Performances from the second night of the Spring Festival of Orfeo, held April 16, 1997, in House Aspis. Included are performances by: Ylena, Quivalin, Zrenree, Charion, Cinnamon, Amadeus, Sincerity, Caithon, Zamicus, Melodie, and Quiet. Bevan says, "Good evening, good gentles, and welcome to the second night of the Festival of Orfeo ..." Bevan says, "We heard some marvellous performances last evening, and I have high hopes - weather permitting - that we shall hear many other fine works tonight." Bevan says, "Without further ado, I would like to get to our first contestant ..." Bevan says, "In the Master's category ..." Bevan says, "As I was about to blurt out, our first performer this evening, if we're not all buried under 10 feet, is Lady Ylena ..." Lady Ylena's Performance: Ylena removes a polished bronze mirror from inside her elegant purse. Ylena takes out a seashell comb and begins to carefully comb her hair and in general to tidy up a bit. Ylena gazes in awe at the mirror in her hand. Ylena just gave a polished bronze mirror a smooch. Ylena put a polished bronze mirror inside her elegant purse. (Ylena assumes her perfect posture.) (Ylena walks calmly to the front of the room. ) Ylena smiles tentatively as she pulls her ebony lute with ruby frets from her boa. She caresses the strings as she slings the strap over her head. (Ylena strums a plaintive series of chords. Her gaze seems fixed somewhere beyond you as she begins to sing.) Ylena sings: "He haunts my dreams, companion dark and cruel His gaze compelling my obedience My world of night is his alone to rule He guides my thoughts, controls my every sense." (Ylena takes a deep breath, still seemingly lost in her thoughts, her voice thin and weak.) Ylena sings: "He bows to me, his cold hand grasping mine, As my fingertips brush his furry brow I search his yellow eyes for any sign Of mercy, there is none to be seen now." Ylena smiles vacantly, a shudder passing through her thin frame. Ylena sings: "His touch both chills and burns my flesh and bone, His caress, pain and pleasure intertwined, In the heart of night, I am his alone, I am a plaything, body, soul, and mind." (Ylena hums eerily for a moment, the interlude a haunting counterpoint to the melody that her fingers mechanically continue.) Ylena sings: "Sheru, the Controller, Bringer of Night, Firm in his embrace - I pray for the light." (Ylena winces, tensing, and you see her clothing ripple, as if invisiblehands are beneath it stroking her body. Fine smoky wisps of mist trail around her, beginning to coalesce into...something...) Ylena sings: "Dark, it is, pulsating, velvety black Until the sickly yellow light spills in He watches - now will my sanity crack? My eyes meet his, his fingers graze my skin." Ylena smiles slightly, writhing as the mist caresses her. As her gaze sweeps past you, you notice a yellow tint to her eyes. Ylena sings: "I serve him, his every desire is mine No perverse whims of his may be denied, His odd obsessions do macabre define, He makes me become nightmare's solemn bride." Ylena smiles coldly as the mist assumes a ..shape... you don't want to looktoo closely. (Ylena quivers as the shape touches her, the mist entering her eyes as her body becomes rigid, then quivers...oddly, her fingers never stop playing, and she continues to hum while - distracted.) Ylena sings: "The things he shows me - ah, dark ecstasy, Horrors and wonders Ican't see at dawn, When day comes, night lives on inside of me, His talons are not easily withdrawn." Ylena smiles strangely as the shape touches her, and the mist flowing from the shape's fingertips sinks deeply into her flesh. Ylena sings: "Sheru, the Controller, Bringer of Night, Firm in his embrace - I pray for the light." Ylena blinks. (Ylena blinks again, as the shape caresses her one last time, then slowly dissolves.) Ylena smiles cautiously, fingers slowing as the melody dies, her hands finally stilling the strings as she bows her head. (Ylena carefully puts her lute back in her boa, and tries to summon somesemblance of cheerfulness.) Bevan exclaims, "For our next contestant, in the Journeyman category ... Quivalin, let us hear you!" Lord Quivalin's Performance: (Quivalin bows to the panel) Quivalin says, "I dedicate this performance to my love... Lady Allisande" Quivalin takes off some soft grey thrak hide gloves. Quivalin put some soft grey thrak hide gloves inside his black cloak. Quivalin removes an exquisite lyre miniature from inside his black cloak. Quivalin taps an exquisite lyre miniature. (Quivalin taps his miniature lyre and it wondrously grows to a functional size.) Quivalin says, "This song relates the tale of the Faendryl Dark Elves and the Ashrim - the Sea Elves." Quivalin sings: "Finally, the end of the Undead Wars came... The Faendryl were swiftly banished, Their House's status quickly vanished. And bitter were manyat the fall of their name." A pained expression crosses Quivalin's face. (Quivalin plays on and you see a vision of the once-mighty Faendryl as they struggle to survive in the blackened land to which they were banished, Rhoska-Tor,SING Some called for war to regain what was lost,; ;But Rythwier Faendryl did now lead,; ) Quivalin sings: "Some called for war to regain what was lost, But Rythwier Faendryl did now lead, and he paid these martial cries no heed. He knew only too well war's bitter cost." (Quivalin nods and the vision shifts. You see Rythwier surveying a corpse-littered field following one of the great battles of the Undead War. A single tear rolls down his cheek.) Quivalin sings: ""Peacemaker," they called him, some as a curse. For he would never support a fight To raise his House to its past height. Though their lot was painful, to him war was worse." Quivalin smiles a sad smile and the music stirs up memories of friends long gone. You recall those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you might be here now. Quivalin sings: "But, seeking to raise his people once more, He offered up his greatest treasure, The child he loved beyond all measure, To be married upon a distant shore." Quivalin smiles at the vision of a fair elven maiden that appears before you. She smiles at you, melting your very heart. Quivalin sings: "To seal an alliance by marriage, his daughter would go, And when this happy union was done, Sea Elf and Dark Elf would stand as one. And the influence of the Faendryl would grow." (Quivalin bows his head over the lyre, playing intensely.) Quivalin sings: "Chesylcha's wedding fleet did slide through the sea, Making its way to the Ashrim's land Where the prince awaited her hand. And Sea Elf and Dark Elf rejoiced at what was to be." (Quivalin plays on and the music becomes nautical, almost a chantey, and you see a gaily decked fleet plowing through the sea, trailing a foamy wake.) Quivalin sings: "She arrived and her attendants prepared her way, Her prince awaited, she did alight... T'was, for them, love at first sight. And they declared to be wed the very next day." (Quivalin plays a wedding march.) Quivalin sings: "The wedding was set for love and liege's sake And each dreamed in bliss of the other's sweet kiss. But, alas, from this dream one would not wake." Quivalin sings: "For when her room was opened upon the morn, Fair Chesylcha lay dead Her heart's blood staining the bed. And many an elven heart was torn." Quivalin gasps. Quivalin's face turns slightly pale. Quivalin sings: "None could discern the hateful doer of this crime, Some said Sea Elf, some said Nalfein spy. But no matter where blame did lie, The Faendryl warmongers recognized their time." Quivalin sings: "They went to Rythwier, who was wracked with pain... They whispered the Ashrim were to blame, And counseled war to avenge their name. They spoke of glories their House would regain." (Quivalin plays on sadly and you see a meeting of the High Council. The generals gesture and pound upon the table.) Quivalin sings: "Rythwier listened, he could care no more. And, eyes devoid of light, He nodded, approving the fight. And the Dark Elves' warhorns did roar." Quivalin smiles coldly and the music turns martial, a march... a summoning to war. Quivalin sings: "The warfleet's oars beat the sapphire sea to foam, Onward they flew, Nearer they drew To the emerald isle the Sea Elves called home." (Quivalin 's fingers fly across the lyre. You see another fleet, it traces the same route, but on its decks are not strewn flowers. The decks are stacked with the instruments of war.) Quivalin sings: "But the Ashrim were masters of sea and ship... They would drive the Faendryl back. Their fleet sailed to meet the attack, And 'neath the waves did many a Dark Elf slip." (Quivalin 's face is wracked with pain as he watches ship after Dark Elf ship sink into the sea. The carnage is horrible as the red stain of Faendryl blood summons the sharks to those who remained alive.) A pained expression crosses Quivalin's face. Quivalin sings: "Only one ship reached the Ashrim shore But while upon the sea, the Ashrim were masters The Faendryl's strength was its spell casters And the mages cast spells never seen before." (Quivalin peers intently as a single ship, its deck filled with mages, slides into the Ashrim harbor. The mages raise their hands in unison and the music stops for a split second...) Quivalin sings: "Flame rained down from the skies in the attack. The island was blasted by fire. And the flames raged ever higher, Until every last inch was burned and black." (Quivalin 's fingers fly as the lyre wails in a cacophony of chaos.) Quivalin sings: "With nothing left living upon the Sea Elf lands, The mages turned to Ashrim fleet, Determined to make the victory complete. Once again, they chanted and raised their hands..." Quivalin sings: "And a swirling vortex from the sky did descend. It clenched each ship Within its deadly grip And with inexorable power did it crush and rend." Quivalin sings: "And so, in but a single day The Faendryl destroyed a race, And leaving not a single trace, Swept the Sea Elf House away." (Quivalin 's music becomes sonorous, dirge-like. Your eyes fill with tears at the thought of the lives wasted as elf fought elf.) Quivalin sings: "Thusly did the Faendryl forever alienate themselves. They could never again expect The other Houses to accept That they belonged still to the common family of elves." Quivalin sings: "And so, with grief-stricken heart Did the Peacemaker Turn Housebreaker, And forever set his people apart." (Quivalin lets the final note trail off... Without a word, with a face filled with sadness, he finds his seat.) Bevan says, "My lords and ladies, our next performer in the Journeyman category is Zrenree ... pray grant us the grace of your skill, my lady" Lady Zrenree's Performance: Zrenree smiles as she takes the floor. (Zrenree retreives a small stool from corner which she quickly places in the center of the floor.) Zrenree smiles tentativly as she clears her throat. (Zrenree suddenly sits upright and from her cape retrieves a small chime with a mithril striker attached to it with a linked chain.) (Zrenree with a sudden movement strikes the chime four times in a quick succession. As she lands the final strike you notice a light, gentle breeze begings to swirl about the room.) Zrenree recites: "The Four Winds" (Zrenree strikes the chime once and the breeze picks up carrying with it a faint hint of wonder and longing.) Zrenree sings: "The west wind is a wondrous thing Secrets it carries when it sings Of lands afar, and places not seen What are the wonders the west wind brings?" Zrenree sings: "The wind it sings for those that can hear All you must do is lend it an ear!" (Zrenree strikes the chime twice and the breeze swirls with a salty scent that lingers while she sings.) Zrenree sings: "When the east wind blows the sea does fade And the wonders that the gods have made Lie open for all with eyes that can see The creatures that live beneath the sea." Zrenree sings: "The wind it sings for those that can hear All you must do is lend it an ear!" (Zrenree strikes the chime three times and the breeze picks up, faintly you believe you can catch a hint of snow lilies.) Zrenree sings: "The north wind blows cold and strong Singing a not so merry song Biting and nipping the wind does roar Bringing a squall to everyones door." Zrenree sings: "The wind it sings for those that can hear All you must do is lend it an ear!" (Zrenree strikes the chime four times and suddenly you're overwhelmed by the sweet scents of flowers in full bloom.) Zrenree sings: "Warm and pleasant the south wind comes Bringing a fragrence of flowers and plums Visions of grass, long in the field what further secrets shall the south wind yeild!" Zrenree sings: "The wind it sings for those that can hear All you must do is lend it an ear!" Zrenree smiles and with a final spellbreaking strike on the chime, the breeze calms down, and you're left wondering what just happened. (Zrenree stands up and places the small chime in her cape, and returns the stool to the corner.) Zrenree curtsies. Bevan says, "Thank you, good gentles ... our next Master to perform this evening is Charion. Rise, sir, and grace us with your song" Lord Charion's Performance: (Charion glances up from his reading to gaze at Bevan.) Charion smiles. (Charion pushes on his staff, using it to help him stand.) Charion says, "As most of you know, Ylena and I were married last week." Charion says, "I never really expected to meet anyone that I would want to marry. On the other hand, never expected to spend all my money buying clothes, either..." Charion coughs. Charion taps the tip of his ebony staff on the ground. Charion glances at Ylena. Charion says, "Anyway, I penned this in an idle moment." Charion put a small leatherbound tome inside his black coat. (Charion pulls a tiny glaes bubble from his hand and holds it extended onhis palm.) Charion gestures and utters a phrase of magic. Charion gestures. Charion suddenly looks a lot more powerful. Charion is surrounded by a white light. Charion smiles happily as the bubble absorbs the light and begins to grow. He sets the expanding bubble gently on the ground. The bubble is filled with a swirling white mist. Charion sings: "Love can seem a fleeting curse Or some bad poet's idle verse. It seems most don't know how to feel Or how to discern fake from real." (Charion touches the bubble, and the mist clears. You see Ylena within the bubble, and Charion walking beside her.) Charion sings: "The heart can be a fickle thing. What one day makes you want tosing Can the next seem dull and dim. Love can seem an idle whim." Charion smiles softly as the bubble figures stop and turn to one another, seemingly lost in each other's gaze. Charion sings: "But sometimes there's a moment when Your life is not the same again, A moment when you realize There's a universe in your true love's eyes." (Charion sings strongly in his melodious tenor as his bubble self kneels before Ylena.) Charion sings: "I know it's love that's deep and true For I want to be myself for you. No pretenses, nothing hidden, Just you and I, selves freely given." Charion sings: "And not just love, but destiny - Our union, it seems, is fate's" Charion sings: "Fulfilling prophesy once foretold, Bringing an end to evil bold." Charion smiles happily as the minature Ylena kisses her love on the cheek. Charion sings: "I pledge by all that I hold dear You are the one that I revere And henceforth, I am wholly thine, As hearts and lives yet intertwine." (Charion glances at the bubble, where the minature Charion is kneeling infront of his love.) Charion sings: "My heart is yours, to treasure or scorn, But my soul and mind are mine alone, And all that I expect from thee Is the love you're willing to give freely." Charion smiles broadly as the bubble Ylena takes Charion's hand. Charion sings: "And as a pledge, a token small, A gift to symbolize this all A circle, this ever-perfect bend, And like my love, it has no end." Charion rubs a lyshalvaon wedding band with fiery rubies inlaid around a flawless soulstone. Charion smiles as he makes a curious gesture, and the bubble pops, filling the immediate area with a strange swirling bright mist. Charion smiles at Ylena. Charion removes a life-like Ylena doll from inside his spellslinger's cloak. Charion bows. Bevan says, "Our next performer, in the Journeyman category ..." Bevan asks, "Cinnamon, my love, will you do us the honor of performing before us this night?" Cinnamon's Performance: (Cinnamon walks forward to the stage and sits at a small desk, apparently becoming lost in thought..) (Cinnamon sits down at her desk, quill in hand, and starts to pen a letter.) Cinnamon smiles joyfully and puts the pen aside, to pick up her little daughterto settle her upon her lap. (Cinnamon thoughtfully strokes Hyacinthe's hair as the little girl leans back against her and gazes up at her mother with big violet eyes.) Cinnamon says, "So it's a story you want, little one? And your father's asleep? Ok darling... cuddle up close and I'll whisper in your ear." Cinnamon recites: "Once, when the moon was huge and round, an elf went down to the water's edge to walk along the bank and dip her toes in the stream.The maid splashed and played, and talked with the fish." Cinnamon asks, "Hmm? No love, she didn't have flowers, she had owl feathers braided in her hair. How did she talk to fish? Well darling, all elves canspeak to animals.. haven't you tried?" Cinnamon chuckles. Cinnamon recites: "As the moon grew full and the grasses wet with dew, the elfin maid grew tired and curled up beneath a very old modwir tree with branches so heavy they bowed to the ground. In this shelter the girl slept on a cushion of soft moss." Cinnamon smiles down at her daughter and cuddles her. Hyacinthe gazes up at hermother with a child's solemness as she listens intently. Cinnamon recites: "As the leaves whispered and danced, the girl dreamed of a silver-tongued bard in shimmering dragon scales that echoed his glowing violet eyes. He sang to her in a strange tongue, and the words seemed to dance in the wind." Cinnamon recites: "The maiden was entranced.. her dream self circled the man as he sang, courting her with the music of his voice and the burning flame in his eye." Cinnamon smiles dreamily, a soft look in her eye as she gazes over her daughter's head into the distance. Cinnamon recites: "Then the man was torn from her! The dream shattered! The girl woke with a distressed cry and gazed around her bower with tearful eyes. The first ray of sunlight had just intruded past the sheltering tree limbs." Cinnamon recites: "Mournfully, the girl walked back to her people and sat under atree, gazing into the distance all day as the others laughed and played." Cinnamon sighs. Cinnamon recites: "The man in the dream... had seemed so real. He sang so beautifully. She could still feel his strange music, as if it caressed her skin with a warm touch. She shivered and tried to wake up, to stop thinking of a dream." (Cinnamon glances down at her little daughter to see if the child had fallen asleep yet.. But no, she gazed back with steadfast violet eyes so like her father's.) Cinnamon smiles down at Hyacinthe and hugs her warmly before continuing. Cinnamon recites: "The maiden managed to rouse herself and play with the other elven girls as they ran in rings around flowers, laughing gaily. The girls seemed to have not a care in the world." Cinnamon recites: "But one still dreamed of a raven-haired man dressed in flashing silver-violet dragon scales." Cinnamon says, "Hmm? Yes Hya, the man in her dream had armor of dragon scales. They flashed in the light and made a halo of rainbows around him. No, she didn't know his name... Shush darling, and listen to the story." Cinnamon recites: "As soon as the moon hung high in the black velvet sky, the maiden slipped from her silken alcove and ran back to the stream. She walked ankle deep in gilded waters and felt the cool pebbles under her heel." Cinnamon recites: "Pretending she was out for a walk and not going to that fated meeting place, she never looked in the direction she trode, but gazedaround at the sky and trees and flowers." Cinnamon smiles thoughtfully, thinking of a black night with warm scented breezes and a dark sky, heavy like a comforting cloak, the winds rustling among the grass and trees as if whispering entreaties or warnings to the girl. Cinnamon recites: "The girl stepped into the empty bower and glanced around. All was the same as that morning. But tiny violets grew in clusters at the top of the cushion of moss, the same color as the eyes that glowed in her thoughts." Cinnamon recites: "Confused, she shook her head. A small part of her heart had fervently believed the man would be here. Now she knew it really had been just a dream." Cinnamon recites: "Forlorn, she sat on the cushion of moss and brushed her fingers against the soft violets. Tears silvered her cheeks. She felt as ifher heart was crushed, and yet it had only been a dream. She fell asleep, weeping softly." Cinnamon smiles sadly, a tear sparkling on her cheek, as she thinks of the young girl beneath the tree. Cinnamon recites: "The girl dreamed: She dreamed of rosy light and flower-scentedbreezes. She dreamed of the raven-haired man, violet eyes flashing in the darkened bower. He knelt before her and sang, liquid words pouring forth. He sang of love and longing." Cinnamon recites: "She gazed at him as he held out his hand, and slowly reached to take it. Her dragon-bard led her from the bower and taught her to dance in the stars. He sang to her, sweet music in that strange tongue." Cinnamon recites: "They danced and laughed and sang all night, never a true word spoken between them. As the first ray of morning sunlight invaded herbower, the girl woke, alone." Cinnamon says, "No Hya, he didn't want to leave her, he had no choice. The sun drove him away." Cinnamon chuckles. Cinnamon says, "No, it's not that the sun did not like him... rather a curse the poor man carried. Listen and you will understand." Cinnamon recites: "The girl noticed that the violets now covered the top of the mossy bed. Curious, she brushed the velvety petals with her fingertipsbefore jumping up to rejoin her friends. All day she thought of the haunting man, her cheeks hot with pleasure." Cinnamon recites: "As soon as the sky darkened, she rushed to her secret bower. She sat alone, until sleep closed her eyes. Then the man stood before her, shining and tall. They danced as before, twirling among treetopsand clouds." Cinnamon recites: "Before the night could end, she gazed into his eyes. She pledged her love, but begged to know his story." (Cinnamon rests her chin on the top of Hyacinthe's head, gazing out the window as the words pour from her lips.) Cinnamon recites: "In a clear, strong voice her dragon-bard agreed. He asked thatshe listen to his tale before deciding to love him." Cinnamon sings: "Years past, I loved well. My wife was my moon. My children, the sunlight. They were my everything. Until my eyes saw hell." Cinnamon sings: "In foul and ancient war, blood flowed. My wife, little girl and strong son Caught in a raid. Slaughtered. For their blood red on the wooden planks Of a distant ship, I was owed." Cinnamon sings: "I buried them here, My warmth and sunlight. Under this ancient tree And deep emerald moss. In my grief, I had no fear." Cinnamon sings: "I killed them all... These people who Destroyed my light and life. I blamed the gods for permitting it. In my rage, I too would fall." Cinnamon sings: "I cursed the gods through my tears And so was cursed myself... They sentenced me to live As the creature I acted. They gave back to me my fears." Cinnamon sings: "If I found another love, another light... If she could love me as I am The curse would change to blessing. Joyous would become my plight." Cinnamon sings: "No mortal force could separate us." Cinnamon sings: "For one hundred years we would be The creatures our souls most love. The next hundred, as mortals And so on, for eternity." (Cinnamon blinks, breaking free of her trance-like rememberance of the tale, and looks down at her daughter as a soft smile fills her face with mournful beauty.) Cinnamon says, "Shush darling.... of course he could speak her language, but while was courting her, he sang in his own." Cinnamon recites: "The man turned away from her, his head in his hands and a coldlook in his eyes as he steeled himself for her rejection. A soft hand touched his, tugging at his fingers and trying to turn him towards her." Cinnamon recites: "She tugged his hands from his face and kissed the tears from his lashes. The elfin maid smiled at him softly, and said "Of course Ilove you, silly man. How could I not adore my dragon-bard?"" Cinnamon recites: "He kissed the girl, hugging her to him as the light in the bower grew dim. Music rang through the night as the owl and dragon flew from the ancient tree, which stood guard over all." (Cinnamon stares down at Hyacinthe, a perplexed look of shock on her face.) Cinnamon blinks. Cinnamon says, "Where on Elanthia did you get the idea it was a marching kobold kazoo band? From Quiet?? Well Hya, he doesn't know this story.." Cinnamon recites: "It was the music of the winds through the trees and the grass.The music of flowers growing on the moss, and the music of peace." Cinnamon just kissed Bevan. Bevan just kissed Cinnamon. Cinnamon says, "Shh... she just got to sleep" Bevan just touched an iridescent crystalline dragon mask with soaring mithril wings. Cinnamon smiles. Bevan nods to Cinnamon. Cinnamon bows. Bevan says, "I shan't wake her" Bevan says, "Our next performer, again in the Journeyman category ... Lord Amadeus, let us hear you" Lord Amadeus' Performance: Amadeus removes a Balmkrist prayer book from inside his black cloak. Amadeus sighs quietly. (Amadeus opens the Book, bows his head and recites a simple prayer.) Amadeus blinks. Amadeus smiles with a peaceful look on his face. He closes the prayer book and looks at you with warm blue eyes. Amadeus put a Balmkrist prayer book inside his black cloak. Amadeus recites: "The Gods are watching! Lornon and Liabo sit at their royal thrones! It is they who give us life and all of it's abundant blessings!" Amadeus recites: "Very few in our great land know of this great news. I wish to spread the names of the great Gods through song." Amadeus bows. Amadeus removes an old black conductor's score with "Amadeus" written on the cover and beautiful symbols of Cholen on the spine from inside his black cloak. (Amadeus flips through the pages of the score. Each page is filled with scribbles and ink splotches. He finally stops with a smile on his face. He tries his best to flatten the folded page.) (Amadeus moves an oaken music stand from the west side of the room to the center. He gently puts the old conductor's score on the beautifully engraved music stand.) Amadeus smiles as he carefully removes an elaborately decorated modwir flute from inside his black cloak. Amadeus clears his throat. (Amadeus takes in a deep breath and gently plays the flute. After a series of scales, he finishes the introduction and puts the flute down to his side. He sings in a warm baritone voice.) Amadeus sings: "The mighty Gods watch over everyone, And each has his or her ownworthy plan. Mortals try to rule, but it can't be done! For Lornon and Liabo judge the man." (Amadeus smiles as he lifts the flute back up to his mouth and plays a majestic melody based on the same tune. His voice turns into that of a deep bass, which echoes off the walls.) Amadeus sings: "Almighty Koar! Liabo's loyal king, Who never rests, and never takes a break, He contemplates the fate of everything, And some believe he is the last great Drake." (Amadeus looks at you with an evil smirk. His steady gaze would intimidate even the mightiest warrior and most noble king.) Amadeus sings: "The Queen of Lornon seeks to rule us all, For domination is her mighty goal. And Eorgina likes to see men fall, To get revenge and steal away their souls." Amadeus smiles and winks at you. His flute returns to the original melody, only more elaborately decorated. His voice turns into the voice of a playful child. Amadeus sings: "Out of those Gods which watch above us all, Lord Cholen gives the gift of song to Bards. Bards sing them in the great triumphant calls - Bards sing them in the songs which melt our hearts." Amadeus smiles at the other performers. He points out beyond the audience with his gaze fixed upon something far way. His voice suddenly softens and you strain to listen to each whispered sound. Amadeus sings: "Fash'lo'nae seeks much wisdom far and near, He'd rather kill a soul than lose his find. Because he's kept his knowledge all these years, He has a rather large, enormous mind." (Amadeus looks at you while the flute's melody suddenly sneaks into the sadness of the relative minor key which leaves you with an unsettled feeling. Waves of sound flow towards you, hypnotizing you with steading rythym.) Amadeus sings: "Lord Charl is known as Father of the sea. His anger is the worstof ocean storms, And at His shine you might be one to see - He'll come in merman or in dolphin form." Amadeus smiles as he walks around the room. He looks at the women with an untrusting eye. The melody he sings stays in the minor key, and has a rather seductive quality about it. Amadeus sings: "Oh, Ivas! What a beauty and a beast, She lures men in and keepsthem up and bound. She feeds upon the weak, to say the least, Sharp teeth and tentacles are to be found!" (Amadeus sneaks up behind you and starts to play the modwir flute once again. He startles you, and you blush with embarassment as others around the room gently chuckle. He then looks down at his hands with an undecisive look.) Amadeus sings: "Lorminstra holds the keys to death in hand, And chooses if we'rekept or if we're freed. And if we've sacrificed much to our land, She'll make sure we're rewarded for our deeds." Amadeus smiles as he walks back to the front of the room. A large black cat with bright green eyes wanders in. It walks up to Amadeus during the song, strangely attracted to the tune he sings. Amadeus sings: "The Lord of Cats - Andelas spends his days With stalks and huntslike many felines do. In Panther's form he comes to kill and play, But watch your backs, he might be hunting you!" (Amadeus points to you. The cat, following his pointed finger, slowly begins to walk your way. You sigh with relief as the cat wanders past and walks back out the door.) Amadeus removes a black vultite axe from inside his black cloak. Amadeus gazes at his axe. Amadeus smiles at the small red rose he is wearing on his black cloak. Amadeus sings: "Lord Eonak is the smith of all the Gods, His wife Imaera makes all living things. While some would say the match is rather odd, They both have great creations which they bring." Amadeus put a black vultite axe inside his black cloak. Amadeus smiles as he looks out the window to see the moons of Lornon and Liabo. You squint at the moon of Lornon as you see a woman with silver hair in a chariot pulled by grey stallions riding in the sky. Amadeus sings: "'The Keeper of the Moon' cannot complain, For Zelia watches fromthe sky above. And some would say the Goddess is insane, For she could fall to us with just a shove." Amadeus chuckles. (Amadeus looks up towards the moons of Lornon and Liabo again. He plays what sounds like a lullaby on the flute. His voice turns soft and dreamlike.) Amadeus sings: "Ronan and Sheru - Gods of all our dreams, Each one has their place, in the darkest night, One turns all our sleep into life extreme, One turns all our sleep into greatest fright!" (Amadeus glances out at the many couples scattered around the room. He lifts the flute back up to his mouth and begins to play a happy tune which reminds you of the birth of spring.) Amadeus sings: "Oleani is the Goddess of the Spring, Her gentle touch brings life to flowerbeds. Her loving arms embrace most everything, Her blessing are called when lovers are wed." (Amadeus suddenly stops. The room turns dark and shadowy and Amadeus grins. To your eyes, the darkness of the room makes everything change shape. The dark shadows which form around Amadeus make him look like great winged beast.) (Amadeus speaks like a hissing serpent.) Amadeus sings: "'The Soul-Taker' is God of death and lies, For Luukos tortures souls of those in need, He comes as winged' snake with slitted eyes, And drinks the blood of those without a deed." (Amadeus looks at you with a very somber face. The dark shadows of the room seem to fade away as the tune once again returns to the the major key. His voice is mysteriously shaped.) Amadeus sings: "And Jastev, his dark somber moods are from His seeing of our future and our doom. He knows about the good and bad to come, But he'll tell no one what will happen soon." (Amadeus plays the flute once again, bringing to tune back to the originalmelody. His slim fingers gracefully fly even faster than before. Out of breath, he concludes the song with a simple arpeggio.) Amadeus recites: "These Gods and Goddesses are up above! I hope this song has taught you something new. I'd only time to sing to you of some, But come again, I'll sing the rest to you." Amadeus smiles and takes a deep bow. He gently puts the modwir flute back into his black cloak. (Amadeus moves the oaken music stand back over to the side of the room.) Amadeus put an old black conductor's score with "Amadeus" written on the cover and beautiful symbols of Cholen on the spine inside his black cloak. Bevan says, "For our next Master, the defending Champion of the competition ..." Bevan removes a white wool cloak with a topaz and opal clasp and a golden lyre embroidered on the shoulder from inside his spidersilk satchel. Bevan rubs a white wool cloak with a topaz and opal clasp and a golden lyre embroidered on the shoulder. Bevan says, "Lady Sincerity, pray do us the honor of hearing you sing for us ..." Bevan put a white wool cloak with a topaz and opal clasp and a golden lyre embroidered on the shoulder inside his herbalist's satchel. Lady Sincerity's Performance: (Sincerity takes a few moments to extinguish the few lit wall sconces and candles arrayed about the room. As the darkness slowly gathers a quiet hush falls over the room.) (Sincerity hefts a until now unnoticed censer from the corner of the room. It breaks the expectant silence as it sways and clinks against the chain she carries it by.) (Sincerity avoids the make-shift stage that has been set up for the performers and makes her way to the center of the crowd. The censer leaks out wisps of heavily scented smoke and small shafts of light as she passes.) Sincerity smiles simply with an air of unabashed honesty as she takes a minute to catch the eye of all in attendance while she surveys the room. Sincerity smiles at you. (Sincerity sets down the censer casually but in such a manner that the light from a perforation in it illuminates half her face in a flickeringamber light.) Sincerity removes an ancient tome of fables and lore bound in weathered vruul skin with verdigris-colored copper bindings and lock from inside her sapphire cloak. (Sincerity handles her book gingerly as if she is afraid its yellowed pageswill crumble at a touch.) Sincerity just opened an ancient tome of fables and lore bound in weathered vruul skin with verdigris-colored copper bindings and lock. Sincerity glances at something inside an ancient tome of fables and lore bound in weathered vruul skin with verdigris-colored copper bindings and lock. (Sincerity speaks in a low whisper just barely audible that somehow reachesthe back of the hall.) Sincerity recites: "As the fire stares into me, beast in hearth, Glowering Glowing Baleful eyes wink out at me one by one. Grasping shadow. Dark newborn tendrils start. Flying Fleeing Day retreats to await the rising sun." (Sincerity has begun to tap out a steady oddly disjointed rhythym that is strangely familiar as she speaks.) Sincerity recites: "Fading light dies in its eyes and in mine. Closed Clothed In night's mantle, gathered sleep descends. Shy crackling whispers tempt me by design. Rued Ruined By enticing hinterlands, waking ends." (Sincerity with a deft nudge of her foot starts to close a damper on the censer. The light on her face grows dimmer as it wavers. All the while she keeps the constant rhythymic tapping which you can now almostplace.) Sincerity recites: "Until I pass beyond the misty door. Incite Invite Echoed fears, almost desires and wishes all And relics of the day, now less, now more, Bright Blight The half-remembered shards of mirror fall." Sincerity smiles wistfully. As she finishes the passage she subtly manipulatesthe censer closing the vents entirely and the room is cloaked in darkness. You suddenly recognize the insistent rhythym, it is a heartbeat which curiously matches yours beat for beat. Sincerity recites: "The stuff of dreams..." (Sincerity 's voice trails off and she suddenly stops her tapping. All is silent. ) (Sincerity under the cover of darkness starts to hum a delicate tune in theupper registers which is reminiscent of a lullaby.) (Sincerity is accompanied by what sounds to be a lute unusually tuned. It forms an odd harmony with her song comprised of an inordinate numberof sharps and flats. The end result is a strange lullaby more apt to keep one awake than put one to sleep.) (Sincerity opens the damper and a violet glow illuminates her eyes. She has evidently added some other incense as the smoke drifts out and around you in a heavy spice laden fog.) Sincerity sings: "Along the dreaming way is grandeur in the dust... The scope of ages past If one can only see. Revealed by Ronan's say, to gaze uponwe must... Remains eternal last From destiny's decree." (Sincerity continues to play her unseen lute. Its haunting melody rises and falls as if in tempo with your breathing. Slowly the sound of the lute fades away. ) Sincerity removes a smooth stone from inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity carefully examines her smooth stone. (Sincerity raises the stone within the beam of light. It almost seems to glow with an inner radiance bathed in the censer's ray. She slowy turns it in the light as she sings in a clear unaccompanied contralto.) Sincerity sings: "On ancient edifice in Lost Khalaza, guard... A tear down stony mien, Elemental sorrow. Or in deep sea abyss 'midst a Ashrim shipyard... Charl's waters wear a sheen, Wash ashore the 'morrow." (Sincerity somehow causes the stone by the way the light and shadow play upon it to appear initially tear shaped and then take on a blue-ish cast the color of the fathomless deep.) Sincerity put a smooth stone inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity removes a rusty doorknob from inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity carefully examines her rusty doorknob. Sincerity smiles solemnly as she rotates the doorknob within the light. Its reflected light in myriad hues plays about you. Sincerity sings: "With Oleani's guise, cruel work of Ivas' hand... False love turns bedroom latch To mistress, broken vows. Or Onar's 'prentice wise with deft and death skilled hand... Slips ope the throne room catch To kill King, fate allows." (Sincerity evidently has installed some colored lens in the censer for witha mere touch the knob is suffused with a deep reddish glow that slows leaks away but not entirely for it appears as if a few errant drops of blood stain the surface.) Sincerity put a rusty doorknob inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity removes a chipped brick from inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity carefully examines her chipped brick. (Sincerity holds the brick out as if in reverent offering.) Sincerity sings: "Maelshyve, the Black Keep, to blasphem'd magics yield... Ends reign in deadly rain Of mortar and earth hewn. Or for the gilt road weep, that passed thru hill and field... To Ta'Faendryll did deign Tooutstrip shining moon." Sincerity smiles purposefully as she displays the brick. The particular way it is held makes it seem to be of almost obsidian composition. Suddenly, she flips it and you are momentarily dazzled by the light which sparkles over the gilt flecked surface. Sincerity put a chipped brick inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity removes a table leg from inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity carefully examines her table leg. (Sincerity holds the table leg close to the light and a huge shadow mirrorsit on the far wall in giant-like proportions.) Sincerity sings: "On ironwood tabletop bloodpact with Luukos made... A dark Queenseals her throne And Turamzyrr endures Or Dabbings makes a stop, jesting with a barmaid... Smooth liquid courage to hone, Town's salvation insures." (Sincerity pulls the table leg back and you notice that it appears to be glistening with a wetness that at first you take to be blood but then drips off to reveal itself as an ale color.) Sincerity put a table leg inside her vrull skin tome. (Sincerity takes a step back so that only one side of her face is illuminated in the eerie glow from the censer. The smoke which has poured out until now appears to be abating.) (Sincerity again takes up the lute's prior refrain. Her hands moving totally unseen upon the strings under the cover of shadow.) Sincerity sings: "Relics in light of day? Detrius cast aside... But in formless Dreamlands Harken ravaging time. Reality gives sway to forgot truths that bide... Beneath history's sands Near-recollect sublime." (Sincerity steps back from the light and in perfect synch' the music dies away.) (Sincerity tosses a small packet into the censer's opening.) (Sincerity waits while the censer glows purple.) (Sincerity continues to wait while it then shifts to a warm rosy hue.) (Sincerity steps forward as the censer burns within with a steady yellow light. She deftly nudges the dampers wide open and the light pours out in a pure white radiance illuminating the entire area.) (Sincerity taps in time with your heart's palpitations. The spell is broken.) Sincerity recites: "Abrupt hot heavy gaze, unrelenting Beacon Beckon Clyclopic orb arisen, dread night slaked, Sears away world of changing hue. Lamenting Forlorn Forgone I unwilling rise, forever waked." Sincerity recites: "And wonder at the stuff of dreams..." Sincerity glances at something inside an ancient tome of fables and lore bound in weathered vruul skin with verdigris-colored copper bindings and lock. Sincerity removes some stuff from inside her vrull skin tome. Sincerity carefully examines her stuff. Sincerity smiles dreamily. Her hair flowing loose about her shoulders in a softcascade as her gaze fixes on a indeterminate point in the distance. Sincerity sighs wistfully. Sincerity curtsies. Bevan asks, "For our next performer, in the Journeyman category ... Caithon, if you would grace us?" Caithon's Performance: (Caithon walks slowly to the front of the room, his boots thudding on thefloor in the silence.) (Caithon walks to the front of the room and suddenly is garbed in completre black, a cape fluttering behind him grimly.) (Caithon turns to you and his face grows dark, his eyes sparkling as he lowers the light. You can almost sense the magic in the air.) Caithon says, "This is a story I was told, tis the legend of our family name" Caithon smiles as his face remains half hidden by the shadows (Caithon raises a hand and slowly lowers it, all light fading slowly as his hand moves down, leaving just a very dim glow around the room) (Caithon looks around satisfied when the brightest thing is a haze behindhim, swirling to match his voice) Caithon says, "The story is about one of my ancestors, the only Dunnsonaie I know of. My background is mystery and this tale might even be a myth, it was handed to me on a bit of parchment by someone I do not know" (Caithon glances around the room, almost expecting that person to jump out of the crowd, but no look of recognition crosses his face.) Caithon recites: "The End And The Beginning Of House Dunsonnaie" (Caithon begins to sing a dark, haunting tune, with no music and indeed much scarier without it.) (Caithon remains standing, from nowhere rises music interwoven with sounds of battle) Caithon sings: "Riders gathered on the hill Trumpets through the night did shrill And all the world grew still Around Castle Dunsonnaie" (Caithon glances behind him as a dim shape of a castle wall takes shape. You can almost see an army forming in front of it. Caithon resumes his spot, his eyes lost in the midst of the story.) Caithon sings: "Then the battle cries rolled down The Lord of the Castle did frown And the world pivoted around The war at Dunsonnaie" (Caithon steps aside and begins walking softly as the image turns to one of battle. A brave but outnumbered few try to fight off the hoards but are gradually reduced.) Caithon sings: "Boldly did the fighters fight But it was like battling the night And the torches were extinguished before first light That eveat Dunsonnaie" (Caithon snaps and the lights suddenly flicker out. His voice comes fromwhere he was and the haze glows a dim violet) Caithon snaps his fingers. Caithon sings: "The land around grew dim The Lord cried as he fell "Save him!" And through the battle grim New hope lived on, a child, for Dunsonnaie" Caithon smiles as a dim light flickers then bursts into life, but the room quickly grows dark again. The sounds of battle fade and only the musicand Caithon's voice remain. Caithon sings: "And now this tale is old The victors and losers alike grown cold But even the bold Would dare not pass the gates at Castle Dunsonnaie" (Caithon is standing in the center of the room as the dim glow returns, looks all around as he walks slowly among you) Caithon sings: "Because there is a curse to resist Perhaps it is a myth I donot know, but still persists The legend of the curse of Dunsonnaie" (Caithon reads from the haze as a stone appears, bearing his words) Caithon sings: "For if they do, it is willed They shall be haunted then killed By the ghosts of those who fell Upon the walls of Dunsonnaie" (Caithon pauses, his head bowed. Lifts it up slowly, his tears glisteningas the music winds to a stop) Caithon sings: "This is the reason we have no home This is the reason that we must roam Among the earth and ocean foam Us with the cursed name Dunsonnaie " (Caithon raises his hand once again and the lights return, everything seems normal again) Caithon bows. Bevan says, "In any event, for our next journeyman ... Zamicus, rise, and let us hear you" Zamicus' Perforrmance: (Zamicus rises silently. He glides to the center of attention with a padding, feline grace.) Zamicus says, "Hail Lords, Ladies, Exalted Judges, and Esteemed Peers. I thank you for your undivided audience and bardic respect " Zamicus smiles. Zamicus smiles with his deep blue eyes, though his face and manner remain neutral, awaiting your full attention. Zamicus recites: "A gossamer strand which binds our souls A kindred quality " (Zamicus nods to you. You are, without a doubt, the intended target of his presentation. ) (Zamicus withdraws a slender silver thread from the air. With a casual gesture, he unsummons it from whence it came. ) Zamicus recites: "It brought one together ages ago, And now leads you to me. " Zamicus recites: "We join in journeys incredible, They be too fantastic not to be true. " Zamicus recites: "The silvery fiber alive in us, The Truth sought by you... " Zamicus smiles warmly, spreading his mouth in a wide grin, but his eyes are now of a cooler temperment. Zamicus kneels down. Zamicus says, "This is my work, entitled: Terpsichorian Villanelle " (Zamicus begins to trace unseen sigils of power in the air before you. The light is intense, but not uncomfortable in the least. ) (Zamicus weaves invisible strands of fate together, to bring back within your mind the songs of old, making selections that best fit his message. ) Zamicus smiles , closing his eyes. After a short period of intense concentration, you can hear music slowly rising in crescendo, as though from a place inside you. The low bass ostenato makes you unconsciously sway from side to side. The melody is familiar... (Zamicus begins, shielding his eyes from your view, in a low, whispering voice. ) Zamicus sings: "Plain-clothed, if at all, when winter bore down A servant, mostnondescript, unknown, enigmatic Ever fated to subserve, unsure of ever being his own. " (Zamicus grins as he nonchalantly commands the music into a light series of arpeggio after arpeggio. It sounds like a harp would if played through a gentle waterfall. ) Zamicus sings: "Restrained but in motion within passages in shadows of his forced close heart, frown Did the drakes he served, for his higher nature they understood not, it intrinsic By the nature of his creation, man born but of dragon soul. To condone " Zamicus sings: "His actions, though not unnoticed, were not understood, would not do. Held fast were these thoughts he had, loud, Deafeningly loud, the secret of the Mana tricks Which gave the flying serpents sweet breath of flame and mind to be proud... " Zamicus smiles proudly, but with a reserved sadness about him. Zamicus sings: "Pride which permits the absence of Fear, the control of the ground The mystery of Mensch, or demigod, while in dragon health or sick They clenched their taloned fists about Elanith and its crowds. " Zamicus shudders. Zamicus sings: "But that Pride was only untarnished before They came down The fear banished, unknown, invisible to the pick Of the Dragons, and they knew not what the Fear was that on the wild wind was blown. " Zamicus searches around for a moment. Zamicus sings: "The Drake clans resolved, independantly, when confronted by thefear of unknown To crack their shell, Hide within their heads, gon mad, driven sick And though valiant fought, fell themselves down, " (Zamicus peers longingly towards the past through his present. His voiceis brought down to a dread-whisper. ) Zamicus sings: "Opening an ever widening threshold for the Ur-Daemons to own..." Zamicus smiles with a heavy air. The ghostly music responds in kind to his disposition, becoming a slow, rhythmic pulse. Zamicus sings: "But the man studied in cover, light never shed on him The nature of his soul, not its intended use by fate, is all they found And the Dragons were caught unawares of what he knew within. " Zamicus sings: "When the Battles had raged for generations, when the ages are figured in Though a blink of a scaled lid for the sane of the fire elemental bound, It was about to end, by the power of the mighty insect, a child of men. " (Zamicus moves his fingers almost imperceptibly. The action seems to have caused a change in the music to make it a stirring march. The sound of Bagpipes is strong, but not focused, bringing your blood to beat with the song. ) Zamicus sings: "The servant of the snakes, existing in fear, raised high his chin, Who had become a near enough master of the magic of the crown Hetended his master, lay bleeding and wounded at his feet, now silentin the battle din. " Zamicus smiles with a look of pain and regret very pronounced in his manner. (Zamicus shivers as the minor aspect of his musical work overtakes the joy of the march. a slow aire is heard rippling under the surface. ) Zamicus sings: "When the Fire-iris was sealed, closed to the poor man in Death did he see the dragon who had been struck down So the Mana of Life, essence, he called, and transformed himself into light, he shown from within. " Zamicus sings: "With a brilliant flare of holy luminescence again He pulled theUr-Daemons back through the new rend in time found The man had sacrificed his soul to his masters kin. " (Zamicus raises his fist in triumph as the undertones change to a driving, almost relentless passion, alive with joy and glory. ) Zamicus sings: "His master awoke, weak, and afriaid of the sin Of the Daemons, but instead, discovered only his faithful, destroyed, and frowned And he struck his finger with a tongue of flame. From his skin " Zamicus sings: "Poured forth a Silver Tear and a drop of flaming blood, taken into the dead man, restoring him. " Zamicus sighs. Zamicus recites: "And that, friends, is why I am here tonight. This is why we are bardic kin: " Zamicus removes a silver elven hunting knife from inside his weapon sling. (Zamicus pricks his arm, in the fashion of the dragon which he sang. A single drop of blood is summoned, and as you watch, time is slowed toa crawl. ) (Zamicus silently calls your attention to the suspended globe of essence.Within a second, it has metamorphosed into an exquisitely intricate baby Dragon, only to fly away before you can truly grasp what you have witnessed. ) (Zamicus points to the spot where the drop should have landed. There is not a stain to be found on the plush carpet, and you can still feel the soft breeze from the sweep of the dragon wing. ) Zamicus says, "this is the tie that binds Bards in a way no race or family can. We are dragonkin until the end, my brothers and sisters. " (Zamicus lets the power drain from his frame. He looks up at you, a firerenewed in his blue eyes. He brushes away the damp, sweat laden hair from his brow, smiling secretly at you. You feel the dragon bloodcoursing through your veins. ) Zamicus smiles slightly, innocently, and bows his head with respect to you. He silently awaits your criticism. (Zamicus whispers softly in your ear... thank you....) Bevan asks, "For our final Master of the evening ... Lady Melodie, will you grace us with your composition?" Lady Melodie's Performance: Melodie curtsies. (Melodie carries a small lantern, similar to a mining lantern, with three of the glass panes replaced by hammered tin. The fourth side is fitted with an opening into which Melodie inserts a simple silver disk which focuses the light and projects a circle of white onto the wall behind her. She places the lantern on a small table, then turns to you and begins her tale.) Melodie recites: "In a long ago time when beasts spoke the common tongue and the gods dwelt amongst us, there lived a maiden named Moonbeam, for she was silvery fair with white skin and gentle grey eyes." Melodie recites: "It happened that Zelia learned of Moonbeam's beauty and of her devotion to Zelia's shrine. And Zelia, who reveled in surrounding herself with beautiful things, made Moonbeam her handmaiden. And so Moonbeam bade her family farewell and lived in the splendor of Zelia's home--splendor made even more wondrous by the presence of such a gracious and tender maid." (Melodie gently turns the small, silvery disk in the opening of the lantern. On the wall, the full moon slowly ebbs until it has become a cresent moon.) Melodie recites: "Many were the days and months that Moonbeam served her mistress. She combed Zelia's unruly locks with gentle hands, washed her mistress's slender feet in rose-scented waters, and sang for Zelia. And after much time had passed, Moonbeam longed to see her mother and father once more, and so she petitioned Zelia, that she might take leave to visit her family." Melodie recites: "Zelia touched Moonbeam's face with white hands as cold as night and hard and unyielding as stone. "You would leave your mistress, who has raised you high above all other mortals? Beloved handmaiden, I grant you one night for that is all I can spare you from my service. And I will clothe you in richness so fine that only your true love may know you."" (Melodie takes the hem of her cloak, turns the silver disk on the lantern, paring away further at the image on the wall, till it is a thin sliver of light.) Melodie recites: "That night, Moonbeam found upon her bed a snow-white cloak of soft swans-down, and blessing her mistress' name, draped it over her slender shoulders and set out." Melodie recites: "But alas! Her mother and father knew her not, for such was the enchantment of the cloak that Moonbeam appeared to them only as a beautiful swan, unable to speak. And they placed her in a cage of wooden sticks outside their hut so that they could take her to market on the morrow and sell her." Melodie recites: "Now, Moonbeam cried unhappily, lifting her long, white neck to the sky and beseeching her mistress to aid her. But Zelia slept on and did not heed the cries of her favoured handmaiden." (Melodie slips a thin disk of obsidian into the opening of the lantern, removing the silver disk carefully. On the wall, a dark grey circle hovers like the new moon.) Melodie recites: "A woodcutter, hearing the piteous cries, came and unlatched the cage saying, "I cannot bear to see anyone held captive, least of all one so fair as you, dear swan."" Melodie recites: "And as Moonbeam stepped forth from the cage, behold! She was no longer a swan, but appeared to the amazed woodcutter in her true form, slim and arrayed in silver and the swans-down cloak. And he fell in love with her, and she with him, for he had shown her compassion in her hour of need. And he asked her to be his bride." Melodie recites: "Then Zelia herself stood beside them in her chariot of dark ebon. And Zelia said to Moonbeam, "So, this is one whom you love truly and wish to be with forever?" And Moonbeam bowed her head and said softly, "Yes."" Melodie recites: ""Master Woodcutter, I cannot do without the service of my handmaiden, nor do I wish her to grieve your absence and desire to leave me." Zelia placed her hands upon the woodcutter's shoulders, and for all their thinness, he felt them heavy as millstones." Melodie recites: "Recite "Then take me into your service also, Mistress," said the woodcutter, "for I could not live without my beautiful swan maiden now that I have seen her."" Melodie recites: "Recite And Zelia said softly, "You may guide my chariot, Woodcutter, and so be in my service and amongst the stars, near this maiden whom we both love."" Melodie recites: "Moonbeam stepped toward the woodcutter, forming words to warn him, as she knew her mistress took no man into service, but before she could utter a sound, the woodcutter boldly stepped forth and, stepping into the chariot, grasped the reins." Melodie recites: "And the wild steeds snorted and pawed the ground, enraged at the touch of a mortal's hand! And they leapt into the sky, taking the hapless woodcutter, leaving behind them only his tears mixed with the lightning of their hooves in a bright, diaphanous veil." Melodie recites: ""Now your true love lives amongst the stars," said Zelia. "Yet you shall ever dwell upon the earth, who would choose to serve a mortal man in my stead." And the snow white cloak enveloped Moonbeam and became one with her, so that the maiden was no more." Melodie recites: "And even now, when the woodcutter and his chariot come near to the lands, trailing the veil of his tears, the swan calls out to him, who was once her one true love." (Melodie takes the lantern and scatters a handful of powder into it. The light brightens and illuminates the wall behind her, then flutters out, leaving behind the faint image of a shooting star.) Melodie curtsies. Bevan says, "Good gentles, before our final competitor of the evening performs for us ..." Bevan says, "I thank you for attending, one and all, and invite you to join us at the same time on Friday for our finals." Bevan says, "It is my proud honor to sponsor and run these Festivals, and I hope you are enjoying yourself as much as I am" Bevan says, "For our final Journeyman of the evening ... let us hear you sing for us, Lord Quiet" Lord Quiet's Performance: Quiet says, "Thank you Lord Bevan" Quiet says, "I have come here today to tell a story." Quiet says, "I would like you to take a trip with me back in time; back to the time of my youth. It was when I was but a lad, never having journeyed beyond the edges of my village. It was a typical hobbit village, with all of us happy and joyful." (Quiet brings his hand to his mouth, holding something quite small. You hear a pure note and his hand falls to his side, quite empty. You wonder where he could have put the instrument, but realize he must have palmed it with a deft hand.) Quiet sings: "Thistle-foot and Green-eyes, heroes of the dale Met the invaders, faces quite pale. Only the brave and pure of heart Could ensure hobbits kept their tarts." Quiet sings: "Green-eyes paid with her life To save the village from the knife Of the dark elf horde. They say, For only one followed the hobbit way." Quiet says, "As you enter the village from the central green, the community garden grows to the left." Quiet smiles in remembrance as he gestures left. Quiet says, "The melons are starting to turn yellow and green, swelling with the sweet taste of summer. The moist air crossing the stream brings the smell of moss and cool damp earth, refreshing and clean." Quiet smiles with a deep breath as he gestures right. Quiet says, "To your right, a well tended small burrow covered with a fine green grass, beckons with a small open door. The smell of fresh summer tarts baking in a stone oven almost irresistibly calls you inside." Quiet removes a heart-shaped cherry tart from inside his suede cloak. Quiet sniffs at his cherry tart. Quiet sighs reflectively. Quiet put a heart-shaped cherry tart inside his suede cloak. Quiet says, "The gentle sounds of singing and laughing fill the air inside the gentle home." Quiet smiles with a gentle smile, gesturing around the room. Quiet says, "Choosing to pass the entry house, you walk a soft dirt path to a tall modwir tree. The branches stretch in all directions as if to shelter all below its canopy." Quiet says, "Here the shade is mottled by the light passing among the leaves. The songs of birds and the chitter of squirrels give the air a gaiety not found in more urban surroundings." Quiet says, "A squirrel spirals up the tree, the gentle sunlight playing across his fur, dancing like a faery party. Dislodging a nut, no doubt planned for the winter, he chitters in frustration as the nut drops on the head of passing hobbit." Quiet says, "This was my village where I grew up. But," Quiet sighs remorsefully. Quiet says, "when I was but a wee lad, an evil took place that forever changed, not just my life, but the lives of everyone in the village." Quiet says, "It was an autumn day. The clouds grew dark and heavy. The air was laden with anticipation of the storm about to hit. Hair stood on end." Quiet says, "Little did we know what this storm would bring. Some were out harvesting vegetables that might be ripe, but most of us just closed our doors and windows for the night." Quiet says, "The storm was loud."
Thunder echoes across the room, distant, but foreboding." Quiet cowers. Quiet says, "The sound of thunder filled the air. Wind swept down, bringing with it a vile smell, the smell of death and decay. I was too young to understand, but the wise hobbits knew well the meaning of the portent." Quiet says, "Brownie Thistle-foot, elder of the shire, went out into the night. Alone he braved the storm and what lay beyond. Some of you might think this foolish or stupid. But this is the way of hobbits." Quiet says, "The worst fears were realized. The village was under attack. A band of dark elves invaded our home, destroying the fields and taking valuables by the sack." (Quiet cowers and raises his hand as if to ward off an attack.) Quiet says, "Nobody resisted. Many cried. My mother told me to hide." Quiet says, "I saw what transpired as I hid in the shed. Thinking about it today still causes me dread." Quiet says, "Brownie approached the tallest of the elves, the leader of the marauding band." (Quiet passes a hand in front of his face, becoming some other hobbit, perhaps Thistle-foot.) Quiet recites: "Beyond me you shall not pass." (Quiet seems to grow, taller than a hobbit, almost slender by comparison.) Quiet recites: "And who are you to deny the elves our payment for the use of our lands" In a voice grating and harsh, "oh little one?" (Quiet shrinks, horrified at something he sees to his left.) Quiet recites: "Your lands!? Why, we have held these lands for seven generations. You have no right to take what is ours!" (Quiet grows again, his face turning ugly, a dark shadow cast across his face.) Quiet recites: "Who are you to tell us what right we have. You are small and useless. My band tires of you tart eaters." Quiet recites: "However, I would not want it said that we were unreasonable. We will take everything you possess, but we will allow you to live, assuming of course, that you continue to be sheep, and resist us not." (Quiet shrinks back down, but now, a courage seems to seep into his frame. His eyes begin to glow with a hidden power. He seems stronger, somehow, in some way you can't quite define.) Quiet recites: "I Brownie Thistle-foot resist you. I challenge you to single combat. If I win, you shall leave. If I lose, do as you will." Quiet sings: "Thistle-foot and Green-eyes, heroes of the dale Met the invaders, faces quite pale. Only the brave and pure of heart Could ensure hobbits kept their tarts." Quiet sings: "Green-eyes paid with her life To save the village from the knife Of the dark elf horde. They say, For only one followed the hobbit way." Quiet says, "Lightning struck the ground not far away, lighting the pair in an eerie tableau of half life." Quiet says, "I would love to say that there followed a horrible, but close fought battle. But in truth, I cannot. For this battle lasted but one cut from the elf lord blade. Brownie Thistle-foot was no more." (Quiet pauses, a small tear almost leaving his eye.) Quiet says, "Wet with rain, looking more like an urchin than a hobbit lass, Green-eyes stepped from her home. She entered the battle site drifting above the rain soaked puddles and gently closed Brownie's eyes." (Quiet kneels down and places his hand gently on an unseen face.) Quiet recites: "In her eyes a sadness eternal. But she would not stop. She could not stop." (Quiet stands back up, but not so strong anymore. Instead, he seems calm and great in a way that doesn't involve strength. You find that he seems more powerful this way than a few moments ago.) Quiet recites: "You have your blood." In a voice barely above the rain, but somehow clear all the same. "You have your silver. The strawberries are wrecked, the melons are slivers." Quiet recites: "Continue as you will, and nothing will be left. An alternative I have to offer, before more are bereft." Quiet recites: "You wish treasure, fruit, and sport. In our village this you find. However, as proposed, you leave us nothing behind." Quiet recites: "With trade your riches beyond imagining Could fill, each year, a large wagon." Quiet says, "The dark elf lord was surprised that anyone could speak in such a manner, let alone one so much shorter than the high lord." Quiet says, "He raised his sword, about to smite the hobbit lass. With the storm reflecting red in his eyes, his leadership was questioned in front of the horde." Quiet recites: "I will not fight you, that is not the hobbit way. But if you kill me, nobody will win this day." Quiet recites: "One at a time, we will plead our case Till you have left, or extinguished our race." Quiet says, "The elf lord was sorely tempted. To rid the world of hobbits might be a service." Quiet smiles at some hidden jest. Quiet says, "But he realized he might go deaf from the talking before he finished. His stance softened, but the light of calculations filled his eyes." Quiet says, "The storm paused with an indrawn breath. This, the center of the storm could bring ruin, or a spring morning." (Quiet raises back up, and places his hands upon his sword.) Quiet recites: "Very well, I will save your village. We will establish trade, but to ensure your good will, you must stay with us as our prisoner, and my servant." Quiet says, "So it came to pass." Quiet sings: "Green-eyes left with the elves, Brownie was dead. That she was his wife, she never had said. She lived with his killer, to the end of her days, But always she lived by the hobbit ways." Quiet sings: "The village prospered, the strawberries ripened, The grapes grew heavy, the nut trees were lightened By agile young hobbits, climbing the trees As others picked carrots down on their knees." Quiet sings: "So elves and hobbits learned to trade And Brownie is gone, buried where he laid. For love and peace is the hobbit way." Quiet recites: "For love and peace is the hobbit way." Quiet bows.

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