Leanna was, objectively speaking, the most feared being in the kingdom of Stalhaven.
This fact had nothing to do with Leanna’s ego, it was just the truth. Everywhere she travelled within Stalhaven, for years now, she was met with wide eyes and shaking hands, people alternately bribing her mercy or taking pains to flee her path. When she passed children on the street, no matter which town she was traveling through, they would whisper to each other behind sticky, twitching fingers, “It’s the Wrath of Winter’s Dawn. No, don’t look at her you fool, she’ll summon a vengeful ghost to carve out the eyeballs from your head!”
You summon the spiritual remnants of a few restless soldiers once, just to keep a Nightshade Dragon’s drunken ass from ruining a perfectly festive late-year gathering, and suddenly you’ve got a ridiculous name that you didn’t ask for and a very hard time convincing people that, no, you aren’t particularly interested in eating their souls. Human souls tend to smell like candle wax and overripe avocados; not exactly appetizing. But anyway, if the general populace wanted to believe that she had summoned a spirit army with the intent of eviscerating half the kingdom, then so be it.
Now, Leanna was the Wrath of Winter’s Dawn, Scourge of the Veil, the Bone Mistress, or whatever horribly theatrical name was making its way through the gossip circuit this year. People either feared her hatefully or feared her greedily, paying in gold for her otherworldly services, or just plain feared her. Lords scuttled away from her cloaked figure, and other magic-wielders bowed in deference when she crossed their path. Even the Empress Divine stiffened when The Bone Mistress entered her receiving hall.
When Leanna first saw Penlyn Kipps lounging on a bed of moss in a pool of dappled sunlight, she ran into a tree.
(Note: The first chapter was a bit long so I split it up, sorry for the confusion for anyone who has already read this! FYI for anyone new, the next chapters will be longer)