|Changelings are humans that have awoken from the Dreamscape, every awakening is different, however they all follow one of six patterns. The waking process changes the human, though not always apparent at first, over time the change becomes more apparant.
The change varies for each race, though always follows the dream that they were trapped in. It may or may not affect their personality but it does determine how their appearance changes. The change becomes more and more apparent as the changeling gains in power and in their sense of self. The changes do not get any less painful.
The unchanged theoreticly have the potential to be awakened (and thus changed) but remain trapped in their own dreams. Whether or not they are actual humans still or too irradiated with the magic of the Dreamscape is unknown, Changelings must always act under the High Law and are forbidden from interfering with the Unchanged.
When changelings awaken from their dreams, they all share the same single experience... they meet Greyhorn. Greyhorn is a beast changeling who greets all changelings when they awake and ensure they end up going to a safe location nearby. A report of such an incident may be found below
I staggered through the dreaming into the evening sunlight, thorns tearing at my skin. It's muddy. I slipped. A few more scratches and mud all over myclothes. Does it never end? A hand reaches down and grabs me. It's owner pulls me up effortlessly and through to a clearing that I didn't see before. It's a man with rams horns protruding from his skull and a worn leather jacket. He passes some water from an old canteen. He tells me to "catch your breath" and offers to let me know what the 'deal' is. He doesn't wait for permission, he starts rambling on and I was too tired to really object...
At some point in the 'modern' past, in the age of enlightenment, the lights went out. We slumbered; all of us. A global slumber party. The whole of humanity asleep and on our merry ways to the Dreamscape. There, like a skipping CD on shuffle: me, you all of humanity were forced to relive parts of our lives, completely unaware other than that sneaking feeling in the back of your mind saying that you've been here before.
I guess considering the size of humanity, that some people were in heaven and undoubtedly some were in hell. But for most of us, it was limbo, existing for the sake of existing.
Anyway, there was something that stopped the record spinning or sent it wobbling. One part luck, one part chance we must have realised what our dreamings were and in those few moments of lucidity we saw the Dreamscape for what it really was and us for what we really were. Now you're awake right? What is real and what isn't? There was the dreamscape, laid out in front of you with bits of reality creeping through. It was make or break. Making your way across the dreamscape through obstacles sent to hinder or test you, depending on your opinion, until there you were, fully awake in the cold dark reality of it all.
That cold, dark reality that you are stood in, it took a lot to take in didn't it. I didn't find it easy learning centuries had passed, civilisation had failed and I was so very alone. But that didn't last forever. More awoke and we ended up together. I guess more woke up too, but fell prey to the nightmares and other beasties... I mean creatures out there that inherited the earth. Meek my butt.
None of us were the same as when we fell asleep - if that indeed ever happened, maybe we were always like this? I don't know, I'm not a philosopher. But yeah. We called ourselves changelings. That what we were. Changed, one way or another. We struggled to pull back what civilisation and safety we could to this shattered world. We had gifts - magic but our use of it didn't go unnoticed for long. We drew the attention of spirits and elements. We made some deals, it worked out alright, but they weren't the only ones to notice.
The thrice damned Fae. Yeah I said it. I'm not afraid of your 'Keepers.' They're Creatures of great power that display tendencies from curious to downright sadistic. The more benevolent of them boasted about how their conquest of humanity. Anyway, that mess is another story, but I heard a few comments from a Goblin crew that backed up the fae's story, as did the elementals and spirits... only they told us that it didn't go to plan. I thought that was obvious considering we were there.
Anyway, the nearest town is that way kid. You want to reach there before sundown. Tell them Greyhorn sent you.
He pats me on the shoulder and gives a gentle push down the path towards the west. I glance back further down the path to look at this strange man... but he is no-where to be seen.
-The account of Arnold Borth of Mercia