- “She is gone. Without a trace. Like a snowflake in the palm of my hand, the Glamour which infuses her seeming and made her what she was… is gone.” Sir Liam Wormwood, sidhe knight, lamenting a lover lost to Banality
If becoming a Dauntain could be considered a fate worse than death, the Undoing is then a fate even worse than that. The Kithain who experiences this simply ceases to exist, as if they never were. This is almost always the final fate of Dauntain as they plunge deeper and deeper into a well of Banality.
The Undoing is what most Kithain fear the most, for it is this fate which almost all Kithain must one day face. Those who succumb are the truly tragic, as their story ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. There is no heroic death, no noble sacrifice to save the kingdom.
There are actually two different magnitudes of this phenomenon. The first, and lesser, is simply what happens when a Kithain temporarily forgets who and what they are (called Forgetting by most commoners). This state usually passes when the changeling is once more exposed to Glamour. They experience a form of “second Chrysalis” as their memories rush back to them, awakening their senses to the beauty which was hidden from them only moments before. Yes, the Mists are a danger even to the Kithain. At times we retreat into our mortal seemings to avoid danger from chimera, only to find if we do this too often, the Mists hoodwink us, and we can’t return to what we left behind.
Admittedly, even when we are “normal,” we aren’t normal. After all, Kithain who have forgotten themselves often have a nagging feeling that something simply isn’t right with the world, or themselves. They feel incomplete and unable to fill the void they know is there. Some of us write notes and letters to ourselves of what we are and perhaps nudge ourselves back into our true selves.
Too bad such a noble purpose can so often suffer such a tragic failure. This technique of reminding is a painful lesson; we rarely achieve the desired result. More often, the Kithain tosses the note aside in favor of something more important, passing it off as silly or meaningless. Perhaps it only increases the longing to fill that deep, cold void within their soul. Maybe they think it makes a good premise for fantasy story.
Permanent Undoing Edit
The fate of almost all Kithain is to one day suffer the second, and far worse, level: complete forgetfulness. Those fae are Undone by Banality’s caress, lost forever, their souls cast to uncaring winds. These are the Kithain who have somehow become so saturated with Banality that their fae nature simply cannot withstand the burden placed upon them. When I come upon a changeling who has been undone, it is far more painful for me than seeing a dead companion.
Imagine, if you will, meeting an old, dear friend: a friend with whom you have shared many a story, joke, or drink. Your friend not only fails to recognize you, but remembers nothing of your common past. It would be a terrible loss, and not only for those who see the result. What would it be like to simply cease to exist? It isn’t exactly a comforting thought, yet this is what we risk merely by living.
In most cases the transition is not instant. Indeed, it takes some time for the Kithain to fully fade into their mortal seeming. In fact, if you are watching for it, you can catch it while it’s happening. Any true Kithain, Seelie or Unseelie, should be willing to help the failing one before they are lost forever, or even for a little while. Each Kithain lost is yet another bit of Glamour lost. This should not be allowed, yet all too often it is. In some cases, we are not capable of stopping the slide, in others we fail to notice it. Sometimes, sadly, those who see do not care enough to stop it. This last is something I am loathe to admit, but I have heard of such apathy. It is this apathy which we must struggle to avoid, lest Banality consume us all. The best way to combat this eventual slide is for the changeling to immerse themselves in Glamour before they forget everything that is important to them. They must take care to balance this immersion with the mundane, though, lest Bedlam become a real risk.
Social Aspects Edit
Many Kithain choose not to refer to those who have “faded” away. They choose to ignore the lost one as if they had never existed. This is not the best way to go about dealing with the problem as it can beget more Banality. How is anyone to learn from the ordeals of others if they pretend the ordeals never happened? When, or if, the Kithain returns to themselves, others will act as if they “took a trip” or were “on vacation.” Euphemisms are popular among those who cannot deal with this problem. They fear that exposure to the lost Kithain will infect them with Banality, and that even thinking of the poor souls may be harmful. I am happy to say these paranoid ones are in the minority.
On the other hand, many Kithain understand the danger in this kind of thinking and work instead to free those who have been trapped, if indeed it is at all possible. Some civic-minded fae actively search them out; others simply do what they can when they find one. Finding a lost changeling is usually a cause for great celebration, welcoming them back into Kithain society. Such festivities are similar to a Saining in many ways, but are a more literal celebration of rebirth.
The returned Kithain usually goes back to whatever tasks and endeavors they were involved in before they forgot themselves and reassumes whatever position they held. If they lapse too often, however, their ability to fulfill whatever duties they have may be questioned, especially in the case of nobles.
When a Kithain has fallen to Banality, their greatest allies are the members of their oathcircle. They are the ones most likely to try to pull them out. In fact, the practice of the oathcircle has probably saved more Kithain from Banality than nearly anything else.
The Fading Edit
There are many ways that a changeling can be lost to Banality. The following describes some of these, as well as means for rescuing someone from this near death.
Voluntary Retreat Edit
A changeling may chose to voluntarily retreat into their mortal seeming. Any fae who takes this route automatically receives a temporary point of Banality. If the character's temporary Banality is higher than their Glamour, the attempt is automatic. The Kithain is no effectively mortal and cannot interact with the Dreaming. If, however, the Kithain's Glamour is higher than their Banality, they must roll their Willpower against a difficulty equal to current Glamour. If this roll is successful, than the fae has successfully retreated.
Once the Kithain has retreated, they get one chance to attempt to return to their fae nature on their own. This is accomplished by rolling Willpower or Glamour (whichever is higher) against their current Banality. If they get at least one success, they assume their fae mien again. If the roll fails, they are trapped in their mortal seeming. To determine the length of time they are trapped, use the Mists Chart. Alternatively, the character can be freed from Banality by exposure to Glamour.
Banality Higher than Glamour Edit
The Kithain is in danger of temporary memory loss whenever their Banality is greater than their Glamour. This generally begins to occur after a story is over, and can take days to weeks, depending on the Storyteller's discretion. One way to deal with this is to roll Glamour against a target number equal to Banality each day the character is not actively touched by Glamour. Failure indicates the changeling forgets who they are for a period of time, again determined by the Mists Chart. They can, of course, be drawn out by another changeling.
Banality Above Glamour & Willpower Edit
Whenever permanent Banality exceeds both permanent Glamour and Willpower, the Kithain is in danger of forgetting themself and becoming a normal human. The closer they are to Banality 10, the more quickly this will happen. This can be avoided by a fairly constant exposure to Glamour. For each point by which the changeling's Banality surpasses their Glamour, they should spend a least one day a week in a freehold to offset the effects of high Banality. If they do not spend this time in the freehold, they risk reverting to their mortal seeming. In addition, the character gains one point of temporary Banality each week this requirement is not met. This can be ignored if the Kithain is engaged in a quest to reduce their Banality or is under some oath which prevents them from fulfilling it. In effect, as long as the character is actively involved with other fae, there is little danger of reverting to mortal seeming. This does not mean that every grump should run out and take an oath which frees them from this requirement. (See The Cursed)
Banality of 10 Edit
When permanent Banality reaches a score of 10, the Kithain is in serious danger of being permanently Undone. It isn't an instantaneous process, tough. It takes one day per point of permanent Glamour and Willpower before it's completed. If the changeling can somehow drop their Banality below 10 before that time, they will get a reprieve. Note that it is possible for the fae to temporary forget themself before the permanent result sets in. In this case, it becomes nearly impossible to lose Banality.