A Song of Darkness and Light
Changeling the Lost
Changelings, also known as the Lost, are humans who were abducted by the Fae. Unlike most who suffer this fate, the Lost have managed to find their way back through the Hedge to the mortal world, but their time in the Faerie realm (Arcadia) has irrevocably changed their bodies, minds and souls. A Changeling’s true, inhuman mien is hidden by the Mask, the aspect of Fae magic that makes Faerie creatures and artefacts seem mundane to mortal eyes, but very few Changelings are able to reclaim their old lives, or make entirely new ones, without retaining ties to the fae realm.
Seemings and Kiths
While every Changeling is unique, those who have shared similar experiences in Faerie notice similarities in the physical changes they have undergone. These loose categorisations are referred to as Seemings. Within each Seeming are more specific groupings called Kiths.
Changelings find themselves alienated from normal mortals, as they are no longer mortal themselves. They therefore often congregate into small groups, sometimes called motleys. More formally, they make use of ancient pacts made by the Fae with the seasons (at least in Europe; in other places there are Courts aligned with other things of similar symbolic power, like the cardinal directions or the sun and the moon). They align themselves into seasonal Courts which offer them some measure of protection against the True Fae. Each Court has supernatural influence over a strong emotion and the physical aspects associated with their season.
Some Changelings also join noble orders, societies with narrower agendas bound by supernatural pledges. These grant their members an Entitlement, a title and responsibility which carries social and supernatural weight. As well as marking them as a member of an exclusive group of Changelings, having such an entitlement also carries the double-edged sword of attracting the notice of the True Fae.
Powers and Abilities
The magic of the True Fae is based on contracts made with elements, living things, and even concepts. In their own Realm, they have complete control over such things; in the mortal world, they wield lesser yet mighty power. Changelings, having been touched by and made part of Faerie, are able to learn clauses of these Contracts, giving them many supernatural powers. As these are granted by Arcadia’s ruling forces of fate and time, these powers have Catches, loopholes in the Contract that allow the Changeling to use the power without expending their store of Glamour, the magical essence of Faerie.
Apart from Contracts, Changelings are able to use the Fae’s connection to fate to bind mortals and Changelings into Pledges, agreements which are infused with Glamour and supernaturally enforced by the rules of Faerie. Both sides must uphold their end of the bargain, but Changelings, like the Fae themselves, are often adept at making agreements which favour themselves.
Aside from the True Fae themselves, Changelings encounter many other dangers:
The Exiled – True Fae who have been cast out of Arcadia by their fellows. Though their powers are lessened, most are still more than a match for all but the mightiest Changelings. They are sometimes known as Charlatans.
Fetches – Beings made of Glamour and scraps, Fetches are the doppelgangers left behind by the True Fae to replace those they abduct. Not all are aware of their true nature, but when a Changeling meets her Fetch the outcome is rarely amicable.
Loyalists – these Changelings are, wittingly or otherwise, working for their True Fae masters.
Privateers – Changelings who kidnap humans or other Changelings in order to trade or sell them to Hobgoblins or True Fae.
Bridge Burners – a faction of Changelings who wish to destroy all the gateways to the Hedge, preventing the True Fae from abducting any more humans. This is dangerous both because Changelings need access to the Glamour the Hedge can provide, and because such acts of vandalism are likely to attract the True Fae.
The Soulless – Changelings who lost their souls on their return journey through the Hedge; they are unpredictable and often dangerous.
The Mad – Changelings whose return from Faerie shattered their minds entirely.