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In fantasy setting, in medieval time, there are a disease, curse... for simplicity in this scenario, let's call it "vampire".

The victim who is afflicted with this "vampirism" does not get older. So if he/she is a child, then he/she will be a child forever. He/She does not die of old age, but only die when killed, from an accident, starvation, and similar non-age related causes.

They have some limited special powers: higher strength, sharper senses, speed. The longer they live, the better their powers become (their power might not grow in natural strength, but might grow in skill by frequency use/training). However, the power is explainable as mundane, it does not reach supernatural levels. One simple individual (non-hero, a normal Joe) cannot single-handedly kill 100 man army, or run at the speed of sound, or Kamehameha... A well trained group of people can kill untrained, normal Joe individual.

An adult may use that power in their daily normal life, some examples:

  • Strength and endurance: one can work as efficient manual laborer and get better pay than their peers.

  • Longevity is also a power: the individual can get become more knowledgeable and wiser but not older. Think of a doctor with 100 years of experience but with the physical characteristics of their 20s.

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But for children, there is a problem:

  • They don't get old, which can be and they might be noticed

  • Child work is low paid. They cannot work as highly educated adult post (doctor, etc.) without explanation why they fit for the job without revealing the secret.

  • The secret of their power might get them hanged, burned alive (medieval) become experiment specimen (modern). Just like in real world.

I would like to ask you how children can survive (just live) centuries:

  • Everyone is almost "average Joe", or a bit better. No hero, no saviors. This is not anime :3

  • This is similar to the real world. The public has not yet found out that "power". The revelation might cause fear, or worse...

  • The world is normal for most of the people. No big event yet. And there better not be one.

In case a boy/girl are somewhat different, please write about both.

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closed as off-topic by Mołot, Frostfyre, We are Monica., sphennings, Mephistopheles Oct 23 at 17:22

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    $\begingroup$ 16th century where? Europe? North America? India? $\endgroup$ – cegfault Oct 20 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ In 16th century Europe a 14 year old person would be an adult. Not girl, but a young woman. Not a boy, but a young man. They would be expected to fulfill the roles of an adult -- take care of themselves, begin to accumulate some money for a dowry (in the case of a woman) or begin to accumulate the means to support a wife (in the case of a man), etc. There were plenty of poor people in 16th century Europe, and they usually survived, so I don't fully understand the question. It's not as if 16th century Europe was some sort of unlivable desert -- there was a working economy. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 20 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ People just kill anyone might be "witch": you have a most strange idea about 16th century Europe. Witch hunts were very localized phenomena, both in space and in time, and anyway they were more a characteristic of the 17th century, not of the 16th. Moreover, witch hunts were basically unknown in large parts of Europe; if the character is afraid of witch finders, the advice would be to stay in Rome and never go to Bamberg. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 20 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ This question seems similar to the origin backstory of the vampire in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_the_Right_One_In_(novel) ; it's not an answer about 16th century but reading it may be relevant. $\endgroup$ – Peteris Oct 20 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ @HahaTTpro: In addition to what AlexP said, it might be a fallacy that witch hunts took place to actually fight down witches... they were a method to act against your fears... If we consider a world where infact witches would exist, and especially if all what makes a witch was they would want to be more efficient worker adding to that they can be killed almost as easily as anyone else, I am sure they wouldn't get hunt down just for that. Also your idea of the becomming specimen for experiments. That might be true, but if it is not a unique occurence, no one would be kept hostage as its a comon $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Oct 21 at 6:46

15 Answers 15

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Find a normal person whom they can trust with their secret and become that person's "apprentice" or "assistant". Using this, their chaperone could get any number of high-paying jobs (doctor, etc.) and find great success with the help of their immortal knowledgeable pal. If people get suspicious, they can pack up and move to another place.

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    $\begingroup$ yeah, good point. If "master" and "apperentice" both also vampire, it is perfect, right ? $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 20 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ This would actually be a fascinating read if the "apprentice" had to advertise for / recruit and then train up a new mortal "master" every few years/decades. $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Oct 20 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ This is (very roughly) the plot of "Let the Right One In", a book (and later movie) about a child vampire. (Not accusing you of plagiarism! Just observation). $\endgroup$ – TenMinJoe Oct 21 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ @TenMinJoe Thanks you for novel recommendation. I just buy the kindle version and reading now. $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 21 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ This is similar to a subplot in "Interview with a Vampire". There was one girl (Kirsten Dunst) who was turned very young and had to survive in a similar time period. A twist, if I'm reading it right, from EveryBitHelps is if the young "apprentice" has to pretend to be an apprentice until they can prove to the master how good they really are, then trains the master to better. Could be interesting if the master was poor until they got trained and then became famous. Could also turn sour as a flashback and shows why the "vampire" doesn't do that anymore. $\endgroup$ – computercarguy Oct 22 at 20:22
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There would be no problem at all.

People in the days before modern medicine and hygiene got sick when they were kids. Some people stayed sick with chronic diseases, especially tuberculosis. If they were lucky enough to survive, these individuals might have their growth very much slowed down. They might not go through puberty. They would stay short and look young.

But they would not act young. They would act like adults. They would wear adult clothes and interact with adults. People interacting with such would take them at face value.

AlexP also points out that in times gone by, a 14 year old would probably be functioning as an adult. He would be expected to manage his own affairs like other adults. If average life expectancy is 35 you cant be a kid until you are 21. You have to get a move on.

The problem of not aging is not really a problem either. Judicious periodic relocations takes care of that.

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    $\begingroup$ just a side-note: The average life expectancy always gets trolled out in these discussions, but it's a myth. Child mortality was high and dragged down the statistical average. Once you made it past childhood, you had a good chance to reach your 60s. see ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/… and many other sources. $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 21 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ ^^^ median life expectancy is more useful when you've got a distribution curve like medieval mortality rates $\endgroup$ – Jeutnarg Oct 21 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ @HahaTTpro - I'm aware of that, but my comment was not about the characters here, but the general statement about life expectancy. $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 21 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Jeutnarg - or it can be extremely misleading if infant mortality is > 50% ;-) $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 21 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom: Yeah, usually the "stable" life expectancy figures use "life expectancy at 18" (or some other adult age). Assuming you survived to age 18 (surviving all the common childhood killers), what was your life expectancy? In the U.S. in 1850, your remaining life expectancy at age 20 (40.1 more years for white males) was higher than that at birth (38.3 years for white males). $\endgroup$ – ShadowRanger Oct 21 at 19:24
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Bard, traveling musician

The character could pass for a musical child prodigy, which would be a plausible cover for the fact that he/she has really been performing for decades or centuries. For example, Mozart, Chopin, and Mendelssohn displayed adult levels of musical ability at young ages. The character's musical abilities would attract notice but not nearly as much as a 14-year old in a skilled trade like medicine or law. It's not the most gainful or stable employment, but it beats the hell out of farming.

This character likely could not live in the same place for more than ~10 years without arousing suspicion. Working as a traveling bard or troubadour would provide a convenient reason to relocate frequently without anyone wondering why. Performing with traveling ensembles for short stints would provide even better cover for the character's secret and a more stable income. These could either be entertaining the masses (playing country dances in barnyards) or the upper crust (playing pavanes at a royal court) or, in the character's long lifetime, both.

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    $\begingroup$ Unless you wear a mask (that you change periodically), it's too risky to become famous: travellers would question why the bard they meet from time to time is always young. $\endgroup$ – Cœur Oct 21 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Cœur someone living that long would naturally learn many, if not dozens, of languages, and gain an excellent knowledge of the known world. They could use that to concoct different back-stories that they could use in different venues. While in France, they claim to be Russian. When they finally get back to Russia, they claim to be French. $\endgroup$ – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Oct 22 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Working in entertainment is a good idea. Wearing a mask or other facial appliances would definitely help, and moving around would work well. There's a lot of masked troupes to swap between. Mime in France, kabuki in Japan, and dozens of others. Join a gypsy community or other circus-style travelling act and if someone recognizes you, pretend it was your parent or grandparent, saying everyone says you look exactly like them at that age. $\endgroup$ – computercarguy Oct 22 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @computercarguy I like the kabuki idea! If only this were about the 20th century we could include lucha libre... $\endgroup$ – korrok Oct 25 at 17:43
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There is a vast range in the rates at which children grow, as well as in their final adult sizes. So there is a great range in the possible size of your 14-year-old boy or girl, and in how old they look.

Some 14-year-old more or less immortal kids might look much younger than 14 to most people who see them. Most would look sort of like 14-year-olds to most people who saw them. Others might look like full grown adults to the people who see them, which I suppose can be ruled out for the purpose of this question since it makes having adult careers easy.

Suppose that the immortal 14-year-old was a member of an aristocratic or middle class family. If their father died while they were still a child, they might come under the official guardianship of their mother or a male relative until they came of age. In England the legal age of majority was usually 21, while in France it may have been 14. presumably his birth date would have been written down (in cas ehe ever wanted tohave his horoscope read, for example) and so there would be an official date for the end of his guardianship.

And once he reached his age of majority, and people were noticing he was small for his age, he might travel to a foreign country with a companion who he might pass off as his guardian in the foreign country, where he might claim to be a 14-year-old child. Having someone pose as his legal guardian would give that person authority over him, but if the child was much stronger than most kids his age and even than adults he could intimidate the "guardian" into not abusing his fake position.

Possibly the "guardian" might have a thing for 14-year-old kids and might consider it ideal to pose as the "guardian" of someone who was eternally 14 years old physically.

And the kid and his "guardian" might travel from country to country or city to city every few years so that the kid's lack of aging would not be noticed.

It is possible that an eternally 14 year old girl might also be able to do the same thing.

Of course as a girl got into her later teens and her twenties her family might want to arrange a marriage for her. And how acceptable a bride she might be for prospective grooms would depend on the size of dowry offered, her degree of beauty, her personality, and if she seemed capable of child birth. The more years older than fourteen she got while still physically fourteen, the less likely she would seem to grow in the future.

So if someone was considering marrying a girl who had looked 14 years old for years and didn't seem likely to grow any more, he might have her examined by doctors and midwives for their professional opinions about whether she seemed to be built for safe and successful childbirth.

Every person alive today is descended from countless millions and billions of mothers, many of whom gave birth to healthy children when aged 14 and even younger. But I think that only a minority of fourteen year old girls are properly developed for childbirth.

So an eternally fourteen-year-old girl's marriage prospects would depend on whether she resembled a typical fourteen-year-old girl probably not developed enough for safe childbirth or a rarer fourteen-year-old girl who seemed capable of safe childbirth.

I note that in the Age of Discovery most large European ships' crews would have a small proportion of boys aboard.

An eternally 14-years-old boy could join a ship sailing to some exotic foreign land, and there he might join the crew of another ship, and another ship, and another ship, over and over again, claiming to be 14 every time. If the boy reached a polytheistic land like India or Indochina, or China, Korea, or Japan, he might try to found a cult with him as some sort of immortal child and minor god.

And in Europe someone might found a monastery if they have enough money, and perhaps make unusual regulations such as the monastery always has to provide room for children of the founder's family who will from time to time be disciplined by being sent there for solitary confinement, seeing no one and thinking about what they did wrong. Each time a hopefully repentant child finishes their term of confinement and leaves for the family home, another trouble making child will soon arrive, both wearing hoods and holding their heads low in shame so no one can see their faces.

History is full of examples, with varying degress of success, of women passing themselves off as men, men passing themselves off as women, boys impersonating girls and girls impersonating boys. Possibly your ageless boy or girl, might alternate male and female fake identities.

It seems to me that a typical looking 14-year-old boy could pass himself off as a young woman who is unusually small in size and rather average looking if he wears women's clothing. So possibly he might get a job as a tavern wench and possibly slowly work his way up to owner of the tavern, or some other job for women. He might get a cottage and till a garden and spin thread at home for sale, etc.

If he looks like 14 forever, he might have to start wearing a mask to hide his face after some years, explaining that he had a disfiguring accident or illness and can't bear the though of anyone seeing his face.

And no doubt there are many other methods for an eternally 14-year-old child to conceal the fact that they never age.

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Join a Monastery & Hide in a Sea of Miracles

The best place to hide for hundreds of years would be in a small monastery. There the agelessness and other attributes would be considered a 'divine blessing' The monks could bring the child out on a regular basis as an example of their god's power. This would prevent any fears any believers would have about their condition, as it fits perfectly inside their worldview.

What about Unbelievers? / Why doesn't the World at Large Know?

They would simply not believe the story is true. To them, miracles are legends, frauds, or misunderstood natural phenomenon. What is more likely: the kid is actually 200 years old or the monks are finding a new similarly looking boy every few years and just saying it is the same kid? The monks could swear up and down that this child hasn't aged at all in their life, but no one would believe them. If they were committing a fraud, that is what they would say, isn't it?

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This is the premise of the 2018 Anime film Sayonara no asa ni yakusoku no hana o kazarô (Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms).

Shortly after being violently removed from the land where they all are like this, into the land of the humans, Maquia (a girl of about 15 or 16 years old) finds an orphaned human baby and takes him in. To the outside world, first he is her baby, then her little brother, then her friend, fiancé or brother, then her older brother, then her father, and ultimately her grandfather. He is the only one to know her secret. He has the role of the guardian mentioned in other answers. If I recall correctly, the setting is more like 19th century than 16th century, but I think that doesn't matter much.

Her life is lonely, because she has to move every 3–5 years or so, or people will become suspicious that she is one of them, and they are hostile to them. Otherwise, she can have any of a variety of jobs, as indicated in other answers.

From the IMDB synopsis:

In the land of Iolph, all the people stop aging in their mid-teens and can live for hundreds of years. One resident, Maquia, feels lonely despite the peaceful and idyllic land she lives in. But one day, the Mesarte army invades Iolph, seeking the peoples' blood for their immortality. Maquia manages to escape the destruction and chaos of war, but with no home or people, she becomes a wanderer in a dark forest. She comes across Erial, an infant mortal boy who has lost his parents, and becomes his guardian. The story follows the relationship that evolves between the two as Erial grows up while Maquia does not.

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Thieving, Farming, or Working Trade Routes

The core problem here is that no traditionally adult profession would be possible, as people would notice (eventually) that the child is not aging at the rapid rate children that age normally would. Also, youth have difficulty setting themselves as experts (so no one would believe them to be a qualified doctor, lawyer, or engineer). Any long-term exposure to the same people would be dangerous and result in rumors that could expose the secret. Furthermore, being a nomad wouldn't be easy at that age because governments would be likely to try to adopt them into a home or orphanage, which again results in the same people seeing them across long periods of time.

This leaves only a few options:

Thieving

Being a thief would be a surprisingly good option. No one would believe a child that age could break a door in a certain way, or have knowledge of picking locks, or whatever. And even if they get caught, their better-than-average strength would give them the opportunity to escape quickly and move on to another town, where they steal what they need.

Farming

Farming has the advantage of preventing them from moving around a lot, and allows them to establish some type of permanence. They can work the land and animals like adults would, and travel to random towns to sell eggs, milk, meat, and produce from the farm. An especially crafty child could find intermediaries to pick up the produce and sell it form them, preventing exposure to more than a handful of people - which means trusted individuals, bribing them, or threatening them, to keep the secret. Limiting this exposure would allow the child to live in semi-isolation.

Trade Routes

Trade routes go back to the beginning of human civilization, but in the 16th century many trade routes were opening up across the world stemming from the Renaissance in Europe. This would be an optimal opportunity to bounce around the world gaining experience, wisdom, trades, and make money as a manual laborer working random trade routes. Because of the constant motion across many peoples and cultures, exposure to any one group would not likely last more than a year or two.

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    $\begingroup$ > "governments would be likely to try to adopt them into a home or orphanage" - I think you are using a modern understanding of Government intervention with teenage children. In the middle ages 14 was considered an adult: quora.com/What-did-teenagers-do-for-fun-in-medieval-times $\endgroup$ – Surprised Dog Oct 20 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ farming would need property ( a farm, a piece of land to farm on). How would you resolve the ownership of property ? $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 20 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Benjamin good point. The "child" will have to deal this problem later on, if she survive long enough. So it might not be a concern in the early day. $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 20 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Benjamin in most societies one was an "adult" at the age of 13, but it was uncommon to be a self-sustaining adult at 13; that is, you still lived with your parents at 14, and a while 14 year olds living on their own did happen, they were often adopted or placed into orphanages for inability to provide for themselves. It wasn't until the second world war that people stopped living with their extended families. In medieval europe abandoned teenagers (or sole survivors of war/disease) often ended up in churches $\endgroup$ – cegfault Oct 20 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ @HahaTTpro farming doesn't require property, at the time many (and in some locations, most) farmers were tenants/renters/serfs/etc farming land that belongs to someone else, and especially after various conflicts it wasn't uncommon for there to be more available farmland than workforce, with settlers being brought and bought to farm the lord's lands and give the lord a share of their produce. $\endgroup$ – Peteris Oct 20 at 23:35
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He can be a wanderer

Many of your listed challenges can be avoided just by having your character be a wanderer. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques (better known for the Redwall series) takes this approach with an immortal boy and his dog. The boy is fated to live forever after being rescued from the Flying Dutchman and is given the command that he spend his immortality helping people. The rule continues he may only stay in an area until he hears a bell ring. There are three books in the series which take place at different times in history, but it seems the boy definitely moves around quite a bit.

If your character is always on the move, nobody notices that he doesn't age. It is possible that he may return to a certain area long enough after his last appearance that nobody recognizes him. Furthermore since he's starting from scratch in each new town that he enters, he can choose whichever role suits him best, whether he gets himself temporarily adopted, works as an entertainer, apprentices himself (as other excellent answers here suggest), etc. The only time this will start to get trickier is in modern day with increased technology and extra laws concerning minors. This is after the time period you're looking into though (and for Castaways of the Flying Dutchman as well), so you may not need to figure that out.

One major advantage of this approach is that it gives you a lot of flexibility. Each challenge you want to introduce is specific to an area or the people in it (such as your witch hunt example, or whether its a dangerous area and 14yo adventurers should not go alone, etc), so you're only introducing them if they have a narrative purpose rather than the story being unbelievable if they are not addressed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer and first post. Please take the tour and when you have a moment, read up the help center. Enjoy the site. +1 (From review). $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Oct 21 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with wandering is that a wanderer is perpetually a stranger, and thus under suspicion. $\endgroup$ – Mark Oct 21 at 22:47
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Assuming 16th Century Europe and an age that is not seen as adult yet by the general populace (both points that other answers and comments already went into), my suggestion would be to:

Join a Church

Walk up to a church, explain your parents have died and you've walked for days. Get taken in, help out, learn some bible stuff. As the years go by and suspicion rises, just leave again and head to the next church (or maybe a few churches over).

The reason I'm specifically suggesting a church is because you then have a solid fundamental knowledge of the bible, meaning it will be easier to ingratiate yourself into the next church.

Them taking in a mysterious orphan is a moderately likely thing, them taking in a mysterious orphan that knows a LOT of scripture is basically guaranteed.

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    $\begingroup$ Depending on which of the usual vampire properties apply in this fictional universe, it might be quite difficult for the person to function normally in the presence of lots and lots of crucifixes and holy water. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Oct 21 at 9:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp A fair point, I interpreted the "vampire" in the question as shorthand for never ageing. If the traditional vampire weaknesses are also present then a church would be a horrible place to go. $\endgroup$ – Mara Oct 21 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp "vampire" in this question is just an example. The main problem need to ask is how to deal with "never aging" in society. $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 21 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ But @Philipp mention the danger of the Church is real. The child maybe seen as evil, vampire, witch, heresy, ... due to staying young for too long and be executed. $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 21 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ @HahaTTpro, you need to look at the sociological reasons why witches were persecuted, not the reasons given in writings of the time. Fundamentally, witches and other heretics were persecuted for being members of the outgroup; someone who's a member of the ingroup is safe regardless of appearance or behavior. Your mysterious un-aging orphan is probably better off staying at a single nunnery or monastery, as a trusted (if odd) member of the community. $\endgroup$ – Mark Oct 21 at 22:46
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Pirate/Traveler/Merchant

If the person is 14 or around that age, they are old enough to join a ship and be part of the crew, but it could be quite dangerous if they get unlucky. After a couple of years they could just change ships, new crew means people would believe they are a 14 years old kid trying some new adventures. Repeat until done.

As a traveler they can go from town to town, help in different tasks and the same, after a couple of years just move to a new town further from the first one and you are a new 14 years old in town.

Merchant that goes from town to town buying/selling stuff, they could change routes after a couple of years and people won't ask any questions.

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    $\begingroup$ This is by far the best answer. Ship's crew was lucrative but hard work, often employing former criminals and thus asking very few questions, and the ability to travel from port to port meant you could travel from gig to gig without anyone noticing you were the same guy they hired ten years ago. $\endgroup$ – Carduus Oct 22 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ I may not quite recommend to join a ship crew in the 16th century while looking like a 14 years old if your character is a girl. $\endgroup$ – Cœur Oct 22 at 14:23
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If their senses are heightened, they wouldn't need a guise for a very long time. Live off of wild edibles, hunt, and trap. No one would batt an eye to a young person selling furs and meat from their 'fathers' kills. After a decade or so they would be so adept at living off of the land, they could trade their expertise as guides and trackers. Moving from place to place so no one recognized them, even if they did get a second glance. Even the most seasoned woodsman would take a little girls word for 'don't go there, go here' if that was their local guide. Up until the 20th century you could do very well for yourself using your heightened sense to live off of the land and sell furs.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting point of view. It might worked for some case. $\endgroup$ – Haha TTpro Oct 21 at 16:27
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Tell the truth, swear off politics, have 0 problems

Child grows up in medieval Europe. Child does not age past adulthood. Child is assumed to be blessed. Child joins monastery and lives private life of holiness. No one bothers child unless they interfere in politics or we're sacking monasteries now. Ideally the chosen monastery is in Rome, but the child can flee for safety in times of political turmoil one supposes, in any case (e.g. the French Revolution). From 1940's-present child needs to hide from atheistic assassins, particularly those working for the USSR and then China, assuming history plays out the same way (it probably should). The Church doesn't have that much money these days, but antireligious regimes aren't that invested in destroying miraculous things so long as they aren't directly interfering in their control of a populace, so just mostly staying out of the way would be your best bet.

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H. P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

A 17th century wizard, who actually did escape the Salem trials, recognizes that his magically-slowed aging is going to cause him increasing social problems, so he arranges to "disappear" for a few years and come back as his "son", to whom he has left his possessions in his will. By the turn of the 20th century, he has moved halfway across the world and set himself up as an entirely different person, using the vast wealth that he has built over the centuries to hide himself from the public eye, being seen as a "crazy old man" type that nobody wants to be involved with. In this case, slow-aging wizards are noted for appearing elderly, but this does not invalidate the scenario. Others have mentioned that older people can "look" younger for various reasons.

P. J. Plauger's Child of All Ages

In this story, a preteen girl from Ancient Greece must take regular anti-aging treatments in order to stay short of puberty, which will mean the end of the effectiveness of the treatment (it is not effective for older children or adults). Much of her story is about how she has survived inquiry for so long. By the turn of the 20th century, she is wandering the US, forging paperwork to get herself admitted to various orphanages and foster homes, where she stays a few years each. When adults start to get "concerned" over her apparent lack of aging and wonder if medical intervention is necessary (e.g. her paperwork says she is 12, but she looks 8), she moves on. A big part of her adventure is the paperwork requirement, which she comments is becoming more and more difficult. IMHO that is a key - nowadays, it's quite difficult for a person to set up a new identity with all the right documents, etc. It's become quite a small world, and it's easy to assume that things have always been that hard. Back then, communities were separated for years, with very little news, and much official paperwork was little more than some official's signature to a handwritten document. When your heroine shows up in Belfast with a note from some random Spanish priest stating that the girl is a nun to be admitted to the local convent, they will probably be fooled as long as it looks like something a priest would write - dispatching a background check official by ship to verify the existence of Father R. M. Lopez, who might even be dead by the time they were tracked down, is just too much work.

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Not staying in one place for too long

Just moving from place to place will keep people from wondering about their agelessness. As stated in other answers they wouldn't be seen as a child at 14 years old because of the much shorter average lifespan. Helping as a farmhand and moving to a new farm every few years will provide food and relative safety as apposed to wandering and being alone at all times.

However, diseases are still a serious problem for our ageless 14-year-old. Staying away from cities will help in avoiding these partly as most epidemics break out in larger cities. This is the reason I suggested being a farmhand instead of being a worker in a city.

Girl specific challenges

Being a wandering girl of 14 will be a lot harder. The chance to be taken in by a farmer is still there although smaller because they will mostly need people for heavy physical labor and assume a girl won't be able to provide that. It is even more important to get a group of people who will look after you when being a girl at that time so using the strength or other skills gained from being ageless to guarantee a place to work might be the best option.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, girls were as hard-working as boys in those medieval times. $\endgroup$ – toolforger Oct 22 at 20:46
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People have mentioned being a wanderer a lot but there wasn't a lot of specifics.

He could join a family of the Romany though. Most folks might call them Gypsies (in ignorance, I believe) I'm not a huge expert on that group of peoples and tribes and most of what I know is from books and movies, but there is enough there to build a Plausible path for your immortal teenage boy. Girls might do well too, but it might be harder.

The Romany gives the Immortal kid a whole host of advantages. The most obvious is the preferred nomadic lifestyle coupled with a fairly insular community. There was a very wide diaspora of Romany tribes and they can be found all over Europe, Western Asia, even as far as the new world.

In addition, the Romany tend to avoid government involvement as much as they can, so there would not likely to be any sort of coherent record of a 14 year old joining one wagon train and leaving 40 years later and being connected to another 14 year old joining a different family. This means the kid could live in relative obscurity from a state perspective.

Another bonus is that the Romany are often depicted as a superstitious people. This is likely due to them having a range of religions from Christianity to Islam to Hinduism and shades between. Therefore it becomes plausible that a 14 year old Immortal would be both hidden and revered.

A Girl may have a harder time of it. She would get the benefits of the nomadic lifestyles, shielding from the government, and so on. The downside is that the Romany Culture is very much a Masculine culture. Girls were married off young, and the men of the family had a great deal more power in the family dynamic. Not sure how it would play long term, but I have visions in my head of the Immortal putting on old woman makeup and presenting the face of the Gypsy Fortune Teller to the world.

Certain things the Immortals could do for the tribe is to keep internal histories. They could also be an errand boy for the family in the towns they pass through. They could take the time to set up investments to benefit the family long term with the power of things like compound interest.

The Historic Distrust of the Romany peoples is an issue, but these people have been around for hundreds of years in spite of the efforts of ignorant and violent leaders.

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