Ever wonder what was going through Nella's head the day she left home? Well, wonder no more, my friends! We've got the exclusive short right here, giving you front row seats into the metaphorical shrug that led Nella on the path to the heroism she found with BAAR Crawl!
Crescent Falls had a routine to it; one that Nella had mastered in childhood. The servants were on the clock to have the house cleaned and primed before her family woke. Her father, Lord Hailmath Amastacia, rose before dawn every day and spent the morning surveying the family’s miniscule land holdings – and doing other lordly things that Nella never bothered to learn. He took the same route everyday: take the main staircase down to the foyer, yell at any servants that happened to get in his way, and be out the front door by the time the sunrise began to crest over the house. All Nella had to do to avoid him was listen by her bedroom door for his quick, confident footsteps to pass by and take the side staircase that lead straight down to the kitchens.
Nella silently slipped out of her room and crept down the hallway toward her siblings’ rooms. Rolen decided to be a butt today and get up early. He was leaning against his bedroom door, arms crossed with a superior look on his face.
“I received a letter from Professor Floutsem,” he drawled, “Do you remember him, Nellie?”
“Can’t say that I do, Roly-poly,” replied Nella. Floutsem was her advisor. One of Nella’s favorite past times was annoying her brother.
It worked. Rolen huffed in frustration and walked down the hallway toward the main staircase. Nella figured he would spend the rest of the morning in the library reading and being a nerd.
Thankfully, neither her sister nor her mother were around to disturb her further. Not that Nella expected her mother to be up yet. The unfortunately named Lady Annastrianna Amastacia never left her rooms until about midday, and Vall increasingly spent her time in town doing gigs and hanging with her musician friends until the wee hours of the morning. So, Nella had a clear route all the way down to the kitchens.
The kitchens were already hustling and bustling with servants making sure everything was ready for when their lord returned at lunchtime. It was easy for Nella to load up on snacks and slide out the backdoor before anyone noticed her.
Ever since Nella was a child, she spent her time hanging out in the woods adjacent to her family’s house. She’d even made herself a little campsite. That was where Vall found her later that morning, lounging on a tree branch like a cat.
“This is where you’ve been spending your time?” asked Vall. In one graceful movement she grabbed one of child-sized chairs scattered around the campsite and sat down across from Nella, “Feeling nostalgic?”
“Maybe,” replied Nella as she tossed Vall her last apple.
Vall caught the apple and rolled it between her hands. She had a ‘let’s have a conversation’ look on her face, “What exactly are you doing?”
Nella took in her surroundings, “Sitting? Relaxing? Existing? What are you asking me here?”
“I mean - what are you planning, now that you’ve left the army?”
Pointedly not looking at her sister, Nella took a bite of a cookie. She chewed slowly, thoughtfully, “I’m weighing all my options.”
Vall raised her eyebrows, “Which are?”
Nella chose not to answer.
Sighing, Vall rose from her seat. She tossed the apple back to Nella, “You’re going to have to make a decision sometime, sister o’ mine.”
Nella continued to not answer. Vall went back to the house, leaving Nella to sit on her branch. It was a bright, cloudless day; just like yesterday, and the day before that, and like every day since Nella had returned from basic training. Like every day that Nella could remember since she was a child. Though, tomorrow there might be rain, the gardener had said. He always said that.
Mild weather aside, Nella did need to think about the future. Her future. Going back to school meant more time around Rolen. The army was a bunch of nonsense. There was no way she was going to join her other sisters at court. Vall had her music. What did she have?
There was movement from one of the windows. A maid was opening the curtains of her mother’s room. When she was younger, Nella had once climbed up to one her mother’s windows to see what her mother did all morning. It wasn’t anything special. She read, plucked at her old lute, paced; each activity would end with Lady Annastrianna staring off into the middle distance, seeing something that Nella could not.
Nella spent the day at her little campsite; cleaning it up, making little houses made of sticks and other forest debris, then knocking them over.
The day turned to dusk that then turned to night. Nella saw the lights flicker in different parts of the house. When the lights had migrated up to her family member’s respective bedrooms, Nella stretched and rolled out the kinks in her shoulders. She quietly made her way back to the house.
She packed the essentials: an extra set of clothes, her armor, her bow and quiver, the “go bag” the army gave her before she left, a fan her grandmother had given her. She also picked up one of the more ornate long swords from the family trophy room. Nella looked around the foyer of her home. Then, she walked out the front door into the night air.
Written by Liz