Raffi Fernleaf



  • Name: Raffi Fernleaf

    Species: Red Squirrel

    Description: Raffi Fernleaf looks like the sort of beast that would make a really fun, yet embarrassing dad. He's just about reaching middle age, but has the gangly limbs and scrawny physique of a squirrel in his teens. His bucktoothed grin is crooked due to early dental problems, and his nose is a little bent from an accident while playing in his youth. Raffi's physical movements are quick, twitchy and energetic. His tail is permanently fluffed like a feather duster, and is often seems to serve this purpose when he gets excited. On occasion he wears the Redwall green habit, but more often than not he's seen in cream or white muslin shirts and pants, which are light and make climbing trees far easier.

    Personality:

    Energetic, exuberant and effervescent. He'll say what he thinks. He loves travel, stories and a carefree existence. He absolutely hates the idea of being trapped, no matter how large the prison. He loves being a friend or even a second father to the dibbuns, and he gets very defensive of them. He has a very strong sense of fairness and can be very vocal if he thinks some beast has been unfairly treated. Raffi is a stickler for the truth and dislikes dishonesty in any form, especially concerning cautionary tales to the young. He eagerly encourages creativity in all its forms, and has been known to sing. He does not mind trying new things and has a very strong sense of curiosity. He can be quite a big eater despite his scrawny size.

    Background:

    Raffi for much of his early life had abiding fear of the outside world. His parents served a dual role in this fear, his mother would punish him with a hiding if he tried to climb the steps to Redwall's battlements or hang around the gates, which were off-limits. His father unknowingly reinforced his son's negative thoughts about the wall and what lay beyond it by telling stories of vermin bands and sea monsters that could swallow a squirrel whole. Raffi grew to fear the wall, as if the monsters of his father's stories were lurking just on the other side.

    Raffi was an active and energetic child, often playing rough with other dibbuns and managing to get his nose broken on one occasion. However, everything he did seemed to need correcting from his parents. A stern caning from his father for any lapse of concentration in his schooling, for sloppy paw-writing, and you will not leave this table until you clean every last morsel off your plate. This treatment was intended to help Raffi grow and develop properly, but instead it created a seed of resentment, which grew and blossomed throughout Raffi's teenage years. No drawing when you should be learning your history, no singing while you should be mopping the floors in silence. The wall became a symbol for something else; the authority of his parents. It kept him in Redwall under their constant, watchful gaze. His parents sought to personally correct every step of their son's development, at a time where what he most needed was to learn what it meant to be an individual.

    The wall had to be crossed. This idea started off as a mere daydream, yet it grew to consume his mind, waking and sleeping. Climb the wall. Just for once, have a peek at the other side, and see if it was really the home of monsters. At fifteen years old, having lived only within the confines of the Abbey, Raffi was ill prepared for a jaunt into the wilderness. Yet climb the wall he did. One night he snuck away from the cozy confines on the Abbey, with nothing more than his clothes and a pastry stolen from the kitchens on his way out. The wall was conquered, and the monsters were just shadows in the forest.

    Raffi's father did not send out a search party immediately. He expected his foolish son, coddled and fed by Redwall all his life, to come back in three days at most, humbled and apologetic. What a silly lad, barely out of dibbunhood but certainly nowhere near adulthood. As Raffi spent his first night in the wilderness shivering and alone, he thought much the same. Go back to Redwall, and put himself behind the walls built for his protection.

    Except Raffi didn't return after three days, nor a week, nor the next month. The woodlands are not a vacuum, after all, he had been found by a squirrel clan curious as to what a newcomer was doing bounding through their treetops. It was from them that he learned more about living in Mossflower than he had ever been taught in a dibbun's school. Perfect paw-writing and mopping the floor was somewhat inconsequential compared to looking out for one another, keeping fed and dry, and wise enough to tell friend from foe.

    Raffi stayed away from Redwall for three seasons. In those three seasons he roamed Mossflower with his friends, hid from search parties looking for him, helped the communities of woodlanders in the area, grew several inches taller, punched a Juska warrior in the face (to be fair he did help the poor weasel stem the bleeding a little later), and managed to score his first kiss. Yet just as Mossflower was not a wasteland filled with monsters, nor was Redwall entirely the prison run by tyrants that Raffi had imagined in his earlier years. He knew he had friends there too, and they wouldn't keep sending search parties unless deep down they really did love Raffi.

    His reunion with his Redwaller friends and family went better than Raffi could have imagined. His parents seemed a lot less intimidating, rather than the impossibly tall, overbearing figures of his earlier childhood. There were no canes, his father did not bellow or rage. They embraced as a family again, but from then on, it was understood. Raffi lived a life that was unconstrained by the wall. No more discipline, or strict lessons to be taught, for Raffi was an adult in every way now, and had learned his own lessons by himself. Raffi would continue to live at Redwall, but go travelling for seasons at a time when the mood took him.


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