The Noble Houses
Politics and intrigue are meat and drink to the sidhe. Divorcing a highborn from his political affiliation is nighimpossible. When a house suffers, all sidhe within that house suffer. In fact, most sidhe in the world today have been exiled from Arcadia because of their house affiliations. This affiliation can define a sidhe's personality, his politics and his approach to rulership. Although commoners can swear allegiance to a house or even receive titles in one, their bonds are never as strong as that of the sidhe. Fealty to a house is a measure of honor and pride. Even the circumstances under which a Seelie sidhe becomes Unseelie can be influenced by this alliance. During character creation, commoners can have membership in a house, but only with the permission of the Storyteller.
Each house bestows a certain benefit (called a Boon) to the Kithain who support it. However, for each Boon bestowed, there is also a Flaw, a disadvantage that the members of the houses must endure. Many houses have conditions that they require of their members; upholding these is second nature to the highborns.
There are also countless stories explaining why the houses returned to Earth during the Resurgence. Unseelie believe that the sidhe fled Arcadia because it was dying. Extremists even believe that by questing throughout the mortal world, changelings may find a way to restore the balance between the two worlds and reopen the gates of Arcadia. Seelie and Unseelie debate how this balance should be restored.
Some sidhe have memories of being sentenced to exile, but always have distorted memories of who or what exiled them. Perhaps it was the High Lords of Arcadia or the High King...or perhaps it was for another reason. The answers are hidden in dreams, yet the ruler of each house has an explanation that he or she firmly believes. Whether these explanations are true is highly debatable. The rationales for the exile of the houses are detailed below.
The Nine High Lords
Nine lords watch over the Earth-bound houses of the sidhe. Five are of the Seelie Court, three are of the Unseelie Court, and one is a madman who claims to speak for the Shadow Court, Though it is rare for all nine to gather together, collectively they speak for their respective families. Each holds a great measure of influence within the Parliament of Dreams, the august legal body of Kithain society. Each has developed an entourage to travel across the terrestrial sphere to gather information about house politics. In defiance of the Arcadian sidhe who exiled them, they refer to themselves as the High Lords of the Fallen World.