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Malin Lindberg (
2016-10-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
: Malin Lindberg
: Vampire: The Masquerade
: February 2016
: Malin grew up as the single child of an upper class family. Her parents were alcoholics and showed various abusive behaviours towards their daughter, though they mostly neglected her. Due to both of them being quite functional and nice outside of their home life, and well, upper class, it was one of those cases where people refuse to believe such things might be possible - alcoholism and abuse only happen in poor families, right?
She got along well enough at school. Though she was neither the best student nor the most popular, she at least managed to never fail classes or ping as weak enough to be bullied.
Nobody noticed when she tried to run away for the first and second time. Or perhaps just nobody cared. And nothing was better after she returned, so the third time, not long before her fifteenth birthday, she went to Copenhagen and stayed there. She managed to make a living somehow, stealing and begging and slowly falling in with drug dealing, when she fell asleep one night in a lonely corner. Only to be woken by hands on her shoulders, pressing her down and against the wall. She fought back, but it really was no use, and her last thoughts before she succumbed to blood loss were
how could I nod off in a place like this
She woke up again alone. Her first nights were frightening, and the nights after were no better. But she survived and learned, somehow. The life of a Caitiff is never easy, but it wasn't really any worse than her existence had been before, she thought - shitty, but she'd never been a quitter.
And then things suddenly got better. She had to have done something really right for once in her life, because an older vampire, Lars Nielsen, decided to adopt her and show her the ropes. Things were looking up, for once. He taught her how to deal with her new life and new powers in better ways and finally introduced her to the Camarilla, and for a few years, things were good. Not perfect, but good.
Right up until the point when her and Lars were ordered before the Prince and Lars was accused of having not adopted, but sired her. Without permission. To this day she doesn't know if the accusation was correct, but she also doubts that it would have really mattered. The only reason why she wasn't destroyed alongside Lars was that one of the Tremere Elders had requested that she be spared and given to her instead. Malin hadn't expected that to mean anything good, and it didn't.
See, this Tremere was working on some research about the beast, and a younger colleague of her in this quest had figured that experimenting on its most visual representation, the aftermath of a Gangrel's frenzy, would be a good idea. So Malin was given to this Tremere ancilla, Lise Mikkelsen, who then kept triggering her into frenzies by all means possible, from humiliation to starving to forcing her into fight or committing atrocities.
The Tremere made a mistake, though. She had blood-bonded Malin to her for better control early on, but Malin came to hate her so much that she could shake the bond for a bit and murder the woman. Or, rather: Diablerize her. She might not have done that before Lars's death, but Lise's actions had made her less human than she had once been. The act, of course, didn't help with Malin's humanity, but she was free and managed to escape.
Her automatic response was to head back to her native town, but on the way she realized that that was a terrible idea.
For one, whom would she go back to? And two ...well, unlike before, she would stand out massively anywhere where there were humans. The Tremere's experiments had turned her into a monster straight out of nightmares within a few years.
But she remembered some stories that Lars had told her about the very north of Scandinavia. Dangerous territory, he had said, but beautiful. The last true wilderness of this part of the the world. Ripe with Lupines, but still the best place to be for those Gangrel who really couldn't get by in a city anymore... And the only other vampires there would be independent Gangrel, most likely. She didn't know what that would mean in relation to her, but hoped that it meant that they would just let her be.
So she headed north (though she did pass by her old home to grab some nourishment from her parents in some undefined semblance of revenge). So far, she has managed to survive there quite well, but summer is coming, the time of eternal daylight. She would laugh about how she has the opposite problem now of the one that she had as a human on the street, if it wasn't so life-threatening...
Her only saving grace physically is at this point that she still sounds human - she still has quite a nice singing voice, really. The only pieces of human clothing that she still owns are a long XXL military coat with a hood and a pair of boots - she's long forgone regular clothes because she neither needs nor can wear them anymore. But the coat provides shelter, and combined with the boots and dark corners she can shuffle around human settlements, at least as long as nobody properly looks at her. She would learn Obfuscate in a heartbeat if someone taught her, but that never happened.
Malin's world is a lot like our present world, just grittier - all the negative traits of the social and political structures of the human race are more pronounced and generally more rigid. There are two main differences: The existence of supernaturals and the existence of spaces beyond our known reality. (I assume that they changed nothing majorly here between oWoD and nWoD so I'll move on to vampire society.)
Among those supernaturals are vampires. Due to where and when Malin lives and learned about them, they present to her roughly like this:
Vampire (Kindred, as they call themselves) society is structured along two fault lines, sect and clan. Sect-wise she used to belong to the Camarilla and is now independent and clan-wise she is of the Gangrel. For a while, she was considered to be Caitiff, that is, clanless. In her case it meant that she didn't know which clan she came from because she hadn't been told and that she lacked the support of clan belonging. It can also mean someone who genuine has no belonging because they don't manifest the specifics of any clan.
The Camarilla is the dominant group in Copenhagen, where Malin was embraced, enforcing the Masquerade - the rule that no vampire may alert humanity to the existence of the undead, neither through their words not their actions - and consisting of a number of clans, among them, as one of the founding clans, the Gangrel. Since they, as a rule, are wanderers who like the wilderness and prefer to stay away from the political games of the Jyhad (a penchant for being mercenaries notwithstanding), the stationary, city-bound sect has however never held the greatest appeal for them. So even the large number of Gangrel that nominally are Camarilla often don't belong to a specific Prince's dominion or have strong ties with the sect. Many Gangrel are independent, but there is also a sizable antitribu faction (two, actually) in the Sabbat. Generally, the Gangrel have a strong independent/anarch presence in Scandinavia that reaches back much further than that of any other clan, and in opposition to especially Toreador and Ventrue they have a significant Scandinavian pagan history.
The Gangrel clan disciplines center around lordship over animals, being in touch with one's beast, the feral power inside, and durability. Their weakness is that with time (and frenzies, the loss of control to the beast), their bodies start to reflect this and they take on more and more animalistic traits - mostly physical, but also in behaviour, voice, and other areas.
The second clan that is important in Malin's background are the Tremere. Unlike all other vampires (more or less, there are other special cases), the Tremere weren't vampires originally, they were mages trying to figure out immortality. Eventually, that led them to become vampires. They are the scientists among vampires and the clan which as a whole feels the need to watch their collective back the most. They are also the only ones who can find out about someone being a diablerist after the black streaks that consuming another vampire's soul brings having vanished from one's aura. They also practice thaumaturgy and are tightly knit through blood bonds and a strong hierarchy, and they are a pillar of the Camarilla.
Unsurprisingly, after her experiences with this clan, Malin has no interest in ever returning to this sect.
Other good reasons for this lack of interest are that she has committed two offences that the Camarilla considers worthy of the offender's destruction: Having been sired without permission of the Prince, and having diablerized someone.
Two biographical details of Malin's life deserve to be looked at closely in this section.
One is that she is very young in more ways than one. She wasn't even of age when she was embraced, and she wasn't a vampire for much longer when Lars met final death - it bears mention that Lars himself wasn't very old when he embraced her, either, having been sired during the German occupation. This means two things: Firstly she has very little actual knowledge about the history and society of the Kindred, and what she knows of both is still heavily coloured by the Camarilla point of view; her knowledge about the Sabbat, for example, can be summed as "insane fanatics who try to get everyone killed by refusing the Masquerade". She has little knowledge about her own clan, too, having had few encounters with Gangrel past Lars and Lars having concentrated more on her studying the clan disciplines than hearing stories about it. This makes it hard for her to correctly estimate dangers and see chances relating to vampiric society. Secondly it also means, along with how she grew up, that she never had the chance to develop into a person with mature coping mechanisms and social strategies, especially when it comes to relationships.
The other is that she is a survivor more than anything else. Life may be shitty, but she'll prevail, somehow. Something better than death can always be found if you try for it hard enough. At heart she is still the streetkid having run from an abusive home that she was in life, distrustful and jaded but desiring safety and kindness more than anything. Life, to her, is a fight, not so much for a prize but for survival. Others might get prizes - status, friends, riches, safety -, but she has come to believe that those aren't available to her, at least not in more than very modest capacities. At the point that I'm taking her from, this has gone to extremes - she doesn't know what more she can expect than survival, and she isn't fighting for more, fully occupied with this task. She is, at this point, a not very human bundle of basal needs - partly because of what happened to her and partly because she has tried to limit herself that way in recent months, finding it easier to survive that way in a place where her social abilities (whatever there is left of them) simply weren't needed.
She isn't necessarily angry, she isn't filled with hate - the one person whom she hated enough to override everything else is dead, after all. But she is fearful, driven by terror of what she did catching up with her, by what she is catching up with her, by werewolves or anyone else who might take an issues with vampires in general catching up with her. Fear is her driving power now, but fear could also potentially lead her back towards other people, if she thinks that they can provide safety for her. ...It would be surprisingly simple, really, and not even require the promise of protection so much as the promise of a place where she can be around others without it being potentially dangerous. Even more potent would be an offer of kindness. She's always craved someone caring, understanding. It might be buried now, but no matter how jaded she is, the need is as strong as ever, and if she can perceive it clearly in someone, she will latch onto it.
But she is deeply distrustful, so any deeper connection will be hampered by it. Every time that she thought that there was someone whom she could put some trust in, who would support her, she has been disappointed - most recently and starkly by Lars.
If she has to deal with others, her first attempt to deal with the situation will be to keep her head down and not attract attention. Failing that, she will typically try to please those above her station and only support these of like or lower station if she thinks she'll gain something from it herself (since she craves kindness, that could be as little as treating her kindly, material advantages aren't necessarily required). She sees no problem with kicking back when someone who isn't stronger is kicking her, or someone who is stronger and will endanger her survival cannot be appeased in any other way.
She's hypersensitive to all shifts in people's emotions and the atmosphere of a situation when dealing with those stronger than her, tries to always be five steps ahead of any of their moodshifts and will try to appease any negative shifts if she cannot escape such situations. Lars managed to get the tactic of blaming herself overly before anyone else can accuse her out of her and generally helped her hide some of her more compromising reactions to social stress, but even if they are hidden then patterns are still there.
That hypersensitivity and her general lack of academic background are further reasons for her lack of knowledge about the Kindred in general: It simply seemed far more important to her to figure out those people that were actually present than learning about far-away seeming theoreticals.
Along the way of her frenzies, she has picked up a number of animal behaviours - most prominently: She likes to cram herself into small spaces for a feeling of safety; she will feel compelled to eat with her mouth instead of her hands and then lick the container that the food was in clean; she often treats her own reflection in a mirror as another person. She can stop herself from all of these behaviours, but it takes willpower.
A thing that she will have to learn how to deal with when returned to any kind of society will be not only to interact with people again, but interact with them as someone who immediately pings as a threat or at least repulsive due to her appearance. She acquired all her permanent (and the still lasting non-permanent) traits in Lise's laboratory and thus her last free interaction with anyone who saw her as more than a lab rat dates back to before she acquired anything that made her look less human than the average vampire.
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