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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Taymist

Approved Returning FL Freebooter Guild Bio for Tensleigh Maer - CC Not Required

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DM Handle: Keyholder21

 

Character Name: Tensleigh Annika Maer

Age: 27

 

Physical Appearance: 5'8”, blonde hair and blue eyes

 

Nationality: unknown

 

 

 

Character History:

 

For many, the sights and sounds of a menagerie are an escape from their mundane lives. No longer do they retreat to the same tavern every night to have a few, or return home to squalling infants and angsty teenagers. It is a spectacle of wonder – a glimpse into the fantastic, the thrilling, the terrifying, the alluring. A puff of smoke is no longer a mere cloud of gray mist, but instead is the disappearance of a magician. A beautiful woman is no longer stared at solely because of her looks, but instead for the contortion she can put her body through or the bold leaps she makes on a taut rope above the ground.

 

For others, albeit a small select few, the enjoyment isn't watching the menagerie, but rather starring in it. Performance is all that Tensleigh has ever known. Her stage debut occurred at 3 months when her mother, an acrobat, decided her act could deal with a little more excitement. She made a tiny suit that matched her own and added Tensleigh to the act, flipping through the air with one hand instead of two, passing the tiny child to her bewildered partners and beaming at the stunned audience. The roar of applause for tiny Tensleigh at the end of the night ensured her place in the act and her mother a permanent place in the menagerie.

 

Her father was less amused, arguing about the danger for her until he was blue in the face. A handyman by trade and not a performer, however, meant he did not get to make the decision. The menagerie had it's own class system and performers were at the top. For all intents and purposes, Tensleigh was her mother's and her mother's alone. He left soon after, dragging an old weathered bag behind him that carried all of his worldly possessions. It was assumed that he joined another menagerie, but Tensleigh would not know of him until eight years later.

 

As she grew from infant to toddler, from toddler to young child, it was apparent that her mother's gift for performing had passed on to her daughter. Tensleigh loved the spotlight and as an apple cheeked blonde darling, the spotlight loved her. She accompanied many of her mother's friends in their acts, but it was Bo that she loved best.

 

An old man, Bo was wrinkly with papery white skin that showed every vein. He was not much of a talker outside of the ring, but inside he commanded. A deep booming baritone would fill the tent, causing everyone in attendance to wonder how a big voice came out of a small man, and he snapped a whip into the air as three large tawny lions walked lazily into the circle to perch on the blocks set out for them. For the remainder of the act, it was easy to forget that Bo was such an old man. His back was straight, his voice strong, and his whip true. After, as the lions retreated, everyone would notice how small and frail Bo looked and the crowd would buzz, the noise building until monstrous applause would break out.

 

Bo took a special interest in Tensleigh too, doting on her as if she were his own granddaughter. He taught her how to snap the whip properly – never actually harming the large cats, how to use her diaphragm to project beyond believed capacity, how to draw attention to the tamer as well as the cats. Most importantly, however, he instructed her on the lions. How to meet them, how to care for them, how to talk to them, and how to read their moods. She never feared the big cats, with or without Bo's presence. Indeed, Tensleigh felt drawn to the maned mammals.

 

At eight, her father abruptly reappeared in her life. The menagerie was setting up outside Lugard, readying for tomorrow's show. Tensleigh had been out front attracting viewers when she saw her mother stomping toward her, a strange man close on her heels. Both of them wore frowns, though the man looked somewhat sad as well. Her mother just looked furious.

 

“Tensleigh,” she practically yelled, grabbing her hand as she moved within arm's reach. “This is your father. He left you a long time ago and has now decided that he wants you.” Her mother pushed Tensleigh toward the man – her father – roughly. She knit her brows, confused and frightened. Her father knelt and gently helped her up, all the while frowning at her mother.

 

“She's an atrocious acrobat, Lukard. I hope you're happy with your choice. You could have had her and I both. And yet. She may need to learn ...other skills to be useful.” Sneering, her mother turned on her heel and stomped away. Her long black hair bounced against her back with the fall of every step. Tensleigh, still confused, stared at her mother's retreating back until she was swallowed up by the camp. Only then did she turn to look at the man behind her.

 

“I should never have left you with her,” he said sadly, kneeling in the dust until his eyes were level with hers. “But I'm going to try and make up for that now.” He rose, took her hand, and together they walked away.

 

It did not take Tensleigh long to figure out that her father was a much better parent than her mother. For the first time at eight, she began to read, write, and learn about the world outside of the Ringmaster's tent. Her speech matured, as did her understanding about politics and socialization with children close to her age. The rumors had been correct – her father had joined another menagerie, this one full with families and children.

 

Her interest in lions never changed, though. Tensleigh often strayed to the cages, taking a book in one hand and a treat for the cats in the other. The cats seemed to respond to her, nuzzling her palms as if they were mere housecats and she their mistress. At ten, her father relented and gave her permission to aid the animal handler. There was no tamer, however, much to her chagrin. The old tamer had died over a year ago and the replacements never seemed to last for one reason or another.

 

At twelve, Tensleigh began to work with the lions in the tent unbeknownst to her father. The ringmaster, Silas Remein, had noticed her interest in the lions. More importantly for business though, he'd noticed their interest in her. She recalled Bo and his directions, using his experience to train her lions. She'd long ago claimed the cats as her own. At fourteen, she opened the show as the youngest lion tamer ever in history. Or so Silas proclaimed.

 

As she grew older, the “youngest” tagline faded, but her act, and popularity, never did.

 

 

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