The Darkmoon Faire (part 1)
This first part has no sex in it. So if you want to bitch, moan and complain, do so elsewhere.
"Ahead of You, Down the Path,
A Majestic, Magical Faire!
Ignore the Darkened, Eerie Woods,
Ignore the Eyes That Blink and Stare,
Fun and Games and Wondrous Sights!
Music and Fireworks to Light Up the Night!
Do Not Stop! You're Nearly There!
Behold, My Friend: THE DARKMOON FAIRE!"
Copyright - Blizzard Entertainment.
Welcome, one and all, to the Darkmoon Faire! It's a pleasure to serve you, and we hope it is your pleasure to be here! We offer mystical tents, challenging games of wit and strength, awe-striking performers and a sumptuous array of cakes, food and drink galore! Don't forget to stop by our prize booths, we carry furry little critters, colorful balloons, toys, and more! Enjoy yourselves here, ladies and gentlemen. Remember, we only come by one week a month..
My name is Kara Hicks. But you might as well call me Shadow, because that's what I always lived in: my sister's shadow. She was always prettier, taller, more confident, and definitely stronger than me.
When we ran away to the Faire, she intstantly became a hit as the "Strongest Woman Alive" attraction. People went and fawned over her when she lifted a nearby kodo, or a big rock, or something stupid like that. Yeah, that was Keri, always soaking up the attention. And me, Kara, was left picking up pieces of trash from the Fairegoers.
Keri seemed negligent to my jealousy. Or maybe she purposefully ignored it. I don't know, even now.
Why did we 'run away' to here, you ask? Well, let's start with the beginning.
Keri and I are twins, and she's older only by a minute. People don't know unless we tell them, because we look nothing alike.
Keri has medium-length blonde hair and blue eyes, and a quirky - almost arrogant - smile and fair skin. She was always taller than me, and developed faster than I did in almost every way.
I have hair that's completely black and green eyes, and pale skin. A little kid in the shade of her sister, I guess.
Our mother, a hunter, died just after my birth. As kids, my father never told me, but I think he wanted to say that it was my fault. He went into a depression and tried to substitue alcohol for the love he'd lost. So we basically had to survive on our own, in the large and (at the time) unfriendly city of Stormwind.
We begged for money from adventurers, some of whom would take pity and push a few dirtied silver coins into our equally grungy hands. Keri, only ten, even took up smithing for a while as an apprentice, but her mentor died abruptly and another quickly took his spot. So we tried fishing, tailoring, even resorted to stealing from wandering bakers. We survived off of little, and Keri and I both knew hunger and fear.
Meanwhile, our father leeched off of our earned (or stolen) money to buy himself more alcohol. Fights broke out often, usually resulting in Keri storming out of the house and me to try and repair what damage had been done. Drunk or not, he was still our father, and he had no reason to keep us living at his home. I was the only tie. And even that didn't last long.
After years of this torment, when even I grown tired of the constant fighting, we left. Packed our things and deserted him. Finally free (and alone), we did our best to keep this a secret. We were only fourteen at the time; too young to be living alone. We'd be sent to the orphanage.
So we took refuge at the Lion's Pride Inn, in a small town outside the city for a week or so. Or at least, that was the plan. We ended up staying much longer. Eventually, the innkeeper, Farley, began to notice something was wrong.
He called us over one early morning as we prepared to leave to earn the day's food money.
"I noticed you girls are here without a parent. Are you alright?" He asked kindly. He was maybe in this thirties at this time, but seemed older from obvious hard work.
"Yes." I responded lightly. "They're just .. away."
Lying had no consequence on me any longer. I could deliver them with a straight face.
Farley obviously didn't believe me. "You know I am a trustworthy man, girls. If you want to tell me something..." he offered hesitantly.
"We'll remember that. Thank you, mister Farley." I replied, feeling a little broken inside. He wanted to help, and I really wanted to tell him everything. But Keri, standing next to me, intimidated me from speaking. She wouldn't allow that. She had grown tougher than me and absolutely wouldn't compromise our freedom.
Over the course of several months, Farley tried repeatedly to get information out of us. We gave him little to ponder on, but for the most part he tried hopelessly to solve our puzzle. When we came to him -finally - penniless no matter what we tried, he would let us stay for free until we had gotten a secure source of cash flow.
But I knew we were hurting the inn.
"Keri, please. Listen. We can't keep going on like this, eating their food and staying here for free. This place hardly gets income as is." All the adventurer's money went to the taverns and merchants that yelled for attention within the city.
Keri glared at me. Blue eyes that had once been soft and scared as a child were now chips of hardened ice. "We have no other options. We can stay here 'till the place goes out of business. Then we move on. We have no choice."
And I really couldn't persuade her otherwise. So what choice did I have? And so one very quiet night, when she was deeply asleep, I ventured downstairs to where Farley was sitting by the enormous fireplace that was the only source of light so late.
"Hello, Kara. Can't sleep? I could call for some honeyed milk.."
"No, thank you," I declined politely. "I'd like to talk."
Farley, looking interested, sat forward and beckoned me to a chair. I sat tentatively, watching the shadow of the flames on the table. I just couldn't meet him eye to eye.
"What do you want to talk about, Kara?" He asked. I had thought about how to say this for a long time, memorized it in my mind, but it seemed so hard to say then.
"We.. can't stay here anymore. It's been the best place of my life, really, and I think you're the greatest innkeeper in all of Azeroth." I swallowed with difficulty and continued. "But I'm being torn apart by forcing you to let us stay free. I know very well the situation of the inn, and I won't allow you to let us stay. Keri and I can't afford to stay anyway. I thought I would just .. let you know."
I tried to steel myself for this, but I really couldn't help it. Tears began to well up in my eyes. Farley looked deep in thought before looking suddenly to the stairwell. I turned around to look.
Keri stood gripping the rail with tightly clenched hands, her face hardened, staring at me as though she were betrayed. Then she marched back up the wooden stairs and slammed the door to our room as loudly as she could. A few responding grunts by other patrons followed.
When I turned back around, Farley embraced me fiercly.
"I won't try to stop you." He said slowly. I nodded in thanks, wiping away the tears shamefully. "But I'll leave you with one last favor." He leaned away, his hands on the tops of my arms.
"Please, don't.." I said. I didn't need any more guilt to follow me as I left.
"No, really! I think this will help you on your way. The Darkmoon Faire is opening tomorrow just in the field beside the inn. If I ask for them to consider having you two as employees, I'm sure they'd accept. And pay isn't a problem," he said. The more he spoke the more I grew hopeful. This sounded like a better route to take than back to begging on the streets. "What do you say?"
I simply nodded, fervently, the tears now streaming down my cheeks. They fell to the table where they reflected the fire, instantly turning a rich amber color. Farley smiled and bade me goodnight.
That morning, I talked things over with Keri. While she still seemed a little put-off that I had gone to talk without her (as we typically did everything together), she also appeared to be just as excited as I was about this new prospect. We waited impatiently for the Faire to open, which was rather obvious. Loud horns and whistles blared from outside. Fireworks erupted. People yelled and called in several languages for their friends to hurry up. The sound of whinnying, snarling, squawking, wingbeats and hooves told us that the city folk had also arrived to see. Keri and I ran outside to see for ourselves.
What I expected was a Faire. What I saw was a portal. Quite literally, an enormous arc with orange spiraling magic inside. A couple small tents of purple and white stood beside it and a few Faire workers greeted people. Only two performers were present; they flung torches at each other, caught them and hurled them back in one enormous cooperative juggling show. I stood, mesmerized. I wondered what could possibly be in the portal.
"Hey, girls. Before you go.." Farley exited the inn in a rush. He handed us a folded letter with a red wax seal with the initials "GS" on it. "Show this to Silas Darkmoon once you're inside. You'll know who he is. Good luck." I quickly hugged him, to show my thanks. I owed Farley more than anyone.
Keri looked at her feet the whole time. When Farley left she tugged me along and we set off to the Faire. People stepped inside the portal, disappearing with a flash. I held Keri's hand and we stepped into the orange light together.
When I opened my eyes, I instantly thought something had gone wrong. A cool breeze passed over us, smelling of the sea and .. frying oil. This place was eerie.
Dark, leafless trees stretched high into an angry, cloudy sky. A luminescent bluish fog drifted endlessly just by the tops of the black branches. While the trees seemed dead, they were dotted with the occasional bush. Bright eyes blinked from the shadows as we walked forward, slowly, gripping each other's hand tightly. Wasn't this supposed to be a Faire?
I stepped over a twig, not wanting to make noise, only to walk straight into an enormous red arrow that read "Ahead of you, down the path." Perhaps this was the road to the Faire. It was just.. themed. Along the way there were several more red arrows and pictures of things the Faire offered.
People passed on heavily armored warhorses, eager saber-toothed cats, elephants, even raptors that left deep gouging marks into the damp earth as though it were butter. These were the adventurers and heroes that everyone talked of. Keri and I didn't like them, but we certainly didn't despise them. We seemed like peasants compared to them in their glowing, enchanted armor.
As we walked down the path to the Faire, we saw that it was an island. One with respectable size, but maybe the perimeter was walkable in a half hour. The ash-colored dirt road led straight through the Faire. The attractions were all on each side.
We continued. The very first thing that caught our eyes was an .. eye. It was the center of the arch that led to the entrance of the Faire. It glowed the same orange as the portal and had a single slit as a pupil, much like the eye of a dragon in stories. It looked at us as we passed, looking up at it in marvel. More greeters called out to us pleasantly, each in a purple and green Darkmoon uniform. There was the orange eye in the middle.
Together we stood, stunned, at what lay before us. Mighty tents of striped of dark, rich purple and forest green stood tall with flags whipping from the tops. Smaller booths of similar color apparently were for games. The clang of bullets hitting targets, a canon firing, balloons popping and the splash of water frequently met our ears. The frying oil we scented before was more potent. Sugary sweets, cakes, and other baking foods, fresh fish, meat roasting over fires and candies being spun made my mouth water.
The carnies running the booths shouted out for customers to come and try their hand at their game. Merchants waved their wares, claiming them prizes for winning games. Some of the prizes included a handful of dangerous-looking fireworks, a woman clutching a turtle in one hand and a balloon in another, and pieces of armor. Somewhere else a man yelled out that a concert was starting soon.
"Kara, how are we going to find Silas? There's so much to look through." My sister craned her neck but was shoved aside by a passing troll. I'd never seen one before and we both stopped to look in wonder. His skin was a light blue, and he was rather lanky and thin. His hair was bright orange and spiked up vertically. Tusks rose out from under his lip.
"Rude," she muttered as he continued on through the stream of patrons.
"Keri, can't we play around a bit? I mean, Farley said the Faire would be here for a week, we have some time.."
Keri shook her head and I fell silent.
"Let's find Silas and secure our jobs first. Then we can go." She led me through the fair like a child. I could've passed for it - I was easily a foot shorter than she was.
And, actually, we didn't even find him until I walked into him. When I said I was short, Silas was twice as short as that. He was a gnome, like we'd seen before. He was about the height of my knee. He wore a dark black and purple hat, which he lifted to see us better.
"Hello, ladies. I'm Silas Darkmoon. I hope you're enjoying the Faire." He bowed. I smiled and giggled a little. Behind him, a large Ogre came up threateningly and I blinked.
"Oh, don't mind Burth, he won't hurt anyone," Silas said easily. Burgh crossed his arms, apparently waiting for us to finish. I nodded slowly, and Keri took the opportunity to give Mr. Darkmoon the letter. "Ah, so you're here for business reasons?" He asked, taking the letter and opening it expertly.
"Not exactly," I blurted. Keri nudged me, warning me to be quiet. When he looked back up at us he gave a sort of sad smile.
"Kara and Keri, I would be honored to have you two working here at the Faire. I hope you'll enjoy it here as well - we're all family." He tucked the letter into his little jacket, pointed us in the direction we needed to go, and continued to walk down the road we'd just taken.
--(two months later)
When Farley said the Faire moved every week, he was right. Well, sort of. The island never moved, but the portal's entrance did. The Faire went from Elwynn Forest, by our home, all the way across the continent to Orgrimmar, the city of the enemies of the Alliance. Of course the Faire was a sanctuary and no fighting was permitted (besides the Deathmatch, of course). If then moved to Shattrath City and onward until it came right back to Elwynn, once every month.
We moved with it, quickly becoming a part of their family. It took them no time at all to discover Keri's obscene strength and turned her into her own attraction. Seeing as I had no discernible skills whatsoever, I remained a simple worker.
I gathered supplies, cleaned up the trash that was left on the grounds, lit up the torches and cleaned out the bones and blood from the Deathmatch. It was work, but it payed better than any job we've had before. Keri still earned more, though. If I had a break I would watch sometimes.
She would encourage onlookers to give her whatever heavy object they could find and bring it to her, and she'd lift it with apparent ease. She had audiences sometimes ranging to the dozens, or maybe just two, but they were always amazed. And then they moved on. But the satisfaction made Keri grow a little vain, and I think she knew it as well. The way she spoke to me changed.
"You really ought to find something useful to do with yourself," she said one night as we shared dinner once the Faire had closed for the day. "I mean, you just sit there all day and watch the other performers." She lazily dipped the end of a piece of bread into soup and ate it.
"I do not," I replied indignantly, my own meal untouched. "You stand there kissing your arms in front of your stupid audience and lift up whatever crap they want to give you."
She tore off another piece and dipped it into her soup, though this time she seemed a little more forceful. "I would watch it, if I were you," she said coolly.
"Are you threatening me?" I hissed under my breath, trying not to draw attention to the table, even though there were only a couple other people around. For once I was tired of being the underdog.
"Yeah, I could be, if you don't shut up." She snapped, her eyes glittering as she looked at me.
"I don't care, you conceited bitch.." That did it. She took her soup and threw the bowl at me. I smacked it away before I got too drenched, got up and left, tears starting again. I didn't care if people saw this time. I walked, thoughts of vengeance and fury in my mind as my hands clenched and unclenched by my side.
I went to the farthest end of the Faire, where there were docks that led down to the shore were people liked to fish. However, I went instead to the Faire's largest feature that also usually happened to be the emptiest -the zoo area. They were simply marked-off areas were the more unusual creatures of Azeroth called home. I went straight to the petting zoo to sit on a bench. There was a little boy riding a pony who quickly left once he saw me the way I looked.
I sat on the crooked wooden bench, crying among the miniature ponies and Khaz Modan rams. One furry white ram came up to me, bleating softly, tipping his head for treats.
"Go.. go away," I said shakily. The ram backed up, still looking at me. "Turn ..around," I commanded, unsure of whether it would listen this time. It didn't move. "Turn around."
It finally did, though it bleated again in displeasure. I grew excited. "Okay, come back." It did so, coming between my knees and licking its lips for treats.
"Okay, alright." I bought it a handful of grain from a nearby goblin-made dispenser and fed him. The ram stayed by my side happily. I wondered whether this ram was trained or not, because it just carried out what I asked it to do.
Right when I was testing to see whether it'd walk around on two legs, a small cough sounded behind me. I spun around, to see Silas standing behind the fence of the enclosure.
"Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt, Kara. Please continue." When I hesitated, he spoke again. "Sorry to just sneak up like that on you. But I saw you alone here, making Bitterhoof listen to you! I've never seen a trainer do that before."
I rubbed my hand along the wide space of the ram's forehead softly. "Oh. Well I guess I'm just good with rams," I said, trying to cheer myself up. Silas smiled, but he seemed to be thinking.
"Would you mind trying it on Leo, in the lion enclosure? I'd like to see something."
I nodded in consent, though I was (to say the least) nervous. When we left the petting zoo, Bitterhoof waited for me at the fence, bleating.
We passed an enormous gorilla, an enclosure with an eagle tending to her eggs and a large violet ostrich-like creature. Then the lion exhibit. The lions were ten times larger than the cats that the hunters had as companions, and those cats were up to my hip.
Silas introduced me. "Savannah is the female, King Leo the male, and those are the kittens."
I bent down to one of the kittens as it wandered up to me, mewling. I smiled and wiggled my fingers at it, though not stupidly enough to do it closely. The mother, beside the dozing father, turned and picked the kitten up in her teeth, growling lowly at me. "Oh don't be such a grump Savannah, Kara is a nice girl."
I laughed nervously. Yeah, they'd think I'd be a nice snack. "Kara, see if you can get Leo to wake up," Silas told me. I edged closer.
"Hey. Hey, Leo. Come in boy, wake up!" He opened one golden eye at me, then shut it and turned away to sleep. I was discouraged, but I didn't want to let Silas down. "Leo. Wake up," I said firmly like I did with Bitterhoof. Again, he didn't move. Finally I thought of Leo rising up, opening his eyes and roaring to the whole Faire. The thought echoed for a moment in my head and when I opened my eyes, Leo had his jaws open in an enormous yawn.
Close enough to a roar, right?
He then lazily padded to the water bowl and lapped some of it up. I sat back, relieved.
Silas clapped. "I knew it! You have hunter blood in you, Kara, and I'd like to propose you with a new job here at the Faire."
I nodded eagerly.
"How does animal caretaker and trainer sound to you?"
--(1 week later)
Fitting into the job was very easy. I suppose my sister got my dad's brute strength as a warrior and I gained my mother's taken with animals. Speaking of Keri, we'd apologized, but we still hadn't gotten past icy conversations.
Things were going well that day, the Monday in early summer as I remembered it. People were talking about the summer festivals that were going to be held soon, and I listened in while I poured more food in for Crystal, the basilisk. A human paladin was discussing the events with a tall night elf male.
"Oh yeah, the loot from that boss would've been great if only we had split it up. Some dwarf snagged it and ran off!" The night elf was saying and the paladin laughed. They walked around the corner and spotted me just as I leaned over to pat the reptile on the head. I looked warily at them.
"Sorry to bother you, but could I ask where the Deathmatch is supposed to happen?" The paladin asked politely.
"Right there." I pointed directly across from us to the largest tent of the Faire. A netted circle with a sand floor was all it took to have an all-out killing spree for these kinds of people. I turned back and continued to work.
"Go ahead, Dereon, I'll be there in a sec," the paladin whispered to his friend. I could obviously hear him, and he knew.
Smirking, the night elf, before my eyes shrunk into a lithe cat; a cheetah, and sprinted to the stage of the Deathmatch. Druids.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name. I'm Jarred." He extended his hand. I wiped the remainders of the food off of my hands and shook it.
"My name is Kara, nice to meet you," I murmured.
"A beautiful name. Do you work here? What do you do?"
I smiled half-heartedly, wondering why he wanted to even know. I was a nobody. A shadow in the tall tents of the Faire.
"Thank you. I do work here, I train and care for the animals here." Without missing a beat, I called out for one of the elephants. "Say hi to Jarred!"
The mammoth animal extended its trunk and dipped a little on a front leg, mimicking a human bow. Jarred smiled, pleased, and applauded a little.
"That was great! Hey, you know, I was just about to grab some food. When's your break?"
Jarred was asking me to eat with him? I'd barely met him, what did he want with me? I was too interested to decline.
"Right now is fine, all my work is done. I'll come with," I responded. He grinned.
"Great. I'll meet you over there in a minute, okay?" He waved and began to walk in the direction of the food vendors.
I sprinted to the nearest mirror and frantically fixed up my hair, brushed the dirt off of my face and uniform and cleaned up the best I could. I then met Jarred at a table where he sat with two glasses of limeade and a large serving of funnel cake.
"Hey Kara!" He looked me over and smiled when I appeared. I enthusiastically sat down and engaged in conversation.
I feel like I clicked easily with Jarred. He was funny and kind, and seemed to truly bring out the best out of me. Like a turtle in the shell. He came back every day of the week and I took time off to spend with him. I guess it was weird, that I fell for him so fast. The other girls who worked at the Faire teased me gently about it. My sister ignored it completely, and, truthfully I didn't even care. I liked Jarred, and I was sure he felt the same. If not, at least he was a good actor.
Each day of the week he took me to do something different in the Faire.
One day we sat on the dock and watched people catch fish. The next we played some of the Faire games I'd never tried before. And on the second to last day we sat together, shared a drink, and talked like before about his adventures, his life and mine, and my experiences of the Faire.
This was the last day the Faire would be in Elwynn for a whole month. I felt like I wanted him to stay. But he had places to go, and I couldn't very well just abandon the Faire. But he promised me something exciting for the last day. He waited until night.
"What is it?" I asked repeatedly, giggling like I hadn't for years. He just put a finger to my lips.
He had covered my eyes and led me down to the docks. I could tell by the lapping of water against the wood. But soon we were walking on sand. Was he leading me all the way to the shore by the forest?
Finally, his hands let go of mine.
"Okay, Kara. Open your eyes. We're here."