Fells, just Fells, has a fantastic story to tell. Sadly, she won’t tell you any of this story, even if you were in the Black and Red.
Eyan Woolery could have been her first, the son of an Eastvale logger who came by when his family needed produce and hers needed firewood. A yank on her braid had sent her chasing him into the forest, his quick wit had made her forget her anger, and for three weeks in the sweltering summer they’d been inseparable. Sneaking out had seemed fun and daring. She’d focused on tipping over sleeping cows and wading in the creek and making sure to ignore his attentions. It’d been easy enough to fend him off with a dismissive “‘trothed, Eyan” until he’d hovered too close and she’d realized that she was wetting her lips and watching his own all too intently. Their midnight misadventures ceased, Eyan Woolery took up with Jenna, the tanners’ girl, and Fells was free to wait for the betrothed she’d never met but was certain would come.
Her first was none of anyone’s business – an unnecessary cleanup job done in a fit of blind, stupid panic. At sixteen she should have been retrieved from the Brackwell farm years prior, or if not that, married off to a Light-fearing Elwynn boy and well on her way to giving him a family full of fat, happy babies. She’d helped slaughter and butcher meat for years; it’d been poor practice for taking a human life, crouched over the body in a slurry of dirt and blood that she still had nightmares of trying to wash off. It had been her sharp paring knife, snatched from the floor where it’d been scattered in the raid, that had done her first in. When she’d fled into the forest for safety afterwards, she’d flung it downstream into the creek. Besides needing it gone, she’d simply been trembling too badly to trust herself to run with a blade.
The farm had been her first. Her life was bordered to the east by the creek and the south by the river, with the road to the rest of the world out of shouting distance through the woods to the north. She could have followed it to the tiny schoolhouse twice a week and learned how to read. She could have cast her lot at the garrison once she turned thirteen, or found an apprenticeship in Goldshire at any place but the Lion’s Pride. Instead she’d contented herself with stealing away at odd hours to watch the comings and goings at Stormwind’s great gates. Whole nights had been lost imagining the lives of those who passed through and wondering if one of them might be her intended, finally coming to take her away. She had always ended up rushing back, had always been relieved and disappointed to find the farm still asleep.
One Lord Laurus Drachmas, third son of Heth Drachmas, noble of Lordaeron and self-proclaimed unrepentant freethinker had been her finest, and she would be damned if she’d admit it aloud anymore. Yes, he’d left her holding onto patience by her fingernails more often than not, and the rest of the world had asked her on more than one occasion: “Why him?” She couldn’t have explained their shared, base language of touch and pressure, and wouldn’t have even if her limited vocabulary had allowed it. When night had fallen on the bit of earth they’d carved from the world and claimed for their own, they could be together for a spell and she could believe that they loved each other, even if she had more and more difficulty with liking. Her devotion had been reckless, fervent, stubborn, and in the end, simply not enough.
Rengault Haneaux had been her finest. He was an agent of the Kirin Tor whose murder she’d never been charged with but had ended up sentenced to hang for all the same. It was debatable if the kill had even been hers at all. No, she hadn’t wielded the claws that raked his throat open; she’d only given the word. But the assault she’d rained on the body in a pique of rage might have been what technically did him in anyway. If nothing else, it’d certainly helped him shuffle off the mortal coil more swiftly, and had given her cause enough to claim the kill when she presented it to the man she came all too close to selling out instead of protecting. Haneaux’s had been the first murder she’d anticipated having to commit. It was also the only one she didn’t regret.
Stormwind was her finest; it had offered neither counsel nor compassion, but assigned its tasks just the same: find shelter, find a way to feed herself, find out how long she could manage without one or the other or both. She only had to hold out until her betrothed or her parents came for her, anyway. Like so many abandoned wretches she’d eked out comfort where she could find it, huddled on the front steps of its closed shops or the cramped crevices beneath its bridges where the rain didn’t reach. What coin she needed could be had from the pockets of its unsuspecting citizens. The city had never rewarded her for lessons learned other than the fact that she got to enjoy the benefits of her new-found skills. When she’d done well, it meant a room with a real bed and the luxury of getting to wonder how she would work through tomorrow.
Going by semantics, her last was a bit of a toss-up. With the lamp snuffed, the faint glow of elven eyes was hardly enough to go by, though she didn’t need sight to tell who was who. And in the end, the distinction mattered little. When dawn had burned away the night’s fog, the tangled pile of sheets and limbs separated easily enough into people who roused one at a time to go about their daily chores just the same. The first set to breakfast, the second set to children, and the third slept in far too late to catch the others at either until the sun had climbed well into the sky. Later that night, after the children were down, it’d more than likely start up again. Maybe it’d become routine, but who could ever hope for a more wonderful rut?
Her last was a real tenacious bastard. She knew when to expect him: when Felicia got that certain snotty grin and almost seemed to channel her father directly, that should have been the worst. But she expected the fight then, and it didn’t come, each time leaving her smugly thinking maybe she’d bested him for good. Then the want of him would sneak up on her and strike home without warning, making the back of her mind itch like an ant bite. She could have cut down an opponent of flesh and blood and been done with it, or set poisons to it and let them do the dirty work. Memories and mourning? She had to put those down as soon as they tried to take root, cutting them down with Better Off and Wonderful Home and No Longer Babysitting The Spouse. It was an unending task, but became easier by the day, and eventually she wouldn’t have to think about it at all.
Her last was a rough mishmash of things: children to wrangle and raise, a household to rebuild, a fallen country to help fleece and the spoils of which to see funneled into the right hands. More noteworthy was what it was not: for the very first time in her life she wasn’t mastered by the man she was promised to, hobbled by waiting or duty or playing mediator. Maybe a storm of circumstance tossed her about, but she was the one holding the rudder instead of trusting a Him to hold it for her and letting the rest fall to chance. It only took her twenty-two years to get it right.