Naiara Bittertongue exists as a series of emotes, drawings and exquisitely timed phonetically spelled swear words. She doesn’t have a class. She has no profession. She does not even have an avatar. She does, however, consume a significant amount of RP. In return, she generates more than her fair share of Bricu/Threnn stories, ideas and vignettes. It should be no surprise, then, that Naiara was a huge factor in how the Bittertongues decided to deal with Arthas. This is how the Bricu prepared for war.
Thenia refused to think of her daughters and her son in law. Both daughters, her no good son-in-law and her nearly-perfect granddaughter had arrived to tell her, in person, that the Highlord had called the banners. The Riders were going to war, which meant her daughters were at risk… Instead, she focused on her still limping husband, who was stubbornly insisted on putting their granddaughter to bed.
“Sit and relax Thenia.” Padraig said, “You worked all day. Besides, I usually put her to bed. You can get her ready when she gets up in the morning.”
She noted that Padraig didn’t mention how Naiara did not want to come near her, or how Naiara fussed when he left the room. She was thankful that Padraig didn’t use the words, “phase, stage or fussy.” He just left it alone. Thenia almost smiled at her husbands kindness.
To keep her thoughts from drifting to Dalaran–and worse–Thenia kept herself busy by sorting through Naiara’s bags. Threnn and Bricu left her: sets of clothes, cloth diapers, homemade snacks and more stuffed animals than any little girl really needed. Each bag was meticiulously packed and ordered, and contained far more than what was necessary for “one last battle.”
At the bottom of the biggest bag, she found a large enevlope. It was addressed to Naiara, not to her, in Bricu’s hand writing. Thenia didn’t need instructions on how to take care of her granddaughter, and as clever as Naiara was, she was still years away from learning her letters. Her son-in-law left her a mystery. A mystery she carried with her to the kitchen, where she made herself some tea. As the kettle boiled, she checked to make sure no one in the house was watching her–a useless precaution given that she could hear Padraig reading a story to Naiara–and steamed the envolpe open.
She took out a collection of letters. Some were short notes, others were multiple page affairs. Some were written in Threnn’s handwriting, some in Bricu’s. All of them were dated. Most were dated for Naiara’s birthday, but Thenia found one with today’s date–a long letter written by Bricu–and read it.
My wee girl,
If you are reading this, and I didn’t give it to you, it means the worst happened at the Bloody Prince’s citadel. This isn’t a pleasent thought, and writing about it makes me worry all the more. Still, I want you to know that while your mother and I may have died fighting, our last thoughts were of you.
We fought the Bloody Prince for you. Sacrificing our lives was a shit bargain Naiara, but if it gave you a chance to grow up free of fear from the bastard that destroyed the North, then it was almost worth it. Almost.
I don’t know how many questions you have. Your grandma won’t answer many of them. Don’t hate her for it. Your grandma and I didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I knew she always had your best interests at heart. If she didn’t tell you everything, or she only told you terrible things, forgive her. She is only doing what she feels she needs to do. I told your uncles Robert and William to tell you all the stories they heard. Your aunt Tash should have come to visit you, and she knows more about the Old North and your da than your da does. Whatever Riders survived the Bloody Prince Citadel should treat you like a princesses…but these folk, as wonderful and brilliant as they are, will not answer all of your questions. The Riders, no matter how clever or daring they are, never knew what it was like to be an orphan.
You da did. I’m writing this so you know more about your parents.
First: You need to know that your mother and I loved you more than anything else in this world. Only a brother, or a sister, could have come close to our wee girl.So make no mistake: Leaving you with your Grandmother was the most difficult choice we made. But we made it, and as hard as it was, we would do it again. Our job was to keep you safe, no matter what happened to us. That didn’t stop us from missing you, from worrying about you, or smiling at the thought of you.
Second: Heres the truth about your family–Riders included. Under your godsfather’s leadership, broke the King’s law. We raided the depths of Ilidan’s Temple and pillaged lost artifacts. We took contracts with nobles, double crossed them, and lost that money in fantastically stupid ideas. Your mother bought liquor from all over the world. Liquor that was probably banned, or worse. Your aunt Annie kept two sets of books, one for our records, one for the Kings Tax collectors.
We kept one of those tax collectors in a jar.
All those stories are true. We did some rather nasty things. Still, these stories are just half of what we did. Hopefully, someone told yeh the stories about how we took care of Old Town when no one else would. I wrote some of those stories down–stories that you should read later.
Maybe you are old enough, now, to see how some folk operate. There are far too many folk, Northmen or Southron, who turn their backs on others. That’s not how the Riders do it. Even when our own folk were bloody stupid, we stood by each other. That’s the point o’the Colors. We weren’t loyal to a dynsasty in the North or the South, to a church or a faith. We were loyal to each other and those that did right by us.
Third: Your mother was the finest example of a Paladin I had ever known. She knew more about the Light than the priests at the Cathedral. She was clever, smart and beautiful. She was stubborn too. She lost the Light when she saved me from a terrible bastard of a man. She did her penance and regained the Light. That’s not a usual thing for paladins to do Naiara. Most just give up. But not Threnn. Your mother never quit, never faltered and never turned her back on someone in need. Marrying her was the second smartest thing I had ever done.
Foruth: Your da… Well, your da was from the North. Your da was a drunk. Your da once told a scary woman–Indarra Grizzelle Leafwhisper–that all holy men were con men. But your da wore the Colors proudly. Your da was a fine chef and a master jeweler. Your da washed your diapers with minor complaints. Your da taught you to swear–and if you’re still headbutting and fist-fighting, your da daught you that as well–and how to do it with style. I wish I could say that your da was a simple bloke who did right by others, but I won’t lie to you here. I was a bastard. Worse yet, I make no apologies for that. I walked a fine line, guided by the
Old Ways and the Light, but it was a path I chose willingly. But make no mistake: My girls were the center of my life. I did two brilliant things in my life: I married your mother and I helped bring you into this world. If I died keeping them safe from the Blood Prince–you should know that your da was at Stratholme and helped burn it to the ground–then so be it.
Your mum and I talked daily about who you would be when you grew up. We thought maybe the first human druid, or a hunter. Maybe you’d turn out like your uncle Tarquin. Maybe you’d be like your mum… Or maybe you’d be a chef. Or maybe you’d decide that all you wanted to do was run your grandparents shop. Your Mum and I want you to be happy. We want you to know that we are proud of you. That you were the most important person in our lives. No matter what you do, you will always be our clever wee girl who learned to say ballacks before she learned to say “Up.”
If you miss us, you can do two things: Pray to the Light and your mum should send you a sign somehow. If you ask fox for a boon, in a dream, I’ll give you what I can. I’ve already made a deal with her. She’ll take care of you.
I have written a few other letters here, some about the North, some about the Riders. Those are business. This is the letter where your da tries to make it clear that he loved you, that your mother adored you and that they were both so proud of you. We went away to keep you safe, and we will always watch over you.
Thenia folded the letter up and put it back into the envelope. She listened for Padraig or Naiara, but neither was making a sound. For the moment, Thenia was completely alone in her home. She sat in her chair and let herself worry about her family, in the North.