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|“||So what are you, red team? Blue team? Green team? You're all the same to me. You know who I work for, so let's cut the bullshit. We are not in this together. You and me will never be friends, and the day will come when I will have this gun pointed at your head and I will pull the trigger. Lucky for you, that day is not quite here yet.||„|
|~ Tanis, making her feelings clear to the player.|
Tanis is an agent of the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors (commonly known simply as the Phoenicians) and a minor antagonist in the Funcom MMORPG The Secret World. An arms dealer by trade, she is primarily concerned with the acquisition and trade of supernatural weaponry across Egypt, not only contributing to the wealth of her chosen faction but ensuring that any artifacts deemed too valuable or too dangerous to be sold remain within Phoenician hands. As such, she naturally comes into conflict with the players in their own search for magical artifacts.
Tanis' past is something of an enigma, especially given that the only source of information on the subject is Tanis herself; its not known what her birth name was, why she abandoned it, or why she chose her current alias. However, in her official biography, she claims that the event that established her as a denizen of the Secret World was a traumatic snakebite in childhood: though the venom nearly killed her, she insisted that her parents allow the snake to be released into the wild, alive and unharmed. Not long afterwards, she discovered a magical ability to command snakes and sense the world through their eyes, though it's not known if the venom actually granted her supernatural powers or if she simply possessed innate magical abilities that the trauma had awoken. Once she reached adulthood, she left her homeland behind, parlaying her magic into a career within the Secret World - and from there, the Phoenicians.
For a time, Tanis served as an assistant of the Brotherhood's official representative on the Council of Venice, using her position to arrange profitable deals with prospective allies, even as she used her abilities to spy on them. She soon gained a reputation for being much like a viper herself: slippery, unpredictable, and thoroughly poisonous; time and again, her enemies believed they possessed the means of eliminating her as a threat, only to be frustrated when Tanis somehow managed to evade the danger and slip away unharmed.
Her days as an assistant did not last forever, though, and Tanis soon earned a role as a field agent in the Phoenician's most profitable realm of interest: the sale and control of magical artifacts. Establishing herself in Egypt as a weapons dealer, she worked on behalf of the Phoenicians to make alliances with wealthy clients, secure ancient thaumaturgical talismans for later sale, and to ensure that the more sensitive items were kept under lock and key. Just prior to the events of the game, she had organized a highly-profitable arrangement with the legendary Kingdom, a cabal of ancient Egyptian mummies currently operating as a crime syndicate in modern Cairo, arranging a contract signed in blood with Säid, one of their more prominent representatives; however, despite her faction's equally-advantageous alliance with the Morninglight, she did not seek out a partnership with the Cult of the Aten - though it's not known if this was out of any moral decision on her part or if the cult simply didn't seem profitable enough to deal with.
However, the discovery of the ancient City of the Sun God sent the burgeoning Atenist movement in the village of al-Merayah into a frenzy, overwhelming the neutral villages and embarking on a crusade to awaken their prophet Akhenaten from his tomb - using whatever magical artifacts they could acquire along the way. Having been shipping these artifacts back to Phoenician HQ, Tanis soon found herself caught off-guard - and worse still, left empty-handed.
From Carthage to Cairo
Tanis' role in the game begins in the game's second major story arc; as the only Phoenician operative in the region, she has adopted the heavily-besieged al-Merayah as her sanctuary and the Cafe Giza as her base of operations. It is here that players first encounter her, struggling to retrieve the artifacts by whatever means are available to her - without much success.
Indeed, her first mission features her being grilled over the phone by her superiors for losing artifacts that could potentially end the world. Players are able to exploit this by eavesdropping on the conversation and using the overheard details to steal back the artifacts before the Atenists can use them. In the following mission, "An Uneasy Alliance," Tanis clearly suspects players of having exploited the situation for their own gain; despite being angry enough to offer a more-or-less direct threat on their lives, she realizes that she still needs the players in order the secure her hold on the region. So, she provides the players with information on the Atenists' latest plans for control of the area, using her snakes to direct them into the cult encampment in the hopes that it'll be enough to rid her of this newest problem.
Soon after this, however, Tanis begins to reconsider her current arrangements: having presumably realized the sheer power that the Cult of the Aten possesses, she decides to make an alliance with them on behalf of the Phoenicians. However, following a rash of explosions and heightened cultist activity in al-Merayah, Säid calls an emergency meeting with Tanis in one of the town's back alleys: having already cut ties with the Cult of the Aten for the sake of business stability, he is infuriated that the Phoenicians have chosen to ally with the Atenists, and decides to sever ties with the Brotherhood as well. Flying into a rage, Tanis goes so far as to put a gun to Säid's head in an attempt to force him to continue his partnership, only for the ancient mummy to easily call her bluff; in desperation, she offers almost everything the Phoenicians have to offer - including the Spear of Destiny - hoping that she might have something valuable enough to convince the undead merchant to stay. Once again, Säid is unimpressed, retorting that the only thing that might get his attention would be a display of honor - something that the Phoenicians sold out a long time ago; with that he departs, leaving Tanis humiliated and alone in the alley.
Moments later, however, the Atenist agent known only as Berihun arrives on the scene: claiming that "they" will all desert her and burn for it, he entices Tanis to join him and discuss their "bright shining future" together...