The long happy, sad, happy story of Tarantella

 

Hi Ellie…this is a loose interpretation of the original Tarantella character. Please, please note…these are suggestions only. She’s your character to create. The suggestions listed here simply work with the gameworld and T’s known history. Add, delete, embrace, ignore, create, destroy, as needed. Rinse and repeat.

 

Childhood - A fairly unhappy time where despite her low upbringing, her precocious intellect and blossoming beauty led to advantages not given to others. It also led to her first introduction to powerlessness and fear, via encounters with lecherous “benefactors”, like her dance teacher.

 

The young woman – At the age of 14, the dance teacher crossed the line with his groping and she killed him with a letter opener. This of course required that she flee her hometown (a small city in Southern Yrkenland). In the journey to her eventual lair in the capital of Southern Yrkenland, she grew as a person and became fiercely independent. She learned how to use her beauty to harmlessly gain material wealth and physical safety, she learned how a stiletto could be silently wielded to punish those who offended her…mostly those who thought that their charity towards her entitled them to certain favors…she learned the art of disguise, mimicking a court attendant to perfection. She was well on her way to lady-in-waiting to the very Princess-Heir of Yrkenland before she was found out.

 

The bad/good year – At age 17, Tarantella’s ruse had been deciphered. Found out in a party for the Princess, armed and certainly no member of a noble family, she for the first time met the southern Count responsible for the security of the King’s house. He immediately recognized her potential, but first had to assure himself that she was not a well-placed northern assassin that had come perilously close to the royals. This man (his name was never known by T) resorted to psychological torture in an attempt to break her, not wishing to damage the goods. In the end, it was the threat to turn her over to the basest of the prison guards, and the violation that suggested, that for the first and last time broke Tarantella’s spirit. She confessed everything…her low upbringing, her motives, how high she had climbed on the social ladder, her benefactors, what she had done (and more importantly, what she had NOT done…she never violated her own principles), who she had killed, who she had spared. The Count took her under his protection, and trained her well. She grew more and more skilled at stealthy killing, learning the arts of the hidden stiletto, the concealed spike, the manufacture and use of venoms, and the mastery of stealth and disguise. When she was ready, she was sent north. Her mission? As part of a loosely assembled conspiracy, effect the death of the Lord Protector of the North, Count Ector Arturus of Galava.

 

The conspiracy – It was only a few weeks after arriving in the north that Tarantella realized the plot was hopeless. Even with detailed knowledge of the means to enter the Count’s secret strongholds in the Spire of Vindolanda, Arturus House in the countryside, and his private retreat at Stillwater by the Sea, the gaggle of half-trained, treacherous, and frankly, amateur assassins collected was barely capable of storming an inn, much less a castle. One man was the exception, and his code name was “Brutus”. He agreed with Tarantella that the plan was hopeless, and the two disengaged, leaving Vindolanda to meet in a small village to the west. They were pursued by northern security, and escaped only by leaving a trail of bodies. Ector’s province of Galava was too “hot” now…Brutus convinced Tarantella to cross the Troos with him, and in coordination with some criminals based there, seek a fortune at what he assured was an abandoned ruin. When he said “Caer Eldren” in response to her question “What ruin?”, Tarantella simply didn’t care. Wealth was freedom, at least for a while. With a dozen conspirators, she headed northwest.

 

Caer Eldren – The assault on Caer Eldren was an unmitigated disaster. Seeing the fortress fully intact and populated, they attempted to flee but to no avail. Cornered by chattering, three-foot tall alien warriors, Tarantella spilled the blood of three before a massive Ken with a spear (Prion) demonstrated her inability to defend herself against a real warrior. In chains, an odd bug-eyed Ken (Landru) demonstrated her inability to defend her own mind. And in the end, she met the Dark Lady, who did all in her power to demonstrate her total powerlessness. But her spirit never broke. The Dark Lady spent many hours with Tarantella, even giving her real weapons which were effortlessly sent spinning to the flooor before she could inflict the slightest scratch on her tormentor. But her spirit never broke. She was offered bound and helpless to hulking Prion, yet that chivalrous man never touched her, except to bind her wounds. Whether it was boredom or mercy, the Dark Lady eventually sent her to a deep dungeon, and threw away the key. For more than a year, Tarantella rotted in a cell. There, she waited patiently for one chance…a chance to kill again, and then die.

 

New captors – Her introduction to a group of Ken gave her some small hope of freedom, but to effect her plan would require the greatest ruse she’d ever attempted. Hatred consumed her, but she knew that if she let it show that she would never be free. She did not know why, but the Dark Lady had granted this group the power to free those who would serve them. So…she would serve them well, until a stiletto in the dark freed her. She chose the one she deemed the most lecherous of the bunch, a wizard named Archimedes, as her target. At the age of 20, her beauty had fully bloomed, despite the deplorable conditions of the dungeon. Over the objection of all his companions, Archimedes insisted she be released. For that, she decided, perhaps she would only castrate him. In the end however, she was tricked again. The wizard’s foul priest deceived her into swearing an oath on an old book, an oath by which she was bound to not harm the group, the group’s cause, or herself. It was the most infuriating, debasing prison yet. And it encouraged the worst of them to taunt her, tease her…to wave her powerlessness in her face. So gritting her teeth, she complied, waiting, hoping for a chance for revenge…and then they left her alone in a hopeless battle, at the mercy of fiends in the dark. She died with a snarl of rage and impotent hate on her lips…

 

The goddess and the choice – The dream is only remembered in fragments. A sad woman, beautiful, with love in her weeping eyes. All the poor choices she had made, all the virtues she had displayed, shown to her in flashes…images only at times. In the end, breakdown. Collapse. Submission. No, not a spirit broken. A spirit renewed. She realized that the hatred was like a poison cloud surrounding her, touching everything, even those not deserving of it. The woman wept, and showed her a wound in the land, a wound that would bleed until the world itself died from it. And that wound was centered at her old prison…Caer Eldren. The goddess gave her a choice…submit, and rest forever…or rise, and fight. The hatred was still there, it kept her warm. The urge to kill those deserving was still there, it sharpened her focus. With amazement, she realized for the first time in her life…she had a goal beyond survival. And a means to achieve. The means was a group. Their names were Archimedes, Draos, Seanee, Tenax, Garion, and Grapa. They were in Charn, and they needed her.

 

Enter Ellie – You know the rest! Let’s flesh this out. I wrote the bones of this a long time ago, and updated it to reflect current events. I know this is awfully melodramatic…if you read all my NPC background docs, you’d get a good giggle out of it. Typically I write shameless melodrama and then refine it in the gameplay to include only the bits the party likes. The result? Fun NPC’s. J

 

Let me know – chris_bunce@yahoo.com