Secrets

The large oak chest stood beside the crib, at once unassuming and threatening. It was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, inlaid with lighter wood panels and ornate silver filigree; a work of quality that reflected an age long past, where practicality took second place to aesthetic. It had been resting quietly there for seven days now, the elephant in the room; it had doubled as a table on which to brew tea, a fort for Analith to play on, a showplace for the Winter’s Veil gifts, but the lid had remained firmly shut.

Leafsong treated the chest like an unexploded bomb. She edged around it, always aware of its solid presence in her everyday life, both curious and guarded. Elurina, who seemed to be enjoying her granddaughter’s discomfort, studiously ignored the chest’s presence. Ashamal shot the occasional glance towards the chest, his lip curling. Whenever Leafsong caught him scowling, she cringed inwardly and turned away, her face burning. She would scoop up one of the babies, dandling them in his face, distracting him. Keep reminding him that you are the mother of his children she reminded herself, continuously. Don’t let him dwell on his mate’s dubious new ancestry.

Ashamal Shalah’aman’s oldest enemy – one that outdated Scourge, Qiraji or demon – were the members of that elitist caste who had dominated the society of his youth. His own family – though made wealthy through his father’s successful tailoring – were ranked as second class citizens in Suramar, continually looked down on by the so-called cream of society. He debauched them as heretics, hedonists, as every wicked thing under the moon; but the rest of the world knew them as the Highbourne. Ashamal’s hatred for these blasphemous traitors would be a recurrent theme for the next ten millenia of his life. It was a hatred which Leafsong had gladly shared with him, it being one of the few areas of common ground during the fraught early days of their partnership. He hated them for their idolatry, their hedonism and their avarice; Leafsong (who, like her parents, had known nothing but poverty and squalor) hated them simply for the fact that they were wealthy.

When the remnants of the Highbourne made their re-emergence from the dark and hidden places of the world in recent weeks; after the Cataclysm had revealed their secret hide-aways and unearthed long-buried Highbourne ruins, Ashamal had stalked the streets of Stormwind after dark with his hand on his gun, praying to Elune that he would catch one of those maligned arcanists alone and unwary. His disgust at their acceptance in modern Kaldorei society was such that it kept him up at night, writing long and venomous letters to various Darnassian officials; who were all younger than him and had no ancient hatred of these pale new allies, who brought new knowledge and magic with them.

Until a week ago, the presence of the Highbourne in Stormwind had made no impact on Leafsong; other than the time she had attempted to pick some extravagantly-robed old woman’s pocket in the Cathedral Square, and had been transfigured into an outraged sheep.

Then, the chest had arrived.

Much to the delight of the Explorers’ Guide and other budding archaeologists, the shifting of the earth during the Cataclysm had brought to the surface several hundred ancient Highbourne estates. The Darnassian government (under the influence of their pale new allies) had agreed to investigate any possible claimants to these ruins, to dissuade any looters. A particular set of ruins in the Stonetalon Mountains, near the coast, had been accredited to a particular Highbourne clan by name of Glen’fallien.

The Glen’fallien family had been notorious even among a society of sycophants for their crawling obsequious nature, their false flatteries and their parasitic attachment to those who they perceived could be valuable to them. They had hidden this repulsiveness beneath a veneer of culture; becoming somewhat known for composition of cloying verses and puffed-up love songs, all façade and no substance. They frequented Azshara’s court, though the great Queen had no time to spare for such insignificant toadying servants.

When the Highbourne had foolishly summoned the Legion into the world, the cowardly Glen’fallien family had fled; not caring enough for those they had flattered to stay behind and defend them against this terrifying new enemy. They had disappeared, and no-one knew (or cared) what became of them.

Now, it seemed, someone had found out what had happened to them – or at least to two of them, a pathetic couple named Ghonam and Livilla who possessed all of the Glen’fallien ambition but none of the guile. They had slunk around the hidden places of Azeroth for several thousand years; after the birth of their only child – a daughter – they lived with the arcanists in the hidden orifices of Eldre’thalas for several more. After Ghonam had been caught stealing magical artefacts and reagents to sell to the furbolg, him and his wife were blasted out of existence by a furious Prince Tortheldrin.

Their adolescent daughter fled, making her way up the coast of Kalimdor, fleeing the angry arcanists. The druidic stronghold of Nighthaven had seemed the perfect place for her to hide from their wrath. Without a family, an education, skills, personal charm or a single copper coin to her name; Elurina Glen’fallien had changed her name according to the Kaldorei style, taking on the cognomen ‘Gladefall’. The family Gladefall – most of whom were ignorant to their tainted ancestry – continued to live in obscure poverty for the next five thousand years. Lacking any talent, with no-one to flatter, they eked out a miserable living on the streets of Nighthaven. Elurina’s daughter took a greedy and ambitious mate, one Mel’arian Toadwhisper, who took her name to avoid detection for previous misdoings. They had three children: two boys, and a girl.

Ashamal Shalah’aman had known his mate for three years, yet he had been blind to the clues to her ancestry that were hidden in her face and body. The pale skin that was almost translucent, showing the veins beneath; the long nose and white hair, the skinny limbs.

When Elurina, smirking, had finally revealed the secret which she had kept hidden for so long; Leafsong had refused to believe her. It had seemed too incredible; she could not imagine any heritage other than the penury and beggary that seemed synonymous with the name of Gladefall. It had seemed too cruel, that in addition to the scorn that was heaped upon her for being part of the underclass; she should carry this additional stigma- to be related to a nest of the worst kind of Highbourne, sycophantic cowards!

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    Great post babe. The detail was amazing on this one, and I loved how you explained things like the Darnassian government going to investigate deeds claims and prevent loooters from hitting sites. Great job ❤

  2. 2

    Tylandra said,

    I saw Leafsong with white hair yesterday. Did something happen?

  3. 3

    Leafsong said,

    She originally had white hair! She had white hair for about a year and a half, then I got bored and decided to have her dye it =P


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