Question: My novel is a high fantasy that takes place in a desert empire that is mostly based on Ancient Egypt (with some Japanese influence too), and in the deepest reaches of the desert, where humans could never go, live various supernatural spirits; we'll call them "demons" for the sake of simplicity. A central character in the book is a prince of this empire whose mother is actually one of these demons, a powerful spectral lion with control of the sands and the gift of shape-shifting. Among the pride, mating with humans is taboo (it dilutes the "sacred blood" of the pride) and so this hybrid prince is raised exclusively by his human relatives. His heritage gives him a preternatural beauty, incomparable skill in and out of battle, and certain inherent magical qualities. But he is cold, angry and ruthless, even sociopathic, in his behavior; princes of this people are given their own cities to rule and in his city, the most trivial offenses carry the death sentence. Anyway, two of the major subplots of the book are A) The prince's romantic struggles (with a foreign prince no less... any pointers?), and B) Winning acceptance into the pride. My first problem is how the two princes could develop such a relationship - not because of gender (though the foreigner is "straight" for the most part...), but because of the hybrid's personality - once that initial "first glance" has been established. My second is, though the hybrid is meant to be somewhat unbalanced, when he's around the pride, his half-siblings (who despise him) in particular, his cold exterior shatters; He
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