PhysicalThe Tufa look remarkably alike, enough that it’s not hard to think they’re all related (which is probably where the concept of inbred hill folk got started). Black hair, dark skin, straight white teeth that could be put right into a toothpaste commercial. To outsiders they look like a blend of white, black, and Native American. Being of very pure blood, Curnen shares this look. Specifically to her, Curnen is rather pixie-like, pretty in a small, delicate sort of way. She is short (about 5'2"), slender, and she has large, dark eyes which she is very good at using to look like a kicked puppy. All of these things distract from, though don’t hide, the fact that she has six-fingered hands. When she goes full on fae, she has long, pointed ears and gossamer-thin butterfly-like wings.
AbilitiesTufa is a shortening of Tuatha de Danann, which is to say that she’s fae. The Tufa broke away from the Seelie court, but something in their blood made their tribe split once they settled. Rockhouse—her father—and his people have served as the “Unseelie” side of affairs. Meanwhile her sister is acting as regent for their “Seelie queen” Mandalay. Curnen is something of a Seelie/Unseelie swirl, which isn’t uncommon since it’s a relatively tiny community so many intermarriages have happened. Tufa mainly differ from other fae in how... human they are. as much as possible they live in the world and have become part of it rather than remaining part of the Other Side.
Curnen, like all Tufa, can do magic. The most natural forms of this are faerie glamour, persuasion, and flight. Other more complicated forms of magic are channeled via music, and she can cast spells through song. Any song, so long as it relates to her intent. She performs on stringed instruments, preferring the guitar that her sister taught her. Like her father, having six working fingers on each hand means she can play chords that are impossible for others, and that makes her powerful. She's a hell of a soprano.
Looking at Curnen one sees a small, sweet, shy girl, all wide-eyed innocence and eagerness to please. Which she is. Growing up in the shadows of people like Bliss Overbay and Rockhouse Hicks, either you stand up and become a force all your own, or you shrink into the background and feel grateful when anybody notices you. Curnen is more the latter. She’s not a headliner, and she doesn’t seek to be. She’ll sass you if you ask for it, but she’s as hard and ruthless as a rose petal. All of this, unfortunately, is probably what dictated the nature of her curse.
The rose has thorns, though. And it’s her father’s fault. He created his own monster.
Curnen’s time in the woods warped her. Her trauma, rather than make her more careful and wary, made her more instinctual, animalistic, and impulsive. That’ll happen when you’re reduced to muteness and living out of people’s garbage while your father wishes you’d hurry up and disappear already. You take what you need when you need it and snatch what pleasure you can get when it presents itself. So she’s sweet, but back her into a corner and she’s not anybody’s victim. That feral girl who tore out her father’s larynx with her teeth never fully went away with the breaking of the curse.
Canon: Tales of the Tufa
by Alex Bledsoe
Appears to be 20, give or take
"Wisp of a Thing
" by Tuatha Dea
|| GAME CANON
|On the surface, Curnen appears to be a rather ordinary young woman of Needsville, Tennessee. Like many people her age, she’s just trying to figure out who she is and what she’s going to do in this crazy world, with the help and guidance of her much older and more established sister, Bliss. Their parents got hit by a train a while back, it's just the two of them now. Bliss is almost her mother.
The true story of her life is a study in awfulness, all the way back to her origins. See, the Tufa have been in Appalachia since before anybody. Long before the Native Americans, let alone European settlers. All has to do with Rockhouse Hicks—formerly the queen’s forester, Tigh-na-creige—and how he lost a bet to the queen that got him and his people exiled, but that’s a long story in and of itself. For thousands of years, the Tufa lived alone in the hills of North America, but when humans started to come, they started interbreeding. The blood started to dilute through generations, and fewer and fewer pureblood children were born. Rockhouse decided to do something about that, though how he got his sister to have a child with him, Curnen doesn’t know. Nor does she want to.
All the same, her early life wasn’t bad. She had little to do with her father, which was good, seeing as he was the meanest son of a bitch anybody knew, and she... wasn't. But everybody knew whose child she was, since only two people in their tribe had six-fingered hands and Rockhouse was the other one. Her mother raised her, along with her other daughter—her husband’s child—Bliss. She even used Overbay as her surname instead of Hicks. Being much older (whether looked at through a human or a fae lens), Bliss looked out for her baby sister almost like her own child. Curnen grew up normally in spite of the incest, got married to a Tufa man by the name of Brushy Dale, and for a time things were happy.
|Curnen has been in London only a short amount of time, mostly getting by on the kindness of strangers. She makes enough money via busking (she is after all very, very good at music) that she doesn't look homeless, but she's basically been couch surfing.
Before London she was roaming the US with Rob, so she's caught up on essentials like what slang words are dead, the broad strokes of history, what technology is available to the everyman and how to use it well enough not to embarrass herself. She's hopeless with pop culture references, though.
|Then Rockhouse decided he wanted a few things. Namely, to get the hell out of Cloud County and more pureblooded children. He went on tour as a rising country music star in the 1960s, taking his daughter and her husband with him as back-up musicians. But when he was discovered raping Curnen, well. There went his career. Being Rockhouse, he blamed Curnen for it. He killed her husband and cursed her to become “a wisp of a thing,” a ghost haunting the woods of Cloud County without ever actually dying. For the next fifty years, Curnen slowly went mad as she disappeared from the world, from perception, and most frightening, from memory. By the end, the only one who really remembered her was Bliss, and Bliss was not powerful enough to take on Rockhouse on her own.|
A failed reality TV star of all people, Rob Quillen, was the one to help her break the curse. He discovered the song that could be used to stop Rockhouse and weaken him—his dying dirge—enough that Curnen could take care of business. Insane as she was, she knew enough to go after the one who had struck her down and she tore out her father’s throat with her teeth, taking his voice and breaking his power. A Tufa who can’t sing anymore is no Tufa at all. And one who’s just heard his dying dirge only has so much time left anyway.
Bliss of course wanted her to stay after that. Wanted Curnen back among her people. Curnen knew she needed to go, though. Even if Rockhouse couldn’t hurt her anymore, he wasn’t dead and she couldn’t stay in Cloud County and feel safe. She’ll go back someday, though for all she knows, someday could be a century from now. The valley is their home and the Tufa can’t leave forever. Nothing good happens when they try. But for now, she’s trying to remember how to be a person again. London’s just the latest stop on the journey.