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Stupid assumptions about Absinthe: trying to rectify them

Stupid assumptions about Absinthe: trying to rectify them published on 3 Comments on Stupid assumptions about Absinthe: trying to rectify them

Absinthe, as she currently stands, was a person who was excavated after her death and whose heart was burned in an anti-tuberculosis ritual to keep her father from getting ill. She turned this ritual back on him and drew his vitality away so that he ended up dying and she ended up living as a vampire. She’s also an avid student of her maternal grandfather’s Abenaki stories and teachings, despite her father’s depiction of her grandfather as ignorant and "savage."

I just realized today that something has to give in her character. Her identity as a patricide and her identity as a Native American do not go together. If, as I have established, she is a respectful student of her maternal grandfather, an Abenaki who has maintained the lifeways and culture of his ancestors despite prejudice, then she at least knows and heeds the basic tenet of Abenaki spirituality: All beings are equally important and honorable, bound as everything is in a complex web of creation and sustenance made and nurtured by the creative spirits of the world. In such a case, killing non-human things for food is acceptable if proper reverence is given, but to kill another human being in murder is unacceptable. It is an act of wanton cruelty that messes with the natural order of things. For this reason, Absinthe, if a spiritually observant and practicing (if rather isolated and half-taught) Abenaki, would not murder her father and sustain herself on his vitality.

All right, so now Absinthe’s story has a gap in it. She was born around 1812. She attended the Charlestown Convent School in her youth as an attempt to educate her and "civilize" her, but she enjoyed rough-and-tumble play with the Brickbottom Boys instead, although she did like the French. She died of tuberculosis, exacerbated by her father’s abuse of her, when she was 13.

Absinthe hung around the convent school until it burned in 1834 (in which she played an unwitting role). After that, she lurked among various institutes of knowledge until she met up with Justine and Marquis.

Something happened in here to convert her from a ghost to a Colonial vampire, something that also corresponded with the beginning of her passive corruption by Justine and Marquis. Whatever this event was, it sure didn’t involve her killing her dad.

I’m glad I never formally codified the tuberculosis-related parts of Absinthe’s story in main or tangential storylines. It’s all written up in her backstory, but has yet to be published, so it is still malleable. Clearly I need to work on making a more convincing Native American character, and part of that realism means giving her a backstory and set of actions consonant with her Native beliefs.


Perhaps she killed her father to stop him harming someone innocent? She would not have intended to murder him … she got caught up in stopping him and used more force than she realized or she caught him off guard. She could be responsible for his death then, but minus the not-in-character-philosophy part.

Shifting her from ghost to Colonial vampire is an interesting puzzle. I think of ghost as being non-corporeal and vampire as being a corrupted body. Ghost can be neutral, a state of being, living separate from the body. But vampire implies corruption, acceptance of extended life due to a refusal to accept death or limitations. Then again, perhaps that’s just my sense of the types of Undead, based on years of Dr. Shock and campy, early horror movies.

You’ll give her a rich story.

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