Taralack Malcamorren Thimoteus Finehouse
"I consider a clean smock a sign of poor craftsmanship."
Taralack is a bleachling gnome, so she is best described as a pale, colour-drained female fey-person of diminutive stature… though there is definitely more to her than meets the eye. Despite being well over 100 years old she is quite spry, moving with a fluid grace befitting her talent for physical mayhem. Taralack most often dresses in a doctor’s outfit or dark leather armor, depending on which side of the law her day’s tasks will take her.
People are most often put off by her tendency to stare for uncomfortable durations, and that her large yellow eyes seem to see nothing but meat. Her voice has an atonality about it, revealing the ravaging extent of her bleaching upon what may have once been a very vibrant individual, but the intensity which remains transcends the ordinary when she applies it to a person, and woe be to the subject of her interest… she carries a big needle filled with some scary sedatives, and tends to not ask permission when removing teeth.
All this notwithstanding, the gnome is able to keep a low profile for the most part, coming off as an unassuming victim of circumstances she didn’t care to properly manage. She is usually quiet and withdrawn, and tends to blend in as well as a quiet gnome would be expected to. Only among other gnomes does she stand out, if only because of their dismay at her condition.
Afflicted by the Bleaching, Taralack is suspended in a strange state between the “normal” gnome way of life and that of the Bleached/dead. Few things gather enduring attention or enthusiasm from her, though time and recovery has allowed her to bounce back (to a small degree). She claims she was rescued from the Bleaching by some tooth fairies, reflecting the focus of her obsession, but one can’t be sure how true this really is. Still, she is rather focused on that particular topic.
Flipside of her enthusiasm with teeth are some irrational fears, the primary being owls and owl-like creatures. There is a LONG and varied list of reasons (which she is never hesitant to dive into), and she carries around a pair of giant pliers with her for dealing with such menacing creatures. When exposed to the source of her fear or obsession her passive Bleachling calm is sundered, and… well, then we run into her other side.
Taralack has another way of looking at things, a byproduct of events in Quantium. They aren’t two different personas, but rather a variance on how she achieves her goals: if in her agitated state, she is likely to use violence (psionic or otherwise); if in her serene state, she is likely to attempt diplomacy or indifference (generally without telempathic aid). In most cases, neither side of her personality quite hits the right notes.
The Bleaching has left her with few memories, they and her vibrancy being consumed in its fires. She is sometimes confronted by old friends long forgotten, but expresses little to no interest or memory of such beloved faces, to the extreme sorrow of her former allies. Her reaction to their emotional outbursts has often been an indifferent shrug, followed by a quick about-face and the continuation toward her original goal.
She’s a mixed bag of imagined and real memories, and at the best of times seems to be only partially engaged. Most of the memories she references are true in a certain sense, but the madness is threaded throughout, and it’s hard to place where reality ends and fantasy begins. A large grain of salt is recommended when dealing with Taralack.
- Tends to sneak out at night to steal teeth from people, replacing them with wooden teeth attached with alchemical adhesive (often with such care and quality that the victim takes a great deal of convincing of the tooth not being real)
- Carves replicas of teeth out of wood when idle, constantly preparing for her next search
- Prizes the teeth of spellcasters the most
- Has all of her tooth-stealing equipment in a rolled-up toolkit, which looks like Dexter’s knife set. She maintains her dentistry kit carefully and obsessively
- Mania/quiet cycles daily in one third/two thirds portions of day; “Taralack” is the primary persona (the quiet one), and “Subject Blackwhistle” is the secondary (the manic one)
- Carries a banged-up pocket watch which indicates the approach of her personality swaps (which both personas check often). Generally speaking, her Subject Blackwhistle persona has control of their body in the latter third of the day
- ^ When presented with a situation which may interest the inactive personality, roll a 1d3 “flipside” chance, having a 1/3 chance to see if Subject Blackwhistle (mania) will have input on the outcome of the situation in question if Taralack is in control when the scenario crops up. Likewise, if Subject Blackwhistle is in control, decisions have a 1/3 chance of going according to Taralack’s desires
- Taralack doesn’t like to do things half-assed, and always tries to do them right in one go, putting a lot of effort into most everything. This manifests as her having the tendency to “Take 15” any time she can (even when it’s not appropriate)
- Speaks slowly and carefully (essentially even “Taking 15” on talking)
- Has a tendency toward ruthlessness when she’s under the control of the Subject Blackwhistle persona, which manifests as a more impatient and “dailed-in” personality. She will at most “Take 10” while under the influence of this personality
=PAST ~QUANTIUM RESEARCHER=
One of Taralack’s few verifiable claims is that she worked with a gnomish research team in Quantium. They were working on groundbreaking discoveries, gathering interesting results from work on illegally-procured fluids from the famous Silver Mount of Numeria. Taralack states that the research was “for the good of gnome-kind”; a true enough statement: when exposed to the fluids, fey research subjects would begin to exhibit symptoms of the Bleaching, the scourge of Golarion’s gnome population. Naturally Taralack’s team was very excited, seeing a possibility for a solution to the blight upon their people, but disaster struck: Technic League assassins had tracked down the pilfered materials, and staged an assault upon the research laboratory.
In the midst of the chaos and slaughter, Taralack drank the fluid in its entirety. It’s not clear why, but it is known that she was not a Bleachling at the time. The results of the attack are only referred to in Quantium as the “Exploratory Mindscapes Incident”, and very few of the participants survived, Taralack being among their number. She seems to have manifested a secondary personality as a direct result of this exposure to alien mutagens, then bleached, survived the bleaching, and began to recover, though she has no ability to recall the events of the decades in question, limiting the knowledge which could be gained by her experiences.
While she isn’t personally sure, it is safe to assume that she is being hunted by the assassins of Numeria, who left the Quantium research laboratory empty-handed.
=PREVIOUSLY ~ILSURIAN DENTIST/SERIAL KILLER=
Taralack was working in concert with Edric and Jabba, two members of the RoundTable Adventurer’s Guild who had travelled to Ilsurian to collect a package. Unfortunately, she was slain by the criminal elements of the town while investigating a series of murders, and was not able to formally apply to the guild for membership.
She had been planting teeth on people killed by their party in an attempt to deflect suspicions about the identity of the serial killer known as the “Tooth Fairy”, intending to skip town with the RoundTable guild members upon successful conclusion of the adventure. A dwarven traveler by the name of Valuk and a local human youth named Odaal had rounded out the small group’s membership, and while all were expected in some manner or another to join the guild, none survived.
Taralack was slain after falling unconscious by Borvius Monchello, who proceeded to fake innocence and pin the murders of Arhaneem and Canalee Braeton on the group posthumously. She would have appreciated the skill with which he accomplished the very thing she was attempting, but wound up buried in an unmarked plot instead. She does not reside there currently though, dug up by an unknown party in the intervening time between the conclusion of the events within Ilsurian and the arrival of an inquiry team from the RoundTable Adventuring Guild.
=PRESENTLY ~ROUNDTABLE INITIATE=
What do you call being released from what could only be semi-parasitic cohabitation of your own body with an alien parasite? Rebirth, maybe? Except you’re still old? Taralack seems to have been returned to life by something, with the alien goo which she had ostensibly stolen or become infected with in Quantium being flushed from her system. She has returned to how she was before all of this happened, just a hapless alchemist, but now is a Bleachling, a most troubling change since her research had been on how to remove or prevent the Bleaching.
Her psychic powers and secondary persona seem gone now, and maybe she’d even come off as a bit different to those who knew her during the time when she was being piloted by the alien presence.
… She’s still obsessed with teeth, though. And scared of owls.
- “Welcome Back” – Successfully survived the Bleaching
- “Welcome Back II: Electric Boogaloo” – Successfully survived being murdered
“The Looking Glass ~Taralack’s Theme” (“(defun botsbuildbots () (botsbuildbots))”, Mike Morasky)
“Subject to Irrationality ~Subject Blackwhistle’s Theme” (“Reconstructing More Science”, Mike Morasky)
“Clandestine Dentistry” (“Selina Kyle Suite”, Hans Zimmer)
“Exploratory Mindscapes” (“Body Double”, Pilotpriest)