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Eliza Reed; I believe
Topic Started: Aug 6 2015, 05:29 PM (468 Views)
Cicada Days
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Name: Eliza Reed
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Grade: Senior
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Classic board games- especially chess, playing bass, mixing and producing, 80s music, classical music, history, soldering, gossip, libertarian politics.

Appearance: Eliza is 5'2” and roughly 110 pounds; she's a Caucasian girl with a skinny profile, balanced bust and hips and scrawny shoulders with a wide-set waist that downplays her curves. Her facial structure is oval, with a long chin and a lack of cheek definition. Her wavy blonde hair is grown out to shoulder length and loosely curls out and is cut into thick bangs laid over her forehead. It's somewhat unkempt and thus frequently tangles at the ends. Her eyes are hazel, dull due to heavy dark circles. Her nose hosts a few prominent blackheads along the bridges between her eyes. Her lips are thin and dry. She wears no makeup and suffers from strong acne breakouts and scarring around her temples and the side of her face, though she usually wears her hair thickly forward to cover the problem spots.

Eliza wears mostly poor quality clothing, a wardrobe built of hand-me-downs and bargain-bin-at-the-thrift-store pieces. She'll wear short sleeves in winter and prefers to wears clothes that would violate school dress codes in her free time, like strapless tubes, off-shoulders, and short shorts. In school proper she wears the exact same thing, switching in battered jeans along with throwing one of several poor quality sweaters on top to avoid drawing the ire of teachers. She wears little in the way of accessories and she has yet to have her ears pierced. She likes band graphics when she can afford them. She's also notably particular to sandals, and doesn't own enough socks to pair them consistently when she does choose to wear them.

Biography: Eliza was born several seconds ahead of twin Victoria in late '97, the second and third girls of low class couple Daniel Reed and Haley Bonham. Daniel was a dropout of the local community college, only capable of providing for the family through odd-jobs as a welder. His contracts were inconsistent and always low paying due to a lack of experience in more refined forms of welding, and rejections were frequent. Daniel's parents were locals, but were also subsisting on low-skill blue collar labor. Haley had no contact with her family as she'd run away from home at 18 to try and make it to Hollywood and become big in the music industry. She had become a transient who eventually found her way by bus into Kingman. The family was from inception financially unstable and subsisted in large part on government aid.

Haley had had no intention of becoming pregnant but wasn't especially willing to undergo abortion. She wasn't emotionally ready to become a mother, and combined with her frustrated ambitions she was a questionable parental figure as early as Eliza's formative years. She was either neglectful or had little patience for her children, easily driven into a temper whenever they were even slightly rambunctious, along with being nasty to her husband. By the time Eliza and Victoria were three, their elder sister Lucille was seven and already prone to shouting matches with her mother. The house was never dangerous but it was still likely to breed a girl with social issues, as it did for Eliza. She was already learning to raise her own voice in defiance, full of rebellious energy and not content to simply sit quiet when yelled at.

Eliza's defiant attitude was enforced by the general mood of the house, nobody really wanted to take responsibility for anything besides Daniel struggling to be the breadwinner, and there was little respect for Daniel due to his quietness and tendency towards being a pushover. Victoria likewise seemed to be muted and quieted by conflict instead of rising against it like Eliza did. She often melted into the background in these years.

None of the Reed girls attended preschool due to their parent's misinformation on existing government aid for payment, so Eliza's first year of school wasn't until she was almost six. She was difficult, a slow learner who was frustrated by schooling more often than she was excited by it. She was petty and argumentative, more so than the usual child her age, and even the friendliest of her peers found her nigh impossible to deal with. She demanded teacher intervention often, almost all of her first two years of school were marred by plentiful time outs and parental calls and conferences. Haley felt Eliza's troubles were a waste of time and reflected badly on her and Eliza became the black sheep of the home, often shut down in arguments by the authority of her elders.

She had little respect for authority but eventually learned to play nice through the typical negative reinforcement methods for other problem children her age. With counselor's help and advice she was able to adopt some forms of anger-management and restraint, though she kept a strong streak of stubbornness and headstrong behavior. She could properly make friends but she also remained something of a playground bully who still drew the ire of her teachers almost routinely. At home she became pettily abusive of Victoria, since her quietness made her someone Eliza could lay chores and blame off on. Eliza was content having few close friends and mostly ignoring others.

Her major form of entertainment was a lonely hobby. She had access, dubiously, to Haley's old collections of vinyls, bass guitar, and effects deck had been toted with her back when she had struck out for Hollywood. All poor quality, but to a girl around the age of nine they were all impressive fare. Eliza began tentatively studying and practicing her bass, between dubious self-help books she'd scrounge up in the local library and a naturally musically inclined ear. Haley mostly disparaged her daughter for trying to take up the guitar, assured Eliza she'd be just as much of a failure and nobody as Haley herself had been, and mutual bitterness over this particular conflict gave a certain real element of hatred to what had originally been arguments mostly born of irritation. Eliza was self-assured in her own independence on the matter, it appealed to her for her bullishness and learned disrespect for others made her especially proud of self-achievement. She poured herself into her work, and while she was never a prodigy her skills developed at a pace that pleased her.

In addition to playing she also studied her mother's record collection extensively, often going into the closest of Kingman's music stores and playing the records there as the Reeds couldn't afford to keep their own player, having sold it a while back during a tough month. Eliza disparaged the trends of mainstream rap and hip-hop infused pop that were popular on the radio during these years. In general she was turned away from pop music as a personal rule, primarily since Lucille loved blasting it on the TV when she managed to wrestle control of the remote from the other girls, so Eliza grew to associate it with her annoying older sister.

She turned to the music of old, disco and especially new wave; she fell in love with the sounds of bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Human League, China Crisis, The Psychedelic Furs, and so on. She ignored peers who happened to stumble in after her and hogged the store's record player as much as she could without getting herself kicked out of the store, studying and memorizing the bass rifts of songs so she could practice them when she got home. She developed a love for strong and prominent bass guitar lines, since they were the ones she could most easily replicate with her means at the time, and Peter Hook of New Order became her veritable hero. She claimed his melodic and effects-saturated basslines as her own style by the age of ten, and it remains her preferred method of playing to this day.

Another refuge Eliza found during this phase of her life was with her father's parents, whose house was across the city. Daniel's parents were kindly, spending what little money they could spare to treat Eliza well whenever she found her way over. Haley had little love for her in-laws and Lucille was extremely socially active and found little time for her grandparents, so it was mostly Eliza and Victoria who visited. Her grandparents allowed her to watch TV as she pleased without having to argue incessantly over the channel, gave her better food than either of her parents could manage to cook, and were perfectly happy talking frankly to her and engaging her in all manner of games. More than once she'd naively ask if they could take her in for good, but as Daniel's parents they firmly believed in their son's skills as a father, much to young Eliza's irritation.

As a result of these visits Eliza developed a strong skill with classic games like chess, go, and backgammon. Her grandfather had been a former chess master in his glory days, and under his tutelage her average mind developed an inroads for strategic board games, memorizing the tricks for reading opponents and predicting moves and developments on the board. Once more she was proud of herself, and was happy to spend the time with one of the few people who unconditionally liked her. She was by no means ever truly talented, but she would stand out as an especially difficult opponent for those not expecting her to be in her future engagements with board games.

Over time these trips enforced a stronger bond with Victoria. Due to the more relaxed nature of life when staying with her grandparents she over time developed an understanding and appreciation of her twin that ended her earlier bullying. Lucille had no love for either of her younger sisters and the polarization only made Eliza become protective of Victoria in family arguments, even willing to share consequences and duty with Victoria when they were outmatched. By the time Eliza was about to enter middle school Victoria was the closest of her small circle of friends.

In her middle school years Eliza was far from socially brilliant, and most of her tactics boiled down to shared interests, sometimes forced as she tried to impress her peers with her precociously developed guitar skills and shoehorn herself into conversations. Her tactics were met with mixed results and she made a few new friends, but she was never quite able to develop a strong group to associate with and she was mostly relegated to a fringe role in most groups she was in. Her temper still easily reignited when she felt wronged and slighted by the people she thought were friends, and she burned bridges with some by creating drama with particular people, either through rumor-mongering or explosive spats with colorful language. She'd get called out for 'borrowing' things for too long. She'd never developed a good sense for respecting property due to her usual ability to argue for anything she wanted at home, and this tendency to pseudo-thievery had her ousted from groups. In general she built a fairly negative outstanding reputation as a mooch and overly aggressive girl by rumor that led to her falling into a fairly bad place in the overall social picture.

Her musical skills, at least, continued to develop. Her father taught her some of the soldering basics she knew and she was able to repair and jury-rig upgrade some of her equipment, basic amp mods and the like that she'd pull off from borrowing tools from a set her father had 'acquired' over time with careful lifting from his various temp jobs and contracts. She got into production in her middle school years, putting together amateur tracks that evoked her favored genres with sample machines from record players and her own bass talents.

Eliza's middle school career passed uneventfully for the most part. She maintained tenuous connections with various peers that could fall apart easily, as she was hardly endearing enough to be forgiven for slights. Academically she benefited from the intelligence of Victoria, who was kind enough to share notes and tutor her in the quiet hours of the night at home. She developed an enjoyment of History, because as a subject it overlapped enough with her love of music, where she could study things like the history of music. She developed a taste for classic music in concert with Victoria, in particular she developed a respect for the raw power of Romantic era compositions. By no means did she have the ability to afford learning a more classically oriented instrument like would sometimes dream of perusing, but she would do things like tentatively translating the phrases from Chopin and Mussorgsky into compositions for her bass, which she'd play to whoever she could convince to listen.

Eliza's talent did in some cases win her at least some respect where her personality fell short, and some of the musicians in her peer group at least learned to stomach her shortcomings for what she brought to the table, a trend that would continue into high school and Cochise's music scene.

In her high school years Eliza began to really develop a strong identity for herself as a talented musician. She had some affiliations with Chess Club, made some acquaintances in classes where she wasn't intimate enough to potentially alienate them with her well learned poor behaviors, but it was in Cochise's burgeoning music scene where she really revealed the full spectrum of her character. Her talent and passion attracted all manner of friends and collaborators. She had some genunine admirers now, and had a broad enough pool of diverse friends to where even she couldn't drive all of them off. Her reputation never really improved, but at least more people were willing to stomach and tolerate her, and some people who got to see her good side. She was somewhat liberal with ignorant remarks due to her lack of care for social niceties.

She also fell in with the counterculture crowd in Cochise, as Eliza's natural disrespect for authority and strong self-identity and independence lent her towards adopting strong libertarian leanings that won her allies in that crowd. She doesn't have the intelligence to really be a thinker, and she's too rambunctious to be a good follower, but she's a strong personality and thus a figurehead in her own right. She's a mixed bag when it comes to her beliefs systems, on the one hand she usually isn't passionate enough to talk shop, but if she ever is one can expect she's incredibly insistent and aggressive about what she thinks is right.

In her Sophomore year her home saw a significant shift, when Lucille married a military man she'd been smitten with for most of her high school years and was able to move away with him to a base in the Pacific Northwest. The loss of her primary sparring partner meant a now years-embittered Haley could turn her full attention to Eliza and Victoria. At this point she couldn't logically deny that Eliza had surpassed her in skill and had a remote but real shot of making it in the music industry. She grew incredibly critical, passive-aggressive, and spiteful, and threatened to take away and sell the guitar, among other far less savory threats. Eliza had no discernible amount of respect left for her mother from years of seeing her as a shrill nuisance and mostly blew her off.

Daniel himself had also had enough of the mistake he felt he'd made in ever falling for Haley, and the house became an all out war between Daniel and Haley as he threatened separation and she fought back tooth-and-nail. The focus quickly shifted away from Victoria and Eliza, they were smart enough to avoid the home when their father was at work so that they could avoid their mother's impotent but still annoying fury.

Thus Eliza would start happily spend long stretches of time outside of her home, sometimes only being there on a given day to grab her equipment and sleep. She'll take long walks around Kingman without purpose if she has nowhere to crash for a few hours, and she's come to enjoy the time to herself. She mostly reserves visits to the grandparents for when Victoria is free, since Victoria is also far more involved academically than herself. She's tried to grab herself some jobs to try and build capital for the vague plans she has to make a name for herself in music, but she's been fired from the two jobs- throwaway retail part time- for being aggressively lazy and argumentative. She's not as worried about a rather poor resume and the employer blacklisting already against her, due to her strong self-assurance. Her only cash flow is from the occasional soldering job one of the other kids can draft her to do for cheap.

Her peers find that she is now a rather relaxed girl if not provoked, but that it is usually best to keep her at a distance as Eliza is very easily tempted into either borrowing things and never finding the impetus to return them. She's also extremely gossipy and has developed a love for bad-mouthing people to others, due to a bullheaded lack of respect for those she doesn't consider close. She still mostly hooks up with others through shared interests, and has also taken to facetiously using her home situation to win pity points. Her social sphere is never particularly consistent, she mostly gravitates towards those who are a bit more forgiving and passive and thus easy to make friends out of and otherwise is in and out of friends groups depending on how willing they are to tolerate her at that particular time. Otherwise she just sticks to those friends she knows are reliable, who she freely be herself around and not lose them completely.

She's also had no inroads into the world of romance, here for a lack of trying. She doesn't realize that she's asexual, never bothered to assign such a label to herself, as it simply has no factor on her life as a whole.

Her Senior year is one she's only passing to the extent that she needs to graduate, in most classes she dials it in and often doesn't turn in homework, sans history as she still enjoys the subject and often likes to discuss trivia with the teacher. She has no intentions of going on to college, but is happy for Victoria's own intentions to go through Mojave on aid and try to impress a four year collage into a full ride scholarship with hard work.

Advantages: Eliza is self-assured and has a naturally strong rebellious spirit that will likely keep her mentally strong and capable of fighting when she needs to. She's naturally good at dominating arguments and verbally overpowering others as she's spent most of her life doing it.
Disadvantages: She has a poor reputation at Cochise and a lot of people will naturally be suspicious of her due to her known unreliability and shifty nature. She's still got a temper and a tendency towards losing her cool that can be exploited. She's also overconfident by nature and this may hinder her if she cannot temper the tendency on island. Finally, she's not socially smart and can make poor decisions working with others, especially since she's often apathetic to others by default and may fail to recognize threats or opportunities.
Edited by Cicada Days, Sep 6 2015, 08:04 AM.
The Dies Before First Rolls Squad

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Daaaamn, alright. I've made the recommended edits, or at least I think I have. For a general idea of changes made:

- I've tried to reduce the home situation from 'horrifying' into 'character defining but not severe enough to necessitate social services intervention'. If it is still being read as too severe, a character concept like Eliza is probably just beyond my capacity for this version.

- I also tried to downplay Eliza's mental state as an issue. She's supposed to come off as socially difficult but not to degrees of mental illness. The part about stealing things might need some ironing out? I'd like it to stay, if we could give me suggestions for making it not overly exaggerated while keeping it a relevant trait.

- Made her talent reasonable for a girl her age. She's pretty good but not a prodigy, essentially.

- Generally just cut a lot of verbiage.

- Added some insight into her political leanings and how it affects her in school.
Edited by Cicada Days, Sep 6 2015, 08:08 AM.
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Hmm. I don't think I can make this cohesively work, so I'll request Eliza be considered abandoned.
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