Bruno Igel is the next descendant from the German “Hans my Hedgehog” tale, his father having unusually skipped (or possibly something more sinister) the long claws of destiny. Growing up the only son of a human farmer and his wife on a small rural homestead in Germany, Bruno has a great love of the outdoors.
Perpetually stuck has a creature known locally as a Grovelhog, Bruno is stuck somewhere between human and hedgehog, often considered ugly and unsightly; due to this, he's exceptionally prone to being bullied. Despite this however, Bruno is incredibly upbeat and sweet natured – his mother taught him to stand up tall and take no notice of hateful comments. He's a big believer in the age old phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Constantly smiling, he spends a great deal of time on environmental committees, trying his best to make some small change in the world.
A firm optimist, Bruno is a sweet and gentle character, despite his ability to attract bullies. Never once allowing a hurtful comment to put him down, he throws himself into his studies and committees – due to this he has an excellent average grade of an A+. Though he may not confirm to most people's beauty standard, he believes that a person's true worth comes from inside and works to cultivate his practical skills and he's developed quite a wry sense of humour.
Bruno spends a great deal of time working on his main passions; Eco friendly conservation and charity work. He chairs the EAH Eco-Friendly Council (of which he is the only member) and he can often be seen spending his weekends digging wildlife gardens, constructing birdboxes and ponds, or doing charity campouts for GreenPeace. He's a stickler for recycling, and he's been known to set up a recycling stall in the Castleteria, offering to take people's recyclable goods and sort them out individually for reuse.
He's also an excellent debater – he often comes top in debate class with his calm, rational arguments. Baba Yaga has suspected he may be destined for greatness as a campaigner of some sort.
Of average height, Bruno stands at a modest 5ft 9” tall (6ft 1” at the tip of his headspikes), and weighs 152lbs. He has a lean build with a surprising amount of strength – spending many hours outdoors constructing hedgehog habitats seems to have paid off.
However, Bruno is far from anyone's idea of attractive. Brown and white in colour, his body is covered in soft fur, with a back covered in long, sharp banded quills. As his fairytale dictates, the feel of his quills can vary – when he's relaxed and happy, they're soft and pliant and feel as soft as feathers, however when he's angry or upset they jut out and can draw blood on contact. His fingertips are clawed and he has a pointed yet expressive hedgehog face. He also has a tiny little tail that pokes out of the back of his trousers, and it's known to wiggle when he's happy or excited. Though he's not bothered about his appearance, he's fond of his eyes which his mother has described as “bluer than the Caribbean sea on a sunny day”, even though his eyesight isn't very good at all. He tends to wear contact lenses.
He is adamant he has a human form however, though sadly he can only shed his hedgehog skin and become fully human at night, and nobody can ever see him. Because of this, people think he lies about having a human form just so he can try and make friends.
Bruno is the next “Hans my Hedgehog”; interestingly however, though his grandfather followed this destiny, his father did not. Mr Igel wouldn't disclose how he managed to avoid it, and Bruno is unsure whether or not he wants to know.
In terms of his destiny, Bruno is to leave his childhood farm after his education and forge a home for himself in the woods, waiting to save two lost kings. A tale of deception and pain for the first half and a happily ever after at the end makes Bruno exceptionally conflicted. He doesn't wish to cause two poor princesses to suffer needlessly, and he fears how he'll cope without his skin in the event that he should have to burn it. Due to this, he's currently a Roybel (leaning towards rebel), unsure of which path to follow.
Rachel "Ray" Light
The next “Light Princess”, Ray is Bruno's girlfriend and his own “Little Ray of Sunshine”. She's rambunctious and determined, pairing nicely with his sweet, calm nature. They met at a summer camp and it was Ray who struck up the first conversation by slapping down her laptop in front of him and challenging him to a game of Flight Simulator. He was smitten. She has no qualms with his grovelhog form interestingly, even going so far to seem to prefer him this way. She's rumored to be the only one to see his human form however, which indicates that his destiny may be a little more flexible than he thinks.
As roommates and best friends forever after, Bruno and Fitz are pretty dang close. A pair of sweet boys, they bounce off each other well. Due to Bruno's issues with bullies, Fitz often steps in to pick him up after a particularly bad encounter, shielding him from fights more than he can count and stopping him from having his face plunged into a toilet a few times more than that. The pair of them enjoy listening to folk and indie music when they study in their room, and often hang out at the Flying Canoe in free periods between classes.
While Bruno never holds a hateful thought about a person, and certainly not a grudge, if he did it would be against Arthur Charming. Bruno's relationship with Arthur is a strained one - Arthur is in charge of his funding for his green committee, and Arthur often ignores or purposely denies him what he's due. Bruno tries to stay respectful because a tiny amount of funding is better than none. Arthur also enjoys physically taunting Bruno - he was the one that shoved mini Bruno into a tupperware box and flushed him down the toilet before Fitz came to his rescue.
Relationship With His Parents
Bruno gets on much better with his mother as apposed to his father. Resentful of his son who inherited the destiny he purposely avoided and continuing the family curse, Bruno's dad openly dislikes him. Where Bruno's mother would dote on him and provide all the love and care he could ever need, Mr Igel spent as little time as he could with his son, choosing instead to work late in the fields and tend the animals as an escape. Due to this, Bruno spent the majority of his toddlerhood and childhood running around the farm and playing with his mother who taught him to sew, cook, clean and take care of the animals.
Powers and Abilities
Bruno has three separate forms that he's able to transform into at will, these consist of:
His standard form, Bruno is seen as a grovelhog more than he's seen as a standard hedgehog or a man. Predominantly shades of brown and white, he's proud of his healthy expanse of quills, even though they itch when they fall out and regrow.
Hedgehog (Aka Smol Hog)
Often when tired or attempting to conserve energy, or simply because he wants to, Bruno can transform into your standard African Pygmy Hedgehog, just big enough to curl into a ball in the palm of your hand.
Ray often likes to pop him on her shoulder or in her dress pocket in this form, as well as taking photos of him to upload to her Mythstagram - he's remarkably popular in this form, according to her followers.
A rare, rare sight until much later, Bruno IS able to slip off his skin and transform into a human in the dark of night. However nobody (yet) has seen this form. Ray is the first to see it later on.
As part of his fairytale, Bruno owns a giant red rooster that's simply named “Big Red”. A proud animal, he cannot talk but seems to understand everything that people ask and say to him. Hatched and rasied by Bruno, Big Red is strong enough to be ridden and Bruno rides him on a saddle of his own making. Big Red stays in the stables for the most part, as well as spending time outside in the paddocks. His loud, proud cockadoodledoo in the morning can be heard all the way up at the castle.
- When defending himself or angry, Bruno makes loud hissing sounds like a hedgehog would – spiking up his quills to make himself look larger and more threatening. However he loathes violence and almost never fights back
- Bruno is exceptionally fond of good Belgian dark chocolate
- His idols include Mahatma Gandhi, Ban Ki Moon and Eleanor Roosevelt – all renowned for their negotiating and strong ideals of peace and unity.
- As his fairytale suggests, Bruno is very good at playing the bagpipes; he and Ruaridh Minch often play together (away from other students mind, the noise is deafening...)
- His last name, "Igel", simply means "Hedgehog" in German; simple but relevant.
- He attends Shapeshifters Anonymous meetings once a week with other students such as Tabitha Hu, Aadi Johar, Sloan Fiadh and Konrad Kohler. These meetings are held by a former student, Angus Black, the Black Bull of Norroway.