A Winter's Secret Tale EditFor the past two years, Scalock had a problem. A more powerful Leanhaun lord was trying to expand his borders into Scalock's own and was sending his nephew, an ogre named Balrad, every year to challenge the lesser lord. Scalock's soothsayer had seen that if he were to face the ogre in anything other than a duel, grave things would descend upon the household. Unfortunately, Scalock is overmuch more the lover than the fighter. So he had to find another solution.
Another fae lord in the area, Duke Amberon, owed him a considerable favor, and so it was that Sir Cernwin of House Gwydion was sent to fight Balrad in Scalock's place. However, Scalock wanted to be seen to best the foe in front of his court and gain all the glory that would come from it. Amberon owed him nothing less. To accomplish this, Scalock used a special treasure, composed of twin silver-hilted daggers, that allowed the two sidhe to swap images. Cernwin took over the role of lord of Scalock's court, Caer Wanwither, and care of the Duke's people, until such time as the battle had been fought and won.
Scalock promised to comport himself as Cernwin would back in his lands so as not to draw attention to the switch, though he was disappointed that the Gwydion knight was not romantically involved with anyone. He did encourage Cernwin, though, to enjoy the pleasures of his own consorts and warned the Seelie not to change them, as he still wanted them tractable when he returned.
And so the switch happened for the winter, Scalock acting the role of a more retiring Cernwin and Cernwin acting as a preoccupied Leanhaun lord.
Aftermath EditWhen Cernwin had accomplished the goal set for him, the two fae switched back their roles. Cernwin found, on his return, that Cernwin had treated his domain and subjects far better than he had expected, though he had doubted such from an enemy. This got him thinking and, surprised by his consorts' actions and words about "his" past behavior, he called Cernwin to meet him again.
Meeting again in the Appalachian woods, Scalock thanked the Seelie master-at-arms for treating his domain so well. He thanked him in the name of House Leanhaun and offered Cernwin his friendship and hospitality if ever he desired it.
He was completely shocked and flustered when Cernwin spit what Scalock thought was graciousness back in his face. Cernwin reproached the Unseelie lord for his treatment of his subjects, for his treatment of them as property. He recalled to the Duke that he knew Caer Wanwither as well as any and probably better than the Duke himself. He told him that he knew exactly how to get to him in any part of the castle and how many guards he would have to get through and how to get out unscathed. He finished by promising the Leanhaun that he would keep the secret of that winter, provided the Scalock did the same, but that if he ever saw his face again in his own lands, nothing short of High King David would stop him from getting to the Duke and finishing the job Balrad couldn't.
After that, Scalock posted extra guards at his bedroom and dismissed his consorts. The whole court began speculating that a friend of Balrad's had sent assassins after their liege for vengeance and began wondering who might be successor to the throne if need be.
Scalock's Court Edit
Scalock's court is obviously mostly Unseelie, though about a quarter of it is comprised of haunted-eyed Seelie. He abuses his court, especially the Seelie members, and they all look as if they have been the targets of one "prank" too many. One in particular is a one-eyed sluagh woman who's shoulder bruises make her look like a snow leopard.
- Hammond: Scalock's Boggan seneschal. His spirit has been broken by his lordship's riding crop.
- Meriedra: Scalock's comely satyr consort. She wears the loose-fitting gown of a councilor, which is usually slipping off her shoulder.
- Tallow: Another consort. A thin sidhe with hair of the palest yellow and deeply shadowed blue eyes. A delicate, dainty woman.
Scalock is a slender sidhe and no older than twenty-five. His hair is silver; his eyes violet. He wears an ornate, dark longcoat fashioned of some exotic leather that brushed the tops of his glossy black boots. He wears a silver brooch on his breast depicting the emblem of his house.
Both Scalock and Amberon are called Dukes in the the story which takes place in the Duchy of Appalachia. However, the sourcebook Kingdom of Willows name all dukes of the duchies of the kingdom and neither of the two are named there. It could be that they are both previous dukes who have been replaced, but it is more likely that they are actually lesser lords, especially as Scalock mentions a more powerful Leanhaun lord and the only rank above Duke is King.