Leafiara/Tales/In Tilamaire's Sanctuary
Original Story: Eorgaen 24, 5117
In Tilamaire's Sanctuary
Bright blue walls are covered with pictures of inspiring landscapes, stunning flowers, vibrant festivals, and beautiful faces; each is tacked in place by golden musical note-shaped stickpins. Resting beside the oak door is a worn traveler's cloak, threadbare and patched, a rustic carryall, and a weather-friendly instrument. A writing table with musical sheets, inkpots, and quills stored upon it is set beneath a sunlit window. Music fills the air with its sweet lively cadence.
An abomination hung there in Leafiara's sanctuary--among all the scenic pictures loomed a mid-sized bulletin board covered scattershot in small papers and parchments, pinned to it with leaf-shaped stickpins that were connected by a sprawling, haphazard spider web of red strings. Many small scraps bore only a single word; others were clippings of articles from the scrivener or the TownCrier.
She took the board down, set it on her writing table, and shook her head at the task before her: disconnecting all the red strings, setting aside the stickpins, and removing and trashing the papers. All the plots, all the speculation, and yet only Naimorai--now Raznel--remained from a dead family. Leafi's eyes scanned the board. Among the larger articles were smaller papers in her own handwriting: Shinann, Sareyna, Leafiara, Reannah, Subarashi, Rodnay, cleric, empath, female, half-sylvan, black blood, Rowmi, Brieson, Cruxophim, blood magic, Stormyrain, Raelee, Magister, Bekke, Hall of Mages...
Her eyes now close to the center of the board, she knew which had to be the first to go; she tore Dennet from the board and ripped it into pieces with a smirk. How many times she'd wanted to end Dennet's life, come whatever retribution may. How many times she'd looked for an opening, but he had always been on guard around her. He had never seemed to know her thoughts, but maybe he had felt her concealed emotions because of Quinshon...
"Not that it had to be me. It didn't have to be anyone whose face that fool knew," Leafiara mused. The Rooks had archers in the shadows. An unknown citizen had put an arrow through her leg during the height of Chaston's influence. An unknown militiaman had fired at Rodnay just a few days earlier. It might only have taken one brave soul to catch Dennet off guard and put a bolt through his head...
"Would have saved us all the trouble."
Her eyes turned to the next cluster of scraps, amidst news articles about them: Rooks, Rysus, Stephos, Alendrial. "One of you I like. One of you I put up with because of the one I like. And one of you..." she trailed off, glanced briefly toward Reannah, and then removed Rysus from the board.
"I don't know about you. You threatened her because of the disappearances, then later you said you'd been kidding," she said in a whisper. "I would have said I was kidding too, even if I wasn't." Leafiara looked over toward Irar and Golem, right next to Thadston, and an amused smile briefly crossed her lips before she turned her gaze back to her Rysus scrap.
"But I wonder. If you'd only threatened Dennet himself, I'd still be on your side..."
Leafi paced briefly, then nodded once. "Off the board and off my bad list too--for now. You Rooks might be too important. Could have really used more eyes and spies inside the Outpost... it's half the reason I was there myself."
Leafiara shrugged and set the paper aside. Lots more scraps to crumple and trash, but it wouldn't take longer than half an hour. And then she'd have her pure sanctuary back, designed as it was meant to be by Tilamaire, spirit of music and dance and inspiration--Tilamaire, the servant of Cholen, the Arkati of performing arts, the master of mischief and disguises.
OOC bonus commentary
In the past, like in the TownCrier interview, I've claimed that Leafi doesn't study magic in a traditional academic way, but learns by being around other magic users and hearing and learning from an inner harmony to their spells. That was inspired by the messaging for a Tilamaire cleric's Divine Wrath, which says things like:
"Leafiara begins to hum softly, a sweet, soft melody that somehow manages to harmonize with every random noise and tiny sound of your surroundings."
"As you pour your soul into an appeal to Tilamaire, you know that you are heard. Every sound grows more distinct and acute, and, at the very edges of your awareness, you sense a greater harmony echoing softly through everything around you."
So, given a character who can be divinely inspired to hear a connection between any random noise and object, I think it makes sense that she'd also look for connections between any random event... And I love the idea of her having this mix of a mind map and a conspiracy board hanging on the wall of her sanctuary. I also generally think it's reasonable that she's always on watch for secret plots due to a history in theater (after any especially wild speculation she'll often self-deprecatingly say "maybe I've just been in too many plays") and a love of Cholen the mischief maker.
(And speaking of mischief... Cyph's affections were in trouble in at least three ways without counting that he was dying, but even if he'd gotten past all of that, the moment he really and finally destroyed all his chances was when a certain someone had a pie delivered to Leafi's face in front of Cyph and he immediately said it wasn't him.)
Looking Back OOC - August 28, 2019
I can't even lie; much like the closing image of Crisis of Conscience, I basically wrote this whole vignette to build to that ending line and throw a wrench in Leafi's character with a sort of weird twist on Cholen. I often try to keep Leafi somewhat ambiguous for three reasons in ascending order of importance:
- I want the flexibility to go in any direction based on natural character progression
- She's a free-spirited character who acts on whim and impulse
- I think it's just more interesting to keep people guessing
This does cost me RP opportunities, no doubt, because Leafi won't join up with any super goody-two-shoes organization and wouldn't even even learn of any grimdark organizations, never mind join them. But the last thing I'd want is for someone to type PROFILE LEAFIARA and start immediately stereotyping based on being a member of this MHO or that CHE.
I mean, hey, it's already bad enough that anyone can Symbol of Recognition and figure out she's in Voln. (Real talk: she 10000% belongs in Guardians of Sunfist where it's all about violence and glory, but I'm not joining that with a 1x Physical Fitness cap!)
People on Team Good and Team Evil alike have tried to recruit her, but all I can say is be careful what you wish for. I'm quite sure that neither of them would expect the results they'd get...