Bellatierra [C20 Player’s Guide]

Changeling: The Dreaming

Changeling 20th Players Guide art by Drew Tucker

Luka Carroll, co-developer of the C20 Player’s Guide, is proud to introduce you to Bellatierra, the South American setting for Changeling: The Dreaming. This section was written by Jacqueline Hart.

Kingdom of Mountains

In the time before history, when the world was flat and blank, a woman wandered the earth with her people. Struggling to survive on the flatlands, no trees to shelter them, they ate what little they could catch. Their mother saw their suffering and, heart aching for her children, swore to build them a place they could call their own. Her voice called the trees down from the heavens, rooting them into the ground, spreading their branches high over the land. From the depths of the earth, she coaxed stones, birthing them forth through the flesh of this new land. Her pain gave way to tears, carving lakes and rivers that fled into the sea.

In the womb of the earth grew forth all manner of creatures, from the delicate vesper bat to the grand titanoboa, each gifted with their own domain and powers. The powerful jaguar, deadly warriors of the night. Docile guanacos, spending their lives peaceably high in the Andes. The rainbow of birds roosting in the arms of the new jungle, too many to name. The many creatures of water and mud, living their days just beneath the surface. But it was to her first children, she gave the greatest gift of all: the power to dream. And from these dreams sprung forth the Gallain.

The oldest fae in the land, Cuyania, is said to be not just one of the legendary Siochain but one of the first Gallain, period. The mother mountain resides deep within the mountain range of the Andes, and though not many can claim to have met the mother mountain herself in many years the stories still abound. She came to Bellatierra with the first people, across a land bridge that rose at her call.  When the mountains first birthed through the earth, tearing wounds as they rose, it was her touch that soothed their hurt. Taking the pain within herself, her tears fell heavy upon the land, leaving life in their wake. Plants sprang forth, providing her children with food and shelter. Watching over the harvest, she was a kind mother and made certain they wanted for naught. All living creatures lived under her watchful gaze, from the smallest insect to the great river serpents.

The mortals knew her as La Madremonte or ‘The Mother Mountain’, calling upon her to bless the crops and make the weather fair. And so too did the Gallain come to view her above all others. As the years passed, they spread themselves across the land, and she lay to take her rest amongst the mighty mountains. Many centuries would pass before she woke again and when she finally did, it was to a very different world. Conflict had come to her land and it would be a long time before peace would once again reign. But so too had more dreams come into being while she slept, sprung forth from the hearts of the people, struggling to survive in a world fast becoming too unforgiving. Gathering them to her side, she created a home deep within the hills. From these humble beginnings, the oldest kingdom in Bellatierra took root.

Cuyania ruled over them for many years, eventually passing the throne to Queen Kiela, a young boraro, before retiring back to her cave. Fiercely devoted to reclaiming their land, they fight alongside humanity unseen, lending their Glamour to stemming the tide of destruction. Some are more involved than others, but the soldiers of the mountains are many and it is largely through their actions that progress had been made. In the fifteenth century, colonizers brought more than weapons and disease; they brought their own dreams to this new land. The redcaps and gremlins of the conquistadors clashed against the native boraro and llorona, and the earth was stained red with blood. War raged on for many years, even after the mortal conflict had abated, as the Gallain struggled for dominance over Bellatierra. Many died outright, torn asunder by foreign magicks and strange weapons. Others succumbed to Banality, choosing a mortal life over continued conflict.

The treaty of Sierra Madre, and the intricate wards and enchantments that followed, brought a long awaited end to the Gallain war. Those dreams that were born on Bellatierra soil, birthed of her people, would remain in their land and not venture forth to other places. The invaders would return to their homes and trouble them no longer, never to return as long as the wards remained in place. For five hundred years the peace was kept, upheld by a group of ten Gallain known simply as Os Guardiões.  Drawn from each kingdom of Bellatierra, they maintained the warding magic and “gently” discouraged any Gallain tempted to cross the boundary. As the years passed, and the ten mantles passed down from elder to child, the barrier remained. Once a century, representatives from the kingdoms meet, and a vote was cast on maintaining the boundary. In five centuries, all of the votes passed unanimously. Aside from very rare allowances, outsiders were not permitted in the Mountain Kingdom.

But in the dawn of the twenty-first century, with the crowning of King Alvarez of the Mountain Kingdom, one voice spoke out in favor of lowering the barrier and allowing other Gallain into their land once more. The newly crowned king, an alicanto grump from southern Argentina, believed Gallain were supposed to cross freely between all lands. Many balked, his flagrant breaking with tradition sitting poorly with the Seelie of Bellatierra. After weeks of debate, and at least a few death threats, the conclave emerged with their verdict. A compromise.

For one month a year, the wards would be lowered and Gallain could travel freely between lands. Once the wards were raised, it would be an entire year before it could be lowered again, and any Gallain trapped on the wrong side would have to wait or else find a way around the ancient barrier. Even with this new turn of events, some kingdoms are still hesitant to allow strangers into their midst, but the Mountain Kingdom leads by example in all things. In preparation of the first month of the lowered barrier, they extended invitations to many of the kingdoms in Concordia, offering up their considerable hospitality.