Born: December 22, 684 CR
Died: February 14, 961 CR
Eyes: Dark brown, almost black
Height: 5'7" in July 707
Role in the Keep: Lothanasi Initiate (707 CR); Priestess (708-750); Lothanasa (750-961)
Tessariel (tə-SÄR-ē-él), usually just called Tessa (TÉS-sä), is a half-Elf, a Lightbringer, and a bondservant of the Elvish royal court. She came to Metamor Keep as a sort of "cultural exchange" partner between the Metamor Lothanasi and the Elves of Quenardya. After Raven and Merai helped save Aelfwood from the schemes of the Daedra Lord Lilith, Tessa became an initiate under Raven and began learning the ways of the Lothanasi.1
While the Metamor Lightbringers, Duke Thomas, and Rickkter are aware that Tessa is a half-Elf, everyone else at Metamor believes she is a human androgyne. (She uses her long hair to hide the pointed tips of her ears.) Raven maintains this deception until May 708, when the Elves come to the aid of Metamor in the Battle of the Starchild. Thenceforth Tessa acts as a representative for the people of Quenardya, at least until the High King appoints an official ambassador to Metamor.
By the fall of 707 CR, Tessa has only developed the most basic skills as a Lightbringer. She can perform the Light Healing, but it saps her reserves quickly; she can also summon light and rudimentary shield spells. She has not learned to channel any of the proxy spells of the Lightbringer deities, though one of them might hear her prayers and have mercy on her if the situation were dire.
While her clerical skills are still in their infancy, however, Tessa is quite competent in the mundane healing arts. She serves as a field medic under Dame Reina DeLaroque during the Northlands campaign2, and during this time her skills in both mundane and clerical healing are put to substantial use.
When going into battle, Tessa wears very light leather armor and wields two small Elven swords that resemble the Japanese wakizashi. She uses an Elven fighting technique called the bladesong (Megilir in Elvish), which uses fast, elaborate dance-like movements to confuse opponents.3 While far from being a master of the art, she has been trained in it since the age of eight, and she can hold her own in a fight. Tessa is at her best in combat when she has solid ground underfoot and open space to maneuver; she can spin and twirl around and through a group of opponents like a dervish, taking her enemies by surprise while they're preoccupied with the bigger, stronger fighters. Getting trapped in a tight space with an enemy in front of her is her second-worst nightmare.4
Tessa is plain-spoken, honest, and more than a little stubborn. She is driven by a strong perfectionist streak, a result of growing up among Elves who (to her mind) would always be more talented, intelligent, artistic, wise, and knowledgeable than she (or any other non-Elf). She strives to be the very best she can in the hope of proving herself worthy of her Elven lineage. She resents being underestimated — which happens often, since she looks far younger than she actually is — and she is often disgusted by what she considers to be the poor work ethic of most humans. She is twice as hard on herself as she is on anyone else.
Tessa's sense of humor is dry and sometimes sarcastic. She has a deep-seated respect for authority and tries to be formal and respectful toward those over her, but she is also strong-willed and has a tendency to be rather blunt. She is a passionate person but manages to keep her emotions under control most of the time.
Friends & Allies
Tessa makes friends slowly, but she is fiercely loyal to those she does befriend. At the moment her only real friends at Metamor are Raven and Merai, though she also respects Master DeMule and Christopher. She finds Wanderer almost unbearably ludicrous, but she humors him for Raven's sake.
Tessa also has ties to the Elven royal court; the crown prince, Luinthol, is her grandfather. Before she left Quenardya to travel to Metamor, the High King gave her an amulet that allowed her to communicate with him directly from anywhere in the world. The amulet was a one-use item only; Tessa used it in March 708 to summon the Elven army to Metamor's aid when it appeared that the climactic Battle of the Starchild was about to take place.
Because she is a half-Elf, Tessa ages slowly; in the summer of 707 she doesn't look much older than sixteen, though she is fairly tall (5'7"). She is slender and graceful, with a dancer's sense of balance, and has long auburn-red hair, dark eyes, and golden-tan skin. Around the Keep she wears the grey robes of a Lothanasi initiate; in September 708 she will become a full priestess and begin wearing white robes. She is immune to the Curse because the inherent magic of her Elven side prevents the Curse from affecting her; the Curse covers her body, but it cannot penetrate her aura.
When she is not on duty with the temple, Tessa prefers clothes that are close-fitting, unrestrictive, and as light as possible — in Quenardya she often wore no more than a halter top, a loincloth, and some jewelry. She is baffled by the layered, ruffled fashions of Midlander women, though the scout's garb favored by many of the women at Metamor is practical enough for her. She is aware of the Midlander taboo against nudity, but she doesn't understand why someone might get upset with her running around in the medieval equivalent of a bikini. In light of this, it may be fortunate for her that the weather in Metamor Valley is cool or cold for most of the year.
Tessa wears a somewhat primitive-looking necklace, a simple leather cord strung with beads, shells, and a few gold rings. It obviously has some great personal significance to her — she only takes it off to bathe, and never lets it out of her sight — but thus far she hasn't told anyone why it's so important. Anyone who made fun of this necklace would earn her lasting enmity and might actually drive her to tears, though she would try to save any such display of weakness for the privacy of her own quarters. Tessa also enjoys having flowers braided into her hair, but this is something she seldom has time for anymore, and she isn't yet comfortable enough with the other women of the Keep that she could ask any of them to do something so obviously frivolous.