The Fall of House Liam Edit
Once Upon a Time EditIt happened like this.
There was a land that mortals, both then and now, called France. It was a beautiful realm, marred by the clash of war and by the blood of those who fought for their lords, but beautiful nonetheless. There were beaches as pure as a sidhe maiden's virtue, mountain ranges running as high as a nocker's temper, and orchards with fruit ripe as promises.
Christianity was new to mortals in those days, but its power was steadily growing stronger. It was not long before almost all mortal souls of France were bound to the one church, for it is in the nature of mortals to need beliefs. The new faith bound, yet in some ways freed; for while dark corruption and the hunger for power worm their way into everything mortals believe in, there is great power and and joy in that belief. It is often one turned too good. Though peals of church bells were harmful to many faeries in those days, there were those who gathered outside the new places of worship to stare in rapturous contemplation of mortal dreams frozen in stone.
Not many, mind you, but some. The nobles, the elders and the teachers warned against such games, for faith had given the Church a mighty power against faeries, and lingering in holy places often led to discovery by Church authorities, and even death.
King Liam on Earth Edit
King Liam, who was at that time the beloved leader of his house, was an honorable sidhe and a stubborn ruler. As a youth, he had come to the mortal lands to play and to admire mortal dreams; it was then that he discovered the lure of the Church, encrusted with golden ritual and rich meaning. In Spain, Liam reveled in the images and songs of worship at the Moorish mosques, while keeping a careful distance from those who would cast him down as a demon.
Even at this young age, he was no fool. He knew the dangers he faced; it was simply that the sweet taste of reward was so succulent. The artisans of the Church were impassioned in their service to God, and this passion was reflected in their art unlike anything secular. Liam judged the risks and found them acceptable.
He also found the entire subject wise to be kept private. In the councils of the other houses, a large degree of the time was spent discussing the proper ways to manage the religious fervor of the mortals. For while the very nature of faith, and the belief in angels and demons fired the imagination, faeries were cast into the roles of demons. This focused animosity of mortals threatened the Dreaming. There were those, too, who said that for every artist who created, there were 10 monks, priests, mullahs, and friars who preached of destiny and a fixed place in the world. There was little creativity there. Whether it was the result of the Church deeming that the fae were devils to be destroyed or their focusing the masses on a fixed destiny, the end was the same: the Church posed a dangerous threat to the fae. King Liam held his tongue.
Still, he spent much of his time with those who had given themselves over to a single God. He began to foster the notion that the creative elements of the Church could be nurtured while stemming its authoritarian tendencies, but this was a matter for the long-term, and in the short-term, Liam craved religion.
Sister Melisande Edit
There was an abbey in the land called France, not far from a forest where the realm of faerie overlapped that of the mortals. This abbey was small and home to a handful of women; perhaps a few dozen, at most. It was peaceful, shaped and nurtured by the people who dwelled there.
Liam came to this abbey, only a few years into his rule, intrigued by the rumors he had heard: it was said that there was a young nun there whose voice was like crystal watered with tears, who could sing with such beauty as to bring faith to the faithless and raise hope in the midst of despair. The rumors of her whereabouts were vague and he had visited a number of the nunneries prior and had only one more to visit before giving up hope of ever finding her. He suspected that if the rumor was true, it was a case in which the Church had avoided to have too much attention paid to a novice in the order. And if that was true, she might have given up singing at the orders of her superiors.
But this had not occurred. As Liam rode his steed from the forest, reigning in at the edge of the fields around the nunnery, he heard her voice. It was a hymn of glory, a hymn of praise to He from whom all blessings flow, and in that moment the faerie lord almost wondered if there might not, after all, be a God. The moment passed, although the song did not. Sister Melisande, as she was called, was gathering strawberries in the field. Singing helped her forget the pain that stooping caused her back and legs. Three hours Liam sat upon his horse while Melisande sang.
When she finally left her chores and went in for her midday meal, he returned to his senses and took himself back to his lands, amazed and lulled at what he had heard. Liam's distraction was noted by his court; rumors flew like ravens, curious and malicious. After a fortnight, he returned to the nunnery, plagued by fears that he had merely dreamed such beauty.
Again he heard her voice, lifting to the heavens. King Liam settled down in the fringes of the wood to listen. He spent the remainder of the day in joy and returned to his court very pleased. Such a Dreamer was no common thing. Now that he had settled the matter of her reality, this fount of Glamour would be his prize and jewel.
An Enemy Appears Edit
His next year was spent in this manner: he ruled wisely and well, with even more good judgement and calm wisdom. And once or twice a fortnight he would venture out alone listen to Melisande. His comings and goings were noticed by the faerie court, but most assumed he was visiting some secret lover, which was smiled upon. Those who dared even began to wager on the said lover's identity. It was a good era for the king and his people.
Time passed, and among the faerie courts, Liam continued to slowly advance the question of benefits to be reaped by fostering creativity in the Church. While he was delicate and gentle, there nonetheless came a time when Liam's efforts were noted. In particular, Duke Haleson, a noble of House Gwydion, took an interest in the matter. The duke was a prominent conservative voice amongst the fae, one with a particular dislike for religious matters.
So it was, after some investigation by the Duke, that a trap was laid at the abbey where Melisande sang. Haleson himself was present, in order that a noble might testify as to what was seen, along with a double handful of his best warriors. Posing as churchmen from Rome, the duke and his men took Melisande from the place of her heart, leaving behind a sigil so that King Liam knew who had done this thing.
The Rage of King Liam Edit
It was a week before Liam came to the nunnery to listen to his mortal singer, as he and his court had been busy. It was no more than an hour before he discovered her absence, and worse, her abduction. His rage was beyond his ability to control. Those who kept House Liam exiled for eternity account his actions then as one of the root causes of the Church's hatred fro faerie-kind, and it is true that the devastation he caused to the nunnery has been remembered even to the present day in some corners of the Vatican. Those nuns unfortunate enough to see Liam's rage lived out their lives as mad women, driven insane by the terrible splendor of his Glamour. Many of the remainder, wise enough to hide themselves away, were nonetheless savaged by the magics born of his fury.
Although it was not before night had fallen on what was once a nunnery, Liam awoke from his haze of anger knowing that Haleson had stolen his prize. The sigil was proof of that, and the description he ripped from the mind of the Mother Superior was the visage of Duke Haleson.
His anger still burned within him. It was with that night-cold anger that Liam rode back to Arcadia; his entry into Duke Haleson's court was marked by the passage of a winter breeze. He was met by Haleson himself, his retainers, and by Melisande. She was at Haleson's side, looking up at the duke with nothing but adoration in her eyes.
Now, the Right of Demesne is an ancient right and even now still in effect. King Liam's assault on Duke Haleson violated that right in the most direct and violent way possible: he cut down two of Haleson's knights in his rush for vengeance before the duke, older and wiser in the ways of war, took the brunt of the attack and engaged his foe in single combat. It was no great matter for age and experience to defeat blind anger, and King Liam lay gasping at the duke's feet in the end.
The Trial Edit
In accordance with the rank of the chief witness and the magnitude of the crime Liam had committed, the trial might have gone quickly had Duke Haleson not elected to bring up the reason's for King Liam's actions. His actions at the nunnery were painted as crimes likely to cause the Church to hunt faerie-kind throughout Europe; his assault on the duke was characterized as the ways of a man dangerously obsessed. What began as a trial concerning Liam's attack eventually became a trial about his nature. And thus, the sentence was accordingly harsh. Exile. For the crimes of inviting the interest of the Church, and for placing the welfare of humans above that of faerie, and most of all for rebelling against the wisdom of the nobles of Arcadia, King Liam and his children, and his house were deemed unfit to live as nobles, and they were cast out.