The quietest (and some say the wisest) of all the house founders, Lord Liam was exiled to Earth for his eloquent defense of mortals. Centuries ago, the earliest Kithain held a great contempt for humans. Many saw them as the cause of rapidly spreading Banality, and some argued that revenge against them would remove that curse from the world. For many years, Liam stood alone against those who argued for retribution against humanity. The outrage against Lord Liam was so great that all who supported him were condemned by the High Lords of Arcadia, and his followers were exiled to Earth.
Members of the house don't see humans as perfect... far from it. They do, however, believe that humanity has earned the right to exist undisturbed. They fiercely despise Ravaging and Banality; their peaceful demeanors can turn wrathful when they encounter such.
Members of House Liam do not advertise their allegiance. Other houses revile them, although Gwydion sidhe will to allow Liam sidhe to be mistreated. Exiles or not, they are still sidhe. Despite their secrecy, House Liam is the most widespread house, and its members travel all over the world. Liam sidhe serve as sages, lore masters, and storytellers who remember the earliest fae societies.
They can rarely rule openly, but they accept just about any changeling under their banner. Despite this, even the most common changeling would never accept a title in the house. They do quietly hold claim to some territories, but many of these are barren and despoiled urban fiefs.
The Dusty Road to Exile
Everyone knows that the Fall of Liam is due to his love of humans. For more on this event, see the article Liam (Founder).
The Shattering & Interregnum
A good number of Liam nobles chose to remain on Earth after the Shattering; with life among those who had exiled them the only other choice, the thought of abandoning Arcadia was almost pleasant. Furthermore, it was difficult for any of the house to fight their way into Arcadia against the forces of those houses each considering themselves more deserving. Those who took the mortal's road split in nearly even numbers. Half of them holed themselves up in a few freeholds still held by the house and in the freeholds abandoned by the other houses. There are more Lost Ones of House Liam than any other house. A startlingly high percentage took on the shroud of Banality and remained voluntarily among the mortals.
This was not as cruel a decision as it might seem. The best minds of the house had pursued the hints provided by King Liam's obsession with Melisande, trying to learn ways in which they might draw from the faith of the Church. While there was little success in this endeavor, the difficulty and danger of the research yielded much knowledge as to how to hide under the very noses of the Inquisition. Coaxing inspiration from the hearts of those who served God became key to Liam's survival, and those skills kept the faeries who remained on Earth in good stead.
Still living in monasteries and cathedrals while Jesuits and Dominicans searched ceaselessly for traces of evil was more difficult than the wounded, sundered fae had hoped. One by one, the stranded Kithain fell prey to the relentless Hounds of God. Those remaining wrapped Banality closer and closer around them, forgetting that they had once been lords of the Dreaming, for getting the Dreaming itself. in the end, a cathedral with inspired gargoyles or magnificent stained glass was the only sign that a faerie had once lived nearby; certainly the aged laborer stumbling back to his hut would never be suspected of supernatural origins.
Betrayed by the Church they had hoped would prove to be their refuge, very few escaped the crushing weight of the Inquisition. Those few joined the rest of the Kithain scattered across the hostile world. Some commoners pitied the exiled nobles, and some took their sad state as another chance to revenge themselves on the haughty nobles of the past. House Liam historians have no records of any line of their house surviving to the Resurgence, although it is rumored that in the dark corners of the monasteries of Europe there are very old monk who await the touch of Glamour once more.
There is no memory of the lot of those of the house who fled back to the Dreaming along with their former peers. Those who care to think about their fate assume that House Liam shouldered more than their weight of the blame for the Inquisition and the Banality that shattered so much of the Dreaming, and those of other houses who will speak of the matter offer no counter-opinion.
However, there is a persistent dream that has come to many members of the house: a number of Liam knights led by King Liam battle their way through opposing forces to bring a group of mortals into Arcadia with them. The small band, under the cover of night and concealing magics, journeys to a distant corner of Arcadia where they establish a city away from prying eyes. In the dream, this city is a shining monument to the ideals of House Liam. King Liam and his mortals find joy in companionship and in living cooperation. This union demonstrates the value of truth between faeries and mortal-kind. He rules there, or so the dreams have it, even to this day.
The dream is not often told, as it is ridiculous from the first word to the last. One can hardly imagine what effect a community of mortal worshippers would have on the purity of Arcadia. And, even if by some miracle such a city could exist, all in Arcadia would surely feel the strangeness of it. It is nearly impossible to believe that no mortals from that city would have returned to earth upon the Resurgence. The tale cannot be true.
Regardless, the dream continues to come.
The House's return to Earth was no choice at all; members of the house of oathbreakers were expelled with dispatch. There are many tales of those who attempted to stay in Arcadia, most of which end in violence; enough to justify resentment against the other houses. The expulsion of House Liam was swift, direct, and harsh.
Earth was no refuge from the disdain that the other sidhe felt toward the house either. The realization that in order to live they would have to steal the bodies of mortals was repulsive in the extreme. Nothing is known of those who failed to assume mortal form. some say they became lost forever in the Dreaming, while others believe they were destroyed forever when their unprotected faerie forms came into contact with Banality.
Furthermore, the Liam suffered more than any other house from shattered memories and broken recollections due to the violence of the expulsion and the weak position they held in Arcadia. As Kithain already exiled, no member of the house was allowed to sip fully from the Glamours of Arcadia, and there was little to remember upon their arrival on Earth without a strong connection to the land. On occasion, there are dreams, such as the dream of King Liam's city, but they are hazy and thought of as unreliable.
The first few years of this greater exile were spent in a sort of dazed regrouping. It did not help that the numbers of the house were thinned by their reluctance to displace mortal souls. A handful of Liam nobles knew the most harmless ways to eke out Glamour from human dreams, and they became the core of the nobles of the house. Although certain radical members argue that it is not known for sure if those few were nobles in Arcadia. The nobles were, however, the members of Liam who were most suited to form new freeholds in the strange, hostile environment they now lived in, and their efforts were appropriately rewarded by their peers. Regrettably, sidhe of other houses were not so appreciative of the work the exiles had done.
House Liam was presented with an unexpected opportunity during the Accordance War, but no on was quite sure of the nature of it. Several days after the Night of Iron Knives, the ranking nobles met in a private session. That privy council lasted a week and the argument raged the entire time. Baron Malcolm, direct and violently Traditionalist, demanded that the house throw its weight behind Lord Dafyll immediately for the chance of regaining some status and perhaps even redemption. Sir Peltis, famed historian and scholar, recommended a moderate course; House Liam had always tried to stay unnoticed... out of the public light. It was, Sir Peltis believed, a matter of survival. Count Dongahue, one of the few Modernists in the council, argued passionately for action, yes, but why fight for a society that had exiled the house? It was, in Dongahue's eyes, the commoners who needed the house and who would appreciate the house properly.
Blades were drawn only twice during the course of the week and there were no fatalities, though Baron Malcolm limps to this day and has not spoken Count Dongahue's name since. House Liam's passions are quiet but furious when they erupt: this occasion was no exception.
Matters were no more settled at the end of the week than when they'd begun. Tempers were high. Each of the three predominant factions had supporters, and there were a handful of various other viewpoints besides. Isolationism, in particular, was gaining strength.
On the seventh day, with tempers frayed and tension a palpable haze, Sir Gwilliam spoke. He had not said a word until this time, as befitted his lowly rank; he was present as a replacement for his lord only, the elderly Count Edward, who was too sick to be present. In truth, Gwilliam should not have spoken at all. Perhaps it is in his favor that he didn't say much. "I'm tired of sitting around debating endlessly. It's all we ever do." Count Dongahue looked up then, surprised at who was speaking. "I'm going to Europe, and one way or another, I'm going to find a home for House Liam."
The room erupted in outrage. The whippersnapper had no business criticizing the council of his elders. Why, he was only recently past his childling years. Blades were nearly drawn for the third time and brash Baron Malcolm called out for Gwilliam's head.
The fact that the young noble suited his actions to his words and was already at the door leaving the council chamber, kept blades from leaving their scabbards completely. Count Dongahue slipped out of his seat and followed a moment later, leaving the rest of them to argue about appropriate penalties for such behavior. By the next day, the remaining nobles had put the unpleasantness behind them with a vote of censure for both Gwilliam and Dongahue, and the old debate began again.
While the others debated, Donahue caught up with Gwilliam and the pair discussed the future of the house. They agreed that Concordia was too unsettled for safety and perhaps it was best for those of House Liam to return to the ancestral shores of Europe. It seemed that everyone in Concordia was an eager youth seeking to carve out a new duchy; in Europe, they hoped for less competition and more opportunity. They would begin in Amsterdam, known to the fae as the Duchy of Tulips.
By the time the pair reached Europe, the council had come to a decision that really was no decision at all: strict neutrality. Baron Malcolm accepted reluctantly the decision of the majority and, as spokesfae of the house, he announced to all of Concordia that House Liam intended to remain aside from the conflict. Furthermore, Malcolm stated that any actions taken by house members were individual actions and not indicative of the policies of the house as a whole. Those of the other houses who paid attention to the pronouncement of an exiled house deemed this cowardice... as to be expected from Liam.
Meanwhile, in the Duchy of Tulips, Sir Gwilliam decided that the sometimes cruel streets of Amsterdam were precisely the sort of environment in which House Liam could do some good. With the count's noble assistance, Gwilliam met with the commoner lords of the region: he was a witness to the horrors of war in Concordia and was willing to offer both an alternative to open conflict and the recognition they craved. There were, of course, those who were too proud to treat with a simple knight of an exiled house, but Gwilliam and Dongahue were persuasive, and the majority of the commoners were sensible enough to see the wisdom in what they proposed.
The rise of High King David made little difference to either branch of the house. While the Concordians petitioned for an end to the exile, King David did not see any reason to countermand that which his forefathers had decreed, and he felt the matter of the commoners was more important than that of a long-since-faded noble house. In Amsterdam, King David's example was proof that Sir Gwilliam's dream of cooperation was possible.
Gwilliam had solidified his position by 1980 to the point where he felt confident that he could safely petition King Picolette of the Kingdom of Flowers to recognize his claim on the Duchy of Tulips. In a private session with his closest advisors, the king contemplated the unrest that had plagued portions of his realm and that troubled the High King of Concordia even to that day. He then weighed that against the relative peace that had blessed the Duchy of Tulips; undeniably the work of young Gwilliam. In the end, Picolette braved the protests of the Traditionalists of his court and granted Gwilliam the duchy.
The Nature of House Liam
Boon & Ban
- Boon: Liam sidhe find it easy to affect mortals with Glamour. The difficulty of any such role (whether casting a cantrip or enchanting) is always lowered by one.
- Ban: Because of their mortal affiliations, Liam sidhe begin with on extra point of Banality. Furthermore, they are known as oathbreakers. No other changeling will honor their oathbonds, hospitality, or justice. Liam fae are frequently the target of discrimination.
Of the Seelie CourtHouse Liam is by nature overwhelmingly Seelie in its orientation, even though most Kithain consider the exiled Liam members to be oathbreakers and worse. Many sidhe admit (in private) though, that the individuals of the house are usually of pure heart and honest mind. The thread that binds this group of exiles together is their devotion to the cause of protecting the humans among whom they live. This dedication mixes poorly with the Unseelie inclination of casual Ravaging and the general treatment of humans as inferior.
Also, many members of the house react to the disdain with which they are held by going to the opposite extreme. Liam's grumps recommend extreme discretion in all situations in hopes that one day they will find that sufficient good behavior has resulted in a renewed welcome to the ranks of Kithain society. Naturally, their recommendations aren't always taken. Still, those who are inclined to ignore the wisdom of their elders often find the prospect of swearing themselves to another house more attractive than spending their lives as outcasts from society. The majority of those childlings and grumps who remain in Liam do so because they, like the wilders, burn with the desire to defend humanity.
The official House Liam position, thus, is that the Unseelie Court is completely unwelcome within the house. Those found to be of that court are stripped immediately of any title they hold and drummed out of the house, or worse. No house member wishes to give other Kithain any excuse to believe any worse of Liam than they already do, and the presence of Unseelie within the house is a disturbing reminder of the Unseelie side that every Seelie possesses.
Of the Unseelie Court
This doesn't mean that House Liam is entirely Seelie in its composition, as much as some like to claim that it is. The house is Seelie by majority and the ratio of Unseelie to Seelie members is far lower than that of other houses. however, it is an essential truth of Kithain nature that no faerie is completely one or the other, and this is just as true of every element of faerie society; House Liam is not as pure as it wishes or pretends to be.
Most Unseelie of the house are singletons, working alone in danger of discovery. They tend to be those who were once given to their Seelie natures but turned to the Unseelie court for various reasons. Few remain for more than a year's time, though. Most slip back into Seelie ways, or flee the house for the company of their kind, or worst of all, they are discovered. Those who meet this fate rarely live.
While the Seelie aspect of House Liam upholds the nobility and worth of the individual mortal, not all who belong to the house hold the belief that individual needs outweigh the greater good. There is ample precedent in human political philosophy for the belief that the need of society must take priority over the need of the individual. One scholar at Harvard University produced and entire monograph on the subject, concluding that individual mortals could be sacrificed, even by Ravaging, if necessary in order to strengthen House Liam for the greater good of all mortals. The scholar vanished subsequently at the hands of a furious band of Liam knights, but the monograph is widespread both in photocopy and electronic formats. The philosophy of individual sacrifice is presented in seductively persuasive terms, speaking as much to the Unseelie side present in every faerie as to logic; the more superstitious fae view the monograph as a kind of curse, destroying any foolish enough to open its cover.
One might also hear an Unseelie member arguing that Banality is a peculiar mortal phenomenon and that it behooves the house to spend time studying it. It is not right, the argument goes, to fear and fight blindly that which seems to be an important part of mortal life. True, Banality directly opposes mortal creativity, but it is possible that the tension between the Dreaming and Banality is one of the keys to creativity itself.
Such arguments, and others of their kind, result in a small but constant flow of converts to their Unseelie legacies. This need not create instant conflict with the house; if Unseelie instincts were completely antithetical to House Liam, there would be far fewer of these converts. However, in the long-term, the gulf between those who have gone Unseelie and their Seelie comrades grows too wide.
In addition to the Unseelie scattered here and there throughout the house, there is also a secret society that represents the primary Unseelie influence in the house. This group, the Midnight Mummers, dates back to before the exile. There are ancient histories that mention the Mummers, but the group is believed to have died out well before modern times.
Finally, the influence of the Shadow Court is almost completely absent from the house. While it is possible to reconcile an Unseelie nature with House Liam's ideals, the Shadow Court is much less compatible. House Liam is not a culture in which abandoning oneself to impulse and desire and darkness leads to any sort of reward.
The Right of Demesne
The Right of Demesne is a traditional right that has slid into being an optional custom in the modern world. House Liam, often stubborn in its attempts to show that it is purer and more noble than those houses that exiled it, upholds this right scrupulously. The very few Liam rulers do not tolerate disobedience or disrespect. Some non-Liam rulers expect obedience from those of House Liam. It is a matter of pride. The wise who have adopted Liam scholars into their households as record keepers and librarians take advantage of this fact.
The Right to Dream
No right is more important to House Liam than this one; no right more absolute. If mortals do not dream, then Banality lays waste to the world and faerie is a dim memory of brighter times. In the eyes of any member of House Liam, Ravaging is the most dangerous action a faerie can perform.
Many within the house believe that the Right to Dream goes further than the mere injunction against Ravaging. Often, a Liam member who stands by and does not act to prevent Ravaging is found guilty of not only breaking house law, but of violating the Escheat as well. Enthusiastic Liam nobles have extended this viewpoint to those of other houses, which contributes to the general dislike of the house. The extreme claim that failure to provide a creative mortal with an environment suited for their Dreaming can be interpreted as a violation of this right. While this is not a common view, those who hold it are exceedingly vehement in defending it.
The Right of Ignorance
It is, of course, important not to reveal the existence of the Kithain to the world at large; Banality's forces are strong and there are far too many who would stamp out the fae for what they see as the greater good. Accordingly, in dealing with those who are not of House Liam, the Right of Ignorance is given strong lip-service and a certain degree of respect.
However, in the inner councils of the house, almost all agree that this so-called "right" is a ploy: a plot designed to keep mortals ignorant of danger. This false right was likely inserted by some cunning Unseelie ages ago, and there will eventually be a reckoning.
The Right of Rescue
While this is an important component of the Escheat, it's important to weigh the risks and causes before risking oneself for some Kithain overcome by Banality. Members of the house are taught to ask themselves why someone has been caught before moving to their rescue. If they have fallen because of foolishness or stupidity, it's not worth saving them unless they learn a lesson. Further, those who treat their Dreamers well and do not abuse mortals rarely have to worry about getting caught short of Glamour.
In practice, this attitude denotes that the Right of Rescue is left to the individual's judgement. No Liam ruler calls on of their subjects incorrect in said judgement, except in truly exceptional cases. Some Liam save anyone they can, as a matter of honor, but it's not a good idea to count on this.
The Right of Safe Haven
As another right that is honored rarely by most of faerie society, House Liam's stubbornness has led it to maintain this tradition. no fae is to be turned away from a freehold controlled by Liam unless they have violated the Escheat. While the hospitality may not be of the highest quality, no Liam freehold is to deny the basic obligations of food and shelter. In cases where this may tax the freehold's resources, it is acceptable to seek help from others. They unkind claim is that this is a simple obligation for the house to fulfill, given the rarity of House Liam freeholds. While this is true on the surface, the policy in nonetheless sincere.
The Right of Life
There is no question as to whether or not it is wrong to kill one's brothers and sisters. Killing faeries violates the Escheat and must be punished appropriately. If one traces the threads of effect back through destiny's web, though, there are those who have lent their hand to betraying their heritage by preying on mortals. Considering that for every Dreamer whose dreams have been destroyed by Ravaging is a Dreamer who no longer contributes to the health and Glamour of the world, this affects all faeries and makes the death of the Dreaming that much more likely. There is no question that those who Ravage deserve the same punishment as those who kill directly.
Fosterage is a sore subject with House Liam. There are far too many well-meaning nobles who, if a fosterling proves to be of House Liam during their Saining, will attempt to steal the child away to an entirely different house "for their own good." This practice eats away at the very heart of House Liam, and none of the other houses are willing to speak against it. However, there is nothing quite so pleasant as watching some snobbish member of House Gwydion realize that the oh-so-promising childling they have been watching with glee is bound to the exiles of House Liam. Further, if one of House Liam is present for the Fior-Righ, there's hope that any potential kidnapping will be preventable. The Knights Templar are a particularly eager to play this role.
On the whole, though, House Liam prefers to keep close track of its children and take the course of adoption: deliberately placing those who have undergone the Dream Dance into families they can watch closely, ready to bring the new childling into House Liam fosterage. Unlike others who take this course, Liam members are not concerned with the station of the mortal family; they care more that the parents will raise the child to be kind and wise. Good middle- or lower-class families are preferable so that the child will not acquire the feelings of superiority.
Relationships With Others
The Other Houses
Bloody idealists. Look, everyone says Gwydion is stuck up? Well, they have nothing on House Dougal. Dougal cloaks it all in a cowl of excuses. "We're idealistic, that's all. Can't blame a faerie for being idealistic." You can when their ideals don't include you, I say.
House Liam has very little to do with House Dougal. As far as the Liam are concerned, a Dougal faces with imperfection curls up into a little ball and gibbers, whereas a Liam deals with these imperfections and injustices of the world on a daily basis. In fact, House Dougal is perhaps the only house to which House Liam feels wholly superior. When a Liam scholar is objective, though, they state that Dougal feels just as superior when compared to the imperfect exiles of House Liam. Thus, it's not often that Dougal's members bother to have anything to do with House Liam's either. The result is an arrogant neutrality between the two, which neither has any good reason to disrupt.
I had an affair with an Eiluned sorceress once, when I was a wilder. It seemed very natural, you know; nobody likes me for my house and all were too willing to say the same sorts of things about Eiluned. Well, I learned my lesson. The difference between them and us is that with them, it's all true.
It's a rare member of House Liam who has anything nice to say about House Eiluned. The House of Secrets is everything Liam despises: treacherous, arrogant, and far more concerned with the supernatural than with mortals. Additionally, Liam considers Eiluned to be the most Unseelie of the five great houses, and so it is irredeemably stained. House Eiluned finds reason to deal with House Liam, though generally to Liam's detriment. For example, an Eiluned scholar needs some scrap of information in House Liam records and obtains it by whatever means are necessary. Further, the courtiers of Eiluned find that House Liam makes a perfect scapegoat when covert plans go awry... all too common an occurrence.
Yes. Well. In theory, we have a great deal in common with the debutantes of Fiona. I hear rumors that we're secret allies. But note that they don't often care much about the poor mortals after their little love affairs end, now do they?
Mortals aren't pets, and the romantic chevaliers that populate House Fiona forget that far too frequently for Liam's tastes. Fiona is believed to have great potential, but its wasted unless the members take some responsibility for their actions. While they may be loved by the commoners, it's always good to remember that your average House Fiona lord cold turn their attentions to another motley tomorrow, so be prepared for the worst... and House Liam will be happy to remind you of this as needed. There is, admittedly, a certain undertone of jealousy here. It is horribly unfair to the Liam that while Lord Liam was exiled for his love of the mortals, Lady Fiona was merely laughed at. There was very little difference in the two cases.
Our only real friends of the other houses are of House Gwydion. Ironic, considering they got us exiled in the first place. 'Tis a pity they're so damned arrogant about it, or we might teach them a thing or two about true nobility and the obligations thereof.
House Gwydion constantly toes that narrow line between kindness and condescension. There are many tales of a Gwydion warrior stepping between some Eiluned lady and a persecuted Liam knight, and no member of House Liam fails to be properly grateful for this. But there is no shortage of cautionary tales in which the same Gwydion warrior goes on to casually hurt the mortal that the knight was protecting. Nobody forgets these either. The Kithain of Gwydion are noble, and they treat Liam better than any other house ever does. One must remember that they do not understand the true importance of guarding mortals and that Lord Gwydion was responsible for Liam's exile in the first place.
The Other Kith
I was fostered by a boggan. Don't look so surprised. It happens. The house is too small and so hard to find someone with the time and qualifications to foster a childling. Anyhow, she was the kindest Kithain I have ever met and I won't hear a word against any of her kind. Understand?
You can talk about the nobility of trolls, but boggans have the nobility that is especially difficult: the quiet, calm kind of those who understand the call to help those weaker than themselves. Boggans take care of things and the don't think being stronger makes one superior. Show them you understand their ways, and they make fine friends. They are well represented in the house. Not every boggan extends their protective instincts to mortals, but it's not much of a leap, and many is the boggan who's been having a nice cup of tea with some poor lost lamb only to discover that there's an arrogant sidhe with the same idea... or maybe not so arrogant after all.
The eshu are good folk. Not quite as dedicated as we might like; you won't get an eshu to say long enough to help a dreamer in need. But they usually mean well.
They can be good companions; eshu are clever and they know a flurry of interesting things. They are certainly the most akin to the sidhe in elegance and grace. Their nature drives them to wander, though. An eshu who could stay put would be an asset in any court, but they would not be an eshu. Despite their unreliability, there are a fair number of eshu who've joined House Liam. Their tale-telling nature mixes well with the scholarly side of the house.
Nockers are like rose... no, no, hear me out. Nockers are like roses... without the pretty petals. I've found the more you leave them alone, the less you get pricked.
While nockers have their place in Kithain society, they're too sharp around the edges for House Liam. The value of their creativity is unchallenged, but for a house that delights in bringing the creative to its full potential, it's rather disturbing to deal with someone who won't admit they've created a perfect work. What's more, the nockers are prone to criticizing the work of others, which is not productive when one is nurturing a mortal. Few of them join Liam. They find that the house is overly idealistic on the whole. No nocker wants to live with their heads in the clouds. For the Liam's part, the uneasiness one feels around a nocker is ten-fold for those nockers who actually do join the house.
They're tricky, elusive, devious, little wretched in the best of times, that's what I say. The problem is, they're also kind-hearted, warm, generous, understanding companions in those same times. Pooka are a real paradox. As ling as you remember what you're getting into, they aren't so bad.
If the pooka of the world weren't so good at listening, they'd be completely annoying. It's understandably very hard to trust anyone who can't be open with you and who can't tell you the truth. House Liam would fall apart if its members couldn't trust each other. Yet, pooka have a rare talent for consoling a damaged mortal, or for that matter, a wounded changeling. You trust them, even though you shouldn't. There's no way to resolve the paradox, and so you live with it. They are common in House Liam. In general, they're on the outside of this group of outsiders; most pooka who've united with the house have been brought in by a sidhe member who has learned to trust an individual pooka.
Mmmph. There's little to say except they're little: their souls are little, their imaginations are little, their beady, squinty eyes are little. The only thing large about them is their appetites. They're a very bad joke on us all.
Redcaps are violent, angry creatures. Perhaps it's not their fault they're the way they are; it's not as if they're sluagh, who are bright enough to conceivably choose to repudiate their natures if they wished. Still, what good can you say of the delinquents of the fae? It would be better if they didn't exist. There are fewer redcaps in the house than those of any other kith, unsurprisingly. Those rare individuals who have sworn the oath almost always end up as rovers, unable to make a home in any freehold or court. The resentment is too much to bear.
Satyrs are wonderful for a good time and an easy laugh, or more if that's what you're looking for. Give them a title and they'll get as snooty as any other noble, sure, but the commoners are happy to ignore that cursed exile. It's just not wise to count on them for anything outside the physical.
The frivolity of satyrs is almost as legendary as that of the pooka. They're excellent company when you need a break from the wear-and-tear of house duties but what is less known about them is that they make excellent conversationalists.
Secrets, always secrets. What's knowledge good for if it isn't written down where others can benefit from it? But that's me all over... expecting altruism from the Unseelie wretches.
Nobody trusts a sluagh. Useful, yes; often in possession of some useful tidbit of information, yes; trust, no. The little wrigglers know everything, but there's always a price for it, and House Liam knows far too much about prices. A few have joined the house and they have admittedly an easier time of it than redcaps, for what it's worth. These few tend to align themselves with the more scholarly branch of the house because it fits their natural inclination and it keeps them away from bigoted eyes.
Couldn't ask for a better warrior. Oh, they aren't always the brightest, but once you get an idea in their heads, they don't let go of it. Not gentle, either. But we have our fights, and they'd go much more poorly without our trolls.
Trolls are as noble and brave as the falcon; House Liam has always been a strong proponent of trolls. While they have odd ideas about their history, it doesn't prevent them from being brave, noble, and everything else you'd want in the strongest kith. Those trolls who consider Liam's members to be oathbreakers are dangerous and best avoided, of course, as nobility works both ways, though it's not the trolls' fault they've been led astray by the other houses. There aren't many of them in the house. The average troll knows as much about being an outcast as any member of Liam, but they deal with it in different ways. And, as a kith very concerned with honor, trolls are the most likely of all kith to consider House Liam's exile a matter of import.
Commoners of the House
House Liam is willing to accept commoners into the house, Paradoxically, though, this is the house with the least commoners among its numbers. While a whole-hearted acceptance of a general idea is one thing, finding commoners who meet the high house standards is another, which is made all the more difficult by the lack of commoners inclined to seek Liam in the first place. Being born with a predilection toward Liam is one thing; choosing to swear to an exiled house is another entirely.
Nor does Liam accept oaths lightly. Anyone wishing to join the house, commoner or not, must first convince the highest ranking noble of their desire during a special assembly known as the Council of Union. These proceedings are carried out openly, before all members of Liam. While the presiding noble guides and channels the session, anyone may question the would-be house member. The supplicant must show evidence of their past inclinations: independent work in the same vein as the house's character is very helpful. Any hint of moral ambiguity is risky. More petitioners are denied than accepted.
Once a petitioner has been accepted by the Council of Union, they are given until the next solstice to live among Liam constituents and act in all ways as a member of the house. There is no shame in changing one's mind during this time; childlings and wilders may take this time to haze the petitioner while nobles turn a blind eye, regarding the hazing as an extra test as to the seriousness of the petitioner's intent.
The Oath of Union is sworn at the coming of the next solstice. It is policy not to accept the Oath of Union from any Kithain who is not at least a year out of the childling stage. This is a hotly debated issue in the house, though. The Duchy of Tulips is pushing to remove this requirement.
Those who have attained acceptance and sworn the Oath of Union are in no way treated differently than those born to the house. Indeed, in some ways it is considered more honorable to seek and earn membership than to be born to it.
- The Oath of Duty is the main Oath of the House.
- The Oath of Union is sworn by those fae seeking to join the house
The Prodigal & Gallain
House Liam has a fair store of knowledge about the Gallain; given the amount of time its members spend outside of normal Kithain society, they have accumulated an impressive library of information, although the exact records kept vary from kingdom to kingdom.
The Kindred, as they call themselves, are not to be taken lightly. They are too individually powerful to bring to open battle, and their political influence among the humans is also great, yet it is impossible to inspire a neighborhood to defend itself against their nocturnal depredations. However, as they as as factional as the fae themselves, they are reasonably easy to manipulate.
The most important vampire faction, in Liam's viewpoint, is the Toreador. They feed on House Liam's mortal charges in a manner as damaging to the physical body as Ravaging is to the soul and, in some cases, far worse. Fortunately, they are particularly susceptible to the beauty of the sidhe, which seems to befuddle their judgement.
One must also remain wary of the Nosferatu, as they are rumored to have an alliance with the sluagh. There have been some scattered contacts with this breed, in the service of knowledge, and it appears they are honest, but slippery.
Finally, there is a breed called Sabbat, who are darker than the darkest of the Shadow Court. They are to be avoided at all costs. They are more malevolent than the chimera of a child's nightmare and they prey not from necessity but for the twisted joy of causing pain. If they can be opposed safely, they should be, but beware... they run in packs.
Werewolves are a sad example of divergence from the true faerie line. Liam scholars suspect that the passions that led the werewolves to devote themselves to protecting the Earth may be similar in nature to those that led Liam to guard mortals. Some very devoted individuals have attempted to spend time with the packs in hopes of learning more of this, and with mixed results. Their isolationism has kept the house from learning much of their culture. Since those who actively hunt humans seem to target mostly the sorts of individuals who produce the most Banality (large corporations and the like), there's no overwhelming need to oppose them. It is, in other words, a wary peace.
The house often finds itself cheek-to-jowl with a tribe of werewolves known as Bone Gnawers. The Bone Gnawers are to the other werewolves as House Liam is to the other Kithain, and they are inclined to live near the inner-city freeholds of Liam for this reason. The proximity makes both cooperation and conflict more prevalent.
Duke Gwilliam cooperates with the Bone Gnawers of Amsterdam, which has proven to be a source of reward for both werewolves and changelings. The Bone Gnawers, plentiful in Amsterdam, have allowed Kithain into some of their cairns, which operate in a manner similar to freeholds. In return, Gwilliam and his sidhe use their charisma and influence to ensure that the laws of the city benefit the Bone Gnawers as much as possible. Further cooperation may come with time.
Mages are humans who have learned the world in not banal and choose to study its nature. Unfortunately, they do not respect the Kithain sufficiently and, as such, it is advisable to avoid them. Their interests in mortal affairs seldom intersect with those of House Liam.
If one asks for aid, "no" is always a safe answer; "yes" is seldom recommended. Some mages think of the fae as objects of study, or worse, magical experiments. Some, and it is fortunate that these mages are few and far between, claim to be working toward the goal of restoring whimsey and Glamour to the world. While this is an honorable and worthy ambition, their methods and plans do not include much consideration for safety, and they are hated by other mages to an incomprehensible degree. Allying with them is riskier than agreeing to be experimented on bu the others.
It is known that many of the most banal scientists think of themselves as ages, for reasons poorly understood. It is wise to be aware that some scientists have access to the kind of resources one expects only the rich and politically powerful to have. This issue bears further examination but it is highly risky. Many of this breed have perfected scientific methods of detecting Kithain and are far too aware of their presence in the world.
The house has met with the so-called Dream Speaker organization most often; they are well-aware of the presence of changelings in the world and bear the Kithain no ill will. The Liam are generally more interested in the Cult of Ecstasy, however. While their methods are suspect, the cult is as interested in encouraging creativity in the mortals as any of House Liam. With the exception of the Grey Monks, the house is very wary of the Celestial Chorus, understandably, as they further the goals of the Inquisition in regards to the Kithain.
No real evidence exists for undying spirits and it's suspected that what a mortal might call a poltergeist or a spook is really some pooka or sluagh playing a trick. After all, a sluagh looks very similar to the reported appearance of ghosts. There has never been any report of a changeling returning in this way. Childlings of the house tell many ghost stories, as do those of other houses, and they are listened to about as often.
The native changelings of North America have their reasons for their customs and their ways. However, while House Liam must respect them (just as the house would like to be respected even by those who do not understand them), the nunnehi's unreasonable hatred of European Kithain is met only with staunch caution. If necessary, one should not shy away from open conflict. Walk warily in their lands for it is dangerous.
These fae do not seem to need mortals as a source of Glamour, which is promising and disturbing. If they could teach this trick to others, it might be a way to reduce the frequency of Ravaging, although there are too many who Ravage for pleasure rather than necessity. It is possible, though, that the trick is somehow a trap. If it was easy, House Liam wold already have discovered it, while certain accounts speak of a great price paid by the Nunnehi.
Internal PoliticsThe driving conflict in current house politics is the ongoing war of words between young Duke Gwilliam, his Court of Tulips and the European fae who follow his lead, and the unexpectedly united front of the ranking Liam nobles in Concordia.
Duke Gwilliam is the source of the rumors of alliance between House Liam and House Fiona. Unwilling to accept the historic disdain of an entire house, he began quietly to open discussions with the three Queens of House Fiona in the New World (Aeron, Laurel, and Mab). Gwilliam's efforts have led to a small alliance at the moment, but it has not yet blossomed into anything anyone of House Fiona cares to admit too openly. Gwilliam is aware that attempting to use the progress that has been made as a public relations tool would be counter-productive. He has mad some effort to stamp out the rumors himself, so he might stay in the good graces of Fiona. If this effort is successful, he is to begin talking to influential courtiers of other houses as well.
The success of the discussions with House Fiona has prompted Gwilliam to attempt to reopen lines of communication within his own house that have been clouded since the schism. Since 1995, he has been sending his trusted liegemen to Concordia to speak of the value of standing up for one's rights. This quiet act is aimed at his fellows in Liam, rather than attempting to convince other houses that House Liam deserves redemption: he does not believe in begging. He thinks that the house will do well enough by carving out it's own territory and ignoring the whole matter of exile.
The duke's men are considered agitators by the Liam nobles of Concordia: Baroness Grayswan, who succeeded Baron Malcolm as the de facto leader of the Concordia faction when he passed away in 1989, has decreed that any vassals of Gwilliam are to be arrested and thrown out of Concordia. The irony of this exile within an exile has not gone unnoticed.
Gwilliam is more willing to deal with the Prodigals than the average Kithain. His flexibility has served him well as he makes inroads into the hearts and minds of Concordians; he has access to information that his rivals and enemies will never reach. At present, he has received word of a potential explosion in the ranks of the High King's court at Tara-Nar and is unsure how best to exploit this. In the end, he may remain on the sidelines, prepared to take advantage of the chaos that could result.
The Baroness Grayswan has been less restrained by the chains of tradition than her father and more willing to compromise for the goals she seeks. She is a dangerous enemy. Her goals, however, are those instilled in her by her father before his death. No less than he, she seeks stability rather than any real change in the status of the house. Still, she is more skilled than her father at building support and alliances, and while Baron Crane seemed as if he would be the next leader of the Concordians, he stepped aside for her in 1992. The baroness has solidified her strength in the house in the subsequent years and has ingratiated herself into High King David's counsels.
From Gwilliam's point of view, the Traditionalists of Baroness Grayswan are too eager to subsume themselves to the dictates of High King David's Court. David is a good ruler, but there are too many demands on his time for him to reconsider and reevaluate the exile of House Liam. Furthermore, what knowledge he has of their exile is indicative that there is no reason to reopen the matter. If Baroness Grayswan and her supporters were to push the issue, it's possible that David would make time for them. The reward of conformity has been a slow-improving reputation for the hose, at least among the more cosmopolitan Kithain. Still, the decades of rule and the relative safety of House Liam's current position in Concordia make it unlikely that Grayswan will ever find the "right time" to speak to David of the matter.
So, the role of Liam, at least in High King David's eyes, is two-fold. First, its members serve as scholars and librarians, albeit more of the latter as the house is viewed as overly biased in its scholarship. As librarians, they provide the documentation and notes so desperately needed to give sidhe society some feeling of continuity after the Shattering.
Secondly, the skill with which the house nurtures creativity has been noticed. David and his nobles use the house as a tool with which to reclaim the blighted, Banality-plagued regions of the land. On Queen Mab's advice, David promulgated a decree allowing Liam members to hold non-hereditary titles under special circumstances. The majority of these titles went to those willing to work in said regions. It is his plan that the lands recovered fall to more respectable hands as those who reclaim them pass away.
This practices infuriates Gwilliam, but the Liam nobles of Concordia are not willing to listen to his arguments. They state that it is a step toward respectability and that full recognition will come by taking such steps. It is not clear that they are wrong. A generation of childlings and wilders are learning that House Liam can provide strong and just leadership, which is a lesson of value.
An objective observer might ask: in uncertain times, does the house have the luxury of patient certain measures? No one is truly objective and, thus, no one can provide a fair answer to that question. Time is the only test.
- King Liam
- Duke Gwilliam
- Baroness Grayswan
- Baron Malcolm
- Sir Peltis
- Count Edward
- Ellen Rynson
- Count Dongahue
- Sir Elaine
- Baron Crane
- High Lord Noman
- Theirry Copien
- Joseph Chapman
- Duke Tymon
- Michael Delshire
- Sascha Rominoff
- Lady Una Morrowind
- Lord Varlan
- Duchess Aoibhell
- Baron Neville
- Sir Odhran
- Queen Karolinda
- Countess Gwrly
- Duke Antoan
- Sir Zereles
- Count Chronos
- Sir Athanar
- Brendan MacLiam
- Countess Giancotta
- Sir Nicholas
- Sir Joseph
- CTD. Noblesse Oblige: The Book of Houses, pp. 107-129.
- CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, p. 110.