The Jack-of-Crows
Székely Károly (Hungarian names are ordered surname then personal), The Patchwork King of Autumn (former), Mr. Sutcliffe

Type: Fae-Stuff Fetch
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: Office of Vizerial Counsel, Rector of the College of the Tallowed Flame, College of the Tallowed Flame (Inactive), Prince of Knives, Mirror-Walker
Seeming: Darkling (False) / Elemental (Copy of)
Kith: Razorhand (False)
Born: 1861
Apparent Age: Mid-forties

[spoiler="the Jack-of-Crows"]



[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Loving (his ‘kids’)
Vice: Cruel & Violent
Long-Term Aspiration: To become human

Background: Sometimes, a man becomes a monster. Whether by means of some blood-soaked transformation or a simple application of a flensing knife or snub-nosed pistol, a human being passes beyond the pale, becoming a monster. It’s rather unnervingly easy, as a matter of fact. It is difficult, much more difficult, for a monster to become a man. But the soulless mannequin that is the Jack-of-Crows will make the attempt all the same.

The Jack-of-Crow’s story begins early in the spring of 1885, when a young, Hungarian-born apprentice surgeon named Székely Károly kidnapped, sedated, and then vivisected a young woman from the streets of Limehouse. He carved exquisite patterns into her skin, replaced her bones with stout wood and used silken cords to turn her into a puppet of inhuman grace and beauty. And when he was done, the Puppeteer came out of the shadows, and pinned Károly to his own work-table with a dozen giant needles. Then the Puppeteer built a fetch from bits of human bone and broken-off Thorns and silk string from Arcadia, and he made the fetch perfect. Then he took the mad surgeon with him, and left the fetch behind.

Thus, the fetch's first living act was to conceal the grotesque murder that the other one – the real one – had committed. Calmly, unhurriedly, the false-man gathered Károly’s notes and occult books, concealed the body in a trunk, and deposited it in the Thames. Then it slipped seamlessly into the psychopathic surgeon’s life. It was simple, really. It is not very difficult to imitate a monster.

It was no challenge to pick up Károly’s surgical apprenticeship, or carry on the student’s casual affair with his landlady. Even vivisecting the occasional ‘Covent Garden Nun’ was hardly worth the effort. But the false-man kept going, all the while aware that something was missing, some vital spark. The real Székely Károly had been a sociopath and a murderer, but he had lived life to the fullest, enjoying every moment even as he had danced at the edge of the abyss that eventually swallowed him. The fetch was merely going through the motions, living his life by rote. It was a fake and a fraud, and it knew this.

Perhaps if Károly had not himself already been interested in the occult, that was where matters would have ended. But rather than slide into its casual, depersonalized oblivion, the fetch decided to take matters into its own hands. It would become a man, not a monster. It moved into the occult society of fin-de-siècle London, and while it failed to truly rouse something in the depths of its wooden heart, it began to identify the problem more clearly. As a false being, it had no soul. Without a soul, feeling, true love or joy or grief, were simply not possible. But the problem, once recognized, proved to be difficult in the extreme to solve. Moreover, the lack of a soul was an advantage as well. The false-man could do anything, witness any act, however grotesque or mind-rending, and feel little. Over the latter years of the 19th century, the fetch delved into some of the blackest lore known, rites that would have shattered a more responsive psyche. But it was worth the attempt, as ultimately, it managed to make contact with the Puppeteer.

What exactly happened in that garret room in Whitechapel is unknown, but the fetch made a pact that night. Not long after that, it left London. Over the course of the early 20th century, the false-man traveled across Europe, furthering its occult researches. Much of that time was spent in the Balkans, especially in Romania and Austria-Hungary. When the Great War erupted, the fetch crossed the length and breadth of Europe, harvesting the necrotic bounties made available by the death and darkness all around it. He was in Galicia after the Brusilov offensive [The Lucifer Principle]. After the War, it made its way back to London, where it remained until the late 1930s. All the while, the fetch searched for the answer to one question. How does a monster become a man?

Not finding the answers in London, the fetch vanished just on the eve of the Second World War. When the false-man reappeared, it was in Austria in the early 1960s. It was still searching, but now it was a different creature in many ways. More grandiose, certainly much more powerful, but in many ways still the same. It was still a false thing, and though by now it knew the nature of reality intimately, it itself was still not real. It was still just a soulless reflection of Székely Károly.

It flitted through Central Europe, and it was in these days that it first began to pretend to be one of the Lost. Perhaps among its fellow faerie-ravaged victims, it would find the meaning, the emotion it had so long searched. There were a few false starts, but it practiced its deception throughout the Balkans and in Germany, gaining knowledge, experience, and following certain events in the Black Forest, the allegiance of the Winter Courtier Frau Heinzelmaul. Then when it was ready, the false-man returned to London as the Jack-of-Crows. Not to participate in Lost society, but to rule it.

The Jack-of-Crows took power on December 28th, 1974, assassinating the previous Autumn-King (who was found in his Hollow, strung up by his heels and pierced with 27 knives). It was able to rule because it was the strongest and most terrifying creature in the freehold, because no one managed to overthrow it. To be truthful, no one seriously tried since the mid-80s, when the Stonebones revolutionary Tom of the Mountain was found dead in Soho. And in Mayfair. And floating in the Thames. Rumor held that the Jack still had a few bits of Tom left over, in case the Autumn King ever needed to send a message. The fetch secured its reputation forever in 1996, when it destroyed a manifestation of the Wild Hunt in an aerial duel over the skies of London. While an enormous murder of crows destroyed the True Fae's hounds, the fetch and the Hunter flitted across the midnight sky, an event that culminated when false-man slit the Hunter's throat with a cold-iron knife. The True Fae had challenged the fetch's control over the city, and it had responded with lethal force. It killed its second True Fae some ten years later, when it lured an avatar or exemplar of the Puppeteer into an ambush using a fetch-child's blood and a fetch-spawn's immunity to the Wyrd [Beverly's Death]. The fetch is far from certain that this is the last it's seen of the Puppeteer, but so far, the expected repercussions have yet to happen. And vengeance against the thing that had created it was sweet.

In 2005, the Jack-of-Crows stepped down from the monarchical throne [Dreaming of Stars]. Thirty years of ruling had failed to answer that central question of its existence. It was still a false thing, for all the fame and glory it had earned, for all the fear it caused, it still knew that it was only a fraud, and this knowledge gnawed at it constantly. Though the false-man continues to pull a great many strings from behind the scenes, sovereignty over London no longer interested it. In more recent years, the fetch has once more turned to esoteric lore, looking for the book or scroll, secret or spell that will get it what it so desperately wants.

That, and looking after the two proteges it acquired in recent years. The first, the present Winter King, Todd White, who amused the false-man with his casual insouciance towards life, and prompted the fetch to see how far it stretched. The other is Martin the Lion, a very young changeling who began as a kind of occult experiment into the effects of a very early Durance on the fetch's part. But the two of them have grown on the fetch, and it treats them as its 'sons' for all intents purposes, and is a protective, if rather difficult, parent. It may not have a soul, but it has seen enough of humanity to know how it should act. It has seen enough monsters. It will be a man.

Of course, the cosmic irony is that the fetch has been wrong all along. The problem has never been that it was a soulless reflection. The Jack-of-Crows is one of the most active, driven, and effective fetches alive, a richer personality than many humans, and richer than the changeling it is based on. The problem is that the original Székely Károly was a psychopathic killer, and the fetch was an exceptionally good copy, but without the same neurological 'switches' as Károly. To put it another way, Károly is a psychopath. The fetch merely thinks it is. Both the fetch's periodic sadism and its protective care for Martin and Todd would be impossible for a true psychopath such as Károly. Such lapses are born either out of the fetch's inattention, or out of misunderstanding as to what it actually means to be without a soul. The false-man remains unaware of this because it is also not nearly as good as it thinks it is at understanding how other people feel and emote, a problem compounded by its own fearsome aspect, which tends to provoke extreme responses.

[spoiler=Appearance Brief]
Age: Physical ~40; Actually born in 1865.
Eye Color: A very light brown (almost amber-colored)
Hair Color: Dirty/Straw blond
Skin Tone/Complexion: Rough, heavily tanned/bronzed
Hair Style: Short, lanky, a little greasy

Figure Notes -- Mask: The Jack-of-Crows is a tall, weathered man, about six feet tall. Muscular, but not broad, the Jack comes across mostly as someone who is hard, rough and weathered. No pretty muscle definition or sculpted abs, this is simply someone who's taken everything life has given him and laughed all the while. He's got his fair share of scars, especially a network of fine white lines on the underside of his right forearm, where blood has been drawn for all manner of black magic. The Cagliostro serpent's seal (http://symboldictionary.net/?p=1150 ) is tattooed onto his chest, about a hand's breadth in width, over the heart.

The Jack has long, slender fingers and surprisingly delicate hands. His face is noticeably angular, with a sharp, strong-lined chin and sharp nose. The Jack's most distinctive feature is his smile, which he does by pressing his lips very tightly together before turning the corner's up, giving him a very thin, sinister smirk. A slasher smile, in a word.

Figure Notes -- Mien: The Jack-of-Crows's skin takes on the texture of a burlap sack, rough and scratchy. Softer patches of cloth are sewn into his skin, including a red patch right over the heart. A pair of curved, obsidian horns grow from his head, and his feet turn into huge, rending talons. His most distinctive feature, though, are the two great, corvid wings that grow from his back, which he uses to fly short distances.

Clothing Notes: The Jack-of-Crows tends to dress in heavily concealing clothing. For whatever reason, he isn't very comfortable with his body. Long-sleeved formal jackets, pants, frequently with gloves. He does however make a point of keeping a slice of wrist visible between gloves and sleeves. He likes lots of pockets. He's fond of long, ex-Army greatcoats, because they're unobtrusive, good against the chill, and you can carry plenty of things in them, and he usually wears a hat with a very broad-brim (several inches).

On Court occasions, the Jack-of-Crows wears a much-patched suit in earth tones, like a farmer attempting to be formal.

Accessories: The Jack-of-Crows is never anywhere without a slightly curved knife and a whip made out of plant fibers. He also has numerous pouches in his pockets, which might have copper-veined gold, dried thorns, small notebooks. He sometimes carries an Austrian army pistol in a holster, but not always (he's not very good with it).
[/spoiler.]
Type: Fae-Stuff Fetch
Court: Autumn (False)
Seeming: Darkling (False) / Elemental (Copy of)
Kith: Razorhand (False)

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 7, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 8, Stamina 4
Social Attributes: Presence 6, Manipulation 4, Composure 7

Mental Skills: Academics (Classic Literature)
3+Pledge
4, Craft (Goblin Fruit) 3, Investigation
3+Pledge
4, Medicine (Dissection) 4, Occult (True Fae)
6+Pledge
7, Politics
3+Pledge
4, Science 1
Physical Skills: Athletics
3+Pledge
4, Brawl (Knife x2)
9+Pledge
10, Larceny
1+Pledge
2, Stealth (Darkness; 9-Again)
7+Pledge
8, Survival (Hedge) 3, Weaponry (Knife)
1+Pledge
1
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Corvids)
3+Pledge
4, Empathy (Mien of Baba Yaga x2) 5, Expression (Woodwinds)
2+Pledge
3, Intimidation (Slasher Smile x2)
8+Pledge
9, Persuasion (Making a Deal +3) 1, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge (Misdirection)
6+Pledge
7

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
5, Fame (Urban Legend / Horror Movie Icon)
0+Pledge
2, Fast Reflexes 3, Fleet of Foot 3, Harvest (Hedge Farm) 5, Indomitable 2, Languages (German, English, Latin, Greek; Native is Hungarian) 4, Resources (A stash of copper-veined gold) 5, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 5, Token (
Razorhand Darkling
Deadman's Mask) 2, Vice-Ridden 2
Combat Merits: Cheap Shot 2, Enhanced Item (Armor) 3, Fighting Finesse (Knife) 2, Fighting Style (Street Fighting) 5, Iron Skin 4, Shiv (Knife) 1

Lair: The Corpse Farm; Otherworldly Abode 2, Security 2, Warding 5, Skill Area (Crafts) 3
Lair: Hidden Laboratory; Security 3, Secrecy 5, Warding 5, Skill Area (Academics) 3

Willpower:12
Innocence: 1; +3 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, Seeming Weakness (False)
Conditions: Hollow-Souled (Persistent)

Initiative: 18
Defense:
(Base 8 + Shadow's Warning)
13/5
Armor:
(Iron Skin 2/2 + Enhanced Armored Coat 4/6B)
6/8B
Mind Shield: 2 (Indomitable)
Health: 9; Last-Ditch Effort
Speed: 20

Wyrd: 9
Echoes: Attuned to the Wyrd, Enter the Hedge, Feast of Shadows,
Add half (Wyrd) rounding up to your defense, applies against both melee and ranged attacks, but otherwise is identical to standard defense (goes down for multiple opponents, etc).
Shadow’s Warning, Shadow Step,
Fetch-Beast retainers cost ½ XP
Craft Fetch-Beast, Craft Second Fetch, Mirror-Trap,
[b]Through the Looking Glass (Wyrd 7)[b]

This is a greatly empowered version of Mimic Contract. So long as the Jack of Crows and his changeling original are both within line-of-sight of a mirror (or any suitable reflective surface), then the Jack-of-Crows can borrow his original's Contracts, without paying the preliminary glamour cost.
Through the Looking Glass,
A Murder of Crows (Wyrd 8)

By expending glamour, the Jack-of-Crows is able to create 'shade-crows', semi-real simulacrums composed of shadow in the shape of ravens or crows. For a single point of glamour, he is able to create a single such crow, or else he may expend multiple points of glamour to create a swarm of crows with a radius in yards equal to the glamour expended (up to a theoretical maximum of a thirty-yard radius). Shade-Crows may last indefinitely, but so long as they are in existence, the Jack's maximum glamour is reduced by the number of Shade-Crows or Shade-Crow Murders he has in existence (thus, two individual Shade-Crows and a 4-yard radius swarm would reduce his maximum glamour by 6).

Shade-Crows are not sentient, but are highly intelligent by the standards of animals (even more so than normal crows) and maintain an emphatic link with the Jack-of-Crows. They can send him messages (consisting of either an emotion or a basic thought/concept such as 'Danger!') regardless of the intervening distance, or if one is in the mortal world and the other is in the Hedge. Further, the Jack, by spend 1 WP, may shift his consciousness into that of a Shade-Crow, borrowing its senses. He sees what the familiar sees, hears what it hears, and so on. He is oblivious to his own surroundings while viewing through his familiar, but still possesses tactile sensation (thus he is aware of any damage or physical sensation to his own body). Ending this viewing is a reflexive action and requires no roll.

Shade-Crows are immune to most weapons, being composed of semi-living shadow. Normal guns, claws, or the like deal no damage. Fire, however, deals aggravated damage, and certain magical powers (such as the Death 2 Gift: Ghost Knife) enable them to be hurt as well. They avoid bright lights and sunlight, but are not damaged by them.
A Murder of Crows,
Living Shadow (Wyrd 9)

The Jack-of-Crow’s shadow is now a living, semi-sentient being capable of independent action and motion. It can move objects, attack enemies, observe events, intimidate enemies, and virtually anything else.

In practice, the Shadow acts as a second character, with its own rolls and a separate set of actions each turn, and capable of nearly any action within a few limitations:
  1. Whenever any roll is called for (such as an attack roll or a perception roll), it uses the Jack’s Wyrd as its dice pool.
  2. It can move objects physically and can observe and think, but it is incapable of producing sound or color, which limits its ability to use social rolls other than Intimidation.
  3. That said, the shadow is basically the Jack’s subconscious, and is able to communicate with him perfectly.
  4. When attacking, it deals bashing damage with unarmed strikes, or can pick up the ‘shadows’ of objects and use them as weapons – it’s most fond of grappling and strangling people.
  5. It cannot use the Jack’s contracts or supernatural powers, but it can use his Willpower to buff its rolls – this allow the Jack to spend 2 WP per turn, effectively, one on himself and one on his shadow.
  6. It cannot extend more than 90 feet from the Jack, though it has the same senses as the Jack
  7. The shadow cannot be destroyed in any fashion (other than by destroying the Jack), though bright lights or sunlight can inflict penalties on it ranging from -1 for a flashlight, to -5 for bright sunlight or a floodlight.
Living Shadow
Contracts: Communion (Soil) ●●●●●, Communion (Corpses) ●●●●, Darkness ●●●●●, Dream ●●●, Eternal Autumn ●●●●●, Fang & Talon (Corvids, Rodents, Canines) ●●●, Fleeting Autumn ●●●●●, Goblin (Mantle Mask 1, Fair Entrance 2, Diviner's Madness 2, Seven Year's Gift 2, Mirror, Mirror 3, Phantasmagoria 4, Poison Present 4, Lost in the Woods 4, Speak of the Devil 5, Sleepwalker 5), Inferno ●●●●●, Moon ●●●●●, Omen ●●●, Spellbound Autumn ●●●●, Thorns & Brambles ●●●●●
Glamour: 40/10; +10 Starting (Harvest 5 + Well-Fed 5); Shard Crows (Reduce Max by 10)
Pledges:
Autumn Harvest
Type: Corporal, Courtly Emblem (Autumn)
Tasks:
[Erin] - Medial Alliance (-2)
[Jack of Crows] - Endeavor; Plant the wretched Tree (-2)
Boons:
[Jack of Crows] - Medial Blessing; Fame (+2)
Duration: Decade (+3)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Autumn Harvest,
Mordred's Loyalty
Type: Corporal, Courtly Emblem (Winter)
Tasks:
[Todd White] - Medial Alliance (-2)
[Jack of Crows] - Greater Endeavor; You Shall Be King (-3)
Boons:
[Todd White] - Blessing: Allies (Medical) (+2)
[Jack of Crows] - Adroitness: Investigation, Expression, Animal Ken (+3)
Duration: Decade (+3)
Sanction: Pishogue (Lurking Insanity (-3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Mordred's Loyalty,
Hidden Heart
Type: Corporal, Title Emblem (The Knighthood of Utmost Silence)
Tasks:
[Heinzelmaul] - Greater Alliance (-3), Medial Forbiddance: Keep the Jack's Secrets (-2)
[Jack of Crows] - Medial Alliance (-2), Medial Forbiddance: Keep Heinzelmaul's Secrets (-2), Greater Endeavor: In the Past (-3)
Boons:
[Heinzelmaul] - TBD (+5)
[Jack of Crows] - Adroitness; Stealth, Subterfuge, Brawl, Athletics, Larceny, Intimidation, Weaponry (+7)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
Sanction: Greater Curse (-3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Shadowed Secrets,
Hidden Heart
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Martin the Lion] - None
[Jack of Crows] - Greater Alliance (-3)
Boons:
[Martin the Lion] - None
[Jack of Crows] – Adroitness: Occult, Academics, Politics (+3)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
Sanction: Death (-3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Hidden Heart

Attacks..................................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Razorhand....................................3L............... 23...............Omen,
When your character makes a successful unarmed attack, the opponent suffers a –1 to his next roll.
Knock the Wind Out;
Any time your successes on an attack roll exceed an opponent’s Stamina, you may choose to apply the Knocked Down Tilt. Additionally, any time your character is close enough to strike when an opponent attempts to get up from a prone position, she can reflexively cause 2B damage.
Kick while Down;
Whenever she makes a successful attack, you can spend a point of Willpower to cause two extra points of bashing damage.
One-Two Punch
Silver or Cold Iron Knife.................0L............... 20...............Omen,
When your character makes a successful unarmed attack, the opponent suffers a –1 to his next roll.
Knock the Wind Out;
Any time your successes on an attack roll exceed an opponent’s Stamina, you may choose to apply the Knocked Down Tilt. Additionally, any time your character is close enough to strike when an opponent attempts to get up from a prone position, she can reflexively cause 2B damage.
Kick while Down;
Whenever she makes a successful attack, you can spend a point of Willpower to cause two extra points of bashing damage.
One-Two Punch
Cheap Shot………………………………..N/A……………15………......Reflexive, vs. Wits+Comp, target loses Defense for the turn
Touch..........................................N/A...............18..............
Shadow Grapple…………………………0B……………9………………..Independent Action

Curses..........................................Cost.....................Dice Pool...........Resisted/Opposed........Effect
Glimpse of Fortune's Favor..................
Catch: The changeling is playing a game of skill.
2G...................
Wits+Wyrd, -1 after the first use
16/15..................N/A..............................Advanced Action for a Roll, 8-Again on ES
Creeping Dread...............................
Catch: The changeling is using this clause to frighten intruders into her dwelling.
1G or 2G&1WP.......
Manipulation+Wyrd
13..................-Resolve.....................
Target takes a -9 Penalty on all Composure or Resolve rolls to resist fear; If 2G & 1WP are spent, this is an AoE with a 27 yard radius
Nevousness
Touch of Paralyzing Shudder............
Catch: The target is both alone and already afraid of the changeling.
2G&1WP................
Presence+Wyrd
15..................vs. Res+Wyrd...............
Target halves Speed, Init, Defense, and all Strength &Dexterity dice pools (rounded up)
Shudder
Brother to Ague..............................
Catch: The character can name two diseases that the subject has suffered (or is suffering) and one that the subject fears.
2G......................
Dexterity+Medicine
11..................-Stamina.....................(Successes) Bashing and -5 Fatigue Penalty
Mien of Baba Yaga.........................
Catch: One of the subject’s great fears is actually the character.
3G&1WP................
Wits+Empathy
14..................-Composure...............
Subject takes (Successes) Bashing damage and may only flee or cower for (Successes) turns. He is not denied his defense and may spend 1WP to act normally, albeit it at a -2 penalty.
Absolute Terror
Tithe to Hellfire..............................
Catch: The changeling is using the contract to betray someone who trusts him
3G&1WP................
Stamina+Wyrd
13..................-Resolve...............Subject loses (Successes) WP

[spoiler=The Truth]: Though the Jack-of-Crows pretends to be a Darkling Razorhand, his changeling counterpart is an Elemental Manikin, and the Jack's stolen contracts reflect this bias towards Elementals. Both are of the Autumn Court. (The Jack does not add a Mantle to his Court contracts, nor does he get any of the advantages of having a Mantle, though neither does he suffer the Glamour or Experience penalty for its lack).

The Jack uses a combination of the Deadman's Mask (to simulate a Seeming and Kith) and Mantle Mask (to simulate a Mantle) to pretend to be a changeling. The specifics of these two powers do require the Jack to space out his public appearances, however. Also, while the Jack's figured out how to fake or reproduce most of the powers of the Lost (using Echoes to enter the Hedge, Forging the Dream to enter dreams, and mimicking Thomas's contracts at a distance), he hasn't been able to effectively hide his own inability to enact Pledges.[/spoiler.]



[spoiler=Shade-Crow]
Shade-Crow
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 5, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength --, Dexterity 4, Stamina 1
Social Attributes: Presence 1, Manipulation --, Composure 3

Skills: Athletics 1, Intimidation (Ominous Presence) 5, Investigation 5, Stealth (Blend into the Background) 5, Survival (Searching) 3

Merits: Danger Sense 2, Eidetic Memory 2

Willpower: 4

Initiative: 9
Defense: 4
Health: 3
Size: 2
Speed: 16 (flight only; base 10)

Special: Shadow-Stuff Shade-Crows are immune to most weapons, being composed of semi-living shadow. Normal guns, claws, or the like deal no damage. Fire, however, deals aggravated damage, and certain magical powers (such as the Death 2 Gift: Ghost Knife) enable them to be hurt as well. They avoid bright lights and sunlight, but are not damaged by them.
Special: Through the Eyes The Jack, by spend 1 WP, may shift his consciousness into that of a Shade-Crow, borrowing its senses. He sees what the familiar sees, hears what it hears, and so on. He is oblivious to his own surroundings while viewing through his familiar, but still possesses tactile sensation (thus he is aware of any damage or physical sensation to his own body). Ending this viewing is a reflexive action and requires no roll.

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Peck................................. 0(L).......... 3
[/spoiler.]

[spoiler=Murder of Shade-Crows]
Murder of Shade-Crow
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 5, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength --, Dexterity 4, Stamina 1
Social Attributes: Presence 1, Manipulation --, Composure 3

Skills: Athletics 1, Intimidation (Ominous Presence) 5, Investigation 5, Stealth (Blend into the Background) 5, Survival (Searching) 3

Merits: Danger Sense 2, Eidetic Memory 2, Fast Reflexes 2, Perfect Stillness 1

Willpower: 4

Initiative: 9
Size: (varies)
Speed: 16 (flight only; base 10)

Special: Shadow-Stuff Shade-Crows are immune to most weapons, being composed of semi-living shadow. Normal guns, claws, or the like deal no damage. Fire, however, deals aggravated damage, and certain magical powers (such as the Death 2 Gift: Ghost Knife) enable them to be hurt as well. They avoid bright lights and sunlight, but are not damaged by them.
Special: Through the Eyes The Jack, by spend 1 WP, may shift his consciousness into that of a Shade-Crow, borrowing its senses. He sees what the familiar sees, hears what it hears, and so on. He is oblivious to his own surroundings while viewing through his familiar, but still possesses tactile sensation (thus he is aware of any damage or physical sensation to his own body). Ending this viewing is a reflexive action and requires no roll.
Special: Swarm The Murder of Crows deals 1L damage to everything caught within its its radius per turn. The Murder can inflict even more damage by condensing. Every time the Murder condenses to cover one yard less of its full area, it inflicts one additional die of damage per turn. Defense does not apply against a swarm, and armor only applies if it covers the entirety of one's body (full plate-armor, a hazmat suit), in which case it reduces the damage done by half its rating. Any target within the swarm suffers a -2 penalty on all rolls from the distraction, and must make a Dexterity roll each round or else have one of its eyes pecked out (see the Blinded condition). The swarm cannot be attacked with fists, clubs, swords, or guns. Only area-effect attacks such as torches affect it, reducing its size by 1 for each point of Lethal damage so inflicted, and halving it for each point of aggravated damage.
[/spoiler.]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Székely Károly
Type: Fae-Stuff Fetch
Seeming: Darkling (False) / Elemental (Copy of)
Kith: Razorhand (False)

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 5, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics 3, Investigation 2, Medicine (Dissection) 3, Occult 5, Science 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl (Knife x2) 5, Firearms 1, Larceny 3, Stealth (Darkness; 9-Again) 5
Social Skills: Intimidation (Quell the Crowd) 5, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge (Deception) 5

Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Indomitable 2, Languages (German, English, Latin, Greek; Native is Hungarian) 4, Resources (A stash of copper-veined gold) 5, Vice-Ridden 2
Combat Merits: Cheap Shot 2, Fighting Finesse (Knife) 2, Fighting Style (Street Fighting) 3, Quick-Draw (Knife) 1, Shiv (Knife) 1
Supernatural Merits: Token (
Razorhand Darkling
Deadman's Mask) 2


Willpower: 8
Innocence: 1
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Darkling Curse (False)
Conditions: Hollow-Souled (Persistent)

Initiative: 12
Defense:
(Base 5, Minus Coat 1, + Shadow's Warning 2)
6/2; Quell the Crowd
Armor:
(Enhanced Armored Coat 4/6B)
4/6B
Mind Shield: 2 (Indomitable)
Health: 10
Speed: 14

Wyrd: 3
Echoes: Attuned to the Wyrd, Enter the Hedge,
Add half (Wyrd) rounding up to your defense, applies against both melee and ranged attacks, but otherwise is identical to standard defense (goes down for multiple opponents, etc).
Shadow’s Warning, Shadow Step
Glamour: 12/3
Pledges:

Attacks.......................................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Razorhand....................................1L............... 13...............
When your character makes a successful unarmed attack, the opponent suffers a –1 to his next roll.
Knock the Wind Out;
Any time your successes on an attack roll exceed an opponent’s Stamina, you may choose to apply the Knocked Down Tilt. Additionally, any time your character is close enough to strike when an opponent attempts to get up from a prone position, she can reflexively cause 2B damage.
Kick while Down
Cheap Shot………………………………..N/A……………10………......Reflexive, vs. Wits+Comp, target loses Defense for the turn



Martin the Lion
Martin Scrivener

Concept: The Noble Lion
Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Dawn
Entitlements: Legate of the Black Apple (Probationary)
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Truefriend

[spoiler="Martin"]

[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Trusting
Vice: Pessimistic

Background: Martin Scrivener has had a very odd life, and most of it has to do with crows. His earliest memories are peaceful enough, certainly. He remembers playing ball in the fields, watching puppet plays with the Young Master, being taught the history and mathematics by the Elderly Tutor, even chasing his own tail beneath the ochre sun. He doesn’t remember quite a few other things, certainly. He doesn’t remember his parents, or all of his first lessons, or entire weeks have all vanished from his memories. They occasionally show up in his nightmares, though.

Martin’s next memories involve thorns, and pain, and the impossible desire to escape. He remembers coming out of a maze in a cathedral near Nottingham when he was eight or nine years old. He remembers being found by crows, and then by the police, and going to a fondling hospital and then a foster home. Two foster homes, actually, the first one ended rather sharply when dear Mr. Bolles died of a heart attack in the middle of the night. He’d hit Martin a few times, but Martin figured he deserved it. Apparently the crows disagreed.

His second foster family was a bit nicer, but Martin never really forgot that he was different. He had a tail, for starters, and he could see things that other people couldn’t (crows, mostly). It was at this time that Martin met Uncle Jack, who wore a black coat and a black hat, and always had some crows sitting on his shoulders. Uncle Jack was his only family (the foster family was always a little scared of him, since Mr. Bolles’s death included quite a lot of screaming before the heart attack). But Uncle Jack was fun, if very strange, and his jokes strange too.

When he was eleven, Uncle Jack came and informed the foster family that Martin was going abroad. He was going to Providence, Tennessee, and the Forsythe Academy there, to stay there year round. Uncle Jack, it seemed, had money. The Forsythe Academy was a place for the rich and influential children of the American South, and if they occasionally cast odd glances at Martin, they accepted him. Anyone with a British accent like that, and a terrifying uncle like that, had to be ‘their people’.

At school, Martin flourished. By his fifth year, he was captain of the football team, and in his senior year he was class president. The fact of the matter was that Martin was nice. He certainly wasn’t the smartest student, and he wasn’t the best athlete ever (though he was quite good). But he was nice, and what he lacked in cleverness he made up in leadership ability. He was popular, and he was lucky, and he had the slight advantage that the crows were always there. Bullies tended to receive very firm instructions to stay away from the handsome, popular kid.

There were odd bits, of course. The dreams were the worst, dreams of drowning, or burning, or being beaten with birch rods by people he loved, dreams bad enough that there were days when Martin just stayed in bed at the infirmary, twitching helplessly. There were other dreams, not so hideous, which taught Martin that he was different – he had a tail, which Martin was always rather perplexed about – and how he could control those differences. Martin could turn into a lion, or talk to housecats, or jump and play better than ever. Sometimes these dreams bled into reality, and Martin holds all the track and field records at Forsythe Academy. All of them.

Still, all good things come to an end, and so did Martin’s time at the Forsythe Academy. His old school chums dispersed back to the four corners of the world, to study at Oxford and Harvard or run departments of their family’s multinationals in Brazil or China. Martin, though, knew where he was going from the start. It was back to London, and to whatever Uncle Jack and the crows had in mind next.

Martin Scrivener (not his real name, but rather the name the British foster system provided for him) was taken by a Gentry known as the Young Master of Tears when he was about four years old. His role was to be that of pet, playmate, and periodic whipping boy for his Keeper’s plays of perpetual childhood. Like many of the worst kinds of Durances, it wasn’t constant torment and torture, but mental destruction interspersed with seemingly genuine kindness and caring. The Young Master seemed to genuinely like his ‘Kitten’, and there were frolics and pranks and all manner of things that two rambunctious seven-year olds can get up to.

There were also brutal beatings when the Young Master misbehaved, but could not be punished for by virtue of his noble blood. There were wretched meals and worse living conditions, the abuse of the other servants, and the fact that some of the Young Master’s pleasanter entertainments included setting Martin’s tail on fire or holding his head underneath the duck pond. All of this was done to an eager-to-please young boy, and all followed by explanations of how the Young Master really did like Martin, but Martin kept bringing this upon himself by being a wet blanket.

When Martin finally crawled his way out of the Thorns, driven past human endurance, he came to the attention of the Jack-of-Crows. Quite frankly, at first the Jack took protective watch over the young lion mostly out of a sense of occult curiosity. What might happen? But as he soon discovered, it was impossible to watch over the cub without feeling emotionally attached, and in short order the Jack was as proud and possessive a parent as anyone could want.

Over the years, the Jack-of-Crows has watched out for Martin however he could. Gotten him into a good school, ensured his advancement in life, and generally protected him however possible. Owing in no small part to the Jack’s own severe insecurities as a parent (and soulless monster), anyone who harms Martin is rapidly introduced to the meaning of the phrase ‘Disproportionate Retribution’.

The Jack-of-Crows has also taken upon himself the task of returning Martin to some semblance of sanity. Unfortunately, the Jack-of-Crows is very good at making people
in-sane, but less so at making them sane. He’s used dream therapy, and he’s used his own black magic to force Martin to repress his more traumatic memories. Arcadia for Martin was a vaguely unhappy place, unpleasant in ways he has difficulty defining. This method has had a few unfortunate side-effects, such as Martin’s terrifying nightmares, but the Jack-of-Crows doesn’t know that the alternatives would have been any better. Because of the Jack’s own uncertainties, he tends to be very sensitive about the matter, and anyone bringing up the idea that Martin has a right to his own (traumatic) experiences is quickly offered some trauma of their own, to see what it feels like.

Lastly, the Jack-of-Crows has, by means of corvine intermediaries and dreams, taught Martin how to use his supernatural powers – some of them, at least. Martin still has a tendency to activate his contracts ‘instinctively’, when under stress.


Martin is an idealist, very friendly, and an all around nice guy. He’s the kind of person who believes that we can all just get along, and that there’s no reason why we should fight, and if everyone just works together, it would be awesome and life would be wonderful. So let’s go out there and win that game! In short, he’s someone who believes in the inherent goodness of mankind, and that there is no problem that can’t be solved with the proper application of teamwork and good nature. Admittedly, some problems (say, World Hunger) would require a lot of teamwork and good nature, but the Martin insists that the theory is sound.

It helps that any group with Martin in it actually does seem to do better. He’s easy to talk to, and while he doesn’t always know the right thing to say, it’s impossible to doubt his earnestness. He wants to help you, and if you don’t let him, then he is going to pull that ‘huge kitten’ routine until you do. He’s a very persistent sort when it comes to cheering people up.

Of course, the dark side to this is that Martin suffers from crushing insecurity. If everyone else does things for the best of motives, and lacks only a bit of a push to make things work out, then Martin invariably blames any failures on himself. If something goes wrong, it’s Martin’s fault, and he will beat himself up about till he’s a melancholy wreck.

This is one of the memories of Arcadia. The other is that occasional, terrifying nightmares that wrack Martin’s sleep, or other moments when his guard is down. Martin has… Views about people mistreating other people or animals, as a result. The kind of views that lead one to realize that while Martin may be a giant kitten, he is also a former football captain, stands at about six-foot-four, and has a punch like a train engine.

Martin is aware of the supernatural, but only in an extremely general sense of ‘there are weird things’. He knows that he has supernatural abilities and that most people can’t turn into lions, jump several yards, or pretend to be teachers despite obviously not being teachers. He knows that this is a result of his time with the Young Master in ‘faerieland’, but he hasn’t made the logical connection that there might be other supernatural entities like him, or indeed, entire supernatural societies. Martin treats the supernatural on a case-by-case basis, and the only two cases he has so far are himself and Uncle Jack.

Academically, Martin is interested in the fields of international relations, economics, and diplomacy. He’s not sure what he wants to do with his life yet, but the idea of joining the Foreign Office and helping governments get along with one another, smoothing over problems, has a definite appeal.
Type Changeling
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Truefriend

Note: The physical stats in parentheses are for when Martin transforms into a lion.

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 4(6), Dexterity 2(4), Stamina 4(2)
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 2, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics 2, Occult 1, Politics (International Relations) 3
Physical Skills: Athletics (Running) 3, Brawl 3, Stealth 1
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Felines; 8-Again) 1, Empathy (Comfort)
3+Mantle
4, Expression 3, Intimidation 2, Persuasion (Making a Deal +1)
3+Pledge
4, Socialize (Working the Crowd)
2+Pledge
3, Subterfuge 1

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
2, Allies (Old Money) 2, Destiny (Bane: Mordred The Traitor) 6, Giant 3, Mantle (Dawn) 1, Resources
0+Well-Paid
1, Status (
Well-Paid, Well-Fed, Support Group
Harbingers) 1, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 2, Striking Looks (Floofy) 1

Willpower: 4
Clarity: 7; +2 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Beast Curse
Personal Banes: True Tongue

Initiative: 4 (6 as Lion)
Defense: 2 (4 as Lion)
Size: 6 (8 as Lion)
Health: 10 (10 as Lion)
Speed: 11 (25 as Lion)

Wyrd: 3
Entitlement Powers: Keeper's Reprieve, Diplomatic Immunity (Legate of the Black Apple)
Contracts: Fang & Talon (Felines) ●●●●●, Hearth ●●●●, Oath & Punishment ●, Potential ●, Stone ●, Vainglory ●●●
Glamour: 12/3; +3 Starting (Well-Fed 3)
Pledges:
Motley Pledge
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Bat, Form, Glow, Martin, Mary Mack, Nigel] - Medial Alliance (-2)
Boons: Adroitness (Persuasion, Socialize) (+2)
[Martin]:
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-2), Lesser Curse (-1)
Duration: Year and a Day (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Motley Pledge

Attacks..................................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Haymaker.....................................0B............... 7...............Might
Lion Claws....................................2L................ 11............Might






Form
Tarsa Rajai (Real Name), Tarsa Black (Legal Identity)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlements: Archer of the Lonely March, Knight of the Rose (Probationary, Inactive)
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Venombite



Virtue: Determined
Vice: Miserly
Long-Term Aspiration: Become someone she can respect

Background: Success is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. So Form's parents always told her, because, to be honest, the poor girl didn't have much else going for her. Her family were second generation immigrants, who had fully embraced the London way of life. Her father ran a small pharmaceutical business, and they were decently well off. They were moderately faithful Muslims - no alcohol or pork, though they tended to slack off on the midday prayers. Form's early life blends together in a long montage of mediocrity. She was always the background filler at school - not ostracized, but not well liked. Everyone knew her, but no one knew her well. She had no particular brilliance, no athletic prowess, and no stand-out personality traits other than being studious. Her hobbies were mostly casual sports and computers, back when computers involved DOS. Her opinions mostly followed whatever the majority was. But she worked hard, and that was the key to success, so her teachers and parents told her. It meant she had a very clean room, did well enough in school to get into a good University, and had very happy parents. It also meant that when the librarian stepped out for a smoke break, Form was the only person left in the school library, when the sun set on the Autumn Equinox. The Mistress took her.

Her Durance continued much as her life before had. It was filled with far more terror and deprivation and pain, but it was mostly more work. Form survived the same as she had in school, by becoming background filler among the other Library girls. She was diligent and studious, and didn't get tired easily, and was older than many of the other girls, which gave her an edge in her chores. She was also old enough to be mostly through with oily skin and pimples, which spared her much of the Mistress' creative alterations.

It would be wrong to say she hasn't suffered from the neglect, however. Even at her most ignored, her parents would always love and support her. In the Castle, however, the attention of the Mistress is what everyone fears most, and yet the Mistress' compliments are what they crave most. Where other girls were both terribly punished and occasionally praised, Form's best work is taken for granted, and any less is punished. Even her name was no reward, simply given because the Mistress had tired of calling her "you", and the Mistress ensured she knew that. The constant dismissal of even her most earnest efforts, even when she goes above and beyond what would be expected of anyone else, has destroyed her confidence just as surely as the twisted love/hate games that the Mistress plays with others.

Personality: Form doesn't put a lot of philosophical thought into her every day life. She's more interested on things like how to get from point A to point B than, say, the why of getting to point A to point B. She will think of the future, certainly, and plan for it, but she isn't typically bogged down by existential thoughts or despair. She certainly seems to have weathered her Durance well, on the surface, because she is eminently practical. Of course, like all her fellows in the Castle, she's a complete emotional trainwreck. She's avoided the worst the Mistress had to offer by being unremarkable and thus unnoticeable, but she still holds an extreme love/hate relationship with her Keeper, and takes pride in the work she's accomplished, not in anything that lies inside her personality. It's simply that she lacks the self-awareness to notice it or dwell on it.

Form's a hoarder. Every time she received something from the Mistress, usually food, she'd stuff it under her bed for a rainy day. It occasionally proved impractical, such if the food was not prone to store well, or if someone else tried to snatch it away - still, it proved a blessing more often than not. As such, Form has a certain bit of callousness in her, when it comes to her possessions. She is perfectly willing to intimidate other girls into leaving her stuff alone, and she doesn't like to share.

Like all the Mistress' girls, she is very proper, polite, soft-spoken, and yielding to authority, though that is starting to shift. Due to a pledge she made with Martin Scrivener, she has become a bit more sociable. She has also become far more fussy over her looks, dabbling in makeup and mascara. Therapy is helping with her feelings of Stockholm Syndrome, but is slowly replacing it with anger. Of all the girls, Form holds the deepest resentment over what was done to her. Glow disliked her family, and Bat had already lost them, but somewhere out there is a copy of Form living her life. It is a very frustrated feeling - the Mistress is untouchable, the Fetch protected by London Freehold law, and little Erin is Form's sole source of housing and employment. Her unrequited crush on Martin and her competition with Glow do not do her inferiority complex any favors.

Type Changeling
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Venombite

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 4
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics (Research) 3, Computer 3, Science (Chemistry) 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl (Bite)
3+Pledge
4, Stealth (Beneath Notice) 3, Survival (Finding a Trail) 3
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Insects; 8-Again) 2, Intimidate 2, Persuasion (+1 to Make a Deal)
1+Pledge
2, Socialize
2+Pledge
3

Merits: Court Goodwill (Winter) 1, Iron Stamina 2, Mantle (Summer) 1, Resources
1+Pledge+well-paid
4, Striking Looks (Elegant)
0+Pledge
1, Status (Harbingers) 1, Status (Freehold; New Girl) 1,
from Freehold
Allies: Medical 1

Willpower: 7
Clarity: 6 (+1 to Breaking Point rolls)
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Beast Curse
Personal Banes: Taboo (Never be without a knife)

Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Health: 9
Speed: 11

Wyrd: 3
Entitlement Powers: Border Marcher (Archer of the Lonely March)
Contracts: Den ●●●●●, Stone ●●●, Punishing Summer ●
Glamour: 12/3 (+2 to Starting Glamour)
Pledges:
Skin Deep
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Form]: Medial Endeavor (Go out and meet new people in a public place like a club, for one hour, thrice per week) [-2]; Medial Forbiddance (Alcohol, recreational drugs, vampire bites, etc) [-2]
Boons:
[Form]: Lesser Blessing: Striking Looks 1 (+1); Adroitness: Brawl, Persuasion, Socialize (+3)
Sanction: Medial Pishogue (F&T 3: Telecats decide Form's room is the best place) (-2)
Duration: Moon (+2)
Skin Deep,
Motley Pledge
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Bat, Form, Glow, Martin, Mary Mack, Nigel] - Medial Alliance (-2)
Boons:
[Form]: Medial Blessing: Resources +2 (+2)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-2), Lesser Curse (-1)
Duration: Year and a Day (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Motley Pledge


Bat
Maya Lam (Real Name), Cara Bat Tien (Legal Identity)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: College of the Tallowed Flame
Seeming Darkling
Kith: Lurkglider/Leechfinger



Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Pushover
Long-Term Aspiration: To create a network of London ghosts

Background: No one ever listened to Bat. She told her parents she didn't like that manor house. She told them she didn't like the people there. She told them they'd done something to her brother, and he wasn't right any more. She told her Dad that mum had been taken away, and they should run while they still can. But they didn't listen, and Bat was too frightened to run on her own. They'd been blowing her off like they always did, attributing her fears to her scared and paranoid personality. Most the times, they'd been right. But this time, they went wrong, and then vanished one by one, leaving Bat all alone. And then the Mistress took her.

Bat didn't take to her Durance well. The darkness of the library terrified her, but the Mistress terrified her more, and every time she was sent in she emerged a jittering mess. She was easy to terrify, which made her a huge target to the Mistress, and some of the crueler changelings. It was just too easy to pick on her, and watch her stammering reactions. She was a total wreck within a few months, and many wondered how she hadn't been taken by the darkness. Sometimes she would cower in the library for hours, too afraid to move, too afraid to leave without the book she'd been told to fetch. The others would help her, when they weren't too inconvenienced by it.

It was down deep in the Library that she found her first Ghost, an ancient spirit bound to one of the Mistress' stolen grimoires. Terrified, desperate, Bat made a covenant with them, irreversibly opening her eyes to the world beyond. The ghosts were rare in Arcadia, but the ones there aided her. They guided her through the darkness, they spoke to her and told her their life stories. They made her feel safe. They helped ease her fear of death. After all, she knew now that they had lived on afterward. Now, she had faith that she would as well, one way or another.

Personality: Bat is a scaredy-bat. She's squeaky, she's excitable, and she's easily frightened. Unfortunately, she's a natural follower, and doesn't like being alone. In other words, no matter how many times she says something looks like a bad idea, she'll go along anyway, because leaving by herself is even more frightening. She's easy to fluster, which makes her a huge target to people who enjoy provoking reactions in others. The Mistress has forced politeness and proper manner into Bat's mind on pain of death, and it keeps her surface demeanor relatively normal. But she's perpetually watchful, prone to nervous glances, and often softspoken.

The ghosts calm her down. Their mere existence fills Bat with a feeling of meaning. Ghosts remain behind for a reason, and it's neat to her. It gives her faith that the world works. She doesn't like to talk about this to others, though.

Bat's Durance left her with a deep hunger of sorts. It's more than just the need for good food after being deprived of it (though that is certainly also the case). There's a feeling of hollowness inside her - not quite emptiness, but it wants to be filled. Food fills it, but glamour proves much more effective. And Bat, perhaps borrowing some nature from her ghostly friends, or perhaps having some hint of a vampire bat in her mien, has found ways to suck glamour from other changelings. She knows she shouldn't, but it's so so good, and like the cannibals that eat others to gain their strength, it seems to impart some measure of the stolen emotion to her. Whether this is actually the case, or Bat projecting, is unknown.
Type Changeling
Seeming: Darkling
Kith: Lurkglider/Leechfinger

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 1

Mental Skills: Academics (Research) 3, Investigation 1, Medicine 2, Occult (Ghosts x2, Underworld) 4
Physical Skills: Athletics (Climbing; +2 to Balance) 3, Larceny 4, Stealth (Shadows; 9-Again) 4, Survival 1
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Persuasion (+1 to Make a Deal) 1, Subterfuge 2

Merits: Contacts 3, Dual-Kith 2, Mantle (Autumn) 1, Status (Harbingers) 1, Status (Freehold; New Girl) 1,
2+Well Paid
Resources 1,
From Freehold
Allies: Medical 1
Supernatural Merits: Allies (Ghosts) 5, Medium (
Counts as the Catch for Bat’s Shade and Spirit 1: Ghostly Presence contract
Ghost) 3
Lair: Bat’s Room at the Cat’s Cradle: Ritual Area (Ghosts) 2

Willpower: 3
Clarity: 7 (+1 to Breaking Point rolls)
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Darkling Curse
Personal Banes: Uninvited

Initiative: 5
Defense: 4
Health: 7
Speed: 11

Wyrd: 3
Entitlement Powers: Reading the Wyrd (College of the Tallowed Flame)
Contracts: Communion (Corpses) ●●●, Shade and Spirit ●●●●, Darkness ●●●●, Fleeting Autumn ●
Glamour: 12/3 (+2 to Starting Glamour)
Pledges:
Motley Pledge
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Bat, Form, Glow, Martin, Mary Mack, Nigel] - Medial Alliance (-2)
Boons:
[Bat]: Medial Blessing: Ritual Area (Ghosts) 2 (+2)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-2), Lesser Curse (-1)
Duration: Year and a Day (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Motley Pledge


Glow
Chloe Hayden

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World
Seeming Fairest
Kith: Bright One/Ask-wee-da-eed



Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Hasty
Long-Term Aspiration: To have a good time

Virtue: Hope - Glow is the eternal optimist, the ever present beam of sunshine in people's day. No matter what happens, no matter how awful things are, nothing dampens Glow's inner spirit.
Vice: Lust - Glow acts on whatever impulse carries her. Why care about the consequences?

Background: Some people always seem cheerful, no matter what happens. In the case of the girl known as Glow, she had every reason to be cheerful. She was born to a rather wealthy family, and had anything money could ever buy a child. Yes, perhaps she lost her father to a slow, painful disease. Yes, her mother immediately used her team of lawyers to steal Glow's inheritance, and take control of her daughter's life, tearing her from her sisters and sending her to one strict boarding school after another. Yes, she lost one of her sisters to the same disease as her father. But she had a grand house and had expensive toys, and that made her lucky. So everyone said, so it had to be true. And Glow made it true. No matter how out of control her life could get, Glow always kept her sparkling and upbeat attitude.

That must have been what attracted the Mistress, in the end. Boggled by the strange and hopeful creature, the Mistress dragged Glow back to her castle. Of course, the Mistress has very little to do with such a bright soul except try to break it. Glow was thrown into the living darkness of the Library like the other new girls, and the Mistress forgot about her, for a bit. But the Mistress was soon shocked to find how Glow had adapted. She was still cheerful as ever, and now she glowed on the outside as well as inside. She'd adapted to the darkness by emitting her own light.

This was not conducive to the Mistress' desired environment, for when the girls went into the Library, Glow would come with them, and they would no longer feel afraid of the dark. So the Mistress 'promoted' Glow to be a dancer and entertainer, and occasional playtoy. Glow adapted well to that as well, being naturally pleasant and talkative. The Mistress, it seemed, eventually got tired of trying to break the girl without resorting to blatantly unfair measures - which, to the Mistress, would be counted as a loss in any event. Or perhaps she realized she'd broken the girl, just in other ways. Thus Glow faded into the background, being called on to perform when wanted and ignored at all other times. At least, until one day she encountered some runaways and followed on a lark...

Personality: Glow lives up to her name, inside and out. She is the eternal optimist, always bright and ready to face the day. Some people wonder if it isn't an affectation, for even normal, everyday people find plenty of things to be down about. Surely no one could live through what she had and still keep their soul intact? But everything seems to point to Glow being sincere. Happiness is contagious, and Glow does her best to spread it wherever she goes. Polite, and yet elegant and cheery, it's hard not to crack a smile around her.

Of course, the most well known fact about optimists is that pessimists hate them. Glow isn't perfect by any means. Her biggest issue is that she never stops being happy, even when other people would really like her to. Certainly she can be more subdued, and she's not heartless towards people having a rougher time than herself. But people who are grieving rarely like seeing other people remaining cheerful, even when they offer you their sincerest condolences. To make it worse, Glow says whatever's on her mind, and sometimes these things are bluntly insensitive.

The other issue is that Glow does whatever she feels like, whenever she feels like, and merely offers a shrug at the consequences. To most, this seems like both like flagrant irresponsibility and blatant callousness towards anyone she may have hurt with her actions. Other, more psychologically savvy souls might correctly recognize this as a sign of severe emotional damage. Glow's decisions and choices have never had an effect on what happened to her - her father and sister died while she watched helplessly, her mother dominated her life, and then the Mistress afterward. Saying "no" never mattered to anyone, she was forced to do whatever it was regardless. The utter loss of control has left her disaffected, and uncaring toward the decisions she makes. It doesn't matter whether she does or doesn't do anything, so she may as well just do whatever she wants.

Glow is enjoying her new freedom by spending all her money on whatever whim takes her. She knows perfectly well Erin will be there to bail her out if things get dire, and she's in no danger of starving. Glow survived in the Castle off the patronage of others, and she's perfectly content with the matter of affairs.

On the rarest of occasions, people around Glow get smited down with some of the bad luck that's plagued her all her life, but she doesn't seem to be consciously aware of having anything to do with it.
Type Changeling
Seeming: Fairest
Kith: Bright One/Ask-wee-da-eed

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 5, Manipulation 4, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Politics 3
Physical Skills: Athletics (Jumping) 3, Weaponry (Chains) 4
Social Skills: Expression (Dancing) 4, Persuasion (
Specialty+Freehold
Make a Deal x2) 5, Socialize 4, Subterfuge 4

Merits: Dual-Kith 3, Fighting Finesse (Chains) 2, Mantle (Spring) 1, Quick Draw (Melee) 1, Resources
0+Pledge+well-paid
3, Status (Harbingers) 1, Status (Freehold; New Girl) 1,
From Freehold
Allies: Medical 1

Willpower: 3
Clarity: 7 (+1 to Breaking Point rolls)
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Fairest Curse
Personal Banes: Taboo (Never be in total darkness)

Initiative: 6 (3 w/ Chain)
Defense: 2 (5 w/ Elegant Protection)
Health: 7
Speed: 11

Wyrd: 3
Entitlement Powers: Idyllic Existence (Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World)
Contracts: Elements (Lightning) ●●, Elements (Fire) ●●, Hearth ●, Separation ●●●●, Vainglory ●●●
Glamour: 12/3 (+2 to Starting Glamour)
Pledges:
Motley Pledge
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Bat, Form, Glow, Martin, Mary Mack, Nigel] - Medial Alliance (-2)
Boons:
[Glow]: Medial Blessing: Resources +2 (+2)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-2), Lesser Curse (-1)
Duration: Year and a Day (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Motley Pledge

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Chains………………………………….2L…………….12……...



Heather Drayton

Type: Flesh-Created Fetch
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements:
Valiant Heart
The Rose-Knights have dedicated themselves to doing battle with the myriad dangers that bedevil the Lost, and this dedication grants them a certain degree of protection against the dangerous forces that they face. As many Rose-Knights would be quick to remind new recruits, it is far from perfect, but it has saved more than one Knight from death. Whenever a Knight is targeted by a magic that allows her to either apply her Wyrd as a die penalty, or roll her Wyrd as an opposed check, she increases her effective Wyrd by 1 for that purpose.
Knight of the Rose
Seeming:
May spend glamour to boost Athletics, Presence or Composure at the rate of +2 per glamour
Beast (False)
Kith:
May spend 1G to gain +4 to Stamina rolls
Broadback (False)
Born: 1980


[spoiler=Mien][/spoiler.]

[spoiler="Heather"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Confident
Vice: Hasty
Long-Term Aspiration: To fit in – to be treated as one of the gang, not as the wild, dumb, or innocent one to be shunned or protected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin's Notes
Rakesh's Investigation
Heather Drayton, born in 1980 to Charles and Amanda Drayton of Mayfair. She has a younger brother, Arthur, who was born in 1984. Heather attended some very good prep schools, and this along with some family connections managed to get her into the University of Nottingham, where she majored in art history. (The University of Nottingham, for the record, is a seriously good university.)

Rakesh got copies of all her transcripts. Heather's academic career is... speckled. Basically, Heather is very bright and very clever, but she has the attention span of a squirrel. She sort of squeaked out with a degree in 2003. The only places where Heather does excel in is sports. She's was a cheerleader in secondary school, and has been doing gymnastics at a competitive level for a while now. She's also dabbled, at various levels of competence and commitment, in soccer, water polo, women's rugby, and an Okinawan martial art with a really long name. Since graduation, she's been working as an assistant researcher at her mother's policy NGO (nepotism) and is actually proving to be reasonably good at it. Basically her job involves sorting through archives, interviewing people, and other such research-related tasks. She does lots of surveys. She currently lives in an apartment in Marylebone (which is a rather affluent inner-city part of Westminster, in London), along with a pair of absolutely huge English Sheepdogs.

Financially she's got a fair number of loans to pay off, parents are helping with those.

She's got a bit of a criminal record. Nothing too dramatic, but she was busted at a couple of very wild parties at Nottingham. Rakesh also dug up a now-dropped academic disciplinary action wherein Heather was basically accused of beating the living daylights out of a boy. The charges got dropped due to a bit of uncertainty about what the boy was doing to deserve getting punched in the stomach repeatedly.

Medical records (don't ask how Rakesh got those) show that Heather is something of a medical oddity. Heather suffers from diabetes mellitus, something she got diagnosed with around age 6 (which is odd, but the family has a genetic predisposition for it, so not that bizarre). She actually got into the exercise business as a way of managing her diabetes originally. The strangest aspect of the disease is that it does a number on her pain-nerves. Heather isn't completely unfeeling of pain. But she can shove needles into her finger with only a vague tingle. She'd probably be a physical wreck if she also wasn't healthy as a horse otherwise, and very quick-healing. As is, the doctors sort of scratch their head, think that she should be worse off than she is, but since Heather's doing well, they try not to worry about it - though there's quite a few nasty things coming down the road, (decreased neural functioning, kidney failure), so they have her on medications anyway. Heather's parents alternate between being terrified/worried sick, and secretly relieved that Heather is as happy and healthy as she is.

Heather also spent a bit of time in counseling and with psychiatrists when she was in secondary school (she saw a psychiatrist for about two years following the "beat up the boy so bad that he keeled over" incident). Rakesh also got those psych reports. Which describe Heather as being very outgoing, very cheerful, but with a distinct anger-management problem and a rather peculiar case of monophobia. Basically, Heather gets very anxious and unhappy if she's alone, to the point of panic attacks in extreme situations. She's also taking medication for that, attends monthly meetings with a psychiatrist, and generally tries to avoid situations where she's alone. The dogs sort of help with that. As far as temper goes, Heather tends to run hot-and-cold. She'll be cheerful and pleasant till something finally gets her ticked off enough, at which point she will yell at you for a while. She's usually really sorry about it afterward. Generally speaking, when she blows up at people they deserve it, but she does tend to be strident in her opinions.

Some other snooping around and chatting up spirits reveals that Heather is a very social person , and has a swarm of different friends all over. She has something of a talent for attracting unusual friends, with her best friend since college being Harata Bijarati, a Pakistani woman who is also a practicing Muslim, and who works at a law office in London. Despite that, Heather also has a slight reputation for going through boyfriends like tissue paper (the combination of endless energy and a temper makes her hard to live with sometimes, and she has a somewhat domineering personality), and is at present between SOs, due to getting into a screaming fight with her last boyfriend about a month ago and kicking him out.
Erin's Occult
From the sounds of it, the Mistress was not really quite as careful as she could've been when making Heather. By fetch-standards, Heather is sort of middle-of-the-pack. She doesn't seem to have any horrific, glaring flaws (she's not a sociopath), but the diabetes is apparently some kind of screwy Echo that Heather doesn't know how to turn off. The monophobia is quite likely a result of Heather's personality being a bit unfinished as well. She has a hard time knowing how to act unless there's someone around to take cues from.
Talking to Heather
Heather is mildly supernaturally aware. Someone, by the name of Mr. Sutcliffe, met her in a coffee shop and then showed up in her dreams. He taught her some occult, how pledges work and how to Skien-walk. He's also likely responsible for the Dream Golem we encountered. However, he leaves a good amount of information out. She recognizes dream visitors, but doesn't identify them as Fey. She doesn't know why she should be afraid of someone taking her place, only that she has been warned it could happen. All signs point to that she doesn't realize she's a Fetch. She does seem to recognize she is nothing like her family, personality-wise. All things considered, she seems rather aware of her flaws, though she very much took the appearance of a random coffee-shop man in her dreams in stride.
-It seems that "Mr. Sutcliffe" may be the Jack-of-Crows himself. It certainly makes sense.
Since falling in with Erin's gang, Heather's life has gotten significantly more exciting. Despite significant efforts at convincing her otherwise, Heather has yet to see a downside to being a supernatural being, and most of the severe mental trauma others go through (Lost especially) just bounces off her. She is not an introspective person. Further, her own faerie-fetch nature seems to ensure that Heather is all but immune to most difficulties, given that she feels no pain and is incredibly difficult to kill. So far, her high point of existence was when she punched one of the Sibitti (Underworld-dwelling Banished Fae) so hard that she killed it. [Ghosts in the Machine, Part XI]

These days, Heather continues to work among the various NGOs headquartered in London, though her upward progress has ground to a halt as she spends entirely too much time at the Cat's Cradle. She's in a long-term relationship with Sasha Zmeyevich, and everyone around them considers it only a matter of time before they get married.

Heather is wholly unaware that she is a Fetch, and indeed, courtesy of Erin's Tokens and numerous, numerous lies, thinks that she's some weird variety of faerie. She's an accepted part of the Seelie Court, appearing as an Ishtar-esque beast there, and is a respected member of the Seelie's 'military', mostly for her enthusiasm and skill at punching the living daylights out of things. As mentioned, Heather is not a deep personality. But she enjoys life.
Mental Attributes: Intelligence
no 10s again and -2 on extended rolls
2, Wits 3, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 7, Dexterity 8, Stamina
Spend 1 Glamour to increase a single Stamina roll at a 1:2 ratio, or increase your effective Stamina for a Resisted roll by 1 per 2 Glamour spent.
7
Social Attributes: Presence
May increase by 1 glamour per +2 for a single roll
4, Manipulation 3, Composure
May increase by 1 glamour per +2 for a single roll
2

Mental Skills: Academics 3, Computer 1, Medicine (First Aid; 9-Again) 1, Investigation 3, Politics 1
Physical Skills: Athletics (Jumping, Climbing; 9-Again)
May increase by 1 glamour per +2 for a single roll
4, Brawl (Kick x2; 9-Again)
8+Pledge
9, Larceny (No 10 agains and 1s subtract) 1, Stealth 2, Survival 1, Weaponry 2
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Bovine; 8-Again) 2, Empathy 2, Expression 3, Intimidation 3, Persuasion (+2 to Make a Deal) 4, Socialize (Working the Crowd) 3, Subterfuge 3

Merits: Double-Jointed 2, Fast Reflexes 2, Mantle (Autumn) 1,
from Freehold
Allies: Medical 2, Parkour 4, Professional Training (Athlete; Athletics, Brawl, Medicine) 5,
4+Well-Paid
Resources 5, Status (Harbingers) 2, Status (Freehold) 3, Striking Looks (Sexy Gymnast) 1,
If killed, awaken alive in Underworld
The Dead Clause 0
Combat Merits: Fighting Style (Martial Arts) 5, Fighting Style (Street Fighting) 1
Supernatural Merits: Charmed Life 3, Token (Deadman’s Mask) 2, Token (
Gain Stone 5: Red Rage of Revenge; Do not reroll 10s and 1s subtract on Larceny rolls
Sekhmet Gauntlets) 6
Lair: Ritzy Apartment

Pledges:
The Oath of Gemini
Type: Corporal, Mortal Emblem (Heather)
Tasks:
[Heather] - Forbiddance; Do not reveal Erin's nature, Heather's facade, nor anything of the fae world to to anyone not vetted (-2), Forbiddance; Do not let anything drink your blood or otherwise try to gain sustenance by devouring you.
Boons:
[Heather] - Ensorcellment (+2), Adroitness (Brawl)
Duration: Moon (+2)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (Brawl), Pishogue (creature attempting to feed has teeth knocked out by Cross 2)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-The secrecy or ensorcellment task is broken on pain of death.
-Either party is forced to break the secrecy or ensorcellment by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the secrecy or ensorcellment tasks.
Oath of Gemini

Willpower: 6
Innocence: 7 (+2 to Breaking Points)
Universal Banes: Cold Iron,
Lose 10-again on Extended Intelligence Rolls and takes a -2 penalty to them. Number of rolls on an Extended Intelligence roll is capped by the character's Willpower Dots. Untrained Penalty on Mental Skills is -5.
Seeming Weakness (False)

Initiative: 12 (10 w/ Axe)
Defense: 13/5; Whirlwind Strike (1B); Defensive Strike
Armor: 1/2B (Thin Kevlar Vest)
Health: 21
Speed: 20

Wyrd: 9
Entitlement Powers: Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose)
Echoes:
Turned off by the Jack
Attuned to the Wyrd,
Always active
Heart of Wax,
This Echo only works in the presence of the fetch’s changeling counterpart. The fetch spends one point of Glamour. On the following turn, the fetch can use any Contract that the changeling possesses.
Mimic Contract,
Add half (Wyrd) rounding up to your defense, applies against both melee and ranged attacks, but otherwise is identical to standard defense (goes down for multiple opponents, etc).
Shadow’s Warning,
The fetch becomes a sinkhole for Glamour, creating a small zone in which no Contracts are honored and no magic (of any sort) can function. The Storyteller spends 10 points of Glamour and rolls Resolve + Wyrd (obviously, this Echo takes several turns to enact due to the Glamour expenditure). If the roll succeeds, no magics function within a 50-foot radius and all beings that can hold Glamour, including the fetch itself, lose one point per turn. The changeling weakness to iron, however, also ceases to function during this time, so this power can be of some small benefit. This Echo lasts for one turn per success.
Death of Glamour,
To activate this power, Heather must dance (or do gymnastics, or jump around, or something else either sexy or athletic). As an Instant Action costing 3 Glamour, Heather then rolls Presence+Wyrd, which everyone who can see her contests with Resolve+Supernatural Tolerance. If they fail, they get either the Inflamed Condition or the Swooning Condition (which lasts 1 day per dot of Heather's Wyrd) towards her. Heather's chooses which Condition, though everyone has to get the same one.
Dance of Desire,
By unravelling mystic 'knots' in the shadow of a target, Heather can break curses, enchantments, wards, and any other non-instantaneous spells. To do this, Heather must be able to reach the target's shadow (a person's shadow, an object's shadow, the shadow of an enchanted building, the shadow of a tree within an enchanted glade, etc), and spends 1WP, rolling Manipulation+Wyrd as an instant action (Heather may take longer than this for a bonus to her dice pool, +2 if she takes 10 minutes, +4 if she takes an hour, +6 if she spends eight hours; she may further augment her roll by taking 1B damage per +1 -- damage doesn't start to heal till she finishes working the spell). If she exceeds the original successes of the spell, she breaks it. If she exceeds the original successes by 5 or more, she may instead "re-tie" the spell, altering the parameters however she likes. A ward that inflicted fiery curses upon intruders may now affect its vampiric owner instead, say, and leave Heather and her friends untouched.
Unravelling Knots,
Heather is too alive to die, simple as that. When she is killed (her health boxes full of aggravated damage), she falls into a sort of suspended animation that is, for all intents and purposes, identical to death. She begins to regenerate aggravated damage, at a rate determined by the type of wounds she suffered that led to her death or were inflicted post-mortem -- straightforward wounds such as being shot in the heart and left alone, 1Agg per 15 minutes; more severe damage such as decapitation or being burned down to the bone heals at the rate 1Agg per hour; truly outrageous damage such as being dropped in lava or swallowed whole by a dragon requires 1Agg per day as the Wyrd figures out how to reconstitute Heather's body. The exception to this is wounds inflicted by cold iron, which if used to inflict the death-blow cannot be recovered from.

Heather has the option of waking up at any point after her first aggravated wound is healed instead of waiting til she is fully healed, but this ceases the healing-death, and Heather will need to heal any remaining aggravated damage the old fashioned way.
Strange Vitality,
Heather heals damage way, way, way more quickly than is normal. Bashing damage disappears at the rate of 1B per round, Lethal at the rate of 1L per 15 minutes, and Aggravated heals at the rate of 1A per day. The most severe wounds are always healed first (so, Heather will first heal all Aggravated, then all Lethal, and only then will any Bashing wounds vanish). Furthermore, Heather can spend glamour to speed things up -- 2G heals 1L, and 10G and an hour's rest heals 1A. Healing wounds with glamour replaces the normal healing of Bashing wounds in a given round (that is, if Heather has 4L, 2B damage and spends 4 glamour in a turn to heal, she ends up with 2L, 2B, not 2L, 1B damage.

The exception is cold iron. Any wounds inflicted by cold iron cannot be regenerated.
Regeneration,
Add (Wyrd) to Health
Juggernaut
Glamour: 50/10 (+4 to Starting Glamour)

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Kick………………………………….2L…………….20………………AP 1, 9-Again, Advanced Action,
Ignores 1 dot of Called Shot Penalties
Focused Strike
Small Axe…………………………2L…………….11


Othello
le Marquis de Carabas, Edgar Chesapeake, Joseph Whittington, Blackjack

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Seneschal of the Broken Cage, Office of Vizerial Counsel, Legate of the Black Apple
Seeming Beast
Kith: Trickster/Gamemaster
Born: 1956
Apparent Age: Mid-thirties



[spoiler=More Othello][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Clever
Long-Term Aspiration: To have a good relationship with his ‘family’ (Erin, Mary, Cinder)

It's hard to know anything about Othello when he changes himself every two days. His name is whatever takes his fancy at the moment, his features likewise. He might be a black man with white hair, or dark hair, or a sandy-skinned man with hooked features and bright green eyes, or an Irishman with a trimmed russet goatee. Among the changelings he is notoriously difficult to recognize, and you might easily talk to him for five minutes, only to walk across the room and talk to him again without realizing it.

He does seem to like the name Othello, despite or because of the irony inherent in it, and if you try hard enough you can pick up a few things. The first is that he's a cunning, canny, clever beast, and if you ever think you're getting the better of him, you'd better check your pockets when he's gone. He has a few "tells", though you can't count on them - he has a cats ears, eyes, and tail... most of the time. He's usually handsome, but generally short; he likes fine shoes, has old fashion sense, won't eat his vegetables and has a heavy craving for chocolate. He likes to keep songbirds, caged up in delicate little cages, though one or two might vanish every now and again. He also likes to play games, and he rarely loses. He's a fickle critter, and his attention rarely lasts for long, but you'll know when it's on you; he can raise you to the top in a month, or completely destroy you in a day. And most of the time you'll have unwittingly helped him do it.

Those he does help, he tends to confuse or annoy on the way - though his solutions are often some of the best for everyone involved, they often irritate those who don't share his sense of whimsy. But be warned if he seems too helpful, or if you think you've got the better of him... it means he's playing with you.

There are whispers in the goblin marts that he even tricked one of the True Fey out of something, but that seems a little too ridiculous for even the Changelings to believe - or want to believe. After all, the cheated Gentry might come knocking. Othello certainly isn't talking. Indeed, you could talk to him for hours on end only to walk away and realize he'd said absolutely nothing of import. Othello doesn't see the need to share information about himself.

He certainly doesn't talk about his daughter. He doesn't think people need to know about her.

Othello is the very definition of a trickster, right down to his soul, and he's good at it. He long ago figured out that the rules of the world only apply if someone enforces them, and that with the right words you can change reality. He's a deeply cunning, intelligent man who's always thinking on his feet, able to turn setbacks around so fast that it seems he might have planned it all along. He's vain, and in a way, power hungry. Tricking people gives him power over them, and feeds his pride. He rarely gives a straight answer, dancing around questions with theatrics and wit, leaving those he manipulates in the dark. He's the center of attention when he wishes to be, and invisible in the crowd when he doesn't. He's a veritable fountain of culture and eloquence, parading his intellect in front of everyone. And he has the annoying habit of being one step ahead, and almost always right. Othello is a charming man, but there are really only two ways people react to him - love or hatred.

Like the tale of Puss in Boots, however, his trickery manifests in the form of strange charity. Othello very rarely seeks to take advantage of others for his own gain. To those he likes, he is indeed a true friend, who would win you a kingdom in return for a pair of shoes. He's generous and loyal, in his own way, never asking for anything meaningful in return. Of course, he's so confusing or irritating that many would never consider the fact they owe him at all. In a way, that's how Othello likes it. He wants nothing so crass as money - what he wants is the thrill of deception, the glee of knowing a secret no one else does. He wants the grand reward of shocking everyone with some amazing deed or grandiose gift. Most of all, he wants to have fun while doing it.

Beware to those who truly catch his ire. Certainly, he may trample over evildoers when helping someone else, but it takes a good deal to catch Othello's real bad side. Bad mouthing or disliking the cat won't do it; indeed, Othello seems to enjoy being disliked, in some cases. It takes a very specific grade of callous evil, cruelty, and abusive power to make Othello angry. Slavers of any sort are the worst, slavers who trap people through chains, or contracts, or money. Othello might restrain himself to simple pranks and annoyances, but has an impulsive temper, and if he sees a golden opportunity, he takes it. He can tear down everything a person has, and usually trick them into doing it for him.

Othello has a finger in every pie. He seems to know everyone in London, and he was somehow involved in putting Aurora on the Seelie Throne. It's certainly widely known that he loathed the previous Seelie Queen, Alexandra Merill, and the final faux-wedding between Todd White and Aurora took place in his roving hollow. But no one really knows the truth of that. [Dreaming of Stars] What is known is that Othello these days is perhaps the single most powerful Seelie Courtier. He has the limitless good graces of the Seelie Queen, who will forgive him anything and values his advice deeply, and he is in close contact with several other prominent Seelie courtiers, most notably the Queen Consort and Red Victor, Dana the Tall, and Erin Lamothe, owner of the Cat's Cradle and Joyeux.

More recently, and more publically, Othello was involved in a grand dispute with the werewolf known as Cinder. While the details of this are obscure to much of the Freehold of New Jerusalem, it is known that Erin and Underwood travelled into the very heart of Faerie and brought back four of the Lost with them. There are rumors that Cinder is in fact Othello's daughter, though how this happened, or what the two think of it, is less known. Those in the know, of course, know that Othello is frightened half-to-death and half-sick with guilt towards his ferocious daughter, and at the same time is hardly his daughter's favorite person. [Wonderland]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin Lamothe, to Cinder, Othello's Daughter
“Do you know why your father is what he is? Do you understand why changelings are changelings?” Erin began to speak, quiet words that nonetheless had magic behind them. “The Masters take us, because we are pretty or skilled or for no reason at all. The Mistress takes you away, and she decides, you aren’t good enough, you would look better with ears like a cat. So they take you away and slice your ears from your face, and give you new ones, and you are not even allowed to scream. And you must hold back the tears, because you’ve seen what happens to the ones that cry. She takes out their eyes, then, because they’re ugly when they cry. And the ones who talk back to her, well, she fixes their minds. You are not allowed anything without her permission, not even a name. She takes away everything you have, slices it to ribbons. You are her slave. You perform your little jokes and plays for the Mistress, and if you are boring, or ugly, or if she thinks it would be funnier to hurt you, you are punished. She tells you every day how worthless you are. She points out every flaw in everything you do. And you know it is true, because she is perfect. She is the most perfect, beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. But it’s worth it, after all, because when she tells you you have done well, you know you have earned it.”

“And she takes you to be her lover and toy, sometimes, and her fingers are like knives, and she enjoys slicing you, flaying you, and you have to be put back together when she’s done with you, and she never asked you if you were even willing. But it doesn’t matter, does it? Because she is perfect. Who couldn’t love someone like her? Who could turn away such a privilege, such a sign of favor? Trash like you should bow down at her feet and be grateful for any word, any glance, any favor she pays upon your personage. Only eventually you begin to finally… finally accept, to realize, that there’s no course of action to take, that will stop you from being hurt. There are no rules you can follow, that will keep you safe. There is nothing you can do that will make her love you back. Because eventually she will become bored, or you will misstep, or her tastes will change with no warning. You finally realize… she is killing you. Bit by bit. You have to get away. It kills you inside, because you love her. But one day, on an impulse, you run.”

“And when you get out you realize… slowly, or quickly, that you’re not worthless. You’re not trash. You find things worth living for. And one day, you have a little girl who is the most precious thing in the world to you. But you’re frightened. What if something happens to her? What if something like the Mistress comes back and takes her? The Mistress took everything you ever had, and you know she’s still out there, searching… What if she finds out? What if she sees your baby? You want to make it so your child, your little girl, never has to suffer like you did. You’ll make her strong, and special, and she’ll never have to be afraid like you were, or have to let someone tell her she’s trash. You’ll never, ever, let her feel as powerless as you were.”

“Can you understand?”
[spoiler=Appearance]
Age: Early thirties
Eye Color: Green, pupil changes shape like a cat's eye
Hair Color: White/Light grey
Skin Tone/Complexion: Dark brown
Hair Style: Cut short and close to the head, fine and rather fuzzy. Has a few unshaven hairs that pose as a mustache.

Figure Notes: Othello is, in general, short. Not incredibly so, but he's rarely taller than anyone he's speaking to. His body language and personality makes him seem like the tallest person in the room. He changes form, but he always has a sleek, feline look about him - even when he appears fat (which has a wonderful way of removing any glimmer of suspicion that its him), there is muscle behind the weight. He has a thin face, with high cheekbones and a broad nose, his facial features somewhat close together. His thin lips and thin teeth give him a peculiar grin.

His ears appear slightly elongated and higher than they should be. In his true mien, he doesn't have human ears. Two cat ears sit atop his head, peeking out of his hair. A cat's tail curls from the base of his spine.

Clothing Notes: Old fashioned. Othello likes pressed, collared shirts, pressed dress pants, and nice waistcoats. On occasion he'll pin up his sleeves with black ribbons, and ties a ribbon around his neck in place of a tie. He likes really nice dress shoes, as well.

Accessories: A pocket watch on a fob, cuff links, and a green leaf pin.

Other: Othello changes shape.
[/spoiler.]
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 6, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 5, Manipulation 7, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics 3, Investigation 2, Occult 3, Politics (Freehold) 4
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Larceny (Pickpocket) 6, Stealth 4, Survival 1
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Cats; 8-Again) 2, Empathy 3, Expression (9-Again) 4, Intimidate 1, Persuade (Fast Talk x2, Making a Deal x2; Making a Deal +3; 9-Again)
7+Pledge
8, Socialize
3+Pledge
4, Streetwise (Black Market) 2, Subterfuge (Deception x2; 9-Again)
7+Pledge
8

Merits: Allies (Goblin Markets) 5, Allies (Medical)
Freehold
5, Contacts 5, Court Goodwill (Autumn) 5, Destiny (Bane: His Daughter) 5, Dual-Kith 3, Fast Reflexes 2, Harvest (Chain of Deals) 5, Indomitable 2, Mantle (Spring) 5, Professional Training (Entertainer; Expression, Persuasion, Subterfuge) 3, Resources
3+Well-Paid
5, Status (
Well-Paid, Well-Fed, Support Group
Harbingers) 3, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 5
Hollow: The Marquis de Carabas Travelling Emporium of Wonders; Otherworldly Abode 2; Skill Area (Persuasion) 3, Mobile 3, Secrecy 4

Willpower: 9
Clarity: 6; +3 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Beast Curse
Personal Banes: True Name, Compulsion (Demonstrate your Cleverness), Uninvited

Initiative: 10
Defense: 4
Mind Shield: 2 (Indomitable)
Health: 8
Speed: 11

Wyrd: 7
Entitlement Powers: Keeper's Reprieve, Diplomatic Immunity (Legate of the Black Apple); The Gilded Torc (Office of Vizerial Counsel); You Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours (Seneschal of the Broken Cage)
Contracts: Board ●●●●●, Fang & Talon (Felines) ●●●●●, Fang & Talon (Songbirds) ●●●, Fleeting Autumn ●●, Fleeting Spring ●●●●●, Inferno ●●●●, Mirrors ●●, Spellbound Autumn ●●●●●, Vainglory ●●●●●, Verdant Spring ●●●●
Goblin Contracts Mantle Mask ●, Fool's Gold ●●, Bottom's Predicament ●●●, Phantasmagoria ●●●●, Circe's Curse ●●●●●
Glamour: 20/7; +11 Starting (Harvest 5 & Well Fed 6)
Pledges:

Bloody Harvest
Type: Oath, Courtly Emblem (Autumn)
Tasks:
[Othello] - Ensorcellment (-2)
[Mary] - Medial Alliance (-2)
Boons:
[Othello] – Adroitness: Persuasion, Socialize, Subterfuge (+3)
[Mary] - Ensorcellment (+2), Adroitness: Brawl (+1)
Duration: Season (+2)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Bloody Harvest, also various short-term glamour pledges.


Todd White
The Unseelie King, Sean Gillespie

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Frost-Haired King of Winter (Inactive March to September), Office of Vizerial Counsel, Jeweled Chamberlain of the Dreaming World, Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World (Inactive September to March)
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Trickster
Born: 1978
Apparent Age: Late twenties



Virtue: Just
Vice: Lustful
Long-Term Aspiration: To become a more respected king than the Jack-of-Crows

Born: Sean Gillespie was born to an upper-class family in London, the youngest of two children. His father was a lawyer at a major firm, his mother a vice president of marketing with a global pharmaceutical, and they hated one another. They weren't divorced, his parents, but by all accounts they should have been. Sean and his sister were raised in an atmosphere of accusations and cutting remarks, and Sean was left trying to navigate arguments he barely understood.

His sister Coreen rebelled, becoming steadily more involved in dubious circles, but Sean was always the 'good boy'. Eager to please, conscientious and hard-working, Sean excelled at school and at sports, and grew ever more adept at mediating and calming his endlessly quarrelsome parents. By the summer before his sixteenth birthday, Sean was in the top five percent of his class, was captain of the tennis team, and was always smiling. If that smile had an occasionally somewhat manic edge to it, and if Sean's workaholic nature seemed to keep him away from home for fourteen hours at a time, no one mentioned it.

The Gentry took Sean on the night of his sixteenth birthday. There had been a party, but it had disintegrated into an argument over how well his father had arranged for the catering, and by nightfall Sean was in the backyard adjoining an old forest, sitting in the grass, and miserable as could be. He saw a fox, a glorious russet animal with eyes that burned, and in a feminine voice as clear as a bell, it asked him why he was crying. And so, Sean said how hard he tried, and how nothing ever worked out. The fox offered him another possibility, a world where no one would ever argue or quarrel or raise their voice, and in that moment of depression, Sean took it.

The fox spoke truly, and in his whole Durance, Sean never heard a word spoken in anger or a single criticism, however faint. He was a pampered pet, kept on a leash and fed tidbits from the table, and even when he was punished with the lash or the knife, his Keeper never stopped telling him how much she loved him and what a wonderful pet he was. Afterward the beautiful woman with the brilliant, russet hair would care for him, tending to his wounds and taking him to her bower.

Had this continued for long enough, it's likely that Sean would have been reduced in time to a quivering bundle of eager-to-please masochism. But his Keeper grew bored, and Sean's psyche proved unusually resilient, and the pet was left alone for ever longer periods of time. It was during one of those trips that Sean escaped, running through the Thorns until he emerged, bloodied and half-mad, by the same old forest where he had been taken from.

The first thing Sean did was decide that no matter what else, his life would be his own now. He'd spent sixteen years trying to please his parents, and five more trying to please his Keeper. Never again. He took a new name, to fit his new life, and thus was Todd White born. The second thing Todd did was find his Fetch, studying business at the London School of Economics, and slice it open from stomach to throat with a knife, watching the dead leaves and small animal bones fall out. The third thing he did, though this wasn't exactly intentional, was catch the eye of the Jack-of-Crows.

Now, trying to understand just what attracts the Patchwork King of Autumn is an exercise in futility. Did the Jack admire Todd's bloody-minded will to live his own life? Did he see in the white-haired changeling a creature which he could control? Or was Jack just looking for an heir and Todd was the first changeling he saw on that particular Tuesday? Todd understands the Jack-of-Crows better than anyone else, quite likely, and he still has no idea.

These days, Todd White lives however he likes, for the first time in his life. He dropped out of the LSE, which ended up putting paid to his parent's marriage now that their one apparent success (raising their son) turned to failure. Todd couldn't care less by now. He doesn't have a job and he doesn't have a home, but between charming his way into the hearts – and beds – of interested women and the income he gets as the Winter King, Todd gets along. He gets along rather nicely.

Of course, Todd never expected to be King. He didn't mind the idea though, even if it's proven rather more stressful than he might've liked. But Todd's ambitious, and in some ways, he's proven to be a very good Winter King. He's got a flair for secrecy and a talent for managing his court's subtle desires that would do justice to any Spring Courtier. And whenever people grumble, the Jack-of-Crows is always nearby, and he's made it exquisitely clear that he expects everyone to fully support his chosen heir.

Unfortunately for Todd, all his greatest problems stem from the Jack-of-Crows. In the first case, there's the very open question of who actually rules the Unseelie. Todd White is the formal Unseelie King, and he runs the Court. But the Jack is still a constant presence, like some hideous blood-stain on the wall that no one can quite forget, however much they try to ignore it. Half the Freehold thinks that the Jack-of-Crows is still pulling the strings. One his worse days, the ones where the stress gets to him, Todd agrees with them. He'd love to strike a more independent line, but doing this without alienating his chief political patron and the most powerful faerie in London is going to be an exercise in delicacy.

The situation isn't helped by the fact that Todd still keeps up a few of the Jack's old laws, in particular what is popularly known as the Fetch-Law. Stated plainly, it means that none may kill a Fetch in London without express monarchical permission, which is only granted if the Fetch is somehow violent or dangerous. Todd keeps the law up, and so far he's been able to persuade Aurora to uphold it during the months when the Seelie rule. But telling every changeling in London that they can never go home, that they have to stand by as some Gentry-made thing lives their lives is not a popular move, especially among the Summer Court (John Henry has been a vocal opponent of the Fetch-Law). That Todd himself slew his own Fetch puts him in an even more complicated position... but Todd knows, better than nearly anyone else, that the Jack will not allow the Fetch-Law to lapse, Freehold opinion be damned. So far the situation is stable mostly because Todd is a good enough politician to distract people from the topic or help them work around it, and because there's still a good deal of residual terror of the Jack, but as time goes on and memory of the Jack recedes, pressure against the Fetch-Law continues to build.

In person, Todd is subtle and sly, by equal turns charming and conceited, melancholy and mercurial. He's hardly a typical Winter courtier, too outgoing and flamboyant, but he has his Court's love of secrets and mystery, and he can easily slide into a half-depressed sulk when things don't go his way. He's also a very handsome man, and since his earlier relationship with the vampiress Rose lapsed after she went back to America, he's cut quite a swathe among the ladies of the Freehold. He's just a little bit emo.

[spoiler=Appearance]Eye Color: Dark Green
Hair Color: Ash blond / Pure white
Skin Tone/Complexion: Fair
Hair Style: Worn loose and shoulder-length, usually casually ruffled

Figure Notes: Pretty as sin wrapped in crystal, Todd has the sort of body that invites one to think the sort of thoughts one really shouldn't. A little over average height and broad-shouldered, with the well-muscled look of someone who's done a great deal of hard work in his life. His face has a distinctly vulpine cast to it, with a sharp, narrowed chin, delicate cheekbones, and large, laughing eyes. He's a handsome fox, and knows it, looking at you with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a fey smile on his full lips.

In his changeling Mien, Todd is even more the fox. Most of his back and shoulders are covered with soft, ermine fur, pure-white in color. He has two pointed ears that are hidden beneath his ivory hair, and a thick, full fox's tail. His eyes are a little larger in this form, bright and very attentive.

Clothing Notes: After years of dressing to impress, Todd despises dressing up, no matter what the occasion. Jeans and t-shirts make up the majority of his wardrobe, even in the coldest weather. Todd's clothing tends to be monochromatic, with black t-shirts with various slogans on them being most common. On the rare occasions he is forced to dress formally – usually after being threatened with decapitation by the Jack – he dresses in all-white suits, which would look stunning but for the fact that Todd always looks as though ready to run away in them.

Accessories: Todd always wears a silver sovereign coin on a stainless steel chain around his neck, usually under his clothing. [/spoiler.]
Court Winter
Seeming: Beast
Kith:
When spending WP to boost Persuasion or Subterfuge, +5 to the roll
Trickster

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 4, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 5, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Investigation
2+Pledge
3, Occult 2, Politics
4+Pledge
5
Physical Skills: Athletics
4+Pledge
5, Stealth
5+Pledge
6
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Canines; 8-Again) 1, Empathy (Empathize)
4+Pledge
5, Expression 1, Intimidation
4+Pledge
5, Persuasion (Making a Deal x2; Making a Deal +3)
5+Pledge
6, Socialize
4+Pledge
5, Subterfuge (Deception x2)
5+Pledge
6

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
5, Allies (Vice) 5, Fast Reflexes 3, Harvest (Unseelie Nightclubs) 3, Mantle (Winter) 5, Resources 5, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 5, Striking Looks (Pretty as Sin Wrapped in Crystal) 1
Lair: None – Todd lives in the Ebon Engine

Willpower: 8
Clarity: 6; +3 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Beast Curse
Personal Banes: Plague of Purity, Uninvited

Initiative: 10
Defense: 3
Health: 7
Speed: 11

Wyrd: 5
Entitlement Powers: Friend or Foe (Frost-Haired King of Winter) Winter Only; Gilded Torc (Office of Vizerial Counsel); The Dreaming World (Jeweled Chamberlain of the Dreaming World); Idyllic Existence (Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World) Summer Only
Contracts: Eternal Winter ●●●●, Fang & Talon (Canines) ●●, Fang & Talon (Rodents) ●, Fleeting Spring ●, Fleeting Winter ●●●●●, Hearth ●●●●●, Inferno ●●●, Omen ●●●●, Smoke ●●●, Vainglory ●●
Goblin Contracts: Delayed Harm 3
Glamour: 14/5; +8 Starting (Harvest 3 + Well-Fed 5)
Pledges:
Mordred's Loyalty
Type: Corporal, Courtly Emblem (Winter)
Tasks:
[Todd White] - Medial Alliance (-2)
[Jack of Crows] - Greater Endeavor; You Shall Be King (-3)
Boons:
[Todd White] - Adroitness: Persuasion, Subterfuge (+2)
Sanction: Pishogue (Lurking Insanity (-3)
Duration: Decade (+3); Renewed
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Mordred's Loyalty,
The Foundation of the Heart
Type: Oath, The Name of a Higher Power
Tasks:
[Todd White & Aurora] - Greater Alliance (-3), Lesser Forbiddance: May never sleep with one another (-1)
Boons:
[Todd White] – Adroitness: Athletics, Stealth, Intimidation, Socialize (+4)
Sanction: Death (-3)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Foundation of the Heart,
Wolves of Winter
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Todd White] - Lordship to Avery (-3)
[Avery Burke] - Fealty to Todd (-3)
[Lucas King] - Fealty to Avery & Todd (-3)
Total: -9
Boons:
[Todd White] - Adroitness: Empathy, Investigation, Politics; (+3 total)
[Avery Burke] - Blessing: Avery gets the Status (Unseelie) merit at 2 dots. (+2); Adroitness or Blessing of Avery's choice (+1)
[Lucas King] - Miscellaneous Adroitness and Blessing boons (+3 total)
Total: +9
Duration
[Todd White] - Year and a Day (+3)
[Avery Burke] - Year and a Day (+3)
[Lucas King] - Year and a Day (+3)
Total: +9
Sanction:
[Todd White] - Pishogue: Fleeting Winter 5: Every Sorrow a Jewel (-3)
[Avery Burke] - Banishment (-3)
[Lucas King] - Death (-3)
Total: -9
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally (a member of the pack or someone with whom the character has the True Friend merit).
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
[Loophole Protection]: The actual pledge is a lengthy physical contract written by Donovan Paxton. Efforts to find a loophole require an Intelligence+Academics roll with 5 or more successes.
[Triggering Sanctions]: One important aspect of Fealty pledges is that the sanctions do not become enacted automatically on the violation of the pledge. Rather, if Avery or Lucas break their Fealty pledge, Todd is instantly informed by the Wyrd (at least in rough terms 'X killed a guy') but he has freedom to determine whether or not to invoke the sanctions, which he can do simply by making a formal proclamation to at least two other Unseelie Courtiers. The exception is if a violation of the pledge results in Todd's death or incapacitation, in which case the sanctions are enacted automatically.


Definitions:
Lordship Task: Basically, if Avery gets into trouble with another faction, then Todd is obliged to defend him -- provided that Avery hasn't violated any of the Freehold's laws in the process.
Fealty Task: The subject must obey the laws of the freehold and to work according to his talents and abilities to defend the freehold in all ways. This mostly means:
1) No killing of humans, changelings, or fetches. Other supernaturals is a bit of a grey area but it's strongly discouraged.
2) Avery is expected to participate in Faerie gatherings
3) Avery is expected to help defend the Freehold against any threat, including True Fae or other factions.
4) If Todd gives an order while wearing his monarchical hat, Avery is expected to obey that order, though there are quite a few restrictions on this (it's a whole body of changeling law, but the gist is that the order has to relate to Freehold business, and there's a limit to how much Todd can ask of Avery in non-emergency situations. Todd can order Avery to investigate a mystery or help put down a rogue hobgoblin, but he can't order the werewolf to get coffee or to jump off a bridge).
The Wolves of Winter
Persuasion Benefits: Well-Conditioned; Focus



Aurora
The Seelie Queen, Lexi Jorgensen (Real Name), Lexi Larsen (Legal Name)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlements: The Fiery Rose of Summer (Inactive September to March), Office of Vizerial Counsel, General Incarnadine, Knight of the Rose (Inactive March to September)
Seeming: Fairest
Kith: Flowering
Born: 1986

[spoiler=Aurora][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Kind
Vice: Short-Tempered
Long-Term Aspiration: To get revenge on the Mistress

Background: Lexi was the popular girl. She was pretty, she was sweet, she was smart, she was the minister's daughter of the small English town she grew up in. Everyone loved her, and Lexi did her hardest to please everyone in turn, whether it was her parents, her church, her teachers, or her friends. Even those people jealous of her success found it hard to hate someone who worked in the family's soup kitchen every day after school. Lexi kept her secret anxieties, her self-doubt, her guilt about her sexuality, her burgeoning depression to herself. Some parts of the Church of England would have looked tolerantly upon Lexi's sexuality. Her father's did not.

When Lexi started getting letters from a 'Secret Admirer', she was nervous. When the 'Secret Admirer' proved to be another woman, she freaked out. And... nothing happened. When the panic attacks subsided, and her parents remained blissfully unaware, Lexi started to write back. The letters were daring, enticing, and soon they planned to meet. Lexi bought tickets, stepped off the bus in her best dress, and walked up to the decrepit old house in a forgotten corner of the Home Counties. In retrospect, the repeated use of the phrase 'growing into your potential' should've been a warning sign.

Arcadia preyed on Lexi's mind. She was a flower in a garden of lost souls, all confused, anxious, conflicted. Her Keeper largely ignored her, only to come and trim at her limbs, snipping away what she disliked with fingers made of scissors and shears. The rest of the time she was forgotten... but somehow, instead of breaking altogether, Lexi snapped. She was tired of it. She got mad. And when one evening she overheard her mistress discussing the fading blooms of her flowers, Lexi had had enough. The next morning, she broke free of her soil, marched through the castle of unimaginable size, screamed at the guards to let her through, and bluffed and lied and bullied her way back home. It was a cosmic temper tantrum.

At some point, exhaustion caught up with her, and when Lexi emerged from Arcadia after but a single year, she found she had no life left to go back to. Her fetch, not so strong as she was, had hung herself from an oak tree within a year. Alone in the world, with no idea of how to care for herself, Lexi went to London with her last few pennies. There she met Alexandra Merill, and found herself in a new form of slavery. For a time, Lexi -- Aurora now, among the Lost -- tolerated it. But when a marriage was contracted, and she would be separated from her new love, Dana the Tall, Aurora snapped again. She got in touch with Othello, and the rest, as they say, is history.

These days, Aurora finds herself trying to manage the Seelie Court of London, a nigh-impossible undertaking after the havoc that Alexandra Merill had wrought on the city. Alexandra's conspiratorial tactics had left a Seelie Court that was demoralized and divided, and it was with only considerable effort that Aurora's managed to keep the Seelie as unified and together as they are. Even now, there's still some old resentments, and they run deep.
Court Summer
Seeming Fairest
Kith Flowering

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 4, Resolve 5
Physical Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 5, Manipulation 4, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics 2, Crafts 2, Investigation 3, Occult 3, Politics
3+Pledge
4
Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl (Mean Left Hook)
2+Pledge
3, Survival
1+Pledge
2
Social Skills: Empathy
3+Pledge
4, Expression (Stand-Up Comedy x2)
5+Pledge
6, Intimidation
5+Pledge
6, Persuasion (Making a Deal; Making a Deal +3; 9-Again)
4+Pledge
5, Socialize
5+Pledge
6, Subterfuge
4+Pledge
5

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
5, Allies (Theater) 5, Doll Face 1, Enhanced Item (Faerie Mail) 1, Mantle (Summer) 5, Resources 5, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 5, Striking Looks (Everything Nice) 1

Willpower: 8
Clarity: 6; +3 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Fairest Curse
Personal Banes: Repulsion (Picked flowers), Taboo (Never Sleep Indoors)

Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Armor: 2/3B (Faerie Mail)
Health: 8
Speed: 10

Wyrd: 5
Entitlement Powers: Friend or Foe (The Fiery Rose of Summer) Summer Only; Gilded Torc (Office of Vizerial Counsel); Bloody Commands (General Incarnadine); Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose) Winter Only
Contracts: Communion (Plants) ●●, Eternal Spring ●●●●●, Fleeting Spring ●●, Fleeting Summer ●●●●, Hours ●●●●●, Inferno ●, Stone ●, Thorns & Brambles ●●●●●, Vainglory ●●●●●
Glamour: 14/5; +5 Starting (Well-Fed 5)
Pledges:
The Foundation of the Heart
Type: Oath, The Name of a Higher Power
Tasks:
[Todd White & Aurora] - Greater Alliance (-3), Lesser Forbiddance: May never sleep with one another (-1)
Boons:
[Aurora] – Adroitness: Expression, Intimidation, Persuasion, Subterfuge (+4)
Sanction: Death (-3)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Foundation of the Heart,
The Heart's Oath
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Aurora & Dana] - Alliance, Greater (-3), Forbiddance (-2, never betray their love by any word or deed)
Boons:
[Aurora] – Adroitness: Politics, Socialize, Empathy, Brawl, Survival (+5)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-1), Vulnerability (Glamour) (-2)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Avoiding certain death or death of the beloved.
-Attempting to save someone's life.
-Failure to assist beloved despite best efforts.
-The course of action that violated the pledge was mutually consented on by both parties.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by force, supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Heart's Oath

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Mean Left Hook......................0B...............7...............Might of the Brute


Dana the Tall
Clarissa Onyango (Real Name), Dana Kinsaka (Legal Name)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Red Victor, Office of Vizerial Counsel, Knight of the Rose
Seeming: Ogre
Kith: Gargantuan
Born: 1983

[spoiler=Dana the Tall][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Just
Vice: Gullible

Background: Clarissa was born in London, the daughter of Kikuyu immigrants from Kenya. A kind-hearted girl, Clarissa grew up working in her uncle's restaurant, waiting tables and cooking for an endless stream of construction workers and day laborers in the East End of London. In the evenings, she read books, an endless stream of faerie tales and mythology from all over the world. By the time she was twenty, Clarissa's biggest issues seemed to be how to pay for culinary school, and how to explain to her small pack of Kikuyu grandmothers and aunts that she was singularly uninterested in the prospective husbands they kept showing her.

Then she met the Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire. The True Fae didn't seem to terrible at first. Just a pretty red-haired girl crying at the restaurant due to a brute of a boyfriend. Clarissa, a hearty young woman and not entirely oblivious to how pretty the other girl was, agreed to give her ex-boyfriend what-for. When she stepped out of the bleak corridor and into the Other World, she found that the 'boyfriend' was a real ogre, and not a metaphorical one.

Somehow, Clarissa survived that fight. Just like she survived the next one, and the one after that, all against opponents larger than her, opponents who forced her to grow (sometimes literally) and train herself to the utmost to win the favor of the Sunset Princess. She slew dragons and fought in tourneys, wrote poetry and sang songs, all to be the perfect gallant... and it was rarely enough. But when it was, life was heavenly. Only when the Sunset Princess's attention waned did Clarissa find the strength to break free and fight her way out of Arcadia, after four years of captivity.

In the mortal world, she found her once promising life in shambles. Her fetch, lacking some rebellious spark, had given up her hopes of advancement or freedom, and still worked at her uncles' restaurant, married to a quiet young man who was never quite comfortable with his dull-eyed and uninterested wife. Clarissa joined the Freehold then, changing her name so as to protect the mortal clan she left behind, and became a loyal knight of Summer.

She fell in love with Aurora, another far-away princess, delicate and frail, but this time Clarissa (now Dana) won her beloved's heart, and kept it. And if Dana the Tall sometimes feels her Keeper's lips when she kisses Aurora, or imagines the Spring Queen's locks as russet instead of raven dark, she keeps it to herself.

Dana is the highest ranking Seelie Courtier of Summer and is often called the Summer Queen, though this is not precisely her title. Rather, she is the Red Victor, the champion of the Seelie and their greatest warrior (by tradition, and possibly by fact). She does not lead or administer the warriors of Summer, delegating that task to her adjutant John Henry, but she inspires them and leads them in battle.
Court Spring
Seeming Ogre
Kith Gargantuan

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 6
Physical Attributes: Strength 6, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Crafts (Cooking)
2+Pledge
3, Medicine (First Aid)
2+Pledge
3, Occult 2
Physical Skills: Athletics
4+Pledge
5, Brawl 4, Survival
2+Pledge
3, Weaponry (Two-Handed Weapon x2)
6+Pledge
7
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Expression (Storytelling) 3, Intimidation 4, Socialize 3

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
5, Giant 3, Mantle (Spring) 5, Quick-Draw (Two-Handed Weapon) 1, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 5
Combat Merits: Fast Reflexes 3, Fighting Style (Heavy Weapons) 2, Enhanced Item (Hedgespun Claymore) 4, Enhanced Item (Hedgespun Plate) 4
Lair: None; Dana lives with Aurora at Greenwich House

Willpower: 9
Clarity: 7; +3 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Ogre Curse
Personal Banes: Taboo (Back down from a just fight); Taboo (Dishonorable Methods in Combat)

Initiative: 10 + Red Rage of Revenge
Defense: 2 (4, -2 for armor); Threat Range
Armor: 8/4 (Hedgespun Plate) + Red Rage of Revenge
Health: 11 (17 w/ Spurious Status) + Red Rage of Revenge
Speed: 15

Wyrd: 6
Entitlement Powers:The Mighty Blow (Red Victor) Summer Only; Gilded Torc (Office of Vizerial Counsel); Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose)
Contracts: Elements (Rock) ●●●, Omen ●●●, Stone ●●●●●
Glamour: 20/6; +5 Starting (Well-Fed 5)
Pledges:
The Heart's Oath
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Aurora & Dana] - Alliance, Greater (-3), Forbiddance (-2, never betray their love by any word or deed)
Boons:
[Aurora] – Adroitness: Crafts, Medicine, Athletics, Survival, Weaponry (+5)
Sanction: Poisoning of the Boon (-1), Vulnerability (Glamour) (-2)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Avoiding certain death or death of the beloved.
-Attempting to save someone's life.
-Failure to assist beloved despite best efforts.
-The course of action that violated the pledge was mutually consented on by both parties.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by force, supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
The Heart's Oath

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Hedgespun Claymore.............8L...............23...............8-Again, MotB, RRoTV, Glimpse


The Horseman
Fatesfire, The Highway Grim, The Corpse Lantern, The Coachman, The Dark Herald, The Rider

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: None
Court: Autumn
Entitlements:
Seeming: Ogre
Kith:
Gain +3 dice and 8-again on all perception rolls; capable of smelling 'Doom'
Cyclopean
Born: 1948
Apparent Age: Mid-forties

[spoiler=The Horseman][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Determined
Vice: Cruel

The Rider is less a member of the London Freehold, than a Boogeyman to it. There were many who didn't believe him to be a Changeling at all, until the bone crown of Autumn appeared above his head. Fatesfire has many a name, depending on his means of travel that night: sometimes a black horse, spouting gouts of flame from its mouth; sometimes a motorcycle, wreathed in fire; sometimes a horse-drawn funeral coach, clattering down the backstreets of London. He only appears at night, galloping across the city, spreading terror in his wake. The Horseman rarely stops in his endless pursuit, though pursuit of what, none can say. Some believe The Horseman is cursed never to rest, riding back and forth across the earth for all eternity. Others say that when The Horseman stops riding, its where a person is due to die.

But The Rider is a changeling, and a member of the Freehold, and like all Freehold members, he serves a valuable purpose. And that purpose is Fear. Not mindless, meaningless fear, no - when the Horseman comes from you, it means your doom is near. Not from the Horseman itself, though should it come for you, the best course is to run. But the Horseman can smell doom in the air, and those it chases are in mortal danger. Perhaps a changeling has let their enemies get too close, or perhaps the changeling's Keeper has caught wind of its former slave. The Rider is a herald, an omen of misfortune, but most of all, it is a warning. It warns of danger, but that danger can be averted, if the warning is heeded.

The trouble, of course, is that the Rider's warning is not always clear. Those who are chased know they are in danger, but they may have no idea why. The Rider is sometimes helpful, and sometimes not. He may leave an obvious clue: a foe's signature sword in a pool of blood, a compromising photograph nailed to the door with a knife. He may leave something ambiguous, like a lock of hair - who's is it? Is it someone to beware of, or to rescue? He may leave no clue whatsoever. Why he acts like this is another mystery. It is generally agreed on that The Horseman is not quite sane, and may be incapable of acting helpful. Perhaps he simply doesn't know the doom of some of the peoples it warns, merely sensing it and chasing it. Or perhaps he enjoys terror too much. Woe be to those who don't flee from The Rider when he comes for them - he's quite willing to drive the message home with a few scars.

The Rider has a few secrets of his own, of course. He is not motiveless, and sometimes the Horseman does indeed kill people himself. He may appear to others while on some other errand, though he does not chase them in such cases. Nor does he always chase victims to warn them. Sometimes its to terrify them and drive them into a course of action. The biggest secret is that "he" is actually a "she", an equestrian rider from the early 70s who was brutal towards her competition. Changed beyond recognition by her Durance, the brutality remains, but she now acts as an tireless sentinel against the workings of the Gentry.

The Horseman is actually quite small and fit, the body of a jockey, but when ridding down the road at night, her small stature is hardly noticeable. She never speaks above a whisper. Her garb varies; for a horse, riding pants and boots, a jockey's vest and a black cape; for a coach, a coachman's mantle, for a motorcycle, tight, black leather jackets and pants. She always wears gloves, and long sleeves, despite the weather - rain doesn't seem to touch her. Around her neck is an iron collar. Her head is pure black and transparent, like smoke floating in a room, and her eyes and mouth glow brightly with fire. Some less reliable souls have sworn that she can snap the collar from her neck and pull her head right off her shoulders, carrying it in one hand as she thunders through the night.

There are many rumors told about the Horseman among the fae of London, most of which are false or foolish. Three, however, have a grain of truth in them. The first is that the Horseman has entered into some manner of pact with hobs, or lives as king of some Hedge-lost thorn town. This is indeed true, as the Horseman's hollow -- a subterranean lair beneath an ancient, dead Hedge-tree -- nestles at the foot of Herne's Hill, itself occupied by a warren of nocturnal, burrow-dwelling Hobs. They care for the Horseman, currying her horses and bringing her food or furniture, and in exchange, she defends them. The second rumor, more outré, is that the Horseman is in possession of the Dawnspear, the legendary, fate-bound weapon of the Dawn Court. This too is true, and the curse of the Dawnspear explains much of why the Horseman is as mistrusted by the Freehold of New Jerusalem. Finally, the third rumor is that the highest courtiers of the Unseelie know how to contact the Horseman, and control her wanderings. This is half-true, as while some courtiers of the Unseelie do know which hobs can be entrusted with messages to the Horseman, control is entirely too strong a word. The most that they can ever do is to direct the Rider's attention in a certain direction. Often, this is enough.

Rank: 4
Mental 3; Physical 10; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 7
Notable Powers: Implacable; Tyrant-Slayer; Hedge-King
Banes: Running Water; Unearthly Sight; Heavy Hand of Fate



Marie Tempest
The Maestro

[spoiler="the Maestro"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Just (Actions have consequences, you earn what you receive. The truly pure of heart have nothing to fear.)
Vice: Greedy (The Maestro is always willing to up the ante and roll the dice again, no matter how high the stakes get; there's always ever so much more to gain.)

Marie Tempest is rarely referred to as anything but "The Maestro", and it is certain that Marie Tempest is not her real name. Little else is certain about her, including if she is changeling, hobgoblin, or even True Fey. She has a striking appearance, and terrible fashion sense. She's an average sized woman, with olive skin and feverish light brown eyes. Her shortish, brown-red hair looks like it's been struck by lightning several times. She wears hideous plaid vests, brightly colored dress shirts, and plain slacks and dress shoes. This is all topped off with a fur-trimmed coat that's covered in stitches. She has multiple piercings in her ears, with chains running between a few of them, and rings on every finger. A long, jagged scar runs across her nose and under her eyes, completely bisecting her face. She smokes an antique Calabash pipe.

The Maestro has her own wares, but the most well known attraction is her bizarre stage play and fun house at the London Goblin Market. On the outside, the place appears as a crude, if entertaining, sideshow, often run with shadow puppets or paper cutouts. Once inside, though, the true special effects come out, sometimes appearing more real than life. For most, the side show is just a way of letting off steam, or perhaps a deeper catharsis - visitors can get on stage and act out a fantasy of their own with no consequences or prying eyes. For those who ask, however, the Maestro is willing to play a gambling game within the theater, and the prizes to be won can be great indeed. Provided, of course, the player is willing to gamble something of equal value.

Like all things at the Market, however, the buyer should beware. When gambling, the Tempest likes to pit her opponent's vice against their virtue, and she doesn't like to lose. The line between reality and theater tends to blur when playing, and players should be very careful what they do when gambling. People who fail to take the game seriously, assuming that its simply an illusion, will quickly discover the consequences of their actions are not limited to the stage.

Rank: 3
Mental 3; Physical 5; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Sales Pitch, Make All Your Fantasies Come True, Unexpected Strength

Black Huiarnviu
Harvey, The Púca

[spoiler=Harvey][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Just
Vice: Resentful (The Púca insists upon due deference and respect -- fear is acceptable. Treat him appropriately, and he is gracious. Belittle him, and the Púca is quiet imaginative in the torments he constructs as vengeance.)

According to his business card (a slice of never-melting ice, with letters in gold), the Púca's name is Black Huiarnviu. He goes by 'Harvey,' however, and is familiar with the play. He is tall, with skin that was so pale it was like the finest alabaster, and short, black-brown hair that fail to conceal his long, black rabbit’s ears. His eyes are completely black, and they are hourglass-shaped, like a goat’s. He wears the clothing of a late 18th century courtier, a robin’s egg blue doublet with a ruff, and white stockings and blue knee-britches, and silver-buckled shoes. He has a heavy signet ring on one finger (the sigil taking the form of a wheel), and he has a sword strapped to his belt, a semi-transparent creation of crystal and cold. He has a harp, a small thing, of black wood and crystalline strings, that makes no sound when plucked. He speaks slowly, in a quiet, whispery voice that sends shivers up one's arm, choosing every word with care, and never using two where one will do.

The Púca appeared in London a few years ago, a companion of the Maestro. He is a cold, slow-speaking figure, a striking contrast to the Maestro's madcap frenzy. He claims to be a Púca, though whether he is some ancient, inhuman changeling, a particularly human-ish hobgoblin, or a True Fae cast out of Arcadia is anyone's guess. He says that he is a bard, a lore-keeper and story-teller. He gives his rank, if asked by a knowledgeable individual, as an Ollamh fili, a master-bard.

Beyond that, the Púca is infuriatingly mysterious. He seems to have no existence outside the goblin market at Picadilly Circus, save for the few times he and the Maestro are seen together. If he is indeed one of the Púca, then it seems probable that he is a master shapeshifter. Certainly is a master bard, capable of song so beautiful as to make angels weep (though never on his harp of crystal). He has a sword, and it seems likely he knows how to use it.

Primarily, what the Púca does is grant wishes. He is a man who makes dreams come true. He specializes in the traditional wishes. For fame, for love, for glory, for beauty, for wealth, for health. He can grant them, playing them true on his soundless harp of crystal. Of course, there's a catch. The Wyrd maintains balance, the Púca said, or else he refers to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the one modern piece of science he approves of). For every wish the Wyrd grants, it takes something else in exchange. It's a Monkey's Paw approach to wishing -- wish for wealth, and receive millions in insurance when your husband dies, wish for love, and be afflicted with a ruinous disease, which lets you meet the nurse that you will love forever. If he likes you, the Púca will mention this catch. He doesn't have to, however.

Rank: 3
Mental 6; Physical 3; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Makes Your Wish Come True, Uncanny Knowledge

Squick

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: Mirror-Walker, The Honorable Order of the Third Hour (T.H.O.T.H.)
Seeming: Darkling
Kith: Tunnelgrub
Born: 1980

[spoiler="Squick"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Short-Tempered

Background: Andrew Chiacchiaro was a weird kid. It wasn't that he meant to be, really. He just couldn't quite help it. He had weird interests (ballroom dancing, computer engineering, urban history), and he had weird parents (His dad was a professional artist from Italy, his mother was a librarian from Edinburgh), and he had weird hair (too long) and weird clothing (tie-dye designer shirts).

Andrew was never going to be a popular kid. Lanky, nerdy kids who do ballroom dancing rarely are. But neither was Andrew a complete outcast. He was smart, and he had a force of personality that made him seem not quite so weird once you got to know him. He had a wicked sense of humor and an inventive mind. It was a fun combination. The summer after Andrew graduated high school, it proved to be nearly fatal.

It was an old house on the corner of the small town in Middlesex that Andrew grew up in. It had been abandoned for years, decades really. And all the kids knew it was something strange, that the last family had died, or disappeared, or been eaten by... something... back before the War. No owners ever managed to live there after that, and nowadays it was owned by some bank that had forgotten about it. It was a draw. Everyone was curious about it. And Andrew decided that, before he left for college, he would see what it was all about.

So he got a flashlight, and made a lockpick (the internet was a wonderful thing, even back in the mid-90s), and broke in. He explored the house top to bottom, and he found the odd bloodstains on the attic ceiling, and the rustless knives in the kitchen, and the strange pit in the basement, a rope ladder leading down. Too curious for his own good, he climbed down the pit, and when he reached the bottom... someone cut the ladder down.

It would take three years for Andrew to find his way out.

The pit was connected to a tunnel network, tunnels full of earthen passages, where all there was to eat was fungus and insects, and all there was to drink was cold water from brackish pools. Andrew wandered through the tunnels, and his only company was the creature that was never very far, that ruined the tools he tried to make, that got him lost, that cut his ropes and whispered in his ear when he slept. Andrew changed, his Mediterranean skin turning green and dark, his eyes yellow and large. His hands grew adept at digging tunnels, his mouth at catching and eating the slippery little cave-lizards and the darting blind fish he sometimes found. He grew better at squeezing through the smallest holes. And one fine night, his shadowy pursuer slipped in and slashed his face open, so that Andrew would never stop smiling.

Squick only stayed as sane as he did by constant effort. He talked to himself. He sang songs to himself. He once spent a week drawing something on the wall, which the creature defaced while he slept. He made plans and schemes for how to get out. They never worked.

Then one day they did. Andrew doesn't even remember what clever trick he tried, but he did it, and he ran so quick that he lost his creature, and when he did that, he saw the light, and came out of a ditch just outside of Sheffield. He hadn't seen the sunlight for so long, he just lay there for hours.

Then he got up, thought about it for a while, and went to London. He could hide there, couldn't he? It was big enough. So he went there, and he settled in, one more Lost among many. He joined the Court of the Leaden Mirror, his experiences in the dark giving him an excellent appreciation for the art of fear. Slow terror, steady paranoia were Andrew's -- Squick's now -- endless companions. They were old friends, and he held them close and used them. He was good with computers, and some months of night school and a few pulled strings by the Unseelie got Squick a job with a big corporation as an IT specialist. No one expects IT guys to come out into the sun a lot.

There's a lot that a guy who's good with computers can find out, especially if he's also very good with locks and squeezing through small spaces like windows or air vents. So Squick's good with secrets. So good, in fact, that he's the Collector of Whispers for the local Unseelie Court. He's not a deep-cover spy, he doesn't break into St. Bartholomew-the-Great's when there's a Lancea et Sanctum ceremony going on. But he can pick up a lot of juicy little details. How's that wizard at paying his taxes? Where do that werewolf's kids go to school? Who's got little secrets stuffed into the back of their hard drive? And all the while, Squick can leave tiny hints and tiny notes behind for his victims, so that they always know that someone's watching them. Squick learned very well from his Keeper.

He hangs out in London Underground a lot, where he's managed to steal a forgotten access tunnel for his own private use. It's comfortably enough furnished, and stocked with enough canned food to see Squick through till after Doomsday. The Things that live down there mostly ignore him, and he may even be on speaking terms with a few of those hoary monsters. He still does ballroom dancing and urban exploration, and he's close friends with much of the rest of the Unseelie spy crew (particularly Hammond and Sergei, all of whom are now trying to explain the contemporary world to poor Horus). Recently, Squick's met Lydia, a lovely girl who shares his fondnesses, and who can sing as well as he can dance. He owes Erin and Lauren a lot right now. Getting Lydia to be accepted by his friends (her being a vampire) is proving a little tricky, though.

[spoiler=Appearance]Eye Color: Yellow and pupil-less/light brown
Hair Color: Grubby, scummy dark brown
Skin Tone/Complexion: Olive skinned (figuratively in the mask, literally olive green in the mien)
Hair Style: A tousled mop of hair that completely hides his eyes and makes him look like he needs a haircut.

Figure Notes: Squick is a tall, lanky sort of fellow, who seems to have no bones whatsoever. Despite this, he can still move; indeed, he moves with the fluidity that only having no bones can provide. He has a heart-shaped face, with full cheeks - it looks as though someone has given him a Glasglow grin, slashing the corners of his lips all the way up his cheeks, and then sewing them up with long, dark stitches. His olive skin is too-smooth and almost looks slick, his mouth is filled with wide, sharp, pointed teeth. His hands and feet are rather large, and slightly shovel-like. He keeps his fingernails obsessively trimmed down to the skin.

Clothing Notes: Squick tends to dress well - but not too nicely. He most commonly wears dress shirts that he refuses to button properly, leaving the collar and sleeves hanging open, paired with loose slacks. He eschews anything much more formal, leaving any tie he wears in a similarly unruly state and shunning suit jackets. At the same time, while he can dress casual in t-shirts and jeans, he tends not to unless the situation calls for it. He is not above wearing sweaters and sweater vests. Wears a pair of very large, slip-on orthopedic shoes, for those times when he doesn't go around barefoot.

Accessories: An LED keychain flashlight, a high-tech GPS wristwatch, and one of those phones that's also a camera, mp3 player and computer. When feeling particularly immature, carries around fake rubber snakes or spiders for scaring/annoying people.

Other: Tends to carry snacks and food around in his pockets, of the sort that lasts for a very long time: candy, granola bars, trail mix and the like.[/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 2; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Old-School Nerd, Tunnel-Dweller, Unexpected Charisma
Banes: Repulsion (Cared-for Mining Tools)



Heinzelmaul
Muttermaul, Franziska Brauer

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Knight of the Utmost Silence, Knight of the Rose
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Earthbones

[spoiler="Heinzelmaul"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Gluttonous (Alcoholism)

Frau Heinzelmaul, like most of the Winter Court, doesn't like to talk about the past. Frau Heinzelmaul would prefer to talk about the now. As in, what is your problem right now, and how would you like her to fix it? More crude courtiers joke about Winter Court 'fixers' that involve poisoned knives, but that's not really Heinzelmaul's bag. Heinzelmaul takes all the cursed and dangerous stuff that crawls out of the Hedge, and she gets rid of it. Don't ask her how, she's not going to tell you. If she told you someone might get the stupid idea to go dig it back up.

She also vanishes changelings, every once in while. Not permanently - at least, not usually - but if you come to Heinzelmaul with the Gentry on your tail, she'll scuttle you away until it's safe to poke your head above ground. Of course, there are always rumors. Sometimes they don't come back, and Heinzelmaul's not about to start talking. Maybe they don't want to be found, maybe the Gentry got them, or maybe Heinzelmaul shoved them into a frozen river in the locked trunk of a car. But when the shadow of the True Fae grows near, rumors suddenly don't seem to matter that much. Heinzelmaul fixes things. If you have a problem, Heinzelmaul solves it. And she'll know when you have a problem, because no one comes to her for anything else.

It would be wrong to call her liked, but Heinzelmaul is comforting, which is almost better to one of the Lost. She's predictable. Always there, always sour and grumbly, as blunt as a rock and usually far too frank. And she's always, always willing to help clean up a mess, even if she chews you out for being stupid enough to get into it. The London changelings are very fond of her as a concept, although personally, most avoid dealing with her unless they have to. Heinzelmaul, as an elemental, doesn't really make friends. If anyone knew about the drinking, maybe they might do something. But then again, maybe they wouldn't.

In her human mask, Heinzelmaul is almost cartoonishly unpleasant to look at. She's in her mid-forties, and has a slightly squished face, with her eyes and ears looking too low. Her nose is rather large and long, and her mouth is large and expressive. Her lips are very, very thin, however, allowing her mouth to near vanish into a line when she frowns, which is often. Her teeth are at least good, but a bit crooked. Her hands are oversized, her body is pudgy and tubular, and she herself is rather short, though solid. Heinzelmaul wears a cloche hat with a miner's lantern attached, which she pulls down low over her eyes. Her hair is cut in a short mop that also covers her eyes, and is the grey color of black hair going white, though with an oddly blue tinge.

In her true seeming, most attempts at resembling humanity have been discarded, and she resembles a mole, or a kobold from myth. Her skin is blue and mottled, and her hair is also grey-blue. A short layer of blue-grey fur covers some of her body, and her hands now have heavy digging claws, which are sharp enough to worry some people. She wears a hedgespun coat with ice trimmed sleeves and collar, and has a skull motif around her accessories.

Heinzelmaul still speaks with a pronounced German accent, all of her V and F and W consonants all mixed up. One might wonder what the German lady is doing in England, and if you ask her, she will promptly tell you to shove off. Most people agree she came over with the Jack-of-Crows, whether there's any truth to it or not. Certainly the pair got along as well as Heinzelmaul got on with anyone, and now that he's stepped down she keeps on in her profession, steady and stolid as always.
Court Winter
Seeming Elemental
Kith Earthbones

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 4
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Crafts (Artifice) 3, Medicine (Poison)
3+Pledge
4, Occult 3, Science 2
Physical Skills: Athletics (Digging) 2, Brawl 3, Larceny 1, Stealth (Hiding Things)
5+Pledge
6, Survival (Underground)
5+Pledge
6, Weaponry (Pickaxe x2)
5+Pledge
6
Social Skills: Empathy 1, Intimidation 2, Subterfuge (Deception x2)
5+Pledge
6

Merits: Allies (Medical)
2+Freehold
5, Harvest (Goblin Fruit) 3, Mantle (Winter) 3, Quick-Draw (Heavy Club) 1, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 3, Token (Goblin Fruit; Blushberry Tea x6) 2
Lair: The House at the Edge of the Lake; Secrecy 6, Otherworldly (Hedge) 2

Willpower: 8 (6 after Artifice)
Clarity: 4; +2 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Elemental Curse (Water)
Personal Banes: Holy Ground, Repulsion (Gifts of Thanks)

Initiative: 6
Defense: 2
Armor: 6/7B (Artificed Hedgecoat)
Health: 10 (15 w/ Elemental)
Speed: 12

Wyrd: 5
Entitlement Powers: Shadowkiss (Knight of the Utmost Silence); Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose)
Contracts: Artifice ●●●, Communion (Earth) ●●●●●, Communion (Metal) ●●●, Omen ●●, Smoke ●●●●●, Stone ●●●●
Glamour: 15/5; +6 Starting (Well-Fed 3 + Harvest 3)
Pledges:
Hidden Heart
Type: Corporal, Title Emblem (The Knighthood of Utmost Silence)
Tasks:
[Heinzelmaul] - Greater Alliance (-3), Medial Forbiddance: Keep the Jack's Secrets (-2)
[Jack of Crows] - Medial Alliance (-2), Medial Forbiddance: Keep Heinzelmaul's Secrets (-2), Greater Endeavor: In the Past (-3)
Boons:
[Heinzelmaul] - Adroitness; Subterfuge, Stealth, Survival, Weaponry, Medicine (+5)
[Jack of Crows] - Medial Blessing; Secrecy (+3), Adroitness; Stealth, Subterfuge, Intimidation, Weaponry (+4)
Duration: Lifelong (+3)
Sanction: Pishogue: Lurking Insanity (-3)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Shadowed Secrets

Attacks...........................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Artificed Pickaxe.....................8L...............21...........8-Again, MotB, Glimpse


"Rook"
Cordelia Corbin (Legal Identity)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: Knight of the Utmost Silence, College of the Tallowed Flame
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Riddleseeker/Roteater
Born: 1984 (?)

[spoiler="Rook"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Pragmatic
Vice: Curious
Long-Term Aspiration: To fall in love

Curiosity killed the cat. What it did to the crow was a good deal worse.

Rook's memories can be likened to a decrepit house of mirrors. Some are broken and shattered into a thousand pieces, showing nothing more than shards of reflection, the meaning lost for all time. Some are bent, offering up warped and twisted images that hint at possibilities even as they confuse and confound. And somewhere inside the labyrinth is a single grain of truth, both lost between and guarded by the myriad mirrors.

Rook isn't certain what her real name is. She has vague memories of a father, a large man with a bristling black beard and a booming voice, dressed all in black. She doesn't remember a mother, though Rook remembers being among a great many other children. An orphanage, perhaps, and the 'father' was in fact a priest?

Rook remembers a graveyard nearby, though in her memories it is winter, and the headstones are covered with caps of snow. Rook thinks she was taken when she was fifteen or sixteen years old, as she was still young, but there was a boy involved. She ran out to the cemetery, hiding among the graves, though from whom she's not really sure. From her father? From the boy? There was a mausoleum in the back of the graveyard, and Rook remembers that the door was ajar. Curious, Rook pushed the door open, and it was there that the shadows took her.

Rook's Durance took place in a frozen necropolis of infinite size, stretching out as far as the eye could see. Rook nearly froze to death, until she learned to burrow under the snow, breaking into the graves and sleeping beside the dead. She learned to eat the frozen flesh of the corpses, and melt snow for drinking water. The dead gave her food and shelter, and they spoke to her. They asked her questions, and she learned to answer them. The dead don't think the way the living do, but Rook learned to solve their riddles and pay their tolls, and so she survived on dead flesh and dead minds.

Her escape, Rook remembers perfectly well. One day, another crow appeared in the graveyard as Rook sat down to feast upon the fresh graves. They bodies were still warm, beneath the snow, and out of some memory of etiquette, Rook offered the crow a place at the meal. The crow accepted. He introduced himself as One-for-Sorrow, and he asked Rook if she wanted to go home. The young woman who was no longer a young woman said yes, upon which the crow asked where was home? And this was a question that even the clever Rook couldn't answer. Not any more.

The crow with the mind of a man and the girl with the mind of a crow talked for a very long time. Hours passed, and they talked of philosophy and science, and of how Galileo's discovery applied to a world with inconstant stars. Days passed, and they talked of friends long gone, of schoolyard fights and vanished enemies, and of the uncertainty of memory. Weeks passed, and they shared secrets, frightful things they had learned among the dead.

Then, when the conversation had taken from full moon to full moon, the crow asked Rook if she wanted to go home. Rook said no. Then the old crow showed her the way out of Arcadia.

Rook came out of the thorns in Highgate Cemetery in 2003, with nothing but the tattered remains of a too-small schoolgirl's uniform on her, a human femur in her hands, and her most precious possession, a laminated ID card from St. Joseph's Catholic High School with the name Cordelia Corbin on it, along with a birthday, (February 19th, 1984) and a photograph. The curious thing? The smiling, round-cheeked blonde girl in the picture looks nothing like Rook.

Since she returned from the Thorns, Rook's made herself as much at home in London as she can. She's gotten herself a home (even if it is a rat's nest), a job (even if Rook has less paperwork than most illegal immigrants, and is paid appropriately), a place in the Freehold (as the person who makes inconvenient information go away), and a roommate (even if said roommate is a psychopathic faerie-vampire). In order:

Rook's home is a tiny apartment in Lambeth, in one of the large housing estates built after the Second World War reduced significant chunks of London to scenic rubble. A large block of minimum-rent flats located near the Waterloo Underground station, the apartment complex is mostly populated by students, new immigrants, and the slightly more successful class of drug dealer, lending it a distinctive ambiance of optimism and impoverishment. Ear-splitting techno-music and enticing scents of foreign cooking both flow through the paper-thin walls with ease, as do the occasional sounds of people being knifed or assaulted in the stairwells. Rook adores it with the utter irrationality of someone who hasn't quite grasped the concept that 'high crime rate' and 'no health service inspections' should concern her.

For her job, Rook works, if it may be called working, as an Assistant Medical Examiner at the Necrology department of Guy's Hospital. She received the job via her connections at the Unseelie Court, which smoothed over such small issues as the utter absence of paper-work or verifiable experience. While quite good with dead people, Rook is somewhat lacking in medical degrees. On the hospital records, Rook is a medical student working the mortuary night shift at Guy's, and is paid a student's stipend. She even had an internship up in Scotland for a while. She handles the least pleasant or interesting cases, establishing the cause of death for a long series of homeless drunks and unlucky accident victims, along with the odd murder or suicide that seems to be too odd to be entrusted to anyone who's reputation might actually be damaged by such things.

Regarding her place in the Freehold, Rook's quiet demeanor and inquisitive mind has led to her quickly acquiring a number of friends in the Unseelie of London. Well, perhaps not friends exactly. If you're blackmailing someone, they're your friend, yes? Or selling them information they can use to blackmail someone. Due to her job as an assistant medical examiner, Rook has the ability to cover up a lot of supernatural indiscretions, discreetly altering files or faking autopsies. This puts her in a position of considerable influence, as the Sun Banisher (the faerie who makes evidence go poof) is a very useful fae to know.

As for Rook's roommate, Cheshire? That is a story in and of itself. As always, dead people were involved.

[spoiler=“A Vignette”]There was a clock on the desk, and there was a raven on the clock. The clock, unfortunately, was not a suitable timepiece to feature in a production of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. It was a Mickey Mouse clock, with luminescent eyes and outsized ears, and white-gloved hands that ticked the hours away. A queer piece of machinery, hideously grinning in the twilight hours.

Quoth the Raven, “You're going to stay here all night?”

The young woman at the desk raised her head from where she had been pecking at the computer's keyboard. She was not a natural typist, nor more than borderline competent at the arts of technology. She could turn them on, type and use email, and had sufficient intellect to very closely follow directions when the computer inevitably started showing odd error messages. She also typed like someone spearing fish, finding the key and then hitting it with undue force.

“Metzer wants the autopsy report typed up by morning, so yes, Ozzy, I'm going to stay here all night.” The woman said. She wanted a cigarette. Unfortunately, the morgue's rules didn't allow it. She had been battling the temptation all night. So far, she was holding out.

Quoth the Raven, “One day you will explain to me why you turn my perfectly respectable, and if I do say so myself, rather elegant name into a homage for a geriatric musician.”

“Because Ozzy Osbourne is the Prince of bloody Darkness. Obviously.” The woman said, the corner of her lip curling up into a smile.

Quoth the vaguely aggrieved Raven, “One-for-Sorrow is a perfectly suitable name. It has mythic resonance, has a certain intimidating yet not overwrought aspect to it, and rolls off the tongue beautifully.”

“Yes, but it's too long to say. One-for-Sor-row. Four syllables. So we ditch the for, shorten One-Sorrow to Osy, then that turns into Ozzy, like Ozzy Osbourne.” The young woman at the computer said, adopting that tone of perfect reasonableness she used when she was spouting complete and utter BS. “Also, Ozzy Osbourne is sexy. And the Prince of Darkness. QED.”

Quoth the Raven, “This conversation is getting too disturbing for me.”

The young woman at the desk giggled, and returned to typing up the autopsy report.[/spoiler.]

Rook is a rather complicated individual, a neurotic bundle of contradictory drives and forces. When all are focused on a goal, Rook brings a laser-like level of attention to a topic. But when they start pulling in different directions, Rook tends to unravel in short order. Constancy is not one of her defining characteristics.

Rook's top-most drive is her magpie-like drive to acquire. It's a compulsion, to collect things and make them her own, to know a secret, to steal a key, to have something in her hands and know that it is unmistakably hers... this is what drives Rook from day to day. It's not quite greed and it's not quite curiosity, though it looks a great deal like both. It's a true compulsion, an instinctual desire to know and to have.

Interestingly, once she's actually gotten whatever it was Rook was looking for, the excitement fades. It's the hunt that interests her, not the final result. Most of what Rook hunts are secrets, though she's not terribly picky. Just little factoids to pick up and squirrel away in her memory-emptied mind, the importance of which are up to debate. Though this tendency to pick up random bits of information does go a long way towards allowing Rook to pass as a normal human, given that she's essentially a functioning amnesiac who's missing most of her past.

Beneath her corvid curiosity, Rook is driven by a need for order and for control. Rook is something of a philosophical neat-freak. She insists that the world accommodate her view, which is best summed up that people get what they deserve. Rook doesn't believe in a monolithic sense of good and evil, but she does believe in what might be called karma as a very real force. The guilty must be punished and the innocent rewarded.

When the world doesn't provide that sort of neat sense of action and consequence, Rook feels the need to take it upon herself and provide it. Rook's really rather manipulative, and she revels in the role of shadowy hand of fate. Most of the time, Rook dispenses a rather cruel, if occasionally ironic, form of cosmic vengeance upon the people she takes it upon to judge. But every so often, Rook meets someone who in her mind deserves better. Though it should be noted that Rook's definition of deserving bears precious little relation to Merriam-Webster's. These people receive the full attention of their own, slighty-demented guardian angel.

Both her curiosity and her desire for cosmic justice, however, are proxies to make up for the fact that Rook is a desperately lonely and insecure young woman, starved for even the smallest scrap of affection. A lonely childhood followed by a Durance of utter isolation has done a number on Rook's psyche, and for friendship, she would move mountains.

For love, Rook would shift the heavens themselves.

[spoiler=Appearance]Age: Uncertain - Looks to be in her early twenties
Eye Color: Hazel / Beady-Black
Hair Color: Midnight Black (that is, Black with blue highlights)
Skin Tone/Complexion: Fair
Hair Style: Long, straight hair, coming down to shoulders

Figure Notes - Mask: Rook is not, has never been, and is very unlikely to ever be described as attractive. She's tall, coming in at a hair under six feet in height. She's thin to the point of being skeletal, lanky and long-limbed, and she weighs far less than someone of her size should. Her figure is boyish, to the point that in jeans and a t-shirt, Rook is often mistaken for a man (something which fails to please). Rook does have nice hands, with long fingers and elegant nails, and she's intensely proud of her long, lustrous hair, so deep black that blue highlights appear in the right light.

Her face is similarly androgynous, with hooded eyes and a too-long, straight nose. She's made of angles, all sharp chin and prominent cheekbones. Yet somehow, she's still compelling. Most of the time, people just pass by the too-tall, bony girl. But she has a certain look to her, a gaze from which it's hard to take your eye away from. One might almost call it supernatural.

Figure Notes - Mien: In her true form, Rook's features take on an even more exaggerated tone. Her long nose turns into what could almost be a beak, and her hazel eyes turn beady black. Black feathers appear in her hair, as though braided through. Her fingernails harden and become a matte-black in color, and the skin on her forearms and legs turns a kind of off-grey in color, and becomes rough to the touch.

Clothing Notes: Rook has a somewhat casual approach to fashion. Does she have clothing? Yes? Excellent. That's the extent of Rook's fashion-thinking, and as a result of this and her living in a flat in Camden, her clothing tends towards jeans, boot, black t-shirts, and a somewhat dubious-looking orange raincoat. One-for-Sorrow has suggested that wearing dresses might reduce the "mistaken for a boy" problem. One-for-Sorrow subsequently had a shoe thrown at him.

Accessories: Rook invariably carries a quantity of bird seed in her pocket. She also keeps her most prized possession close at hand, the laminated ID card belonging to Cordelia Corbin.

Other: Rook's mannerisms have a tendency to be distinctly bird-like. When listening to someone, she tilts her head to one side, in extreme cases looking at the person with just one eye. When at rest, she tends to hunch her shoulders, looking like a crow about to swoop down on someone. Indeed, Rook is uncomfortable sitting down, preferring to stand whenever possible.[/spoiler.]
Court: Winter
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Riddleseeker/Roteater

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 4

Mental Skills: Academics 2, Computer 3, Investigation (Crime Scenes) 4, Medicine (Dead Things) 3, Occult (Also Dead Things) 2, Science (Autopsies) 4
Physical Skills: Larceny 3, Stealth 4, Survival 2
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Corvidae; 8-Again) 1, Empathy 1, Intimidation 1, Persuasion (Making a Deal +2) 0, Subterfuge 3

Merits: Allies (Medical)
Freehold
3, Dual-Kith (Roteater) 2, Familiar (One-for-Sorrow) 3, Hardy 3, Mantle (Winter) 3, Resources 1, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 3
Lair: Camden Apartment

Willpower: 7
Clarity: 6; +2 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Beast Curse
Personal Banes: Compulsion (Must Solve a Posed Riddle)

Initiative: 8
Defense: 4
Health: 9
Speed: 10

Wyrd: 3
Entitlement Powers: Reading the Wyrd (College of the Tallowed Flame); Shadowkiss (Knight of the Utmost Silence)
Contracts: Fang & Talon (Corvidae) ●●●●●, Hearth ●●, Omen ●●, Shade & Spirit ●●●●
Glamour: 12/3; +3 Starting (Well-Fed 3)
Pledges:


[spoiler="One-for-Sorrow"]

One-for-Sorrow (AKA "Ozzy") is Rook's constant companion, advisor, and occasional mobile target. He's an old Hedge-crow, wise in the ways of the Hedge, if of somewhat lethargic temperament and rotund build. Technically, One-for-Sorrow is a Common Raven (Corvus Corax), like the ones at the Tower of London, though he'd quibble at the description of 'common'. He's old for a raven (he won't say just how old he is, though), and he's had a few too many good meals since taking up with Rook.

One-for-Sorrow
"Ozzy"

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 5, Wits 2, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 1, Manipulation 3, Composure 1

Mental Skills: Academics (Literature) 4, Investigation (Riddles x2) 3, Occult 5
Physical Skills: Larceny 2, Stealth (Shadowing) 2, Survival 1
Social Skills: Intimidation 1, Persuasion 2, Subterfuge 3

Merits: Eidetic Memory 2, Fleet of Foot 3, Hardy 3, Tolerance for Biology 1

Willpower: 4

Initiative: 4
Defense: 2
Size 2
Health: 4
Speed: 18 (flight only; species factor 11)

Wyrd: 3
Contracts: Fang & Talon (Corvidae) ●●●
Glamour: 12/3[/spoiler.]

Donovan Paxton, Esq.
Donny Djinni

Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Legate of the Golden Wheel, Bonded Notary
Seeming: Fairest
Kith: Draconic/Sandharrowed

[spoiler=Donovan Paxton][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Just (An eye for an eye. Every wrong and every betrayal needs to be met with proper retribution and judgment.)
Vice: Resentful (Unpunished wrongs are unacceptable. Nobody is allowed to escape their deserved punishment, even if Donny has to enact it himself. Woe betide anyone that wrongs Donny. He will come after them and his vengeance will be thorough.)

Background:The ifrit whisked Donny away to the Citadel of Colored Glass, at the heart of one of Arcadia’s largest deserts. The Citadel serves as the only refuge for creatures traveling the desert, but it can also be a prison, for the Citadel itself is the realm’s Keeper.

Standing high above the endless dunes, the Citadel glitters in the oppressive Arcadian sunlight and lights up on its own during the deep Arcadian nights. It is renowned across Arcadia and the Hedge for its markets. Despite its remote location, the Citadel thrives on trade. Literally anything and everything can be bought or sold there for the right price -- and with enough persistence and willingness to navigate the labyrinth of negotiations, deals, and contracts that hold the Citadel together. Nothing is free in the Citadel, but a being willing to pay enough and find a seller can buy anything.

The Citadel does not allow inhabitants or travelers to enter or leave freely. Even for those humans delivered to the Citadel, their stay must be bought or they are cast out into the merciless desert. Simple necessities like food and water must be bargained for. Most humans become changelings when they begin dying of thirst because they have no choice but to barter away some of their humanity in exchange for something to eat and drink. Smart visitors negotiate their exit when (or sometimes before) they negotiate their entrance because leaving the Keeper does not allow people to leave lightly.

Two kinds of beings dwell in the Citadel: those who learn to negotiate and those who don’t. A changeling or goblin that picks up on the Citadel’s methods and works his way through the cutthroat maze of making deals can live comfortably, though even they can never rest if they want to maintain their status. Those that don’t are a miserable lot, barely able to barter for permission to stay in the Citadel. Most of these become servants of more powerful fae, and a large portion of these are taken to other Durances, often with more sinister Keepers looking for amusement. Still, even those that navigate the Citadel’s treacherous paths have been burned before. Nobody ascends in the Citadel without falling, and few are able to stay where they stand. Every perch is tenuous. Everyone else is trying to bargain for what you have, and very few things can truly be considered too sacred to give up.

Fortunately for Donny, he was a quick learner. He had some natural charm and quick-thinking that helped him figure out what he had to do -- but not until after he spent days as a parched and dehydrated shell -- even death, it seemed, was something you had to barter for. His rage at his father, his fury at being so horribly betrayed is what eventually kept him going. Though few things in the Citadel are too sacred to trade, those that are are worth keeping, and Donny refused to let his anger and drive for vengeance go. Over the next several years, Donny mastered how to climb the Citadel’s ladder, weave through the complex wheeling and dealing, and negotiate the best agreements and contracts he could find. He became ruthless, but in this world, one had to become ruthless. And finally, he negotiated his freedom on a goblin caravan leaving for the Hedge where it intersected with London. Because the Citadel’s being was built on negotiations and contracts, Donny’s Keeper had no choice but to let him go forever.

When Donny broke free from the Hedge, he did what many changelings did: tried to find his old life. Unlike most changelings, he found his life was easy to recover -- except for the fact that Britain presumed he’d been dead the past two years of Earth time. But no fetch had been left to take his place, and so he reclaimed his old identity.

His return brought the media to life. For the first week after he came back, headlines blazed with “Millionaire Murderer’s Son Makes Miraculous Return!” The buzz continued for about a month, but Donny tried to avoid it. It bothered him, not because it was a media craze, but because he wanted to hunt down and kill his father and learn what happened to his mother and sister. He turned down many interviews, claiming that he just wanted to find his family and settle down, and the memories were too painful to talk about. In reality, he needed the distractions to end.

Unfortunately, he learned his father had been convicted of murder and while in prison was brutally beaten and killed. Cheated of the one thing that kept him going in Arcadia, Donny swore he was going to turn his vengeance on the ifrit that cast him and his family into Arcadia.

Donny joined the Summer Court after a fateful visit at his old house. An older couple lived there, but they knew who Donny was and let him come in to revisit. While he stood in his old bedroom, two Summer Courtiers appeared and invited them to their cause. They said Donny, more than many, would understand the threat the Gentry and their minions presented, and that together, they could keep the Freehold and London protected. Donny agreed, finding the Summer Court’s anger toward the Gentry agreeable.

Eventually Donny settled in with his aunt and uncle to get his feet back underneath him. Though only two years had passed on Earth, several more had passed in Arcadia, and his extended family found Donny had changed. He was more suspicious, guarded. He tried to find the price in everything, and had difficulty accepting any charity, fearful of the strings attached. Even when he first moved in with his aunt and uncle, he tried to pay them with money and when that was refused, he did work for them, helping keep the house or making dinner unannounced. He had a debt and it had to be paid.

Donny learned that despite his trials and despite his goals, he had to try and go on with his life. His family encouraged it, his Summer friends pushed him toward it, so he got a GED and went to college a year after his escape. Meanwhile, he put his negotiating skill to good work for fellow changelings at the Goblin Markets. Compared to the rigors of the Citadel, the Markets were simple to navigate. Donny put what he learned in his Durance to good use and arranged many beneficial pledges and goods for some of the Summer Courtiers. Word began to spread that he was a cunning pledgesmith who “graduated” from the Citadel.

He got a bachelor’s degree in pre-law and went to work as an intern in a solicitor’s office while he attended law school. Again, his Durance proved useful to him and he earned his law degree without breaking a sweat. He passed the bar and quickly went to work as a solicitor and contract lawyer. Meanwhile, his reputation as a pledgesmith grew. While he went to school he negotiated hundreds of pledges between changelings, courts, and motleys. Though his status in the Summer Court didn’t expand much, his reputation across the London freehold did, with changelings of many courts coming to him for advice or to preside over their pledges.

Currently, Donny maintains his work as both a contract lawyer, solicitor, and Hedge lawyer. A few businesses keep him on retainer and his practice is gradually growing because of his effectiveness. He also serves as a lawyer for the supernaturally savvy, on permanent retainer to the Seelie Court where he serves as the Verdant Advocate, charged with keeping the Seelie out of legal trouble. He's an old loyalist of Alexandra Merill's, and has been exceedingly dubious about the reign of Aurora.

[spoiler=Appearance]Mask:Donny cuts a very handsome human figure. He is tall, just shy of imposing at an even 6’2”, and has a sleek, well-sculpted and naturally sand-colored, tanned figure that most male models would envy. His eyes are dark brown, and always seem a a little shaded over. Many people find his demeanor oddly pleasing, like they want to talk to him and share things with him. There is also a peculiar “bad boy” vibe he puts out. Despite the suit, the neatly combed, sun-bleached hair, the extensive knowledge of British law, there’s something about him. The way his eyes move, the way he watches you, the small, almost sinister smile, it creates a darker allure.

Some people wonder how he manages to stay tan and keep his hair naturally bleached even during the winter, but in a world with tanning salons and hairstylists, most figure it’s not that hard.

He wears a few piercings in each ear and has one through his nose. He’s been considering getting snakebites but doubts that would go over well at work. It’s bad enough he has his nose pierced. While at work, he keeps a small stud in his nose to mask the hole as best he can. Off work he usually wears a gold ring through his nose.

While at work, he usually wears jacket and tie attire. Off the clock, he dresses down considerably, typically going for jeans instead of khakis.

Mien:Donny’s mien looks similar to his Mask. Tall, well-sculpted, and darkly handsome. His skin takes on a duskier tone and the shadows around his eyes deepen, while his eyes glow with a faint white light. His canines become elongated and a little curved and his teeth gleam. His jewelry, too, gleams with a little more polish under the Mask. His fingers have small, but effective claws. The entire image comes together to create a darkly captivating man.

Occasionally he leaves sand in his wake. Those around him may find a little sand collected on his clothes and hair, or left behind if he was sitting or standing in one place too long. His skin has a coarser feel than a human’s. It is like fine sandpaper; just enough texture to be enticing without causing harm.[/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 1; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Lawyer; Pledge Expert
Banes: Taboo (Giving a Gift)



Cheshire
The Bonesaw, Glenn Mitchell

Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlements: Knight of the Rose, Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World
Seeming Ogre
Kith: Leechfinger/Gristlegrinder

[spoiler=Cheshire]

[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Helpful (An easygoing nature combined with a powerful natural charm often means people treat you well. It may have left her slightly entitled, but it also left a feeling that most people were pretty good people. In the end, beneath a broken mind, a cruel streak and a fearsome appearance, Glenn is just a big dumb puppydog, always eager to help out.)
Vice: Lazy (Glenn's an idiot. Thinking is just too hard. If you act dumb, people will give you the answers, so why bother to figure things out for yourself? Glenn can't really be bothered to form her own opinions, nor can she be bothered to stick up against things she thinks aren't right. It just leads to a tedious, stressful argument. She's probably wrong anyway, so why try?)

Background: Glenn Mitchell was born to a pair of middle-class, suburban parents in the late eighties. After this monumental occasion, nothing much more was expected of her.

Which is not to say she was a neglected child, far from it. Glenn was as loved as any child could hope for. But she was, by nature, not particularly curious or driven, and she was given little in the way of guidance or expectations to push her to be otherwise. Her natural talents languished, and her deficiencies settled into hard-wired habits. She studied, cribbed notes and cheated enough to maintain average marks, was good at track but couldn't put forth the effort to join the team, and had no direction in life beyond friends and boys. And she was somehow good with boys. Glenn had no particular interest in makeup and fashion, nor a terribly great mind, which quite annoyed those girls who did - but somehow her tomboyish behavior was attractive to the opposite sex. It boggled the mind of most the other girls at school.

It must have bemused her Keeper, as well, for she was taken away, dragged to the magnificent forests of Arcadia. There were other women there, proud and beautiful as Amazons, seductive, and deadly. The Huntress of Blood and Desire was the most terrible and beautiful of them all. They chased through the wood and sometimes the Hedge, falling upon whatever was unfortunate enough to be caught there. They would hunt wild beasts, attacking them bare-handed like the frenzied maenads, but the Huntress' favored prey was humans. Sometimes they would hunt them as they would beasts, more often they would lure them in with whispered words and half-promised kisses. Sometimes they would do both, reveling in the mixed feelings of desire and terror. Glenn was for once forced to hone her talents to survive, and she thrived. She got cunning. She got cruel. She got crazy.

And she got... bored. There was only so much lust and carnage one could handle before it all began to blur together. The other hunters, as vapid as she was, became incredibly boring to talk to. And any time anyone interesting came along, they were hunted down and killed. For perhaps the first time, Glenn craved something to stimulate her mind. She found it in the form of a series of strange pebbles she started to find lying around the wood, each one carved with a unique set of dots and bars. She never figured out their significance, but upon investigating, she did find who was leaving them - a hob, perhaps, or maybe even one of the Wizened. Giving chase, she easily caught it. Out of boredom, she asked it a question and let it go again, letting it run before bounding after it. She continued her little game, not noticing the forest growing thicker or the Hedge growing closer, until she found herself lost among the Thorns. In surprise, she dropped the hob, which darted off and she never saw it again.

It took her a very, very long time to get out. She mostly picked a path and stuck to it, walking in a straight line until she finally emerged in Scotland. The Glenn of the past likely would have had no idea what to do, but the glaistig that returned managed to track her old life down. She was quite surprised to find her Fetch at her parents' house, tending to it while they were out on vacation. Her Fetch was very surprised when Glenn chased it down and ripped it limb from limb.

The trouble with the real world is people tend to notice and object to murder. Glenn wasn't very subtle in killing her Fetch, and someone called the police. The Fetch, in one last bit of revenge against its murderer, stuck around for a while after death, leaving the changeling to flee as her double was taken into custody. It rapidly occurred that Glenn Mitchell was about to be declared dead, which would make living as her rather inconvenient.

When Glenn walked into the morgue, however, she was in for a bit of a surprise. She had easily made her way past the police, tricking them into thinking her a superior. But when she found her body, it was accompanied by a gaunt woman with feathered hair and pure black eyes - a changeling, just like herself. Glenn had barely considered the thought there would be others like her - there had been the other Huntresses, but this woman was so different from them in every way. It threw Glenn enough for a loop that she could not fool the changeling as she had the mortal police. Instead she put on her most lovely smile and all her charm, and asked the changeling please not to list Glenn Mitchell as dead.

It worked, but the acquaintance didn't end there. Rook -- in Scotland on a medical internship -- was the first of many changelings she met, but she was the first. Currently, Glenn is living with her in a rather dubious apartment in Lambeth, having taken up a mindless retail customer service job. She spends her days selling impractical jewelry and ironic t-shirts to angsty teens, and her nights either out enjoying herself or throwing Rook's junk out of the living room. She is marginally better at cooking than her roommate, which isn't saying much. Her nickname, Cheshire, was given to her by Ozzie in reference to her smile, and she likes it just fine. Her parents are dubious about the whole setup, but too polite and mild-mannered to say anything.

The most important thing to remember is that Glenn Mitchell is a killer. It is the most important thing to remember because it's so easy to forget.

Oftentimes, Glenn acts like a normal young woman. She's easy-going and relaxed around people, tomboyish and casual. She's certainly pretty enough to indulge in the flights of vanity that all people have, but for the most part she's grounded, aware of her failings, even sometimes self-depreciating. She's aware enough to know where others surpass her own talents - she's not prone to self-reflection in any capacity, but she has an instinctive awareness that lends itself to a good understanding of people. For the most part, she's friendly and non-confrontational, supportive of her friends and dismissive towards her enemies.

But the fact remains that Glenn Mitchell is a killer, a nightmare of lust and fear, a seductress and a hunter. In truth, she's a bit bored of violence and mindless pleasure, hence why she did not return as a serial killer. But instincts are hard to beat. She enjoys causing terror, she enjoys chasing down running prey, and she enjoys the feeling of sinking her teeth into things. She can be very scary, very evil, and very, very cruel. It seeps through, even in her daily life. Glenn Mitchell is not quite sane.

[spoiler=Appearance]Appearance:

[spoiler=Mask]Glenn Mitchell is a looker, that much cannot be denied. She has the trim, tomboyish body of an athlete and the pretty face of the "girl next door", if said girl had been run through a Hollywood filter. Her shoulder-length hair is a stunning shade of red, parted down the center, with a few loose strands falling in front of her face. Her eyes are an attractive shade of honey-brown, almost glinting gold when the light hits them right. Her skin is not fair, oddly enough, instead looking rather tan and swarthy. She has large, pearly teeth, slightly crooked, but somehow they only add to her charm.

Glenn's wardrobe almost uniformly tends towards shades of green, usually darker varieties. Average clothing tends towards tight shirts and trousers, or very short loose skirts meant for ease of movement if needed. Long coats top off the ensemble, more often than not buttoned up. More fashionable clothing includes long dresses and skirts. She wears simple stud earrings when she wears them at all, and has a trio of rings on her hands: gold (colored) and silver on the right, copper on the left. Oddly enough, even when dressed for athletics, she wears platform boots or shoes. When she walks barefoot, which is often around her apartment, she walks on the toes of her feet.[/spoiler.]
[spoiler=Mein]Glenn's true form is heart-achingly beautiful. It's also a nightmare.
Her hair is a deep, unnatural shade of red, the rich color of fading blood. Her skin is a swarthy shade of grey. Her eyes are a vivid, piercing yellow, the irises ringed with gold. Her teeth are big and sharp, many of them fused together to form a jagged mass of razor-sharp bone. Her incisors remain separate, as huge and sharp as shark teeth. Her toes are covered in chitinous masses, that lock together to form solid hooves.
Two large, bone-colored antlers jut out from her hair, back across her head. The five-pronged protrusions resemble nothing less than a pair of monstrous, clawed hands. On occasion, the "fingers" twitch.[/spoiler.][/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 1; Physical 4; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Amazon; Good-Natured Monster
Banes: Allergen (Warm Milk)



Robert Hammond

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: The Honorable Order of the Third Hour (T.H.O.T.H.), Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World
Seeming: Wizened
Kith:
The Inventor gains the benefit of the 8-again rule on all Crafts or Science rolls to design, build, modify, or repair any sort of device or mechanism. By spending 1 Glamour, the changeling can add dice equal to their Wyrd to any of these rolls.
Inventor
Born: 1937
Apparent Age: Late forties



Virtue: Pragmatic (Voice of Sanity)
Vice: Arrogant (Misunderstood Genius)

Background: The first truly vivid memory Robert had of growing up was the Blitz. Not the first one, when the Luftwaffe bombed London nearly daily. No, the second one, that started in late 1944, when the Nazis tossed hundreds of V-2 rockets across the south of England, killing thousands and destroying entire city blocks. On one of those city blocks was the house in Battersea where Robert and his family lived, and though they survived by virtue of being away when the bomb landed, it made an indelible impression on Robert.

The years after the war saw Robert go through school, and then the University, and then working for Saunders-Roe, an aerospace company centered on the Isle of Wight that helped build some of Britain's first rockets. He was a boffin, and he was proud of it. They used a little catalytic fuse that he helped design in the Black Knight rockets, which is quite likely Hammond's proudest achievement. Sure, it's just a fuse, but it's still rocket science! He was a UFO enthusiast back before it was common, he acted in local amateur theater, and he was married, to a charming young woman he met through the theater.

But good things come to an end, the British space programme never quite got the sort of support the Americans and the Soviets gave theirs, and in any case, Hammond wasn't around to see it. His Durance is a vague, uncertain blur in his mind, having something of the quality about it of a dream. He remembers huge, robotic insects with gleaming silvery mandibles cutting him out of some strange cocoon, then pushing him into the Mechanical Forest. Half some twisted nightmare factory filled with insectoid robots, half a forest inhabited by nothing but insects where all the trees and inhabitants are utterly mechanical, everything was composed of shining, jointed metal, colorful wires, and arcing electricity.

Hammond and the other stolen mortal boffins were put to work. They repaired, they maintained, they altered according to the whims of their insect-like masters. Sometimes they succeeded too well, and were taken away, and those never came back. Sometimes they failed, and were taken away, and returned with metal limbs that were better than what they had before. Hammond's skeleton is a thing of lightweight steel, and his fingers are sharp and mechanical and exquisitely precise.

It was a little like aerospace work, but it was more like art, every device unique, needing both intuition and intelligence to fix. Hammond was good at it, quickly learning the strange rhythms of the Mechanical Forest. He even grew to enjoy it, the work at least. But the rewards of success were too terrible, and there is little satisfaction in doing work when those around you are merely mechanical spiders incapable of appreciating what you did. Hammond tried to run away. He failed, was captured, and they put him back to work. He ran away again. This time they opened him up, and replaced his heart with a thing of cold steel, and a bit of his brain became a silver-white computer. And he ran away once more, and he crossed the jagged, metal junkyards, escaped the robotic spider-hounds, and he was free.

It had been decades since he was captured, the five years Hammond spent inside the Mechanical Forest stretched out to nearly forty. There was no question of going back to aerospace work. Technology had advanced so swiftly that Hammond scarce understood what was going on. Nor could he ever secure the sort of background and credentials necessary to clear the security checks. His own fetch was now an old man.

J. Ilkin Aylesworth got Hammond a job in the Indie film industry, working on special effects. Into this, Hammond settled nicely, for all that it was different from what he had once done. But the creative urge was powerful in Hammond, and he thrived, even if he does have a slightly unwholesome fondness for building giant robotic insects. Hammond, by the standards of the Faerie court of London, is really very sane. He keeps himself firmly grounded in the mortal world, lives in Battersea, still plays in amateur theater, and is in a long-term relationship with a nice woman named Megan Morton. This is probably because Hammond knows that if he ever lets himself go properly, he's going to start building giant robots with which to try and conquer London, and this would be a bad thing for everyone involved.

Professionally, Hammond is extremely easy to deal with... so long as one is willing to cede most artistic control to him. He knows what to do best, and everyone else (faerie monarchs, directors) had best get out of the way and quickly. He is willing to extend a level of respect to fellow craftsmen, provided he likes them. He's a perfectionist, and he has the typical Wizened work ethic that verges on workaholism. His artistic vision tends to lean somewhat to the horrific, however, but in the Autumn Court and the special effects industry, that's more of a feature than a bug.

In the context of the Freehold of New Jerusalem, Hammond serves as the Master of Machines, responsible for most of the technical work of the Unseelie. He's the one responsible for keeping the Unseelie's pet monstrosity in tune -- the Devourer, a twenty-foot-long mechanical centipede he created for an old movie -- and for the maintenance and repair of the Ebon Engine, the Unseelie's new headquarters-hollow.

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Mad Inventor, 'Scarebones', Special Effects Master
Banes: Compulsion (Must Fix Broken Machines)



Marcus "Marc" Beverly


Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Jeweled Attendant of the Dreaming World
Seeming: Fairest
Kith: Incubus/Treasured

[spoiler=Marcus][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Gullible

Background: Marc is a decent guy in the terrible situation of being a changeling. He's a very handsome man with a faint reptilian grace. His eyes sparkle like twin sapphires and his hair is a shining, smooth gold that looks like strands spun from the metal itself. His figure is perfectly sculpted, though his frame has a somewhat unnatural look. It seems a little too perfect, like he was carved from stone itself.

And indeed he was. He was molded into a sexual creature of sapphire and flesh by his Keeper. Several times he was thrust into a block of pure corundum and carved out by Wizened artisans over and over until his Keeper was satisfied. Every time a new tweak was needed, he got thrust back into the block, sometimes left to sit for days at a time. His Keeper was a great dragon and considered Marc part of its hoard, so even when he was free, Marc was little more than a treasure trinket. He was often put on display or made to fight for the amusement of the Keeper and his guests.

Marc finally escaped Arcadia four years (Earth time) after he was abducted. Like most changelings, he tried to go home only to discover he'd been completely replaced and the life he once had was no longer his. And like most changelings, Marc had a hard time adjusting to the feelings of being no longer human and having no place where he thought he'd find one.

In came Ilkin, Marc's savior. Ilkin already had dealings with the Freehold of London and when he came across the unfortunate changeling, the Mage recognized the symptoms of a man who just found his way back from the Hedge. He took Marc under his wing and tried to help guide the changeling back to some sense of reconciliation. Ilkin did his best to help and eventually guided the draconic into the Spring Court.

This came at the cost of Marc becoming very attached to Ilkin. The changeling fell hopelessly in love with the man who helped put him back together after Arcadia. He attempted to use his Fairest charm on Ilkin and it worked, to an extent. The pair had a brief whirlwind romance that ended when Marc finally settled in and realized his affection toward Ilkin was more about hero worship than love.

Marc still holds nothing but respect for Ilkin, but usually manages to keep from following the mage around like a lost puppy whenever they're in the same area. Usually. As a changeling of Desire, he has pronounced Desire for Ilkin but tries to mitigate it with other things. He likes warm and fuzzy romance a lot and is one of the people Ilkin consults the most when he's doing a romance or a comedy movie.

Away from Ilkin, Marc is strong and confident. He's a beautiful, handsome draconic man in both his Mask and his Mien. He carries himself with a quiet majesty and a regal bearing. He's strong and muscled, though his body in his Mien is sculpted to look a lot more muscular than it really is. Like most Draconics and Fairest, Marc is outgoing, personable and very self-assured. He knows his way through most social situations and tends more toward physical pursuits than intellectual discussions. Fortunately he's just smart enough to fake it.

Ilkin and Marc are still friends and have maintained an Ensorcellment/Glamour pact for several years now. Recently, Ben's come in on the pact, so Marc spends time protecting the mages' dreams and ensorcelling their sight. In exchange, they provide him a valuable source of Glamour.

These days, Marcus serves the Seelie Court as a Sage Escort -- in essence, counselor and courtesan in equal parts, charged with healing the wounded souls of the Lost, especially those who have been abused and twisted by faerie lovers. He's a bit of a ditz, but he's also good at his job, if only because he doesn't have a malicious bone in his entire body.

[spoiler=Appearance]Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Gold
Skin Tone/Complexion: Fair in Mask; Gold in Mien
Hair Style: Short and very neatly groomed. [/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 1; Physical 2; Social 6
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Beauty; Striking Looks (Male Model) 2
Banes: Tell (The Fair Folk)



Dominic Carlisle

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Dominic
Entitlements: Mirror-Walker, Knight of the Rose
Seeming: Beast
Kith: Cleareyes/Oracle
Born:

Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Violent

Background: Do you love me? Do you love your hound?

"You are the best, seriously."

Then come with me. I will show you what it is like to be one of us.

When Dominic was five, his parents bought him a pet: A wolfdog pup. It was a tiny, playful ball of fur and teeth at first, but within a year, it was bigger than Dominic. The boy and his wolf led a happy life, playing in the yard, going on walks, and just spending time together.

Like many children, Dominic swore his pet could talk to him. Unlike many children, Dominic's pet did. It whispered to him when they were alone, told him of the joys that came with being a wolf, the thrill of the hunt, the glory of the capture. Dominic's parents smiled and laughed, and as Dominic and his pet grew older the boy learned to keep quiet about talking to his wolfdog. For some reason, people did not appreciate that as much by the time one turned ten. But the wolfdog and Dominic had many conversations. The hound was Dominic's confidant and best friend.

High school arrived and Dominic started off like any normal boy. He got his first girlfriend and fell head over heels in love. Then she broke his heart. Like most shattered by their first loves, Dominic descended into melancholy. Only the wolfdog kept him company. Only the wolfdog reassured him everything would be okay. Only the wolfdog told Dominic of a place he could go where his heart would never be broken again...

...And Dominic went off with his only friend in the world.

The next ten years, Dominic lived with his wolf, with his other wolf friends. He became a wolf and hunted with them. He hunted the Huntress's prey, he tracked down the Huntress's prisoners. His Huntress rewarded him greatly for a job well done.

Then she came. Dominic couldn't tell if she was the same girl. But the color of her hair, the smell she left in her wake, the sound of her laugh. Dominic fell in love all over again. And when she escaped, she took him with her.

Ten years passed in Arcadia, but only one went by on Earth. The other Dominic was only sixteen. He'd gotten over his melancholy and was doing well in school again. But the original Dominic was older, different, confused. She disappeared when they left the Huntress's forest, and he has not been able to find her since...

Since returning to Earth, Dominic has begun using the one skill he knows best: Hunting. He fell in with Peregrine, a Mage and private investigator. Dominic is something Peregrine needed. The changeling is much more even-tempered and can find things Peregrine can't.

He has joined the Summer Court at the invitation of Dana the Tall. She heard of his skill at hunting, and recruited him to be part of the Hound Tribunal, an elite group of trackers that dealt with Freehold threats. He serves her now as the Constable of Calefaction, charged with seeking out those who would break the laws of the Freehold. Dominic is not particularly angry, but he has little tolerance for betrayal of friendship, pack, or community. Friends and loyalty kept him going even when the Huntress punished him brutally. His fellow wolves were always there to pick him up when he was at his worst. Woe betide anyone that threatens the Freehold or those close to Dominic.

And through it all, he's still looking for her. Someone cared enough about him to lead him away from the Huntress, back to reality. He wants to know who she is, why she helped him. Sometimes she still haunts his dreams, staying just ahead of him as she guides him through the nightmare, back to the world.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 4; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Hunting Hound and Private Eye
Banes: Paw Prints

[/spoiler.]

Light-in-Darkness

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Dawn
Entitlements: Knight of the Rose
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Fireheart

[spoiler="Light-in-Darkness"][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Hopeful
Vice: Hasty

Personality: Light-in-Darkness burns with the fire of life and passion. A furnace burns in his core that keeps him alive and full of energy. He is passionate, intuitive, creative, and inspiring. He's alert, athletic, active, and ardent.

Light-in-Darkness does not do anything halfway. When he gets started on a path, he follows it to its finish, and he puts his all into it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well and with all your heart, so when he puts his mind to something, every action shows his passion and dedication to the job.

The Fireheart typically comes across as very intense. He works hard and plays hard. Though he can contain himself enough to function in human society, most people can sense the fire burning behind his eyes. He used to be much more manic and outwardly energetic. Now, he simply brims with fire just below the surface. He's learned, partly through Bo's teaching and partly through his own practice to call on it when it's needed. When he summons it forth, he can use that passion and intensity to inspire people around him, something he takes great delight in doing.

Needless to say, Light-in-Darkness is an optimist. It is hard not to be when one is a Dawn Courtier. He truly, deeply believes that the world will change for the better, for the Lost, for mortals, for everyone. He believes he can bring that change, one step at a time, and nothing can burn out that fire.

Bo and Light-in-Darkness have a powerful symbiosis. Bo has been a mentor and friend to the Fireheart for years. Light-in-Darkness reminds Bo of his own passion for life. The changeling continually rekindles Bo's drive to explore, experience, and learn. In exchange, Bo tempers the changeling's passion and energy, and provides an avenue of focus. He helps Light-in-Darkness channel himself to worthwhile pursuits instead of spreading himself too thin and burning out.

Light-in-Darkness is part of the Seelie Court, and most of those who know him only casually assume him to be arrayed with Summer, given that he works for Dana the Tall as a warrior and Crimson Knight when the situation calls for it.

[spoiler=Appearance]Appearance: Light-in-Darkness is tall and lean, with a sleek runner's build, and smooth, polished facial features. His skin has a golden-bronze hue and is very warm to the touch. In his mien, it perpetually glows like a light burns just underneath. His eyes are dark, but orange embers glow within. His hair is a sharp red-brown, kept short, but it naturally spikes into sharp points like fire leaping upward. His body is usually surrounded by a faint halo and fiery tongues occasionally lick across his skin. He never wears heavy clothing and prefers to dress very lightly since he finds most fabrics constrictive and overheating. He wears a couple small brass loops in his left ear. Most often, he wears loose linen pants tied at the waist (similar to sweatpants but much lighter) and either a linen toga or a loose linen shirt. When he's dressed to impress, he wears similar clothing, but made out of spider silk. He never wears tight clothes, belts, or elastic.[/spoiler.]
Type Changeling
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Fireheart

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 5, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Investigation 3, Medicine 1, Occult 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl (On Fire x2) 4, Larceny 4, Stealth 3, Survival 2
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Intimidation 1, Persuasion (Making a Deal +2) 2, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 2

Merits: Allies (Criminal)
Tong
2, Allies (Medical)
Freehold
3, Iron Stamina 1, Mantle (Dawn) 5, Parkour 4, Resources
2+Tong
3, Status (
Well-Paid, Influence (Criminal)
Tong) 2, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 3, Trained Observer 3

Willpower: 6
Clarity: 6; +2 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Elemental Curse
Personal Banes: Running Water

Initiative: 8
Defense: 5
Health: 8 (12 w/ Elemental)
Speed: 13

Wyrd: 4
Entitlement Powers: Valiant Heart (Knight of the Rose)
Contracts: Elements (Fire) ●●●●●, Potential ●●●●●, Punishing Summer ●
Glamour: 13/4; +3 Starting (Well-Fed 3)
Pledges:

Attacks..................................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Elemental Touch...........................2L............... 13...............Fire






Miss Bell
Evelyn Shaw

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlements: Magistrate of Wax, Legate of the Golden Wheel
Seeming: Wizened
Kith: Chatelaine
Born: 1937
Apparent Age: Late twenties/Early thirties

[spoiler=Miss Bell]
Evelyn Shaw in happier times: July 23, 1961


Miss Bell, following her durance[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Code of Behavior (Superficially, Miss Bell is the very model of the early ‘60’s working woman: professional, decorous, minimally emotional, and very careful not to do anything controversial. It’s mildly disturbing, actually.)
Vice: Violent (I said “superficially.” Under the skin, Miss Bell is a seething cauldron of stunted ambition, repressed passions, unspoken opinions, and just plain anger. Sometimes, this anger expresses itself rather more directly than is convenient. In these circumstances, Miss Bell is an extremely scary woman.)

Background: Evie Shaw grew up Georgia royalty. Her father owned more tobacco-growing land than a few South American countries, her mother was a fixture on the local social circuit, and Evie herself was a pampered only child. Evie hated it. A vigorous, willful high-schooler, too passionate for the strictures of upper-class Southern girlhood, she resolved to get out of Dodge as fast as humanly possible. While not necessarily much brighter than her peers, she poured every ounce of willpower into her studies starting her Junior year – applying for a scholarship program at Scripps, a women’s college in the L.A. area, without her parents’ knowledge. Her work – and her pedigree – payed off. Seeing donations in their future, the admissions officers let her in. The night after her high school graduation, she packed her luggage into her brand-new Studebaker and started West, with her parents none the wiser. There were a number of rather dramatic phone calls over the next few weeks, needless to say.

College was fantastic. College was progressive, and liberal, and freeing. A lot of the students were there to find husbands, from one of the other schools in the area. Evie was there to cram for her sociology degree, and debate with labor activists and poets, and to play shortstop in an all-women’s club softball team that the city tried to shut down. She was having the time of her life.

And then she graduated, and it turned out nobody really wanted a woman sociologist, thank you, but as it happens they were hiring for the secretarial pool just at present. After months of searching for a spiritually challenging position, Miss Shaw bit the bullet and took a low-level clerical job. Which turned into a string of low-level clerical jobs, since Miss Shaw’s sheer, insouciant driven-ness tended to rub management the wrong way. Finally, after being slapped on the ass by her second supervisor in a row, Miss Shaw stormed out of her latest office in protest, and grabbed the classified section of the paper from the first newsstand she could find. And, if there is anything you should have learned from Underwood’s story, it is that answering the World of Darkness’s classified ads while angry is a patently horrible decision.

So, the thing about The Firm is, it’s an office. And offices have to have front doors. Thus, The Firm does too – they’re nearly impossible for most employees to find, but there you go. There’s a comparatively nice lobby, with couches, anemic-looking plants, and everything. There’s also a desk, at which a receptionist does all of the mind-numbing things a receptionist usually does. However. The Firm’s front doors open out into the rest of Arcadia, and thus, not all of The Firm’s visitors are particularly friendly. Accordingly, it is also the Receptionist’s job to subdue said unfriendly visitors. A company-brand baton is issued for this purpose. Note that it is strictly against policy for Reception Area personnel to exit the building on company time; all violations will be taken up with Human Resources.

Needless to say, a couple decades spent within twenty yards of an obvious escape route – with only interoffice calls and bashing hobgoblin invaders into marmalade to distract you from how forbidden actually escaping is – tends to do a number on the old psyche. On the plus side, Miss Shaw got into fantastic shape. On the minus side, she finally snapped and attempted to run for it (again) in 1988. She almost got all the way to the door, this time.

As this was her third offense, H.R. thought it best to arrange a transfer. After an insufficiently short visit to The Firm’s fabrication laboratory, Miss Bell was relocated to the Switchboard Room. Cramped, dark, locked tight and filled to the ceiling with wires, it was well away from the lobby. And, following the previous occupant’s suicide, there was an opening there for a new Operator.

Miss Bell held this position for nineteen years, after which she finally made a successful escape attempt. More on this later. She emerged from the Hedge along with Xerox in 2004, and spent the next few years in Manchester, although she did return at least once to the United States. Manchester didn't quite work out for a number of complicated and awkward reasons, and so in the winter of 2008-2009, she and Xerox moved to London.

Once here, it turned out that the Unseelie Court (itself something new to Miss Bell, given that Manchester had four seasonal courts, not Seelie and Unseelie) was in desperate need of a secretary. The previous Unseelie King, the Jack-of-Crows, tended towards a management style that consisted of grabbing a nearby changeling and threatening them till things happened, while Todd acted as though allergic to paperwork. This did not make for smooth governance. So Miss Bell ended up half-taking over, writing down memos, keeping the Unseelie Courtiers in contact with one another, and formally recording all pledges. She has a surprising amount of power and influence given how little time she's been in London.... or she would, if part of the 'employment' agreement hadn't been a very long and very thorough pledge with Todd White that rather sharply limited the opportunities for any kind of profiteering. The Winter King's lazy, he's not stupid. What Miss Bell thinks of this has not yet been determined.

The happy, gung-ho college girl of 1959 is still under there, somewhere – but it’s been buried under four decades of conditioning. Evelyn Shaw’s progressive social views and never-say-die spirit didn’t fit with The Firm’s mid-century image of receptionist, operator, and company woman; accordingly, The Board made damn sure that she never got a chance to act on those impulses. Ever. And it worked, mostly. Talking to Miss Bell is something like talking to an on-duty telemarketer, all the more so because she never seems to “turn off.” She is professional, reserved, and scrupulously polite – and always the tiniest bit stilted, as if she’s reading from a script while her boss is looking over her shoulder. She barely ever shows strong emotions, and even when she’s socializing, it’s like meeting a ‘60’s housewife at an office party: small talk and smiles, but a certain artificiality, as well. This is what happens when all of your conversations include “how may I direct your call?” for forty-something years.

Needless to say, Miss Bell is a phenomenally repressed individual. At present, one of her only outlets is when something needs subduing…at which point she is a silent, steely, expressionless wad of aggravated assault holding a blunt instrument. This may not be the most psychologically healthy way to let off steam.

She also plays league softball, though. So, you know, there’s that.

Miss Bell customarily speaks with a perfect, radio-quality Mid-American accent, the product of years of enforced practice. When – if – her surface ever cracks, some of the old Georgia tones might creep through for a moment.

A cream-and-honey complexioned strawberry blonde, Miss Bell has hazel eyes and looks to be about in her late twenties. This being 2007, Miss Bell can’t get away with the huger, spray-heavy hairstyles of the early ‘60’s, but some of the more conservative styles still work well for her – usually something in the bob category. Here’s a good example. Note that Miss Bell is perfectly coiffed at all times. Physically, Miss Bell, in a word, is statuesque. A little taller than average (5’9”-ish), well-stacked, and with all the best kind of curves, she still manages to be very well-toned and in generally excellent shape – though this last is not an immediately obvious fact, given how she dresses. The general idea here is “Athena as war-goddess.” Her face is drop-dead beautiful as well, clear-featured and aristocratic, but impassive enough to be a little off-putting. Miss Bell is not overly given to displays of emotion. In her dress, she gets as close as she can get to slimline, form-hugging ‘60’s-era work dresses or blouse-skirt combos, most often along the lines of these here. Usually prefers strong pastels, but rarely any truly bold colors. Heels are a must as well. It’s sometimes difficult for her to cobble together a serviceable equivalent to this kind of getup using modern fashions, but she does her best – still, even more so than Underwood, she looks a bit dated, and rarely dresses down. Barely ever seen in pants, but rumored to look spectacular in a bikini. Matching necklace and earrings at all times: usually pearl, sometimes gold. Matching handbag in whatever color her dress is, filled with the requisite personal items. Not-quite-as-matching vintage 1961 Rawlings Adirondack brand softball bat. Blond hardwood; heavily used. For when Miss Bell is working.

When she is accepting phone calls, Miss Bell also wears a Bluetooth headset on one ear: it’s more modern than she’s accustomed to, but it means the mortals don’t freak out when they see her “talking to herself”.

Beneath the Mask, Miss Bell resembles a plastic store mannequin, carefully rendered to look as attractive as possible without actually displaying anything that might be deemed too offensive. Her skin looks just a little off, to the point that it's obviously plastic and fake, but it's hard to pin down in description why. Her hair is likewise just a little off, somehow resembling a wig despite the fact it is clearly growing from her head. The area that constitutes her torso -- that is, from her shoulders down to her hipbones -- is an exquisitely styled, inlayed, old-fashioned rotary phone. The rotary begins at the bottom of her sternum and ends where her navel should have been, the receiver makes up her shoulders, and the metal and wood make up her ribs and the rest of her torso. An observer might note that this makes the phone effectively useless, since to use it Bell would have to remove her head. The bits of phone are connected to the rest of her body via thick metal ball-bearings, which allow her the expected range of movement while still making her look like someone's fine art project.

Miss Bell can place and receive calls with only a slight mental effort: she dials the proper number or hears the ringing in her head, and she hears the other caller’s voice in her head. She does need to speak her end of the conversation out loud, however.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 3; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Efficient Secretary; Southern Courtesy; Baseball Bat
Banes: Compulsion (Must Be Verbally Polite)



Xerox
David Phan (Phan Tuan Hung)

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Mirror-Walker
Seeming Darkling
Kith: Mirrorskin
Born: 1967
Apparent Age: Early twenties

[spoiler="Xerox"]
Dave Phan and the class of 1986. He’s on the right.[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Courageous (There is nothing you can do to Xerox that hasn’t been done to him already. Intimidation, emotional blackmail, and even a lot of physical violence will be met with an eye-roll and a caustic remark. And when he’s really invested in something – I mean really invested – nothing whatsoever will dissuade him from it.)
Vice: Lazy (Then again, Xerox is really invested in being an utterly unambitious waste of couch. It’s funny, but the guy may well be one of the most resolute layabouts in existence: it’s like he has a point to prove.)

Background: Phan Tuan Hung was still in the womb when his parents emigrated. Sensing trouble during the ramp-up of American troops in Vietnam, his father decided to get out while he still could, hopping a plane to Manchester with his wife: he had an older sister there, a medical technician that was willing to go in on an apartment. The Phans were middle-class back home: both fluent in English and French, and with dad holding a mid-level managerial position at a garment factory outside of Saigon. Their new home offered limited opportunities for recent immigrants, but it did have plenty of textile mills. Hung’s father got a job on the factory floor, and worked his way back up to foreman – and working-class respectability – within the space of a few years.

Hung (Dave, when he wasn’t at home) grew up a nice enough kid, quiet but very bright: a dedicated, unprepossessing student across the board, and a reasonably skilled athlete on the junior track team. His friends were friendly, his family was living the brighter side of the immigrant dream, and university was beckoning on the horizon. All was right with the world.

And then, it wasn’t. In 1982, Thatcher’s corporatist policies caught up with Dave’s dad’s mill: the plant closed, and the family was out most of an income. After a few months of scraping by, the family packed their luggage into two cars and drove off to a smaller, shabbier apartment – Dave’s parents in the station wagon, and Dave and his aunt in the sedan.

The sedan was the one that didn’t get T-boned by a drunk driver.

Having both of your parents die when you're 15 can change a person. The lesson Dave took away from that day was not “sometimes bad things happen to good people.” It was that his parents had done everything right, and that he had done everything right, and that no matter how diligently you try to be a productive, well-respected member of society, the uncaring universe is still going to grind you into the muck with its bootheel. Clearly, what Dave was doing wrong was trying too hard.

Starting in his eleventh year at school, Dave was the most intelligent, most sarcastic, most willfully apathetic slacker in his class. He let his grades drop, quit the team, spent his evenings with his Atari and stereo, started hanging out in convenience store parking lots with disappointing people and dating disappointing girlfriends. His aunt was out of the apartment at all hours, and didn’t really care what her nephew got up to. Other people noticed, but mostly in the wrong ways. Lacking the social awareness or sympathy to confront Dave's mental breakdown, his teachers responded by getting stricter. From a very angry and depressed teen's point of view, it became rapidly apparent that no one cared about him beyond his ability to fill out standardized worksheets and turn them in on a deadline. He responded with a curious, hard-edged determination to fail, a "screw-you" in response to an institution that was offended he no longer obeyed. A string of disciplinary visits turn into a string of mandatory councilor visits, with councilors that unfortunately weren't very good. The best of them kept trying to ask personal questions about Dave's parents, which went over as well as you might expect. The worst was still camped out with Freud, and spent her time looking for sexual deviations and repressed memories. The rest silently shrugged and tried to put Dave on pills. Dave took the pills and sold them on the street.

Dave finished secondary school, slouched his way through Sixth Form on inertia, and didn’t bother to apply for university. He did not, however, bother to tell his aunt this last fact. After spending the three months following his graduation lying on her couch in front of the TV, this decision came back to bite him: the truth came out in an hours-long shouting match, which ended with Dave kicked out of the apartment and on a bus to London, bitter and resentful. He’d show her. He’d show everybody. The only thing society gave half a damn about was his ability to be a cog in their little machine. He’d get exactly the most low-rent, low-effort job it would take him to cover the food and rent, and in doing so, he would prove he saw through the system.

Turned out The Firm needed a mailboy.

Two decades of pushing a cart through the halls of an endless office would break the spirit of most people. Not Dave. In a weird, fatalistic way, he sort of expected it – not the whole “kidnapping by faeries” bit, but the details of the job? Close enough. The primary thing he resented was the big-business, ultra-capitalist structure of The Firm; reminded him too much of the Conservative government that did in his parents. Thus, with ample time to practice, he learned just the right line to walk between doing his job and thumbing his nose at the Board: a snide comment here; a thirty-second delay there; an unattributed prank every so often.

It was when HR discovered Dave running a makeshift black market out of his mail cart, that things got ugly. He was transferred to R & D, to be part of a pilot program. This is, perhaps, the least pleasant sentence that a The Firm employee can hear. Several months of horrific, body-shredding experimentation later, Xerox rolled off the line and into an observation tank, able to copy both paper documents and the physical appearances of those around him. The Firm’s motives for adding this last feature were never explained.

The Firm’s mistake was throwing a fax machine into Xerox’s design. From her post in the Switchboard Room, Miss Bell detected an unauthorized phone signal coming from somewhere else in the office: painstakingly, through the electronic “language barrier” imposed by their disparate models, they got to know each other, and began to hatch an escape plan. Several weeks later, a The Firm messenger who looked nothing at all like Xerox trundled a bulky freight cart right through the office’s front doors. Management didn’t catch on for ten whole minutes. It was just barely enough for a head start.

Xerox is a tremendous waste of potential. Naturally brilliant, he exhibits a laziness borne (ironically) of the hard, bitter desire to underachieve. Not only is he profoundly fatalistic about society in general – and corporate authority in particular – he feels that his time with The Firm paid off his work quota for the foreseeable future. Thus, now that his durance is over, he aims to march right back into the cocoon he was in through 1985, vis-à-vis video games, headphones, and Tab. Maybe he’ll swing a temp job he can work from home, so he won’t starve. It’s definitely possible to goad Xerox into exerting conscious effort, but you have to convince him that he already wanted to do so a week before you said so. Thankfully, this is not an overly difficult task, and once he really wants to do an assignment, he tends to grab onto it and not let go. Bull-headed stubbornness can be a powerful thing…and the effects of his earlier upbringing haven’t vanished entirely.

In person, Xerox is the caustic, teenaged sysadmin who hates all the bands you like. His default state is self-conscious apathy, vague irritability, or sarcastic disdain, goadable into full-on ranting if you press your luck. Has a very narrow – and largely outdated – definition of “cool.” However, in the somewhat unlikely event that you fit this definition, he’s actually an all right guy to hang out with for beers and Soul Calibur, good at laconic banter and enthusiastic debates about pop-cultural minutiae. Again: not an awful dude, just a dude who’s from awful circumstances. Thinks grown-ups don’t understand, and occasionally takes time to “stick it to the man” in a low-level capacity -- his talent for disguise serves him well, here.

Xerox is Manchester born and bred, and has a working-class “Oop North” accent to show for it. Kind of like this, but a good deal less thick.

Xerox and Miss Bell emerged from the Hedge in Manchester around 2004 and made their way down to London about a year later -- the Freehold of the Workers' Engines was a bit too emphatically working-class for a pair of True Fae-crafted office drones to find comfortable. Since then, while Miss Bell has somehow ended up rising in the ranks, Xerox's stayed more or less firmly where he is. He runs messages for the Unseelie, mostly, and does other small jobs around the Freehold. He's still got an anti-authoritarian streak, but Miss Bell and Todd both have a certain talent for directing it into useful avenues.

Appearance-wise, Xerox is a Southeast Asian twenty-something who looks as if he last updated his fashion sense in the 1980s (this is not inaccurate). Lots of straight, medium-length, slightly oily hair, usually flopping over his forehead. Here’s a good reference. Xerox doesn’t usually take a lot of time to style, but when he does, there is mousse involved. Physically, Xerox looks like a naturally weedy guy who’s developed a serious jogging habit – that this jogging habit was enforced by Transdimensional Employers of Doom doesn’t usually come up. In other words, the guy doesn’t look like a weightlifter, but he’s in very good cardiovascular health. He’s also shorter than average, at about 5’5”. Studiously average face: he’s no great shakes to look at, but he’s not ugly either. In terms of fashion he's McFly-esque. In fact, if you’re not listening to The Power of Love while you read this, you’re doing something wrong. Jeans and high-tops for bottoms, t-shirts in some appalling shade of neon for tops: sometimes graphic, sometimes solid-color, and often under a rumpled button-down depending on the temperature. For outerwear, Xerox wears a leather jacket or a parka when it’s colder out, and chooses from a selection of rather unfortunate canvas and jean jackets when it’s more reasonable. Xerox rarely classes himself up – unsurprising, for a guy who always looks as if he’s just rolled out of bed – but when he does, it’s a middling imitation of Miami Vice. He has a Vintage 1986 model Walkman, clipped to his belt nearly all the time: even when he’s not listening, he keeps the headphones around his neck. Xerox likes experimental, synthesizer-heavy new wave, played at ridiculous volumes: now that he’s out of durance, he scours used record stores for cassettes and makes mix tapes from ‘80’s-music radio stations.

Self-named in his typical bitter black-humor, Xerox is a troubled teen who was run over by the universe and is now determined to give it the middle finger by wasting his life. On first glance, he doesn't seem to have a typical changeling Mien, looking like a normal person with hilariously out-of-date fashion sense. Three things mark him out as not being normal: first, if anyone manages to touch him without him shoving them off, he weighs wrong - his skin feels slightly off, and he seems to have the density and mass of pewter. Secondly, his eyes reflect light wrong, and also occasionally flare up brightly with bright white beams that seem to "scan" objects or people... one of these is more noticeable than the other. Thirdly, his chest opens up like a cross between an armoire, a gull-winged Delorian, and an actual splayed rib-cage, revealing a hollow closet full of objects that his body "copies". Also, he can take his face off. Actually, he can take off any part of his body, although just the surface of it - there's always something underneath, a different limb or skin color or face. In this manner, he can essentially transform himself just like a doppelganger, albeit a rather disturbing one. He tends to store his excess limbs in his chest cavity if no one is looking, though strictly speaking he doesn't need to - he can just remove his false face and have his real one appear beneath it. Likewise, he doesn't need to open up his chest cavity to produce his bizarre duplicate objects, somewhat fortunately, as this tends to prove difficult when wearing clothes.

Rank: 1
Mental 2; Physical 2; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 1
Notable Powers: Sysadmin; Waste of Brilliance
Banes: Taboo (Hold a Regular Job)



Rebecca Yue Chan

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: College of the Tallowed Flame
Seeming Darkling
Kith: Antiquarian
Born: 1989
Apparent Age: Early 20s

[spoiler=Rebecca]

[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Curious
Vice: Paranoid
Long-Term Aspiration: To achieve a position of power in the Unseelie Court

Background: Formerly the ghoul of Lauren Darrow, given to her as a present by the Lady of London, Elizabeth Sheridan, presently a changeling of the Unseelie Court.

She was born in Hong Kong, but when she was ten she and her family (father, mother, and two brothers Kevin and Timothy) emigrated to the UK. Her parents having worked in the civil service, none were too keen on becoming part of China when the city was handed over. Hers was a high-pressure family, one that forced all three children to excel. Kevin became a doctor, and currently has a practice in the Midlands, while Timothy joined the British Royal Air Force, and served in Afghanistan. Rebecca, meanwhile, worked and entered into the Slade School for Fine Arts, to learn photography.

Freedom was sweet for Rebecca, especially the chance to move out from under her family's thumb. She went a little wild, indulging in an ever-increasing variety of drugs and dubious romantic relationships. She was still a hard worker, that had been drilled into her bone deep, but now she played hard as well as worked hard. She was looking towards a promising future as a fashion photographer (albeit a short one at the rate she was abusing her body), when one of her friends overdosed and died in her presence. The incident scarred Rebecca badly, and it was then that one of the Lady of London's agents (Alistair Niall, the High Sheriff) discovered her. She would be a perfect ghoul. So anxious to avoid death, to live forever, that she would give herself over into slavery.

She was given to Lauren Darrow, and as a ghoul Rebecca's tendencies towards academic over-achievement and constant work served her well. She was conscientious, extremely intelligent, and unnervingly ambitious. Rebecca wanted it all, wanted the power and immortality that others around her had.

Her personality was significantly warped by her brief time under a Vinculum, only recently broken. Where once she had felt nothing but unalloyed love for Lauren and worshipped the Kindred, now her feelings are far more complex. She is trying to separate out different strands of self-loathing, for her willing slavery, resentment and fear towards the Kindred, a very qualified appreciation of Lauren as a gentle regnant, and her continuing ambition.

Following a failed attempt at immortality, Rebecca spent three years (subjectively) in Arcadia, suffering a Durance at the hands of the Wyrm.

[spoiler=Appearance]Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Long and straight

Clothing Notes: Commonly seen in turtlenecks and jeans.[/spoiler.]
Court: Autumn
Seeming Darkling
Kith: Antiquarian

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 4, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 4, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics (Research; 9-Again)
4+Pledge
5, Computer 1, Crafts (Cooking) 2, Investigation (9-Again)
3+Pledge
4, Occult (Vampires, Faerie x2) 3, Science 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Larceny 2, Stealth (9-Again) 3
Social Skills: Empathy 2, Expression (Photography) 4, Intimidation 2, Persuasion (Making a Deal +1) 3, Subterfuge (Deception)
3+Pledge
4

Merits Allies (Medical)
Freehold
1, Eidetic Memory
Spend 1G to gain this merit for the rest of the scene
0, Language (English; Native is Chinese) 1, Long of Days 1, Mantle (Winter) 1, Status (
Well-Fed, Support Group, Glamorous, Influence (Medical)
Freehold) 1, Striking Looks (Hot Nerd) 1, Resources 2
Lair Small Camden Flat

Willpower: 3
Clarity: 5; +1 Support Group
Universal Banes: Cold Iron, The Darkling Curse
Personal Banes: Repulsion (Salt)

Initiative: 6
Defense: 3
Health: 7
Speed: 10

Wyrd: 2
Entitlement Powers: Reading the Wyrd (College of the Tallowed Flame)
Contracts: Darkness ●●, Goblin (Blessing of Forgetfulness 3), Fleeting Winter ●●●●●, Oath & Punishment ●
Glamour: 11/2; +1 Starting (Well-Fed 1)
Pledges:
Broken Hearts
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[All] - Lesser Alliance (-0), Medial Forbiddance; Reveal what happened at Highgate Cemetery (-2)
Boons:
[Rebecca, The Changeling] - Adroitness; Investigation, Academics (+2)
Duration: Decade (+3)
Sanction: Lesser Curse (-1), Flaw: Nightmares (-2)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
-Either party breaks the vow of secrecy in the context of the confessional or medical/psychiatric treatment
Broken Hearts,
Vampire Anchor
Type: Vow
Tasks:
[Rebecca, The Changeling] - Lesser Endeavor (Stay in Touch with Lauren at least 1/week) (-1)
Boons:
[Rebecca, The Changeling] - Adroitness: Subterfuge (+1)
Sanction: Flaw: One Eye (-2)
Duration: Season (+2)
[Exceptions] The pledge is not broken and the curse is not triggered if a clause is broken or unfulfilled for any of the following reasons:
-Refusal to betray another friend or ally.
-Either party is rendered physically or mentally incapable of fulfilling the pledge, either by external or internal conditions.
-Either party is forced to break the pledge by supernatural means or mind control.
-Either party was unaware their course of action or inaction would violate the pledge.
Vampire Anchor




Rebecca Lee

Type: Natural Fetch
Born: 1986
Apparent Age: ~21

[spoiler=Rebecca Lee][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Prudent
Vice: Resentful (The Fetch has more than a whiff of a dragon-ish temper around her, quick to anger and slow to forgive.)

Background: Rebecca Lee is the fetch of Rebecca Yue Chan (see above), crafted from shadows and cemetery stone by the Collector. Her unknowing existence as a fetch was only days old when her original showed up, splashing nightmares and three years of Durance-bred resentment at her, culminating in Lauren Darrow nearly killing her in a secret chamber beneath Highgate Cemetery.

Thanks to Oleander, the fetch survived the experience, though her existence was bought with everything the fetch used to think was her life -- her family, her job, most of her friends, Lauren... and with the knowledge that Rebecca was fundamentally fake. In a strange way though, this method of delivery actually worked to Rebecca's benefit. She is furious at losing everything, and is determined to prove herself more real and more genuine than the people who wrote her off. It's hard and frustrating, but an 'I'll show them, call me fake will they!' attitude is probably still healthier than mourning over one's absent humanity.

Rebecca's also had the support of the Temple Guard pack, and has recently become affianced to Oleander. Truthfully, even though she's a fae-creature, she's basically an auxiliary member of the Temple Guard these days, putting her frightful intelligence to good use. She's traded one family for another, in essence, and while she isn't thrilled with this state of affairs by any stretch of the imagination, she's coping.

The fetch's personality is a little different from the base -- she lacks the original's burning ruthlessness, though she's also got just a bit of a dragon in her, holding grudges for a very long time and having a new-found fondness for gold and gems, though her income isn't going to support a hoard anytime soon.

[spoiler=Appearance]Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Long and straight

Clothing Notes: Commonly seen in turtlenecks and jeans.[/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Brains of the Operation; Shadow's Warning & Shadow Step Echoes



Horus
Professor Horace Murthwaite

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Dusk
Entitlements: Magistrate of Wax, College of the Tallowed Flame, The Honorable Order of the Third Hour (T.H.O.T.H.)
Seeming Wizened
Kith: Artist/Author



Virtue: Patient (Patience is a virtue. Horace has lived a long, long time, and he did so by keeping a cool head, and having a plan for everything he did.)
Vice: Indecisive (But sometimes there's such a thing as being too patient. Age and a lifetime of slavery have slowed him down, and Horace is prone to refraining from action until the time for action has passed him by.)

Background: Horace's memories are a jumbled mess, when he has them at all. What he does remember: Horace was always a scholarly youth, the kind with such unbridled enthusiasm for the past that it seemed he was born seven centuries too late. Always was he bringing up discussions of Chaucer's final stanzas, or bemusing people with random tangents on the history of this or that word, or telling jokes and then pointing out the historical misconceptions in it. The strange thing was, he was good enough to make people interested in whatever he was talking about. It was dead obvious he was destined for academia, and he was set upon the path at the earliest age possible - he was the second of three children, and belonged to a family well off enough to send him to schooling. Horace winded his way through Britain's finest learning institutions, before landing himself a junior and then full professorship at a small University. He was bright, promising, and his peers all knew he was going places. That's when the Mistress took him.

Beyond that are simply memories of Arcadia, stretching out into infinity. He never saw the inside of the library. The Mistress amused herself by using him as a reference book of sorts, comparing his answers to her own tomes when she thought he might be wrong. As it turned out, Horace was rarely wrong. This either amused or angered the Mistress, Horace really isn't sure which. It got him turned into a snail, certainly. But she put him in the workshop as a "tool" of sorts, and there he's stayed ever since. Over time he picked up the trades of the craftsmen there. Over time still, he became a master at his crafts. He's outlived all the crafters who taught him, and some of the others since. That makes him the Old Master.

He thinks he died, to be honest. He recalls fading away, and there's a huge gap in his memory that he can't explain. He's back now, and he can't explain that either. He's not sure how old he is - Horace really has no idea how long he's been inside. He has memories of cars, and telephones, but not of computers or even television. Physically, he feels ancient, eighty or ninety or over a hundred. But when one lives in a place where time is meaningless, and when one has the skin of a snail, who can even try to guess at it?

Fortunately for Horace, the Lost are used to integrating some very strange individuals into their societies, and Horace, though cast adrift in time, at least lacks the visceral insanity of some of those who returned. The Unseelie Court had its records, centuries worth of old books and journals that detailed the True Fae and the Hedge of London, and simple files on the Lost. Someone was needed to organize and care for them, and Horace was perfect for the job. They made him the Lord Scrivener, the archivist of the Unseelie, and he spends much of his time in the Ebon Engine, where he has small but comfortable quarters and a workshop of his own. The rest, he spends at the Cat's Cradle, where he is always welcome. If nothing else, Horace has a job, a home (two, really), and he has friends now.

Professor Horace Murthwaite can be traced to Northumbria University starting in 1909. The fetch did its best to match up to the charismatic professor, but it was missing some kind of vital spark to it, and it died in obscurity in 1948.

Horace is a genial, pleasant sort of man. Old age hasn't slowed his mind a whit, and he is always ready with some story, poem, song, or experience. He is a respected academic, a master craftsman, and a grandfather rolled up into one, which lead the Mistress' changelings to call him the Old Master. He tries to be as kind as possible to the young folk who breeze through his workshop. He's seen far too many of them go before their time, and he knows he'll outlive most of them even yet. They are, in some ways, his greatest regrets. He's seen them all wear down and break, over the years, and so he gives them what little things he can. He sometimes wonders if there was anything more he could have done for them, but for the most part, knowledge and comfort are the best he can offer.

Above all, Horace is patient. His long decades in the Mistress' workshops have taught him to take the long view. Time, history, the rise and fall of societal trends, they all wash over Horace like water. As such, he's not prone to fits of depression, nor outbursts of joy. He merely waits and watches, waiting for the wheel to turn again.

As far as the rest goes, Academics remains his true calling. The present is so bizarrely alien to him that it almost is stranger than Arcadia, and Horace is torn between examining this strange new world or throwing himself further into the past, clinging to it for support. He doesn't expect it to matter that much, as he doesn't expect to be around much longer, but he's starting to have odd little thoughts that he's wrong on that count.

Due to one of the little changelings mistaking his name for that of the god Horus, Horace on occasion chooses that moniker.

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: The Old Master; Medieval Literature; If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you...
Banes: True Tongue



John Henry
The Steel Driver, John Ferris

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: People's Republic
Seeming:
Blessing: Ogres are mostly big, often ugly and always capable of frightening displays of brute force. The player can spend points of Glamour to improve dice pools involving Strength, Brawl and Intimidate. Each point of Glamour spent adds one die to one dice pool.
Curse: Not all Ogres are necessarily stupid, but most are fairly gullible, weak-willed and prone to impulsive, thoughtless actions. An Ogre doesn’t get the benefit of the 10 again rule on dice pools using Composure (with the exception of Perception rolls using Wits + Composure, which suffer no penalty). The character also suffers a –1 die penalty to Composure when using it as a Defense Trait (that is, when subtracting it from another character’s dice pool).
Ogre
Kith:
Sundering Talons: when damaging an object with his bare hands, the Render may ignore up to three points of Durability. His claws count as a tool created to bypass Durability.
Render
Born: ??? (Emerged in 1931, physically in his early twenties)
Apparent Age: Late forties, early fifties

[spoiler=John Henry]
Mr. Henry in 2006[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Determined (John is a force of nature. When he sets his mind to something, he does not give up. Ever.)
Vice: Arrogant (John is the best at what he does, and he knows it. He takes a rather great deal of satisfaction in proving it.)

Background: There are a lot of versions of the John Henry story. Some say he was from Tennessee, some say he was from Virginia, some from Alabama. Some say he died in 1871, some in 1887. Some say he wasn't a real man at all: just a legend recounted by railroad men. It is generally accepted that he was a steel-driver on a crew of railroad workers: someone who hammered holes in the rock during tunnel construction, so that the explosives could be inserted. It is also generally accepted that he worked for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway; that a steam drill salesman made a pitch to the company boss that his machine could replace John and the other laborers; that, to save everyone's job, John made a bet he could beat the machine at its own game; and, lastly, that John won that bet, but died in the winning.

That is what is generally accepted. There is another version of the story. In that story, the steam drill salesman isn't a steam drill salesman at all, and John Henry doesn't die. It just looks that way.

The changeling who now claims the name of John Henry will not confirm or deny this version of the story. Though practically nothing will prompt him to admit it, he doesn't even know if he was there at the time. He doesn't remember anything from before his durance -- not even the fractured half-impressions retained by some others of his kind. His first clear memories are of him, his hammer, and a crew of similarly equipped Lost, carving an endless tunnel blow by blow into the bedrock of Arcadia. The Warden of the Depths was merciless, and the changeling was there for a long, long time. Decades, maybe.

When the changeling snapped his chains and started the riot, he led twenty or thirty strong-backed laborers in the cause. After that, there's some uncertainty: he remembers leading them into the hedge, but after that comes another opaque patch that he estimates at anywhere between a couple days and a few months. The next thing he knew, he was being nursed back to health in the community of Sundown -- a tiny rural freehold disguised as a ghost town, deep in the West Virginian Appalachians. They'd found him half-dead and raving in the wilderness, alone, with his hammer. It was May of 1931.

From that point on, the changeling knew that he identified as John Henry. But he wasn't entirely sure that he had done so before then.

John stayed in and around Sundown for the next ten years and change. West Virginia was not a pleasant place to be in the Great Depression, what with the coal industry collapsing: as John saw it, while he'd been stuck in Arcadia, the steam drill had won, and the American worker had been left holding the bag. Apart from freehold business -- Sundown was a 10-man outfit with a lot of territory to cover, making John one third of his Summer Court -- Mr. Henry assisted with quite a number of WPA projects over the years. Civic responsibility aside, John liked being in construction. It felt natural.

It was WWII that prompted him to go international. John enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers, and supported Patton's march through Europe with the 1317th General Service Regiment. However bad it was back home, it was worse there. People needed help rebuilding, and laborers needed someone to stand up for them: physically when necessary, and as a spokesman and advocate for when management got too oppressive. John was going to be that someone.

Since then, he's been all around the world, going where the work has been the biggest and most dangerous, and staying until it's done. In 1959, he was hammering out the Taishet-Bratsk-Lena line of the East Siberian Railway, sheltering the laborers from the cold and helping smuggle political prisoners out of the country. In 1977, he was carving out the Seikan Tunnel between Honshu and Hokkaido -- a job too tough for mechanized drills. In 1995, he was underground in Boston on the Big Dig, and ferreting out OSHA violations in his off time. His most recent home is in London, where he has been since early 2003: he's put hours in on the High Speed 1 line and the Piccadilly extension to Heathrow Terminal 5, sequentially. Once work on the Crossrail begins in 2009, he'll probably stay to help with that, too.

Henry's projects generally have a few factors in common. While he's a stellar all-around laborer, he prefers work that reminds him of his roots: preferably on rail or transit projects, and especially jobs involving "productive demolition," like digging or tunnel construction. He's just as likely to be operating heavy machinery or setting off nitroglycerine these days as he is pounding the rock himself, but the spirit of the work is almost the same. Once he finds a new project, he'll stay in the area anywhere from a couple months to nearly a decade, depending on the scale of the work and how much he likes the city. He also enlists in both the local laborers' union and the local Summer Court, where they exist, though he remains a member in good standing of both the Freehold of Sundown and LiUNA Local 453 (based in Beckley, WV), sending a portion of his earnings to them every year. While a man of considerable supernatural power, he never seeks outright leadership positions in either type of organization, preferring "trusted second-in-command" positions whenever he rises that far. This is a function of hometown loyalty rather than natural humility: even when he's not the official head of the organization, John has no problem with overshadowing people.

In mortal society, John goes by the alias of "John Ferris." He wouldn't usually be one for pseudonyms, but enough people know the legend that it would be problematic (or suicidal) for him otherwise. Plus, he gets a kick out of the pun.

John Henry is a rock. He's dependable to his compatriots and relentless in pursuit of his goals; he always keeps his word; and he never, never gives up. In short, everything about the guy screams "GOOD IDEA TO HAVE ON YOUR TEAM" at a rather impressive volume. Since John is also a dyed-in-the-wool populist, "Changeling society" and "the oppressed working classes" are two teams that suit him just fine: he views himself as their protector and the champion of their interests, able to keep them safe and thriving when few others can. This mission, as well as his own personal career of physical labor, are the two things he takes most seriously in life: he is steadfast (sometimes stern) in their performance, inspiring and vocal in their defense, and can definitely become angry when they are derided. John doesn't do irrational, brushfire anger, either: it's the slow-burning, grudge-holding, inexorable kind. If you make John angry, you probably deserve it, and it does not stop being awful forever. Also, keep in mind that John has a hammer.

Off the job? Well, John's still a great guy when he's kicking back: a steady friend and the core of a good social circle, with the kind of broad, expansive personality that people tell eulogistic bar stories about. He has a strong competitive streak, and a penchant for issuing and accepting dares and challenges -- all of which he follows through on, and nearly all of which he wins. He is also rather easily spurred to recount his own achievements, which would be more tedious if they weren't legitimately interesting. If you really got deep into it, you might conclude that John is out for personal glory as much as he is for principle -- two impulses that, happily, are not mutually exclusive. Introverts? John thinks they're great, if only they would stop hiding in the corner whenever he's around.

John's doubts about his identity still plague him. He knows the steel-driver's trade, true, but that just means that he could have heard the legend somewhere before his imprisonment, not lived it. He wasn't sure when he was taken into Arcadia, but he was in his early twenties when he went in (and physically so, when he came out): a good deal younger than the mythic Henry was supposed to have been. And he still doesn't know how long he was in for. That not knowing bothers him to this day, and to this day he makes no hard claims as to his identity, preferring to let people assume. Luckily, he's big enough that people tend not to ask.

Many of John's leisure pursuits are as physical as his day job: thus, since moving to the UK, John has discovered rugby. Whether this is the best thing that could happen to the sport, or a development that will forever scar the nation's amateur talent pool physically and emotionally, will have to be left for history to decide.

Mr. Henry speaks in a clear, commanding bass, definitely American, with traces of a Virginia or North Carolina accent.

John Henry arrived in London back in 2003, and he got to see the last years of what Alexandra Merill and the Jack-of-Crows did to the Freehold. He hated it, loathed the twisted elitism and casual tyranny. He saw them -- both of them -- as only a little bit better than Gentry. When the Freehold Crowns went to Aurora and Todd, John Henry was among the first to give them their loyalty, and he'll stand by his oath till the walls come crashing down all around him.

John's come to serve as a kind of mentor to Aurora and to Dana, grounding them in the realities of hard work and daily life, and generally serves as a counterbalance to Othello's trickster persona. He doesn't really approve of the cat or his methods, but he's willing to trust him. He brought down Alexandra, so he can't be all that bad. His attitude towards Todd is rather more skeptical. He's willing to grant the fox-king the benefit of the doubt -- he's better than the Jack, certainly. But the fact that the Fetch-Law forces changelings into the shadows, while the handiwork of the Others roams free just boils John's blood, and he's been pushing Todd towards a break. If that ever happens, John'll stand by his side gladly.

These days, John is the Iron Adjutant of the Seelie Court. He doesn't deal with the parties and he's skeptical of the chivalry, but he's the man that makes the Seelie Court work, especially the more militant aspects of Summer. He's the man who keeps the membership cards and collects the dues, figures out the patrol schedules and keeps the armory stocked. It's boring work, but eighty years of construction projects and union organization mean that John knows just how important it is. In a very real sense, John Henry is the bedrock on which the Seelie Court of New Jerusalem is founded on.

[spoiler=Appearance]Appearance (Mask):
Apparent Age: Early forties
Eye Color: Deep brown. Almost always gets "red-eye" in photos.
Hair Color: Black
Skin Tone/Complexion: Dark brown, somewhere in the low 30's on the Von Luschan.

Hair Notes: Keeps his head shaved. Has attempted a trimmed mustache-beard combo at times (as above), but currently has no facial hair.

Figure Notes: John is the sort of a man that communist nations make larger-than-life-size statuary of, with something about "The Triumph of the Laborer" on the plaque. No artificial body-building muscle here: he's just a very naturally strong guy, who has been swinging a hammer very well, for well over a century. Dude is six feet and change, and he is built. Has a strong-featured, authoritative face: not a dreamboat, but okay to look at. As a final note: John runs hot, usually a couple degrees over 98.6. You'd think he had a perpetual fever, if he weren't so damn hardy.

Clothing Notes: Garden-variety skilled construction worker: respectable, but built to last. Jeans, belt and work boots are standard. For tops, add a t-shirt in warm weather (often with a union logo); layer a hooded sweatshirt or rugged button-down (usually blue, buff or grey) on cooler afternoons; and throw a heavy-duty canvas parka on top if it's properly chilly. John's got a suit or two when necessary, though he's big enough that he needs to get them custom-fitted.

Accessory Notes: Keys. A wallet, including two union cards (LiUNA Local 453, and UCATT London). One of those cell phones that you could run over with a truck without denting. When he's on the job, add a tool belt, reflective vest, safety goggles and hard hat, as per Health and Safety guidelines.

There's also his three-foot-long sledgehammer. Hickory haft, 25-pound head, clearly old but immaculately maintained. That's also a thing he has.

Appearance (Mien):
Same guy, but sculpted out of of dark, burnished steel: after years on an Arcadian chain gang, John's got a little bit of the steam drill in his soul. His eyes are two hot coals, burning red, and though he doesn't have any visible seams or fasteners, he sometimes produces sprays of hot vapor and a faint whistling noise when he's angry or exerting himself.[/spoiler.]

Rank: 4
Mental 4; Physical 8; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 7
Notable Powers: Actions Speak Louder Than Words; Beat the Machine
Banes: Technophage; Repulsion (Steam Engines and related objects); True Name



The Axe
Tom Mac Loinsigh, Tommy Lynch

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Spring
Entitlements: Knight of the Rose, Bonded Notary
Seeming:
Blessing: These changelings really are the Fairest of Them All, and their magic only emphasizes this. The player can spend Glamour to improve dice pools that include Presence, Manipulation and Persuasion. Each point spent increases one dice pool by one point. A changeling counted among the Fairest also suffers no untrained penalty for using Social skills in which she has no dots.
Curse: The Fairest, similar to the creatures who stole them, can be callous and unfeeling, vicious and prone to toy with others, even people who love them. Their inner balance suffers for this. One of the Fairest suffers a –1 die penalty on dice pools to avoid losing Clarity (for example, the player of a Fairest with Clarity 5 who kills another changeling rolls two dice to avoid losing Clarity, rather than three).
Fairest
Kith:
The Flamesiren may invoke the blessing of Burning Hypnotism: once per scene, the player may spend one Glamour to surround the Flamesiren with a blazing flame-like aura. Anyone looking at the Flamesiren must make a successful Resolve + Composure roll, or suffer a two-dice penalty to all actions until the character decides to douse the aura or the scene ends, thanks to the distraction.
Flamesiren/
The Minstrel’s blessing is Perfect Pitch: a Minstrel changeling can spend a point of Glamour to re-roll any failed dice on one Expression roll (so if, for example, a Minstrel who rolls six dice and gets 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 can spend a point of Glamour to re-roll the 2, 5, 6 and 7). They also excel at soaking up the adulation of a crowd when performing, enjoying the benefit of the 8-again rule for any attempt to harvest Glamour from the emotions of the spectators during their own performance.
Minstrel


[spoiler=The Axe]
Panzerfaust meets Alice Cooper, 1986; Tommy Lynch on the far right.


The Axe in 2006. He looks peeved because he's had to shave, and he's had to shave because he lost a bar bet.[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Generous (The Axe owes a debt to the world, and it's one he'll never be able to fully repay. You need spells, lessons, advice, backup, or a drinking buddy, and he's your man. He'll probably even pick up the tab.)
Vice: Gluttonous (Used to be Envy, but he's since grown out of the really pernicious aspects of that sin. He still lives hard and parties harder, though -- and damn if he doesn't still enjoy it.)

Background: Tommy Lynch was born in 1959, in inner-city Belfast. His father (abusive) had a low-paying job in manufacturing; his mother (emotionally distant) took only a vague interest in her son's well-being, and he (sullen, rebellious teenager) wanted nothing more than to get out of town. At 16, two weeks before his GCSE's, he did so, hopping a ferry to Great Britain and hitching down to London. As is sometimes the case with teenagers in this situation, he didn't have a plan as such -- aside from making friends, drinking heavily, getting a retail gig at a record store, and attempting to pick up blondes -- but he was certainly a damn sight happier than he had been.

To his credit(?), Tommy's planlessness only lasted for four months or so, until one of his new buddies drove him up to see the 1975 Reading Festival: on the lineup, an early-career Judas Priest. Heavy metal was beginning to discard its blues influence for harder guitar riffs and black leather. Tommy was in love. The music was great, yeah, but what really attracted him was the lifestyle. As a teenager in search of an identity, hard rock seemed a gateway to instant respect and guaranteed badassitude -- one that he could ill afford to miss out on. He scraped together the cash for a used Fender the very next week.

The next four years were hit-or-miss. Tommy's self-taught riffs got marginally better, the record store gig became a bartending gig, and a couple of adolescent rock combos were started and discarded at Tom's instigation. In 1979, though, he finally hit it big…mostly. It was the height of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal: outfits like Motörhead and Iron Maiden were pioneering an uptempo, punk-flavored sound, and they were doing it right in London. Tommy's new brainchild -- Panzerfaust, a power quintet recruited from his musically-inclined buddies -- fell right within this milieu, and for once, the mix of talent and personality was spot on. Problem was, thanks to his idea being hijacked by one of his more charismatic friends midway through, Tommy ended up stuck on rhythm guitar instead of lead. The fact that he was legitimately less talented than said lead guitarist did nothing to lessen his ire. In fact, he probably would have quit in protest…if the band's self-titled debut album hadn't unexpectedly struck gold on the UK Billboard charts, that is.

Panzerfaust rode the wave to tremendous effect through the mid-80's. Money was made, concerts were headlined, groupies were bedded, hotel rooms were trashed, controlled substances were ingested in large quantities, and four additional albums worth of actually very good classic metal was released. Tommy enjoyed the spoils, but stewed in his own envy behind the scenes, struggling with his bandmates for creative control and frontman credibility. He was largely unsuccessful. Among his only moderate triumphs: recruiting a new manager for the band after their old one left to raise a family in 1985…although, really, the manager found him.

The UK's musical tastes were beginning to change by 1986. The really hardcore metal fans were migrating to thrash -- an inaccessible niche genre at best -- while the rising teenage fanbase was hooked on a new sound out of America's west coast. Twisted Sister, Dokken, and Van Halen were in…which meant synthesizers, leopard-print pants, ridiculously long hair, and songs about driving down Sunset Boulevard in a convertible. This was glam metal, and it was where the money was.

It was also where the other members of Panzerfaust did not want to be. Despite dwindling audiences, Tommy's four bandmates wanted to stick with the classic metal sound, as a matter of artistic integrity. This, to Tommy, was poison. After a protracted airing of grievances that eventually became a fistfight, he "expressed his opinion" to the rest of the band, at which point they kicked him out.

At which point subsequently, in the midst of an alcohol-and-stimulants-fueled solo binge later that night, Tommy's manager came a-calling. You see, thanks to an extraordinary and coincidental feat of prior planning, the manager had drawn up the contract so that Panzerfaust, as well as performance rights and royalties to their entire back and future catalog, rested entirely in Tommy's name! So, in the event that he was kicked out of the band, this proviso stated that he wasn't actually kicked out of the band. He had kicked the band out of the band. And he would even get a new guitar by doing it!

Of course, the activation of this proviso was conditional.

By the next week, "Panzerfaust" featured Tommy Lynch on lead guitar and lead vocals, with a bunch of 20-year-olds bussed in from L.A. on everything else. They were also not playing any of Panzerfaust's back catalog, favoring instead the new, popular, commercially viable sound from the West Coast.

Tommy's manager provided all of the music. Tommy's fans had an uncanny tendency to go smilingly glassy-eyed after concerts and cassette purchases, and then to go missing several weeks later. Tommy's bandmates played hard and partied harder, but were extremely vague when it came to talking about their past. Tommy's critics said the band's heart was gone, or paid attention to the substantially less popular outfit started by Tommy's ex-friends. But who pays attention to critics? Tommy barely paid attention to anything, and by Tommy's standards of "a great situation," this was a great situation. And it was a really good guitar. Tommy named it Delilah.

The situation lasted until the fall of 1989. This was when Tommy awoke to find a groupie (that he'd previously been sleeping with) grinning rapturously and stepping through a temporary Hedge gate in the hotel bathroom, humming the riff from Panzerfaust's latest single.

This led to a rather heated discussion between Tommy and his manager. His manager reasoned that if the "shut up and keep playing" explanation didn't work, the "you are a patsy that I recruited to perform and popularize a series of hypnotic melodies designed to lure innocent listeners into eternal Arcadian servitude" explanation wouldn't work either. He was right. Corrective measures were taken.

Old Red -- for such was the manager's true title -- operated a domain remarkably similar to the '80's heavy metal vision of Hell: all plush banquettes, bearskin rugs and neon-tinted living quarters, overseeing pits of pyrotechnic flame and damned souls. It suited him, for Old Red was remarkably similar to the '80's heavy metal vision of the Devil. For the next three years, The Axe was his personal, indentured, in-house musician. Because, come on: he may have asked some inconvenient questions, but at least the kid could play.

And, you know, a funny thing happened over those three years. Because he had no choice but to play the guitar, and play continuously and well, under threat of heinously dramatic injury, The Axe discovered that he liked playing the guitar. Not just as a means to an end, but in its own right: because he liked the music, and found the act of playing it meaningful. And he was getting a lot better at it, too…

Old Red really shouldn't have let The Axe hold onto Delilah -- the one he'd given him in 1986. The faerie magic that had made it play so sweetly was decidedly less convenient when used to play a song of The Axe's own composition, thus allowing The Axe to literally bust through the walls of Hell and claw his way back into the land of the living, THROUGH THE POWER OF ROCK AND ROLL.

It was certainly convenient for The Axe, though. And one thing was for certain: he was chastened, more sincere, and ready to take what he'd learned and get right back to…

…Wait. What was this "grunge" nonsense everyone kept talking about?

The Axe has matured a decent amount since the '80's, personally as well as physically. This growth can be attributed to two major causes. First among them is his realization that, by being a stupid, self-centered asshole in his late twenties, he inadvertently sent countless metal fans to a fate worse than death. Apart from spurring him to a greater degree of self-contemplation -- and with it a more serious outlook and a (marginally) quieter lifestyle -- he considers this a debt that it is his responsibility to repay to the world at large.

The second cause is his newfound dedication to music as an art form. Since escaping his durance, he's maintained a quiet but talented solo career in coffee shops and bar basements, playing hard rock guitar and singing -- he's even written a good number of original songs. The act of playing helps to center him, and is immensely rewarding from a creative standpoint; he genuinely believes that music appreciation and performance can improve the lives of most other people, as well. Of course, he puts the most stock in classic metal, but he's willing to concede the merits of most genres inasmuch as they are meaningful to others -- even "hair metal" hasn't been entirely tainted in his eyes by his stint with "New Panzerfaust."

This creative raison d'être is also how he pays back his debt to society. For those who show interest in the guitar (or rock in general), he's eager to teach anyone who wants to learn, and recommends collaborators and like-minded musicians when his students are good enough to start their own combo. For the Lost, his services extend further. As Delilah is a focus through which faerie magic can be aurally channeled, The Axe has effectively become a one-man Contract library for the London Spring Court: he maintains an extensive mental discography of magical techniques in song form, and tutors interested changelings in their use. Sometimes, striking a bargain with Spring is just a matter of knowing the right tune! Add to that: The Axe is a dab hand at composition, so he might even pioneer a new Contract one of these days.

Not that really playing Delilah is always the healthiest thing…and thus, The Axe is inwardly frustrated that he can't use his talents to full effect. After all, he learned all these really spectacular songs in Arcadia, and got inhumanly good at playing the guitar…but now that he's out, he can't actually perform any of that without (pick several) driving people insane, opening random Hedge rifts, drawing the ire of his Keeper, or who knows what. Horrible, unspecified things, probably. The closest The Axe gets to drawing on his full power is using Burning Hypnotism, and that feels fantastic -- but it's never quite enough. Thankfully, he's now borderline-responsible enough to keep his desires in check, but still…

Lest all this talk of solemn vows and somber life lessons give you the wrong impression, let it be definitively stated that The Axe is a rock star. An aging rock star, but still a rock star. And, while he no longer views partying as an end in and of itself, he still quite likes partying. The Axe's afternoons may be quieter, and he may have trimmed down his chosen substances from "everything" to "both varieties of cigarette and an awful lot of alcohol," but it still takes a noble effort to keep up with him on a weekend night. Or many weeknights, really. Regardless, he's a blast to hang out with (especially over beer), takes well to being the center of attention, and is generally a pleasantly raucous catalyst to most social gatherings. He also likes blondes, who, in turn, like him -- in disproportionate quantities, considering his age. Just don't ask him to do anything before noon, because he will have a hangover.

In mortal society and on stage, The Axe goes by the Gaelicized version of his old name: Tom Mac Loinsigh. His speaking voice is a hazy, Belfastian baritone, marinated in years of booze and tobacco. When he sings, though, it's far clearer, and capable of astonishing vertical range -- a modification made in his durance, and one of the few he's unmitigatedly thankful for.

[spoiler=Appearance]Appearance (Mask):
Apparent Age: Fifty-ish
Eye Color: Blue with gold flecks. Seems to change depending on how the light hits it.
Hair Color: Formerly light blonde, now most of the way through a fade to grey.
Skin Tone/Complexion: Run-of-the-mill Irish, just add several decades of alcohol and controlled substances. Tom's complexion is…not optimal.

Hair Notes: Not nearly as resplendent as it was in '87, but still pretty impressive. Wears it long and flowing, down past his shoulders. It blows about as normal in wind, but always behaves as if there's at least a very slight air current somewhere, even when the atmosphere is completely still. Nowadays, Tom also maintains a medium-length, somewhat ragged beard/mustache combo, which either makes him look like a mediocre street artist, a thinner Jerry Garcia, or one of the more dignified hobos, depending on your point of view.

Figure Notes: In his prime, The Axe used to be in very respectable shape. He was (and is) a couple inches shorter than average -- 5' 8" or so -- but he was built wiry, scrappy, and strong, like a lightweight pit fighter. Strutting around on stage takes effort! Now that he's in middle age -- and has lived by rather debauched standards up until then -- a lot of that definition is gone: though not fat by any stretch, he's still put on a little weight, and his muscles look more stringy than anything else. Has a thin, longish face that still retains some of its rakish attractiveness, despite the added sag; a broken nose, achieved in his late teens, adds to the charm rather than subtracting. In short, the guy had some major working-class hotness going on, echoes of which are still evident today.

Though most of them are somewhat blurred by now, The Axe has a number of tattoos, all of them in black and white, and leaning towards skulls and Celtic patterns. Chief among them is large, upright mailed fist clutching a lightning bolt -- the logo of his band -- which takes up a good portion of his back.

Clothing Notes: Metal, dude. Metal. Base layer is a T-shirt, usually black with a band logo or other graphic, on top of a pair of black or dark blue jeans, with a black studded leather belt to hold 'em up. Add a serious black leather jacket over that, definitely with metal bits, and potentially the one with his band logo stitched on the back on the rare occasions when he doesn't feel like being anonymous. Work boots or Connies for the feet. Might wear a dark longcoat instead of the leather jacket if it's very chilly out, or a dark, rugged button-down over the T-shirt for a half-hearted stab at formality.

The Axe has a pair of leather pants somewhere. He is that kind of person.

Accessory Notes: Keys. Dinged up, couple-years-old flip phone. Black leather chain wallet. Guitar pick, on a thin silver chain around his neck. Hoven-style black sunglasses, worn often.

Last, but far from least, The Axe has his "axe": a spiky mid/late 80's behemoth built on the Explorer pattern. It's red, black, and plays like the devil himself is at the frets -- and it doesn't even have to be plugged in to sound like it's got a thousand amps behind it. If Tom doesn't have this out and playing, chances are it's slung on a strap over his shoulder -- and if it's not there, it's in a beat-up old case plastered with stickers from a dozen tours.

[SPOILER="The Axe's Axe"][/SPOILER.]

Appearance (Mien):
Tom doesn't appear all that different from the Mask, most of the time -- or, rather, his features are the same, but they've been run through a different filter. Tom looks illustrated: slightly stylized, his colors bolder and more matte-ed than reality, as if he was the central figure on an album cover or had been airbrushed onto somebody's van. His eye color shifts once every ten seconds or so, from one florescent shade to another: ice blue to magenta to neon yellow, and others.

When Tom plays the songs he learned in Faerie (a.k.a. when he's using Burning Hypnotism), things get interesting. With a blast of flashpots and pyrotechnics, The Axe is instantly overlaid with a version of himself in his prime: twentysomething, handsome, talented, and on top of the bloody world. His physical form is idealized and slightly hazy, as if seen on video footage, and he seems to carry the essence of a full-tilt concert centered around himself: colored spotlights glance off him as if from unseen bulbs, a phantom crowd cheers riotously, and flashbangs go off at appropriately dramatic moments. If he's playing his guitar when this aura is on, multicolored flames lick from the strings, and it sounds like just about the best solo that anyone's ever played.

It's dangerous for The Axe to keep his aura on for too long, and he knows it.[/spoiler.]

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Hard Used; Old Rocker; Walking Encyclopedia of Dubious Goblin Contracts
Banes: Wyrd Bond (Guitar)



Inkeri Halveri
Inky, "Helene Silfverberg"

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Autumn
Entitlements: College of the Tallowed Flame, Warden of the Silent Depths, Knight of the Rose
Seeming Ogre
Kith: Witchtooth
Born: ??? (Escaped 1996)
Apparent Age: Mid-20s.



Virtue: Trustworthy
Vice: Selfish (Inkeri is quite vain and magnificently self-centered. She's not mean about it, she just tends to not see why she should care about other people's problems.)

Background: Some -- most really -- of the Lost are wrecks after they emerge from their Durance. Held captive in an alien world, their bodies changed and molded to fit the whims of their cruel masters, few emerge without a host of psychological problems. It has been said that the Courts are at least as much support groups as they are political organizations. Most Lost get better eventually, at least enough to be able to function, but some don't. And then there's people like Inkeri Halveri, who walked out of the Hedge one fine summer day in the mid-90s, dusted herself, and set about rebuilding her life.

By 2000, Inky (as she likes to be known), was living in a small flat, had a part-time job at the pharmacy of Guy's Hospital, and was a member in good standing of both the Unseelie Court and the goblin market at Piccadilly Circus. Though gregarious and flirty by nature, she's never said very much about her Durance or her mortal life, though she uses "Helene Silfverberg" as her mortal name and speaks fluent Swedish. Her Durance, in the meantime, left Inky with a considerable store of occult knowledge. She knows how to brew potions, how to tell the future, how to speak with the dead, and more.

These days, Inky acts as a consultant to the Unseelie for occult matters. Not so much by the high leadership -- the Jack-of-Crows knows far, far more than Inky does -- but by the lower ranks. Her pride and joy, however, is Inky's Emporium, a marvelous stall at the Piccadilly Circus Goblin Market where Inky does occult consultations and brews potions for all comers, and makes a quite satisfactory living doing so. She tends to vanish from London for a few months every year, coming back with improbable stories and more improbable magical trinkets, including a wheel of cheese that can lead you through the Hedge and a Samobranka, a tablecloth that creates a grand feast every time it's used.

In person, Inky is flirtatious, friendly, and a bit childish. She makes an effort to put on a dignified and demure attitude, especially with customers, but her results are... mixed. She can be self-centered to the point of solipsism. For all that she's rarely malicious in any meaningful sense, her temper is terrifying when unleashed. She's still an ogress, and can bend a steel bar in a fit of pique -- if angered she's more likely to knock someone flat with one of her iron pans than to bother with complex spells.

Past that, Inky is one of the Huldra, the nymphs of Scandinavian folklore. She's absolutely lovely, with a cornflower-blue eyes and long, golden hair around which she ties a white kerchief. She looks to be in her mid-20s at most, though she's closer to her mid-40s at the very least, and possibly older. In the Hedge, she favors the outfit of a dairy maid, and long dresses in various cheerful colors in the mortal world. As one of the Huldra, she has a long, cow's tail that peeks out from under her skirts (one reason that Inky never wears pants), and in theory her back opens up into a hollow, revealing an inside like a rotten tree stump filled with insects. If so, she never shows it to anyone though, not under any circumstances (she's sews her own clothing to always cover her back).

Rank: 2
Mental 2; Physical 3; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Huldra; Seductress; Contracts of Stone 3, F&T 2 (Fish, Woodland Animals); Prophecy
Banes: Disruption (Mistletoe)

The Mistress
Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate

Type: The Gentry
Changelings: Erin Lamothe, Othello, Form, Bat, Glow, Horus, Aurora(?)

[spoiler=The Mistress][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Just (The Mistress is fair. If you earn something, she will give it to you. If she gives you something, you know you've earned it.)
Vice: Arrogant & Cruel (The Mistress is perfect. Her servants are perfect. Her castle is perfect. And if not, she will make it perfect.)

Story: He was in a long, ornate corridor, stretching down into darkness. Nothing was lit, here, no lamps, just the occasional candle, and a strange sort of half-twilight that suffused everything. There were statues and columns going all the way down, small busts, delicate horses, elegant women. In between each of these was a large, full length mirror, each with an ornate golden frame. But there was something wrong with the reflections, for they didn’t seem to reflect the hall. They were obviously reflecting something in this castle, for the look of the surroundings was the same, but the room was larger, and there were stairs.

Erin was reflected in the mirror as well, though there was no sign of her in the hall. Still tiny, now kneeling on the floor, with her face cast straight down. And the person she was kneeling before… Sasha couldn’t quite see her face. She was turned slightly away from the face of the mirror. But what could be seen could still take a man’s breath away.

She was tall, taller than human, towering over the tiny moth-girl. She was dressed in twilight, and her hair fell down her back like shadow. Her eyes were black marble, glinting with the hint of a single star within. Her fingers were shears, silver and sharp, and her lips were black as velvet.

And she was perfect. Every single strand of hair on her head was perfect. The way her eyes twinkled, the way her shear-fingers shined, they were absolutely perfect…

The glass cracked, crystal spiderwebs splitting down the surface of the mirror, but it didn’t break yet. The metal backing kept the glass in place, leaving the scene fractured and distorted.

“Are you a thief, Moth?” the Mistress asked, almost sounding amused. Her voice echoed through the hall, low, beautiful, enough to send shivers down the spine.

“N-no, mistress!” Erin protested, still staring at the floor. She was shaking, though she did her best to keep it still.

“You have stolen from me,” the Mistress corrected, reaching down with those shear fingers, and dragging something out of Erin’s hands. Sasha could catch a flash of floppy dog ears. “And you must be punished.”

“B…but it is not fair! You were going to throw it out! You didn’t even want it!” Erin suddenly burst out. She was still young, still had spirit left, still whole enough to rage against the injustice of it.

“You work to earn your food, and board, and clothing, little Moth,” the Mistress replied, putting a shear finger beneath Erin’s chin, lifting it up. “You have done nothing to earn this. That makes you a thief.”

The shear fingers closed, slicing the toy into ribbons. Behind Sasha, three of the reflections of the Mistress turned, looking straight at him. Her face could stop a man’s heart…

“You are entitled, Moth,” The Mistress said, still almost tenderly. “You think you deserve to have anything you want, so long as no one else is using it. But I do not give charity, and you will learn to work for things. You will work twice as hard, to pay for this transgression, until you deserve to return to your current privileges.”

The Mistress in the cracked mirror turned to look as Sasha, and smiled. And then the glass broke, the metal backing gone as if it had never been.

Style: Most powerful of the quartet of True Fae that make up the Court of the Twisting Accord, the Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate has devoured many lesser Faerie in her time, flaying their names from their bones and taking them into herself. The Court of the Twisting Accord is not her first gathering of True Fae, and perhaps it will not be her last. Certainly, she is among the more dedicated members of the Twisting Accord, the most thoroughly engaged in their games of competition and collection. Unlike certain Feud-groups among the True Fae, the Twisting Accord rarely descends to the level of brute violence or crude romancing, though both do occur. Rather, the Twisting Accord competes by displaying the capabilities of their Lost and brutalized slaves, however these capabilities are defined. For the Mistress, skill is paramount, the perfection of art and craft, though sometimes she meets her fellow Fae on their own terms.

Certainly, many of the Mistress's escaped changelings have proven to be unusually potent in the mortal world. Erin and Othello have both achieved significant power in the Wyrd, and the little girl Aurora, if she truly is one of the Mistress's, is the Seelie Queen. Her 'children' are becoming worthy of respect -- and personal attention. Perhaps some of them will one day walk the Twisting Accord as near-equals.

Among the other Signatories of the Twisting Accord, the Mistress reserves her especial dislike for the Sunset Princess, who may be daughter, former slave, rival, or some bizarre combination of all of the above. Her conflict with the Collector is a more genteel thing, of subtle jabs and competitions for status. Old Red is an uncouth parvenu, unfit to dine with his betters, but distressingly unavoidable. The Board is simple crass, a cheap, mass-produced knock-off of the Mistress's tailored perfection, though they do display occasional sparks of brilliance.

Two other facts are worthy of mention. For close to a decade, as mortals measure such things, the Mistress had vanished from her realm, to what end and what purpose, none know. Perhaps it was a journey, or perhaps it was some mortal occultist who managed to contain her name for some short span of years. But the Mistress is still putting her affairs in order from this absence. Similarly, the Mistress has a deep interest, as True Fae measure such things, in the workings of the Grigori, the captive idiot-gods entombed in the mortal world. Why is an unknown question, but her agents are ever searching for anything or anyone connected with them.

Known Avatars and Agents: When the Mistress appears in the mortal world or in the Hedge, she most frequently takes the form not of a woman (or woman-shaped thing), but rather of some unholy place. Most likely, she considers playacting as some insipid human to be beneath her, though she is perfectly capable of it if pressed.

The Lady of the Eventide (Actor)She is perfect. There is no other word that can possibly be used to describe her, but perfect. Her face can, and does, stop a man's heart just to look upon it. It's usually cloaked by gloaming light, allowing people to look upon her without dying of her heart-breaking beauty. Her fingers are shears, silver inlayed with gold, and her eyes are pitch black, with just a hint of a star flickering in each one. Her lips are as black as velvet on a pale face, and her hair falls down her back like shadow. She never even attempts to play as mortal, coming with evening on her heels. She dresses in the blues and blacks of twilight, with just a hint of violet, and just a hint of stardust. The Lady of the Eventide is rarely seen outside of Arcadia, but when she comes, she takes what she wants, and no one dares gainsay her.


The Castle of Twilight (Realm)An Escher-like Castle of twisting stairs, mirrored hallways, and exquisite rooms with artworks beyond compare. The Castle of Twilight is the Mistress' favored intrusion into the mortal world, the realm overlaying itself onto an earthy building, and then retreating once it has snatched up whatever prize it was seeking. It can only really intrude into places compatible with its nature - libraries, museums, old-fashioned houses or exquisitely tasteful ballrooms. The shadows grow darker, the books older and yet more valuable, the room becomes more beautiful and yet somehow more lonely. Things start lurking in the darkness and the mirrors, and these things are perfectly capable of snatching someone up, dragging them back to Arcadia along with the rest of the Castle.


The Perfect Moment (Prop)A bronze and glass hourglass, bigger than a man, filled with glowing golden sands. There are actually two hourglasses, but the second is filled with silver and hidden inside, and even the True Fae cannot see it. The premise of the Perfect Moment is simple. Only one person can use the Perfect Moment during a single day. The person tips over the hourglass, and while doing so states a goal. It must be a single goal, no conjunctions, not even an adjective to further clarify. When the hourglass is active, it will not let the day progress unless that goal has been met - at the stroke of midnight the sands run out, and the hourglass resets time to the moment where it was first activated. However, it does not otherwise assist the person who activated it, merely resetting time to give the person another chance at their goal. It likewise will only reset if the goal has not been met, so if the day has otherwise been a catastrophic failure, the person activating it cannot use it to undo the damage done. The third caveat is that the person activating it only gets seven chances to accomplish their stated goal. If they have not done so by the seventh turning, the hidden inner hourglass' sands run out, and time moves on without them. They are left behind and vanish from the timestream, trapped in their final day, repeating it over and over, knowing their goal will no longer affect reality but attempting to accomplish it simply so they can get out. The Perfect Moment is a very very powerful artifact if used carefully, and believed by many to by why the Mistress is as strong as she is. However, it is exceedingly easily to set an unrealistic goal, and be devoured by the hungry sands.


Fateweaver (Prop)It doesn't look like much, though like everything touched by the Mistress, it's exquisitely made. It's a black and silver loom about the size of a lap-harp, already strung and with fuzzy caterpillars crawling about on the strings. The user states a person, and then states a specific fate - the one exception is that this is a weaver of fate, not the shears, and the fate named cannot end anyone's life. Once stated, the caterpillars begin to spin the fate into the loom, and three things happen. One, the user and the target become intertwined by destiny, up to and including the Destiny merit. Two, the fate named by the user is weaved into the pattern of the Wyrd, and will come true. Three, the karmic imbalance left by this act results in a second fate being woven into the Wyrd, to counterbalance the first fate. If the user asks for a good fate, something bad is likely to happen as well. If the user curses an enemy with the Fateweaver, that enemy may get something good as well, or likewise manage to curse the user back. It's a complex system, and no one can ever say for sure what the second manifestation will be. It isn't always, or even usually, a straightforward backfire, but fate will balance itself. The Fateweaver will not work without the caterpillars, so if they are somehow killed or removed, the user will need to provide some manner of silk-spinning worms as replacements.

Unfortunately for the Mistress, Fateweaver was stolen by an escaping Othello years ago, possibly as a backfire to one of her own weavings. She has no idea where it is or where to find it - the Fateweaver escaped Othello's grasp as well, and it's currently lost somewhere in the mortal world.


The Celestial Apples (Prop)A triplet of apples: one is golden, one is pale white, and one is a softly glowing black. The only trouble is that no one is quite certain which apple is which - it's possible they switch colors every time they're used. They all look very appealing and smell sweet.

The Apple of the Moon looks enticing enough that even those who don't normally eat are tempted to take a bite. As soon as they do, of course, they are stricken down as if poisoned. It doesn't end there, however, as the "dead" body isn't quite as dead as it looks. It begins to draw everything and everyone around it into the Hedge, as the Thorns start covering everything. Destroying the "dead" body halts this process, though it proves easier said than done, as the Hedge almost immediately acts to protect it - trapping it in a tower, encasing it in impenetrable crystal, sprouting wicked briars around it. Once the Hedge has devoured the surrounding area, it sits patiently, waiting for the body at the center of it to "hatch". In essence, the poisoned person is a proto-Keeper, the realm surrounding it slowly morphing to fit their personalities and their vices, figments of their minds forming into Actors, Wisps, and Props. In time, one of the figments will become dominant, and they will become one of the Gentry and awaken. The process can be reversed, however: legends tend to name True Love's kiss, but what actually needs to be done is to make the victim feel their own empathy or humanity again. This dumps both the stolen realm and the (now living) victim back into the real world, alive and none the worse off... mostly. If the victim was human, they are now a changeling... or possibly a Charlatan.

The Apple of the Sun brims with knowledge, too much knowledge for any one mind to take. Anyone holding the apple instinctively knows what will happen if they bite into it. A mortal who bites into it immediately gains a template (usually Exceptional Mortal). A supernatural who bites into if immediately gains exp that they can spend on any supernatural powers they desire. The catch comes in that the character's sanity and innocence plummet like a stone, quite possibly driving them mad.

The Apple of the Stars doesn't require the owner to bite it to get the effect. Simply holding it does. So long as someone is holding it, everyone loves them. Former enemies come by to apologize, authority figures are subtly biased, and no matter how much the user abuses someone, they'll still be friends. The catch is, this doesn't work on someone that already genuinely cares about the user, and will never work, even if that love turns to hate - and indeed, the way most people holding the Star Apple start to act makes love turn rancid quickly. Even if they don't meet a messy end at the hands of a former admirer, people holding the Apple of Stars often forget that love is no better than the lover. "Love" can manifest as stalking, controlling behavior, or even desperate bouts of violence ending in murder-suicides.


Old Red
The Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine

Type: The Old Gods
Changelings: Tommy Lynch, Lobsterback Bill, Jonah Price

[spoiler=Old Red][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Generous (No matter how low you sink, Old Red's always ready to lend a hand.)
Vice: Jealous (It is a source of constant annoyance to Old Red that to be truly debased, truly malign, takes that spark of human creativity. It galls him to no end.)

Story: Take a litle walk to the edge of town
Go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms,
like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in the border fires,
in the humming wires
Hey man, you know
you're never coming back
Past the square, past the bridge,
past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm comes
a tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with
a red right hand

He'll wrap you in his arms,
tell you that you've been a good boy
He'll rekindle all the dreams
it took you a lifetime to destroy
He'll reach deep into the hole,
heal your shrinking soul
Hey buddy, you know you're
never ever coming back
He's a god, he's a man,
he's a ghost, he's a guru
They're whispering his name
through this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat
is a red right hand

You ain't got no money?
He'll get you some
You ain't got no car? He'll get you one
You ain't got no self-respect,
you feel like an insect
Well don't you worry buddy,
cause here he comes
Through the ghettos and the barrio
and the bowery and the slum
A shadow is cast wherever he stands
Stacks of green paper in his
red right hand

(Organ solo)

You'll see him in your nightmares,
you'll see him in your dreams
He'll appear out of nowhere but
he ain't what he seems
You'll see him in your head,
on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning
you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god,
he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog
in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
his red right hand

Style: Old Red has a plan, and he's been working on it for give or take a thousand years. It's a very big plan with a whole lot of little pieces, but Old Red's a clever enough devil to keep track of the whole thing. He's a devil of sin and iniquity, and he's a colloquial sort of devil at that. He's not the majestic Satan of high society, but rather he's the folk-tale devil with the horns and the forked tail, striking a deal with a peasant or signing a crossroads contract with a rising music star. Sometimes they get the better of him -- those stories are true -- but even so, Old Red has got himself a lot of contracts and a lot of changelings this way, and his plan's edging every close to fruition.

Just what the plan actually is, well, that's a different story. Old Red never actually says what it is. Maybe he's plumb forgotten what the point of it all was. Or maybe it's something that only makes sense to a True Fae. Or maybe it's to end the world. Hard to say. But it's a very big plan, and it doesn't make a lot of sense, but the little pieces seem to intersect in a lot of weird (or Wyrd) little ways.

He's part of the Court of the Twisting Accord, parading the very accomplishment of his contracted changelings before the others. They don't much like him (too crass, too boorish), but he's a useful devil. He spends a lot of time in the mortal realms, as such things go, and he's usually got a web of deals set up. He's fond of music and venality, and anywhere there's a jazz band or some heavy metal, or even just a bit of a tune while sin is on the prowl, he is there.

Known Avatars and Agents: Old Red's a True Fae that likes a personal touch. After all, he's hardly going to give the Power of Attorney to someone else, now is he? Whether he appears as a slick salesman or seductive serial killer, of course, is a different question. Old Red wears a lot of faces.

The Man with the Red Right Hand (Actor)He strives for charm and he gets sleaze. But that's okay, because the Man with the Red Right Hand has something that you want. A tall, handsome man in with black hair and an ingratiating smile, he wears a dusty old suit, with a contract in his pocket and a fountain pen in his hands so you can sign in blood. He always seems to know exactly when to appear, popping up with just the right thing to say.

It's Old Red's favorite manifestation, and it can be anywhere. It's not a violent manifestation, though no True Fae is really 'safe'. Usually, he's there and he's gone, but sometimes the Man with the Red Right Hand sticks around, finding a job, insinuating himself into his target's life. He's the Devil's Advocate, he's the Manager from Hell. He's the Man with the Red Right Hand.


The Bloody-Handed God (Actor)Sometimes, subtlety fails. Sometimes, the only real proper response to a situation is blood and gore. Old Red can do that too. No one ever said that the Devil was nice, now did they? The Bloody-Handed God is just that, a brutal, savage incarnation from some long-ago pre-modern past, whether a mad, woad-tattooed Celt or a brutal Iroquois hunter, his hands always dipped to the wrists in blood that never stops dripping. He's a master with all weapons, past and present, a psychotic killer who can be anywhere. He's the Old-Time Religion, slit throats and torn-out hearts and sacrifice on the stone, and if you give him enough offerings, he'll make things happen for you.


The Monkey's Paw (Prop)The Monkey's Paw isn't always from a monkey, nor is it always a paw, though it always takes the form of a hand - maybe a claw from some unknown monster, maybe a golden hand from a Pharaoh's sarcophagus. The premise behind it is always the same: Make a wish, one wish per finger, and hope you don't live to regret it. Because the Monkey's Paw can never create anything from thin air, it always has to take from somewhere else, and it isn't very subtle about doing it. You might wish yourself rich, but that money came from a bank, and spending that money is going to attract unpleasant attention. Wish for legitimate riches? Be prepared to lose something a lot more dear than money, and receive the funds as reparations. Try to wish yourself out of the repercussions? Well, that's the fast track straight to Arcadia, and Old Red's personal attention. The consequences of your wishes will never find you - they'll instead find what's left of your fetch, with the Monkey's Paw clasped around it's throat.


The Collector
The Grasping Beast with Golden Hide

Type: The Keepers
Changelings: Marcus, Rebecca, Gao Xianfang, Gao Xiaoming, Lizard

[spoiler=The Collector][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Patient (One must restrain oneself from enthusiasms. Specimens tend to be very... breakable.)
Vice: Greedy (Collection is not a question of want. It is a question of need.)

Story:

--Excerpt from the Instructions for Collectors--

Living Treasures

While inert treasures often require special care to retrieve, most can be managed with thorough knowledge of safe packing techniques. Living Treasures are often the most rare and rewarding of finds, and can be easily damaged without proper handling. Since a living treasure is far more valuable and entertaining alive, the collector must be careful not to inflict undue harm during collection process, and cause the treasure to be downgraded to "Inert". In some cases, however, the treasure must be stifled and preserved to be properly displayed.

One of the most important things to remember when collecting a treasure is to maintain accurate records, including when and where the treasure was collected. By keeping this information on record, you can provide valuable information and legitimize the treasure's value to other collectors. Without the information, the treasure is not as high grade as a properly recorded example.

Vampires
Vampires are the recommended treasures for beginning collectors, as they are both easy to collect and preserve. Since vampires are nocturnal, it is recommended the collector hunt during the day, when the treasure is disoriented and cannot easily flee. A simple wooden pin through the heart is enough to paralyze the vampire, at which point it is easy to transport and display. If the collector wishes to revert their treasure to "Vital" grade, the stake can be removed once proper restraining equipment is in place. No further preservation methods are required, although when displaying the collector must be certain not to allow sunlight to touch the treasure. Sunlight can cause color distortion or irreparable damage to the treasure. The collector must also be careful no to cause undue damage when retrieving the treasure, as it will not heal while the vampire is pinned.

If the vampire is unduly damaged, steps can be taken to repair the treasure. Restrain the vampire with weights and heavy chains on all four limbs. Remember that vampires can be stronger than they appear, and be judicious with the weight. Cover the vampire's eyes and mouth with cloth as seen in the diagrams on the next page - ensure that the vampire's tongue is forced down, so that its throat is open but it cannot speak. Remove the wooden pin. Drip blood through the cloth and down the vampire's throat. The treasure should begin to retain its high grade appearance. If the vampire does not appear to be healing itself, it is best to re-pin the vampire rather than risking the treasure escaping.

Werewolves
Werewolves are often considered attractive treasures for beginners, as they rapidly heal any damage inflicted, and thus do not need to be treated as delicately as other treasures. However, investment in special silver equipment is required for any aspiring werewolf collector. They are also quite aggressive, and can bite if the handler is not careful. If the collector is unwilling to invest in the proper equipment for handling and keeping werewolves, it is recommended that they be stifled and displayed.

Werewolves are difficult to take by traditional means, as they do not respond to alchemical pacifiers. Faerie wine is recommended for those attempting to take the treasure alive. Werewolves are unaware of its potency and will drink it in large volumes, soon becoming intoxicated. Alternatively, trickery is recommended if possible, for easy transport and handling. If the collector wishes to stifle the treasure, it is critical to know that werewolves become humanoid once stifled, thus ruining any display of the pelt. The pelt must be collected while the treasure is still alive, after which point it may be released or stifled for other use. Some collectors have attempted to collect pelts from all five forms of the same treasure, but results from this have been mixed.

Humans and Changelings
The choice of treasure for the true collector, humans and changelings are very delicate and must be treated with care to avoid damaging them. There are many ways to collect these treasures. First, alchemical substances may be applied to render a treasure unconscious. While these can be applied via a rag to the nasal and throat passages, it will take several minutes for the treasure to be incapacitated, and it may damage itself in its struggle. Administration via food or drink is a preferable method, as it causes less stress to the subject. If the treasure needs to be caught in the field and the collector is without proper tools to do so, it is recommended to put pressure on both sides of the treasure's neck. This will stun the treasure long enough to place in a proper holding place. Be careful not to put pressure on the front or back of the neck, or use excessive force, as this will render the treasure inert and may cause damage. If the collector wishes to stifle the treasure, the use of poisons is suggested. The treasure may also be stifled via an iced enclosure, though this may cause discoloration.

Living Treasure Quality Designation

To provide a reference point whereby any trader, seller, or collector may visit and use the grading system for use in determining how to grade a treasure by comparison and description. Later in the book is also section on Mounting Tips and Ideas for Inert Treasures once they have been stifled, to best keep quality and high grade for mounted treasures.

Vital Supreme
The treasure is alive, undamaged, lacks any marring scars, and is possessed of superb liveliness or talent. This designation is considered 'the ultimate' pristine treasure. Such a specimen is virtually flawless and an above average example of the race. The treasure is perfect in every way. Such a stated condition is unusual and should be used with discretion.

Vital/A1
The treasure is alive and has very light damage, or is a pristine treasure but without any exceptional talent or markings. Treasure should be as close to 'Vital Supreme' as possible, but not quite. Only the most tiny hint of wear is allowed. Such minimal wear does not detract from treasure in any way.

Vital/A1-
Only the most tiny of imperfections are allowed such as very minor scars. Missing fingers or toes are permitted as long as they do not detract from appearance.

Vital A2
<end of excerpt>

Style: The Collector is the only member of the Twisting Accord that is of a level with the Mistress for raw power. He is a dragon, and not in the sense of 'large angry lizard' but 'immortal, elemental force of nature'. He is, even by the standards of the fickle fae, erratic, and possesses a host of bad habits. He is vain, lazy, gluttonous, holds grudges for millennia but otherwise has a very short attention span, wrathful and very violent, and above all else, he is Greed incarnate. The Collector is greedy and grasping, and it's not an elevated or refined kind of greed. In a word, he likes shiny and pretty things, the more polished and perfect the better.

Where the Mistress prizes power, the Princess passion, the Tempter skill, and the Firm modernity and technique, the Collector elevates physical beauty above all else. He is pitiless and exacting in his specifications, and is perfectly willing to melt down a hoard and have it sculpted and minted once again -- and to do the same to one of his luckless changelings. He has an unhealthy enthusiasm for perfecting his 'prizes,' and has an attitude towards them rather like that of a particularly gruesome butterfly collector scaled up. He discusses their decay and demise calmly, as regrettable facts, and often times kills them before they lose their perfect beauty to age. After all, what point beauty if it is not preserved?

All told, compared to the other members of the Twisting Accord, the Collector comes off as somewhat comic, but this ignores that he is an elemental force. He is Man writ large, all his vices and all of his powers upon the scale of mountains and valleys. He is cunning, and possessed of irresistible words, and when the Collector takes flight, he is the kind of monster that levels cities and renders them desolate for generations.

Known Avatars and Agents: The Collector is not, overall, a very subtle beast. He can be cunning, certainly, worming words of greed and hunger into others souls, but overall the Collector prefers the direct approach. Enough force, and no one and nothing can stand against him.

The Dragon of Golden Triumph (Actor)"My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath, death!"

In ages past, the Dragon of Golden Triumph flew forth from his faerie-cave to ravage the north of the world. He sank ships and flew off with caravans, smashed castles with his bulk and dueled in the skies with wizards and heroes. But those days are long past, and the Dragon stays within his Arcadian cavern, luring mortals to him with cunning traps and hired henchmen. What was once a monster to challenge armies can now be destroyed with mortal jets and missiles, and the form of a dragon is not a subtle one. Dragon ventures forth into the mortal world only once or twice a decade now, though he still flies above the skies of Arcadia and the Hedge. In the West, he is called Valrauth the Grand, in the East, Jianlong the Crocodile Dragon. His nature remains the same.

The Dragon of Golden Triumph is an absolute monster. A long, lithe dragon with golden scales, the Dragon is somewhere in the mid-point between a European and an Asian dragon, serpentine (or perhaps feline) rather than lizardlike. His body resembles nothing quite so much as an enormous, scaled hunting cat. He stretches a good 85 feet from his jaws to the tip of his tail, though most of that is neck and tail. He has a wingspan of almost a hundred feet, and weighs eighty tons. His central body is just a bit bigger than a city bus. Despite his bulk, however, the Dragon is surprisingly fast and nimble, and stealthier than one would expect something of his size to be.


The Priceless Army of Ten Thousand (Wisps)The Collector's legion of gold-armored soldiers, the Priceless Army is a force of destruction, but also of greed. The Dragon of Golden Triumph might burn a city to the ground, but in his carnage lose whatever treasure lies within. The Priceless Army, in contrast, invades, raids, sacks and pilfers. To the victors go the spoils, and the army has carried away thousands of tons of books, weapons, artifacts, gems, and gold in its time. It bears a resemblance to the Clay Army of China, but even the first emperor's army proves too poor for the Collector - the Priceless Army is made of precious metals and gems, armed with ornate spears and swords.


The Lion-Toothed Lord of Earthen Riches (Actor)At his heart, the Collector is a conservative beast, leery of the modern world - but as Tolkien once wrote, wherever there is gold and greed attracts dragons. The criminal underworld, running with untold wealth and blood, served as an irresistible lure to the old wyrm. The Lion-Toothed Lord appears as a Chinese man in his forties or fifties, sharp faced and fierce-looking, dressed in an impeccable black suit - his hair is a thick black mane run through with grey and bleach blond tips, he sports an elaborate tattoo of a dragon on his back, his eyes are gold and his teeth are sharp, and he has a long, thin mustache, much like a dragon's whiskers. He's not savvy or manipulative, but that's alright. He's proud, fierce, violent, and wealthy, and that attracts followers. He lurks Chinatowns all over the globe, often serving as muscle for his true people on the ground, though those who fail to recognize their true place and give due respect tend to meet a nasty end.


The Dragon's Vault (Realm)There's always rumors of Dragon's Vaults, hidden and secretive tombs that are dangerous to body and soul, but hold priceless treasure within. And the treasure inside is always the grand prize to man's ambition. Fortunes beyond compare. Magic artifacts of ancient power. Immortality. The perfect lure to bait the traps for those cunning, skilled, and knowledgeable to suit the Dragon's tastes. These are traps, and the hard earned reward for getting through them is to be dragged into Arcadia, a fetch left behind in place. If the fetch is lucky, it gets to go away with the prize it was seeking, just so it can spread more rumors about more Dragon's Vaults. If it is less lucky, it wakes up without any memories of what happened in the tomb, left to dismiss the strange changes in itself as consequences of its harrowing escapade. If it is very unlucky, it gets to be the moral to a morality tale, finding the waters of immortality are nothing but poisonous mercury. Of course, to the real person, now a changeling or worse, this is all rather immaterial.


Sunset
The Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire

Type: The Fair Folk
Changelings: Todd White, Dana the Tall

[spoiler=Sunset][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Helpful
Vice: Lustful

Story:
"I wish that you would visit me one day, in my house.
There are such sights I would show you."

My intended lowers her eyes, and, yes, she shivers.
Her father and his friends all hoot and cheer.

"That's never a story, Mr. Fox," chides a pale woman
in the corner of the room, her hair corn-fair,
her eyes the grey of cloud, meat on her bones,
she curves, and smiles crooked and amused.

"Madame, I am no storyteller," and I bow, and ask,
"Perhaps, you have a story for us?" I raise an eyebrow.

[spoiler=Her Story]
Her smile remains.
She nods, then stands, her lips move:

"A girl from the town, a plain girl, was betrayed by her lover,
a scholar. So when her blood stopped flowing,
and her belly swole beyond disguising,
she went to him, and wept hot tears. He stroked her hair,
swore that they would marry, that they would run,
in the night,
together,
to his aunt. She believed him;
even though she had seen the glances in the hall
he gave to his master's daughter,
who was fair, and rich, she believed him.
Or she believed what she believed.

"There was something sly about his smile,
his eyes so black and sharp, his rufous hair. Something
that sent her early to their trysting place,
beneath the oak, beside the thornbush,
something that made her climb the tree and wait.
Climb a tree, and in her condition.
Her love arrived at dusk, skulking by owl-light,
carrying a bag,
from which he took a mattock, shovel, knife.
He worked with a will, beside the thornbush,
beneath the oaken tree,
he whistled gently, and he sang, as he dug her grave,
that old song...
shall I sing it for you, now, good folk?"

She pauses, and as a one we clap and holloa — or almost as a one:
My intended, her hair so dark, her cheeks so pink,
her lips so red,
seems distracted.
The fair girl (who is she? A guest of the inn, I hazard) sings:

"A fox went out on a shiny night
And he begged for the moon to give him light
For he'd many miles to go that night
Before he'd reach his den–O!
Den–O! Den–O!
He'd many miles to go that night, before he'd reach is den–O."


Her voice was sweet and fine, but the voice of my intended is finer.

"And when her grave was dug—
A small hole it was, for she was a little thing,
even big with child she was a little thing–
he walked below her, back and forth,
rehearsing her hearsing, thus:

-Good evening, my pigsnie, my love,
my, but you look a treat in the moon's light,
mother of my child-to-be. Come, let me hold you.

And he'd embrace the midnight air with one hand,
and with the other, holding his short but wicked knife,
he'd stab and stab the dark.

"She trembled in her oak above him. Breathed so softly,
but still she shook. And once he looked up, and said,
—Owls, I'll wager, and another time, fie! is that a cat
up there? Here puss
... But she was still,
bethought herself a branch, a leaf, a twig. At dawn
he took his mattock, spade and knife, and left
all grumbling and gudgeoned of his prey.

"They found her later wandering, her wits
had left her. There were oak leaves in her hair
and she sang,

'The bough did bend
The bough did break
I saw the hole
The fox did make

'We swore to love
We swore to marry
I saw the blade
The fox did carry'


"They say that her babe, when it was born,
had a fox's paw on her and not a hand.
Fear is the sculptress, midwives claim. The scholar fled."

And she sits down, to general applause.
The smile twitches, hides about her lips: I know it's there,
it waits in her grey eyes. She stares at me, amused.

"I read that in the Orient foxes follow priests and scholars,
in disguise as women, houses, mountains, gods, processions,
always discovered by their tails— " so I begin,
but my intended's father intercedes.
"Speaking of tales — my dear, you said you had a tale?"

My intended flushes. There are no rose petals,
save for her cheeks. She nods, and says:
"My story, father? My story is the story of a dream I dreamed."
Her voice is so quiet and soft, we hush ourselves to hear,
outside the inn just the night sounds: an owl hoots,
but, as the old folk say, I live too near the wood
to be frightened by an owl.

She looks at me.

"You, sir. In my dream you rode to me, and called,
–Come to my house, my sweet, away down the White Road.
There are such sights as I would show you.

I asked how I would find your house, down the white chalk road,
for it's a long road, and a dark one, under trees
that make the light all green and gold when the sun is high,
but shade the road at other times. At night
it's pitch–black; there is no moonlight on the White Road...

"And you said, Mister Fox — and this is most curious, but dreams
are treacherous and curious and dark—
that you would cut the throat of a sow-pig,
and you would walk her home behind your fine black stallion.
You smiled,
smiled, Mister Fox, with your red lips and your green eyes,
eyes that could snare a maiden's soul, and your yellow teeth,
which could eat her heart— "

"God forbid," I smiled. All eyes were on me, then, not her,
though hers was the story. Eyes, such eyes.

"So, in my dream, it became my fancy to visit your great house,
as you had often entreated me to do,
to walk its glades and paths, to see the pools,
the statues you had brought from Greece, the yews,
the poplar-walk, the grotto, and the bower.
And, as this was but a dream, I did not wish
to take a chaperone
—some withered, juiceless prune
who would not appreciate your house, Mister Fox; who
would not appreciate your pale skin,
nor your green eyes,
nor your engaging ways.

"So I rode the white chalk road, following the red blood path,
on Betsy, my filly. The trees above were green.
A dozen miles straight, and then the blood
led me off across meadows, over ditches, down a gravel path,
(but now I needed sharp eyes to catch the blood—
a drip, a drop: the pig must have been dead as anything)
and I reined my filly in front of a house.
And such a house. A Palladian delight, immense,
a landscape of its own, windows, columns,
a white stone monument to verticality, expansive.

"There was a sculpture in the garden, before the house,
a Spartan child, stolen fox half-concealed in its robe,
the fox biting the child's stomach, gnawing the vitals away,
the stoic child bravely saying nothing—
what could it say, cold marble that it was?
There was pain in its eyes, and it stood
upon a plinth upon which were carved eight words.
I walked around it and I read:
Be bold,
Be bold,
but not too bold.


"I tethered little Betsy in the stables,
between a dozen night black stallions
each with blood and madness in his eyes.
I saw no one.
I walked to the front of the house, and up the great steps.
The huge doors were locked fast,
no servants came to greet me, when I knocked.
In my dream (for do not forget, Mister Fox, that this was my dream.
You look so pale) the house fascinated me,
the kind of curiosity (you know this,
Mister Fox, I see it in your eyes) that kills cats.

"I found a door, a small one, off the latch,
and pushed my way inside.
Walked corridors, lined with oak, with shelves,
with busts, with trinkets,
I walked, my feet silent on the scarlet carpet,
until I reached the great hall.
It was there again, in red stones that glittered,
set into the white marble of the floor,
it said:
Be bold,
be bold,
but not too bold
Or else your life's blood
shall run cold.


"There were stairs, wide, carpeted in scarlet,
off the great hall,
and I walked up them, silently, silently.
Oak doors: and now
I was in a dining room, or so I am convinced,
for the remnants of a grisly supper
were abandoned, cold and fly-buzzed.
Here was a half-chewed hand, there, crisped and picked,
a face, a woman's face, who must in life, I fear,
have looked like me."

"Heaven defend us all from such dark dreams," her father cried.
"Can such things be?"

"It is not so," I assured him. The fair woman's smile
glittered behind her grey eyes. People
need assurances.

"Behind the supper room was a room,
a huge room, this inn would fit in that room,
piled promiscuously with rings and bracelets,
necklaces, pearl drops, ball gowns, fur wraps,
lace petticoats, silks and satins. Ladies' boots,
and muffs, and bonnets: a treasure cave and dressing room—
diamonds and rubies underneath my feet.

"Beyond that room I knew myself in Hell.
In my dream...
I saw many heads. The heads of young women. I saw a wall
on which dismembered limbs were nailed.
A heap of breasts. The piles of guts, of livers, lights,
the eyes, the...
No. I cannot say. And all around the flies were buzzing,
one low droning buzz.
-Bëelzebubzebubzebub they buzzed. I could not breathe,
I ran from there and sobbed against a wall."

"A fox's lair indeed," says the fair woman.
("It was not so," I mutter.)
"They are untidy creatures, so to litter,
about their dens the bones and skins and feathers
of their prey. The French call him Renard,
the Scottish, Tod."

"One cannot help one's name," says my intended's father.
He is almost panting now, they all are:
in the firelight, the fire's heat, lapping their ale.
The wall of the inn was hung with sporting prints.

She continues:
"From outside I heard a crash and a commotion.
I ran back the way I had come, along the red carpet,
down the wide staircase—too late!—the main door was opening!
I threw myself down the stairs-rolling, tumbling—
fetched up hopelessly beneath a table,
where I waited, shivered, prayed."

She points at me. "Yes, you, sir. You came in,
crashed open the door, staggered in, you sir,
dragging a young woman
by her red hair and by her throat.
Her hair was long and unconfined, she screamed and strove
to free herself. You laughed, deep in your throat,
were all a-sweat, and grinned from ear to ear."

She glares at me. The color's in her cheeks.
"You pulled a short old broadsword, Mister Fox, and as she screamed,
you slit her throat, again from ear to ear.
I listened to her bubbling, sighing, shrieking,
closed my eyes and prayed until she stopped.
And after much, much, much too long, she stopped.

"And I looked out. You smiled, held up your sword,
your hands agore—blood— "

"In your dream," I tell her.

"In my dream.
She lay there on the marble, as you sliced,
you hacked, you wrenched, you panted, and you stabbed.
You took her head from her shoulders,
thrust your tongue between her red wet lips.
You cut off her hands. Her pale white hands.
You sliced open her bodice, you removed each breast.
Then you began to sob and howl.
Of a sudden,
clutching her head, which you carried by the hair,
the flame red hair,
you ran up the stairs.

"As soon as you were out of sight,
I fled through the open door.
I rode my Betsy home, down the White Road."

All eyes upon me now. I put down my ale,
on the old wood of the table.
"It is not so,"
I told her,
told all of them.
"It was not so, and
God forbid
it should be so. It was
an evil dream. I wish such dreams
on no one."

"Before I fled the charnel house,
before I rode poor Betsy into a lather,
before we fled down the White Road,
the blood still red
(and was it a pig whose throat you slit, Mister Fox?),
before I came to my father's inn,
before I fell before them, speechless,
my father, brothers, friends— "

All honest farmers, fox-hunting men.
They are stamping their boots, their black boots.

" —before that, Mister Fox,
I seized from the floor, from the bloody floor,
her hand, Mister Fox. The hand of the woman
you hacked apart before my eyes."

"It is not so— "

"It was no dream. You Creature. You Bluebeard."

"It was not so—"

"You Gilles de Rais. You monster."

"And God forbid it should be so!"

She smiles now, lacking mirth or warmth.
The brown hair curls around her face,
roses twining about a bower.
Two spots of red are burning on her cheeks.

"Behold, Mister Fox! Her hand! Her poor pale hand!"
She pulls it from her breasts (gently freckled,
I had dreamed of those breasts),
tosses it down upon the table.
It lies in front of me.
Her father, brothers, friends,
they stare at me hungrily,
and I pick up the small thing.

The hair was red indeed, and ranks. The pads and claws
were rough. One end was bloody
but the blood had dried.

"This is no hand," I tell them. But the first
fist knocks the wind from out of me,
an oaken cudgel hits my shoulder,
as I stagger,
the first black boot kicks me down onto the floor.
And then a rain of blows beats down on me,
I curl and mewl and pray and grip the paw
so tightly.

Perhaps I weep.[/spoiler.]

I see her then,
the pale, fair girl, the smile has reached her lips,
her skirts so long as she slips, grey–eyed,
amused beyond all bearing, from the room.
She'd many a mile to go, that night.
And as she leaves,
from my vantage place on the floor,
I see the brush, the tail between her legs;
I would have called,
but could speak no more. Tonight she'll be running
four–footed, surefooted, down the White Road.

What if the hunters come?
What if they come?

Be bold, I whisper once, before I die.
But not too bold...

And then my tale is done.

-------------------------Neil Gaiman, The White Road

Style: The youngest of the Twisting Accord, however the True Fae measure such things, the Sunset Princess of Stolen Desires is a creature of brief infatuations. Unlike True Fae such as the Mistress or the Board, Sunset very much prefers a personal touch, granting a single changeling her direct and constant attention until such a point as her interest wanes. She takes few of the Lost away, but she is hard on them, and those that survive her are usually broken, emotionally-damaged shells of what they once were. Only the fact that her interest fades after a time allows her enthralled slaves to ever escape. She is in some strange way counterpart and rival to the Mistress, the perfect abusive lover to the Mistress's perfect abusive parent. The two True Fae have a keen competition, Sunset championing the passion of her toys against the Mistress's cold, technical skill.

Sunset is also quite willing to extend her personal touch in the mortal realms. She appears as the Girl With Russet Hair, most often to pursue some brief infatuation, but also to spread her own personal brand of chaos. Sunset adores emotional drama, the more tragic and violent the better. She thrives on betrayal and love-turned-to-hate, using her subtle wiles to drive such little stories of indiscretion and broken promises until they turn into tales of suicide and murder right out of Arthurian myth. They called her Morgana, once, Morgana le Fay.

Known Avatars: Either for reasons of weakness or personal preference, Sunset rarely employs the vast entourages or legions of servitors that others of the True Fae prefer. Instead, she goes abroad in the mortal world cloaked in her own skin.

The Girl With Russet Hair (Actor)The Sunset Princess's chosen form in the mortal world, The Girl With Russet Hair is an old hand at passing for mortals. She appears as nothing more than a striking young woman with soft, reddish-brown hair and a wild and mischievous smile. She can charm the birds from the skies and the fish from the sea, but hers is not an overt, sultry beauty. Rather, she's cute, and friendly, and simply fun to be around. Taking some mortal name, the Girl insinuates herself into her victim's life, enticing them and breaking them by equal measures, until the hapless mortal begs to be taken away. Sometimes, she does.


The Evil Exes (Wisps)Someone as beautiful as Sunset is bound to have them. Literal monsters and ogres who won't take "No" for an answer, and who take it personally if someone new is trying to edge in on "their" Princess... even if the poor newcomer never really asked to be her new flame. And what better way for aspiring suitors to prove their worth than to defend the poor, innocent lady from a constant stream of thuggish brutes? It's all a game, of course, a machismo-soaked script of half-promised whispers that defending the lady from entitled bullies instead entitles the savior to the "prize". Like all of the True Fae, it is rooted in the worst sort of narratives from real life, and Sunset encourages it heartily. She always reacts with wide-eyed innocence when they appear, and in the way of the True Fae, is probably genuine in it. The evil Exes don't even appear to all of her paramours. But it is an intrinsic part of her nature to throw fuel on the fire, to insinuate that beating off her suitors means getting her as the reward. At least, until she finds some other, new challenge for her unfortunate beau.


The Firm
The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros

Type: The Others
Changelings: J. T. Underwood, Miss Bell, Xerox

[spoiler=The Firm][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Code of Behavior: Byzantine Rules (If by some miracle you fill out all the forms and avoid all the loopholes, the Firm will go along with it)
Vice: Stubborn (Just because it's stupid, counterproductive, and insane is no reason to stop doing it)

Story:
“You did what you were told or you didn't get paid, and if things went wrong it wasn't your problem. It was the fault of whatever idiot has accepted this message for sending in the first place. No one cared about you, and everyone at headquarters was an idiot. It wasn't your fault, no one listened to you. Headquarters had even started an Employee of the Month scheme to show how much they cared. That was how much they didn't care.”

The boy had come with two mismatched mugs of tea. One had an appealing little kitten on it, except that erratic collisions in the washing-up bowl had scratched it so that its expression was that of a creature in the final stages of rabies. The other had once hilariously informed the world that clinical insanity wasn't necessary for employment, but most the words had faded, leaving:

You Don't Have to Be Mad
To Work Here But It Helps

-Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

--Excerpt--

CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
STATEMENT OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS
OMNES SUNT EFFICIENS, NEMO PRODUCIT

The Honorable Corporation of the Ouroboros, hereinafter “The Firm,” hereby confirms the appointment of XXXXXXXX, hereinafter “The Employee.” This document outlines the Terms and Conditions that apply to the contract of The Employee, and other information which is relevant to his/her employment.

1. The date of commencement of this contract, and of The Employee’s continuous service with The Firm or its subsidiaries, is XXXXXXXX. This contract operates in perpetuity.

2. Base salary estimates are available from the Department of Human Resources, upon submission of Forms 3A, 6W, 270PS, 599-Supplemental and all Forms 10088.22 through Magenta 5. At the discretion of The Firm, a personal consultation may be deemed necessary before base salary estimates are made available. The Firm reserves the right, with appropriate notice, to decrease The Employee’s base salary estimate as the needs of The Firm may dictate.

3. The Employee’s working hours will be SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE per week. The Firm may require The Employee to increase the number of his/her working hours if required on a temporary or permanent basis, should the needs of the position require it.

4. The Firm’s leave year runs from 16 June to the following 15 June. The Employee is entitled to ZERO days of leave per leave year, non-inclusive of statutory and local holidays. The Employee is entitled to ZERO minutes of leave per leave day. The Employee is entitled to ZERO seconds of leave per leave minute.

5. The Employee is obliged to give The Firm SEVENTEEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN weeks notice to terminate his/her contract of employment. Premature violation of these terms will be considered in breach of contract, and will result in The Employee’s immediate termination. The Firm and its officers are obliged to give the statutory minimum FOUR POINT TWO SECONDS of notice before terminating The Employee.

6. This position is subject to the completion of a SIX MONTH probationary period. At the end of this period, if The Employee’s performance is of a satisfactory standard, his/her appointment will be made permanent. Unsatisfactory employees will be subject to immediate termination. (c.f. Condition 5)

7. The Employee is expected to comply with the Company dress code at all times. Code-appropriate clothing is available from the Department of Procurement, Subdivision 6, upon submission of Forms 0001.11 through 88-Reversible. Some wait times may apply.

8. It is a provision of this contract that The Firm must be satisfied with The Employee’s medical fitness to carry out his/her duties, conditional upon a satisfactory assessment from the Department of Occupational Health. Should it be deemed necessary during the course of The Employee’s employment, he/she may be required to attend a medical examination or other related procedure from the Department of Occupational Health or the Department of Research and Development. Failure to attend this examination or procedure will be considered a breach of contract, and will be subject to disciplinary action.

9. The Employee is prohibited from smoking, sleeping, drinking, eating, leaving the premises of The Firm, or submitting Form 599-Supplemental on company time. The breach of any of these regulations will result in disciplinary action or termination, at the discretion of the Department of Human Resources. A complete list of prohibited behaviors, utterances, and metabolic processes is available from the Department of Archives, upon submission of Forms [REDACTED]. Some wait times may apply.

--End of Excerpt--

Style: A military tribunal punishes a soldier for jumping the chain of command, despite the fact her direct superior was the person who was abusing her. Farmers can't afford the food they grow themselves, and starve to death after government trucks haul the crops away, despite growing more than enough to feed their families. A boy dies while begging for his inhaler, which had been confiscated by a school nurse, who refused to give it to him even while he was suffocating three feet in front of her. Thousands of situations, big and small, that an ounce of common sense dictates shouldn't happen - and yet they do, thousands of people going along with the insanity, because a twisted system of Byzantine rules somehow makes it seem reasonable, because they desperately need that paycheck, because the system will gleefully dispose of them if they dare to question it. And in every inch of human misery caused by bureaucratic incompetence, there lies the Firm.

The Firm is identifiable to all those unfortunate enough to enter it as some kind of company... despite the fact it appears to switch century every floor. Some portions resemble modern day businesses, with sleek copiers and state of the art computer servers - other portions of the company still rely on carrier pigeons to send messages to other portions of the company. Indeed, some sections are required, by company policy, to use the pigeons, despite the fact the office over has a perfectly functional smart phone. A great many time periods and nations are represented here, cherry picking from the finest instances of institutional stupidity on Earth. The Firm sometimes updates its technology in certain sectors, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. There is no rhyme or reason to anything in the Firm. A cross between the courts of Tsar Nicolas, Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and the summer job from hell, the Firm is nothing more than straight up authoritarian insanity.

The surprising thing, really, is how banal it all is. The Firm is a place where a typo on a company form can lead to an employee being shot and run through a chipper shredder (proper disposal procedure for all employees, to guarantee they won't join a competitor) - and when the typo is discovered, the restitution will be an insincere apology in the morning announcements and a minor bonus to the dead employee's 401k. People have fired shots over staplers, employees have gotten away with murder due to filling out the proper forms first, corruption and nepotism is more rampant than in a long-running dictatorship, and many employees have set up petty fiefdoms based on an economy of office supplies or copier access. And yet the overall feeling of the Firm isn't terror or paranoia, though there is certainly the fear of punishment that keeps people going along with the system. The Firm is simply soul-crushing drudgery, caked five feet deep in a layer of cynicism. The demise of friends and coworkers is simply how things are, another eyerolling example of how all the higher-ups in the company are idiots. The madness and stupidity simply seems normal. That's the worst part.

Of course, there isn't much to be done beyond pretending it's all normal, as there can be no meaningful protest against the Firm. An employee can hardly quit, the Firm is unassailable, and figuring out the company policies to work within the system could easily take centuries (and the polices change on a whim). Most employees simply trudge along, following regulations, because they don't want to get punished for failing to do so. Of course, those who work there long enough begin to realize the Firm is too big to police, and their regulations are too many to follow. Everyone is guilty of something, which renders justice inherently random. Things generally go downhill from there.

Known Avatars: The customary manifestation of The Firm -- five grey men in five black suits, speaking in unison -- is far too attention-grabbing to be of much use in the mortal world. The Board knows this, and prefers to delegate its external operations to its various servitors. The following are the two principal classes of employee that can be found outside The Firm's premises, as well as what happens when the Firm itself moves in.

The Salmagundi Conglomerate (Realm)One floor is a dystopian nightmare yanked right out of the Communist Bloc. The office over is a literal Banana Republic. The copier machines are set in a cubicle that belongs to a serial killer. Gang wars are fought over paperclip black-markets. The Firm's corporate offices seem to be a highlight reel pulled from history's best cases of institutional dysfunction, outright insanity that survives because someone wrote it down on paper and the higher-ups will throw you in a chipper-shredder if you protest. It can't linger in the mortal world for long, at least, not under normal circumstances. Even the smallest ounce of common sense is enough to snap it's hold on reality. At least, until the rules get so twisted and Byzantine that everyone involved starts to feel like they've gone completely insane. That's when the Firm moves in. Once vibrant employees start to go home without that "vital spark" in them, their soul crushed by pointless authoritarianism - in truth snatched up by the Firm to live out an Orwellian nightmare back at the Salmagundi Conglomerate.


The Company Men (Wisps)The Board's most trusted direct reports, picked from the employment pool for their charisma, acuity, and unflinching loyalty. The Company Men are deployed wherever business sense, persuasion, deception, or other social talents are paramount -- generally on assignments involving mortals unaware of The Firm's true nature. They may operate as consultants for mortal businesses, spreading The Firm's "unique" organizational style; as political operatives, lobbying for The Firm's interests; as recruiters, tempting high-value mortal personnel into a contract and the Hedge with fabulous (fabricated) tales of The Firm's working environment; or in any number of other suitable roles.

There are exactly five Company Men at all times, one for each member of The Board; they are replaced as necessary. In person, they epitomize the ideal of the hard-charging, up-to-the-minute senior associate: clean-cut, power-suited, and equipped with all the latest accessories, while still radiating approachability, trustworthiness, and sales-rep charm. They, are, to a man, extremely convincing. While a reputed talent for disguise renders them difficult for escaped changelings to identify, it is also important to note that Company Men are not necessarily male -- though, given that the corporate culture at The Firm currently hovers somewhere around 1983, their demographic makeup is not exactly commensurate with present-day hiring practices.


The Department of Human Resources (Wisps)The Firm's in-house cadre of enforcers and secret police ranges in personality all the way from "sadistic and mostly cogent" to "sadistic and mostly deranged" to "sadistic and horrifying, Clarity One shell of a person." Justifiably feared within the premises of The Firm itself, HR also maintains a Retention subdivision to track down escaped employees or other Changelings within the mortal world. While HR members are a great deal less powerful individually than Company Men, The Board considers them more expendable: when a great deal of force is necessary, and the target is already aware of the threat that The Firm poses -- obviating the need for subtlety -- then they are sent out in swarms.

The Department of Human Resources, as noted, is not very subtle. Most often, they appear as pale, Stepfordian, deeply unsettling parodies of the protagonists in employee training videos, defaulting to The Firm's slightly anachronistic clothing and personal care milieu. Rictus smiles are common, as are monologues approximating an employee manual's "recommended team player behavior" section. When they are armed, it's with the sort of weapons you'd get if you locked Tony Stark in a Des Moines paper company's electronics supply room, instead of a terrorist training camp.


The Huntress
The Ivory-Throned Huntress of Blood and Desire

Type: The Kindly Ones
Changelings: Cheshire, Anni Icevein, Dominic Carlisle

[spoiler=The Huntress][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Loyal. Run with her, fellow sisters, and know the taste of power and freedom.
Vice: Violent. The huntress hunts, and it can have but one ending.

Story:
And so we ran away in fear & avoided being torn to
bits and eaten like deer by the bacchants; but they
attacked our cattle, barehanded, as they grazed
in the field, and you could see one grab and stretch
the legs of a young, pink-uddered calf, bellowing, as other
Maenads pulled and tore a full-grown heifer apart.
And you'd have seen ribs or cloven hooves thrown
up & down as they dripped, hanging from
fir tree branches, cover'd in blood.
The proud bulls, which moments before had been fully
ready to charge, dropped their body down to earth,
brought down by countless maidens' hands as they
stripped the poor beast's flesh right off like clothes
in the time it'd take you to blink your highness' eye.
And they danced off in a whirl, flittering like birds a-
cross the plains beneath their feet which, by the river
Asopus' streams, puts forth the Thebans' fertile corn.

And they fell upon Hysias, Erythrai, & the villages below
Kithairon's rocky peak like an invading army that
attacks everything before it, pillaging
high and low. They kidnapped children from their homes,
and whatever they placed upon their shoulders stayed
in place without bands or bonds to hold it there;
atop their curls were flames which did not burn. The men,
enraged at being plundered by the Bacchants, took to
arms, a terrible sight to see, my lord, as the
spears that they were throwing did not make the
women bleed, and neither did their implements of iron or
bronze pierce their fairwhite flesh. But
the thyrses that the women's hands hurl'd forth
injured the men so violently, that they did turn their
backs in fear & flee: this could not be done without some god.
Then they returned from whence they came, to the springs the god
sent up for them and washed the blood off of themselves
and the drops of blood still on their cheeks were licked
clean off their skin by serpents' darting tongues.

-Euripides, The Bacchae

Style: A Keeper of uncertain providence, some believe her to be related in some way to the Shear-Fingered Mistress or the Sunset Princess - a middle sibling, however the fae measure things, or perhaps even an unusual aspect of one or the other. If an aspect, it is not certain which of the two it would be, as she seems set between the two. She holds an authority the Sunset Princess does not, a vitality the Mistress does not, and an unabashed sexism that neither have. The Sunset Princess takes her lovers from whomever might strike her fancy, and while the Mistress treats men and women differently, she takes either without bias. The Huntress is attended by women and women alone. Men, if they are lucky, are dogs. If they aren't lucky, they are prey.

As the name would suggest, the Huntress hunts, and she hunts the most dangerous prey. Sometimes it is Hedge monstrosities, sometimes it is men. The Huntress and her servants use all the tools at their disposal - sometimes they run with spear and fang, chasing their prey in a frenzy to put the maenads to shame. Sometimes they use more subtle means, luring men in with half-whispered promises and enticing eyes. Sometimes they combine the two, reveling in the combination of lust and fear. She is a fickle beast, and her attendants can easily lose her favor, though the Huntress does not turn her once faithful into prey. They are simply cast out without a backward glance.

It isn't certain if she plays in the games of The Court of the Twisting Accord, and if she does, it is not clear what aspect of her attendant changelings she is espousing. Whatever it is seems limited to the Fairer Sex, though since both the real world and the fae one are rarely so clear cut, what that might be is an open question.

Known Avatars: Given it is not at all certain if the Huntress is another Keeper's title, the Huntress is the only proven avatar of herself. Her servants, however, are easily spotted. They are vicious, beautiful, alluring, and they tend to come in packs.

The Huntress (Actor)The Huntress is sex incarnate, though it's not from any effort put forth on her part. Her wild chestnut curls are shot through with highlights of bright red, and it falls in an untamed mane around her face, a few thick braids running through it. Her figure is thick, powerful muscles that are softened into curves with fat, a classical physique that screams its strength and vitality. Her vibrant skin is flushed from exercise, and covered in swirling tattoos of blue and silver. Her eyes are bright red, the left one having a silver pupil instead of a black one. Two red-black antlers burst forth from just above her temples, her ears are that of a doe, and the nails of her feet are the ursine claws of a bear. She carries an ivory spear and a bow nocked with ivory arrows, each one carved with intricate patterns of beasts. If she wears anything, it is a simple red or green shift, clasped with a gemstone brooch. If on a hunt, she is often splattered with blood, though she otherwise is often found bathing and is enticingly clean.


Gao Xianfang

Type: Changeling
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Waterborn
Born: 1478
Apparent Age: Mid-40s

[spoiler=Gao Xianfang]
Xianfang in formal Fei Yu Dang robes


Xianfang after being badgered into a shave and a suit

[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Righteous
Vice: Fussy

Background: For most of his mortal life, Gao Xianfang was a customs official in the city of Guangzhou (called Shang-Sheng back then) in the Guangdong province, during the middle of the Ming Dynasty. He came from an old, respectable family, not fabulously wealthy but certainly well-off enough to ensure that the studious Xianfang managed to make his way through the imperial examinations and then provide him with a comfortable sinecure inspecting cargo manifests and stamping papers. It wasn’t the most prestigious of appointments, but it was profitable, and it allowed Xianfang to indulge his rather dangerous hobby – for Xianfang was a political philosopher.

Had Xianfang stuck to Confucius’s Analects, he probably would have been fine. But Xianfang was one of those people who learned for the sake of learning, and as a customs official of a major port, he was able to procure political treatises from all over the world. Xianfang was one of the few people in China as familiar with the Arthaśāstra of Chāṇakya and The Republic of Plato as he was with the works of Confucius, Mencius, and Mozi. Nor did Xianfang limit himself to political works, dabbling in the natural sciences and in the arcane texts as well, plucking interesting books out of the great network of trade over which he presided.

Quite likely, Xianfang would have lived out his life in comfortable obscurity, had it not been for the advent of the Portuguese to Guangzhou in 1514. Xianfang watched dumbstruck as within a matter of years, the Portuguese and their big, ocean-going ships managed to secure a near-monopoly on trade coming out of Guangzhou. Xianfang, who like most amateur students of politics had strong opinions, was mortally offended by this intrusion. So he gathered up his choicest books, took a leave of absence from his wife and his work, and went to Nanjing, the southern capital of the Ming Dynasty.

In all of the millennia-long history of China, the court of the Ming stands out as one of the most subtle and one of the most poisonous. Xianfang was a worldly man – he was a customs official, people tried to cheat him on a daily basis – but the courtiers and eunuchs of Nanjing listened carefully to his suggestions for reforms and new regulations and decided that he ought to be removed. Over the course of one humiliating year, Xianfang found himself fined for most of his wealth, accused of corruption, demoted to a petty magistrate, and banished to a nameless village in the northwest of China, thousands of miles from home with no one but illiterate peasants and Mongol raiders to keep him company. They made one mistake. They let him keep his books.

As well as being a philosopher, Xianfang was something of a sorcerer. He was bright and he had access to a lot of books, and so it was only natural for him to start summoning his ancestors for consultation and drawing astrological charts of the heavens to determine the course of the future. But in that nameless village, Hsien’s magic took a darker turn. He started calling on more and more potent spirits, seeking a way to free China from what he saw as its corrupt leadership. Finally, Xianfang invoked that which he could never put down -- the Great Crocodile-Dragon Jiaolong.

While a false-Xianfang of wicker and stone lived his years in that silent village, the true Gao Xianfang was taken to Jiaolong's underground palace. For seven years, Xianfang was the lowliest of servants in that great palace of jade, cleaning the pools and caring for the hot springs that served for Jiaolong's comfort. For the next seven years, Xianfang was a student of elder spirits, learning that they too had once been human but now were changed, all through the glory of Jiaolong. And for the final seven years, Xianfang was a student of the mighty Dragon himself, discoursing on matters of the soul and the body, on the future of China and on the future of Xianfang himself. And at the end of those twenty-one years, Jiaolong returned his apprentice to China.

Under the cover of darkness, Xianfang returned to his home city of Guangzhou and formed a new secret society, the Fei Yu Dang (the Leaping Fish Society), out of his family and his close retainers. Jiaolong had explained matters most cogently. During these benighted times, the Great Crocodile-Dragon could return to China only briefly -- but if Xianfang was willing to collect the proper materials, the scrolls and treasures and yes, people, that Jiaolong required, then the dragon's power would grow, and together they would rejuvenate China and rescue it from its tainted and corrupt leadership. But this would require a great deal of effort and a great deal of time, and so until then, Jiaolong bid that Xianfang never die, nor would his chosen followers, the ones that were sent to Jiaolong's underground palace to be taught and transformed as Xianfang himself was.

So, with sorcery and cult and the support of the Great Crocodile-Dragon, Xianfang turned to his task. Unfortunately, Xianfang was a better philosopher than a leader, being a perfectionist in matters of doctrine and an idealist with regards to politics. Jiaolong's aid, meanwhile, never seemed to be quite enough. Hsien's first effort to take power, a provincial rebellion in the late 1500s, ended in an absolute disaster. The peasants ignored him, the Ming cut down his few soldiers, and Xianfang was forced to flee to the mountains with a few loyal retainers.

This would set the pattern for Xianfang and the Fei Yu Dang for the subsequent centuries. Time and time again, Xianfang would prepare for a glorious revolution that would save China. He would send gifts and servants to Jiaolong, searching the length and breadth of the world for things to strengthen the Great Crocodile-Dragon. Xianfang would summon supernatural allies, suborn officials, gather weapons, prepare speeches, do all the things a proper revolutionary leader must do. And he would either be found out before time, or his uprising would fizzle, and Xianfang would be forced to flee and rebuild.

It’s happened a bit less since Hsien’s many-times great-granddaughter, Gao Xiao-jie, took over day-to-day command of the Fei Yu Dang, but it still happens. Most recently, 1949 saw Xianfang and the Fei Yu Dang forced to flee mainland China altogether to avoid being murdered by the Communists, and since that time they’ve been centered in Hong Kong.

Xianfang is getting just a little bit desperate. At heart, he’s an idealistic man who truly, honestly believes that he knows best how China should be run, and that all the other leaders of China have been corrupt, murderous fools (to be fair, he may be onto something there). He strives to be a virtuous man, honorable and courteous and kind, but over the long centuries he’s been forced to make so many compromises… Xianfang has stolen and kidnapped, killed soldiers who came to arrest him, has bargained with creatures from the foulest hells, has looked the other way as Xiao turns the Fei Yu Dang into just another criminal cartel.

After five hundred years, there simply aren’t very many lines that Xianfang hasn’t crossed in order to achieve his goal. He hates it and he tries to avoid it, but Hsien’s idealism – and his sanity – are hanging by a slender thread indeed.

Not that anyone would know this from speaking to him. Xianfang is a perfect gentleman, polite and self-effacing, a head-in-the-clouds scholar who seems completely harmless. He’s cripplingly shy, and relates better to ideas than to people, who exist as sort of airy intellectual constructs in his head that are much neater and more organized than actual people are. Really, he’s just very nice, and it’s only occasionally that people see just how far Xianfang can go while shrouded in his air of abstraction.

Xianfang is a small Chinese man in his middle-forties, with a neatly trimmed black beard and wide, open eyes of a peculiar brownish-green color. He’s a little on the chubby side from lack of movement, and he usually smiles at people in a nervous fashion that makes him quite endearing. He looks a bit like a mid-level bureaucrat, really. He still tries to wear Ming dynasty robes whenever he can get away with it (he believes it conveys the proper image of dignity and respect), though more and more often he finds himself stuffed into Western suits that his descendants give him.

To those whose sight can pierce the Mask, Xianfang’s skin takes on something of the aspect of a tortoise, serpent or toad, with a heavy, jade shell covered in depictions of the Celestial Court and the constellations, and greenish, wrinkled skin. His throat swells or expands when he speaks, rather like that of a frog, and his hands are very long and sinuous. He speaks with a forked tongue, and his eyes glow an eerie yellow color. The air about him smells like brackish, stagnant water, and tiny drips of quicksilver fall from his shell, poisoning the ground around him.

Rank: 4
Mental 8; Physical 5; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 7
Notable Powers: A Proper Chinese Scholar; Obsessed beyond Reason; Knowledge Man Was Not Meant To Have
Banes: Repulsion (Ofuda); Magical Tell (Water Damage); Technophage



Gao Xiaoming

Type: Changeling
Seeming: Ogre
Kith: Farwalker
Born: 1736
Apparent Age: Mid-20s

[spoiler=Gao Xiaoming]

[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Adventurous
Vice: Violent

Background: Xiao’s earliest memories are of fleeing Guangzhou as a seven-year-old girl, while her family’s estate, the compound of the Fei Yu Dang, was burned by Qing soldiers behind her, her parents still inside. Xiaoming spent most of her girlhood in the Nanling Mountains of southeastern China, herding goats while Grandfather Xianfang tried to figure out what exactly had gone wrong with his latest abortive revolt. This was not an environment designed to inculcate in Xiaoming a respect for her elders.

By the time the Fei Yu Dang moved back to Guangzhou, Xiaoming had grown up into a vigorous, athletic, and thoroughly unfeminine young woman. Her relatives had tried to turn Xiaoming into a proper young lady, but she had a deplorable tendency to prefer clambering over mountainsides after lost goats over listening to Grandfather Xianfang's lectures on the correct ordering of the family.

Of course, she learned quite a few other things from Xianfang instead. She learned the rudiments of conspiracy and sorcery, how to run a secret society, and how to navigate the hidden pathways of the world. To Xiao, this was all completely and utterly normal. Other people had family business and family traditions, didn’t they? Hers were simply a little more esoteric than most, and included a sojourn in the underground palace of the Great Crocodile-Dragon Jiaolong, where Xiaoming spent her days training with the greatest spirit-warriors that the dragon could gather. Nothing all that strange there.

Xiaoming was perhaps the most enthusiastic scion the Fei Yu Dang had produced in close to two hundred years. She took to the expansion of the secret society like a duck to water, because quite simply she enjoyed it. She found the lies, the seduction, the murder, the sorcery, quite simply exhilarating, and she loved every moment of it. And somehow, by the end of the 18th century, Xiaoming found herself running the entire conspiracy, master of the Fei Yu Dang in all but name.

It wasn’t like Xiaoming had planned it, really. But she was always enthusiastic and friendly and willing to lend a hand, and after a while people started coming to her for practical advice on how to handle cult matters. Similarly, being decidedly less squeamish than Xianfang, Xiaoming had forged contacts with underworld of Guangzhou, and so when other members of the Fei Yu Dang had a problem, Xiaoming could often help. She knew which officials could be bribed, how one could earn some extra money, and when the Qing were going to do a sweep of the slums. One day, Xiaoming suddenly realized that even if she wasn’t the senior-most member of the Fei Yu Dang, even Jiaolong-blessed cultists twice her age were going to her for advice. They still sat for Xianfang's lectures, but they listened to Xiao.

Starting around 1820, then, Xiaoming began to take more direct control of the Fei Yu Dang. Her primary goal was to make it more stable, and to do so, she moved the cult into the underworld more fully, turning it into one of the fabled Triads of Chinese criminal society. She recruited other criminals into the organization, grew their numbers, and spread out to other cities. The core of each branch of the Fei Yu Dang remained the descendants of that handful of families that had been Gao’s earliest retainers and relatives (all much-intermarried by now), all of whom knew of the supernatural world and at least some of whom were sorcerers or Jiaolong-blessed in their own right, but who were now surrounded by networks of thugs, gangsters, and corrupt officials.

Today, the Fei Yu Dang is based out of Hong Kong, where the main branch of the Gao family has lived since the Communist victory in 1949. Other branches of the Leaping Fish Society are located in Guangzhou (the second largest) and London, with smaller branches in Shanghai, Macau, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and San Francisco. Their core business is smuggling antiquities, moving precious objects (sometimes supernatural) out of China and Southeast Asia and selling them to various patrons around the world -- after sending the skim of their crop to Jiaolong in exchange for his continued favor. They’re also involved in the smuggling of opium – heroin nowadays – into China, and serve as occasional assassins for other crime groups. The Fei Yu Dang has a reputation at being very good at killing people (it helps to be supernatural monsters), and so other Triads, and the Japanese Yakuza, often subcontract hits out to them. The entire group consists of about a dozen people who are supernatural in some way, a further thirty or so who know of the supernatural, and several hundred footsoldiers who haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on. Xiaoming herself presides over this criminal network like a dark queen, letting Xianfang believe that he is still in command but making all key decisions herself.

In some ways, Xiaoming hasn’t really grown up. She comes across as a vibrant, work-hard-play-hard personality, though she has a pragmatic (or rather, a ruthless) streak a mile wide. Most of the time, she treats her life as a game, one long competition where if you’re not having fun in the process, why bother? Yet unlike Grandfather Xianfang, Xiaoming is not an idealist. Somebody has to do the actual hard work of keeping the Fei Yu Dang running, and somebody’s got to solve the problems if anything’s going to get done around here. And sometimes, those problems are people, and Xiaoming is quite willing to ‘solve’ them too.

Nor does Xiaoming share her grandfather’s goals. She listens politely to the political screeds of the Fei Yu Dang’s founder, but Xiaoming figures that the chance of Xianfang becoming emperor of China are about equal to those of Chow Yun Fat, so she’s more interested in getting her hands on as much money, power, and influence as she can. The relationship between the two is complex. Xiaoming has little respect for her ancestor, having watched him fail time and time again, yet has a certain long-suffering affection for him born of almost three-hundred years of being together. Xianfang, meanwhile, realizes the extent to which he has been usurped, and resents it, yet can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s really much nicer when someone else is doing all the grunt work and people leave him to his scholarship.

Somewhat peculiarly, Xiaoming also has a perfectly satisfactory relationship with their patron, the Great Crocodile-Dragon Jiaolong, probably because she's unusually efficient at delivering peculiar artifacts or interesting people to him. It's almost like the dragon doesn't care about liberating China from the Communists. Actually, Xiao's pretty sure that Jiaolong doesn't care, but this is something she has no interest in telling her honored ancestor.

Back when she was growing up, Xiaoming was a tall woman, though her five-foot-six height today leaves her at just a little over average height. She has a hard, muscular body, rather like that of an athlete, and she keeps her hair cropped short so that it can’t fall into her eyes. She has the manner of a predator about her, a sort of lazy, lethal tiger that might toy with you or might eat you at any moment. She usually prefers to wear black bodysuits that give her a distinctly futuristic appearance, or else a Western-style black suit, though in formal situations she dons a qipao.

Beneath the Mask, Xiaoming is covered in a strange medley of ghostly white tigerish fur (save that the stripes grow into arcane and unnatural symbols) and viciously hooked, plant-like thorns, while retractable claws appear on her fingers. The markings on her face are particularly elaborate, and seem to change each time one looks at them. In her full war-form, Xiaoming becomes an utterly enormous white tiger, with the same unnatural patterns to her fur.

Rank: 3
Mental 2; Physical 6; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Triad Queen; Work Hard, Play Hard
Banes: Repulsion (Ofuda); Taboo (Ignore an Insult)





Anni Icevein
Anni Devika Ghosh

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Crimson Paladin, Knight of the Rose, Warden of the Silent Depths
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Waterborn
Born: 1978
Apparent Age: Late twenties

[spoiler=Anni Icevein][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Courageous
Vice: Cold

Background: Anni Devika Ghosh's father abandoned her before she was even born, which just might explain something about the young woman. Her parents came over from Bengal in India in the late 1970s, and her father took one look at London, and before the year was out he abandoned his pregnant wife and fled back to India. Anni was born three months later, and her mother worked herself to the bone, spending every hour of the day at a succession of jobs to give Anni a better life than she had. Anni was going to be a doctor, an engineer, she was going to be a someone.

Anni was smart enough to make it work, certainly. She had a cool, analytical intelligence that let her sail through the local comprehensive, get a raft of A-levels, and be on her way to a good university. She studied art history, and she had a job lined up at Sotheby's when she finished as a collections researcher.

She did all of it without making a single real connection along the way. It's not that she hadn't had people around her, certainly. She had acquaintances, friends, at school and at the university, people with whom she spent time and did things. She had the usual romantic fumblings at the university and she was dating her supervisor at Sotheby's, a cute young man three years older than her. It's just that to Anni, it never really meant anything. All around her, people were being best friends forever, swearing eternal love and devotion, having crushes and loves and emotional arguments, and she felt cool and unconcerned inside. When her first boyfriend told her he loved her, Anni felt nothing, and ended up dumping him a few months later.

Anni knew this wasn't normal. Normal people should've felt things, but Anni somehow... didn't. She just couldn't make that kind of deep, emotional connection to people, couldn't relate to them in some fundamental way. She envied the people who could, and she knew she was missing out on something that everyone thought was wonderful. But she couldn't grasp it. She was cold inside, cold and cool and uncaring.

She experimented some in the university, trying to find out what her own limits were, if maybe she just needed a sharper push to get that connection that came so easily to other people. She ventured into the Gothic and Steampunk scenes, but found nothing there but some fashion choices. She dabbled in BDSM, but pain didn't turn her on, though she did cut herself on and off for years as a form of release. She slept with a man thirty years older than her for money once, but other than buying herself a nicer computer, the incident left no marks on her psyche whatsoever. By the time Anni was twenty-five, she'd basically resigned herself to an empty life, going through the motions of relationships without ever really deriving much satisfaction from them.

Then came the Durance. It happened as she was walking home one evening, when the world became strange, and she heard the baying of human voices behind her. Normal people would have run away, but fear didn't touch Anni anymore than love did (it required more in the way of an instinct for self-preservation or self-worth than Anni had), and so she didn't run. And that intrigued the Huntress of Blood and Desire enough that rather than have her maenads tear Anni apart, she spirited the young woman away, to Arcadia.

Her Keeper decided that since Anni was cold, she would be cold-blooded as well. She cast the young woman into the water, and she changed her that very first hour in Arcadia, into something cold, and beautiful, and predatory. Where the Huntress's chosen were Amazons like so many wolves, Anni was a serpent, a predator in ambush, but in so many other ways she was like them, part of their circle of huntresses. She hunted beasts and she hunted men, and sometimes she hunted with sharp claws, and sometimes she hunted with promises of lust beneath the water. Occasionally, Anni would do both, taking a lover only to drown them, watching the dying breaths bubble from their lips as their flesh grew cold and slack, as passion turned to terror and then stillness.

It probably should have bothered Anni, but it didn't. They just died so easily, their thrashings fading so quickly. She saw them die, was the cause of their deaths, and felt precious little guilt. What bothered Anni, perhaps, was the fact that she wasn't bothered. It was her Keeper's will, but still, Anni thought she would have felt more conflicted over murder. Except she wasn't.

On the contrary, her Durance was the happiest time of her life, because here was the connection she had been searching for all her life. She felt with the other huntresses, felt the companionship of the wolf pack, a perfect connection that was far more sublime than anything Anni had ever felt before in her life. They were hunters, in violence and in lust, together. Anni never wanted it to end... yet it did.

Subjectively, Anni's Durance lasted seven years, though she aged not at all during it, and in the mortal realm only two years passed. Her escape was unexpected. There was an argument over prey. Anni lost, and in the manner of the maenads, those who had been her friends and lovers turned on her, casting her out. Frantic, furious, alone, she fled into the waters. A day and night later Anni washed up on the banks of the Thames, cold, shivering, and naked. The police found her before she died of hypothermia, and the Unseelie found her at Guy's a few hours after that.

That happened in 2005. Anni settled into her new life with an ease born of not caring what happened. She didn't bother looking up her fetch or her old life, and she found a niche in the Freehold quickly enough (no one likes to advertise it, but there's always room for remorseless killers in most supernatural organizations). She joined the Seelie Court. She claims, if asked, that it was because violence was something she was good at, and she wanted to give back. And that might be true, a little.

But the bigger truth is that Anni misses the old connection that she had with the other huntresses. For that timeless moment, Anni finally had the connection that she'd so desperately wanted all her life, but was never able to gain. And then it was taken away from her. Fighting with the Seelie, even with a fellow alumni of the Huntress of Blood and Desire like Chesire, is poor compensation for what Anni's lost, but it's all she has.

Physically, Anni is a small, pretty Desi woman with a muscular swimmer's build and a nose ring, looking to be about in her late twenties. She keeps her black hair cropped short, and her eyes are dark, luminous, and very bright. She's definitely attractive, and moves with a cool, fluid grace. Beneath the Mask, Anni actually looks much the same -- except her brown skin is now specked with tiny black scales, her eyes are larger and strangely liquid, her feet and hands are clawed and webbed, and sharp, fish-like spines emerge from her wrists, elbows, and knees, spines entirely capable of skewering a man. She usually dresses in form-fitting shorts and shirts, of the sort suitable for a quick swim, and her clothing has a decidedly goth or steampunk edge to it, particularly on the occasions that Anni bothers to wear a sari for a formal occasion.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 3; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Nixie; Art History; Seductress; Emotionally Hollow
Banes: Plague of Purity

Veil
Jordan Townsend

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlements: Mirror-Walker
Seeming: Elemental
Kith: Libran
Apparent Age: Late twenties? (Probably older than this by a decade at least)

[spoiler=Veil]



[/spoiler.]

Virtue: Trustworthy
Vice: Cruel

Background: In early 2011, an exceptionally pretty, white-haired individual of androgynous aspect and variable gender appeared in the Freehold of New Jerusalem. This was Veil, and Veil was a criminal, a thief, a spy, a lover, and maybe a little crazy. Why had no one ever heard of Veil before? Well, Veil was a very good criminal, thief, spy, and lover, and it wasn't immediately obvious that Veil was a little off.

According to the court records, Jordan Townsend was an orphan raised in a succession of foster homes in London, a smart, pretty, tomboyish girl who was also moody, sullen, and a juvenile delinquent. By the time Jordan finally got out from under the thumb of the NHS at the age of eighteen, she'd been through eleven foster families and had spent a total of seven months in Juvie for theft and petty fraud. The progression to career criminal was pretty much assured.

To hear Veil tell it now, Jordan really should have known better than to pick the lock on that room in the old house that wasn't on the floorplan and couldn't have possibly fit between the rooms on either side. Curiosity, unfortunately, killed the cat, and it got Jordan sucked into Arcadia, where being killed was probably the nicest thing that could have happened.

Her Keeper needed a spy, and Jordan was to be that spy, and so the Black General threw her to the surgeons (or more accurately, to writhing horrors with too many tentacles, suckers, and scalpels who bore nametags identifying them as surgeons). They erased Jordan's identity, rebuilt her into a creature that could walk without making a sound, hear a cricket chirp across an empty field, and change shape from woman to man to other. It probably wasn't the most traumatic sex reassignment surgery ever, but it definitely rated an honorable mention.

Afterwards, the new individual, who was termed Veil in the military files of that Arcadian wasteland, became a spy for the True Fae. Forced to survive, Jordan embraced its new identity as Veil with a bit more enthusiasm than would be entirely healthy, all the while never ceasing to seek an escape. Which, eventually, Veil found. Really, the True Fae wanted to make a perfect, uncatchable spy, and then were surprised when they couldn't catch it? Veil figured they should've known better.

Back in the mortal world, Veil put those new talents to good use, going on a discreet but highly effective crime spree all over Europe (the Eurozone's open borders are the best things, as far as Veil is concerned, even if getting on and off the British Isles is trickier). False paperwork was procured, goods were fenced, and Veil put that money into investments that ensured that Veil was never going to have to work again. Then... Veil got bored.

There's just so much fun to be had from robbing mundane mortals, and Veil didn't really feel like stepping up to rifling the homes of billionaires or the vaults of national museums. So instead, Veil went back to London and offered those services to Todd White. According to scuttlebutt, the gorgeous international thief did not have a hard time getting an interview. Since then, Veil's become a Collector of Whispers for the Unseelie, breaking into places that can't be broken into, spying on the supernatural, and otherwise being a general nuisance to anyone who values concepts of privacy or secrecy.

On the job, Veil disappears into a role, becoming whatever a mission requires. Veil has the kind of acting chops that would guarantee a long career in theater and film if Veil ever tires of theft. Off the job, Veil is cocky, brash, mischievous, and maybe a trifle cruel, with a penchant for cutting wit, mind games, and getting into trouble. Veil can be difficult at times, but no one doubts the spy's skill, and Veil can be remarkably entertaining company when the androgynous changeling tries to be. Veil's highly intelligent and very well read, particularly on anything related to the Fair Folk (thievery is a job that requires a lot of preparation, but since Veil doesn't really have any expensive tastes, a successful job can give the changeling months of free time).

Most people who meet Veil just end up staring at the person. Veil is really pretty, in an androgynous, pale, white-haired bishounen sort of way, with plenty of short, curly white hair. Veil's a tall one, five-foot-eleven, with a slender, rather delicate build that suggests a fragility that is belied by the sheer number of scars Veil has all over the changeling's body (Veil claims they're mostly surgical scars, though some look an awful lot like claw marks). Veil's face is mostly feminine, yet with a strong jaw, and sharp green eyes. The changeling shows the secondary sexual characteristics of both genders, with a smooth voice that says nothing, a hint of curves, and a rather boyish appearance all over. Veil's proudest features are the changeling's hands, which have very long, slender fingers, perfect for picking locks or rifling through pockets.

Beneath the Mask, Veil's Mien actually looks much like the changeling's mortal form. The green eyes turn a shade of aquamarine not found in nature, and the hair looks even curlier, wispier, like feathery clouds that absolutely refuse to stay combed. Veil's a shapeshifter, and can look more feminine or more masculine with only a moment's effort.

Veil normally dresses in the least practical clothing the changeling can find when not on the job, possibly as a way of emphasizing the spy's individual identity. Frilly shirts with lots of lace, ridiculous hats (occasionally with feathers in them), uncomfortably tight pants (that's uncomfortable for other people, not Veil), and enough hidden knives to outfit a cutlery store. Somehow, Veil makes it work.

Rank: 3
Mental 6; Physical 2; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Super Spy; Master Thief; Striking Looks 2 (Bishounen)
Banes: True Name; Symbols

Lobsterback Bill
William Ryder-Douglass

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Knight of the Rose, The Honorable Order of the Third Hour (T.H.O.T.H.)
Seeming: Wizened
Kith: Soldier
Born: 1981

[spoiler=Lobsterback Bill][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Determined
Vice: Cowardly

Background: There was never any real doubt that William Ryder-Douglass would join the British Army. His father had served in the Falklands, his grandfather in World War II, his great-grandfather in World War I, his great-great-grandfather in the Boer War. Military service was a family tradition stretching into the murky past, and William was as proud as anyone at the chance to serve Queen and Country. At the age of eighteen he signed up, and after getting a solid technical education, William was off.

William spent most of the nineties shuttling from one conflict to another, pulling terms of duty in Bosnia and Kosovo, and he loved it. The things that other people hated about the military, the discipline, the hard work, William thrived under them. He found the discipline comforting, and the constant work gave his life a sense of purpose and meaning. He was doing something that mattered. But even more, he was doing it with other people, other soldiers who felt as he did. Theirs was a bond of brotherhood, forged in the flames of war.

But it was not until 9/11 and Britain's entry into the "Coalition of the Willing" that William got a true taste of war, on the front lines instead of pulling support detail. He would be among the first Commonwealth troops in Afghanistan, and between 2001 and 2009, William spent six years in Afghanistan and Iraq. It broke him.

Time and time and time again, William set out with his squad into the hilly wilderness or the blasted urban wasteland. Insurgents sniped at him from hiding, IEDs detonated without any warning, suicide bombers turned every civilian into a potential threat. Death became a constant presence, and though William survived, fewer and fewer of his fellow soldiers did. It got to him, and it soured what he had once loved about the military. The discipline was a sham when it couldn't save you, the brotherhood felt hollow when anyone could die, even the duty and purpose, Queen and Country, seemed tainted by being out here in the middle of nowhere. William began to dread every sortie, wondering each time if this one would be the last. He tried drink and drugs to soothe his mind, but the hallucinations frightened him, and the drink only turned him maudling and miserable and lonely. By 2009, William was desperate for release. If he weren't so terrified of death, he would have put a bullet through his brain.

Instead, William did something worse. He should have wondered about the Contractor, that smiling man in his red suit and red gloves and shiny red shoes, who offered William a way out of the war in exchange for a little mission. Frightened, desperate, William signed on the dotted line, and the Contractor shook his hand and opened the door to Arcadia.

There are wars in Arcadia, and they make the most senseless of human conflicts seem full of glory and great deeds. A casual insult between two Keepers can only be washed away with the blood of hob and changeling. A Lord of the Gentry spots a flower in a rival's garden, and launched a war to pluck it for himself. Something about the blood and the carnage pleases the True Fae, and where two Keepers went to war, there was the Contractor, offering the services of his soldiers, and there was William.

William lost track of the time, just taking each hideous day as it came. He was bombarded by balefire, sniped by elf-shot, bayoneted and burned and bloodied, he overran trenches of dead men and fought horrors from beyond sanity. His contact never seemed to end, the fine print getting finer each time William begged the Contractor to let him go. There was always one more clause, one more desperate sally into the breach, one more war to fight.

Escape came when the fear of living became greater than the fear of death. During a desperate retreat through a fetid swamp of copper-beaked birds and venomous leeches, William fell behind. He hid as the enemy forces swept across, with their guns and gleaming bone axes, and in the darkness that followed, he crept away. Through the Hedge, William skulked, until finally, he was free.

There wasn't really very much left of William's life when he came back, or of his nerve, for that matter. In the mortal world, he'd been gone for not quite nine months. His fetch had died in an IED in Afghanistan in early 2010, a few weeks before William came back. There wasn't anything for William to come back to, so he drifted, until the Freehold found him. He joined the Spring Court, a veteran of horrors too hideous to contemplate, and became one of the Crimson Knights.

These days, William, or Lobsterback Bill as he's sometimes called, is a broken, twitchy, nervous wreck of a man. He's afraid of everything. He's afraid of True Fae, vampires, werewolves, mages, Summer Courtiers, Autumn Courtiers, Winter Courtiers, guns, fire, thunder, gang members, white supremacists, anyone strongly religious, wolves, snakes, spiders, heavy machinery, doctors, cats, blood, needles, heights, enclosed spaces, darkness... it's not a pretty sort of contained, manly fear either. When scared, William gibbers and meeps and squeaks like a trodden mouse, he shivers and stutters and cries. There's nothing glamorous about William when he's scared, and he's scared just about all the time. The way that Eskimos have dozens of words for snow, so William can divine a score or more different kinds of fear, from foreboding and dread to sheer, bowel-evacuating terror.

One might ask, quite reasonably, why such a man decided to become a Crimson Knight. The answer is two-fold. First, there's just not an awful lot that William is good for otherwise. He has a day job as a mechanic, cars being less temperamental than Arcadian siege engines, and also less likely to bite, this is a job he can do, but it just barely pays the rent. The other part is that fighting for the Freehold lets William maintain the smallest, tiniest kernel of his self-respect. If he's not a soldier, then why does he even exist? What's the point to his continued use of oxygen? And so, when the call goes out, William still goes and faces whatever the Seelie need put down, just so he can look himself in the mirror in the morning.

The thing is though, despite being as twitchy as a hyperactive squirrel, William's a good man to have around in a fight. Actually, it's probably because he is as twitchy as a hyperactive squirrel. Years of life on the edge of terrified breakdown have honed William's reflexes to a knife's edge. He's fast, he loves taking orders (having someone looking at the big picture means there's at least one thing William doesn't have to worry about), and he knows how to use every weapon in this world and the next.

Most of the time though, Lobsterback Bill's just a drudge in the Seelie Court, and happy with it. He's one of the people who keeps everything running in the background, because he's willing to do any work, and he's still got that Wizened touch with all things technical. He's easy to forget, Lobsterback Bill, but the Seelie try to keep him involved.

When not terrified, William's really a very nice guy. He might jump at loud noises, he stutters horribly when confronted with the more beautiful members of his Court, and he's not the fastest on the uptake, but he's nice. He thinks of others, and he's conscientious in his work, whatever it might be. Arcadia broke him of any vicious streak he may have ever had. He does seem a little sad, and most people tend to think of him as harmless and non-threatening, which is grossly inaccurate but still seems a common impression of the fellow. He does swear like only a soldier from Arcadia can, though his oaths tend to be a little on the odd side ("By Jehoshaphat's Teeth" is a common one).

William spent a lot of time in Arcadia, and it left him prematurely aged. On paper, he's about thirty, but he looks to be in his mid-forties at the very least. He's not an attractive man by any stretch of the imagination, with advanced male pattern baldness and a scraggly brown beard that's never as trimmed as he might wish it was. His eyes are a sort of washed out brown color. He's on the short side, but it's a compact shortness, as if he's dense and gristly.

Beneath the Mask, William bears the scars of the Other's idea of battle-field surgery. He's got sensitive, bat-like ears that poke out the sides of his head. His teeth look like shiny chrome bullets, and his loose, wrinkly skin is faintly mottled, not quite camouflage but certainly enough to break up his form. Most distinctive, however, are the huge metal plates that give Lobsterback Bill his nickname. Formed of some Arcadian metal, they were used to patch him up after battle and also as impromptu metal plating. They appear to be simply riveted to his form, the most prominent covering about half of his head -- despite his name, the plates are not red so much as a shade of puce though.

In the mortal world, Bill mostly wears overalls, but in the Hedge he wears his old uniform from the Arcadian wars, most notably a jaunty red, visored cap that looked like the reject from a marching bad. His blue and red coat, with its bandoliers and tool belts beneath it, seems similarly something out of a Napoleonic War dress uniform.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 5; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Professional Soldier; Knife's Edge Reflexes
Banes: Compulsion (Follow a Superior Officer's Orders)

Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby

Type: Hobgoblin (Hedge Beast)

[spoiler=Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Adventurous
Vice: Gluttonous

Background: The Goblin Market at Picadilly Circus is rivaled by few outside of Arcadia. In its carnival-like atmosphere, one can buy or sell anything, from a shoe to a soul, from a cat's whisker to a submachine gun. Most of the market stalls are temporary, but a few merchants take advantage of its grand location to operate full time. And of these permanent shops, the biggest and best is Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby's Accouterments and Paraphernalia for the Discerning Gentleman, Lady, or Squamous Individual more commonly known as Ponsonby's.

The staff of Ponsonby's (a motley mixture of eerie, bright-eyed hobs and hollow, zombie-like thralls, both dressed in double-breasted uniforms with rows of brass buttons) specialize in providing the customer with any kind of occult ingredient, artifact, or tome that the user can possibly require. Do you require eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, or tongue of dog? Ponsonby's wholesales them. Something more unique, a set of highly detailed globes of the Galilean moons, a candle made from human fat, bell, book, and candle that were used in an excommunication? Let the staff check the back room, they might just have something like that. Something particularly odd and outré, Lewis Carroll's fountain pen, a grimoire containing a bound demon, a ruby the size of a man's thumb? Step into the office, sir, and let us discuss matters with the Proprietress.

That worthy individual is the titular Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby, in her own words the daughter of a Suffragan bishop from York, graduate of Oxford University, and proud Lady Adventurer who after a long and fulfilling life has retired to a less strenuous position. People may find this difficult to believe at first, because Miss Ponsonby is hermaphroditic gastropod approximately five inches in length, a nudibranch to be precise. She mostly lives in an aquarium on the top floor of Ponsonby's, though she sometimes comes out, usually on the shoulder of a thrall, with a few hobs dancing in attendance. How she speaks is... uncertain, though she's clearly capable of using a host of Contracts.

According to Miss Ponsonby, she traveled all over the world during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. She was in China during the Boxer Uprising, and fought off two Boxers with her parasol. In Africa, she was adopted as the favored daughter of a cannibal king ("Dear Chief Nsonowa," she still refers to him as). In South America, Miss Ponsonby was within a hair's breadth of discovering a secret Incan city until her steamboat sprung a leak. She campaigned actively for the cause of Women's Suffrage, and was arrested for chaining herself to the fence in front of Number 10 Downing Street. She dined with Lord Kitchener in Sudan, danced with Tsar Nicholas II, discussed railroads with Cecil Rhodes. Miss Ponsonby claims to have visited numerous locations, met many interesting and historically significant people, and to have encountered a host of curious objects and creatures over the course of her travels.

How she did this while a nudibranch (and thus lacking certain important parts of the body, such as limbs) is an excellent question, but Miss Ponsonby seems unable or unwilling to confront the fact that she's a nudibranch. People who insist on this fact are politely asked to leave by her attendant hobs, at least until they can "get a hold of themselves." Nevertheless, Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby is insistent on her version of events (while admitting that she may occasionally exaggerate them, just a trifle), and her apartment at Ponsonby's is filled with handwritten journals, collections of taxidermied animals, photographs (none showing Miss Ponsonby), and cultural artifacts that lend a certain amount of credibility to her claim, even as the fact that no records exist of a Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby or any of her exploits detracts from it.

Most of the time, Miss Ponsonby affects a demeanor similar to that of one's garrulous, slightly tipsy maiden aunt, always prepared with a story. She adores milkshakes and seems to get drunk off them, and knows a lot of bawdy songs. That said, Miss Ponsonby has a strong sense of the proper, and she can be highly shrewd when business is being discussed. She mostly stays at Ponsonby's, but she does sometimes go out into the world, and has been spotted at the Ebon Engine, the Menier Chocolate Factory, and the Cat's Cradle.

Rank: 3
Mental 6; Physical 0; Social 6
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Improbable Stories; Been There, Done That

Shrike

Type: Hobgoblin (Sylph)
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Summer
Entitlement: General Incarnadine, Office of Vizerial Counsel, Knight of the Rose
Apparent Age: Early 40s



Virtue: Code of Behavior (Faerie Etiquette)
Vice: Resentful (or more precisely, extremely vengeful)

Background: The sylphs are one of the more human-seeming denizens of the Hedge, which tends to cause changelings, who really ought to know better, to imbue them with more humanity than they possess. But much like the ill-tempered, foul-spirited hobs of the Hedge, the sylphs' humanity is only skin deep. It just manifests in a different way.

In some ways, certainly, the sylphs are like creatures that can be understood. They are born, they mature, and they grow old (whether they can actually die of old age is a separate question). The sylph that came to be known as Shrike was born into a sylph village at some indeterminate point of time in the past, and like most young sylphs spent her youth as a bee-herder. Bee-herding, however, is not a prestigious occupation, nor a well-remunerated one, and so at some point the young Shrike packed her things and set off in search of her fortune.

She found it in a nameless Thorn Town somewhere deep in the Hedge, when an unspeakably beautiful (or was it beautifully unspeakable?) Keeper strolled in, seeking soldiers for an assault on a rival True Fae's stronghold. Shrike took the Keeper's enchanted silver, and she survived the battle. It was the beginning of a new career as a soldier of fortune in the mad wars of Arcadia. How long this time lasted, none can say, not even Shrike, but she grew strong from the experience, and she grew canny in the ways of battle. She also grew, by sylph standards, fairly wealthy.

Still, there comes a time for all good things to come to an end, and so Shrike retired from her mercenary life and returned home, her loot in hand. She was a person of status in her old village, and thus when the Grand Wyrm Valrauth burned said village down for the umpteenth time, it was Shrike who negotiated a new contract with the Freehold of New Jerusalem, a mercenary contract but this time for her entire community. The terms were deceptively simple. In exchange for a place to live in Rosehaven, the sylphs would serve as guards and watchmen for the Freehold. Shrike even managed to get Erin-made, sylph-sized furniture thrown into the bargain, which has pretty much cemented Shrike's status as ruler over the sylphs. Shrike also has the title of General Incarnadine in the Freehold, by simple virtue of the fact that she has more experience with how the Gentry make war than anyone else.

On first encounter, Shrike can be extremely formal, although this is a fae etiquette that bears only a passing resemblance to mortal concepts of politeness. It is only after she comes to know someone that she loosens up, her demeanor more of a cheerfully amoral soldier of fortune. Shrike is a hobgoblin, which means that concepts such as 'love' and 'gratitude' are purely incomprehensible to her. Instead, Shrike is driven by a ruthless sense of self-aggrandizement, tempered only by the fact that she is extremely conscientious in carrying out her obligations. If Shrike has promised something, she will accomplish it or die trying (and she expects similar levels of commitment from anyone who promises her anything). She doesn't 'care' for her community, precisely, but she does feel obligated to them. Her sense of obligation to the Freehold isn't anywhere near as strong right now, but they are her employers, and Shrike will do right by them.

Something else to note is that Shrike is a creature of the Hedge, and is thus thoroughly unacquainted with mortal technology or mortal social values. Her own mindset is roughly that of a Renaissance Italian condottiero, which includes a certain bafflement as to why Aurora doesn't periodically impale people as a warning to any foes.

Physically, Shrike is a sylph, which means certain things. First, it means that she's about ten inches tall and weighs roughly a pound (sylphs, like birds, have hollow bones). It means that she has dragonfly wings with a wingspan of about two feet, retractable black claws on her hands, and her feet are a sort of bird-like talon. Sylphs have something of the elfin beauty of the great True Fae, and Shrike is no exception -- she's a sculpted, well-muscled woman with a strong jaw and large, cat-green eyes, very short blond hair, and a beauty mark under her left eye. In battle, Shrike wears enchanted armor that resembles nothing quite so much as black platemail with embedded fishhooks, while for formal occasions she dons a bloodred uniform with gold trim. Most of the time though, Shrike just wanders around Rosehaven in short leather trousers and a top that looks like x-shaped bandages wrapped around her form (to allow her wings full freedom of movement).

Despite the fact that she's not even a foot tall, Shrike is a very good warrior. Her preferred weapons are the sword and spear, and like all sylphs, she tends to poison them. She is also extremely fast, even by sylph standards (who have reflexes like hummingbirds), which means that anyone who tries to fight her usually finds themselves sprouting a poisonous spear from their eyeball within the first second of combat.

Rank: 3
Mental 5; Physical 5; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Arcadian Condottiero; Tiny and Fast

Daphne Espinosa
Angela Maitim Moreno

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: College of the Tallowed Flame, Archer of the Lonely March
Seeming Elemental
Kith: Woodblood/Flowering
Born: ??? (Escaped 2004)
Apparent Age: Late 20s

[spoiler=Daphne][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Pragmatic
Vice: Shy

Background:
A music box hanging over a crib...

The garden, where She orders me to dig my feet into the mulch and dirt.

Mother's voice, soothing.

Fingers and nails caked with soil, even my tears are stained with it. She makes me eat it and sleep outside. I don't remember mummy's face.
Some of the Lost remember every moment of their Durance, remember every twisted touch of their Keeper, every lunatic moment of Arcadia. Some remember nothing but the Thorns of their return journey. The dryad known as Daphne Espinosa remembers only vague impressions of her time in Arcadia. Only the moss-covered hair, the dry-leaf rattle, the dark and glinting eyes, the claws. Of her mortal life, she remembers still less, though she remembered her name, and that was enough - Angela Maitim Moreno.

One should not from this gain the impression that Daphne was some lost little lamb, forlorn and confused. Quite the contrary, hers was a powerful will and an extremely practical, can-do spirit that soon saw her achieve a success denied to many less well-adjusted changelings.

So what is known? Well, Daphne was born to Filipino-British parents from Surrey, which is where her fetch still lives. She knows they are her parents though she doesn't actually remember them, and she has no great interest in reclaiming her life even if it wasn't forbidden by the Fetchlaw. She was probably taken at a very young age, and her Durance left her with shattered memories, a goodly store of occult knowledge (especially with regards to potions and poisons), and a rather practical approach to the world.

These similarities to the Durance of another local witch, the huldra Inkeri Halveri, lead some to think that the two shared a Keeper, and that perhaps they knew one another in Arcadia. What is known is that the (factually older yet to appearances younger) Inky put up Daphne in her own flat for about a year immediately after the latter's arrival in London, and the two are as close friends as either has.

Which brings one to the present. Daphne emerged from the Hedge with a solid knowledge of potions and herbalism, and a few pre-med courses, some faked documents, and a few pulled strings later she had a job as a pharmacist at Guy's Hospital. She's stayed there till the present day, though she also has a Hollow in the Hedge, an abandoned Victorian greenhouse where she grows all manner of not entirely safe Hedge Fruit for sale at Piccadilly Circus. She's in a motley with Inky and with the nixie Anni Icevein, and while none of the trio are terribly demonstrative in their affections, they seem to work together well. Probably because they're all more than a bit dangerous and dubious.

This summarizes Daphne rather well. She's ostensibly on the Freehold's side, but she's not entirely safe. Daphne is a witch, and in the old sense of the word -- she's a master of potions and poisons, and she'll provide either to those who come to her. A soporific slipped into tea? Easy. A little powder to stop the heart? But of course. Henbane, mandrake, digitalis (they called it witch's gloves), belladonna, aconite? She keeps them by the jar full. Daphne's collection of mundane poisons are enough to depopulate a good-sized neighborhood, though the dryad treats them with a casual neglect. They aren't really very interesting, compared to the pharmaceutical wonders of the Hedge. There are poisons that cause one's shadow to wither and die, that cause birds to hatch from one's eyes (shattering them like eggshells), or that slowly hollow their victim out till there's nothing but dusty skin remaining. Those are the poisons that attract Daphne's experimental attentions.

This is not to say that Daphne is a psychotic madwoman. Au contraire! When met, Daphne is a calm, rather cool young woman, reserved but not unemotional. She rarely smiles or is extravagant in her gestures, but she manages to convey a sense of pleasure and amusement nevertheless. There's no malice or depression in her eyes, she simply is someone who doesn't animate herself very much ("This is my happy face.") She enjoys solitude and silence, but she isn't antisocial so much as introverted. She'll enjoy the company of other people in short doses (for they're really very interesting, very complex, and Daphne loves watching what people do), but she tires and retreats swiftly enough. It's one reason she enjoys being with Anni, who is equally at home with silences, and Inky, who can chat for hours but doesn't actually mind if Daphne zones out.

Of course, she also has a fair claim to being the third most dangerous changeling in London, after the Jack and the Horseman, but Daphne keeps her more toxic compounds exclusive to the Freehold's use (this is an organization that considers being a sanctioned assassin a high-ranking title). Daphne also produces a number of less-dangerous products, healing powders and herbal salves, candles that protect against dreams or, of course, aphrodisiacs (there's always a market there, to Daphne's eternal amusement).

To mortal eyes, Daphne is tall for her heritage, about 5'7", and her face is unusually angular, with long, wavy black hair, liquid brown eyes, and medium-brown skin. She is twiglike, thin but still in the range of healthy. Green tattoos cover her limbs and chest, of ivy and vine wrapping and weaving itself around her. Her eyes are round, perceptive, and in sunlight, slightly amber. Her skin appears dry. Daphne can often be seen in tank tops, short sleeve blouses with especially low-cut backs, or even halter tops, along with free-flowing skirts and sandals. She often has a flower in her hair, but it never seems to fall out or be clipped on.

Beneath the Mask, Daphne is near six feet tall. Her eyes are not brown, but a liquidy lavender that shines orange and blue against the light. The tattoos on her limbs are not tattoos but real leaves growing around and on her, much like vines cling to a tree. Similarly, the black of her hair is faded into a green, tangled and wild from the plant life that harbors there. Her brown skin is truly bark, hairline divisions running all across her body. Perhaps the most disturbing part of Daphne are the two branches that erupt from her back. Instead of wings like the faeries of children's stories, her extra limbs do not fly and merely get in the way of sitting or leaning back. They will actually blossom depending on the season, and Daphne always has a scent of magnolia or gardenia about her.

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Dryad; Herbalist; Poisoner
Banes: Repulsion (Fire)

Rig

Type: Changeling(?)
Affiliation: Freehold of New Jerusalem
Court: Winter
Entitlements: Knight of the Rose
Seeming: Wizened
Kith: Gremlin/Airtouched

[spoiler=Rig][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Adventurous
Vice: Mischievous (Your character can't resist a good prank or joke, even if it blows up in her face later. Regain a Willpower point when your character causes trouble for someone, including herself, in a way that has no practical benefit to her or anyone else.)

Background: Gremlins are considered a relatively new presence among the Fair Folk, although there's some who theorize they were originally spirits of the sky, who only began interacting with humanity when aircraft carried them back down to the world below. However they came to to be known, they have an inexplicable love of sabotaging technology, especially planes. Perhaps its jealousy, or revenge over being disturbed. Or maybe it's simply something for them to do. It's second nature to them nowadays, and they've branched out from planes to any technological device imaginable. They get into cars, airplanes, computers, and even software code. No one really thinks they exist, but they certainly make satisfying scapegoats when nothing earthly seems to be wrong.

Rewind back to World War II, the East African Campaign. On the eve of a major offensive, Flight Lieutenant James Dalton had his Fairey Battle bomber grounded for the third time due to mysterious technical difficulties. Having requested new ground crew both previous times, and having personally kept an eye out for enemy saboteurs, Flight Lieutenant James Dalton was not amused. James also happened to have a grandfather who'd been stationed in India for a while, and who'd come back with some interesting knowledge, which had wound up impressed on his impressionable young grandson. The end result of this was a trap set for unwary supernatural entities, which James half-expected to be full of tiny gremlins in the morning. What he actually found was a tiny Kenyan Arab woman, with long white hair and skin like the desert air at sunset. Which was exceptionally awkward, but she had been caught in the act of breaking his plane, and she was well and good stuck in his supernatural trap. Desperate to get free, and not to be hauled before British command as an enemy saboteur, she made James a great many promises if he'd just forget this all ever happened. There was a war on, after all. Could he afford to say no?

Fast forward two weeks, and it was the Italians now having trouble with their planes, tanks, and automobiles. It was blamed on the sand, or enemy action, or just army incompetence. In some places, this may have been true, but it was helped along by a sprightly djinn, dubbed "Rigger" by the Kenyan RAF as a minor joke (Riggers were ground crews that worked on airplane frames). In truth, she could have been better at her job - she was entirely undisciplined, didn't always follow orders, and had a habit of causing trouble without thinking through the consequences. But this was balanced by her knack for being able to get anywhere without being seen, and for moving inhumanly swift on the evening winds. Fast forward to the end of the war: Squadron Leader James Dalton came back to England, and Rigger (now shortened to Rig) stayed with him. It was somewhat eyebrow-raising to those who knew him at home. James, raised on glorified tales of British colonialism, didn't notice.

But that was the end of the glory days for Rig. There just wasn't much call for a saboteur now that the war was over, and not much call for someone who tended to break everything and cause trouble. She languished for a while, breezing from place to place in society, but there just wasn't a sense of adventure like there had been back in the war. James Dalton eventually died, leaving her a sum of money in his will and a business opportunity in the form of his much less scrupulous son, Matthew Dalton. For several decades she worked as an industrial saboteur, wrecking his competitors assets. But he ran afoul of a company even more unscrupulous than him - he died in the late 90s, penniless, broken, and facing down legal charges, in what was probably suicide. And Rig... got depressed.

Theoretically, hobgoblins are incapable of love or caring, which is the best argument there is that Rig isn't some manner of hobgoblin. But she'd really loved that charismatic, wicked, magnificent bastard of a man, and he seemed to have genuinely cared for her too. Unfortunately, no one really shared her sentiments (with good reason), which left her unaware that seeking help for her grief was a thing she could do. For a while, she simply did nothing, burning through her reserves of money in attempts to make herself feel better. In the mid-2000s, she spent the very last of her resources moving to London, in a final attempt to restart her life before sliding completely into apathy. If she couldn't find excitement in London, she reasoned, she couldn't find it anywhere.

What she found was the corporate HQ of the company that ruined Matthew Dalton, and thus a new goal in life. Revenge wasn't really a thing worth living for, but it sufficed until something else could be found. All she needed now was resources to plan out her move. Fortunately, the London Freehold always has a use for breaking things.

Rig is an adorable, round-faced little sprite. She's also a wicked little imp who causes trouble for the sake of causing trouble. Rig is no killer, but is otherwise wholly unscrupulous, heartily enjoying espionage, mass property damage, bribery, and grand theft. Either fortunately or unfortunately, however, she isn't the best at any of this stuff. Or rather, she is very good at causing problems, and not so very good at ensuring the problems are the ones she intended. But that's alright, so long as the resulting chaos is entertaining. As an air-spirit, she seems infected by chaos, although if something needs to be surreptitiously dismantled, there's no one better to call. Beyond that, she tends to just randomly prank or break things if a good opportunity presents itself... or a bad one. Causing trouble and getting away with it is one of the few things that leaves her feeling like her old self again, so her behavior has arguably been getting worse over time. It's likely only the Freehold pledges that even slightly keep her allied to anyone in London.

Rig is still settled with a deep sorrow, a grief that never healed because everyone told her it wasn't permitted - this has left her more manageable in most times, but completely uncontrollable when she does decide to act out. She's stoic and can act cheerfully enough, but keeps a distinct emotional distance from calm, polite people. The only people she really likes are unscrupulous ones: liars, cheats, swindlers, cads, and con-artists, charismatic bastards that remind her of Matthew. Around them, she cautiously opens up into the sparkling, mischievous little creature she used to be, back when she had a purpose and a sense of camaraderie.

Rig is a tiny Kenyan Arab woman with green eyes, and flowing white hair run through with braids. She looked twenty or so when James Dalton found her in Africa, and she looks twenty today. No one's quite sure why she doesn't age, but she doesn't. In her changeling mien, her brown skin is run over with patterns the color of the sunset desert sky. Her legs fade into a pale, near translucent white, her feet tiny rose-tipped points. Two soft "ears" stick out of the top of her head, slightly resembling a propeller. She tends to wear goggles and an aviator scarf from her World War II days, and otherwise wears neutral colored dresses and tiny slippers.

Rank: 3
Mental 4; Physical 5; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 5
Notable Powers: Master Saboteur; Surprisingly Sneaky; Causer of Chaos; Elements (Smoke & Wind) 5
Banes: Technophage, Taboo (Never fix a machine that you have sabotaged)

Lizard
Deepak Konchady

Type: Changeling
Affiliation: The People’s Republic of Clerkenwell and Soho
Seeming: Darkling
Kith: Lurkglider
Born: 1978
Apparent Age: Late twenties

[spoiler=”Lizard”][/spoiler.]

Virtue: Honest
Vice: Arrogant

Background: Deepak Konchady had as normal a childhood as his parents could manage to give an Indian boy living in South Africa during the apartheid. They hid ugly truths with half-lies and misdirection, and it was only his mother’s near-hysterical anger at discovering he’d snuck off again to explore that made Deepak think that maybe there were dangers out there worse than scraped knees and splinters.

It wasn’t until his family left their small town for London that he began to realize how far from the truth that was. Deepak, now 13, wasn’t so easily lied to anymore. He couldn’t be convinced that things were fine the way they are, now that it was easier to see how much better they could be. He started to demand the truth from his parents, starting with how, exactly, a poor family had managed to get all the way to England from South Africa. Deepak wanted to know the truth, no matter how bad it was.

And so he did, for the most part. He found out how hard it was for immigrants like his family. He found out his father had lost his job. He found out how many debt collectors were hounding them. He never did find out what his father had done to get them out. One night, after an especially vitriolic fight with his increasingly-drunken old man, Deepak up and left. He was sick of the lies, of the corrupt and unjust systems that had kept him down. He didn’t like this game, so he wasn’t going to play it anymore.

Deepak fell off the grid (not that anyone looked too hard for him--he was nearly an adult, now). He got by on dumpster diving, the occasional small theft, and mooching off girls who wanted to piss off their parents by dating a rough-but-handsome delinquent. His free time, which he had plenty of, was spent exploring places he wasn’t supposed to be. Deepak scaled industrial cranes to put himself above the urban jungle. He witnessed the decay of society in abandoned facilities. He made his mark on the world with an aerosol can.

It wasn’t the safest lifestyle, and eventually it caught up with him. The floor in one room of the old Denbigh Asylum proved to be held together more by mold than wood, and he tumbled through into what appeared to be an as-yet unexplored basement. Deepak could have (should have) called for help on his crappy prepaid mobile, but that would have been humiliating, so instead he searched for a way out.

Besides, there was a terribly tempting walk-in safe in the room. He’d heard rumors about it, and what it might contain, but had disregarded them along with the other rumors about the asylum, most of which involved ghostly serial killers. He was lucky (too lucky) to find the combination in a stack of files, but found the only thing the vault held was an unevenly-dug dirt tunnel that stretched on into darkness. Deepak thought it was likely a secret passage to somewhere else, and he was right. He just hadn’t been expecting “somewhere else” to be Arcadia.

His keeper had need of a messenger, and so Deepak’s body was altered to better meet that need. His mind needed little persuading. He scurried down dark tunnels and up cliff walls, delivering news to the other changelings--news that was nearly always bad for the one receiving it. He would watch them try to flee from him when they saw him coming, or drown out his words, but he wouldn’t let them hide from the truth. Hell, sometimes he’d even rub their faces in it, teasing them with horrific tidbits before letting the bomb drop. For the first time in his life, he had power over others, and it was intoxicating. Deepak shed his old life like a skin, and his name along with it. They called him Lizard now, which was the most idiotic thing, because couldn’t these idiots realize he was a gecko? They probably deserved whatever they had coming…

Lizard’s escape was an accident, and almost symmetrical to his capture. He’d gotten lost in one of the tunnels, and kept going in hopes of finding an intersection he recognized. Instead, he’d come out in the London Underground.

Like most changelings, Lizard’s re-entry into the mortal world was traumatic. Unlike most changelings, it was because he missed his Durance. He was someone there. He was the messenger. He was Lizard. Now he was another scared changeling, lost in a world that had passed him by. It had been 10 years (at least in the mortal world--it had felt like so much longer in Arcadia). Even what little had amounted to his former life was now closed off to him: his friends and estranged family had mourned and buried his fetch, who had died after falling from a radio tower (Lizard tells this story like it’s the best joke in the world, partly because he’d walk away from a fall like that without so much as a scratch). The Freehold helped, sure, but it was the power he missed most. Freedom wasn’t enough anymore.

Lizard quietly joined the anarchist subculture, announcing his presence with Banksy-style stencil street art featuring creative political and social commentary, a step up from his tagging days. He signed his art with a small lizard logo, and soon there were mortals whispering his old nickname. Lizard’s art became well-known for its location as much as its quality. His graffiti was rarely painted over, if only because doing so usually required special equipment to actually reach whatever gravity-defying location he’d picked.

It was nice to be talked about, to be somewhat respected again, but Lizard wanted more. He was still angry at the world, especially its institutions, and the ideals of anarchism scratched that itch. However, it was difficult to gain fame and power when you were bound by the Masquerade, and hiding behind a very literal mask. So when a faction of like-minded supernaturals began to take shape, Lizard was quick to put his name on the list.

For the most part, Lizard is good about promoting and living by the Republic’s beliefs. He believes in the core principles… Well, except that “no one is better than anyone else” bit. Lizard’s Durance taught him that some people are just aren’t meant to rise above. Fortunately, he has no problem climbing over them. He’s going to be someone. He’s going to be remembered. He’s going to be respected… or at least feared. Lizard is willing to do anything and everything the People’s Republic needs, provided he can take credit for it.

Though he manages to be somewhat roguishly charming, Lizard makes a habit of keeping people at arm’s length. His method of choice for accomplishing this is blunt snark, which he wields like a sledgehammer. He loathes liars (whether by omission or otherwise), and anyone in a place of institutional power. He also has little time for people he sees as lazy or stupid--if you aren’t working to change the world, then you’re helping it stay the same.

Lizard is a wiry young man in his late twenties with dark brown skin and darker hair. The latter is cropped short and seems to be trying to do its part by rebelling against any attempts to tame it with a comb. His big hazel eyes and strong jaw contribute to his “rough-but-handsome rebel” look, which is carefully enhanced with purposefully distressed jeans, old punk band t-shirts, and a scuffed-up hooded vest.

The most obvious aspect of Lizard’s Mein is the mottled brown tail, which aids him in balance and yes, can detach just like a regular gecko’s in an emergency. Where others would develop callouses, Lizard has patches of scales, the patterning of which is reminiscent of the marbled leaf-toed geckos from his childhood home. His fingers and toes are double-jointed and equipped with adhesive pads. He generally keeps his abnormally long tongue hidden in his mouth, except for when he needs to use it to wet his eyelid-less reptile eyes. Turns out many people find this distracting, so Lizard carries around a bottle of eyedrops when he’s in public.

Rank: 2
Mental 2; Physical 4; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Parkour Master; Bearer of Bad News; Contracts of Smoke & Darkness
Banes: Compulsion (Tagging Places He's Been)

Jonah Price
Mr. Jaquel Glass, Mr. Adam Peacheater, The Laughing Man

Type: Changeling
Faction: Invictus
Seeming: Fairest
Kith: Muse

Virtue: Just
Vice: Corrupt

The boy who would become Jonah Price never really had a future. People, of course, claim everyone has a future. This is because people lie. The boy was born into a small, impoverished town, where only the rich had power and only the powerful got rich. His father was one of the few who hadn't either gotten out or started to drink himself to death. In the first of life's grand ironies, this made things worse in the end. If he'd been a worthless drunk he wouldn't have been important enough for the people in power to hassle. But instead his father had a small but important job moving numbers around - the kind of numbers that the people in power wanted moved to their private bank accounts, and not to the local school. His father said no. Their house got foreclosed on. He said no again. He lost his job, and never got a new one. Lost his wife, who walked out after watching her life get systematically dismantled because her husband wouldn't budge. Lost his morals too, because with three kids and no money, there wasn't any answer to the demands anymore but "yes". Then lost his kids, when the men in power decided they wanted them as well.

The boy himself wound up as a croupier in a casino, knowing perfectly well that was where he was going to be for the rest of his life. He'd already been reduced to saying "yes" to everything demanded of him, because he knew what was going to happen if he didn't. So when he found the smoky man in one of the Blackjack rooms, dusky skinned and dressed sharp in black suit and blood red shirt, the boy stayed and listened. And when the man offered him a deal, sealed with wax and signed in blood, the boy said yes.

Unlike most of Old Red's victims, the boy knew the fine print. He just didn't care. He was already a slave.

Though the newly dubbed Mr. Price was technically under the ownership of the Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine, he was near immediately outsourced to work at the Honorable Corporation of the Ouroboros - otherwise known as the Firm. It seemed the Firm required a new contract lawyer, after the last one met an unfortunate fate at the hands of a staple gun. Old Red himself had a quality eye for broken souls, and thought his new acquisition perfect for the job. By the twisted logic of the Gentry, Old Red proved quite right. Mr. Price went in intending to be a good little employee, keeping his head down and doing as he was told. Less than a week in, he realized that "doing as told" in the Firm was literally impossible, as the management contradicted themselves, company policy, common sense, and the practical bounds of reality. He also realized, looking through old contracts, that as the person in charge of the Firm's legal work, he could literally get away with murder. All he had to do was put things into the fine print, point it out to the right people, and the Firm would give him anything he wanted. In fact, it had to give him anything he wanted.

To say Price went insane with power was really an understatement. He might have belonged to Old Red and the Firm, but in his own little company fiefdom, he ruled as a god. Plush living quarters, extravagant holiday parties, he had it all - and anyone who offended him in the slightest soon found themselves contractually obligated to step in a chipper shredder. In a striking coincidence, every single person in power back in his hometown got marked by the Firm for "recruitment" one year. It was funny how life's little ironies played out.

Of course, it wasn't all fun and games. Trying to navigate the Firm's insane and evershifting corporate landscape was a full-time job, and one that could easily get him killed if he screwed it up. On several occasions he did screw it up, making a critical error in his contracts that left him scrabbling to recover. Mr. Price took his blows with surprisingly good humor, given he had no one to blame but himself. But he managed to survive his mistakes, and to regain his grip on his power, weathering the Firm's madness like a rock in a storm. Indeed, he became so good at reading the eddies and waves that he could almost predict where they were going, remaining one step ahead of the chaos as it crashed down on everything around him.

He doesn't know how long he ruled there, the constant insanity overloading his senses and unhinging his grip on time. He knows near the end of his Durance, he got into a war with a fellow corporate warlord, a woman named Two-Tone Tina who ruled the copy-machines with an iron fist. It was a long, protracted affair, with each side giving as good as a got. It was one he finally won, getting her sent to Research and Development, a place where she met a terrible fate. And it was then he realized just how empty and hollow his existence had become. He'd been fighting Two-Tone so long she was the closest thing he had to a friend, and now she was gone forever. In his moment of triumph, a final irony, to blow a hole straight through his heart.

From that moment onward, his only goal was to get out. He told himself it was because he'd never be anything more than a subordinate to the Gentry, but the simple fact was he was filled with a desperate need to leave. It took a lot of effort and too many close calls, but Price managed to get himself designated as merchandise, and then arranged to be sold to a Firm infested company in Silicon Valley. Then he wriggled himself free, sold everything he had for the cash, and bought a ticket to the furthest country he could get to while still being able to speak the language.

Of course, despite starting off intending to lay low, he gravitated to London. He might have been willing to leave the Firm behind, but he wasn't willing to give up on ambition, and the city was just too deliciously ripe with potential. He dabbled around the edges of the Freehold for a few months, mostly because it was the easiest group for a changeling to be able to find - but it was evident from the start the group didn't mesh well with him. He didn't care about rebuilding lives or fighting the Gentry, and the organization's atmosphere frankly annoyed him. He wanted power, plain and simple, and he wanted it to be his. But the Freehold did render him one service - it was connected with one Emily Wescote, the Invictus seneschal. He met her at one of the Freehold's soirées. She recognized his ambition, and made him a deal. He said yes.

There may have been cause for Emily to regret the generous terms of her contract with Price, or perhaps ever approaching him at all. The inherent problem was that they were both very strong personalities, and that both had a particular aversion to subservience. So while they can work together, and work together very well, their relations are usually marked by a battle for dominance - Price is unable to feel secure unless he knows he holds all the cards, while Emily is not the sort to put up with his disruptive power-plays. The end result is a heated rivalry between the pair, too bitter for them to be friends and yet too intimate for them to be enemies. That Mr. Price needs to feel superior to her is the only way he can show how highly he thinks of her, his constant competition a source of great and genuine pleasure to him. She is the closest thing he has to a friend, past the bizarre relationship formed between him and Scratch, founded on a similar sense of darkly ironic and ridiculous humor.

Though technically untrained in law, Mr. Price has since etched out a niche for himself in the Invictus. He was skilled enough in legalese and company management, as well as twisting poorly written rules to his own ends. He quickly marked himself out as a rival to the Freehold lawyer Donovon Paxton, the two clashing in a tangled web of loopholes every time they met. With his Invictus sponsored education, and his ability to peer into the future, he has become a serious force to be reckoned with. The main trouble with him is he is also a serious force for the Invictus to reckon with, as well. Mr. Price does not just crave power, he needs it, with all the urgency of a heroin addict. He cares nothing for fancy titles, but he needs to be the one in control, the one with the real influence, the one holding all the strings, the one everyone owes. Because without power, he's nothing more than a meaningless child in an impoverished slum, with no future beyond swallowing the garbage shoved down his throat.

Jonah Price is a short-ish man of indeterminate ethnicity, looking somewhere in his early thirties, with almond eyes and sharp features. His black hair is cut just at his shoulders, generally looking like something out of a shampoo commercial. In his Mien, his teeth are sharp like a dog's teeth, and his hair is frosted white at the tips. His skin is covered in colorful painted pictures that move when not looked at, the patterns running down his back, the sides of his face, and his limbs, fading into a night sky with glowing stars on his hands. He wears the very best of Hedgespun suits, sometimes with hat and jacket, usually without - when he does wear them, he dresses disturbingly close to his former Keeper. To the rest of the world, Jonah Price presents himself as the very epitome of a controlled, magnificent son-of-a-bitch. He's always ready to point out life's absurdities, always ready with a smooth retort or a good joke, never thrown off his game because he'll laugh at himself just as much as others. He loves to hand people rope and watch them hang themselves, and loves even more to charge them to get them out of their own mess. He can be generous at times, but only if the mighty swallow their pride and debase themselves for his ego... the more public, the better. There's a certain amount of theatrics to him: the joker, the trickster, the one who sees just how funny life is and is always willing to have a laugh at it's expense. And Mr. Price loves it, because it's not really him.

Because no matter how immature his grandstanding gets, no matter how many people he backstabs to gain an advantage, no one hates Jonah Price as much as Jonah Price does. He's everything he used to resent, everything that ever destroyed his future, and that irony isn't lost on him either. So he buries his humanity, his life - as far as he's concerned, his existence began at his Durance, and not a moment sooner. To admit otherwise is to admit to being that miserable, suffering child in his past, and he loathes that boy for being helpless and weak. He hates himself now, too, but he can bury that down, glut his needy ego on people begging for his help, and ignore the fact he thinks he's a monster.

But no matter how hard he tries to bury his past, Mr. Price is still that tortured boy, and it informs his actions despite his best intentions otherwise. He claims he never does anything that doesn't amuse him, but in truth he never does anything he feels isn't fair. Oh, he'll sell out half the Invictus, and the whole of everyone else, if it gives him a foothold up the ladder - because they've all done exactly the same thing to get to where they are. Deceiving the deceivers, betraying the betrayers, humiliating the powerful, that's humor. Preying on someone who doesn't, in some way, deserve it... that's something Mr. Price just can't stand. It just isn't funny to kick someone while they're down, to smash their face into the dirt over and over for the simple crime of being a have-not. To those innocents who are truly rendered desperate, Mr. Price always offers them a fair shot: he might trick them, but usually as a test, or to their own benefit. And if he should happen to find someone else victimizing those who don't deserve it... well. It would be really ironic if that blew up in their faces, now wouldn't it? Especially if they had to come to him to fix it.

After all, if he can't even do that much, then what the hell is he?

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Wyrd: 3
Notable Powers: Legal Eagle (more of a Legal Stymphalian Bird); Chronic Backstabbing Disorder; Keen Sense of Cosmic Irony
Banes: Hated by Beasts