Hello, all! It’s a bit early yet for a pint, but pull up a seat with your favourite morning drink and let’s get into today’s letter. It’s a good one.
Impartials. That’s why y’all are here, right? To find out more about whoever these people are and why they’re important enough to get a series of books written about them? If I were you, I’d have been wondering.
Here it is then: Impartials are human. No matter the bargain they have to make with the Unseelie, no matter what they do or give up to accomplish that, the Impartials are human. They’re not always the nicest humans you’ll ever encounter, but they have a humanity the Fae–both Seelie and Unseelie–lack, and that’s what drives them. From determination and fear to grief and love, it’s what makes them get up again when the Fae think they’ll stay down. It’s what helped them get to where they are, and it’s what helps them find the Court of the Unseelie Fae to strike a bargain that will prevent harm to humans or solitary Fae (more on them later) for the coming seven years, until the next Tithe is bound, at great cost to themselves.
Impartials have certain little signs; indicators of traits that might stay buried in modern times. When the Seelie (Light Fae) chose the daughters of several prominent families to become the first Impartials, they were characteristically vague, maybe hoping to leave the Impartials some wiggle room in the centuries to come. Either way, Impartials can be identified in these ways:
- Imaginary friends: Most Impartials, as children, had imaginary friends just like any other. The difference? Their imaginary friends are real, tiny Fae sent by the Seelie Queen to ensure the child is happy and whole–while possible, at least. Which brings us to the next point:
- Trauma: It sounds gruesome, but there it is. With the Fae understanding of humans being what it is, the Seelie Queen decreed that the Impartials would be marked by early tragedy, and they are. At some point before reaching adulthood (this being defined as age 25, the age when unmarried women at the time of the Tithe’s founding would have been declared spinsters), they suffer crippling losses–loss of family members, loss of a home–or injuries. Some believe this is the Seelie’s way of weeding out those Impartials who would not successfully complete the Tithe. And on that note, my third and final point:
- Youth: It sounds bizarre–or, if you’ve been puzzling over this post while reading, maybe it doesn’t–but it’s true. Impartials are young. In fact, none of them reach the age of 25 and remain healthy. At the time of the original compact between the Seelie, Unseelie, and Impartials, all three parties agreed that if an Impartial reached adulthood–again, 25–without having completed a Tithe, her life would be forfeit, a sacrifice to the Unseelie. To date, in the six hundred years since the Tithe’s establishment, only two Impartials have been driven mad by the Unseelie and recovered. The remainder took their own lives, or lived out what life they had left in exile, sanatoriums, and psychiatric institutions.
No doubt you now have questions. Frankly, so do I, but this generation of Impartials is still learning, and I’m right there with them. Besides, there has to be some mystery.
Above all this, though, you should remember what the Impartials fight for, and who they are. First and foremost….. They are human.