The May I Paint Your Face Fairy – character sketch and story ark

***a future potential comic book***

The May I Paint Your Face Fairy is a femme gendered person. She starts out life like any normal person, just looking for a good hustle. She is gifted with natural artistic talent, and ability to see people’s auras. Face painting is a natural fit for her: all she does is paint on people’s faces the energy that they are already radiating.

She works festivals and dances, flitting about, popping in and out here and there, always showing up at just the right moment, saying, “May I paint your face?” At first, she is young and innocent and immature. She always makes a point to find the beauty in the person, and paint that. People seek her out. Others dress up and imitate her, but they can never quite achieve her level of fairy magic. Everyone can tell the difference between an imitator and the real thing (though there is no shame about this – imitators aren’t actually posing as the fairy, they’re just imitating, and everyone knows it, and is fine with that).

Eventually, people begin to quest after the fairy. People begin to track her movements, try to be in places where they think she’ll be. In response, the fairy begins to make her appearances more and more random. And people begin to develop rituals to entice her to appear. At first, the rituals often work. But when they work, more and more people do them, and the the fairy gets overwhelmed, shows up less and less often.

She begins to get overwhelmed, drained, burnt out. It’s hard always looking for the beauty in people. Ignoring the ugly, the shadows, the wounds. Eventually, those shadows begin to sneak into her painting. At first with a trickle… her face paintings become a little edgier… But the more people seek her out, demand her work, the more bold she becomes in painting the shadows. She starts to loose faith in people… to see only the shadows. She starts to paint people as hideous monsters. At first, she is horrified by herself, and the people she paints are horrified to face these ugly truths about themselves. It never occurs to anyone that what she paints might be a lie. The fairy can only paint the truth. But sometimes she herself, and the people she paints, forget that she doesn’t necissarily paint the whole truth.

Her paintings become medicine. Diagnosis tool. People seek her out and ask them to paint their shadows as a tool to help them understand themselves. As a tool for healing.

As she focuses more and more on the shadows, demons, and wounds that people carry, you might think that people would stop seeking her out. Stop doing the rituals to entice her. But really, her clientèle just shifts. She begins to attract a following of the angry, the depressed the disposessed. Punk rockers and heavy metal fans. The devil worshipers. She attracts a following of people who revel in darkness.

For a while, the fairy revels in the darkness. She becomes a bit of an activist, which a crew of punk ninja thugs. They stalk powerful, corrupt leaders, tie them up in some public display place, and the fairy paints their face with their deepest, darkest shadows and demons… In the morning, people find the politician tied up and painted, and gather round. They stand, gazing at the face paint… eventually the politician wakes up from the sedatives they’d been drugged with and start raging, demanding they be untied, tended to, restored to their rightful dignity. Few of these politicians ever recover their power. Some commit suicide.

Authorities begin to refer to the May I Paint Your Face Demon. They publicize and popularize rituals of protection to keep the demon away. For a while, the world lives in fear of the fairy/demon. At first, she feels smug and powerful. Then she begins to feel lonely and sad. She still has her friends, her community… people who do not fear their shadows. The ones who wear their hearts on one sleeve and their shadows on the other. But being a hunted villain is a heavy burden to bear.

After a while the fairy gets tired of interacting with the physical world. Retreats to her little nest in the dreamworld. Does some soul searching. Asks for advice from wise teachers. Goes on a quest. Visits various sages and oracles, asking for understanding. Asking for wholeness. Spends a bunch of time wandering through the Dreamworld, visiting various archetypal locations.

Fairy land… various sacred sites all over the world… stonehenge, machu pichu, various sacred sites and ruins… visits old european sites…

visits heaven (boring)

visits hell (veeery interesting)

Returns home to her nest. Does a lot of thinking. Is visited by fairy friends. The ask what she learned on her journey… she muses… still feeling a little lost.

She goes back to visit her old punk ninja crew… they have largely disbanded and moved on to other kinds of work… they have also grown up, grown more mature, more complex. Their work is different now.

It has been a generation since the fairy has painted anyone’s face, since she’s been seen in the physical realm. Her scary demon archetype has become a characicature… and halloween costume. She goes to a halloween festival dressed as herself, to offer face painting. No one wants to take her up on her offer, because she doesn’t have a fancy booth, she’s not dressed “like a fairy”… she looks too normal. She wanders about the festival, unworried. Continues to offer face painting.

Then one person… a sad and lonely looking person who is feeling disconnected and overwhelmed by everything happening at the festival. The fairy looks at the person and sees their aura, sees their broken heart (not broken over romance, just broken by the world)… the fairy sits down next to them. Says hi. They strike up a conversation. The fairy begins to listen to the story of the broken hearted person. They listen and listen and listen, get it all out. Afterwords… the person feels immensely better. “Thank you for listening to me! I really needed someone to understand me. Who are you, anyways?”

The fairy smiles… a sort of smirky mischivous smile, half embarrassed, half tentative… she sort of mumbles, her eyes darting left and right, “I’m the May I Paint Your Face Fairy…”

The person can’t hear her, because she didn’t speak clearly enough… “What did you say?”

The fairy clears her throat, straitens her spine, relaxes her shoulders, centers herself, and says clearly, “I am the May I Paint Your Face Fairy.”

They both know that this seems like a crazy thing to say. Even with the political smear campaign painting her as a demon, the fairy is a popular figure (the people always knew she was on their side). There are impersonators of her everywhere, but still, no one has seen her in a generation, and people are beginning to forget that she is real. The claim would seem like the outlandish claim of a crazy person.

But the way she said it… the quiet certainty of knowing… the slight embarrassment of her admission, the mischivous gleam in her eye… The person feels skeptical, but these things make them take her claim into consideration. The person looks at the fairy for a good long moment, taking in her appearance, her very mundane street clothes, the wrinkles around her eyes, the clauses on hands. She is an adult. She carries a quiet sense of authority, comes from inside her. Yet she is still tentative, unsure…

The person continues looking at the fairy… takes a deep breath, lets it out.
“Paint my face.” Said softly, not as a request, but not as a demand. As an invitation.

The fairy’s eyes flicker with mischif… “Are you sure? It’s been a very long time since I’ve painted.”

“You gotta start somewhere.” the person says.

The fairy pulls her painting supplies out of the netherspace pocket behind her back… the person’s eyes widen, and the fairy’s mischivious smirk and twinkle turn downright devious. She grins.

The person gets their own devious smirk on their face as the fairy begins to paint.

“Relax your face.”

The fairy uses her smallest brush, works slowly, delicately. As she works, a crowd begins to gather for something remarkable is obviously happening. As she paints, the fairy feels all of the lessons of her travels beginning to integrate and flow through her brush. She paints the whole person, shadows and beauty, pain and joy, monsters and heros, all together. And she doesn’t just paint the person’s face, she paints their hair, their neck, their shoulders. After maybe an hour, the fairy is finished. The person is transformed… into the most glorious version of themselves. Their scars and shadows shown alongside their joy and light.

something like this, though this isn’t at all as magical and sould revealing as i’m imagining.

By this point, there is quite a crowd. But they don’t jostle, they don’t say anything. They just stand, gazing. There is a certain collective knowing that they are witnessing a holy moment and that to interject, to interfere, would be sacrilege. There is a quiet whisper of excitement as people watch what’s happening.

As the fairy finishes painting the person’s face, she pulls a mirror from the same netherspace pocket and shows the person to themself. The person gazes at their image in the mirror, gazes at the image of their aura, their very soul brought out and painted on their face. The person begins to weep, not exactly tears of joy, but not tears of sadness, either. Tears of letting go. Tears of allowing. As they gaze at themself in the mirror, their posture begins to straighten.

Anywyas, this is just a sketch and a story ark. Awesome stuff happens. The person finds great healing in having their face painted. The people rejoice the fairy’s return. She becomes an honored demi-god. But no one asks her to paint their face frivolously anymore. People know now. They know that to approach the fairy and request her art, they must be prepared to face themselves, every part of themselves.

Occasionally, the fairy approaches people and offers to paint their face. Sometimes they are powerful people who are fucking up… sometimes they are lost people in need of healing and guidance. People rarely turn her down, for they know that to turn down the fairy means to turn away from their own soul, and they are not likely to have a second offer in their lifetime. But it does happen. People turn her down. And she allows them to. She no longer stalks and kidnaps anyone to force the face painting on them. She only paints with consent.

This is how she steps into her power. This is how she becomes a responsible adult.

A cult arises around her. The cult of those who with to know their whole selves. Their rituals involve mirrors, seeing, meditation, and of course, painting. To have your face painted by the fairy herself is to be initiated as a priestess of her cult (she is femme, so all of the priestesses are priestesses, regardless of their gender). And that person, that first person to be painted after so long… they become friends, they become the high priestess of the cult, they are the fairy’s confidant and advisor, apprentice and teacher.

And they all lived this way… for a while, until things changed again and became different… but those are other stories for other generations.

Here is the song of the cult of the Mayipaintyourface Fairy:

I wear my heart on one sleeve
And my shadows on the other
Let my soul shine through
I will be none other
But my Self

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