Jun. 13th, 2020 07:17 pm
dreamermoa: (real dolled up)
[personal profile] dreamermoa

Name: Molly
Age: 23
Time Zone: EST
Contact Information: aim and plurk at “marvelousmith”


Name: Moa
Canon: Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding
Canon Point: post-book

Age: Canonically unknown, as people in Orokos no longer use years to tell time. Described as adolescent. (for CoA, I've put her as 15.)

Appearance: Described as “pale as milk”, Moa is thin and malnourished, mostly from the poor life she’s led as a ghetto kid in the dictatorial city-state of Orokos. Her hair is chin-length and black, and she often wears unusual makeup (like green lipstick and thick black eyeshadow). She has a tattoo on her forearm that marks her as belonging to a ghetto district. (A few of her icons actually show it as on her shoulder – that’s actually how the official art shows it, but the book always says forearm, so I’m not entirely sure where it is, haha.)

History: Here is the author’s page about it, but since that doesn’t give much of an overview of the plot, I’ll summarize it here.

Moa lives in an island city-state known as Orokos. The people there live under the guidance of the Protectorate, the long-standing dictatorial government run by the mysterious Patrician. In ages past, Orokos was a different place, inhabited by a technologically (and presumably morally) superior culture known only as the “Faded”; unfortunately, records of who and what they really were have been destroyed or lost, leaving only stories and bits of their strange technology. The biggest piece of Fade technology is the Chaos Engine, which randomly produces probability storms – phenomena that change anything they touch and plague the city’s residents with uncertainty and disorder. The storms are capable of making any change to any creature or object – recorded changes include moving people, roads and whole districts around, switching Moa’s handedness (from right to left), changing eye colors, etc. The Engine is also responsible for the monstrous Revenants that haunt the city and kill with a touch.

In the hopes of imposing order onto a city with so much disorder, the Protectorate sectioned off the sick and poor and criminally-minded into ghetto districts. The “good” citizens see the Protectorate as their caretakers, although their various laws and large army do little to actually make people safer, and care little about those who live in the ghetto districts – after all, they probably deserve to be in there. And, of course, they are not allowed out of the ghetto, or given any real opportunities to better themselves. Everything in the city is strictly controlled, except for the Revenants and the probability storms.

It is this dystopian world Moa is born into, and at the start of the book she struggles to make a life as a petty thief with her best friend, Rail. Once they steal a piece of Fade technology that allows them to move through walls, they become hunted by their thief-mistress; and once they pick up the golem Vago, the Protectorate joins in the hunt as well.

One more thread pulls the trip forward: a seabird found by Vago that Moa believes is from a place outside of Orokos. When they bring it to Moa's old hometown, Kilatas, they find out that the residents also believe in a place beyond the city and are planning an escape. Before they can join in, however, Vago disappears and Moa and Rail are forced to go looking for him. Unfortunately, they are then captured by the Protectorate.

The Protectorate reveals both that they have brainwashed Vago – who then betrayed Moa and revealed Kilatas’ secrets – and that they wish to destroy the Chaos Engine, brining order to their city at last. Because the Engine is located within an impenetrable fortress known as the Fulcrum, they need the Fade technology that Rail and Moa stole at the beginning of the book. Moa (the only one capable of activating the device) agrees to help them if they will let Kilatas sail away unharmed.

The Protectorate’s plan works, and the group enters the Fulcrum, but the Engine’s defenses kick in and the Revenants attack. Escaping in the midst of the chaos, Rail and Moa find themselves at the top of the Fulcrum, where the Faded left a holographic message to explain the true purpose of the Chaos Engine: to benefit humanity instead of torture it. The Faded’s culture had become so orderly and perfect that they’d fallen into stagnation, creating no new art or ideas, living as their own prisoners; the Chaos Engine was meant to give them something to struggle against, so that they might flourish under adversity instead of remaining soulless automatons.

Rail and Moa realize that the Faded’s experiment has failed, as Orokos under the Protectorate is just as iron-fisted and terrible as it had been before. The destruction of the Engine, however, will give humanity a third chance to do things right – by unleashing the largest probability storm ever seen, changing absolutely everything and everyone in the city.
Before they can see this, they are found by the brainwashed Vago, who has become vicious and hateful towards them. He attempts to kill them both and almost succeeds before Moa’s pleas and unflinching belief in him break through the brainwashing. Back to himself again, he manages to get Rail and Moa out of the city and onto Kilatas’ boats before crashing into the sea. Although Orokos is at the mercy of the probability storm, Rail and Moa are finally free.

Personality: Moa is a dreamer. Her life has been tough and unfair, but she clings to stories and ideas that suggest that it was once better, and that it could be better again. Unlike the pragmatic Rail, she revels in what beauty can be found in the city, such as the way the city lights glitter on the canal water. She even sees beauty in the Revenants, who are capable of killing with a touch and can possess dead bodies: “even in a city that had been so cruel to her, so dark and cheerless, even here there was beauty to be found. Even their most feared enemies could be wonderful…if there was such magic in a hard, cold place like Orokos, what might the world outside hold for her? What if there really was another land out there?” (p.120) However, while she fervently believes in a better world, she also believes in going with the flow of life, instead of trying to struggle pointlessly against it. While Rail harbors shame and anger at his disfigurement at the hands of a probability storm, Moa “understand(s) that change just happened, that there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it…that was the way the world worked. So why make yourself miserable by swimming against the current? It made far more sense to lie back and wait for things to turn your way.” (p. 46) Because of this attitude, she prefers to be a follower rather than a leader. She makes few of her own decisions in the book. (When it comes to her hopes and dreams, however, she stays firm, and does occasionally dig her heels in, such as when she decides to befriend Vago and take him to Kilatas with them despite Rail’s objections. Rail’s narration suggests that this is her “(clinging) so tightly to her dreams that she sometimes lost her grip on reality”. P. 82)

She seems comfortable with touching people, hugging Rail several times, giving him a kiss on the cheek, and sharing a sleeping space with him, and even embracing the hideous Vago when she gets excited. Friendly and trusting, she develops some affection for the golem, and narrates that she loves Rail (though she is not certain that it is a romantic love, exactly [“not in the way a girl was supposed to love a boy – at least, she didn’t think so” p. 47]). She is not the most refined girl, swearing (or at least saying “freck” and “dog-son”) and laughing when she accidentally spews food from her mouth, but is gentle and charming and feels guilty for being a thief (“ ’I don’t want to be a thief…that’s just making this whole horrible world that little bit worse.’ “ p.183). (That is not to say that her morality is perfect and sparkling, since she does not feel bad about stealing from the beastly Mozgas and suggests that the Protectorate deserves to be stolen from. In general, however, she clearly has a good heart.)

When Rail first finds the Fade-science device, he deliberately hides it from Moa, as he knows that she is bad at lying and cannot keep secrets. She puts up no fronts, crying when upset and laughing and hugging friends when excited. Occasionally (during the action scenes) she views herself as a burden to others due to her physical frailty. It is hard to say whether she is brave or cowardly; somewhere in the middle is probably the most accurate. It should be noted, however, that it is she who breaks through Vago’s brainwashing and murderous rampaging:

“I used to be a person!” Vago cried. “A murderer! That’s who I am! I deserve to look like this. I might not remember a thing, but what difference does that make to those people? They’re still dead. And I killed them.”

Moa was shocked into silence by the cruelty of his tone. She began to tremble, tears welling in her eyes.

“I don’t care,” Moa whispered.

Vago looked up at her, sunlight falling across the flesh half of his face. “What?”

Moa sniffed and wiped her eyes with her fingers. “I don’t care. That wasn’t you.”

“Yes, it was,” Vago said firmly. “You can’t forgive me for that, Moa.”

“Don’t tell me who I can and can’t forgive,” she replied, and she seemed so frail and broken that she might have been blown away in the slightest wind. “I’ve seen what you were when you were like a child. You started again when you were remade. You’re not evil, Vago. You just think you should be.”

She despairs at times, just like any other person, and may need more protecting than most, but her faith in the goodness of the world makes her special.

Abilities/Powers/Skills: Moa is a normal human and has no special powers. She does, however, have a great knack for opening (picking) locks. She can read and write, and knows a lot about birds (even going into anatomy and so forth), but does not have much education otherwise. Her main strengths are the positive aspects of her personality (such as “the way that she still fought to find the good in someone even when it was a maniacal golem bent on killing them”, etc.).

The Fade technology that drives the plot of the book only works when worn by Moa, but it is suggested that this is simply because she was the first to try it out.

She does not know how to swim, and is naturally frail and weak.

Special Items: The Fade-science device, which is a small brass object with two rings set side-by-side and an amber disk affixed at right angles to them. The rings are worn so that the disk is against the palm. When it was active, it produced soft lights and allowed Moa (and those with her) to move through walls; currently it has no more power and is now just an ornament. There is no known way to charge or fix it.
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