- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 2.1 The Original People
- 2.2 Refugees from Across the Great Waters
- 2.3 The Shattering
- 2.4 Strange New Dreams
- 2.5 The Second Shattering
- 2.6 Dreams of Independence & Revolution
- 2.7 Plantations & Evictions
- 2.8 Civil War
- 2.9 The Age of Reconstruction
- 2.10 The Twentieth Century
- 2.11 Visions of Today & Tomorrow
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Culture
- 5.1 Honor
- 5.2 Festivals
- 5.3 That Old-Time Religion
- 6 Gallain & Others
- 7 Local Treasures & Creatures
- 8 References
The Kithain of the Kingdom of Willows represent a broad spectrum of beliefs and visions. The sidhe, though divorced from the region’s turbulent and often bloody history, nevertheless symbolize the stagnant dreams of the aristocracy to the commoners, whose own stories reflect the changing directions of the new South. Here also reside remnants of older dreams: the Nunnehi, the dream children of the Native Americans who once populated the coastal plains and fertile valleys from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Their stolen dreams seek a chance to make themselves heard once more.
One figure looms above all the other changelings in the Kingdom of Willows. King Meilge, scion of House Eiluned, rules his sun-dappled, fragrant realm from Willow’s Heart, his grand freehold set in the core of metropolitan Atlanta. Since his return during the Resurgence to the lands he occupied before the Shattering, he has dreamed of the future of his kingdom. His shrewd ambition and canny adaptability have helped propel Atlanta into the frenetic, competitive tempest of the modern world.
The clash of old guard against new breed manifests throughout both the mortal and changeling worlds of the Southern United States. Penetrating the stifling atmosphere of changelessness, a burst of anticipation stirs the hearts of Southerners. Here, they say, lies the future, and the people of the South will form the vanguard of tomorrow. The willow stretches it branches to meet the winds of change.
Old anger smolders in the breasts of those who do not forget, though. Southerners of African descent remember their ancestors’ enslavement by the plantation owners before the Civil War and the decades of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Native Americans have not forgotten that these lands belonged to them until the ambitions of the white colonists cut them out of the American Dream. Poor whites continue to eke out a meager existence on subsistence farms in the mountains and in the Deep South, missing out on the privileges and prosperity claimed by their wealthy cousins in the Tidewater and Basin regions. The coal towns of Kentucky and the mill towns of the Carolinas bear witness to the economic deprivations of many Southerners. The magnolia withers at a touch, revealing the decay at its center.
The Kingdom of Willows came into existence with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Concordia as the sovereign government of the North American fae. The land’s history is far older, though. The earliest faeries arrived with the Dreamers of the native tribes that settled along the fertile Atlantic coast, the rich farmland of the Mississippi basin, and the verdant forests of the Appalachians. The first dreams belonged to them.
The Original People
Some of the original inhabitants of the land emigrated from a place they called “the Dawnlands” to make their homes along the coastal waters of the great eastern sea. They were the Roanoke, the Nanticoke, the Piscataway, and the Powhatan, tribes of the southern Algonquins. Children of Father Sun and Mother Earth, they honored both of their parents and lived in harmony with the world around them. They also respected the invisible world and its dream-inhabitant, the canny rock fishers (may-may-gway-shi) and the ever-inventive thought-crafters (children of the god called Manabus), recognizing in them their own dreams come to life.
Others came from the damp soil of the Earth itself or emerged from a great realm below Earth’s surface, following the command of Someone Powerful to dwell upon the outside of the world. These were the southeastern tribes of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, as well as the Natchez, Gaddo, Tunica, Yazoo, Biloxi, Yamasee, Waxhaw, and Tuscarora. The Dreamers among them imagined into existence the nanehi (People Who Live Anywhere), the yunwi tsundsi (the Little People), and the yunwi amai’yine’hi (the Water People).
Dreamfolk of the Dawnland
Before the Sundering reached the American continents, the faeries of the Algonquins lived in close proximity to their mortal Dreamers. The may-may-gway-shi often assisted their flesh-brothers and -sisters in harvesting the bounty of the waters, and shared their knowledge of the secrets of Medicine with worthy individuals, while the thought-crafters inspired the creativity of their mortal kin, teaching them better ways of surviving in harmony with the natural world. Native faeries sometimes served as guides for youths undergoing vision quests, assisting them in crossing the border between the visible and invisible worlds, and acting as intercessors with the spirits that dwelt in the Higher Hunting Grounds.
The reclusive rock fishers preferred to remain within the seclusion of their homes within large rock formations or behind waterfalls, emerging only occasionally to bestow their special gifts on the human tribes. The gregarious and inquisitive thought-crafters, on the other hand, mixed freely with mortal folk, participating in their ceremonies and exchanging small Medicine tokens for gifts of prime tobacco, necklaces of tiny shells, or adornments made of bright feathers. Now and then, promising young men or women would return with visiting faeries to their enchanted dwellings, sometimes staying for years. Upon their return, not a day older than when they left, these individuals often held positions of great respect within their tribes, for they had been touched directly by the Medicine of the spirits. Many of them became shamans or willworkers while others served as counselors to their tribal leaders.
From these chosen ones came the first hints (through dreams) of the arrival of strangers who would forever change the Algonquin world.
The Southern Algonquins
The Algonquins who lived along the coast partook of the rich bounty of fish and shellfish offered by their nearness to the Atlantic Ocean and the great waterways that emptied into it: the Potomac, Rappahannock and James Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. The southern Algonquins also made good use of the prolonged growing season and fertile river-fed soil to grow corn, beans, squash, and tobacco. Nuts and berries from the forests also supplemented their diet. In addition to providing alternative meat sources, the myriad game animals of the nearby woodlands offered skins, furs, and other parts (such as claws) that could be used for clothing, tools, and decoration. The tribes of the Roanoke, Nanticoke, Piscataway, and Powhatan also hunted the many varieties of wild fowl (especially turkeys) that lived in the marshes and woods.
The waterways also provided them with reliable routes on which to travel using dugout canoes. A series of linked trails that paralleled the rivers also connected one village to another, making overland journeys relatively easy. Tribal villages traded goods with one another, exchanging strings of shells, colorful feathers, medicinal herbs, and rare pigments for ceremonial dyes, region-specific game, or carved fetishes.
The villages of the southern Algonquin tribes consisted of loaf-shaped lodges built by covering a frame of wooden poles with large pieces of bark, hides, or mats woven from the reeds that grew along the river banks. In addition to these family residences, called wigwams, settlements included sweat lodges, sheds for storing food, a council house that served as the chief’s lodge, and ceremonial temples. Frequently situated on high ground and protected from attack by log palisades, these villages gave security and engendered a sense of community to their residents.
Southern Algonquin men and women divided chores between them. Activities such as warfare, hunting, fishing, tobacco cultivation, and the preparation of fields for planting fell most often to men; women bore the responsibilities for tending the other crops, preparing food, tanning hides, weaving, and rearing children. Among many of the tribes, women held positions of respect; where leadership positions remained within the same family, women sometimes inherited the title of “chief.”
Celebrations and rituals marked important events in the lives of the tribes as well. Puberty rites, marriage ceremonies, births, and deaths served as the occasions for tribal gatherings to honor the spirits and reaffirm the connection between the worlds.
Children of the Woodland Dreaming
The tribes of the Southeastern woodlands and valley, like their Northeastern neighbors, recognized the close presences of the Nunnehi. Referring to them as the “invisible people,” the “little people,” or the “people who live anywhere,” the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek all heeded these messengers from the spirit world. The faerie folk of the Southeast resided chiefly in their own townships, well away from mortal eyes. Among themselves, they celebrated their relationship to the cycles of nature. They also understood, though, their need for human interaction and sought ways to connect with their Dreamers.
The yunwi tsundsi acted as either unseen helpers or mischief makers. These diminutive faeries often attached themselves to certain families, watching over children, retrieving lost objects, and bestowing on their adopted mortals small gifts. If insulted or ignored, the retaliated by playing pranks on the offender or pelting them with stones thrown from their hiding places.
More decorous but no less attracted to humans than the Little People, the nanehi aided mortals in need and served as messengers between the living and the dead. The nanehi often took human lovers and sometimes dwelt for a time in native towns.
The yunwi amai’yine’hi lived along the rivers of the southeast. More attuned to the natural world and their beloved waterways than to mortal society, these reclusive faeries occasionally interacted with humans. The people residing near the southern rivers or using these waterways for fishing and transportation quickly learned to respect the water people, whose attentions to river travelers could prove either helpful or disastrous.
The People of the Southern Woodlands
Along the rivers of the Southeast, huge earthen mounds rise above the landscape… some etched with deep pictographs or stone mosaics or topped by the ruins of temples. These monuments are the legacy of the first inhabitants of the rich forests and valleys of the Mississippi Basin. The civilization of the Adena-Hopewell culture (also called the “mound builders”) flourished in the American Southeast almost 4000 years ago, before it declined and vanished from sight.
New settlers replaced the old. The Mississippian culture, a highly developed, agricultural society of sun worshippers, continued the building of mounds for ceremonial purposes. For centuries after the passing of the old mound builders, tribes such as the Natchez made their homes near the Mississippi River. That civilization, too, rose and dwindled, giving way to yet a third wave of newcomers, the tribes that one day would bear the collective title of the Five Civilized Tribes.
From across the Mississippi came the Choctaw and the Chickasaw, descendants (according to legend) of the hero-brothers Chacta and Chicsa. Following the directions of a sacred staff and led by a white dog, Chacta brought his people to the rich lands of central Mississippi; his brother, Chicsa, continued onward into Tennessee, western Kentucky, and Alabama. The Cherokee, a group of Iroquois-speakers who called themselves anuyunwiya (the principal people), arrived from the north, traveling down the Ohio River valley. They settled first in the Great Smokey Mountains, spreading from there throughout eastern Tennessee, western Virginia, and the hills of South Carolina, northern Georgia, and Alabama. Southern Georgia and most of Alabama saw the rise of a collection of smaller tribes eventually known as “Creeks.” One group of Creeks traveled as far as Florida, where it developed independently as the Seminoles.
The tribes of the Southeast combined hunting and agriculture to provide food for their people. The forests provided plentiful game, while the rich soil of the mountains supported vegetable crops and tobacco. A variety of fruits, nuts, and berries was available in the forests.
These tribes lied in towns set along the rivers. Each town had a central square that contained a ceremonial field, a tcokofa (winter council house) and a set of buildings that served as a summer council house. Arranged around the town center were residences for tribal members, usually consisting of a summer house, a winter house, and several storage sheds for food. Each town had its own chief who governed with the advice of his council made up of warriors and elders. Generally, chiefs made decisions after arriving at a consensus; each council member expressed his opinion in meetings. Among the Creek and the Cherokee, the greatest warrior also served as chief in times of war.
Competition and rivalry existed between towns of a single tribe and among different tribes. The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek all participated in various forms of stickball, a sport conducted with great ceremony and ritual that conferred a great deal of status upon the winning team and its township. Wars occurred on a seasonal basis, motivated by either revenge or the need to attain greater status within the tribe by bringing home war captives. Usually, different tribes raided each other, but occasionally a town would conduct a raid upon a neighboring rival.
Most of the Southeastern tribes were matrilineal and women occupied positions of importance in society. Although they did not regularly serve as warriors, some women did fight alongside their male kinfolk, while others accompanied war parties to serve as “cheering sections,” using songs, dances, and, when necessary, insults to spur the braves to victory. Men and women performed different chores within society, but both sexes were eligible to serve as council elders.
Within each town, family groups divided themselves by clans, each with its own totem spirit. Thus, the Cherokee had seven clans: wolf, deer, bird, paint, blue, wind, and sweet potato. Marriages occurred across clan lines; to do otherwise was to commit incest and incur severe punishment.
The peoples of the Southeast all worshipped a supreme being and honored the spirits of nature. Religious ceremonies involved bathing, purification ceremonies, puberty rites for young men and women, and the all-important Green Corn Ceremony, which celebrated the ripening of the corn harvest and served as a time of rejoicing and renewal.
Refugees from Across the Great Waters
It began with a series of dreams and visions. Elders of the Nunnehi received images of pale-skinned people, similar to yet utterly unlike themselves, stepping onto familiar landscapes. At other times, they dreamed of white birds or colorless deer emerging against the dawn sky, as if they had come from the place where the rising sun bleached them. Feelings of fear and great trouble accompanied these visions. The native faeries spoke of these dreams among themselves and waited. They did not wait long.
Across the sea, in Europe, the Sundering came. Many sidhe severed their ties with the mortal world and fled to Arcadia for refuge. A few, reluctant to leave entirely a world still rich in promise and inspiration, journeyed westward by land trod or sea path to the Summerlands, the paradise of Tir-na-N'og. In other words, they joined the ranks of the discoverers of pre-Columbian America.
Fleeing a world that began to grow colder with Banality, many sidhe led their households to the fabled lands of the West. Sailing with their Viking Dreamers, many trolls landed along the shores of what would later be called Canada; some stayed to set up their own lodges as far south as New York. Celtic fae, among them a few clurichaun and pooka, made the journey to the Land of New Dreams as well. Thus, long before the Black Plague signaled the onslaught of the Shattering, many European fae had already established themselves in the “Westward Isle.”
Unlike the explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries, the fae were not limited to coastal penetration of the rich lands of the “New World.” Ancient trods led many of these refugees deep into the hinterlands, where they encountered humans still untouched by cynicism. They first encountered the native faeries of America, the Nunnehi.
Eager to establish freeholds and make the best of their self-imposed exile, the European fae began to erect palaces in the wilderness. In most cases, they found themselves infringing on land claimed by the native faeries or by their human Dreamers. In some instances, the newcomers placated the local Nunnehi with gifts and offers of friendship. Old and new faeries swore oaths of alliance. Grand castles wreathed in Glamour rose within sight of Nunnehi villages, and both prospered. Other exiles were not so fortunate, or so perceptive, in their dealings with the native fae. Refusing to recognize the presence of culture and civilization in the absence of ostentation, most of the European fae seized lands without seeking permission from the local fae, dismissing them as mere commoners and beneath their notice. In some cases, outright warfare marked the first contact between European fae and Nunnehi.
A few wisps of Remembrance remain from those elder times. In the mountains of eastern Kentucky, a few Nunnehi tell tales around their campfires of a great friendship between Lord Tamlin ap Fiona and Weeping Sky. Those who can prove kinship with or offer tribute in the name of Tamlin find welcome even today among the few Nunnehi who still inhabit the Cumberland Mountain ranges of Kentucky.
Other whispers from the ancient past tell of the arrival of Meilge ap Eiluned and his household in the heartland of Georgia, where he built a grand freehold called Summerstree. A series of unfortunate mishaps and mistaken overtures between this lord of the sidhe and the native faeries led to a state of near constant war. Of course, the Mists tend to obscure the verification of any reports from that forgotten age.
For the Nunnehi, the knowledge that the others who seemed so different from themselves existed altered their relationship to the world and to the Dreaming. Indeed, the European faeries’ mere knowledge of the Sundering hastened its appearance in the Americas. The refugees unwittingly brought with them the seeds of their own doom.
Finally, the weight of Banality proved so oppressive that not even the most untainted bonds of Glamour could hold the Dreaming close to this world. Even in the Summerlands of America, the paths to the Dreaming faded and tremors rocked the Dreaming. The sidhe realized that time had at last caught up with them. Sealing off their freeholds, sometimes stripping those places of Glamour to power their journey, the last of the sidhe departed the world.
Curiously, not all the sidhe chose to leave. The same Nunnehi who preserved the legend of Tamlin and Weeping Sky also speak of a sacred place in the mountains where a pale lord still dwells beyond mortal senses. Other rumors persist of the hidden glens of the Lost Ones deep within the bayous of Louisiana and the Ozark Mountains and in the hinterlands of West Virginia. Many fae of House Liam, some say half the house, chose to remain rather than flee to the safety of Arcadia. Their tale ends soon after, though, as their “changeling” line died out. Moreover, the sidhe of House Scathach refused to leave the mortal world, surrendering themselves to the same methods of preservation as did the commoner kith left behind. While most Scathach remained in Europe, emigrating to America later with their mortal kin, a few were among the early exiles to the Summerlands and rode out the years between the Shattering and the Resurgence by seeking refuge among friendly native tribes.
Strange New Dreams
When Columbus reported his discovery of the Indies to his patrons, he ignited the imaginations of Europeans. Merchant houses saw their profits soar contemplating the possibility of trade with the “Orient.” Religious dissidents began to dream of establishing for themselves refuges from the persecution of their beliefs. Monarchs sought to expand their domains by laying claim to the reputed wealth and resources that lay across the western sea. All of these groups included changelings who fed on the excitement and hope that rose form the tales of new lands ripe for the taking.
While the history of the American South traditionally begins with the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, Europeans had visited the southern portion of the new continent since the middle of the previous century. The Spanish arrived in Florida in the mid 1500s. Led by Hernando de Soto, an expedition traveled extensively throughout the South, making contact with natives in the Carolinas and along the Mississippi. The Kithain accompanied the Spanish explorers in force, seeing the wonders of the new lands for themselves, and reported their findings to the fae in Europe. The French also explored parts of the Southeast, though they did not establish their settlement in Louisiana until 1718. Almost certainly their expedition contained changelings. Where Ponce de León sought the Fountain of Youth, the Kithain sought, and found, the Fountain of Dreams.
Once the Jamestown colony proved viable, the rush to settle the New World gained momentum. In Maryland, Catholics under the protection of Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, founded St. Mary’s City in 1634; Protestants established Anne Arundel Town (later called Annapolis) soon after. In both Virginia and Maryland, an aristocratic upper class assumed the rights of rulership over a labor force of indentured servants and Indian and African slaves, whose efforts ensured ready cash crops from the farming of tobacco. All the commoner kith and few of House Scathach arrived alongside their mortal counterparts. While some were craftsmen, farmers, and entrepreneurs, a few Kithain were among the indentured colonists who traded a few years of service for their passage to the new lands. Many eshu traveled on the slave ships with their kinain families, but some were both free and wealthy. Still other changelings braved the few trods left open, thereby discovering freeholds abandoned by nobles and claiming them as their own.
After the demise of the settlement on Roanoke around 1590, the region south of Virginia remained largely ignored by English colonists for over half a century. After the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, the Carolinas were again targeted for colonization when King Charles II granted settlement charters to his allies. Charles Towne (later Charleston) arose in 1670, while along the coastal regions south of Virginia, colonies sprouted near the original Roanoke settlement.
Further south, in Georgia, a variation on the colonial dream differentiated that portion of the South from its very inception. Established by a board of trustees as a haven for debtors and others who had run afoul of the rigid class system in England, the colony of Georgia, founded in 1733, spread outward from the port city of Savannah. The ideals that sparked this experiment in reformation also attracted many changelings who fed on the dreams of new beginnings in a new world.
Dreams in Conflict
As the new colonists in Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia set down roots, the ambitions of the European colonists brought them into conflict with the natives whose lands they commandeered. The Powhatan Confederation initially tested the resolve of the early settlers of Jamestown by sending warriors to attack the settlement. The capture of Captain John Smith and the intervention of Pocahontas, Powhatan’s daughter, to save him from execution led to trade agreements and alliances between natives and newcomers.
In truth, though, conflicts between the Algonquins of the Virginia coast and the Jamestown colony continued as the English sought to expand their holdings at the Powhatans’ expense. By 1618, the Powhatans had declined, their numbers decimated by European diseases and their culture tainted by the introduction of guns, tools, and other strange and valuable trade goods. With the defeat in 1640 of Opechancanough, Powhatan’s successor, the native Algonquins found themselves relegated to the status of vassals or indentured servants or slaves. They were confined to lands on the fringes of the growing colony. The land now belonged to the usurpers and their dreams.
In Maryland, a similar uprooting of native culture took place as newcomer advances swept aside the Piscataway. Alliances with the English settlers at Saint Mary’s aggravated the Piscataway’s northern neighbors and rivals, the Susquehannock; these Iroquois, armed with guns from the Swedish and Dutch immigrants in Delaware, mounted attacks on their southern rivals. Those Piscataway who survived the battles fell prey to disease.
In the Carolinas, the Tuscarora and the Creek nations suffered the same depredations from the settlements in Charles Towne, New Bern, and other emerging colonies. Disregarding tribal claims to lands provoked conflicts between natives and settlers, while disease took its toll among the longtime inhabitants of the region. In 1711, the embittered Tuscarora mounted a last-ditch attack on the New Bern community; their defeat and forced emigration to upstate New York permanently secured the eastern coast of North Carolina for future generations of settlers. Attacks by the Yamasee and Lower Creeks on the South Carolina settlement at Port Royal sparked a series of wars that soon involved not only the entire coastal region of the Carolinas, but extended into the interior where the Cherokee became involved. The resulting Yamasee War had a devastating effect on the natives, inflaming old hostilities between the Creeks and the Cherokee, who had sided with the British against their ancient rivals. By the end of that bloody conflict, the position of the English settlers had solidified; as the ultimate victors, they controlled the disbursement of lands and goods.
The Second Shattering
Despite warnings from the Nunnehi, the Algonquins and the Southeastern tribes persisted in seeking fair treatment from the Europeans. Hoping to salvage some sort of peace, the native faeries also sent emissaries to bargain with the faeries from across the waters. Sadly, the Nunnehi did not realize that this contact would expose them to the taint of Banality. In the aftermath of the Shattering, the European fae had transformed themselves into changelings, embracing a veneer of Banality to shield their inherent Glamour from utter destruction. The Nunnehi had no such protection. Like the diseases that decimated the mortal population of the native tribes, Banality infected the Nunnehi, weakening their ties to the Higher Hunting Grounds.
In addition to the drastic reduction of the native population and the extinction of entire tribes, a disruption in the connections between the mortal world and the American Dreaming resulted from the imposition of European cultural values and religious beliefs… and disbeliefs. The gateways to Arcadia had long since disappeared; now the passages to the Higher Hunting Grounds began to dissolve. Even as their mortal counterparts debated methods of dealing with the newcomers, councils of Nunnehi elders met to determine how to cope with the impending loss of their source of Medicine.
The answers came to them in dreams and vision quests.
Like the Garou, the Nunnehi learned new ways of gathering Medicine… by tapping directly into the power of the natural world. While the loss of the Higher Hunting Grounds made it more difficult to harvest Glamour from acts of creativity and imagination, their new knowledge of drawing forth the magical essences of the land that surrounded them helped to sustain them. Instead of traveling back and forth between the mortal world and the Higher Hunting Grounds, the Nunnehi learned how to enter the Umbra, the source of natural Medicine.
As their human tribes dwindled, the Nunnehi withdrew deeper into the wilderness. Although a few native fae persisted in attempting to coexist with their European cousins, most preferred to avoid further contact. Thus, dreams of welcoming and sharing disappeared, replaced by visions of mistrust and fear.
Glamour on the High Seas: Pirates & Privateers
During England’s sporadic campaign of warfare against Spain, privateers received commissions from the monarchy to prey upon Spanish ships and several of these buccaneers achieved high status; King Charles bestowed a knighthood and the title of Governor of Jamaica on Henry Morgan as a reward for his privateering efforts against Spain. Rumors among the Kithain hold that Valeren ap Scathach served as one of Morgan’s most trusted officers, accompanying him on his daring assaults against the Spanish fleet.
Throughout the early period of colonization, pirates frequented the coastal waters of the Carolinas, finding havens in the many coves that pocketed the shoreline. Small settlements along the coast welcomed these free traders and looked forward to their arrival.
The exploits of Whispering Molly, the sluagh pirate “queen,” and her crew of Kithain made their way into the legends of the fae of the Carolina coast. Flaunting the Navigation Acts that imposed high tariffs on imported goods and forced colonists to sell their produce only to England, Molly’s ship, the Midnight Witch, smuggled contraband at cut-rate prices to colonists eager to sample her exotic wares.
The British response to piracy varied according to the political climate. During the conflicts with Spain, privateers bore letters of marque endowing them with the license to attack Spanish vessels. With the cessation of English-Spanish hostilities, though, these “freelance” traders became an embarrassment to the Crown.
Despite the fickle nature of royal patronage, piracy held great profit for the venturesome entrepreneurs on the high seas. Trading in everything from rum and gold pieces to the human cargo of slaves from Africa and indentures servants captured from “legitimate” merchant ships, privateers continued to defy the forces of the law.
The wild freedom and excitement of life on the high seas served as a rich source of Glamour for Kithain of all classes. Changeling legends speak of a motley of redcaps that served the most famous of the Carolina pirates, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
Some stories credit the career of the retired Major Stede Bonnet, who late in life turned to piracy, to the pranks of Gannet Sullivan, his Unseelie pooka companion who sought to infuse some excitement into a friend. Other Kithain, such as the eshu Andre Dubonet, captain of the Broken Chain, preyed upon slave ships, rescuing many kidnapped Africans who later established free enclaves in various parts of the South.
Certainly, the lure of riches drew many changelings to the swashbuckler’s life, but many more of them rejoiced in the wealth of Glamour that came from casting aside the constraints of laws and regulations for the drama and camaraderie of shared danger and excitement.
New Arrivals, New Lands, New Dreams
While the initial settlement of the South was coastal, a second wave of newcomers moved into the Appalachian Mountains. Some of these pioneers resented the stratified society of the tidewater settlements and sought a less restrictive way of life; others migrated from the northern colonies. Among these newcomers were the Scot-Irish and the Pennsylvania Dutch. A new influx of European fae eagerly accompanied these settlers deeper into the wilderness. More rugged dreams surfaced in a land that refused to succumb to human occupation. The strong desire for independence that arose in these isolated pockets of colonists mirrored the largely Unseelie component of the fae in this area. Like their human counterparts, the fae who settled the inland mountains in what would become western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, and northern Georgia, sought escape from the Seelie commoners who retained too many vestiges of the traditions left behind by their vanished sidhe overlords. The dreams of rebellion flourished in the mountains and hinterlands.
The coastal colonies of the South continued to prosper. The town of Baltimore received a charter in 1729. By 1707, Williamsburg had inherited the leadership of the now-abandoned Jamestown settlement. In 1730, the Carolinas divided into northern and southern provinces. Charleston served as the capital of South Carolina until after the Revolutionary War. Savannah held its place as Georgia’s capital until Augusta replaced in in 1785.
During the period leading up to the American Revolution, the southern colonies evolved into a rigidly structured society. The rise of plantations, held by the aristocratic “planter” class, led to the increased need for cheap (read: preferably free) labor. The importation of black slaves from Africa, natives from the Caribbean, and the enslavement of the indigenous tribes played a vital role in the region’s economy.
Oglethorpe’s Tarnished Dream
The colony of Georgia began as one man’s vision of an ideal society. When George II granted a charter to James Oglethorpe for the founding of a society, he little knew that he has granted permission for an experiment in utopia. On the surface, Oglethorpe’s colony, founded in Savannah in 1733, promised sizable profits to the British monarch; the region’s semitropical climate seemed ideal for cultivating grapes for wine, raising silkworms, and growing exotic spices. In addition, the location of the colony served as a buffer zone between the Spaniards in Florida and the prosperous Carolinas.
Oglethorpe proposed to settle his lands with people who had fallen out of society’s favor: debtors, dissidents, petty criminals, and poor workers in need of a second chance. The original trustees of the colony outlawed slave labor, forbade the use of hard liquor within the colony, and attempted to prevent the growth of large plantations.
Many commoner changelings were among the first arrivals in the new “promised land,” spurred on by the hopes of debtors whose bitter hearts still held within them hopes for change and for a new life. Numerous families of redcaps and boggans trace their mortal ancestry to Savannah’s earliest days.
Sadly, Oglethorpe’s dream died in its infancy. While the climate of Georgia’s coast seemed ideal, the soil proved unsuitable. Eventually the colony had to resort to the staple crops raised by its neighbors in the Carolinas: cotton, rice, and indigo. As early as 1749, landowners began using slave labor to remain competitive. In 1753, when Georgia reverted to the status of a royal colony, it bore little resemblance to the land of opportunity as imagined by its founder. The shattered dreams of its inhabitants took on their own life, and new changelings emerged whose Unseelie natures reflected the loss of hope and loss of faith in honest effort.
From the Bayou to the Deep South.
The French established the settlement of New Orleans in 1718, hoping to control the lucrative fur trade between the Gulf and the Great Lakes. Lack of French interest and economic support, though, prevented New Orleans and the entire territory of Louisiana from reaching its full potential. In the 1760s, France ceded its lands west of the Mississippi to Spain, while England acquired French territory east of the great river.
While the French controlled New Orleans, the city acquired a diverse population that included French, Irish, Spanish, German, and West Indian residents. Kithain found both the climate and the atmosphere of New Orleans congenial. Under the French and later Spanish, black inhabitants enjoyed greater freedom than their enslaved counterparts in the British-controlled colonies. The bayous to the west of the Mississippi became the refuge in the 1750s of the French Acadians expelled from Canada by the British. These exiles formed the basis of the Cajun population who have forever stamped the culture of the region.
Among the changelings who settled in Louisiana were eshu who made their homes with the free blacks and the exiled Acadians, pooka and boggans who thrived with the Irish, German nockers and trolls, and Spanish and West Indian satyrs.
In 1686, Henri d’Arkansea founded the settlement known as Arkansas Post (Poste d’Arkansea) along the Lower Mississippi. Abandoned in 1700, the outpost was revived by an influx of German settlers determined to establish themselves along the Mississippi’s fur trade route. While the attempt proved less successful than anticipated, the outpost maintained a tenuous existence, surviving to greet the Americans who claimed it as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Hardy nockers, trolls, and boggans, as well as a few sluagh, traveled to Arkansas with the hope of reviving their fading dreams.
The French established an outpost not far from the site of modern Biloxi in 1699; Fort Rosalie on the Mississippi River became the second permanent site of French colonists in 1714. Clashes between the French and the native Creek and Natchez (aided by their Nunnehi kin) limited expansion of the region until well after the American Revolution. The Mississippi Territory, which included the present-day Alabama, passed from the French to the British in the transfer of power that gave Louisiana to Spain.
Although they failed to establish permanent settlements in Alabama, Spanish and English fur traders explored the rich lands along the Alabama River in the latter half of the 16th century. The region remained disputed for many decades thereafter. Finally, the French succeeded in founding settlements at Fort Louis in 1702 and in Mobile in 1711. From these, they established a series of forts and indigo and rice plantations. Like the English and Spanish, they imported black slave labor from Africa. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 gave Alabama to the British, who made a point of courting the Creek nations who lived in the region, supplying them with guns and horses and encouraging their assimilation of European customs and culture.
The beauty of the Mississippi and Alabama River valleys called to European changelings, and a few hardy members of House Scathach and a number of commoner fae arrived with the early fur traders and subsequent planters. Many eshu labored in the fields alongside their enslaved mortal families, helping to keep alive their pride and dreams of attaining freedom.
Dreams of Independence & Revolution
The events that led up to the American Revolution comprised a catalog of mounting frustrations between the colonists of the new world and the English Crown. The monarchy saw its interests in the Americas as primarily economic, expecting the colonies to provide it with cheap sourced of raw materials and foodstuffs while at the same time purchasing imported goods at high prices. In addition, the British used the colonies as a convenient dumping ground for political and religious dissidents, reasoning that enough distance would neutralize these enemies while at the same time allowing them to perform valuable (though risky) services for the Crown.
The British did not count on the power of dreams and a vast ocean to inspire rebellion and a desire for independence.
Fighting alongside their kinain families, the Kithain joined wholeheartedly in the War of Independence, although not all of them fought on the side of the rebels. Many pioneers of the Appalachian frontier resented the prosperity of their richer cousins inhabiting the fertile lands along the Chesapeake and in the Tidewater regions of the Carolinas and Virginia. Hotbeds of Tory sympathizers proliferated in parts of the South. Many battles between English and American forces saw fae of many kiths battling each other with chimerical weapons alongside mortals armed with muskets and cannons.
Both the British and the Americans sought allies among the native tribes still residing in lands claimed by England. The British won many Creek and some Cherokee to their cause by assurances that it would limit the western expansion of the colonies. Other branches of the Cherokee sided with the Americans, who supplied them with weapons and horses in return for their assistance. For the most part, the Nunnehi counseled their human kin to avoid involving themselves in the wars of the invaders, but their advice went unheeded as more warlike tempers prevailed. Some Nunnehi, spurred on by anger over the treatment that they had received at the hands of European fae, joined the war despite the warnings of their own tribal elders.
In the end, the dreamers of independence proved victorious: in 1783, the colonies achieved their freedom from Britain. The American Dream began.
In many ways, the real losers of the Revolutionary War were the Native Americans. The tribes who had supported the English suffered seizure of their lands as spoils of war. The Algonquins, Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes retreated further west as the new American nation sought to expand its western borders. The expansion of the fledgling Union proceeded as Kentucky and Tennessee were incorporated as states. Nunnehi villages disappeared and sacred grounds suffered as pioneers trampled through them. Many native stories were lost, supplanted by those of the Europeans.
France sold the vast Louisiana Territory, which included the entire middle portion of the continent from New Orleans to the Canadian border, to the new United States government in 1803. Overnight, the young nation acquired the potential to become a formidable world power. Europeans flocked to the newly opened territories. In their wake came European fae hungry for freeholds.
The westward expansion into the Appalachian and Cumberland Mountains and into the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys brought pioneers into renewed conflict with the Creeks, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee. The success of the new American nation also disturbed Britain, unwilling as it was to let go entirely of its hold on its former colonies. Continued conscription of Americans into the British army and navy and British attempts to control America’s relations with other European powers led to the War of 1812. Again, the British sought and received support from the native tribes; again, the Indians, and the native fae who embodied their dreams, were the losers as more of their lands fell in reprisal to the victorious Americans.
A District Apart: Washington, D.C.
In 1791, Maryland donated land along the banks of the Potomac River for the construction of a national capital. The District of Columbia, between Maryland and Virginia, thus belonged to the nation rather than to any single part of it. Though Washington reflects the cosmopolitan ideas of its chief architect, a distinctly Southern atmosphere also permeates the city and its environs.
Designed by the French architect Pierre-Charles L’Enfant, Washington, D.C. became the center of the new government in 1800. Captured and burned by the British during the War of 1812, the city underwent rebuilding and expansion.
The nation’s capital contains its own share of Glamour, born from the dreams of independence and the visions of each new president-elect (before the realities of political expediency exercise their corrosive influence on once-pristine ideals). Many Kithain, though, believe that Washington’s Glamour bears a dark taint. These critics maintain that spending too much time pursuing inspiration in a city known for its arcane and unsavory political machinations has driven many a changeling into the arms of the Shadow Court.
In fact, many Unseelie Kithain reside in the Washington, D.C. area, which they claim belongs to none of Concordia’s established nobility. No one has yet verified the rumors of the city’s sat as a Shadow Duchy owing fealty to the “Kingdom of Discordia.”
Plantations & Evictions
The growth of the plantation system throughout much of the southeast (with the exception of some of the more mountainous regions) marked the most significant difference between the southern United States and the rest of the nation. The South depended on large-scale farming for the production of cash crops. Land, the South’s greatest resource, rested in the possession of an aristocratic class of planters. The use of slave labor, ingrained in the plantation economy since its colonial inception, became a subject for debate and fierce discussion in Congress almost from the beginning. Kithain embroiled themselves on both sides of the issue, with changelings from planter households standing in opposition to their more liberal-minded Kithain counterparts.
Once the colonies had won their freedom from England, they were loath to surrender any portion of it to a greater union. The division between Federalists, who supported a strong central government, and Republicans, who advocated placing authority in local hands, made it difficult to reach a consensus on the status of slavery. The southern states, largely represented by members from the planter class, saw any attempt to limit its importation of slaves or to abolish slavery as an attack on their sovereign right to self-determination. As so often happens in the political arena, morals bowed before the pressure of expediency and self-interest. Thus, the same men who reveled in their hard-won struggle for independence denied the blessings of liberty on others. Unfortunately, many Kithain shared their mortal cousins’ beliefs.
While the plantation mentality separated the South from the rest of the nation, another issue gained popular support from all parts of the new country. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the territory of the United States, making available vast lands for expansion. Standing in the way of the nation’s new “manifest destiny,” though, were thousands of Native Americans. Already pressed westward from their original homelands, the several Indian nations once more represented obstacles to settlers anxious to claim the rich, new areas as their own.
The War of 1812, while ostensibly fought to establish American rights over its newly acquired territories as an international power, actually served other interests. By the end of the war, the Creek nation had forfeited its lands in Georgia and Alabama to the United States, removing themselves across the Mississippi. Some Nunnehi remained behind, determined to protect their sacred lands from the supplanters, but they were too few and far between. European changelings quickly moved in to claim abandoned Nunnehi freeholds.
The war also launched the career of Andrew Jackson, whose exploits against the Creek at the Battle of New Orleans cleared the way for his entry onto the political stage. Although many Kithain doubt the assertions that “Old Hickory” was one of the Dauntain, no one can deny that his presidency ended many of the dreams of many native changelings. With Jackson’s presidency, the remaining tribes of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw saw their dreams of cooperation with the nation of white Americans turn into a nightmare of eviction and forced relocation.
The Trail of Tears
Since the presentation of Pocahontas to the courts of Europe, the Indian nations had relied on the principles of negotiation and personal representation to formulate agreements between themselves and the chieftains of the pale-skinned settlers. Throughout the colonial period, treaties between the British and the native tribes dictated everything from trade agreements to assurances and revocations of land titles.
The members of the Five Civilized Tribes sought to do the same with the “white father” in Washington, D.C. Time and again, ambassadors from these tribes visited the nation’s capital, seeking to petition the President to recognize their rights to land and their sovereignty as nations.
The Cherokee went further than any of the tribes in their efforts to gain acknowledgement of their equality as a diplomatic power. Besides adopting the clothing, customs, lifestyles, religion, and habits of their American neighbors, they developed a written language, published a newspaper, and drafted a constitution based on the American model. Their hopes of gaining the respect of the chief of the American nation through cultural assimilation evoked varying responses from each president they encountered. Some, Like James Monroe, appeared partially sympathetic to the Indians’ concerns. Time and again, petitions and letters to Washington met with ambiguous promises of consideration of the tribes’ requests for sovereign recognition.
Finally, with Andrew Jackson, the ambiguity came to an end. President Jackson made no secret of his belief that the solution to the problem of coexistence with the native population lay in removing them… by force, if necessary… from territory claimed by the United States. In this, he had the support and encouragement of many settlers. The discovery of gold in lands held by the Cherokee in northern Georgia served as the impetus for increased pressure for Indian relocation, and Jackson needed little urging to enact the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. From that moment, the tribes of the Southeast lived on borrowed time.
Despite a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court backing Cherokee claims to nationhood, President Jackson initiated the forced removal in 1838 of more than 14,000 Cherokee from their homelands in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Known as the Trail of Tears, the Cherokees’ enforced march from their homelands to “Indian Territory” (present-day Oklahoma) across the Mississippi resulted in the deaths of one-fifth of the men, women, and children compelled to travel through the harsh winter months from October 1838 to March 1839.
Accompanying their mortal families, the Nunnehi tried to imbue their kin with courage and hope, but the native faeries suffered keenly from the abrupt disruption of their connection to the land, their source of Medicine. Many Nunnehi perished en route, sickening and dying from a dearth of dreams.
Jackson did not catch all the natives, though. Many Cherokee fled to the mountains of Appalachia, hiding until it was safe to emerge. Some Nunnehi came to the assistance of their human kin, using their powers of Enchantment to draw them into the Spirit World. With the formation of a reservation in the Smokies, along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, these refugees once again reentered the world and took up residence on lands granted them. The surviving Nunnehi likewise attempted to re-create their dreams from the fragments left over from the ambitions of American greed.
The first half of the 19th century saw repeated confrontations between the southern states and the rest of the nation. Most northern states had little vested interest in slavery; many had, in fact, abolished the institution. The South, on the other hand, had locked itself into a slave-based economy. Its agricultural foundations rested on the backs of black slaves; moreover, slaves toiled in almost every southern industry. The Missouri Compromise of 1820, which controlled the admission of new states to the Union as slave states or free states in the hopes of preserving a balance between the two groups, underlined the overwhelming importance that the issue of slave-holding assumed in the minds of northerners and southerners alike.
Other factors also worked to widen the gulf between the states on either side of the Mason-Dixon line. Southern representatives to Congress repeatedly opposed attempts to federalize the U.S. government, arguing that the original colonies had not rebelled against the British Crown only to surrender their liberty to an American one. The issue of “states’ rights” came to stand for Southern reluctance to accede to any authority save its own. Second, the vast differences in economies between the North and South further underscored the regional differences. The agricultural South feared economic collapse with the abolition of slavery and saw attempts at national legislation against slavery as an attack on their balance sheets, as well as an affront to their social structure.
To complicate the situation further, not all Southerners supported the continuation of slavery. In many parts of the South, small farmers lived precariously, working their own fields without slave labor. The fine words and high-falutin’ phrases spouted in Washington by Southern senators and representatives to Congress did not reflect their views or interests. The same resentment against the aristocratic planters and rich bureaucrats that led their ancestors to embrace the Loyalist cause during the War for Independence also set these embittered souls against the mainstream of Southern thought.
Kithain & Slavery
The relationship of the Kithain and the events leading to the Civil War are varied. The high levels of Banality surrounding the debates over the necessity of slavery and the political integrity of the rights of states over the demands of a federated government kept many Kithain far away from the center of activity surrounding the dissolution of the Union. On the other hand, signs of Kithain presence are evident in many places during this problematic epoch.
The Kithain of the antebellum South sustained themselves on a variety of dreams. While no overall government existed among them since the Shattering, individual commoners and Scathach sidhe managed to carve out freeholds within the Southern Dreaming that mirrored the society around them. Some changelings existed among the slave-owning upper class, feeding on the cloying dreams of pastoral paternalism. The grand balls and galas of the pre-war South served as rallying points for pleasure-loving satyrs, while not a few pooka surfaced among the horse-raising gentry of Kentucky and Virginia.
Among the black population of the South, the eshu played a vital role that established strong bonds of mutual inspiration between mortals and changelings. Eshu reminded uprooted slave families of their African traditions and shared in the preservation of folk stories and ancestral histories that would have disappeared. Also, many eshu lived among the free blacks of New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, and certain parts of Virginia and Maryland. The sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia developed a vibrant culture characterized by its own dialect (called Gullah) and by its wealth of songs, many of them spirituals, and folk tales.
The growth of the Underground Railroad attracted the involvement of many eshu. Their special affinity for Wayfare proved especially useful in engineering miraculous “disappearances” and added to the number of successful escapes. A few pooka (who enjoyed the prankish aspects of pulling the wool over the eyes of the staid Southern planters) also joined in the clandestine movements.
Other Kithain prospered in the Southern backwoods, mountain, and bayou country. Boggans in the Appalachians, Cumberlands, and Ozarks sustained their faerie natures by inspiring local crafters and artisans in the small towns throughout the mountains. Redcap motleys roamed the backroads of the South, wreaking havoc and stirring up the fires of dissention wherever they settled. Nockers flourished in coal-mining country and along the railroads, fascinated with the inner workings of the “iron horse,” despite their aversion to the poisonous metal rails.
During this troubled era, the difference between Seelie and Unseelie blurred. Was it Seelie to support a system that advocated outright ownership of fellow humans? Did opposing slavery and, therefore, the established authority make a changeling Unseelie? Suffice to say that a Southern changeling’s Court often fluctuated drastically and had more to do with their adherence to the Seelie of Unseelie Codes than to their support of any external authority.
Secession & the Confederate Dream
The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860 lit the fuse on the powder keg that was the discrepancy between Northern and Southern loyalties. The Republican Party had come out staunchly in favor of abolition and supported the industrialization of the national economy. The Southern planters and wealthy landowners saw Lincoln’s presidency as a direct assault on their cherished “independence” from federal control.
A political faction known as the “fire-eaters” roused their constituencies against the federal government and the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln. Beginning with South Carolina in December 1860, the states of the lower South declared their independence from the United States. The border states of the South had a more difficult decision to make. Maryland, though part of the South in both geography and temperament, still had many ties to the Northeast as well as strong abolitionist sentiment; thus, it elected to remain part of the United States.
In Virginia, the planters of the eastern and northern regions of the state professed their allegiance with the new Confederacy. The inhabitants of the state’s mountainous western region protested; when Virginia finally acceded to the pressures for secession, Virginia staged its own defection, forming the state of West Virginia and part of the Union. Similar difficulties faced North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
On April 9, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter near Charleston and the Civil War began. The remaining ambivalent Southern States had run out of time. Kentucky quickly disengaged itself from overt hostilities, declaring itself neutral for the war’s duration. Tennessee and Arkansas held out for nearly a month before finally casting their lot in with the Confederacy. On May 20, 1861, North Carolina became the last state to sever its connection to the Union. The battle lines were drawn.
Changelings at War
The Kithain of the South, in most cases, fought alongside their human kinain. Trolls followed whomever held their oath. Some, like the redcaps, paid little attention to sides, reveling in the joy of battle and the shedding of blood as a rare opportunity to give full vent to their bloodthirsty proclivities. Ironically, the Scathach sidhe also responded from the heart to the call to war, motivated not by bloodlust but by their warrior spirit. Several Scathach sidhe served as aides to Stonewall Jackson and, rumors, say, to the South’s greatest general, Robert E. Lee.
In the mountains and along the border between the North and South, some changelings, like their mortal relations, joined the Union Army, to express their belief in the dreams of national unity and universal freedom. Just as mortal families in the border states found themselves torn in two as some members joined the Confederacy while others fought to preserve the Union, changeling motleys and oath circles broke apart (often violently) over divided loyalties. The 999th West Virginia Union Volunteers, a small unit made exclusively of nockers, trolls, and boggans, clashed frequently with their former oathmates and motley companions in the 13th Virginia Confederates, also composed entirely of changelings. On larger battlefields, such as Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Antietam, individual changelings met each other in single combat, surrounded on all sides by the screams and bullets of their mortal comrades.
Many changeling history buffs claim that a motley of redcaps managed to maneuver itself into key positions in the army led by William Tecumseh Sherman and influenced the general’s scorched-earth tactics during his infamous march to the sea. It seems more likely, though, that Sherman’s March revealed the Union leader’s calculated desire to break the back of the Southern economy, rather than giving evidence to the “advice” of a group of blood-crazed Kithain.
The End of the Confederate Dream
Mortal history offers many reasons for the South’s defeat: Northern superiority in the technology of war, the fragility of the South’s economy, poor planning on the part of Southern politicians and generals, and strategic outmaneuvering by Northern tacticians. Those who seek moral lessons in history point to the “rightness” of the Union cause as opposed to the dubious foundations of the Confederacy. In the end it all boiled down to the fact that when two opposing dreams struggle to occupy the same place in the “real” world, only one dream can prevail. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse to the Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant. After four long and bloody years, the dream of a united American nation prevailed. Like their mortal counterparts, the Kithain on both sides of the conflict began the arduous struggle to heal the wounds brought about by the lengthy and bitter war.
The Age of Reconstruction
The aftermath of the Civil War brought about sweeping changes in both changeling and mortal society in the South. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had granted freedom to all the slaves living in the rebel states; now that word became deed. The old, outdated dreams of agrarian slavery and decentralized, state-dominated nationhood died at Appomattox. In its stead rose the new dreams that would shape the course of the future… dreams of racial and social equality, visions of an industrialized economy able to hold its own in the international marketplace, and the political idea of a strong, centralized government.
Unfortunately, the dreams of reconstructing the South and rebuilding its shattered economy turned into nightmares of disappointment, dissatisfaction, vengeance, and disillusionment. The assassination of President Lincoln in 1865 placed Andrew Jackson in the presidential office. Unfortunately, he lacked the ability to assume the complex role needed by the nation… a healer of wounds and mender of a broken economy.
Southern states formed new governments and petitioned to rejoin the Union; in many cases, their initial attempts proved unacceptable due to differences of opinion between President Jackson and his Congress as to the definition of suitability. The disqualification for public office and, in some cases, disenfranchisement of former Confederate soldiers seemed a logical means of preventing a return to the old practices that has led to secession, but left much of the South feeling deprived of leaders.
Many Southern Kithain lost their freeholds to the ravages of invading Union troops; in addition, numerous changelings died on the battlefield, leaving their holdings vacant. Groups of vagabond commoners took to wandering the countryside, searching for empty or poorly protected freeholds to claim as their own.
Although the issuance of presidential pardons soon restored many Southern white males to full citizenship, the damage to their personal honor had already been done. The seeds of hostility toward the North and toward the newly freed black population took root; its ugly blossoms and bitter fruit emerged as legislated racism and unofficial vigilantism. This attitude found its reflection in conflicts between Southern changelings and their Northern Kithain counterparts.
Among the newly freed blacks, a strange, unfamiliar sense of power emerged. Many former slaves had long prepared for freedom; despite threats of beatings and worse, they had taught themselves to read and write in the hope that one day they would earn a place among the ranks of free men and women. Now they achieved status in the eyes of the federal government as citizens and potential landowners. The long struggle of the eshu to nurture the dreams of their mortal relations finally began to blossom.
This state of affairs proved unacceptable to many Southern whites. Persecution of free blacks began early on both political and social levels. State legislations granted blacks certain rights but forbade them others. In some states, blacks could marry, own property, engage in contracts, and participate in legal affairs (that concerned other blacks) but could not vote, marry outside their race, or hold public office. Vigilante groups concerned with keeping free blacks “in their place” formed lynch mobs and posses, waging a campaign of terror designed to intimidate the black population and prevent it from taking part in the new South. The Ku Klux Klan raised its hooded head, and the sight of burning crosses heralded the politics of fear. To the shame of all Kithain, many changelings succumbed to their baser natures, reveling in the dark Glamour that arose from inspiring terror in the hearts of the helpless.
Enter the Carpetbaggers
According to popular belief, northern opportunists seized upon the South’s economic woes and flocked to the region, hoping to make their fortunes by taking advantage of the depressed economic conditions. Known as “carpetbaggers,” after their penchant for carrying all their worldly good in one bag, these self-styled entrepreneurs weaseled their way into positions as landlords and businessmen. They then proceeded to bilk the poor without regard to skin color. Yankee politicians who sought to insert themselves into the political vacuum that opened up as the war’s end acquired the name “scalawags.” While many genuinely concerned Northern philanthropists and educators also travelled south to assist the region, their efforts diminished under the weight of stereotype.
During this period, Kithain politics changed drastically. The course of the war had invaded many holdings, and a number of freeholds lay in ruins. Motleys and oath circles that had divided during the war found it difficult to repair their damaged relationships. Many changelings succumbed to Banality; Glamour was scarce.
On the other hand, the South offered new dreams for northern changelings. Boggans and nockers traveled south in the company of educators and industrial experts, eager to lend their inspiration to the emerging middle and working classes. The sluagh, formerly present in small numbers in the coal and mining country of West Virginia and Kentucky, seeped into the backwoods and the bayous, searching for caches of lost Glamour and wallowing in the tragic overtones of faded dreams and lost causes.
Satyrs arrived by the tragos, hoping to inject some liveliness into the cultural life of the defeated South. Redcaps from the North gleefully immersed themselves in the atmosphere of violence that characterized many areas of the region, while trolls attempted to use their steadiness to help stabilize the connections to the Southern Dreaming. And of course, the pooka came in force, attracted by the aura of uncertainty and fascinated by the bizarre complexities of Southern politics after the war.
Northern eshu also ventured south at the request of their Southern kithmates, serving as protectors and inspirers of the thousands of free blacks. A time for new dreams, many Kithain felt, lay just around the corner.
Industrialization & Exploitation
The last half of the 19th century saw the end of the old South and the rise of the new (rather, of several new) South.
Under the plantation system, one crop had emerged as the mainstay of the Southern agrarian economy: cotton. Not only the planter class, but entire states depended on the yearly cotton crop to put money in the bank. Now, with the need to repay debts incurred during the war and to fund rebuilding efforts, King Cotton, if anything, loomed even larger. To replace the labor once performed by slaves, a system of sharecropping and tenant farming continued to supply workers to ensure a steady supply of cotton. While this widespread method of amassing a labor force provided jobs for former slaves and poor whites, it also encouraged an extreme stratification of society little different than that which existed before.
To some extent, Kithain society reflected that of their dreamers. Commoner nobles were loath to surrender any of their claims, clinging to their freeholds and jealously guarding whatever privileges and treasures they still retained. Other changelings tried to pick up the pieces. Blacks were still not recognized as equals; though eshu were sometimes accorded respect when among Kithain, even there, prejudice reared its head on occasion.
New businesses were springing up all over the South. A merchant class arose to provide necessary goods to the new working class. Many merchants operated country stores not unlike the company stores that supplied manufactured commodities to coal miners and railroad workers. Others were simply small businesses begun by entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to advance themselves in addition to creating a new market in the South. Industrialists targeted the South as an important locus for building factories; labor was plentiful and cheap. Southern legislators were desperate to increase income and investments in their states. Southern boggans and nockers found this state of affairs particularly promising as dreams of individual achievement spread among the common people and birthed a new spirit of inventiveness.
Still a third “new South” arose with the increased prominence of Southern women, once relegated to the status of refined breeders and hostesses. The Civil War created widows and left many families without fathers. Women stepped in as breadwinners and, with their contributions to the work force, began to demand a political voice. While female commoner nobles had always been accorded more respect for their abilities than their human counterparts, many found common cause with their mortal sisters. This state of affairs greatly amused less refined (or poorer) Kithain whose Dreamers had always worked alongside their menfolk. Eshu, in particular, whose women Dreamers had often toiled long hours in the fields or served as household laborers, found grim humor in the image of former fainting hostesses now tending store. While the gentility discovered work for the first time and responded with dreams of shock and dismay or wonder and determination, the dreams of working and middle-class females took on a new richness as they seized opportunities formerly denied them.
Economic diversity began to breathe new life into the Southern economy, creating a new South determined to break away from its “single-crop” dependency. Railroads had played an important role in moving troops during the war; now, more railroad companies laid tracks across the South, enabling inland cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, Richmond, Chattanooga, and Louisville to enjoy the benefits of trade once monopolized by the coastal cities of Savannah and Charleston. Industrial development and investment in the South also grew exponentially, with the emergence of large-scale logging, textile production, tobacco processing, and iron manufacturing in cities like Richmond, Virginia, and Selma, Alabama.
Yet another, grimmer South emerged as white males, many of them former Confederate soldiers or their sons, began to look for ways to salvage their wounded pride. The Redeemer movement sought to redefine the South and come to terms with their defeat without apologies. Laying the blame for the “War of Northern Aggression” on every cause except slavery, these politicians and influential aristocrats strove to embrace modernization without accepting the equality of blacks. They promulgated a rhetoric of change and progress while simultaneously maintaining an attitude of white supremacy. Thus, the dark romanticism of the “Lost Cause” was born and, with it, the proliferation of statutes and social pressures dedicated to the proposition that all men were not created equal. A few Kithain, those who had lost their freeholds and standing within changeling society, adopted the Lost Cause as their banner and derived Glamour from its melancholy anger.
During this period, Southern whites also repudiated the Republican party in favor of the rival Democrats, seeing in them their only hope for curtailing increased federalization and for preserving even a vestige of states’ rights. Southern Democrats emerged as a distinct force in politics, merging a strong anti-federalist stance with an even stronger white supremacy stance. Blacks, on the other hand, tended to support the Republican party, Lincoln’s party, as their best hope for attaining in fact the equality granted to them by law. While few Kithain entered politics directly, many of them found sources of Glamour in the fiery debates and fierce antipathies that arose between Southern politicians.
The Shadow Court
It was during this period that the Shadow Court came into its own in the South. Preying upon the miseries and uncertainties that war and economic depression can cause, this group made inroads in the changeling population, either through promising them a chance to avenge themselves for imagined or real slights and injuries or by appealing to their hopes of changing things for the better. As always, the Shadow Court found its greatest adherents among the “have-nots”, those changelings who lacked freeholds or whose hearts were darkened by the many upheavals of the new nation struggling to assert itself.
Some believe that many of the atrocities committed in the name of North/South antipathy and racial bigotry were spurred on by fae implementing the Shadow Court’s agenda. Many Unseelie founded societies that continue to exist even today. Some fear that many organizations that appear as social clubs or beneficent organizations or cliques actually hide a core of Shadow Court activists. While most hesitate to sound an alarm regarding such activities (as there is no real evidence that their maneuverings are more than posturing at this point) some feel it is wise to scrutinize many of the Kithain groups that arose around that time period.
The Twentieth Century
During the first quarter of the 1900s, money and resources poured steadily into the southeast from the North as wealthy industrialists invested in emerging industries and bought rights to many of the region’s natural resources. These mercantile and industrial barons also found something else in the South: the perfect playground. Resorts of various types arose, attracting the rich and famous to luxury hotels, hot mineral springs, and the prospect of wintering in the balmy South. This recreational interest served to attract a new wave of changelings, eager to indulge in the Glamour evoked by the “glamorous” visitors to the South.
The First World War catalyzed much of the South as blacks and whites left the farms and moved to the cities where they joined the work force in providing goods for the war effort. Although it did not improve race relations, the long-term effects of the war on the Southern economy lay in the introduction of new industries such as chemical and petroleum production.
In the 1920s, a literary renaissance emerged as writers began to explore the Southern psyche in probing works of fiction and drama. William Faulkner’s critical dissection of family relations in the Deep South, Thomas Wolfe’s insights into the Appalachian heartland, Eudora Welty’s portrayals of real Southerners, and Jean Toomer’s powerful expressions of black identity heralded the arrival of a distinctly Southern voice in the world of serious literature. While it is difficult to ascertain the extent of Kithain involvement with Southern writers, changelings certainly basked in the atmosphere of creativity that surrounded them.
Meanwhile, the local changelings struggled to keep ahead of the game. The patriotic fervor of the First World War and the dark nightmares of the Depression left their collective stamp on the Southeastern changeling population. Many Southern Kithain joined the American forces who fought in the trenches of France and Belgium, glorying in the chance to engage in dreams of battle that held a purity missing from civil strife and internal dissension. Few survived with their lives and faerie natures intact.
The Nightmare of Jim Crow
The politics of Jim Crow legislation effectively undermined the efforts toward racial equality. Laws in the most southern states precluded blacks from mixing with whites in any public or social capacity other than a position of subservience. With the tacit (and sometimes overt) blessing of the Supreme Court, laws restricting the black vote by requiring literacy tests, residency qualifications, and other limits denied blacks access to the ballot. At best, the law declared blacks “separate but equal”; at worst, blacks lost their lives to the lynch mobs of the Klan. Southern whites grew up learning to fear blacks and to believe in their own innate superiority.
In response, blacks migrated by the thousands, leaving the South for other parts of the country where they hoped to find acceptance and true equality. Although some Southern eshu tried to persuade their kinain not to abandon their homes for the risky prosperity and dubious equality of the Northeast and Midwest, others felt the pull of the road and accompanied their mortal friends and families.
Depression & World War
The collapse of the American economy during the 1930s brought financial woes to the South with the rest of the country. Many small farmers lost their homes and lands; businesses declared bankruptcy and closed their doors. Many Southerners, both black and white, left the South, seeing no future for themselves. The Kithain, too, succumbed to the temptation to pull up roots and move elsewhere, searching for new dreams to feed their flagging souls.
The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Presidency in 1932 brought another wave of change to the South. FDR’s New Deal policies revamped southern agriculture, instituted forestry programs, and launched the vast dam-building project of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Industry received a jolt as well; the paper and chemical industries provided jobs and brought money into the South.
On the political front, the Constitution granted the vote to women in 1920, over the strenuous objections of many Southern males. Blacks, though, still suffered under the oppressive weight of racist-backed political disenfranchisement.
The Second World War sent another generation into battle. In the South, poor blacks and whites made up the majority of enlistees. On the homefront, the war effort bolstered the South’s economy. Subtle changes began taking place in race relations as blacks and whites came together to support the war; Southern women, too, shattered many stereotypes as they worked in factories, ran businesses, and did double-duty in the absence of husbands, brothers, and sons.
Again, Southern Kithain joined in the war. Trolls found causes or leaders to support. Redcaps placed themselves in the front lines for the pleasure of the kill. Scathach sidhe sought personal honor on the battlefield and in the skies, while eshu fought alongside their kinain in Europe and Japan. The sluagh excelled in espionage and reconnaissance missions, as did the pooka, whose capacity for misdirection and verbal obfuscation made them excellent double agents. Boggans found their best form of service in the war as medics and quartermasters, while nockers went straight for the big guns and heavy weaponry. Rumors persist that some nockers participated in the top-secret atomic research in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as part of the Manhattan Project.
During this time, Southern eshu redoubled their efforts to inspire their Kinain with even stronger dreams of true equality. The seeds of the civil rights movement took root, emerging in force in the 1960s.
Civil Rights & the Power of One Man’s Dream
The end of the war signaled a new phase in race relations in the South. Black soldiers, seasoned by their wartime experiences, refused to resume their status as second-class citizens. The persecution of Europe’s Jews also had made many Americans realize the extent of their own racism toward blacks.
The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 declared war on the “separate but equal” status of black Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 sought to put an end to denial of black voting rights and to institute true legal equality in all facets of American life. The arrest of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat in the back of a crowded bus to a white man, prompted a 13-month boycott of buses in the city. Leading that nonviolent protest effort was a Southern black minister named Martin Luther King Jr.
Laws enforcing desegregation in the school system came under attack in many Southern cities throughout the 1950s. Then in 1960, John F. Kennedy assumed the office of the Presidency. Responding to pressure from the growing civil rights movement, Kennedy finally saw the necessity of vigorous government support for desegregation of American society.
It wasn’t enough. On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 blacks and sympathetic whites marched on Washington in peaceful protest to demand equal rights for all Americans. Southern Kithain of all kith followed the trail of Glamour that reverberated through the throngs of marchers. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for 15 minutes, but the power and eloquence of his words reverberated throughout the nation and echoed through time. The dream of equality he espoused took on a new life that even his murder five years later could not silence.
The Dream & the Kithain
The life and commitment of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other visionaries reawakened in southern changelings a faith in mortals’ ability to dream. Throughout the centuries since the Shattering, many Kithain despaired in the belief that they fought a losing battle to retain what little pieces of the Dreaming remained. The Glamour engendered by Dr. King and other speakers, by the wave of folk singers who wove social commentary into their music, and by the creative spirit of nonviolent protesters reaffirmed the hope in the hearts of many changelings that they were not trapped on a collision course with Endless Winter.
Despite racist attitudes in the part of some Southern changelings, the Kithain as a group have characteristically paid little attention to skin color as a designation of social status. After all, trolls are blue, pooka often manifest decidedly animal characteristics, and satyrs sport both horns and hooves. With the departure of most of the nobles, commoner fae moved in theoretically egalitarian circles (usually).
The eshu, most of African descent, suffered from prejudice in their mortal seemings but enjoyed a great deal of respect among the Kithain. Changelings valued these African faeries for their prodigious wealth of stories and for their willingness to fearlessly face the unknown.
Throughout history, changelings have sided with those who dared to dream. Thus, in the South, most Kithain found the struggle for civil rights a constant source of inspiration and tried their best to repay their mortal Dreamers in kind.
The Resurgence of Nobles’ Dreams
The return of the sidhe in 1969 had a profound impact on changeling life and politics throughout America. Some of the sidhe remembered lands they had once held in the Southern U.S. and returned there to reassert their rights of rulership. Their attempts brought them into direct conflict with commoners who occupied the choice freeholds in the nobles’ absence. Moreover, the long history of struggle for equality left its mark on southern changelings. Just as blacks refused to accept positions of subservience to whites, commoner fae balked at bending the knee to a group of upstart nobles.
As usual, though, nothing in the South is as simple as it appears. The Accordance War came late to the region, but it arrived with a vengeance and with Southern twists. Some traditional-minded commoners, who still romanticized the quasi-feudal structure of the old plantation society, actually sided with the sidhe, hoping for a return to the stability of the past. Many trolls found themselves responding to old oaths sworn in previous incarnations to some of the returning sidhe.
In other cases, commoner fae opposed the sidhe, seeing them as newcomers or a fancier class of “carpetbaggers.” Resentment at the effrontery of nobles, who had sought their own safety in the Dreaming and then, when it was convenient, returned expecting to re-assume their leadership, placed the majority of commoners at odds with the sidhe.
House Scathach occupied a singularly uncomfortable position during the Accordance War. Although it considered itself fully sidhe, the returning nobles dubbed them “half-breeds” and refused to recognize any common kinship. On the other hand, some commoners lumped them in with the returning noble houses. Some Scathach sidhe, therefore, found themselves forced to battle both commoners and Arcadian sidhe. Many members of the House simply withdrew from the fray, placing themselves outside the reach of both commoners and nobility.
Many progressive-minded changelings found their loyalties divided as the Accordance War ripped apart the fabric of Southern Kithain society. While many commoners instinctively opposed the sidhe, fearing a return to an outdated feudal concept, other commoners supported the sidhe in hopes of just such an outcome. A few visionaries saw the return of the nobility as a chance to replace the old guard with a new, potentially more malleable leadership, unburdened by the ghosts of history and the nightmares of the past.
Visions of Today & Tomorrow
The treaty that established the Kingdom of Concordia and designated the American South as the Kingdom of Willows originally placed the region in the hands of King Barabas ap Eiluned. Barabas had seized the area forcibly through a series of brilliant, Shermanesque campaigns; the High King merely ratified a rule already in place.
While few could fault the High King for his choice, given the need to impose a swift, equitable peace on changeling society, Barabas soon proved a more ruthless sovereign than he had been a general. Under his erratic and unpredictable despotism, many of the hard-won freeholds held for more than two centuries by commoners passed into the hands of Barabas’ noble lackeys.
Finally, in 1990, commoners (along with a few sympathetic nobles and most of House Scathach) revolted, assaulting the royal freehold and forcing the King of Willows to the peace table. Before the peace talks concluded, though, Barabas fell to the hands of an assassin. A royal lottery selected Duke Meilge, a veteran of the Accordance War and a popular figure among both nobles and commoners, to succeed the late sovereign as the new King of Willows.
Granted these lands by the power of the Dreaming, King Meilge moved his freehold from his original, pre-Shattering hold of Summerstree to a magnificent penthouse palace in downtown Atlanta. Since he assumed leadership of the southern fae, Meilge has become a driving force in the modernization of the South. Quick to perceive the benefits of progress for an area desperately in need of prosperity, Meilge openly solicits investments by industry, banks, and land developers. While some Kithain express private dismay at the possible corruption of the Dreaming caused by the encroachment of such Banality-ridden institutions, others support the king’s belief that the creativity inspired by his realm’s emergence into the mainstream of the 21st century will more than offset any corrosion of the dreams of the past.
The King & the Land
The king mirrors the land and the land mirrors the king. Meilge, in many ways, perfectly reflects the kingdom he rules. Desirous to enlarge his own power base and increase his influence in the Parliament of Dreams, he echoes the South’s growing assertion of its economic/political clout. Subject as he is to wild mood swings and mercurial displays of both largess and cruelty, he nevertheless commands the respect of commoners and nobles alike for his insights into how to ensure prosperity for his subjects and their mortal dreamers. Under Meilge, the fortunes of the South have never seemed brighter.
Since the 1960s, the South has grown by leaps and bounds. Through blacks still struggle to achieve a truly equal place in society, race relations have, for the most part, improved considerably from the era of Jim Crow. Southerners are discovering ways to preserve their history while embracing change and accepting responsibility for past misdeeds. Even remote areas such as the Appalachians and the Ozarks are gaining recognition as oases of local culture and havens for small entrepreneurs and individuals concerned with inventing ecologically harmonious lifestyles. Many families whose ancestors left the South in the 1930s are now seeking to return home. Many Southern youth now elect to remain in the South rather than seek their fortunes in the North and West.
On the other hand, many vices commonly associated with the industrial slums of the Northeast have arrived in the South. Rumors persist that Meilge has encouraged criminal investments in the region, although the king’s supporters cite a number of other causes (both mortal and supernatural) as being responsible for the growth of crime and violence in Southern cities. Some critics claim that Meilge has gone over to the Unseelie Court, citing his alleged involvement in illicit activities as proof. It is only fair to point out that the South still lags behind other parts of the country in organized criminal enterprises.
Despite his many detractors, Meilge remains a stabilizing force for Southern Kithain society. His patronage of the arts and his championship of worthy individuals regardless of their status as commoner or noble has gathered about him a glittering entourage of remarkable changelings, all of them eager to assist their liege in realizing his vision of a dynamic kingdom. If a king can be judged by his councilors, then Meilge has demonstrated his insight and good judgement many times over. That High Queen Faerilyth considers him as both her mentor and former sponsor speaks volumes for his loyalty and devotion to the dream of Concordia.
The Kingdom of Willows encompasses the southeastern United States, with the exception of Florida. King Meilge rules from his palace in Atlanta, but his hold over this diverse region is less than absolute. Within his immediate realm, his powerful personality has left it tumultuous and ambitious imprint on his lands; thus, Atlanta’s drive for metropolitan status reflects Meilge’s highest hopes, as the city’s fractious internal tensions and high incidence of crime mirror the king’s more troubled aspects. In other parts of the kingdom, nobles and commoners in positions of power exercise their own influence over the lands entrusted to them. In some cases, the psyches of local dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, and other lords and ladies serve to mitigate Meilge’s despotism; in others, the resonance between the King of Willows and his loyal deputies amplify one another, leading to a palpable atmosphere of decay and decadence that permeates the Dreaming and leeches into the physical world.
Composed of King Meilge’s on holding of Willow’s Heart, 10 recognized and two disputed duchies and numerous smaller counties and baronies, the Kingdom of Willows relies heavily on commoner nobles to maintain its lower echelon of nobility, since the sidhe have not settled herein as great a number as in some other regions of Concordia. Many independent freeholds exist within the kingdom as well, predominantly in the still-untamed regions such as the Appalachian and Ozark mountain ranges, the Louisiana bayous, the coastal islands of South Carolina, and the rural areas of the Deep South.
- Willow's Heart
- Duchy of Palmetto
- Duchy of Cotton
- Duchy of the Delta Crescent
- Duchy of the Triangle
- Duchy of Appalachia
- Duchy of Blue Grasses
- Duchy of Graceland
- Duchy of the Ozarks
- Duchy of Dogwood
- The Shadow Duchy
- Duchy of Winterthorn
- Duchy of Chesapeake
- Duchy of Magnolia's Home
While the kingdom has always had its share of both Seelie and Unseelie conservatives and liberals, they are not always as easy to pin down as Kithain from other areas. Some otherwise conservative fae become downright modernist and liberal when it comes to certain issues that are near and dear to their hearts. Many straddle the fence, dangling their feet on both sides, reacting to changing political winds.
Although Meilge holds sovereignty, in reality he relies heavily on his appointed dukes, duchesses, and lesser nobles to exercise authority in his name. Most of the nobles support Meilge, recognizing his keen insights into the workings of the modern world. A few, though, harbor doubts about their liege’s true motivations. Many Seelie nobles in the Kingdom of Willows believe that their king possess more than just a strong Unseelie “streak”, claiming that not only has he gone completely over to the Unseelie Court, but that he has strong ties with the Shadow Court.
Particularly among the counts and countesses, where ambition and intrigue run hot, many nobles either secretly plot against Meilge or else ignore him altogether, seeing his rulership as irrelevant to their own unique problems. The baronies, on the other hand, tend to support Meilge because of his laissez-faire attitude toward them.
Indeed, despite his often-autocratic bearing, Meilge allows his vassal lords a great deal of leeway. Some believe he trusts those to whom he has delegated authority to act without the need for constant attention from above. More cynical nobles ascribe darker intentions to their sovereign’s actions, suspecting that Meilge does not care what transpires within his domain as long as his own schemes bear fruit.
The truth of the matter lies somewhere in between and has its source in the complex psyche of the lord of Willow’s Heart.
The same political impulses that exist within the Parliament of Dreams also have their proponents in the Kingdom of Willows. In fact, most of the Seelie and Unseelie impulses claim some portion of the Kithain population, as nobles and commoners alike seek ways to express their desires for representation within the government of Concordia.
The majority of Southern Kithain ally themselves with the Seelie Court and fall into one of the three major political impulses associated with the Seelie fae. While it is simplistic to say that any one region is dominated solely by a single political impulse, some generalizations do describe certain regions better than others. Most Southern fiefdoms contain at least a few individuals from each impulse. Even in the most Traditionalist regions, hotbeds of Modernists and Reformists can be found.
Those Kithain who believe in the inherent right of the sidhe to rule fall within the Traditionalist impulse. In the Kingdom of Willows, which has a long history of rule by the aristocracy of Southern planters, Traditionalists have a strong power base. They are strongest in the fiefdoms of the Deep South (Willow's Heart, Magnolia's Home, and Cotton) and in the coastal fiefs of Dogwood, Palmetto, and the Triangle. Many nobles in Blue Grasses and Chesapeake also belong to the Traditionalists. The majority of Southern sidhe belong to this group, along with some trolls, boggans, and a few nockers… the commoner kith most likely to accept a highly stratified class system without raising a stir.
Many Traditionalists consider themselves members of the Morwenist or Regent’s Factions in the Parliament of Dreams, feeling that the High King’s appointment of his wife as co-ruler has violated the natural order of a singular monarchy.
The Reformers, who have adopted the principle of a constitutional monarchy, believe that the best government for the fae is the one that relies on cooperation between a monarch and their subjects. Not surprisingly, Reformers have their strongest contingencies in the fiefs near Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; and Richmond, Virginia. Another Reformer base exists in the Duchy of the Ozarks, where the paucity of nobles necessitates reliance on a good relationship with the commoner kith.
In general, members of Houses Liam and Scathach and a few members of House Gwydion, as well as many commoners of al kith support the Reformers. These changelings are also the ones most likely to agree with the politics of High King David. Since his disappearance, many Reformers now support the High Queen’s claim to the throne.
The Modernists have their political strongholds in the thriving new metropolitan regions of the South, such as Atlanta, the Triangle region of North Carolina, and the swiftly developing cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville, Tennessee. Many of the fiefdoms near major Southern cities contain their share changelings who insist that the anachronisms of the sidhe-dominated superstructure need updating to incorporate the realities of a modern, technological society.
This impulse has the support of many commoners. Nockers, sluagh, pooka, redcaps (the Seelie ones), and satyrs, in particular, embrace the tenets of Modernism. Few sidhe outside f House Scathach hold Modernist views; the most notable exception to the sidhe’s inherent dislike of this faction is King Meilge himself. The King of Willows realizes that the world will not revert to a pre-technological age anytime soon, and that the fae must adapt to the modern world or die.
Strangely enough, many Modernists support the Royalists. Others, though, advocate the idea of the Royal Lottery, feeling that the Dreaming knows best who Concordia’s ruler should be. Some secretly hope that sooner or later a commoner’s name will find its way into the lottery and bring Concordia crashing into the present day.
While Unseelie Kithain remain a minority in the Kingdom of Willows (as they do throughout most of Concordia), they do form a sometimes vocal “second party” among Southern Kithain. By definition, Unseelie fae do not support the tenets of Seelie government. They hold different beliefs concerning the importance of honor and the relationships of the fae to the Dreaming and to the mortal world. Criticism of the Parliament of Dreams and the government of Concordia runs high in the Kingdom of Willows, and its Unseelie Kithain raise the loudest voices raised in opposition.
As with the Seelie fae, political divisions demarcate subtle shades of opinion among the Unseelie. On the whole, Unseelie changelings see High King David’s disappearance as an opportunity, rather than the disaster it has been labeled by their Seelie counterparts. Aster all, the belief that change is good forms one of the major tenets of the Unseelie Code.
Before the Shattering, Seelie and Unseelie nobles too turns ruling faerie society. Purists among the Unseelie desire a return to this ancient form of dual governance. Many southern Purists support King Meilge, believing that the King of Willows only claims the Seelie Court. Some members of this impulse feel that Meilge would make an ideal “winter” king of Concordia. A few actually claim that High King David’s disappearance was a voluntary withdrawal from the political arena. According to them, High Queen Faerilyth is secretly a member of the Unseelie Court and is now taking her turn as leader of the fae.
Purists, like Seelie Traditionalists, tend to congregate in areas of the Kingdom of Willows where belief in aristocratic rulership is strongest. Unseelie sidhe tend to fall into this political impulse, since it advocates the inherent supremacy of the nobility. A few commoners support this impulse as well, finding the idea of constant cycles of changeling rulers appealing.
The Unseelie who call themselves Repudiators believe that fae society has languished under Seelie rule for too long. Their goal is the complete overthrow of Seelie leadership. They see this as the only way to realign a balance that has for too long fallen on the side of the Seelie.
This is a popular position for Southern Unseelie changelings who believe that they can field a number of potential candidates to rule as an Unseelie High King in Concordia. For them, the disappearance of the High King is a signal from the Dreaming that the time has come for an Unseelie takeover.
Southern Repudiators claim Meilge as one of their own (whether or not he claims membership in their faction). Although they, like the Purists, would throw their support behind Meilge as High King, the do not delude themselves into thinking that the King of Willows would ever give up absolute power once it fell into his hands. And that’s the way they want it.
Although Repudiators welcome commoners into their faction, they relegate non-nobles to secondary positions, believing like the Purists that only sidhe are fit to rule.
This impulse includes Unseelie who simply want change in government regardless of what form it takes and who advocate chaos and destruction for its own sake. In the Kingdom of Willows, Anarchists exist in the backwoods, where any kind of government equates to meddlesome interference, and in Southern cities, where resentment against any kind of authority is common. Anarchists greeted the news of High King David’s disappearance with a three-day celebration that included riots and block parties and widespread Ravaging.
More commoners than sidhe belong to the Anarchist impulse.
The most spiritually oriented of any of the fae, Seelie or Unseelie, the Ritualists believe in observing the ancient faerie practices, including all the festivals. Their firm espousal of the principle that the king is the land and that, periodically, the king must sacrifice himself for the good of the land makes them some of the most dangerous (and deadly) members of the Unseelie Court.
The New Orleans area serves as the center of Ritualist practices in the Kingdom of Willows, though smaller Ritualist groups exist near Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Members of this impulse have approached King Meilge privately, encouraging him to depose David and assume his position. They firmly (and correctly) believe that Meilge arranged for David’s disappearance. They are eager to learn where Meilge has hidden the “king of the old year” (as they now refer to David) so that they can ritually sacrifice him for the continued prosperity of the land he once ruled.
Unseelie Modernists hold many beliefs in common with the Seelie counterparts. They, two, maintain that changelings must stop hiding behind fake medievalism and come to terms with the modern world. They just go a little further than their Seelie cousins. Unseelie members of the Modernist impulse go out of their way to court Banality, reasoning that continued exposure will inure them to its worst effects and make them better able to survive the inevitable approach of Endless Winter.
Unseelie Modernists co-exist with their Seelie kin in areas of the Kingdom of Willows where technology and industry have gained a firm foothold. The Research Triangle and the iron-rich lands near Birmingham, Alabama, are prime territory for Unseelie Modernists. A few members of this impulse have even opened up a freehold near Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
By far, commoners make up the majority of Modernists, although a few members of House Balor and some Unseelie Scathach sidhe also belong.
The Shadow Court
While the true Shadow Court carefully conceals its presence in the Kingdom of Willows, Most Unseelie changelings believe that this ultra-secret organization has at least one of its headquarters within King Meilge’s realm. Many Unseelie fae feel certain that King Meilge belongs to the Shadow Court’s inner circle; others suspect that the Shadow Court controls Meilge’s actions though he, himself, remains outside it.
A Southern Twist
Growing dissatisfaction with centralized government (which, among mortals, once found expression in the movement for states’ rights) has led many Southern changelings to espouse the concept of minimalist rule. Some intrepid fae have begun to whisper of declaring their independence from Concordia, feeling that the need to concentrate on their own local needs is worth the risk of a second Accordance War.
While they have yet to comprise a formal political impulse, the Separatists (as they are beginning to call themselves) have slowly been gathering support among changelings who feel left out of Concordia’s government. These rebel changelings argue that each kingdom within Concordia has its own special needs and that no one central monarch can possibly satisfy all those needs.
Many of them go even further, claiming that the Kingdom of Willows covers too much territory to be under the rule of a single individual, no matter how astute. They advocate regional rule, perhaps by individual duchy or maybe through a council of dukes whose lands all face common problems.
While rebellion tends to attract the Unseelie Court, a few Seelie changelings also find themselves drawn to the Separatist faction. They see no conflict in advocating small, independent Kithain realms and following the tenets of the Seelie Code.
A number of prominent southern Kithain belong to one or more secret (and not so terribly secret) societies that make up the underbelly of changeling politics. “Like “old-boy” clubs and other forms of networking, membership in any of these clandestine, or overt, organizations offer Kithain a built-in group of supporters and allies, as well as certain social advantages from gaining the right to establish a freehold to earning a position in a local noble’s court. While many secret societies restrict their membership to the nobility, others admit both commoners and nobles; a few secret societies made up entirely of commoners exist.
- Red Branch Knights
Personal honor ranks as one of the highest virtues for Southern Kithain, and the Red Branch Knights epitomize honor. Although most members of this group of oathbound knights are nobles, a very few commoner knights have gained admittance to this exclusive fellowship. Most Knights of the Red Branch belong to the Traditionalist impulse, and almost all of them are Seelie.
Berin O’Donnell, despite his Scathach lineage and ostensibly Unseelie mien, has earned a well-deserved position within this society of stalwart upholders of the chivalric code.
- Beltaine Blade
One of the most secretive of secret societies, the Beltaine Blade consists of sidhe nobles who wholeheartedly support monarchic rule as the preferred form of fae government. Most members of the Blade consider High King David’s populist sympathies a sign of weakness. This society refuses to recognize Faerilyth’s claim to the High King’s throne, seeing her as merely a weaker extension of a weak king.
Members of the Beltaine Blade support the idea of a strong, autocratic ruler. Southern sidhe who belong to this group may soon push to proffer Meilge as a suitable candidate for High King, despite his Modernist views. In the Kingdom of Willows, the society looks to Count Rual ap Gwydion, a staunch fae Traditionalist and political conservative, for leadership.
This society of radical commoners consists primarily of Unseelie fae united by their hatred of the nobility. Even the High King’s noted sympathy for commoners does not extend to these destructive fae; he has outlawed the organization since his discovery of its existence.
In the Kingdom of Willows, the Ranters enjoy freedom as long as they confine themselves to the backwoods, mountains, and bayous, where few can witness their rampant destruction.
Django Hillrunner, an eshu drummer with an Unseelie changeling group of fusion-bluegrass musicians who reside in the Duchy of Appalachia, belongs to one of the less-violent arms of this clandestine and illegal society.
- Catacomb Club
Those commoners who resent the forfeiture of authority to the sidhe make up the majority of members of the Catacomb Club. Southern members, in particular, resent the perceived “intrusion” of the sidhe into a society that had functioned well enough without them. Chiefly and “back-room” political lobby, the Catacomb Club contains many titled commoners who seek to increase their own political power and further their ambitions. Members excel in appealing to their commoner constituency. And are among the most vocal of the commoner nobles in the Parliament of Dreams.
Most Southern changelings who belong to this society reside in areas where the sidhe still struggle to secure a solid hold on the Kithain population, such as the Duchy of Appalachia, the Duchy of the Ozarks, and numerous smaller fiefdoms. Most of these commoner nobles exhibit Reformist politics, although a few Modernists hold positions in this elite. Appalachia’s Count Bjorno, a troll, sees his membership in the Catacomb Club as a means to achieving justice for commoners rather than for exercising personal gain. Sadly, he is the exception to the rule.
- Crystal Circle
Less a political organization than a special-interest group, the Crystal Circle brings together the most talented of fae sorcerers whose interests lie in exploring the furthest reaches of the Dreaming. Although regionalism has less bearing on this cabal than on many other clandestine groups, a few Southern members of the Crystal Circle maintain that the Dreaming in the South retains a closer connection to Arcadia than in most other parts of Concordia.
Members belong to all political impulses and both Courts, although Seelie sorcerers predominate. In the Kingdom of Willows, the Crystal Circle seeks to investigate the high incidence of “haints” (haunts) and other areas that are highly magical. Recent interest among new-agers in the many ley-lines that crisscross the Southern mountains has caused widespread concern among members of the Circle who fear that too much mortal intrusion will wreck these possible remnants of lost faerie places of power.
Elena, Duchess of the Southern Coast, once participated heavily in the group’s experiments and expeditions; rumors abound that her current reclusive existence within her freehold masks her latest attempt to explore the Far Dreaming.
- Cat’s Cradle
The noblewomen who make up the membership of the Cat’s Cradle have taken the art of subtle political manipulation to new heights. The Cat’s Cradle crosses all political spectrums of both Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Its members believe that by working carefully behind the scenes, they can ensure the long-term survival of the fae.
Within the Kingdom of Willows, the Cradle reflects the insight long held by most Southern women: true power resides in the ability to influence its overt wielders. While the extent of its membership is a closely guarded secret, members of the Cradle reside in nearly every fiefdom of Meilge’s Kingdom. Among its most prestigious members are Igrania, the self-appointed Duchess of Magnolia’s Home, Duchess Elena-Anastasia Nicholenskya, and High Queen Faerilyth.
- Monkey’s Paw
This ultra-secret society of fae assassins and spies-for-hire has a strong membership in the Kingdom of Willows. Primarily composed of commoners, the Monkey’s Paw also includes a few renegade Scathach sidhe and several members of the three Unseelie houses. Many changeling nobles, both sidhe and titled commoners, avail themselves of the Monkey’s Paw’s expertise in wetwork and covert activities without realizing that their employees also pursue their own agendas.
King Meilge’s spymaster, the sluagh Riel, holds a position of power within this organization… a fact which has serious implications for the security of the Kingdom of Willows.
- Golden Sickle
Many Modernists (both Seelie and Unseelie) belong to this progressive organization that advocates the acquisition of influence and wealth in the mortal sphere. Members of the Golden Sickle seek to master technology and overcome the inherent Banality of the modern world. In the Kingdom of Willows, membership is strongest in the South’s urban areas and in the Duchy of the Triangle.
Acknowledged by the Golden Sickle as their leader, King Meilge embodies the calculating shrewdness and canny business sense so admired by the group’s membership. Both commoners and nobles belong to the Sickle, since it emphasizes material success rather than birth or lineage.
- Knights of the Cold Watch
This cadre of Unseelie nobles preserve their memories of the dark “things” that came through the Mists from Arcadia during the Resurgence. Though most nobles have forgotten these horrors, the Knights of the Cold Watch spend their time scouring the mortal world and the Near Dreaming for traces of these creatures.
Some Southern members of the Cold Watch believe that the bayous of Louisiana and the deep woodlands of Appalachia and the Ozarks harbor enclaves of these frightening beings.
Appalachia’s Duchess Dianan remembers her own encounters with monsters during her passage from Arcadia into the mortal world. Despite her Seelie nature, she supports the work of the Knights of the Cold Watch and extends her hospitality to them whenever they pass through her lands.
- Pilgrims of the Bright Road
Primarily made up of Unseelie Ritualists, this secret organization seeks communion with the realms of the dead and dedicates itself to the exploration of the Dark Dreaming. The Pilgrims of the Bright Road enjoy a strong following in the area around New Orleans and in other parts of the Kingdom of Willows where old “superstitions” and the belief in spiritualism still hold the imagination of the locals.
Lisette Levay, Unseelie Duchess and the self-styled Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, holds a high position among the Pilgrims, and many flock to her holding during Mardi Gras for an annual ritual of reaffirmation of their tenets.
- Children’s Crusade
Composed of Unseelie childlings and wilders drawn primarily from the ranks of recaps, satyrs, and sluagh, this organization of assassins reportedly serves the goals of the Shadow Court. While the Children’s Crusade has a relatively small membership and a rapid turnover rate (due to the swiftness with which Banality claims its most active members), it has members throughout all of Concordia. Several “Crusaders” reside within the Kingdom of Willows, including “King” Jasper the Wicked, the satyr ward of Baltimore’s Duchess Elena-Anastasia Nicholenskya.
- Southern Cross
See the article Southern Cross
Politics… Southern Style
The phrase “Southern politician” conjures up the image of a paternalistic, cigar-smoking, smooth-tongued master of the political filibuster and back-room bureaucracy. Although the South’s political machine still holds its share of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond clones, these members of the “old guard” comprise a relatively small segment of the region’s public servants. The South is changing, developing a new awareness of itself as part of a larger whole. The South has begun to improve its race relations, to open itself to alternative lifestyles, and to appreciate the political power of women.
Its political representation now reflects its growing diversity. The presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both born below the Mason-Dixon Line, have dramatically demonstrated the new Southern awareness. Blacks and women have claimed shares of political power in all levels of government in the South, from local positions on city councils to mayorships and positions in Congress.
Although the South remains a hotbed of political conservatism and a staunch enclave for Republicans and conservative Democrats, it also contains its share of liberals. Party-switching is common in the South as individual politicians owe less loyalty to partisan politics than to their own particular beliefs.
Southern political practices maintain many traditions; the concept of trading a favor for a favor and greasing the wheels in one area to gain great returns in another are standard practice in the South. Corruption and payoffs are still much in evidence. Mastery of the political lobby is also the province of many Southern politicians; the efforts of the tobacco lobby and the supporters of clear-cutting and the deregulation of businesses bear witness to the effectiveness of special interest blocs in the South.
Modern political thinkers still struggle to overcome the fear (unfortunately justified) that many Southerners have that the South will lose its seniority in certain national committees if veteran incumbents are defeated… which, incidentally, goes a long way toward explaining the continued re-election of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond. Despite growing opposition to these veterans’ ultra-right-wing stances, many otherwise moderate voters fear the loss of their political clout. Southerners desire to retain as much power in the halls of Congress as they can, even if it means forestalling their entry into the 20th century to do so.
The cult of personality remains a powerful influence in Southern voting patterns. Many voters in the South choose the person rather than the party, believing that political platforms mean less than personal honor or charisma. Though the myth of the “Southern politician” persists, other political archetypes are beginning to displace it.
The politics of Southern changelings likewise reflects on an increased diversification. Younger sidhe have begun to rise to power in Willows, and their attitudes are a far cry from the authoritarian and autocratic practices of the Resurgent generation of nobles. Commoners who are politically active tend to mirror the changes taking place in the mortal arena. Many whisper that the Cat’s Cradle has been instrumental in encouraging the rise of progressive changelings to positions of power within the Kingdom. On the other hand, the Modernist views of King Meilge have also contributed to a changing of the faerie guard.
The social life of the Kingdom of Willows combines aspects of post-Resurgence Kithain customs with traditions that present a distinctly southern perspective. In many parts of the South, Kithain society during the Interregnum reflected the quasi-feudal, land-based structure of plantar society. Although the Civil War and the post-war Reconstruction led to the industrialization and modernization of the South in the mortal world, many Southern Kithain retained vestiges of the old structure within their chimerical society. Commoner nobles held major freeholds and served as points of stability and order; other commoners served as vassals to these de facto nobles, or else made do with small holdings in the hinterlands and backwoods.
The Resurgence brought about a change in leadership among Southern Kithain but did not cause much social disruption as in some regions. The foundations for the re-imposition of the medieval trappings of pre-Shattering Kithain society already lay in place. Sidhe nobles co-opted many of the larger freeholds after the Accordance War, and the Kingdom of Willows was able to take advantage of a population of changelings already conditioned to accept the presence of a landed aristocracy.
In the antebellum South, as in medieval Europe, honor served to distinguish gentlemen of high regard from men of low degree. The white male aristocracy of the South did not attribute honor to women, slaves, or lower-class white males. Women possessed virtue, while slaves and white men who did not belong to the landed gentry were either good or bad; honor did not apply to these three subclasses of Southern society.
Southern Kithain society still places a high value on the concept of honor, though it now governs the behavior of both sexes and all kith. The code of chivalry and the Seelie Code delineate the boundaries of honorable behavior for Kithain society in general, but in the Kingdom of Willows, certain activities define “honor” in a particularly Southern fashion.
Among Southern Kithain, dueling serves as a means of settling disputes that affect a changeling’s personal honor or status. While some parts of Concordia frown on duels except under formal conditions such as during tournaments or as part of the justice system, in Meilge’s realm the duel enjoys not only official sanction, but also immense popularity as a regional pastime.
Duels come in many forms and serve many purposes in the Kingdom of Willows. They need not even take place to have their intended effect. Any duel can be averted by a formal apology, in which the Kithain tendering the apology effectively concedes the victory to their opponent.
At the heart of every duel though, is the premise that one member needs to assert their superiority over the other. Societies without hierarchies or status have no need of duels.
Sanctioned by a freehold lord, these combats settle disputes between noble changelings, usually of equal status. Occasionally a lesser noble may issue a formal challenge to a superior (usually not their liege). The higher-ranking noble always has the option of refusing the duel without loss of honor; in most cases, though, a noble rarely stands down from a test of their personal honor.
Formal duels take place when the court that houses the participants formally convenes; if the duelists come from different freeholds, a neutral holding usually serves as the venue for the duel so as not to offer either pasty the “home court” advantage. Common causes for formal duels include grievous insult to a noble’s personal honor, publicly casting aspersions upon a noble’s status within Kithain society, or accusing a noble of violating some portion of the Escheat.
Chimerical swords or pistols are the weapons of choice for formal duels; using weapons that cause physical harm is usually considered bad taste unless the pre-duel agreement stipulates such weapons and their use receives approval of the nobles in charge of overseeing the duel.
These duels make up the majority of contests between noble Kithain. Issued any time one noble feels insulted or injured by another, personal challenges usually occur at a time and place agreed upon by the participants. Most duels of this nature involve only the principals and their seconds, and often take place without the knowledge of the local fief-holder. While problems arising from romantic entanglements usually result in a personal challenge, affairs of the heart occasionally achieve enough notoriety to warrant settlement through a formal duel.
As in formal duels, personal challenges usually involve chimerical swords or pistols. Since personal challenges do not receive the same scrutiny as formal duels, serious combatants sometimes resort to real weapons; in those cases, duels are usually fought to “first blood.”
Duels fought between commoners serve the same purpose as nobles’ duels; they restore lost status, reassert lost honor, or settle disputes. While fewer formal trappings surround such altercations, commoner duels enjoy a higher status than barroom brawls or common fist fights. Usually, one of the participants issues a formal challenge. If the one challenged accepts, the “formalities” usually give way immediately to the duel itself. On occasion, a duel between commoner changelings becomes as involved and complicated as either a formal duel or a personal challenge.
Commoner duels arise over anything from a minor insult to a serious defamation of character. These duels sometimes involve chimerical swords or pistols; more often, duelists wield knives or else battle hand-to-hand. Wrestling bouts are common.
Not all duels involve or the physical exchange of blows. While the art of dueling with words and gestures sometimes serves as the prelude to a physical contest, caustic verbal exchanges more often become duels in and of themselves. Usually conducted in public, these confrontations use innuendo, veiled insults, provocative language, and outright dares to either force an opponent to overstep the bounds of propriety in front of an audience or to reduce one member of the dueling pair to impotent silence. The preferred form of dueling for changelings unaccustomed to using weapons, verbal duels also take place between combat-savvy nobles or commoners who find themselves in situations where physical duels are either inconvenient or inappropriate.
Most verbal duels take place during parties, at court, or at other social gatherings of Kithain, Winners are decided either by the consensus of spectators or else by the withdrawal of one of the parties from the conversation, thus “surrendering” the field of battle to their opponent.
Occasionally, verbal duels consist of less subtle word battles. Name-calling displays between nockers, lying contests among pooka, or storytelling duels involving eshu serve the same purpose and often provide more entertainment for spectators than the subtleties of noble discourse.
Perhaps the most arcane and subtle form of duel is the social duel. Rather than taking up weapons against one another, two changelings may schedule social events such as parties or appointments opposite one another, inviting the same guests. The victory goes to the changeling with the greatest attendance at their event. Social one-upmanship can take other forms as well: rivals attending the same social function may try to outdo one another in dress or in the value of a hostess gift. Horse races, business deals, poker games, and any number of other potentially competitive activities may mask social duels. In some cases, one participant may not even be aware of the duel until they realize that they have just “lost” face or honor.
The custom of gift-giving, while not exclusively the prerogative of Southern Kithain, reaches epic proportions in the Kingdom of Willows, comprising a language bestowal and acknowledgement of status all to itself. Similar to the potlatch ceremonies of some Native American tribes, the object of giving gifts lies in forcing the recipient of the gift to acknowledge the giver’s superiority or to establish oneself as the equal of the person being gifted.
When one changeling goes “calling” on another, they customarily bring a gift to their hot or hostess. This present not only expresses the guest’s gratitude for the invitation, it also asserts the visitor’s status as the equal of their host despite their “inferior” status as invitee.
For a changeling to accept a gift without offering something in return equates to the tacit assumption of the giver’s superior status. Many status-hungry Kithain refuse to allow reciprocation of gifts, preferring to force the admission of their higher status as unchallenged givers. (This is yet another form of social duel.)
While many changelings are simply displaying their generous natures, others use largesse as a weapon to place others in their debt or to approve their social standing. Nobles are expected to maintain their good name and reputation by giving gifts to their vassals, thus reinforcing their superior standing in society.
Southern Kithain have also perfected the art of politeness, turning the forms of civil behavior into a carefully orchestrated panorama of power politics. From the first tip of the hat and “Good day ma’am” to the final “Y’all take care, y’hear?” and its accompanying farewell bow, Kithain manners in the Kingdom of Willows reflect a constant jockeying for social prestige… the demonstration of superiority over one’s inferiors.
When feminists in the 1970s insisted on opening doors and carrying packages for themselves, they weren’t just “whistling Dixie” by aping male manners; instead, they were co-opting the language of the dominant class (in this case, males) and, by doing so, placing themselves on an equal footing with members of that class.
The Kithain of the Kingdom of Willows till speak that language of dominance and submission, a subtlety often lost on changelings visiting from outside the kingdom. Like the bestowing of gifts, exchanges of polite behavior provide changelings with a forum for a symbolic discussion of status.
The vocabulary of manners is a complex and often confusing one. A changeling who holds a door for another changeling may, in that simple action, concede the other’s right of precedence or, conversely, demonstrate their own power to control the other’s access to the doorway. Politeness in speech may be a sign of deference or an exaggerated form of condescension.
Many Southern Kithain use the language of manners to put others in their place, usually an inferior one.
Southern Hospitality, Changeling Style
The American South has a reputation for “Southern hospitality” that goes above and beyond the normal realms of politeness and friendliness. The same holds true for the Kithain of the Kingdom of Willows. The warmth and welcome extended to visitors from outside Meilge’s domain are legendary.
What many Kithain outsiders don’t understand is that the locals are actually wielding the double-edged sword of hospitality in order to assert their territorial rights over “foreign instrusion.”
Southern nobles who open their freeholds to visiting changelings emphasize by their actions that they are the ones who can provide shelter and accommodations. Commoners who go out of their way to act as guides for outsiders prove their knowledge of the land and the resources it has to offer.
While many fae in the South are simply anxious to please and gracious to a fault, some knowingly exercise their skills at manipulation and politesse to finesse visiting Kithain.
The Kithain of the Kingdom of Willows observe all the major and most of the minor changeling holidays and festivals. In addition, Southern changelings have their own celebrations that serve as occasions for celebrating the Dreaming and providing opportunities for gathering Glamour.
Cotillions (Saining Ceremonies)
Like the coming-of-age parties that introduce debutantes into the social whirl, Kithain cotillions celebrate the Saining or acknowledgement of new changelings as full-fledged members of fae society. Throughout much of the Kingdom of Willows, grand balls take place once a year in each fief; at these parties, newly discovered Kithain who have undergone their period of acclimation are presented to changeling society.
Usually held in May and June, concurrent with the debutante balls of mortal society, these coming-of-age parties range from extremely formal affairs that introduce new sidhe to less-fancy parties in smaller or commoner-held freeholds.
Derby Day & the Preakness Ball
On the first Saturday in May, the Duchy of Blue Grasses holds its own special affair. Kithain from all over the Kingdom of Willows, particularly those who follow the horses, gather at Churchill Downs to celebrate the running of the Kentucky Derby. Afterwards, Duke Araby holds an “open freehold” at his estate, where the chimerical Bluegrass Derby takes place in the Near Dreaming and showcases the latest crop of faerie steeds.
Two weeks later, in the Duchy of Chesapeake, the same “horsy” crowd of Kithain travel to Baltimore’s Pimlico Racetrack for the running of the Preakness. They adjourn to the freehold of Duchess Elena-Anatasia for her annual Preakness Ball and Derby. Once again, faerie mounts challenge one another in a course specially maintained in the Near Dreaming.
Southern changelings, unlike many other Kithain, take great delight in funerals. Elaborate memorial services and wakes provide occasions for changelings to congregate socially and to remember their lost comrade’s connections to the Dreaming. These ceremonies often serve as rich sources of Glamour from the impassioned speeches and eloquent eulogies delivered. In addition, many Kithain who attend changeling funerals and wakes find themselves reacquiring memories of past lives, either in the mortal world or in Arcadia. (At the Storyteller’s discretion, a changeling character may receive a beginning dot in Remembrance or increase their current rating through participation in the final rites of a changeling’s passage into the Dreaming.)
New Orleans, in the Duchy of the Delta Crescent, holds the unchallenged title of the Funeral Capital of Concordia. Duchess Lisette provides all her subjects upon their “passing” with a spectacular send-off in the form of a New Orleans-style funeral, complete with Dixieland band and professional mourners. Some changelings petition the self-styled Voodoo Queen of New Orleans for permission to hold their funerals in her fief.
Despite the usual tendency of the sidhe to sidestep funerals and ignore the outward acknowledgements of their own eventual demise, many Southern sidhe not only attend changeling funerals on a regular basis but also arrange for their own wakes, believing that they will be reborn again in the Kingdom of Willows.
Throughout the Kingdom of Willows, regional festivals and celebrations provide occasions for changelings to get together and express their creative talents or to just revel in their fae natures. Parties built around sporting events, such as collegiate football and professional stock car racing, draw many commoner fae to tailgate parties, chimerical auto races, and monster-truck rallies in the Near Dreaming. The Olympic celebration in Atlanta provided King Meilge with a stellar opportunity to host a round of parties in and around Willow’s Heart, thus adding to his status as a magnanimous host and a lavish bestower of gifts.
Local celebrations observed by Kithain in the Kingdom of Willows provide Southern changelings with a steady round of festivities. The annual Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee; the Spoleto Festival in Charleston; and the Gullah Festival in Beaufort, South Carolina, honor the traditional crafts and culture of their regions. Commissioning Week in Annapolis, Maryland, serves as an occasion for conferring knighthood on eligible sidhe in nearby fiefdoms. Many Southern states hold Highland or Celtic festivals that also draw large numbers of noble and commoner changelings. Renaissance Festivals have sprung up all over the South as well, usually held for several weeks in a row during the summer. Many changelings find employment at such festivals, while others simply enjoy them. Some even hire themselves out as jousters to settle disputes, combining the joy of dueling with the pleasure of the environment.
That Old-Time Religion
Sociologists often refer to the South as the Bible Belt, and religion has historically played a key role in the development of Southern culture and mores. From its early beginnings as a refuge for religious dissenters, both Catholic and Protestant, to its current status as the center of evangelical fundamentalism, the South has held religion close to its heart.
Besides its sizable Protestant base, parts of the South also host other branches of Christianity. Black churches, particularly in the Deep South, have served as the spiritual underpinning of the civil rights movement. In Tennessee and North Carolina, charismatic sects of snake handlers and faith healers proliferate. The experience of religion as performance art lives in tent revivals, fundamentalist crusades, and black and white gospel music concerts.
Non-Christian religions also have strongholds in various parts of the South. In New Orleans and the lower South, voudon and obeah minister to many Southerners of African or Caribbean descent. Sizable Jewish and Muslim communities exist in Southern urban centers, while small enclaves of Sufi’s and Ba’hai prosper in such unlikely places as the Appalachian Mountains.
Many Kithain in the Kingdom of Willows adhere to some form of religious practice, particularly in their mortal lives. In some social classes, to do otherwise would be to court suspicion or, at the very least, gain a reputation for having a dubious moral character. Then again, some Kithain just enjoy the pageantry.
Gallain & Others
Numerous supernatural and enchanted creatures populate the lands comprising the Kingdom of Willows: Gallain, Inanimae, Prodigals, and magically aware mortals.
Creatures of the Dreaming, the Gallain resemble Kithain in the manner of distant cousins. Similar in that they come from the stuff of dreams and imaginings, they nevertheless have different magics and abide by standards that separate them from the Kithain.
Five main nunnehi families occupy parts of the Kingdom of Willows. The may-may-gway-shi and thought-crafters tend to reside along the coastal regions near Virginia and Maryland, while the nanehi, yunwi tsundsi, and yunwi amai'yine'hi inhabit lands near the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
The Kingdom of Willows contains a few unique creatures who are both more and less than Kithain. Among these are the Lost Ones.
- Other Inanimae
In the Duchy of the Triangle, a number of nockers involved in the computer industry claim they have seen evidence of faeries residing within hardware and, in some cases, software. Rumors of an Internet of dreams has assumed the status of folk legend among these fae who work with high tech.
Some Inanimae have achieved a degree of mobility not unusual for their kind. These are the ones who have linked to the steamboats that ply the Mississippi or carnival rides in state theme parks.
Again, earlier sources like the Willows book uses the word Nymph to describe Inanimae attached to natural formations. The following fae could be more rightly called other types of Inanimae, usually Kuberas.
For the most part, vampires and changelings run in different circles. Whenever they do overlap, cooperation and alliances can occur. Changelings are drawn to the dark Glamour vampires exude and can become caught up in it to the exclusion of other activities, so most who contact the Children of Lilith keep it short for their own protection. On their part, vampires who taste Within blood can find it profoundly disturbing. Some, however, acquire the taste, much as mortals can become addicted to harmful drugs. Still, all rules have exceptions, and some of the Kithain of the Kingdom of Willows have connections with local Kindred.
Few cities in the American South are large enough to support more than a handful of vampires. Major cities, such as Atlanta, Charleston, the Research Triangle of North Carolina, Memphis, Nashville, and other Southern Metropolises rival the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West coast in vampiric residents. The smaller cities and towns, though, hold only one or two Kindred at most; a vampire will occasionally claim and entire county as their feeding grounds. In addition, the countryside and wilderness areas of the Kingdom of Willows support a few of the feral vampires known as Gangrels.
Werewolves and changelings share a connection with the Wyld. Both are creatures who thrive on spontaneity and abhor the steady encroachment of the modern world into regions they consider sacrosanct. Some changelings, particularly the sidhe, remember ancient ties with certain tribes of werewolves. In many parts of the Kingdom of Willows, Garou and Kithain have found common ground, and strong friendships have arisen between individuals of both species. In Atlanta; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and the Research Triangle, Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers share their love for creative and nonharmful technology with nockers, boggans, and members of House Dougal. The many Celtic festivals scattered throughout the South draw large numbers of Fianna Garou, bringing them into contact with local changelings, particularly pooka and members of House Fiona.
Just as changelings have a sinister aspect, so to do the werewolves. Some Black Spiral Dancers, servants of destruction and chaos, actively work with the Unseelie fae of Houses Balor and Ailil to bring about the triumph of disorder and universal ruination.
Changelings and mages can make interesting, if often volatile, combinations. Mages thrive on reinterpreting reality; like changelings, many mages (those who belongs to the Traditions) decry the static (i.e. banal) paradigm of the modern, techno-rational world view. Members of the Technocratic Union, who are responsible for much of the world's refusal to accept anything irrational or magical, have a harder time dealing with changelings on anything other than an antagonistic basis. There are, of course, exceptions to this generalization, but circumstances must be extraordinary for aa changeling and a Technocracy mage to cooperate. Marauder mages, who create their own chaotic world view wherever they go, sometimes acquire changelings as companions or allies; many Kithain, though, find there presence too disorienting to deal with.
Many Traditions and Technocratic Conventions exist, albeit in relatively small numbers, throughout the Kingdom of Willows. Their associations with the local changeling population are as varied as each mage's individual "dream" of reality.
The Celestial Chorus has numerous members active in the Bible Belt, where the language for religion gives them a foothold among the majority of Southern "believers." In New Orleans and a few other places where voudon has a following, the Euthanatos have gained a strong hold. Dreamspeakers find their magic effective in Native American communities and among the sizable black population of the South, while a few Verbena have discovered wellsprings of Quintessence in the Southern backwoods, often on ancient faerie sites.
The Restless Dead abound in the Kingdom of Willows, bound to the region by Fetters of many kinds. In the backwoods and bayous, victims of crime of passion, feuds, and vendettas haunt the sites of their deaths. In the cities, homicides, suicides, and accident victims remain close to the people they have left too soon or the things they have not yet accomplished. The ghosts of coal miners buried under thousands of tons of rocks in Kentucky, of drowning victims along the Mississippi flood plain, and of careless wilderness daytrippers in the Ozark, Appalachian, and Cumberland Mountains linger near their graves or look in on their loved ones from beyond the Shroud.
The ghosts of war choke the Southern Shadowlands. The South contains sites od bloody battles from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and numerous conflicts between native people and encroaching settlers. The ground in some parts of the Kingdom of Willows radiates a dark Glamour that has little to do with that faerie realm's tainted king.
Changelings who have denied their natures serve as some of the Kithain's most dangerous opponents. Some have willingly destroyed their faerie souls, believing themselves possessed by demons. These Dauntain make fanatic witch-hunters and can be found in the Kingdom of Willows conducting purity crusades or stirring up the Moral Majority to stamp out signs of perversion and unwholesome displays of the imagination. Other members of this group remain ignorant of their faerie natures but devote themselves, nevertheless, to the eradication of forces and mysterious events they don't understand. Many Dauntain act as psychologists, prison wardens, logic professors, and police investigators.
Most changelings in the Kingdom of Willows maintain contact with their mortal families or have friends and coworkers who know nothing about the Dreaming or its creatures. Interactions with the mortal world form important parts of changeling lives.
Aside from family members friend, lovers, business and professional associate, and other humans a changeling might encounter in the course of their mortal life, southern changelings may also meet up with faith healer, itinerant preachers, snake-oil salesmen, smooth-talking local politicians, small-town sheriffs, gangs of good ole' boys, members of the local chapter of the KKK, and any number of other "typically" southern stereotypes. Artists, dancers, poets, craftspeople, and other creative individuals serve as potent sources of Glamour for changelings in the South.
Changelings often enchant mortals to bring them more fully into the Dreaming. The reasons for doing this are as varied as the changelings who engage in the practice of enchantment. Kithain often seek to enchant lovers, best friends, children, and outcasts either to share with them the wonders of the Dreaming or, less admirably, to use them as servants and Glamour-dolls.
Many mortals in the American South have a lower Banality threshold than in some other parts of the country. In metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, mortal disbelief in the supernatural is on a par with most major urban centers; in areas of the Southeast blessed with populations whose ethnic folk history predisposes them to accepting the miraculous or the magical, mortals tend to offer less resistance to being brought into the world of changelings. In particular, African-Americans and Celtic-Americans have strong beliefs in the existence of creatures from the spirit-world or faerie. The backwoods, hinterlands, bayous, and other wild places of the South contain many enclaves of mortals who refuse to accept their encounters with haints, Fair Folk, and bogeymen as mere superstition. These individuals are relatively easy to enchant and suffer less from the experience than mortals raised to disbelieve anything that fails to fit the rational mindset.
For every mortal who falls under the spell of a changeling, there is one whose excessive Banality serves as a karmic backlash, driving the Kithain out of their faerie selves by their mere presence. These are the Autumn People: humans so riddled with soulless disbelief and stultifying mundanity that they act as wet blankets tossed over a parade of Dreamers.
The Kingdom of Willows has its share of these party-poopers. Autumn People exist among hate-mongers, who dwell on turning minds against anything that is not normal or 100% "American"; petty politicians, who see the world in terms of votes and personal gain; rationalists, who may belong to any profession or social class and who have denied themselves the ability to imagine anything better than what they see and feel. Not a few Southern preachers have twisted the promise of their religion into a spiritless campaign for dollars and empty devotion. Many conservative religious factions suppress creative or individual thinking because they fear it will distract their flock from "what's in the Good Book."