Tarn grew up on the streets of Scurvytown, but that didn’t mean he wanted to stay. He knew how dangerous they were. He was born in one of its worst brothels, the Salty Clam. His mom died there when he was four. The tall tale of a warped fey wizard who nearly destroyed half of the brothel was all he had for a dad. He was lucky enough to meet some other street urchins, including a young tiefling named Pangolin who convinced him there were better places to live and helped him escape from the brothel. He didn’t get far, just to a slightly less unsavory orphanage and then a bad foster home before making his way back to the street and becoming a part of Finn’s Syndicate. He never forgot his friends who helped him out of his birthplace, but he jumped at the opportunity for a way out of Scurvytown when he heard of a position in the Merchant’s District.
Finn needed a new front, so Tarn beat out all the other challengers, securing a position at Ashworth’s Antiques and Rare Collectables. An old, balding man who cared more about the story behind the most obscure trinket on his shelves than if Tarn got to eat that day, Ashworth had Tarn sweeping floors and organizing baubles all day long. Thankfully, he also knew to keep his mouth shut about what went on in his warehouse during the night. Finn persuaded Ashworth to allow the Syndicate to use it to fence his higher end stolen items. So Tarn’s night job was cataloging and moving stolen goods through the shop and its warehouse. He hoped it was the start of his new destiny. That all changed with the tome and the crusade of Commissioner Xander Williams.
Finding the tome was just an accident, so he thought. He was dusting a bookcase one day, when one of the books fell to the ground. It was old, but in surprisingly good condition. Bound with a deep ebony wood and what looked like living vines, the cover inlay had scenes of fey creatures Tarn had never seen before. As he picked it up, the vines binding it twisted in his hands and the book fell open. Tarn couldn’t read any of the words, but as he moved to close it, he saw a smoky black wisp rise from its pages and started to hear whispers coming from the book. Shocked by the voices, he quickly hid it under the nearest table instead of the shelf where it belonged. All day, he was drawn to the book. He would stop to touch it, hearing the voices clearer each time. One voice gradually came to dominate. It promised power and help to never again have to spend another night on the streets. It gave him hope for a much different future from that of his mom or all of the gangs he had run with in the past. He willingly agreed to the contract.
He hid the book in a crate by the bookcase and stopped by regularly each day to touch it. The voice started clamoring early one morning. Then, as he went by a mirror near the front window, he jumped when he saw his reflection. He looked just like one of the customers that had come in earlier that day. When the book told him to walk out, he picked it up and left the shop. As he rounded the corner of the block, he saw the Sea Lord’s Guard rushing the shop, the crusade had begun.
After escaping the guard, he found a new hiding spot in the basement of an inn in the Eastern district. It wasn’t that warm, but it was dry and out of sight. He had some time to lay low, so he studied the book and listened to the voice. He still couldn’t read any of the inscriptions in it, but felt like he may be able to eventually. He would have escaped the purge totally if not for overhearing a conversation in the inn above about a tiefling who had been caught up by the guard. If it was Pangolin, he knew he had to do something to help. He owed him a debt beyond most, so he ignored the tome’s voice and went by the jail to see what else he could learn.
When he got close to the jail, the voice shouted at him to leave, but he ignored it. As he got close to the building, a group of guards came around the corner. The book somehow slipped from his pack, distorting as it fell to become indistinguishable from the trash it landed in. Unfortunately, it took his disguise with it and the guard rushed him when they realized who he was. And that’s how he ended up here in jail. Though maybe it hasn’t totally forsaken him as he still hears the voice, just barely. He knows better than to not listen to it now, if he ever finds it again he will listen to it no matter what it says.