There were lots of invitations
and I know you sent me some,
but I was waiting
for the miracle,
for the miracle to come.
— Leonard Cohen, the Miracle
“This was a place where, hours upon hours of watching the bobber float and sink, her mind found solace.”
There was a small house built of stone on the strand of Wetlands, just where the Dun Morogh mountains meet the sea. It wasn’t anything fancy. Just a wooden door and a stone porch. It belonged to a dwarven farmer, nicknamed Gramps by the neighbours. He had fostered many brave dwarves in that house, loved many wives. As chance sometimes has it, a traveler came by.
“Farmer!” she said. “Is this cottage for sale?”
“Ne’er!” Gramps said. “Can rent it, lass, sho’ ye wan’ it.” He spat a string of tobacco juice. “Legs are old, ye see. Methinks ye could be good or it!”
2000 gold coins changed owner. Rent for an indefinite amount of time under a few simple, reliable conditions. Tend the chickens, stay out of trouble, no wild parties (mind you, this was the dwarven “wild party”; many times the neighbours woke in the middle of the night with a faint chuckle – the blueskin had company).
This was her refuge.
Over time, and adventurers adress list grows quite extensive. Shuanna had the names and adresses for many former encounters, friends and lovers and aquaintances. Sometimes she would send them a letter or a postcard.
“Dearest”, it could start. “I’m lonely. Should you be so inclined please come and visit me at the following location.” Then she would add a short note of important waypoints. Any adventurer worth the grain of salt knows how to find something out of almost nothing.
Most of the times she wouldn’t send a note. Most of the time she was content with being alone. It was always the same familiar routine. Touch down in front of the house, search through the rubble close to the left pillar, find the iron key, speak the spell so the hiding place wouldn’t explode and send her bodyparts into the sea. Then – go inside, light the fire, strap off the armor and just …
Walk down to the beach wearing almost nothing. Lay down by a fire, Menethil in the distance, the cool, salted winds of the sea whispering across her naked skin. She would collect dry firewood and grass on her way down, after a rest she’d take a dip in the bay. Sometimes, not always, she went skinnydipping. Sometimes, not always, she let her hand wander. Gasping in the cool breeze as her fingers trailed off across her body.
She even made friends with a local tribe of murlocs. contrary to popular oppinion, murlocs will befriend you if you show them respect. At first their warriors tried to eat her but over time, as the pile of bleached murloc skulls grew on parts of the beach that was sacred to the murlocs, they started to see her as a godess. Strange, that. All she had to do was speak the word and a shining shield of light would mesmerize the murlocs.
They caught fish for her. She gave them Caraway Burnwine and tobacco in return. She taught herself to say “hello!” and “Goodbye!”. In murloc. They taught themselves to say “Light!” and “Fish!”. Just so they would be able to worship their godess – and give her fish.
This was a place of peace. This was a place where memories and nightmares wouldn’t touch her. This was a place where, hours upon hours of watching the bobber float and sink, her mind found solace. Sometimes, if the water in the lagoon was inviting enough and there was no rain, she would swim across the bay and head for the inn. Dripping wet in nothing but her undies, she’d walk into the inn and have a beer.
Stranger things have happened in Menethil, mind you.
In Menethil, she soon became known as the Crazy Lady. Little did they know. These days, folks in this part of the world speak with part dread, part musing, about the screams that sometimes echo across the lagoon. No one petitions the lord to have her removed, of course. As was said – Stranger things have happened in Menethil, mind you. A half-mad paladin who sometimes keeps the whole town awake as she howls at the unseen ghosts, well.
“Nuthin’s to do wid us now, is dere?” as people say in these parts. “‘sides, she git dem murlocs off ‘er backs.”
Here she could rant and rave against the nightmares without anyone calling the guard. Her she could love and lust without care. Here she could wake up in the middle of the night and then spend until dawn huddled together in a corner, shaking with fright. She could cry here – and eventually a murloc would leave a halibut on her doorstep with an embarassed smile on wet, froggy lips. She could wail here, and eventually a dwarf would come ove from another farm carrying a jug of moonshine and the down to earth-wisdom of “commen folks as we be roun’ ‘ere”.
“Gost’s ain’t hurtin’ ye, lass. ’tis yer own mind dat ‘urts it is. Go on, git! Scream it out. I can lissin, good liss’ner we are, folks in dese parts.” Ol’ Maradin chuckled, gave her a nudge, nodded towards one of the mountain peaks and added: “Me youn’un lass go up dere to scream when da is a han’full ye ‘no. Ye’ sho’ try it. Go on, howl at the moon like dat worgen feller we got sellin’ silk do’on Men’til.”
Maradin made her laugh. The murlocs made her laugh as well. Especially those nights when they managed to tell her about ancient murloc heroes using nothing but gestures and old skulls of long dead adventurers. Not so fortunate adventurers, at that.
This was her paradise.
She cried here. She cried with the dwarves (Ol’ Maradin, when he was in the mood, cried a lot; the first war broke him, you see, that’s why he became a farmer). She laughed with the dwarves (Junder and Hargins ongoing quarrel about the sturgeon was always amusing to her). She even made love to some of the dwarves (Bethaine and a jug of moonshine a late fullmoon night; it wasn’t as much love as it was loneliness on behalf of them both).
There even was a mailman who came around from time to time. His name was Everard, he called himself a “naturilissed dwa’ahf ye kno'”. Actually, he was from Stormwind and human but, as the saying goes around these parts, stranger things has happened …
He bore a letter one day. Just a few scribbled lines on a piece of paper, tucked into a dog-eared envelope bearing many sigils. The letter had passed from Pandaria – Halfhill – to her, via the Exodar, Stormwind, Ironforge, “Ol’ Buradin’s Tradin’ Post, Wutlands” (the stamp was misspelled). Many places. It was a short note, dated almost three months earlier.
“Vindicator,” the note read. “If I may be so bold as to call on you within the forseeable future I will do so. Events keep me busy at the time but with the grace of Light and fortune I hope we can share a meal. I am eager to speak to you. I hope you are mending. If not, pray speak of anything you wish once I am able to visit.
Yours in faith and everlasting friendship – M.”