He is a tall young man, and was good-looking once, but time and madness have taken thier toll. He usually walks hunched over like a beggar, hiding his height. His hair is somewhat long, and almost black, although the color is usually obscured by dirt and grime. His clothes were fine once, but are now little better than rags.
He was found by some children on the outskirts of their village. No one had seen him before or knew who he was. At first they thought that he was a nobleman who had been attacked by bandits; his clothes, though ruined, showed quality. They were quickly disabused of this notion. The stranger was unquestionably mad. He raved of monsters and traitors and shining lights, among other things. No one knew what to make of him. He wouldn’t tell them who he was, or who he supposed himself to be. He frightened the children. Then, suddenly, he seemed to regain his grip on reality. He would converse in a natural manner with the villagers, and, when told of his previous behavior, apologized profusely. He seemed to have a natural noble bearing that came out then, and somewhat refined speech. People again thought he might be a nobleman, albeit a mad one. But that question was never to be answered. The stranger couldn’t remember anything prior to being found, and his memories of his period of madness were hazy at best. There did seem to be an inexpressible sadness about him, however. Then, as quickly as the madness had vanished, it was back again. And so it would be. The stranger, whom people were now calling the Mad Prince, went through cycles of madness, in which his deranged raving grew more wild and frightening, and cycles of lucidity. He had trouble remembering anything that happened during his cycles of madness, and began to have trouble remembering things that happened during his lucid periods. Soon the villagers found themselves having to reintroduce themselves to him everytime the madness broke. They have also noticed that the periods of madness are getting longer, and the lucid periods are getting shorter. They feel that soon, the Mad Prince will be entirely mad.
The villagers wonder what horrors the poor fellow has seen to drive him out of his mind. The current consensus is that he was a soldier, and what he saw in battle broke him. Many, however, feel that is not an adequate explanation.
The Mad Prince’s ravings contiuously grow more incoherent and frightening, but a common theme seems to be something about monsters and traitors, which might give a clue to his past and what happened to him.
The Mad Prince’s ravings might have begun to take on an air of prophecy. Whether or not his predictions are correct remains to be seen.
Perhaps a stranger was passing through the village, and his appearance triggered something in the Mad Prince’s warped mind. He became violent, and had to be restrained. Could it be that maybe the Prince dimly recognized someone?
In his lucid moments, which are becoming rarer, the Mad Prince has a tenous grasp on what’s happening to him. Knowing that he will probably lose his mind entirely, and after hearing the villagers tell him about what has happened during the mad periods, he might decide to leave, so as not to be a burden on them. They may or may not like that.
An idea that has loosely formed, and seems to stick with the Mad Prince into his cycles of madness, is that maybe the villagers are not as innocuous as they seem. That suspicion could be just a paranoid delusion, but then it might not be.
Perhaps a group of adventurers had encountered the village, and has noticed that the loacl lunatic bears an uncanny resemblance to the (missing?) heir to the throne, local lord, hero of the kingdom, etc. But surely that resemblance is their immaginations, or a coincidence. Isn’t it?