Ran appears to be a small boy somewhere in the vicinity of seven and ten. He is very fair, with pale skin, sandy hair, and freckles. He has very bright, intelligent eyes that seem to be a different color every time you look at them. His clothes are usually torn or dirty, but no more so than any other small, active child.
Once upon a time, there was a man who ran a school. He was devoted to learning as a discipline, and the only thing he loved more than learning was sharing his knowledge. He had several students, mostly in their late teens, handpicked by the schoolmaster. Each would go on to become a scholar of great repute.
Ran was different than his classmates. He was only eight, an orphan taken in by the schoolmaster. He was extremely curious, and had a driving need to know things. He didn’t really want to do anything with his newfound knowledge; he just wanted to know for the sake of knowing. The schoolmaster understood this urge (or thought he did), and indulged Ran often, taking time out of his busy schedule of teaching to explain something to the boy.
Of course, the schoolmaster didn’t quite understand the depths of Ran’s curiosity, or the lengths he would go to to satisfy it. There was always something he wanted to know or find out, and he often didn’t pay any mind to restrictions or think about what the consequences would be. He became very, very good at finding things out. Sometimes, the things he found out upset others; it was hard to keep secrets around him. In fact, having a secret just made him more curious than normal.
He also didn’t seem to understand that sometimes his methods of finding things out hurt others. After a biology lesson, he became curious about how living things worked. He ended up hurting himself, trying to get a look inside. The schoolmaster had a serious talk with Ran. The boy hadn’t intended to hurt himself, but he hadn’t realized what he was doing at the time. He’d just… been curious.
After that, the schoolmaster kept a closer watch on Ran. Mostly, he was able to keep Ran’s curiosity in check. He had to be careful to explain something as soon as Ran expressed interest in it, or Ran would find out on his own, and he didn’t want to chance something serious.
However, even normal boys of Ran’s age got away from their guardians, and Ran was far from normal. Sometimes, the schoolmaster’s explanations didn’t satisfy him. Sometimes, Ran just got so curious about something he didn’t think to go find the schoolmaster and ask. There were some books the schoolmaster had, that he kept on a high shelf in his private quarters. He didn’t realize that any of the students had noticed them, much less that they had caught Ran’s inquisitive eyes.
Even with a chair, he couldn’t quite reach the shelf. It had happened a thousand times before, and would happen a thousand times after. The chair tilted and wobbled, and just as he was reaching for one of the books he came crashing down. It wasn’t that much of a fall, and any other time, he wouldn’t have even had a bruise to show for it. But his head struck the corner of a table on the way down. He was dead before he hit the floor.
A strange thing, happened, though. He was dead, but he was still curious. And for the first time, he became aware of a vague presence hovering around him. It whispered to him, about the things he’d never know now. And then it asked him a question.
Would you like to be able to find out everything about everything in the world?
The answer was, of course, a given.
Ran has a knack for finding people that want to know something and is drawn towards them. While he’s stronger and faster than a mortal child of his age would appear to be, he avoids conflict when he can. He can speak and read just about every language there ever was. Locks are just a temptation to him, and he tends to fiddle with them until he discovers how they are taken apart.
Ran means no harm, but as in life, he doesn’t consider the consequences of anything he does to find something out. The larger difficulty is that he’s a demon now, and his tainted nature has its own effect. He happily helps anyone find out anything, but that knowledge comes at a price. Someway or another, knowing is always worse. Sometimes it’s because the answer wasn’t the one the person wanted. Sometimes, it’s because the answer itself is dangerous. Sometimes it’s because of the methods used to get the answer.
He *is* a child, and looks and acts like one, and therefore is seldom threatened with anything serious. However, people do occasionally take serious action against him. He cannot be killed permanently, and usually doesn’t mind too much when he is killed.
Ran is a friendly child, and very, very curious. He’s always asking question about everything, and gets into everything. He can be quite irritating, but he doesn’t mean any harm. He’s also hard to keep up with, since he tends to slip away, even if being watched.
He also tends to encourage other people’s curiosity. They start wondering about various things, and either find out on their own, or get Ran’s help. He is happy to help them find out anything, because, naturally, he wants to know too. However, each answer he provides usually brings up several more questions, and it’s easy to get obsessed with answering all of them.
Ran is probably one of the most knowledgeable entities in existance, although sometimes he intentionally forgets things so he can find them out again. It is through him that any knowledge of the Court of a Thousand and Nine Sorrows reached the mortal world, through three different scholars. (Of course, none ended happily- one was killed as a heretic, one went mad and later became one of the Despised, and one was destroyed by the Sorrows themselves for meddling.)
Ran is usually in the company of his thrall, the Schoolmaster; it’s less troublesome for what appears to be a man and his son to travel than it is for a small child alone. He also will sometimes pose as the son, nephew, or cousin of someone he’s helping, just to explain his presence. Sometimes, however, he’s just too curious to maintain appearances and can be found on his own.
He is one of the few Sorrows that has no objection to being summoned, because he’s always curious about why the person did it. He’s also one of the few Sorrows that all the others at least tolerate, since he often has information that even they find useful.