Basic Information Edit
Ray is a Shade; an unbonded magic user. Has been for the last thirty-six years** (see: Relationships). He had a bond at one time, but she turned out to be a con artist and it didn't last. The whole experience was extremely traumatic and he doesn't care to repeat it. Social situations fill him with terror, which also makes it hard to meet anyone. Because of the above reasons, he has more or less given up on ever finding a true bond. On the surface he is reasonably okay with this, underneath he is desperately lonely and longs to be as functional as he was when his ex was still around.
**Ray doesn't count his association with his ex as a "real" bond.
Abilities or PowersEdit
Ray's gift is in music; a variant on Persuasion. When he sings, the lyrics in the song come true. Obviously there are limits to what he can do, but it's a type of spell-casting that packs a fair bit of punch. Aside from singing, he can also broadcast the songs going around in his head. He sometimes does this unconsciously and the music can be heard by people around him. Sometimes the lyrics will trigger action from this, but because it's not focused, generally the results are small and silly. When he notices that he's projecting, the music often stops with a loud record scratch and things go back to the way they were.
Ray THOUGHT he had a bond when he was 32. It didn’t work out. The bond in question was a female con artist (anyone wanna play his ex?) who burned him pretty bad. He thought it was real, and to a degree it was. Cons and Lifesavers both have the ability to bond but without the blood-and-bone element of what’s thought of as a “true” bond.
With her around, Ray wasn’t so nervous in social situations, his number of panic attacks went way down, and his quality of life improved dramatically. However, she manipulated him into doing things he would not have otherwise done and ultimately wound up bearing the brunt of the blame when she (did something illegal to be filled in later) and left him holding the bag. Because Kizier/Shades are not seen as full legal citizens, he was not formally charged, but losing her was more than punishment enough. Those who lose a bond- especially to a con artist- are stigmatized, which further hurts their chances of ever finding a true bond.
Because of the nature of the relationship, Ray can’t even be mad at her (no, he really, literally cannot be angry with her- it’s because of their bond). He just feels hurt and confused and, perversely, misses her. The bond might not have been as strong as as a "true" bond, but it was still a bond. Even though his feelings were misplaced, they were genuine. Ray had become emotionally invested in her, and it hurt on several levels when she left him high and dry. He blames himself entirely, even though he'll admit with the same breath that he should have known something was up because Vivian (his pet Aquilops) didn't like her.
Popular (if false) thought is that once a magic user has lost their first bond- even if it wasn’t a true match- the second will either not be as strong, or not effective at all. Rather than put himself through that again, Ray prefers to stay close to home and keep his head down. He has his job, he has his kids, and Vivian, it could be a lot worse.
He was chucked into school at age 18 and never left. This school is one of many where Shades are taught to manage their abilities until they can find a bond (or not). He’s been there so long he eventually became a teacher. Oddly enough, this allows him some degree of freedom. Although he gets an "allowance" and not a pay check, his living situation is not unlike a college student in a single dorm room.
Day-to-day life is actually pretty manageable. Ray is able to hold down a job, cook without setting anything/anyone on fire, live on his own in his own quarters, and can manage the minimum social niceties necessary to get by in public spaces. However, a side-effect of being unbonded is that he has near-crippling social anxiety. He can handle a room full of children no problem. Peers? Not so much. He may or may not have puked and/or fainted from sheer nerves upon being presented at age 16. Since he spent most of it- and all subsequent bonding ceremonies- either unconscious or having a panic attack in the bathroom, he remains single. He can go to the grocery store and the library and such, and as long as he doesn’t have to interact too much, he’s okay. Public speaking, on the other hand, would probably literally kill him. He has a handful of close friends, and these are the only adults he could deal with in a group setting. He’s terrible with new people, but as long he’s not confronted with more than two or three of them at once, he can manage. More than that and he starts to stutter, his hands shake, and in the worst case he may become nauseated, or he’ll simply pass out. Needless to say, this makes having a social life a bit tricky.
It’s rumored that bonds will dream of each other, or have a rough idea of one another even before they meet. While it’s romantic and a lot of people think it’s cute, not many actually realize that it’s true. Ray, having suffered one unsuccessful relationship, doesn’t think it’s actually A Thing. He’s never dreamed of anybody, or had the “imaginary friend” aspect of sensing a distant bond. What he does do is write adventure stories in his spare time as a sort of guilty pleasure. He doesn’t show them to anyone. They’re purely for his own amusement. He’s pretty sure anyone who did read them would just laugh. No one’s really interested in weird fantasy stuff like knights and thieves and bards and such. It’s been done to death. However, it makes him happy, and that’s all that matters. (Obviously, he’s writing about his bond.)
- Ray has three older sisters, two of which are "normal", and one of which is a Tharri to someone else. The Tharri sister, Leah, kept him sane while they were growing up. She lives close enough that she still sometimes runs interference if he really needs help. Her Kizier is a good sport about this, but it sometimes looks like she's neglecting her bond in favor of her brother.
- He was never formally presented when he was 16. Or 32. Or at any point in between. He's never even made it into the ballroom. The first time he threw up and then fainted from sheer nerves. Things have not improved since then. The fiasco with the con artist didn't help. He always has a nervous breakdown prior to being presented and so his name has never been announced. As far as the potential Tharii know, he does not exist.
- Since the disaster with his ex, Ray doesn't do much singing. He purposely wears a corset that's heavier than her really needs and then over-laces it as well so that it's hard to sing properly or even breathe. If his voice is impaired, the spell won't work. However, this can lead to fainting at inopportune moments.