“Ladies and gentlemen of Tuathaville!” piped the famous bard and sometime Governor, Tuatha Ulrecht! He stood before the vast majority of Areia’s Landing, now so named for himself. He had long moustaches twirled into licorice crescents. Half of this hair was arranged as such so that it pointed back and upwards towards his ears the other half outwards and downwards towards the floor, so that the whole of it resembled a greyish brown X placed over his mouth that his lips found a way out of. His large brown eyes sparkled, and his teeth, said to be the brightest in the realm shone outwards through the whole nest of hair whenever he spoke like a beacon welcoming all to stare. And listen, and listen.
Nearly half of the town’s residents were there, and certainly all with means. But Tuatha wanted this first performance of his new hall to be well received so he did something he found distasteful. He actually gave away enough tickets to ensure the hall was filled. A lone dwarf in the back row, holding a bottle of rum, was testament now to his generosity.
“Tonight, I perform for you my greatest tragedy. My greatest loss, and sorrow. For my carthesis. For yours. Tonight, together, in a drama worthy of this new theatre, the first here in Three Harbors,” he waited for a hush to settle over the crowd. “Tonight, I give you the deaths that have so wracked me to my core these many years. The death of our own muse, our own Areiaaaa, the deaths of her friends, the comrades of the Lords Andril and Haryk!!!” And on cue, the lights dimmed, as Tuatha bowed and exited the stage in the dark.
“I think that’s our cue too,” smiled Iricah, who of course looked like one of the Cheillini Brothers. “Let’s pull up a few chairs in the front row, what do you say?”
“Well it is rather packed, and no one saved us a seat, seems like we have no choice,” sighed Marvolio. “Besides, if I can’t see myself die tonight, I really don’t think anyone should!”
The Cheillini Brothers walked to the front as the lights were out, and although the seats were full, they took a few chairs from the sides left for ushers and sat down in a self-made row. One of the ushers tried to stop Thrak as he reached for a chair, but Thrak just stared. A low growl rumbled from his now human throat which was in perfection, inhuman. The man let go of the chair and stepped back. Thrak moved to where the others were and slowly sat down. He circled around the chair several times as people behind him made noises reflecting their annoyance.
“Sit blast you!” whispered Zy’an, now Georgio.
“Where does one put their tail?”
“You have no tail, you great fool of a lizard!” whispered the monk. “Just sit!”
The lights were slowly being brought back as Thrak, for the first time sat in a chair with his very human rear end. He leaned over at Iricah, who couldn’t help but laugh and watch the entire process. Thrak was still learning he didn’t have a snout in this form and so his mouth was still nearly a foot away from her ear, but she heard him anyway. “Now I know what the two squishy things are for you people have on your backside.”
No one could hear their laughter because of the applause.
The curtains opened as trained and probably magical lights shone on several figures laying on the ground. A fog enveloped the lower foot of the stage, while swamp noises from a stage wizard’s spell set the scene. The lighting was dark, lit with greens and greys. Above towered a gigantic twisted tree. Bodies, fashioned from straw-filled clothing hung from the branches of the trees eerily. A man was leaning over a body on the ground. He was sobbing.
His lamentations rose as he heaved with convulsed emotion. “OHHHHHH!!!!!!! You mustn’t leave me!!!!! You must come back to me. My one. My true……my Areia!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“What the..,” cried Marvolio, but Zy’an quick as a snake placed his hand over her mouth.
“Not yet, madam rogue,” whispered the monk. “Let’s not ruin things….just yet.”
Back up on the stage, the man, who was clearly now Tuatha as himself, stumbled to his feet. He staggered left of the stage, and right of the stage, before coming to find a place under a well positioned spotlight, in center stage. For here, he would give his greatest ballad. The one, which had been sung for them all after surviving First Isle. The one in which Tuatha had legalized his governorship.
“I’ve got a really terrific idea,” said Zy’an.
“I do too,” all of the others replied at the same time. Each began to get up into a crouch and make their way towards the wings.
Thrak watched them go, glued to his seat by his new ass. Desperate, he turned to the noble behind him, whose face shone with complete anger at being interrupted in one of Tuatha’s greatest moments on stage.
“I don’t suppose there is any way you could explain for me how these twin cushions I am sitting on work when one needs to stand up?”
The Cheillini Brothers crept behind the stage area in the dark. While Tuatha’s sorrow ridden voice drifted out to the crowd, Marvolio led the others behind the stage equipment and the curtains and props, avoiding the eyes of those working. Then, while the spotlight was trained on Tuatha, they crept through the fog billowing over the floor. Each crawled along the ground towards their dead selves, the straw filled props lying on the stage behind the bard.
“Tuatha,” quoth they, “you’ve brought us back to the light
For no goodly Celn should ever die in such a place.”
And with their last breath, did I give them my word,
that I’d sing of the Celn pride on their face.
Areia, let’s shed a little light on this subject shall we? said Zy’an. He was laying in the fog next to his deceased self. He couldn’t figure out why but something about it reminded him of the battle he fought in the Chamber of Heroes, the battle with himself.
With pleasure laughed the rogue. She wiggled close enough to her “corpse” to be able to see through the fog that someone had actually drawn x’s for eyes.
Wait thought Thrak. How’s this going to work? I am dead but I am coming to life?
Just follow our lead pal said Frank.
Areia held the lanthorn ever so slightly outwards and in words she didn’t know she could recite, she called forth it’s power once more. The lanthorn’s glow began to backlight the bard and indeed it enveloped the entire stage and now audience with an intense and radiant light. Then, in the fog, their disguises evaporated slowly like mist in a wind. The Cheillini brothers were gone. Transformed once more into Areia the rogue, Thrak the mighty Barbarian, Frank the Cleric, Zy’an the Monk and Iricah the Bard, they each rose slowly above their “bodies”. The effect was powerful, and dramatic just as they had hoped. Iricah and Areia decided to have some real fun with it, and they put their arms out to their side making a “ooooohhhhhhhh!!!!” noise.
Tuatha twisted around, surprised by the ghost noises he hadn’t expected in his rehearsals. Upon seeing the dead come back to life, he did something he had never done before on stage.
The great bard feinted.