Chatelaines are notable not just among their fellow Wizened, but among the Lost as a whole. Chatelaines had the rare quality of possessing that strange quality that came closest in meaning to “their Keepers’ trust.” While the True Fae lack the general capacity for empathy that could actually allow them to give honest trust to another being, changeling or Other, Chatelaines were granted the “honor” of certain responsibilities. Such responsibilities came after an extended period of “breaking-in,” of course, but ultimately the Chatelaine’s purpose was to arrange matters that her Keeper had no interest in. Some Chatelaines, their spirits not quite broken, were able to abuse that responsibility to arrange for an escape. In some cases, it even worked. When returned to the mortal world, Chatelaines throw themselves doubly hard into finding a place either among human society or among a freehold. Both are ideal, if it can be arranged. Their organizational and diplomatic skills mean they can usually find something to their taste in one or the other, though the Wizened curse of spite haunts them as they go. The Chatelaine’s most distinguishing characteristic is his poise. He may be tall and surprisingly strong, or bent and scuttling, but his etiquette is always beyond reproach. Chatelaines dress well, no matter their audience; it’s a rare Chatelaine who cares little for his own appearance. If one appears untidy or unkempt, it’s most likely a feature of his mien. A gaunt manservant may be continually wrapped in cobwebs, emblematic of the statue-like patience he developed.
The Chatelaine’s function was often to concern himself with the tasks of administration that grated on a True Fae’s patience. If a Chatelaine’s body was reshaped, it seemed almost an afterthought, that or a means to the end of breaking the changeling’s spirit. Once the Chatelaine’s loyalty seemed sufficient, he was entrusted to keep the keys at some of the most outlandish social functions imaginable. He may have served wriggling things on silver platters to the dancers at an elegant fête, armed his Keeper before a hunt and taken the spoils to the pantry afterwards or overseen the punishment of other changeling servants.
Chatelaines don’t themselves appear often in folklore. But although they go unmentioned, their hand can be seen in many stories. They are the unseen presence that allows some of the most magnificent faerie dances and balls of legend to take place at all. They record the names of good and bad children so that the spirits of Winter know precisely whom to visit on the longest night of the year. Chatelaines hold the keys to the fantastic vaults of treasures said to be possessed by jinn and their ilk. Chatelaines show the wanderer into the underground palace of the serpent king, and direct the guards to close the exits. And as the one-sentence ghost story runs, “He reached for a match, and a match was put into his hand.”
Repelled or pained by poorly played music, may not sit down to eat, injured by the sound of silver bells, cannot wear the color red, must speak only when spoken to, cannot draw near a page torn from a book.