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Walking Shadows: A Collection of Fae

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  • Walking Shadows: A Collection of Fae

    By popular demand, more NPCs from the Walking Shadows Campaign. Walking Shadows is my long-running NWoD PbP campaign, four years old now, and it's accumulated a rather mad number of NPCs (about 170 at last count). I put up the vampires, and people liked it, so I am now putting up the fae. The changelings are probably the most popular group among my players. Some are die-hard werewolf fans, some love vampires, some mages, but everybody likes changelings. As a result, they're also the biggest, in terms of numbers.

    Three notes:
    <> I am not putting up every single NPC that I have ever used. Some I don't put up because their backgrounds are extremely game-referential, some because they borrow a lot from existing characters or use copyrighted stuff in their descriptions. Still, this ought to be the grand majority of them.
    <> I am not including stats.
    <> I tend to go on.

    I'll start with the local True Fae, then put the characters up in more or less the order in which they were written. Mostly changelings, some hobgoblins, a few fetches

    The Firm, Tommy MacLoinsigh, Miss Bell, John Henry, and Xerox are by Dan Nagler
    The Mistress, The Collector, Form, Glow, Bat, Othello, Horus, The Horseman, Heinzelmaul, Cheshire, and the Maestro are by Isabella
    Sergei & Sasha are somewhat odd cases in that they're long-standing NPCs, but the actual writing there is all Isabella for Sasha and about half of Sergei, I wrote the other half of Sergei.
    Everyone else is by me.
    Last edited by NeoTiamat; 02-10-2014, 06:17 PM.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material

  • #2
    The Mistress
    Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate

    Type: The Gentry
    Changelings: Erin Lamothe, Othello, Form, Bat, Glow, Horus, Aurora(?)

    Virtue: Justice. The Mistress is fair. If you earn something, she will give it to you. If she gives you something, you know you've earned it.
    Vice: Pride. The Mistress is perfect. Her servants are perfect. Her castle is perfect. And if not, she will make it perfect.

    Story: He was in a long, ornate corridor, stretching down into darkness. Nothing was lit, here, no lamps, just the occasional candle, and a strange sort of half-twilight that suffused everything. There were statues and columns going all the way down, small busts, delicate horses, elegant women. In between each of these was a large, full length mirror, each with an ornate golden frame. But there was something wrong with the reflections, for they didn’t seem to reflect the hall. They were obviously reflecting something in this castle, for the look of the surroundings was the same, but the room was larger, and there were stairs.

    Erin was reflected in the mirror as well, though there was no sign of her in the hall. Still tiny, now kneeling on the floor, with her face cast straight down. And the person she was kneeling before… Sasha couldn’t quite see her face. She was turned slightly away from the face of the mirror. But what could be seen could still take a man’s breath away.

    She was tall, taller than human, towering over the tiny moth-girl. She was dressed in twilight, and her hair fell down her back like shadow. Her eyes were black marble, glinting with the hint of a single star within. Her fingers were shears, silver and sharp, and her lips were black as velvet.

    And she was perfect. Every single strand of hair on her head was perfect. The way her eyes twinkled, the way her shear-fingers shined, they were absolutely perfect…

    The glass cracked, crystal spiderwebs splitting down the surface of the mirror, but it didn’t break yet. The metal backing kept the glass in place, leaving the scene fractured and distorted.

    “Are you a thief, Moth?” the Mistress asked, almost sounding amused. Her voice echoed through the hall, low, beautiful, enough to send shivers down the spine.

    “N-no, mistress!” Erin protested, still staring at the floor. She was shaking, though she did her best to keep it still.

    “You have stolen from me,” the Mistress corrected, reaching down with those shear fingers, and dragging something out of Erin’s hands. Sasha could catch a flash of floppy dog ears. “And you must be punished.”

    “B…but it is not fair! You were going to throw it out! You didn’t even want it!” Erin suddenly burst out. She was still young, still had spirit left, still whole enough to rage against the injustice of it.

    “You work to earn your food, and board, and clothing, little Moth,” the Mistress replied, putting a shear finger beneath Erin’s chin, lifting it up. “You have done nothing to earn this. That makes you a thief.”

    The shear fingers closed, slicing the toy into ribbons. Behind Sasha, three of the reflections of the Mistress turned, looking straight at him. Her face could stop a man’s heart…

    “You are entitled, Moth,” The Mistress said, still almost tenderly. “You think you deserve to have anything you want, so long as no one else is using it. But I do not give charity, and you will learn to work for things. You will work twice as hard, to pay for this transgression, until you deserve to return to your current privileges.”

    The Mistress in the cracked mirror turned to look as Sasha, and smiled. And then the glass broke, the metal backing gone as if it had never been.

    Style: Most powerful of the quartet of True Fae that make up the Court of the Twisting Accord, the Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate has devoured many lesser Faerie in her time, flaying their names from their bones and taking them into herself. The Court of the Twisting Accord is not her first gathering of True Fae, and perhaps it will not be her last. Certainly, she is among the more dedicated members of the Twisting Accord, the most thoroughly engaged in their games of competition and collection. Unlike certain Feud-groups among the True Fae, the Twisting Accord rarely descends to the level of brute violence or crude romancing, though both do occur. Rather, the Twisting Accord competes by displaying the capabilities of their Lost and brutalized slaves, however these capabilities are defined. For the Mistress, skill is paramount, the perfection of art and craft, though sometimes she meets her fellow Fae on their own terms.

    Certainly, many of the Mistress's escaped changelings have proven to be unusually potent in the mortal world. Erin and Othello have both achieved significant power in the Wyrd, and the little girl Aurora, if she truly is one of the Mistress's, is the Seelie Queen. Her 'children' are becoming worthy of respect -- and personal attention. Perhaps some of them will one day walk the Twisting Accord as near-equals.

    Among the other Signatories of the Twisting Accord, the Mistress reserves her especial dislike for the Sunset Princess, who may be daughter, former slave, rival, or some bizarre combination of all of the above. Her conflict with the Collector is a more genteel thing, of subtle jabs and competitions for status. Old Red is an uncouth parvenu, unfit to dine with his betters, but distressingly unavoidable. The Board is quite simply alien in its present manifestation.

    Two other facts are worthy of mention. For close to a decade, as mortals measure such things, the Mistress had vanished from her realm, to what end and what purpose, none know. Perhaps it was a journey, or perhaps it was some mortal occultist who managed to contain her name for some short span of years. But the Mistress is still putting her affairs in order from this absence. Similarly, the Mistress has a deep interest, as True Fae measure such things, in the workings of the Grigori, the captive idiot-gods entombed in the mortal world. Why is an unknown question, but her agents are ever searching for anything or anyone connected with them.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material


    • #3
      Old Red
      The Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine

      Type: The Old Gods
      Changelings: Tommy Lynch, Lobsterback Bill

      Virtue: Generous (No matter how low you sink, Old Red's always ready to lend a hand.)
      Vice: Jealous (It is a source of constant annoyance to Old Red that to be truly debased, truly malign, takes that spark of human creativity. It galls him to no end.)

      Story: Take a litle walk to the edge of town
      Go across the tracks
      Where the viaduct looms,
      like a bird of doom
      As it shifts and cracks
      Where secrets lie in the border fires,
      in the humming wires
      Hey man, you know
      you're never coming back
      Past the square, past the bridge,
      past the mills, past the stacks
      On a gathering storm comes
      a tall handsome man
      In a dusty black coat with
      a red right hand

      He'll wrap you in his arms,
      tell you that you've been a good boy
      He'll rekindle all the dreams
      it took you a lifetime to destroy
      He'll reach deep into the hole,
      heal your shrinking soul
      Hey buddy, you know you're
      never ever coming back
      He's a god, he's a man,
      he's a ghost, he's a guru
      They're whispering his name
      through this disappearing land
      But hidden in his coat
      is a red right hand

      You ain't got no money?
      He'll get you some
      You ain't got no car? He'll get you one
      You ain't got no self-respect,
      you feel like an insect
      Well don't you worry buddy,
      cause here he comes
      Through the ghettos and the barrio
      and the bowery and the slum
      A shadow is cast wherever he stands
      Stacks of green paper in his
      red right hand

      (Organ solo)

      You'll see him in your nightmares,
      you'll see him in your dreams
      He'll appear out of nowhere but
      he ain't what he seems
      You'll see him in your head,
      on the TV screen
      And hey buddy, I'm warning
      you to turn it off
      He's a ghost, he's a god,
      he's a man, he's a guru
      You're one microscopic cog
      in his catastrophic plan
      Designed and directed by
      his red right hand

      Style: Old Red has a plan, and he's been working on it for give or take a thousand years. It's a very big plan with a whole lot of little pieces, but Old Red's a clever enough devil to keep track of the whole thing. He's a devil of sin and iniquity, and he's a colloquial sort of devil at that. He's not the majestic Satan of high society, but rather he's the folk-tale devil with the horns and the forked tail, striking a deal with a peasant or signing a crossroads contract with a rising music star. Sometimes they get the better of him -- those stories are true -- but even so, Old Red has got himself a lot of contracts and a lot of changelings this way, and his plan's edging every close to fruition.

      Just what the plan actually is, well, that's a different story. Old Red never actually says what it is. Maybe he's plumb forgotten what the point of it all was. Or maybe it's something that only makes sense to a True Fae. Or maybe it's to end the world. Hard to say. But it's a very big plan, and it doesn't make a lot of sense, but the little pieces seem to intersect in a lot of weird (or Wyrd) little ways.

      He's part of the Court of the Twisting Accord, parading the very accomplishment of his contracted changelings before the others. They don't much like him (too crass, too boorish), but he's a useful devil. He spends a lot of time in the mortal realms, as such things go, and he's usually got a web of deals set up. He's fond of music and venality, and anywhere there's a jazz band or some heavy metal, or even just a bit of a tune while sin is on the prowl, he is there.

      GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
      New System and Setting Material


      • #4
        The Collector
        The Grasping Beast with Golden Hide

        Type: The Keepers
        Changelings: Marcus, Rebecca, Gao Xianfang, Gao Xiaoming

        Virtue: Patient (One must restrain oneself from enthusiasms. Specimens tend to be very... breakable.)
        Vice: Greedy (Collection is not a question of want. It is a question of need.)


        --Excerpt from the Instructions for Collectors--

        Living Treasures

        While inert treasures often require special care to retrieve, most can be managed with thorough knowledge of safe packing techniques. Living Treasures are often the most rare and rewarding of finds, and can be easily damaged without proper handling. Since a living treasure is far more valuable and entertaining alive, the collector must be careful not to inflict undue harm during collection process, and cause the treasure to be downgraded to "Inert". In some cases, however, the treasure must be stifled and preserved to be properly displayed.

        One of the most important things to remember when collecting a treasure is to maintain accurate records, including when and where the treasure was collected. By keeping this information on record, you can provide valuable information and legitimize the treasure's value to other collectors. Without the information, the treasure is not as high grade as a properly recorded example.

        Vampires are the recommended treasures for beginning collectors, as they are both easy to collect and preserve. Since vampires are nocturnal, it is recommended the collector hunt during the day, when the treasure is disoriented and cannot easily flee. A simple wooden pin through the heart is enough to paralyze the vampire, at which point it is easy to transport and display. If the collector wishes to revert their treasure to "Vital" grade, the stake can be removed once proper restraining equipment is in place. No further preservation methods are required, although when displaying the collector must be certain not to allow sunlight to touch the treasure. Sunlight can cause color distortion or irreparable damage to the treasure. The collector must also be careful no to cause undue damage when retrieving the treasure, as it will not heal while the vampire is pinned.

        If the vampire is unduly damaged, steps can be taken to repair the treasure. Restrain the vampire with weights and heavy chains on all four limbs. Remember that vampires can be stronger than they appear, and be judicious with the weight. Cover the vampire's eyes and mouth with cloth as seen in the diagrams on the next page - ensure that the vampire's tongue is forced down, so that its throat is open but it cannot speak. Remove the wooden pin. Drip blood through the cloth and down the vampire's throat. The treasure should begin to retain its high grade appearance. If the vampire does not appear to be healing itself, it is best to re-pin the vampire rather than risking the treasure escaping.

        Werewolves are often considered attractive treasures for beginners, as they rapidly heal any damage inflicted, and thus do not need to be treated as delicately as other treasures. However, investment in special silver equipment is required for any aspiring werewolf collector. They are also quite aggressive, and can bite if the handler is not careful. If the collector is unwilling to invest in the proper equipment for handling and keeping werewolves, it is recommended that they be stifled and displayed.

        Werewolves are difficult to take by traditional means, as they do not respond to alchemical pacifiers. Faerie wine is recommended for those attempting to take the treasure alive. Werewolves are unaware of its potency and will drink it in large volumes, soon becoming intoxicated. Alternatively, trickery is recommended if possible, for easy transport and handling. If the collector wishes to stifle the treasure, it is critical to know that werewolves become humanoid once stifled, thus ruining any display of the pelt. The pelt must be collected while the treasure is still alive, after which point it may be released or stifled for other use. Some collectors have attempted to collect pelts from all five forms of the same treasure, but results from this have been mixed.

        Humans and Changelings
        The choice of treasure for the true collector, humans and changelings are very delicate and must be treated with care to avoid damaging them. There are many ways to collect these treasures. First, alchemical substances may be applied to render a treasure unconscious. While these can be applied via a rag to the nasal and throat passages, it will take several minutes for the treasure to be incapacitated, and it may damage itself in its struggle. Administration via food or drink is a preferable method, as it causes less stress to the subject. If the treasure needs to be caught in the field and the collector is without proper tools to do so, it is recommended to put pressure on both sides of the treasure's neck. This will stun the treasure long enough to place in a proper holding place. Be careful not to put pressure on the front or back of the neck, or use excessive force, as this will render the treasure inert and may cause damage. If the collector wishes to stifle the treasure, the use of poisons is suggested. The treasure may also be stifled via an iced enclosure, though this may cause discoloration.

        Living Treasure Quality Designation

        To provide a reference point whereby any trader, seller, or collector may visit and use the grading system for use in determining how to grade a treasure by comparison and description. Later in the book is also section on Mounting Tips and Ideas for Inert Treasures once they have been stifled, to best keep quality and high grade for mounted treasures.

        Vital Supreme
        The treasure is alive, undamaged, lacks any marring scars, and is possessed of superb liveliness or talent. This designation is considered 'the ultimate' pristine treasure. Such a specimen is virtually flawless and an above average example of the race. The treasure is perfect in every way. Such a stated condition is unusual and should be used with discretion.

        The treasure is alive and has very light damage, or is a pristine treasure but without any exceptional talent or markings. Treasure should be as close to 'Vital Supreme' as possible, but not quite. Only the most tiny hint of wear is allowed. Such minimal wear does not detract from treasure in any way.

        Only the most tiny of imperfections are allowed such as very minor scars. Missing fingers or toes are permitted as long as they do not detract from appearance.

        Vital A2
        <end of excerpt>

        Style: The Collector is the only member of the Twisting Accord that is of a level with the Mistress for raw power. He is a dragon, and not in the sense of 'large angry lizard' but 'immortal, elemental force of nature'. He is, even by the standards of the fickle fae, erratic, and possesses a host of bad habits. He is vain, lazy, gluttonous, holds grudges for millennia but otherwise has a very short attention span, wrathful and very violent, and above all else, he is Greed incarnate. The Collector is greedy and grasping, and it's not an elevated or refined kind of greed. In a word, he likes shiny and pretty things, the more polished and perfect the better.

        Where the Mistress prizes power, the Princess passion, the Tempter skill, and the Firm modernity and technique, the Collector elevates physical beauty above all else. He is pitiless and exacting in his specifications, and is perfectly willing to melt down a hoard and have it sculpted and minted once again -- and to do the same to one of his luckless changelings. He has an unhealthy enthusiasm for perfecting his 'prizes,' and has an attitude towards them rather like that of a particularly gruesome butterfly collector scaled up. He discusses their decay and demise calmly, as regrettable facts, and often times kills them before they lose their perfect beauty to age. After all, what point beauty if it is not preserved?

        All told, compared to the other members of the Twisting Accord, the Collector comes off as somewhat comic, but this ignores that he is an elemental force. He is Man writ large, all his vices and all of his powers upon the scale of mountains and valleys. He is cunning, and possessed of irresistible words, and when the Collector takes flight, he is the kind of monster that levels cities and renders them desolate for generations.

        GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
        New System and Setting Material


        • #5
          The Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire

          Type: The Fair Folk
          Changelings: Todd White, Dana the Tall

          Virtue: Helpful
          Vice: Lustful

          "I wish that you would visit me one day, in my house.
          There are such sights I would show you."

          My intended lowers her eyes, and, yes, she shivers.
          Her father and his friends all hoot and cheer.

          "That's never a story, Mr. Fox," chides a pale woman
          in the corner of the room, her hair corn-fair,
          her eyes the grey of cloud, meat on her bones,
          she curves, and smiles crooked and amused.

          "Madame, I am no storyteller," and I bow, and ask,
          "Perhaps, you have a story for us?" I raise an eyebrow.

          Her smile remains.
          She nods, then stands, her lips move:

          "A girl from the town, a plain girl, was betrayed by her lover,
          a scholar. So when her blood stopped flowing,
          and her belly swole beyond disguising,
          she went to him, and wept hot tears. He stroked her hair,
          swore that they would marry, that they would run,
          in the night,
          to his aunt. She believed him;
          even though she had seen the glances in the hall
          he gave to his master's daughter,
          who was fair, and rich, she believed him.
          Or she believed what she believed.

          "There was something sly about his smile,
          his eyes so black and sharp, his rufous hair. Something
          that sent her early to their trysting place,
          beneath the oak, beside the thornbush,
          something that made her climb the tree and wait.
          Climb a tree, and in her condition.
          Her love arrived at dusk, skulking by owl-light,
          carrying a bag,
          from which he took a mattock, shovel, knife.
          He worked with a will, beside the thornbush,
          beneath the oaken tree,
          he whistled gently, and he sang, as he dug her grave,
          that old song...
          shall I sing it for you, now, good folk?"

          Style: The youngest of the Twisting Accord, however the True Fae measure such things, the Sunset Princess of Stolen Desires is a creature of brief infatuations. Unlike True Fae such as the Mistress or the Board, Sunset very much prefers a personal touch, granting a single changeling her direct and constant attention until such a point as her interest wanes. She takes few of the Lost away, but she is hard on them, and those that survive her are usually broken, emotionally-damaged shells of what they once were. Only the fact that her interest fades after a time allows her enthralled slaves to ever escape. She is in some strange way counterpart and rival to the Mistress, the perfect abusive lover to the Mistress's perfect abusive parent. The two True Fae have a keen competition, Sunset championing the passion of her toys against the Mistress's cold, technical skill.

          Sunset is also quite willing to extend her personal touch in the mortal realms. She appears as the Girl With Russet Hair, most often to pursue some brief infatuation, but also to spread her own personal brand of chaos. Sunset adores emotional drama, the more tragic and violent the better. She thrives on betrayal and love-turned-to-hate, using her subtle wiles to drive such little stories of indiscretion and broken promises until they turn into tales of suicide and murder right out of Arthurian myth. They called her Morgana, once, Morgana le Fay.

          GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
          New System and Setting Material


          • #6
            The Board
            The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros

            Type: The Others
            Changelings: J. T. Underwood, Miss Bell, Xerox

            Virtue:Prudence. Adequate research must be conducted prior to any decision that may affect the outlook of The Firm.
            Vice:Greed. All shall be productive. None shall produce.




            The Honorable Corporation of the Ouroboros, hereinafter “The Firm,” hereby confirms the appointment of XXXXXXXX, hereinafter “The Employee.” This document outlines the Terms and Conditions that apply to the contract of The Employee, and other information which is relevant to his/her employment.

            1. The date of commencement of this contract, and of The Employee’s continuous service with The Firm or its subsidiaries, is XXXXXXXX. This contract operates in perpetuity.

            2. Base salary estimates are available from the Department of Human Resources, upon submission of Forms 3A, 6W, 270PS, 599-Supplemental and all Forms 10088.22 through Magenta 5. At the discretion of The Firm, a personal consultation may be deemed necessary before base salary estimates are made available. The Firm reserves the right, with appropriate notice, to decrease The Employee’s base salary estimate as the needs of The Firm may dictate.

            3. The Employee’s working hours will be SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE per week. The Firm may require The Employee to increase the number of his/her working hours if required on a temporary or permanent basis, should the needs of the position require it.

            4. The Firm’s leave year runs from 16 June to the following 15 June. The Employee is entitled to ZERO days of leave per leave year, non-inclusive of statutory and local holidays. The Employee is entitled to ZERO minutes of leave per leave day. The Employee is entitled to ZERO seconds of leave per leave minute.

            5. The Employee is obliged to give The Firm SEVENTEEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN weeks notice to terminate his/her contract of employment. Premature violation of these terms will be considered in breach of contract, and will result in The Employee’s immediate termination. The Firm and its officers are obliged to give the statutory minimum FOUR POINT TWO SECONDS of notice before terminating The Employee.

            6. This position is subject to the completion of a SIX MONTH probationary period. At the end of this period, if The Employee’s performance is of a satisfactory standard, his/her appointment will be made permanent. Unsatisfactory employees will be subject to immediate termination. (c.f. Condition 5)

            7. The Employee is expected to comply with the Company dress code at all times. Code-appropriate clothing is available from the Department of Procurement, Subdivision 6, upon submission of Forms 0001.11 through 88-Reversible. Some wait times may apply.

            8. It is a provision of this contract that The Firm must be satisfied with The Employee’s medical fitness to carry out his/her duties, conditional upon a satisfactory assessment from the Department of Occupational Health. Should it be deemed necessary during the course of The Employee’s employment, he/she may be required to attend a medical examination or other related procedure from the Department of Occupational Health or the Department of Research and Development. Failure to attend this examination or procedure will be considered a breach of contract, and will be subject to disciplinary action.

            9. The Employee is prohibited from smoking, sleeping, drinking, eating, leaving the premises of The Firm, or submitting Form 599-Supplemental on company time. The breach of any of these regulations will result in disciplinary action or termination, at the discretion of the Department of Human Resources. A complete list of prohibited behaviors, utterances, and metabolic processes is available from the Department of Archives, upon submission of Forms [REDACTED]. Some wait times may apply.

            --End of Excerpt--

            Background: The more stultified, bureaucratically overwrought, and fruitlessly busy mortal workplaces are, the more The Firm becomes narratively relevant to mortal society -- and thus, the more The Board increases in power. Correspondingly, the more inexorably soul-crushing mortal workplaces are, the likelier its employees are to quit in a huff and follow up on suspicious want ads. Thus, apart from conventional changeling recruitment, The Firm's main initiatives in the mortal world involve making mortal workplaces embody the above traits. Legislation is covertly lobbied into inconsequentiality; promising deals are somehow bogged down in red tape; clueless middle managers are elevated as if by chance to positions of unwarranted power; functional companies are reduced to grey, soulless hellholes by mysterious consultants, until one day their employees drive home "missing some vital spark." All this The Firm does, and more. It is important to note that The Board's aim is not economic ruin, but organizational gridlock: it is as likely to fund an ailing business as it is to sink one, if it's in the service of keeping the marketplace at a standstill.

            Large, institutional, for-profit, and services-oriented corporations, as entities already somewhat in keeping with The Firm's governing philosophy, tend to be the most likely targets of their efforts. The financial sector is a particular target, as is the insurance industry. While seemingly an unconventional choice, some of the more pointless government departments are also prized -- there seems to be a certain unique strain of unfortunateness embodied in public sector work. While The Firm does not abhor innovation, it is, at heart, a conservative institution, and is deeply suspicious of new ideas until it is certain that they can be turned to its ends. Thus, it currently regards the Internet -- and the wave of creative, small-team startups it spawned -- as a rather suspect development. It is currently employing agents to ensure that it more closely resembles the recording industry circa 1962, only with more advertising and surveillance potential. Progress has been mixed.

            GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
            New System and Setting Material


            • #7
              The Jack-of-Crows
              Székely Károly (Hungarian names are ordered surname then personal), The Patchwork King of Autumn (former), Mr. Sutcliffe

              Type: Fae-Stuff Fetch
              Court: Autumn
              Seeming: Darkling (False)
              Kith: Razorhand (False)

              Virtue: Loving (his ‘kids’)
              Vice: Cruel & Violent
              Long-Term Aspiration: To become human

              Background: Sometimes, a man becomes a monster. Whether by means of some blood-soaked transformation or a simple application of a flensing knife or snub-nosed pistol, a human being passes beyond the pale, becoming a monster. It’s rather unnervingly easy, as a matter of fact. It is difficult, much more difficult, for a monster to become a man. But the soulless mannequin that is the Jack-of-Crows will make the attempt all the same.

              The Jack-of-Crow’s story begins early in the spring of 1885, when a young, Hungarian-born apprentice surgeon named Székely Károly kidnapped, sedated, and then vivisected a young woman from the streets of Limehouse. He carved exquisite patterns into her skin, replaced her bones with stout wood and used silken cords to turn her into a puppet of inhuman grace and beauty. And when he was done, the Puppeteer came out of the shadows, and pinned Károly to his own work-table with a dozen giant needles. Then the Puppeteer built a fetch from bits of human bone and broken-off Thorns and silk string from Arcadia, and he made the fetch perfect. Then he took the mad surgeon with him, and left the fetch behind.

              Thus, the fetch's first living act was to conceal the grotesque murder that the other one – the real one – had committed. Calmly, unhurriedly, the false-man gathered Károly’s notes and occult books, concealed the body in a trunk, and deposited it in the Thames. Then it slipped seamlessly into the psychopathic surgeon’s life. It was simple, really. It is not very difficult to imitate a monster.

              It was no challenge to pick up Károly’s surgical apprenticeship, or carry on the student’s casual affair with his landlady. Even vivisecting the occasional ‘Covent Garden Nun’ was hardly worth the effort. But the false-man kept going, all the while aware that something was missing, some vital spark. The real Székely Károly had been a sociopath and a murderer, but he had lived life to the fullest, enjoying every moment even as he had danced at the edge of the abyss that eventually swallowed him. The fetch was merely going through the motions, living his life by rote. It was a fake and a fraud, and it knew this.

              Perhaps if Károly had not himself already been interested in the occult, that was where matters would have ended. But rather than slide into its casual, depersonalized oblivion, the fetch decided to take matters into its own hands. It would become a man, not a monster. It moved into the occult society of fin-de-siècle London, and while it failed to truly rouse something in the depths of its wooden heart, it began to identify the problem more clearly. As a false being, it had no soul. Without a soul, feeling, true love or joy or grief, were simply not possible. But the problem, once recognized, proved to be difficult in the extreme to solve. Moreover, the lack of a soul was an advantage as well. The false-man could do anything, witness any act, however grotesque or mind-rending, and feel little. Over the latter years of the 19th century, the fetch delved into some of the blackest lore known, rites that would have shattered a more responsive psyche. But it was worth the attempt, as ultimately, it managed to make contact with the Puppeteer.

              What exactly happened in that garret room in Whitechapel is unknown, but the fetch made a pact that night. Not long after that, it left London. Over the course of the early 20th century, the false-man traveled across Europe, furthering its occult researches. Much of that time was spent in the Balkans, especially in Romania and Austria-Hungary. When the Great War erupted, the fetch crossed the length and breadth of Europe, harvesting the necrotic bounties made available by the death and darkness all around it. He was in Galicia after the Brusilov offensive. After the War, it made its way back to London, where it remained until the late 1930s. All the while, the fetch searched for the answer to one question. How does a monster become a man?

              Not finding the answers in London, the fetch vanished just on the eve of the Second World War. When the false-man reappeared, it was in Austria in the early 1960s. It was still searching, but now it was a different creature in many ways. More grandiose, certainly much more powerful, but in many ways still the same. It was still a false thing, and though by now it knew the nature of reality intimately, it itself was still not real. It was still just a soulless reflection of Székely Károly.

              It flitted through Central Europe, and it was in these days that it first began to pretend to be one of the Lost. Perhaps among its fellow faerie-ravaged victims, it would find the meaning, the emotion it had so long searched. There were a few false starts, but it practiced its deception throughout the Balkans and in Germany, gaining knowledge, experience, and following certain events in the Black Forest, the allegiance of the Winter Courtier Frau Heinzelmaul. Then when it was ready, the false-man returned to London as the Jack-of-Crows. Not to participate in Lost society, but to rule it.

              The Jack-of-Crows took power on December 28th, 1974, assassinating the previous Autumn-King (who was found in his Hollow, strung up by his heels and pierced with 27 knives). It was able to rule because it was the strongest and most terrifying creature in the freehold, because no one managed to overthrow it. To be truthful, no one seriously tried since the mid-80s, when the Stonebones revolutionary Tom of the Mountain was found dead in Soho. And in Mayfair. And floating in the Thames. Rumor held that the Jack still had a few bits of Tom left over, in case the Autumn King ever needed to send a message. The fetch secured its reputation forever in 1996, when it destroyed a manifestation of the Wild Hunt in an aerial duel over the skies of London. While an enormous murder of crows destroyed the True Fae's hounds, the fetch and the Hunter flitted across the midnight sky, an event that culminated when false-man slit the Hunter's throat with a cold-iron knife. The True Fae had challenged the fetch's control over the city, and it had responded with lethal force. And then it retired, to its studies.

              That, and looking after the two proteges it acquired in recent years. The first, the present Winter King, Todd White, who amused the false-man with his casual insouciance towards life, and prompted the fetch to see how far it stretched. The other is Martin the Lion, a very young changeling who began as a kind of occult experiment into the effects of a very early Durance on the fetch's part. But the two of them have grown on the fetch, and it treats them as its 'sons' for all intents purposes, and is a protective, if rather difficult, parent. It may not have a soul, but it has seen enough of humanity to know how it should act. It has seen enough monsters. It will be a man.

              Of course, the cosmic irony is that the fetch has been wrong all along. The problem has never been that it was a soulless reflection. The Jack-of-Crows is one of the most active, driven, and effective fetches alive, a richer personality than many humans, and richer than the changeling it is based on. The problem is that the original Székely Károly was a psychopathic killer, and the fetch was an exceptionally good copy, but without the same neurological 'switches' as Károly. To put it another way, Károly is a psychopath. The fetch merely thinks it is. Both the fetch's periodic sadism and its protective care for Martin and Todd would be impossible for a true psychopath such as Károly. Such lapses are born either out of the fetch's inattention, or out of misunderstanding as to what it actually means to be without a soul. The false-man remains unaware of this because it is also not nearly as good as it thinks it is at understanding how other people feel and emote, a problem compounded by its own fearsome aspect, which tends to provoke extreme responses.

              Age: Physical ~40; Actually born in 1865.
              Eye Color: A very light brown (almost amber-colored)
              Hair Color: Dirty/Straw blond
              Skin Tone/Complexion: Rough, heavily tanned/bronzed
              Hair Style: Short, lanky, a little greasy

              Figure Notes -- Mask: The Jack-of-Crows is a tall, weathered man, about six feet tall. Muscular, but not broad, the Jack comes across mostly as someone who is hard, rough and weathered. No pretty muscle definition or sculpted abs, this is simply someone who's taken everything life has given him and laughed all the while. He's got his fair share of scars, especially a network of fine white lines on the underside of his right forearm, where blood has been drawn for all manner of black magic. The Cagliostro serpent's seal ( ) is tattooed onto his chest, about a hand's breadth in width, over the heart.

              The Jack has long, slender fingers and surprisingly delicate hands. His face is noticeably angular, with a sharp, strong-lined chin and sharp nose. The Jack's most distinctive feature is his smile, which he does by pressing his lips very tightly together before turning the corner's up, giving him a very thin, sinister smirk. A slasher smile, in a word.

              Figure Notes -- Mien: The Jack-of-Crows's skin takes on the texture of a burlap sack, rough and scratchy. Softer patches of cloth are sewn into his skin, including a red patch right over the heart. A pair of curved, obsidian horns grow from his head, and his feet turn into huge, rending talons. His most distinctive feature, though, are the two great, corvid wings that grow from his back, which he uses to fly short distances.

              Clothing Notes: The Jack-of-Crows tends to dress in heavily concealing clothing. For whatever reason, he isn't very comfortable with his body. Long-sleeved formal jackets, pants, frequently with gloves. He does however make a point of keeping a slice of wrist visible between gloves and sleeves. He likes lots of pockets. He's fond of long, ex-Army greatcoats, because they're unobtrusive, good against the chill, and you can carry plenty of things in them, and he usually wears a hat with a very broad-brim (several inches).

              On Court occasions, the Jack-of-Crows wears a much-patched suit in earth tones, like a farmer attempting to be formal.

              Accessories: The Jack-of-Crows is never anywhere without a slightly curved knife and a whip made out of plant fibers. He also has numerous pouches in his pockets, which might have copper-veined gold, dried thorns, small notebooks. He sometimes carries an Austrian army pistol in a holster, but not always (he's not very good with it).
              Last edited by NeoTiamat; 02-10-2014, 05:17 PM.

              GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
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              • #8
                Martin the Lion
                Martin Scrivener

                Concept: The Noble Lion
                Court: Dawn
                Seeming: Beast
                Kith: Truefriend

                Virtue: Trusting
                Vice: Pessimistic

                Background: Martin Scrivener has had a very odd life, and most of it has to do with crows. His earliest memories are peaceful enough, certainly. He remembers playing ball in the fields, watching puppet plays with the Young Master, being taught the history and mathematics by the Elderly Tutor, even chasing his own tail beneath the ochre sun. He doesn’t remember quite a few other things, certainly. He doesn’t remember his parents, or all of his first lessons, or entire weeks have all vanished from his memories. They occasionally show up in his nightmares, though.

                Martin’s next memories involve thorns, and pain, and the impossible desire to escape. He remembers coming out of a maze in a cathedral near Nottingham when he was eight or nine years old. He remembers being found by crows, and then by the police, and going to a fondling hospital and then a foster home. Two foster homes, actually, the first one ended rather sharply when dear Mr. Bolles died of a heart attack in the middle of the night. He’d hit Martin a few times, but Martin figured he deserved it. Apparently the crows disagreed.

                His second foster family was a bit nicer, but Martin never really forgot that he was different. He had a tail, for starters, and he could see things that other people couldn’t (crows, mostly). It was at this time that Martin met Uncle Jack, who wore a black coat and a black hat, and always had some crows sitting on his shoulders. Uncle Jack was his only family (the foster family was always a little scared of him, since Mr. Bolles’s death included quite a lot of screaming before the heart attack). But Uncle Jack was fun, if very strange, and his jokes strange too.

                When he was eleven, Uncle Jack came and informed the foster family that Martin was going abroad. He was going to Providence, Tennessee, and the Forsythe Academy there, to stay there year round. Uncle Jack, it seemed, had money. The Forsythe Academy was a place for the rich and influential children of the American South, and if they occasionally cast odd glances at Martin, they accepted him. Anyone with a British accent like that, and a terrifying uncle like that, had to be ‘their people’.

                At school, Martin flourished. By his fifth year, he was captain of the football team, and in his senior year he was class president. The fact of the matter was that Martin was nice. He certainly wasn’t the smartest student, and he wasn’t the best athlete ever (though he was quite good). But he was nice, and what he lacked in cleverness he made up in leadership ability. He was popular, and he was lucky, and he had the slight advantage that the crows were always there. Bullies tended to receive very firm instructions to stay away from the handsome, popular kid.

                There were odd bits, of course. The dreams were the worst, dreams of drowning, or burning, or being beaten with birch rods by people he loved, dreams bad enough that there were days when Martin just stayed in bed at the infirmary, twitching helplessly. There were other dreams, not so hideous, which taught Martin that he was different – he had a tail, which Martin was always rather perplexed about – and how he could control those differences. Martin could turn into a lion, or talk to housecats, or jump and play better than ever. Sometimes these dreams bled into reality, and Martin holds all the track and field records at Forsythe Academy. All of them.

                Still, all good things come to an end, and so did Martin’s time at the Forsythe Academy. His old school chums dispersed back to the four corners of the world, to study at Oxford and Harvard or run departments of their family’s multinationals in Brazil or China. Martin, though, knew where he was going from the start. It was back to London, and to whatever Uncle Jack and the crows had in mind next.

                Martin Scrivener (not his real name, but rather the name the British foster system provided for him) was taken by a Gentry known as the Young Master of Tears when he was about four years old. His role was to be that of pet, playmate, and periodic whipping boy for his Keeper’s plays of perpetual childhood. Like many of the worst kinds of Durances, it wasn’t constant torment and torture, but mental destruction interspersed with seemingly genuine kindness and caring. The Young Master seemed to genuinely like his ‘Kitten’, and there were frolics and pranks and all manner of things that two rambunctious seven-year olds can get up to.

                There were also brutal beatings when the Young Master misbehaved, but could not be punished for by virtue of his noble blood. There were wretched meals and worse living conditions, the abuse of the other servants, and the fact that some of the Young Master’s pleasanter entertainments included setting Martin’s tail on fire or holding his head underneath the duck pond. All of this was done to an eager-to-please young boy, and all followed by explanations of how the Young Master really did like Martin, but Martin kept bringing this upon himself by being a wet blanket.

                When Martin finally crawled his way out of the Thorns, driven past human endurance, he came to the attention of the Jack-of-Crows. Quite frankly, at first the Jack took protective watch over the young lion mostly out of a sense of occult curiosity. What might happen? But as he soon discovered, it was impossible to watch over the cub without feeling emotionally attached, and in short order the Jack was as proud and possessive a parent as anyone could want.

                Over the years, the Jack-of-Crows has watched out for Martin however he could. Gotten him into a good school, ensured his advancement in life, and generally protected him however possible. Owing in no small part to the Jack’s own severe insecurities as a parent (and soulless monster), anyone who harms Martin is rapidly introduced to the meaning of the phrase ‘Disproportionate Retribution’.

                The Jack-of-Crows has also taken upon himself the task of returning Martin to some semblance of sanity. Unfortunately, the Jack-of-Crows is very good at making people
                in-sane, but less so at making them sane. He’s used dream therapy, and he’s used his own black magic to force Martin to repress his more traumatic memories. Arcadia for Martin was a vaguely unhappy place, unpleasant in ways he has difficulty defining. This method has had a few unfortunate side-effects, such as Martin’s terrifying nightmares, but the Jack-of-Crows doesn’t know that the alternatives would have been any better. Because of the Jack’s own uncertainties, he tends to be very sensitive about the matter, and anyone bringing up the idea that Martin has a right to his own (traumatic) experiences is quickly offered some trauma of their own, to see what it feels like.

                Lastly, the Jack-of-Crows has, by means of corvine intermediaries and dreams, taught Martin how to use his supernatural powers – some of them, at least. Martin still has a tendency to activate his contracts ‘instinctively’, when under stress.

                Martin is an idealist, very friendly, and an all around nice guy. He’s the kind of person who believes that we can all just get along, and that there’s no reason why we should fight, and if everyone just works together, it would be awesome and life would be wonderful. So let’s go out there and win that game! In short, he’s someone who believes in the inherent goodness of mankind, and that there is no problem that can’t be solved with the proper application of teamwork and good nature. Admittedly, some problems (say, World Hunger) would require a lot of teamwork and good nature, but the Martin insists that the theory is sound.

                It helps that any group with Martin in it actually does seem to do better. He’s easy to talk to, and while he doesn’t always know the right thing to say, it’s impossible to doubt his earnestness. He wants to help you, and if you don’t let him, then he is going to pull that ‘huge kitten’ routine until you do. He’s a very persistent sort when it comes to cheering people up.

                Of course, the dark side to this is that Martin suffers from crushing insecurity. If everyone else does things for the best of motives, and lacks only a bit of a push to make things work out, then Martin invariably blames any failures on himself. If something goes wrong, it’s Martin’sfault, and he will beat himself up about till he’s a melancholy wreck.

                This is one of the memories of Arcadia. The other is that occasional, terrifying nightmares that wrack Martin’s sleep, or other moments when his guard is down. Martin has… Views about people mistreating other people or animals, as a result. The kind of views that lead one to realize that while Martin may be a giant kitten, he is also a former football captain, stands at about six-foot-four, and has a punch like a train engine.

                Martin is aware of the supernatural, but only in an extremely general sense of ‘there are weird things’. He knows that he has supernatural abilities and that most people can’t turn into lions, jump several yards, or pretend to be teachers despite obviously not being teachers. He knows that this is a result of his time with the Young Master in ‘faerieland’, but he hasn’t made the logical connection that there might be other supernatural entities like him, or indeed, entire supernatural societies. Martin treats the supernatural on a case-by-case basis, and the only two cases he has so far are himself and Uncle Jack.

                Academically, Martin is interested in the fields of international relations, economics, and diplomacy. He’s not sure what he wants to do with his life yet, but the idea of joining the Foreign Office and helping governments get along with one another, smoothing over problems, has a definite appeal.

                GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
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                • #9
                  Tarsa Rajai (Real Name), Tarsa Black (Legal Identity)

                  Type: Changeling
                  Court: Summer
                  Seeming: Beast
                  Kith: Venombite

                  Virtue: Determined
                  Vice: Miserly
                  Long-Term Aspiration: Become someone she can respect

                  Background: Success is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. So Form's parents always told her, because, to be honest, the poor girl didn't have much else going for her. Her family were second generation immigrants, who had fully embraced the London way of life. Her father ran a small pharmaceutical business, and they were decently well off. They were moderately faithful Muslims - no alcohol or pork, though they tended to slack off on the midday prayers. Form's early life blends together in a long montage of mediocrity. She was always the background filler at school - not ostracized, but not well liked. Everyone knew her, but no one knew her well. She had no particular brilliance, no athletic prowess, and no stand-out personality traits other than being studious. Her hobbies were mostly casual sports and computers, back when computers involved DOS. Her opinions mostly followed whatever the majority was. But she worked hard, and that was the key to success, so her teachers and parents told her. It meant she had a very clean room, did well enough in school to get into a good University, and had very happy parents. It also meant that when the librarian stepped out for a smoke break, Form was the only person left in the school library, when the sun set on the Autumn Equinox. The Mistress took her.

                  Her Durance continued much as her life before had. It was filled with far more terror and deprivation and pain, but it was mostly more work. Form survived the same as she had in school, by becoming background filler among the other Library girls. She was diligent and studious, and didn't get tired easily, and was older than many of the other girls, which gave her an edge in her chores. She was also old enough to be mostly through with oily skin and pimples, which spared her much of the Mistress' creative alterations.

                  It would be wrong to say she hasn't suffered from the neglect, however. Even at her most ignored, her parents would always love and support her. In the Castle, however, the attention of the Mistress is what everyone fears most, and yet the Mistress' compliments are what they crave most. Where other girls were both terribly punished and occasionally praised, Form's best work is taken for granted, and any less is punished. Even her name was no reward, simply given because the Mistress had tired of calling her "you", and the Mistress ensured she knew that. The constant dismissal of even her most earnest efforts, even when she goes above and beyond what would be expected of anyone else, has destroyed her confidence just as surely as the twisted love/hate games that the Mistress plays with others.

                  Personality: Form doesn't put a lot of philosophical thought into her every day life. She's more interested on things like how to get from point A to point B than, say, the why of getting to point A to point B. She will think of the future, certainly, and plan for it, but she isn't typically bogged down by existential thoughts or despair. She certainly seems to have weathered her Durance well, on the surface, because she is eminently practical. Of course, like all her fellows in the Castle, she's a complete emotional trainwreck. She's avoided the worst the Mistress had to offer by being unremarkable and thus unnoticeable, but she still holds an extreme love/hate relationship with her Keeper, and takes pride in the work she's accomplished, not in anything that lies inside her personality. It's simply that she lacks the self-awareness to notice it or dwell on it.

                  Form's a hoarder. Every time she received something from the Mistress, usually food, she'd stuff it under her bed for a rainy day. It occasionally proved impractical, such if the food was not prone to store well, or if someone else tried to snatch it away - still, it proved a blessing more often than not. As such, Form has a certain bit of callousness in her, when it comes to her possessions. She is perfectly willing to intimidate other girls into leaving her stuff alone, and she doesn't like to share.

                  Like all the Mistress' girls, she is very proper, polite, soft-spoken, and yielding to authority, though that is starting to shift. Due to a pledge she made with Martin Scrivener, she has become a bit more sociable. She has also become far more fussy over her looks, dabbling in makeup and mascara. Therapy is helping with her feelings of Stockholm Syndrome, but is slowly replacing it with anger. Of all the girls, Form holds the deepest resentment over what was done to her. Glow disliked her family, and Bat had already lost them, but somewhere out there is a copy of Form living her life. It is a very frustrated feeling - the Mistress is untouchable, the Fetch protected by London Freehold law, and little Erin is Form's sole source of housing and employment. Her unrequited crush on Martin and her competition with Glow do not do her inferiority complex any favors.

                  GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
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                  • #10
                    Maya Lam (Real Name), Cara Bat Tien (Legal Identity)

                    Type: Changeling
                    Court: Autumn
                    Seeming Darkling
                    Kith: Lurkglider/Leechfinger

                    Virtue: Loyal
                    Vice: Cowardly
                    Long-Term Aspiration:Explore the Underworld

                    Background: No one ever listened to Bat. She told her parents she didn't like that manor house. She told them she didn't like the people there. She told them they'd done something to her brother, and he wasn't right any more. She told her Dad that mum had been taken away, and they should run while they still can. But they didn't listen, and Bat was too frightened to run on her own. They'd been blowing her off like they always did, attributing her fears to her scared and paranoid personality. Most the times, they'd been right. But this time, they went wrong, and then vanished one by one, leaving Bat all alone. And then the Mistress took her.

                    Bat didn't take to her Durance well. The darkness of the library terrified her, but the Mistress terrified her more, and every time she was sent in she emerged a jittering mess. She was easy to terrify, which made her a huge target to the Mistress, and some of the crueler changelings. It was just too easy to pick on her, and watch her stammering reactions. She was a total wreck within a few months, and many wondered how she hadn't been taken by the darkness. Sometimes she would cower in the library for hours, too afraid to move, too afraid to leave without the book she'd been told to fetch. The others would help her, when they weren't too inconvenienced by it.

                    It was down deep in the Library that she found her first Ghost, an ancient spirit bound to one of the Mistress' stolen grimoires. Terrified, desperate, Bat made a covenant with them, irreversibly opening her eyes to the world beyond. The ghosts were rare in Arcadia, but the ones there aided her. They guided her through the darkness, they spoke to her and told her their life stories. They made her feel safe. They helped ease her fear of death. After all, she knew now that they had lived on afterward. Now, she had faith that she would as well, one way or another.

                    Personality: Bat is a scaredy-bat. She's squeaky, she's excitable, and she's easily frightened. Unfortunately, she's a natural follower, and doesn't like being alone. In other words, no matter how many times she says something looks like a bad idea, she'll go along anyway, because leaving by herself is even more frightening. She's easy to fluster, which makes her a huge target to people who enjoy provoking reactions in others. The Mistress has forced politeness and proper manner into Bat's mind on pain of death, and it keeps her surface demeanor relatively normal. But she's perpetually watchful, prone to nervous glances, and often softspoken.

                    The ghosts calm her down. Their mere existence fills Bat with a feeling of meaning. Ghosts remain behind for a reason, and it's neat to her. It gives her faith that the world works. She doesn't like to talk about this to others, though.

                    Bat's Durance left her with a deep hunger of sorts. It's more than just the need for good food after being deprived of it (though that is certainly also the case). There's a feeling of hollowness inside her - not quite emptiness, but it wants to be filled. Food fills it, but glamour proves much more effective. And Bat, perhaps borrowing some nature from her ghostly friends, or perhaps having some hint of a vampire bat in her mien, has found ways to suck glamour from other changelings. She knows she shouldn't, but it's so so good, and like the cannibals that eat others to gain their strength, it seems to impart some measure of the stolen emotion to her. Whether this is actually the case, or Bat projecting, is unknown.

                    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                    New System and Setting Material


                    • #11
                      Chloe Hayden

                      Type: Changeling
                      Court: Spring
                      Seeming Fairest
                      Kith: Bright One/Ask-wee-da-eed

                      Virtue: Helpful
                      Vice: Hasty

                      Background: Some people always seem cheerful, no matter what happens. In the case of the girl known as Glow, she had every reason to be cheerful. She was born to a rather wealthy family, and had anything money could ever buy a child. Yes, perhaps she lost her father to a slow, painful disease. Yes, her mother immediately used her team of lawyers to steal Glow's inheritance, and take control of her daughter's life, tearing her from her sisters and sending her to one strict boarding school after another. Yes, she lost one of her sisters to the same disease as her father. But she had a grand house and had expensive toys, and that made her lucky. So everyone said, so it had to be true. And Glow made it true. No matter how out of control her life could get, Glow always kept her sparkling and upbeat attitude.

                      That must have been what attracted the Mistress, in the end. Boggled by the strange and hopeful creature, the Mistress dragged Glow back to her castle. Of course, the Mistress has very little to do with such a bright soul except try to break it. Glow was thrown into the living darkness of the Library like the other new girls, and the Mistress forgot about her, for a bit. But the Mistress was soon shocked to find how Glow had adapted. She was still cheerful as ever, and now she glowed on the outside as well as inside. She'd adapted to the darkness by emitting her own light.

                      This was not conducive to the Mistress' desired environment, for when the girls went into the Library, Glow would come with them, and they would no longer feel afraid of the dark. So the Mistress 'promoted' Glow to be a dancer and entertainer, and occasional playtoy. Glow adapted well to that as well, being naturally pleasant and talkative. The Mistress, it seemed, eventually got tired of trying to break the girl without resorting to blatantly unfair measures - which, to the Mistress, would be counted as a loss in any event. Or perhaps she realized she'd broken the girl, just in other ways. Thus Glow faded into the background, being called on to perform when wanted and ignored at all other times. At least, until one day she encountered some runaways and followed on a lark...

                      Personality: Glow lives up to her name, inside and out. She is the eternal optimist, always bright and ready to face the day. Some people wonder if it isn't an affectation, for even normal, everyday people find plenty of things to be down about. Surely no one could live through what she had and still keep their soul intact? But everything seems to point to Glow being sincere. Happiness is contagious, and Glow does her best to spread it wherever she goes. Polite, and yet elegant and cheery, it's hard not to crack a smile around her.

                      Of course, the most well known fact about optimists is that pessimists hate them. Glow isn't perfect by any means. Her biggest issue is that she never stops being happy, even when other people would really like her to. Certainly she can be more subdued, and she's not heartless towards people having a rougher time than herself. But people who are grieving rarely like seeing other people remaining cheerful, even when they offer you their sincerest condolences. To make it worse, Glow says whatever's on her mind, and sometimes these things are bluntly insensitive.

                      The other issue is that Glow does whatever she feels like, whenever she feels like, and merely offers a shrug at the consequences. To most, this seems like both like flagrant irresponsibility and blatant callousness towards anyone she may have hurt with her actions. Other, more psychologically savvy souls might correctly recognize this as a sign of severe emotional damage. Glow's decisions and choices have never had an effect on what happened to her - her father and sister died while she watched helplessly, her mother dominated her life, and then the Mistress afterward. Saying "no" never mattered to anyone, she was forced to do whatever it was regardless. The utter loss of control has left her disaffected, and uncaring toward the decisions she makes. It doesn't matter whether she does or doesn't do anything, so she may as well just do whatever she wants.

                      Glow is enjoying her new freedom by spending all her money on whatever whim takes her. She knows perfectly well Erin will be there to bail her out if things get dire, and she's in no danger of starving. Glow survived in the Castle off the patronage of others, and she's perfectly content with the matter of affairs.

                      On the rarest of occasions, people around Glow get smited down with some of the bad luck that's plagued her all her life, but she doesn't seem to be consciously aware of having anything to do with it.

                      GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                      New System and Setting Material


                      • #12
                        le Marquis de Carabas, Edgar Chesapeake, Joseph Whittington, Blackjack

                        Type: Changeling
                        Court: Spring
                        Seeming Beast
                        Kith: Gamemaster/Trickster
                        Born: 1956
                        Apparent Age: Mid-thirties

                        Virtue: Helpful
                        Vice: Clever
                        Long-Term Aspiration: To have a good relationship with his ‘family’ (Erin, Mary, Cinder)

                        It's hard to know anything about Othello when he changes himself every two days. His name is whatever takes his fancy at the moment, his features likewise. He might be a black man with white hair, or dark hair, or a sandy-skinned man with hooked features and bright green eyes, or an Irishman with a trimmed russet goatee. Among the changelings he is notoriously difficult to recognize, and you might easily talk to him for five minutes, only to walk across the room and talk to him again without realizing it.

                        He does seem to like the name Othello, despite or because of the irony inherent in it, and if you try hard enough you can pick up a few things. The first is that he's a cunning, canny, clever beast, and if you ever think you're getting the better of him, you'd better check your pockets when he's gone. He has a few "tells", though you can't count on them - he has a cats ears, eyes, and tail... most of the time. He's usually handsome, but generally short; he likes fine shoes, has old fashion sense, won't eat his vegetables and has a heavy craving for chocolate. He likes to keep songbirds, caged up in delicate little cages, though one or two might vanish every now and again. He also likes to play games, and he rarely loses. He's a fickle critter, and his attention rarely lasts for long, but you'll know when it's on you; he can raise you to the top in a month, or completely destroy you in a day. And most of the time you'll have unwittingly helped him do it.

                        Those he does help, he tends to confuse or annoy on the way - though his solutions are often some of the best for everyone involved, they often irritate those who don't share his sense of whimsy. But be warned if he seems too helpful, or if you think you've got the better of him... it means he's playing with you.

                        There are whispers in the goblin marts that he even tricked one of the True Fey out of something, but that seems a little too ridiculous for even the Changelings to believe - or want to believe. After all, the cheated Gentry might come knocking. Othello certainly isn't talking. Indeed, you could talk to him for hours on end only to walk away and realize he'd said absolutely nothing of import. Othello doesn't see the need to share information about himself.

                        He certainly doesn't talk about his daughter. He doesn't think people need to know about her.

                        Othello is the very definition of a trickster, right down to his soul, and he's good at it. He long ago figured out that the rules of the world only apply if someone enforces them, and that with the right words you can change reality. He's a deeply cunning, intelligent man who's always thinking on his feet, able to turn setbacks around so fast that it seems he might have planned it all along. He's vain, and in a way, power hungry. Tricking people gives him power over them, and feeds his pride. He rarely gives a straight answer, dancing around questions with theatrics and wit, leaving those he manipulates in the dark. He's the center of attention when he wishes to be, and invisible in the crowd when he doesn't. He's a veritable fountain of culture and eloquence, parading his intellect in front of everyone. And he has the annoying habit of being one step ahead, and almost always right. Othello is a charming man, but there are really only two ways people react to him - love or hatred.

                        Like the tale of Puss in Boots, however, his trickery manifests in the form of strange charity. Othello very rarely seeks to take advantage of others for his own gain. To those he likes, he is indeed a true friend, who would win you a kingdom in return for a pair of shoes. He's generous and loyal, in his own way, never asking for anything meaningful in return. Of course, he's so confusing or irritating that many would never consider the fact they owe him at all. In a way, that's how Othello likes it. He wants nothing so crass as money - what he wants is the thrill of deception, the glee of knowing a secret no one else does. He wants the grand reward of shocking everyone with some amazing deed or grandiose gift. Most of all, he wants to have fun while doing it.

                        Beware to those who truly catch his ire. Certainly, he may trample over evildoers when helping someone else, but it takes a good deal to catch Othello's real bad side. Bad mouthing or disliking the cat won't do it; indeed, Othello seems to enjoy being disliked, in some cases. It takes a very specific grade of callous evil, cruelty, and abusive power to make Othello angry. Slavers of any sort are the worst, slavers who trap people through chains, or contracts, or money. Othello might restrain himself to simple pranks and annoyances, but has an impulsive temper, and if he sees a golden opportunity, he takes it. He can tear down everything a person has, and usually trick them into doing it for him.

                        Othello has a finger in every pie. He seems to know everyone in London, and he was somehow involved in putting Aurora on the Seelie Throne. It's certainly widely known that he loathed the previous Seelie Queen, Alexandra Merill, and the final faux-wedding between Todd White and Aurora took place in his roving hollow. But no one really knows the truth of that. What is known is that Othello these days is perhaps the single most powerful Seelie Courtier. He has the limitless good graces of the Seelie Queen, who will forgive him anything and values his advice deeply, and he is in close contact with several other prominent Seelie courtiers, most notably the Queen Consort and Red Victor, Dana the Tall, and Erin Lamothe, owner of the Cat's Cradle and Joyeux.

                        More recently, and more publically, Othello was involved in a grand dispute with the werewolf known as Cinder. While the details of this are obscure to much of the Freehold of New Jerusalem, it is known that Erin and Underwood travelled into the very heart of Faerie and brought back four of the Lost with them. There are rumors that Cinder is in fact Othello's daughter, though how this happened, or what the two think of it, is less known. Those in the know, of course, know that Othello is frightened half-to-death and half-sick with guilt towards his ferocious daughter, and at the same time is hardly his daughter's favorite person.

                        GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                        New System and Setting Material


                        • #13
                          Todd White
                          The Unseelie King, Sean Gillespie

                          Type: Changeling
                          Court: Winter
                          Seeming: Beast
                          Kith: Trickster
                          Born: 1978
                          Apparent Age: Late twenties

                          Virtue: Just
                          Vice: Lustful
                          Long-Term Aspiration: To become a more respected king than the Jack-of-Crows

                          Born: Sean Gillespie was born to an upper-class family in London, the youngest of two children. His father was a lawyer at a major firm, his mother a vice president of marketing with a global pharmaceutical, and they hated one another. They weren't divorced, his parents, but by all accounts they should have been. Sean and his sister were raised in an atmosphere of accusations and cutting remarks, and Sean was left trying to navigate arguments he barely understood.

                          His sister Coreen rebelled, becoming steadily more involved in dubious circles, but Sean was always the 'good boy'. Eager to please, conscientious and hard-working, Sean excelled at school and at sports, and grew ever more adept at mediating and calming his endlessly quarrelsome parents. By the summer before his sixteenth birthday, Sean was in the top five percent of his class, was captain of the tennis team, and was always smiling. If that smile had an occasionally somewhat manic edge to it, and if Sean's workaholic nature seemed to keep him away from home for fourteen hours at a time, no one mentioned it.

                          The Gentry took Sean on the night of his sixteenth birthday. There had been a party, but it had disintegrated into an argument over how well his father had arranged for the catering, and by nightfall Sean was in the backyard adjoining an old forest, sitting in the grass, and miserable as could be. He saw a fox, a glorious russet animal with eyes that burned, and in a feminine voice as clear as a bell, it asked him why he was crying. And so, Sean said how hard he tried, and how nothing ever worked out. The fox offered him another possibility, a world where no one would ever argue or quarrel or raise their voice, and in that moment of depression, Sean took it.

                          The fox spoke truly, and in his whole Durance, Sean never heard a word spoken in anger or a single criticism, however faint. He was a pampered pet, kept on a leash and fed tidbits from the table, and even when he was punished with the lash or the knife, his Keeper never stopped telling him how much she loved him and what a wonderful pet he was. Afterward the beautiful woman with the brilliant, russet hair would care for him, tending to his wounds and taking him to her bower.

                          Had this continued for long enough, it's likely that Sean would have been reduced in time to a quivering bundle of eager-to-please masochism. But his Keeper grew bored, and Sean's psyche proved unusually resilient, and the pet was left alone for ever longer periods of time. It was during one of those trips that Sean escaped, running through the Thorns until he emerged, bloodied and half-mad, by the same old forest where he had been taken from.

                          The first thing Sean did was decide that no matter what else, his life would be his own now. He'd spent sixteen years trying to please his parents, and five more trying to please his Keeper. Never again. He took a new name, to fit his new life, and thus was Todd White born. The second thing Todd did was find his Fetch, studying business at the London School of Economics, and slice it open from stomach to throat with a knife, watching the dead leaves and small animal bones fall out. The third thing he did, though this wasn't exactly intentional, was catch the eye of the Jack-of-Crows.

                          Now, trying to understand just what attracts the Patchwork King of Autumn is an exercise in futility. Did the Jack admire Todd's bloody-minded will to live his own life? Did he see in the white-haired changeling a creature which he could control? Or was Jack just looking for an heir and Todd was the first changeling he saw on that particular Tuesday? Todd understands the Jack-of-Crows better than anyone else, quite likely, and he still has no idea.

                          These days, Todd White lives however he likes, for the first time in his life. He dropped out of the LSE, which ended up putting paid to his parent's marriage now that their one apparent success (raising their son) turned to failure. Todd couldn't care less by now. He doesn't have a job and he doesn't have a home, but between charming his way into the hearts – and beds – of interested women and the income he gets as the Winter King, Todd gets along. He gets along rather nicely.

                          Of course, Todd never expected to be King. He didn't mind the idea though, even if it's proven rather more stressful than he might've liked. But Todd's ambitious, and in some ways, he's proven to be a very good Winter King. He's got a flair for secrecy and a talent for managing his court's subtle desires that would do justice to any Spring Courtier. And whenever people grumble, the Jack-of-Crows is always nearby, and he's made it exquisitely clear that he expects everyone to fully support his chosen heir.

                          Unfortunately for Todd, all his greatest problems stem from the Jack-of-Crows. In the first case, there's the very open question of who actually rules the Unseelie. Todd White is the formal Unseelie King, and he runs the Court. But the Jack is still a constant presence, like some hideous blood-stain on the wall that no one can quite forget, however much they try to ignore it. Half the Freehold thinks that the Jack-of-Crows is still pulling the strings. One his worse days, the ones where the stress gets to him, Todd agrees with them. He'd love to strike a more independent line, but doing this without alienating his chief political patron and the most powerful faerie in London is going to be an exercise in delicacy.

                          The situation isn't helped by the fact that Todd still keeps up a few of the Jack's old laws, in particular what is popularly known as the Fetch-Law. Stated plainly, it means that none may kill a Fetch in London without express monarchical permission, which is only granted if the Fetch is somehow violent or dangerous. Todd keeps the law up, and so far he's been able to persuade Aurora to uphold it during the months when the Seelie rule. But telling every changeling in London that they can never go home, that they have to stand by as some Gentry-made thinglives their lives is not a popular move, especially among the Summer Court (John Henry has been a vocal opponent of the Fetch-Law). That Todd himself slew his own Fetch puts him in an even more complicated position... but Todd knows, better than nearly anyone else, that the Jack will not allow the Fetch-Law to lapse, Freehold opinion be damned. So far the situation is stable mostly because Todd is a good enough politician to distract people from the topic or help them work around it, and because there's still a good deal of residual terror of the Jack, but as time goes on and memory of the Jack recedes, pressure against the Fetch-Law continues to build.

                          In person, Todd is subtle and sly, by equal turns charming and conceited, melancholy and mercurial. He's hardly a typical Winter courtier, too outgoing and flamboyant, but he has his Court's love of secrets and mystery, and he can easily slide into a half-depressed sulk when things don't go his way. He's also a very handsome man, and since his earlier relationship with the vampiress Rose lapsed after she went back to America, he's cut quite a swathe among the ladies of the Freehold. He's just a little bit emo.

                          GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                          New System and Setting Material


                          • #14
                            The Seelie Queen, Lexi Jorgensen (Real Name), Lexi Larsen (Legal Name)

                            Type: Changeling
                            Court: Summer
                            Seeming: Fairest
                            Kith: Flowering
                            Born: 1986

                            Virtue: Kind
                            Vice: Short-Tempered
                            Long-Term Aspiration: To get revenge on the Mistress

                            Background: Lexi was the popular girl. She was pretty, she was sweet, she was smart, she was the minister's daughter of the small English town she grew up in. Everyone loved her, and Lexi did her hardest to please everyone in turn, whether it was her parents, her church, her teachers, or her friends. Even those people jealous of her success found it hard to hate someone who worked in the family's soup kitchen every day after school. Lexi kept her secret anxieties, her self-doubt, her guilt about her sexuality, her burgeoning depression to herself. Some parts of the Church of England would have looked tolerantly upon Lexi's sexuality. Her father's did not.

                            When Lexi started getting letters from a 'Secret Admirer', she was nervous. When the 'Secret Admirer' proved to be another woman, shefreaked out. And... nothing happened. When the panic attacks subsided, and her parents remained blissfully unaware, Lexi started to write back. The letters were daring, enticing, and soon they planned to meet. Lexi bought tickets, stepped off the bus in her best dress, and walked up to the decrepit old house in a forgotten corner of the Home Counties. In retrospect, the repeated use of the phrase 'growing into your potential' should've been a warning sign.

                            Arcadia preyed on Lexi's mind. She was a flower in a garden of lost souls, all confused, anxious, conflicted. Her Keeper largely ignored her, only to come and trim at her limbs, snipping away what she disliked with fingers made of scissors and shears. The rest of the time she was forgotten... but somehow, instead of breaking altogether, Lexi snapped. She was tired of it. She got mad. And when one evening she overheard her mistress discussing the fading blooms of her flowers, Lexi had had enough. The next morning, she broke free of her soil, marched through the castle of unimaginable size, screamed at the guards to let her through, and bluffed and lied and bullied her way back home. It was a cosmic temper tantrum.

                            At some point, exhaustion caught up with her, and when Lexi emerged from Arcadia after but a single year, she found she had no life left to go back to. Her fetch, not so strong as she was, had hung herself from an oak tree within a year. Alone in the world, with no idea of how to care for herself, Lexi went to London with her last few pennies. There she met Alexandra Merill, and found herself in a new form of slavery. For a time, Lexi -- Aurora now, among the Lost -- tolerated it. But when a marriage was contracted, and she would be separated from her new love, Dana the Tall, Aurora snapped again. She got in touch with Othello, and the rest, as they say, is history.

                            These days, Aurora finds herself trying to manage the Seelie Court of London, a nigh-impossible undertaking after the havoc that Alexandra Merill had wrought on the city. Alexandra's conspiratorial tactics had left a Seelie Court that was demoralized and divided, and it was with only considerable effort that Aurora's managed to keep the Seelie as unified and together as they are. Even now, there's still some old resentments, and they run deep.

                            GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                            New System and Setting Material


                            • #15
                              Dana the Tall
                              Clarissa Onyango (Real Name), Dana Kinsaka (Legal Name)

                              Type: Changeling
                              Court: Spring
                              Seeming: Ogre
                              Kith: Gargantuan
                              Born: 1983

                              Virtue: Just
                              Vice: Gullible

                              Background: Clarissa was born in London, the daughter of Kikuyu immigrants from Kenya. A kind-hearted girl, Clarissa grew up working in her uncle's restaurant, waiting tables and cooking for an endless stream of construction workers and day laborers in the East End of London. In the evenings, she read books, an endless stream of faerie tales and mythology from all over the world. By the time she was twenty, Clarissa's biggest issues seemed to be how to pay for culinary school, and how to explain to her small pack of Kikuyu grandmothers and aunts that she was singularly uninterested in the prospective husbands they kept showing her.

                              Then she met the Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire. The True Fae didn't seem to terrible at first. Just a pretty red-haired girl crying at the restaurant due to a brute of a boyfriend. Clarissa, a hearty young woman and not entirely oblivious to how pretty the other girl was, agreed to give her ex-boyfriend what-for. When she stepped out of the bleak corridor and into the Other World, she found that the 'boyfriend' was areal ogre, and not a metaphorical one.

                              Somehow, Clarissa survived that fight. Just like she survived the next one, and the one after that, all against opponents larger than her, opponents who forced her to grow (sometimes literally) and train herself to the utmost to win the favor of the Sunset Princess. She slew dragons and fought in tourneys, wrote poetry and sang songs, all to be the perfect gallant... and it was rarely enough. But when it was, life was heavenly. Only when the Sunset Princess's attention waned did Clarissa find the strength to break free and fight her way out of Arcadia, after four years of captivity.

                              In the mortal world, she found her once promising life in shambles. Her fetch, lacking some rebellious spark, had given up her hopes of advancement or freedom, and still worked at her uncles' restaurant, married to a quiet young man who was never quite comfortable with his dull-eyed and uninterested wife. Clarissa joined the Freehold then, changing her name so as to protect the mortal clan she left behind, and became a loyal knight of Summer.

                              She fell in love with Aurora, another far-away princess, delicate and frail, but this time Clarissa (now Dana) won her beloved's heart, and kept it. And if Dana the Tall sometimes feels her Keeper's lips when she kisses Aurora, or imagines the Spring Queen's locks as russet instead of raven dark, she keeps it to herself.

                              Dana is the highest ranking Seelie Courtier of Summer and is often called the Summer Queen, though this is not precisely her title. Rather, she is the Red Victor, the champion of the Seelie and their greatest warrior (by tradition, and possibly by fact). She does not lead or administer the warriors of Summer, delegating that task to her adjutant John Henry, but she inspires them and leads them in battle.

                              GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                              New System and Setting Material