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The Winter Court is one of the four main courts of changelings found in Changeling: The Lost. Nomadic and extremely secretive, the members of the Onyx Court seek to hide themselves from everything from their former masters in Faerie to the humans they once were. They primarily live through spying and secrecy.

First Edition

Organization

The founder of the Winter Court was Snowflake John who earned Winter's pact not by a challenge, but by remaining so well hidden Winter could not find him. When he reappeared, he asserted his talents had earned him the pact; Winter apparently agreed, as his court now bears the season's name.

The members of the Silent Arrow continue his traditions, remaining steeped in codes, safehouses, and other means of living that limit their exposure to the world at large. They are especially skilled among all the changelings at blending in with the mundane, able to effectively hide themselves out in the open. They keep an eye on the enemies of the changelings, and from time to time have been known to kill to keep their secrets or the secrets of another. It is not uncommon for a changeling freshly escaped to turn to the Winter Court for their first shelter. A fair number remain; the rest are gently steered towards other, more appropriate courts.

The most famous of the Winter Court's rituals is the Winter Market, where a changeling can sell or buy almost anything among other changelings, partially to sell off the Onyx Court's spoils of war, and partially to keep the Goblin Market from receiving business from desperate changelings. The court also sponsors the Winter Formal, an opulent masquerade ball, and Radio Free Fae, a broadcast network that tells changelings the important info without exposing the bearer.

Associated Powers

Contracts

Mantle

The mantle of a Winter Court changeling is easy to miss, as it reflects the secret nature of the court. Higher levels will cause small snow and ice formations, the only hint as to the changeling's affiliation.

Court Variant: Dead Season

Also known as the Long Winter: this variant of the Winter Court represents the height of winter, during which the landscape becomes a barren wasteland devoid of life. The sorrow felt by changelings who follow this Court is less the dramatic sorrow of a lost lover and more the empty, apathetic despair of those afflicted by depression. The mantle of such courtiers is often reflected by dry, dead skin, empty eyes, and a mouth as deep and dark as an abyss.

Second Edition

Overview

Cowardice? Just how shortsighted do you think we are? We’re not trying to hide forever from the Others. That’s impossible. We’re finding a safe place to wait. Until.

Sorrow is a close companion to the Lost: taken from their homes; their lives stolen by a Fetch; family long since aged, leaving the poor changeling behind. The Winter Court grab ahold of this sorrow, refusing to hide away from it. Instead, its courtiers use it as a weapon to break the wills of their enemies; they use it as a shield against false hope and temptation.

Fitting that, unfortunately, Winter courtiers are those most likely to fall into depression. Those of the Onyx Court must be certain to play a careful balancing act with their sorrows so as not to fall to despairing inaction.

Turning of the Seasons

High Winter: During Winter’s time at the throne, a freehold grows quiet, withdrawing into its shell. During this period, the freeholders upgrade their security, prepare their plots and plans, and maintain their readiness. Only rarely do they go to war — the Silent Arrow far prefers its information networks, misdirections, and, if it comes down to the wire, assassinations.

Low Winter: When other Courts rule, Winter is in the background, gathering information and running errands under the radar. Within the freehold, they are the ones to go to if you want to find someone or something. They may also take the role of scouts, doctors, researchers, and the like.

Bargain

Winter’s Bargain is such that, should the Gentry come calling, they must mourn their victims — in whatever bizarre manner a Stranger may play at mourning. Given the Winter Court’s rather sour views on honor, its courtiers are more than willing to strike at the mourners.

The Court of Sorrow bears three main traditions that uphold their end of the Bargain: a grand wake for all who have fallen to the Gentry; a discrete Winter Market, wherein approved vendors trade information and “confiscated” goods; and an annual masquerade ball that uses tokens and magic to hide participants’ identities.

Associated Powers

Contracts

Winter Contracts, both Common and Royal, are imbued with power relating to Winter itself (such as ice and snow) and the Court’s emotion, sorrow.

Mantle

A subtle effect, the Winter Mantle exudes a feeling of starkness around the courtier — details becoming just a little bit clearer and stiller. Powerful changelings will find a chill breeze and snow following them.

Gallery

References

Changeling: The Lost 1st Edition Courts

Seasonal

Spring Court · Summer Court · Autumn Court · Winter Court · Solstice Court

Directional

Court of the North · Court of the East · Court of the South · Court of the West

Transitional

Dawn Court · Dusk Court

Diurnal

Sun Court · Moon Court

Courtless

Courtless

Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition Courts

Seasonal:

Spring · Summer · Autumn · Winter

Directional:

Court of the Black Tortoise · Court of the Vermillion Bird · Court of the Azure Serpent · Court of the White Tiger · Court of the Yellow Dragon

Rose:

Ash Court · Blood Court · Snow Court

Creation:

Court of Arts · Court of Sciences

Singular Courts:

Bay City Marshals

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