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3433445-Lissa Hatcher

photo by Lissa Hatcher

Pre-Chrysalis LifeEdit

Non-sidhe changelings are both born and made.  The fae soul infuses with the child's mortal soul within the womb.  Generally, a changeling's biological parents are ordinary mortals.  Nationality, ethnicity, genetics, family's socio-economic status, nothing of terrestrial life seems to predetermine when, why, or how a changeling is going to be brought into the world.  

Most changelings spend the first parts of their lives much like ordinary kids. They might be a little more perceptive, intuitive, restless, quarrelsome, intelligent, quirky, or odd than the average child but typically not to a degree to make it obvious there's anything truly different about them.  They might feel "different" and "out of place" with their family or school mates, but the same can be said of completely mortal kids as well.   They are likely to have imaginary playmates or insist on games of make-believe or cling to whimsical, supersticious, or "irrational" beliefs.  In other words, they're exactly the kind of children that attract changelings and chimera.  But until they are on the verge of the Chrysalis , they will not be identifiable as Fae to creatures of the Dreaming - or those who hunt them like the Dauntain .  

The ChrysalisEdit

The chrysalis normally takes place within a few years on either side of the beginning of puberty (age 10-12).  Its approach can be hallmarked by sudden hallucinations, hearing voices, unusually vivid dreams, or a sense of personality dissociation or even a sense of being possessed.  The changeling- or their parents- might react to these experiences by seeking psychiatric or medical help, which can hamper or outright destroy the Chrysalis process through the application of banal medications.  Otherwise, the Dream Dance will begin at its fated (typically during a crisis or otherwise inopportune) time.  Glamour engulfs the changeling, plunging them into the Dreaming for the first time.  The Mists pull back, they see the chimerical reality of the world and might have visions of their own past lives from any time period, even before the Shattering.  Everything courses by uncontrolled and unrestrained; chimera might be summoned or birthed on the spot. Nearby changelings- or anything sensitive to glamour r- will immediately be aware that something big is going on in the neighborhood.  

During the Dream Dance, the changeling is completely vulnerable to both physical and chimerical threats.  They're trapped in the sensations and changes to their perception while lit up like a beacon, making them easy prey. Lucky for the awakening kithain, other changelings are duty bound by the Escheat to come and help them, regardless of court, legacy, kith, etc.,.  Usually, the first changeling to reach the fledgling will immediately rescue and/or befriend them and take them to the nearest freehold.


Mark-Donohue

photo by Mark Donohue

FosterageEdit

Once a fledgling is brought to the nearest freehold, they usually acquire a mentor who acts as their teacher and guardian for the first year of their post-Chrysalis life.  Both the fledge and mentor seal the relationship with an oath. The mentor is generally an older, more experienced kithain with ties in the local changeling community .  They are not necessarily of the same kith or seeming  (many mentors are grumps ), but are of the Court (Seelie or Unseelie ) which the fledgling appears to have an affiliation with.  Time may prove the fledge to favor the other Court, however, which is typically a source of conflict between the two.   Fosterage traditionally lasts for a year and a day after the oath is declared. It is divided into two periods.  The first is a time of warding- the first six months where the mentor takes full responsibility for any actions or transgressions made by the fledgling.  For understandable reasons, they tend to keep the young changeling on a short leash.  Gradually, restrictions lax, the fledge is allowed to become more independent and they enter a time of watching where they bear the consequences for their own actions and mistakes.  

Motleys of commoners who discover a fledgling commoner are not likely to take them to a noble's freehold, even if they don't have one of their own.  Instead, they will co-foster the fledgling together, with whoever has the most influence or rapport becoming the oathbound mentor.  Fosterage among the free commoners is much less heirarchal than it is for the sidhe or the enleiged - commoners who swear formal fealty to a noble or noble house.  In both cases, however, mentors typically bequeath any estate, titles, holdings, treasures, or chimerical objects they possess to their ward as long as both remain close and loyal after the fosterage itself is over. 

The handful of changelings who have their Chrysallis when they've already reached full human adulthood are not subject to the same formal fosterage.  Instead, they are treated more like guests from the onset, receiving instruction about their fae heritage and the ways of the Dreaming but with greater freedom and are held to a higher standard of ettiquette and good judgement than younger changelings during that same first year.  They may undergo their Saining months sooner than a younger changeling.  

2581332-tore-foss

photo by Tore Foss

The SainingEdit

After their fosterage is over, the fledgling undergoes a ritual called the Saining which is recognizes them as a full member of Kithain society.  A seer vested in a special mystical Art is able to part the Mists and discover the kithain's True Name which defines their relationship to the Dreaming and is an embodiment of their true spiritual essence.  True Names are kept secret, never used casually. While many kithain come out of their Chrysalis with a rememberance of their common fairie name from lifetimes past, this is not the same as their True Name.   

The sidhe have their own ritual that they use upon a fledgling very shortly after they are found and possibly even before a mentor has been chosen.  Known as the Fior-Righ, it tests the young sidhe physically, intellectually and otherwise and is used to determine their rank and noble house.  When the fledgling sidhe has their Saining, they will come into full possession of whatever holdings, treasures, titles, etc., are considered their due, which typically were watched over by their guardian during fostership.  

After their Saining, sidhe and enleiged changelings swears an Oath of Fealty to the noble they will serve.  Free commoners swear a similar oath to the motley which adopted them, unless they decide to venture out on their own.   

see also:

Seemings

Chimerical Death

True Death

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