Dr. Anabelle Evingston Character in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

Dr. Anabelle Evingston

She who would reshape the world

Content warning: Descriptions of Violence and Medical Trauma
I've finally found my place in life. A driving purpose.
— Dr. Anabelle Evingston
  The disappearance of a friend. The limits of humanity. The origin of gods. Anabelle Evingston, doctor of medicine and member of multiple secret organizations -- her meteoric rise through the Legion's ranks was nothing less than legendary, enough to make her the talk of the entire world for a few years. But just as she finally reached the top, Dr. Evingston retreated from the public eye; where she's gone, and what the brilliant doctor is working on next, no one is truly sure.   Anabelle is not a natural born leader; that's simply what she's made herself into. Incredibly intelligent with very limited patience for failure, she demands the best not only from herself, but from all those that work with and for her. Together these qualities make for an exceptionally lonely lifestyle -- one that Anabelle doesn't really mind, although she has found the ability within herself to build a close network of people she once called "friends".      

Who She Was

The people of Varzen like to see themselves as an independant people; and yet the powerful nation to their north, Artazia, sees it differently. It's within this highly unstable political climate, within Varzen's capital city of Vanata that's forced to regularly pay taxes to their superpower northern neighbour, that Anabelle was born.   Her parents, Everette and Janice Evingston, were a pair of doctors that operated a successful practice within Vanata; while the steep tax on their income bothered them, it wasn't enough to convince them to move, as the prestige of being the best doctors in Varzen was a hard thing to give up. Much of Anabelle's early childhood was spent purely with her parents -- from a young age she showed signs of heightened intelligence, and would spend the days asking question after question, to the point where her parents put her into school three years early just so that they could get some breathing room from the inquisitive child.  
At first the young Anabelle loved school; she could endlessly ask questions, and learn everything there was to know. But, she was also frustrated by the practice; the fact that none of the other kids seemed to think on the same wavelength as her was incredibly annoying and more than a little dissapointing.  
You never say "good" or "great", you never tell me I excel -- all you ever say is just "not bad".
— A young Anabelle
Temporary relief came to her when she managed to skip a grade here and there, but time and time again, she'd be left with the same frustration of being the only one to see things as clearly as she did. Life at home wasn't perfect for her, either; her parents, recognizing greatness within their daughter, decided to push a young Anabelle in order to become the brilliant individual they were sure she was destined to become. They answered her questions less and less, forcing her to come to the conclusion on her own -- and even then, the approval they gave back to her became more and more rare, in order to make Anabelle hungry for success.  
I tried my best. I really tried.
— A young Anabelle

Anabelle Evingston

Eye Colour
5' 11"
Hair Colour
Vanata, Varzen

Favored Deity
While much is known about Anabelle, including the fact that the gods (before they became husks) were an area of intense focus for her, what's not known is whether or not she ever had a favored deity.   Some think that because the country she's from, Varzen, has no patron God-husk, she's never really developed a close "relationship" with any of them.
  Before anyone was truly prepared for it, Anabelle had already completed her early education. She'd learned everything there was for the school system to teach her, and taken every lesson given to her by her parents to heart. Gone was her open inquisitiveness -- where once she was known as the child that would never cease asking questions in class, by the end she had become quiet and reserved, barely even seeming to pay attention. And yet, every assignment turned in, every grade returned, every thing she did was awarded perfect scores.  
When the time came to start her professional academic journey at 15 years old, the obvious choice was to go abroad; Varzen was nice, but it was hemorrhaging people due to the turmoil with Artazia, and most of the higher education facilities here were lackluster at best. Her parents Everette and Janice had both done their formal schooling at Legion operated universities, and so they convinced the young Anabelle that this too would be the path she should take.
As it just so happened, the Legion sponsored Veiled Academy, an incredibly prestigious and secretive university in Degrunda, had just begun to re-allow applications after a few years of closed doors. It was a multifaceted campus of science and engineering, with one of the best medical programs found on Cathedris; it was also a place where the Legion funded many research projects, a perfect opportunity to get a foot in the door with the world's biggest employer.
With very little fanfare and not a single look back, Anabelle left for the next step of her journey.
Click to read her story, part 1:

Open Eyes

Two years of sucking up to the idiots in charge, of bending the knee to those furthest from being her "better", had finally paid off. Despite the school's best efforts, it was no secret that there were things, programs going on behind closed doors -- programs that Anabelle knew were the ticket to ascension. This is how she'd get finally get an in with the Legion.   The crowd of people pushed at her from behind; there really wasn't enough space in this operating theater for all of them. Anabelle's discomfort was matched only by her keen interest in what was playing out before the crowd -- she'd have to just ignore the mass of people for now, and focus on the show.   An unconscious man lay strapped to a metal table in the middle of the operating room. Many bright lights shone harshly upon his body, naked from the waist up. The doctors -- perhaps researchers? She wasn't really sure -- had all sorts of tubes and devices plugged into the subject. Anabelle felt excited at the realization that she could only determine the purpose of roughly half of them; whatever was going on here was something entirely new.   "This, ladies and gentlemen," came a voice from below. "Is an early step along the path to greatness."   A man in a dark lab coat walked into the bright lights surrounding the operating table. He was balding, with a large unkempt mustache, and had thick rimmed glasses on. He smiled a large, toothy smile.   "Some of you will join us on this path, should you prove useful. Some of you may even help us take the pivotal step at some point. Whether you're on the table or holding the knife is another matter entirely, though."   Anabelle's heart began to race; the familiar rapid beating of excitement. She recognized an opportunity when she saw it.   "Now," said the man in the dark lab coat, as he looked down protectively at the subject strapped to the table. "Let's begin."  
  Horrific guttural screeching tore its way through the subjects lips; it was as if his vocal cords were shredding themselves in order to make the terrible noise. Eyes that were once shut and peaceful were now wide open, looking everywhere, looking nowhere; they seemed to be straining, trying to leave the man's face. His torso, cleanly sliced during the surgical procedure, throbbed openly -- whatever it was that the man in the dark lab coat had put in inside was now wriggling, reaching--   They had put something living into him. They had put a biologic mass of life, of twisted, terrible life, into his chest cavity. Only it was too alive. It had too much vigor. It was too much for the subject to bear. They should have killed it, whatever it is.   Anabelle was at the front, directly against the glass -- the push of the crowd behind her meant that she'd get no escape from the terror that was unfolding before her. She did not close her eyes, though. She did not look away. She watched as the ripples of muscle contractions ran up and down the man's body; rows and rows of cramping movements hitting every muscle in series. She saw him strain against the restraints -- thick, strong, seemingly unbreakable restraints, she noticed now -- his body fully arching up and away from the table.   There were audible snaps, and the crowd behind Anabelle screamed.   A brief moment of panic, but then she looked closer to see that the restraints still held -- the test subject was still strapped to the table. Instead, she realized as she surveyed his now strangely moving limbs, the snapping sound had likely come from the man's tendons being unable to take the strain of his contracting muscles.   Fascinating...   The thought came to her despite the horror of what she witnessed. Whatever it was, this intended step was clearly a failure. But failure happened so rarely around here that it was almost a joy to see; being able to learn from one was a gift.   The subject's broken limbs began to bend even more erratically, as his cramping muscles began to swell. Arms were bent in ways they were never supposed to, and he began twisting in place -- all while unleashing that continuous screech, one that should have stopped minutes ago.   The crowd screamed again as the sound of another snap hit them.   This time, it was a restraint -- one of the ones around his legs, or rather, what used to be legs. They had engorged themselves to the point of being unrecognizable, masses of muscular flesh that undulated in an altogether unnatural manner. The newly freed "limb" flailed about, banging dreadfully against the metal table.   Anabelle's fortitude began to waver, and as panic in her started to rise, she tried pushing back against the crush of bodies behind. She was about to turn her entire body to try and slip into the crowd, when an echoing bang reverberated off of the stone walls of the operating theater.   As the ringing in her ears died down, she was met with... silence.   The man in the dark lab coat wiped the gore off his face with one of his sleeves. He'd been standing there watching the entire time, Anabelle realized. Watching the entire thing unfold. He hadn't panicked at all.   "There is no better instructor than failure." Said the man, hitting close to a thought Anabelle had earlier. "You can leave now. We've got a mess to clean up, and mistakes to learn from."  
  Anabelle was the last one in the theater, remaining until the very end. She found it hard to tear her eyes away from the mess of what was once a human on the table. The thing implanted in his chest cavity still wriggled, slightly.   A thought came to her, as she turned to leave. Something she had realized while witnessing the nightmare unfold, as she watched this strange biological implant turn a human into a disaster.   "In human to human transplants," she said, half turned away from the operating table. "It's best when the organ and the host are both as alive as they can be." She turned her head back to the table, where the man in the dark lab coat stood, staring up at her. The light from the operating lights reflected off his glasses and obscured his eyes.   "In a case like this, where you're introducing something... else, you might want to try adding mechanical limiters to the thing. Something to make it a little bit less alive."   The toothy spread its way across the mans face once more.   "Yes, yes that's exactly what we're planning on trying next. What's your name, dear?"   Anabelle fully turned, and began to walk to the door.   "It's Anabelle Evingston." She called over her shoulder.  


Connections and Co-conspirators

The price we pay for success is limited only by our own cowardice.
— Anabelle at the Academy
  Anabelle consumed all knowledge with a voracious appetite at the academy, and she took every single opportunity granted to her. If there was a test, she'd be there taking it -- when there was an experiment, she'd be in the crowd watching, providing her observations and ideas to the researchers at the end. Very quickly the name "Anabelle Evingston" became known to almost everyone in the school -- faculty, students, and even Legion operatives there as visitors.   Much of the student body hated her. She'd done in two years what had taken many of them half a decade; and the cold manner in which she regarded them, as if she found the time requirement to explain what she was thinking to them to be not worth it, drove them mad.  
And yet, this was a school for gifted individuals, and so it was only a matter of time before Anabelle finally met some more like minded people. At the Veiled Academy, you're free to take as many classes as you can physically fit into your schedule -- there are the program minimums you must complete, but the rest are up to you.
In addition to the medical classes that were a part of her program, Anabelle also enrolled in classes regarding Rendling Biology, God-husk biology, the history of the Gods, Pre-history, Geography, and Ethics. She had become fascinated in the connection between mortal and immortal, and in the differences between the gods and what came before.
    It was in these electives that Anabelle met the people that would eventually become her friends, where she would meet Helen, her closest confidant. Every one of the group of 4 were in the same electives together, and shared the same interests -- though each had their own reason for the fascination. Anabelle and Helen were the most similar out of the group, though where Anabelle was quick and cold in her assessment of things, Helen was much more steady and passionate in how she viewed the facts of the world. In a way, they balanced each other out; Helen slowed Anabelle down just enough to let her think through things more, and Anabelle pushed Helen to become the strongest version of herself.

Say that again and I'll make sure you're the next to go under the knife. No one calls me 'Ana' but Helen.
— Anabelle at the Academy

The Veiled Academy

While eventually this location would become a premier academy for newly made or aspiring Catalurgists to come and learn the ways of their art, at the time that Anabelle went to it, it was still a generalist Academy with a few specific and highly acclaimed programs within.   The Programs of Medicine, Engineering, and Mathematics offered at the Veiled Academy were known as some of, if not the, best in the world at the time.
  In just a few short years, Anabelle graduated; at age 18 she was now able to proudly declare herself a doctor of medicine, a fact that she was quick to make sure no one around her ever forgot. The name she had made for herself at the Academy and the way she had excelled through every challenge placed in front of her had turned her into a minor celebrity on campus, there in Degrunda, and also at home in Varzen.   If they hadn't already learned of her by then, the Legion hiring committee knew it now; before she even walked the stage to received her degree, the Legion had offered her a job. She was initially going to become a junior researcher in one of their entry level research programs, starting on a rather low rung of the ladder.  
However Anabelle had grown quite skilled at getting what she wanted out of life; she simply had to know what she wanted. In the academy, it was information -- knowledge. She was adept at pulling whatever a person knew out of them, or if they didn't know it, convincing them to go and find it out for her. Anabelle had amassed an impressive wealth of information on most, if not every person in the Academy; she wielded this information like a scalpel, using it to deftly cut and pry every ounce of knowledge out of whoever she happened to be focused on.   Thus when Anabelle was offered a position that was far beneath her, she surprised the Legion officer by having in-depth knowledge of what was truly going on behind closed laboratory doors, and just how many ethical violations this officer in particular had committed; they very quickly gave her a new offer befitting what she knew.
Listen, I know you didn't forget to call me "doctor" on purpose -- just like I know you didn't mean to "forget" you had the store-room keys on you. I know it's not your fault those items went missing, don't worry.   But... I do wonder how many other people believe it's not your fault. I can set the record straight, if you like. You just need to do something for me in return.
— Anabelle at the Academy
She was initially offered a research position working under the head of biotech engineering within The Human Augmentation Program at the Legion, Amé Leneret -- but Anabelle turned that one down. While the H.A.P. was undoubtedly impressive, they were too secretive and too unknown for Anabelle at this time. Going there would essentially dead-end her career, and she was too ambitious to stop now.   By the time Anabelle began her position with the Legion as the head of 'Pre-history and the Mortal-Deity-Connection' research team, she had already gained a large collection of people she considered "with her"; these were folks who's deepest and darkest secrets where known by Anabelle, or who had been around her long enough that they simply trusted what she said and followed her orders. This collection included fellow students, instructors, Legion members, and even those closest to her she called friends.   Her friends, especially Helen, were often bothered by the way they were "lumped in" with the others in this group. But it was hard to argue with Anabelle; if the smartest person in the room tells you to jump, you don't ask questions -- you jump, and thank her later.
Click to read her story, part 2:

The First Hint

  "Coming in here was a mistake. I don't think this is a good idea."   Anabelle rolled her eyes at the front of the group. She'd known that Jeremy was a bit of a whiner, but somehow she hadn't expected it to be this bad once they got in The Comprilith. They'd only been in here for a few days, but he'd been dropping hints about how uncomfortable he was since day one. "The air in here makes it hard to breathe" he had said. "I feel like there's something pushing down on me" -- complaints, constantly.   She was surprised the others could put up with it.   It had gotten bad now though, his complaining. Pretty soon she'd have to make an example out of him, in the hopes it shut him up and they could find what they came here for. She cursed herself once again for negotiating with the Legion to get her friends a job with the same research group she headed. Back at the Academy they were essentially equals, or so she thought -- but out here in the real world, their flaws became so much more apparent.   She mentally chastised herself for the harsh thoughts running through her mind again. She was glad they couldn't hear them. They were, overall, good people -- they didn't deserve those thoughts.   It's not even really their fault anyways. All 3 of them had been resistant to the idea of joining this research expedition; they'd only agreed because Anabelle insisted, and they never say no to her. Well, usually not -- Helen would sometimes remain a firm stick in the mud. She almost did this time too, but Anabelle finally managed to persuade her to join on an expedition to the Comprilith.   And really, how could she resist? This expedition was a dream come true. The two of them had been top of the class in pre-history and entheology studies. They knew everything there was to know about the gods and what came before. Therefor, a chance at uncovering new information on the topic they both held so dear to their heart was impossible to turn down.  
  Anabelle had been sending team after team into the Comprilith, chasing a lead that she'd heard in passing one night -- the existence of the so-called "Cerulean Room". An unaffiliated explorer had stumbled onto it once; saying that it was full to the brim with texts and scrolls that have never before been seen in the outside world. Strange and cryptic knowledge, and most excitingly, information on before.   But this explorer was weak. They had said something about how they weren't able to remain in the room for very long; they simply didn't have the mental fortitude.   And so Anabelle searched for it. Hundreds of Legion explorers under her command entered the Comprilith. Yet time and time again, they came back empty handed -- and occasionally, didn't come back at all. It bothered her a bit to have lost so many, especially as she had nothing to show for it; but she always told herself that she's willing to pay the price for success.   But of course, as she had expected, it eventually paid off; a team returned with solid intel on the Cerulean Room.   They were able to describe exactly how to find it, how long it took them to get to it and get back, and the effects of the room. Of course, the layout of the Comprilith is always changing, and time flows differently inside; so the directions were contextual, rather than direct. Enter a green door after you pass by it three times, and once inside, never turn clockwise, until you've walked for days and exited from that same green door into an entirely new area. That sort of thing.  
  Now she and her closest companions, Helen, Viola, Jeremy, plus a few extra Legion members to be sure, had found the Cerulean room. They stood in front of it; an ornate wooden door painted a lovely shade of dark sky blue, with a weathered bronze handle.   Anabelle reached out, and opened the door.   The discomfort was immediately apparent upon entering the room. It grew worse with every step inside, too. Intense pressure was building behind her eyes, like it was threatening to push them out from the inside; but she was used to headaches, had them all the time during the Academy days, and this was only slightly worse than what she'd experienced before. She could handle this.   What she didn't expect, though, was hearing a new running monologue echoing endlessly in her brain. "This hurts I want to leave this hurts I want to leave--" over and over and over. It was her own voice in her head, of that she was sure -- but these weak thoughts were alien to her. Even if they were disquieting and uncomfortable to hear, she could handle it. That wasn't her talking in her mind, and she could ignore it.   A quick look at her companions, and she figured they could handle it too. Sure, they looked like they were in pain -- just as Anabelle was sure she did too. But each one of them grit their teeth and followed her deeper into the room, and she took that as a sign of their conviction.   "Alright," she said, grimacing. "This is more than unpleasant. You know what we came here for -- anything on the creation of the gods. Anything on what came before." She swayed slightly, before turning to the nearest shelf. "Let's get to it."  
  It felt like days but was surely no more than an hour in the hellish room. So many of the books were deteriorated beyond repair, impossible to read, more than worthless. Many of them were on mundane topics -- still interesting, learning about small groups of humanity that lived before the gods existed, but containing no actual useful information. Those ones they piled in a corner to come back for "later".   The search had become increasingly difficult however; the pain behind her eyes gradually worsened over time, and the monologue in her brain became more and more frantic. It was clearly getting to the others, too. About half an hour ago Jeremy had burst into tears, soon growing into great heaving sobs.   "For the love of gods, Jeremy, we all know this sucks. For once in your life can you just keep your whining to yourself?"   The anger in her voice had surprised her at the time. She knew she was right, of course, but normally Anabelle doesn't let that sort of thing escape her lips without at least a few mental iterations and edits before hand, to ensure she remains civil.   I'll have to apologize to him later. She thought to herself.   His great sobs had been quickly halted, though her friend still quietly wept while looking through book after book. His pace had been slowed as well, as he kept pausing to wipe his blurry eyes and sniffle quietly. This too, frustrated Anabelle. But she was too focused on the task at hand, and too bothered by the pain in her head, to properly chastise herself. Besides, it was nearly impossible to get a word in on the monologue in her own mind; ithurtsithurts being rapidly and endlessly repeated did not leave much space for rational thought.  
  Another thirty minutes, and few more members of her team began quietly weeping. None of them said anything, though. They'd all heard her snap at Jeremy; none of them wanted to have Anabelle's voice lash out at them right now. Helen glared daggers at Anabelle every few minutes though; she could tell her friend was pissed. There'd be some explaining to do later.   Not now, though.   Anabelle's heart thudded in her chest. It had been beating hard ever since entering the room, as anxiety spiked and adrenaline coursed through her body -- but now it had taken on a whole new tempo, for she had just discovered something worthwhile,finally.   In her hands was large black leather-bound journal; the cover was in tatters, but in reasonably okay condition. The reason it had caught her eye when she first picked it up, though, was due to the faded initials on the front cover of the book -- 'A.E.'. Surely just a coincidence, she thought to herself. It's not like the initials A.E. were all that rare, especially not in a place like the Comprilith, which contained books from both past and future eras. But something drew her to it, and Anabelle wasn't a big believer in chance or luck. Below the initials, a single word was found: 'Gifts'.   Jeremy let out a low moan, clutching at his head, interrupting Anabelle's train of thought. She let out a loud sight that radiated annoyance. There was no need to verbally chastise her friend again, as surely the message would get across this way.   Flustered, she turned back to the book in her hands. Once again, she probably overreacted. He'll understand when he see's what I've found, though. Anabelle opened the book -- it wasn't very big, maybe 50-60 pages at most. The first page was covered in indecipherable handwritten notes, along with small drawings in the margins of strange objects. The handwriting looked vaguely familiar, but it was in a language or alphabet that she'd never seen before...       A loud bang shocked the room, and filled everyone's ears with a terrible ringing. Each of them ducked down, Legion training coming to the forefront in times of danger; after a minute of near silence and no more activity, though, Anabelle stood back up.       "What in the name of He'an was that?" She asked. She meant it to be quizzical, but it came out sounding accusatory. All of the rest of the team stood up, hands raised in defense, as if to say don't look at me, I didn't do anything.   All but one stood up, that is. A dark red spray coated the books where Jeremy had been standing. Anabelle felt her gorge rise as she saw bits of hair clinging to the shelves; disappointment and horror filled her mind in equal amounts. One by one, the rest of the team looked over to where Jeremy once stood. To the fresh stain upon the wall.   To his body crumpled to the floor, pistol still in hand.   Viola wretched, and Helen threw an accusatory look at Anabelle.       "I--" Anabelle's voice caught, and for a rare moment, she struggled to speak. "We need to leave, now. Everyone out."   She tightened her grip on the tattered journal, and lead the way out of the room.

Prelude to her New Beginning

Anabelle's first venture into the Comprilith changed her; due in part to losing a core friend in there, but also because of what she found. The book, later to become known as the Path of Gifts, dominated Anabelle's attention in the coming weeks. It was all she could think about, all she wanted to think about; an impossible puzzle was laid out in front of her, and it took up every part of her mind. Which, she thought, was a blessing -- it meant she didn't have to think about the tragic loss of a dear friend.   They had retrieved his body days later; she sent a team in to bring him back. What they found was just bones, though, as it seems like decades had passed for his corpse inside that room. They had a small funeral, and her friends told her that they didn't blame her in the end -- the room that they had all been in was toxic, poison to their minds, and none of them could help the thoughts and feelings it brought to them. She never told them just how clear her thoughts felt. Never mentioned that all the room seemed to do was remove her filter.  
In the end I knew what I did was right. I was prepared to pay the price. I just wish everyone else was.
— Dr. Anabelle Evingston
  Anabelle remained as head of the 'Pre-history and the Mortal-Deity-Connection' department for a few more years after her first trip into the Comprilith. Her work now mainly consisted of working to translate the 'Path of Gifts' bit by bit, chasing whatever lead came up because of it.   Helen, too -- but Viola quit not long after Jeremy's funeral. She said it was unrelated, and that she simply wanted to explore other opportunities... but Anabelle could see the truth. She felt the straining in the relationship long before Viola quit; Anabelle knew there was no stopping her, and that despite pleasantries, she'd probably never see her friend again.  
The thought bothered her. She'd never had many friends to begin with, and she'd never had one willingly leave, ending the friendship. Anabelle was so sure of what she was doing, she was hurt that not all of her friends saw it the same way.   Thankfully, Helen remained. Perhaps even more reserved and careful than before, but steadfast and trustworthy at Anabelle's side.  
Hey Hello-- To my friend
Dear Helen...
— Anabelle, trying to write a letter

Path of Gifts

For a while, the book retrieved from the Cerulean Room inside the Comprilith was utterly indecipherable. Neither Anabelle nor hear team of top researchers were able to figure out what was written inside. Eventually they wound up contacting an old Legion team of Codebreakers, and working together with them, figured out a few secrets of the book.   Initially they had assumed either a different language, or a single cypher encoding the entire book. Eventually, they realized that it was all of the above; it was written in what seemed to be some ancient form of Kazcallen language, though the grammar was totally off compared to what had been found in the Desolation Ruins there. Additionally, it had not one single cypher, but rather a different cypher per page. Slowly and methodically they were able to decode parts of the book; and together they finally discovered the existence of the Gifts from the Sky.
  Eventually Anabelle came to terms with the fact that she had changed as a person. If anything, she had become more confident in herself, and less trusting of people overall; the world felt just a little bit smaller to her, and a little bit colder, with the realization. She found herself becoming more demanding, with less patience for insolence and ignorance -- if someone didn't know what they were doing, then they needed to sit down, shut up, and listen to what she had to say. She was on track to change the world -- the discovery that the Gifts from the Sky existed and that they were capable of incredible feats made sure of it -- and it was anybody's highest calling to help her achieve her goals.  
It was in this mindset that she resumed climbing the ranks within the Legion, and continued gathering intel on everything that goes on within the organization. It had faded from importance in her mind recently, the research and experiments that the Human Augmentation Program were conducting -- but with knowledge of the Gifts now in her possession, her interest flared back to life.
There was a connection between these "Gifts" that the book talked about and the gods themselves, she was sure of it. Thus there was no better place to continue her research than with the Human Augmentation Program; and yet, she couldn't. They were too focused on their current task, a program labelled "Project Ichor", and Anabelle doubted she could persuade them otherwise.
To the director of the H.A.P.,   I'd love to meet. Your research fascinates me and I'd love to see more.
— Dr. Anabelle Evingston.

The Grand Reveal

Anabelle made herself useful to The Human Augmentation Program. She interviewed test subjects, summarized information, and relayed that which she knew about the gods and how the world worked to the researchers. She knew it wasn't enough to change their mind, but it worked to help build trust, and in the mean time she got to learn about a horrific new art being developed in these labs -- the same art that they'd been working on ever since her first experience observing in that operating lab at the Academy all those years ago.  
Eventually, the opportunity she had been slowly manipulating into happening occurred. A test subject, against all odds, had survived the most brutal of tests. The individual had become what the H.A.P. was calling a Catalurgist. Someone with the power of the gods -- a lessened, reduced version of that power, but power all the same.
Anabelle knew that this would bring the world into a new era of chaos, should it get out; the Legion itself would take a heavy blow in public image, as it would have to frantically try to cover up and close down some of the terrible things they do. It might even upset the board entirely, vacating some positions -- making space for fresh blood to rise to the top.
  While it was a risk, Anabelle felt sure that she had calculated the odds correctly, finding them undoubtedly in her favour. Thus over weeks and months of interviews with the test subject, she pushed and prodded at parts of his mind with her words. She fed him fear and uncertainty on the days when he was most vulnerable. Some days she felt sick due to the psychological torture he was putting him through -- but she reminded herself it was no worse than the physical trauma he experienced day to day either, and that wasn't her fault. Eventually the subject was having nervous breakdowns daily, and only ever requested to be let out of this program.
Finally, when she had spoken all she could to the poor man, when all trust, loyalty, and sense of self preservation had fled the recesses of his mind, Anabelle acted. She took him in for an interview -- this wasn't odd, as she interviewed subjects often, but this one wasn't scheduled. Anabelle made sure she took him to a room no one ever used, one that was thankfully near to an exit, and in a place no passers by would accidentally stumble upon. During the interview, she abruptly got up, and left the room.   In the uneasy silence, the test subject sat for some minutes, waiting for her to return -- though while he waited, he noticed that she'd accidentally left a set keys behind. It was a hefty set of keys -- seemingly enough to open any door in this facility. There also seemed to be an ignition key for some kind of vehicle, too. As he stared at the keys, he finally noticed the box of documents left in the room, too. Experiment reports, field reports, interview transcripts -- it had everything.  
  Anabelle waited, hidden from view, for far longer than she thought she'd have to. But finally, the test subject cautiously exited the room, keys in one hand and the box of documents tucked under his other arm. She watched him walk, calmly at first, but later frantically, towards the exit; out of the facility and right to the vehicle she had parked there days before.
Click to read her story,epilogue:

final prose

come back later this isn't done yet, I just ran out of steam!

  • she meets one on one with the soul survivor from another comprilith expedition. they were sent into to find more information regarding the gifts, and have actually come back with some.
  • the soul survivor does not want to talk though, and is clearly distraught by what happened in the room. they're very superstitious and believe that the deaths of their fellow explorers are a warning that the information should be discarded
  • anabelle pushes, manipulates, and psychologically tortures the survivor, until finally they break down and can do nothing but sob and hand over the information
  • anabelle feels sick to her stomach about how she treated this person, and has an internal fight with herself about what she had to do, deciding in the end it was worth it


    Cover image: by Gabriel


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Jul 29, 2023 09:54 by Keon Croucher

    The thin line between genius and insanity, but hot damn did you sell it. What a dossier, what a story, what a character!

    Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
    Jul 29, 2023 15:19 by Stormbril
    Jul 29, 2023 20:02 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    Viola knew what she was doing. XD   I wonder what would have happened if Anabelle's parents had given her more praise.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Aug 8, 2023 15:50 by Stormbril

    Very good question! Maybe she wouldn't have gone so far in pursuit of achievement then :O

    Aug 4, 2023 17:11 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Really great story! I love Anabelle and her ruthlessness :D   Very interested Ng to learn more about the legion - I didn't realise cathalurgy was such a recent invention! And we finally learn who was behind that mysterious leak :p Very nice reveal, and this feels perfect XD

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Aug 4, 2023 20:13 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Coming back to add that you did a great job with the gothic victorian academia/lab ambience. I really love that first excerpt. And with Anabelle in general, you've also done really well with showing her state of mind and how she keeps justifying her actions to herself and thinking she's in the right while still keeping going further and further... Her ruthlessness makes her fun but I like but I like to be able to see her not so slow evolution on the way there XD

    To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
    Aug 8, 2023 15:52 by Stormbril

    Yeah! I think it's so fun to have it be a recent development, then we get to have the world reacting in fear and organizations rubbing their hands in evil excitement for all the new powers they're able to control >:D   And thank you so much, I'm really glad! <3 There's a lot of learning and trying stuff here for me, and I'm enjoying working out a bigger story and bigger character like this, so I really love the comment, thank you :D

    Aug 11, 2023 14:18

    Great read. Love that you added a theme song and the sketches are pretty cool, as well.

    Aug 11, 2023 16:57 by Stormbril
    Aug 14, 2023 12:20

    This is cool

    Aug 14, 2023 16:16 by Stormbril
    Aug 14, 2023 22:13 by GM Drake

    Wow fantastic story and as usual amazing editing and formatting.

    Aug 17, 2023 16:21 by Stormbril
    Aug 15, 2023 01:17 by Chris L

    We finally get to see things from Dr. Evingston's mad genius perspective. I wish her parents had loved her more, but she never would've achieved "greatness" and your story would be a lot more boring!

    See WorldEmber 2023 Hub for my WorldEmber progress.

    Check out my challenge winning article: Ghost Boy.

    Aug 17, 2023 16:23 by Stormbril

    I wonder where she would have wound up if they hadn't pushed her so hard :o   It's definitely a lot more interesting of a story this way for sure though >:D

    Aug 15, 2023 05:39

    Stormbril casually dropping an amazing character article. Absolutely brilliant writing.

    Aug 17, 2023 16:24 by Stormbril

    Thank you so much Panda <3 This Summer Camp was an experiment of writing lots of prose for me, and I think I consider the experiment to be a success :D

    Aug 18, 2023 16:31 by Han

    > although she has found the ability within herself to build a close network of people she once called "friends"   Shivers.   > But failure happened so rarely around here that it was almost a joy to see; being able to learn from one was a gift.   and so the evil route begins   > The toothy spread its way across the mans face once more.   fantastically unsettling! and maybe a typo! but it's still edit-locked so.. oh well!   > "I--" Anabelle's voice caught, and for a rare moment, she struggled to speak. "We need to leave, now. Everyone out."   Bloody hell Ana way to feel bad for the friend you pushed to suicide   > The thought bothered her. She'd never had many friends to begin with, and she'd never had one willingly leave, ending the friendship. Anabelle was so sure of what she was doing, she was hurt that not all of her friends saw it the same way.   yes it's called HAVING A MORAL COMPASS   HELEN GIRL, RUN. IGNORE THE LETTER. RUUUUN.

    welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
    Aug 18, 2023 23:13 by Stormbril

    AAAAAAAAA I missed a word D:< Thank you for pointing that out, I will do my best to forget it doesn't exist until after the award ceremony! ahahaaaaaaa....   Thank you for real though :D   Also I am LOVING the reaction to Anabelle, she's such a fun villain to write >:) Poor, poor Helen though... she definitely should have taken advice such as yours. I doubt she ever mentioned the letter to anyone else though...

    Nov 25, 2023 14:57 by Aster Blackwell

    She's terrifying, and she's so REAL. Keon is right, you really do sell that line between genius and insanity really really well. She seems unstoppable, and now that Helen is gone, nothing is slowing her down! What a terrifying antagonist.

    Dec 4, 2023 05:11 by Reanna R

    Whoa...   This article is a masterpiece - the knowledge-hungry character who finds themselves abandoned ethics for the sake of science. The prose, the pacing, the artwork and the quotes all contributed so well to the development of this character that I've heard so much about! Something of a tragedy (poor Jeremy), something of a villain origin story, and, stunningly, Annabelle's life presented in a way that clearly makes her the protagonist - just not necessarily one who stays ethical and moral.   Just...whoa.

    May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
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