I had a long, difficult time figuring out what, exactly, fairies are. Undead are straightforward- When you die in a certain way, you may become an undead. The precise details of what decides who becomes undead are still a bit beyond me, but every Undead was once a human, and it’s not such a mystery where the first one came from. Demons, likewise, are a bit less of a mystery, now that I know a couple individuals. An animal who is the focus of attention for a human can become one of them. But fairies… a human can become a fairy, if, before they become an adult, they are raised by a fairy. So where the hell did the first fairy come from?
Largely, fairies seem to occupy the niche of folklore and stories. Cultural prohibitions and instructions, patterns of behavior. This is still kind of vague, though- From what I’ve read up on, there are at least three varieties of ‘supernatural fox’. One of them is undead, one of them is demonic, one of them is a fairy, which means that only one of the three were ever actually a fox. At a certain point, you’re relying on their word to tell you what they are, and that’s never safe ground, whatever you may think about their trustworthiness.
Anyway, the reason I start this case file this way is to make it clear that not all fairies are Nordic/Germanic/Celtic in origin. The Romans had myths of house lars which sound very akin to brownies, though they might have been some type of Tsukumogami instead. The Japanese have their Youkai. There are boogiemen and creatures that don’t scan as corpses or animals in every society.
But the Courts of Fairy, the big ones, are in Ireland. This is because while everyone has these, the Nordic/Germanic/Celtic culture groups really worked the concept like a goddamn mule.
Take the Hulder, and the Huldrekall, females and males of the species. They started out as a myth of some unknown race, descended from a group kept from god’s sight. This is a common mythos. They have two notable traits: their incredible, seductive beauty, and their inhuman features. From what I’ve read, these originally varied based on location, but it usually manifested itself as an animal’s tail, or a hollow back covered in bark. I’ve seen both show up in the Hulder I’ve known.
Their myth is largely the usual ‘succubus’ stuff. They seduce people in order to imprison them, devour them, or so forth. As a redemption twist, sometimes they will lose their tail by marrying a human, and become human- though still blessed with magic. There’s even an interesting bit among Christian Norse I read, that suggested that if she’s married in a church, she becomes human- But also old, and ugly, yet gentle and caring.
Male Huldrekall are supposed to be notably ugly, with long and grotesque noses. In my experience, this is not true, or at least not universal. There are also a lot of myths that seem to suggest Hulder were a ‘treat your wife well’ custom; Lots of examples of the woman turning uglier when married, but winding up being kinder and gentler. Looks fade, but cooking never does. The whole point being that you should keep loving your wife even though she’s not going to have cleavage that could hold up a christmas tree forever.
Alfred: Hulder are one of the ‘lost tribe’ myths; Possibly inspired by anything from an unknown group of humans living in the woods, to Neanderthals, to an outright supernatural group of sapient entities that shared our world until the recent past. Wizards, especially Players, discuss these origins extensively. Fairies are always eager to discuss this concept, and rarely, if ever, give verifiable or useful details. The Hulder’s exotic beauty, strange marks that show them as nonhuman, lack of technology, and remote locations are often notable aspects of this broader myth, with warnings of being stolen away. Better to steal them away first, the myth tells us. Breed with the women, slaughter the men; Rather an ugly message somewhere in there, isn’t there? But that is how we likely supplanted the Neanderthals.
Half-Faced Man: The vast majority of Hulder find themselves in either the Spring or Autumn courts; They are not particularly attuned to violence, which is why they prefer hiding. Some of them are capable of feats of great strength, but the most they are likely to do with that talent is a bit of intimidation. They much prefer gossip, and creating things. They tend to be fans of visual mediums over sound, taste, or touch; Hulder cooking is generally regarded as good, and satisfying, but not particularly inventive. They rarely reach high rank. Earlen Grafsdottir, the Spring Earl of Vestal, is a notable exception, though this is more to do with her being well positioned in Binghamton University than personal ambition and skill. She has an extremely keen mind, but little interest in power for its own sake.
Powers and Weaknesses
Hulder are well-known as magical, when in their place of power. Like many fairies, they have a facility with illusion. In the case of Hulder, it’s mostly the ability to alter one’s own features and hide one’s identity. So far as I can tell, in fact, the changes are entirely real, altering the body on a biological level. This isn’t particularly useful in a fight, since the changes are fairly minor, but for going unnoticed or unseen, it can be priceless. (Atina: This is going to make the current case a fucking nightmare. Fairies are very good at hiding their identities. They usually leave a tell- See the cute animal tail, for example- but are otherwise obscuring their identity all the goddamn time.)
More notably, Hulder are supernaturally strong. While they don’t use it themselves very frequently, it’s a not-uncommon gift to those who they make a pact with. This might be something worth remembering.
Alfred: A last notable power relates back to their status as friends to charcoal-burners. Historically, gifts were left to Hulder, and they in turn watched over the charcoal kiln. This allowed the charcoal burner to sleep. I have met at least one Player whose need for sleep was entirely negated by his Hulder pact. He used the additional eight hours to read. It always seemed a little bit lonely to me. (Atina: Why haven’t I heard about this before? I would totally make a pact with someone if it meant no need to sleep!) (Alfred: Well, the downside is that a relatively mild-mannered academic became severely paranoid. This was a man who was as trusting as a puppy before. I can’t say it was specifically the fault of the pact, but… I would be very nervous about you doing anything that could make you more paranoid.) (Atina: Fucking fairies.)
As the Half-Faced Man mentioned, Hulder aren’t very big on politics. They’re not particularly ambitious or notably powerful, with a handful of exceptions, and they mostly end up in power out of sheer coincidence.
Earlen Grafsdottir is an unusual example, but kind of the beneficiary of a ‘right person, right time’ thing. She was always very involved in the art scene in Binghamton, which, understandably, was pretty small for a long time. As Binghamton University has grown, so has its liberal arts department. Speaking as someone with a Liberal Arts major, these kids are largely worthless for an actual career, but when it comes to feeding fairies, they can’t be beat. Drama, emotion, interesting new stories- everything the city needed to support a burgeoning Fairy population, in spite of the economic decay and the conservativism that the Undead bring. That’s one of the main reasons why Binghamton is such a notable center of fairies, and Earlen Grafsdottir was the woman who made it happen, largely out of a cheerful, good-natured ignorance of the economy and the need for people to make money.
She’s actually both old, and remarkably powerful. She hails from the Swedish Spring Court, and has a substantial wealth tucked away in both human currency, investments, and Baubles. This allows her to singlehandedly support many of the starving artists of Binghamton, in turn attracting more fairies and more starving artists. But by and large, everyone can agree that she’s gotten where she is on luck, looks, and inheritance more than any inherent ambition or wits. She’s not a bad person- far from it, she’s actually extremely kind and giving, and she’s made this a much more beautiful city by her actions. She’s just not a cunning political operator.
The Half-Faced Man: Uncharitable, yet devastatingly accurate. The Earlen is not stupid, not by a long shot; She has simply never had reason to develop her intelligence or wit. I’ve seen her make deeply erudite comments, and then forget about them moments later. However, there is one extremely noteworthy example of her intelligence: Her son. The boy inherited a great deal of intelligence from both his mother and father. And while she lacks ambition, he most certainly does not.
In August 2016, I took on a case helping out the Earlen Grafsdottir, in exchange for three favors; She wasn’t much of a bargainer, which is probably a big part of why I am showing her less respect than she likely deserves. In all fairness, it was done in order to help her son.
See, Eric Grafsson had been making promises. Dangerous things for a fairy, because an unfulfilled promise is kind of a lingering hook in a fairy’s soul. Anyone, especially a human, can easily use that promise to bind the fairy, and what was an idle promise becomes a stricture. The promises themselves were very noble- The kid cared deeply about his friends, and his girlfriend, and wanted to help them. His ambitions were less power-for-its-own-sake, but they were the kind of ambitions that push someone to excel. I haven’t talked with him much since then, but since I haven’t heard about him killing himself or anything, I assume things are going well.
The Half-Faced Man: Atina, something you should know about the Fae: Unfulfilled promises are, indeed, a fishhook. But much as the Undead feed on the body of humans, growing stronger over time as they feed, a steady climb, Fae feed on promises. A fulfilled promise on their part makes them stronger. Young Eric is a fae to watch.
The Dwarf has an interesting history. Originally, the dwarf/svartalfar was a black-skinned earth spirit, popular in Germanic and Nordic nations as a myth. These lands were notable for their steel, and mining culture. I’m guessing that’s what lead to their wide variety of mining spirits. While we have a tendency to see things in a light-dark divide as good-evil- see the Marvel Movies, where the Svartalfar were genocidal villains- the Svartalfar were just another group of elves, in the stories. In point of fact, they were relatively peaceful, kept mostly to themselves, and made most of the greatest artifacts of the Norse pantheon, serving as kind of a species-wide equivalent to the Forge God.
Tolkien, I’m told, wrote his dwarves as being basically Semitic, with their focus on thrift, productivity, and conservative attitudes. This crossbred with the Scottish stereotypes of thrift, productivity, conservative attitudes, red hair, mountain-dwelling, and manic violence, inherited from the Norse stereotypes of red hair, mounta-dwelling, and manic violence, which is why every dwarf in modern fantasy sounds like he grew up in Glasgow gargling glass for a living. Learning this made me appreciate Terry Pratchett’s dwarves a lot more, when he went all in on the Jewish analogues, in a way that I found pretty poignant.
I’ve read a good argument that Poul Anderson inspired Dungeons and Dragons to make Scottish dwarves, and I’ve never met a fantasy nerd that didn’t play DnD at least once. (Alfred: As though you are in any place to judge.) (Polly: Alfred, I know you joke, but you really should join us for a game. Atina’s a great DM.) (Li Fang Fen: Definitely.)
Anyway, the stereotype is bullshit. Most Svartalfar you meet have really dark skin, but very fine, chiseled Nordic features; They tend to be slim and wiry rather than huge brawny-shouldered types, with extremely bright red hair. There are equivalents to the Dwarves, but they usually call themselves Kobolds, Knockers, or Gnomes.
Svartalfar, however, retain their position as the undisputed champions of the Spring Court’s artisan community. It’s a natural fit for them, considering their natural talent for metalwork and the creation of impressive items. While they obviously don’t work with iron, they are masters of all other metals, and frequently rise to positions of great importance within Spring Courts, thanks to their inherent creative bent.
It’s worth noting that, mythologically, the Svartalfar were very nearly never cheated. This isn’t because of their personal power; It’s because they asked reasonable prices, because they were up front about their needs and plans, and they provided good work. Basically, they were never cheated because it was never worth the effort to do so. If there’s a kind of fairy I like, it’s the Svartalfar.
Alfred: For simple forging, Svartalfar are indeed superb; However, they have something of a weakness when it comes to mechanisms and more complicated machines; Anything with a microcircuit in it is going to give one of them a fit, for example. This frustrates them to no end. (The Half-Faced Man: This goes beyond simple frustration. The Spring Queen of Binghamton has recently made a pact with a young engineering student, seeking to understand the secrets of technology through him. She is not comfortable with simply being at the mercy of technology.)
Powers and Weaknesses
Svartalfar, generally, are not actually very great traditional pact-mates for a wizard looking to bust heads. The powers they give are traditionally to do with metalworking, nightvision, so on and so forth. They can be useful, but considering that Svartalfar are already very skilled in metalworking, they tend to be largely unimpressive. Even the most powerful Svartalf doesn’t have much in the way to offer a wizard who isn’t more into blacksmithing than most liberal arts majors.
What they lack in personal power, however, they make up for in non-magical compensation. If it doesn’t require electricity or combustion, a Svartalf can forge it, and better than any human artisan. They do a modest but reliable trade with wizards of all stripes, and from what I understand, the items they create are easier to enchant for a wizard, and the enchantment will wear off slower than it would normally. This is a property not generally seen in anything that humans make, and Svartalfar build to last. A gift from a Svartalfar is one you’ll be handing down through the family until someone pawns it off.
Now, I’ve gotten interested by the idea of Tsukumogami. From what I understand, Tsukumogami have become largely unknown over the last few hundred years. They were never common, mind you, but as industry increases, so does the pace of technology, and most people just don’t keep items long enough for them to become a Tsukumogami. The Atlanteans, from what I understand of reading about them, managed to make an entire alternate technological base in a hostile environment with Tsukumogami, but even that required a caste of people leading the populace in unified prayer.
Maybe Svartalfar have some connection with Tsukumogami, an ability to work with them? It would go unnoticed in the modern day, and from what I understand, Wizards tend to be bad at making Tsukumogami. That’s why they can live hundreds of years and not make one- some kind of conflict caused by their pact with a supernatural being. On the other hand, the tradition of sapient objects isn’t very strong in much of the western world.
Alfred: Only by that name. While myths of sapient objects are rare, the act of anthropomorphizing objects is indeed very common among Westerners, and for that matter, it seems to be common among all humans. It’s worth noting that, while Svartalf equipment is very useful, it’s rarely favored by Iron Knights- for the obvious reason that facing one of the fairies without iron on hand is generally a bad idea, and even Svartalfar cannot safely handle iron. I have a very fine trophy sword that was a gift from a Svartalfar, though. I keep it over my mantle.
The most prominent Svartalfar in Binghamton is, of course, Queen Lifsdottir. I’ll discuss the importance of this in another case file.
The Baroness Kleinsdottir of the North Side is probably the most notable Svartalfar besides Lifsdottir. The residential neighborhood would not normally be large enough to qualify as a barony, but the North Side is notable for Antique Row, a street with several antique stores. These antique stores are all owned ultimately by Kleinsdottir, and she uses them to great effect. Having emigrated to the city in 1939, on the eve of the Winter War between Finland and Russia, she set up a woodworking shop.
In those years, IBM had just started to make a real impact. As engineers moved into the city and were highly paid, she was able to make a successful living selling first furniture, and then more specialized equipment. She was able to parley this into a sizable personal fortune, and has spent a great deal of time buying and selling Baubles.
A Bauble is the more common way of gathering power for fairies. Less risky than making promises, and requiring less exposure to consequences. Items of powerful emotional significance and human imagination, objects of obsession, that kind of thing. It’s understandable why a fairy would be interested in this kind of thing. It’s also a sore spot for the Spring Court. While Fairies are more than capable of creating moving and beautiful pieces of work, they can’t make an object into a bauble. This makes sense to a certain extent; Fairies feed on human emotion, not their own. But a fairy-authored story is never, ever going to become a Bauble while in the hands of fairies.
This, to my understanding, is why the Svartalfar give their works out, and why the spring fairies spread their work around, so that they can attract the attention of humans, become Baubles, and then be brought back in.
… This is kind of a disturbing thought, but, in the light of Tsukumogami, there might be a darker side to the. If the process which makes an object a Bauble is similar to what makes it a Tsukumogami, there may be a reason why wizards with fairy pacts don’t generate Tsukumogami, and why Tsukumogami are rare.
Alfred: This is not an entirely unreasonable hypothesis; But it doesn’t explain why other types of wizards also lack a coterie of Tsukumogami. Over the course of a lifetime stretching centuries, sheer stubbornness should see them surrounded by Tsukumogami. I wonder if it’s something that makes us less human.
Polly: My mum actually came into conflict with Atina over a Bauble at one point. If you’re one of the Fae, you can just sort of tell what a Bauble is- They’re mighty hard to fake. Thing is, my mom found a way to fake it, at least to casual scrutiny, which got her in some trouble with the Fall King. I love my mum, but she’s got a bad habit of being just smart enough to think she’ll get away with everything, and just competent enough to usually be right. It gets her into some bad trouble.
The thing is, I haven’t actually had many cases involving Svartalfar. Like I said before, they’re deeply law-abiding, competent, and reasonable about deals. It’s notoriously difficult to cheat an honest person, and the Svartalfar are honest almost to a fault. I’ve helped a few of them with contracts and negotiations, but every single case was dull as dishwater.
The Half-Faced Man: On the other hand, no people are uniform. Svartalfar are, as a rule, soft-spoken, self-effacing, pleasant, hard-working, and honest. The exceptions are all the more dangerous for this. If you are familiar with Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, it depicts the way that the Svartalfar are most often the bringers of strife- Not through direct action, but by manipulation of an object of desire.
There are entire courts who have been brought down by such machinations. I was briefly involved with a Spring Court in rural Germany, back in the 1800s, which partially inspired Wagner’s work. The Svartalfar in question had been jilted by the target of his obsession. In an act of revenge, he volunteered to forge their wedding rings. He crafted rings of great beauty and infinite delicacy. They were designed to spur great envy in all who saw them. The entire court was dead within the year, and I was forced to destroy both rings on the Svartalfar’s forge.
So many great and terrible dramas in human history have been created in the blacksmith’s forge and blast-furnace. It is no strange thing that the Svartalfar are also capable of recreating those tragedies.
King Baynson and Queen Lifsdottir of the Spring Court of Binghamton
The Spring Court, for one reason or another, tends to experience a great deal of churn in their upper leadership. Among the lesser nobility- Barons, Earls, the occasional Duke- traditionalism finds its place. Shakespeare, while it may be dull or staid when performed by middle school children, is probably never going to go completely out of style. And if you wish to have a position of stability, the Spring Court has room for that. But the curse of entertainment is that people are always looking for novelty. Something new, or, failing that, something they haven’t seen before. The King and Queen represent those changing tides.
As such, King Baynson and Queen Lifsdottir rather exemplify the stagnation of Binghamton. The last famous star that Binghamton produced was Rod Serling, and Queen Lifsdottir knew him personally.
In a city with a more thriving cultural landscape, this would make them very vulnerable to a challenge to their power. As you might expect, this is down to Baubles. A dead art form will create few baubles, because they lack the same number of adherents, the same passion. There are exceptions, but fairies don’t do great feeding on niche audiences.
Queen Lifsdottir took her position in the 1950s, and has held it since then, largely because no one else has particularly wanted the job. Baroness Kleinsdottir is happy with her antiques, and Earlen Grafsdottir wouldn’t know what to do with the political power if it lay down in her bed.
King Baynson, on the other hand, is feeling the pinch of his out-of-touch tastes. King Baynson came to glory during the halcyon days of the 70s, and made his fortune on Disco.
He hasn’t updated his tastes since then.
The Half-Faced Man: Indeed, King Baynson is well capable of playing the part of the dignified Fairy King at group events. But when he is holding court, or in his private quarters, rather than meeting those of other courts, he is particularly fond of a polyester leisure suit, a gold chain detailing his zodiac- Ophiuchus, the blackguard- and the most absurd afro imaginable. You wouldn’t think blonde hair could comb out like that, and yet… (Alfred: You have to be fucking with me.)(The Half-Faced Man: I’ve seen it. You may too, before this is over.)
Powers and Weaknesses
Queen Lifsdottir is a Svartalfar; King Baynson a Ljosalfar. Their heritage comes from Scandinavia via Ireland, and each one is presumably at least a couple of hundred years old. It’s remarkably difficult to tell how old a Fairy is, because they are very fond of taking on the names of famous fae. For all I know, the King and Queen have been replaced half a dozen times over, and nobody would know save those who were personally familiar with them.
I’ve discussed the system of the King and Queen’s Men before, but I’ll reiterate it here; The King and Queen keep a stable of ‘prosecutors’, for lack of a better word, who are intended to represent them in contests meant to determine guilt and standing. These are usually fairies, but will sometimes include a favored human. This human is known as the Queen’s Knight, or the King’s Dame, regardless of gender- Apparently an artifact of the fact that historically, said human is a lover of the royal in question, as befits a pact. (Alfred: I am something of a rare example- Despite being the Iron Knight, the Summer King’s executioner, I am neither the Queen’s Knight nor the King’s Dame; My position is given in respect to my mother.)
King Baynson’s gone through a string of Dames, and his inability to lock one down is something of a running gag. They usually last for the course of a few years it takes them to get thoroughly sick of disco, and then move on. From what I’ve read and heard, his powers are related to light- Not sunlight, which is important to note in a town full of undead, but he’s very fond of light-sculpture, holographs, neon, and similar endeavors. His current Dame is a graduate from Alfred University, upstate, who worked primarily in glass art.
Queen Lifsdottir recently ended her long-running relationship with a knight, who’s moved on to another woman. It was apparently mutual, but rumors suggest that she was the one who really instigated it. The same rumors say she did this in order to choose a new knight. I haven’t really heard anything about the new guy so far, but word has it that he’s devoted to her. I don’t know much about what he got from the pact, aside from maybe a girlfriend.
If you know Alfred, you might expect all of these people to be hardcore bodyguard types- And you’d be loosely right, but the thing is, the Summer Court is the court of savage beatings. (Alfred: Armed combat, Atina, please.) (Polly: I think what I do qualifies as savage beatings.) The Spring Court, by contrast, is the court of creation. Their contests are oriented around Baubles. There’s a very good reason for the King’s Dame and the Queen’s Knight to be humans: They can create Baubles directly. Either by making them, or by empowering what a fairy has made.
Handy, to say the least, to have someone creatively oriented.
Alfred: In general, the Spring Court is not highly respected by the other three courts- They’re viewed as layabouts, lazy, and effete. However, they tend to command an advantage because they are the ones most capable of producing Baubles. Their hold on the reins of power has the dual effect of giving the Spring Court tremendous power in negotiations among the Fae, and keeping the Fae as a whole from becoming more violent. It would be wrong to say the Fae Courts are decadent, if only because they have been like this for hundreds of years without collapsing. Decadence is a rather dangerous word to throw around. (Atina: They’re decadent.)
The Half-Faced Man: Spring’s current ascendance traces back to the end of World War 2. Before then, since about the Industrial Age, Summer was in bloom; In the Age of Exploration and Renaissance, Autumn. The Dark Ages of Europe, in the face of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, was Winter’s time. The Fae’s lack of interference with humans is largely due to Spring’s current ascendancy. (Atina: I’m sure the proliferation of iron has something to do with it, too.) (The Half-Faced Man: Undoubtedly true, but good luck finding a Fae who would admit that.)
Whoever’s reading this may remember how I talked about the issues of bribery in the Undead Courts. The Spring Fairy Court’s system of justice is determined through making the most valuable bauble that you can manage, and offering it to the court as a whole. Now, this may sound like plain old bribery, and to a certain degree it is, but it’s still meritocratic, because there are certain requirements. Time, usually, and a limit on the number of participants. The particular style of art may vary based on the whims of the King and Queen, though the higher the stakes of the contest, the less control may be exerted over the art form. Sometimes, cases will go on for years as both sides develop a magnum opus.
In general, these contests are used for all manner of argument, including the claiming of noble and royal titles. The baubles themselves are taken as a payment, and added to the Spring Court’s treasury. This is, in fact, the source of the Spring Court’s substantial power in Fairy business. Every single legal transaction, battle, and contest puts power in the coffers of the Spring Court. The King and Queen are the ultimate arbiters of how this wealth is spent, with the caveat that they are not allowed to give it to any member of the Spring Court- no internal bribing, or granting themselves excessive power.
Now, on the one hand, this helps keep them relatively honest. However, it also hamstrings the power of the Spring Court when push comes to shove. This in itself is kind of an advantage, because it keeps the Spring Court from being such a threat to the other courts that it drives them to unite and beat the Spring Court down.
It’s worth noting that while my experiences are mostly with Binghamton’s Fairy Courts, I’m given to understand that they’re not atypical. Fairy courts throughout the world take much of their inspiration from the balance of the major courts in Ireland and Scandinavia, both of which tend strongly towards Spring at the moment.
The Half-Faced Man: It is worth noting, on top of my previous observation about the current strength of Spring and the previous rulers, the current cycle- From Winter, to Fall, to Summer, to Spring- is considered deeply inauspicious, a state known as Widdershins Time. The fact that it has extended for a period of over a thousand years has many disturbed, as it represents a violation of the natural order. Currently, the Summer Court is arguing for a period of violence and activity, to ‘set the cycle right’. The Winter Court, in contrast, is perfectly content to watch as a growing period of resource shortages and overstretched military endeavors is likely to put them firmly in power once again. Neither seem on the verge of being proven right. Spring is in bloom. (Atina: Thank you for making sure I don’t sleep well.)
I’ll be honest. I don’t really have much experience with Spring court cases, or the way they work. I’m relying heavily on outside expertise here, seeing what information I can get out of the contacts I have in the Spring Court.
I haven’t actually had to defend someone in Spring Court so far, save for one brief case where- for reasons I am hard-pressed to explain- Queen Lifsdottir wanted to see a skillfully written legal brief. Apparently, I won that one based on my mastery of comedy.
I wasn’t trying to write it funny. Shit like this is why I loathe fairies.
Alfred: While you would think someone with my skills would find little work in a Spring Courtroom, I’ve actually been on a case or two. While I’m not much at the visual arts, and my screen-writing doesn’t appeal to the Spring Fairy sensibilities, for reasons I cannot understand, (Atina: Look, man, I’ve read it, you’re a very close friend, but it’s self-indulgent wish fulfillment crap.) (Alfred: Exactly; That’s right up the Spring Court’s alley. They should eat it up.) I am nonetheless a skilled swordfighter. And performance is an art-form like any other. The process of containing a performance is tricky- It must be an original recording, and making copies apparently bleeds away the power. Somewhere in the archives of the Spring Court, there is a reel of film depicting me dueling one of the King’s Dames.
Why we were naked, I couldn’t begin to tell you. (Atina: I could probably hazard a guess.)
The Half-Faced Man: In many ways, the Spring Court is the opposite of the Fall Court. This shows up in its court cases as much as anywhere. While the Fall Court is all about the marshalling of resources, the keeping of secrets, and the careful concealment of what one knows to preserve an advantage, the Spring Court is at its greatest advantage when it is open, as public as possible, and- in a word- flamboyant.
I’ve never fit in well with them.