Unexpected Inspiration Character Backstory: Firedrake's Past

"I was ten when my father decided he didn't want me anymore. When I was fifteen I came home from school to find a letter from my mother telling me that she'd left, too. You were there when my boyfriend broke up with me because I wasn't worth the risk. Everyone I care about always leaves, sooner or later. Why should I think you'd be any different?"
-Firedrake to Adair, book 2 (Sentinel)

Firedrake's life started in a normal way for a kid from Galanvoth: one parent a well-respected engineer, the other parent nurturing and kind, which made her the perfect house-spouse for a trade-bearing Galanvoy. Dray was their only child-- the best position for a Galanvoy child to be-- with the intelligence and drive to easily take over their father's occupation and title someday. Dray was happy. Their father was their hero and their mother told them compelling stories about the strange places she had been-- but only when they were alone. She said Dray's father didn't like these stories. As the years passed, Dray's parents' relationship became more strained. Their mother grew ill and none of the medics their father hired could find a reason. Their parents argued constantly. Their father no longer looked at their mother with love, but with revulsion and regret. He stopped taking Dray to his office and every interaction between them grew shorter and shorter. Dray didn't understand why until the day he didn't come home.

When the divorce papers showed up at the door, Firedrake assumed their father would take custody because the parent in trade always kept a firstborn or only child. He didn't. He kicked Dray and their mother out of the house, leaving them homeless and penniless. Dray's mother, growing weaker by the day, found the strength to get herself and Dray to the safety of Concordia. There she seemed to regain a little strength and apprenticed Dray to a kindhearted master. Dray's life became a Concordian normal, going to school every day, learning a trade in the afternoon, but they had a hard time connecting with the other kids and grew quiet and sullen. A stuffed dragon, a gift from their mother, gave them someone to talk to who wouldn't judge, but it was the fires their mother always kept going in their home that comforted Dray most.

All was well until one day Dray came home from school to find their mother gone and the fires all grown cold. She'd left a letter saying she needed to return home because that was the only way she was going to get better. Dray was to be adopted by their master. Dray was furious. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with their master, but now both of Dray's parents had walked out on them without bothering to do this face-to-face. They burned the letter and decided they were going to remain alone because other people just meant pain. So Dray packed up their things and moved back to Galanvoth since it wasn't possible to find a job in Concordia if you were underage. This was the worst decision Firedrake ever made and it lead to a difficult few years. Life in Galanvoth was much harder the second time around since Dray no longer had family or the status as a firstborn.

Eventually a Concordian carnival troupe passed through and Dray joined as a dancer, taking the name they use now. They stayed on for a few years, moving back into Concordia with the troupe, but as soon as Dray realized they were getting too close to Blythe, they panicked. Dray left Blythe and the troupe, choosing to become a solo performer instead. Dray's fear of abandonment has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They try to keep everyone away with snark and a bad attitude and if someone does get close, Dray either pushes them away or leaves completely. It falls on Adair, who Dray comes to think of as a little brother, to convince them that not everyone is going to abandon them.

(This moodboard was made for a challenge theme of "forsaken," but I liked this idea so much that I'm going to eventually do a series of backstory ones about all of the main characters.)



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