Torra Laing
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Torra Laing is a courier who makes her money running deliveries and messages around Dornie. Her magic is the magic of clairvoyance, and her ability to 'ken the words bettern most', for lack of better words, sees her working for many different employers.

Info

Full Name: Torra Laing
Age: 25
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Brown

Status: Alive
Occupation: Courier
Origin: Scottish
Allegiance: Undecided

First Seen: Delivery Fee
Last Seen: N/A

Description: At her full height of five feet and six inches tall, Torra Laing is average for a woman's size. The girl is youngish-looking though in her mid twenties, and almost everything she does derives from enthusiasm and energy; her hands move about when she speaks, and if she is excited about a subject her brown eyes grow animated and bright. Her skin is often tanned from time spent outdoors though naturally fair, and her face is round with a slightly large forehead, but it seems to go well with the baby-fine blonde hair that falls past her shoulders.

Usually she dresses in trousers and boots, a blouse and maybe an occasional dress, but also a jacket during cooler days along with a gray tweed cap. The hair is usually tied back when on the job; it will be plaited into a braid on the side of her head.

Family:

  • Alasdair Laing † - father
  • Karen Laing † - mother
  • Griorgair Laing - older brother
  • Bothan Busby - maternal uncle
  • Darla Busby - aunt-by-marriage

Portrayed by: Alison Pill


History

Torra does not know much about her parents, who died when she was too small to remember. She was too young to even know what kind of people they were, but they had a small house somewhere in Scotland, as told to her later in life. Alasdair, her father, worked the woods as a board-hewer, cutting trees to make joists and beams. Karen, her mother, was a midwife. One morning, Alasdair brought two strangers into the home, both of whom were seemingly injured after encountering a pack of wolves in the wild. Half-starved and travel-worn, they did nothing to arouse Alasdair's suspicion—but then his wife realized when offering treatment that their wounds were not real. They demanded money from the family and, when Alasdair refused, killed the parents and made off with Torra and her older brother, Griorgair, with the intent to sell them into slavery.

It did not happen as planned; the ten-year-old boy blinded the men with dirt and managed to escape with his sister.

They fled into the woods surrounding their home, but after an hour of running were still being pursued and nearing a river they would never be able to cross on their own. Assistance came from the most unusual of places when a large hound appeared and advised them of how to handle the situation. Griorgair mistook it for the apparition of a black dog so near to where their parents lay murdered in the dying of the daylight, then saw that it was a bloodhound and attempted to scare it off with a stick, but was stopped by the cries of his sister, who matter-of-factly stated that it was her 'friend'. The animal explained to Torra (who was thought by her brother to be insane, by this point) that someone would come for them, if only they were to hide and stay safely hidden for a time, and helped Torra instruct her brother in arranging things to pretend that they had tried to cross the river and drowned, but really concealing themselves in the underbush to wait for help to come. Soon enough, they were located by their uncle, who had been alerted to the murders by neighbors while paying a visit to his sister and was led to the site of their hideout by the dog. Bothan Busby did the only natural thing at the time and brought his nephew and niece to live with him in the settlement where he worked as a furrier. Both siblings were raised in Dornie.

It was Bothan who played the largest part in shaping his nephew's life while Torra was habitually stuck with her Aunt Darla, Bothan's second wife. The pair divided the children among them; it was only natural the girl would go with her aunt while the boy would go with his uncle, and Darla (who was unable to conceive) was thrilled to have a daughter, 'magic' or not. In their home, Torra had all the usual events of a young girl but was also a wild and energetic little creature who failed to understand such concepts as cleaning or dressing up; a more educated woman for the low middle class, her aunt was able to teach her some things but could not shape her into the quiet and prim creature she wanted to take to parties and brag about in front of other women, and gradually had to come to terms with this.

It was known from the point the animal began to follow her and her stories of how it helped her that Torra would be a mage, but it was not until she neared double digits that her gift revealed itself. Not coincidence, it was at this point that she became known as useful in the eyes of the settlement and its militia as an occasional translator (as odd as asking a seven-year-old girl to listen intently to foreigners talk, then explain their talents to those who would put them to good use was). She did as asked, and to this day still remains 'on call' as needed.

In her teens, Torra only added to her aunt's gray hairs by spending an inordinate amount of time in the company of huntsmen, whom she generally enjoyed for their stories of travel (though there was one young man she harbored a secret crush on). One thing led to another, and Torra ended up visiting a neighboring settlement with them. Under threat of castration by her uncle who tracked them down, she was returned, but not before developing an interest in working abroad, much to the horror of her aunt. By then, her brother had gone and become an apprentice to another tradesmen and she had begun to desire to find her own path. It was by her choice that she decided to become a courier after her eighteenth birthday. She is still discouraged from any long treks by her family, but become a hard worker at her chosen profession, and since then has built up a list of employers that continues to grow.


Personality

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"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.
It's jolted by every pebble on the road.”
—Henry Ward Beecher

Torra is very much an extrovert, and hard-pressed to understand those who are not. She will go to great lengths to draw them out of their shells, whether they want her help or not. Where her efforts are rebuffed, she is unlikely to notice or care. She is quick to laugh and even quicker to smile, and not easily discouraged. All that said, she can usually be counted on to tell it like it is and share well thought out opinions, though not necessarily book smart or as agile a thinker as a scholar or doctor.

What she lacks in formal education she makes up for in raw energy; Torra is one of those people who is forever in motion and restless when made to sit still with something like a book to look at.

She has strong ties to her family (even her aunt, though the two are like oil and water) and can be a companionable friend, and on most days is even-tempered; still, she is not above holding a grudge if someone has done something to upset her, as difficult as it can be to rub her the wrong way. There are things that can affront her. Although she was nearly forced into slavery at a young age Torra would appear to take no sides on the matter of power overcoming the weak out of necessity. Both she and her brother were taught to accept it as a fact of life, but neither will ever fully accept what happened to their parents. In private, she expresses discontent with the laws of the land, and is even thought to have some role in passing discussions back and forth, though surely her carefree attitude and commitment to her work would negate too many concerns.


Magic

Torra is a language clairvoyant; in essence, this means she can intuitively understand spoken or written languages that she comes in contact with.

This magic is not without its drawbacks. First, the more complex the language, the harder it is to translate. Take languages with more difficult grammar structures: words can become distorted or lost in the translation, and Torra may have to ask a speaker to repeat what they have said in order to process it fully. Then there are even more complex languages from ancestral groups past or ones that rely greatly on symbols for which there is no common tongue equivalent. Though there is no guarantee at success, pushing herself just enough, or conducting a ritual of sorts to focus her acuity, might help her to work out some of the components that are creating problems; however, the act would create noticeable disturbances in her own ability to speak. Too much translation in one day can lead to stuttering; this would worsen and become verbal apraxia that lasts at least several days in the case of a more complex reading.

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Roams-Far as a hound.

Second, she does not become fluent in a language just by understanding it subconsciously. Sometimes, she can guess after repeated exposure what the language is, and she can reuse certain words that seem common and can be drawn out from context, but conversing with someone would be out of the question. Perhaps in time, but not now.

(RP note: This ability assumes a person with some knowledge of English as a second language to fit into the community at large, but in cases where an individual speaks none of the language at all, Torra has learned to resort to other methods—miming, doodling, and reusing what words she can put to use—to broach the communication problems. Sometimes, she also goes out of her way to assist newcomers in fitting in and teaching them English herself if particularly struck by them. For more on encounters with her, see her RP hooks section.)

Her familiar is Roams-Far, who normally manifests as a bloodhound or ferret. Whichever is most convenient for travel is normally how it works.


For more notes, see: Character Notes for Torra Laing.