Taren Bastendorf is a son of Perses and after the events described in Promise of Destruction, he is the new vessel for the Mist Flame, replacing the deceased(by Taren's hand) Eve Al-Qadir.
Taren runs track in high school, and he doesn't necessarily have the most balanced diet. His clothes are somewhat loose, making him look much more scrawny than he really is. I mean, he he's definitely lean and on the skinny side, but it's not as unhealthy as it looks. He's got muscle (though he's no bodybuilder) from running and demigod training. He's fair-skinned but has developed a few shades of a tan over the years, and does sport a handful of battle scars along his body.
Taren is reclusive and withdrawn, but not necessarily shy. He keeps his distance not out of nervousness of others, but rather because he feels it's better for everyone. And yes, in case you didn't notice, he is a bit self-loathing. He wouldn't benefit from positive reinforcement so much as he would benefit from someone grabbing him and shaking him by the shoulders. Boy needs some sense shook into him.
Essentially he's convinced himself that he's alone because no one cares about him—and the evidence supporting this theory is admittedly pretty undeniable. He's calculate and analytical, and actually a bit of a dork. He will spit a useless factoid and get embarrassed and try to blend into the wall afterwards. He sounds gloomy, but he's perfectly capable of being happy and laughing and being social with others. He just can't do it for long without being reminded that these things aren't permanent. Like I said, he doesn't need niceness (that would only twist the knife deeper) he needs a smack upside the head.
Beyond that, he's genuinely a nice kid and actually finds enjoyment in subverting his father's domain by doing nice things and helping people. He also doesn't understand the idea that destruction is not inherently evil. He's never met his father, so he only has his experience with his own powers to make a judgment, and thus hates Perses. I feel I should state again that he's actually a very good guy, he just needs someone persistent enough to break through the wall he's put up around himself. If this is done, if someone proves their loyalty to him no matter what, he will reciprocate.
Taren's Biography Edit
Taren's mother Tina was married before she had him, to a mortal named Michael Rossi. They had two children, Justine and Patrick. The four of them had a very good life for several years. They both worked successful jobs out of the house and still managed to have time for their kids. All in all it was very idyllic. That all changed when Tina met and became enamored with Perses, and she began to see the Titan on the side. This affair came to a head when Tina became pregnant with Taren. Michael knew the time line was off for him because he had recently taken an extended trip to take care of his parents (his mother was wheelchair-bound in her old age and his father had just come out of major surgery for cancer), so he correctly deduced that the child wasn't his. Tina did not deny the accusation.
The divorce was ugly and custody ended up being shared between the two parents. Tina was heartbroken, and even though she accepted responsibility for her role in the end of the marriage, she never stopped loving Michael and never blamed her unborn child. She went so far as to give him her ex-husband's name as his middle name, and named him Taren (which means innocence). She never did see Perses again after telling him she was pregnant, and never found out he was a Greek Titan.
After Taren was born, things changed. The change was slow and subtle, but once the ball got rolling it sped up into a whirlwind of disaster. Tina became angrier and more prone to explosive outbursts, her job suffered and so did the relationship with her two mortal children. When Taren started grade school, she lost her job. After that the family quickly lost their house because she was unable to get hired again, and they had to move into a more impoverished neighborhood. Tina now works in retail but doesn't get many hours and the family has been on food stamps for years. The cause of this, though unknown to either of them, was Taren's latent demigod abilities bubbling to the surface and being uncontrollable.
Like many demigods, Taren was dogged by monsters most of his life. It was not until he reached the age of 11 that he met a satyr (who had been looking for a demigod, not a demititan). The satyr, Barricus, approached Tina under the guise of camp counselor for gifted youths, and asked that Taren be given permission to attend every summer, free of charge. Tina agreed because she thought her son deserved some happiness at a summer camp. Because she was unaware of the mythological world, Barricus arranged for him to transport Taren to camp without her interference. It took some time before Tina would trust him enough to let her do this. It became easier once CHB forwarded documents which "confirmed his identity" (in reality they just manipulated the Mist).
The journey to CHB did not go as planned. The minute Taren was told of his heritage, the pair were beset by monsters every step of the way. Barricus actually died on the way to the camp. Taren arrived at the border was his body and nearly hysterical. He was cleaned up and tossed into the Hermes cabin.
Taren went unclaimed for three years. He liked the security of Camp Half-Blood, but could never make friends and never learned how to turn off his powers. Eventually, despite this and much to his surprise, he was selected to go on a quest. It was a very minor thing, just an errand for an Olympian. Aphrodite had left one of her pieces of jewelry lying around after a tryst with Ares and couldn't go back to get it herself.
The quest was a disaster. By the time the three demigods (Taren included) arrived at the spot, they had been bickering constantly and were more likely to jump at each other's throats than protect them from monsters. The moment Taren touched the necklace, it crumbled into tiny bits. Aphrodite appeared in an instant (how convenient that NOW she could appear, Taren could later mutter to himself) and was furious. She was only dissuaded from cursing Taren because at that moment, Perses decided to claim him. The goddess took pity on the boy for his heritage (saying as much to his face) and departed with a warning rather than a curse (though she promised next time he would get one regardless). Taren has never gone on a quest since.
Precursor Arc Edit
It was revealed during Earthfall that Taren had been possessed by Lysimar just before the events of the arc.
Fatal Flaw Edit
Taren's fatal flaw is his own insecurity. Because he knows very little about his Destructive Aura he's convinced that he's just bad luck. It messes with his self-esteem and he will stubbornly refuse to believe he has worth. In this sense he's already fallen into his fatal flaw, now he's got to be pulled out of it.
Ablilities & Items Edit
- Destructive Aura: This is a passive ability, meaning it is always on. Taren generates a subtle aura of discord which, among other things, causes people near him to become irrational and moody, and destroys bonds such as friendship, love, etc. It can also create bad situations, such as his mother losing her job and sending the family into poverty. Taren can turn it off, but he doesn't know how or that that is even possible. In reality the aura is a defense mechanism. The change is incredibly slow to take effect, you probably wouldn't notice it until it's already started. Over time, with enough contact, people can become resistant to it. Some are immediately immune, and others can never resist it (like his mother). Taren knows none of this, he just thinks it's a curse. Immortals are unaffected.
- Telekinetic Breakdown: Taren has the ability to disassemble almost any object with telekinesis. For example, he could unmake a gun by telekinetically taking it apart into all its tiny pieces. Or, he could turn glass into sand. The first is infinitely easier than the second, because the second requires actually changing the chemical or molecular structure of an object. The larger or more complex the object, the more difficult it is. Enchanted metals like Celestial Bronze or Imperial Gold are immune.
- Destruct-o Beam: Simply put, Taren can fire a red beam of lightning which explodes upon impact with the force of a small grenade. That's it.
- Corrupting Gaze: This is a very difficult ability to use in which Taren can temporarily induce madness and rage into a person. It requires eye contact. Player characters will be unaffected unless specifically given permission by their user, but I really don't see this ability being used on someone's character. It drains Taren too much, could even kill him if he's weak enough.
- Disintegrating Touch: This only affects monsters. It requires physical contact, and will drain the strength and willpower of the victim. If the monster is sufficiently and previously weakened, it will actually begin to slowly crumble into dust. Also very taxing on Taren (but not as much as Corrupting Gaze).
- Taren's primary weapon is a greataxe, with a four-foot long staff and a single-sided blade which is another foot long. It is designed to cut through multiple enemies and for midrange combat. It has a detachable strap on its hilt. The axe, when not being used, becomes a pendant around Taren's neck. He turns it back into a necklace by reattaching the straps together.
- Taren has a pair of knives strapped to the small of his back, for close-quarter combat and as backup weapons. All are Celestial Bronze. They were obtained upon his entry into Camp Half-Blood. Taren possesses no enchantments for them beyond the basic ones attributed to Celestial Bronze.
Strengths & Weaknesses Edit
- He's had a lot of time to practice using his weapons, so he's very skilled with them.
- Because he is naturally analytical, and combined with his Telekinetic Breakdown ability, Taren is good at finding the crucial weaknesses in an enemy, provided he's given a chance to study them. This isn't at all perfect, of course, he can mess up, but he still has a knack for it.
- Running track for a few years has made him, obviously, fast and awards him good endurance.
- Give him any other weapons besides his axe and knives and he'll be useless with it; sword, bow, spear, whatever.
- Taren might be built for speed, but he isn't nimble: barring the fluidity of his weapons, he isn't notably agile or harder to hit than any other average demigod. In fact, the size of his weapon hinders this more than it helps. It makes him a bigger target.
- While he won't turn down help or allies, because of the bad experiences with people his powers have given him, he is jaded and does not expect an alliance to last, making him incredibly difficult to work with.
Likes & Dislikes Edit
- He enjoys the rush that comes when using his abilities (though he will never admit this to anyone)
- Running track. It's still something he does out of habit, practice, and enjoyment.
- His father
- His powers (even though he secretly enjoys using them, having his powers in general is something that he hates with a passion)
- People who are insufferably nice (but this is a mild dislike)
- Taren was created by Josh on May 3rd, 2015, and accepted by Georgina on May 3rd, 2015.
- Taren's favorite color is red, though he tells everyone he meets it's black.