Rumapa Stiltskín (ruh-MA-pa STILT-skeen)
Rumapa Stiltskín, sometimes erroneously referred to as Rumplestiltskin, was a notorious halfling trickster during The Second Age of Eden. Though Stiltskín preferred to lurk in the shadows, his encounter with a miller’s daughter in the year 138 made him a household name.
This, of course, sucked.
Why? Because the central part of each and every Stiltskín prank, con, or grift was asking the mark to guess his name. And the unusualness of that name—half of it of Gillikin origin and half of it a nickname a kíndallan had given to his grandfather—had been nigh impossible to reckon.
Then Marnie Miller, the future Queen Consort of Promiseland, had to go and ruin it all with her gossip and her influence and her blasted desire to “do her duty to her kingdom.” I mean, did she really have to tell everyone?
Appearance & Personality
Stiltskín was tall for a halfling, standing at 3' 3", but not especially lanky. He had enough meat on his bones to look solid and well-proportioned. He wore his hair neat and short, as was the Gillikin custom—only allowing himself to appear scruffy if the scam du jour called for it. And his beguiling green eyes had a mesmerizing way about them, causing some to suspect he might be a mixer of some sort.
He was a warm, even-tempered, and seductive gentleman—so prim and proper during long cons that, when he disappeared with a widow’s jewelry, they swore it could not have been him. He was a consummate gambler, with a poker face and no identifiable tells. And he was fiercely devoted to those he loved. There weren’t many people he did love, but he never forgot them—and he never betrayed them.
At least not from his point of view.
Rumapa Stiltskín was born during the Wander Years between The First and Second Ages of Eden. His family had been named the keepers of The Cheshire’s Meow when the kíndallan owners departed this place at the end of the First Age, and they had been imparted with all the knowledge necessary to keep on preparing the pub’s magical foodstuffs. This knowledge they passed on to Young Rumapa—everything from how to prepare the growing cakes and the shrink drinks, to how to fish the nearby Oadü for the nahnlaríx whose fat made every recipe possible.
By the time the Wander Years came to an end and the Second Age had begun, 27-year-old Rumapa was the head chef of the Meow. It wasn’t an especially fulfilling job, and he was already burgling to satisfy his inner miscreant, but he developed a fondness for the bigger folks who began to visit the place—dwarves, elves, and even human beings.
His favorite patron was an Earthling woman about his own age. She asked to speak with the chef every time she came in, and she flirted with him like nobody’s business. Yes, Joan Charles was 6' 3"—a full three feet taller than Rumapa—and yes, she was married, but the flirting was real.
One evening after closing, a drunk Joan coaxed Rumapa into eating one of the growing cakes. He laughed and blushed, sensing where this might be going, but he also felt nervous. Joan had already had too much to drink, and she couldn’t possibly consent to anything that might happen between them. So what was he going to do if he grew to her size and she asked him to take her upstairs to one of the pub’s bedrooms?
“Go on,” she said to him, between breathy laughs. Then she squeezed his hand in both of her own. “Go on,” she said one more time.
He took a small bite of the cake and felt dizzy as he grew to match her height. Then, for the first time, he looked her in the eyes while standing on the ground and not on a stool.
Joan smiled at him. “I am too drunk right now,” she said. Then she kissed him softly on the lips before getting up to go. “I‘m too drunk right now,” she said once more. “But I’m coming back tomorrow.”
Rumapa waved goodbye and went to the front window to watch her walk down the lane toward the cottage she shared with her husband. Then he locked up the pub, waited for the effects of the cake to wear off, and went upstairs to bed.
When he woke early the next morning, it was to the sound of someone coming in through his window—someone much too big for a halfing-sized room. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and realized it was Joan. She had sat on the floor with her knees to her chest, but she still needed to duck her head. She was half-laughing and half-crying as she told him, “All my life I’ve been too big. To big to do the things I wanted to do, to wear the things I wanted to wear, to…” She trailed off, and she looked deep into Rumapa’s eyes. “To be with the people I want to be with," she said, finishing her thought.
“Do you have a shrinking drink around?” she asked him.
He didn’t, but he ran off and made her one. And then, once she was his size, she crawled into his bed and made love with him.
Nine months later, when Joan died in her birthing bed, Rumapa Stiltskín could not help but wonder if the small baby Joan had given birth to might be his own. It was a thought which haunted him so much that he left his village and began his misadventures, only returning by chance some twenty-one years later when he heard tell of a girl who could spin straw into gold.
But to say more would spoil The Blood of Seven Queens, so we‘ll stop there for now.