Story for the Day: The Announcement
Here is chapter 2 of "Tales from Frewyn: The Opera". Enjoy!
Enjoy the series!
The placards and posters announcing Mad Queen Maeve’s tenth iteration were taken away and a new announcement was set in its place, one for a new play of certain distinction, whose book was written by Marridon’s champion auteur and whose songs were composed by the Triumvirate’s leading Maestro. Many began to bustle about the Royal Theatre in hopes of catching a glimpse of rehearsals or hearing an early piece of music, but the surprise would be well-kept if only to excite interest and the spectators must wait until the projected opening night.
While the chief of Frewyn’s denizens were left to imagine all the wondrous machinations taking place within the halls of the theatre, two of the keep’s residents were treated to an accidental and early prospect. Although many of the kingdom’s nobility milled about the parapets of Diras Castle and were certain to see the rehearsals by leaning over the merlons of the western battlements, Teague and Mureadh were the first two to discern the character of the new play. They were engaged to spent the evening with Captain Connors and Nerri, and after a long day of training in the keep’s yard, they had cleansed themselves in the barracks and were on their way back to the soldier’s mess from using the facilities when an argument taking place outside the theatre entrance caught their attention. They stopped, hid themselves behind the latrine tower to screen themselves from view and heard the director of the play giving someone a stern reproof.
The remonstrance was heard well enough: something about the new poster was incorrect, someone’s name was not quite as large as it should have been, someone else’s name was far to eclipsing, and upon the whole the announcement must be entirely remade. The carefully-chosen colours and detailed illustration of the principle characters would not do; the size of the names must reflect the director’s brilliance and nothing less would be tolerated. The director returned to the theatre to officiate the remainder of the day’s practice and the illustrator was left to sulk and grumble. He remarked his work, and after a moment’s consideration, the illustrator humphed and placed the poster onto the billboard. Bitterness and anger were what was drove his actions, but the satisfaction in seeing his glorious work displayed even for a few minutes together before someone should come and take it down was all his triumph. He stood back, folded his arms across his chest, and spied the poster with a complacent grin. The names were too small to be sure, but the images of the three main characters were the centerpiece of the work.
The illustrator was suddenly called into the theatre to redraw one of the sets, and without a thought, he hastened inside, leaving the poster on the billboard for Teague and Mureadh to investigate. They crawled out from their position behind the latrine tower and before they had taken a few steps were struck with the sudden shock of what the advertisement depicted: a dark-haired and large-breasted woman dressed in little more than a rag was being held by an enormous and fur-clad beast, one with terrible fangs and glowing red eyes, and behind the gruesome image was a handsome king riding a horse, waving a golden broadsword in the air. What the image had meant to suggest was clear enough by the commander’s disguisable attributes, the Den Asaan’s ferocious air, and the crown on the king’s head, but the title across the top of the piece secured all their worries. If the heading of the play was not enough to convince them this play being a farce, the tagline of “Two hearts, two warring nations, one forbidden love” written across the bottom certainly was. The names of the directors, writers and everyone involved were unimportant where the subject of the play was concerned, and Mureadh cringed in aversion to think of what their superior officers and the king would say while Teague only sighed and shook his head.
When the first wave of horror had done with them, Teague and Mureadh stepped closer to examine the poster, Teague carefully collecting the names of every person responsible for this nonsense.
“Well,” Teague said, after a few moments of silence, “It is painted very well. It’s a shame his skill was used for this.”
Mureadh was far too horrified to reply: his superior officer, one well-known for his intolerance of inanity, was being mocked, and his mate, over whom the giant was particularly possessive, was being debased.
The announcement did not distress Teague as much as it did Mureadh; he knew the commander would have an excellent laugh over the artwork, but he did not feel the same where Alasdair and the Den Asaan were concerned. Were the opera to depict the events of the war in a truthful manner, he would have no scruple in allowing the production to continue as planned, but as the Den Asaan was here depicted as a snarling and hideous creature with glowing eyes, he could have no doubt of its pretense. “I’ll tell the commander,” Teague said, walking back toward the barracks.
“Should I tell the Den Asaan?” said Mureadh, almost dreading the reaction such a revelation would produce.
Teague stopped and considered how they had best proceed. “No,” he decided. “She will tell the Den Asaan. She knows what to say to calm him.” He smirked and turned back toward the keep, rubbing his hands together with secret joy, hardly able to wait and see what sort of uproar this kind of travesty should construct.
Enjoy the series!