While there were, in the past, many natural sites called Glades where faerie magic existed in the world, Banality has eroded them over the centuries. The enchanted forests, sacred groves, and faerie rings are mostly gone, as are the great castles of the sidhe and fortresses of the trolls. They have disappeared into the Mists, hidden even from faerie sight, and the trods that once connected them to Arcadia lie closed by human disbelief. Some few places, though maintain their connections to the Dreaming and their Glamour or can be given such things.
Freeholds exist in the mundane world but, touched by Glamour, have a chimerical reality as well. They have a mundane existence, appearing in the Autumn world as normal houses, storefronts, or highway pubs, and a faerie one, just like the Kithain themselves. They are often warded to protect them from prying mortal eyes; that abandoned warehouse you pass on the way to work everyday may in fact be a thriving faerie tavern with wards that make you ignore it. An Eiluned Sidhe baroness' manse may be an old victorian house with wards that make it seem spooky, making any mortal who comes close want to flee.
An incredible amount of effort is needed to form a freehold. First, a site must be carefully chosen; a site that has some innate link to the Dreaming, a famous site or a place of creativity, is preferred. Then the creator must bring balefire from another freehold and blend it with his or her own Glamour; a permanent sacrifice. It easier, these days, to simply awaken sleeping freeholds and fan their embers into wakefulness.
Role in Society Edit
As in the Medieval feudal society that focused around land, freeholds create the structure of Kithain society. The Glamour rich sites provide the power and influence needed by the nobles and commoners who can claim and hold them. As these sites can have parts that exist in the Dreaming they can also serve as gates to the Near Dreaming.
Many changelings discover freeholds or are granted them, either as part of swearing vassalage to a liege or inheriting them from the fae who fostered them. After acquiring the site he or she must swear an oath to protect and invest Glamour in it. The owner may gain glamour from the site or grant it to whomever they wish. Some kithain steal glamour from such places in a process called Reaving but this harms the site and can even destroy it.
Faerie Homes Edit
While most changelings live in the mundane world, freeholds become the heart of their faerie experience as they consider their local freehold as their true home; the place where they feel most comfortable and where they can be their true selves without attracting ridicule from Banality ridden mortals. A few kithain, most notably nobles, will often reside full-time in freeholds but this constant exposure to the Dream carries with it the danger of Bedlam.
Because of this value, the Fae will be deeply loyal to their freeholds, even to the point of obsession over every detail which can turn disagreements in furnishings into major conflicts. Threatening a freehold is on a level with personal attack and defending a freehold is a sacred trust for every changeling. Without their freeholds, a changeling community will eventually wither like thirsty plants
The greatest concentration of Glamour in any Freehold is the Balefire, or Ignis Vesta. This chimerical flame is the heart of the freehold and the center of all magic in the structure. If it burns out the freehold is lost to Banality. When the sidhe left during the Shattering, they closed their freeholds but left the fires smoldering, waiting their return all through the Interregnum. With the Resurgence, these fires and freeholds reawakened. The source of all Balefire in North America is the great Well of Fire at Tara-Nar; High King David's castle.
Appearance & Structure Edit
The chimerical aspect of a freehold may not have any resemblance to the mundane structure. A Castle may be a dilapidated mansion, an old warehouse, or an abandoned church. A Mew, a commoner freehold, may be exactly what it seems to be: a great workshop in a warehouse, a tavern an abandoned building downtown, or a fantastical bakery behind the storefront. To an extent, the tastes of the highest ranking fae, assumed to be the head of the freehold, determines the appearance of the freehold as the Dreaming recognizes his or her right to the site, enforcing it with Glamour.
Amusingly, the space inside versus the space outside may not be the same. A small starter house may actually open up into a grand foyer and many rooms instead of the three rooms of the physical structure. This is largely determined by the power of the freehold. One with little Glamour will be less capable of such feats than one with legendary power. Of course, this is only possible if the entrance to the freehold is in fact a doorway into the Near Dreaming where anything is possible. If the site exists only in the mundane world it is restricted to the physical space it covers.
Effects on the Local Dreaming Edit
The owner of a freehold has the same effect on the local Dreaming as they do on the freehold itself. The color scheme of the freehold will manifest in the flora and fauna around it. The emotional state of the owner can also manifest as weather and ambience of the area.
Permanent Cantrips Edit
The owner of a Freehold may cast certain cantrips on the site itself that then become permanent. This is not often done as the personal expense to the fae can be great. The caster must invest a portion of his or her permanent Glamour for every level of cantrip as well have the highest mastery of the Fae Realm (5: Dweomer of Glamour) as well as the appropriate level of the Scene Realm to affect the space.
Fortunately this cost in Glamour may be shared by members of the caster's Oathcircle. Only one of them needs to have the Realms but all must know the Cantrip. This must be a willing sacrifice; the liege may not force his or her vassals, though certain cantrips may be used to coerce the expenditure of Glamour. Nobles and Commoners together often use this type of enchantment to create wondrous setting that defy the imagination.
All Freeholds are aspected to one of the Realms: for example, Actor if the place is pub in the downtown.
- , pp. 43-45.
- Freeholds and Hidden Glens