A Seeming is a label for changelings who have undergone similar transformations while being held prisoner in the Faerie realm. It is largely a reflection of the experiences and environment the Lost was held in before escaping. Changelings who share a Seeming often share not only physical traits, but psychological and emotional ones as well; they have shared common experiences of Faerie, and were often captured by or drawn to their Keepers in similar ways.
Seemings may be further categorised into Kiths, Changelings who share very specific similarities beyond those of their Seeming. While their supernatural changes might be similar, however, Changelings of the same Seeming, or even the same Kith, may have radically different Miens.
“A story tells of a man who, on the final leg of a long journey, sheltered from a storm in an empty palace.
As he leaves, he takes a rose from a garden. The owner of the palace, a aerie in the shape of a terrible Beast appears and catches him, and tells him he must die. The man begs to live, for he has a daughter whom he loves, and the beast demands that the daughter come and stay with him. The man agrees, although he has no intention of sending his daughter away.
When he returns home, he finds that his daughter has died. In truth, the Beast has taken her away and left a fake to die in her place. The Beast treats the girl well, certainly, but she cannot leave. One day, having lost all hope of escape, she agrees to become the Beast’s wife.
There is no ceremony, only an agreement, a veil and a wedding night. And on that wedding night, she lays with him, and she becomes like him.
A Beast forever, her memory and thought washed away in the flood of sensation, the tyranny of the now.”
Losing yourself to instinct can mean losing your very humanity: this is a truth the Changelings known as Beasts understand all too well. Their Seemings are connected to the animal world. They come in many shapes and sizes, and may be tied to a particular type of animal, an animalistic concept, or even an animal that never existed in the real world.
Beasts were all used by their Keepers as animals in one form or another, and they all bear at least some bestial features. Many were innocents, lured into the Hedge by the tempting excitement of the wild, but regardless they felt the pull and power of raw instinct and sensation.
Beasts are blessed with a wild nature that gives them an affinity with animals and a raw, bestial attractiveness that they may use to gain favour with humans. This same animalism is also their curse, however; their ties to instinct and the simpler thoughts of the animal world make it hard for them apply themselves to cerebral tasks unless they have had training in a specific area, and they are rarely able to access human levels of mental insight.
Broadback – beasts of burden. Blessing: Stoic Forbearance.
Coldscales – kin to reptiles of all kinds. Blessing: Reptilian Blood.
Hunterheart – predators and hunters. Blessing: Tooth and Claw.
Skitterskulk – creepy-crawlies, spiders and insects. Blessing: Impossible Counterpoise.
Steepscrambler – climbers and tree-dwellers. Blessing: Gifted Climber.
Swimmerskin – aquatic beasts of all kinds. Blessing: Natural Swimmer.
Venombite – poisonous creatures, from snakes to scorpions. Blessing: Poisonous Bite.
Windwing – flying beasts. Blessing: Gift of the Sky.
Fang & Talon
“This story begins with a hill, somewhere not far away, and they say that the Invisible Throng congregate there, three times a year. The rules are simple. From sunrise to sunset on that night, the people must not speak of the Invisible Throng, and from sunset to sunrise of that night, they must not leave their homes.
Consider the young man of courage and curiosity, who would rather see the faeries for himself. He
tells his sweetheart, the sweetest girl in fifty miles, that he wishes to see the faeries that morning, and she recoils in horror, and says that he must not speak of — but it is too late, and she has spoken of them, too. She cries, and says that she will not go with him. And she retires that night with her rosary and she prays.
And the young man of courage and curiosity hides at sunset on the mound, in a tree. And he sees them, as they swoop from the sky in their hundreds, and without warning they descend upon the tree and sweep the young man of courage and curiosity away, and the tree with him.
And one hour before dawn, the sweetest girl in fifty miles hears the voice of her sweetheart at her window, begging to be let in. She goes to the door and steps outside to embrace him, and she, too, is gone.
One day the young man, still of great courage but no longer of great curiosity, will escape. His sweetheart never will.
She is theirs forever.”
A person’s actions always have consequences: this is a truth the Changelings known as Darklings understand all too well. Many were stolen away as the consequence of attracting the attention of the Fae, and find themselves forever tainted by shadow and darkness. They often resemble folk tale creatures of the night or underground: grave-wights, banshees, kobolds and weirder things still. Every one of them is unsettling in appearance, with many gaunt, tall and thin.
Whether experimented upon, chained in a factory as slave labour or simply tossed in a dungeon and forgotten by their Keepers, all Darklings were kept from the light of Faerie. Their memories of their durance are usually full of foreboding, fears sensed and ever-present, but never revealed. Many Darklings share a sense of curiosity, and most crossed some kind of line that brought them to Faerie, whether they are aware of the nature of their transgression or not.
Darklings are possessed of a cunning born of darkness. Each and every one can think quickly and lie well, and they are all gifted at concealment. Their time away from the light, however, has made it anathema to them, and they find their magics difficult during daylight hours.
Antiquarian – keepers of ancient lore and artefacts. Blessing: Keys to Knowledge.
Gravewight – creatures who feel more at home among the dead than the living. Blessing: Charnel Sight.
Leechfinger – faeries who steal the life from mortal folk. Blessing: Sap the Vital Spark.
Mirrorskin – masters of disguise whose real forms are malleable as clay. Blessing: The Mercurial Visage.
Tunnelgrub – dwellers in the tight spaces and darkness underneath. Blessing: Slither and Squirm
“Once upon a time a girl was taken by a cruel faerie who lived in the river, who forced her to become his bride.
She stayed for a while, for a few years, no more, and in that time, he enchanted her and changed her, and she became a Rusalka, who lured the innocent into the river and gave them to her husband to eat. One day, she escaped her cruel husband and returned to her hometown by the river, to see her family and her sweetheart. But oh, the Rusalka had changed so much. Her hair was green now, and her skin was cold, and the rushing of the river was in her voice.
And oh, when her cruel husband took her he was cunning, and he left behind a false girl who sickened and died in her place, and so her family did not recognize her for they thought that she was dead. And oh, her sweetheart had married someone else and had forgotten her for another’s caresses. So the Rusalka walked through the streets of her hometown, and could see that there was nothing for her there. And so she returned to the river, telling herself that her cruel husband would take her back.
And a day later, the pieces of a girl’s dismembered corpse were washed up on the river bank at the edge of the town, one by one, and because no one knew who she was they buried her in an unmarked grave.
And there was no one to mourn.”
You cannot go back to what you once were: this is a truth the Changelings known as Elementals understand all too well. While most other Lost became the way they did through simply living in a faerie’s home and eating faerie food and doing faerie work, the Elementals were often deliberately changed. Transformed into slaves of some kind or another or features of the land until one day, they awoke to themselves and realised they had to escape. Their memories of Faerie are often difficult to understand. Some know that once, they understood what it was to be a tree, or a stone, or a mound of earth. Some remember being lost to enchantment, becoming a clockwork doll or a lover made of ice. Others recall being lost in an environment now alien to them: perhaps the changeling served as a manservant in a flying city of glass or a blazing city made all of brass.
The Elementals were often those whom the Fae desired in some way, those whom they sought out and went to some effort to kidnap. Most were already exceptional in some way. Perhaps the changeling was beautiful enough to excite a faerie’s desire. Perhaps they needed a guard or a servant of some kind. A musician or dancer could become the prize of a Fae who fancied himself a doyen of the arts. When they come back, they still possess those talents that attracted the Fae to them in the first place, but now their element alters it in many ways, some subtle, some less so. Some, however, wandered into the Hedge on their own, in some ways bearing the marks of whatever thorny wasteland they wandered in before being taken to Faerie.
The Elementals are further removed from humanity than other changelings, and find humans harder to understand and to influence.
- Airtouched – the Elementals of wind, cloud, smoke, and sky, who can be as healthy as a fresh breeze or as pestilent as the miasma that surrounds the dead.
- Earthbones – Changelings who have the mark of earth and stone: lumpen Paracelsian Gnomes, sand spirits, dour men of peat and dwarfs made of mountain granite.
- Fireheart – Elementals marked with fire, heat or electricity.
- Manikin – Changelings who have the character of man-made objects, such as caryatids, mannequins, and other, stranger things, such as enchanted beings powered by clockwork or steam or living bodies made of mercury or glass.
- Snowskin – The Children of the cold, who can be as powerful as the Arctic ice or as delicate as a snowflake.
- Waterborn – Changelings who are imbued with the nature of the waters, soft and brutal, gentle and mighty: undines and nymphs, man-eating river demons, water babies, ladies of the lake.
- Woodblood – The children of the plants: Green Men, flower faeries, spirits of mandrake, rose, thorns and all manner of medicinal herbs fair and foul.
“Once upon a time there was a young man, who dreamed of the love of a beautiful girl in his village. One night, he made a special cake from a recipe he learned from his grandmother, and he waited in the dark for a faerie to come and take it. The door opened; a dark, tall faerie came in. He said to the faerie, “Not for you,” but he sinned in this: he shouldn’t have spoken to her. So he sat and waited a little longer, and the door opened; a loathsome hag stepped in. The hag reached out her hand for the cake, but the young man tapped her on the wrist and said, “Not for you.” He sinned in this: he shouldn’t have touched her.
So he sat and he waited a little longer, and the door opened; a lady of unearthly beauty and grace stepped in, and he could say nothing, so stunned was he, and the lady said, “For me,” and took the cake. She stayed with him after that, this lady. She granted his wishes, but somehow they were always twisted.
He wished for money, and soon he married a rich but ugly old woman, in the hopes that she would die and leave him her wealth. The old woman proved healthier than he could have imagined, and was cruel and mean. The youth turned to his Fae lady again and wished the old woman dead. True to her word the Fae lady brought the plague to the town and the old woman died, but so did the young man’s sweetheart. He gained the mean old woman’s riches but his love was dead, and he wished himself dead, and he fell into a deep sleep. He awoke in his coffin, buried six feet under the ground, and as he began to beat upon the wood, he heard a sweet, sweet voice say, “For me.”
And if anyone were to dig up his coffin, they would find nothing there but dried leaves and stones.”
Beauty can be a curse: this is a truth the Changelings known as Fairest understand all too well. For them Faerie should have been – and in some sense was – bright and wonderful. They embody the wonder and beauty ever-present in folklore: the elves, the Shining Ones, the fairy maidens and dashing fairy knights. But theirs is a beauty not of this world; they are wondrous to look on, but they’re too perfect. Their faces may be too symmetrical, or their features impossibly angular or chiseled; perhaps they literally glow with a warm light. They are still changelings, and their true forms are still inhuman.
The Fairest are frequently taken for their beauty, but usually this is not the only reason. Each has some other quality or talent that attracted their Keeper, most often artistic skill or the ability to play music or perform. Since this skill becomes their sole reason for their existence in Faerie, Fairest sometimes become obsessed with it, desperate to prove their worth. They are, however, almost without exception supremely social creatures, used to admiration and hungry for approval.
While the Fairest were ostensibly loved by their Keepers, such clear and pure emotion is unknown to the Fae; what passes for love among them can seem like obsession, cruelty, slavery or worse to mortals.
The Fairest live up to their name: not only are they physically appealing, but they are enchanting in a literal sense: their magics allow them to make the most of their beauty, and get what they want. All social activities come naturally to them, but perversely, they also find it hard to truly come to peace with themselves. Of all Changelings, they are the most likely to lose their sense of Clarity.
Bright One – the shining Changelings who embody the beauty of light in all its forms. Blessing: Goblin Illumination.
Dancer – creatures possessed of unearthly grace, always moving. Blessing: Fae Grace.
Draconic – inheritors of the blood of Faerie’s “great beasts”, from dragons to demons. Blessing: Dragon’s Talon.
Flowering – the epitome of nature’s beauty. Blessing: Seductive Fragrance.
Muse – beauties who inspire great art by their presence alone. Blessing: The Tyranny of Ideas
“Once upon a time there was once a troll, a beast who dined on human flesh and carved knife-handles out of the bones. Business was good, and the troll decided that he needed assistance in his workshop.
One night, he stole into a village and took away three sons of a shoemaker. The ogre worked the three boys in his workshop, on the drill and lathe and chisel and awl for long hours. Every day, at dawn, he beat them, and he fed them on scraps of raw flesh. One night, the eldest boy took one of the knives he had made for the troll and crept in upon him while he was sleeping. But the knife shrieked out loud and would not kill the troll, and the troll awoke and cooked the boy in a pie and forced each of his brothers to eat a slice, before he beat them so hard that they were all bruises.
The second son made a pick so that he could open the lock on the door of the troll’s workshop, and at night he crept to the door and picked the lock. But the troll was waiting behind the door, and he chopped the boy up and cooked him in a stew, and fed it to the youngest son before beating him so hard that his teeth were all broken and his mouth was all blood.
The third boy worked so hard and so well in the workshop that the monster could find fewer and fewer reasons to beat him, and the knives the boy made were beautifully carved, and the troll found that he could sell them for more gold than he ever had before. One day, the troll came into the workshop, and he leaned over the boy’s shoulder as the boy carved the knife handle, and the boy pointed out a detail of the carving, and the troll craned closer to look, and quick as lightning the boy turned his hand and stabbed the troll in the eye. And that was the end of the troll.
The boy wanted to run away, but he turned back and saw that the workshop was now empty. And he didn’t leave. He ate the troll’s food and slept in the troll’s bed. And now he dines on human flesh, and carves knife handles from the bones.
And business is good. One day soon, he will need assistance.”
Abuse can create abusers: this is a truth the Changelings known as Ogres understand all too well. They resemble the big, brutish figures of folklore, like the troll under the bridge or the Cyclops of Greek myth. Ogres serve as guards, gladiators, and heavy labourers in Arcadia because of their outstanding strength. Due to their hardiness, Ogres endure particularly vicious and bloody Durances. Once back in the real world, Ogres are stereotyped as universally dumb, but are feared for their prowess nonetheless.
Ogres are big and imposing figures. Some are kidnapped because of their size and strength and are honed to frightening proportions in Arcadia. Some are taken because they were already cruel and intimidating in the mortal world, and could be used as weapons by the Fae.
Ogres are some of the most monstrous-looking of the Changelings and are even imposing to humans. They are often misshapen in some way, with abnormally tough skin, pustules, or tusks. This can make others wary and rightfully so, since Ogres are capable of outstanding feats of strength. Most of them continue to build their physical abilities and many are used as enforcers. And while they are not necessarily stupid, they can be gullible and rash.
- Cyclopeans – monstrous hunters and guardians. Blessing: Smell the Blood.
- Farwalkers – hairy and stealthy wild men. Blessing: The Elusive Gift.
- Gargantuans – can grow to a gigantic size. Blessing: Spurious Stature.
- Gristlegrinders – possessed of voracious appetites. Blessing: Terrible Teeth.
- Stonebones – rock-like troll folk. Blessing: Obdurate Skin.
- Water-Dwellers – appear as water demons of folklore. Blessing: Lie Under the Waves.
“You know this story.
It’s night. A man drives along a lonely country road. He sees lights in the sky. They swoop down, engulf the car. He blacks out. When he comes to, he is driving along that same stretch of road. He’s travelled maybe a quarter of a mile, but his watch says he’s been gone five hours. It’s nearly dawn. When he gets home, his wife notices that he is covered with little scars that look like healed-up burns. He says he’s sore and itchy all over.
Over the coming months, the man will begin to recall being taken into a strange circular room, and being experimented on by small, pale, dark-eyed creatures. It’s a classic abduction scenario.
Except… the truth is, this man who comes back with all his memories and relationships, he isn’t a man at all. He’s a thing made of sticks and stones, and he doesn’t even know who he isn’t. The real man is still in the clutches of the beings that took him. They’re still doing their experiments.
They’re swapping his eyes around. They’re re-positioning his internal organs. They’re taking out his hair one strand at a time and slicing off his nose and sewing on a different one. They’re draining his blood out. And all the time he’s conscious. And all the time, each different procedure is turning him into one of them.
And worst of all, they are doing it to him for no reason. They’re not learning anything. They’re not even doing it for fun.”
Bad things can happen to people for no reason: this is a truth the Changelings known as Wizened understand all too well. They are the ones who embody the ‘little people’ and ‘wise women’ (or men) of fairy myth. They are unmatched artisans and tinkerers, and generally excel at a particular skill or occupation, whether butler or artisan, clerk or fortune teller.
The Wizened often seem to have less in common than other Seemings – they come from a diverse number of backgrounds. Many were taken on a whim or stumbled into the Hedge through bad luck. They may have served any number of functions for their Keepers or merely been the butt of cruel “jokes”, but they are without exception known for their cunning and nimbleness – traits necessary to escape the clutches of the true Little People.
While they always seem like ‘little people’, the Wizened are not necessarily small in size: some may be tall and thin, but walk with a stoop, while others may be normally proportioned yet give the feeling that there’s somehow less of them. They are without exception extremely dexterous and nimble, a trait that applies equally in combat; though few are great warriors, all are good at avoiding the blows of enemies. Their long suffering however, has made them ill-equipped to deal with others, and their social skills are somewhat lacking.
- Artist – master craftsmen, artisans or artists; gnomes, elves and goblin-smiths. Blessing: Impeccable Craftsmanship.
- Brewer – possessors of secret fairie recipes. Blessing: The Inebriating Elixir.
- Chatelaine – the perfect butlers, manservants without peer; in formal circumstances their social skills are second to none. Blessing: Perfect Protocol.
- Chirurgeon – Changelings able to work magic with blade and scalpel. Blessing: The Analeptic Charm.
- Oracle – Changelings with the ability to tell fortunes. Blessing: Panomancy.
- Smith – forgers of Faerie weapons and superb equipment. Blessing: Steel Mastery.
- Soldier – drafted into Faerie armies, these Wizened find battle is second nature to them. Blessing: Blade Lore.