Having been played only once so far, Julia Brown was a character which, I believed, developed deep within the darkest chasms of my psyche and imagination. When our DM told us that we were going to be taking a break from Dungeons and Dragons to play another RPG—One Foot in the Grave—he challenged us to create a character which was, essentially, dead. Or a character which had been dead for some amount of time. Perhaps an undead? There were a few classes to choose from. One was a vampire. But I already had a vampire, so creating another one would have been lame. I didn’t want a zombie. Ick. Someone who can’t die? Boring. So what did I choose?
Julia Brown was a good girl. She wasn’t the brightest in her class, but she tried her best. She had a good circle of friends. She stayed out of trouble. Outside of school, she participated in gymnastics. As such, she was always short. Always a little bit of an odd one. But still; good.
Then, her mother died: And all hell broke loose. Literally.
Julia sank quickly into depression; falling in with the “wrong crowd” and obsessing over the next fix to help her get over the pain the death of her mother. But a regimen of self mutilation, drugs, and sex couldn’t stop the pain. And one day, she made the mistake of looking in a mirror and saw who she had become.
And she killed herself.
The bible tells us that if you commit suicide, you won’t make it into Heaven. So, Julia didn’t. Instead, she was condemned to the Second Ring of Hell where, I imagine, some very not nice stuff was done to her in punishment for her sins. One can imagine that this didn’t help her depression one bit, and she began to wish very much for an escape from damnation to be able to meet her mother again in Heaven.
Her prayer was answered with a jailbreak of some of the most evil scum Hell ever took in. So the Devil made a deal with her: If she would go back to the land of the living and hunt down those who escaped, she would win her salvation and passage to the world above. Well she must have been desperate, because she took that deal. And now she spends her day-to-day existence (she’s still not alive) hunting down the bad guys.
As a character, Julia’s a interesting creature. Insecure, she hides behind a mask of sarcasm and the garb of a little kid who got a hold of daddy’s credit card and went crazy at Hot Topic—I always describe her outfits as “Hot Topic gone wrong”. Born in South Carolina, she speaks with a Southern twang (which I actually did use during our role play session). She’s still very immature, having died when she was only 17, and so never being able to move past that psychological state of mind. But she’s seen and done some things that could pale even the most seasoned sailor. And she has no problem using that to her advantage, or suffering through keeping it to herself.
Julia is very alone. She can’t go home and see the father and brother she survived. She can’t make friends—being dead. She can never tell anyone about her or her situation. And the Devil is still keeping tabs on her: Keeping her in line and protecting his investment.
I only got to play her once. However, Julia does have a rather extensive backstory (for a role play character). And I’ve also given her a lot of thought since then, since I did want to get back to playing her one day. As far as my character lineup goes, if Ari is the “Anti-Clover” (insofar as fighting against everything Clover stands for), Julia is Clover’s antithesis. There’s no saying if Ari and Julia would get along. I just think it would be better if we never found out.
So, what’s “me” in Julia?
Simple. Julia was born of chaos.
As many of my friends know, last March I received a blow to my confidence when my internship was terminated. After 4.5 years of school and more loan debt than I would like to admit, my life suddenly seemed over in the blink of an eye. This lead to (and still inspires) months of depression, a loss of will, motivation, and belief in myself or the existence of a world worth living in.
Of course, while Julia’s loss of a mother led to an indulgence in the sins of society, my loss of self led to… well, a very costly, time-consuming armor and cosplay hobby. I’m still not sure which is worse. Though, of course, I haven’t resorted to suicide because of it. Who would wear all that armor if I weren’t here? (yeah, yeah, put your hands down!)
However, while sinful, Julia’s not exactly “bad”. Go back for just a moment; Clover was a bit problematic (where I’m concerned) in that she was “good” and ended up falling too readily into a decline of morals and discipline. Julia, on the other hand, was “good”, fell from grace, so to speak, and is now, slowly and painfully, trying to claw her way back up again. Even if only to see the light one more time. Clover is all too happy and resigned to fall into damnation. But then, it’s a lot easier to become “bad”. The real challenge is whether or not one—Julia, in this case—can come back from that blackness. And I really do find Julia’s fight fascinating.
While I’m not entirely sure where her Southern accent came from (except that it’s the only accent I can keep up for an extended period of time), or why she’s a gymnast (except that I’ve always been amazed by such feats of flexibility and, hey, it makes a good conversation piece for a character!), psychologically, I believe that Julia is one of my most deeply-rooted characters. However, that also makes her one of the scariest.
I know that I’m Clover. I channel her so easily, and even though I know she’s nothing in the way of a role model, I know that I’m most like her. Ari, I think, is the representation of what I believe to be the ideal being. While I wouldn’t want to be her, I can still take certain tenets of hers and try and bring them into my own life. I think, then, Julia represents where I’m very certain I’m headed, and that her existence directly correlates my own insofar as my life story is concerned. I really was a good student and a good person. But I know that that time in my life represented (and still encompass) my darkest days. I know that I’m still in that cave, and that I still have some time of trial and torment to go before someone (maybe even the Devil) offers his hand in aid. And then, it’s going to be a long, hard battle to the top again.
But I truly believe that, one day, Julia will see Heaven. And maybe I’ll even see some success.
If only for a moment.
Which brings us to our conclusion…