Camille’s world consists of four tiers—four planes—of existence. The four planes are connected by the Life Tree, which is a gigantic tree that is the source of all life. Think Yggdrasil. The Tree is the only passageway between the four planes, although some have discovered other means of travel.
The first plane exists at the roots of the Tree, and is known as the Underworld—this is where people go when they die and where, if they lived a decent life, they are eventually absorbed into the Tree and return to the cycle of life. This is also where oni-agnan are born, and where Plague originates. Oni-agnan are humans or Folk who become so corrupted and twisted that they turn into monstrosities that feed on the lifeforce of others. Their name means “corrupted ones”, and though little is known about them, it is said that they are intrinsically connected to Plague. Plague is a noxious purple-black gas that has been leaking into the Mortal Plane and the Whodden through Plague vents for a century or so. No one knows how it can pass between the planes or why it exists or even what it really is. Plague tends to kill all who come into contact with it, though it also causes mutations and diseases.
The second plane is the Mortal Plane, commonly called Gaea, and this is where humans reside. It exists at the trunk of the Tree of Life. It looks generally like the real world—mountains, rivers, cities, lots of people. The world is not Earth, however, and Camille is currently living in Corrant City, in the country of Moorath. In recent years, more and more Folk have been coming to live in Gaea due to the Plague vents in the Whodden.
The third plane is the Spirit Plane, called the Whodden, and this is where most Folk reside. This Plane sits in the canopy of the Tree. No one is quite sure how big the Whodden is, as its size and shape change almost constantly, as does the landscape. Maps are impossible but also unneeded, since Folk tend to instinctively know their way. The Whodden is currently divided into the Four Quarters, and each Quarter is ruled over by a particular family of Folk. The Northern Quarter is ruled over by the wolf spirits; the Eastern Quarter by tiger spirits; the Southern Quarter by djinni; and the Western Quarter by horse spirits. Power tends to change hands with some frequency, though the whole of the Whodden has stabilized politically in recent years, and there is a slow progress toward unification of the Four Quarters.
The fourth plane has no name other than the Fourth Plane, and this is the realm of mystery. It resides at the very top of the Tree, and no one living knows anything about it. There are many theories about what exists in the Fourth Plane, but no one knows for certain. One of the only people to have seen the Plane and lived is a friend of Camille’s, a human girl called Violin—she saw the Fourth Plane, and a piece of it supposedly took up residence in her left eye. It is said that looking upon the Fourth Plane causes one to go insane.
Camille’s world is populated by Folk, which is the collective name given to spirits, mythological beasts, and so on. There are four major groups of Folk:
Sidhe: These are commonly called The Fair Folk or the Fae. The group consists of fairies, elves, sprites, and various other creatures, some of whom are actually servants of the fairies. For the most part they are human-shaped, though many don’t look all that human. They are very clever and devious, and are known for their beauty and their affinity for Nature.
Legendaries: This is the second largest group of Folk, and consists of every creature that is basically seen as “legendary” to humans. Dragons, wyverns, sphinxes, djinni, shedu, bunyips, thunderbirds, kitsune, and so on and so forth; all the mythical beasts from Earth legends fall into this category. Legendaries have a high degree of magic, and are usually very intelligent and enigmatic.
Animal Spirits: This is by far the largest group of Folk there is. Basically, for every animal or insect that exists in the human world, there is a spiritual counterpart in the Whodden. They have the form of animals, though they can transform into human, can speak, and tend to be pretty intelligent. Some of them have certain magicks or powers. They are characterized by whatever characterizes the actual animals in the human world; dog-spirits are loyal and carefree, cat-spirits are aloof and clever, and so on. Unlike humans and other Folk, animal spirits are born with their souls on the outside, in the form of small glowing orbs like marbles, usually called their “light.” The light is typically carried in the mouth, stomach or behind the eye. Animal spirits can only die when the light is destroyed.
Insubstantials: This is a smaller group of Folk, and essentially consists of sentient and semi-sentient spirits. Elementals, house spirits, location spirits, and nature spirits all make up this group. They tend to be untalkative and rather mysterious, and don’t really get involved in the overall Whodden community. They just do whatever they do and keep to themselves. Camille’s species, the amorphs, belong to this category.
Very rarely will two different Folk come together and bear children. These hybrid offspring are generally shunned and looked down on.
Camille currently resides in Corrant City, where she owns and runs a small café that specializes in pastries. She is friends with a small team of exorcists led by Violin, and her café is often their meeting place. She has also occasionally taken part in fights against the oni-agnan.
Camille belongs to a species of Folk known as amorphs or shifters, which are both names attributed to them by humans and other Folk. They don’t really have a name for themselves, nor do they have individual names—this is mostly because when they are together they don’t use much spoken language, relying instead on the language of shapes.
“Amorph” is both apropos and a misnomer. It comes from “amorphous,” which obviously means shapeless or formless. An amorph itself is indeed shapeless in that it has no shape of its own. Amorphs don’t really consider themselves to have a natural form, but their base form is basically just a gelatinous blob of clear jelly with assorted colors floating inside. However, while amorphs don’t have any shape of their own, they are able to borrow and mimic shapes from others. In short, they are shapeshifters, capable of transforming into anything and everything that has a physical form of some kind. They can become anything from a tree to a puddle of water to a cat to a human to a cloud. They tend to like to mix and match forms as well, using bits from multiple creatures—for instance, a human with wings and a tail or a cat with lizard-like scales.
The forms that an amorph can turn into are referred to as shapes, and shapes play a major role in both the culture and social structure of amorph society as well as individual growth. Using a shape is referred to as “wearing” the shape, rather like clothing. High esteem is granted to amorphs who are able to turn into many shapes, mix many shapes, and do it all rapidly. Amorphs who can replicate one or more particular shapes perfectly or near-perfectly are widely respected and are akin to connoisseurs. On the other hand, an amorph who can replicate a shape and chooses to remain in that shape for extended periods of time, or permanently, is considered strange and obsessive. They’re generally referred to as “fanboys,” borrowing a human term. Amorph society places a high value on change, community and personal creativity. They don’t stay in one place for long, but they do often stick together, being extremely social creatures. Many of them go on to be artists, philosophers and writers.
Amorphs are able to replicate any shape simply by seeing and studying it, down to the finest detail. They cannot, however, automatically replicate anything they can’t see, which includes internal structures like circulatory and skeletal systems. A detail-oriented amorph will study the anatomy of the desired shape, while an amorph who prefers appearances to accuracy will replicate the external structures and let the internal structures remain the same. This often means that an amorph who otherwise looks human will just be filled with clear jelly instead of bones and blood. Some understanding of structures is required though for things like the five senses and verbalizing. Amorphs are extremely talkative and chatty. In their more natural forms amorphs communicate almost exclusively with their shapes, which is part of the reason for their constant and often rapid transformations. Very few amorphs pass up the chance to develop verbal speech, therefore. While an amorph can replicate any shape it wants, they cannot immediately replicate the traits and abilities of those shapes. In other words, if an amorph is wearing a mouth shape, they don’t automatically know how to use that mouth; and if an amorph is wearing wings, they don’t automatically know how to fly. All of these things must be learned.
In their natural forms, amorphs have only two senses: taste and touch. They can sense differences in light to some degree, but aren’t able to actually see until they manage to wear eyes. Even once they’ve started developing their shapes, amorphs still rely quite a bit on touch and taste. In their natural forms they can taste everything that they touch, and therefore it can be difficult to acclimate to circumstances where taste isn’t always associated with touch. They are extremely tactile creatures to the point of being touchy-feely, and their tendency to want to taste everything (and everyone) they come into contact with makes for a lot of awkward social situations among other species. While touch is very important to them, taste is even more so, tied to memory and strong emotions in the same way that smell is for humans. Therefore amorphs love to eat. They can, and often do, eat everything they encounter, and are also able to consume just about anything. Eating things helps them to get a better feel for a shape; so if an amorph wants to be a tree, it will eat a tree to find out what it’s like. Likewise, if an amorph wants to be a human it might eat a human to get a better understanding for them. They tend to be a bit more cautious about eating sentient creatures, and it’s less due to any moral qualms as it is personal safety. After all, if you eat a human, other humans might come looking to kill you. Many amorphs consider everything around them, sentient or not, to merely be tools for creating new shapes. It’s not disdain so much as it is pure indifference; a human is not an amorph, so why bother caring if you eat one or two? Humans are merely interesting shapes that might be worth wearing. However, as amorphs mature, and particularly as amorph society has been forced to make more contact with other Folk and with humans in the past few decades, they do come to realize the value of other species beyond simple shapes. Indeed, many amorphs these days are developing attachments to individuals from other species and are trying to discourage wanton consumption of such species.
Amorph biology is as ambiguous as everything else concerning them. Even amorphs aren’t really sure what exactly they’re made of or where they came from and they really don’t care. It’s thought that they are some kind of magically evolved version of sentient amoeba; and it is a fact that they did indeed originate in the Whodden, like all other Folk. The theory has been put forth that they’re not even Insubstantials at all, but rather that they’re a somewhat elaborate animal-spirit, namely an amoeba-spirit; however, there is little evidence to support this. Amorphs do not breathe, and have no circulatory system or skeletal structure. They do have some form of digestive system, as they can indeed eat and in fact need to eat to live, but no one’s sure where it is or how it works, since they’re just amorphous blobs. Most of their energy is taken from the sun, which they absorb much like plants. They also don’t have genders, though they sometimes choose one and run with it when among other species, and reproduction is a rather unusual process. Amorphs are almost exclusively polyamorous, and are generally extremely loving with each other. Other species would call them promiscuous, and they are. I won’t go into too much detail, but amorphs do have special relationships with one or two partners that they love more deeply than others. This happens rarely in an amorph’s lifetime. When it does and the two amorphs are ready for offspring, they return to blob form and essentially mix together into one blob. Several days after they’ve separated, both amorphs divide like an amoeba, producing offspring that have genetic material from both parents. Each amorph can produce up to twelve offspring each, which is why this happens very rarely; otherwise the planet would be overrun with little blobby creatures pretty quickly. Amorphs can reach an age of 200 years, but few make it past 180.
Aside from all the biological differences, amorphs are pretty odd folk personality-wise. They have strange senses of humor that probably stems from their ambivalent approach to mostly universal mores. Humans and most other Folk don’t trust them, since they can look like anything and make very good spies. There would have been one or two wars between amorphs and humans if amorphs were the type to wage war. Most amorphs like surprising and playing jokes on other species, but their brand of humor isn’t always appreciated. For instance, they would love pretending to be a hotel bed, waiting for a guy to come in with his mistress and then melt away under the couple and shout “Boo!” They’re secretive around other species despite being talkative to the point of being obnoxious. They love gossip and love spreading rumors and lies to see what happens. They can be mean and cruel and are often perceived of as heartless. With Plague vents andoni-agnan attacks growing more frequent of late, tensions are running high again between humans and Folk, and humans, Folk and amorphs.
Like most Folk, Camille was detached (born) in the Whodden, a sort of spirit plane where mystical creatures live. She spent her first ten years in an amorph commune with several families including her own; they lived around a cluster of hills in the Eastern Quarter. When she was ten, however, a Plague vent opened under the hills, infecting the entire area and the amorphs who lived there. Quite a few amorphs died while others were greatly sickened. One of Camille’s own siblings died and two others became deathly ill. The commune first tried to appeal to local Folk communities for help, and when that didn’t work they appealed to the central government itself. The officials were sympathetic and sent people to try and close the vent, but they couldn’t help the sickened amorphs. With nowhere to go, the commune split, with a few families leaving to seek out new homes elsewhere in the Quarter, while the majority decided to head to the Mortal Plane and seek help there.
Everyone knew the rumors of a woman in the Mortal Plane named North Stonewall. The rumors were varied, but they agreed on two things—that North had somehow helped save the Whodden decades ago, and that she could heal just about anyone or anything, even Plague victims. The amorphs immediately sought her out, traveling to Corrant City where North lived and ran a hospital for Folk and animals. North was more than happy to help, and managed to save most of the sick amorphs, including Camille’s siblings. Both of them continued to suffer from long-term effects of Plague exposure, however.
Afterwards, the clan spread out. Some chose to return to the Whodden, some chose to explore the Mortal Plane, and most decided to remain in the city. Camille’s family stayed, though some of her siblings would later return to the Whodden, and the family became long term friends with the Stonewalls. Camille in particular spent a good amount of time with Ada, North’s twenty-year-old daughter. The two were never exactly close, however, due to the difference in age and maturity.
As time went by, Camille and her family became more used to the Mortal Plane and to Corrant City. Camille came to love the city dearly and wanted to stay as long as she could, something that was unusual for amorphs. She even chose a human name, surprising her parents. Her family and the rest of the clan began to trickle away over the years, unwilling to stay in one place for long. Camille chose to stay with some of her siblings and a handful of other clan members. Soon there were only ten members of the clan left in the city, and it was around then that Ada got married to what Camille considered to be a very boring man named Jared. They had two children, Violin and Tavin, and Camille would often babysit for them, which was occasionally a bit traumatizing for the kids.
Camille had discovered her love of human food very early after coming to the Mortal Plane. She had also taken up baking early on and had a talent for it. Finally she decided to open a café and pastry shop. It took a lot of cooking classes and a year of legal wrangling, but finally her shop opened. It became a local hit, but never did as well as it could have, as humans and Folk were both leery of eating food made by an amorph. By the time Violin was in elementary school and already pursuing her career in exorcism, Camille’s café was a permanent fixture in the city. This mildly distressed Camille’s parents; no amorph had ever really decided to open a business before. It was simply too permanent. By then most of the rest of the clan had gone, and it was only Camille’s parents and a few siblings left. Camille’s café startled her parents into realizing how long they had been in Corrant City, and they finally decided to leave, along with all but two of Camille’s siblings. The two who remained were Kori and Zayid, the ones who had been infected with the Plague. They liked the city, and were simply too weak to travel far. The trio of amorphs stuck together, with Kori and Zayid helping out at the café when they could.
Several tragedies struck the Stonewall family shortly afterward. Something strange happened to Violin, the result of which was her seeing the Fourth Plane and losing her eye. Only a few years after that, Tavin apparently went insane and killed Ada and Jared. Camille was devastated and became much closer to Violin during that time, letting Violin stay with her when she wasn’t staying at her grandmother’s. Plague vents and oni-agnan attacks were becoming much more frequent in the city, and Violin was more determined than ever to complete her exorcist training. Tavin had somehow connected himself with the oni-agnan, and it was clear that Violin wanted revenge. Camille stuck with her, helping Violin through school and through her training.
Things began changing in Camille’s life as well. After a sharp decline in his health, Zayid disappeared without a trace. Camille spent months searching for him before she concluded that he had either left the city or gone off to die, neither of which was particularly comforting. Her café became an occasional target of the Katta, an anti-Folk organization that was cropping up again for the first time in decades. By the time Violin had become an exorcist, assembled a team and began using Camille’s café as a meeting place, oni-agnan began attacking her place with some frequency. Camille fought every time there was an attack of any kind. Only a few months ago, the reason for the oni-agnan assaults was revealed: Zayid had become an oni-agna and was attacking the only family he could remember having. Camille and Violin and her team fought him, but Zayid was a high level oni-agna and managed to escape. Camille has been waiting for him to return ever since.
These days she continues to run her café and freak out her customers with her shapeshifting. Violin and her team still use the café as a frequent meeting place.
The first word that comes to mind when you meet Camille is “chipper.” The second word is “creepy.”
Camille initially comes across as a weird amalgamation of chipper and creepy, cute and horrifying. She’s a very sweet person, at least to people she knows and likes. She’s caring in a very sisterly kind of way and has what is essentially a bartender degree in psychology; she likes to listen to people talk and offer them advice if they need it. And her advice is usually good. She’s been in a customer service position for about a decade now, and so has a pretty good understanding of people, both human and Folk. She’s extremely loyal to people she considers friends and is incredibly defensive of her friends, family and her café. She will also stand up for complete strangers, but only sometimes—only if she’s in the mood. She’s also very talkative and energetic, sometimes to the point of hyperactivity.
All of that is balanced with her innate creepiness. Her species is inherently creepy, and Camille knows it and plays it up. She loves creeping people out, loves watching their reactions when she mixes and matches shapes or changes right before their eyes. She likes to trick people and play practical jokes, even ones that normal people would consider hurtful—such as pretending to be someone’s lover and making out with them a bit before revealing who she really is. She finds these kinds of things funny and doesn’t care if other people do too or not. Her sense of humor is always odd, and she lives to add a bit of strangeness and awkwardness into people’s lives. In this respect she can be hilarious, obnoxious, or downright evil. And no one is safe from her sense of humor, not strangers or close friends. She does tend to be a bit more sensitive with friends, however, especially humans. She really likes humans and understands that they can be an oversensitive bunch, at least compared to amorphs. She does make an effort to understand them, particularly if someone she cares about reacts badly to a joke. With strangers she just doesn’t care.
She is absolutely vindictive with people who upset her or her friends. She has a fair few berserk buttons. Insult her café, her friends, her family or her species and she will get angry. Call her any of the numerous epithets for Folk or amorphs—like “demon,” “jelly,” “goopeople” and so on, and she will flip out. She’s not always the biggest fan of violence however—it depends on her mood and how badly someone has pissed her off. She has indeed taken part in fights against people and monsters who have attacked her and her café. However, more often than not she prefers psychological torment. She can be incredibly cruel when she wants to be. She once followed a member of a racist organization home and haunted him for a week as varying horrifying shapes, including posing as the guy’s dead mother several times. He eventually killed himself. She has an amorph’s sense of morality, which is much, much looser than that of the average human. Humans would in fact consider her borderline sociopathic at times. Amorphs sometimes eat things in order to better replicate their shapes, and Camille has indeed done this. She has even eaten people, though she likes to point out that it was only two.
Amorphs are very tactile creatures, and Camille is no different. She likes to touch everything, and likes to taste everything as well, if she can. She’s not above licking people or things whose shapes she finds particularly intriguing. She’s also a gigantic flirt and rather promiscuous, though again, it depends on her mood. Sex for amorphs is almost always recreational. They can’t reproduce until they choose to, and being so sensitive to touch and taste means that they quite enjoy the full gamut of romantic encounters. They’re good kissers and good in bed, and again, Camille is no exception. As a species they’re more likely to be in polyamorous relationships than in monogamous ones. Lately Camille has been trying out monogamy, which has been difficult since she hasn’t been romantically involved with anyone in months. Amorphs also have no genders beyond what they choose to identify with, so they have absolutely no qualms about homosexuality. They don’t even really have a word for it.
Camille loves baking, reading, talking to people, crowds, theme parks and surreal movies and art. She genuinely likes making people happy with her baking. She’s quirky beyond the oddities of her species; she has art on the walls of her café that change every week, she experiments with really weird flavors in her cooking, and she’s a little bit OCD with some random things. For instance she absolutely demands odd numbers of tables, chairs and utensils in her café, she never wears a matching pair of socks, she has a passionate hatred for fluorescent lights, and she has to have a tail when she’s cooking. She says she can’t cook without one. She’s terrified of fire and darkness. Her favorite “foods” are cupcakes, chocolate, hotdogs, rhinoceros beetles, cappuccino and grass. She can’t stand the taste of lamb or mint.
Camille can transform into absolutely everything and anything she can see and study at least a little bit. She can replicate physical traits and vocalizations, which means she can bark like a dog or speak like a human if she care enough to get her vocal chords right. The transformations can be accurate down to the smallest detail if she wants. She can also eat just about anything without any ill effects, except for Plague-infected things. Pie? Cyanide? Machine parts? People? She can eat them all. And she will, if she thinks it’s necessary—eating something gives her a better understanding of it, which means she can replicate its shape better. That’s about the extent of her abilities, however. She can replicate certain attributes (e.g. if she’s a cheetah she can run fast), but she won’t necessarily know how to use them. In other words, she can replicate wings, but won’t know how to fly until she’s had practice. And she can’t replicate non-physical things like psychic powers. Super strength, yes. Telekinesis, no.
She does also have an amorph’s natural durability. She’s hard to kill or even injure badly, due to the fact that she’s really just a blob of goo. She’s immune to all natural poisons. You can cut her in half and she’ll just reform. If you damage her body enough she will still die, however.
She’s also very good at baking and making coffee, and is an average user of firearms.
Like all amorphs, she has some innate weaknesses. She’s very weak to heat and cold. High temperatures will kill her much faster than cold temperatures, however, and will affect her no matter what shape she’s in. High heat—as in temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit or higher—will cause her to start losing control of her shapes, light headedness, headaches, hallucinations, seizures and myriad other fun symptoms. This means that even when she is wearing a shape that has a high body temperature, such as a human or a cat, her core temperature will be much lower than the norm. If she’s using a very detailed shape however, she can occasionally replicate even body temperature, but this requires a lot of control and finesse with the shape. Cold is easier to deal with, as she can just give herself some fur or a nice fluffy coat or blanket. Cold is still a danger to her, however, starting at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. She’s also weak to attacks of a psychic nature. Amorphs have no natural defenses against psychics; they can’t mentally guard themselves against mind-reading or mind control, and they’re highly susceptible to telekinetic blasts and such. Everything about an amorph is based on the physical, so things of a mental nature tend to be very complicated for them.
I don’t think limitations will really be necessary, but it’s going to be on a case by case basis. Some people aren’t going to be happy with someone running around wearing their face or other body parts. I’m going to throw up a permissions post if Camille gets accepted to ask permission for Camille to borrow people’s shapes and such.