Gregory Pettigrew (etherial) wrote,
Gregory Pettigrew
etherial

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How to make a Changeling

There are two basic questions you need to answer to make yourself a Changeling character. Yes, this is kind of specific knowledge, but the intellectual exercise might entertain some.

Who were you before you were taken?
What happened to you while you were in Faerie?

For fun, let's base our sample character off of Sleeping Beauty. The fairy tale gives us a few story points to key off of:

•Protective Father
•Spinning is Forbidden
•Girl pricks finger
•Girl falls asleep
•Thorns grow
•Boy kisses girl

We'll concerned with backstory, so let's leave the latter half of Perrault's story for the Storyteller to retell. Notice how cause and effect have been completely removed from the plot points. The Fae are, above all else, alien, while cause and effect are usually present in their tales, they are usually mercurial and unpredictable. This is a modern story, so it's gonna need a little updating.

...

Once upon a time, there lived a Baptist Minister. He was well aware of the evils of the world, and he did what he could to protect his congregation and his family from it. Stern looks accompanied fire & brimstone sermons, and all was right with his corner of the world, or so it seemed. Now, this minister had a daughter, Talia, who was about to turn sixteen, and, in the manner of teenagers, was testing her parents' limits by staying out to the very last second of curfew, flirting with boys, and exploring the seedier parts of town.

On the night of her sixteenth birthday, Talia was with some friends, investigating a party in an abandoned warehouse. She was dancing with a very cute boy, and they stopped briefly to drink some water and chat a bit. While she was talking with him, she saw him, to her horror, take a syringe out of his pocket and inject something into his shoulder.

"Is that...are you on drugs?" she asked, surprised. She had never been around someone who abused themselves so openly.

They boy laughed. "Drugs? No no, this is just electrolytes and pixie dust. It's just a little energy kick. Do you want some?" he asked as he pulled another one out of his pocket. He could see that she hesitated. "You can see I'm not high or loopy or anything. It's a lot like getting off of those little merry-go-rounds as a kid. They call it 'spinning'."

She stuttered, "My father would kill me, I really shouldn't..."

He took her hand and held out the needle. "How 'bout just a little bit? In the finger?" She nodded, and he injected it into the tip of her index finger.

She felt her internal gyroscope begin to loosen and slide ever so slightly out of place. She could feel the lights and music coursing through her, and she felt the world begin to spin. She danced joyously to the music, but the sloppiness in her brain simply grew and grew until she could no longer stand. "Relax", the boy said, "you're just coming down. You'll have to stay off your feet for a while". She tried to nod, but her head was too heavy to move.

In another time and place, she awoke. She was lying down, placed on an alabaster altar, wearing a blue gown and holding a red rose in her cataleptic hands. Her eyelids remained open, and she saw that she was in a tower in a castle. The drug using boy leaned over her and came into her sight. "Don't worry", he said. "Sooner or later, it will wear off and we will dance again". He kissed her lips. She could not move a millimeter. Her breath came in a measured, relaxed rhythm. No one could hear her screaming.

He visited her from time to time, sometimes kissing her, sometimes just talking to her, but eventually his visits trailed off and the seasons began to change. As she lay there, unable to move or blink, painfully aware of the passage of time, she felt and then saw thick tangles of thorny vines creep in through the open windows and then wind their way up the dais and onto her, the thorns slowly growing into her skin.

The thorns bled her, taking away her blood, but they gave something back, too. They leeched at her essence, but also at the magics that held her in place. She felt sensations she had not felt in eons, she felt her muscles attempt to twitch in response to the pain. She heard rustling in the distance as the vines parted ways for her captor as he climbed the stairs. Still a boy, he looked at her, smiling. "I was hoping you'd still be here", he said. "I was hoping to steal another kiss."

As he leaned in to ravage her again, the vines and thorns pulled away from her, releasing her from their grasp, and the terrible spell that had imprisoned her snapped. As he began to balance himself toward her, she mustered all her strength to pull him forward, up and over her and sprawling onto the floor. She dove out the nearest window, landing on a pile of thorny vines. As he chased after her, the vines withdrew, allowing him to maintain his perfect complexion but always ensuring that she was one step ahead.

After wandering for days through thorns and hedges, she found herself in sight of human civilization again. She didn't know if this was the town where her parents lived, but she knew how to check. She found the nearest Baptist Church and walked inside, seeing her father sitting behind the desk in the Pastor's Office. "Dad?" Her voice creaked, having been unused for who knows how long.

"Catholic Priests are usually called 'Father', but you should call me 'John'", said the man she thought was her father -- said the man who looked exactly like her father, but with a few touches of gray around the temples. She couldn't take it and ran, tears in her eyes, to the nearby river. She looked at her reflection. Her eyes were puffy from the tears. Her hair was tangled and windswept, with flowers dangling precariously. Her face was streaked with dirt and blood. Her blue dress was torn and ripped and her feet were bare. She could no longer look at herself and see Talia. She saw only a Brier Rose.

"My father sent me after you", said a voice behind her. "We like to help people who've been in trouble. It's what Jesus would do." Brier Rose turned and looked, slack-jawed and struck dumb, at the woman behind her. It was Talia. The Talia she would have been if she had not been Taken. But was she the real Talia? Or was she looking at the real Talia?

...

Notice, I didn't even get into what kind of Changeling Brier Rose is. Fairest is an obvious choice, maybe a Flowering, a Muse, or a Treasured. Elemental is quite reasonable; she could be a Woodblood. Darklings, those Changelings who were Taken as a form of punishment, could claim her as one of their own, maybe as a Moonborn. She could even have been Wizened by her stay in Faerie - the choices are many, and are based on the flavor of game and special abilities you might want to have.

Similarly, she could join any Court. Maybe she'll join the Spring Court, revel in her regained freedom and foster pleasure-seeking and desire all about her. Maybe she'll slay her doppelgänger and join the Summer Court, the Court of Wrath, getting revenge on her captor for ruining her, her father for failing to protect her, and the world itself for hiding the monsters she had no knowledge to fear nor ability to defend against. She could join the Autumn Court, fostering fear of the unknown, of strangers with candy, of abandoned warehouses, of drugs, in the hopes of preventing someone else ending up like her. Or she could watch Talia live her life from afar, wallowing in her sorrows and feeding off that emotion as is the way of the Winter Court. It all depends on how you want to play it.
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