~ P E R S O N A L I T Y ~
Tlarekih, who answers to Imogen everywhere but Uleuda, is sweet as sugar when she needs to be, and since she often needs to be sweet, she doesn't offer much to contradict that. Her voice is soft, because she likes to not yell, and she is kind, because she does not want the reputation of being unkind, but her courtesy extends only so far. She's secretly in contempt of humans as a race, so her lies are justified by necessity, knowing that it takes little to start the fires burning and the humans hunting for her to be routed from their city.
Tlarekih respects the natural order of the world and believes in mysticism through using it. She is a witch doctor in name alone; her craft depends on her customers believing
that her lies are the truth when she gives them the spells to use, and judging by the superstitious that still buy in the promise of a witch
, they really do believe her.
Aesthetically, Tlarekih loves rustic, homely appearances. There is a fondness for mason jars and bundled herbs drying in her window, of beads and feathers woven together in a web that would make the Spider proud. Her home always smells of flowers, sweet and rotting alike, but it's a smell that says safe
to her. She has a strange fondness for insects and poisonous animals, but these may be because of their own lies
Likes: Flowers, Sunshine, Wine, Quiet
Dislikes: Humans, Cold, Ice, Carrots
Merits: Engaging, Approachable, Introspective, Driven
Flaws: Prejudiced, Dishonest, Cruel, Unforgiving
When Tlarekih was born, she was born a lie. Her name was Imogen and she took on the skin of her mother, but this was not who she was. Even though she was Yludih, Tlarekih would not know.
Her mother raised her on the earth, her father taught her to be wary of the friendly faces that would judge her. Her mother claimed at magic when she made small red bags of herbs and feathers, things that might otherwise be thrown out as garbage, and Tlarekih (who was still Imogen) swallowed every word hungrily. Some of the bags were curses, knotted shut with twine, and others were blessings tied closed with silk. Because of her mother's penchant for strange traditions, Tlarekih could do nothing more than follow suit.
It started young when she began to collect flowers, tying them together into bundles with her mother's silk and leaving them to dry from high places she had no right to reach. Sometimes, she would do as her mother did and burn these bundles, filling the air with occasionally pungent smoke that was not magic at all. She kept at it, though, and her mother, who found these attempts at witchcraft adorable, encouraged her daughter to do more. She would get it right yet, her mother promised her.
To assist learning her mother's knowledge, Tlarekih was taught the local things that could be used for 'magic'. From merchants she could buy fruit and nuts, things that she could dry and store. There were seasonings, herbs, and even rocks that her mother indicated were important. For all that she was told what was what, though, Tlarekih was not taught how to use it herself.
Instead, at the season when she came of an age to learn just what she was, Tlarekih was taught entry to Uleuda, and there she learned more than her mother could ever have taught her in person. She was mystified by this crystal place and these people she found herself a part of, but the knowledge was as terrible as it was fantastic; Tlarekih was not human, and she would not belong with them. This was reinforced with her there in the crystal city: she must distrust humans by necessity, keep the relationships impersonal, and lie
for her very life.
Tlarekih decided that, if she must survive by lying, then she would become a lie herself.
Her sojourns into Uleuda eventually drove her from her family; her mother and father had other children after her, children that were honest and forthright. Tlarekih (no longer Imogen), acknowledged the distance by continuing her 'magic'. She made her own curses, and knotted these bags with twine. The blessings were fewer, but when she tied them shut with twine, those who bought them wouldn't be able to tell anything was different. She likened more to plants that would strengthen her will and luck, burning them as incense and making them into tea as her mother had done.
She extended her knowledge of this 'magic' to the writing of special symbols, personal letters that should hone
her hexes and blessings and direct it to a finer point, even though (as always) the magic was perception and neither arcane nor immortal-given right. She had to make it look honest, and sigil-making was as honest as it could be, tricking even her into believing.
There came a time, when Tlarekih was of an age to marry and have children herself, that she came upon the unfortunate state of a woman who wanted a child and a man who refused to give one. She was known at this point as a witch doctor of sorts, so when Tlarekih provided a curse, she was not questioned on what the spell would do.
Over two seasons later, there was a child on her doorstep, a small and wrinkled, angry thing with clenched fists and a petulant scowl. Tlarekih was repulsed at first; she had no love for children, least of all human children, but she softened eventually when the child opened crystal blue eyes that reminded Tlarekih of Uleuda.
The child became Ateka. Ateka's life became the lie, and like Tlarekih before her, she was also to learn the secrets of herbology and the willpower to make what was a lie the truth.
It was probably a wilful turn of fate that spurned Tlarekih to curiosity. There was a beauty to poison and sickness, something fine and structured that could ruin her foes (and the people who would someday be enemies). She never learned to love rats, but they were carriers of disease that she, as a woman who stood above the line of moral and amoral, could use. Her daughter, that fine young human child, was the first, but Tlarekih was willing to expand her power.
Out of necessity, to prevent the demise of the girl Ateka, Tlarekih learned medicine. She ate up a lie of a profession and decided, along with selling little curses and lies, she would work the real truth with her hands as a doctor in Andaris.
That's where the real rodents lived.