Leafiara/Non-Canon/Worth of the Underground

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Original Story: Olaesta 29, 5118

Passing through Danjirland on her way to Icemule, Leafi's ear twitched at a series of faint sounds from behind her and she whirled around.

Three figures stared her down through beaked masks, closer than she'd expected.

Leafi let out a sigh of relief and a warm smile returned immediately to her face. "Rooks--how good to see you."

"Is it?"

"Absolutely! I have a letter for you and I've been hoping--"

"We know. And Rysus sees right through it."

Leafi raised an eyebrow. "He hasn't read it," she said, her voice tentative. "I--"

"You offer work toward a cure if he comes forward into custody. But, truly, you want him out of power. You want the throne for yourself."

Leafiara smirked. "And if I do?"

"Some of us believe Rysus will not survive. And some of us... do not wish him to."

"I see."

"And we are here to find out if you are worthy or not. You'll be coming with us."

Leafiara smiled at the figure. "Of course," she said, nodding.

"Not freely."

The sound of several crossbows being cocked suddenly filled the area.

Leafi's eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"In case you aren't worthy."

"Take her!" shouted another Rook from the shadows, and immediately the three figures lunged toward Leafi--but an evanescent shield surrounding her flared to life, pushing them back from getting near her.

"It doesn't have to be this way," she said, not yet lifting a finger in retaliation.

"Wrong."

Leafiara sighed, then chanted an invocation in a sharp voice and the three Rooks froze in their places, as did six others revealed from the shadows.

"You can't win this. I may not look it, but I'm one of the most powerful clerics the Landing knows. I am--"

"Outnumbered," a voice whispered in her ear.

Another eight Rooks faded into sight and motioned to seize her. Her evanescent shield pushed away five, but the others got through--and two quickly seized Leafiara's arms, yanking them behind her, while the other jabbed a boot into the back of her knee, forcing her down.

She tried to wrench away from their grip, but she got nowhere fast and she felt a sharp pinch at one of her arms, dizzying her.

"Wh-what have you done--" she asked, her voice and strength suddenly failing her. Her captors released her, but she slumped weakly toward the ground, eyes cast up with confusion as all seventeen Rooks gathered, standing over her in judgmental silence behind their beaked masks, watching as she faded into a quiet sleep.

"Even now she tried to defend herself without bloodshed. I doubt she's suitable... but let's see if we can't make something of her."

The Rooks exchanged nods, then tossed their captive into a large sack and hurried down to the safety of Burrow Way.


Notes

Why did I write this?

After the 5118 Landing election, I couldn't figure out where to take Leafi's character next.

One path involved her going insane and pretty much becoming the Joker, but... you kinda can't play that out in GS! And I figured people probably wouldn't enjoy it either, because it would be too loud and attention-hogging.

Another path involved retiring her from KST and bringing in a new character, but I figured people didn't really want that either since, all else being equal, they'd rather have someone who has story history than someone who doesn't.

Another path involved her trying to take out Rysus to become Queen of the Rooks, but I figured Kenstrom wouldn't go for that either.

I actually can't remember (saying this now in June 2019) whether I even went through with having Leafi send the letter that story references... It was about her offering to Rysus that the town could work to figure out a cure for his curse (if he was cursed) if he'd come forward into militia custody. (Leafi being Leafi, she didn't/wouldn't even mention that plan to either of the captains--she just assumed they'd be sticklers enough for the law that if Rysus turned himself in then they wouldn't execute him.)

Either way, at some point I was so unsure about what to do that I thought maybe I should just write Leafi off for a few weeks or months. Rohese had just gone on hiatus herself a couple weeks earlier with a story involving her caravan being attacked by bandits, so I thought maybe Leafi could get abducted by the Rooks.


Why did I decide against it being canon?

The most immediate thing that jumps out is that it rendered a verdict on whether Rysus really was cursed, during a time in the story where we didn't know if that was true or if Stephos was making things up.

I could have edited that part out easily enough, though, but even then I didn't like the similarity to Rohese's disappearance--or, for that matter, the similarity to Rone injecting Crux. I also didn't like deciding what a bunch of NPC Rooks would do, since even if I think it's completely believable and in-character, Kenstrom might not and he's running the show.

Lastly, I thought that no matter what happened to Leafi while she was captured, it would force a change in her character and I wasn't sure I wanted one even though I kept leaning that way.


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

Nothing, really. Maybe it happened in a totally alternate timeline or something!


What's the actual canon?

Nothing happened. Leafi just took some time away for a couple weeks and then came back.