Unlike a Household, a Motley is group usually only of Commoner fae. It is a loose confederation of Kithain who ally together by friendship or mutual survival. They tend to exist outside of the feudal structure of Kithain society and some actively oppose the "oppressive" rule of the Sidhe. The often offer themselves as an alternative to the existing structure. They usually function without permanent leaders or have leaders chosen by the members of the group.
Motleys first developed during the Interregnum when, after being abandoned by most of the Sidhe, the commoners banded together into groups for survival and mutual support. Many formed traveling circuses, freak shows, or other itinerant groups and they burgeoned across Europe. Those fae who went to the New World brought with them the idea of free association and helped strengthen the concept of Independence that sparked the rebellion of the Americas from Europe.
Most motleys base themselves out of a freehold and work together to protect and maintain them from outside dangers including greedy nobles seeking to enlarge their domains. A freehold held by a motley is called a Mew and it serves as a sanctuary for all Kithain. Some motleys, though, still maintain a nomadic lifestyle much like the circuses of old and take up residence at an encountered freehold until they are forcibly removed. Because of this most Households rarely leave their freeholds unguarded lest they return from tourney only to find themselves put out by rowdy commoners.
The relationships between motleys and local nobility varies. Most nobles consider these bands of commoners little better than gangs or at even outlaw bands. However, with the growing number of these groups, the nobles have been forced to recognize their power among the Fae. Most nobles will try to gain control of the local bands to use as game pieces in their own political agendas.
Today, motley represent a powerful check on the power of the sidhe. They are the voice of the commoners and visible proof that the fae do not need the nobles to survive and even thrive. Because of this some sidhe try to break their hold on the imaginations of the common fae. Few motley have any real political influence over the rulers of the Kithain but their sway among the average rabble grows stronger daily.
So You Want to Join a Motley
- From Nibbles the pooka:
For many commoners, their motley is their family. Members of the motley trust one another and put their lives in each others' hands. The benefits of the motley are plenty, including protection, friendship, and inspiration. The downside is that Traditionalist nobles believe that motleys are little more than bands of commoner outlaws. Sure, that may be the case on occasion, but most motleys are just good pals who stick together through thick and thin. Me and my friends have never hurt anyone; our worse crime is the occasional silly string attack on April Fool's Day.
If you want to join a motley, I'd say you first have to earn the group's friendship and trust. Don't push too hard. Hang around them, give a hand when they need help, and just have a good time. Confide in them, but take the time to lend an ear, too. If the members think you're a decent fit, they'll probably be the ones to speak first. You'll figure out if things don't feel right soon enough, way before that time, in which case you can move on 'til you find a group that's right for you. It may take a while, but believe me, having a faithful band of buddies can be the best thing on Earth.