Tarrant was born to a minor member of an old, well-to-do family in Sapphire, one of the Jewel Cities. His father was a scheming nobleman vociferous in his conservative, elitist politics. His mother was a quiet, gentle cow of good breeding. He has one sibling, an older sister who is also a cow.
When Tarrant was six years old, the family took a trip to inspect one of their estates in the South. While there, the young mouse was kidnapped by a group who hoped to hold him for ransom. His father refused to negotiate terms, choosing instead to fund a group of bounty hunters.
Their plan having gone awry, the kidnappers headed farther from civilization. Lost, they encountered a tribe of wolves. The kidnappers attacked the wolves and were defeated, but not before they killed one young brave. The brave's father, the tribe's spirit-seer, took Tarrant as compensation.
The bounty hunters found the site of the conflict after the tribe had moved on, and reported back that the boy had surely died. So, the young mouse was adopted by a tribal sorcerer and was believed dead by his family in Sapphire.
During his time with the tribe, Tarrant was awakened to the mystic arts. When he was fourteen, the tribe ran afoul of a Fey menace. Tarrant aided in the defeat of the menace, but the conflict decmiated the tribe.
In the meantime, Tarrant's birth father had died and his mother had become possessed by the idea that her only son was still alive. She hired wizards, sorcerers, and clerics of all sorts to determine his whereabouts. However, Tarrant's adopted father had shielded the tribe-- especially his own tent-- with wards that resisted scrying. It was several years before Tarrant's mother finally hired a mage of sufficient power to penetrate them. Once she had, an expedition was mounted to recover the mouse.
The expedition arrived in the aftermath of the final battle with the Fey threat. A wizard with the expedition scavenged the carcass of the Fey creature as the warriors siezed Tarrant. Although the tribe resisted, it had little chance against the party from the city Tarrant was taken back North and a few months later was back with his mother. On the journey, the wizard made a flute from one of the creature's leg bones and gave the strange, magical instrument to Tarrant.
Tarrant grew up, eventually readapting to urban life. When he was of age, his uncle introduced him to the court. He proved charming and became a popular courtier, enjoying the wild misadventures of a young élané. He repeatedly sought excuses to travel, but his mother would not hear of it. She had grown increasingly mad, however, and Tarrant was watched over more and more by servants. When Tarrant's mother died, she made her brother promise that he wouldn't allow Tarrant to go off beyond the three Jewel Cities.
His uncle, a minor baron from Pauntlerot, had other concerns. He admonished Tarrant not to travel and returned to his barony. Tarrant was itching to see the world and left shortly after his uncle's departure with only what his horse could carry, including a magic sabre that had belonged to his father.
Tarrant spent some time in Pauntel, the capital of Pauntlerot. He loved the city, but could not immerse himself in social life lest word reach his uncle. He become involved in the von Densel succession, a political event sabotaged by Alfonso del Cinca. With the aid of his friends, he unmasked Captain del Cinca's plot and bisected the scurvy dog in mortal combat.
After the publicity of the von Densel affair, Tarrant made haste to leave the capital. He headed east to the Valley, where he hoped to train with one of the Valley's master warriors. He studied for a year with a lesser master, Goto, in hopes that he could attract the attention of one of the greater masters. When Goto disappeared under suspicious circumstances, Tarrant investigated.