Name: Steck Vennet
Gender: Male
Age: 30
Species: Mouse
Occupation: a travelling bard

"why, I am a story-teller, a song singer, a spoker of tales of far-off lands, an introducer of the famous heroes, an illustrator of breathtaking adventures and a messenger of great deeds!"

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:
Steck has a good-looking golden-brown pelt with cream-white belly fur that rises up to his neck, cheeks and jaw. The same creamy colored fur drapes around his eyes.

His eyes are brown with hint of rascal glimmer in them. He's always smiling. You might see him angry, but never sulking or depressed.

The first thing you always notice of Steck's appearance is his hat: green with a large brim, embellished with a bright red feather. The hat rather flashy and Steck is very fond of it. In addition Steck wears roomy sleeved, bright forest-green tunic tucked by the belts. With red strings sewed in them, those sleeves can be tied up, but usually Steck lets them flap like pair of big wings. He uses rags wrapped around his paws - only leaving toes exposed - for protecting them from weary traveling on foot.

Steck is rather average what comes to his height. But he's slimmer that most of the mice and he has feisty sinewy in his frame. As a mouse, he isn't strong - since there are lot of species bigger and therefore stronger than him - but what he lacks in raw power, he makes up with agility and endurance. His reflexes are rather fast and he's quick runner as well climber.

When confronting enemy he can't possibly outrun nor soothe, Steck resorts in counter-attack tactics where he uses opponent's own moves against him. That being said, he rarely attacks first but waits the opponent make his first move. He's rather good in this tactic as his agile and small frame has helped him to avoid steal-cold-deaths narrowly more than just once. Back in day Steck was exceptional handling dagger in combat, but now years without frequent use of those weapons have left his skills lacking.

Steck has a right ear pierced, but doesn’t wear any ear jewelry.

POSSESSIONS:

A common gear of the wanderer (flagon, flinstone, sharpening-stone etc.) Worn but thick cloak that Steck uses not only to shelter himself from weary weather, but also as a blanket wrap around himself when night falls. (As a travelling bard you're bound to spent more night outdoors than sweet warm of indoors)

In his tunic there are various secret -pockets  that contain lockpicks of different sizes.

He has two daggers, both slightly curved on their blades, mementos of his past life. Steck won't carry those in the open so they are hiding behind his back, under the cloak as he carries both of the weapons level of his hips, sheaths crossed. In addition he has two throwing knives hidden under both of his big sleeves (so four knives in total). Knife-holsters are tied on his upper arms with leather belts. Steck is sharp knife- thrower and rarely misses his target as throwing knives make an excellent show in some parts of the land.

He has wooden lute but his the most previous - and  the dearest - possession is his harp. The harp is wooden but have leaf gold coating over it. The design of the harp is special, since it has two sets of strings instead of just one. Ten longer below and eight shorter above. Length of  strings naturally have an effect on the tune of the string so with this harp Steck can play much richer melody than with an ordinary harp.

PERSONALITY:

Over-the-top gentleman, quick with his tongue, good thinking on his feet, little-bit daredevil, cheeky joker, mesmerizing charmer… we could continue the listing, but instead let's take deeper look of Steck's personality.

Steck loves tales and songs and has spent many years travelling around the land, the seas and the islands just to learn every one of them, increasing their number by adding songs and tales of his own. He dreams he could someday write everything down but alas, where is the time for writing since there is yet so much left to discover? And new stories born every day? So no doubt his journey won't end anytime soon. Meanwhile he just enjoys sharing those tales and songs with others.

Stech is a show-mouse. Alongside singing and tales he know a few more tricks to keep audience entertained and spirit high. For example he could amaze you with some acrobatic number. Or maybe you'd like to see how he pierces an apple thrown in the air with his throwing knife? Or maybe it's the magic you fancy? With sleight of the hand he makes things disappear in front of your very eyes and then pulls them out of your ear.

Since being here and there Steck knows lot of the world. Including ways to survive in there. He has very adaptive nature which makes him easier to adjust himself fitting in the crown whatever it's small village or merchants' ship. Steck can swim his way through any kind of society as easily as catfish can splash cross the pond. Although he has diplomacy, he isn't afraid of speak up his mind. And he can be rather cheeky, when he chooses to be, even in situation where the best option is to keep your mouth shut.

Steck is clever mouse who knows how to use his head. He had stopped counting how many times he has been thrown in the cage by unwelcoming hosts and every time he had managed to escape. Too bad that sometimes he tries to be too clever and then is bound to stumble on it. Steck is patient and he notes everything he sees, hears and smells even thought he won't appear to be attentive.

Even thought Steck doesn't view himself as hero of any kind, he really can't witness injustice fall upon someone if he can do something about it. He doesn't like to get hurt, but he can take a punch or two, even behalf of another, and afterwards laugh the ache off. But he still has irremediable cut-your-losses mentality when things start looking really bad.

As a bard, Steck is an excellent singer and storyteller -- and also talker in that matter, with smooth tongue and bit of flattery. No doubt he would talk birds down from their nest. However he's not a suck-up for you can most of the times tell when he's only joking or playing with words to lighter the mood. He's just putting out a grand act in intent bright your day with his performance. With Steck it's always like that: it's like life is one great stage to him and he himself is the actor. And the wide gestures, pretentious words and joyful appearance are his way to bring smile and laughter around him.

Steck doesn't want to get attached to someone or someplace. Something restless resides in him, forcing him set his paws on the road once again. So ties and responsibilities are something he avoid as much as he can. Sometimes his leaving might come great surprise for everyone else since Steck is so overly-friendly, easy going and bubby to everyone, so naturally you'd think that he would stay when he seems so happy. But that's the downside of his perform-striving nature: he almost never lets his gloomy feelings to show and especially he avoid sharing them.

When Steck always keeps up that joyfully appearance of his, like it were his second fur, many fail to notice  that there is much more in him that laughter and jovially twinkling in the eyes. For example he's very bad at keeping promises to himself and the others. He lacks the resolution keep those in strive situations and more than once they have ended up words "this is the last time", "won't do that again" or  "I'm sorry". Steck is aware of this trait and tries desperately conquer weakness of his, but he always slips and fails.

Steck has also a bad habit of lying, in which he has always been very good at, as he can fool others without blinking his eyes.  He doesn't do it because he's evil or he likes deceiving other beasts. He just thinks... that sometimes is better smoother the truth little bit... Or leave something out. They are just little white lies, so it's not a big deal right? And even though sometimes they might be pretty big, no-one gets hurt so it's just fine. Or so he tells himself, feeling guilty.

Living on the road isn't always easy and sometimes one must do what one's must to do. Steck survived with thievery long before he become a bard and - as he's ashamed for admitting it - old skills haven't gone rusty. His quick and sly fingers can make things disappear even right under your nose and you won't even notice it. And until this day no lock has never stopped him. Nevertheless Steck isn't throughout burglar, he only takes so much that he can survive another day -- and always vows that this will be the last time and he'll rather die in the gutter than steal again... But he always gives into the temptation. Sometimes - even when times aren't bad - he might steal something out of excitement.

HISTORY

Steck was born in far-off south, in lands where the earth is dry and the sun boils the landscape. In those bare lands there are many clans and tribes that compete over the ownerships of the oases and cultivable earth. Most of those clans and tribes are leaded by jackals. Pitiless and scheming beast who are still fond of comforts of life. So they weren't so keen to wage open war as disastrous battles could have easily destroy what's left of arable land.  And traders, who travel by boats across the seas, would disappear, taking their goods of luxury somewhere else. So power struggle wasn't brutal force or open conflict. It was a poison in the wine and treacherous dagger between shoulder bones. It was lies and scheming where alliances were as easily formed as they were broken.

Between plotting clans where those poor tribeless or clanless beasts, outcasts, victims of betrayal, slaves, merchants and mercenaries. Without proper livestock, life was beyond miserable in those dry lands. On his early years Steck was just one of the many of orphan without name or any worth on his life. He has never known his father and his poor mother passed away when he was seven-year-old. Left alone with no-one caring if he lived or died, a little mouse-boy started - as many did in the situation like his - stealing. And after countless of beating and nearly-death-experiences he become inexpertly good at it. Almost whole three years he managed to survive but then he was captured by slavers and sold to the Blackstripe Clan. The Clan's head was called Adgar the Blackstripe - or Adgar the Cutthroat, the lord of the side-striped jachals. He was very cunning and manipulative beast, that preferred subtle means over brute force to get what he wanted.

Before Steck was branded he managed to steal his cage's key from guard's keyring and escaped. But  it was a short-lived freedom as he was immediately captured by rat Scartail, Clan's storysinger. She had seen mouse-boy's light finger in action and had picked interest in him.  Scartail wasn't cheerful rat although she was Blackstripe Clan's storysinger. Aging had made her bitter and displeasing to the eyes and if something was dislikable in Blackstripe Clan it was ugliness. Scartail knew this, and how the aging had made her less useful than she had been in her better days, so old hag-rat  saw opportunity in small mouse-lad. As through him she could gain value so she wouldn't be disposed of. She proposed her Lord Adgar that she would mentor this little scamp to be use for Clan. And Adgar gave his permission.

Thus young mouse's days with rat began. Scartail poured his knowledge and teachings rather harsh way into the youngling, expecting nothing less than lawless performance. Young mouse learned how to play various instruments. Learned how to sing and how to behave when presence of jachal lord - or any beast who had more worth than he had. But then there were other lessons – lessons which purpose young mouse didn't first understand. Alongside everything else he learned how to pick locks. He was trained to memorize  things only by singe look and to repeat correctly everything of the conservation he had once heard. How to move like he wasn't there, how to mask his presence and eventually how to use a dagger. Those really didn't felt like fitting lessons to become the Clan's storysinger but Steck didn't question. It was always a mistake to question Scartail. Meanwhile rat was slowly brainwashing the mouse into the Clan's mindset: you were only wanted if you were useful. Useful ones followed the orders and did not question their place.  Eventually, as the small mouse proved himself being worth of her time, Scartail gave him name 'Tenet'.

As the time passed by it become more clearer and clearer to Tenet what was the true nature of his lessons. Scartail wasn't as much storysinger as she was spy working for the Blackstripe Clan. Her role as storysinger was a facade to fool others and give her freedom move as she liked in resident of Clan. Of course, her age didn't allow her do much anymore, but there Tenet would come in, carrying his role in task she wasn't able to perform anymore.

Thus Tenet's live as a spy began. It started by hunting down other clans' spies or traitors inside Blackstripe Clan. Back then Tenet's didn't deal with the traitors himself - he just delivered his findings to Scartail who reported them to the Lord of Blackstripe. And after that some unexpected and tragic accident would fall upon those poor beasts. Tenet was only sixteen years old when he was sent to the other Clan as a spy, his ties to the Blackstripe Clan well hidden. There his skills were put to the test as he balanced not to blow his cover while sneaking and spying and then reporting back to Scartail. All what it took to sabotage the clan inside so it would be easy to Blackstripe Clan overpower it. He was never discovered as no-one could suspect well-mannered and skillful mouse-bard.

In year's time the rival clan was destroyed and Tenet got his order to come back. Adgar was pleased in Tenet's performance  and wanted Tenet answer directly to him from that day on, cutting of the middleman Scartail. Old rat didn't take this well as she saw is as a threat becoming useless. Now that Tenet has clearly won the lord's favor she couldn't anymore take credit of youngster's deeds to herself. So Scartail began to plot against her own pupil: an unfortunate 'accident' would happen to ´Tenet'  and then Scartail would offer to train another one to her Lord. It was good and carefully composed plan. But Scartail had taught Tenet way too well as the mouse saw the treason coming, preparing for it. In the end it was other way around and it was Scartail who met her demise - in the hands of his pupil.

Adgar wasn't even slightest disappointed when he learned what had become his old spymaster. On the contrary he was trilled, from his point of view Tenet had proven his skills when the mouse had managed to outsmart old Scartail. The mouse was truly worth of keeping and would now be Clan's new spymaster. That day Tenet received his curved daggers from the Lord of Blackstripe.

Tenet absorbed his two-facade-role. In daylight he would be unsuspicious mouse-bard, playing masterfully his harp for Clan members, keeping his senses observant. And when moon climbed to night sky, he would carrying out whatever orders the lord of Blackstripe would give. He never failed to found rotten apples among the others, nor bringing his lord an infomartion the jackal Lord could use as his advantage. Now that Scartail was dead, responsibility of 'accidents' usually fell on the Tenet's shoulders. Not that mouse cared much. Scartail teachings as well betrayal had left him empty, like a dry shell. He wasn't happy nor was he sad. He lived his live like in insignificant haze, going where he was pointed at and doing what he was told. He didn't ponder what he wanted or wished, incapable for being truly passionate of anything. His life was passable as he was more that slave, less than free beast. He could come and go as he wanted but never leave the residents grounds without given permission. What he knew was that life could be worse in many ways so rebellion never crossed his mind. Like what else livewothy there could be in the outside world?

Then one day, Blackstripe Clan got its claws on crushed enemy's wealth. That included bunch of slaves and Tenet got an order to find out if any spy had managed to slip in with them. Tenet didn't find any other potential suspect but an old hedgehog lady whose eyesight had gone bad. To Tenet that seemed bit suspicious since no ordinary slave would have lasted to reach that age -- so something must have been going on. Thus he kept eye on the old lady. It turned out that hedgehog was just as feeble and old as she appeared to be: she had survived only thanks to the other slaves' kindness as they shared small rations with her or helped in her tasks. Tenet had never witnesses a such caring for a fellow beast, as he had been raised into mindset that beast was only good for its keeping if it was useful enough. And yet that old hedgehog was treated with care and concern, even though he was too old to be actual help... She tried to return others' kindness as much as she could by looking after those who were sick or injured. And she told them stories. Stories not from jackals' lands but lands far-off --  where she had lived many years ago. It didn't take too long before Tenet was captivated by those stories he had never heard. He started visit old lady as much as he could and after each visit and new story, his curiosity grew... Which was weird since he didn't remember ever being curious about anything. Then one late of night Tenet just couldn't sleep as he thought those stories and lands he had never seen... And all of sudden, a powerful urge,  a burning desire, overtook him. For the first time in his live Tenet wanted to do something and it was so overpowering feeling, that he just had to act according to it. He wanted hear more of those stories. He would go and seek the lands from where they came from. He would see with his very own eyes the wonders mentioned in the songs. And he would take the old headgehog with him - not exactly knowing  why, but it felt important to him. Thus Tenet grabbed his belongings with few other things and slip into the night.

On that same night in barracks, working-slaves woke up as one of their cell's door opened and the key-ring landed on one of the slave's lap. It took them a while to grasp what had just happened before they freed themselves and gazed carefully into the corridor. Barrack's few guards had been taken care of and they were lying on the floor lifeless. So the slaves freed the others and determined, they picked up anything they could use as a weapon. Flame of vengeance had ignited.

As the alarm of slave rebellion had given guards other things to think about, no-one noticed as Tenet sneaked to the kitchens and woke up the old hedgehog who was shackled to her sleeping place besides the stove. Tenet had to came up with imaginative lie to get old grandma come with him but he pulled it off. And while the chaos in Blackstripe's resident escalated. Tenet and the old hedgehog sneaked into the night. Tenet didn't really have a plan since it was the first spontaneous act he had ever made. He managed to bribe merchant's boat to take him and old lady aboard (with aid of the few valuable items he had snitched from Blackstripe's Clan). The boat set to sails and for Tenet that night felt like he was first time alive. He was 22 years old back then.

Favored by winds the boat sailed to the more greener lands. But long and tiring travel by the boat had taken its toll upon the old hedgehog. She had become very fragile and when she set her pawn down on the dry land, her spirit just left her, like it had only been waiting for its last chance touch the land as a free beast before leaving in peace. That was the first time in his life Tenet grieved, as during the journey, he had grown very fond of the elder. He made resting place for her but after that he was completely lost in what to do next. It was pure stroke of good luck that he stumbled upon travelling performance-group. Tenet practically begged them to take him in. And eventually he managed to win group's trust as they discovered that mouse was fine add to their performances with his music-skills. He abandoned his name Tenet and started his new life as Steck Vennet, learning arts of stage from the other performers. And it was a good life.

Couple of years passed and Steck came to realize that traveling with the group wasn't the right place for him. The group traveled within the familiar lands, like birds moved on the different seasons, eventually coming back where they had left. He was happy but wasn't satisfied: same old secure route could no longer offer the young bard new songs and tales he so longed for. He wanted to travel lands beyond, even to those that had been labeled as dangerous for travelers. Because out there must be so many stories he hadn't heard about, he just knew it.  His hunger grew and so on the autumn of his 25th year, Steck bid his farewells and left the group starting his own journey. For beginning it was harsh, as Steck no longer had the protection on larger group. Bandits and vermin view lone wanderers as an easy prey on and some land were less welcoming the guests than others (but the tales and songs he found made it all up in thousand fold!) Steck learned to adjust and survive as he could time to time resort in skills learned from Scartail. In time he grew dislike his past-self and tried forget about it by leaving his dagger in their sheaths.

STRENGTHSs:
His talent for music: he can play very well various instruments, but has specialized in string-instruments, especially in harps.
Performer (knows various tricks entertain others)
Sharp memory, attentive about his surroundings
Can pick locks
Sharp knife-thrower

WEAKNESSES:
Not very strong
Habit of being too clever which tends to spur more problems..
Can't keep promises
Habit of lying. Goes in great lengths to conceal his past.
Addiction of stealing
Avoids responsibilities. Little bit selfish

RELATIONSHIPS:
Blackstipe Clan – severed ties. Steck doesn't know whar have becomce tthe Clan after the night he left. 
Old Hedgehog granma -- deceased
Group of performers -- Steck has heard that his old band is still on business and doing fine. That makes him happy.

OTHER:

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