There has never been a time that 'Tam' knew when he was not on the run. His earliest memories are of his father Tiam fleeing with him, barely older than a toddler, from the forests of Kyonin elven soldiers hot in pursuit. He has only vague sad memories of his mother. His father Tiam has made a career of being a criminal swindler, burglar, cut-purse, some would even include assassin in that litany. Not a kind or happy elf at all but consumed by an unquenchable greed for power control, dominance regardless of who or what stood in the way or how many bodies were left in his wake. All through his many schemes swindles and banditry his son was at his side not so much being taught the craft of the criminal as much as picking up what he saw and eventually getting it right when he grew tired of his father's incessant belittling him when he failed at some task Tiam demanded of him. Tiam was not a attentive or loving parent, not so much as even naming his son - merely calling him "boy", or "childe" in his harsh disapproving tone. 'tam' did not have a easy or stable childhood always on the move to the next caper yet by and by he was protected if haphazardly by his father Tiam. As the years passed Tiam gained quite the reputation for his criminal activity even having to take up many false names to hide his identity, "Darque" and "Stryder" being two of his favorite false names. But no matter the payoff no matter the loot Tiam was never satisfied he sank to deeper and crueler dark schemes - abductions, blackmail, extortion rackets and eventually slavery and murder. Eventually, even Tiam's false names came to be recognized and he became renown as Tiam "Darquestryder". By that time his son was old enough to care mostly for himself and had earned a street name for himself as "little-tiam" or 'Tam'. but his father's hunger and disquiet grew and he started making forays on his own for his schemes leaving 'Tam' to fend for himself first for days, then weeks and eventually months at a time.
Out of this "Tam" was something special - perhaps some hidden strength of his long-forgotten mother, though his father reveled in his wicked desires Tam never gave into the path of evil. Even though his father was, at best, a disinterested parent and neglectful in his harshness Tam always tried to be a dutiful son and make his father proud... no matter how impossible he eventually came to realize that was. Tam suspected that his father had some philosophical falling out with the 'returned' elven people as Tiam also grew up in the streets of human society, but where Tam saw hope and a struggle for something better Tiam turned bitter, spiteful ...wicked. Likely, out of spite for the soft 'elven' ways Tiam stole his son 'Tam' away from his mother for pure cruelty. To Tam though Tiam was his father who protected him and thought harshly cared for him. Tam cared for and wanted to be like his father as a child. Tam has never returned to the elven lands of Kyonin. For the street name of "little-tam" was more than a moniker for as he matured he became the spitting image of his father, saving perhaps his eyes...oft times being mistaken for Tiam... a fact Tiam made certain use of as often as possible in many of his schemes.
But as Tiam became more and more scare in Tam's life his occasional returns began to show Tam how VERY different they were indeed. In the latter part of their days together Tiam became more and more interested in the legends of the Drow... the dark elves of legend that stayed in Golarian during the Earthfall and the First Darkness. More and more his schemes involved recovery of artifacts and lore of their 'culture' as it were. Tiam became fascinated with magic dealing with darkness and shadowy forbidden arcane lore especially the art of shadowcasting Tam knew his father dabbled in magic but Tiam never taught Tam any of his arcane skills. Tam began to worry about his father's deepening obsession. One of their heists was in Korvosa's prestigious Acadamae to steal a map of the Darklands specifically research notes from a long dead explorer into the nightmarish lands of Sekamina. After that heist Tiam left not telling Tam where he was going and too paranoid to let him come with him.
At that time Tam was living in Kaer Maga... one of the few places Tiam did not have a reputation thus far that would have him run out of town or worse. It was here on the streets that Tam began to make his own name for himself as a thief-catcher. He had seen how the poor and unfortunate were constantly tormented by criminals like his father and his heart told him this was wrong. So Tam presented himself to the authorities as a detective consultant in solving criminal activity and protecting the common folk from crooks and extortion rackets. It was during this time he met his first love, Liara "Featherstep", a half-elven Cleric / Bard of DESNA. Liara met him when he was defending an elderly couples shop from the street-gang ruffians shaking them down for gold they did not have as they had already paid another protection racket of street thugs. Liara was impressed by his courageous and compassionate heart. soon they began seeing each other more and more spending long hours discussing philospohy and history. Liara showed Tam that the gods were not just impersonal entities that moved in uncaring plots that the path of the good-hearted was not weakness but strength. Tam was never very religious... but Liara's faith and belief changed him for the better.
It was months later when Tiam returned and Tam could immediately feel something was wrong... he was changed even colder apparently in triumph than Tam had ever seen him. He told Tam he had made a fascinating discovery that opened doorways to power that he had never guessed at before. most of it was a mad almost rant of dark exaltation but from what Tam could gather Tiam believed he had travelled to Sekamina and had learn secrets about the nature of reality and the 'dark-truths' o the universe that were so enlightening... and he wanted to share them with Tam! Tam was dubious about the whole matter he was not sure whatever 'truth' his father had discovered he was interested in knowing... and they parted inconclusively when Tam convinced his father he needed rest from his long journey and should use the time to recover. It was a dismissive thing that his father would normally have been keen to spot but this time...also out of norm he acquiesced to his son's wishes. Tam told himself that whatever dark fascination his father had with the Drow obviously something he had seen or experienced had unhinged his mind in his quest... but it was more than that... it was the palpable aura of malevolence and evil that seemed to cling to Tiam that disturbed Tam the most.
The next days as Tiam recovered Tam asked his father to come with him as he worked having been hard at work making a small name for himself as a thief-catcher. Tiam agreed but covered his face in a dark cowl and only followed from the shadows.
To say the least Tiam was not impressed in fact he was appalled at Tam's profession calling him pandering to the worthless and weak when he was capable of so much greater and mighty deeds. It was the first time Tiam had ever expressed any admiration of his skills... even if it was to criticize what he considered squandering them on pointless menial tasks.
Over the course of a month or so Tiam observed the life that Tam had made for himself with more and more disappointment and derision. Tam even introduced him to Liara and Tiam was cold in his subtly insulting but Liara did not show offence, but Tam witnessed the spiteful bile his father had for all he had accomplished. He ranted about how disappointed he was over how Tam was squandering the skills he had spent so long teaching him...obviously forgetful that he had never actually instructed Tam at all and all that Tam learned he learned through trial and error. Tam began to see how shallow and lonely his father's life had been how ate up he was with avarice and schemes of power. In his own way Tam pitied his misguided sire and told Liara of his concerns. Liara counseled that Tam should not give up on his father and keep trying to reach him.
It ended in an argument between Tam and Tiam and his father stormed off into the night... Tam figured he'd never see him again.
Tam moved into Liara's flat above a renown tavern that she provided entertainment at and ministered to the faithful of DESNA. Tam's wish was to get as far away from his past with his father as possible ...a clean break. I somewhat harder task by the fact they looked so much alike it was hard convincing people he was not his dangerous and evil father.
To Tam's surprise his father showed up occasionally to see how he was coming on and criticize his choices but seemed to have made some acceptance of Tam's lie choice. Again always trying to get Tam to follow in his footsteps to the path of power he had discovered. But Tam was adamant he did not want that life anymore and was determined to make his own way on his own.
Slowly Tam began to notice that the changes in his father were more than just personality. slowly his skin began to take on a dusky hue and his features became more sharp and gaunt. His hair began to prematurely whiten for his Tam at first took it to be his father's attempts to disguise himself to be less recognizable but it was more than that his mannerisms also changed his eyes changing hue from their deep blue to hints of violet and red. It was subtle at first but slowly it was undeniable. Perhaps he was using magic to assist in his slow change in appearance. Tiam ranted in private with Tam about finding a artifact he called 'The Black Stone Heart of Orv" which meant nothing to Tam and made him very uncomfortable. Tiam's ranting continued about his discovery of the secret that... "the blood is the way..." and "blood calls to blood and a pact of blood would call and awaken the shattered night..." all sinister pronouncements that had Tam fearing for the sanity of his father. When Tam would ask where his father heard such dreadful things Tiam would laugh it off and be dismissive. Also Tiam's paranoia seemed to grow until he would refuse to meet in public places or in broad daylight.
One time Tiam misspoke when Tam had inquired where he learned all these things and he went into a reverie and said, "It speaks to me, whispers secrets and wisdom of the ages..."
When Tam asked what "it" was, Tiam came out of his recollection and smiled replying, "Well the books of lore and deep wisdom of the survivors of the first darkness... their writings are scattered about all of Golarion.. and below if you have what it takes to stalk their shadowy paths!"
Tam was not convinced but pushed no further.
It was the last few visits from his father several months apart that chilled Tam's heart. Tiam made no further offers for Tam to join him in his schemes and had only curt subtle criticism of his chosen life-path which increasingly included Liara. Tiam's pallor had definitely taken a turn for the worse he was ashen, almost grey skinned. Tam inquired if he were ill and suggested he see a cleric perhaps slowed down his incessant long journeys and hard work to recover and regain his strength. Tiam only smiled and chuckled that he was feeling better than he had ever working the streets for fools and weaklings.
The last time Tam saw his father it was unexpected and ended in tragic results. Liara was down in the Tavern playing a final evening set for the patrons and Tam was up in their flat preparing the dinner table after a long day hunting a gang of child abductors who specialized in a ransom racket. Just seconds too late Tam reacted to a sound that should not have been there,,, the twang of a crossbow cable. Not fast enough to twist out of the w Tam was shot in the leg with a handcrossbow bolt/dart...poisoned - of course.
The room spun and Tam fell to the floor paralyzed. When his vision cleared Tiam was standing over him leering cruelly.
Tiam had no cruel words for him, no familiar fevered rants... only these words that froze his blood, "...If you will not embrace the darkness... then the darkness will embrace you... blood of my blood, the pact shall be sealed in kind."
Tiam began preparing a ritual. He uncovered from a sack a small lead chest from which he removed nine fist-sized Caphorite crystals, a small pouch of Lazurite dust, a vial of the "Black Blood of Orv".
The crystals had a strange ominous soft orange-purple glowed that caused the candles in the room to dim to almost only embers. Tiam laid these out on the floor around Tam's paralyzed body in some arcane pattern. The crystal's light was some dark mystical energy that caused Tam's skin to crawl.
The dimed light made his father's eyes glow faintly violet and cruel smile to seem absolutely diabolical. Tiam cut Tam's hand and bleed him and did the same to himself. Mixing his blood and his sons in a stone crucible. He mixed the blood with the contents of a pouch he pulled from the chest - The Lazurite dust. Then Tiam painted the mixture of his and his son's blood with the Lazurite dust prepared a mystical summoning circle of foul origins connecting the Caphorite crystals into a pattern. Then taking a vial of the "Black Blood of Orv" - Tiam forced a single drop down Tam's throat. The foul unholy liquid froze Tam to his core spreading out from his chest - fear and cold gripping his heart.
The ritual prepared, Tiam took out a the last content of the chest a Drow-made ritual sacrificial dagger...
Tiam began his ritual.
It suddenly became starkly clear what his father had been doing... Tiam had been taking regular doses of the accursed 'Black Blood of Orv' and the elf that was his father was no more. In his place was a wicked and twisted spirit that was now going to take his own son's life to further his transformation into... an abomination.
Tiam summoned the spirit of darkness and bade it possess Tam's body to completely devour his spirit when his life was taken and thus prove Tiam's devotion to darkest evil.
It was Liara that saved Tam she struck Tiam from behind sending him reeling and she entered the circle and cast protection from evil upon Tam to save him. Tiam was furious and struck at Liara she barely avoided his blade. Seeing the darkness that had gathered in the room Liara backed away from the enraged insane elf and cast Daylight in hopes to drive away the spirit coiling in the room like a cloud. The effect had spectacular results Tiam screams in pain at the bright light his eyes long pained by sunlight even magical sunlight and is sent reeling again. The Caphorite Crystals instantly turned to powder destroying the binding circle and releasing the summoned spirit. Seeing Tiam reeling Liara turned and cast delay poison upon Tam to free him from the poison.
Tam was recovering his hand upon her holy symbol of DESNA when Tiam struck. Tiam, enraged beyond reason charged and stabbed Liara through the heart with the Drow sacrificial dagger the force of his blow driving her out the door to the room, snapping the chain of her symbol of in Tam's hand and pitching her over the railing of the balcony outside the room in the Tavern to fall to the floor below in the middle of the tavern full of patrons. All eyes looked up to see a made-eyed murderous Tiam... the spitting image of Tam.
But the ritual was finished a innocent soul had been sacrificed but the ritual had been done wrong ... with unexpected results. Tiam seeing the mad patrons and guardsmen coming for his public murder fled back into the room and out the window laughing.
Tam was stunned but the impact of what had just happened was not lost on him snatching up Liara's dropped silver starknife and her broken holy symbol he fled as well tried to catch his father but was no match for his sire's stealth skills. But Tam was followed also ... by something summoned and bound by blood to his spirit. Something dark that he could not escape...
Tam was deeply grieved and hunted for his beloved's murder he had to flee Kaer Maga and never return. Tam tired to find his father to avenge his Liara's death but to no avail. Tam tried to start over in a new city but some shadow of misfortune seemed to follow him. The ritual had left its mark on him and something dark and sinister followed him from the shadows. Outwardly he was mostly unchanged save for his now eerily violet eyes and platinum blonde almost white hair. But the physical change was nothing compared to the mystical change something had been summoned and stalked him. It whispers to him in his dreams and Tam would wake and find things in his room subtly moved or changed. Something dark and malevolent had been bound to his spirit and nothing he could do could escape it or drive it away.
Worse he could feel "it" growing stronger. The words of his father came back to haunt him litterally... "It speaks to me, whispers secrets and wisdom of the ages..." Soon "it" was speaking to him in his mind even while awake tempting him, taunting him with its wicked and dark desires! To add complication to this... his father's reputation dogged him where ever he went as he and his father looked like twins. Many a time Tam was run out of town pursued by guardsman thinking them pursuing his father! There seemed no hope... Tam has decided to face the darkness growing within him, dogging his life. He knows a confrontation with this curse is soon in coming.
So Tam has moved to Riddleport seeking a new start or at least a quiet place to end it. He will not let the darkness consume him...even if he must take his own life to prevent that possibility. In all his father's wanderings Riddleport was one place he never traveled... 'too small time' for his tastes. Perhaps that was for the best, one more corpse - one way or another would not be out of the ordinary here Tam has chosen Riddleport for his showdown with the curse his father has placed upon him... and the spirit that seeks to corrupt his heart...
May DESNA grant him strength to prevail...