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The Courts are the primary structures of Changeling society. Each Court represents both a philosophy and a supernatural pact with an aspect of the world that helps Changelings bolster their existence in the mortal realm, making them less vulnerable to the attentions of the Fae. Most Courts also draw power from a specific emotion which is associated with the powers of the Court; Changelings of the Court find it easier to harvest Glamour from their Court’s emotion.

Each freehold has its own local Courts, usually reflections of the larger Court structures known to Changelings. The best-known Court structure (at least in the West) operates on a seasonal system, but there are Courts which are affiliated with different Earthly phenomena. The structure of a freehold’s Courts is usually heavily influenced by the cultural heritage of the area and the folk tales and superstitions known to its members. All that really matters is that the Courts’ affiliation somehow confounds the Fae; this may be achieved through ties to cyclical events, as the Fae are unchanging, or by the sharing of power, a concept alien to the Gentry.

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SPRING

The Antler Crown, The Emerald Court, The Court of Desire

“There’s only one reason to get away from Faerie, miss, and you know it. We come back to Earth to leave the dreams behind.

Feels good to finally wake up, doesn’t it? Thing is, there’s no point in getting back to Earth if we don’t get back to real life. Too many of us get all tied up in just being away and not getting caught that we don’t think about what we’re gonna do now. We have to move forward, and we have to enjoy ourselves: there’s no other way to escape all that misery we all share.

But it doesn’t have to be one or the other, fun or safety. With us, the Spring Court, leaving the past behind is our defence. No offence, but I’ve seen you dance, miss, and I think you know it. You’re not just enjoying yourself and making friends.

You’re keeping them away.”

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SUMMER

The Iron Spear, The Crimson Court, The Court of Wrath

“No, I don’t worry about Them at all, and you don’t need to either. Okay, well, that’s an exaggeration. They’re always out there, and we’re Their prey, but we have sharper teeth than we did the first time Their hounds took us down. This time, we’re ready to fight back.

And that’s really what you want to do, isn’t it? You’d have to be damned stupid to pretend they’re not coming, and you don’t look like a hider to me. No, when they come back, you want to be there with a gun and a sword in your hands. I don’t know about you — I have a guess, but I don’t know — but I want to make them bleed when they come for me.

And you look like someone I’d want at my back.”

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AUTUMN

The Leaden Mirror, The Ashen Court, The Court of Fear

“The Fae gave us the weapons to fight them when they took our lives away. They just don’t know it. See, they think our memories fail us when we escape to Earth. For the most part, they’re right. But I remember some of what I saw there. A lot of what I remember… don’t get me wrong, it was Hell. But even Hell has its miracles.

In between all the things I never want to see again are the little wonders. Dropping a leaf from the ground upward to a tree. Food appearing on a table. Paths turning inward on each other so you never find your way out — well, that one’s a mixed blessing. I hated it, and still do, but I love the magic.

Look at yourself. You have the same light in your eyes I did when I realised that I’d stolen from Faerie as much as they stole from me.”

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WINTER

The Silent Arrow, The Onyx Court, The Court of Sorrow

“Jesus, will you shut up? There’s a war on out there, and if you’re too loud you’ll end up in somebody’s sights. Better to stay down in a foxhole. Down here, you’re hard to see, which is good because the war’s nearly invisible. But it’s there, it’s deadly, and it’s much, much better to be out of the way where we are right now. Can’t see you, can’t shoot you, right?

See, you may have forgotten most of Faerie, but Faerie hasn’t forgotten you. It wants you back. And the world may look normal to you, but you, you stick out like sore thumb. Gotta learn how to hide that, the mien. Put it away where they can’t find you, and you’ll be fine. Some of us go ahead and fight back, killing in the dark like, but I prefer to stay out of it.

I’m gonna live forever.”