Meredith Ariana Stefflin (neé Celestine) is a character in The Gerosha Chronicles of Dozerfleet Comics. She is a singer/songwriter and a romantic interest of Aaron Stefflin in Blood Over Water: The Novel.
Meredith was born to Pete Celestine and Wanda Knottle-Celestine. While there were a few Celestines living in Cadillac, the Knottles mostly chose to stay in Tennessee. Wanda moved with Pete to Big Rapids to raise their daughter together. However, they maintained ties with her family in Tennessee regularly. Meredith grew up with a keen interest in both theology and in music. She began to see the contemporary Christian music market as having become decadent and filled with heresy; and she made it her life goal to infiltrate the industry and do something about it.
She met Aaron Stefflin in late 2008, and immediately had an effect on him. They were soon attending the same church in town. At the same time that she was making a stronger believer out of Aaron, however, Chris Kennal was becoming a corrupting influence over Aaron's brother Mark. Her mother Wanda remained suspicious of Aaron, as he seemed a bit worldly by her standards.
Altercation with Tobey Moffin
Meredith went to Nashville in the summer of 2009 with an album's worth of her own written songs to perform. She tried to impress Tobey Moffin, a producer at a record label that was operating near Nashville. She didn't realize that Tobey attended an apostate church that was heavily involved in LGBT activism, however. As she performed her song "Righteous Judgement" in the studio, she was interrupted by an infuriated Tobey. He looked over the lyrics while she was performing, and decided that her message was somehow a direct ideological threat to his church's activism. He grabbed her guitar straight from her hands, smashing it to pieces on the ground as she watched in horror and shock. When she intervened to stop him, he punched her in the nose and knocked her to the ground.
Studio security arrived, and dragged her away as she was holding her injured nose. Tobey vowed to have be zapped any label or producer that dared attempt to do business with her, threatening a massive Twitter war to make sure she would never work in the music industry again. Wanda tried to have Tobey charged with assault and battery, but the local law officials instead had a restraining issue placed on her for daring to suggest that Tobey should be held accountable for his violent outburst. The Celestines were ordered not to take any action whatsoever to seek recourse against Tobey Moffin.
Leaving Big Rapids
It was not long after that in which Meredith's father died of pancreatic cancer. Wanda was able to find a job in the Nashville area as a phone receptionist for a paper factory. This allowed her to settle in the Nashville area with her surviving relatives. It also meant, however, that Wanda and Meredith no longer had any reason to remain in Big Rapids. In August of 2009, right before the fall 2009 semester began at Ferris State University, the Celestines moved back to the Nashville area. Meredith promised Aaron that he could visit her in December. He vowed to keep in touch, in the hopes that their romance would not have to die simply because they couldn't see each other every day.
Meredith the informant
Aaron arrives at Meredith's new home sooner than she anticipated, and is clearly not the cheery and bubbly guy she once knew. He is not merely running to her out of missing her badly; he's running to her for a place to hide from the dangerous new enemies he has. She agrees to help him lay low, and to take his evidence against Clyde Spendelworth and Sleet Mountain to the FBI. Wanda is initially hesitant to house someone of such high liability; but Meredith insists that they not turn him away. She even goes so far as to argue that her true calling in life may very well be to aid Aaron, rather than to perform music.
Aaron and Meredith's quest to tip the FBI off proves extremely dangerous, with Gleeful-N'-Young agents knowing he's out there somewhere and having a picture of his deceased twin brother Mark as a visual reference for someone to kill on sight. Making the couple's quest for justice even more dangerous is the arrival of Ashley Phillips, who was abducted by Clyde's brothel workers and escaped slavery with the help of a partially-reformed Chris Kennal. Aaron, Meredith, and Ashley are finally able to bring the heavy arm of the law down on Sleet Mountain and all of Gleeful-N'-Young, nearly exterminating every single operative of that brothel network in all of the midwestern United States. Clyde escapes to Idaho, and gains protection with the Hebbleskin Gang. Chris becomes a wandering fugitive/vigilante, whose new mission in life is to destroy Clyde's brothel empire - with or without the aid of law enforcement.
It is a few months after all the fuss that Wanda is able to help Aaron and Ashley find places to stay. Ashley falls in love with an FBI agent and eventually marries him. The Fobels move back to northern Michigan. Aaron is only in his apartment alone for a year, working in the Nashville area and finishing his schooling down there, before he and Meredith finally wed. The couple enjoys several more years of bliss living in Tennessee, before they are forced to relocate to Toklisana when Halal Affadidah takes over the eastern United States for the Muslim Brotherhood and renames it "Ameristan." The new Stefflin couple remains in Toklisana the rest of their lives afterward. However, their grandchildren do participate in the rebuilding of Gerosha after the original Ciem helps a team of 49 special soldiers to reclaim the eastern quarter of the country from what remains of Affadidah's regime. Fittingly, one of the towns reclaimed from the evil regime most directly just so happens to be Big Rapids. Some time after moving to Toklisana, Meredith acquires a pet badger that she names "Savage."
Meredith is shown to be mostly cheery, though she is also shy and has trouble standing up for herself. She will, however, defend those she loves from harm or unfair criticism. She does not seem to be very independent, and is a fragile creature. However, she believes in Aaron's cause enough to put herself in danger for him. She is passionate about her faith and about sharing it. However, her emphasis on addressing fine theological points of teaching through her music that are relevant to 21st century social topics earns her a lot of enemies when her lyrics strike raw nerves. She sees what she does as important beyond the need to worry about who gets offended. Her courage, however, has made her the target of threats and stalking by ideological opposition. Said opposition even goes so far as to sell her out to Gleeful-N'-Young assassins, placing her life in even more danger.
Appearance and role in story
Meredith was developed into a character gradually over time, as a way to explain both where Aaron fled to for safety after the events in the main story and to explain what major he had at Ferris and why he held that particular major. She eventually became a way to make commentary on a variety of social and cultural issues discussed on the page for her song "Righteous Judgement," as opposed to merely filling in plot holes for Aaron's backstory. Her overall personality is a composite of Megan Barker, the early Taylor Swift, and a few other women that the Dozerfleet founder met in years past. Her appearance in-story was based on Taylor Swift, and she is teased about it. The choice to have Aaron dating a blonde is also a reference to Malorie Lewis-Foster, who married the actor Zach Foster that played Aaron in the original miniseries.
Video game appearances
It was decided in January of 2014 that a Blood Over Water graphic novel should be pursued in addition to a regular novel. Due to issues with drawing freehand, storyboards would be crafted and pieced together in The Sims 3 in advance of that. Said storyboards would then serve as guides to hand-drawing different scenes out. The hand-drawn scenes would then be scanned back in, and Photoshop-treated to add dialog bubbles where appropriate.
However, this planned process required that Sim models of the cast members exist. Since Utterly Sims (later DzMD) was making a return on Tumblr anyway, it only made sense to embrace the alternate continuity for Blood Over Water by releasing novel versions of the characters for download. Meredith was included in the set along with Wanda, Bob Lusital, and Vance Lingolin. These four were included in addition to the eight characters that were carry-overs from their miniseries counterparts.