A dragons breath in the Mists
The traditions that make up the Escheat form the basic laws of Kithain society. Believed to have originated among those wise faeries who lived closest to the Dreaming, they were recorded after the Sundering as a way to ensure fae survival in the face of inexorable change. Passed down and enforced by the nobility, the Escheat’s tenets are respected by both Seelie and Unseelie nobles . Seelie nobles and their subjects generally follow the letter of the law, while Unseelie nobles and their minions tend to find the loopholes and work through them. Unlike oaths, the authority to enforce the Escheat is not backed by Glamour. Instead, it carries the force of law, tradition and custom. Occasionally the Dreaming works its own chimerical subtleties around the Escheat, making certain that its rules are kept or forcing those who break it to reap the consequences of their actions.
The six basic rights of the Escheat are detailed below.
The Right of Demesne — A lord is the king of his domain. He is the judge and jury over all crimes, large and small. His word is law. A noble expects obedience from his vassals and respect from all others. In return, a noble respects those lords superior to him.
The purpose behind this rule is accountability; who has the authority watch over a particular city? What are the responsibilities of that authority? While many Kithain not feel comfortable with this in the modern age, there is a clear responsibility that lays on noble shoulders. They are duty bound address problems when they arise, no matter there their own higher ups. Nobility has had to make concessions in the face of modern ideas of democracy and popular rule. In order to stay in power, the noble class uses various tactics to maintain their edge. It’s the standard fare: custom, popularity, cleverness, and force…nothing too different from mortal politics when you really think about it.
The Right to Dream — Mortals have a right to dream unhindered by our needs. The Dreaming will die if we steal directly from the font. No one is allowed to use Glamour to manipulate the creative process. Although you may inspire creativity in the mortal mind, it is forbidden to give direct instruction or to infuse a human with raw Glamour.
The purpose of this is to preserve the Dreaming. We are nothing without it. It is the blood that flow through our veins. As the Dreaming itself is made up of the collective dreams of humanity, burning out a mortal’s creativity runs a clear risk of damaging the Dreaming by destroying current and potential dreamers. Would you kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Most changelings interpret this as a prohibition against Ravaging — the forcible ripping of Glamour from beings, as it can often damage the creativity of the mortal affected . Many Kithain — particularly Unseelie — ignore this ban, seeking a quick fix or an easy way to instant power. Since this form of acquiring Glamour often permanently drains the victim, convicted Ravagers suffer harsh punishments as a deterrent to repeating their crime. Disturbing rumors claim that some changelings infuse mortals with Glamour, overloading the mortal souls with too much creativity and feeding from their brilliant dreams. This practice (Rhapsody), if it exists, also violates this portion of the Escheat and would be one of the greatest sins a changeling could commit.
The Right of Ignorance — Do not betray the Dreaming to Banality. Never reveal yourself to humanity. Not only will humankind hunt us down for our wisdom and our power, it will overwhelm us with Banality and destroy our places of power. The more humanity knows, the more ardently it will seek us, draining the world of Glamour and petrifying our essence with its basilisk’s gaze.
Most changelings, both Seelie and Unseelie, respect this rule since it serves as protection against the forces of Banality. Glamour is hard enough to find, and expending it on mortals so that they can witness the Dreaming for themselves is wasteful. Some changelings enchant select humans in order to bring them into their freeholds as lovers or retainers, but they are careful to remove any evidence of their existence from the minds of these mortals when they return them to the mortal world. Why? Could you imagine how easily you could destroy something by simple knowledge that you can disbelieve it? There are times in which mortals are enchanted, for fancy or for festivities, but the Dreaming itself steals the memories away to forgotten places. It does not want to be remembered by mortal minds. You cannot hunt something you don’t know exists. The fleeting beliefs of mortality shifted the world forever and puts us all at risk.
The Right of Rescue — All Kithain have the right to expect rescue from the foul grip of Banality. We are in danger together and must strive together to survive. Never leave anyone behind. Kithain are required to rescue other faeries or any creature of the Dreaming trapped by those who serve Banality.
There are many who have been lost to banality and we all must understand the risk we run living here a midst mortals. Most of our society adheres to this principle. After all, they might need rescuing one day. Seelie and Unseelie will forget their differences and come to each other’s aid when one or the other falls prey to the Dauntain or some other agent of Banality. While many changelings will try to rescue chimeric creatures such as unicorns or griffins, few risk themselves for minor chimera. To die by Banality is worse than murder by sword. It is a blindness of the soul.
The Right of Safe Haven — All places of the Dreaming are sacred. Kithain cannot allow faerie places to be endangered. All those who seek refuge in such places must be admitted. Freeholds must be kept free of both Banality and worldly violence.
A few freeholds survived the shattering, resulting in completion for them. This has meant that this tenet is quite hard to. Rival claims to the same spot of dream-infused ground often lead to warfare that encroaches upon its boundaries, although in most cases combat on the actual grounds of a freehold is restricted to chimeric battle. Some lords try to bar their freeholds to outsider changelings for fear that unwanted visitors may waste the Glamour inherent in their holdings. Regardless of conflict, these are desperate times, and all must be welcome in the few freeholds that remain. If a Changeling comes to our door in need, we will let them in. If they come in aggression, we will promptly show them out.
The Right of Life — No Kithain shall spill the lifeblood of another Kithain. No Kithain shall bring salt tears unto the earth. No Kithain shall take from the Dreaming one of its own. Death is anathema.
This tenet is almost universally upheld, particularly since the Dreaming itself seems to enforce it by inflicting Banality upon a changeling who takes another changeling’s life. When two Kithain meet in combat, they usually wield chimerical weapons, although there are exceptions to this (such as nonlethal duels to first blood). No “real” damage is caused by such a chimerical battle. The loser, if “killed,” merely dies temporarily to the Dreaming and returns to her mortal seeming until reawakened by an infusion of Glamour.
The Oath of Escheat
I take you as my vassal. You are of my house, even as the very stones. I pledge to hold you, to guard you, and to keep you. I pledge to honor your service as it deserves, and to reward loyalty in kind. As the moon to the seas below, my will to yours. I pledge the Escheat to you.
With these words, a ruler formally signifies that she accepts another fae as a vassal. The oath is commonly spoken in conjunction with the Oath of Fealty, but not always. When these words are spoken, the speaker loses one Glamour point, and a chimerical gold coin, stamped with her visage, appears in her hand. The oath is not actually binding until the oathmaker offers, and the proposed vassal accepts, this token. Failure to abide by the terms of this oath indicates a fall from the ways of true fae honor, and thus causes the acquisition of a Banality point. Anyone currently bound by (and holding to) the terms of this oath, even if it is to but one vassal, gains an extra Willpower point per week.