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The Prince's Brains

In the origin of popular sayings like "having the prince's brains" and often scaring children into behaving, this story is one of the most widespread in Euphorium.

Summary

Long, long ago, there was a prodigal prince. He was a quick learner, even as an infant, and the king was most proud of his first born, as was the queen and all those surrounding their family. The prince grew up lavished in this praise and sought to learn more and more, mastering even ancient magic. Generals and the wise would come from across the land to seek his advice and exchange their own wisdom in return. Eventually, none could tell the prince something he knew not, and he lost his admiration with the world. Surely, there had to be something better! He searched all over his library and found about a secret door buried in a ravine that would hold the secrets for magic that could bear the hearts of every kingdom.   The prince set on his travels and found himself in a ravine of barren grey rock and mist. Using their wisdom, they found the door they were looking for, but it wouldn't open unless he passed a trial of using the right key among the three beside the door. But the prince cared not for trials. "I am wise. That fact in itself is it's own proof." Thus with magic he opened the door, and upon doing so, a curse was released upon him, rather than the knowledge he sought.   There was now no more door, and no more prince. He'd become a frail, enormous creature with an almost skeletal see-through body. His lower chin, like it was raised in life had thrown elongated fivefold, the top half of his face became that of a horse with a single red eye. Spikes grew from his back and the back of his bulgy head and every day his large claws would stab inside and pull his skull apart, so that he may eat his own brains until they healed to sate his hunger the next day.

Historical Basis

While the incidents the myth describes, and its characters, are probably not real, some elements of the myth do have a degree of historical/factual inspiration. The main one of these is "ancient magic", a catch-all term for the magic that was lost after the oblivion wars. While presently nobody can use this ancient magic (in fact the idea of "ancient magic" as a singular concept is entirely born out of retroactive popular speculation), the thing it is rooted on did, in fact, exist in Euphorium at one point.   Another thing believed to have heavily inspired the myth of the prince's brains is the creature known as a dread fisher, creatures resembling floating transparent tadpoles with a long tube at the front, which they use to capture their victims. Once captured, the victim's brain is placed on a separate part of the dread fisher's body, and they use the long tube to insert into that brain and suck out its contents while they float. Because of their transparent bodies, this appears to an unaware observer as if they are strawfeeding themselves their own brains, even earning them the title of "the prince's spawn" among the people.

Spread

The myth of the prince's brains is a rather common myth spread across virtually all human society in Euphorium.

Variations & Mutation

Being quite a widespread story, many variations of it exist at both a local and a national level. Often the myth would adapt itself to the sort of situations and dangers one encountered in their everyday lives, one particularly widespread case is among areas with more incidents of undead. In those areas it is said the prince eats the brains of those that come across him in the afterlife, and thus they are reborn as undead, thus the story is a lot more associated with death. It also changed over time, as later stages of Euphorium's modern era would more implement the prince as using magical artifacts and being very wealthy, changing the idea of arrogance in the story from one of humility about one's own knowledge, to one regarding abusing one's wealth and the power that comes from it.

Cultural Reception

The story isn't a major cultural identifier, being shared by many human communities, countries and so on across Euphorium's history. The importance of the story, and of its meaning, does bear some changes. The primary thing it is taken as is as a message against hubris, or the excessive imposing of one's intellect to control nature.   In particular the saying "to have the prince's brains" has attained meaning precisely out of that- It can mean someone is stepping out of line or getting full of themselves, usually referring specifically to someone who thinks they can outsmart an obstacle that is seemingly impossible to overcome.
Date of Setting
The exact date in which it supposedly took place varies, however due to the usage of "ancient magic" it would have been prior to the oblivion wars.
Related Species

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