we found out like three months ago that Percy didn’t tell VM - the SHITs, then - his full name for I think several months after they first broke him out of jail, and it still kills me. This pale scarecrow they dragged out of a cell, scareder than he is skinny and angrier than he is scared - except he buries the anger so deep beneath the fear, and that beneath the hastily reassembled reflexes of propriety. Coming off a two-year disassociative episode on a ship, pulled out by a whisper in his mind that promised vengeance, if only he could get to a forge, and pull up, expand on, retool some ideas he had about chemistry and propulsion years ago. Clings to the socially anxious druid who couldn’t be more unlike him in every way just because she says she’s supposed to rule her people some day and that, that he understands, that’s the only thing left in this world that he understands. But the name “de Rolo” doesn’t pass his lips for months, nor all those tumbling, weighty intervening names, heavy with loss and duty and everything he can’t think about right now. Blood in the halls, on the snow. He can’t think about it - and what if he draws attention to himself? He tried to do one thing, kill one person, and he got caught without even seeing her. But what if she found him? (You can’t convince me he thought of anything else, in that cell.) What if the Briarwoods did? All that loss, all that duty, all that legacy…better hidden than ended forever. (He’s so angry, and so scared.)
But it came out. Nights by the fire with Keyleth, talking philosophy and constellation myths and how to accept a hug. Shooting contests with Vex, Pike’s kind smile, Grog’s easy laugh…”Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III”, tripping haltingly off his tongue as they all watch and do not understand the weight and history of every name. Percy’s lost his aristocratic, Whitestone accent a little in the last couple years, but he cannot say his name without it. Not properly. And of course he’ll introduce himself “properly.”
And…the world doesn’t end. Vampires don’t descend from the dark trees around their camp. White stone and snow and frozen rivers of blood do not come crashing down and drown him.
So he repeats it, maybe. Tongue curling around the familiar syllables like a blanket, this name that has placed him in history since he was born. I’m sure a warm campfire isn’t the first time Percy tells the SHITs his first name - spontaneous, or even minimally prompted, emotional vulnerability and information-sharing? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure it’s because earlier that day they had to get somewhere Official, and their Percy-from-the-jail-cell stepped forward whipped out all seventeen syllables in one haughty breath. Ever practical, that boy. But that night, there had to be Questions.
And the world didn’t come crashing down, so he does it again. Maybe not the next time they meet new people, but maybe the time after that. Maybe the time after the time after that. Maybe just “Percival de Rolo”, to start - but by the time they save Emon and Sovereign Uriel, it’s as easy as it ever was to put on court manners and introduce himself with a bow of just the right degree, as Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III.
There are de Rolo cousins, after all. They’ve married good families across Tal’Dorei, and even into Wildemount and Marquet. There’s no reason anyone needs to know he’s from Whitestone. It’s his name, his family, his lineage and legacy, but by the time we meet him, he can already roll it off his tongue so lightly. No weight of duty, loss, and terror (they’re shoved down as deep as the dreams of black smoke.) Guilty though he was about how giddy it made him, he was free. Even by then he’d grown so much, gotten so much better…
And then Uriel told a page to send a letter to the Briarwoods, in Whitestone, and it all. came. crashing. down.
(…and look how he’s grown since then.)