Western MA Lost - Distrustful of the Gentry
The current Freehold has had an unusually long period of time of peace. For the past three years there have been almost no threats from Fae, hunters, humans or other supernaturals. Even the courts have been getting along well with each other. There is one thing that has been making Changelings uneasy in this area. There has been an increase in homicides and disappearances of late. It has risen steadily over the past three years and now it has reached levels of alarm. Many of the people who have been killed or disappeared had been known to the Changelings in this community they were friends, allies or even just aquaintances. Could it be that the long time of peace is at an end?
The Founding of the Sunderland Freehold
In the year of 1844, a fourteen year old girl distraught over the constant death that seemed to surround her and those that she loved. She prayed and prayed day and night for an answer to why death seemed to surround her and how to reach those that she loved that had passed beyond the veil. In 1845 she went to a revival. She was overwhelmed by the feeling of love and safety that she felt. The preacher who spoke inspired such belief and fervor. He was an older man, with graying hair and wrinkles around his eyes. He was certainly not an attractive man, but there was something in his eyes. Even in a crowd of thousands, they seemed to focus just on her and she felt a flutter in her heart. He talked of immortality, but not in the familiar way that priests would normally speak of it. He spoke of it as if it were a real possibility, that living forever was something that could truly be reached. She went to speak to him one day in private. He smiled as she entered the room alone. His eyes sparkled, and she became lost in their gaze, and then she was gone. A puppet, a happier and more carefree version of her former self was left behind.
She can barely remember the time that she spent in the star light realm. She remembers whispers and that she had learned secrets, so many secrets. She learned the ways of life and death and how to conquer them. When one day in 1852 she was returned to the world, whether she had escaped or was set free she was unsure, but she was distraught that she had lost all of the secrets she had learned. However there were some secrets she had kept. She was now able to speak with the spirits of the dead. A fact that made her thirsty for more power and more knowledge.
In the year 1861 she had finally become frustrated with learning the ways in which her fetch was ‘wasting her life’. More people had died in her long absence and she was not going to watch by the sidelines as those she had cared for died without her. After all was that not the reason she had sought the starry eyed man in the first place? She killed her fetch and easily slid into her old life. Some noticed a difference in behavior but it was easily dismissed as the melancholy that she had experienced in her youth. What they did really notice was a change in her poetry. It became much more unusual, artistic and most importantly dark. It was when people began to truly appreciate the genius of Emily Dickenson.
She had joined the Autumn Court and when she returned to her home she set up a Freehold in her hometown that had none. She ruled as King of this Freehold for many years, until her madness and obsession took her over and she barely left her house at all. She would advise the Monarchs in her freehold through frequent correspondence. In 1888 she was reported to have died. Very few realized that the corpse left behind was merely a collection of papers wrapped in ribbons. Whether she was captured again or had left willingly is unknown, all that is known is that she never returned. Any kind of clues as to what she may have been doing were destroyed as she had instructed her human sister to destroy all of her correspondences upon her death.
In 1888 on the year of her death, another fourteen year old was taken. A boy this time. Where he came from is unknown, he wove a story and fashioned a new identity for himself with a past of little notoriety when he did return to this world. He first became known when he published his first poem in 1894. He had returned to this world with a woman. They did not speak of their durance, but it was clear that they came out together. The only clues to what he had experienced were found in his poetry.
He took the name Frost, his wife took the name White, as they joined the Winter Court. He quickly rose to power and made the Winter Court one of the most powerful in the Freehold. Robert Frost had littered his poems with clues as to what had taken him, and what to avoid as well as secrets for others to discovered. He feared that mortals would discover what he had meant so he carefully coded it. Unfortunately even the Changeling community has a difficult time guessing what he had meant. What was clear was that there were dangers in the wilderness in the area. A fae that perhaps lived there or operated out of there that people needed to avoid.
Areas of Note
Mount Toby. This has always been a place where the veil was thin. The mountain and surrounding area are littered with hedge gates. Changelings frequently emerge from Mt. Toby. Including Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. In the 1700s a hotel was built on this mountain, but it mysteriously burned down. The true reason of course was that the Summer Court had burned it to the ground to prevent any further human abductions.
The mountain is now owned dually by UMASS Amherst, the department that is currently headed by the Autumn Court. They are also owned by the Cowls Lumber Company, which is a front for the Spring Court. It was why the mountain was not stripped of it’s resources.
The mountain has long been maintained by a Flowering Fairest of the Autumn Court. A member of the Magi of the Guilded Thorn, he checks in the hedge and out and reports on anything dangerous. Although he is of the Autumn Court he holds no ties to any Freehold.
The Robert Frost trail is a tricky one. It is actually the safest place to be on the mountain and in the wilderness. Frost had spent a significant part of his Monarchy working on keeping humans safe by understanding what naturally drew them to places of power and trying to allow them to do follow their instincts, but safely. So the trail was blaze and named for him. It was carefully mapped and it is a trail that cleverly avoids all hedge gates, hollows, and any other places of power. Anywhere off the path, any of the roads less traveled by, are dangerous.
Do not travel off the beaten path and stay out of the forests. The land around here is a dangerous one. It changes, the seasons are all distinct and difficult. The Summer heat blazes for months. The winters have become more aggressive with more snow and deeper colds. Spring and Autumn have noticed that their seasons seem to be getting shorter. Everything shifts on the solstice and equinox, but the leaves turn brown and fall off quicker than they used to and do not color the world in brilliant hues for long. The winters now stretch long into spring, with only a brief respite before the summer heat kicks in. So far this has not effected the courts change of seasons, but it is troubling if you know the reason for the changes in court. Perhaps this climate change could lure the fae?
Although all the courts purport to hold themselves equal. The Seasonal Courts rule the Freehold and the Winter Court is the most powerful of all. The history of the Sundered Lands Robert Frost was an extremely powerful leader of the Freehold and this has created an allure for Winter Courtiers to come and visit and stay in this particular Freehold.
By extension the Summer Court is the weakest which annoys them greatly. They have been looking to these climate changes as a voice of providence in increasing their power within the Freehold and allowing them more control.
The Freehold has been at peace for five years. There have been no threats from Fae, Goblins, hedgebeasts, Fae touched or even hunters and humans for these five years. The hedge gates surrounding Mt. Toby have remained shut unless they are purposely opened. There is a sense of safety here that draws Changelings from other Freeholds to stay.
That is until six months ago when people began to notice that the death toll had been rising. No one knows how long this had been happening. Areas, particularly Springfield (Ironically where the Summer Court and the Northern Court are based) have had high rates of murder and gang violence so perhaps it had been going unnoticed. But when it began to increase by the dozens, it became noticeable. What is noticeable of late is that a long time friend of Lucky Strike and known mage, was found dead in an alley way. There is a sense that this is more than just a coincidence, but no one is quite sure who to blame.
In this Freehold, the Seasonal Courts have the Majority of the Power. The Freehold was ruled jointly by the King of the season and the Directional Emperor. The new agreement with the Wyrd signifies changes.
Previously the Seasonal Courts were ruled by a full court of positions, including a King, an ambassador Queen, an enforcer Jack, and the secret police Aces. Title did not indicate gender of courtier.
Due to significant upset within the court (discovery of an Actor manipulating the entire Freehold, the death of several Monarchs, and an attempted power play by the Court of the North), a pledge was worked with the Wyrd concerning the governance of the Freehold and Seasons.
The rules for Directional Emperors are different. There is no set time of changing of the Emperor. The Emperor only changes when they are challenged, and they can be challenged at any time. The Emperor of the Directional Courts can be chosen from any one of the four Directional Courts. The Courts do not have their individual Kings, Queens and Jacks. There is only one Emperor of the Directional Courts. The Challenger and the current Emperor must complete four challenges as chosen by each of the four courts. If there is a tie, it comes to a vote which is obviously anonymous.
Areas of control
- The Court of the North is based in Easthampton
- The Court of the East is based in The Berkshires
- The Court of the West is based in Greenfield
- The Court of the South is in South Hadley
- Summer Court: Holyoke
- Autumn Court: Amherst
- Spring Court: Northampton
- Winter Court: Sunderland
Spring Monarch: Lana Bul'kov
Summer Monarch: Lisa
Autumn Monarch: Dr. Gregory Gabriel Sexy
Winter Monarch: Jack Allerdyce
Directional Emperor: Lady Challot
- Dalaigh Keane
- Florian Charming
- Rook- formerly Fury
The Wall - A newly formed Motley currently seeking members. Their stated goal is to protect the region from further Fae incursions by providing both physical and social help to both humans and Lost. They believe that, with enough clarity, passion, and mental/physical toughness, humans and Lost alike can resist the Gentry's temptations and manipulations. They swear to "defend the wall" and tend toward a belief that the best offense is a good defense.
Chauncy Copperpot: King of Autumn. A short hairy man with a particular love for love. He is a wizened and has been known to create awesome wonders mixing magical and mechanical. There are rumors going around, that the child he had adopted is a fetch of his own creation. Can Changelings even create fetches? Or is he something more?
Lucky Strike. Owns a bar that is part of the open Freehold, no one is turned away because of their court affiliations or lack of affiliations. He is not very bright but is extraordinarily helpful in his own way. He has a hollow in the back of his bar that is open to all new changelings to stay until they get their bearings. He smokes near constantly, but that is not why he is called Lucky Strike. He had actually escaped Arcadia twice and he knows that if he is taken again, it will be his last. He is on his lucky strike.
Directional Emperor: Lady Challot. A Toll taker Knight as well as ruling Monarch. She is righteous and hard, and believes strongly in justice. Do not think that they are naïve though, they might just run you through. She is from the Court of the West.
Emperor’s Consort: Blue Bird. Blue Bird is a drug dealer, providing people with any drug they can imagine. He keeps his stash in the hedge, out of the way of mortal police and of course giving it that extra special kick. He is from the Court of the South.
Iron Horseman: Former King of Summer. Very summery.
The Changeling Children: Recently rescued from an orphanage in the Hedge, these six children and their caretaker had been under the thumb of a powerful loyalist. Now, they are attempting to serve the Freehold.
- Ulfric Reinhart - Elemental Fireheart who speaks with a thick accent.
- Twinkle Star - Fairest Bright One who loves to dance and is a fantastic artist. She's very proud of her new name...she made it up all by herself!
- Willow Lopes - Wizened Woodwalker who is the oldest of the children at nearly 13. She acts as a sort of second-mom, helping Vivian take care of the group. She is quiet, withdrawn, and not very trusting.
- Jonathon Gallo - Elemental Metalflesh who loves video games, skateboards, and teasing the girls in the group. He's a hard kid to keep still and is often sneaking out to explore.
- Sweeney MacKinsey - Darkling Razorhand who loves basketball and dreams of going pro.
- Benedict "Ben" Mao - Fairest Draconic who is unendingly playful. So far as you're aware, you might just be already playing a game he made up.
- Vivian Vixen - Weisse Frau Fairest who has served as part mother, part headmistress, part body-guard to the group over the years in the Hedge. Former privateer who was caught up in the thrall of the loyalist.
Places of note
Aisling Post Main Office: Corporate headquarters for Dalaigh Keane, located in Northampton
Goblin Market: There is a year round Goblin Market open at the top of Mount Toby.
Jeeves Funeral Home: This was Igor’s Mortuary. It is where all public meetings with the Winter Court are held. The more private, Winter only meetings are held in secret locations on a case by case basis.
Lucky’s Hollow: This is a bar owned by Lucky Strike. The back room of the bar is a large hollow where the Spring Court meets. It is also has a place where hedge fresh changelings can stay.