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Welcome Home, Short short - Sheeren

Sheeren Oakenfell, was one of a kind, at least that is what all her friends said. Half-dwarf, half-human, golden toned skin with long strawberry blonde braids that reached past her waist. She had a habit of humming as she walked through Old Town on her way to Welcome Home. The small strain that was always between her eyes barely spoke of the ghost pain of her amputated arm.

She had grown up active, very active. Her parents lived out at the Eastvale Logging camp, father had been raised there, his parents working for the owners. Da was a logger all his life, Ma a miner and the area around was loaded with mines, until the kobolds moved in. It was how they met, Da had been out taking out some deadfall when he head a scream. Ma had been poking around the mines, and a kobold came across her, chasing her out of the mine. It threw a pick at her and it lodged in her shoulder and she collapsed. Da took her to the abbey to be healed.

They said that the Light blessed them both as they walked in, because he was already twitterpated and did not want to leave the small woman’s side, even as she cursed, loudly, about kobolds, and him carrying her. She yelled that she could walk on her own, and what did he think she was, a weak woman?

The story, and the memory of it, always made Sheeren laugh. Everytime she went to visit them, her dad would tell the story again. His mind was fading to fast, she supposed it did not help that her mother still looked the same, so when he looked at his wife, it was a memory of yesterday, not of fifty years ago.

Sheeren’s last name, and her father’s trade, betrayed her spirit, she had become a gardner, creating safe spaces for plants since she was a child. It was her passion, watching leaves and blooms unfold day after day, her passion was at least one she could manage now that she lost her arm.

It was a shame, really, the accident. She had been scouting ahead of her troops during the siege on Orgrimmar when a messenger headed for her tripped on a mine she marked and he failed to note. He hadn’t seen it, but she heard immediately the click from behind her. Sheeren had turned and launched herself at the young man, shielding him from the explosion. In a cruel twist, the troop’s healer was gone, off to have a child that her partner, the commander, had sired. The metal that lodged in Sheeren’s forearm had been deep and the “surgeon” that had been sent to replace their priest said she had to have the lower arm removed after which she’d be sent back from the front.

Whiskey, and pain potions an alchemist made, had been her friends that night, she barely felt as he cut through her flesh. It was not until the next day when she woke, in a cart being taken back to be treated, that she lifted her arm in reflex to scratch her nose and the stump began to scream in pain, one matched by Sheeren herself out loud. The Priests that treated her at the hospital once she had been sent back to Stormwind helped with the pain though they had to take the rest up to her bicep from infection. They told her that ghost pains were common even though the limb had been removed.

Her prosthetic used wood, leather and metal in an attempt, she joked, to make her look normal in a long sleeve shirt. She hated covering it though, it was her trophy, in a way. There was no shame in her from her work in battle, or how she lost her arm, until she started to look for work. Even in the inns no one wanted a one armed barmaid. Her flirting, and fighting, skills were top notch, but it was less than helpful to only be able to carry drinks two at a time.

Sheeren had gone home, for a bit, but watching her father’s memory fade was too hard on her. And Ma did not need to worry about her, and Da at once. Back in Stormwind she had been able to convince the farm outside the lake to let her help them, but it was hollow work. Shehad been saving though, she wanted to move out of the city and onto a small plot of land she could work herself.

The wages of a farm hand were not good, so, in a fit of pique at feeling useless, Sheeren began to teach herself to juggle. Able, now, to keep four apples in the air at once, she was moved up to a vendor for the farm at the market. Standing at the cart, juggling to attract customers, a side show, the one armed juggler, but one that helped her bank account by sending her people ready to tip.

A friend from the army had been in town and saw her at the market. He was the one that told Sheeren about Welcome Home, said he had connected with others from the company there. She was dubious about what he had said, “You will love it, just like what you described your home as, the lasses that run it are good natured and helpful, you will fit right in.”

He had proven to be right though, she did fit in, helping the boys with marking off the horseshoe pit, which had been her idea, then beating them often with her left arm. At first there were jokes about them tying an arm behind their backs to make the playing field even. After she and her partner won the first eight games played in the new pit, collecting the friendly wagers and a pat on the back, it silenced the jokes.

The one person she looked forward to was seeing most was Desala when she came, that Draenei was magic, truly. Desala joked, and connected with the people there, enough to make up for the more professional front of Lexi, and the innocence of Lejian. Bawdy jokes by the others never bothered her at all, though she did not return the favor, the dance of her eyes and her laugh was a gem.

Plus, her healing gift, Sheeren had never had a massage before, but now she thought she might be addicted. After a session with the woman she felt balanced again, usually she felt lighter on the right side, a normal thing all the other healers told her, until the shaman worked with her. Adjusting the muscles through touch, and her healing ability, when they were done Sheeren stood straight again, after slightly tilting left for so long.

A bonus? Having such skilled hands touching her made her realize that she had put herself in a box. Avoiding trying to find anyone that was not disgusted by her scar, or her in general. She was built more like her Ma, than a human, and in times in the field, it was easy to find bedmates. Now, in Stormwind, or in Ironforge, her differences were as noticeable as her arm. Short and blocky for a human, too tall and skinny for a dwarf, it took a lot of booze to find a companion and she had become tired of paying for whisky to get notice.

Desala did not care about any of that, through her Sheeren had found it was touch, and the lack of judgement, she had missed the most. Sex was nice, but relaxing in another’s company and just enjoying their presence was a wonderful gift. She found herself talking about everything with the older woman, pain, joy, her childhood, her Da’s current state. The Shaman listened and offered gentle advice or just an ear, never judging her for anything she had done, or her differences.

An hour of treatment was almost too short for her. She had taken to getting there early so when Desala brought lunch she would join in with them. Some of the others joked that Sheeren had a girl crush, and maybe she did, but they all fell under Desala’s charms, so it was nothing to be ashamed of. The woman was a professional, and never once, even with all the men that tried, had she dated a client she worked with at Welcome Home, or even returned more than a simple teasing smile if their flirting got too serious.

One or two of the veterans tried to push that level, but soon found themselves unwelcome on the days when the shaman visited. Never once did Lexi have to talk to them, it was just understood by Sheeren, and the others that valued all she and her grandmother did, that no one at Welcome Home would accept that type of behavior. One of the men was a little more insistent than the others, and found himself pinned to the wall outside by a small one armed woman with a heavy horseshoe in her hand, while a couple of the others held him in place as she explained to him about respect.

Almost all of the veterans that went to Welcome Home felt a sense of kinship that their service, and the charity, offered. Sheeren knew it, not just because she felt it but because they all talked about it. It was not the property of the women that ran it, or the rich people that paid for it, and visited often, it was the property of the people that came there. Lexi just accepted it, as if it was perfect as it was, even with a few troublemakers that had to be dealt with.

Deep within her Sheeran knew there was a service she wanted, even more than massage. There was a longing for an arm that would work again, or at least, somewhat work, but the fear that what made her who she was now would be lost, or just fear that it would never work, just like the wood and leather she left on her dresser now. Maybe one day she would talk with the engineer, Cyonle that watched her so closely when there were both there, but for now, it was just nice to be with friends and feel comfortable with herself again.
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