Leafsong’s views on her family: Melarian Gladefall

Melarian Gladefall (My father):

At first appearance, my father appears to be every inch the successful owner of a lucrative and expansive trading corporation. The Gladefall Herb Empire has branched out from its original premise (selling low-cost, all-natural herbal remedies); to general alchemical and olfactory production, and the addition of an international import/export service. Of course, the import/export service is just a smokescreen for the true purpose of the shipping network – the trafficking of restricted substances, and fencing stolen goods. There’s a reason why us Gladefalls hate tax season with such vehemence: it takes a great deal of effort to reconcile the obvious wealth of the GHE with the relatively minor profits made from peddling headache cures and constipation remedies!

My father dresses more flamboyantly than any Kaldorei male I’ve ever met. He always wears robes in regal shades, such as deep mauve with golden trim, fur-lined cloaks imported from Winterspring. His hair is perfectly coiffed and styled, his beard oiled into a spiral and adorned with a single crystal bead. To others, his voice appears calculatingly deep and thrilling, carefully manufactured to send tremors down any potential client’s spine. Rings cover his fingers, a Gladefall seal gleaming like a blob of molten elementium on his right knuckle. He exudes a sense of self-righteousness as powerful as any Highborne lord, and – unless one knew better- one could easily mistake him for one of noble blood.

We Gladefalls know better, though. Our patriarch is no more a Highborne lord than I am Sargeras, Destroyer of Worlds. The jewellery he claims as family heirlooms were obtained in the past five years in assorted sordid ways, no doubt pried from dead men’s fingers or plucked from strange vaults. The “Gladefall seal” is a modern creation, as is my father’s voice itself. His silver tongue is a product of hours of elocution, although he is not perfect at it and sometimes he will slip up and betray a hint of his true heritage. He only allows himself to fully lapse back into coarse Nighthaven slang when he is alone with us.

It would be silly for him to continue this pretense for the benefit of my brothers and I, when we have seen him dressed in little more than sackcloth and scraps of leather. It is the greatest fear of my father that someone outside the family will discover that, less than ten years ago, the charismatic mastermind behind the GHE was little more than a street peddlar, living in the poorest district of Nighthaven and surviving off the kindness of strangers. He is terrified that the lightning-quick expansion of the GHE from street stall to international market, (currently attributed to his own renowned business acumen and genius) will be revealed as the product of a rich man’s donation. Gold, not guile, was the true catalyst of the Gladefall Herb Empire’s success.

Ten years ago on the breezy slopes of Hyjal, a wealthy exile stumbled across a ragged, dirty girl, gathering wild steelbloom for her father to sell off a blanket. Her feet were bare and bloodied from climbing the craggy path which connected the mountain to the neighbouring region of Moonglade. The wealthy man gave her a gold coin to buy a pair of sandals. The next time he saw her, she was still barefoot. Over the next few weeks, he learnt that the girl’s father was attempting to gather enough capital to purchase a business license for a small herb shop. The exile had nowhere to spend his fortune, so continued to give her gold in increasingly large amounts. One day, she stopped picking flowers on the slopes of Hyjal, and he eventually forgot that she had ever existed.

A decade later, they met by chance in Shattrath City. He had been given a dispensation by the Darnassian Council, and had his lands and citizen rights restored. She was no longer a barefoot peasant, but the daughter of a prosperous merchant who had won a prestigious and extremely lucrative Cenarion Circle contract. The success of the GHE had been celebrated from Darnassus, to Auberdine, to Astranaar; as new branches opened their doors and clients flocked to partake in this ‘Elune-blessed’ new venture. Look at what I, Melarian Gladefall, have accomplished by myself. The Goddess is smiling on the Gladefall family.

All might still have been well, if only Ashamal Shalah’aman and Leafsong Gladefall had not crossed paths once more. Before long, she had fallen pregnant with his child, and out of obligation he had taken her as his lifemate. Ashamal was far from stupid, and knew that the incredible fortune of the GHE was due to a fortune of a kind other than Melarian’s natural business acumen. He only brought it up on rare occasions (usually when his wife was being particularly ungrateful or obnoxious), but it was a reminder frequent enough to unsettle Melarian. I know the secret behind your success. The GHE is not successful because it is blessed by Elune, it is successful because your daughter sold herself for gold on the slopes of Mount Hyjal.

And this is why my father and my husband can never get along. My husband knows that he is the one responsible for the GHE’s success, and my father knows that – no matter how high he may rise – there is someone out there who can send him tumbling back down. My husband is the only one outside the family who knows that the success of the GHE is built on prostitution, deception, and petty theft.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    What an interesting post. Please do more of these, babe! =D

  2. 2

    Sharaan said,

    Isn’t Melarian someone in game already?


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