Duke Shamir Anubis Rashid
cursed gifted-can disintegrate matter into dust with great physical stress, but is cursed to disintegrate.
Lilith knew immediately that her revenge had to be on both of them, and it had to be deep, and painful, as they had caused her the loss of her destiny- being queen.
She married quickly- to a kind, rich, older duke named Abdul Rashid. He was a good man, if not very attractive. He did love her, quite dearly, but she married him only for status. Her heart would always belong to Charles Calvert, no matter how much she wanted to ruin him.
As soon as Charles and Agnes conceived a child, an evil plan formed in Lilith’s mind. Hurting Charles and Agnes would not be sweet enough. But hurting their child would be hellish pain brought unto both of them. Now, she only needed a means. She needed a weapon.
It came in the form of an angel. Sandalphon was the most beautiful man Lilith had ever seen, sent straight from the heavens. He was a cupid, a force of the purest love, and the wings on his back were as white as fresh snow.
Abdul was infertile-this Lilith had surmised after many failed encounters with the man. So she seduced Sandalphon, and became pregnant within the week, and passed the child off as Abdul’s. To ensure the child’s beauty, Lilith turned to one of her closest friends, Narcissa DuPont. Her coven knew how to ensure a child’s beauty, and the child would have to be beautiful if Lilith’s plan were to work.
Nine months later, just after young Prince Phillip was born, the gods blessed her with a daughter. Abdul and Lilith named her Deja Jamilah, and she was lovely, even in childhood. She would make a fine weapon in Phillip’s destruction.
Years passed, and Deja was a sweet child, but Lilith held her at arm’s length. Deja, instead, turned to her fathers for warmth and nurture: Abdul, in the daylight and in public, and Sandalphon, in the night, away from prying eyes.
Deja was never as vindictive as her mother, but Lilith was determined to groom her to be Phillip’s perfect bride-and his ruin. Lilith tried to learn Deja in how to be a lady, submissive yet silently strong. Deja resisted, turning to the swords and play fighting with kitchen boys rather than playing with dolls. It seemed increasingly certain Deja would not be willing to be a pawn in Lilith’s game.
She tried again for another child, and soon, Sandalphon endowed her with another child. She again ensured the child’s beauty, and nine months later, Shamir was born.
Shamir was perfect. Not a blemish, not a spot of imperfection marked his smooth skin. Lilith took it as a sign from the gods that Princess Alexis Calvert was born yet two years later. Shamir, surely, thought Lilith, would bring Alexis’ ruin.
Shamir was a quiet child, but needy. As with Deja, Lilith wanted to keep him at arm’s length, so Shamir turned to his sister for feminine affection. Deja loved her brother, and toted him everywhere. She was so good to him, as were Abdul and Sandalphon. They were warm, overwhelmingly so.
Shamir was a queer child. He was solitary, and never liked to play with other children. He didn’t like to play at all. Shamir liked to read. He learned how to read quickly, and never took his head out of a book thereafter.
Shamir was not like his sister, independent and different from any of their parents. He was the perfect intersection of his parents. He had his stepfather Abdul’s sensitivity and honesty, his biological father Sandalphon’s beauty, strength, and reminiscent reticence, and his mother Lilith’s pride, stubbornness, and darkness.
He did not know he was gifted until he was eight years old. In anger, dissolved a book whose ending he did not enjoy. He cleaned the dust and told no one. It seemed a one-off, and Shamir was sure it was a fluke. A servant fooling around with magic. Nothing more.
Of course, he was wrong. One of his only acquaintances was the son of a kitchen maid, and this, even, was not much of a friendship. Abdul was the one who wanted to expose him to more social situations. Shamir read while the boy stuffed himself with food. The boy was not bright, and Shamir felt he had the responsibility to tell him so.
They wrestled in the woods, where nobody could see them, slapping at each other in the slightly pudgy way that young boys do. The boy easily overpowered Shamir, skinny and lanky. Shamir’s wrists were pinned down, his legs too. He let loose a shrill scream, and just like that, the boy was gone, and Shamir was sputtering the dust that had been the kitchen boy.
No one had seen them. No one had seen his foul crime. He slinked back home, burned the clothes, and said nothing. He wandered away, he said when asked. They believed his lie, all except his mother Lilith. She saw right through him. He told her the real story. She would take care of this, she said.
Lilith compensated the kitchen maid greatly for her loss, and sought out a gifted tutor. Lysander was young, only 6 years his senior. He was a prodigy in controlling his gift. He already had a career path: he was a priest apprentice. Lysander was incredibly gifted; he had the ability to control fertility of the land regardless of terrain, and thus made plants grow instantaneously. He was so good and generous. Lysander refertilized dead fields for farmers in need, and grew gardens for the hungry. Lysander’s gift brought growth and harmony, while Shamir’s brought only destruction.
Shamir did not take to Lysander immediately. He was much too kind, and spoke in this gentle, easy way that unsettled Shamir. Lysander was not a methodical man. He instead taught Shamir how to let his emotions guide his gift. It was anger, at first, but Lysander taught him that bottling his feelings as he always had was detrimental to his control. So not only did Lysander teach him control over his gift, but he taught him when and how to control his emotions, and more importantly, when to let them reign.
Lysander fell deeply for Shamir’s sister Deja, who immediately rebuffed him for his lack of status but soon fell deeply in love with him. They planned to be married after she returned from her service as a captain for Alianor’s troops.
Shamir enjoyed school well enough. He attended boarding school in America to get away from the war zone in Lairea, where he became fast friends with other like-minded boys. He was still a loner, but now he had fellow boys to be alone with. A teacher pushed him to join the track team, and he discovered he had quite the penchant for it. He also discovered he was an apt writer, and his Literature professor introduced him to the wonders of Victorian literature.
He was only two years into school, having the time of his life, when his mother wrote a letter to him explaining the need for his return to Alianor: Princess Alexis Calvert had elected to enroll in the Knight Academy, and now Shamir would do the same. Shamir, now accustomed to independence, did something he had never done before: he refused his mother.
Victorian literature taught him that he had no preset destiny. He alone controlled his story. Fate worked in mysterious ways. He knew that he was merely an instrument of his mother’s revenge, and he refused to be her pawn. No harm would come to Alexis by his hand. He would have no part in it.
Shamir was on the path to greatness: his aptitude for literature established his future career as a scholar or professor. He was even on track to graduate early, and as the track team’s star runner, no less.
He received a tear-stained letter from Lysander with news: Deja was killed in action. She died bravely, but was no match for the storms of vidrohan troops in the battle of Thais. Sandalphon had fled back to his home to heal. Abdul, consumed by grief and growing frail, died of grief. He left the entirety of the duchy to Shamir.
Shamir abandoned his studies and caught the first boat back to Lairea. He ran straight into his mother’s arms upon his return. He thought he could have prevented Abdul’s death. Nevertheless, Shamir became consumed by darkness. He rarely left his house, except in the night. He spent all day in the library and his room, and he ran occasionally in the gardens. People began to believe he was a ghost. He wasn’t so sure he wasn’t.
Shamir was Lilith’s last living progeny, so his transformation into a hermit rather pleased her. After all, she valued her children’s lives more than she valued revenge. Shamir was safe, she was certain, at home.
It was not so. The kitchen maid whose boy Shamir had accidentally murdered found out the truth and hired a witch to curse him. She turned Shamir’s gift into his curse: he would disintegrate, very slowly, until all of him was gone. She was merciful, however: a true love could break the curse, but seeing as not a living soul loved him truly, without conditions, she thought it the perfect curse.
All the servants except one footman, the cook, and a lady’s maid were let go. The mansion fell into disrepair. People rarely came or left, except advisors, Lysander, and his mother to and from court in his stead. He left less than once a week.
Shamir’s curse manifests itself by losing body fat and muscle. He grows weaker by the day, and tries his best to consume as much as he can. He knows soon enough he will die, and is doing his best to better the world before his death comes. He orchestrates efforts to aid the Alianorian refugee camps, provides scholarships to the Knight Academy and Samavian Academy of the Arts, and invests in causes as a mysterious benefactor. He has only recently begun to leave the house to attend meetings because he’s pledged his support to Prince Theo’s takeover of the Samavian throne. Shamir has retained his independence, and now does what he wishes from the safety of his home rather than give in to his mother’s orchestrations to push him toward Alexis. He is yet a child, but he carries the weight of the world of his weakening shoulders. It is only a matter of time before he breaks completely.
Layered: What’s strange is that he’s so much more than his stormy, brooding exterior. He cares deeply about the good of the people, and is very nationalistic. He loves Alianor, and the people, and the fields, and the trees, and the smell of it. He genuinely wants to do right by the public, since he has the power and means to do so. He cares deeply about Lysander, and his mother, despite his complicated relationship with her. He cared deeply about the people he lost. He is capable of love, but doesn’t often show it.
Arrogant: Shamir is a product of his upbringing. He is rich, extremely so, owning majority farmland, but also a major holding in the domestic transportation business. He was handed life on a silver plate and spoiled rotten, and though boarding school grounded him and helped him gain independence, he never lost his arrogance. He thinks he is leagues above the average boy his own age, mostly because he knows maybe 2 boys his own age. He prides himself on being a reader and a literature scholar, and often carries himself in a holier-than-thou manner. He also dabbles in other areas such as running and loves strategy. He is very opinionated and doesn’t like to be contradicted. He is generally sort of unpleasant, and odd, and very direct in his wishes. He’s a little big for his britches.
Rebellious: Shamir is incredibly liberal, even by Alianor’s standards. He may or may not have done a lot of reading about philosophy. Though he isn’t as radical as Marx (though he has read Das Kapital in German and respects the man) nor as controlling as Hobbes, he believes that human nature is essentially good. He doesn’t like the institution of monarchy, and thinks the Greeks had it right with democracy, but he respects King Charles deeply and believes he is the king Alianor deserves. Shamir also believes in social equity over equality, and because he has power, he uses it magnify people’s voices rather than to speak for them. He also tends to walk the line of masculinity, and has a complicated relationship with his fluid identity, including his sexuality and gender. He believes that human nature, just like nature herself, is always fluid and changing. He also rebels against everyone that tries to control him, namely his mother. He is independent in that he is protective over his free will. He believes in rebelling against everything fate wants him to do. He will make his own destiny.
Romantic: Not in a sappy way... well, sort of. He’s a romantic in that he’s deep, and dark, but simultaneously also seeks out light, often looking to nature and the past. He’s caught up in the past, and believes in learning lessons to influence his actions to improve the future. He looks to the failures of people with power and does not make their mistakes. The most common mistake among historical figures, he has found, is love. Love is weakness. However, he is deeply fascinated by love, its machinations and nuances. He would like to fall in love, and even more, he would like to be loved in return, but as evidenced by his curse, it is unlikely. He is fascinated by Big Concepts like love, time, hope, and fear. He wants to experience them, but his guilt weighs him down. Shamir seems very dark, but one only needs to spend time with him to recognize he is soulful and has a heart full of light.