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The Courtless are those changeling who choose to go their own path and don't join any of the traditional courts. Outsiders in a dangerous world, they are sometimes said to belong to the Colorless Court.
Reasons vary as to why a Changeling wouldn't join a court. This might make their life easier in some respects, but the lack of a support network larger than their motley of friends can be difficult.
Each Court has its own specific method of avoiding recapture by the Fae and a special connection to a specific emotion, and not all changelings can associate themselves with a modus operandi the way they perceive the Courts as demanding. Or maybe they don't feel a real tie to any of the four emotions supported by the Courts. Sometimes the worst conflicts come when a refugee fits in with one Court's methods but another's ruling emotion -- individuals who can't reconcile the two may bounce from one Court to the other a couple times before ending up Courtless.
Some changelings who eschew the Courts do so not because they wouldn't fit, but because something about the Courts is distasteful to them. Maybe the concept is too near a Faerie Court for a new refugee to contemplate (though she may join a Court after several years). A changeling might be politically or philosophically opposed to governing bodies in general. He simply does not get along with people telling him what to do and how to do it, or social groups have always meant trouble for him. Maybe the Courts look too disingenuous or too internecine.
Normally, one out of every six or seven changelings refuses to join any Court. In regions where the Courts are strong and recruit often, or where the Others are more aggressive, Courtless are far less frequent. Regions with weak Courts, or Courts that are very corrupt or fractured, have a higher incidence of Courtless fae. Particularly charismatic leaders on either side also skew the numbers, either toward the Courts (as is more likely) or toward independence, when that's what the leader believes. Even with good reasons to avoid the Courts, the promise of a support structure and the power from a Court's pact convinces many.
The Courtless are not, in general, a political faction. They're defined by a desire to remain free of the Great Courts, but that doesn't imply an organized goal of promoting the interests of changelings outside the Courts. But in some areas, the Courtless rally. They may be a group of individually motivated Lost held together by a single charismatic leader who insists on giving them a voice in the freehold. They may conduct themselves as a union, openly recruiting other changelings to a life free of Court meddling. The effectiveness of these gatherings varies widely, but in some places a Courtless leader holds political influence and ability as great as any Court noble. Even if a Courtless leader cannot sit upon a season's throne, he can hold power behind it.
- Changeling: The Lost Rulebook, p. 62, 77