- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 In the House of Shadows
- 4 Of Allies, Equals, & Adversaries
- 5 A House Divided: Autumn vs. Arcadian Scathach
- 6 The Warriors' Halo
- 7 Restless Shadows
- 8 References
The most mysterious sidhe on Earth are those of the enigmatic House Scathach. The house is named after its founder, the famous Scathach ni Uanaind. Scathach was the most famous of Ireland's female warriors. Unlike all other sidhe, the nobility of this house chose to undergo the Changeling Way like the common kith. As a result of this, they fared better during the Shattering. Many other sidhe (especially Traditionalists), however, consider them impure and question whether they are true sidhe at all. Whatever their heritage, they are considered to have the best Soothsayers among the sidhe.
Fierce, silent and deadly, members of this warrior house are adept at all forms of combat. They neither possess nor desire political power in noble society. Theories about their true agenda run rampant. Most of the members of this house dress achromatically (blacks, whites and grays). They have garnered the nickname "Gray Walkers" because of this practice. Their eyes are usually gray or icy blue. They are usually reserved in their demeanor. The sidhe of this house are more widely traveled than the other houses (even House Liam) and are, as a result, more ethnically diverse. During the Interregnum they spread as far as the Middle East, where they still maintain a strong presence.
This house has a near-legendary reputation among the commoners. They are, however, rarely seen. Despite their strange ways, they are generally well regarded by the commoners, who learned to trust them during the Interregnum. House Scathach patrols the fringes of fae society. Many believe that it protects the fae (noble and commoner) from powerful enemies of old. Certainly, it forges strange alliances. Among the fae they are closest to the eshu, who also share their love of the road. They are also rumored to have contacts among the Prodigals
The Second Battle of Moytura
The tale of the Scathach begins with a creature known as The Morrigan. Her name means Phantom Queen, and she was a grand enigma, even to the other Tuatha de Danaan. Humanity worshipped her as a goddess of battle, ecstasy, fertility, and magic. She was instrumental in securing the Tuatha’s victory over the Fir-bholg in the First Battle of Moytura, and in the second… well. That’s a tale.
After the Fir-bholgs’ defeat, both the Tuatha and the Fomorians observed an uneasy truce, but such a condition could not last long between two forces so diametrically opposed. In the last war, Nuada, then king of the Tuatha de Danaan, lost his hand and replaced it with one of silver. There were those among the Children of Dana who, foolishly, felt this handicap disqualified him from rulership. In his stead, they installed Bres the Beautiful; son of a Tuatha woman and a Fomorian king, upon the Falian Throne. It was not long, however, before the Tuatha realized they had made a terrible mistake. When the Children of Dana increasingly arrayed against him, Bres brought out his father’s brood to solidify his claims by force.
Shall we speak of names? Those who led the invading horde had names that still possess power, long after those who bore them have passed beyond. One among them was Balor, lord of the Fire Court. Another was Indech, scion of the then nascent Ivory Court and hunts marshal for King Tethra of the Emerald Dream. Just as important to the story in Indech’s son, Octriallach. Not yet one of the potentates of the age, he was nevertheless clever and subtle, with a far-reaching eye for magic. With these and countless others, the Fomorian War Dream cloaked itself in a nightmare gale and swept our over the tenebrous seas toward the isles of the sane.
Meanwhile, in the Tuatha’s quest for allies, the god Dagda returned to his fastness in Glenn Etin. There, a year before, he had made a love pact with the Morrigan and now sought her for her wisdom. Since that time she had borne his child, a girl she named Scathach (meaning the Shadowy One) for her black hair and shadow-grey eyes. Upon their reunion, the Morrigan foretold many things, including the imminent end of the current age and the place where the Fomorians would first emerge from their nightmare trods.
(This tale is elated as it often is in the Irish myths, but this was no battle for a mere island, no matter how fertile in dreams. This was a war that stretched throughout dimensions uncountable. Ireland was but one of many places where the battle leaked into the Autumn World (some think the Trojan Wars were another). Still, to simplify matters, let’s stick to the standard text.)
The battle joined in earnest. The Tuatha’s ally Lugh of the Long Arm met Balor of the Piercing Eye in single combat. The Red King opened his cyclopean eye, and a poisonous crimson light crept out across the plains, killing thousands before Lugh drove his spear through the Fomorian’s brain. Balor was not the only Great One on the scene, however; the second monarch is of far more consequence to this tale.
Indech & the Morrigan
In a narrow valley, Indech and the Morrigan came face to face. Inhumanly beautiful in visage but with the body of a great wyrm, the White King laughed when he saw the lone woman before him. He drew his blade, the Sword of Tethra; a fearsome sliver of stormy night with an emerald shimmering above the hilt.
“By this sword, forged in green fire, stand aside, woman. I am Indech Oneira-Osseus. Where I pass, nightmares slip loose of slumber’s shackles and feast upon their dreamers.” But the Morrigan did not move.
“Then, by the Fates who have promised that I will deliver destruction during the nights of Final Winter, I command you to fall!” he thundered. Cracks appeared in the White King’s beautiful visage as he gave himself up to his rage and swung his great sword toward the unarmed woman. Another potent blade parried it in a shower of sparks. Wielding it was Ogma, gentle poet and warrior-scholar. Sword and spell, the two gods strained themselves to the limit. It was Indech who held the vantage, though, for he was fated to win.
Forgotten in the shadows, though, was the Morrigan, a servant of Fate, who now betrayed that trust by severing the threads of Providence that protected the Fomorian. The battle, preordained to bring Indech victory, ended with Ogma’s blade through his heart. And so Indech died, thousands of years before his promised time, but his legacy would live on. Swearing vengeance, his son Octriallach turned into a white mist and fled into the forests of Winter. The victorious Tuatha counted him among the dead; it was a mistake their changeling offspring would one day regret.
Scathach & the Sundering
The Fomorians were creatures of nightmare, but as they retreated, a vital spark left the world. It was to this troubled era that Scathach’s dynasty was born. Many of the Tuatha de Danaan departed the Autumn World, leaving the fae without their guidance; the Morrigan was among the first to go. Indech, she knew, had not been fated to die, but to play his part in the final times. The Morrigan had altered the edict of Fate and knew she had to pay the price. Before departing, she met one final time with Dagda. The two decided to spirit their child away to be raised on the Isle of Skye (the Isle of Shadows) that would one day bear her name. A sensible precaution given what happened to both parents’ previous children: Aedh, Mechi, and poor haunted Leanhaun. Her affairs in order, the Morrigan transformed into a crow and flew deep into the Dreaming beyond all knowing. What she sought, and whether she found it, who can say?
Scathach grew up between two worlds, among the human villagers of Albion and a tribe of Fuath who had remained loyal to the Tuatha de Danaan. Even as a child, she gained a great reputation, as a warrior, hunter, and sorceress. As a young adult, she gained her greatest fame among outsiders as a teacher of martial arts to such celebrated individuals as the warrior Cú Chulainn. It is fortunate that she was so capable, because the Old Ones’ departure soon caused rifts that involved the young goddess. Ogma’s descendants (among whom, I believe, those of House Gwydion consider themselves) and the worshipers of the Morrigan vied to protect the Sword of Tethra. Tradition held that if Indech’s blade was ever drawn again, it would signal the end of the Dreaming. At the very least, those foolish enough to touch it died horribly, their souls cast into howling darkness. The conflict was temporarily solved when the two sides agreed to protect it jointly in Caer Mathgen (In the once pleasant Blotkeldur Plains).
Even from the beginning, House Scathach philosophy of leadership differed from that of the other sidhe. Born to the purple, they initially ruled as tradition dictated, but the mantle of power didn’t quite fit. Perhaps this made them poor examples of the monarch’s dream, but even then, the notion that they were entitled to control others’ destinies simply by virtue of their blood troubled them. The Morrigan had made the ultimate break with authority by refuting the patterns of Fate; her offspring were little different. Millennia passed and Scathach grew from warrior queen to something far more puissant and subtle. At her behest, her house divested itself of all but a few strongholds, travelling both the Autumn World and the Dreaming; they saw how the world was changing.
Even before the Shattering, various daring commoners underwent what has come to be known as the Changeling Way Ritual. House Scathach was hardly a trailblazer, but they were the only sidhe to make this momentous choice. Scathach herself was the first of her line to undergo the ritual, exchanging some of her nearly boundless power for the comparative mortality of human flesh… and the insights that came with it. The die was cast, and none too soon. The trials of the Sundering were as nothing compared with those to come.
The War of Trees
The War of Trees was the last time the Scathach openly fought alongside their fellow houses. After the Second Battle of Moytura, the Fomorians had returned and, with most of the Tuatha de Danaan gone, increasingly menaced the younger races. Eventually a time came when the Scathach had to choose sides. They laid their swords at Gwydion and Ailil’s feet; the issues at stake were too important for their differences to stand in the way.
The conflict quickly escalated far beyond the scale set by the last war. The fae learned that Octriallach was not dead as once believed, but directing the cruelest of the Fomorian Courts from deep within Winterweir. A demon from the past had returned to haunt the world; Scathach’s duty was clear. Since no army could hope to defeat a creature like Octriallach, Scathach herself, one of the few remaining Tuatha de Danaan, despite her diminished blood, led a disparate contingent of nobles and commoners into the Winterwoods.
The sun did not shine in those woods, and a never-ending host of Dark-kin, icy chimera, and invisible spirits harried the invading host. Warriors disappeared into this air, sometimes resurfacing as frozen, dismembered corpses. Still the diminished company eventually reached the forest’s chill heart and challenged the White King in his lair. Confident in his enemy’s doom, Octriallach himself joined the fray, determined to capture Scathach alive and force from her the location of his father’s blade.
The two met in single combat, and Scathach seemed a poor match for the White King, who warped and rent reality by his very presence. Bearing down upon his victim, the overconfident Fomorian did not notice how the Kithain’s most potent sorcerers had arranged themselves into a complex wizard’s knot around the battlefield, feeding their very life force into a fateful spell. The forest’s trees writhed like tentacles, enveloping the shrieking White Court and imprisoning them within, seemingly forever. The task of defeating the Red and Green Courts lay ahead, but the fae would have to accomplish this with little help from the Scathach. Scathach herself was gone, enshrined with her enemies at the heart of the Forest of Lies.
With the Fomorian’s second defeat, the remaining Tuatha departed for good. Following Scathach’s last orders, her house stayed behind to test themselves against the chill winds of Banality, even as the other houses departed for Arcadia. The Scathach have never been ones to run from a fight, and they saw Banality as a foe no different from any other. As their fellow sidhe retreated, many commoners fell upon them in a murderous rage; even the Scathach were not immune. Nor were the Scathach without sin. As they carried out the edicts of the Morphean Oracles, securing trods in the Near and Far Dreaming, some of them were not above seeking vengeance against the departing nobles.
Following the Second Battle of Moytura, the Sword of Tethra had lain under heavy guard as Caer Mathgen. With the War of Trees, however the surrounding Blotkeldur had become a poisonous swamp. As House Gwydion departed the nearer Dreamrealms, the members insisted the sword accompany them into Arcadia. The Morphean Oracles foresaw calamity if the sword entered the Heart of the Dreaming, however, and the Scathach attacked the Gwydion attempting to move it. During the ensuing bloodshed, the blade disappeared into the surrounding Dreaming. Did Scathach seers, reputedly among the best in the Dreaming, not see this coming? Who can say? Perhaps despite the horror of Indech’s blade being lost to that gloomy realm, they saw it as the lesser of two evils. With the White Court’s recent awakening, the fae may soon learn the unpleasant truth of the matter.
In this period, House Scathach became both the hunters and the hunted. Their fellow sidhe abandoned them, and many changelings viewed them with suspicion. Nevertheless, their charge was clear: to protect the remaining fae and to prepare for the perils to come. With few friends among the Kithain, their attentions turned outward to those creatures known as prodigals. In the Autumn World, they supported causes that fostered freedom, dignity, and change within the human spirit… human suffering darkens the Dreaming and strengthens the Fomorians. The house has aided revolution, reform, and abolitionist movements. In the Dreaming they wandered the Tenebrous Realms, guarding against incursions by the Dark-kin and far worse entities. In the end, they even earned the trust of those commoners they helped, though most forgot about their existence, consigning them to the ambiguities of myth.
Resurgence and Accord
House oracles not only predicted the Resurgence in 1969, but the hour of the other sidhe’s arrival. If the time of their appearance was clear, however, Scathach’s reaction to it was less so. On one hand, here were the nobles who had abandoned and scorned them and who would soon wreak fire and death throughout Kithain society. On the other, here were sidhe, their long-lost cousins, who would be desperately needed in the dark times ahead. The house did what they could to help the returnees adjust to the new world and to avert the war that was fast approaching. The Scathach were no the only diviners of Fate, though; forces unknown skillfully hid the exact event that would spark the conflagration from them. When the Night of Iron Knives lit the fuse, it was too late for them to stop the slaughter.
The Scathach offered their services to both sides, furthering their understandable, if erroneous, reputation as mercenaries. The commoners wanted information about the sidhe’s tactics, while the nobles needed guidance in a strange new world. Neither suspected that the Scathach really served a third master: Peace. They are a warrior house, but their ultimate goal is to save lives, not to take them. As always, they could only affect things at the fringes; their numbers being too small to force wither side to the table. In the end, though, the house saved some two hundred fae lives and helped shorten the war by six months. Every one of those lives will be needed in the times to come.
Things have already slowed since the war’s end. Since them, the house has restored their contacts within Houses Fiona, Liam, and Leanhaun. They have witnessed the 1980s Greens Rebellion in Europe (where their activities further irritated Dougal and Gwydion) and more recently the return of the Dark-kin and the remaining Arcadian houses. All signs point to the final days they have been awaiting: the beginning of Winter and the final days of House Scathach.
What of those of the house who never underwent the Changeling Way, but who followed Scathach’s wayward daughter, Uathach, to the Silvered Sea? Some among the house believe that, driven by obscure portents and her own hubris, Uathach sought knowledge of the oldest Elder Darks, those of the so-called Emerald Dream. That even such a powerful sorceress as she would dare to investigate beings to whom even the mightiest of the fae are as but gnats would seem absurd. Perhaps. But Uathach never had much appreciation for her limitations. Who can say what, if anything, she found, but this can be said. Some of her number, or perhaps their descendants, have arrived in the Near Dreaming (along with those of the other missing houses) and may even walk the streets of the Waking World.
One of them has made contact with the Morphean Oracles. He was accompanied by one of the Dark-kin, those called the keremet, and he had a lofty, unfocused air about him. Nevertheless, he exuded a raw power scarcely seen among even the oldest of the “true” sidhe. He restated the prodigal family’s oaths of loyalty to the house (though some there questioned his veracity, shielded from their prophetic powers as he was). He offered Uathach’s children’s aid in strengthening the Silver Path, offering a convincing demonstration of their ability in this regard. He also stated what may seem as a veiled threat to the other sidhe; that these prodigal family members are somewhat put out by the treatment of the “Autumn” Scathach at the hands of the other houses. Some also detected a certain ironic disdain for the “Autumn” one in his words (but perhaps they are merely being paranoid). In time, these returnees may be paying visits to members of the other houses to clarify the reason for their presence, but for now their intentions (and the ultimate fate of Uathach) remain unknown even to the Scathach of the Waking World.
In the House of Shadows
On Nobility & Titles Lost
What does it mean to be born of the monarch’s dream but to hold no sway? The sidhe are born from the dreams of rulership, but they are more than the sum of the beliefs that shape them. They have desires of their own. What occurs when such dreams reject their “appointed place” in the scheme of things? More than any other fae, noble or commoner, the Scathach have forged their own dreams. This is not to say that the loss of their noble standing does not sometimes sting. It also causes practical problems. Leading by example is more difficult and frequently less effective than simply taking command. Additionally, nobles and many commoners mistrust the Scathach as outsiders and impolitic meddlers. When the house needs it most, there is no safe haven for them.
This does not mean they are complete strangers to power. Once in a great while a Scathach hero may gain authority by unanimous acclaim from the fae of a community they have served. Except in the direst of circumstances, they refuse such honors. Scathach who seek power (as opposed to temporary leadership) amongst the commoners almost inevitably find their prestige within the house diminished. In the rare instances in which a Scathach noble takes a title, it is only for one generation and not a hereditary position. Sometimes the Morphean Oracles grant special dispensation to rule when it serves the house’s needs. Usually, though, misfortune befalls those who break this ancient covenant.
The Hierarchy of House Mastery (Game System)
Although House Scathach maintains some of its aristocratic trappings, its hierarchical system is unlike that of any house. In short, it is a meritocracy, where even those with the richest blood and closest connections must start at the bottom. Unless the player buys the Merit: Mastery, their character is a new fledge and starts out with no mastery. Because of House Scathach’s small numbers, there are only a few sidhe at each level at any given time.
The minimum requirements listed below are just that. Having a score that exceeds these requirements does not guarantee the character an increase in rank. A fledge with Soothsay 5 may be a prodigy, but has nowhere near the breadth of knowledge to wisely alter Fate at this point. Adherents to Scathach’s path pursue physical, mental, and spiritual mastery. Besides the requirements below, Scathach changelings frequently pursue the humanities (particularly history) and wilderness survival and, unlike most sidhe, keep abreast of human technological and social trends. (Requirements are cumulative)
- 0 – Fledge: Scathach of this standing have just undergone the Chrysalis, are somewhere in the process of fosterage, and are discouraged from wandering unaccompanied. The sidhe’s only responsibility at this point is to begin training. (Minimum requirements: None)
- 1 – Seeker (Salik): The character has just undergone the Fior-Righ and is a full, if provisional, member of the house. Scathach of this level of mastery may wander but are on a short leash and expected to report to a house sponsor. (Minimum requirements: Brawl or Melee 1, Stealth 1)
- 2 – Disciple (Murid): The character has gained both some status and some responsibilities, including monitoring less-experienced house members. (Minimum requirements: Brawl or Melee 2, Changeling or Dreaming Lore 1, Greymayre 1, Stealth 2)
- 3 – Fellow-Crafter: Scathach at this level travel without supervision and are the backbone of the house’s fighting forces. (Minimum requirements: Brawl or Melee 3, Soothsay 1)
- 4 – Knight: Characters of this rank are called knights, carrying the honorific sir or lady, as one of the house’s few nods to its aristocratic origins. Knights are the primary commanders within the warrior house but are restricted in policy matters. (Minimum requirements: Greymayre 2, Changeling or Dreaming Lore 2, Stealth 3, Soothsay 2)
- 5 – Enlightened One (Arif): At this level, the character is assumed to have enough insights into Fate’s tapestry to make minor decisions in manipulating its threads. (Minimum requirements: Brawl or Melee 4, Changeling or Dreaming Lore 3, Greymayre 3, Stealth 4, Chronos 1, Soothsay 3)
- 6 – Master (Khwaja): The Khwaja is a roaming operative who seeks out major “defects” in Fate’s tapestry. Very few Scathach are trusted with such a charge. (Minimum requirements: Brawl or Melee 5, Changeling or Dreaming Lore 4, Greymayre 4, Stealth 5, Chronos 2, Soothsay 4)
- 7 – Shadow (Khwaja dirigens): The character undergoes the Trial of Shadows, becoming in effect a phantom presence in Fate’s designs and a living avatar of the Morphean Oracles. There is only one Scathach of this rank on each continent and a few sprinkled throughout key Dreamrealms. (Minimum requirements: Brawl and Melee 5, Changeling or Dreaming Lore 5, Greymayre 5, Chronos 5, Soothsay 5)
- 8 – Oracle: The character takes their place among the Morphean Oracles, the defining force within House Scathach.
- 9 – Malik: The Malik is the only authority above the Morphean oracles. This was the place held by Scathach herself, and only three have filled it since her disappearance during the War of Trees.
Because the house acts largely as one (under the guidance of the Morphean Oracles), shunning the political machinations so rife in the other houses, they are possibly the most cohesive body within Kithain society and free to act with great dispatch. Stemming directly from the Morrigan’s teachings, their seers have both a special and, often, contrary relationship with Fate. They are adept at perceiving her grand design but do not see destiny as an immutable force. Rather than serving Fate’s dictates, they seek to change certain threads in her tapestry (and have successfully done so on numerous occasions. Of course, this means that over the centuries they have acquired Fate’s wrath for their hubris. While this rarely affects their daily lives, it is no secret that the bill is coming due; their time is near an end. There are few of their number now, and soon there will be fewer still. This is one aspect of Fate they cannot change (though some believe otherwise). In any event, they accept the danger. Whether they leave this world for better or for worse is the only question.
There are no known Oaths of the House.
Between Two Courts
The house is divided between their Seelie and Unseelie impulses as any fae, but they owe loyalty to neither court. While their original home was in the Seelie Court, they rejected such narrow loyalties when they underwent the Changeling Way Ritual. This led to some bitterness on the part of their Seelie brethren, many of whom took the house’s departure as a personal insult. Conversely, it gave their Unseelie friends the idea that they were ripe for recruitment. House Scathach encourages its members to pursue their own interests and explore both philosophies, as long as they don’t contravene the family’s agenda. Their ultimate loyalty is to their house and its ideals.
Birthrights & Frailties
- Awe & Beauty: The beauty of the sidhe is somewhat diluted by the Changeling Way Ritual. Scathach sidhe receive only 1 additional point of Appearance instead of the usual 2. (The attribute may still exceed 5) Note that this does not apply to those Scathach who have just returned from Arcadia.
- Noble Bearing: Like most sidhe, those of House Scathach have a raw nobility but no defense against cantrips making them look foolish. This weakened Birthright still means that no Scathach sidhe will ever botch an Etiquette roll. Scathach just returned from Arcadia do not have this weakened birthright.
- Blood Madness: Because of their changeling nature, sidhe of this house do not suffer from Banality’s Curse (Except those just returned from Arcadia). They do, though, exhibit a strange madness in battle. Although a member of this house will not attack friends or bystanders, they have great difficulty leaving combat until either they or al their enemies are defeated, though not necessarily dead or even unconscious. (They may accept an honorable surrender.) To leave a conflict, the player must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) and accumulate six successes before retreating. A both returns this count to its starting point, and the warrior must wait for a full turn before attempting to retreat again. A character may burn a point of Willpower for only one automatic success during this process. Unlike in the Gwydion Flaw, Scathach in this state take all the usual Health penalties when injured.
- Silence: A Scathach Warrior becomes preternaturally silent during combat and has great difficulty speaking above a whisper. To speak more loudly, the character must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) and may utter one short phrase per success. Recent returnees are subject to this frailty just as their more “common” house members.
Boons & Flaws
- Affinity: Unlike the other sidhe, the Scathach have developed a Realm Affinity for Nature due to their time on Earth.
- Boons: Those of House Scathach are silent and efficient warriors. They rarely make any sound when fighting, causing great consternation in their foes. Once entering a fight, they loose sight of almost everything else, reaching a hypnotic “fugue state” in which the world seems to move more slowly. Because of the perceived time crawl in this state, they receive an extra dice on all Brawl and Melee rolls and make stealth rolls at -1 difficulty. Recent returnees also enjoy this boon.
- Flaws: Most nobles look down upon House Scathach. All social rolls with other sidhe (except Houses Beaumayn, Fiona, Liam, and Leanhaun) and commoners with strong loyalist sympathies are at +2 difficulty (or up to +4 with Traditionalist nobles). Furthermore, because of an ancient pact, Scathach are forbidden to use the Art of Sovereign. This ban is enforced by the full weight of the Dreaming. Scathach who have just returned from Arcadia still suffer from the Social difficulties of their house members if those with whom they are interacting know their house affiliation. They are not forbidden to use the Sovereign Art as are their Autumn Scathach counterparts.
Of Allies, Equals, & Adversaries
The Scathach have no illusions about their fellow changelings; over the past six hundred years they have seen them at their best and their worst.
- Boggans: In many ways, the boggans are the best of the fae. They are levelheaded, kindly, and know themselves… a rare commodity these days. It is best to be careful sharing secrets with them, though. Despite their best intentions, they are shameless gossips, almost on a par with the blatherskites of House Daireann. Of course, the Scathach sometimes uses this to their advantage. Share an inconvenient secret with a sluagh and they’ll sit on it until it suits them. Share one with a boggan and it’s all over the county by lunch.
- Eshu: Along with the sluagh, the eshu are the least frequently seen changelings; even the Scathach who share their road see them only rarely. Over the centuries the two groups have forged a policy of mutual assistance, developing a vocabulary of symbols to indicate distance, trods, and hidden dangers.
- Nockers: Scathach was a patron goddess of blacksmiths and learned much from Skye’s ubiquitous nocker population. House Scathach has some small talent in smithing, though nothing approaching the skills of this wily kith. Unlike most houses, they don’t depend on the nockers for weapons.
- Pooka: A fine kith in most respects. They know what it is to be both the hunter and the hunted. Unlike other sidhe, Scathach are not immune to the pooka’s pranking cantrips. After six hundred long years of dealing with them, house members are not without a sense of humor, but consorting with pooka is enough to have even the best of them rethinking their rejection of noble status. The pooka have taught the Scathach… patience. Despite vulnerability to their pranks, most of them know not to push things too far. Once angered, the Scathach are not the easiest people in the world to placate.
- Redcaps: With a few exceptions, the house has lost all trust for this kith. Many of them stayed on this side of the divide during the War of Trees but never fully severed their ties to the Midnight Host. As Scathach guards against incursions from the Nightmare Realms, they are as often as not battling redcaps.
- Satyrs: Scathach existence is mostly solitary and it is easy to become disconnected. The satyrs, more than any other, help keep them grounded. Whether approaching them for lore or liaisons, the Scathach have found that underlying most satyrs’ hedonism is a serious purpose that rivals their own. Despite this, some of the Unseelie variety see Scathach devotion to duty as a challenge and try to seduce them away from responsibilities.
- Sluagh: Because of Scathach’s stealth and penchant for secrets, other houses have called them the most sluaghlike of the sidhe. One doubts this is a compliment. Most sluagh distrust sidhe as a matter of course, and, despite, centuries of proving otherwise, this suspicion still often pertains to the house. Even so, the two groups have found it useful to work with each other when their goals are aligned. Ironically, Scathach’s diminished status among the other sidhe is their best asset when dealing with their fellow whisperers.
- Trolls: Trolls make good allies and worthy adversaries. Both groups consider the protection of the other fae their duty, but they have split on how to fulfill these ends. Many trolls continue to support the sidhe as leaders of the fae, and, while it is tempting to call such loyalists “lackeys,” this is an oversimplification. Troll support, and the threat of its removal, has provided an invaluable check on destructive noble machinations within both courts.
The House has a mixed relationship with their fellow sidhe. They are blood-of-the-blood and Scathach has no grudge against them as such. On the other hand, Scathach beliefs have long ago put them in an adversarial relationship with most houses.
- Note: Much of the following information was inexplicably left out of the Book of Lost Houses. The errata was found on-line at https://righttodream.digitaldreaming.org/rules-bolherrata.html
The Seelie Court
The House was once affiliated with this court, and even now most of them are more sympathetic to Seelie sensibilities. On the other hand, recent Seelie domination of the Autumn fae has caused an unhealthy imbalance in the Dreaming, one the Scathach will soon rectify.
- House Beaumayn: As fellow prophets and wanderers of the French countryside, Scathach has been both allied and at odds with the Beaumayn, but never enemies. They were apparently imprisoned while in Arcadia. Like the Scathach, they now share the enmity of the other houses. The house must learn more of this.
- House Dougal: Those of House Dougal are Scathach’s superiors in matters of crafting and they acknowledge these skills, but little else. They are honorable and may be approached as such on an individual basis, though Balor spies in their ranks make this a dicey proposition. As a house, they are far too invested in supporting House Gwydion. Until this changes, the two are unlikely to be friends.
- House Eiluned: House Eiluned nearly rivals the Scathach in divination and surpasses them in other magics, but the Mists cloud their motives. At least they have a healthier view than most of their faerie nature vis-à-vis the courts and do not let one philosophy blind them.
- House Fiona: The house finds the Fiona as admirable as they are puzzling, as honorable as they are beguiling. It has always been Scathach’s perception that House Fiona loves the common fae without fully respecting them. If they did, how could they continue to rule them? Nevertheless, the house values their Fiona allies, even if they don’t always recognize Scathach as such.
- House Gwydion: How can sidhe so individually noble and heroic be so timid and vacillating as a house? At first glance one might think that Scathach would get along quite well with the Falcon House; both are warrior clans and loathe to retreat from any challenge. Despite, or perhaps because of these similarities, however, the two have been locked in a death dance from nearly the beginning. While house members may aid and even befriend them individually, they no longer recognize Gwydion’s right to rule.
- House Liam: This marginal family of outcasts is quite possibly the most worthy of the Seelie houses, despite their inexplicable insistence on holding onto the failed feudal system of the past. The Liam have suffered the other nobles’ contempt with honor and decorum, and have defended the Scathach more than once. The house gladly renders them aid, if for no other reason than it annoys the other houses.
The Unseelie Court
The Unseelie nobility are no more worthy or unworthy than the sidhe of the Summer Court. The Scathach have gained a certain currency within their schemes and, in order to further their own designs, the Unseelie the house occasionally work with them. Then again, there are influential members of the Shadow Court who seem hell-bent on selling out their vaunted freedom in return for power…
- House Aesin: Haughty, earthy, cruel and proud, this house embodies both the best and the worst of the Unseelie houses. Honorable and yet contemptuous of those they deem inferior, the Aesin nonetheless seem to have a fascination with the Scathach that stems from their Volva tradition. Their warriors are among the best and their Volvas approach the prophetic abilities of Scathach seers.
- House Ailil: Ironically, the most fluent schemers of the Unseelie Court have been House Scathach’s greatest assets when crossing the Shadow Court’s designs. Ailil politics may be nigh impenetrable, but the Scathach have little difficulty in recognizing when their objectives coincide. Most of this house realize that when the Elder Darks return, the best even they can hope for is the status of favored slaves. To this end, despite their patrician arrogance, House Scathach has let the Ailil “cultivate” them as a hedge against House Balor.
- House Balor: The chances of Scathach allying themselves with the Serpent House are considerably smaller than those of a sidhe flapping their arms and flying to the moon. Yes, the two share a certain outcast status, but the similarities end there. House Balor offers Scathach “revenge on the power over” the Seelie fae when their Fomorian progenitors sweep them to victory. How little they understand the Scathach. It is possible their dark kind may one day inundate the world, but House Scathach will ever oppose them.
- House Daireann: Scathach has an “interesting” relationship with the Oaken House. The progeny of two puissant warrior queens, their houses have been fierce rivals since the beginning and on opposite sides of more than one battlefield. Even so, their relationship has always been one more of rivalry than hate. This feud began when a garrulous member of House Daireann revealed Cú Chulainn’s weakness (ironically to a renegade avatar of the Morrigan) resulting in his death. The Scathach are pragmatic about such issues, though, and have no desire to spill fresh blood over so ancient a grudge.
- House Leanhaun: If you go back far enough, all sidhe are related through the Tuatha de Danaan, but Scathach has a special connection with the house of Scathach’s half sister. Intelligent, mercurial, cultured, and cruel, the House of Thorns has long has Scathach’s admiration, if not their approval. Unfortunately, their family curse weighs heavily on them; their desperation inexorably compelling them toward an unknown darkness. No doubt remains that the two houses are on a collision course, but whether Scathach’s ultimate destiny is to die in aiding or destroying them… who can say? No matter what, the Leanhaun are close kin and the house finds them intriguing. For now, the Scathach can sympathize with their plight and enjoy their company without falling prey to their wiles.
- House Varich: Scathach knows little about this Russian house, but what they have seen disturbs them. The Varich are weavers of patterns and control the spirits of field and hearth. They also seem to have an unhealthy interest in the in the dark winter chimera who appear ever more numerously at the borders. Yet, they are a proud house and may wish to stay free of the Elder Darks. Fate obscures their final role. Scathach will watch, wait, and, when necessary, act.
More than almost any other fae, House Scathach has gained experience with these children of the Fomorian Dream. When encountering them, it is almost inevitably as enemies. The house has some small sympathy for the neutral Adhene… Scathach herself was raised by fuath. The house has also made tentative alliances with the muses and some independent agencies among the keremet and fir-bholg, but those who worship the Fomorian Dream can expect no quarter. Owing to Scathach’s less than sanguine view of Fate as immutable, the Moirae do not care for them, viewing them as “loose threads” in Fate’s tapestry. The Scathach are wild cards, and the vassals of Fate do not like surprises.
Think what you want of the Scathach, about their diluted blood, repudiation of noble traditions, and propensity to stick their noses where they do not belong. It is all to one end. The Elder Darks are awake and even now shape the world to their alien appetites. The White Court has freed itself of its arboreal prison, but Scathach, imprisoned with them, has disappeared. House Scathach is not vengeful by nature, but if she is dead, no force in existence will stay their wrath. Fomorian or not, the White Court will choke on its own nightmares. Fate tells the house that the world will soon plunge into night everlasting and the Scathach, foolish half-breeds, are just arrogant enough to question her prophecies. These are the times for which they were born.
It is rumored that House Scathach has allies among the Gangrel vampires (via House Leanhaun and the Lhiannan bloodline, perhaps), the Silent Striders, and even the Ahl-i-Batin, with whom they share some terminology.
A House Divided: Autumn vs. Arcadian Scathach
There has been some speculation about whether the Dreaming still treats Scathach as nobles or if it now considers them commoners. Herewith is the answer. Those who have recently returned are now being called Arcadian Scathach while members of the house who remained on Earth are known as Autumn Scathach. This latter name is for ease in telling them apart only! Try calling one an Autumn Scathach and see how fast you regret doing so.
Born to the Purple
According to sidhe of other houses, all members of House Scathach have betrayed their aristocratic heritage and are now no better than any other common rabble. The Dreaming, however, seems to have a different opinion, at least so far as Scathach recently returned from Arcadia are concerned. When casting a cantrip that affects an Arcadian Scathach, the caster must employ Fae 2 (Lofty Noble), just as they would against a noble of any other house. This has led some nobles of the other houses to believe that House Scathach is not completely beyond redemption, while at the same time bolstering their royalist contention that this proves the Dreaming favors the sidhe as the fae’s true rulers. The Dreaming, they argue, does not permit those born to the “chosen kith” to escape the duties and privileges of rulership. At the same time, some commoners view this as proof that those of House Scathach, despite their strong commoner sympathies, are ultimately still aristocrats and, as such, cannot be fully trusted.
When those of House Scathach who remained behind renounced their right to rule and underwent the Changeling Way Ritual, they gave up far more than most kith suspect. Whether as a conscious choice or a penalty imposed by Fate, the Dreaming, or a conclave of the other houses (histories vary), the Dreaming reflects the house’s fallen station on the most fundamental level. When casting a cantrip that affects an Autumn Scathach, the caster employs Fae 1 (Hearty Commoner), just like they would against any other commoner. To most nobles, this is damning proof of the house’s inferior status; a changeling so easily affected by another’s Arts is hardly worthy of the lofty title of sidhe. Conversely, commoners who know of this apparent weakness view House Scathach’s sacrifice in this regard (along with the house’s reduction of sidhe beauty and revocation of Sovereign) as convincing evidence of the house’s commoner credentials.
Those who have met both Arcadian and Autumn Scathach and had any cause to cast cantrips on them may be quite confused, for this shortcoming is not common knowledge. The few sidhe who have realized it are now quite concerned with their own status. No one yet knows what happens to sidhe killed in the Autumn World. If they do reincarnate, perhaps through a Wake being held for them, will they return as commoners akin to the Autumn Scathach or as some other form of commoner? Or will they fail to return at all? Some would no doubt prefer death to the dishonor of such a fall from their noble status.
The Warriors' Halo
For more on the martial arts of House Scathach, see the article Warriors' Halo.
- Berin O'Donnell
- Birog the Lesser
- Celeste Vachon
- Eleanora Mendez
- Evern of the Mountain Dream
- Iolanthe (Hetaerae)
- Patrick of Dalriada
- Rowena Evans
- Sorcha McSkeath
- Talos of Protea
- An Unnamed Warrior of Normandy