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Anya Lehnsherr | Earth 97400 ([personal profile] fridgetothefire) wrote2012-11-17 04:08 pm
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E-mail: just PM Anya’s journal, please
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Character Name: Anya Lehnsherr
Series: Marvel 97400 (What-If Volume 2, issue 96)
Age: 19
From When?: Immediately after the issue ends. She’s just manipulated Pietro into revealing the existence of mutants and shooting Magneto on international TV, and delivered her villain monologue that she was behind everything. Other members of the mutant brotherhood are heavily implied to arrive and kill them both.

Inmate/Warden: INMATE. By the time she dies, Anya has become a pretty terrible person. She’s willing to really hurt people to do what she thinks she has to, even if she likes them, and then rationalize that they ‘deserved’ it. She has a horribly cynical worldview in which everyone is both evil and miserable, and therefore there is very little worth preserving in the world. She needs to start seeing others as people instead of enemies, and learn that there is joy and goodness in the world. The Barge may not be filled with sunshine and rainbows, but it’s less brutal than the world she came from, has people that are willing and dedicated to giving her a chance, while still manageably-sized and sort of reassuringly familiar in terms of its explicit power structure.

Item: n/a

Abilities/Powers: No powers. She’s biologically human, and she has low lung capacity issues due to childhood smoke inhalation, so she can’t even hit average human athletic ability. She is something of a self-taught mechanical genius, however, and will probably be good at McGyvering things.

Personality: She is naturally curious. In 616, before the fire, Anya as a toddler is delighted when she sees the big city for the first time, not at all afraid of the new, loud, bustling place. In 94700, she spies on her father’s meetings with his subordinates, hungry for knowledge about the world and his plans, in spite of the danger. Anya is extremely smart and driven to learn, becoming a good enough engineer to precisely sabotage Pietro’s bike without being caught more or less entirely on her own, with few resources, and at least partly in secret.

In some ways Anya very sheltered, trapped in a castle in the mountains; she’s also very cynical and damaged, both by her isolation and Magneto’s emotional abuse. All she knows about the outside world is secondhand, filtered through books, or the biased accounts of her father’s followers. She is forbidden to leave and cut off from every contact with the outside world; Pietro’s narration reveals that Magneto has killed dozens of humans for merely stumbling upon items changed by Wanda’s powers in the woods. At the same time, the only people she does have contact with, outside of her own family, are her father’s human-hating terrorist followers, so she’s exposed to a very dark, violent, supremacist group of people, who despise her as one of the enemy.

Her father’s rhetoric and her brother’s boasting are little better: the world is starkly divided into humans and mutants, and Erik explicitly tells Anya that she is “incompetent,” a “hindrance” and a “liability,” and Pietro’s rebellion – which Erik could put a stop to at any time - is her fault and her responsibility to correct. It doesn’t even occur to him, as he orders Anya to find Pietro, that she just overheard him saying that he knows about Pietro’s activities, because he doesn’t think of her as an intelligent person, or really a person at all anymore. Her position is constantly tenuous: one of Magneto’s allies advises him to kill her and Magda, because the presence of two human’s he’s nominally close to makes some members of the Brotherhood doubt Magneto’s strength, judgment, or devotion to the cause. He refuses, but the threat is an inextricable part of her life.

By an accident of blood and sentiment, she is kept safely inside the mutant stronghold, but she is considered no less worthless for it. She chafes against this, but on the other hand, she has internalized plenty of his teachings on humans, and her childhood burn scars offer a permanent reminder of how cruel humans can be. Anya is deeply lonely in ways she can’t even acknowledge. She doesn’t see herself as having much to live for, or any place in the world at all. In her view, there are no good people, no good cause, no deserving leaders of the future. Humans and mutants are inevitably opposed but equally despicable.

As much as she would hate to admit it, Anya’s personality takes after her father’s in many ways. She’s profoundly distrustful of people, but part of her still cares for her family deeply even as she resents them and treats them hideously – otherwise she wouldn’t be so twisted by their rejection of her. She is imperious and bossy with what little scraps of power she has. In the very beginning, we see her ordering around Pietro and Wanda, with the slim authority she derives as an older sibling.

On the other hand, she wants to be a nurturing influence, to be a part of their lives at all. She corrects Wanda’s English briefly and gently, tells Pietro not to push his sister when he’s being an ass, puts up with Pietro’s lousy practical jokes on her, takes them mountain climbing with her and tries to explain to them how much it means to her: it’s obviously one of the only things in her life that actually brings her any happiness at all, and she wants to share it with them. But they look down on her just like Erik does, especially Pietro, and exclude her from their tiny twin world. Combined with her feelings of ‘losing’ her father to the mutant cause despite how close they were before the fire, this leaves her profoundly bitter and alienated.

Worst of all is that she can’t leave, ever, because as a human she’s untrustworthy, and would be a security risk if she were allowed a life beyond the constant degradation and confinement than she knows. The hopelessness of her life is what really drives her to evil. She becomes cruel and cold enough to torture and murder one of the only people she’s ever cared for, the member of her family who has actually hurt her least, because she cannot imagine any other way out. (When Pietro first runs away, Wanda tries to comfort her, offering to tell their father what happened, even though it’s obviously ineffective.) And although she has seriously considered suicide for a long time, like her father, she’s a survivor to the bone, and she can’t quite do it, at least not before giving the patricide plan a try.

Anya is profoundly secretive, with no concept of trust at all, has not had anyone she could really rely on since her father saved her from the fire. She’s very competent and self-controlled. The fact that Anya actually manages to pull off her scheme to destroy their family, in spite of being human, under Erik’s eyes, cut off from all allies or resources is astonishing. She proves herself daring, stubborn, manipulative, ingenious, resourceful, highly observant, incredibly patient, and absolutely unwilling to give in, spite of what seem like impossibly odds. She is an exceptional liar, allowing everyone around her to underestimate her for years without slipping as she lays her plans, capable of anticipating other’s movements and playing a very long game, but also capable of adjusting her plans on the fly.

Anya is a vicious person, forged in hideous circumstances and under tremendous pressure. She is caught between despair at the life she is utterly and literally imprisoned in; a fierce, unquenchable instinct for survival; and a charming, harmless, demure façade she’s been cultivating for everyone around her out of both pragmatism and terror for most of her life. In some ways she’s quite plainly evil, ruthless and stripped of any illusions about her actions, but in others she’s still very young, rationalizing what she did, blaming her father and her brother, and desperately wishing for someone, anyone, to care about her.

Barge Reactions: When she first gets to the barge and finds that death has not brought oblivion, she’s going to resignedly assume she is in hell. Her initial observations may not do much to dissuade her on this point, but she’ll take it rather stoically. She’ll originally feel trapped and angry about that, but she’ll enjoy meeting new people who don’t despise her. Between being repeatedly told that her stay on the barge is not a permanent sentence, possible Port outings, and having more agency than she did at home, eventually she’ll be considerably happier than she was before.

As far as characters from other fandoms go, it takes a lot to phase her. She’s been meeting people with strange appearances and outlandish powers for most of her life, so even though the Barge’s diversity is considerably wider, she’s learned to take things in stride. She’ll be very excited to learn about other worlds and times just for the sake of intellectual curiosity, and meeting alternate versions of people from her own will disconcert her, but she’ll try to handle it as smoothly as possible.

She won’t like the floods (does anyone?), because she really prizes maintaining her small amount of control over her own life. On the other hand, she doesn’t really like herself – being shifted into other versions of that person will let her see that there are other possibilities for who she can be, that she isn’t locked into the bitter person she’s become; other kinds of floods might force her to confront things she avoids, or set off the temper and paranoia she mostly keeps hidden, and doesn’t change because she has it ‘under control’. Floods are all pretty different, so there are a lot of possibilities.

Path to Redemption: Anya needs friends! She’s really never had one. Just being treated like a person instead of a worthless Neanderthal/dead weight/human enemy will be huge to her, even though it will be a little while before she trusts that it’s genuine. Being around other inmates will be both a blessing and a curse; she’s never had many people who sympathized with her, or who she could sympathize with, before. Some of them will probably agree with and reinforce her cynical worldview, but just having people she likes will help bring out her long-dormant nurturing side again.

She loves to learn and she’s always wanted to prove she could be good enough, even as her father and all his followers told her she was worthless. A warden that sets tasks for her (being helpful in ports? Or even just day-to-day things) and then appreciates/compliments her when she does well would get a lot of gratitude. She’d try really hard to keep pleasing them, and after awhile they’d just be able to ask her to do difficult/painful emotional considerations of things, and she’d make a very sincere effort.

If she tries to rebel/make trouble, or just falls back on paranoid habits and does something violent, being punished without rage/malice/total rejection will gain a little more of her trust too. Having Wanda on board the barge is kind of a wildcard; her presence will force Anya to think about things she would rather ignore and put behind her, but it also might make her lean on her coping mechanisms all the harder. Eventually, though, she’ll have to let herself feel guilty about what she did to her own Wanda. That’s going to hurt a lot, but it’ll be the most important step to acknowledging that it was terrible and fucked up, and she can (and has reason to!) be better.

History: This is the only reference available online for the issue, sad, meager and occasionally inaccurate though it is. Here’s a more thorough plot summary:

Anya is the daughter of Erik and Magda Lehnsherr, two young, traumatized holocaust survivors, clinging to each other and desperately trying to create a happy life for themselves after losing everyone else they knew. She grows up in a rural town in Ukraine, surrounded mostly by Romani (her mother’s people). Anya, naturally bright and curious, is always more of a Daddy’s girl, in large part because Erik indulged her curiosity and wanted to educate her, while Magda was more traditional, and felt that schooling was for boys, and girls should learn housework and marry well. When Anya is four, they move to Vinnitsya, a comparatively big city, looking for more opportunities and work for Erik.

The timeline of 94700 diverges from 616 (marvel main continuity) that night, when the townsfolk of Vinnitsya set the Lehnsherr’s inn on fire. In 616 Anya is killed in the blaze, but in this world Erik saves his wife and daughter from the flames, and they all leave the town together. As they do, Erik murders the townspeople behind them, with the implication that Magda does not see it, that it is one more thing he tries to protect her from.

Several months later, Magda gives birth to the twins, Wanda and Pietro. By then, they are living in “a remote chateau in the mountains.” It’s never revealed how they went from homeless and penniless to a castle fortress, but presumably Erik’s powers were heavily involved. Erik does not witness the twins’ birth, already distancing himself from his family emotionally. Anya brings the news and the newborn Pietro out to him, and at the time she is excited, obviously fond of the babies and of him. Unfortunately, the narration reveals that Anya was sickly, in large part due to smoke she inhaled in the fire, and Erik found her a constant disappointment. Wanda and Pietro, who manifested their powers young, were “just like him…and nothing made him happier.”

As teenagers, they are allowed outside, but never anywhere near other people. Anya, apparently healthier, takes them mountain climbing, and thirteen-year-old Pietro decides to run off and see the village, despite Anya’s furious and terrified injunctions against it – she knows that Erik will blame her, and she’s right. Pietro ignores her. Erik tracks Pietro down, and they play cat and mouse with their powers. Pietro argues that he is ready to see the world, and Erik refuses. Pietro runs again, this time vibrating himself so quickly that Erik’s EM pulse passes directly through him. To Erik, it seems as though his son has vanished.

Pietro goes to the city, steals money and impresses people with his powers, and mooches off rich college students. In the meantime, Erik – who has kept watch on Pietro, since he stopped vibrating – allows Pietro’s rebellion as he continues to plan the takeover of Earth from humans. He castigates Anya for losing him and demands that she track Pietro down, even though he just caught her eavesdropping on a conversation where he insisted that he was keeping a careful eye on Pietro’s situation, and has accepted it for the time being.

Pietro writes letters to Wanda, and it is strongly implied that Anya tortures Wanda. When she refuses to tell Anya where Pietro is, Anya kills her and manages to hide the act from her father, leading him to think that some of his more radical followers had her abducted as a message to Erik. Pietro, busy becoming an international track star, is too distracted lapping up fame and fortune to notice when Wanda stops writing to him.

A year later, Anya contacts him (presumably she discovers where he is once he becomes a famous sports star) and he returns home. His father is a wreck, and Magda is even worse. Though not seen on panel, a broken shadow of Erik confides that she is “not well.” When Pietro asks where Wanda is, Erik, wanting to protect Pietro from news of her death, says he doesn’t know. Pietro immediately knows he’s lying, which plants the seed of his suspicions. Erik confesses that they woke up a year ago to find her gone. Pietro starts investigating Wanda’s disappearance, vowing to find her and punish any responsible for hurting her. Rather than let Pietro range all over the world in a useless search or be distracted any further by his Olympic ambitions, Anya sabotages his motorcycle. He crashes, paralyzing his legs, which forces him to stay in the mountain fortress as he recuperates and continue his search there.

As the date of Erik’s takeover approaches, Pietro fails to find the evidence Anya planted – a box of Wanda’s hair tucked among Erik’s things. So she calls him, offering an anonymous tip in exchange for Pietro’s exposing the mutant conspiracy. He finally finds the box and agrees to her terms, using his former glory and contacts as a sports star to call reporters to broadcast his accusations live. When Erik arrives to stop him, Pietro shoots him, expecting Erik to stop the bullet and reveal himself on television. Anya, however, knows their father better: he lets himself be shot rather than expose his powers. As the camera people flee, Anya reveals that it was she who killed Wanda, that she hates them for the years of indifference and emotional abuse at their hands. Erik, dying, gasps that his followers will kill them all for breaking the secret too early, but Anya doesn’t seem to care; she doesn’t even respond. She gloats without smiling, and makes no attempt to run. The issue ends there.

Sample Journal Entry: The first two threads, with Charles and Erik, are in first person/bracket form.
Sample RP: The thread with Jean is in prose.
Special Notes: Just wanted to mention that I am super willing to work with muns of her alternate-universe family members to make CR go in a way that works for both/all of our muses, or to have anyone avoid them out of guilt/fear/whatever if they'd prefer not to deal with her. I'd love CR with all of them, but I've encountered people who didn't want it before, and I'm willing to be as accommodating as I can.