Following the Storm King's downfall, the Muses were an irresistible target for Sparky tinkering. And so, along with her sister Moxana, Tinka hid her true nature for over one hundred years by "pretending" to be a Muse in various Europan traveling shows, the latest being Master Payne's Circus of Adventure. Master Payne took them in after their previous show was destroyed by an unknown attacker, and was able to protect them until a visit to Sturmhalten three years before the start of the comic, where Tinka was recognized for what she truly was by Tarvek and confiscated to be a model for the clank body he built for his dying sister. The comic does not make it clear exactly how it happened, but Tinka ended up damaged, just barely able to walk and talk. It is implied that Prince Aaronev ; it's not clear, however, whether he simply tried to reverse-engineer Tinka, or actually attempted to use the Summoning Engine on her.
Once Agatha ends up in Sturmhalten herself, Tarvek sends Tinka to get her out of the dungeon cell in which our heroine, Lady Vrin and Eotain and Shurdlu have been detained; in the process of this, Tinka is still functional enough to demonstrate that van Rijn really Tinka successfully brings Agatha to Tarvek, where it is revealed she has also gone to the Circus and brought Moxana and Van Rijn's Notebook to Tarvek, both of the Muses accepting him as a worthy candidate to become the new Storm King. Attempting to then lead Agatha out of the castle by the now-escaped Geisterdamen, leaving her in even greater need of repairs.
Her current condition and whereabouts remain a mystery.
Print Novel Version
In Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, Tarvek claims that the damage on display in Tinka's movements and speech was caused not by his reverse-engineering efforts, but his father's subsequent Sparky probing of Tinka's inner workings. Also, Payne says that the two Muses originally joined his (pre-Heterodyne) troupe almost twenty years ago.
Possibly Relevant Outside Information
Among the Nine Muses of Greek mythology, Terpsichore was the Muse associated with dancing.