|PC | OC|
Eleanor Rutledge is a doctor with an astral mutation that enables her to slip into minds by the back door.
Registered as a mutant with dream powers. M.D., Columbia University.
Eleanor's power is rooted in dreamweaving, but essentially taken to the next level. She leaves her body and enters the astral plane, access minds around her through the back door of their subconscious from the collective unconscious.
Eleanor finds it easiest to enter sleeping minds, but can also enter the mind of people whose minds are wandering or distracted, particularly if their imaginations are especially engaged and their subconscious is 'working'.
Eleanor can only 'ride' one person at a time. However, when she is in the astral plane, she can exert mass influence on the dreams of those geographically close to her by warping the astral plane to which all unconscious minds are connected. This influence is likely to be subtle, as most dreamstuff comes internally from people, but Eleanor is a powerful enough manipulator of the astral plane to, for example, bring a suggestion of a thematic consistency or a single element to every dreamer in her vicinity.
Once she enters a mind from the astral plane, she can wholly inhabit it and essentially ride as an invisible passenger inside her target. While she can't communicate with the conscious mind, she can speak to and influence the subconscious mind, influencing dreams, preferences and unconscious actions. The more effort she makes to influence a person's mind, the more it costs her psionically; it is much easier to be a passenger than a driver. She sees through the target's eyes, listens through their ears, feels through their skin, and can sense fleeting impressions of their surface thoughts.
At extremes of effort, she can take full possession of another person's mind, overbearing their will and forcing them to action. She can't do this for longer than a minute, and the inevitable result will that, after she has done so, she will be expelled by the violent reaction of that mind, back into the astral plane. Similarly, if she overextends her subconscious influence, it is possible for a mind to detect her and to begin to fight her grip on it.
Eleanor can only enter minds within 500 yards of her body when she enters the astral plane. However, once she is riding inside a mind, there is no geographical limit to how far she can go; her body is abandoned and unconscious, and if she doesn't return to it, it will die of comatic failures, reduced only to autonomic functions.
If she is expelled from a mind further than 500 yards from her body, she faces a risk of being trapped in the astral plane until other dreamweavers or telepaths can help her back -- or else a risk of simply being an immortal ghost on the astral plane, wandering forever and taking possession of people when she can, like a new Shadow King.
When Eleanor returns from the astral plane, she can see astral echoes, or shadows of dreamstuff, around people for the first hour or so she is reinhabiting her own body. These astral echoes are basically the psionic residue of whatever that person dreamed of most recently or whatever is a convenient strong impactor on their subconscious and may not actually be useful, but directly impact Eleanor's worldview (and can occasionally be really weird and distracting).
With focused effort, she can study a waking person and find a similar astral echo on purpose. It is easiest on subjects who haven't been awake very long, or who are, again, distracted, with active subconsciouses.
Driven, empathetic, rueful, a little resigned; proud, with a deep but buried relationship with rage; eternally curious.
Eleanor Rutledge was born a child of privilege on both sides of her family: well-moneyed, old families produced both Ms. Carmichael and Mr. Rutledge. Her mother was, in some ways, defiant of tradition; she chose a life that defied, for example, the traditional female role in the family, in a way that delivered unto Eleanor’s grandparents both great pride and considerable dismay. When Allie’s marriage fell apart when Eleanor was only a baby, her family was stricken.
Allie was on the fast track to partnership at Carrell & Lewis, a small but prestigious Charleston law firm, when Eleanor was born, but she sidestepped the speedway of her career to make as much time to be home with the baby as possible. When she discovered the lies that had haunted her marriage and their ultimate culmination, she left Adam Rutledge and her Charleston roots behind. With the one-year-old Eleanor in tow, she jumped ship at Carrell & Lewis and took a substantial pay cut to start over again as a divorcee and a brand new associate at Jones Day in Atlanta.
Eleanor’s mother worked constantly. As an associate in the environmental and health law department of a massive international law firm, she left their small but tasteful house in the suburbs of Atlanta at 4:45 every morning and returned home between 9:30 and 11:00 P.M. each night. On Sunday, she would take Eleanor to church in the morning, share a few precious hours with her in the afternoon, and turn her back over to the paid nanny she hired with almost every penny of the substantial child support check she received, unfailingly, from Eleanor’s dad. Her nanny, Amanita Estanza, performed most traditional maternal functions, and as Eleanor grew older, ensured that she attended ballet lessons, violin lessons, horseback riding, tennis, a prestigious girls’ sleepaway summer camp, and, of course, her equally prestigious private school education.
So it was that from the age of 1 to the age of 8, Eleanor saw her mother for a few hours once a week and occasionally saw her face evenings when she would Skype from work to give her a few words of encouragement and a sweet fragment of lullaby from her desk.
Adam Rutledge was a geographically and emotionally distant figure for much of Eleanor’s childhood. While Allie’s career grew in prestige and affluence, and she eventually became the chair of the American branch of the pro bono association of the law firm and became nationally recognized for their work helping the impoverished at home and abroad, Adam’s life and career became subsumed in layers of secrecy. Allie and Adam conspired to reunify Adam with his daughter when she was nine years old, and hired an extremely well-qualified child therapist to help Eleanor make a connection with him after years distant.
Eleanor was VEHEMENTLY opposed to this at nine years old. She acted out in every way she could think of. She locked herself in her room and refused to attend school or extracurriculars. She drew all over the walls. She released her pet Flemish Giant rabbit, Bunbury, to LEAP and DESTROY all over the house. She made a haphazard and not very effective but certainly hideous attempt to cut off her hair and shave some (but not all) of her head.
So, her relationship with her father began with … challenges.
It was Amanita who eventually persuaded her to sit down with her father and the therapist and to explain, in the most coolly rational of terms, that it was entirely his fault she hadn’t had a daddy, and that her mother had certainly had no time to find her another daddy. When she had finally said her piece, the work of repair could begin.
By the time Eleanor was twelve, she was seeing her father a lot more. One month out of every summer, she spent entirely with Adam — when his work did not draw him away. He would fly into Atlanta almost every other weekend — when his work did not prevent him — and spend it with her. He even, occasionally, flew to Atlanta for dance recitals, ballet performances, and school plays. He was always unexpected because his job forced him to be unpredictable. Eleanor began keeping an online blog cataloguing everything that was terrible about jobs — all jobs, ever, but specifically Adam’s job — and found to her mild consternation that the government had literally hushed up her blog after she had been posting regularly about his movements for six months.
During July of 2021, when Eleanor was newly thirteen, she and her father spent two weeks at a castle in England. At first she was reluctant to go because it meant skipping sleepaway camp and seeing some friends she only knew from the internet, but — CASTLE, so that was the end of that complaint. It was during that vacation that her mutation first manifested itself. In her dream, she walked away from herself, and found that she was walking in Adam’s dreamscape.
Adam recognized at least part of her mutation right away and began trying to help her contain and control her dreamweaving power, but it rapidly became clear that she was no simple dreamweaver. At night she left her body entire and created her own worlds in the astral plane, and slipped from the astral plane into the minds of nearby dreamers. After a few months of trying to contain her himself during their limited contact, Adam was amazed and terrified to discover that Eleanor had walked from her dream, left her body behind, and was riding as a passenger in the mind of her nanny.
This being wholly beyond his experience, he was forced to call in connections from his X-Force experience. Eleanor met several strange and interesting adults over the course of this time, most of whom seemed bizarrely uncomfortable with her.
Allie loved her daughter, but had no idea what to do with any of this and ended up temporarily transferring Eleanor entirely into her father’s care. Amanita smartly packed up her bags and went with her to Washington D.C., where Adam was forced to move to a house large enough to establish his new familial acquisition, continue his duties as a political and administrative liaison, and try to handle a fierce and fired up adolescent who was starting to think it would be pretty great if she used her burgeoning powers to effect massive scale political change as long as she was living in Washington. (Between Adam Rutledge and Tom Sikorski, these ambitions were effectively thwarted.)
This began a difficult few years. Eleanor was a handful. She was angry about everything, and her mutation provided her with ample opportunity to flee the coop. Enrolled in another expensive private school, this one largely peopled with the children of Washington insiders and other rich locals, Eleanor made friends but largely with other remarkably angry children. When she was 14, she and a few other girls cut and dyed their hair (hers went from glorious blonde ringlets to short, aggressively blue and black!) in the bathroom at school and put fake tattoos on their faces. A few months later, she and three other troublemakers were suspended for smoking cigarettes in the bathroom (Eleanor never smoked cigarettes again, but it was because she didn’t like the taste or feel, not because of any EFFECTIVE parental intervention).
Basically at his wit’s end trying to figure out how to deal with this rambunctious teenager, Adam struggled with work-life balance, parenting, and trying to keep her mutation both in hand and under wraps in a world that was rife with increasing scrutiny. Her rebellion mounted over time. She abandoned ballet and violin, going back to music only years later when she went to college.
Things came to a head when Eleanor finally had enough of it all and RAN AWAY, as teenagers do, but instead of running away as teenagers do, she left her body behind and fled to the astral plane. Her body sank into a coma. She was hospitalized, put on IVs, and the doctors were mystified as to what to do with her or where the comatose condition came from. Her father was not mystified. He knew where she had gone.
He went to the astral plane after her and found her, wandering lost and forgetful as an eerily powerful ghost in the collective unconscious. It was only with Adam’s guidance that Eleanor found her way back to herself.
Their relationship improved after that. Although the result of the incident was that she was, eventually, legally registered as a mutant with dream powers, the astral plane and the depth and breadth of its draw on Eleanor and what she and Adam could do there became a concrete secret. While he had worked with her in the astral plane before, it was after that that they spent semi-regular time there together. In this way, with quiet tenderness and constant practice, Adam could make sure that his weirdly powerful and kind of terrifying daughter could always, always find her way home.
As a registered mutant at the age of sixteen, the barriers to Eleanor’s academic interest were not insignificant. But with two very wealthy alumni for parents, excellent test scores, and a 3.9 GPA (eff you, Senior Latin, for permanently destroying her perfect grade point with that A-), Eleanor successfully applied to Duke University. She would never know how much money it cost both of her parents to ensure her admission in terms of … not-very-subtle donations … but she made it in.
At Duke, Eleanor didn’t know what to do with herself. She was interested, first and foremost, in FREEDOM, but secondarily in everything. She went through four majors in her first year of school. (First: math. Second: physics. Third: library science. Fourth: music.)
The college social scene intrigued her, but she found it unsatisfying. She took part in sports, particularly swimming and field hockey, but only in local clubs and nothing intramural. She was disinterested in the sororities and focused on her academics, but not focused enough on any PARTICULAR academics. It took her five years to graduate, finally, with a premedical major (chemistry focus), and a minor in music. Throughout college, she frequently took long naps in her dormroom, and used the time to ride as a silent (or near-silent) passenger to the college experiences of others. She learned about the drug scene without participating in it; she was a voyeuristic witness of other people’s relationship drama without any of her own; she experienced the thrill of high risk sports without ever actually doing any. A few times, she got close to getting caught. (And she almost flunked an elective art and photography course at one point because she accidentally spent all of her time watching someone else do the assignments and not doing them herself.)
She took a year off after five years of Duke to travel abroad and perform humanitarian aid with a group of like-minded (well, mostly aggressively liberal) grads. It was a popular choice for several friends of hers and it followed well on her mother’s vehemently public and lauded charity work. It also opened her eyes, wide, to things that, no matter how much attention she told herself she was paying to the world around her, she had been complacent about. Even more than her companions, she saw, because she slipped into the dreams of others, and rode in their minds and watched their lives, felt through their skin, listened through their ears, and learned more than she could ever otherwise.
When she returned to the United States, she applied to dozens of medical schools, and was rejected from most, because of her status as a registered mutant. It was money, again, and influence from both of her parents, that brought her the opportunity to become both a mutant and a doctor. Accepted at Columbia University Medical School, she completed their program with honors — if not the top of her class, at least she was in the top third.
As a brand new doctor in New York State, she completed a residency at a hospital in Westchester County as a generalist and went on to a fellowship at Lennox Hill in Manhattan. Unsure how exactly to establish her practice from there, she was buffeted about by internal hospital politics and ended up losing her job. It was two friends of hers from Duke with a small medical practice in Brooklyn that attached her next. Attending night school supplemental courses at Columbia to brush up on the pediatrics area of her generalist practice (necessary at this particular clinic), she worked there for the next couple of years drifting through some interpersonal relationships that didn’t really stick, and trying to get a handle on a career that didn’t seem to be going in any interesting directions.
The question of now what looms large for Eleanor. Saving up — or calling on her family resources — to try and, eventually, branch out into her own practice is probably what’s next, but she has yet to actually take the plunge.
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