Tarsha Kaynin is a character in The Black Elfstone. She is a young woman from the Westland village of Backing Fell who possesses the power of the wishsong and seeks out the exiled Druid Drisker Arc in order to be trained in the use of her magic.
Tarsha was born into a poor farming family in Backing Fell, growing up with her parents and older brother Tavo. When Tarsha was ten years old and Tavo was fifteen, she accidentally discovered that she had the power to make things she wished for happen by singing or using her voice in a special way. She started distancing herself from Tavo, disappearing off into the woods on her own to practice her magic.
Tavo followed her on one of these occasions and caught her using the magic. He demanded that she teach him so that he could discover his own magic, and when Tarsha was initially hesitant he threatened to tell their parents about her magic.
Tarsha relented and tried to help Tavo, but no matter what he tried Tavo could not unlock any magic within himself. About two years later, however, while Tavo was unsuccessfully trying to bring down animals in the woods with a slingshot, the magic came to him during a fit of rage.
Over the next year, Tarsha tried to help Tavo contain his magic, but it was of little use, and Tavo, who had always had problems with temper and was prone to fits of rage, began feeding off the effects of the magic, becoming more and more dangerous. After multiple incidents, including the unexplained disappearance of a schoolchild and the killing of a neighbor's cow, Tarsha's parents sent Tavo to live with an uncle named Jorris.
For two years Tarsha didn't hear from Tavo despite sending him letter after letter, prompting her to attempt a journey to Jorris's farm to seek out her brother. However, when she told her father her intentions, he locked her in her room and forbade her from making the trip. Two years later, when she finally was old enough and bold enough to make the journey on her own, she left a note for her parents and headed to Jorris's farm.
What she found on the farm shocked her. Jorris had been keeping Tavo chained up in a shed for the last four years, justifying his actions due to Tavo's violent nature. Tavo himself was not happy to see Tarsha, and he yelled at her, claiming she had abandoned him. He was clearly mentally distressed, and comments made by both him and Jorris made Tarsha suspect he had been molested by his uncle. When Tarsha threatened to tell her parents about Tavo being shackled, Jorris said that they already knew.
Disturbed, Tarsha went home to her parents and confronted them, and was dismayed to learn Jorris was right and that her parents preferred Tavo to be chained up forever.
Eventually, Tarsha got the idea that the only way to save Tavo was with her magic, but she knew that she needed to be trained if she was to be of any use to Tavo. On the morning after her seventeenth birthday, she left home for good, intending to seek out the Druids at Paranor.
Quest to Save Tavo
Tarsha's search led her instead to the exiled Ard Rhys, Drisker Arc. She challenged the former Druid to a game of magic, demanding that he take her on as a student if she managed to best him. Drisker Arc refused at first but eventually relented, seeing the game as a welcome diversion.
While Tarsha was not able to best the Druid, she did impress him enough for him to agree to take her on as a student. Drisker then explained to Tarsha that her magic is called the wishsong, and that it is a magic belonging only to the Ohmsfords. (Since Reyn Frosch was the only Ohmsford descendant who possessed the wishsong and settled down in Backing Fell years ago, Tarsha is implied to be a descendant of Reyn and Lariana.)