City Lights at Night
“Every Thorn has its Rose”—Inscription over the check-in desk at the Barnswallow
Changelings have a particularly delicate situation when it comes to dealing with new “arrivals”. On the one hand, new Lost aren’t necessarily anyone’s problem. They’re disconnected from Changeling society and very well could still be a little addled from their Durance. Nobody wants to deal with this potentially dangerous and awkward situation. On the other, when a fae creature returns to find that her home, family and life are nothing but a mockery of what she believed she was, with her role played by some critter made out of toothpicks and spirit gum, instability can ensue. Like, “I must collect the blood of one dozen virgin souls to satisfy the Queen in Scarlet that she might call her fetch back home”. Really unpleasant stuff that no one wants to deal with (especially Wolfe.)
So the solution most freeholds pursue is establishing a sort of communal housing area for new arrivals and a few established Changelings. That’s Barnswallow. It’s one full floor of a condo block on the Strip, and all new arrivals in Vegas are entitled to four weeks of free room and board here. This is honored by the Pledge of the Four Suits, the pact that binds the four monarchs, and thus the freehold, together. Changelings are given this time to adjust and the more experienced members of the freehold show them the ropes, as it were, regarding how to function properly in the freehold. At the end of the four weeks, the Changelings are given three choices.
Firstly, they may choose to remain in Las Vegas and swear fealty to one of the sovereign courts. The Court in question is not obligated to accept them unconditionally.
Secondly, they may choose to remain in the Freehold of Second Chances without declaring a court. Many do. Perfectly valid option.
Thirdly, they may choose to leave. But none are allowed to remain that do not present themselves as Changelings before the laws of the court. In other words, they agree to play by the rules or they hit the road.
A few others live here, besides, including Vincent “Dirge” DelRay, the Ambassador from the Freehold of Milwaukee. Bethany Wolfe’s “Black Forest Investigations” are also on this floor, although she herself does not live in the Barnswallow.