"I did not say it was a stupid idea, Lord. But the strategic advantage of equipping infantry with scary hand puppets is lost on me."
Strengths: Patience, Management, Fashion
Weaknesses: Enthusiasm, Sense of Humor, Capacity for Hope
First Appearance: TBFGK 2
Wanda Firebaugh is a Croakamancer in the service of Lord Stanley. Before entering Stanley's service, she worked for the Kingdom of Faq. She is capable of casting a wide variety of spells, including the spell that summoned Parson, but claims to dislike casting spells which are not related to croakamancy. She has a talent and a taste for interrogation and is capable at it to the point she can break a Royal's will. Wanda's ability to gain Jillian's cooperation through torture suggests that Wanda has some talent for Turnamancy, since it seems similar to the process Vanna used while turning Duncan Scone. Jillian thinks Wanda's technique is superior to Vanna's.
Wanda sees herself (and Stanley) as "minor actors" serving a greater destiny. She believes she and the other individuals who are attuned to Arkentools have a role to play in the Titan's plans, and that no one (not even herself) can prevent this plan from happening. She does think that by supporting the Titan's plan, and not opposing it, she can reduce the amount of pain and suffering experienced by everyone involved.
Wanda is of average height for a human female from Erfworld. She has raven black hair that reach to her shoulder blades (but is frequently worn up) and white skin. Her eyes are light blue with a white sclera, but no pupil, and the eyebrows are trimmed thin. Like all Erfworld humans, she has a somewhat childlike lower body with slender hips, adequate cleavage, and an overly large head (though this might just be due to artist drawing style). She dresses only in white, red, and black, and usually has some skull motif somewhere in her clothing or accessories.
The Maze of Fate
Wanda is absolutely convinced that Marie revealed to her some predictions about the future of Erfworld that are certain to come true. She knew that she would one day attune to an Arkentool, but did not know how this would come about. She also knew that it was the Fate of the Arkentools to be found and brought together. As a consequence, whenever she had to make a decision, she took the path which seemed to lead most directly towards the fulfilment of these Predictions. If a choice seemed likely to increase the probability that she would gain an Arkentool, she made that choice, even if it seemed horribly risky. So she conspired to bring Stanley to Faq, because it was possible that he would die in the battle, allowing her to take the Arkenhammer. When that plan resulted in the destruction of Faq, she encouraged Stanley to adopt the high risk strategy of questing for other Arkentools, because it was possible that he might find one she could attune to. The quest for Arkentools nearly led to the destruction of Gobwin Knob, so she persuaded Stanley to buy an untested, potentially dangerous, and highly expensive spell which might bring a "Perfect Warlord" to Erfworld. This spell ultimately did lead to Wanda attuning to the Arkenpliers, which reinforced Wanda's conviction that Marie's Predictions had been true, and that her method of trying to push history in the "correct" direction does produce results. After she had obtained the Arkenpliers, Wanda made some comments to Parson which indicate that she thinks she knows some things about his future as well.
Now that Gobwin Knob's campaign to conquer Jetstone has begun, Wanda has once again started to make very dangerous choices, such as her decision to deviate from the battle plans proposed by both Ansom and Parson, and her decision to personally lead the attack on Spacerock. Given Wanda's past history, this apparent recklessness may represent an attempt to fulfill another of Marie's Predictions.
A Question of Loyalties
After Wanda gained the Arkenpliers, she believed she'd found the most direct pathway to the achievement of her Fate. However, the sudden shift in her fortunes after she turned down Jillian's offer of an alliance has persuaded her that she has somehow deviated from the correct path, though she doesn't yet understand precisely how. She will need to decide whether her error was her failure to immediately croak Jillian, or her failure to ally with Jillian. She continued to serve Stanley after she gained an Arkentool because she believes it is the destiny of the Arkentools to come together. But the restoration of Faq means that Wanda could theoretically choose to rejoin her former side, if she decided that doing so was consistent with her Fate.
Jillian has told Wanda that it is possible for her to rejoin Faq while still fulfilling her destiny, but has not yet explained precisely how or why this is the case. In light of her new-found uncertainly about her correct path, Wanda may try to reopen negotiations with Jillian at the first opportunity, in order to explore this option more fully.
One of Wanda's listed strengths is Fashion, so it's not surprising that she changes her raiment much more frequently than any other character. At present, Wanda wears an outfit and hairstyle nearly identical to those the Rocky Horror Picture Show character Magenta wears in the final scenes. For a catalog of her costume, visit Wanda's Wardrobe. Note that this page is image heavy.
Wanda's livery is a Grey, flowered skull on a black field.
Wanda and Marie both served King Banhammer as Casters in Faq. Marie has profoundly affected Wanda, first by Predicting that she would someday acquire an Arkentool, and later by arranging for Wanda, and Gobwin Knob, to be the recipient of the Perfect Warlord spell which summoned Parson. Marie chose to give the spell to Wanda, despite the objections of Janis, who strongly disapproves of Wanda. The fact that she survived the fall of Faq suggests that Marie may have known of Wanda's plan to lure Stanley to Faq, either because Wanda told her about the plan in advance, or because she Predicted it herself.
Sizemore normally refers to Wanda as "Lady Firebaugh", and seems to respect her. He does not like having to defend her actions to the casters of the Magic Kingdom. As a caster, Wanda is probably aware of Sizemore's "Rock Star" status in the Magic Kingdom. She is at least superficially respectful toward Sizemore, but can be inconsiderate and curt, as she was when Sizemore suggested that Jillian could break Wanda's Suggestion Spell. They have a functional working relationship but do not appear to be social. In particular, Sizemore's willingness to study fields of magic he has no ability at puzzles the multitalented but specialized Wanda.
Wanda may have gained a greater appreciation of Sizemore as a result of linking with him to uncroak the Volcano. If Wanda believes that Fate requires that other members of her side attune to the other Arkentools, she may see Sizemore as a likely candidate for this role.
Jillian met Wanda when she was captured by Haffaton. At the time, Wanda was addicted to Heroine buds and required by Olive Branch to torture prisoners like Jillian in order to turn them. Wanda eventually helped Jillian to defeat Olive Branch, after gaining permission from Warlady Judy to change sides and join Faq. Jillian then saved Wanda's life, by making a deal with Charlie, who helped cure Wanda of most of the physical effects of her addiction to Heroine buds.
It is implied in Book 2 – Text Updates 010 that before the fall of FAQ Jillian and Wanda were romantically involved. They appear to still have had a romantic and very intimate relationship during the times when Jillian was captured by Gobwin Knob, but it's unclear how much of that is genuine, how much was the spell of control Wanda cast on Jillian, and whether there might be other factors involved. This relationship is implied to have originated from Faq during a flashback. It is unlikely Jillian knows that Wanda was unintentionally responsible for the destruction of her side.
When Jillian breaks free from Wanda's Suggestion Spell, Wanda absorbs the full damage from the spell's abrupt termination. It's possible that she absorbed this damage deliberately, in order to avoid harming Jillian. She asked Parson not to croak Jillian, immediately after the spell broke. Jillian for her part remained concerned for Wanda even after breaking free of Wanda's spell.
Jillian has repeatedly attempted to persuade Wanda to leave Stanley's side, once while being held captive at Gobwin Knob, again during a fly-by visit to Gobwin Knob before the Coalition attack, and yet again when they parleyed at Spacerock. Her attempts to influence Wanda was hindered by the fact that she didn't know certain critical facts about Wanda. Jillian did not know about Wanda's role in the First Battle of Faq or the prediction that Wanda would someday gain an Arkentool. Wanda did mention the Summon Perfect Warlord Spell in passing after she interrogated Jillian at Gobwin Knob, but Jillian still doesn't know many critical facts about Wanda's relationship with Parson.
While Wanda benefited during the Battle for Gobwin Knob from having secrets that Jillian didn't know, Jillian has secrets unknown to Wanda. Wanda probably did not know that Jillian had rebuilt Faq and become a Queen, until she decrypted Ossomer. She still doesn't know that Jillian's Royal Heir will pop fairly soon, or that Jillian has formed separate alliances with the Royal Crown Coalition, the Western Giants, and Charlie.
The two met up again at Battle of the Expository Bridge. Wanda believed that Jillian had come all this way for her, but Parson suggested that it might have been for Ansom. Reacting jealously, Wanda had Ansom sent off with the ground troops to prevent Jillian from seeing him. Wanda proceeded to parley with Jillian.
Jillian indicated that she was fond of Wanda, but opposed her side because she can't stand Stanley. Jillian offered to let Wanda join her and conquer the world together. Wanda initially rejected this offer, saying that she is loyal to Fate. The Arkentools are Fated to be brought together, and she needs to stay by Stanley's side to help this event occur. Jillian suggested that Wanda could still fulfill her Fate if she joined Jillian's side, but was under non-disclosure, preventing her from sharing details. Wanda indicated that she might take her up on this offer, if she could win back her trust by helping her defeat Spacerock. Jillian pretended to agree, but proceeded to force an end to Gobwin Knob's turn, placing Wanda in a dire situation.
Though unwilling to croak Wanda herself, Jillian took a great deal of satisfaction in leaving her to her apparent doom. Much to Wanda's shock, Jillian left Wanda to croak while stating that she was finally sure who she had come for: Ansom.
Wanda has since entered a strong state of cognitive dissonance. She is not quite able to acknowledge what has happened in her relationship with Jillian and reacts violently to Jack's pointed hints, but realizes that somewhere, she has made a mistake.
Wanda generally believes Stanley to be a fool, but does believe that he has an important fate. She was subservient and loyal to him - In fact, Wanda was probably the creature Stanley trusted and respected most in the whole Erfworld - but secretly continued to play events to bring her closer to the Pliers.
Since Wanda's attunement to the Arkenpliers she seems to be happy to go along with Stanley's orders as long as she can play with her Pliers and her personal army. Stanley feels somewhat insecure about this new balance of power.
Wanda may be the single greatest threat to Charlie's survival, because Wanda is trying to start an ideological war. As long as War is simply a matter of different sides competing for economic resources, then most Royals will not hesitate to hire a non-Royal Mercenary like Charlie, if it seems profitable to do so. But by spreading the idea that there is an inherent ideological conflict between Royals and Units attuned to the Arkentools, Wanda is damaging Charlie's ability to persuade Royals to hire him.
Wanda has always respected Parson's tactical mind. The two have a good working relationship, but Parson fears her and considers her a monster.
However, in one case, she has chosen not to follow his advice. Wanda sees Parson as another agent of Fate, and believes she knows his future well enough to be able to predict that he will suffer and take losses in future battles.
Wanda has willingly shared some of her secrets with Parson. She does not seem concerned that he might ever use any of them against her.
Before Anson's death, the two were violently antagonistic. Because of his hatred for Stanley, Ansom naturally hated and despised Stanley's closest followers, including Wanda. Wanda was not only slaughtering Jetstone troops whom he badly wanted to defend, she was also defacing Jetstone's corpses, and using them to croak even more of his followers. Wanda considered Ansom to have stolen something from her that was of even greater value than the Jetstone troops she'd croaked. She may have been referring to the Arkenpliers or to Jillian or to both.
After Ansom's decryption, Ansom feels a deep love for Wanda, and hopes to gain her love in return. He resents the fact that Wanda frequently seeks Parson's advice, in part because he wants to show Wanda that she doesn't need any Warlord except him. Wanda took great pride in her ability to decrypt Ansom, and currently regards him as a very useful and loyal servant. She understands that both Parson and Ansom are talented Warlords, and tries to make the best use she can of both of their respective talents. In the final analysis, though, she feels she can make her own decisions, and so doesn't completely rely on either Parson or Ansom.
Wanda's earliest known affiliation was with King Banhammer of the Kingdom of Faq. Wanda is sometimes referred to (for instance, by Sizemore) as "Lady Firebaugh," which may be an indication that she is a noble.
Following Stanley the Plaid's discovery of the Arkenhammer, she attempted to acquire the Arkenhammer by arranging for Stanley to attack Faq. She claims she expected Stanley to be croaked, but her plan failed when Stanley destroyed Faq. She then changed sides, and encouraged Stanley to seek the other Arkentools. Erf-b1-p147 Since the fall of Faq. Wanda has behaved in a way that suggests she is loyal to Stanley. She obeys his commands and serves his side without being under any loyalty spells. However, this may have been only to preserve his power as a tool to aid her getting an Arkentool to attune to.
During the events described in Book One, Wanda supplemented Gobwin Knob's rather meager forces by using Croakamancy to animate fallen troops as uncroaked. In particular, all of Stanley's remaining warlords (after the death of Lord Manpower the Temporary), were uncroaked.
Wanda served as Stanley's chief adviser, being both highly intelligent and adept at persuading him to adopt her suggestions and think they were his idea all along. Most notably, she persuaded Stanley to spend the bulk of the treasury on a spell to summon a "Perfect Warlord" with the military genius to salvage Gobwin Knob's untenable situation, the casting of which summoned Parson Gotti to Erfworld.
Wanda contributions to Stanley the Plaid's war effort during this period included the practice of her "hobbies" -- torture and interrogation. After Jillian Zamussels was captured and brought to Gobwin Knob, she was subjected to torture and a magic spell (presumably some sort of Thinkamancy) and persuaded to reveal Prince Ansom's battle plans. (There is also a heavily implied sadomasochistic relationship between Wanda and Jillian, which indicates Jillian may not have been totally unwilling.) Wanda also demonstrated that she was capable of handling a wide variety of other Magic, but professed to lack real interest in any besides Croakamancy.
Wanda has recently come into ownership of the Arkenpliers and was able to 'attune' to them. According to her, it was Predicted in Faq "long ago" that this would come to pass, and that she has "wrecked and ruined" more than Parson (who, for perspective, had at the time of this comment just recently brought about the destruction of the entire Royal Coalition present at or near Gobwin Knob as well as all but a few soldiers on his own side) to ensure this would come to pass.
Wanda was able to utilize the Arkenpliers to acquire control of a large army in a single turn because she had the remarkable good fortune to attune to the Arkenpliers immediately after an army of thousands were croaked and before the bodies vanished. The fact that she acquired an Arkentool at the exact time and place where her new tool could provide her with vast power suggests that her belief that she was 'fated' to gain an Arkentool is correct.
Wanda knew that she was fated to one day attune to an Arkentool, but did not know which Tool it would be, or exactly how this would be accomplished. This suggests she has not been in direct contact with Marie. However, now that at least part of her Prediction has been achieved, she may try to seek out further contact with her.
Her willingness to continue working with Stanley, even though she now has an Arkentool of her own, suggests her future goals require at least two Arkentools. It's possible that she will try to acquire other Arkentools for other members of her side, such as Sizemore, Jack, or Maggie.
Real World References
Her name is a pun on "wand of fireball", a fairly common magic item in "Dungeons & Dragons" and other fantasy games.
Depending on pronunciation, her last name also becomes "firebug", a slang term meaning someone who relishes causing destruction, especially through the usage of fire. A very prophetic last name indeed, given the pivotal role she plays in the Volcano Uncroaking.
Croatan tribe that Wanda hails from really existed and is really lost.
It was pointed out that a company named Zhejiang Wanda Tools Co. Ltd specializes in making pliers.
Her name has been used as a reference to the film, A Fish Called Wanda; however, there are no obvious parallels between the movie (the fish Wanda or the character Wanda Gershwitz) and Wanda Firebaugh. Some have speculated that the death of the fish called Wanda at the hands of Jillian Zamussels may be foreshadowing a similar fate for Wanda.