Oaths of Gold and Iron

"You promised us, when we gave you the world to go to war, that you would remember your vows. 

You promised to leave our sacred places intact, to leave sacrifices for us, to remember us in your songs. 

You promised that when the War of Seasons ended, you would stand aside for us, the true rulers of the world. 

You lied."

In the 900’s the Fae are in their twilight and, what’s worse, they don’t realize the peril they are in. They claim they made the world and there may be some truth to this, but in time long lost to memory the Fae formed into groups called Courts and went to war. The Courts preferred different types of existence so shaped the world to fit these desires. Humans came into the world and were mostly ignored, that is until the Cataclysm. 

Humans had controlled fire and unleashed it according to their will. Some Fae say a Fire Inanimae gave them this power, others that the terrifying truth of humanity is their ability to discover these secrets of the world on their own. Whatever the truth a fire swept the world, burning the works of the courts and slaying many, many fae and humans alike. In the aftermath the Courts were decimated. Spring was first to recover, their penchant for growth and life aiding them, and chose to complete a great work that sent their magic and creations over the entire world. This angered the other Courts, whose lands began to transform by the will of the Spring Court. Summer worked their own great magic to wrest control from Spring, then Autumn and finally Winter and so the seasons began, as did the war.

Each Season believes the world is theirs, and theirs alone. The Courts went to war and the prize was no less than the entire world. To ensure that this prize existed at the end of this war the Fae made great oaths with humanity, that humanity would steward the world, pay the Fae their proper due and respect and leave their realms and war alone so the winners of the War of Seasons could reclaim the world. The War of Seasons has raged for so long that the world has truly become the property of man and now they forget their oaths. The Fae, for their part, are just now beginning to realize the extent to which humanity has claimed the world and a few are starting to question. Will there be a prize to be claimed at the end of the War?

The Battle of Stone, which took place in the middle east sometimes in the 700’s, decimated the Fae. At this gruesome battle 75%-90% of the total world population of Fae were killed, including all four leaders of the Courts. The Fae will never truly recover from this event. By the 900’s each Court is still at war but in name only. Recovery and recruitment is slow and humans rise in power. It is bad enough that the world now rejects the Fae through their echos but oaths with humans seem to be the only true shield against them and to make matters worse a new god rises. One whose faith is rumored to hold the terrible power of removing the magic of Changelings and slaying the Firstborn outright.


A Fae’s Origin is the way a given Fae was brought into being. There are three, the First Born, Inanimae and Changelings.


These are creatures of pure magic. The original Firstborn stepped wholly formed from the Mists of Creation and they make claim to be the original Fae and first beings. Now, however, they are either children of other firstborn, or the result of minor fae spirits, called Sprites, gaining enough power and control over their magic to take an active role in the affairs of the Courts and Fae. A Firstborn stepping from the mists has not occurred in the living memory of any Fae.

The Firstborn are the closest Fae to the chaotic magic of the Mists and favor Unleashing their magic in displays of power rather than carefully controlling it with Cantrips. These Fae have a limited understanding of humanity and the world they have created yet typically hold the highest positions of power with the Courts and Fae society. They resent that this must change after the Battle of Stone, they resent that their magic and knowledge is weakening, and they fear that the world is no longer for them.


Appearing spontaneously from the intersection of the Mists and the natural world they are the very elements that creation is based on. The Inanime were the second type of Fae to spring into being and are the most alien and removed from humanity. Comprised of the element of their birth; fire, water, ice, wind, sand, stone and so forth, they are the Fae most in touch with the natural world and sensitive to its changes.

Inanimae are, by humans, often mistaken for elementals or spirits when their true forms are revealed. They have the most difficulty relating to humans and understanding their cultures and so struggle to take on the myriad human forms of the Changeling and First Born. They don’t much mind though, as they much prefer to exist in nature around the element from which they sprang forth.


Changelings are unique among the Fae as they are a mix between them and humanity. Some are children of humans and firstborn, others are  firstborn children swapped for human infants or those human infants raised by the Firstborn. Both the fae child and the abducted human baby may grow up to be changelings.

Changelings have, historically, been looked down on by the Firstborn and Inanimae as being less, tainted by their human parentage or rearing. Since the Battle of Stone they have come into their own and have begun taking on positions of authority within their Courts. They are, by far, the most numerous Origin in the 900’s and their ability to step into human society with such ease is a major boon.

The Courts

Spring Court

The Spring Court embodies the vibrant and lush places of the world and celebrates the variety of life. It is a mistake to think that a Spring Fae is a peaceful being focused on the cultivation of life. Spring Fae embrace change in all forms, watching life progress and reveling in all of its myriad variations, including the many different ways it can end. The Spring Court began the War of Seasons in their bid to influence the entire world and are among the Courts most eager to get back to it in earnest. Their penchant for renewal, growth and change make them, in their eyes, the most likely to win and this long cold war has grown stale indeed.

They have lost many of their greatest holdings from centuries past, but of all the Courts, they are most adept at finding new homes and adapting to new surroundings. They are rebuilding their Court faster than most others, perhaps with the exception of Autumn in preparation for a great offensive. They embrace the change that the War of Seasons brings but are blinded by their ambition to the change humanity is causing in the world and their place within it.

Summer Court

The Summer Court embodies the unforgiving heat and stifling beauty of the sun and warm places. Deserts are their homes and tradition their culture. They pride themselves on adherence to the traditions of old, their hierarchical structure, and a harsh observance of discipline, For, like the deserts they crafted, those who break the rules or are weak must be taught through harsh lessons or meet death. Summer fae are stern but fair masters, and their love of traditions means that they have retained many treasures and strongholds from ages past.

Their order and traditions make them the most organized and martial of all the Courts. A trait they believe will see them to victory in the War of Seasons. Of all the Courts the Summer are still mostly ruled by First Born with Changelings relegated to the lower ranks, with a few notable exceptions. Unwilling to bend tradition and lax its standards on recruiting the Summer Court has rebuilt slowly since the Battle of Stone and is a shadow of its former glory.

Autumn Court

The Autumn Court embodies the places of transition in the world, such as where harsh desserts transition to frigid mountains. Fascinated with humanity, even more than most fae, the Autumn-kin are contemplative and clever. Swearing an oath with an Autumn fae is much like making a deal with the Devil — enticing, empowering and often deadly in the final analysis when the human invariable breaks it. The Autumn Fae look at humans and their faith with wonder and fear.

The majority of the Autumn Court are Changelings and this closeness with humanity has led them to see the truth. The world is no longer theirs. Since the Battle of Stone the Autumn Court has sought to understand humanity and what they have found has terrified them. Many believe the War of Seasons needs to be abandoned before humanity and the rising God of Christianity seals their doom. Others believe a swift end to the war is the only way the Fae can survive, regardless of which court wins.

Winter Court

The Winter Court embodies the coldest and harshest lands of the Earth. They, like the lands they crafted, are the most brutal of all the fae. While they are vicious warriors, they are the least organized Court and the least interested in the War of Seasons. Instead focusing on their own aims, goals and hunger. Organized war isn’t much to their liking, but preying on humanity, the thrill of nighttime hunts, the taste of blood and fear — these things are very much to their tastes. It is only the notion of plunging the world into a dark, savage night that spurs them to participate in the War at all. That, and the thought of another Court forcing them into submission.

The majority of the Winter Court are Inanimae and First Born, prior to the battle of stone Winter Court Changelings were simply killed and eaten more often than not. Since the Battle of Stone little has changed and this complacency and reliance upon the self and self alone leaves the Winter Court ill prepared to renew the War of Seasons. They believe their individual prowess, strength and brutality will carry the day if any of the other Courts dare to attack them and, for the most part, they haven’t been wrong.

Entering a Court isn't a matter of birth

Fae are, according to custom, allowed to choose their Courts, or at least to apply to join any Court that they feel suits them. In practice, this choice has only become an issue since the Battle of Stone. Before that time, a fae who wished to join a Court other than the one she was raised by was shamed, or in the case of the Winter or Summer Court, killed outright. It was, and is, possible to fail in the process of joining a Court and become a Courtless outcast, known as a Solstice fae. Every so often, in fact, a faerie refuses to join a Court, deliberately becoming one of the Solstice-kin. Most fae, however, undergo the Saining ritual and join one of the Seasonal Courts. 


Over the course of one year, as the human world measures such things, the fae goes through the Saining under the guidance of a ritemaster. Before this, the fae is called a “Fosterling,” and while technically belonging to no Court, she is under the protection of whatever Court rules the household in which she grew up. The three steps of the Saining Path are not only unique to each Court, but each ritual itself is an individual process that stands alone from any detailed comparisons. Through the year-long rite, the three steps form the core of the aspirant’s progress toward Saining, but as many permutations exist as do fae themselves.