Morton Court

Symbol: Black Bat
Season: Summer
Flower: Iris
Motto: Never The Same Mistake Twice
Values: Freedom, Creativity
Colors: Red & Black
Academic Focus: Cryptozoology, Artificiery

Morton Court is the home of experimenters, explorers, and those willing to take dangerous risks. Mortonians are known for throwing caution to the wind and are always open to trying anything at least once. Many Morton students have achieved great success and made fabulous innovations, but the Court’s methodology of trial and error has also led to some notorious school accidents. The Court’s motto–Never The Same Mistake Twice–is tongue-in-cheek, but also true. Morton Court values mistakes highly, seeing failure as a vital step in the process of learning and discovery.

Morton Court students are known for not taking themselves too seriously, and often enjoy poking at the other Courts for being (in their view) too stuffy and pretentious. This goes hand in hand with the Court’s long history of elaborate and melodramatic pranks, dating back to the Court’s founder, Thomas Morton, the Lord of Misrule. To Morton Court students, no one is off-limits as a prank target–other Courts, fellow Mortonians, and even faculty and staff. Of course, good pranks are always good-natured, and if a prank crosses the line into malicious, the rest of the Court will frown on that prankster for poor form.

The tradition of pranking, however, does not mean Mortonians are academic slackers. They do nothing by halves, and that includes their schoolwork. Morton Court tends to attract artificiers and cryptozoologists–those willing to experiment to build new things and take risks attempting to find and befriend (or harvest) dangerous creatures.

Thomas Morton (1570-1647 (debated))

“According to human reason, guided only by the light of nature, these people lead the more happy and freer life, being void of care, which torments the minds of so many Christians.”

Thomas Morton–often referred to as the Lord of Misrule–is by far the most mysterious of the four founders. There are myriad conflicting reports about the exact details of Morton’s life, in no small part because of Morton themself. Morton was a cryptozoologist, herbologist, explorer, and an early European eschewer of the gender binary. They traveled widely, dabbling in belief systems and adopting cultural ideologies from across the world.

By the time Morton came to America, they had accrued a significant band of followers. Morton’s followers were as unpredictable as Morton themself, prone to wild revels, dancing, pranks, and wordplay. Morton renamed their settlement Merrymount, even the name itself a pun (on mare, the Latin word for sea). Morton’s revelers were contentious among the early Puritans, mixing pagan rituals with flagrant magic in a manner the other settlers found unbecoming and disturbing.

Though Morton and Bradford did not get along (indeed, Bradford once famously marooned Morton on a small island, following a drunken argument about grammar), Bradford invited Morton to teach at his new school, hoping to convert Morton’s followers to his own path. Bradford did not succeed in conversion, but Morton’s students stayed at the school. Morton themself came and went unpredictably, sometimes vanishing for months at at time. Morton would often bring strange creatures and plants and leave them for students to experiment with and examine. One such sapling eventually grew to become the Bartering Birch; Morton staunchly refused to explain where they acquired the sapling, and its precise origins remain entirely shrouded in mystery.

In the New World, Morton at first attempted to support Mundane settlements and foster communications between them and the various First Nations tribes. They wrote a number of anthropological treatises on the First Nations, in an attempt to stave off war between them and the European settlers. Unfortunately, Morton’s work was not well-received by the settlers. Things came to a head when Morton realized that a local settlement was selling slaves, and a disappointed Morton stepped away from the Mundane world entirely. 

No one knows exactly what became of Morton, but the last confirmed sighting of them at the school itself was in 1647. One theory claims that Morton attempted an ascension ritual by becoming an avatar of the Babylonian deity Tammuz. Another states that Morton fell gravely ill, but defeated Death itself in a game of cards, and won their immortality. Others say that Morton simply found a particularly nice spot in the woods behind P2A4’s campus to take a nap, and that sooner or later they’ll wake up, well-rested and ready to cause more mayhem.