Leafiara (prime)/Keeping Up with the Kestrels
Mission: Carenos' Death
Leafiara maintained early distance from the Kestrels when they arrived at the Hendoran outpost, but took a more active interest after Carenos assassinated Leafi's best friend Severine in Icemule for refusing to provide information about the Kestrels.
Among various mysteries, murders, and disappearances over the next couple months, as well as campaigning for mayor, Leafiara offered occasional help to the Kestrels, hoping to glean information that might help her get vengeance on Carenos. Carenos' target was Cyph Kestrel, who he claimed had killed his daughters, and he eventually shot Cyph with the Long Suffering poison, putting him in endless agony.
Leafiara joined Elementz, Ariond, and many others as they searched for Carenos over two nights, getting information on his whereabouts from the Rooks and then tracking him down. Though Carenos lived in the wilderness outside of Landing jurisdiction, Shinann fogged him into the Landing to escape pursuit by golems under Dennet Kestrel's control. There Carenos, seemingly frantic and possibly having his mind invaded at the time, would murder Rowmi. Various adventurers attempted to take him into custody, but ultimately Leafiara fogged him to the North Dock, cornering him for the militia to arrest him.
Carenos was later put to trial, where Leafi and many others testified, but ironically an unknown assailant shot him with the Long Suffering before Judge Renpaw could render a verdict. Months later, Ysharra would put him out of his misery with a mercy killing, to Leafiara's apparent delight.
Since early in the Kestrels' stay, Shinann had been visiting Dennet's wife Reannah Kestrel in efforts to cure her of a mysterious ailment, and eventually Dennet invited Leafiara and Sareyna to take care of her as well. Leafi agreed with the same hope of a cure, though many months later she would admit the ulterior motive of also wanting to keep a closer eye on the Outpost and suspicious behavior surrounding Dennet.
That suspicious behavior also attracted Osment the Augment, a member of the Red Brigade, who came to town to investigate and interviewed many people over several nights, including Leafiara. On one such night he disappeared, but he resurfaced a few nights later and claimed that the trail had gone cold and he would return home.
While adventurers discussed whether his memories had been altered by Quinshon, a Tehir mentalist and former member of the Hall of Mages working with Dennet, Leafi agreed that something was wrong but argued that it didn't matter and the Landing should resolve its problems on its own.
The Cyph Who Leafiara Could Have Been
Cyph's father Dennet planned to seal him inside a bane coffin until a cure for the Long Suffering could be found. Leafiara reluctantly helped others build the wards on the coffin, acknowledging it as a viable plan but hoping to find a better alternative before needing to use it. However, she regretted her aid due to suspicious circumstances that night and later did not help with sealing Cyph away.
Dennet and Quinshon eventually conducted a ritual to transfer Cyph's soul into the donated corpse of a Landing citizen, leaving behind the poison and his magical abilities. Over several weeks Cyph recovered strength and began training with a sword, asking to become a Landing citizen and join the militia, but had trouble retaining memories. He also began to make romantic gestures toward Leafi, who didn't return his affections but also didn't reject him due to sympathy and not wanting to risk hindering his recovery.
However, ultimately Quinshon revealed that the transference had been a failure and Cyph would die soon. Leafiara tried to reach out to Cyph with an offer to seek the Arkati's intervention, but was not in time as the transference fell apart one night and she and other Landing adventurers watched him pass.
In Cyph's final moments, he admitted to feeling pleasure over killing Carenos' daughters in an act of vengeance after Carenos had tortured him for two days. Leafi, who had carried vengeful feelings against the same man, did not blink at this and even snapped at those daughters' ghosts when they appeared to witness Cyph's death.
Afterward Leafiara retreated to her sanctuary and offered a silent bargaining prayer to Lorminstra to give more of her spirit to a resurrection than ever before if Cyph could be saved, but to no avail other than the loss of her own life. Though Leafi was restored, she was left despondent and Severine, Chaoswynd, Lylia, Ysharra, and others arrived to comfort her in a moment of weakness and grief.
Dennet's grand plan to rescue Reannah was having Quinshon transfer her into the body of a living person, for which his candidates were Shinann, Sareyna, and Leafiara. Dennet eventually selected and kidnapped Shinann, uniting dozens of Landing adventurers to find her with the help of the half-Ithzir Rodnay. They arrived at Dennet's underground chamber to see what appeared to be a successful transference--but was again a failure, leaving Shinann experiencing memories of Reannah's instead of being overtaken by her.
Rodnay drove off Quinshon, who remains at large. Dennet, wanting to die alongside his wife, got his wish and was impaled by a falling rock as the chamber collapsed.
Lingering Curse Concerns
Having originally dismissed it as a poor attempt at sowing dissension when Dennet Kestrel questioned during the 5117 mayoral campaign whether traces of the black blood curse lingered within her, Leafiara took it more seriously in hindsight after scraps of Naimorai Kestrel's journal revealed that, for unknown reasons, Leafi was ruled out as a host for Reannah's soul.
Even though Dennet selected Shinann, who had been afflicted with the same curse and had shown a more similar reaction to Leafi than to others such as Bekke or Gavrien when the cure was applied, the possibility of it lingering led Leafiara to provide Cruxophim with another blood sample to compare against past blood she'd given while known to be cursed.
Love and the Line Between Justice and Vengeance
Leafiara's concerns in the wake of the Kestrels were not merely external threats, as her struggles against darker tendencies haunted her.
During the height of Chaston Griffin's power she had dreamed of taking his life, not merely pragmatically but with a gleeful sense of vengeance, and had been talked down from becoming twisted with rage by Rubi and Ysharra. Despite this, less than a year later she watched with great pleasure as that same Ysharra delivered a mercy killing to Carenos, who Leafiara had never forgiven for assassinating Severine.
That Leafiara should be concerned with her joy over Carenos' death did not occur to her until months later when grief over failure to save Cyph Kestrel led her to dream of ending Dennet's life in a fit of vengeance--and to again be talked down, this time by Chaoswynd, Khylynnia, and Severine.
Though fearful of what she might become, Leafi hangs on to the memory of her horror over seeing her friends' concern and secretly relies on them to save her from herself if she loses sight of her better judgment again. Although she publicly revealed her past vindictiveness toward Chaston during the 5117 mayoral debates, she would only share her vindictiveness toward Dennet with very close friends until Fashanos 5118 when making a public statement regarding the vigilante Rone.
Blood Magic Musings
As she did during the war against Chaston, Leafi pondered whether she needed to gain experience with blood magic after disappointment with her inability to save not only Cyph, but also Lana and Reannah Kestrel.
However, she didn't yet inquire further with anyone since, despite looking up to known practitioners Cruxophim and Stormyrain, blood magic is also the domain of her hated enemy Raznel and not to be taken lightly, especially considering newfound self-recognition of her emotional vulnerability.
Despite turning against Rook leader Rysus after he threatened Reannah's life in retribution for Dennet's suspected kidnappings, Leafiara still respected the Rooks' talent with gathering intel, including leading adventurers to Carenos.
Though she admired militia captains Stormyrain and Shinann, Leafi had ongoing frustrations and impatience with the militia's inability to act on suspicions, such as an unwillingness to detain Dennet after his mother-in-law Drandea first accused him, or to act outside of Landing jurisdiction, such as an unwillingness to detain Stephos DeArchon when he spoke with adventurers at the Black Sands.
Her disdain for the limitations of the law, along with Rysus' eventual claim that his threat to Reannah hadn't been serious, ultimately led Leafi to continue privately considering the Rooks a necessary option for protecting the town despite disagreement with some of the methods they've been known to use.
Leafiara has begun sympathizing with others such as Archales, Chamorr, Pukk, and Wolfloner in anti-imperialist sentiments. Despite several notable Imperial allies like Brieson, Malvernus, Pylasar, and Sir Thadston, along with Hendor's ongoing aid, she also sees many Imperial figures as either incompetent, malicious, or self-serving enough to be untrustworthy.
The quick downfall of Osment was a turning point leading Leafi to say publicly that the Landing is better off not relying on external help.