|History ||**usernotes explain what an "Pure Arceist and a "Legandist" are|
Sara Anne's existence began with the marriage of two unlikely people--an Pure Arceist and a Legendist. Despite this rift in religion, they had many things in common and dated for a few years before marrying; they bought their first house, and a year later, their first daughter was born in Jubilife, Sinnoh. As their first child, Sara was deeply doted on and beloved by both parents, though she was very noticeably a daddy's girl in the beginning. The girl's maternal grandmother came to live with them to watch over the baby while the parents were at work.
The beginning of her life foreshadowed problems to come; both parents agreed they wanted to raise their daughter in a religious environment, and her father left her mother to choose a church for the family; he would go worship at his own church, and his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law at theirs. He came to regret that decision at first, as their child started repeating what she had been taught and he did not like what he heard. Approaching his wife, he told her that either their daughter would go to a different church or not at all, and she picked a different place. Sara would remain unaware of this until much older.
The early years were otherwise uneventful. She grew older, learned to talk and walk and count; learned that fire is hot and ice is cold and that it could be dangerous to touch both. She learned about Pokemon; the different types, about the gyms and the Gym Leaders. About Champions and the ways in which Pokemon work with humans. She learned about the Legends, about the old stories surrounding them and why this certain thing in this old story meant this moral and nothing else. She learned about the afterlife, about how there was a good place and a bad place, about how bad guys went to the bad place and the good guys to the good place. She learned how to be a bit stuck up, looking down on people who didn't believe Arceus was the only god worth believing in as good, and those poor souls who don't know; they should be saved from their beliefs and taught the truth.
Sara's mother had not picked a church that taught their daughter anything different. It was truly a fluke that the girl did not repeat anything she learned from this second church; perhaps her mother saw it as an act of Arceus himself. One can only speculate.
Sara didn't bother mentioning her beliefs outside of church; why should she? There were books to read and other kids to color with, and games of dress up to play, and school to slog through, and teachers to chat up, and cats to pet, and so, so much more.
But then she learned in third grade what happens when you do try saving someone--they think you're nuts. The church had warned her about this.
"They'll get mad, they'll get defensive; they want a life without consequence, so they'll deny Arceus's godhood in favor of the other Legends, who would let them do what they want. But the other Legends can't save them from hell, so you have to try to get them to understand anyway."
She didn't want to fight with anyone, though, and that looked like it would be unavoidable if she tried to save anyone. She wanted to be friends. Even a child as young as herself could understand that an eternity of suffering was a horrible fate, and rather than try to save anyone from that supposed fate and risk making enemies, she burrowed herself further into her reading hobby. It wasn't entirely due to religion--honestly, books were very nice and reading was fun. Quietness was fun. She enjoyed it.
The brother her mother had given her when she was three was enough of a friend for her, anyway. They got along exceptionally well for two siblings with a three year age gap; it wasn't long before they were making up stories together and acting them out with their toys. Thomas was the perfect playmate and the perfect friend; she didn't need anyone else, nor did she really want anyone else.
Time marched on; she grew to love video games, and her second brother was born. Her parents decided Matthew would be their last child, and as the youngest he was doted on endlessly. This would not have been so bad, if the doting hadn't extended to acting as if the child could do no wrong even when he was old enough to actually do wrong. Matthew wasn't a stupid child and once he was old enough to comprehend this, he would use it to get away with things the older two children couldn't. He took this to the extreme when their grandmother cared for them, to the point where Sara and Thomas cheered silently the one time he did land himself in serious trouble with her. A rift cracked open between Sara and her once beloved grandparent; they argued daily, constantly, and if the girl went what the grandmother perceived as being too far she would spank the child, furthering the rift. On top of this, problems began to arise with someone she trusted. Her extended family being very large, all living in the same area, and all believing that the closeness of family was the most important thing in their lives, she was forced to be around them often. They would use any excuse to form a get-together. In the early years this didn't bother her, but as they grew, one of the girl's cousins--whom she had been very close with--began to change. He grew more arrogant, more violent, more cruel. He bullied Sara and Thomas relentlessly, but oddly enough was perfectly fine with Matthew and never bothered him. Almost spitefully, as if to say "everyone likes your brother more than you--even I do."
At school things were worsening; once having been a loner voluntarily, Sara now longed for a friend or two her own age, but because she read so much and didn't know how to socialize, the other children thought she was weird. She was no good at any of their games and since the majority of the class were highly competitive, this made them dislike her even more. Most of the kids didn't truly hate her--they just liked everyone else more. There were, however, a small group of boys who actively attempted to make her life miserable when they could, going so far as to actually lay hands on her to pull her off the stacked bleachers she was climbing when she decided to imitate an Aipom that had visited the school earlier that week. That particular incident brought the school's attention to it, but it wasn't until a few more incidences that they actually made any attempt at helping out. The boys became afraid of her since anything she said could ruin them, something that disturbed her; she didn't want them to fear her, she just wanted them to stop.
For the first time her grades were suffering; math had gotten to the point where it was too hard, and she could not keep up. Her parents, taking school very seriously, turned each failed test into an interrogation of "what did you do wrong" that tended to end with "you did not try enough; you did not study enough; you place more importance on your video games; maybe we should take them away from you so you'll pay attention."
She tried several times to explain what video games meant to her--how they were just as rich a source of imagination as books could be. She was shut down each time, her father offhandedly mentioning once that she sounded a little obsessed, perhaps it'd be best if she stopped playing, and maybe he should do something about it.
He never did, but if there's one thing Sara had trouble forgetting, it was threats.
Nothing was going right and each day seemed worse than the last. Still very young, Sara first contemplated running away and then, when she realized she'd never survive that, death. For two years she suffered suicidal thoughts; the depression then lessened for a year as things got slightly better, but then returned when she was denied the chance to venture out on a Pokemon journey. Starting high school, she was old enough to start a Pokemon journey, in fact, she was four years older than most children were when they set out, but her parents would not allow it. There were enough Pokemon Trainers in the world and quite frankly they thought the entire system of battlers, gym leaders, and champions was silly; they wanted their daughter to be just about anything else than a Pokemon trainer. With no other choice, she enrolled in a Legendist high school and spent the summer deeply depressed, unable to enjoy it.
The first year was actually surprisingly good. The school she'd chosen was not affiliated with what she thought was "the truth;" she chose it because was small, which eased her social anxiety, and was an all-girls school, which soothed her more after her tormenters of earlier years had mostly been boys. Though she struggled to fit in and never really managed it, she did make a close friend, a couple of more casual friends, and a few good acquaintances, including many teachers. The second year passed in much the same way. Her depression started to lift a little once again. Maybe not being a Trainer wouldn't be so bad.
Being older, Sara's friend graduated at the end of her second year, and then within a few months stopped almost all contact. Her classes grew more intensive, and the girl struggled with sitting through the religious ceremonies, uncomfortable with knowing that the religion they believed in so deeply was not the truth and that everyone around her was most likely going to suffer eternal damnation as a result. She wanted to save them from that, but she had made friends; even if they weren't close friends, she couldn't bear to ruin that. She feared for her best friend, but also feared to contact her, scared that she might be overstepping a boundary. She finally began to become interested in people in a romantic sense, but her gaze wandered almost exclusively to women, which she knew her mother would not approve of in the slightest.
Things were falling apart so badly.
So she turned to the internet. Finding an RP site for one of her favorite games, she joined it, and within a few weeks befriended someone younger than herself, a boy a couple years younger than herself. They bonded fast, quickly exchanging information and spending a lot of time speaking over video chat, texting, and IM. The new friend and quickly formed bond helped ease the strain--it distracted her from her suicidal thoughts and gave her positive things to look forward to and enjoy, something she desperately needed. Her relationship with Matthew eased, the boy now old enough to understand the wrong things he did. Hooked on roleplaying, adoring the creation and carrying out of stories and characters, Sara signed up for another site, befriending someone else by accident-- a girl named Lynn, whom she came to know as "Max" because of a nickname given to the other girl as a shortening of her username. The miracle Vincent's companionship was repeated itself again, much to Sara's shock; she'd never expected to forge or maintain such a close bond ever again, but lo and behold, history had indeed repeated itself. But even these good things, these two amazing friendships as comforting as they were, could not hold her above water forever, and eventually she broke down in tears during a test. She locked herself in the bathroom and refused to come out. Sara was eventually coaxed out by the guidance counsellor, who spoke to her parents and asserted that school might not be what was best for their daughter. Though her parents genuinely loved their daughter, they oftentimes loved their reputation more; the idea of letting their child go off to be a Pokemon Trainer when the entire Etan clan thought the occupation a lazy waste of time repulsed them, and they accused their daughter of just throwing a tantrum and took away her phone and computer, assuring themselves it was the internet that had persuaded their daughter to act out by putting ideas in her head, accusing her of talking to people online... what exactly was so awful about this they refused to try to justify. Sara was too frightened to rebel but was unable to keep the charade of being okay up any longer. The staff at school could see this, but it took a couple more months before they finally got her parents to relent, the Etan clan's reputation having taken a hit for being so closed minded that they wouldn't even allow one of their own what she needed. Begrudgingly, they gave her permission to start her journey a week after her sixteenth birthday and returned her things to her.
The fact that they only did this because their reputation was hurting was painful, but she did her best to shove it aside. Finally, finally she was going to get to do what she'd dreamed of. The girl wasted no time bidding herself goodbye to her brothers and getting herself to Sandgem, choosing a Chimchar as her starter, a rambuctious little thing who loved to eat, play pranks, and climb trees.
Then came the difficult part. She had to let Vincent and Max know what had happened and why. It was something she desperately did not want to be truthful about.
Sara-Anne did her best to skirt around what had happened, settling on the story that money troubles due to her father being let go had cut off her internet and phone for awhile. Sara-Anne was afraid to process what her parents had actually done to her; admitting it to anyone would make it far too real to take back and she wasn't ready to consider the possibility of abuse. Given that she'd never disclosed much about their financial situation or what went on with her parents and their jobs, she knew they wouldn't question the story much.
It was painful to lie, but it had been painful to be apart from them. She was grateful and relieved to have them back, and she would much rather return to enjoying their company in her life rather than pick through the rubble of the mess that had happened.
You didn't have to pick through rubble if you pretended the house was whole.
Over the next five years her home troubles faded into the background; spending so much time away from home and only contacting them once a week, she was able to focus more of her time on her pokemon, and as time passed, fate would see slowly rise through the ranks. Throughout it she kept in constant contact with Vincent and Max. Things were looking wonderful.
Unfortunately, life wasn't finished with her yet and these five years didn't pass in peace. Halfway through, her father was rendered horribly injured in a traffic accident. The brain damage he sustained was caused through lack of oxygen, something she recognized would be incurable, despite her desperate family's belief that therapy could help. She returned home for the spring and her stay would extend through the summer as she watched her father move from the hospital, to a rehab center, and then to yet another rehab center when the first did all they could for him and came up empty. At last, it was decided that the kindest thing to do for the now-physically ailing man would be to let him pass on. He was put in hospice care and he died on the last day of summer.
She kept quiet about her suffering throughout. She had committed a major lie to her friends once in order to maintain the appearance that everything was fine for the sake of her own sanity. And she knew that if she came clean about this, then everything else would come pouring out too. As far as her best friends were concerned, she had gone home at the behest of her parents, to spend some time with her family, and she resumed her quest in the fall. Indeed, she left that house as quickly as she could, staying the week after her father died for the wake and the funeral, a few days after the funeral to try to maintain some illusion that she wasn't rushing to get away, and then she gave up and left probably sooner than she should have if she wanted to keep that illusion up.
Pokemon battles kept her mind away from the confusing tangle of grief, anger, and swirling apathy. Being back out on the road and talking to her friends by night made her feel alive again. Truly herself again. She relished it.
Vincent shattered her world once again. He appeared less and less, and eventually dumped his entire core group of friends, including her, for a boy he had only just met, because that boy lived in his area. His love, apparently, was more important because it wasn't restricted by being shared through a screen.
The heartbreak was much stronger than it had been at her father's death. She didn't know what she felt then, exactly.
Here, she felt anger. But mostly agony.
And still, she remained silent about the pain in her life to Max. She didn't want to trouble her.
Sara-Anne finally stopped at her sixth gym before returning to Floaroma Town with the intention of settling there to take a break for a year or two, deciding that she could use the break from battling to figure out how to live on her own like an adult. Originally she began to make travel plans to visit Max. Instead, she found herself getting her home ready to accomodate her new roommate, who would run away to Sinnoh after starting her baby cousin off on his journey in order to escape her family to grieve properly over the death of her Pokemon.
Sara (now going by Sara-Anne) did not get to enjoy her vacation nor welcome her best friend into her home to share it with her. Shortly after she had the apartment ready and had settled into her job at the local flower store in the small, flower filled town, the epidemic broke out. When the first inkling of it having reached Sinnoh got to her, she was quick to leave with her Pokemon, hoping to get to her family before the infection did. What she found was the city in ruins, the infection having gotten to Jubilife before she could. However, at her family home she found her brothers' starters guarding the house; as she would later learn, her mother had broken their sons' pokeballs to force-release the boys' Pokemon before taking her son (as the other was not home) to try to evacuate. Finding no sign of death in the house itself, she concluded that perhaps they were alive and set out to find them, the Turtwig and Prinplup coming with her.
They spent many years searching Sinnoh, losing the lives of two teammates along the way. No sign of her family.
As for Max, she'd never been able to contact her after the outbreak at all. But she kept the vibration setting on and the skype app on her phone opened anyway, long after the internet went down.
Eventually they swung back around to Floaroma Town to scatter the ashes of the cremated bodies of their friends among the flowers she and her Pokemon had loved so much. As she watched the wind take their ashes away, she realized that wherever her family was, they were probably no longer in Sinnoh. It was time to start looking elsewhere.
Given that her other brother had been in Hoenn at the time, it made sense to start there.
She giggled, a small sound of hysteria. Ironic. Once upon a time, she had dreamed of going to Hoenn.
Now she was finally going. Who knew what she would find there.
- Sara-Anne's Relationships:
♋ Vincent "Vee" Sage: One of the two dearest friends but no longer, Sara-Anne adored him and considerd him one of the few people she trusted without question. She and Vincent clicked in a way she has with few other people, the two in sync a surprising amount of time considering the great distance that spanned them; was especially protective of him following being cut off from him for a while, an event that she never completely recovered from and still feels guilty about, even considering everything that happened between them. She once saw him as a younger sibling and openly referred to him as such; Vincent was one of two people who she has bared more or less her entire soul to. She used to call him "Vee" but now refers to him as Vincent, and only when she has to bring him up at all. It's kind of ironic that she's in Hoenn, considering the wounds he left on her soul.
Should be noted that Vee was told some things about Sara-Anne that Max still doesn't know. Unwilling to bother Max with just how awful her mental illnesses can get, Vee had born sole witness to most of the ugliness in her, the twisted bitterness, despair and emptiness, and has even conducted long, exhausting conversations with her about these emotions. This is why she had such faith in him-- he had seen her worst. She thought he still loved her despite that. Apparently, she was not good enough.
She's still not over it, even after all this time. Has never told another person about this betrayal and never plans to.
♋ Lynn "Max" Snow
: Sara-Anne's closest friend and also her only one. Meeting her through a different online roleplay site, Sara-Anne came to know Lynn as "Max" due to shortening her online alias to a nickname. Becoming friends accidentally through the site's chatbox, they struck up a friendly acquaintanceship that became a close friendship the more time they spent with one another. Sara-Anne feels very close to Max, due to sharing similar life experiences and the resulting consequences of such events; she feels a sort of kinship with her as well as admires her friend's intelligence, creativity, and beauty. She has shared many feelings, emotions, and experiences with Max that she has not shared with anyone else, and it leaves her feeling very safe and comfortable in the other woman's presence. SA is extremely protective of Max and it is not hard to offend her on Max's behalf. She is one of few people to know just how many Pokemon deaths Max has endured, and always followed each loss by sending a care package and a heartfelt letter. Always encouraged her to not give up on being a trainer, but also made it clear she would support Max no matter what choice she made on the matter as long as she didn't outright abandon her Pokemon, since that would be cruel to the Pokemon. Was planning to visit Max but changed her plans so that she would be instead accepting Max into her home as a roommate. She set about clearing out a room and making it into a proper bedroom, and even got her a present, one that she took with her when the outbreak started: a snowflake pendant.
Note that as Vee knows certain things about Sara-Anne that Max doesn't, so to does Max know things that Vee does not. Ashamed of some of the things her parents have done and unable to explain them to Vincent without feeling slightly crazy (and all of these being related to religion, which Vincent did not experience growing up) Sara-Anne has shared these with Max, as Max tends to have her own experiences she can use to relate to Sara-Anne's. It's comforting in a way, making her feel less like she's just dreamed all this up, as well as giving her access to someone who is supportive. While Vincent has seen the ugly emotions relating to sadness and despair, Max has seen her anger-- and was in the process of learning just how bitter she is when the two were cut off from one another.
She knew that Max would have understood why she was cut off, but despite it making no logical sense, the shame of explaining it strangled her too much. She regrets being a coward about it now.
Once reconnected she kept most things she'd experienced locked away, but did continue to talk through the experience of being trapped in a conservative, religious family with her best friend.
She does not think Max is alive, even with Max's reasonably sturdy mental health; after all, Max lived in ground zero.