Vulpine Biography Series: Tavis Kin'cherno

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Vulpine Biography Series: Tavis Kin'cherno

Postby CallieO on Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:08 am

This is a biography of someone who exists in the world of Belariath as an NPC. I'm not sure if I'll ever use him, but he's one of Callie's favorite musicians, and a few years ago, I wrote up a halfway decent bio for him. Still a work in progress.

Vulpine Biography Series

Tavis Kin'cherno

Background Information

Birth Name: Tavis Finton Kin'cherno
Born: 17 March 1790
Jiollo (independent Fire Tribe village)
Tribal affiliation: Fire Tribe
Number of Tails: Five
Genres: Folk, maraco
Class: Bard
Occupations: Musician, singer-songwriter, activist, politician, apprentice mapmaker
Instruments: Lute, bongo drums
Voice Part: Baritone
Years active: 1810-present
Spouses: Marie Pippen [human] (1812-1821; divorced)
Daniella So'chal [vulpine; Karalinka tribe] (1830-1954; deceased)
Associated acts: The Winds of Change (1810-1865)

Tavis Finton So'chal Kin'cherno (born 17 March 1790) is a five-tailed Fire Tribe singer-songwriter, lute player, activist and politician who has gained continent-wide acclaim among vulpines and non-vulpines alike for his songs.

Kin'cherno sang the lead vocals and played the lute on several self-penned hits between 1810 and 1957, including the 1824 ballad "Fen Lo Op Wren ki Vizhra?" ("Why Are We Back to Vizhra?") that first earned him great fame among vulpines, a decent amount of wealth, and recognition from The Lady, who granted him his third tail shortly after the song's first performance at the 1824 Fire Tribe Music Festival.

Also during this time span, he was the lead singer and bongo player of The Winds of Change, a maraco band co-founded by Kin'cherno, bodhrain player Morris Sechay, and bass drum player Daniella So'chal, whom Kin'cherno would marry in 1830; the two stayed together until her death in 1954. Kin'cherno and So'chal had eleven children together from two separate clutches. The Winds of Change disbanded after Sechay's death in 1865.

Kin'cherno is generally recognized as one of the most influential vulpine musicians of the past five hundred years.

Early Life (Felkonsh)

Kin'cherno was born in the independent Fire Tribe village of Jiollo (some 250 miles southeast of the Ilifrian Empire capital of Nanthalion), the son of Nancy Kin'cherno, an eight-tailed tribal elder, and Jeremiah Kin'cherno (sur Vialos), a twin-tailed manager in the village's general store. Tavis was the third-born member of his six-sibling clutch, and the oldest boy; all the members of his clutch were born with a single tail. Tavis was named after the male protagonist of Milana Serafin's first book, The Long Voyage of Night.

As a boy, Kin'cherno took to horseback riding early on, and his parents bought him a horse, whom Kin'cherno named "Peter", for his ninth birthday. "I never became a good-enough horseman to enter competitions or join the cavalry or anything like that," Kin'cherno said, "but I loved that horse, and was miserable every day I couldn't ride him for whatever reason." [2]

In 1802, Kin'cherno met human girl Marie Pippen for the first time, a year after Pippen's parents moved into town. Pippen would eventually become his first wife ten years later. Of their relationship at the time, Kin'cherno said, "'Loathing' would probably be the best word for it. It was very much the gojad relationship. She thought I was too flighty and subject to ever-changing moods and interests. I thought she was too serious and more worried about getting good grades in school than in enjoying her life. The problem was, we were both right." [2]

In April 1803, Pippen and her family moved to Nanthalion after her father got a job as a manager of The Lonely Inn. "I was not sad to see her go," Kin'cherno admitted. [2]

On August 2, 1806, Kin'cherno went to the Fire Tribe Music Festival with his family, and at the festival he first saw Morris Sechay perform. Sechay, at the time, was backup singer and lead guitarist for Yi Gaishin ("The Animals"), and Kin'cherno was impressed with him, but he remembered being most impressed by Sechay's bodhrain playing on the song "Boat on the River". "Boat on the River" earned third place at the festival, qualifying Yi Gaishin to perform it at the Celestial Shower on September 1, but it finished a disappointing fifth at the all-tribes event.

In November 1806, after a three-year absence from Jiollo, Marie Pippen returned to the city, this time as a 20-year-old woman no longer living with her family. Having grown strong romantic feelings for Kin'cherno in the interim, she renewed her acquaintance with him, and on June 4, 1807, the two of them became boyfriend and girlfriend at the annual "Taste of Jiollo" test-tasting event.

The Felkulu Years

March 17, 1808 marked Kin'cherno's 18th birthday, and to coincide with the landmark, he was given full access to the uncensored version of The Sacred Teachings, and required to begin his sex training within three months. As he and Pippen were already boyfriend and girlfriend, he was granted permission to choose her as his partner for the training.

A week before the training was to begin in May, Kin'cherno and Pippen made love for the first time, in the house where Kin'cherno was born. "It was my first time," Kin'cherno said later, "but not hers. In fact, she was known as quite a fun-loving girl in Nanthalion." Kin'cherno and Pippen had sex privately before the training partly to ease the tension before they did it in front of their class, which is a rather common practice.

After the sex training, in which Kin'cherno ultimately had sex with four women, Kin'cherno became apprenticed to a human mapmaker, David Richards, who owned a shop in town. Kin'cherno worked under Richards until his soul-joining in 1810.

Soul-Joining and Change of Vocation

In 1810, Kin'cherno, his clutch-siblings and a group of fifteen other felkulu entered the Fire Cloister in the center of Jiollo to undergo their Soul-Joining Ritual; they went without food or water for three days while sitting in the center of a ring of flames. Twenty members of the group were successful in receiving their souls; the sole person who failed to do so, died of dehydration and heat exhaustion on the second day. (She was not one of Kin'cherno's clutch-siblings).

Upon receiving his soul, Kin'cherno discovered that he had gained near-perfect pitch, knowledge of musical theory, the creativity to write songs and the ability to play the lute, "where before, I had not an ounce of musical talent in my entire body," he said. [1]

He immediately began to put pen to paper and write songs, though his earliest song, "Reen Tew Qaw Ron Nell Fenta" ("Never Been Hurt Quite Like This") met with little initial success when he debuted it at the 1810 Fire Tribe Music Festival. The song is, however, considered a classic today.

Kin'cherno first met Morris Sechay backstage at the event; remembering how Sechay had impressed him with Yi Gaishin four years earlier, Kin'cherno struck up a conversation and found they had many things in common. By this time, Yi Gasihin had broken up due to creative differences. Kin'cherno impressed Sechay with his debut performance, and shortly after the festival, Sechay and his best friend Daniella So'chal formed The Winds of Change, a maraco band, with Kin'chero as their lead vocalist and bongo player.

Of So'chal, his second wife, Kin'cherno describes their initial relationship as "friendly, but strictly professional for many years. It wasn't until three years after Marie and I divorced that Daniella and I discovered we had feelings for each other." [2]

Marriage to Marie, and Building a Legacy

Kin'cherno married Marie Pippen, his girlfriend of close to five years, on March 30, 1812; the ceremony was immediately preceded by Pippen becoming an official member of the tribe via the Rebirth Ceremony. Naked, Pippen was led into a mud pit, covered with the substance, and taken to a pool of water to clean off-- symbolizing the death of her old self and her rebirth as an official member of a vulpine tribe, in this case the Fire Tribe. Only then was she deemed worthy to marry Kin'cherno.

Marie had become a barmaid in the Conch Shell Inn two years earlier, and maintained several ovanya relationships through her job, even after she was married. Of Marie having sex with so many other men (and several women), Kin'cherno admitted, "at first I didn't have much of a problem with it. But after awhile, it seemed she spent so much time fucking other people that she didn't have anything left for me, and that was the beginning of the end for us." [2]

Both solo and with The Winds of Change, Kin'cherno began to build a legacy, achieving modest success with his solo work "Lahnlan Avar yi Rinton" ("Sweeping Away the Past") in 1815 and group work "Jalet Morn Wren; Cob Rellan!" ("Don't Look Back; Keep Running!") the same year. Kincherno's performance of "Sweeping Away the Past" at the 1815 Fire Tribe Music Festival was awarded seventh place that year.

The Smell of Success

In 1816, Kin'cherno and Morris Sechay co-wrote "Le E'sh Reen Mornlan Wren... Hun Fenta Starro" ("And I'm Never Looking Back... Except This Once"), which led The Winds of Change to their first major success. Described by Kin'cherno as "a radical shift in my style... the first time I wrote a song that was both regretful and darkly funny", [1] "And I'm Never Looking Back..." made its on-stage debut in April at Jiollo's Sounds of Spring Village Concert, and "tore the house down". [1]

On August 3, 1816, The Winds of Change performed "And I'm Never Looking Back..." at the Fire Tribe Music Festival, and were awarded second place by an enthusiastic panel of judges, who proclaimed it "brilliant". The following morning, Kin'cherno awoke to discover he'd been blessed with his second tail by The Lady, apparently in recognition of his achievement.

The Winds' second-place finish qualified them as one of three Fire Tribe representatives to the Celestial Shower Music Showcase on September 1, where all seven tribes would go to The Lady's mountain and celebrate the annual Celestial Shower event; Vulpines believe the event indicates that The Lady is always watching over Her children and wishing for their happiness.

For Kin'cherno and his wife Marie, it was the first time either one of them had gone to the Celestial Shower event, "and we found it to be an absolutely magical experience," he said. Tavis and Marie felt inspired to make their first earnest attempt to conceive a child at the festival, and Marie would later become pregnant.

At the Celestial Shower Music Showcase, "And I'm Never Looking Back..." earned fourth place, finishing higher than even the Fire Tribe Festival winner. It was the highest-place finish for Morris Sechay, who had qualified for the event on three previous occasions, and the debut Celestial Shower performance for both Kin'cherno and Daniella So'chal.

Dealing With Tragedy

On March 3, 1817, while working on a new song with Morris Sechay that would ultimately become "Fen?" ("Why?"), Kin'cherno was interrupted by his wife Marie, who had terrible news-- she'd miscarried the child that she and Tavis had conceived together at the Celestial Shower. The news devastated them for a long time, and Tavis took a sabbatical from The Winds of Change, heading with Marie to the mixed-race beach city of Resafal, where they spent the next six months.

While in Resafal, Kin'cherno made money as a clerk in a clothing store, doing occasional music shows on the weekends, while Marie earned 7,000 mehrials as a nude model for Jim Heisen's painting Moonlit Maiden, which gained Heisen significant wealth and fame. "Of course I knew about the nude painting," Kin'cherno said, "but I didn't realize at the time that Marie started having an affair with Jim Heisen." [2]

The Kin'chernos moved back to Jiollo in September, where Tavis resumed his work with The Winds of Change and as a solo artist. On New Year's Eve, The Winds of Change performed an eight-song concert of their group hits and the solo hits of Kin'cherno and Sechay, ending with a rousing rendition of Kin'cherno's "Sweeping Away the Past" as the temple bells rang the midnight hour.

Back Home

The year 1818 served as a year of creative and spiritual renaissance for Kin'cherno; on his 28th birthday on March 17 he rededicated his life to The Lady in a solemn ceremony attended by his friends and family. "I just felt like I'd let the world knock me down and trample me after the miscarriage," Kin'cherno said, "and I needed to get my priorities back in line." [2]

In April, The Winds of Change debuted their new song, "Fen?" ("Why?") at the Sounds of Spring Village Concert, which was an alternately solemn and angry song detailing Kin'cherno's anguish over his wife's miscarriage. "Most of my songs aren't autobiographical like that," Kin'cherno said, "or if they are, they're usually more subtle. This was the first autobiographical song in which I actively spoke as myself, and asked the questions of other people, and of The Lady."

"Fen?" earned fifth place at the 1818 Fire Tribe Music Festival in August, and recognition from the judges as a "heartbreaking, beautiful song".

Betrayal, Divorce and Self-Imposed House Arrest

In 1819, Jim Heisen moved to Jiollo; shortly thereafter, Tavis and Marie Kin'cherno conceived a second child, which was again miscarried. In 1820, Marie resumed her affair with Heisen and conceived a child with him; when the fully-human, healthy baby girl was born on February 2, 1821, Marie admitted her affair, and Tavis immediately requested a divorce.

Tavis and Marie's divorce was finalized on April 5, 1821, and Tavis retreated into his room for the next four months, often coming out only to eat meals and use the restroom. He began a period of feverishly creative writing; in that four-month time span, he wrote enough songs to get him through the next five years, including "Fen Lo Op Wren ki Vizhra?" ("Why Are We Back to Vizhra?"), which he would debut in 1824.

While Kin'cherno was in his self-imposed house arrest, his former wife Marie married Jim Heisen and began to raise their child, Joy, with him. Shortly afterward, they moved to Nanthalion.

Ultimately it was Kin'cherno's bandmate and future wife Daniella So'chal who lured him out by cooking several staples of vulpine cuisine. "I just followed my nose to the kitchen," Kin'cherno said, "and there was Daniella, eating min'taba and giojoni, and looking just as pleased as can be." [2]

Getting On With His Life

Kin'cherno, So'chal and Sechay got back to work as a band shortly thereafter, with one important difference. "Before the divorce, I was much closer to Morris than to Daniella," Kin'cherno said. "Morris and I were best friends and writing partners, and Daniella was someone I didn't think about much unless it involved the band. She was Morris' friend, really. But after she lured me out of my room, she and I began developing a friendship all our own." [3]

Notable Works


1810: "Reen Tew Qaw Ron Nell Fenta" ("Never Been Hurt Quite Like This")
Recognition: 17th Place, 1810 Fire Tribe Music Festival
1815: "Lahnlan Avar yi Rinton" ("Sweeping Away the Past")
Recognition: 7th Place, 1815 Fire Tribe Music Festival
1824: "Fen Lo Op Wren ki Vizhra?" ("Why Are We Back to Vizhra?")
Recognition: Winner of 1824 Fire Tribe Music Festival
Recognition: Winner of 1824 Celestial Shower Music Showcase
Recognition: Granted third tail by The Lady
1826: "Resafal" [named after the city of Resafal]
1874: "You'd Think I'd Know Better by Now" [written in Common]
1912: "Cam Oov Chamat Jilbo gi yi Felkoni?" ("But Who Will Speak for the Soulless Ones?")
Recognition: 9th Place, 1912 Fire Tribe Music Festival
Recognition: "Most Controversial New Song," 1912 Fire Tribe Music Festival
1957: "Kyrio" ("Violence")
Recognition: Winner of 1957 Fire Tribe Music Festival
Recognition: Winner of 1957 Celestial Shower Music Showcase
Recognition: Granted fifth tail by The Lady

With The Winds of Change

1815: "Jalet Morn Wren; Cob Rellan!" ("Don't Look Back; Keep Running!")
1816: "Le E'sh Reen Mornlan Wren... Hun Fenta Starro" ("And I'm Never Looking Back... Except This Once") (Co-written by Morris Sechay)
Recognition: 2nd Place, 1816 Fire Tribe Music Festival
Recognition: 4th Place, 1816 Celestial Shower Music Showcase
Recognition: Granted second tail by The Lady
1818: "Fen?" ("Why?") (Co-written by Morris Sechay)
Recognition: 5th place, 1818 Fire Tribe Music Festival
1845: "Reen Roosh Nell Fenta Karu" ("Never Felt Like This Before")
Recognition: Winner, 1845 Fire Tribe Music Festival
Recognition: Winner, 1845 Celestial Shower Music Showcase


[1] "Back to Vizhra: The Successes and Setbacks of Tavis Kin'cherno", interview, Jiollo Gazette, October 19, 1824 (with reporter Uriah Niavla)
[2] "Not Shying From Controversy", interview, Jiollo Gazette, December 2, 1914 (with reporter Michael Varacao)
[3] "Tavis' Trials," interview, The Nanthalion Times, April 28, 1966 (with reporter Christina Crosby)

Glossary of Vulpani Terms Used in This Biography

felkonsh: A vulpine ranging from birth to age eighteen; literally "too young for a soul"
felkulu: "Soul-builder"; a vulpine ranging from age eighteen, when The Sacred Teachings is revealed in full to them, to their soul-joining at age twenty.
giojoni: Dumplings that can be stuffed with one of many varieties of meat or vegetables; a staple of vulpine cuisine
gojad: A loving relationship that began from a state of hostility, as in a gojada story
maraco: A genre of vulpine music consisting of beautiful four- and six-part harmonies, upbeat rhythms, and the use of no instruments aside from percussion
min'taba: Quiche made with meat, potatoes, eggs, cheese and sometimes vegetables; a staple of vulpine cuisine
ovanya: Friend with benefits.
"If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe."
--Dr. Beverly Crusher

Player of Callie Volopa, Viaa, Auric Lightwing, Brian Perano, Erin Tarcata and Aimee Sarasiné

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