Rafe's parents abandoned him at birth - his red hair and green eyes were a Bad Omen, they said, how they matched neither his father nor his mother, nor the description of anyone else in the village nor even any of the travelers who had passed through. He grew up in a series of Orphanages, passed from one to the next like so much chattel.
Rafe's childhood was spent head down, eyes front, do as you’re told. He learned early never to question the fate others laid before him. Anytime he stepped out of line, he was slammed back into place; hard. He repressed all his desires and needs into one small, tiny corner of his mind until they receded from his view and no longer caused him to 'act up'.
In his 19th summer, he noticed that a girl, Lilly, had been following him around for most of a week. He studiously ignored her, until she confronted him after he had finished this errand or that. Rafe was surprised to learn that Lilly found him quite attractive and by the end of the day, they had dallied several times.
Two weeks later, Lilly found Rafe again and informed him that she was pregnant. Rafe's first reaction was disinterest, the affair had been her idea after all and he felt that his lack of experience in such matters cleared him of any inconvenience; but Lilly, or more accurately, Lilly's father, Ston, convinced him that marriage was in his best interest. As Rafe had never been claimed, Ston arranged the marriage himself - Ston often bragged about not having to bother with a dowry - and part of those arrangements was that Rafe would apprentice under Ston to eventually run his Inn, The Flirty Sprite (or Scott can provide a real name), as a figurehead for his daughter.
Swallowing his distaste for the situation with practiced habit, Rafe capitulated and went along with the marriage and the apprenticeship. Despite his reluctance, he found learning the Inn-keep trade was a challenge and cultivated an inkling of pleasure towards mastering the trade. A year after his son, Gregory, was born, Ston passed away and Rafe found himself suddenly the proprietor of the Inn, if only as a mouthpiece for Lilly. Nevertheless, Rafe found the burden was heavier than expected and he withdrew into the business, soon surpassing Lilly's expertise.
Three more years passed, and Rafe had fine-tuned the Inn into an efficient, profitable establishment. One night, after Lilly had taken Gregory to bed, she elicited an affirmation from Rafe that he would come to bed early, there was something she needed to tell him, Rafe found himself staring at the fire. Rafe had gone over the business figures three times that night - after four years, there was nothing new left in Inn keeping.
The fire cracked and jolted Rafe into a revelation - he no longer needed to stay. There was no one keeping him here, locking him into a life he never desired nor enjoyed. All the feelings he had held back for 23 years suddenly broke from their dam and rushed through his psyche. Years of anger, indignation, curiosity and wanderlust flooded over him and shattered his programmed servility.
His mind firing faster than he had ever experience before, Rafe quickly came to a decision, Rafe collected a pack and cloak from the check room - not really caring whose they were or what they contained - and walked out into the night in search of his next challenge.
While Rafe has never particularly disliked Lilly, nor being a father and is in fact quite proud of his son; but they have always been an obligation he didn't choose. And while he does send letters back to Gregory occasionally, sharing some little piece of his current pursuits and cautioning his son never to bend to another's will as he did, he's never once mentioned ever coming back to the Inn, nor has he ever checked for a reply.
Rafe is therefore unaware that an old lady had stopped by earlier that day asking for him, The old lady told Lilly that Rafe had to leave and also she was going have a 2nd child.