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 as important as a shiny new career of digging through trash. Everyone I care about always leaves, sooner or later. Why should I think you'd be any different?"

-Firedrake to Adair

Firedrake's life started in a normal way for a kid from Galanvoth's upper class: one parent a well-respected engineer, the other parent nurturing and kind, which made her the perfect house-spouse for a career-holding firstborn. Dray was their only child-- the best position for a Named 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 the three of them were alone. She said other people wouldn't like these stories, so Dray shouldn't tell them to anyone else. As the years passed, Dray's parents' relationship became more strained. Their father began to grow ill, but nothing the medics did seemed to help. Their parents argued constantly, frequently about the illness, sometimes about Dray's mother's past, sometimes about people and places unfamiliar to Dray. Always the arguments stopped when they realized Dray was listening, much to the annoyance of their child who wanted to help, to understand.

When the day came that Dray's mother said she was leaving, Dray wasn't entirely surprised. Their parents hadn't gone a day without arguing in months. She didn't say much more than this and their father said even less as she packed a few of her and Dray's belongings-- and this was the unfortunate surprise. Dray had assumed their father would take custody because the parent in trade always kept a firstborn or only child. This wasn't the case. Dray didn't even see him the day they left. They didn't know what they'd done wrong to lose their father's love and attention, and even after their mother had moved them to the neighboring country of Concordia and settled them into the capital city, Dray never got an answer. Always she steered the conversation away, leaving Dray with the assumption that whatever they had done, it had been so bad that it couldn't even be talked about.

Dray was, however, apprenticed to a master of engineering and allowed to continue their study. This was a little strange, as most children in Concordia didn't apprentice in a specific field until they finished general schooling and came of age, but as Dray found that they were well ahead of their peers in most subjects, they appreciated that the extra work kept them from being bored. The downside of this was that they had a hard time connecting with the other kids who thought they were a know-it-all, too smart, too strange. Dray grew quiet and sullen, spending any of their free time in the haven of the city's libraries. 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 makeshift apartment that comforted Dray most. It wasn't great, it wasn't home, but between the books, the distraction of the apprenticeship, and the warmth of the fires, Dray was almost happy...

Until the day Dray came home from school to find their mother gone and the fires all grown cold. She'd left a letter saying she was needed elsewhere and that Dray was to be adopted by their master. Dray was furious. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with their master, in fact, Dray thought of her as a sort of kind, elderly aunt, but now both of Dray's parents had walked out on them without bothering to do this face-to-face. They burned the letter before they'd finished reading more of the words they didn't want to hear and decided they were going to remain alone because other people just meant heartache.

Dray packed up their possessions for the second time in five years and headed back home, or at least back to Galanvoth. This time around things were different. Dray didn't have the status and protection as a firstborn from a Named family and struggled to find a safe place to live. When the border closed a few weeks later, even the option of returning to Concordia was taken from them. They did what they needed to do to survive and eventually found something of a purpose-- a purpose they weren't particularly proud of, but it was far better than the streets.

When a Concordian carnival troupe passed through two years later, Dray grabbed at this opportunity with both hands. They joined as a dancer, what had been their cover occupation, and took the name of Firedrake. No more would they be the person they left behind in Galanvoth. It was time for a new start with a new name and a new identity, this time back in Concordia. Again. They stayed with that troupe for a little over a year, but as soon as they realized they were getting too close to Blythe, they panicked. Right after Blythe temporarily left the troupe to study medicine, Dray took this opportunity and left to become a solo performer. By the time she returned, Dray was long gone.

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.)

CONVERSATION

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