Fast forward 16 years to find Isla Castiel, brunette bombshell in training -- the striking image of her mother and father combined, angrily packing her bags and stuffing everything she owend in them. From the day her father died until now, Isla was blamed for his death and her mother had never forgiven her. Even the quiet resentment of what happened that night was palpable when Isla was a mere child. She tried. Everyday of her life, Isla tried to be a good daughter, to make up for something she wasn't old enough to understand. The older she got, the more resentful her mother became, and the more she pushed Isla away. Halfway through her sophomore year, Isla had finally reached her breaking point. A face to face screaming match with her mother ending in the three words and eight letters she always feared hearing the most.
If it wasn't for the generosity of her extended family, Isla knew she would find herself without a proper home, with nowhere to go, and with no real chance of survival. Her mothers sister, Dinah, offered a helping hand a place to crash while Isla figured things out. They had spent countless hours and days attempting to reason with Lorene, but the truth was, Isla was never going to go home. There was never going to be a day when that door opened and her mother welcomed her back with open arms. After the proper emancipation papers were signed and dated, Isla was officially no one's. Dinah and Ted kept their door open for her and more often than not, she'd find herself curled up on their couch at the end of the day. She lived with them throughout the rest of high school and was able to experience having a family in a way her mother had never shown her.
After high school, the plan was for Isla to move on to college full time and helping her uncle run his gym whenever it was convenient for her. As much as he loved having her around, he knew the blonde needed to move on and get an education before she found herself stuck in the city of Seattle like so many of his students had in the past. Isla was for this idea for a long time, having made plans to attend college nearby and help on the weekends when it was busiest.
One thing she hadn't planned for, however, was joining a band. Music was never her thing and frankly, she wasn't really the best singer as far as she knew. Regardless, Isla had fallen in with a group of like-minded musicians and found that most of her free time wasn't spent at the gym, but in fact in smoky garages writing music with her new found friends. Originally, she had no intention of singing, but every once in a while, she would get dragged on stage and introduced as the brains behind the band and her group would make her sing with them. After a while, Isla realized she actually liked the attention and wanted to be up on stage more and more, and eventually she became a permanent fixture in the band as more than just the pen behind the words.
The band was a good way for a girl in her late teens and early twenties to explore the world. Isla had always had very strong opinions and an even stronger personality, so she used the band as a platform for advocacy and rebellion both. A lot of the rift between her mother and herself later on came from Isla's so called teenage rebellion. The gym kept her grounded, this much had always been very apparent, but raging hormones and raging opinions at that time in her life caused her to be a bit of a handful. With her attention split in 3 different directions, she was quick to burn out and eventually lost interest in her responsibilities.
As time went on, more and more of her focus went to music and less to her actual responsibilities. She scraped through the rest of her courses in school, but once her pens were capped and her exams finished, Isla loaded up in a van with four of her friends and together they started a west coast tour. This went on for about a year, and Isla couldn't wait to go home and share the stories with her family. There was one particular piece of big news that she was excited to share with them.
While on the west coast tour, two things happened to her. Her band was picked up for a cross-country tour and record deal, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. And during that time, her uncle had moved Wildecat from Seattle to Boston to open up a sister location. It stung to learn that the plans they had talked about for so long were now underway without her being in the mix, but Isla's excitement overpowered her disappointment and she knew eventually, she would find herself wherever Wildecat planted roots.
The band never made it to their tour and would eventually call it quits when Isla began to lose interest in music as a career path. Her interest in it began to wane significantly and eventually she stepped aside to make way for someone else. To this day she often wonders if she could have made anything with that lifestyle, but doesn't often look back on it regretfully.
Having taken courses between her time at Wildecat and with the band, Isla found her way to her uncle in search for a new job. Her eager and bright mind full of ideas on how to expand and make it into something bigger than they could have imagined. With a business degree in one hand and plans for the new gym in the other, Ted and Isla set out to Boston and began building their dreams from the rubble up, combining their visions and ideas into one of the cities most prominent martial arts training centers. They were easily recognized as a team and their excellent community work from back west had brought plenty of inquiries from all over the greater Boston area. It was no time at all before this branch of Wildecat had blossomed into what it is now, one of the most impressive training centers on the east coast. Something Isla and Ted have both been proud of for a very long time.
It goes without saying that when a presence as large as Isla's enters a city, people notice. Although she had often kept to herself early on in their cross-country, more focused on her work than anything else, the attention she was grabbing hadn't gone unnoticed by her. She knew, and she used it to her advantage, too. Isla's guile and intrigue caught the attention of some well known names in the business, and before too long, she was under contract and doing what she loved more than anything.
It took a while to get used to the traveling and constant attention all over again, but eventually Isla soaked it all in and reveled in the fact that only a handful of years ago, she was a motherless orphan and now she was on the path of making something of herself. If one were to ask Isla to look back on her career as a fighter, she would say these were some of her best years and really molded the person she would eventualy become.
A time came when Isla's life began to derail slowly. Her attentio became split again when she met someone she immediately fell in love with. With distractions like these, her attention began to slip and her training would become sloppy. Little did Isla know that this would lead to her inevitable downfall at the age of 26 when an injury in the ring forced her to break her contract and quit fighting.
Dejected and broken hearted, Isla spent months in a deep depression as she healed. A lot of speculation on her injury believes that it was foul play and likely to have been done on purpose, but not once did she ever entertain the idea. Many people believed that her opponent knew she was distracted and was offered a substantial amount of money to go beyond the realm of normal fighting in the ring. To this day, many years later, Isla refuses to believe that.
There came a time when her aunt dragged her back to work, hoping to get Isla out of a funk, and the two of them worked together at Sherwood Florist. Her aunt designed floral arrangements and Isla delivered them and hosted a weekly flower bar, where people would get classes on how to make their own floral arrangements. In 2015, she had a vision on how to expand the brand, and three years later they are thriving and doing something that has been otherwise unheard of.