From a very young age, Eli had always been interested in computers--and especially gaming. Naturally a shy, quiet girl, she was often bullied by her peers which led her to becoming insular and submissive, and often stayed silent, cried, and ran away when she was teased by both the girls and boys at school. Her parents were rarely around, both of them business people who had important jobs running companies outside the country. And when they were home, they were authoritative and unwilling to bend the rules, often criticizing Eli for not having the best grades, bringing friends over, and more. But that never happened in the games she played. She could be anyone she every wanted to be! A fairy princess, a mage of incredible power, or a mighty barbarian queen, all of these were roles she picked up and put down, and each time came the same feeling of catharsis, as though she was accepted and wanted.
The years continued to pass this way, every season Eli becoming more and more engrossed in the video games she played, especially in RPGs where she could pick up any role and be who she wanted to be, rather than who she was. But one day, the fateful event happened.
Seeing the large villa her parents had, a gang of criminals entered her home in the dead of night and began to take the various valuables and paintings Eli's parents had strewn about the place. Waking from the noise, Eli's father went down to investigate. A fight broke out, and Eli's mother went down to see what happened. In the ensuing struggle, both of her parents were killed while Eli hid beneath her bed and waited. The police found her the next morning, silently crying beneath the bed, the house turned upside down and bereft of everything that made it a home.
That was five years ago. Eli, now 17, lives in a small apartment after having dropped out of school, living her life within through the computer on a paltry unemployment and disability pay, having no clue that her family inheritance continues to grow under the watchful eye of the bank. She rarely leaves the house, and has few friends except for the landlady who takes pity upon the girl and often visits with food and offers to go out with her. But Eli always refuses. Instead, she dives headfirst into her games, especially MMORPGs where she allows her conviction and pent out anger loose. If only the robbers hadn't been there. If only her parents hadn't fought against them. Everything would have been alright. And thus she often tries her best to protect the stability of her environment, enforcing the laws of society in an aggressive manner that belies her real life personality. When people talk about disorder she speaks up and shouts them down. When witnessing a crime, she rushes forward, protecting NPCs and players alike against the depredation of in-game criminals.
Due to her abrasive nature in-game, Eli garners few friends. But her hours of practice make her a fierce combatant, and the few guilds that invited her found her to be a strong defensive character whose skill was impressive, especially so due to the fact that she had subpar equipment from having farmed dungeons less than most.
Eli was immediately drawn to this new game. Complete immersion? A chance to be someone else fully, not just within a monitor. Once inside, it was everything she had hoped it would be. Eli, now Ren, quickly advanced within the games, her determination leading her close to death innumerable times as she fought against creatures far above her level only to win by the skin of her teeth. And even if she died occasionally, that was fine, right? After all, she would just return a moment later to continue her progression. Often a sight patrolling the cities within the game, Eli gave scathing reviews of bugs she encountered, especially loopholes where other players were able to attack or kill NPCs that should have been virtually invulnerable or players in what should have otherwise been safe zones.
She gave the more magical classes a try, but never connected to them. Even the rogue or the fighter didn't appeal to her. She needed to be able to protect people, not just be able to kill enemies with a few attacks. Thus she settled upon one of the tankier classes that was released halfway through the beta, and stuck with it. It felt right, the Crusader class, being able to soak up the damage of those she fought while at the same time her modest damage taking down people in time, if not immediately. And that was what she stayed with all the way to the end of the beta...
She looked down at herself. Her body, adorned in chain mail. The heavy steel-tipped boots beneath her. The comfortable weight of the gauntlets in her hands. A longsword strapped to her hip along with a few daggers, a shield on the other side, and a long glaive on her back. Yes, this was what she had been waiting for. She was herself... yet not herself. Stronger, faster, not as clumsy, immune to the colds and fevers that sometimes oppressed her in the "real" world. She was at home. She hefted her glaive slowly, admiring its weight and confirming in her own mind once more its weight along with the blade at the end. A breeze picked up, playing with her hair and rustling through her senses. She was home.