From DivNull RPG
Real World History
Tanador was born to Thorbin, a tanner who catered to middle to upper scale clients in the city of Anden. Although Tanador helped out with transporting, feeding, killing and skinning the animals on occasion, his father made sure that his son never wanted to be a tanner. Tanador’s grandfather Talbot made sure that Thorbin became a tanner, and Thorbin hated him for it; all he wanted to do was sing. So Tanador, all of twelve years, was shipped to Brukenbrod where he studied music with a friend of his father’s-a man named Ramone Peypoch. In between lessons, Tanador earned his keep by helping a neighbor named Gibbons Lek with his pigs and chickens. He killed time by watching the older boys (Rudiose, Ledzek and Barnard) play dice and listening to old men, especially one called Garvin, tell stories in the town square.
One day, just after turning fifteen, Tanador finished exploring a section of town and was returning home, when he saw a young lady drop a piece of clothing from her laundry basket. Tanador walked over and picked up the clothing, but he had lost track of her. He wound through the streets in search, and finally saw her across a town square. Fearing he would loose her again, he called across the square to her “My lady! You forgot this!” while waiving her dropped clothing. She paid him no heed and walked on. He ran after her and caught up with her just before she entered a dwelling. He returned the clothing, and she blushed a bit and gave her thanks.
In a few days, accounts of how a young boy waved a young lady’s undergarments at her across the square turned rapidly into to speculation as to how a boy from out of town had acquired such items, to full blown rumor of unnatural acts between a woman of virtue-who in this case happened to be Lady Lawren of Lillenhiem-and a stranger. Tanador found these rumors disturbing (especially since they were so untrue-he was in actuality performing unnatural acts with, Lady Adana, a girl of much higher social standing). They were not nearly so disturbing as the young lady’s father, Arthur Lillenhiem‘s, insistence on immediate marriage between the two, to put a clean face on things. (Really, he just wanted to get some good furs from Tanador’s father for cheap and rid himself of an ugly daughter). Not thinking too quickly, Tanador left town and headed home.
Fearing that someone might be waiting for him, he snuk into his home city to look around first. He played for room and board for a few days at Brotenberry’s Tavern, an out of the way inn. While playing one night, he saw Talia Rassen, a girl he knew from before he left: his first crush. A full three years older than he, she had blossomed into a nubile woman. She was captivated by his singing, and this city not being as hung up on virtue as the one he had left, they slept together that night and began a torrid affair. She invited him to stay at her place, as she lived alone, and he did. Tanador never stopped to consider how a single young woman could manage to have her own place. He also believed her when she said that the men’s clothes in her closet belonged to her late father. One night, the warm light from the street torches spilling onto their love-making forms, just as the girl’s merchant husband Brucken Rassen spilled into the room, returned from his caravan two months ahead of schedule. Not realizing much other than a foaming middle aged man was trying to cut him with a large knife, Tanador made his apologies and jumped out of the second story window. In a brilliant display of agility, Tanador managed to catch one of the banners advertising the spring festival and nearly slid down it to safety; however, the banner ripped at the top, dumping Tanador the rest of the way to the street. The banner then proceeded to fall over one of the city night torches as well as an expensive carriage below. Quite quickly, the banner began to burn, and carried the fire to the carriage, igniting it as well. The single occupant of the stationary carriage, a plump elderly woman, came stumbling out of the carriage, screaming.
Tanador, ever the hero (and still naked), helped the screaming woman to her feet. She began ineffectually pummeling him, until the carriage driver came back from his errand and pulled her away. That done, Tanador, ever the hero (and still naked), decided that the carriage definitely needed extinguishing. Picking up a large piece of thick cloth that someone had left in the street (seeming to him for just such a purpose), he began slapping at the flames with it. In the heat of the moment-Tanador fighting bravely against the building inferno-his lover’s husband came at him with the knife, looking like a hell itself in the firelight. Tanador, ever the hero (and still naked), ran like mad, leaving the large cloth draped over the flames. He heard the man cry in rage, his lover crying, an amused boy say “he’s nekkid, momma” and a horrified old woman hysterically screaming “my cloak, my cloak”. Later he put the crest on the carriage together with the old woman’s face and realized that he had incinerated the prize cloak of Baroness Hildebrand, the matron of a very influential House of Brannoncrast, while trying to use it to halt the conflagration of her prize carriage.
He left town.
In Glencoe, Tanador managed to stay out of trouble for nearly three years. He plied his trade, though at first times were tough. Working in bad areas of town like the Curldest Quarter forced Tanador to learn the knife and staff to defend the few coins he made on the streets or in the odd tavern; however, it also gave him better insight into other social classes, which benefited his music. Gradually, Tanador began playing better and better locales, eventually being requested by name a few times in some of the better dining establishments in the city. The added income allowed him more free time, which he spent pursuing his interest the games of chance he watched avidly in his youth.
Luck treated Tanador pretty well at gambling, but he never really gambled for the money; he did it because it made it easier to pick up women. While betting on the Contest of Ways, an archery contest, his eye was taken by a beautiful young maiden. Asking around, Tanador discovered that she was called Rebecca del Pelladella and had a passion for both archery and archers. In order to win her heart (and other parts of her anatomy) Tanador took up the bow. Being basically pretty bad at this, and watching the skill displayed by Antovel (the contest’s eventual winner), Tanador learned a lesson in men doing stupid things under infatuation.
While on route to play at a wedding reception in the woods, Tanador came across four men. Two of the men, called Sir Henry and Sir Bradley, both of the Black Orchid, were shouting insults at each other. Brimbrax, who stood beside Sir Henry, and Lord Michael of the Iron Fist, who stood behind Sir Bradley, remained silent, but looked prepared to back up their respective shouting comrade. Sensing that the conflict might grow violent, Tanador composed a soothing song of peace on the spot. He played for these gentlemen, encouraging to put down their animosity and shake hands. It took a bit of verbal encouragement, but eventually, they were laughing with each other like they were old friends. Satisfied that he had prevented unneeded bloodshed, Tanador continued on his way.
A few weeks later, the tension level in the city increased by quite a bit. Two powerful members of The Black Orchid – a warrior clan – were being ridiculed for backing out of a duel with each other, and in order to avoid seeming cowardly, the two escalated the conflict and declared open war on each other. Although many thought this odd – as rumors held the two men to be best friends – the town was divided into three groups: one following one warrior, one following another, and the innocent bystanders, wishing the two warriors would stop making life so complicated. After Tanador discovered that these two men were the men he talked into peace in the woods, he decided that he should find as much out about the situation as possible.
Tanador discovered that the men had, in fact, been friends; however, they both were enamored with the Lady Silvia. Loving the attention, the woman played one against the other. While both were very drunk, she maneuvered them into a duel. By the time both of them came to their senses, they were yelling at each other in the forest. Looking for any excuse to avoid killing each other (as they were still good friends in spite of the rivalry), when this bard showed up and sang soothing music, they decided to use the situation as a chance to put the event behind them. The woman, however, had different ideas. Her dreams of gaining romantic fame across the town as the woman two brave men fought to the death over dashed, she set about making life for the two men-who by now had come to their senses and looked elsewhere for love-as miserable as possible. She had no love for the bard, either, but she could not seem to find out who he was. She was looking, though, as were the men. Although Tanador heard a rumor that one of the warriors was looking to save face by finding the bard and “proving” how persuasive the bards talents were, Tanador decided to leave the town before too many people started asking for him by name.
Years later, in the city of Bamphf, Tanador had made more of a name for himself, and fell so hard for a local woman named Annabelle Silven, they were engaged to be married. Tanador’s singing ability allowed him to live a fairly decent life. As he looked foreword to the married life, he began to fancy himself as a gentleman, and took to carrying a rapier (that he couldn’t use) with him in public. This was one of the things that attracted his would-be bride, a charming, stunning, if somewhat unenlightened girl. She was the daughter of Sirus Silven, a semi-successful silversmith and member of the Guild of Revierus. As it happened, Redlus to Dalos died and guild traditions held that a guild ceremony be held in honor of the well-loved guildsman. Parker Bestarla, one of the senior guildsmen, was named as master of the ceremony, a title of great honor and risk, as the ceremony chosen would reflect directly on the master of it, and had huge political ramifications within the guild. A friend of the master of the ceremony, Tanador’s father-in-law-to-be suggested that Tanador be hired to provide music for parts of the ceremony. Not knowing any of the political weight of the ceremony, Tanador accepted. Just before the ceremony, a guildsman approached Tanador and gave him a list of the songs he was to play. He looked the list over, and found it appropriate, especially the last one, which talked of overflowing mines in the afterworld and so on. As Tanador played this last song, the guild hall erupted with whistles and the banging of mugs on tables. Taking this as encouragement, Tanador played louder, right up until someone grabbed him from the stage and started kicking him.
Apparently, the whistles and pounding were the guild equivalent of boos. As Tanador found out later, the song he had played symbolized Redlus to Dalos’ most hated rival, Varca of Mand, the leader of another clan. (Unknown to Tanador, the guildsman who had supplied him the song had done so on the orders of Harvec Roz, a senior guildsman who stood to gain much from the public embarrassment of the master of the ceremony.) Beaten and bleeding, Tanador was shoved into a closet while the enraged guild found tar and feathers for both Tanador and the master of the ceremony. Tanador managed to pick the lock and ran for his life, leaving his fiancé behind without explanation. (The woman’s father, by the way, was banished from the guild for suggesting Tanador as entertainment.)
Fearing for his life and his livelihood (as his name as an entertainer would surely be tarnished), Tanador fled to the far north, hoping to hide out and build a new life in the confusion of the events there.
All his life, Tanador has thirsted for new experience. This quest always continues, and any chance he gets to sample a new food, new custom, or new sensation will be undertaken with little regard to consequences. (When sampling Agachack’s wine, for example, he pretty much new it would be spiked, but tasted it anyway). Embarking on the Alabaster Key quest was part of this thirst for experience, as Tanador has never done anything like it. But this is not Tanador’s primary motivation.
Knowing so much about mythology, heroes and legends, Tanador has one major goal: to become a legend. This is why he writes music; this is why he risks his life adventuring. He wants children to desire to grow up to be just like him. He wants his name to a household word. He wants his music on the lips of people all over the world. This is the main reason he is interested in the Service. It is a legend come to life, and he is a part of it.
To that end, he has begun what he feels is his true calling. For a long while, Tanador considered his ability to do magic a side note, a parlor trick. As it became more useful to him, he thought of it as a tool, but nothing more than that. Recently, he had a discussion with a mage named Vortigern. The mage brought a new idea to Tanador’s attention: magic is can be customized. It is not the recite formula x to get achieve effect y method that Tanador assumed it was. With this fact, Tanador immediately came to a staggering revelation: magic is an art form. That night Tanador decided upon the way he might spread his name far and wide. He would unite music, story-telling, performance and magic into one art form.
At the moment, he knows of only a few rudimentary ways that this can be done, namely using illusion type magics to create voices, sound effects and perhaps visuals to compliment his performance. At this point, his knowledge of magic becomes a barrier to furthering this aim, so one of his goals is to learn much more about magic, especially those magics that effect or produce sound.
He is also writing a symphony which utilizes a bit a magic. The work details the Alabaster Key quest, and is semi-narrative, though not with vocal narration. This work is nearly complete. He hopes to present it in Bruckenbrod or Anden, though he needs to convince someone to play it and pick the lead players.
Due to a deal with Lasadulu, he has dedicated this symphony to her. He was not religious before, but more and more he is coming to believe in Lasadulu, because she seems to keep sending signs to him. Exploring this religion is occupying a lot of Tanador’s thoughts recently. It was helped along be seeing Allegra call fire from the sky when he was in a somewhat altered state of mind. Though he believes in Lasadulu, he makes a point of not being too deferential to her. He tends to deal with her as if she were an unseen human. He thinks she is a total babe.
Recently, Tanador has been feeling the moral load of having killed other men. He feels it is sometimes needed, but seeks ways to avoid it, unless a stronger purpose intervenes.
Tanador also wishes to gather more spells. Some of this list he knows by effect because he has seen them, others are just vague notions. None are known by name. These categories are in order of preference. The spells are ordered by level.
Tanador’s magnum opus thus far is his symphony, Prelude to Games.
- The World Moves: A lute song with lyrics about happy youth, stolen away by cruel fate. The happy parts are fast, the sad parts are slow and discordant. This is meant to depress people just enough to have pity on themselves (and buy more ale).
- Newday: A striking battle anthem, using a mix of percussion and reed pipe and voice. The lyrics speak of glory in battle and the triumph of the just cause. It is meant to inspire soldiers.
- Anklebiter Blues: A lute piece, with a view vocals. It’s sole purpose is to put children to sleep.
- Skewered Squires: A bizarre experimental clash of sound, with meaningless metaphoric lyrics. The intent is to come across as artistic and impress the avant-guarde.
- Pepé: A simple drum and vocal song. The lyrics use the story of a dragon choking on its own smoke, suffocating on its own treasure and otherwise messing itself as a subtle metaphoric dig against the Establishment. On the surface, it is a humorous song, and is meant to be memorable, so that people might sing it to others, without really thinking about its meaning.
- Temple: An a capella song, very slow, that builds and builds. It starts with a tale of despair-getting beaten, robbed and so on, which builds into a triumph of hope using the power of believing in yourself. The word “faith” is used twice, allowing the reading in of a handful of religious beliefs. The intent is to inspire hope in a downtrodden people.
- Nextday: A pipe song, with spoken breaks, telling a David and Goliath type story of a lone figure beating incredible odds by sticking to his guns. It is martial in theme, meant to be played for soldiers about to face a superior force.
- Petals: A classic love song. It includes metaphors about flowers and light, sung in a very pure way, but a listen to the lyrics shows them to be cleverly veiled sexual metaphors. The intent is to make people feel gooey, and in love with others.
- The Long Nights: A tragic love song, on lute, with vocals. The lyrics tell the story of a man who loved a woman, then ran afoul of bad men and was killed, without his love ever knowing. The chorus is about her waiting for him at various times in their relationship: before they meet, and after his death, but she waits on. The intent it to make people, women especially, cry.
- The Ballad of Dieuxmi: A self-serving love song. The intent of this song is not to make people fall in love with each other, but to make key women in the audience fall in love with me specifically. It features sexy (but not forceful) lyrics and many vocal tenor parts that make women swoon.
- The Ballad of the Misunderstood Hero: a reed pipe song, intended to be humorous and bawdy, about a well meaning boy who scours the earth to return a pair of undergarments to a woman who does not want them. The intent is to make people laugh.
- Might Is the Wise Ruler: A noble lute song, using lots of bass, singing the praises of beneficent leaders, especially those with wide or succesful empires/kingdoms. It is meant to praise a leader and inspire his people toward him; however, when played faster and in a different tone of voice, it can come across as sarcastic, if the audience is pre-disposed to hear it that way.
- A Day in the Taming of a Fishmonger: An complicated instrumental lute song. This is intended for no effect, other than to impress someone with my abilities.
- Bronyard’s Stomp: An instrumental rousing rural song. Taught to Tanador by Dylan Vlad.
- Dance of the Four: A song penned by Dylan Vlad and Tanador about the four elements of fire, water, earth and air. Each element represents a certain lifestyle (fire = warrior, earth = farmer, air = religious, water = politics/nobility). Each element as a long verse about it. Each verse makes the element in question seem superior to the ones mentioned before; however, the song is structured in such a way that the elements can come in any order. The result is a song that can be used to curry favor at high brow gatherings (as long as it’s only played once).
- If There Be Thorns: This is a song about beautiful red flowers hiding evil thorns and the pleasures of killing the flower to kill the thorns. It can be humorous or melancholy, depending on tempo and presentation. What this song hides deeply within itself is Tanador’s confession of the pleasure he felt in first killing a soldier of the Red Army.
- Where the Hell is Tortuga: Inspired by Captain Tortuga, this spirtely lute and vocal piece decribes the captain and ponders the location of Tortuga. Later, the humorous song ponders the location of the captain himself.
- Burden of What Have You: A working title for an unwritten song.
Nearly all of Tanador’s poems are humorous. He uses them to fill the space in between songs. Many poems that are not humorous, he keeps to himself.
- A sonnet, on the subject of blind infatuation gone horribly wrong. The style is semi-narrative.
- An obscure collection of self-rhyming sentences (a la Bob Dylan) which are meant to baffle the listener into laughter, or at least amused confusion. The subject is completely meaningless, as is the order of the verses.
- A non-humorous, classically structured love poem, tinged with regret. It is titled after my fiancé.
- A bawdy poem about two men trying to make money. Each four line verse sets up a master get rich scheme and is followed by a three line verse, in a different rhythm, that tells how it went wrong. While meant as a humorous story, it is really a moral fable about greed.
- A sequence of limerick genre poems, mostly about women of easy virtue. Generally, they are the type of poem where people laugh, toast, and drink. The intent is to get people to laugh together, as well as consume alcohol.
- A serious poem about a wandering friar (or cleric or whatever) in search of Truth and never finding it from other people. In the end, he finds it in himself. With rather stunning linguistic twists, it slams many lifestyles, including the humble farmer, the angry warrior, the pious priest (perhaps this lifestyle most of all) and the greedy merchant.
- A poem of lust, to be told on a moonlit stroll to a wide-eyed maiden. The subject is the woman herself, but is ambiguous enough that it could apply to anyone.
- A poem of a man, who’s body is burdened, but can be set free with a kiss. The poem’s verse talks about hardship, while the refrain speaks of the freedom allowed by the kiss. The verses start with normal hardships, but move increasingly toward the hardship of not having a kiss. It is meant to end by kissing the woman to which it is told.
- A humorous tale of sweet parting, making fun of forgetting good times and old friends, like all people have a tendency to do. There is a line about “would be lovers, never to see each other”, which is emphasized by staring at a woman if one catches my eye. Worked into the ending is a thinly veiled begging for money. Generally, this is used to close a performance before I pass the hat around. If it is an upscale place, I’ll not do the money line.
- Again, a poem being worked into a song.
- An invitation to Brimbrax to switch from the Red to the White side.
- Better Window, a poem sent privately to Allegra just after she demonstrated the true power of her faith.
- Claim Victory, a poem sent privately to Allegra when Tanador had doubts about the killing they were doing to reach their goal.
- Stories of Asturia
- The Price — Kheizget’s “Trade-off” of damage with Brimbrax.
- King Bob — king who was not killed but made deal with Barons, yeilding them power. Eventually gets killed by lightning and drowns in river.
- The Giant’s Tailor
- The Valley of the Fuzzy Leaves
- Travelling with the Surly Monk
- Heads of Tales — About Iadra, Tyche and the bore