|“||You've had several opportunities to strike, but you hesitate. It's obvious you lack a true soldier's blood. You simply don't have what it takes. There are natural killers in the worlds, and those who aren't.||”|
— Prince Brandish to Flycatcher in Issue 150
Prince Brandish is a prince the sisters Snow White and Rose Red met when they were young. At the time, Snow had been promised as his wife. He eventually came back to claim her but was still denied. He was then spared torture by Rose Red, on the conditions he eventually broke by murdering Weyland Smith.
Prince Brandish was the first born son of the royal family of the Golden Realm, a kingdom within the Hesse, which was part of the European Homelands. His younger brother, Holden, was born two years after him. At some unknown point in his childhood, Brandish murdered his mother after witnessing her having sex with his father, deeming her actions disgusting, and claiming that a queen must be "chaste" and "pure."
Eventually he was cursed by the dwarf Coalheart and turned into a bear. Along the way, Prince Brandish befriended both Snow White and Rose Red as children, both of whom had a hand in helping lift his curse after the dwarf was killed. Prince Brandish then promised to marry Snow White in thanks, and promised Rose Red that his younger brother would marry her.
Returning home, his father, while overjoyed at his long-lost son's return, refused to let his sons marry commoners, let alone one's scratched out of the forest and with magic no less, and Holden refused to marry a child, instead wanting to marry a pretty girl he could bed. His father ideally planned to marry off his sons politically, having them wed one of the daughters of his many rivals to solidify stately alliances. Desperate to add Snow's magical lineage to his bloodline, Brandish was adamant about marrying Snow White and intended to remain steadfast to his promise, despite threats of disownment from his father.
Brandish's father conspires to have Snow White killed with hopes his son would abandon his plans to wed her. Fearing for her daughter's life, Lauda faked Snow's death and secretly sent her to live with her paternal aunt.
However, at some point during the Exodus, Brandish's father mortgaged half his kingdom to the Adversay to remain in power. Afterwards, Brandish knew in his bones Snow White was still alive and, against his father's wishes, he vowed to find her because he sensed "strong" magic in her.
He eventually left his country during the Emperor's reign and became associated with Mister Dark.
He was then sent to Nurse Spratt to become her fencing instructor, Werian Holt. After Mr. Dark's death, he begins to teach the transformed Mrs. Spratt the art of assassination, and becomes her co-conspirator on an unknown dark plan for Fabletown. When the Fables come to claim Dark's castle as their own, both Spratt and Holt pretend to have been Mr. Dark's prisoners.
However, not everyone fell for their story. He was first approached by Grimble and when confronted with the truth, he turned him into a bird. Though he was about to kill Grimble, he spared the bird to continue with his plans. He then revealed his true identity to all. Though his claim as Snow's true husband was a shock to all, including his co-conspirator Mrs. Spratt.
Reunited with Snow White
According to Brandish, their promise held powerful magic, and to him trumped Snow White's marriage to Bigby Wolf centuries later at his reappearance into their lives. And he then dragged her and held her captive in one of the towers of Mr. Dark's castle. He bewitches himself so that any injury inflicted on him will also hurt Snow, making any attempt at rescue complicated. When Snow attacks him in an attempt to free herself, he breaks her arm to teach her a lesson and make her more docile.
Snow still vowed to kill him, even after Bigby came in an attempt to rescue her. During battle, he turns Bigby to glass and then shatters him to spite Snow who then kills him with a fence attack. Much to the shock of the other Fables, Brandish awakens just as Dr. Swineheart performs an autopsy. At the exact time, he discovers a cavity where the prince's heart should be, with rune-etched brass fittings capping off the various branches of the circulatory system that would normally connect to a human heart.
Brandish then revealed that he had his heart magically removed from his own body, making him difficult to kill. Rose Red eventually takes him captive and gives him an ultimatum, apparently to make an example of him. He can spend the rest of his immortal life buried in concrete, or serve her and her new Round Table.
Brandish accepts and is appointed as a squire to one of her knights. This causes a big rift between Rose and Snow, who was still wanting vengeance for her husband's murder. Brandish would however, soon break his pact with Rose Red. More so, Brandish stays true to his real colors. He quickly murders Weyland Smith, becoming tired of being a squire(and most likely surviving under them).
Brandish demands a trial of combat to prove his innocence which Lancelot accepts. The two knights duel, with Lancelot continuously laying mortal blows. But since Brandish doesn't have his heart, he doesn't die. Eventually, Lancelot starts becoming tired from the endless duel and Brandish lays the killing blow. After the duel, Flycatcher challenges Brandish to a duel, for the crime of mistreating Snow White while she was his prisoner. Brandish accepts the duel and the two fight. Unlike Lancelot, Flycatcher does not make attempts to kill Brandish. However, unknown to both of the duelists, Grimble, in the form of a bird, breaks into the castle holding Brandish's heart and tears it apart, killing the prince for good, making Flycatcher the victor by default.
Prince Brandish was regarded as extremely handsome by both Leigh Douglas and a young Snow White. He has a lean, yet well-toned, physique and, according to Dr. Swineheart, appeared to be thirty years of age, give or take a few years. He has fair skin, ginger colored hair, and hazel eyes.
On the outside, Prince Brandish presents himself as a charming noble. In reality, Brandish is a ruthless, selfish and sadistic individual.
Brandish seems to have an obsession with tradition and "purity", extending and enforcing this view onto others. He has very regressive views on women, claiming Snow White as if she was his property after they vowed to marry centuries before. He considered Snow White's relationship with Bigby and their cubs to be impure, vowing to kill all of them right in front of her so that she can be "clean" and so that she can bare him heirs. At a young age, he killed his own mother, claiming that queens should be "chaste" and "pure."
Powers, Abilities and Weaknesses
- Immortality: Like all Fables, he is unaging and very difficult to kill. This is allegedly based on the popularity of their tales. Due to having undergone the "Red Keep" procedure, Brandish was effectively invulnerable as long as his heart still beats within its protective chamber.
- Magical Enchantments: Brandish also has a number of enchantments laid on him (possibly by Mister Dark). As well as being able to eavesdrop on magical telepathic conversations, he had an enchantment placed upon him that instantly transferred any harm done to him onto Snow White instead. While he healed immediately from any injury he sustained, Snow White would manifest the same injury in the same areas and in the same manner that Brandish had been injured. This link was one way, while Brandish's wounds transfered onto Snow, hers did not transfer to him, as demonstrated when ne broke her arm.
- Acrobatics: Brandish displayed some acrobat skill, showing great agility and physical coordination during his fight with Bigby Wolf.
- Adept Swordsman: A competent swordsman with an acrobatic combat style, Brandish seems to rely on the abilities of his sword more than his skill. Apparently he is not as skilled in fencing as Snow White or Lancelot, seeing as he lost in a duel to both of these opponents.
- Heart: Should any harm come to his heart, Brandish will be adversely affected and struck with lain. If his heart is damaged enough or if his heart's container is destroyed, he will perish.