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Overview

Dongbaek (Hangul: 동백, Dongbaek), is a major character introduced in Canto IV: The Unchanging.

She appears to be a former K Corp. scientist that defected to the Technology Liberation Alliance, and was formerly a member of the League of Nine Littérateurs.

She kept the last known photo of the group on her, before dismissively discarding it after stabbing Yi Sang with a Golden Bough branch.

Appearance[]

Dongbaek is an exhausted looking woman with a poor, slouched posture. Her eyes have heavy eyebags and small, amber pupils. She possesses long, sharp eyelashes, and above them, thin eyebrows. Dirty brown bandages wrap around her head in order to cover her right eye. Her short hair has gone gray, nearing on white, and messily falls down past her ears and over the bandages.

Dongbaek wears a brown, tattered and dirty hoodie with long drawstrings of a lighter color, which latter turns out to be a Lobotomy Corp EGO::Sunshower. Over it she sports the K Corp. scientist's uniform coat, which is similarly dilapidated, and ends in frays above her ankles. Her pants are long jeans rolled up at the ends while her shoes are black sneakers with white accents and laces, both of which are also dirtied.

When fully utilizing the Lobotomy Corp E.G.O::Sunshower, she wears a dirty and tattered raincoat that reaches her legs, muddy boots, and is impaled with worn-down umbrellas.

When utilizing her own personal E.G.O, Spicebush, she wears a white hanbok and a grey po overcoat with brown leather sandals. On her head, arms, and back, yellow spicebush flowers and branches grow out. She wields a fan made of the same kind of flowers in her right hand and a branch-like spear in her left.

Personality[]

“Here, you can’t see stars in the night sky thanks to blinding lights and smokestacks filling the air. The stars were so pretty in my hometown, it was fun watching them together."
"What’s more, there’s no color here. Where we were, we could at least see the colors of flowers."
"So… I wanted to bring it back in some way.”
—Dongbaek, using her inventions to assuage her homesickness.

Before the dissolution of the League of Nine Littérateurs, she was a playful and friendly tomboy who strongly loved the group and the wonders they would invent in the lab. However, her warm optimism at the time partially developed from her attempt to make the best out of a bad situation. When she first saw Yi Sang’s mirror, while admiring its beauty, she still saw what the mirror worlds inside it showed—possibilities within where her current reality lacked. Take for example, her love of fireworks, an appreciation for monotone explosives she developed in an attempt to replicate the stars she used to see in her hometown in District 20—a joy she couldn’t partake in due to the smog and light pollution of Nest T.

Out of all the members, she had loved the League the most and was fiercely loyal towards her cohorts, even barring Sang-heo. Even when invited to come visit the Wing that sought to recruit Young-ji, she turned down that opportunity to stay behind and spend time with the League. This fierce loyalty ultimately culminates in her bombing of their beloved laboratory to protect the League’s inventions from the greedy hands of the Wings, along with her fury to those that betrayed them. Dongbaek’s ire over those who sold the group out had led to her harboring suspicion towards the surviving members—even the innocent ones whom she loved, such as Yi Sang.

“You may be right, I fooled everyone including myself into working for my own goals… It was… the land we tilled… that was fertile…”
—Dongbaek, talking to the Voice of the Distortion

After the League’s dissolution, Dongbaek quickly transformed into a bitter, and poisonous manipulator. Seeing as technology was what destroyed the League, she sought to wipe out the advanced tech of the City and became a leader of a subgroup within the Technology Liberation Alliance. This desire however, was not solely to return the City into a luddite existence, but rather, so she could have another opportunity to rediscover the love of inventing new technologies again—just like her days back in the League. This pure yearning for a chance of reliving those glory days she shared with her compatriots led her to riling together and sacrificing fellow abandoned researchers like her. Now hypocritically consuming life like the Wings that ruined her life, she irresponsibly crusaded on her self-destructive path for the future she’d give anything to obtain.

Additionally, due to wearing the Lobotomy E.G.O::Sunshower, an unrefined E.G.O more liable to subtle E.G.O Corrosion, Dongbaek suffered depressive pessimism which compounded her already downturning sanity.

“No, I feel like my mind is blooming wider than ever.”
—Dongbaek, rebuking Dongrang's vain attempt to break her will

Still, she retained at least of semblance of warmth for her former companions at least, as she recognized Yi Sang’s suicidal self-neglect and attempted to mercy kill him upon their first reunion. And upon resonating with her pure resolve to lay down the foundation for a brighter future, where others like her can express themselves as they are, her determination and denial of the Voice of the Distortion allowed her to obtain her personal E.G.O, with tremendous strength.

And even after Dongrang’s admittance to his betrayal, her worldview and E.G.O shattering, failing to destroy K Corp’s Singularity, and even her own death—she still retained herself. In the fathoms of Yi Sang’s ego, the mixture of her dying consciousness and the memories constituting her produced a content version of Dongbaek; a woman that still loves the League. Parting her final words of encouragement to Yi Sang, the Littérateur imparts her will to right the League’s wrongs to her former compatriot before passing on.

Observation Logs[]

Lobotomy E.G.O::Sunshower - Dongbaek[]

Log Writer: Yi Sang

[The paragraph below is a detailed description found in a document left in the L Corp. branch facility located in Nest K.]
… An umbrella that may have been used to stop the rain once. Now, it’s too old and worn to perform that role well. This umbrella must have been the compassion for an abandoned somebody. But it might have come across as hollow.
Hypocrisy, vanity, irresponsibility. Those are the emotions the umbrella has harbored now.
Technology liberation alliance… It is said to be a group of former researchers from various firms.
There may yet be members in the city who we haven’t met.
Dongbaek seems to be the leader of a subgroup.
As they forsook the world… the world will have forsaken them in return.
She has always been good at attracting like-minded individuals and encouraging them, so it must have been a breeze for her to gather the abandoned.
How did they accept her offer, then? I might see the answer to that question.
Her hand would have been comparable to an umbrella in a heavy rain with no shelter to be found, a warm gesture of compassion.
An invitation to comfort and warmth.
… Alas, the umbrella must be a holed one, like the one we are seeing now.
Dongbaek may have held an umbrella over them… It was only a means to further her own interests.
She knows it well herself.
Look. See how she is helplessly caught in the falling rain. She must have no intentions of avoiding it.
She is simply showering herself and all others in the rain…
Like a rusted umbrella, it would seem she has chosen to be stained in rust along with everything else.

Dongbaek E.G.O::Spicebush[]

Log Writer: Yi Sang

Dongbaek was rather fond of fireworks.
It’s an activity of entertainment where gunpowder is launched into the sky and blown up.
Some of us called it an aggressive hobby and teased it.
Some others joke that she might showcase a bomb in a future conference.
Of course, it was all an innocent jest.
However… Dongbaek must’ve yearned to see something beyond that.
As we all did,
She wished to see stars form a stream in the skies, and flowers blooming across the land.
That was all there was to it.
Now, the old League of Nine Littérateurs has fallen apart.
As I peeked into the course of her life, I saw the world fall apart in a tragedy caused by technology.
She must have been furious.
She must have been consumed with a longing, agony, sorrow, and despair.
As I was.
All of Dongbaek’s emotions have now pushed through the flesh, blooming into a mass of petals.
Ahh. Are you stopping at last, Dongbaek?
Do you finally effloresce the gorgeous scenery of our hometown with your own body.
I see, now I see.
The reason you bloomed, sowing seeds of nostalgia, was to set your heart upon our new beginning.
Dongbaek… The fireworks you used to love are now being recreated on the soil, as you manage to get the buds to bloom.
… Indeed, it is no wonder you would be fond of them.

Abilities[]

Dongbaek was a brilliant researcher who helped found the first iteration of League of Nine Littérateurs, possessing the technical knowledge and expertise befitting her position as a member of the group.

This aptitude towards technology allowed her to join K Corp. and later head the research on the Abnormalities kept in the branch facility. After defecting from the Wing and joining the Technology Liberation Alliance, the terrorist cell later developed techniques to maintain the ovate forms of the Abnormalities using the Qliphoth-Deterence properties of the Golden Bough.

Using the Golden Bough's capabilities, the terrorists extracted and refined E.G.O stable enough for general use, effectively close in quality to the equipment Lobotomy Corporation produced. While not perfect, Dongbaek and the other terrorists managed to train their use in E.G.O under the Qliphoth-Deterence to the point of drawing out much of its potential without the high risk of E.G.O Corrosion.

Lobotomy E.G.O::Sunshower[]

Lobotomy E.G

Dongbaek in Sunshower E.G.O equipment

Dongbaek uses a stabilized form of the E.G.O Sunshower, taking the form of a brown raincoat with green umbrellas sticking out the back as she wields a tattered, white umbrella in combat.

While not an experienced fighter due to her researcher background, she utilizes the E.G.O with startling effectiveness. Capable of drawing out the full potential of the TETH-class equipment, Dongbaek manages to go toe-to-toe with the Sinners all by herself — at least, for a little while.

While a lethal fighter in the E.G.O, as evidenced by Heathcliff's Identity of Dongbaek, the equipment took a negative toll on her mental health. Being unrefined E.G.O compared to the standards of L Corp's equipment, the suit overlayed pessimistic emotions onto its wielder, slowly sinking Dongbaek into the Drifting Fox's depression.

Dongbaek E.G.O::Spicebush[]

Dongbaek E.G

Dongbaek in her personal E.G.O, Spicebush.

After reaching her mental breaking point when defeated by the Sinners and being talked-down to by Dongrang, Dongbaek was on the verge of Distorting as she conversed with a voice inside her head.

Seemingly, she appeared to resist the voice's temptations as she fully manifested her own personal E.G.O, Spicebush (Hangul: 동백, Dongbaek). The equipment manifested as a white hanbock covered in branches of the spicebush tree, the plant's fragrant flowers decorating her head as she wields a fan and spear made from the aforementioned branches.

With her newfound strength, Dongbaek was invigorated and once again managed to solo the Sinners. The E.G.O was so powerful that she was able to completely envelope the screening-room into an environment consisting of a hill covered in spicebushes under a bright blue sky.

Dongbaek's fan was able to fire its flower petals as projectiles and entrap them in her flower branches, which were strong enough to capture the Sinners. She could also spawn Soon-to-bloom Flowers and Fully Bloomed Flowers which had the same capabilities as her fan. The flowers' had a piquant scent, entrancing the Sinners into fighting each other if not freed from their branches in time. When capturing all the Sinners in her trees, Dongbaek was able to finish them all off in singular strike.

When dealt with a finishing blow, the blood she coughed up from her hemoptysis appeared to transform into red camellias.

Etymology[]

Dongbaek (동백) is the Korean word for the camellia flower; it is also used as a feminine name for girls.

Dongbaek is named after the titular yellow camellia flowers of the short story, The Camellias (동백꽃, dongbaekkkot), by Gim Yujeong (Korean: 김유정, Hanja: 金裕貞).

Gim Yujeong[]

Gim Yujeong (Hangul: 김유정, Hanja: 金裕) was a member of Guinhoe, or "The Circle of Nine" (Hangul: 구인회 , Hanja: 九人會), where he befriended fellow member Kim Hae-Gyeong, otherwise known by his pen name Yi Sang.

Gim Yujeong is one of Korea's most famous writers with his stories still being widely beloved in present day. His works focused on the lives of everyday people in rural Korea during the 1930s, struggling under Japanese rule. Yujeong's stories present a very folksy sense of humor, embracing colloquialisms and local culture in his works, carefully depicting both the joys and agonies of his people. A particular aspect of Yujeong's writing is an emphasis on love, and the belief that it's through love that people can persist through dark times.

Famously, his strong friendship with Yi Sang born from their shared suffering due to their tuberculosis, a disease which was incurable at the time, and both struggling with poverty and unstable backgrounds would lead them to form a suicide pact. However, Yujeong would ultimately back down wishing to continue living; still holding onto hope for the future, marking the last time the two would ever meet as Yi Sang departed for Tokyo where he would pass away. This incident is recounted in one of Yi Sang's last stories before death True Story - Lost Flower. Often the emotional stress caused by this parting is attributed as one of the reasons for Yujeong's quickly worsening health, with both Yujeong and Yi Sang dying ninteeen days apart from each other after succumbing to their shared illness (March 29th 1937 and April 17th 1937 respectively).

Yi Sang is often said to have highly admired Yujeong, having written many works in his honor including a short story released posthumorously simply titled Gim Yujeong, honoring their friendship and time together, revering Yujeong as a harbringer of joy. It seems that originally, this story was planned as part of a series by Yi Sang dedicated to his closest friends, with three other stories for Kim Kirim, Park Taewon and Jeong Ji-yong that never came to be.

Literary Origin[]

DPWtFscR4dSv n-0KMD s1 pjUNEwiKcDR3dX5 H5v4-Ts0wg-RwDOJiEsMqAeR2BpMK1TiUyl1trmWcWG8sXg

The most popular modern interpretation of Jumsoon as depicted in Cae Changbi 2nd grade 2015 textbook. Which Dongbaek's past design was inspired by.

Yellow camellias bloomed at the foot of the mountain the narrator and unnamed protagonist of The Camellias lived on. Jumsoon, whose father was the mareum (마름, supervisor of a tenant farm), or land lord of the narrator’s peasant family, sat under the tree branches of the yellow camellia blossoms. The camellias (동백, dongbaek) only appear twice in the entire short story, but are largely associated with Jumsoon and her attraction with the protagonist.

Camellia or Spicebush[]

Camellia and spicebush

The camellia on the left, and the spicebush on the right.

While there are several species of fragrant camellias, most lack any sort of fragrance that can be considered “spicy”, “sweet”, or "piquant" as described in Gim’s story. Also, yellow camellias are only native to Vietnam or southern China, and do not grow in the wilds of Korea.

Given these factors, the yellow camellias in Gim Yujeong's story are likely a Yeongdong colloquial term for the Lindera obtusiloba, or the blunt-lobed spice bush. Other scholars extrapolate that the yellow camellias were metaphorical and implied an intimate sexual encounter between the protagonist and Jumsoon — either that, or the flowers were completely fictional.

Referencing this synonym, Dongbaek's E.G.O, Spicebush, shares the exact same name as its user, being referred to as Dongbaek (Hangul: 동백) in Korean as well.

Trivia[]

  • Dongbaek is the only member of the League of Nine Littérateurs to not be named after a pen name belonging to one of the real-life Guinhoe's members. Instead, Dongbaek is named after the title the short story The Camellias (동백꽃, dongbaekkkot), by actual Guinhoe member Gim Yujeong (Korean: 김유정, Hanja: 金裕貞).
  • Dongbaek is the second character based on The Camellias, with Jumsoon from Leviathan being the first.
    • Unlike Jumsoon, Dongbaek is instead named after the namesake flower the work is titled after.
    • In this sense, Dongbaek is also the second character to have a name inspired by the title of the story they reference, alongside an object central to its plot, sharing this similarity with Hong Lu. This decision was likely made to distance Dongbaek from the real Gim Yujeong's record as an unconvicted stalker who wrote letters in his own blood to his victim, instead creating Dongbaek as a representation of his work and cultural impact as a writer, while the dark aspects of Gim Yujeong are shown through Jumsoon in Leviathan. Alternatively, this obsessive stalker background might have influenced Dongbaek's character after the League of Nine's downfall, acting in a very similar manner. Particularly, her line after she stabs Yi Sang: "I...didn't think you would end up choosing him before my eyes." expresses an unsettlingly similar sentiment as in Yujeong's letters.
    • The Camellias begins with Jumsoon offering potatoes to the protagonist as one of her many ploys to get his attention. This is referenced by Yi Sang's strong attachment to the rotten, burnt potato he finds in Intervallo I: Hell's Chicken and seems to be a form of subtle foreshadowing for Dongbaek's character. This is further emphasized by the potato being brought up once again in Effloreced EGO:: Spicebush Yi Sang's afternoon greeting line.
Dongbaek quote

“That piquant and fragrant smell made me feel as though the ground was sinking.”

The camellias quote

“The tingling, sweet scent made my head spin as if the ground were caving in beneath my feet

  • Dongbaek quotes an abridged version of a line from The Camellias:
    • That piquant and fragrant smell made me feel as though the ground was sinking” (Korean: “알싸한, 그리고 향긋한 그 냄새에 나는 땅이 꺼지는 듯하였지”), was a reference to, “The tingling, sweet scent made my head spin as if the ground were caving in beneath my feet” (“알싸한, 그리고 향긋한 그 냄새에 나는 땅이 꺼지는 듯이 온 정신이 고만 아찔하였다”).
    • This line appeared after the second and last mention of the titular camellias (동백, dongbaek), as the internal narration of the protagonist when Jumsoon pushes him into the blossoms and the two “fell” with each other. Given the sensual motifs the work, most interpret this as a metaphor for “falling” in love with possible sexual implications.
    • The line is also referenced with Yi Sang literally falling to the floor under the Golden Bough’s tree branch — stabbed into him by the woman named after the camellia flower.
  • Dongbaek's E.G.O, Spicebush, takes the form of a men's everyday wear hanbok. The extensive use of white clothing among the commoners lead to Korea being referred as "dressed people of white". She wields a traditional korean fan (합죽선, hapjukseon) made of spicebush branches on her left hand, and moves in a way that resembles a pansori (판소리) singer.
  • As she was stabbed with the Golden Bough, Dongbaek's coughed up blood appeared to transform into red camellias. This is a reference to how her name, dongbaek (Hangul: 동백), is not only the Yeongdong colloquial term for the spicebush, but is also the Korean word for the camellia flower.
    File:Hemoptysis-1.png

    Outis goes on to describe her condition as hemoptysis, which refers to the discharge of blood through the respiratory system, coughing up blood

    • As she dies, she coughs out said flowers, with their bright red color being a stand-in for blood. This is also a reference to Gim Yujeong's tuberculosis which was his cause of death, as one of the main symptoms of tuberculosis is coughing up blood. When she is defeated initially when she is using the Sunshower E.G.O she similarly collapses coughing up blood violently.
    • In Korean flower language, red camellias represent "I love you more than anyone else", also likely symbolizing her undying love and obsession for her fellow League members that obscures and consumes anything else, as well as her final dying words.
  • Dongbaek's voice actor, Kwak Gyumi (곽규미), also voiced Tenma and Rose from Library of Ruina.

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See Also[]

External Links[]

Navigation[]

Site-logoWiki Navigation
Mechanics Battles - Battle Announcers - E.G.O - Identities - Items - Luxcavation - Mirror Dungeon - Story Dungeon - Theater
Seasonal Event Seasons - Limbus Pass - Refraction Railway - Dante's Notes - Walpurgis Night
Characters Dante - Vergilius - Charon
Sinners

Yi Sang Icon #1 Yi Sang - Faust Icon #2 Faust - Don Quixote Icon #3 Don Quixote - Ryoshu Icon #4 Ryōshū - Meursault Icon #5 Meursault - Hong Lu Icon #6 Hong Lu
Heathcliff Icon #7 Heathcliff Ishmael Icon #8 Ishmael - Rodion Icon #9 Rodion - Site-logo#10 Dante - Emil Sinclair Icon #11 Sinclair - Outis Icon #12 Outis - Gregor Icon #13 Gregor

Terminology:
Locations The City (Districts (NestsBackstreets)) - Outskirts - The Great Lake - Mephistopheles
Lore Abnormalities - E.G.O - Distortion - The Sign - Smoke War - Singularity - Golden Bough
Factions Limbus Company - Fixers (OfficesAssociations) - Syndicates (Five Fingers) - Wings
Other:
Songs "In Hell We Live, Lament" - "Between Two Worlds" - "Fly, My Wings" - "Compass" - "Through Patches of Violet" - "Pass On"
Media Lobotomy Corporation - WonderLab - Library Of Ruina - The Distortion Detective - Leviathan - Limbus Company (Game)
Sinners
LCB Sinner Yi Sang LCB Sinner Faust LCB Sinner Don Quixote LCB Sinner Ryōshū LCB Sinner Meursault LCB Sinner Heathcliff File:LCB Sinner Word disassociation.png LCB Sinner Rodion LCB Sinner Sinclair LCB Sinner Outis LCB Sinner Gregor 
Others
Dante StoryLog Vergilius StoryLog Charon StoryLog Saude StoryLog Effie StoryLog Pilot StoryLog Caiman StoryLog Moses StoryLog Ezra StoryLog Hermann StoryLog Gubo StoryLog Aseah StoryLog Demian StoryLog Rim StoryLog Panther StoryLog Lion StoryLog Wolf StoryLog Yuri StoryLog Aya StoryLog Hopkins StoryLog Old G Corp. Head Manager StoryLog Tomah StoryLog Tingtang Boss StoryLog Aida StoryLog Tieqiu Boss StoryLog Kromer StoryLog Guido StoryLog Siegfried StoryLog Eunbong’s Bar & Fryers Owner StoryLog Bodhisattva Chicken's Manager StoryLog Dongrang StoryLog Samjo StoryLog Shrenne StoryLog Alfonso StoryLog Stephanette StoryLog Marile StoryLog Ran StoryLog Rain StoryLog Queequeg StoryLog Starbuck StoryLog Pip StoryLog Stubb StoryLog Smee StoryLog Ricardo StoryLog The Indigo Elder StoryLog Santata StoryLog Dodoru StoryLog Crayon StoryLog Domino StoryLog Bamboo-hatted Kim StoryLog Aeng-du StoryLog Catherine StoryLog Hindley StoryLog Josephine StoryLog Mr. Earnshaw StoryLog Erlking Heathcliff StoryLog Every Catherine StoryLog Öufi Assoc. Director StoryLog The Time Ripper StoryLog 
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