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DRH Character Background 2: Constance O’Brien

24 Oct

It may well be asked how Constance found her most unusual vocation. Hoping to not reveal anything that would serve as spoilers to the second Act, we shall attempt to answer this never the less.

Constance comes from a blue collar background. Her father John O’Brien was hard working and her mother was a dutiful housewife and mother as befitted their social and economic rung. As a child, what Constance wanted to be most of all was an actress. She wanted to be part of the New Albion theater scene and perform plays in the great theaters throughout the city. As she grew however, she became very disillusioned with the theatrical possibilities under the current government. There was so much censorship of the arts that the types of plays and roles available were endlessly cliche and unimaginative. She longed for the days of the old style of theater, the Decadent Theater as it was referred to now.

Constance was a precocious youngster and still technically a child when the civil war broke out. She and her other school friends learned that if you wanted to get around in war time, you needed to be quick and savvy. At any given time there were barricades, police blockades, street fighting, and forbidden neighborhoods and streets to contend with, not to mention the areas of actual full on warfare  Kids looking for adventure, mischief or simply to get around unhindered had to be especially fast and sly and these traits Constance learned and excelled at.

Once, while roaming through an area with some friends they had been warned not to go through, Constance came upon a girl who clearly seemed to be danger from three men whose body language suggested very, very bad things which were then only on the periphery of Constance’s understanding. While her friends fled Constance used rocks to divert and hurt the men. The terrified girl ended up saved. The girl was named Isis, from a neighborhood and social sphere far outside of the Constance’s familiarity, but was deeply grateful to say the least.

Naturally Constance loved her parents very much although as she approached adolescence she found them more and more uptight and boring. Her Aunt Jaqueline was the opposite: exciting, exotic, with wild ideas and endless flair but Constance saw very little of her. Until the bomb.

Constance’s mother was killed one day by a rebel bomb. It was a great blow to Constance and seemed to break her father, who she had always seen as a rock of strength and dependability. Her father soon became quite withdrawn.

He and Constance moved in with Aunt Jacqueline, which was a comfort and further shaped her teenage years. Aunt Jacqueline’s free spirited manner and off the cuff insights and ideas were thrilling to the girl.

Then her father disappeared.

Constance’s last memory of her Daddy is late at night, when he came into her room after being out drinking and sat at her bedside and rambled to her. Although more or less incoherent, it seemed final, like he knew he was going to die, and sure enough soon afterwards he disappeared and was eventually declared dead.

Now that she was living with her Aunt Jacqueline, Constance began high school in a new district. The high school was in a rather upper class neighborhood and Constance, a blue collar girl, would have found herself lost if not for two things:

1. On her first day of school, bewildered and with the taunts and scrutiny of some of some of the more shark like students zeroing in on her as a  tasty target for ridicule, low and behold Constance experienced what she could only attribute to karma or practically divine serendipity. Isis, the girl she had saved some time before was a student there and enormously high on the social ladder. Like a fairy godsister, Isis swooped in to protect and eventually befriend Constance, teaching her the ins and outs of etiquette in this new world. They became best friends.

2. Constance had always loved acting and was able to step from the role of daring, wild, street wise working class girl, to a new identity as savvy, sly, quick witted and graceful upper class girl born for high society with the instincts of a talented actress. Isis and Constance even changed her last name to something more suitable: Constance Inanna.

The last crucial piece of her teenage years that directly affects how she came to be the woman we meet as Act 2 begins is due to the influence of Aunt Jacqueline’s circle of friends and acquaintances  From these Constance learned a wide range of very unique and interesting things her other school peers would never in a million years be exposed to.

Thus,  by the time Constance graduated high school and entered society she was able to step into the world of New Albion’s high class soirees.

Every weekend, going back to as long as anyone can remember, there is an upper class soiree. It may seem unusual that such a thing may continue unimpeaded even into city wide civil war, but the fact is the soirees had long ago adopted an importance far more crucial to the city’s operations then might appear on the surface. It is at the soirees that the most important business deals are sealed, the most crucial networking accomplished, the myriad of interpersonal subtleties that eventually effect all aspects of commerce happen. It is here that the fashion decisions that will sway the industry are born and die, new directions in art and music gain sponsorship and restaurants and their chefs’ careers are made and lost. They have always been vastly more then a weekly Saturday night party.

Nowadays of course they can occur in strange places and with greater elements of danger. Bombs and sudden fighting are not predictable and cannot always be avoided, even for the wealthy and favored. They do the best they can.

As to Constance’s profession: without revealing it, it must be stressed, no one does exactly what she does. She is the first to ever adopt this particular career in the history of New Albion. And she did not adopt it so much as…

Towards the very end of high school, Isis’ parents’ marriage crumbled. It finally slid to the thing that most high society women fear, sometimes more than death: divorce.

In current high society, to say that divorce laws favor the husband is a wild understatement. To say that the upper class wife only has rights as long as she is indeed a wife and upon becoming single has virtually none other than the law still protects her from murder and assault is vastly more accurate.

A high society woman whose husband decides to divorce her is utterly at his mercy. She has no rights to money, children, social standing, home, or livelihood. Women have watched as other women they have known their entire lives are divorced and suddenly lose everything, are cast aside penniless, with no security blanket, no protected visitation rights, and sometimes no skills to earn income in other economic strata  It is a harshly sobering lesson to witness and many of New Albion’s most elite women will develop instantaneous chills and perspiration at the very mention of the “d” word.

Constance watched as this occurred to Isis’ mother, a women who had practically raised her for the last 4 years, as Aunt Jacqueline would often disappear with her strange crowd for reasons never quite revealed, although there was at times almost a religious air about the whole thing.

The afternoon Isis’ mother sobbed on Constance’s shoulder, betrayed and thrown aside without mercy or a second thought, reduced from a woman Constance thought of as a powerful surrogate mother to a fragile person sad, scared and defeated, well, this made an impression.

And that is how Constance found her vocation in life.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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