Character Spotlight: Tara

Aug 6, 2018 | Character Spotlight | 0 comments

Steven Bentsen

Retired Evil Mastermind

Tara can be found in Unleash the Beast: Coalition of Strangers Book 1, my first published novel. She, like all of my characters, is designed with the 13 Realms of Eternity in mind. 13RoE is my IP, designed initially as a game that could be used as a foundation for either tabletop or digital RPGs. The Coalition of Strangers takes place on the setting of Earth, in the Realm of Illusions, therefore a number of variables regarding expectations in the world are fixed. Unleash the Beast isn’t going to try to bring the audience completely up to speed with all the world building that has gone on, but rather focuses on character journeys in modern days.

Less than one percent of the world population identifies as species’ other than mundane, what you could interpret as ordinary human (of course there is always a twist). Most of the focal characters are drawn from this mixed bag of strange, including Tara. Her species is known as deviant, and her soul is considered natural. Without going too deep into the system, these factors weigh heavily on her strengths and weaknesses, but don’t define her as a character. Many people play to their strengths, both in our reality and in the fiction of 13RoE, but it’s far from mandatory. Each and every one of us is a collection of too many experiences and thoughts to easily summarize, but we appropriate labels and stereotypes nonetheless.

Tara was born into this world a tigress. Her potential lifespan exceeds that of ordinary humans, and the window of her body’s physiological prime is also extended. Her animal form is considered endangered, and while she is tight lipped about her history I aim to shed some light on that dark spot in the story.

Deviants are shapeshifters, and while no two are exactly alike, Tara would be considered only slightly uncommon. These days most are born human and grow up in mundane society, but have family that will teach them how to blend in and survive. Learning to integrate with humans was more troublesome for Tara than most, as she was nearly killed by them. If she were an ordinary tigress, she would’ve died, but her deviant resilience afforded her the opportunity to avenge her wounds and become a maneater. Huntress of the wild and murderess of would-be poachers, she was left without a family or home after the attack.

She survived for a time on the streets by cunning and instinct, but the concrete jungles of India were just as dangerous as the groves she grew up in. Many suffered beneath her claws for their attempts to dominate and control her, as she refused to be anyone’s slave. She sniffed out fellow deviants living in squalor and formed a loosely organized pack, but they betrayed her trust in time, succumbing to the greed of mankind. Bagged, tagged, and put on a boat bound for America, Tara planned her escape with every waking moment.

Instead of a collar, whip, cage, or the barrel of a gun, Tara met a stranger with a kind heart. She tried to rip it out of his chest at first, but when the fellow deviant tiger revealed his true stripes, she found herself at a disadvantage. He spoke of a society hidden from the dull eyes of man, one in which he wielded some small measure of power. Mr. Jianyu’s associates had been tracking the impressive field of corpses Tara created, and he arranged for her relocation, talents like those were being wasted.

She was brought to a city of lights amid the sand at the foot of mountains, and soon found herself before her savior’s superior, a legendary deviant named Omen. Her new community of deviant peers were unlike any she’d ever encountered, and while they eased her into a transition toward normal life, even she knew it wasn’t customary to offer a stranger as much generosity as they were prepared to grant her. She left with the keys to a car, an apartment, a phone with an entire new network of contacts, as well as the obligation to render aid whenever her new superiors called.

Her new invisible collar was comfortable, but she was in no hurry to incur further debt. She took her time, learning how to be human, and found peace for a time. Work, both in the sight of mankind as well as the shadows of the city, brought stability and routine to her life. Natalie’s arrival in it changed everything, but that is a story for another day.

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