I’ve mentioned Rafael Ceurdepyr back in L is for Leviathan: Adventures in the World Sea, and you saw a mini of him in M is for Minis and P is for Paraphernalia (AKA Stuff!). He’s one of my favorite characters of all time. He was a swashbuckling, romantic paragoblin bard who was hopelessly in love with his best friend, the beautiful and fierce Ariadne Thalassofrisi.
Here’s an excerpt from his diary before the adventure begins, following his expulsion from the Cantorii Academii, with the duel he fought with the betrothed of the woman he was mooning after:
At the first clash of blades I knew I was hopelessly outclassed, so I did what I do best—I talked. I reeled off every rumor and innuendo I'd ever heard about Hidalgo and the whole Montecassino clan. I'll give it to him—he kept a cooler head than I expected, but at length, one of my verbal jabs—the one about his dealings with sailors behind the Heart o' the Dog—distracted him enough that I scored three successive winning hits. I won!
Some dead goblin poet (Harnikapiratricialuris, I think) once said, “The treachery of woman is the treachery of the seas and the wind,/And neither compass nor scryglass can tell from whence the next calamity will blow.” The crowd behaved as though I'd publicly humiliated some war hero. I looked around for Altagracia, but she was as far away from Hidalgo as possible, talking animatedly with some handsome Red Guardsman. My first duel was a success, but you couldn't tell by my adoring fans.
Ari and Levan begged off so I went off alone to buy myself a celebratory drink or three. By the time I got back home a few hours later, my father was waiting, his face as set as that statue on the Hill. Without a word—uncharacteristic for him!—he took me into his study and shut the door. “Some of my own family on the heights denigrated me for accepting a half-goblin as my own son,” he started out, his voice very quiet, eyes seeing something other than the tops of the villas outside the window. “Your mother was a fine woman, and I promised her I would take care of you for her sake. As thanks for years of care, you have done nothing but push the limits of my patience time and again. I hoped to make something of you, but you wanted to sing. So I entered you in the Cantorii Academia, at great personal expense, I might add. “He walked across the room, his hands clasped behind his back, never looking at me. “It wasn't enough for you to fail your classes. You humiliated me by your behavior. You cuckolded the Headmaster—a man of his salary can only afford one wife, but you managed to steal away her affection. Every party I attend, I hear of your exploits. Do you realize, Rafael—” and he still had not raised his voice above that gravelly whisper—”that my intervention saved your hide after your remarks about the Parliament? You went too far that time, boy.”
“And now this.” He sighed and shook his head. “It might interest you to know—although I seriously doubt you care about such things—that I'm in the midst of some rather delicate trade negotiations with the Montecassinos. In the midst of my meeting with Hidalgo's father, a messenger broke in bearing the news. Now it'll take a miracle to get that back on track.”As he paused for breath, I broke in. His quiet voice scared me far worse than yelling and beating ever did. I doubted I could parry his accusations, so I went for a thrust to the heart: “You're just worried that Mother's dream is finally coming true.”
I swear the blood drained from his face. He clenched his fists at his sides. “What did you say?”
“Oh, I know about the dream. I heard her talking about it one day when you didn't know I was listening. You know that I know my destiny and it scares you. The idea of me being rich, famous and respected throughout Krakensfort.”
Once again I'd gone a bit too far. I had no idea what the dream was about, only that I was involved. And he knew it now. A slow smile crept across his lips. “You're not half as clever as you think you are, Rafael. You know nothing of the dream. You're bluffing—and poorly, I might add.”
“Mother believed in me,” I answered. “She knew I'd be famous someday—and cantors don't become famous. You just don't want me ruffling the calm of your little world you've built around yourself—”
The smile was completely gone now, replaced by a stony stare that might've given the Destroyer pause. “Rafael Ceurdepyr, you are no longer welcome in my house. I renounce all claims and affiliations with you,” he whispered. He droned on, actually reciting the Ritual of Renunciation. After “my waters and my lands reject you,” I clenched my teeth and strode from the room to retrieve what few possessions I could gather in the interval required by the ritual.
I'm now officially homeless.
Rafael didn’t stay homeless long, and went on to have many adventures. Eventually I decided I’d played him long enough and switched to another character, Magda Rayale. But that’s another story.