Snail's Trail

Introduction

Every summer for the past few decades The courts of South Bend and Fort Wayne have engaged in outright warfare. What started as friendly competitions escalated into violence. This summer everything was going as normal when suddenly the hedge rippled. The areas between the two cities became insanely dangerous for changelings, and no one in either city could enter the hedge, nor is it possible to exit the hedge into either place.

With this sudden shift in supernatural terrain the city of Warsaw became a hub of activity. Your characters all exited the hedge at the same time, near the Warsaw Dairy Queen, on the same day. The day that travel to both of the major cities in the area became cut off. Your memories of your time in Arcadia quickly faded, like the tattered remnants of a nightmare, leaving you just enough knowledge of where you came from to know that you never want to go back.

The court in Warsaw is tiny, with only a handful of members. They really had no clue what to do with you, as most of them chose to live in this area primarily because the hedge here had been fairly difficult to traverse. They wanted to be left alone, mostly, and hadn’t planned for what to do with a crop of younglings like you. You were brought to their Great Hall, and have been staying there as they struggle to reintroduce you to human society and teach you the ways of the changelings and the hedge.

The Great Hall of Warsaw is the Old Gatke Factory. Closed down years ago, the soil underneath it is tainted by the chemical byproducts of processes that long predate the EPA and OSHA. Of no use or interest to humans the place sits abandoned, tall windows broken and brick crumbling. Inside the place a battered door hangs lopsided, with the worlds “The Great Hall” spray painted onto it. Past that door is a long narrow staircase visible only to changeling eyes. A flickering bulb lights the way down to a dingy club which rests in a hollow within the hedge. Lady Leather performs on the battered wooden stage there, angelic voice bringing new life to sad songs of love lost. The Amoeba tends the bar, pseudo pods shooting out of its immense bulk to mix and pour drinks. The staff never out numbers the patrons on any night you guys aren’t there, but no one seems to care about that. You’ve been living in the rooms upstairs, they aren’t luxurious, but you each have a bed, desk, table, dresser and chair. There are no mirrors here.

There are eight members of the Warsaw court, but only four of them live in Warsaw itself. The other four live in Mentone, Winona Lake, Leesburg and Claypool. You know all of their court names, but only a few of their human identities.

1. Lady Leather: Winter’s queen in Warsaw is one of the Bright Ones. Luminously beautiful blue eyes literally glow as she regards the world around her, she is the ‘talent’ at the Great Hall, though you aren’t certain whether the other Lost come to hear her sing or to eat the delicious food. You’ve never seen her out of her leather pants, boots and corset, and have spoken with her the least of any of the Changelings that call the Great Hall home. She has long brown hair and pointed ears. During the day she works at a battered women’s shelter and as a substance abuse councilor.

2. The Amoeba: Ruler of Warsaw’s Spring court, the Amoeba is a Gargantuan. As a human it is morbidly obese with greasy pale skin and stringy blondish hair. Your eyes can see even greater hideousness as translucent skin stretches tautly over thickly moving dark blobs. Pseudo pods sometimes extend out of the massive rolls of flesh acting as extra hands. No one you’ve spoken to has ever applied a gender pronoun to the Amoeba, but you are almost certain that it is female. The amoeba never wears a shirt. You aren’t sure what it does when it isn’t in the Great Hall.

3. Jackie Jackal: A Hunter heart and the summer queen of Warsaw, Jackie is one of the few members of the court whose human identity you all know. It was she who explained to you how to weave together the truth of being one of the Lost with the fiction of a human identity. She works as a teacher at the high school, and coaches the girls basketball team. She feeds off of the competitions between the students as well as their reactions to her pop quizzes. Jackie is a tall, slender, athletic woman with thick black hair and warm brown eyes. Only other changelings can see the thick fur and sharp toothed muzzle that make her a furry lover’s wet dream. Jackie is the waitress at the Great Hall, and likely the Amoeba’s lover.

4. Danny Brewer: He took his kith name as his last name and is the King of Warsaw’s fall court. Danny is a slender, pretty young man, dainty, precise and graceful. He is soft spoken and informative, but rarely volunteers information. He cooks, cleans and seems to do all of the actual work involved in running the Great Hall as if it were a business. His short brown hair is nearly the same color as his skin. It isn’t until you get close to him that you realize he’s made of wood, and the abstract swirls that look like tattoos from a distance have been carved into his skin leaving ridges you could feel if you ran your hands across him. He cooks for a Mexican restaurant as well as at the Great Hall.

5. Wormy is a Tunnelgrub from the spring court. Long and lanky with dreadlocks from which he drew his name he’s generally some shade of gray and rather slimy looking. You know that he runs a mushroom farm, and he will regale anyone who chooses to listen with the difficulties involved in acquiring the high quality stallion urine he needs to marinate his compost in. He smells like compost and freshly turned dirt lightly sprinkled with the contents of an outhouse.

6. Horace Oak is a Woodblood from the summer court. He is actively involved in hunting and outdoor sports and will complain at length about the local DNR. Horace is a big man with a big beard and wild hair. Leaves and twigs tangle in both. He dresses in flannel and jeans.

7. Agatha is the winter court’s Oracle. The changelings call her Ruth. She is a tiny red head who wears a blindfold over her eyes. Mortals who see underneath it think that she was born without eyes. Changelings can she that some one, or some thing dug her eyes out leaving bloody furrows in the flesh around them that have never healed. Her seeing eye dog is named Rufus, and she goes nowhere without him. He’s a big, friendly golden retriever.

8. Doc is the least talkative member of the courts of Warsaw. You suppose that he is a member of Danny’s court but all you’ve ever heard him say is “Bring me one of Danny’s specials.” Shortly after that Jackie brings him a shot of a rich golden liquid which he tosses back before passing out. He is a tiny, wizened old man with fingers like twigs, gray hair and tired eyes. Jackie told you that he is a Chirgeon.

Currently the Summer Courts rule, and you have heard a bit about the Summer Kings of South Bend and Fort Wayne.

1. Michael of South Bend is a Fireheart
2. Charles of Fort Wayne is a Venombite

You have heard a great deal of gossip about the upheaval, as the sudden alteration of the hedge has come to be called. Most of it focuses around a Professor of Linguistics at IU’s South Bend campus who also happened to be a Fall Court changeling. His stepdaughter was killed in the fighting just days before the upheaval, and he vanished immediately after it. No one has seen him since. He was a specialist in hedge magic, and was the one the South Bend court sent for when the upheaval occurred. He apparently sent the King of Southbend a letter that claimed responsibility for changes in the hedge, but no one is quite sure how he went about it. General opinion is that he either created or used an artifact of some sort. The Courts of South Bend and Fort Wayne are both offering a fantastic array of rewards to anyone who can help fix things.

It is now the beginning of June in the year 2012.

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