The Great Beyond
the "faerie prince" of Cheshial
Raif has been coddled, spoiled and served for nearly nineteen years since he was left at the palace gates with little more than a gibberish faerie letter and spidersilk swaddling cloth. While the king wasted no time in suggesting several very faraway orphanages to help hide his indiscretions, the queen found herself instantly in love. Unable to bear more children for years since her sixth, she saw Raif as a blessing despite his origins. She has raised him as her own ever since, though it is obvious to anyone who meets him that the queen isn’t his mother.
While Raif boasts his father’s black hair and dark skin, his glacier-green eyes and four gossamer wings leave no question as to his fae heritage. Thin and translucent like those of a dragonfly, the wings have thus far proven useless for flight and so Raif hides them under capes or clothing, uncomfortable as it is to crinkle them close to his body. In the privacy of his chambers he cares deeply for the wings – oils and massages them and keeps them strong – though the same can be said for most of his body and his things. He is diminutive in size and even lighter than he looks; at 5’4” he only weighs as much as a child, and most women could pick him up (a fact that his siblings find greatly amusing). Raif works to make this occurrence as unlikely as possible by wearing heavy clothing, surrounding himself with brutish-looking guards and being utterly unlikeable – though there are a few who have seen him act otherwise.
Raif’s best friend is a Lariosaurus, Dialiki, who lives in the prince’s second bathtub. She and Sudah, Raif’s most trusted personal guard, are perhaps the only beings who hear any kind words from the prince. That said, even in public he has an interest and (rumoured) soft spot for those who are different – especially if they present to him some kind of intrigue. Puzzles, games, riddles, tricks and gambling are among Raif’s obsessions, and about the only quandaries for which he has any patience. He has a quiet fascination for mystery and the unknown, while he otherwise adores music, dance, gardening and art. He sketches and paints, he mixes his own colours and he collects tattoos (the tattooists of the city are among few who have seen skin beyond his hands and face). Of course, these are mostly hobbies that he practices alone.
Beyond various string instruments, Raif’s physical talents are few: while his light weight makes him an excellent climber and tumbler, he generally uses those skills to run the fuck away. Since the touch of iron and many of its alloys burns his skin, he has received very little training in the way of weapons or sports, and it’s generally expected that one good strike or rough fall while riding would probably cripple him. Of course, such rumours are difficult to confirm thanks to his mob of mistreated but well-paid guards, whom he is without only during Masquerade Moons.
Every month on the full moon, many of the local shops, public houses, baths and brothels host an evening for masquerade, during which Raif is happy to blend in with the local populace to enjoy music, dancing, singing, sex and other pleasantries that have been teased out of him by his father, his siblings and their friends. On such nights he is accompanied only by Sudah – or by no one at all when he is able to give his favoured guard the slip.