1. soft shy dollmaker the world didn't deserve him except maybe like one (1) man
blair jiang has been free from the shens for years, but shadows of their influence still permeate his very existence.
since childhood, blair has been indoctrinated with a 'give but never take' mentality. blair was born and had lived despite the sins committed by both of his parents, therefore, he owes the world everything he can give. the concept of being able to ask for something for himself is borderline foreign to him. he's used to granting favours and doing things for other people and never asks for anything in return. he accepts what he can get and asks for nothing more, because everything that comes his way must be considered a blessing.
blair is gentle. he is soft in appearance and demeanor. a smile decorates his face more often than not. his father had always said that blair got his mother's smile. blair loves his mother's smile and it always made him happy, so maybe if he smiled more he can make people happy too. after seventeen years of near-complete isolation, blair is very curious about the world outside the one he grew up with. blair goes through life with the kind of wonder one would find in people who are children at heart. he's a little naive and a little idealistic, but he does treat everyone with equal kindness even if they don't deserve it.
he has a skewed sense of self-worth. blair gives little to no importance to his own mental and emotional health and needs, instead putting others' before and above his own. he takes care of himself physically only because he's driven by the fact that he needs a sound body to be able to work. whatever he does for leisure, be it playing the guqin or gardening, is simply habit picked up from his mother that he continues to carry to this day. he keeps majority of his emotional and psychological issues hidden deep in his heart, as if he's pretending they don't exist in the first place.
the marriage of jiang mingyan and shen qingyuan was very controversial and unconventional. jiang mingyan had murdered a highly respected shen elder and was about to receive the most severe of punishments. shen qingyuan had been in love with mingyan for the longest time, though it remained unrequited by mingyan and unsupported by his family all because he and mingyan were born into different social classes. when qingyuan found out about mingyan's crime and impending punishment, he took her away and married her against his family's wishes. all of that to save the woman he loved.
when their most beloved member acted out, qingyuan's family had no choice but to back off unless they wanted to lose him. they did, however, there were a few conditions laid out. mingyan is reluctantly accepted as qingyuan's wife, but she isn't recorded in the family tree nor recognised as a shen. any of their children won't be recognised as a shen nor will they be recorded in the family tree. finally, mingyan had to stay locked in a small house to repent for her sins.
qingyuan visited mingyan frequently. he felt responsible for her and it was his duty as a husband to keep her company and relieve some of the pain of being essentially imprisoned for life. qingyuan made it a habit to visit mingyan even if he was only given one day each month. his efforts were rewarded when mingyan began to return the feelings he had for her.
jiang shuanghua was born a year and a half after. shuanghua carried his mother's name because of the conditions set when his parents were married. mother and son lived together in the small house with qingyuan being their sole visitor every month. mingyan taught her son reading, writing, woodcarving, guqin playing and traditional dancing among other things. mingyan was also the sole witness to shuanghua's first sign of magic at age 4: making the books levitate out of joy after making his first wooden doll.
when shuanghua turned 5, he began to live with his father because mingyan wanted her son to experience the world outside their small house. qingyuan tried his best to protect his son, but it seemed as if almost everyone in the shen family saw shuanghua as the son of the devil. shuanghua grew up lonely. his parents were the only ones who didn't reat him as if he didn't exist. his only joy throughout the day was spending time with his father and he always looked forward to his monthly visits to his mother.
jiang mingyan died when shuanghua was 9. she died alone in the small house from heart failure. shuanghua barely had any time to understand, to cope and to grieve properly when his own father followed not a year after. the shens reluctantly took in the new orphan out of obligation. however, they treated him less like family and more like a servant.
being really young and vulnerable, the shens were able to remould shuanghua to their liking. though he wasn't physically hurt, the shens did influence his self-perception a whole lot. he became the personal servant of a cousin his age and the only reason he was able to attend mahoutokoro was because the cousin brought him along. shuanghua had little to no friends at school and his only company were the dolls he had made.
when shuanghua turned 18, the shens finally kicked him out of their home, deeming him old and responsible enough to take care of himself. shuanghua had no choice but to obey and for a few months he struggled to fend for himself. weeks before he turned 19, he was taken in by a man named daniel verheijen.
daniel took him to the uk and introduced shuanghua to his family: his three roommates and their adopted daughter anthea. papers were signed and shuanghua was now officially blair jiang, keeping his mother's surname in remembrance. shuanghua, now blair, is extremely thankful for the family's entrance in his life and vowed to pay back their kindness someday.
blair was able to get an income by selling the dolls he made online. his new family helped him set up his business through witchagram. when he turned 21, blair moved out to live by himself in a cozy apartment despite his fathers and sister's objections with the promise of visiting them at least once a week.
sparks amidst snow
why not face all the hardships