A Lady Never Tells (Unless There's Bourbon Involved) Edit
From Tirisfal to Darnassus, Ironforge to Silithus, almost all would agree when asked, "Is Goldshire truly where hopes and dreams go to die?"
In it's glory days, Goldshire was a center of bustling activity. It's location is centered closly with important Alliance towns, such as Northshire Abbey, Lakeshire, Westfall, and the ever-important hub of Alliance congregation, Stormwind. It was one of the prime locations for travelers, merchants, crafters, and the like to settle down, while setting up shop. For many decades, this town enjoyed the fruits of what people brought to it, making it a cherished mark on the Eastern Kingdom.
For a spell.
It seems to many people, be it citizens, apprentices of respective classes, or some of the best and most noble that the Alliance has to offer would be dumbfounded, or contrary, to such a history. Goldshire, these days, is a wood-and-stone corpse of it's former, bright life.
But the true subject of my article resides within Lion's Pride, the Inn of Goldshire. It's owners, having been there for what seems like it's conception, still offers a friendly face and warm hearth for world-weary travelers - if that is what can be called of the local occupants these days.
(Editor's Note - This is not a smear piece.)
The main sitting area is packed. Bodies, both modest and not-so-modest crowd in. The din is loud. The violence is rampant. The women are a good price. A strange mist seems to hang in the air.
Amidst the maelstrom is my subject. She is not hard to find as she is wearing white from head-to-toe (she had informed that our meeting was to be on Thursday, her 'White' day.) She is by the bar, chatting with a young Paladin out of Northshire. Her cackling is a mad crack of lightning in the storm of bodies.
I approach her. "Excuse me?" She looks to me, somewhat annoyed at my intrusion. "You are..." I look to my notes, "Jugg...Juggaeletta De La..?"
I stumble, she stops me with an upraised hand. "Honey, a moment." She turns to her young, newly-aquainted friend, she whispers sensually to the young recruit, excusing him. She watches him until he leaves the Inn, her smile lecherous, if not a bit hungry.
I cough. She looks to me, without missing a beat, offers the seat previously occupied by the young man. "Sit with me, child. Let's tell a story together."
The Lady De La Sade, in her natural habitat.
She introduces herself as 'The Lady' Juggaeletta De La Sade. A self-imposed title which strikes me as a bit conceited. She snorts into her newly-freshened bourbon, muttering that most titles are these days.
She is an aging woman, made evident by her face and hair, now uncovered from her white cowl. Her skin is dark, lined by deep canyons of history. Her hair, formerly blonde, is now a dull wheat-grey, ravaged by aging. The Lady insists I note that this is an aesthetic choice, as her Sun-blonde dye jobs were getting too expensive and against unwritten fashionista rules of this season. (She has also informed me that those wearing Blood Elf Bandit masks, taken from the corpses of mana-hungry Blood Elves, should be shot on sight.)
Despite her rather self-absorbed countenance, I can't help but finding her bluntness a bit charming. The Lady smiles, while cruel-looking, is anything but. "My heart and head are screwed on right" she says, "But my face isn't one to take home to Momma. Not anymore, baby." I note a hint of sadness, but it passes just as fast. A bar brawl has started behind us, she is laughing, tossing silver pieces into the fray. Her squalls sound like a Snickerfang Hyena, which she apologizes for when the brawl is won by a local Death Knight, who had beaten a local call girl into submission.
"My voice is beautiful, baby." She says with a smirk. "Like Onyxia eating 14 Stormwind orphans." Her voice is more like Dark Iron being mined with a rusty pickaxe. Deep and man-like. The Lady says this is from her decades of smoking, which seems to mentally remind her to draw deep from an ornate, and quite beautiful Hookah made from Mana-Jade, imported from Silvermoon. A sweet, arcing plume of smoke adds to the smoggy atmosphere of the Inn, smelling of Felweed and Purple Lotus.
(Editor's Note - Felweed is a known illegal-substance. We at the Fashiontastic Azeroth! 'zine do not promote illicit or illegal behavior to our readers. (This extends to the truthful Fashion Fact™ of Blood Elf Bandit Masks, as well))
She is running a ornately-jeweled finger along the hem of my robes. The act is anything but sensual, it is more calculated. More judging. "Draenic-weave is an amazing thing, baby. The threads themselves are spun using Crystal-forged spinners, makin' 'em stronger than most Dwarven-forged alloys. That right, honey? I understand ya'll use this material from clothing to reinforcing that big-ass bucket of bolts of yours that crashed into Boondocks, Azuremyst." I have a mixed reaction: I am taken by her knowledge of my drapings by touch, but taken aback by the moniker of my beloved Exodar as a 'bucket of bolts'. She draws her Felweed/Purple Lotus tobacco, ('Hellfire's Delight'). A ring is blown, wreathing around my horns.
"You Space Goats bring a lovely image to our pitiful lands, child. Your hooves are gorgeous, who is your manicurist?"
The Young Lady
The Lady tells me she was born 'Jhuggha'lethra', which, of all things, of Trollkin tongue. It's an incantation to attract lost souls to the heart of a chosen vessel. Upon death, a Voodoo Priest eats the heart, which is said to bring the Priest to Nirvana, riding on the torrent of past memories, knowledge, love, and fear the spirits had brought, bringing all to peace who are involved.
She was born to Marcel De La Sade, and Joanna De La Sade (nee Smith), in the lush jungles of Stranglethorn. "S'a love story for the ages, baby." She passes a faded picture of her parents, which makes me take a second, and even third look, at her elders. A tall, dark man with black hair. His arms wrapped around a ghost-white woman, beautiful and pale with what looks like a veil of light for hair. "They met on the bordering hills of Darkshire and Tha' Vale, honey. Momma was a medicinal alchemist - or witch, depending on who you ask - picking Mageroyal. Pops was on patrol, at that time, being the Kurzen's Army camp chef."
She smiles. "They was lookin' for the same Mageroyal. Had a bit of a fight about it, they did. Pops gave up the herb in exchange for Momma's name. Momma gave up the herb in exchange for sanctuary in the jungle, from her then-husband Bruce, who liked talking to her with his fists." She takes the picture back, tucking it safely within a tome. "They was married within the week, and I arrived kicking and screaming nine months later."
The Inn has escalated in it's lunacy. Four horde - two Blood Elf, one Undead, and a tragically underdressed Tauren - invade the scene. Looking for blood or more sensual pleasures isn't known as The Lady is already escorting us out of the fray. "Ya'll think we'd leave when this happens, but hell, we ain't pure. We all got that streak of masochism that keeps us coming back for more."
We stand outside the Inn, the cool night air is refreshing. Seeing The Lady stand before me stirs an odd sense of respect within me - despite her image, The Lady's body and very presence is rather strong. She is a stout, strong woman. More tomboyish than elegant, but wearing her robes beautifully. She knows this.
She gives a low, warbling whistle. A few beats pass between us in the courtyard, which is answered by a lovely vision of glowing snow white and violet. I notice at this time that The Lady's mood perks up considerably.
A large, beautiful Winterspring Frostsaber stalks out into the courtyard, it's regal aura drawing attention to those sparring in the courtyard. The huge behemoth stalks over to us, silent like a dream. It rubs against her hip. The Lady brings it's huge, furry head to hers, whispering to it soothingly in a tongue I cannot understand. A purr rumbles through the beast, they are forever connected.
She saddles up onto the animal. Many have come over, either asking of it's name, it's origin, or remarking on it's beauty. Many hands, covered in patchwork fabric to branded-on Saronite, reach out to it's mane. The Lady answers to those reaching up to her. "His name is Billy, baby." She is like a proud mother to her oddly-plain named son. "He is the most beautiful, precious being to me. My pride and goddamned joy and all that." She scratches behind one of Billy's furry ears. She shoos away a Warlock's Voidwalker. who has taken to petting Billy's rump a bit too hard. "Git! 'Less you wanna get your ass chomped down!" I note how her white clothing, with Billy's mane and the masses reaching up to her, is rather iconic. A statement to her high self-image, no doubt.
She invites me to ride with her, declaring openly for her need to be inebriated if we are to finish our interview. I note that we were just in a bar. She notes that she has drank Gnoll urine that tasted better. I do not question her on this.
We ride our way up the path leading to the Alliance capital of Stormwind, regal and strong like Knight's armour on the horizon. She mentions of a speakeasy she frequents as our next destination. "Amazing hooch, baby. Bomb as all-hell. Made in a bathtub that used to belong to Miss Lady Proudmoore." She hoots a laugh that scares birds from their nests nearby. "Don't care how they got it 'long the damn thing as it keeps Juggy's gears greased up."
The masses in Stormwind have tripled since the widespread introduction to Auction Houses with all faction capitals. All walks of life - peasant to champion - congregate within it's walls. If one wishes to rub elbows with King Varian's treasured and elite, one only must come here and sit for a few minutes. The Lady shouts out to an unknown face in the large crowd. "Lookin' good, honey! Working that Lightforge like always! Juggy's proud of you!" A catcall mills back to us.
"Love it here, baby. Stormwind's changed a whole damn bunch since I stationed here, but the love is the same: Free and welcoming to one and all." Behind us, another one of the Lich King's exiled is having cabbage and tomatoes thrown at them, with cries for her head. I look back. A young, fallen Night Elf, her eyes scared, unsure. She is picking vegetable matter from the crevices of her breastplate.
We make our way past the canals. A young, jilted coupling of a large, Draenic man and female human are breaking their ties to one another, she throws her fists against his barrel-chest, tears streaming down her angry, shattered face. She eventually gives up, sobbing at his feet, demanding answers for his infidelity. He says nothing.
The King's voice is heard across the capital. With it, the claim that the Alliance is the single bastion of hope and justice.
The Lady lights a rolled cigarette, ('Silverwing Slims - 'You Go, Girl!'). "It's a smoking night, baby." She seems apologetic.
We make our way to a secluded part of the canals, close to Old Town.
We stop in front of a run down, long-closed up shop. And that's being kind. We slide off of Billy together, approaching the doors of the large, looming fire hazard. I turn to help The Lady tether Billy, who has silently disappeared. I turn back to voice my concern, but The Lady is already knocking at the door. To my surprise, a peephole opens up, showing a pair of angry, red eyes.
"Password," the voice grumbles.
"Clam Chowder," The Lady replies, almost annoyed.
A moment of pause. "Undermine or Dalaran?"
For once, she seems concerned. She runs through her mind. She ventures a guess: "Undermine?"
The peephole clacks shut, and the sound of large bolters moving in place is heard. We're in. The Lady silently fistpumps, and we shuffle into the void behind the heavy door.
The Tell-Tale Heart, is one of capital's best kept secrets, according to The Lady's boisterous tour. The doorman - or woman, in this case - is a squat, angry Dark Iron dwarf. She mutters, saluting to us both, and eyeing me a lot longer than I am comfortable with.
We enter the speakeasie's huge main area, which is not too packed, but very lively. It is adorned with old war banners. No tables and chairs, but lovingly crafted lounging pillows, love seats, and fainting couches. A striking contrast to Goldshire, the habitants of the speakeasy are rather regal and defined - I note many champions within, as well as local common folk. "The thing you gotta remember, honey, is everyone looks the same with gold coins." She waves to another unknown person, delighted. She whispers, "But status is still a factor, at points." A note a hint of bitterness. Someone strikes off a beautiful Starflower firework, it's purple and yellow sparks plume against the covered ceiling. A couple of young lovers squeal in delight.
We make our way to the staircase behind the bar, spiraling down into the bowels of the place. We are greeted by former catacombs, which have been adorned much like the living area. Large silk curtains drape across the ceilings. The circular walls are shelved, carrying bottles, vials, flasks, canteens, boots, kegs, and barrels of vast, untold spirits and brews. Off to the side, upon an adorned shrine sits what I conclude is formerly Lady Jaina Proudmoore's claw-footed bathing tub.
We look into it's boozy depths - it is filled with what looks like Scying Liquid, glossy and blue. The tub's bottom is lined with filled tankards. "Check this out, honey." she points to tiny messages scratched into it's porcelain lining. Thrall rocks my world! <3 <3 <3 reads one, the other, a bit more crude, Zug-Zug. Dabu :)
I boggle at the implications. She hollers, "Ain't that the damndest thing?" We are given tankards full of the blue hooch by a young, blonde gentleman. The Lady touches his face in thanks. She is home.
We settle back upstairs, situating our beverages and ourselves onto two lush, tassled pillows. The Lady has called for another hookah, ordering a shisha-tobacco named 'Lich Mist' (A blend of herbs that consist of the Gift of Arthas, Strangekelp, and Borean Molasses). She inhales deeply, exhaling a dark, stormy fog, which forms a laughing skull.
Music has drifted into the speakeasy. A Highborne elf, elegantly dressed in blood-red robes, is playing an engineered, oaken lyre. Another Dwarf, not Dark Iron, but Death Knight, is growling out a bluesy, frosted tune about love and life lost.
The Lady points her hose to me, I refuse politely. She continues our interview. "After a while, the Jungle Fever swept my home. Kurzen got the worst of it, during our expeditions and moving through the Vale. He went jungle-nuts and rallied a mutiny against Pops. We ran his ass out and settled a Rebel's Camp to the north, close to where Momma grew up and Pops had courted her."
She leans forward in her pillow-seat, bobbing her head to the music, which feels heavy on my brain, in a good way.
"Pops and Momma thought it'd be best if I hid for a bit, while they worked out their family issues." She sips from her tankard. I do as well. The liquid is thick and syrup heavy, but flows down my throat like a luscious candy, crystalizing within me. Bubbly.
She stops for a second. "You know, I love my 'rents. They out in Orgrimmar somewhere with a traveling commune of all walks of life and fashion." She looks into her tankard. "That's how Juggy likes it, too." She drinks. "But I wish, at times, it went different, honey."
She leans a bit more, taking in the music. It is then that I notice her robe is backless. Her dark, tanned skin is lined with lash marks. A rather crude, ugly circular symbol is seemingly etched into her back. Craggy, and deep, like crudely chipped marble.
The set finishes to warm applause. She looks over her shoulder to me, her purple eyes catching light. "We're getting to that part, baby." My tail twitches involuntarily.
We've reclined into our seats. While I have not smoked, the warm, sweet-smelling fog permeates my lungs anyway. I feel light, enjoying the company of the Tell-Tale patrons. I feel less judging of the unfortunate man wearing last years' pink Mageweave. Or the waitresses' terrible haircut. (Short bob, fat face.)
She continues, I listen as best as I can. She tells me how her mother, in her best interest, had enlisted her Her Lady's Light, a no-longer existing Nunnery within Stormwind's Chapel. Missionaries had come through, enlisting recruits for Uther's Silverhand army. It is then that I realize just how along in years The Lady truly is, and how damn good she is at hiding it.
She said that at that time, Lady's Light was was more Rent-A-Healbot than schooling of academy. "'Don't spoil the child - beat her ass! was the only schooling they gave me, and they gave me a lot of it over the next..." She counts in her head silently. "...15, 18 years? I dunno. But I got my ass whupped and rented out plenty."
She talked then about her rather remarkable record of being a Priest for the Light. But what Priests are now and what they were then are different. "But how they are written is the same, baby. The Champions get written about. They have huge statues erected in their honor in the goddamn stone bridge of Alliance capitals." She laughs darkly. "But, did you ever notice the stone platforms they're erected onto?" I shake my head. She mutters. "That ain't stones - that's our backs."
She then told me about her ex-communication.
While speaking, I was eyeing couples across the way. A young, same-sex couple is snuggling with each other, enjoying the new set - a lively 3-woman Draenei group is singing in my tongue, and I can't help but notice what fantastic hair the middle singer has, hell yeah I am jealous - and slightly bent on the idea that I am alone with a raunchy, old woman.
However, I listen politely as a writer should.
The tale is rather sad, but it's outcome obvious. Near the end of her tenure, her last mission was to lead an archaeologist's dig within the caverns of Uldaman.
"I even remember their names, honey." She nips onto the end of her hose. Dark, undead smoke, plume from her flared nostrils, circling her head like a dreaded crown.
She ticks the names off to me: Crag Stouthand, hunter. Vallen Owlbeard, druid. Drue Desilles, rogue.
And the last name causes her to spit in an un-ladylike manner: Dartagnan Baptiste, holy paladin.
Get this, she begins. They had trekked into Uldaman on the orders of Bronzebeard's Explorer's League. The King had it in his mind that the earth's internal workings held many keys of many different minerals of their race's origin. "Fine and dandy," The Lady says, "But down there in those caves, I lost it. Juggy don't even know what she lost, but I straight-up lost it somewhere."
The questing had begun smoothly enough, but the rather snobbish Paladin, one of Uther's front linemen, had shown his rather racist/mysogynist colours. "He didn't like my dark skin, Vallen's ears, Crag's choice of pet (ed: Dreadripper), or Drue doing what he felt was 'man's work'. he mentioned often as he could that Drue and myself would probably be better at baking pies than assasination and healing, respectively."
She flutters one hand, steadying her drink with another - a nice, dessert drink of Bloodberry Port. "Can you believe that shit?"
"So, the end outcome is that I let Dart - he INSISTED we call him 'Dart', not allowed to use his Light-blessed name as we were 'civilians' - get his ass destroyed down there."
I look up to the aging woman, taking in what I have heard so far. I ask her how someone, in this day and age of resurrection and spiritual guides, how someone could actually expire. She waves on my questioning. "Baby, I said I let him get his ass 'destroyed'. Killed means most of the vitals are intact." She sips daintly at her glass. "'Destroyed' means you couldn't find pieces of him without a miner's scrape."
She smiles cruelly, her lips wrapping around the glasses rim, tinting her lips a deep black. "I can't resurrect someone without their brain or heart intact. Unfortunate for 'Dart', his dumbass had neither since the beginning."
From then, she explained how Dartagnan had gone up against the titan, Ironaya. She had talked how the party had been worned weary of the Paladin flaunting his influence over the party - even as much as to threaten to sell Drue to a brothel when they were done, and to have Juggaeletta written up for being, 'not only a bad healer, but an ugly woman' for whom the Light was just giving a 'reacharound' to on Light abilities. When Crag's beloved pet was killed and devoured by Troggs, Dartagnan had mentioned his relief of not catching the Plague from the ugly ball of feathers. Vallen had left the party sometime back, disgusted by the displays of humanity.
She said she watched while Dart got torn apart by the living Titan. And how she actually sat down, watching him die. Drue and Crag had retreated within the shadows, watching in horror. Crag started to vomit as Dartagnan wailed helplessly against the stone woman, who began to pull his arms from their sockets like children to dragonflies. Drue just screamed and screamed and screamed.
She says the irony of Dartagnan being killed by what he loathed the most was sweeter than any wine. Any candy. Any kiss.
She swears while Ironaya retreated, carrying what was left of Dartagnan back with her, she looked back at winked at Juggaeletta. As if to say, "Chill, I got this."
She downs her glass. "I lost it, baby. Lost it."
We have been at The Tell-Tale Heart for hours. We finally stumble out onto the streets of Stormwind. The sky is telling us the sun will come up soon.
We are disheveled messes. Drunken, stupifyied. (Is that how you spell it? how? it makes sense. I guess. idk still drunk-ed.) Just trashed.
The Lady Juggaeletta De La Sade, former Mother of Her Light, belches loudly, trumpeting the coming dawn. A fish leaps in the canal.
She tucks the white cowl around her face again, straightening her robes. I look to her back again, the ugly etching staring at me.
I raise a hand to ask, but she silences me. "I know, baby, that I said we would get to that - and while you may not think so, but we have." She whistles for Billy, who has been patiently waiting in the alley. Various feathers and bones litter around his beautiful, astral form. He stretched and yawns, stalking over to us.
I go to protest, but she silences me. Billy nudges her into the saddle, she is barely able to handle herself upon her beast of burden. I go to steady her, which she fight against at first, but is then grateful for the losing battle against gravity. She nicks to Billy, who starts trudging towards the Inn, with me awkwardly walking alongside.
One huge hangover later, The Lady Juggaeletta De La Sade, born of The Vale, former Priest to the now disbanded Her Lady's Light, old, as it seems, as the Emerald Dream...
Is denying further comment.
It is Friday, the Day of Green. We meet for coffee at The Blue Recluse. She has Hair of the Gnoll, a bit of the yolk staining her lush, green Venomshroud regalia.
I can't finish my article, she tsks me. "Come to me as a friend, honey. Come speak to me and ask me about Billy, my life after my ex-communication for letting one of Uther's fall." (With further research, it is found that Dartagnan Baptiste was the nephew of current Archibishop Benedictus. A clue ? - ed.)
She starts into a long-winded, almost manic tirade. And I'll tell you of my Exile, my Winterspring, my Dominus, (It is noted record that a 'Sister De Sade', a Shadow Priest before The First War, was known to her enemies as 'Dominus'. But, that is, if Ms. De La Sade's predicted age is correct would mean Ms. De Sade died 30 years prior to Juggaeletta's birth. - ed.), My Fall, My Love, My Hate, and my Saviour.
She sips at her coffee, wincing at noises, in particular regulars coming in and greeting the barkeeps with loud, joyous words.
I open and close my mouth to speak, but no words. This flood of new terms arouses my interest in the most painful way. She points an elegantly painted nail at me, I see a rather primitive band on her ring finger. It looks like treeroots nestling a crude gem. I shut up.
"My life began after working for the Light, child. To be part of Juggy's life is to know Juggy."
My entire night of debauchery with The Lady De La Sade came to a head just then.
"Dig, baby?" she settles back into her chair, before I can even give me answer, her head is slouched back, mouth open, snoring beneath her Venom-coloured mask. I nod anyway, and take my leave.
(I cannot write anymore than that. Perhaps you should seek her out for yourself?-ed)
Phaaedra Kryva is a survivor of the Exodar-crash of Year 30-odd. She is a card-carrying fashionista, a Capricorn, and a longtime article writer for Fashiontastic Azeroth!
Regretfully, this article marks her retirement from the fashion-article world, stating that she is going to help rebuild her civilization to it's former glory. We here at Fashiontastic Azeroth! wish Phaaedra the best of luck and will be sending her a complimentary FashionBasket™ from Estay Louder.
Keep being Beautiful, beautiful!