time, one must learn to recognize and overcome weaknesses. The manner in which each person does this is unique, and the house encourages creativity in discovering what methods work best for each individual.
For many, training in courtly etiquette and politics occupies nearly as great a place as that of magic in a childling's education in the ways of the House. Spending time at Kingdom Court as a page to the High Lords, or even in the household of one of the High Kings is considered to be an asset to any who would some day be part of a prominent household, regardless of position. It often falls to members of House Eiluned to set the example for other members, whether their peers are commoners or their "rough" cousins in House Dougal.
An extended period of fosterage is not possible in many cases in the modern world. One in such a predicament should work all the more to learn "on the job," as it were, for just as the Eiluned enjoy certain privileges as members of the sidhe, so, too, do they bear responsibilities.
The Seelie Court
The vast majority of House Eiluned members identify themselves publicly as members of the Seelie Court, and for the majority, this is true... most of the time. Double talk? Perhaps. But sometimes, it is through a certain amount of confusion that the truth can be clearly seen. They acknowledge that no Kithain is completely Seelie or Unseelie... no sane one, at least. Those who plunge headlong into one extreme or another deny their true natures, and it is no coincidence that these fae are often the ones who fall prey to Bedlam. The Eiluned are able to adapt, which is how they have become who they are. This is not to say that they are without ethics; on the contrary, they hold themselves to a higher standard of character and behavior than they do others. Thanks to those among them characterized by a more Seelie nature, the Kithain as a whole have learned much about the world around them.
The Unseelie Court
Unlike many of the other noble houses, the Eiluned do not pretend to be pure as fresh-fallen snow; without an Unseelie fiber in their collective beings. They understand the world exists in shades of grey as well as black and white, and that there are times when in order to do a great right, one must do a little wrong. Moreover, they understand that while reverence for tradition is the basis for fae society, they will perish as surely as the fae in days of yore if they refuse to adapt to a changing world. To be Unseelie within House Eiluned is to pursue knowledge (some would say "truth") without regard to following the letter of the law. There are things that go beyond the scope of what any lawgiver could imagine, and in these circumstances, the faerie must decide for themselves what the best course of action is. For those of the house who consider themselves more Unseelie than Seelie, the ends nearly always justify the means. Malicious gossip and forbidden rituals are like honey mead upon the tongue, and it is no coincidence that those of an Unseelie bent are often more successful than their Seelie counterparts when they set their mind on a goal.
The Shadow Court
The Shadow Court is nothing more than a myth dreamed up to scare Seelie squires. The Shadow Court exists and controls the actions of all the key players in Kithain society. The Shadow Court is a prank dreamed up by some medieval pooka and perpetuated across the ages by those who ought to know better. The Shadow Court is populated entirely by Unseelie wilders who are venting their rage against society in the same manner as mortal teenagers, seeking to tear down the walls of their parents' supposed ivory towers.
This is what most will tell you of the Shadow Court, and, honestly, it is probably best that way.
While there is a scrap of truth to almost everything stated above, the Shadow Court is a real threat to mainstream society, more than anyone likes to admit. That a number of the more influential members once held allegiance to House Eiluned is a polite understatement; what is more, some still do.
But that, I think, is enough of an introduction. Know that the Shadow Court is no mere story to frighten childlings, and seek further knowledge at your own peril. You have been warned.
How's that for a recruitment speech?
Of all the sidhe, those of House Eiluned have adapted best to the challenges of the modern world in many ways, which is not to say that they have rejected their past; on the contrary, as much (or more) of the wisdom they gain comes from understanding the past as looking to the future for answers. So it should come as no surprise that the groups formed of Eiluned fae hold a wide range of methods and philosophies, from the traditional to bleeding-edge technology.
- Rothman & Associates
- The Knights of the Silver Key
- The Knights of the Silver Web
- The Order of Moonfall
Relationships With Others
Relations With One's Peers
The Eiluned are just one of many houses among the sidhe, and it is here, among there peers, the foreknowledge is useful. Each house approaches the challenges of leadership, whether of a motley or a kingdom, in different way, and some are better suited to certain tasks than others. One must always remember to treat those other houses with respect, for the Eiluned of all fae know that if the nobility do not present a united front to the commoners, that can be deposed and the entire society turned inside-out.
- Gwydion: Every kingdom must have its king, and High King David has done admirably throughout his reign. His house, likewise, has been the image of nobility, and its members seem to have more than a dram of wisdom. On more than one occasion, though, a member of this house has tried to put something over on House Eiluned. More than one Gwydion ruler has earned their place and held it thanks to an Eiluned advisor, and they would do well to remember that the kingmakers can undo their work just as easily if things go badly. Of course, there is the matter of the talent those of House Gwydion have for seeing through deception. When speaking to one of the griffons, one should choose one's words carefully. Their gift for detecting lies leads to a sense of complacency in some cases, where they assume that people are always telling them the complete truth, without embellishment. And while it is not advisable to attempt even slight modifications to the truth unless the sidhe in question is at a considerable disadvantage (intoxicated, for example), it is possible to leave out pertinent facts and, thereby, guide the hearer to conclusions more advantageous than they might reach had they all the facts before them.
- Fiona: A love never-ending and a sword never resting. These warriors are devout patrons of love and all other emotions. Their banners hang in defiance of those who would suppress their freedom; not that any ruler with half a brain would try. For those who have such strong emotions, to them equal frailty is given. Love is House Fiona's weakness, and its members' fear knows nothing like a dagger to the throat of a loved one. Their zeal for the physical pleasures of life is their Achilles' Heel; one that has spelled their downfall more than once. Cherish them as patrons of the finer (and coarser) things in life, but do not count on them for consistency or realism.
- Dougal: Their homespun wisdom and love for material crafts make them the most "provincial" of all the houses, save Liam. House Dougal's "common touch" makes the house popular with the commoners, who will often show loyalty to a noble of their house that is unheard of for a ruler of any other household. And not all Dougal are as rough around the edges as you might think; a good many treat politics like a craft, to be mastered and refined to the point of achieving art. But although their meticulous attention to detail make them excellent administrators, many members experience frustration when placed in a position of actual rulership. The world is not as neatly ordered as they would like to believe, and not all handicaps can be overcome with simple tinkering.
- Liam: A house of fae who love mortals more than their own kin... what is one to make of that? They hide their numbers and do not announce their membership out of fear. Understand the ridiculousness of Liam belief: mortals should exist undisturbed. Yet they sit by and watch the walls of the Dreaming come crumbling down, all the while hiding in the arms of mortals. More than one among their ranks has faded into the bleak realm of the Dauntain. Yet, House Liam members still have the arrogance to claim that the mortals deserve to be left alone by the fae. What are their true intentions? Some Eiluned wonder if their allegiance to the Seelie Court is as unfaltering as they claim.
- Ailil: With a quick wit and a disarming smile, a member of House Ailil can charm anyone into believing their story. The Ailil have a way with politics and understand the subtleties of secrecy. But while the Eiluned always grant their errant cousins a measure of respect, their methods are less than savory. Their pride is their downfall, as when a leadership position becomes within reach, they stop at nothing to possess it. The Eiluned forget that they are, in part, siblings, more so than the other houses. They share an ancestry with the Ailil and often have certain traits in common, but the Eiluned bear in mind in all their dealings with them that, as a household, they claim allegiance openly to the Unseelie Court. It is wise for an Eiluned not to be fooled into thinking that the Ailil are as mercurial as their own house is with regard to their court status, and to not believe that an Ailil ever does anything that doesn't help themself in some way.
- Leanhuan: Glamour-hungry Ravagers who leech the dreams of mortals to extend their own lives, those of House Leanhaun are masters of inspiration who rarely seek to be known for what they truly are, even among Unseelie. Their destructive ways usually bring dreamers to a highpoint of inspiration and creativity, then rend the very fabric of their dreams away from them; all this to prevent the inevitable aging that they are subject to due to an ancient curse. House Eiluned believes they are scattered in different regions all over the world, hiding from the laws of the general court system. However, some secrets can be kept... for a price.
- Balor: Those of House Balor are fools who wish for things that can bring them closer to Banality and their own destruction; desire for material wealth and fae power are not things that normally go well together. The last of the fomorians are all within this house, hiding their hideous forms until the time of the Endless Winter. Only madness exists in the hearts of Balor's remaining family.
- Scathach: These warriors who protect fae kind from the forces of the Prodigals were once thought lost. They are rarely seen, though most sidhe trust their lives to the hands of these noble warriors. Truth be told, they are not normal sidhe, but savage assassins. They fight and kill with such ferocity that no one should consider themselves safe. Have the sidhe deluded themselves into thinking that they could have stayed behind when the rest of them departed for Arcadia and not paid a terrible price? The Scathach are tied to the violence and despair of the modern world. Perhaps someday they may be brought back into the fold.
On the Common Folk
Most Eiluned see the inclusion of commoners as members of the house to be an incongruous, generous gesture. Admittedly, there are some, such as boggans and trolls for whom fealty seems a natural option, who can be valued members of one's household. The added insurance one has if they are oath bound to the house more than makes up for any potential downside. Others, however, like the eshu, pooka, and redcaps, are best left outside the bounds of the House. While their assistance can be valuable, it is advantageous to be able to deny knowledge of their activities in most cases. These same kith usually rankle at the notion of fealty as well, though, so they are best left to their own devices.
- Boggans: For the most part, boggans are model subjects: hard workers who deal fairly, if dealt with in kind. Their only fault is their fascination with petty gossip. A well placed rumor with a local boggan has on many occasions helped spread a screen of information to conceal Eiluned secrets. Do not misuse their trust, though, for an angry boggan can be a rather large problem for the whole House.
- Eshu: As reckless as they are useful, the eshu can be fountains of information. If challenged, these tale-spinners tell you anything to keep one's interest, especially if you tell stories that are better than theirs. A drunken eshu barely needs a nudge to get them to spill all they know on any given topic. However, one must be willing to sift through the ego of the tale's teller in order to find the truth.
- Nockers: Dour and unfriendly, the nockers rarely cooperate enough to give the Eiluned anything they seek. Their skills do not go without use, though, and their gadgetry has helped the House is some ways. Listen closely, though, for even the whirring of their machines or the grumbling of the fae can give one a glimpse into a realm of knowledge; albeit a realm unbeknownst to anyone but the nockers.
- Pooka: Pooka possess an odd ability to gain the truth of a person's soul through sheer presence. The ease with which some speak around these tricksters is disturbing. I suppose that within the twisted puzzles of their minds, the pooka guard their secrets well; however, even lies can be deciphered with patience and a keen ear. Think of how many treasures have been tucked away and can be yours for the listening; to gain the confidence of the confidence man. The potential is limitless.
- Redcaps: Nasty beasts born of anger and appetite, their behavior has been studied by the House for many years. The simple brutality of their kind has led some to believe that the redcaps are nothing more than violent dreams given life. How sad it is that the nightmares of dreamers was the streets of their towns... and date their daughters. A redcap's hunger never ends.
- Satyrs: It's best to leave it to those of House Fiona to tumble with the goats. Certainly, they have their uses, though. The sheer primal draw that a mortal has to one of these lusty fae can be very entertaining at times. When a goat has their eye on a mortal, or fae, there is just no end to the lengths they go to obtain their affections. Satyrs are difficult to deal with at times an do not often cooperate with Eiluned needs; agreements are rarely reached. They can, however, use their passion to help House Eiluned in its quest for information.
- Sluagh: There is a tale that says the first sluagh was a child of Eiluned, and that she was cast out when they saw how ugly it was. The tale has a ring of truth about it. Sluagh share House Eiluned's passion for knowledge, even if they are commoners undeniably. They make excellent informants, as long as they feel they are being dealt with fairly and if one can stomach their company. They have secrets of their own, you see, and want to protect them so they can hide in their dark passageways, just listening to the silence.
- Trolls: These stalwart guardians have spent years diligently guarding what belongs to House Eiluned. They are usually true to their word, and so they are rarely a good source of information. No one gives information to the trolls who work with the Eiluned; and those who don't are tight-lipped about their own lords' and ladies' business. They are formidable foes; never underestimate the cunning and wit of one of these giant warriors.
On the Gallain
Those fae born outside of the natural order of things present a particular quandary: should the Eiluned attempt to bring them into the fold of mainstream fae society, or are they best left to their own devices? Some propose establishing a kind of worldwide fae empire, incorporating the fae of the Orient, Africa, and elsewhere, but how is that possible when the Kithain don't have their own house in order yet?
- Nunnehi: Some of the ancestors of the Eiluned fled to the Americas following the Shattering with the hope that the weight of Banality would not be so great and that they could reestablish themselves in a land where magic still flowed in the rivers and sang in the breezes. It was not to be. Thus far, the fae native to Concordia have been less than forthcoming with offers of assistance in locating any remaining treasures that past Eiluned may have left behind. Whether it is because they still view the sidhe as invaders on "their" territory, or because they have something to hide regarding the fate of these ancient Eiluned is uncertain. But if you plan to have extensive dealings with the Nunnehi, you would be well-advised to learn what you can of their ways and customs, to better ensure that you won't commit an unforgivable faux pas in what passes for society among their kind.
- Inanimae: The Inanimae are often forgotten by the more short-sighted houses of the sidhe, and yet they are among House Eiluned's best sources of information. If you can understand their ways and earn their trust, there could be no better spies.
On the Prodigals
The fae are not the only creatures who can weave Glamour. The Prodigal races are similar to the fae in many ways, though their power is limited by the particular story they are caught up in. One wonders what the stories of this modern age will lead to in a few centuries. Will computer viruses given sentience be the next form of Prodigal?
House Eiluned has no desire for these others to be brought back into the fold of fae society. Their ways are so far removed from the Kithain that reconciliation seems impossible. Plus, by their very nature, they have become so stuck in a particular way of thinking that they are, for all intents and purposes, separate races. Still, it is worth remembering that the, too, come from the same primal spark of Glamour.
- Vampires: These walking dead seem to be enjoying something of a vogue lately, with countless mortal children and younglings imitating their pallor and monochromatic fashion sense. Although many of them can be witty, charming, and fascinating conversationalists, one mustn't forget that these creatures live on the blood of the living; not all by murder, but how much better is it to leave victims alive, yet violated and betrayed? Vampires run the gamut from the very civilized and scholarly to the bestial and monstrous. Some believe their immortality is a gift, and try to use the time they have in this world for some purpose, while others live only to garner power and to satisfy their own insatiable thirst. Many of the elders of their kind wield powerful magics, though they lack the versatility of fae Arts.
- Lycanthropes: Though many lycanthropes possess a sort of native wisdom, they are wild creatures at heart: savage and brutal. The understanding of the spirit world demonstrated by their scholars and shamans is fascinating, but do not deceive yourself by thinking that they are all hippies or "New Agers"; their feral cunning rules them as much as their spiritual side. The werewolves are the most common, but there are rumors of other shapeshifters as well.
- Ghosts: These are spirits of dead humans who have become so tied to the pattern of their life that even death cannot provide release for them. They are tragic souls, even more than vampires, for it is only their own narrow-mindedness that keeps them here. If they could let go, they might begin anew, but ghosts are so used to their fear that they are unwilling to surrender it. Though they exist outside the realm of what most mortals believe possible, they are extremely banal creatures in truth. They are static, unchanging, by their very nature. Dealing with these creatures is discouraged and bound to lead to fits of melancholy.
- Magi: Magi are mortal dreamers who have learned how to harness the Dreaming's power and make it do their bidding in the physical world. They make potent allies... and fearsome opponents. These mortals have gone beyond credible limits to the point that they can work a kind of Glamour of their own, thus reshaping reality to suit themselves. Not every magi views magic the same way, and those who are of a similar mindset tend to congregate together. Much as the fae have their Seelie and Unseelie Courts, the magi divide themselves into Traditionalists and Progressives, though with considerably more animosity than the fae have for each other. Those known as the Dream Speakers are often favorably disposed to the fae and many a satyr has found a kindred spirit among the "Cult of Ecstasy." The majority of others, though, have a different perspective, with many of them seeking out faerie glades and freeholds with the intent to drain them of Glamour. Beware when dealing with these mortals, for they may turn on you when you least expect it.
- Bartholomew Ashley
- Carmelia Cadwynn
- Cormac Daithi
- Cyndia Sinclair
- Davis Rothman
- Garrett Brody
- Gustavo de la Rosa
- Gwynhyfar Mira
- Hillaire du Lille
- Lilliana Shannon
- King Lorenzo
- Marianna de Lynn
- Miles Parke
- Lady Sara
- Simon Evandale
- Stephen Grey
- Thomas Lagarri
Objects of Mystery & Power
- CTD. Noblesse Oblige: The Book of Houses, pp. 33-53.
- CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 107-108.