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|Nicknames:||Court of the Day, the Found Path, the White Hill|
Sun Court characters believe in morals, the rule of law, and righteousness. They thrive on Shame.
When the sun rises, the Court of the Day gladly resumes its control of the freehold. And what does it do with its 12 hours in power? The Court seeks to undermine the efforts of the Moon Court in whatever way the Court of the Day can manage.
Some say the best way to do this is not necessarily to undo the work of the adversaries, but merely to do moral, virtuous things and this righteousness helps to tip the scales. Such righteousness might be expressed in a number of ways: One changeling might work at a homeless shelter, while another motley will go into the Hedge to try to rescue lost travelers (that's one of the Sun Court's big ideals, helping others find their way -- hence the alternative name, "the Found Path”). Some endeavor to close rogue doorways into the Hedge, bring lost Clarity back to one's allies or provide healing for those who might've been hurt the night before. The King might himself go out with a pack of huntsmen to roust the wicked from their holes and put arrows, bullets and blades into them.
Others say that the only way to truly counteract the iniquitous ways of the Wayward Road is to be proactive and literally unmake their efforts. This might mean going out to find any pledges they've made and help the tricked humans into breaking those pledges (though the Sun Court changelings might not be so clear as to the true ramifications of breaking such a pledge), or it may involve tracking down the Moon Court's secret Hollows and closing them off or even burning them down. The allies of the Court of the Night are easy targets -- pawnbrokers, prostitutes, mammonite businessmen, whoever -- and some within the Sun Court are glad to put the torch to such malefactors. Part of the deal is simply trying to uncover all the Moon Court's dirty little deeds -- they do a fine job at obscuring their works so that the Sun Court cannot undermine them.
Thing is, while the changelings play at being moral, it doesn't mean that they're free from sin. Some within the Sun Court believe that it is sometimes necessary to do the immoral thing to make a wrong situation right. If they go out to hunt criminals, be it some jackbooted neo-Nazi thug on the streets of Prague or just the wormy ringleader of a local gambling ring in Vilnius, they don't give that criminal a trial. Sometimes the Sun Court changelings hurt the criminals, breaking fingers or foot bones; other times, the changelings just kill them. Is that justice? Or wrath? In thinking themselves better, they give themselves over handily to the vice of pride, and this pride often gives them false license to do what they want and take what they desire. While not every Sun Court member is so consumed with his own righteousness, some certainly are -- a "golden boy” courtier might believe that it's perfectly acceptable to take whatever pleasure he wants from some street trash from a Moon Court operated whore's den. It's not universal, but many within the Court of the Day see those of lesser morals to be lesser in all ways (and the irony of this is that it only confirms their own fragile morality, but few are willing to turn the light on such a shadowy realization). Many genuinely try to walk the straight and narrow -- broad-shouldered knights, honest maidens, upstanding merchants. But it's all too easy to become convinced of one's moral authority, which is a slippery slope, indeed.
Those who join the Sun Court often do so because they feel they can make a difference. Having emerged from their captivity beneath a likely cruel Keeper, they want to cover up that dark spot in their heart and do something that feels right after what may have been years doing something very wrong. They're tired f stealing, hurting others or being hurt themselves, being made to eat the flesh of their brothers, or whatever awful thing the Keepers demanded of them. For some, this is a legitimate need to overturn the darkness within and find the light. For others, this is a grasp at revenge. It's all too easy to associate the Moon Court and its dark ways with the callousness of the Others. In joining the Sun Court, a changeling might hope to extract his revenge and take out his rage upon the grotesque -- and the Sun Court gives him moral license to do that very thing.
Some join the Sun Court to escape morality. This seems a bit of a Catch-22: why join the supposedly righteous group if one doesn't actually want to be righteous? It's the same as why a corrupt individual might join the police force. He wants to run drugs or filch cash from criminals, or maybe he's just a sadist who likes to abuse others and finds that he can do so easily under the cover of supposed rectitude. Some in the Sun Court are bullies or tricksters, just as bad as or worse than anything the Wayward Road might put forth -- but they can do their misdeeds by making it look like they're doing the right thing. More than one monstrous killer has joined the Court of the Day so he can perform his grisly murders while wearing the raiment of justice. And more than one such killer has been lauded for his efforts.
One thing worth noting is that, while this is far from universal, the Sun Court looks down upon grotesqueness and deformity. Some changelings are malformed or monstrous in their appearances because of their time in Faerie, not because of who they really are. In some cases, however, the Court of the Day might reject them by dint of their monstrous countenances. A leprous-fleshed Tunnelgrub who can squirm through tight spaces by shedding his slick and flaking skin might be a paragon of virtue. But if the presiding ruler of the Sun Court thinks that no such monster can truly be righteous (judged of course by his seemingly diseased skin, an obvious sign of disease inside the heart as well as outside it), then that Tunnelgrub is either without Court or instead must belong to the Moon Court. More than one changeling has been turned down because of her appearance, thus giving the Moon Court the advantage of her presence. But pride blinds.
hours, it's hard to get in a proper festival or holiday, especially seeing how the Moon and the Sun Courts keep each other constantly vigilant. However, the Summer solstice seems the most suitable time to manage such a holiday, and the Sun Court does so with great abandon. Summer solstice is known within the Court as Kupala Day, a Slavic word meaning "bathing.” The holiday, as appropriate, features water as a prominent theme -- water as a purifying element, in particular. The courtiers swim in the lakes and rivers, drop flower petals and tea leaves in the streams to tell fortunes, and baptize one another in fresh Spring water. Ancient stories among the Court of the Day suggest that certain goblin fruits (healing or purifying fruits) only grow on Kupala Day, and so some within the Court go on day-long expeditions into the Thorns to find such rare fruits and flowers.
Kupala Day is also a day of love -- not sexual love, but romance. Courtiers engage in rather ornate (dare we say, Byzantine) rituals to show their love for others within the city, be they human or changeling. They write poetry spare and elegant. They perform heroic feats of the old bogatyrs to impress the targets of their affections. They give elaborate gifts: Delicate glass eggs, nesting dolls, garlands of flowers picked from all over Eastern Europe, bottles filled with water from all the local sacred rivers.
Once Kupala Day is over, the Sun Court obviously loses its power yet again -- and then Kupala Night takes over, as brought forth by the Moon Court (see their rituals, below).
The Court has other rituals, as well. Since the changelings identify with Perun (the Slavic god of sky and storms), they take very seriously those who break their oaths to the Court. Similar to Perun, they punish those oathbreakers during terrible storms, and only then. An oathbreaker is free to walk unpunished (though he may suffer the consequences from a broken pledge, but the Court considers one's word as binding as a supernatural pledge) until a storm arises. When the sky cracks open spilling rain and thunder, some members of the Court go hunting for those who betrayed their word.
The courtiers also sacrifice animals to please Perun and Byelobog (the "white god”). Oxen are the most common sacrifice, though many courtiers will sacrifice smaller animals in lesser instances where a blessing is desired (going out to hunt the wicked, for instance, a motley may wash their hands in the blood of a hare to give them speed and keen eyes).
The Sun Court associates itself with a number of images and symbols. Anything pertaining to light or the day -- white clothing, bright reflective surfaces, images of the sun and its rays, blue skies, the green of plants. The changelings also tie themselves to Perun the sky and storm god as well as Byelobog, the "white god” (or god of light).
Many courtiers mark themselves with the images of certain weapons (or carry the weapons with them): Hammer, axe and arrow are thought to be weapons of honor, and are also the chosen weapons of Perun. Some animals represent the supposed nobility of the Sun Court: eagle, dog and horse. They also make heavy use of the "white hill” or "white mountain image, perhaps scrawled upon an old chestplate or etched into a tattered flak jacket. Finally, they tend to carry working compasses with them, if only as a symbol that they always know the proper way, and can lead the astray in a safe direction.
The Mantle of the Sun Court is one clearly represented by light and the sun. The way light plays off or even radiates from a courtier is emblematic of this Mantle. At Mantle 1 to 3, a character's mien displays glints or starbursts of bright light, like sun reflecting off burnished metal (even if the character isn't in the sun or wearing metal at all). At 4+, the light becomes brighter -- it may pulse, shine off in stark beams or drift off the skin in languid tendrils of golden luminosity. Plants seem affected by this; as a courtier walks by them, they might faintly lean toward him, as a plant might do when it has a chance to sit in the sun for a time.
The Sun Court's members find that their light guides them and provides them with righteous strength. At Mantle 1, the light illuminates the path before them and allows them to add +1 to all Perception rolls. At Mantle 3, the light can be confounding to those in close combat with the courtier, and so he gains a +1 to his Defense. At Mantle 5, the light provides inner strength: the character gains +1 to degeneration rolls and rolls made to determine whether a derangement is gained after degeneration.
Shame and guilt are powerful tools, so say the members of the Sun Court. A son who disappoints his father and weeps has learned a lesson about failing his forebears. A wife who performs an illicit act in full view of others and is chastised for it, her spirit broken, has learned a similar lesson about filial duty. A knight who promises his king the satisfaction of a quest but comes back empty-handed knows that he is to be mocked in front of others, perhaps stoned or caned or made to carry heavy weights in a temporarily Sisyphean struggle up a hill (a white hill, of course, made so by the bright light of the sun above). The sun sees all. One's sins are cast into the light during the day whether he wants them to be, or not. The light illuminates all those dark corners, exposing the inequity and bringing guilt out of its hiding spot.
Shame is a powerful social tool. A businessman who loses the money of his associates, a restaurateur who sells food that gets his patrons sick, an old man who has become too frail to get himself up the steps? All of this brings shame -- or, at least, it should -- and the Sun Court drinks it up. The negative reinforcement of shame and guilt is potent, providing a shared space from which no man can truly stray. He may think he can escape his shame, but he can't. (And those that do try to escape may find a courtier from the Found Path waiting to "remind him in some brutal fashion.)
- Winter Masques, p. 137-139