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By adopting names, the True Fae promised to act and to rule. If they immerse themselves in illusions, instead of forging Legends, they’re mere objects. They dwindle. That's why the Gentry are in constant struggle through the Game of Immortals, a game that allows them to gain power by devouring other Fae's names and titles.
Gentry have many kinds of names, from a simple “Ayesha” or “John” to the sound of waves breaking against an ice shelf, or a picture of the wadjet: the Egyptian symbol of magic. Strange sounds and images don’t especially protect True Fae’s names. Once heard (or otherwise experienced) a substitute title is as good as the name itself, provided the speaker witnessed the faerie’s real name and uses the substitute with an honest, true intent. A Keeper’s existence is more than ambition, however. And just as a mortal needs a body to express his thoughts, a faerie uses Titles to make contact with his world.
A faerie can never intentionally violate a Contract he swears on his own name. When an Other commits to a namebound Contract, obeying it defines his existence. If he breaks his word, he destroys his name — and for the Gentry, namelessness is obliteration.
The Others can accidentally break namebound Contracts. This might be their greatest vulnerability, but exploiting it requires incredible ingenuity. True Fae usually make namebound oaths out of absolute necessity. A Feud requires a namebound oath; for many, it’s the only such Contract they’ll ever swear.
- Equinox Road, p. 83