“Why did you take your coverings off outside?” Evin’s governess, Gwinna sighed as she applied a pungent glob of salve to the raw skin on the back of the boy’s otherwise colorless neck. “And why did you leave them off for so long?”
Evin winced. He looked at the reddened skin of his burned hands. A little closer, he thought. A little closer to the color he should have been.
Though he was still very far off.
“It was too hot,” Evin said quietly. His mask and hood breathed well enough, but the canvas chafed against his face. The coat it was attached to became humid if he ran, especially in the summer.
Not to mention the garb looked stupid. He hated it.
The only part of him people could see were his eyes, but only through large tinted glasses—which didn’t fit his face properly and constantly slipped down his nose.
Everyone knew Evin couldn’t set foot in the sun without being covered head-to-toe. Yet Stephan and the other kids always insisted on playing outside anyway. It was supposedly more fun.
Evin had freed himself that afternoon. Just once, to see for himself how expensive it was. They didn’t understand how good they had it.
A door opened and the smug, violet face of his older brother appeared.
“Hey old man,” Stephan said. “How’s the ectoplasm?”
“Shut up,” Evin muttered.
“Stephan,” Gwinna said. “I think your brother needs some space right now.”
Stephan smiled and shrugged. He sauntered out to the balcony and disappeared over the side.
“You know how dangerous it is for you to be out in the sun,” Gwinna said. “Don’t ever take your coverings off outside again, all right? I know you don’t like it, but it’s not worth hurting your health over.”
Evin nodded dismally.
Everyone in the whole world got to have some sort of color: Red, orange, burgundy…And how could Evin, a kid who happened to belong to a family with a very specific, important skin tone, be the only one denied?
Poor Evin, they said. Had to be cursed, they said. The royal family was always dark violet. What had the king and queen done, people whispered, to deserve to have a child without pigment?
“This is going to blister…” Gwinna sighed, gently applying the salve to his face. She lifted a hand to rub some in the part in his white hair. “Thank goodness you kept your glasses on out there.”
Evin nodded, narrowing his red-violet eyes at the tiles beneath his feet.
At least Dilikí had one proper heir.
A/N: Diliken tend to be superstitious, and rather shallow in some circles. It’s just a genetic defect, guys. Everybody calm down.
Still, 13 years later, Evin did rise to the head of the monarchy. How? We shall see.