LOVE BURNS AND BURNS HURT
Location: Quetzal Palace
Born 3 years, 5 months ago
House: Quetzal Palace House (229/229)
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Once upon a time, there was a land plagued by demons who could take on other forms and masquerade as people, just like you or me. What tricky monsters! They were said to be fierce and terrifying in their true forms. Luckily, it was also said that they were hunted to extinction long ago, and became only the characters in cautionary fables. Or maybe that is all they ever were. Myth.
Determined, deliberate, and dutiful. Prince Rhea Tartarus was born to a king and an unknown rover woman. The Queen was displeased when she found the mysterious babe left in the King's name, but the exotic red hair of the babe won her heart. Though illegitimate, Rhea was given his formal title through the fondness of the King and Queen. Yet he was never treated as family by the other royals. So he studied well, learned to fight well, and, when he reached of age, he was endowed with his own keep at the edge of the kingdom to preside over in faithful service to his father.
Prince Rhea ruled his allotted land without cruelty, and dealt with his hall justly. However, he did not know his people, and they suffered from his inexperience and ignorance. An old wise woman with nothing to lose challenged him to learn the ways of his people, to tread the paths of his land. Instead of punishing her, he listened with gravity to her words. With his pride chastened, he went on a journey to understand the populace, and it was to be a time of self discovery as well. He fished, hunted, and farmed. He worked and wept. He loved. It was through the love of a warrior maiden from an Eastern nomadic tribe that he came to find inner peace and understanding of the people of his land.
Peace is never long. Promptly after the natural death of their father, his eldest brother became King and started a war. Rhea was called back to champion this battle with the East. He was horrified to discover that it was a war against the ancestral land of the woman and tribe he had come to love. Bound by duty and honor, he returned to his brother's side to wage destruction upon the declared enemy. Yet upon the battlefield, now faced with his adoptive tribe, he could not deny the oaths he had given to protect the people of his land, and he could not deny his heart. He turned on his brother and fought against his own knights.
Heroes do die. Rhea lost the battle. Not as a falsely titled prince, but as a true commoner fighting for the cause of the common people. He fell to the fires of war, and died. Yet from the fires he was reborn again, for his maternal ancestor had in truth been a magical spirit. Rather than cause death, his wounds and pain triggered the magic in his bloodline, and he transformed there in the blood of the battlefield. Torn by despair, he took on a monstrous dragon's form, with a dragon's rage for all that he had lost, and a dragon's fire to quench that rage.
In the end he had nothing left to his name but cinders and ash. Eventually he burned himself out of energy, and his transformation reverted. He dragged himself to where he had last seen his beloved, but the warrior maiden had died in battle, unaided by the magical forces that had cruelly saved him. Survivors from the tribe found him collapsed in this hellish landscape of char, and treated his wounds while he slept in blissful ignorance of reality. Over time he recovered and returned to his senses, only to discover that the tribesmen had honored him as a divine champion, and bestowed him with bells braided into his hair and apparel: their formal adornments of a victorious warrior.
With depression draining his every thought, and obsession fueling his actions, he fled from their awe and care. He was no champion of the people, and he felt that he could do nothing for them. He returned to his inherited keep, only to discover that his brother had reduced it and the town around it to rubble in revenge for his betrayal during battle. His only consolation was that he would be left to himself, since everyone outside of the tribe thought he had died on that battlefield. In a way, he had. He had truly lost everything he felt mattered. He was nothing more than a loser.
The disgraced princeling forsook his humanity. In dragon form, he found his way into the buried heart of his destroyed keep, and he slept away the centuries. Until magic had its strange way in his life again, and he was found by a dimension traveling demon who brought him forward through time into the twenty first century. Rhea was to learn, once again, how to listen to his heart. For, eventually, all that is lost is one day found again, even if it is transformed – or reborn.