Next in our series of posts about Spire City is the protagonist Chels. I see the Spire City characters as an ensemble cast in many ways. Each has his or her own reaction to being infected (or in some cases to the infections of others), and each has her or his own arc over the course of the seasons...or as long as they survive. If there's one central character, though, it's Chels. Her arc is central to the story as a whole, even when others dominate a given episode.
At the beginning of the first season, Chels is a young teen orphan. Her mother immigrated to Spire City from another country, so Chels grew up among the Neshini immigrants. Whether her father was also Neshini or not, Chels never knew, though she overheard enough to suspect he wasn't. Her mother was always coy on the matter. Like many of the Neshini women, Chels's mother worked as a seamstress, worked herself to death in fact, trying to fill the never-ending orders for needlework.
The one man she's known as a sort of father figure is Derran, a spire singer. His entire life he spends chained to his spire, yet somehow her mother knew him and had become his friend. She's never quite dared to come out and ask him directly if he is her father or not.
After her mother's death, Chels could have stayed among the Neshini and been cared for, but she didn't feel like she belonged there. She'd never seen Nesh and didn't even really speak the language well. She tried to make it on her own for a while, afraid of a rumored new serum that was infecting people like her and nearly starving. After a few months, she joined up with a group of people, most of them infected with the deadly serum, who'd banded together and lived in an abandoned shop they called the Weave.