Raven, ZaneCharacter Name:
Tomorrow When The War BeganAge:
not stated outright; presumably 15-16, as she is old enough to go camping on her own/to have sex, but not on the brink of uni. From When?:
From after setting the fire at the airport, and nearly suffocating from proximity to the flames. Inmate/Warden:
Inmate. Ellie has been in the middle of a war zone for quite a while now, and it has changed her. Though she began as a normal teenager, she has grown vicious and angry. She has killed several enemy soldiers, sometimes in really violent ways. She feels often conflicted and disgusted with herself, she is extremely traumatized, and she is not stable in the least. She has acted against colonists, and potentially civilians, both enemy and Australian, by being part of setting brushfires, explosions and other acts of effective terrorism against the force occupying her country.
I would note that the books do not mention civilian casualties; however, the main characters blow up a block of expensive houses staffed by officers and VIPs, and that it was established prior to the explosion that many Australian civilians were being used as house servants for colonists. In addition, the book is entirely from Ellie's point of view, and gets less and less objective as time goes on; it is entirely possible that there were civilian casualties and she simply refused to think about them. Item:
None; normal human teenager. Personality:
Ellie is proud. In all senses of the word: she takes great pride in her land, the farm that she is a part of, and her family and friends. She is also proud in the negative sense, with a sensitive ego, a need to feel appreciated and admired, and a short temper if she feels any of these things have not been met. Slights against her, whether undeserved (like sexist attitudes) or deserved (arguments back against some of her less well-considered statements) tend to meet with a quick temper and hot-headed anger.
This same impulsiveness gives Ellie a lot of bravery. She's not inhumanly courageous; she is terrified in the midst of all of her adventures, regularly gets the shakes, and once even screams in a surge of fright, revealing herself to the enemy and endangering the lives of everyone around her. But she is able to, roughly at times, manage her panic, and she is forward-focused enough to push through the worst situations. Half the time, she's only being brave because she doesn't want to look like a coward; half the time, she's only doing what she has to. She's regarded as the bravest of their group, and for good reason: she's usually the one who ends up having the daring ideas and getting them out of their messes.
Ellie is also unusually honest to herself. The books are told through her personal narration, in her point of view, and she never spares herself: she examines the ugliness of her feelings, and the pettiness of them. She only starts avoiding them a few books in, when she begins being unable to face the results of her actions, the amount of death that she's caused. Even then, she's direct about not being able to be
direct; she says outright that she can't think about those things, so she doesn't. She acknowledges that she says really stupid things, and that she often has to step back and nurse injured pride, but she does it anyway.
Ellie grew up in more or less the modern world. It's pretty clear these books were written in the early 90s before the internet was a big deal, but the time is unspecified, and given the slow progress of more rural parts of Australia, this could easily be close to modern times. She likes TV, she goes to movies, she's not a beauty queen but has the usual feminine collection of lotions and things. She even used to wear makeup. She doesn't anymore. She used to dream about going off and marrying some rich man, and gallivanting across Europe with her best friend Corrie, and really making something of her life - before returning to Wirrawee and taking over her parents' farm, of course. She loves the farm.
She's changed from all that happened to her. Her world was turned upside down when she returned from her camping trip to find her country invaded (by a country that is never named or specified, but I'd say is probably more or less Japan). Her first act of killing, blowing up two soldiers with a riding lawnmower, leaves her in shock, and she can't stop thinking about it and replaying it; each successive act gets worse. She chokes a soldier to death close-up, and it shuts her down so much emotionally that she can no longer feel attracted to Lee, her on-and-off boyfriend. She shoots three soldiers in cold blood when they nearly catch her friends, and the very coldness in her shocks her completely. But after that, she treats killing as just another incident. She pushes the memories aside, writing that memory and imagination are her enemy, that she has to stay in the moment. She is colder, tougher, and deeply violent; this has all changed her so much that, for example, when she's trapped in the cab of a truck with a stuffed bird hanging off the mirror, she gets obsessed with the way the bird is grinning and is tempted constantly to reach up and wring its neck and rip it apart. She has begun to hate herself for what she has done - and also what has been done to her.
Specifically, this refers to an incident after she and the others are briefly rescued and brought to New Zealand, where the war is being fought from. CW: SEXUAL ASSAULT: She goes to a party, and gets too drunk, and a boy there turns on a dime from being nice to her to being rough. He pushes her into sex, and she's too drunk to really object, though she tries to pull her pants up. It's a painful incident, and afterward, she blames herself completely, thinking of it as something she did "with" that boy, something that she regrets, that she should have controlled. She specifically writes that it wasn't rape
, but that's clearly a bit of denial on her part; the way she described it, it was forced, and it left marks on her. After that incident, she often moves into rages, and grows violently angry on a dime.
The deaths of her close friends have also changed her. Her best friend since childhood, Corrie, was shot, fell into a coma, and died without Ellie ever having the chance to say goodbye. Chris died because she and the others left him alone, let him fall into a hermit's existence and didn't come back soon enough to check on him. She blames herself partly for that. And Robyn's suicide-murder was a hugely traumatic event for Ellie; she saw her next best friend be blown to pieces, taking a traitor and a scumbag with her.
A good thermometer of how Ellie is feeling about herself is her relationship with Lee, her boyfriend. She loses her virginity to him and has a lot of sex with him early on in the series, but once the two of them strangle a young soldier together, she pulls away, only able to think of him with disgust. Her feelings for him vacillate wildly, from deep disgust to honest love, averaging out, in her own words, to generally being "in like" with him. She's unable to reconcile the wild swings of her feelings, but still considers them together, in a background sort of way. Lee becomes colder too, discovers the death of his parents and silently swears revenge. It scares her, probably because she sees the same tendencies in herself, though maybe less clearly expressed. Barge Reactions:
Everything will seem absolutely unreal
. She lives in a world where actual science works, and comic books are comic books and movies are on the TV and that is where they stay
. It's possible that she will greet this like an afterlife, like a Hell (which she thinks about a lot).
Also, overwhelmingly, she will be selfishly glad that she doesn't have to fight anymore. Mostly at first she'll shut down entirely, and just let people tell her what to do. The presence of adults who appear to know what they're doing will make her go into robot mode, shutting down so her emotions don't have to be stressed anymore.
Once she really gets it, she'll yell and scream a lot. She won't rival Chris for obscenities, but she might for pure loudness. She'll miss her friends and her family. She'll be angry
. I don't think she'll get really violent against the people around her, but she won't be reasonable, either. She'll vacillate between behaving like a zombie and behaving like a six-year-old until she begins to process what's happened. Path to Redemption:
Being able to confront what's happened to her and what she's done is a good first step. It might help if the person who takes her in hand has experience with being in a war zone, and the absolute horrors that can arise from that, even in a supposedly "clean" invasion. Someone who lets her talk things out, and earns her trust enough to get
her to talk them out, will also help.
Ellie is not a bad person, and she has always been conflicted about everything she's done. She nearly went into shock the first time she killed someone, and she has had spasms of fear and trauma afterward. She is plagued by nightmares, and in self-defense has shut down her memory and her imagination both, focusing instead on the present moment, to the exclusion of everything else. She has an incredible amount of trauma and loss
, and she has been very brave in coping with everything that's thrown at her, but she's let it push her too far.
She needs to think about the civilians she might have hurt, the far-reaching consequences of her actions, and, if not learn to regret what she's done, learn to move forward in a better way. Some training might not be unwarranted. Self-confidence and less reliance on her ego to push her through the day would also be good.
In general, she needs therapy, and understanding, and to get some ever-changing mix of responsibility and not. She's not a grown-up, not fully, but she doesn't like being treated like a child either. It's all about walking a balance, and she'll need a flexible warden that can work with that. History:
Ellie grew up on a farm, raising sheep and cows outside the small town of Wirrawee, Australia. She was an only child; her father was a stern and somewhat demanding man who did things His Own Way; her mother acted as a farmer's wife but had a larger life outside that, not regarding cooking and cleaning as a particularly crucial use of her time. Ellie often worked on the farm, helped with disasters and manual labor, and her father heavily depended on her help, and that of hired hands.
Her best friends were Corrie, a girl from a neighboring farm, and Homer, a rough and rowdy boy who was also on a neighboring farm, and who grew up like a brother to her.
In the middle of the equivalent of high school, Australia was invaded, and Wirrawee was used as a launching point for most of the inland invasion force. Ellie and her friends were out on a camping trip at the time. (Camping trip members: Ellie, Homer, Corrie, Lee, Kevin, Robyn, Fi.)
After they returned from the camping trip to Hell (literally, the region is named Hell), put succinctly: BOOK 1:
The seven friends discover Ellie's house empty, the dogs chained up and dead from lack of food and water, and her parents missing. Electricity is out and phone lines have similarly gone. They go down the street to Homer's house, and find the same thing. Slowly, a picture begins to emerge: there has been an invasion. Someone has taken most of the town hostage at the Fairground, during Commemoration Day, a celebration that happened while they were camping.
The group splits up to scout. Ellie, Kevin and Corrie sneak in close to the Fairground. They see prisoners and soldiers. While sneaking away, they are spotted and chased. Ellie manages to set fire to a riding lawnmower and detonate it. (She later learns that this kills 2 soldiers and severely injures another.) After this, they locate Chris, another friend of theirs who wasn't able to come camping, who has been hiding since the invasion. The group is up to 8.
Two people (Lee and Robyn) don't come back from their scouting. Investigation leads them to Lee's parents' restaurant, where Lee is in hiding. He has been shot in the calf. They devise a rescue plan; realizing that stealth is not an option, they attempt to come in with a tractor and rescue Lee using the scoop. Soldiers chase them, and due to Ellie's driving, several of them crash and a handful are killed. Their rescue of Lee is successful, mostly due to luck.
The group decides that they need to make a difference in the war. They devise a plan to destroy a major bridge, used by the enemy to transport convoys. It involves setting a cattle stampede on the bridge, then using the distracted time to bring a fuel tanker under the bridge and blow it up. Despite their radios failing, and other mishaps throughout the night, they manage to do blow up the bridge without killing any enemy soldiers.
They return to find Corrie shot while trying to scavenge food. Kevin, Corrie's boyfriend, takes her in to the hospital. The group is now down to 6. BOOK 2:
The group is determined to find out what happened to Corrie and Kevin. They sneak into the hospital and find Corrie in a coma, and discover news that Kevin has been taken to the Showground with the other prisoners. The group decides to attack a convoy on the highway, since they weren't able to do anything significant at the hospital. On the way to the highway, they are intercepted by a patrol that stumbles on top of them by accident while enemy soldiers are trying to find a place to pee. Homer shoots both soldiers, leaving one alive. Ellie kills the living one. They stop a convoy with nails in the road, crash several of the cars, and throw Molotov cocktails at them. There is at least one explosion.
The group decides to find a way out of the bush at the far end of Hell. They follow a stream and stumble on a "militia" group called Harvey's Heroes, run by adults. The group regularly attacks and disables abandoned, downed cars and power stations. Ellie and the others are relieved to give up control of their fates, but grow more and more angry as they see how the group is mismanaged. The militia walks into a trap around a broken-down tank, and nearly all members are massacred; Ellie and Homer make a break for the narrow path back into Hell. They wait there, and are joined by Robyn, and then by Fi who has been alone in the bush being stalked by an enemy soldier all night. Ellie severely wounds the soldier by bringing a rock down on his head, but finds herself unable to kill him. Lee finally joins them, the last of their group, and he immediately kills the soldier, furious from what he's seen in the massacre.
When they returned, they find Chris missing. This puts them down to five total people: Ellie, Homer, Robyn, Fi and Lee.
They go back into Wirrawee to watch movements of the soldiers, wanting to find some way to attack the Showground. It's absolutely impossible, though, so they just watch and learn for a while. They discover by accident that the officers are mostly living in Snob Hill, the place where Fi used to live. And then they discover that Major Harvey, the asshole leader of Harvey's Heroes, has turned traitor and is with them. So that pretty much settles that.
They try to sabotage a car and set some fires, but that goes wrong. And then they come up with a more coherent plan involving creating gas leaks and setting those off with toasters emitting sparks. This works beyond their wildest dreams, and the entire neighborhood is blasted to the sky. An intense search follows this; Ellie and the others don't know, but the neighborhood they blew up was the location of an extremely important enemy general, who was killed in the blast. BOOK 3
When scouting for food, the group locates Kevin, who is being sent out on work parties like many of the other prisoners in the Showground. They figure out a way to free him, but the plan is interrupted in the middle by a young soldier. Ellie and Lee manage to overwhelm and strangle him together. The group is back at six: Ellie, Homer, Robyn, Fi, Lee, Kevin.
After this, they make their way across the bush to Cobbler's Bay, where the enemy has a dock and brings in most of their supplies via ship. After seeing a broken down truck brought in unchecked for stowaways, they devise a plan: make a car break down, smuggle themselves and a whole lot of fertilizer and fuel aboard, and get themselves packed onto the big ship that's currently sitting in the bay. They manage all of it, though they forget to give the two in the packing container any water, which means that by the time Ellie and Homer (the two who detonate the bomb) are ready, they're also half-dead from thirst. They set the timer, drop off over the side of the ship, and swim like hell. Ellie is pulled off-course by a helicopter trying to shoot her, and she is caught in the water wave from the explosion. Half deaf and half drowned, she staggers onto a nearby beach and barely makes it to a freshwater stream. She is starving by the time she makes it to her friends, a few days later, and when she discovers them, they're in the process of being captured by three soldiers. Ellie takes them by surprise and shoots all three in cold blood.
The group takes shelter in an abandoned house by a junkyard. They discover a HAM radio and establish contact with New Zealand, which is actively fighting the war. The man on the other end refuses them a rescue mission.
While escaping from the abandoned house, they are captured and sent to a high-security prison. Ellie is identified as a ringleader (by Major Harvey - who else) and isolated. She spends time alone in a cell, degrading mentally, and then is tried and convicted of terrorism and sentenced to death. After weeks of this, an air raid on the prison kills many of the soldiers, and they are able to escape. In the escape, Robyn, one of the group, pulls a pin on a grenade and kills herself, taking Major Harvey with her. The group is back down to five: Ellie, Fi, Lee, Homer, Kevin. BOOK 4
The group is extracted and brought to New Zealand. And put in therapy.
Soon after, Ellie attends a party and gets drunk, and a guy pushes her into sex. She internally does not believe it was rape, and blames herself, but it is clear that she was forced and she did not want it.
But a bunch of New Zealanders want to sabotage the airport being built in Wirrawee, so they get the remaining kids to be guides. The landing is successful, but the Kiwis vanish on their sabotage mission, so the kids are trapped again without a rescue.
They go into Wirrawee to scout, and Ellie discovers that Corrie died of her wounds and was buried in the graveyard. Lee discovers that his family was killed by soldiers. Reminder: Corrie, Chris and Robyn are dead; the group has gone from 8 to 5.
The group decides to try and attack the airport themselves. They attempt and fail. They fail hard
. Each individual aspect of their plan fails. In the escape, Ellie shoots and kills an officer up close, and they hide in the dead officer's house. After the initial search has died down, they return to their refuge in Hell. BOOK 5
They take a trip to the garbage dump to scavenge supplies, and a crew of soldiers in trucks show up. In desperation, they manage to hide in the back of one before being discovered. This, horribly and unexpectedly, lands them in the airport they just failed to sabotage, and they decide to undertake a suicide mission and destroy the fuel jets on the runway.
Though in canon they are successful, this is where I'm going to have Ellie meet her near-death experience, through near-miss bullets, fire, and smoke inhalation. Sample Journal Entry:
(Also on the voice test meme
Right. It's like a radio...?
Good, then. Someone tell me where the food's kept - I don't care about anything else. Keep me as long as you like. [ Her tone is aggressive, roughly unconcerned, and completely fake. She is terrified. It feels like she has a stomach full of worms, wriggling around. She'd thought death was going to be the end. ]
And if you put me on trial again, I won't be so quiet this time. [ Which is a really stupid thing to say. Ellie has no idea what she'd say, or what there even is to say, against the things she's had to do. What's she supposed to do, say she didn't really mean it? I just had to, that's all. - Sorry they got in the way of my bullets. Sorry I snuck on a container, I didn't mean to. Even the airport, where it's the truth: We were just trying to escape. Sorry we ended up on your airport.
Doesn't even sound plausible in her own head. ] Sample RP: On the Test Drive meme
, from a slightly earlier canon point. Special Notes: