DISCLAIMER: Wickedis my joy, my light, my life, but unfortunately not my property. Give it time, though.
AN. Hey everyone! I am pleased to announce 2 big things with the commencement of this FF:
After four years of uni, endless emotional breakdowns and 14 years of dreaming, I am now an official teacher! I graduate from uni in just over 2 weeks and I already have a job for next year… about 5 hours away from home in a town of 312 people. So bigchanges!
This is my 15th Wicked/Fiyeraba Fanfiction and 44th overall! Which makes me very happy. Hopefully there's another 15 coming!
So, you all know the drill by now! I post, you read, you review, and I post a new chapter every 2nd day or so. This story is different from anything I've written so far, and I'm really excited to see how it goes.
It's influenced both by the movie and the book, both by the same name, based off the biblical story of Esther. But I've taken the basic premise of the story and fleshed it out in my own way.
Thanks to both Julia and Kelly for reading this story beforehand and giving me your valuable thoughts and opinions on each chapter!
The first chapter is a little slow, it's really just to establish background context.
One Night With the King
Many years ago, before the land of Oz was the united and peaceful land it is now renowned for, it was a series of provinces that were regularly fighting for control for land and disputing the borders that separated them.
The most bloody and aggressive of these territorial battles was between Munchkinland and Glikkus. Munchkinland was vastly farmland, with rich soil that produced great crops each harvest season. The Glikkus, whilst having its own specific advantages, was mostly mountains and had little farmland.
This was the main cause for the arguments between governing officials of both provinces, the Glikkus demanded they were entitled to a portion of Munchkinland's farmland, which of course, the Munchkins refused. The result was a fierce battle that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, both Munchkins and Glikkuns and hundreds more left homeless and struggling to survive.
One of these was a Glikkun woman named Naia. Her husband, formerly the Glikkus Army General had been killed in the battle and thus left her widowed with a young son, Avaric. She blamed the Munchkins not only for the death of her husband, but for the war itself and as she resettled and raised her son on her own, instilled in him those lessons that the Munchkins were responsible for all their suffering.
As Avaric grew up, he took these lessons as truth and to heart, vowing revenge on those who had killed his father and caused his mother much undue grief and loss. When he was of a certain age, he left the Glikkus and went to Quox, where he was trained by their army and transformed into a fierce warrior.
With him were several other men who, like him, blamed the farming province of Munchkinland for their violent history and that so many of them had grown up without fathers, mothers or other family members. Once they had completed their training, they joined together, bonding over their thirst for revenge. Avaric called their group "Lustitiae", meaning "Justice Seekers" and when they returned to Oz, they began by raiding and terrorising small Munchkin villages on the outskirts of the border; and also some of the wealthier towns and villages in the province of Gilikin.
They soon became renowned for their acts of piracy and terrorism and those all throughout Oz began to live in fear of the Lustitiaens and their symbol, which was two white "S" type shapes, facing opposite one another on a dark purple background, the colour of the justice they sought. This symbol was referred to as the "quaerere", and it was often difficult to tell if the name or the symbol was more infamous through Oz. Although Avaric was more than happy to lead his band of men in these raids and attacks, he had a grand plan to ultimately seek his revenge.
But Avaric also believed that the best plans could not be rushed, and that he should make the most of the life he had been given. So, in between raids and attacks, he married, built a home and raised a family, taking pride and care to ensure his seven sons were raised just as his mother had raised him. His wife, the sister of one of his most trusted men, was proud to be the wife of Oz's most feared man and hoped that her sons would follow in their father's footsteps.
Finally, thirty years after the battle which had killed his father and destroyed his homeland, Avaric led his men in a grand siege upon Munchkin City and all who lived there. He made sure to personally kill those residing in the grand white Governor's household and took immense pride in setting it alight. He didn't stay to watch it burn.
But perhaps he should have. For if he had, he would have seen that not all those within the household were dead. The Governor and his wife had two daughters. The youngest Nessarose, although crippled was tragically beautiful and she was only four years old. Her elder sister, Elphaba, was not seen so much as tragically beautiful, but closer to beautifully tragic. For reasons unknown, she had been born with emerald green skin and hence was shunned by the Munchkins, especially her father, who was shamed to have such a child born to him.
Because of her unique skin tone and the shame and dishonour she had brought on her family simply by existing, Elphaba resided in the attic of the Governor's household, and this was how she escaped death at Avaric's hands at only seven years old. Being awakened from her sleep by distant screams and the sounds of horses being ridden off at great speeds, she scrambled out of bed and looked out the window.
She didn't understand the meaning of what she saw, a large black horse quickly vanishing from view, but she distinctly noticed the flag that it's rider bore, a purple flag with a white quaerere on it. As the horse turned, the rider's profile was caught in the moonlight, and even at a distance Elphaba could see the strong jaw and long nose, and a thin scar running down his cheekbone, an image that would imprint itself on her young mind forever.
It was only when Elphaba left the attic and found the bodies of her parents and sister and then smelled the smoke that the magnitude of what was happening occurred to her. Frightened, confused and still half asleep, she stumbled through the smoke filled house until she reached the outdoors, where she found her cousin, Shell, being able to do nothing but watch the house burn.
Shell was eighteen, and one of the few in Munchkinland who wasn't perturbed by his little cousin's verdigris. He had been out celebrating a friend's birthday amongst the cornfields, and when they'd heard the screams and noises coming from the village, they hadn't known what was going on, only that it was very bad.
Shell, slightly drunk, had eventually stumbled back into the city outskirts as the horsemen rode quickly away, leaving burning buildings, dead, dying and injured people all around them. His first thought had been to go home, and when he'd burst through the front door of his still-standing house, he'd been greeted by the sight of his father's head lying on the floor, a good three feet away from the rest of his body.
That had been more than enough to sober him, and when he'd finished ejecting his stomach of all the alcohol he'd drunk into what had formerly been his mother's prize rose bushes, he'd looked up and seen the Governor's house go up in flames.
Shell had moaned weakly and sunk to his knees is his own vomit, assuming his aunt, uncle and cousins were now lost to him in addition to his own parents. And then for some unknown reason, he had been compelled to stagger to his feet and head over to watch the fire destroy the house.
The last thing he was expecting was for a little, terrified green girl, covered in soot and blood practically fly out the fire-consumed doorway and into the fresh night air.
When he recognised her, running out of the burning house in her nightgown, he fought through a crashing wave of relief and hurried to comfort her.
"Fabala!" he cried out frantically, pulling her into his arms and making sure she wasn't hurt in any way. "Are you alright?"
Elphaba couldn't speak, too traumatised by the events of what had happened, and unable to blink the images of her little sister's body from her mind's eye. She could only sob and cling to Shell's shirt, which smelt like smoke, vomit and alcohol.
"It's going to be okay, Fabala," he assured her in a whisper as Munchkins around them stared silently.
Shell felt himself sober even more as it dawned on him that Elphaba was now the only family he had left, and it was up to him to look after her now. At eighteen, he had suddenly become a father. And then Shell really wanted a drink.
Two hundred and thirty-six Munchkin men, women and children died that night, and a further three hundred and twelve were injured to various degrees of severity. Eight hundred and seventy-three homes were destroyed and all of Munchkinland was plunged into a state of shock at what had happened.
In addition to his family, Shell had lost many friends that night, including his long-term girlfriend. They'd been together for two years, and had been planning a life together. To have his whole future and his family wiped out in only a few moments was almost more than he could bear.
Shell, once he'd gotten his head on straight and realised he couldn't fall apart because he now had Elphaba to look after, had wasted no time before sitting down and thinking of a plan. Elphaba had confessed to him in a whisper what she had seen that night and her story sent chills down Shell's spine.
He knew the reputation of the Lustitiaens and the quaerere, he had grown up listening to his father tell stories of the battle thirty years ago between Munchkinland and the Glikkus, and Shell wasn't stupid. It hadn't escaped his attention that the majority of the attacks conducted by the Lustitiaens were targeted on Munchkins, and he wasn't foolish or naïve enough to suppose that they wouldn't come back one day to finish what they'd started.
Fortunately, the Thropp family was of strong blood and were taller than normal Munchkins. Only the children were native Munchkinlander's by birth, their parents had all been born of Gilikinese descent. Their fathers, brothers Frexspar and Hatim had moved with their parents as small children when their father became Governor of Munchkinland, and both their mothers had been from respectable Gilikinese families who had fallen in love with the Thropp brothers, Shell's mother some six years before Elphaba's.
This blessing meant that, Elphaba's skin colour aside, they would be able to blend into normal society outside of Munchkinland quite easily. Shell had no desire to stay in Munchkinland, forever plagued by the horror of this night and he felt it would be better for Elphaba to do the same. And he wasn't the only one. Plenty of surviving Munchkins were fleeing to Quadling country, or the Vinkus or to lands outside of Oz itself, seeking refuge.
The only decision he had to make, was to which province should they move to? He had to be able to find work, to provide food, clothes and a home for him and Elphaba, and he wanted for Elphaba to be able to get a good education and live as normal a life as possible.
He was seriously considering the Emerald City, when his neighbour, knowing of his intentions, recommended the Vinkus.
"If you really want the best possible life for your cousin, I think the Vinkus is your best bet," he told Shell solemnly.
"They have a good, simple life out there, and they're not as concerned with appearances. Green skin won't scare them off."
"Who rules over the Vinkus?" Shell asked curiously.
"King Ibrahim. He's a good, fair leader. Well respected by his own people and the neighbouring provinces."
"I heard they were having trouble with Ugabu," Shell replied worriedly. The last thing he wanted was to drag Elphaba into a war zone. She was still waking up screaming every night from nightmares about her parents bodies, and particularly little Nessa's.
His neighbour shook his head assuredly. "Rumours, son. There's a few radicals who still claim that Ugabu is independent from Oz, but the government there is loyal to Oz and their King is an old friend of King Ibrahim. Ibrahim's got a son too, young Prince Fiyero. He's about fifteen or so, I think. And I think he's going to be a great king himself when the time comes. And being out in the mountains and the forests…. Elphaba will love it all. Much better than farmland."
"I was thinking the Emerald City," Shell admitted. "Elphaba would love the city… and it's green."
"True," his neighbour smiled. "Maybe when she's older, she'll go there. But right now? A bustling city is not what she needs, son. And you'll find plenty of work in the Vinkus."
So, Shell's decision was made. They would go to the Vinkus and begin a new life.