Telaran was born into an era of peace and quiet in her tribe. She grew up deep in the forests of Maghera in Erin, spending most of her time with her blood brothers, Issan, Brechan and Arran. Her childhood was, to all accounts and purposes, completely normal and thoroughly enjoyable, spent running around fields, climbing trees, beating each other up and getting told off. At ten years old she and her brothers went through the traditional rite of passage in their tribe, which is when she acquired the tattoo she bears around her left eye. The rite also involved her ear being pierced, but before the year was out she got sick of it and took it out, to much derision from Brechan, who saw it as “typical girly coward-ness”. Telaran, having been brought up to have a little more delicacy than him, declined to mention the girly screaming that had accompanied his tattoo.
Up to this point, life seemed quite rosy. But that would all change when Telaran turned 13. What started off as a normal autumn day turned out to be the day her life changed forever. Out enjoying the tail end of a crunchy-leaved, golden day, the four ratlings were jumped by a band of men who were quite clearly not out for an evening stroll. Brechan and Arran managed to escape, but Telaran was grabbed, her hands bound and- an image that still burns on the insides of her eyelids- made to watch as her captors slit Issan’s throat. Struggling madly and screaming her lungs fit to burst, her tear-clouded eyes suddenly went dark as they knocked her out, and the next thing she knew, she was waking up in the crowded cells of a slaver ship. At each port, more and more of her fellow prisoners were dragged out, till she was left alone. The next time she saw the sun was at Bristol port, where she was looked over disdainfully by an old man, bought for 2 gold and shoved into a carriage to Ox
ford. Over the course of the journey, the man explained she was to be the pet of Miss Amelia, a rich lord’s daughter with a penchant for “half breeds like your sorry self.”
The girl proved even less agreeable than she sounded. The stereotypical spoiled brat, she forced her new toy into all sorts of ridiculous outfits, mostly pink and frilly (giving rise to her deep loathing for such things), acting like Telaran was her best friend but treating her like any other toy, to be pushed away when she was bored. After three years of abuse, she tried to cut Telaran’s prized plaits, calling them “childish and silly-looking”. The rat-girl lashed out at her captor, scarring her porcelain cheeks and biting her arm nearly down to the bone. In fear and anger Amelia consigned her to the dungeons till Daddy could find someone willing to buy her for work- who wants a pet that bites? Luckily for Ratty, the dungeons of the manor house were old and crumbling, and it was a small feat for her to chip away at the stone surrounding the hinges of her door, and she was running into the night before her third day of imprisonment was over.
She struck out on the first road she came to, scavenging berries from hedges and doing jobs at any villages she came across. Farmhouses, country pubs, dairy houses, even churches hid the young rat-girl on her travels, but she never stayed long, constantly fearful of being found by the hunters she was terrified would catch her and take her back to a life of imprisonment. She only stayed long enough to make friends in one village, where she was taken in by the village blacksmith, a man called Sirrel, a kind hearted soul. He understood her unease at staying in one place too long, but felt that everyone should have somewhere they can go back to, and asked Telaran for her hand in marriage so she would always have a home. Despite being husband and wife, the pair treated each other more like brother and sister, which suited Telaran’s free spirit anyway. She was happy with Sirrel and the new life she had begun to build, but after only six months in the village, she heard news of a band of hunters- she panicked and ran.
Three months later, she was at her wits end- the last soft bed she had seen was a month’s walk behind her and the next didn’t seem very willing to appear. Her stomach growling, her head heavy with fatigue, she lay down at the foot of a tree and closed her eyes, not expecting to get up again. But after a dreamless sleep she jerked awake, and before her eyes was the first living soul she’d seen for days, a Cat-kin with the oddest hat she had even seen. After very little persuading, she agreed to travel with him- it meant staying alive, and one protector was better than none. He took her to meet “some friends of his”, who turned out to be a group called the Mackintash, and the Militia of Erdreja. Despite her inital fear, due in no small part to the threats of a certain Gnoll that she looked “crunchy”, she soon started to fit in and, for the first time in years, feel safe, a luxury she had started to think impossible. Desperate to make herself useful, she started following Sparx
Stardust around, one of the Mackintash’s best healers, learning the trade and offering her teacher and companions all the help she could.
She may be small, but Telaran has a vicious temper and will fight to protect her family- who are, and always will be, the Militia and, of course, the Mackintash.