The Pikesburg Chronicles
Avante-garde eco radical
Amane (ah MAH ney) Omu’s family moved to Pikesburg shortly after she was born. The first child of middle class parents, Amane once had a brother named Kane who was only 2 years younger than her. At 5 years old, he developed leukemia. For 2 years, he deteriorated despite undergoing a wide variety of expensive treatments in addition to numerous holistic treatments based on ancient Asian medicine (acupuncture, herbs, and the like). His death hit everyone in the family hard, which was only compounded by their wrecked financial situation. Partly to keep their family afloat and partly to distract themselves out of depression, both parents became obsessively hard workers. Her mother in particular was convinced that contaminated groundwater from the town (which she’d drank during her pregnancy) was to blame for Kane’s sickness. Hearing her mother muttering blame every day about the cause of her brother’s cancer was what initially focused her interest on improving environmental care as well as holding responsible those at fault for any contamination. From grade school on, she ravenously read about the nasty industrial waste of Pikesburg that corrupted the natural environment, particularly the river. When she learned of hard won reforms, which improved the conditions of the town (and, in her mind, would protect people like her brother), she became inspired to dedicate her life to achieving similar success. This became such an impassioned focus for her that any traditional religious feeling she might have had became superfluous. (Her parents didn’t believe in an afterlife and were repressing any thoughts of Kane after he was gone, so that never became her source of comfort. On the contrary, the only comfort she found was in endeavors she believed would prevent others from suffering similar fates.) Though she has no traditional religion, she deems that fact as merely incidental and feels no antagonism toward conventional religion (though she does resent the folk expectantly awaiting the apocalypse, since they tend to be against the environmentalist movement). Otherwise, she simply believes in doing everything in one’s power to improve the state of the world for the benefit of all.
She studied ecology at Hedera University for a year, but dropped out to start her own sustainable co-operative when she heard that an old waste plant was being re-opened without any upgrades for environmental protection or worker safety. At that point, she figured she should be spending half her time and energy at the co-op and half of it putting on avante-garde demonstrations about the dangers of non-progressive industrialization. For example, she and one of her few collaborators once staged an impromptu play, of sorts. Wearing modern, highly provocative clothes, she put a nun-like covering over her head, chained herself to a tree, made a dramatic speech (in iambic pentameter), then stomped a toy bulldozer to pieces. Despite the fact that no one in town understood the imagery (it was meant to parody the virgin Mary smashing the serpent under her heel), nearly everyone found it offensive.
Shortly before she dropped out of school, she met Cyril Drosera (who always goes by Drosera because he thinks his first name far too goofy for a social and political radical), a local boy who resembles a punk rock version of John Lennon. He’s the one who first showed her the underground club, The Second Circle. For almost a year afterward, she tried to hold rallies there each month. She never got many attendees, but the owner was supportive. She used money her parents sent her for college (they don’t know she dropped out) to run her co-op and rent the space for the monthly meetings.
Unfortunately, her co-op failed due to a lack of local interest, marketing skills (especially since the many allusions in her protest art were too obscure, too subtle, or too convoluted for the town to understand … much less sympathize with), farming knowledge, or business experience. She had trouble both knowing how to run her cooperative and getting the few people living with her to see her as a leader and work together.
Two of her closest friends and earliest supporters at the co-op had been a couple who’d been dating since high school: Cassandra and Robert (“Cassy ‘n’ Rob”). Tensions escalated when they decided to leave town after Cassy became pregnant. Though they support the cause and provocative protest art, they felt it was more important to provide a stable and healthy life for their future child, which they could only ensure by leaving town and getting regular jobs. Immediately after they left, Cyril threw a fit about how the movement needed to be more aggressive, even to the point of violence, to force people to care. Though her idealism would never allow her to knowingly harm someone else, he eventually convinced her that putting a pipe bomb in the mailbox of the restarted waste processing plant’s manager was worth a shot. Sadly, the manager’s young son was near the mailbox when it exploded and almost killed. That same night, Amane’s mother called claiming she couldn’t afford to send quite as much money as previous months, making Amane feel terrible guilt about taking advantage of her parents and lying to them about why she needed the money. Immediately, she told Cyril that she would no longer participate in any sort of violate protest. Clearly not as upset by the near-death of the manager’s son (after all, how many human and animal deaths might the dangerous and filthy plant ultimately cause?), he at first tried to console her and get her back on task. When that didn’t work, he started yelling, throwing around the few household objects at the co-op, and even hitting her several times. As soon as his hand hit her face, she screamed they were breaking up. Leaving him in dumbfounded rage, she drove to The Second Circle and proceeded to get drunk (very, very drunk) for the first time in her life. She was only 20, but the bartender still served her. Perhaps he knew what would happen, or just thought she looked old enough to drink, or he (or whoever bought her the drinks) thought she was cute and hoped to get lucky. It was that night she became possessed by a demon.
Additional pictures can be found here:
Annnnnd, her style of protest art:
Annnnnnnd, her emerging apocalyptic form:
Demon Side: Loess Caelum
The demon is a devourer. I’ll get more here when I can look over my character sheet and the books again. I’m largely still working out what happened to the demonic side.