Leafiara/Non-Canon/A Marked Maiden

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Original Story: Olaesta 7, 5119

The scruffy-bearded militiaman looked warily over the half-sylvan cleric, nodding briefly in greeting. "What brings you here?" he asked, his voice gruff and curt.

Leafiara flashed a grin at him. "I'd like an application form for the militia, please!"

A look of mixed disgust and surprise crossed the militiaman's face. "You? Ha!" He smirked. "Oh, that's rich. The Rook lover wants in."

Leafi raised an eyebrow. "Are those rumors still going around? I've never been a Rook."

The militiaman leaned forward. "I didn't say that, did I? Rook lover," he repeated.

The lass ran a hand through her cherry red hair in frustration. "Then what's your problem tonight? I love all our citizens."

"What a shock, the Tilamaire follower's dancing around the subject. I want to hear it from your own mouth: you love the Rooks."

Leafi peered quizzically at him. "Okay, I love the Rooks. Now can I have an app--"

The militiaman raised his voice, calling out to others in the barracks. "I got her to admit it! Did ya hear it, men?"

A few more militiamen strolled in from other rooms. "What's goin' on now, Mark? What's this about?"

Mark smirked. "This one here," he said, pointing at Leafiara, "thinks we're dumb enough to buy into this rumored truce the new Rook leader wants."

"Wait, I didn't say that--"

"Oh, you didn't say that, but you love the Rooks? Right."

"You know, I was about to give you credit," Leafi said quietly, "for at least asking where I stand. Most people don't do that before letting their overactive imaginations get to work. But no, you're the same as everyone else--"



[stuff happens, eventually things escalate to the point that...]



Leafiara shook her head, then sung the lyrics to a Silence spell and gestured at a surprised Mark. "Just listen!" she snapped, as the militiaman clutched at his voiceless throat, scowling.

"Do you have any idea what you're talking about?" she shouted. "The reason the Rooks never invited me to join and the reason they never attack me--they're both the same thing! It's because I don't attack them!"

A couple of the militiamen quietly backed away into another room.

"It's because I'm not willing to harm our own people! If your favorite answer to everyone you don't like is murder, why don't you join the Rooks? I'm sure they'd love you with that attitude! A perfect fit!" Leafi glared, her fists clenched.

Rustling sounds came from the other room.

"And it's not that I don't love a good killing!" she ranted. "Every week I slaughter bandits by the hundreds and I love it--but violence is for the enemies outside our walls, not the ones inside them! ...and not the ones beneath them! That's what it means to be a citizen! That's what it means to call the Landing home! Trial in the courts! Dealing fairly with our people!"

Several more militiamen began filing into the entry area, along with those who had backed off moments earlier. "We hear there's a troublemaker casting spells against our men?"

"No... no!" Leafi said incredulously. "Not a harmful spell!"

"Let's step aside and have a chat," said one of the female militia members, stepping forward and nodding to the cleric.

"You want to detain me?!"

"...just a chat," she repeated. "Just you and me, Leafiara to Alicia."

"Maybe you should be detaining him," Leafi said, pointing at the glowering Mark, "for his accusations! Those really did hurt! And they last a lot longer than a Silence spell!"

"Ma'am, we respect--"

"I mean it! B-but here, fine, let me undo the spell--" Leafi began to sing the lyrics of her dispelling magic, but immediately several soldiers rushed forward and seized her arms before she could finish the song or motions. "Wait, it was only a dispel! I never hurt our citizens!"

"That's enough," said Alicia. "You need to cool down." She motioned to the other miltiamen, who held Leafiara's arms tight as Alicia locked a pair of mithril shackles around her wrists.

Leafi babbled something unintelligible. "Do you know how easily I could get out of here with the Symbol of Return? Not that I'm going to run, because I have nothing to hide! But--but at least get the shackles in my cape. These are going to leave a mark, but my personal ones are lined with silk--"

Alicia led Leafi away toward a holding cell as she continued rambling. "Maybe you can fill out that application after a nice, calm chat in a nice, secure room."



The remaining militiamen at the entryway exchanged glances. "There's no way she'll be accepted, right?"

"She shouldn't be. ...but I really can't say for sure. Marshal Thadston's temper gets a lot worse than that."


Notes

Why did I write this?

Despite three years of people mistaking Leafi for a militia member, I could never find any plausible incentive for her to join for two main reasons.

The more important reason was that I couldn't see why she would join the militia to defend the town when she'd already been defending the town without joining--which is why people mistook her for a member anyway. That one was resolved when Thadston decided to pursue Raznel, which aligned with Leafi's primary goal for three years. (For more on this, see here.)

The less important reason was that, despite her love of battle and invasions, she doesn't like rules, order, or complicated laws. So this would be my attempt to resolve that and make sure she joined the militia in a less than straightforward way, setting the stage and teasing other players for what's to come while also stressing that Leafi's the same character and joining wouldn't magically turn her into a more serious one like the militia captains.


Why did I decide against it being canon?

Mostly because I couldn't figure out how to believably escalate things up to Leafi casting Silence at a militiaman, since making her mad is nearly impossible; even if he physically attacked her, she wouldn't fight back. Or at very least she wouldn't fight back with a Silence spell--if anything it would be (ironically) a Calm spell.

Also, as someone who was (at the time) outside of the militia, I felt uncomfortable with writing roles for the NPC militia characters. How could I know what rules the NPC marshal had in place, or what rules the militia captains had, for these lower ranking members? It didn't feel right to me even though I felt that I was portraying them in a very positive light. (Mark is rude, but firm and has a good quip; Alicia takes charge of the situation with a level head; unnamed militiamen successfully subdue one of the highest level characters.)

Lastly... I felt it was too much to cram into one vignette and too far off in tone. I love the idea of Leafi going through a trial by fire in a series of misunderstandings, but the original idea was just "Leafi contemplates joining the militia," not "Leafi gets into wacky hijinks."


Even non-canon, what can you take away from it?

Well, pretty much everything here except Leafi getting angry is perfectly in character for her. Her passionate rant about what it means to call the Landing home, and her offhand explanation for not being a Rook, are canonical beliefs of hers, at least in my mind--she just wouldn't quite express them that way!


What's the actual canon?

This. She sends in an application and is accepted immediately, but is baffled if not suspicious about why.