Leafiara (prime)/Tales/SNAP

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Original Story: Fashanos 10, 5121

The door of the public cobbling workshop swung open, creaking heavily, just as Leafiara was finishing polishing the warcat-etched buckles on a pair of boots. She set them aside with a couple dozen other pairs, each buckled with alternating warcat etchings and rook etchings, and smiled as she turned to face Kanona, an apprentice from Lute's music shop.

The young woman bobbed a quick curtsy. "Good afternoon, Mayor--"

Leafiara waved a dismissive hand. "How long have we known each other again?" She grinned.

"Sorry, sorry." Kanona chuckled. "Anyway," she blurted, "since ye've been holed up in here, I thought I'd bring word. Some o' th' people are real uneasy now, y'know. Whispers o' rebellion er revolution makin' their rounds."

Leafi rubbed her chin thoughtfully, then nodded briefly. "The wheels are already turning, then. That's the Landing for you."

Kanona nodded slowly.

"Tell 'em to tread carefully. Bide their time and assemble at the right opportunity, or one of the factions will crush them." She paused. "Wonder if what I'm doing here will help them out a little, indirectly."

Kanona's eyes scanned the workshop, then back to her half-sylvan friend. "What are ye doin' here anyway? I never even seen ye wear boots 'cept fer the Silvergate Gala and now yer makin' an army o' 'em," she said, her brow furrowed. "Knowin' you I'd a expected you to be one of 'em vigilantes by now, with yer blades and spells flyin' day an' night. Is why I came here to tell ye at all."

"The time for that will surely come soon. And you're right, I'd rather be putting stitches in skulls than shoes," said Leafiara, flashing a quick grin. "For now, though... these armiger morons already can't tell the difference between friend and foe, so I'm working to muddy the waters further. Planting fake Rooks and fake Warcats in strategic places, ya see. They're dumb enough to start something on suspicions alone." She winked.

Kanona shifted her weight. "Gotta say, Leafs, fer someone who jus' gah overthrown, yer in way too high spirits."

"Care to know why?"

The young woman raised an eyebrow.

"The one thing everyone proves over and over, year after year--Amos, the Consortium, the Gryphons, the Enclave, the Rooks, Rone, the captains, even myself--is that it doesn't take a mayor to change the face of the Landing. Anyone can do it. Many actually do it."

"So all that bureaucracy was but a burden and a bore," she said briskly, snickering over her own alliteration. "Eight months," she said loudly, shaking her head, "eight months of fighting the town council to get a simple trash barrel in the square! Can you believe it? And still some say all the trouble is my fault! Because of course!"

Her snicker gave way to a louder chuckle. "After all, I was the Queen of the Rooks and the Queen of the Landing! The judge, the marshal, the rest of the town council, and the citizenry itself stood helpless before me! I alone had ultimate, unchallenged, uniliteral power to do as I please and I failed! Or so you'd think, to hear it from some!"

Amidst her now-raucous chuckling, she grinned ear to ear, her eyes wild and intensely staring through Kanona, who took several backward steps away from the displaced mayor. "Who'd even want such blame for such little power? To think I pursued so long a role so useless!" Leafi exclaimed, throwing her arms up wide and whirling about, turning her back to her friend.

"And yet who should free me from it but my own enemy? Better still that he's unleashed a force beyond his reckoning! Sweet irony," she near-shouted, "sweet irony that I accept this blessing of fate as Amos takes up the curse of folly!"

The music shop apprentice nearly tripped over her slippered feet as her backpedaling suddenly pressed her against the door, but her better instincts prevailed and her fumbling hand reached to secure her escape.

"May the heavens themselves hear my gratitude! Mayor Leafiara is dead! Long live Leafiara, Agent of Chaos!"

She threw her head back and laughed and laughed and laughed.


Kanona's eyes caught on the two armigers standing before Lute and she lifted her floor-length skirt, stepping up her pace to dash toward the music shop past a lazy wolf resting nearby. "Wait!" she called. "I got the information!"

The armigers turned to look as Lute breathed a sigh of relief. "Shoes," Kanona blurted out. "She's makin' shoes wi' symbols o' rooks er warcats to trow ye off. Same as th' Knave's trickery. Don' fall fer it."

One of the armigers narrowed his eyes. "You'd best not be lying. That's an overly simple plan."

"She's always been an ov'rly simple lass. Besides..." Kanona muttered something under her breath. "She gone nuts in her head. She snapped. She ain' the person I've known. Half scared th' spirit right outta me when she started cacklin' like the witch er the lich o'er her stupid 'brilliant' plan. An' yes, I confirmed too, she's gonna go vigilante. She jus' said it ain' yet th' time."

The armigers exchanged glances and nodded once.

Back in the cobbling workshop, Leafiara smiled and nodded as she watched the scene through the wolf's one remaining eye, then turned back to wrapping up her quiet work on what would, now that her hypothesis had borne out, be her final pair of boots.

Success. Assuming that what I do is compromised and acting accordingly continues to be the right move. There's potential to beat the Daily Darkstone at its own game. Just need to find a few more people who are under heavy scrutiny... or create them.