Aulexis will head to the Battlelaugh Theatre to seek out Urzog Battlelaugh.
(( Welcome back! How were your travels? ))
Jarek, fortunately the guards have changed or patrolled away, however, a slightly inebriated fellow intercepts you both “Servants entrance is that way, if you please”
Who goes with Aulexis?
Having come from the doctor’s with Battlelaugh’s name, Kaelin will tag along to see what falls out, but very much anticipating Aulexis to lead the investigations.
Jarek smiles and thanks him for directions to the servants entrance. He slides his fife in the case out of his pack. He whispers to Simon. “Let’s hope they ordered musicians. How is your singing voice?”
“I can manage a fine sea shanty, although I’ll have to miss out a few of the coarser words.”
“If anyone asks were from the Musicians Guild, we were send especially for the event. If they seem surprised that we are here, we tell them that the Guild was honoring Elder Foxbourne with complimentary musicians.” Jarek starts to make his way towards the servants entrance. He takes a breath and pretends this is just another performance that he’s working. He’s done this sort of thing many times.
((my travels were okay. Taxing. Glad to be home, for sure.))
“Oh, thank goodness you’re here!” Lord Foxbourne’s butler is stressed, but he stops to peer at you “If you hadn’t come with the highest recommendation, I would never have believed that you had the lungs for ‘Nabucco’, still never mind… Oh, when you get back to the guild, you will find I have sent a strongly worded letter to your Master, there must have been some mix up, I recieved a notice of cancellation… I shall supply you with a retraction, come and see me at the end of the night. You can prepare yourself in the spare kitchen suite.”
Discuss: The Paladin's Secret- PbFG (The Burning Wheel)
((Italian opera… intense))
Jarek turns to Simon “What did you want to see here? How much time do you think will need?”
Jarek would be able to mimic the vocal warm ups of the opera singers, but not for long. He pulls out his fife and begins fingering through the melody of Nabucco. In a pinch, he could claim a mix up, but he hopes it wouldn’t come to that.
Aulexis arrives at the Battlelaugh theatre and seeks an audience with Urzog. She’s incredibly interested in the theatre, but cloaks her excitement under her usual imperiousness. The prospect of finding the place full of opium-fiends is also a damper on her romantic theatre fantasies.
“I’m not sure what to expect here, Kaelin. I get the impression that people have mixed opinions of ‘theatre folk’. Whatever may be the truth, stay vigilant.”
Kaelin and Aulexis:
You are shown to a beautiful apartment above the theatre, and it is immediately obvious that the man is incredibly wealthy. You are left to wait in a room with a marble floor and a gold gilt statue of two naked men embracing that leaves nothing to the imagination. (Quite ironically) the walls are lined with beautiful art (I swear, I wrote this before Simons painting frame idea) and it all seems to reject the classical idealism of the subject, many of them seem to deliberately highlight the flaws in their subjects. One, Aulexis, catches your eye. It is of your former captain, and it is a remarkable likeness, not so much of a heroic figure, but she is hunched, scowling, ugly and surrounded by death, bodies piled up on the decks of the ship she is raiding. The scene looks horrific, and because of this, the terrible deeds captured without any idealism, it seems to be the first time that you have ever seen any depiction of your life on the seas that portrays it with any accuracy.
Aulexis, in that painting is a figure. It doesn’t look like you, in the same way that the Captain doesn’t look like her, but by it’s portrayal, it is unmistakably you. The painter has pictured you small, in the background, but you are not like the other elves. Wherever they are is bathed in shadows, you are standing in a place where sunrays stream through a ragged hole in the sails of the boat, lighting you up. While the other elves have twisted faces, enjoyment of the carnage, you look strangely disgusted by their actions. Finally, while the others are being portrayed as hunched or bent, you stand with dignity on the deck, and your sword is lowered, not bathed in blood.
Meanwhile Kaelin, you find yourself drawn to a different painting, and unlike Aulexis, yours doesn’t portray anyone you know, but it does show your people, the Marsh Elves. It is a simple scene of toil, the Elves are cutting reeds to weave into baskets, and again, the painter has made no effort to make the subjects of the paintings look heroic or beautiful, and yet, the love and care they have put into the scene shines in every brushstroke, and the elves, flawed and imperfect as they are (to elven eyes), are all the more beautiful for it.
Before too long, you hear the sound of footsteps and an older man, in a very expensive robe and a beaming smile greets you “Guests, how wonderful! A pair of elves to meet with me, a high elf and a marsh elf I believe, how interesting.”
“This is quite the collection-” Aulexis’ casual remark to Kaelin hitches as she notices the statue’s suggestively adjacent nethers. Displays of sexuality or even romantic affection always make her feel incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassed, a rarity in the liberated corsairs. She had been unable to flog the many deprecating nicknames such as ‘The Virgin Queen’ or ’ Our Angry Maiden’ out of her crew even after she was married, as some still claimed ‘she probably doesn’t even let him underneath the same blanket’.
The painting dispels the blush. I must be imagining things. Why am I so sure that the one in the light is me? She addresses the Aulexis in the painting in her mind: Don’t be so arrogant, you silly fool. Disgust is only one step towards the light. You are still ugly inside.
She does not return the smile. “Urzog Battlelaugh, I presume? Aulexis and Kaelin, aides of the Paladin and representatives of the constabulary. I believe you know why we are here.”
“I do”. He calls out “Tea for our guests” but you neither see nor hear any sign of a servant in the silent space. “You’re here about poor Diana. I can’t tell you how shocked I am about what happened. I knew her through the theatre, nobody in the world would have wanted to hurt her, she was one of those people that only brought goodness and kindness to the people she met.”
A butler appears carrying a tray of tea.
Artwork like this is a rarity in his home community, his kin more concerned with practical things that then get embelished (like his fishing spear for example, or pottery and weaved fabrics). Kaelin is impressed with how the paintings capture the essence of the subject matter.
The arrival of Urzog draws his attention from the painting. “When did you hear the news of Lady DuPont’s passing?” Kaelin enquires, intrigued as the reaction from her doctor seemed to imply that it wasn’t public knowledge.
“Oh, three nights ago. I am a benefactor of several potential elders, and we were holding a small soirée, to which the Watch Commander was also invited.”
“How well did you know Diana? Have you known her for a long time?”
Simon looks confused. “Im not with the musicians, I just came up the path with them. I’m a carpenter. The exhibition is today. I am a frame maker and repairer. Lady Dupont requested I join her.”
Simon and Jarek:
The butler glowers at the pair of you suspiciously. “What frame are you to repair?” he says to Simon “And how are you to perform a duet when you are alone?”
Aulexis and Kaelin:
“Oh, years, and years. I knew her through The Globe, back in the Old World. Her son was in my production of Criminals and Heirs, huge success, a very talented young boy, I knew he would go far. Shame he never took to acting, it was a forte of his, but he made it into the Sorcerers Association, so a life of power and politics awaits him. Anyway, he was six I think, he played Passa Gorment as a child, so that must have been at least 20 years we’ve known each other. I wouldn’t say we were friends, but we got on exceptionally well as business partners.”
Where are you?