During the Dark Ages, the Fae were organized into a system of seasonal Courts that waged war against each other for thousands of years, until the Oath-Truce stopped the War of Seasons in order to observe humanity.
The Four Courts were:
- The Spring Court, which embraced change
- The Summer Court, which was determined to uphold tradition
- The Autumn Court, which were fascinated by humanity
- The Winter Court, which was the most brutal and vicious court
Fae without a Court were called Solstice.
In order to join a Court, a Fae has to undergo the Saining ritual. This ritual remains the same in all four Courts.
The first step of that ritual is called the Cleansing. First, the respective Fae is closely examined. Those who hold the right of decision weigh many factors when considering supplicants. Even trivial considerations such as bearing and attitude might be judged by some Saining ritemasters, although the significant insight of the Cleansing is into the truths that lie within a fae’s heart and soul. During the process, all crimes and social errors are cleansed from the Fae, so that she can begin a new life within her court.
Afterwards, the Fae lives three seasons after the rules of her court, until her chosen season returns.
The next step is called the Naming. The ritemaster reports to the Court lords the dedication and the skill of the aspirant during the previous seasons before the ritual starts. The Naming ritual itself is deeply personal to the two fae involved, and the details are very rarely shared with others. Some are relatively simple and straightforward, such as swearing oaths to the Court in question and reciting one’s lineage and details of bloodline, or a meditation upon the fae’s place in the world. Others might involve the ritual sacrifice of a human and the divination of the future from the entrails. The Naming lasts for but a short time, but the ritual itself unlocks the deep magical potential within a fae’s soul, and the aspirant becomes one with the powers of the Court. Sometimes, a simple touch or magical word Sains the fae into the Court, although the rite certainly does not end there. The Naming is complete, when the ritemaster marks the aspirant with a sigil from his own blood.
During this step, the newly baptised Fae has to show that she is worth to be a member of her chosen Court. In most cases, this involves working dor other Fae from the Court. After three months, the ritemaster and the aspirant meet again, this time before any fae of the local court who have been invited to witness the end of the Saining. Here, the ritemaster intones the particular local holding’s seal of acceptance — usually a single sentence — and the Sained fae swears allegiance to her Court with the ritual reply.
Afterwards, the fae is acknowledged a full member of her chosen Court.