They used to call him the bored prince-ling. In such times that he was actually seen about the mansion (for rarely did he leave the sanctity of his rooms), he would wander about the large expanse of his home with little certain about him, his actions as aimless as his conversations. When acknowledged,a ll he did was offer a small wave, or a bow; whichever suited the person with whom he was sharing correspondence. Rarely would a conversation be leeched out of him, unless his father was near, and even then, the conversations were either terse and awkward, or over so soon that it was unbelievably hard to imagine they had ever occurred. Everyone and everything seemed to bore him or leave him mildly disinterested, and soon after his first exposure to the world of the upper class, he developed a reputation for being as inhospitable as the arctic with his nonchalance and gracelessness.
With time, his father began focusing more on his older brother, flaunting the much more sociable youngster about the place, and the younger was soon forgotten. Instead of wallowing in despair at having failed his father, he took the time to catch up on his reading, or to simply wander about the home as a ghost would, stopping only at certain intervals with no real reason as to why. Women of his age (some even younger or older) soon took to following him through the numerous corridors, trying to corner him and garner some reaction from his usually unflappable person. All of their attempts ended in disaster, usually with sour-faced or sullen ladies returning to the life of the party with either no inkling of the young lord whatsoever or a blatant refusal still tucked at the front of their minds, a humiliated but firm blush staining their powdered cheeks. Indeed, he was quite the young statue, if that could be said of him. I found him to be more like the ocean, constantly moving and yet unforgiving, unbiased and simply allowing things to be. But it isn't in my place to make such comparisons, so I will refrain from saying much more of the matter and hold my tongue.
I happen to know that such accusations are not true; that he is not unfeeling, disinterested, or dispassionate in any way, shape, or form. Indeed, he has only one love, and to tell the world of her would be to surrender her to ridicule. I know this, not because he has bestowed me the privilege of knowing, nor is it my purpose to know, but by sheer coincidence.
It was a night unlike any other, a full moon touching the sky, lighting it like so many glow-bugs, enchanting the landscape with a silver hue that wouldn't fade. The night was warm, the skies clear, and I was let on leave due to my wife giving birth to our son. In my elation, I decided to join a good friend of mine at one of his usual nighttime gatherings, full of nothing but gaiety and music, with a few drinks here and there. I had promised my wife I would do no such drinking, and so, in full possession of my faculties, I watched as the night continued on. Having had my share of dancing to the talented man on an old harpsichord that sunk into itself in the corner of the room, I settled on a stool at a table, sitting near my friend, who was slightly inebriated. I was just listening to him talk when, suddenly, the room quieted; and just as quickly, the most beautiful sound I ever heard filled the room. People, mostly the drunken, began to artlessly dance in the middle of the floor. The sound of a skilled violin filled the usually amateur atmosphere, allowing people to cut completely loose from inhibition and float away, their feet chasing them on the floor, reason following swiftly after.
I, however enchanted I might have been, was no such fool, and so I stood up to see over the heads of the dancers, seeking out the source of such wonderful music; and there, in the midst of the dancers, was the violinist himself, dancing as he struck the tune, his fingers dancing expertly across the strings, completely comfortable in the sea of drunkards and lighthearted fools liberated by the night and hearty consumption. A hat was on his head, fitting improperly, his coat-sleeves so large that they were rolled into makeshift cuffs at his wrists, his pants rolled up to his knees, his stockings stained. I was startled when I realized that this artisan could be no older than myself, judging by his spry movements and apparent sobriety. His head was turned down, however, his hat shading his facial features so that I could not recognize him.
As the song ambled on determinedly into the night, he began to get more into the dance; within the shadowy contours of his face I could see the wrinkle of his eyebrows, the slight purse of his lips as he concentrated on emanating the most beautiful music I could ever have witnessed. His dancing became more erratic, his movements more jerky, but he had not yet looked so at peace, so graceful, so in his element. It was then, when I was admiring his form and remained in awe of his beauty, that he raised his head, and I suddenly recognized him, his face illuminated by the minimal light.
The bored prince-ling was disguised as a peasant, dancing and playing violin among strangers he had never known. His body arced gracefully as he enveloped himself in song, his brow moist with sweat, his over-sized hat drooping slightly into his eyes. As foolproof as his disguise was, his clean face and ebony hair were easy tells, and even if they were not, his eyes, a thin quicksilver known best to blacksmiths, were instant giveaways to his true identity. And as he danced with reckless abandon (which would have been ridiculed and laughed at in the courts that he had to visit every day) and played his soul's true colors into the dark night with only the most spirited to hear, I realized that he was in love, not disinterested or lacking compassion, but in love with something that he refused to share with those who were supposed to be his equals. Playing his beautiful, passionate melodies in a sea of fascinated drunkenness and exciting dances unknown to the most powerful of dignitaries, he felt his kin within the bodies swarming around him, leeching off of his feelings and excited playing, his fingers trembling as he struggled to pour himself into his song, allowing them to dance to the feelings of his soul.
I went home that night with a secretive grin on my face, laying next to my wife and enjoying my dreams, full of wondrous music and inspiring imagery. And in the morrow, if I had seen a small conspiratorial smile from the young lord when I glanced his way? Well... I will pretend it was my imagination.