- May 17, 2021
The Silent Court
“For those who do not believe in an existence after death, behold, your future.” - Rouche, Unearthed Artisan
The purpose of the Silent Court is to give the fae a place to rest peacefully. They are crafted into undead to fulfill a place in their lives that has previously been empty; perhaps a man was cut short before his time, or wishes to watch over his family, or desires revenge and needs somewhere to have those feelings heard. Unrequited loves, tales of revenge, victims of the worst crimes and deceit, and those who desires more in life but never got it are the purveyance of the Silent Court.
The Titan of Death, Carruth, has watched over it since its inception shortly before the founding of the Winter Court. The Silent Court separates itself from the other fae courts yet is intrinsically bound to it.
All are equal here.
Here, death washes away your sins.
Here, death gives you a voice to begin anew.
Here, death gives you the path to sleep in peace.
Here, spirits and souls pass to their new reincarnations.
Welcome to the Silent Court.
The King of the Silent Court presides over all, as the head of this constitutional monarchy. He is bound to six others beneath him, each triad representing three sides of the triangle (birth, death, and rebirth). There are three representatives from each faction, and the other three are the Cardinals of the Church (under Religion).
A skeleton that has proved the impossible: he has maintained his sanity and humanity while gaining all the power rot has to bring. A skeleton of possibly thirty or forty years given the wear on his skull, Iren has ruled the Silent Court for over 20,000 years.
He ascended to the throne after proving his mastery of magic and knowledge of elevated tastes that drew all three factions to ally under him. The former king, a member of the Rotten named Edren, was challenged to a duel. Edren lost surprisingly quickly to the only thing known to permanently recycle a member of the undead: breaking his seal.
Iren is a stern man who believes in the sanctity of law, equality, justice, and nobility. He is well-read, well-spoken, gentle to his friends, and slow to anger. Iren attempts to weigh both sides of an issue before deciding, no matter the subject. He is well-loved among the dead for his long service, open ears, and affectionate treatment of his subjects.
Cao de Soto of the Unearthed
Cao is a revolutionary sculptor in the Silent Court and the official representative of the Unearthed. He specializes in gems and rare minerals, which he has lavishly decorated the Court in. He is known for inserting tiny filaments of bioluminescent bacteria into hollowed crystals, creating faintly glowing lights that line the streets and hallways. His work is largely based on tactile perception, and his large gestural structures of wood and stone encourage touch. He is a disciplined and focused man, and is content with his place in the cycle. He despises Keltec, who he believes will ruin the Court in a pointless war.
Author: OPEN! DM Moulder on discord to take this wanted character!
Keltec of the Rotten
Surprisingly aggressive, Keltec is one of the larger members of the Rotten. Rumored to be a half-giant in life, he serves as the official representative of the Rotten in Court. Angered by how the undead are treated as horrors and pests outside of the faelands, Keltec campaigns for the destruction of the living. In his opinion the undead should have dominion over the living, as the undead suffer none of the weaknesses the living do. He openly encourages the recently risen and the Unearthed to slash their throats and join his crusade. So far it has only been met with moderate success, as Iren is wary of causing an upset with the Summer Court by hating life.
Author: OPEN! DM Chaceledon or Moulder on discord to take this wanted character!
Temoc of the Ivory
A lecherous and free-wheeling character, Temoc is the official representative of the Ivory in Court. He takes nothing seriously, is the bane of both Cao and Keltec, and is determined to live the last pieces of undeath to the fullest. He is heavily adorned with bronze playing screwed into his bones, engraved with erotic and beautiful imagery. Some of these are parodic portraits of the other representatives.
That said, Temoc cares deeply for the Ivory and their welfare. He cares for those losing their mental faculties, opens his home in the Spokes to the needy, and fights an uphill battle for skeleton acceptance.
Author: OPEN! DM Chaceledon or Moulder on discord to take this wanted character!
The Unearthed are the artisans, politicians, gentlemen and ladies of the Silent Court. Unlike their Rotten cousins they wish to extend their stay as long as possible. Many choose to have their internal organs flushed, dehydrated or outright removed to preserve themselves. The Unearthed maintain their creativity and physically feel at the cost of being weaker in magic. Many Unearthed choose nonviolent arts such as singing, dancing, painting, woodworking, blacksmithing or sculpture. All of the Autumn Court’s librarians, historians, great artists and philosophers are Unearthed. It takes significant effort to remain so, as any damage to the corpse will begin the decomposition process.
However, since the only difference from a living man is the lack of breathing or pulse, they can walk most any streets in Arethil without issue. Many maintain relationships with their families, take living lovers, or see parts of the world they didn’t get to see while alive.
Soon after the rebirth of an undead, he or she must make a choice. To preserve oneself and follow the principle of borrowing life, or returning to the earth. Those who follow the second have their throats ritualistically slashed by a Detritor, the religious arm of the Silent Court. The Detritors are responsible for monitoring the rate of rot in their kind, and accelerating or decelerating that rate. As a zombie rots their proficiency in magic grows, but their ability to create, love, hate, and feel declines. While all Rotten eventually become Ivory, they wish to stay Rotten as long as possible to enjoy their newfound power. The best Rotten find ways of slowing their own decomposition to a rate that satisfies their need for power. Some Rotten are content to wither and gain power slowly, learning more about their abilities and seasoning themselves on its use. Others want a faster path to power...at the risks of burning themselves out.
The Ivory are the last stage in the undeath process. In the Silent Court, skeletons maintain some of their sanity though they are unhinged, unpredictable, impulsive, and manic. Outside of the Silent Court, skeletons are doomed to become shambling, animalistic horrors with little to no sentience. These undead have no tissue remaining on their frames, and are animated by magic alone.
While plagued with the notion they will soon crumble to dust, they are accomplished artists. They carve their bones into complex works of art, add plates of metal or gemstone accents.
Mechanics and Biology
Your Second Birth
The return to the earth is traditional among many cultures, fae and human. While those who are cremated or eaten cannot enter the Silent Court, the buried are welcomed with open arms. Many newly birthed describe a sinking sensation, then waking up with a pile of the dead all around them. It is worth noting that many Detritors roam the surface world and bury intact bodies to help boost the numbers of the Silent Court...or if a courtier has a specific request (a babe, a child, a lover or friend they knew in life).
The beginning of any undead is the reawakening. This happens after the soul is successfully pinned back to the body. This pinning is accomplished by a Detritor carving a seal into the bones of the corpse that is to be raised. Breaking this seal results in the separation of soul and body, and the ‘second death’ of the individual.
Some bodies rise and the souls are pinned poorly, resulting in a hollow man; the dead who wander with no soul to guide them. Hollow men are often confused and angry, trying to claw back memories that slip away from them. They cannot love, or create, and most of them turn to the military to find some meaning in their existence.
Souls pinned to a body that does not match create wraiths. The body is confused and the soul twists it to attempt to emulate what it was in life. Wraiths are often skeletal and strange, lit from within with a cold and cruel light. Strangely these undead show some of the greatest aptitude for magic, particularly shadow and memory magic.
If a soul is successfully pinned, that newly risen Unearthed must come to grips with their new death. Some cannot cope and go mad attempting to reach the world of the living. Detritors promptly unpin these souls and release them as ghosts. Others adjust, and are left to decide whether the path of rot or the path of preservation suits them better. Detritors are available to help the Unearthed mourn their deaths, but new members of the community are often celebrated.
Babes and children are often fought over, as many remember their still living families. Iren strictly monitors the placement of such Unearthed. If possible they are placed with a family member, a grandfather or mother. If not, they are adopted out to mothers and fathers who lost their children.
A Return to Form
All undead rot, and decay. It is up to the individual when and how that happens, as magic is an ebb and flow with the Silent Court. As a man decays, his power grows.
The only exception to this is the Wraith. The wraith, being born of a soul being pinned to a body other than the one it was born in, becomes a creature suspended between death and undeath. Their bodies are fragile and easily damaged, but their magic abilities are second to none. They possess talents in shadow magic, memory magic, and dream magic. They show an affinity to mirrors, which are tied with the concept of the self.
Wraiths are haunted by the tension of their existence, and often become obsessed with collecting wealth, power, slaves, or objects.
Oor is an example of one such Wraith.
To Dust You Return
The end of the undeath cycle is when either the seal of an undead is broken, or an Ivory crumbles. The first can happen at any point in the cycle, and for any reason...usually violent. An undead can survive any mortal wound, and persist through the most catastrophic losses...as long as the seal remains intact.
The second method of death is, for lack of a better term, old age. Bones cannot last forever. The Ivory usually find themselves flaking, the bone taking on a rough texture similar to old fence post wood. They may shamble around for a few more years, shedding flakes of bone. Oftentimes a Detritor is called to end the life of an Ivory when they reach this stage.
The Silent Court focuses on balance and the cycle of birth, life, rebirth, and decomposition. They believe in two principles: that life is only borrowed and all men must eventually give it back from whence it came. Two factions of the Autumn Court believe in embracing the second principle, while the third believes mainly in the first.
Honor the Least of These
Fungi, worms, beetles, millipedes and other detritivores are sacred animals to the undead and are often depicted in art. It is believed that they are King Iren’s eyes and ears inside and out of the faewilds, and while not as impressive as a rampant lion or eagle are nonetheless just as important in the cycle of death and rebirth. Gigantic worms called withercastes are the favored pets of the rich and powerful, and are thought to exemplify the principle of honoring creatures most would happily crush.
Defend the Dead
The dead are seen as some of the most important to the undead. They provide nutrients to the soil and regenerative power to the earth and the people living in it. Crops wouldn’t survive without the dead. Grass wouldn’t grow if not for the dead. Graverobbers and those seeking to artificially preserve what should rot are violators of this principle and will be killed without question to redress the balance.
All of Us Ivory
Religion, race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation mean nothing to the dead. All are welcome, and all are bones at the end of the cycle. Turning away someone from a home or business outside of the Silent Court because of any of the listed qualities is considered dishonorable. The offender may face punishment or even exile from court.
We Celebrate our Lives
The Silent Court, despite its reputation, is not a grim and morose place. At the Summer Equinox every year is the Mirror Festival. Since mirrors represent memory, this particular day is about remembering and celebrating the lives once lived by the undead. The undead give blessings to their living relatives, children and grandchildren. If one is very lucky, the blessing will feel like a soft kiss to the forehead of living relatives, giving good fortune.
Song is loud here, as are displays of colorful bioluminescent mushrooms, ribbons, and paper lanterns. Alcohol flows freely and it is one of the few things the undead can drink, as it preserves rather than rots dead flesh. Dances, drinking, song and poetry are all welcome, with the hope that the living hear that they are not forgotten by the dead. Grandmothers and Grandfathers are of particular emphasis, since they see all three steps of the cycle within a family.
The undead are known for their phenomenal, fluid dancing. They aren’t constrained by the fear of injury or falling like a living dancer, and can add limbs with the aid of an artificer. The undead modify their bodies to become their own unique creations, leading to the creation of complex routines that leave the living in stunned silence. The fanning of a rib cage, adding arms for gestural dance, and complex clothing are all popular among undead dancers. Dancers are often initiated by a Movemother, someone who teaches and inspires the pupil to express themselves through their body displays. These relationships have a reputation for being sexual, though that doesn’t stop many undead petitioning the most famous Movemothers with gifts and praise. Pupils, regardless of sex or species, are referred to as ‘daughters’. Movemothers are the only dancers allowed to perform for the living, and it is only on the eve of becoming a mother themselves will a daughter be shown to the living. The greatest known Movemother is Quiarta, a member of the Unearthed known for rearranging her bones carefully inside her body during performances. She is said to be able to inspire tears from the undead, her performances often somber reflections on romance.
Though many living dancers beg, plead and bribe Movemothers to teach them, becoming a daughter while still breathing is rare. It isn’t, however, unheard of.
Another form of dance is practiced specifically by the Rotten. Known as haka, these dances are meant to frighten enemies in war. Loud shouts and cries, stamping, calling in sequence, and showing off physical strength are all part of a good haka. They can be performed as part of a celebration or as an intimidation display. Some Rotten use it as a way to establish brotherhood.
Art, Beloved Mistress
Painting, drawing and sketching are all popular pursuits for the Unearthed. It’s seen as a quiet, refined and dignified art that young Lords can aspire to. Paints are made locally by the myconids and come in dazzlingly bright colors. Flakes of metal or drops of alcohol are added for different effects. Members of the Ivory pursuing art are known for painting their bones in complex patterns. Brave Ivories may show a talent in carving and augment their bones in incredibly complex designs. Sculpture is also a popular pursuit but is seen as the undead equivalent of a daring and dangerous do; one slip of the chisel or knife may cost a living sculptor a digit or bit of skin...but for an undead it may have drastic consequences. Sculptors often perform in public, frightening and exciting the crowd with artful little slips that just miss.
The undead consider themselves the kings and queens of sex. Never tiring, immune to disease, and without the need to breathe, they may very well have validity to their claims. Limit Courts, small clubs where the sexually deviant go to get their kicks, host couples (or trios, parties and solo performers) and serve alcohol. Most mortals who make their way still alive into the Autumn Court are often torn between arousal and disgust, as the clubs put no limit on perceived sex or species. After all, a dead man has no need for a rest, and the Rotten simply make their own entrances.
Like most fae the undead aren’t shy, and sleeping with a living mortal is the subject of both envy and comedy. A popular (and forbidden) performance is to lure a living man down into the Court, and fuck him or her senseless and limp in a Limit Court. Detritors severely punish undead who do this, as it is a violation of a space meant only for the dead. It isn’t uncommon for a mortal prostitute to either wind up a citizen of the Silent Court...or wake up in a graveyard with a massive headache
Joy in Rot
The undead are accomplished vintners. Since alcohol is made by the very process of decay, the undead consider it their realm. They enjoy making fae whiskeys, bourbons, beer and wines. Mycowine, made from the appropriately named Harlots Shelf mushroom, is a bubblegum pink in color and has a surprisingly creamy taste best compared to fresh mangos or plums. Stronger liquors such as whiskeys are made from grains bought from the faewilds, and cured in large sacs made from mushroom skin. Several famous taprooms can be found in the Silent Court, and at least two or three breweries are run by Unearthed in other Courts.
Concerning the Breathing
The living are not welcome in the Silent Court. While many of the undead are too polite to say so, they consider it a violation of the spaces specifically meant for them. At best, it is a minor insult. At worst, an invasion.
This can be mitigated. Some of the living are what is known as “Friends of the Dead”. These are living people that have performed services to undead people or the dead that have designated them honorifics. This comes with a gemstone drilled into the tooth that acts as a ‘pass’ for the Gate, and the Friend of the Dead can come and go as he or she pleases.
Living people with full citizenship rights, including the right to request relatives be raised or visiting lovers, are rare.
ReligionThe main religion in the Silent Court is that of the Triangle Cathedral. A triangle is the strongest geometric form found in nature, and requires a balance between all three points to remain so. Thus, the Triangle Cathedral is committed to balance between life, death and rebirth. Doing things in threes is considered lucky, and at three times of the day three bells will toll from the Cathedral in Castigare.
The Cardinals of this Cathedral are considered the de facto judges of the Silent Court for minor offenses. Most punishments are light and have to do with service; guiding the newly dead or cleaning. However, the Cathedral can make sterner decisions with the support of the king up to and including destruction of a seal.
The Three Points of a Triangle
The three Cardinals are chosen by King Iren as examples of excellent service to one of the three callings (Life, Death or Rebirth).
Sergius, Cardinal of Life
Cardinals of Life are typically outspoken and vivacious, and Sergius is no exception. Unlike his stern counterparts, Sergius enjoys thinking outside the box and coming up with unusual solutions for problems. A natural puzzle addict, he can be found tinkering with blacksmith toys in his spare time and will often gift them as an act of meditation.
He is responsible for preserving ancient cultures, keeping track of the current events of the living, and helping with the transition between life and undeath.
Sergius is a skeleton, painted turquoise and orange, his favored color palette.
Octavius, Cardinal of Death
Octavious is a heavily modified Rotten in charge of Death. He has added several extra limbs through the aid of magic, giving him a uniquely spidery appearance. Octavious lost his skull to a war when he was alive, and uses magic to speak and see properly.
While a stern creature, Octavious is fair and loyal to balance. Being the Cardinal of Death he has a responsibility to help the people of the court with their unfinished business, as well as keep peace among the populace. This has given him quite the large patient streak, leading to a popular vulgar expression, ‘Octavious’ temper!’
Caetani, Cardinal of Rebirth
As Cardinal of Rebirth, it is Caetani’s responsibility to guide the older dead to their final resting places. He will destroy seals of Ivory too old to remember where they are, guide souls that cannot be pinned to the leylines, and holds public hearings for those who have been raised and wish not to be.
Caetani is somber and quiet, due to the nature of his work. However he has a weakness for music and musicians, and often attends the concerts of the living above ground. In disguise, of course.
I am Weary, Let Me Rest
Detritors are the monks and priests of the Silent Court. These undead actively encourage beetles, worms, larvae, flies and other scavengers to feed on them, becoming walking examples of the Cycle to which all undead are bound. They assist the newly dead in choosing a path, and punish those who seek to break the cycle by using magic to cheat fate. To live eternally is seen as a robbery, hoarding energy that is rightly returned to the soil and birthed anew in reincarnation. Detritors destroy artifacts such as reliquaries, believing the ability to resurrect to be the domain of the gods alone.
Detritors also have the task of gathering the freshly dead from above ground or those interred in graves and mausoleums. They often ask for the dead fae outright, and offer comfort and guidance to the living left behind. They are kind, and chosen for their abilities to counsel.
They wear heavy bronze or iron headdresses in the shapes of triangles, and carry staves adorned with bells to alert people of their passing.
Guidance and Teaching
Detritors and other members of the Church have a duty to the dead first and foremost. They provide open and non-judgmental ears to those mourning their own deaths or the loved ones left behind. There are resources to cope, small guilds to join if you are having trouble processing your death, and community support to find living family members.
The undead are supportive and protective of those who have died violent deaths due to rape, murder, and in particular suicide. Outlets like art, candlemaking, pottery, and distillery are encouraged.
A Voice in the Black
Carruth is the deity to which all Silent Courtiers bend. The avatar of death, Carruth appears as a black mist to fae about to meet their ends. To fae such as shucks who can see death before it happens, he appears as a black mist around the afflicted person.
He is an objective person when it comes to dealing with death. He does not lose his temper, and he is never cruel. He is the avatar of a neutral force in nature. Death comes for us all, whether we like it or not, and Carruth tries to make the transition an easy one. Fighting, kicking, screaming, or sobbing with relief, once you take his hand you depart from this world.
Carruth may be swayed to spare a life, however. He has been known to spare those with unfinished business, lovers begging for their children, and victims of cruel or unusual circumstances. He is at heart a romantic soul, and a gentleman above all.
Death's cold touch, after all, is a soothing balm to some.
Major LocationsThe White Passage
The Bone Gate
A huge dragon skull guards the actual gate to the Autumn Court. There are three guardians at that gate; a twin pair of skeletons bound to keep the living out, and the dragon skull itself. If a living creature isn’t in the company of a citizen of the Autumn Court, the dragons jaws will slam shut, and the gate will be impassable.
Path of Reincarnation
Beyond the gate, darkness swiftly takes over. Bioluminescent mushrooms guide the way to the Autumn Court proper. Life blooms here but only in the form of insect and fungal life. The insects range from as large as the average wagon to tiny mites smaller than the head of a pin. The path has its own ecosystem, a jungle of exotic mushrooms and molds that feed off off of the Mysts. Myconids, small mushroom sprites, live here and cultivate fungus for the Autumn Court. This includes an array of poisons, delicacies, and the Pink Lady’s Shelf, a mushroom used to make mycowine.
The outer reaches of the Autumn Court, where the Ivory live. This is generally a low income area or slum, as the Ivory are at the end stages of their undeath. Madness infiltrates here. While many Ivory can retain their sanity up until they choose reincarnation, the majority undergo dementia-like symptoms. The squalid state of this outer ring of the city is likely due to repairs that were started and simply forgotten or neglected. Many of the homes are in ill-repair, and the citizens struggling to hold onto sanity.
The representative of the Ivory is trying desperately to improve the conditions here. The Ivory need more Detritor support, more support from the Rotten to repair their homes and businesses, and better psychological resources. Sadly, with the political upheaval between the Rotten and Unearthed, the Ivory have been ironically left to rot.
It is dangerous to wander too far into the streets here.
The Lady’s Slipper
Named after the pink mushroom used to make mycowine, this bar and brothel is considered the pinnacle of undead hospitality. Liquor is one of the only things all undead can enjoy safely, and the undead view themselves as the masters of all things sexual. The only taboo here is sex with the living...which means of course it’s the pinnacle of sexual objectification here.
Palace of Fading LeavesWhere King Iren resides. A wonderfully sprawling building of lavish bedrooms, a wide feasting hall, large libraries, several dancing ballrooms and a private theatre. Hundreds of art pieces from dead artists are featured here as examples of Autumn Court achievements.
The palace is only open to the public on holidays and special events, though people can request a formal audience. Iren prides himself on being close to his people, and people needing aid are rarely denied.
Cathedral of the Triangle
This is a place for reflection on life and death, the wheel of fate, and to make requests for blessings on living family members or lovers.
The bells of this Cathedral will toll three times, three times a day. These are invitations to prayer, and an open call to the older members of the Court to enter the next life if they so choose. One can also navigate the city by the tolls of these bells, as the Cathedral is a central location of Castigare. If one can locate the Cathedral, one can get his or her bearings.
Here is where you will find the links to any Silent Court events held on the site. If you have an idea for an event, please DM Moulder on Discord.