24.9.11 | By: Megan Langham

Beautiful People - Rhys ap Tuder

Hurrah, it's time for Beautiful People again!

In the interests of continuing with Volunteer Mission's more minor characters, I present to you Rhys ap Tuder: Selwin's brother and Evan's (sort of) friend. I had some difficulty choosing between him and Lord Iorweth; perhaps in a few days I'll give this another go with the latter. If nothing else, I think I would enjoy the process of comparing two characters who are so extremely opposite in everything that matters.

1. Does he have any habits, annoying or otherwise? When he is deep in thought he tends to tap out tunes with his fingers or pinch little bits of his collar. During conversation he has a disconcerting way of guessing what the other person is thinking and saying it right out--made even more disconcerting by the fact that his guesses are generally correct.

2. What is his backstory and how does it affect him now? His childhood was ordinary and relatively happy until his eleventh year, when his beloved father died. Shortly after his mother was married again to a man far less gentle and affectionate, and seven hard years later Wales went to war with England. Rhys fought for two years, watched three of his friends die, and when it was over prayed that he would never have to fight again. Now that he is once more caught up in war, all he wants is for the fighting to be over.

3. How does he show love? Most of his friends, if asked this question, would be hard put to think of an answer. That is because Rhys's love is deep, loyal, and profoundly understated: displayed through quiet acts of affection rather than flamboyant gestures of friendship. He is ready to listen, eager to help, able to reassure (when that is the kindest thing) and to rebuke (when reassurance would be cruel). Perhaps more than anything he is an uncomplaining sounding-board for his friends whenever and wherever they need him to be.

4. How competitive is he? On the surface, not at all. Most people would take him for a self-effacing, peace-loving sort of person, and to an extent he is that, but a deeper look at him will reveal a slightly different side. He is rather proud of his ability to help and counsel others, though he would never admit it; if his standing as a confidant were ever challenged I think he would fight for it rather than risk feeling useless and hollow.

5. What does he think about when nothing else is going on? Many things, seldom if ever in logical succession. Odd, it hasn't rained in three weeks. It will probably rain tomorrow. What did I do with my knife? I hope nothing's wrong with Dafydd--he hardly said a word at supper. Why do we always persist in hiding our pain? I miss Glynnis. Perhaps I'll have a pleasant dream tonight. What is the true purpose of war? I wish Malcolm would keep his things in his half of the tent. 

6. Does he have an accent? Only a typical southern Welsh accent. Unlike Selwin's, it is very much in evidence when he speaks English.

7. What is his station in life? He comes from a decently well-off farming family, somewhere on the scale between minor noble and peasant. At the time of this story he is a lesser officer in the Welsh army, one rank above an ordinary foot soldier.

8. What do others expect from him? Where his family is concerned, very little is expected of him; as the second son, he must make his own way in the world both untrammeled and unaided. In his day-to-day interactions with others, however, his unspoken obligations are higher. Because he is so empathetic and compassionate his friends expect him to help them, or at the very least to listen, no matter what else is happening at the time.

9. Where was he is born, and when? Rhys was born on the 5th of December, 1258 in Gwynedd, Wales.

10. How does he feel about people in general? This is a difficult question because Rhys doesn't see people as a general group. Each person, to him, is fully individual and almost free from stereotype. He can't ignore flaws in the people he loves--but neither can he overlook virtues in the people he hates.

     “I have had doom spoken to me so often,” murmured Evan, “every night and every day, and I am sick with it. Why do these dreams come to me? What is their purpose?”
     “I cannot tell you what the purpose of these dreams may be,” said Rhys, “but I can tell you that they will not last forever. I do not—Evan, there is so much I wish to say to you and I have no words, no way to speak what needs to be said. I am not gifted like Selwin...oh, I wish he were with us now.
     No, Evan thought helplessly. You can’t. You are the strong one, the stable one. Don’t crumble to pieces beneath me...

3 missives:

Keaghan said...

Oh, Rhys seems wonderful! The sort of stable person we want by our side during turmoil...Thank you for introducing him to us!


Grace said...

This is lovely, Merry. ^.^ Rhys is one of my favorites. You MUST finish this book! I beg of you! You've kept me hanging nearly a year now! How could you be so cruel, when I only tortured you for a few months?


Thanks for sharing, dearest. :)

Megan L. said...

Keaghan - Thank you! I'm so glad you like Rhys. He is that sort of sensible, stable person; I can say that without feeling boastful, because I never consciously created him. He simply stepped into the story just when he was needed most, and I'm quite grateful to him for that. ^.^

Grace - Your sudden explosion of impatience made me laugh, I'm afraid. But I am sorry, quite sorry for taking so long, and I promise that I'll have this story completed before November strikes. (Also, remember that you promised to poke me occasionally, by way of further encouragement.) Oh, and I think you'll be happy to know that we get some scenes from Rhys's viewpoint towards the end. ;)

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