Changeling: The Dreaming FATE
The Houses of the Shining Host
The Houses of the Shining Host
The noble houses began as the actual immediate family of their noble founders millennia in the past long before the Sundering and the Shattering. Since that time others who were deemed worthy (or useful) have been adopted into the great noble houses of the Western Sidhe. The Houses became the primary political factions of the fae, vying for territory and supremacy. Historically each House rules it’s homeland in Europe, but members of the houses have also spread out to rule the lands colonized by their human European counterparts. The houses are divided between those supporting the Seelie Court and those who support the Unseelie. Note that although the majority of a house may identify with a particular court that does not mean every member of that house will be part of that court, except in the cases of Gwydion and Balor.
When Shattering happened in Europe at the time of the Black Plague most of the European sidhe withdrew from the Autumn World and returned to their homeland in Arcadia. Commoner fae chose the Changeling Way at this time, mingling their blood and their souls with mortals so that they could share mortal bodies of their descendants, mingling their fae glamour with the banality of human flesh to shield them from the unbelieving world. Many of these commoners maintained the ancestral manors of the great noble houses, ruling in the sidhe’s stead as stewards and regents, many others, however, gave up on maintaining the noble fae traditions and established their own forms of leadership, which ranged from democratic in places to petty tyrants in others. There was no centralized power during the Interregnum while the sidhe were away.
At the time of the Resurgence of the Dreaming when the first man walked on the moon many of the closed trods and lost freeholds re-opened and along with them sidhe returned to from Arcadia. These newly returned sidhe could not remember why they had been left Arcadia and rumors began to circulate that they had been banished. In their true faerie forms the sidhe were vulnerable to the onslaught of human disbelief so they were forced to possess human bodies in order to survive. Unlike commoner changelings, however, the sidhe did not blend their souls with that of the mortal but rather supplanted them, sending the mortal soul back to Arcadia to be cared for, so they claimed.
The sidhe of each great house reclaimed their ancestral lands in Europe and began dividing up the kingdoms of North America as well. Some commoners welcomed the return of their rightful rulers while others resisted these presumptive tyrants who expected them to bend the knee simply because they said so. The sidhe cracked down on those who resisted which lead to more resistance and soon outright war. The Accordance War ended with the rise of King David who united the sidhe and made peace the commoners, creating a kingdom of Concordia that united all the kingdoms of North America under a constitutional monarchy where a Parliament of Dreams with both common and lordly members would rule alongside the High King.
Under High King David the noble houses continued to rule the kingdoms they had established in North America as well as many of the freeholds within those kingdoms. Many freeholds, however, were controlled by commoners and only loosely associated with the kingdoms they happen to be in, considering themselves to be independent freeholds. Commoners who swear loyalty to a noble are considered members of that noble’s house and are entitled to that house’s protection, though they are rarely given the privilege of a title or a position of leadership by their patron house.