Lost: The Edge of Everything
Raqui the Flying Squirrel
Spring Queen; Industrial Artist
“Welcome to the fun court. I’ll be calling on you for sundry skullduggery.”
Yelena Pelayo was a promising design student at Michigan State when she disappeared. Her Keeper took the form of a miles-high pine in an endless wood, and Yelena became one of her flying squirrel caretakers. Her gift for adornment helped her rise quickly to Chief Squirrel, whereupon she draped her Keeper in beautiful but explosive splortchberries and fled in the confusion.
She emerged from the Hedge atop a California sequoia and floated, naked on the pacific headwind to the nearest tourist-trap with clothes for sale, which she grabbed and kept on running. She got to San Jose before she stopped running.
She took the name Raquel la Ardilla Voladora, Raqui for short, and started up a small art studio, turning discarded junk into whimsical industrial installations. Out of her studio, she offered her services as a fixer and craftswoman.
Raqui rose to be her crown as a compromise candidate. When the previous Spring King overdosed on heroin, Hanna Barbara threw her friend Raqui’s name into contention. Affable and apolitical, Raqui didn’t even vote in the election. When told she was now Queen, she supposedly said, “Oh, cool. Put the crown somewhere I won’t grab it and weld it to something by mistake.”
Though she never sought the job, Raqui still likes being Queen. And she’s good at it. She lets Hanna Barbara take care of the minutiae and focuses her own efforts on recruitment and brokering favors. She’s been very successful at both — the Spring Court is the largest in the Quatrine Kingdom, and its many members have amassed quite an array of debts and deals the Spring Queen keeps in the back pocket of her coveralls.
Most of the time, Raquel works in her studio at Progressive Airstrip in Mountain View, surrounded by fellow artists and hipsters in a neverending parade of crafts and junkfood. She is upbeat and boisterous, a generous host and good listener, quick to offer honest advice and unsolicited aid. Raqui prides herself on being straightforward and cutting through political secrecy. Keeping secrets breeds resentment and paranoia, while someone who owes you a favor always remembers you helped them out.
Raqui often hangs out with Katrine, who was her Motleymate and friend before they were both queens — a fact they love to laugh about. Otherwise, she uses her Beastly allure to score dates with cute boys.
To mortals, Raquel looks like a short, athletic Latin girl with light brown hair, usually in pigtails or a braid. She has round cheeks, a button nose that krinkes when she laughs, and big almond eyes.
At work in her studio, Raqui wears homemade jumpsuits with the sides fetchingly cut out, held in place by hidden braces and double-sided tape, and classic aviator goggles. When she’s not expecting to fly, she cleans up nice in fashionable jeans, skirts, and leather coats. Still, nothing too hard to take off if you need to catch some air. Years as a squirrel in a giant evil tree has made Raqui very unashamed of her naked form.
The Pine Glorious liked its attendants to double as lovely tree-nymphs, which is why Raquel got off lighter than some Beasts. Her eyes are a bit larger than is natural, and she has prominent buck teeth, but this mostly makes her cute, as do the big old furry satellite dish ears she keeps under her cap. Instead of hanging down as a wrinkly membrane, her flying squirrel “Wings” only extend when she holds out her limbs a certain way, and even other Changelings feel smooth skin along her sides. She does, of course, have an enormous bushy tail.