Following in the vein of creating character profiles for the cast of Making Patterns, today I introduce yet another character, Tullio Sellet.
First mentioned in Nyra’s character profile Tullio is Nyra’s life long best friend and husband of ten years, sometimes conscience and full time partner in their lavender marriage. However, Tullio as a man and stand alone character is a force unto himself, with motivations and aspirations as meaningful as Nyra’s or Astrid’s and just as integral to the overall plot.
Without further ado I present the character profile for Making Patterns‘ Tullio Sellet.
A Portrait of Tullio Sellet
Tullio started out as just a name given to Nyra’s absent husband in She Will Become. It wasn’t until Making Patterns developed that he took on a life and personality of his own.
When I imagine Nyra’s best friend and husband I see a swarthy, ruggedly good looking man with a head of thick brown wavy curls (kind of like Patrick Dempsey’s Derrick Sheppard on Grey’s Anatomy), keen and engaging yet also mysterious and sultry dark eyes and plenty of scruff to go around.
Tullio is a physical combination of Patrick Dempsey and Jake Gyllenhaal who is stunningly handsome in his own right.
Pictured above, Jake Gyllenhaal in his role as Prince of Persia displays a physique most similar to Tullio’s. Standing at roughly 6’2″ with broad shoulders, narrow hips and delectable cording of his entire body, Tullio is well aware of his physical appearance. While not vain in the sense that he is conceited, Tullio’s chosen profession of a tailor means that he always dresses to catch the eye. After all he is a walking display of his own wares and talents.
A Little Background Information
Age twenty eight, Tullio is the only son of base born immigrants hailing from the north-westernmost Ostian River Plains which lay outside the kingdom’s borders. His family worked in fabrics – creating, dying, manufacturing. Clothing is in his blood.
Tullio’s father died when he was in adolescence leaving their family poor and almost destitute. His father’s dreams of setting up a profitable business in Quoral, the rich eastern trading hub of the Western Ways proved unfortunate. Quoral and the Western Ways wanted nothing to do with his fabrics deeming them too foreign and therefore unworthy of their coin.
Tullio’s mother wanted him to take the mantle of the family business but Tullio refused. He saw how hard his father worked and brought in so little. He wanted none of the stress or responsibility, instead choosing to set out on his own in pursuit of a patron who would invest in his skill and support his aspirations.
Tullio and Nyra grew up as best friends, their families living in the same tenements a thousand other starving families occupied in a section of Quoral known as Lower Bay. Their love of the industry and one another’s talents drew them together as early teens. Gradually their relationship deepened into implicit trust when first Nyra confided her yearning and attraction for the same-sex. He in turn, honored by her trust, reciprocated in kind confessing to her what he considers his most sinful secret – his homosexuality.
Tullio and Nyra married at ages eighteen and nineteen respectively, having decided the safety of a false marriage was preferable to a life of constant worry and fear of discovery by the Rabani. Although not a sexual marriage there is a strong emotional bond between the two; they protect one another out of genuine love. Each free to pursue what lovers they choose so long as they are safe and never bring their partners home, Tullio and Nyra enjoy a blissful marriage until Nyra meets Astrid.
Stewarding His Eternal Soul
As the font of the Ostian River which gives life to most of the land known officially as The Western Tor; informally as The Western Ways, the Ostian river plains are a fertile land that hosts a people most devout to the god of their creation, Ost. His Word gave birth to the world’s most providing life source; His generosity fashioned the land from which they earn their sustenance and living. Strict religious and spiritual adherence is a strong foundation of their communities and social structure. Conformity requisite, tradition revered.
Although born after his parents immigrated to Quoral (and perhaps because of it) Tullio grew up observing strict attendance to a religion that ruled his life in a surfeit of ways. His parents were zealous believers, superstitious and fearful of condemnation while eternally praising His generosity. Their fervent belief system carried over to Tullio instilling in him a healthy respect for his Creator’s dual sides of benevolence and wrath.
His faith endured during and after his father’s death when Tullio was in late childhood. He felt it wasn’t his place to question the will of Ost in claiming his father for His divine realm. However, as he grew into a youth he did resent the responsibility it placed upon him and his mother in subsisting in a city that did not readily welcome their kind.
Once puberty began changing Tullio’s body, introducing hormones and serving to shape the beginnings of his adult identity, Tullio’s faith became a source of anguish for him. Believing Ost made no mistakes in creating His children in His image, the surfacing of abnormal attractions toward other boys and men within Tullio sent him into a emotional whirlwind of questioning doubts. Never once had his heart wavered in conviction or devotion to Ost. How then had such aberrant sin invaded him?
The only logical answer he surmises is that his conviction is constantly being tested. There are stories in the Enchiridion (the Ostian Bible) of Ost choosing from among His children those whom He believes will withstand every assault to their faith He can give them. Determined to keep his soul sanctified and scourge his flesh of the sinful lust for other men Tullio becomes supremely aware of his thoughts, feelings and behavior.
He wages war with his desires in his early teens, sometimes going so far as to perjure himself in confessional seeking the scourge of the lash in penance for some fabricated sin in true punishment for the secret sin he will only confess to Ost in his private prayers. As devout as he is, Tullio greatly fear the wrath of the Rabani and the Hareshen, the strong right arm of the Ostian church who enact punishment of the most dire and mortal sins.
At age sixteen he meets a boy who inexplicably captures Tullio’s heart. Unable to resist the youthful tugging of his heart Tullio surrenders to his physical desires. The affair ends disastrously, with the boy being discovered mid coitus with another young man. The two offenders are quickly taken into captivity, sentenced to public Purification and burned so in the public square, giving Tullio even more reason to fear the Rabani.
Now convinced he cannot fight the tides of his heart or the surges of his libido Tullio turns his mind to finding ways to keep his activities from discovery while fearing for his eternal soul. Inspired by Nyra’s implicit trust in him, expressed in a recent confession of homosexual feelings of her own, Tullio confesses his secret to her. Her natural tendency to scoff at his spiritual devotion was once a sore spot between them but the sharing of this secret between them now gives him new appreciation for her fearlessness and skepticism. Inspired by her unwavering acceptance of her difference from other women Tullio applies his knowledge of religious scripture and commandments in weaving what he believes will be the perfect scenario for both of them to live out the remainders of their lives in relative safety and happiness – a marriage of convenience.
However, the marriage serves more than one purpose for him. While ensuring the Rabani will least suspect a man lawfully and spiritually wedded to a woman, this marriage is also a concession toward salving his wounded belief system. He hopes the marriage will gain him a measure of divine forgiveness when his time comes to stand under Ost’s almighty judgment.
To protect the disguise their marriage represents Tullio is adamantly insistent on conducting any love affairs as far away from their marital home as possible and with as little connection to and/or involvement of their spouses as possible. If a relationship places their marriage and the safety it provides at risk it is ended and swiftly. Tullio’s fear of the Rabani and Ost’s wrath gives him absolutely no tolerance for such risks and as such he will do whatever is necessary to protect himself including turning his back on his closest and oldest friend.
Everybody’s Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man
Enriched with an upbringing in fabrics and how to work with them Tullio has a unique design style that defies his social status, garnering him prodigious attention on the back of his naturally outgoing personality and effusive charm. Having seen the family business wear his father down to the grave Tullio is quick to abandon any attempt to continue his father’s legacy. Instead, once he comes of age and after his marriage to Nyra, he sets about on a quest for personal patronage.
While no one expresses overt or discreet interest in permanently supporting his work, Tullio receives frequent commissions to design attire for public events and the like. He has absolutely no interest in conducting a personal business as Nyra does. Content to allow Nyra the freedom of earning her income as she pleases, he does rue the fact that his contribution to their financial status is at best infrequent, at worst completely lacking.
At the opening of Making Patterns Tullio has just secured a patronage with the new Duke of Dasir, Lord Atamos Ories, in the commission of a summer wardrobe and the official approval of Lady Sula, a rare feat for someone of his social standing. However, this patronage also comes with romantic possibilities with Lord Ories delivering the last promise of support after a rousing intimate session between the two men. Complicating the personal aspects of their relationship is Lord Ories’ betrothal to Lady Sula Westphalia, King Reese’s cousin and only remaining blood kin who sits in rule of Quoral and the duchy surrounding it.
This complication is slight compared to the professional impact of Nyra’s growing relationship with Astrid upon his professional and social world. Made aware of Astrid’s patroness Tullio is immediately on guard, cautioning Nyra to slow down and to tread carefully. Richelle Daeras is not a woman whose bad side you want to be on. Moving in social circles that Nyra does not gives him insight into a broader world. Richelle’s reputation in being fiercely jealous and protective of her protege Astrid is well-known among their peers who are mainly denizens of the artisan’s district.
He never expects his relationship with Atamos Ories to collide with Nyra and Astrid’s but when it does Tullio’s entire world is cast into chaos. His relationship with Nyra may never be the same, if it survives at all. Caught in the crossfire of a war Nyra is oblivious to having started by capturing Astrid’s focus and raising Richelle Daeras’ ire, and faced with losing his good name and reputation with the Duke’s personal and professional graces, Tullio shifts into instinctive self-preservation mode. His choices and motives become intensely self-centered and he begins to lose sight of what is right and wrong in the tangle of his fears. Questioning his choices in all relationships in his life, he becomes willing to pay whatever cost necessary to avoid Ost’s earthly condemnation issued through His Rabani even if it means giving them Nyra to throw off the scent.
Degrees of Separation
Tullio’s relationship with the Duke provides the connections that propel the plot of Making Patterns, inadvertently fueling the war between Nyra and Richelle over Astrid. As a member of Abiniam’s Peerage the Duke has many connections among Abiniam’s upper level and his inheritance of the dukedom opens up the field to Quoral’s struggling artisans. He presents a real threat to Richelle who mistakenly comes to blame a suspected love affair with Tullio for Astrid’s sudden demands for freedom.
Richelle’s jealous machinations drive Tullio’s downfall and later change of personality. However, they also serve to bring Nyra into direct contact with the Duke who is residing at court with Lady Sula. This meeting brings about a multitude of new, unexpected connections both in the Peerage and, miraculously, in the Church that heavily influence the course of everyone’s lives for the good and ill and deliver everyone to their final outcomes and destinations.
This concludes our insider peek at the character of Tullio Sellet. As you can hopefully tell Tullio is a pretty important guy to the overall plot. If you want to find out exactly how you’ll need to read the book! 😉
As always, if anything in Tullio’s profile piqued your interest and sparked some thoughts I’d love to hear them and discuss. Feedback is always welcome.
Stay tuned for the next character profile starring the devious mistress of subterfuge Richelle Daeras, to be posted in the coming weeks!