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Jan Moeller is not a man who trusts to luck or fate - he *needs* to be in control. He is one of those rare breed of mortals with the will and ability to shape their own destiny.
So when Jan wanted an orphan, and could find none suitable, it was a simple matter to create one ..

Jan and his wife Katrin remained childless despite years of trying. Now in his forties, with a prosperous career as special forces instructor, mercenary and now senior operator for Internal Security, Jan felt it was time to pass on his legacy.

Katrin was under the most pressure, their friends and family pushing her to set aside her vocation as local area police commander. Privately, Jan suspected that gunshot wound he sustained as a rookie, and the hasty surgery that followed, was the root of their infertility.

Adoption it was to be; but scouring the orphanages left Jan and Katrin disappointed with the sickly maltreated offerings. Jan wanted an exceptionally athletic and precocious heir.
Their positions gave access to state surveillance, and kindergyms were routinely scrutinized for inductees to the nation's elite sports programs.
Ultimately a particular four-year old girl of mixed race [1] came to their attention.

Little Tanya met Jan and Katrin's criteria to such an astonishing degree, that Jan was willing to compromise on her gender, ethnicity and size [2].
A runaway truck, an LPG fireball, a subsitute charred corpse, and little Tanya was listed as deceased along with the rest of her family. In official eyes, she no longer existed.
All Tanya recalls is that she had been safely whisked away to the care of her "uncle" and "aunt" on their rural property, far from contact with other human beings.
There were regular visitors and tutors, but all thought that the strange little girl was a genuine niece, taken in after that tragic event [3].

Jan knew nothing about raising children but he had worked with dogs all his life. He'd selected Tanya like he would the dobermans that guarded their estate, and he trained her like the elite soldiers that had undergone his punishing tutelage.
A former special forces intructor, Jan commenced Tanya on gymnastic and martial arts programs more rigorous than anything instigated by the state.
For fun and reward, there were regular hunting trips; Alacrity was blooded on small game like birds and rabbits, eventually moving along the food chain. Jan did not allow Tanya to play with weapons until she proved capable of running down and killing small deer and goats barehanded.

Alacrity's "Rosebud" is a stuffed white striped toy cat, named Caspar.
This was given to her when she was six, to replace Katrin's tabby whom Tanya inadvertently drowned/strangled as she tried to give him a shower. She still bears faint raised scars on the inside of her arms from this event.
Otherwise she had no pets; apart from the guard dogs, the only living creatures Tanya encountered served to sharpen her killer instinct.

Earning herself a bicycle in her pre-teens [4], Tanya discovers other children in a distant town, her first contact with any since her abduction. She drifts towards the rougher elements, indulging in petty crimes; with her peculiar abilities violence came too easy.
The group of young thugs she runs with have links to gangs of older teens in larger towns, which in turn are connected to organised crime.
Ala and her friends are used as lookouts and small scale crime; she is dubbed "Alacrity" by her peers [5].
When her martial arts capabilities are discovered, she is used as a fighting-cock in gang squabbles.

Before she reaches nine years of age, Alacrity slays her first human being, a street-kid by the name of Tomas.
Big and solid enough to pass as a teen, Tomas was undefeated one-on-one against all kids his age, including Ala.
When they first met, Alacrity ended up ko'd like most of Tomas' opponents - in her characteristic way, this only spurred her to train harder [6].
A few months after their initial scuffle, Alacrity was skilled and strong enough to choke Tomas out. She was so exultant about her victory that she wrenched his head about before his cohorts could wrest her off his prone form.

Now considered dangerous and unreliable, she is adopted by older and more serious gangs as a mascot and sometime child-assassin.
She gains a reputation for a variety of kills, most of which are dismissed by the police as criminal fratricide [7].
Jan and Katrin are not blind. Jan is secretly pleased but Katrin, horrified, feels powerless. Everytime she confronts Tanya and sees her niece's sweet smile she cannot believe what she hears. The best she can do is divert police investigations, and reassure herself that no innocents were harmed.

Tanya falls pregnant in her mid-teens by one of the boys she roughed around with - which one, she never found out.
Jan was furious - he beat Tanya savagely [8], forcing a miscarriage. His rage did not stop there - the little gang she grew up with all disappeared, mysteriously, and Alacrity was sent to China for an arranged marriage.

Jan contacts his ex-military pals to see if any can accomodate a feisty teen who officially no longer exists. One of them, "GG", is personal assistant to Danny Chou, the scion of a chinese business family.
Danny, approaching 60 and yet unmarried, is searching for a wife - but wants one who isn't interested in his money [9].

A marriage is arranged - Jan and Katrin ensure that Ala has no choice by tipping the authorities themselves, giving just enough time for Tanya to leave under an assumed identity.
Now wife to an ageing chinese industrialist, Alacrity in her later teens goes by the name "Sara Chou", in a role that chafes at her.

Their marriage was short-lived - sadly, Ala's new husband slipped in the shower and fatally fractured his skull.
Despite being ruled an accident, both GG and Sara are considered "unlucky" after Danny's death; they leave asia and go their separate ways [10].

Tanya returns to europe under another name, and soon enough falls in again with elements from her old crowd.
A neighbouring state is in civil war; the crimelords gravitate there where law is abandoned and military units are indistinguishable from well-armed criminals.
Alacrity cannot resist the opportunity.

At this point, Alacrity's activities catch up with her. A higher profile hit results in Ala herself being targeted. Her family home is obliterated in a rocket attack, killing her entire family - only Alacrity escapes [11].
She goes underground yet again, in another assumed identity.

Her relationship with Nico is a significant turning point. Nico is a small-time eastern-european crimelord who made his name with Alacrity at his side, so to speak.
When Ala first meets him, Nico is a fixer who has police and military experience.
Short tough and cocky, he is reminiscent of Alacrity's uncle Jan.
They travel to asia where Nico has an opportunity to expand his illicit activities.

Neither trusts the other, but their interests and activities combine so well, and there is a physical attraction [12]. Ala is drawn to strong characters even if they are bad for her, especially men like her father.
Nico considers Ala a prized & useful piece of bling.
Alacrity is ostensibly one of his bodyguards - at his side when discretion is called for, and his usual entourage of gorillas undesireable.

Nico's main mistress is Sadie, who fancies herself queen of his criminal empire. He also has a wife and family back in europe, oblivious of his sinister side.
As Nico climbs to power, Sadie realises that Alacrity is more than a hired help to Nico at times.
She sets Ala up, and before long, Alacrity herself is on Nico's hitlist.
Alacrity must now flee for her life - she disappears, but not before taking with her enough evidence to convict Nico, for insurance.

Alacrity never intends to turn Nico in, but Interpol have been alert to his activities and seize on the chance to pressure Ala.
She is caught and turns witness, in return for a light sentence.
The authorities had enough evidence to convict Alacrity of several killings, but fortunately the officer handling the case had been a confidante of Ala's aunt Katrin. This officer, known as "Giselle", never meets Alacrity face-to-face, but requisitions Alacrity's special talents on rare occasions when exercising the law is impractical or insufficient.

Behind bars, Nico is still a power - with scores to settle.
Sadie is at large and has her own agenda, with Alacrity's execution top priority.
Her usual contacts unable or unwilling to help, Ala turns to GG, who shelters her yet again.
He is surprised to discover her capabilities, and confronts her about Danny, which Alacrity denies with a straight face.

They embark on a series of misadventures, their fortunes swinging from fabulous wealth to abject poverty when they must vanish and leave everything behind.
After one last particularly lucrative contract, they go their separate ways - GG into "retirement", still hustling but on more legit grounds; Alacrity adopts an itinerant lifestyle.

Alacrity's last known whereabouts were in Prague, Vienna or Paris[13], as a wiry grey-haired eccentric who can be seen free-running around the city, usually in a pretty frock and parasol, regardless of the weather. Some assume that she is a street performer, but she never asks for money, or rarely even speaks.

I've been asked on a number of occasions about Alacrity's story; here's her bio for modern day settings.

There's a few changes to the versions I've sent some of you, but the essence is still the same ~

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The modernday assassin Alacrity was actually born "Tanya", of unknown parentage; her original surname has been wiped from all records.

    "Alacrity" is her nom de guerre; the "real name" she uses depends partly on which of many identities she adopts.
    She also goes by Caitlin, Catrin, Nicolette, Natalia, Natasha .. even Tanya, but those who think they know her assume it's yet another alias.
    She does not use her maiden name.

    Professionally, she's always known as Alacrity.

    Think of her like "The Jackal" (Forsyth's assassin NOT the Bruce Willis version):
    no-one knows his real name .. and when Interpol think they have found out .. it turns out to be false.

    That is Ala ~ a mystery.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So here you have it - prolly more eff'd up than you imagined, poor thing - don't worry, Ala doesn't let it get to her :}

[1] Alacrity's ethnicity is deliberately obscure; her records have been eradicated.
Alacrity could very possibly be of Romani (gypsy) parentage, many of whom have swarthy or exotic countenance, and fair hair is not uncommon amongst them. "Tanya" is not a Romani name, but (with a variety in spelling) is very popular throughout eastern europe, regardless of ethnicity.

[2] Jan and Katrin are racists, but because of the nature of this adoption and the need to wipe official records, it's necessary for them to target an ethnic minority. They accept that they can't have a pureblood child. Tanya's blonde hair is actually one deciding factor in her selection.
Carrying on the family genes is impossible, so they are open to gender, and can focus more on other characteristics they want in their adoptee.

[3] Jan has a wealthy background and Katrin's is comfortable, both from family businesses. Their jobs paid well, and (Jan's especially) allowed "perks". They owned several properties, including the country retreat where they raised Tanya.
Katrin's position meant she had to be away most of the time, but Jan's was more consultancy, so afforded him much freedom.

[4] One of her rewards for proficiency, it was a rugged trailbike suited to the mountainous wooded terrain they lived in, rather than the usual type designed for sealed roads. Katrin confiscated this several times, and eventually destroyed it, but Tanya acquired and hid a replacement from the nearest village - half a day's jog away~! (their country property was quite remote).

[5] Probably after a popular trance track at the time; Tanya and the kids she hung around knew very little english, and the polysyllabic "Alacrity" sounded kinda cool in the local dialect.

[6] What actually happened, is that little Tanya awoke to find herself safe amongst her gang, but sore and bleeding in places she oughtn't ..
At that age, she had no understanding what had transpired, and even later on, she never realised that Tomas could not have possibly done it - he was too young (but looked older), and it was Tanya's own "friends" who took custody of her immediately upon the fight's conclusion.

[7] Once Jan learns that Tanya has been killing other young thugs, he sets her actual assassination tasks on increasingly higher profile targets. Katrin only knew of some of them - fugitives from justice for example - and certainly didn't suspect her adopted niece would have anything to do with the Lady-Mayoress's tragic demise.

[8] Tanya and Jan had frequent violent squabbles, but that only encouraged Tanya to push her skills harder.
Jan went much further than usual on this occasion, because of personal implications, and a feeling of betrayal.
Naturally he was angry about her pregnancy; what pushed him over the edge is when his adopted niece taunts him: "and how do you know it's not yours~?". Of course it couldn't be his - he is sterile, remember ~ but Alacrity doesn't know that.
I don't need to spell out what other ramifications this has, and why Jan's reaction is so extreme.
Although Alacrity never finds out, she often comforts herself with the thought that the child was Jan's.

[9] Danny remains unmarried at his age, despite enormous family pressure as heir, not because "I want a wife who isn't after my money", but because he prefers athletic young boys.
Tanya is the first girl he's seen who could pass as one, from behind, perhaps.

[10] Danny was more friend than employer to Joe, close enough for inclusion in his will - but it is purely platonic and GG is straight as they come (he is divorced, and is very proud of his grown son - a professional linebacker).
Joe was left a small fleet of luxury cars, a yacht, and a light plane in Danny's will - all of which he can operate.
GG does not suspect that the dainty little thing he rescued could possibly have anything to do with his friend's death.
Due to a pre-nup, all that Sara - Alacrity - gets, is a condo in Kowloon; the bulk of Danny's wealth passing to his siblings.

[11] Alacrity eliminated a general, earning her the enmity of an army. She was traced to the Moeller residence, which although possessing formidable security, was not prepared for a military assault.
The attack took place on Christmas Eve when most families are at home, but Tanya did not grow up with Christmas. Only in her retirement, when she tries to recapture her lost childhood, does she celebrate such things.

[12] Nico is below average height, with little-man syndrome to match - Alacrity makes him look tall, so he likes having her around.
Of course, Nico also uses Alacrity to feed his sadistic sexual impulses, a role which Ala strangely enough fitted in with.
She was never quite his mistress - Ala was still primarily an employee and tool, who Nico treated like property.

[13] Those were her last known whereabouts. Her actual location is somewhere far more quiet and remote ..


*** I'll stop the footnotes here for now, cos for each of those accounts, there are pages and pages between the lines~!!

There's lots of little details that aren't written, I need to organise all this into some sort of coherency.

I'm sure there's other stuff that mightn't make sense to you; if something makes you go "wtf~?" please ask, I very likely have some rationalisation for it.

Prettymuch every anecdote, I can elaborate on in great detail - for some I could go on for pages~! - I don't think you want that~!

commissioned image used with permission and thanks, painted by :iconwotwot:
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verseless Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011
interesting background. it's nice to see a tortured character that isn't your run of the mill 'hero' or your run of the mill villian either. Good to finally know a bit about this character that's for sure. Seems like a colorful history though, kind of interesting how age isn't given though at the end it says she has grey hair, i have to wonder if that's due to stress or age. maybe both?
Presteza Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011
.. I'm speechless that you actually slogged through this (let alone found it)~!

I know it's not an easy read, it's primarily for a few artists who like to know about Alacrity's background
[in particular *SiegeRedwolf and *Rikona who are at present working together on a pictorial bio],
plus a handful of curious bystanders.

Alacrity's age at "retirement" is in her mid-forties; her greying hair is indeed a combination of stress and age, and gives her an even more ambiguous appearance.
It is more than just a cosmetic change reflecting her life (after all, greying hair could be dyed should she choose);
it also signifies her mental state at that time - in the process of reinventing herself, Ala accepts such changes.
verseless Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011
Heh, reading it was easy enough. Finding it was difficult-ish. read the character bio for the original GW character too and wasn't sure what to think. I've never played that game so i dunno if that was good. But both are decently written actually. and it was actually quite intriguing, nice to see that flaws don't always get overcome.
Presteza Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
oh that GW bio has almost nothing to do with the game and only tangentially refers to its universe. I'd have been better off placing that same bio in any fantasy oriental world.
GW as a game is fun, but only if you already know friends who play it in your timezone. It is not at all conducive to roleplay other than having a well-established background.
The main value of GW in developing Alacrity, is that it has been the easiest means for me to create references for her facial features [link]

This year, I'm commissioning a few artists to create a proper, concise-yet-comprehensive-enough, visual ref for Ala, something that is long overdue.
Here's a wip of one of them [link]
verseless Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
So...which came first then? the GW character? or teh concept for the character? Sounds like a chicken or the egg scenario. almost in a ways....
Presteza Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
Alacrity as a character originated long before GW, about ten years prior.
But GW marks the first time that I could recreate her likeness quite nicely, with such photogenic dolls, and that in turn facilitated many of those art commissions.

I could maybe have tried it before with poser (or now Daz), but I really don't like poser very much, convenient as it is.
As you can see from the numerous artworks, there's many ways to interpret Alacrity.
verseless Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
oh yes. i think i may have seen all of them. Quite an entrancing character. So how'd you come up with the character concept anyway? What was the original point for her? I saw somewhere that she was designed as a supporting character, but for what?
Presteza Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
I do have a lot of other characters, like those mentioned above - unlike Alacrity, they usually only appear in a single setting.
Also, unlike Alacrity, they are strongly based on real people - usually the personality of someone I know, mixed with the appearance of some celebrity.

They are actually more interesting than Ala herself, and some of them get killed off.

this sequential for example [link] [link] is about GG, Alacrity only has a supporting role.
I don't know if it will ever get completed; those are pp 7 & 8; the artist has almost finished p1
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Submitted on
February 26, 2011
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