Fresh From the Hedge
Local Blackbird Bishop with a weather eye on the horizon
Court: None, but with known goodwill with Spring and well respected by the Freehold.
Noble Order: Bishopheric of Blackbirds
When the pain and struggle ends, when the thorns are no longer piercing your skin and soul, when you finally get a moment to open your eyes and maybe, hope against all hope, see something other than your keeper’s prison or the Hedge’s thorny maze, you see the night sky and a face in it…then you realize it isn’t the night sky at all but a bald man so tattooed with black and blue lines that you can’t tell where his body ends and the sky behind him begins but for a pair of bright white eyes and a bushy gray beard with raven feathers seemingly woven into it and a quiet smile. Around him you smell the brine of the sea and the westerly wind. He reaches into a rucksack and passes you ill-fitting clothes and welcomes you “home.”
This is Bishop Tom and for the past ten years he’s been helping to shepherd “new arrivals” to from the Hedge to the Freehold. Well-loved for his pleasant disposition and friendly manner and well-respected by the courts (although he himself is “Courtless”), he is the go-to mentor for changelings fresh from the Hedge and ally for his former rescues. Some whisper that he remains neutral in Court dealings so as to find himself in the position of kingmaker for one of his wards. Other whisper that his many days roaming the coast are because he’s looking for signs of something coming…something he dare not say. There’s a sorrow around him, but also a lust for the new life he’s been granted. They say he was a preacher once in the long-ago but the horizon called as strongly as his God…and his Keeper even stronger.
Some can’t help but note the familial resemblance between him and a certain infamous and elderly Catholic bishop known for his dogmatic vitriol…his Fetch, the Archbishop Thomas Astor of Chicago! When asked of him, “Bishop Tom” gives a weak smile and stares to the horizon.
Bishop Tom is known to be a shoulder, albeit a rough and wind-worn one, to cry on; a laugh that could carry over a tornado and stand up to a hurricane; a man who somehow always knows where the wind is blowing and when to put up sail. He may disappear for days at a time or linger longer than you may think you want him to, but there’s no doubting his dedication to guiding young changelings to whatever their destination may be.