Requiem for the West
Emma’s mortal life was short, harsh, and violent (b. 1839, Baltimore City, MD. d. 1859, Missouri.) The Graves, of English descent, moved West from New England when she was very young. The promise of striking it rich on the opposite coast surrounded by family lit a fire in Emma’s father, Thomas. The trip itself saw many of her extended family to early deaths on part of disease, attacks from raiders both white and native, and exposure. Upon arrival just West of the Kansas-Missouri border, the God-fearing family settled onto a small plot of land.
Thomas’ hopes for making it to the other coast were dashed as the family demanded deliverance from the cruelty of life on the trail. They built several log cabins to accommodate the many cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents that had survived the path to Kansas. The family began to farm and hunt, scratching out a meager living in the most desperate of conditions.
Through the course of the years one after another was claimed by the same things they’d found on the trail, and the large family began to dwindle in size. Natives came to call frequently and, despite always being fought off, took their toll. The last remnants of the family died violently or, worse yet, disappeared as the border war raged over Abolition (1857.) In the end, Emma was the sole survivor left to tend the ravaged homestead (1858.) It was a long and lonely year, and the daily struggle for survival hinged upon her quick wits and gritty determination. She fought off natives and the Missourians several times, through sheer tenacity and misdirection.
The homestead lay in ruins by the close of ’58, a single log cabin remaining intact amidst the burnt husks of the others. Her time finally came in the dead of winter, when the hungry Oberloch that would become her sire snuck into her her cabin and accosted her as she slept (1859). She woke to a filthy hand with a strong grip forced over her mouth and hollow, starved eyes staring into her own. A few commands were spoken and she lay motionless as she was abducted, whisked over the border to a small, private estate set far off the road.
She was brought into the family by the creature that had stalked her, night after night, watching from the darkness as she moved and slept. Her first meal with her new family was a gruesome affair, the bloated matron of the manse presenting a live girl to be devoured piece by piece as she lay helpless, dominated into silence and submission. She resisted, but to no avail – the power that her new kin had over her will was ironclad, at first anyway. Her continued resistance led to her being forced into the form of a wolf night after night, in an attempt to break her will. She was treated as the family dog, used in hunts and made to lay at the foot of The Old Man and take scraps from the table.
The family used every method available to them to break her will, but it never succeeded. Her will triumphed, and her hatred for these twisted kin grew as she came to realize that they had consumed her missing family members in the same fashion as the child. She spent two years with the family, honing her ability to to fight as a beast during their hunts while she continued to fight off the shackles they had over her mind.
Her opportunity for escape presented itself in Osceola, Missouri, where the family had migrated after consuming much of the population in the area where the Graves had lived. During the conflagration, as the entire town was in disarray, her sire lay injured with little defense. A short battle ensued, and after destroying him she fled the city as it burned to the ground. She continued to haunt the Western plains of Missouri for a time, taking bounties on Bushwhackers and other forces that waged violence upon the anti-slavery Kansans.
Her twisted kin seemed as though they were never far behind, and after a few close calls while dispatching several of her younger brothers she left the territory and headed East. As she traveled she continued the mercenary work, moving her way back and forth across the battlefronts to retrieve her grim trophies and accept her hard-earned rewards. She was sorely disappointed when the war ended, as all she’d known since her embrace was a hunt of one kind or another. She kept collecting bounties, always on the trail and always at least a step ahead of any pursuers.
Eventually she found herself in Chicago at the right place, right time to take on a bounty of a special sort – one for vampires who had lorded over the South and orchestrated some of the most heinous violence of the war. These are her favorite contracts, because secretly she hates her own kind. Ending a vampire’s life is both a great test of her martial prowess and a gratification of her disposition towards those of the blood.