The Midnight Court is a special law-keeping division of the Shadow Court.
Overview EditEven among the Unseelie there are some crimes that merit special attention. Unseelie fae charged with murder or treason, in particular, often find themselves summoned to appear before a panel of Instigators to defend their actions. This panel, called the Midnight Court because of its favored meeting time, acts as the judicial arm of the Shadow Court, that it serves.
The judgments of the Midnight Court are usually severe, and those they censure have no right of appeal. In rare instances, a defender who throws themself on the mercy of the Midnight Court will be “recruited” on the spot for membership in the Shadow Court, subject to strong geas and other bindings to ensure their loyalty. In these cases, punishment is usually deferred, with the understanding that failure to serve the cause of the Shadow Court will bring swift retribution. Some of the most zealous agents of the Shadow Court joined in this fashion.
Many Unseelie believe that the Shadow Court seeks to bring all matters of Unseelie justice before the Midnight Court. The Shadow Court, of course, denies this, maintaining that its only desire is to intervene in cases where normal lines of justice fail or where the goals of the Shadow Court are threatened.
Membership in the Midnight Court is a closely guarded secret. Any Instigator encountered might be a member of this clandestine group of judges and enforcers. Since the Samhain Mists tend to erase the knowledge of the identities of the Instigators until they reveal themselves, it has been a matter of speculation that the Midnight Court is actually comprised of a separate group, who do not otherwise appear to have any official function. Thus, their identities are deeply hidden beneath a veil of complete anonymity.
Punishments meted out by the Midnight Court range from chimerical torture to, in the case of the most heinous (even to the Unseelie) crimes, death by cold iron. One of the most frequent punishments consists of stripping the guilty party of all Glamour, and turning them loose in a high-risk area of a city or the surrounding countryside. If these individuals run into a pack of hungry redcaps or enraged trolls (who are often conveniently nearby), the misfortune that results is not the concern of the Midnight Court. They believe that their judgments are backed by the Dreaming and that those who deserve to escape with no more than the loss of their Glamour will, in fact, do so.