April 4, 2014

In Which Hilla Disappoints Later

February 9, 1185

While there were advantages to not being a noble by birth--she hadn't envied Rona's husband-seeking angst of yesteryear, for example--situations in which Hilla's outsider status showed were not as infrequent as she would have hoped, even if the emphasis was confined to her own head. Paying an unexpected visit to the baron was one such situation. Thank God Riona was there to walk in first. As far as Riona was concerned, the baron was an old family friend who used to bounce her on his knee.

"Octavius," her friend greeted the man on first-name terms, proving Hilla right. "Sorry for the lack of notice."

"Quite all right. Not as if I could have expected you to be heralded, what with a certain someone holing himself up in my study." He shot a glare toward the end of his desk, where Florian stood.

And where Florian shuddered. "I can't walk about the castle while the chambermaids are still here! They're still furious with me for some silly reason."

"Florian, you turned Thallie's old bedroom into a swamp! You even hauled up buckets of mud!"

"Which, you must admit, is some silly reason."

"I'll give you that." Probably glad for an excuse to think about something else, the baron turned back to Riona with a grin. "How can I help you two?"

"Oh, it won't be just us you're helping!" There was almost a giggle in that voice. Yes, letting Riona do the talking had proven a wise decision; Hilla wasn't sure she'd ever said a sentence to a titled noble that hadn't been peppered with ers and ums. "You see, we're here on behalf of the university--specifically, the Departments of Art, Drama, and Literature, in regards to the upcoming performance of The Trial of Lady Morgause."

"The university is doing a masque?"

"Indeed, they are--and for added appeal, it's been decided that the show will star the most prominent figures in the kingdom." And in a beat worthy of star billing herself, Riona batted her eyes and smirked. "And also you, for some reason."

The baron laughed--the way only old family friends could. Yes. Letting Riona do the talking had definitely been a wise decision. "The most prominent figures in the kingdom, plus me. Might I ask who I've been picked to play? I'll tell you right now that I'm not dressing up like a tree."

"Of course not. Tree roles are the domain of handsome young men, you see--indeed, Hilla's husband plays the closest being to a tree." That, at least, was true. Hilla had no idea how Cherry planned to costume Plant-beings, but Bernardo was a good enough sport that little would faze him--and a good enough body that he could pull off a simple leaf over the crotch if that was all it was, assuming they could find a large enough leaf. "Alas, the only role I can offer you is that of the kingdom's Chief Justiciar, Lord Pellinore, who acts as judge during the trial."

"Well, that doesn't sound like it would require wearing anything too ridiculous, so I suppose I can help you out there."

"Excellent!"

Riona clapped her hands together and twirled about; Hilla opted instead for a sheepish smile. "Thank you, my lord."

"No trouble at all. It should be fun."

"It should," Florian agreed--probably the most serious Hilla had ever seen him.

That... could not have been good. "So, who am I playing?"

The baron smacked himself in the forehead while Hilla traded frantic glances with Riona. Sure, not all of the parts had been cast yet... but not once had Florian's name, of all names, come up. Probably because he was a liability.

No--definitely because he was a liability.

Just like he'd be, Hilla suspected, if he wasn't cast. "I do have a part, right?"

"Of course you have a part!" Riona blurted out despite the bulge of her own eyes. "You have an excellent part. You play, um... Hilla, who does Florian play again?"

"Mmm?" Shit. "I thought you had the cast list."

"Oh, no no. You have it." And with that came a crook in eyebrow--Noblish for 'I did all the talking with the baron; it's your turn now'.

"I, uh... I think it's in my coat pocket. But of course I remember Florian's part." What were those names Morgan had scrawled at the bottom of the list? The extras who mainly sat around during the trial scene and didn't say anything? The ones she'd said could be played by pretty much anyone? "You play, uh..."

"Who?"

"Uh..."

He stepped forward, frowning--an unsettling twitch in his eyes. "Who?"

Ah-hah! There it was, clear as day--the name at the very bottom of the list. Hilla snapped her fingers and beamed at him. "Sir Bors. You play Sir Bors."

"A 'sir'? Interesting." Florian leaned back, head cocked--hopeful. At least he was hopeful. "Is he important?"

If Hilla recalled Morgan's expression as she'd finished the list, she doubted it. "Well... he's a 'sir', isn't he?"

"Indeed." Satisfied, the steward balled his fists and jumped, not so unlike a child on Christmas morning. A pity that he was bound to be disappointed... but at least he wouldn't be disappointed today? "Sir Bors. The name just rings with intelligence and dignity."

NEXT CHAPTER:

6 comments:

Van said...

Next post may be a day late. If so, blame George R.R. Martin.

Ann said...

And thus I die! XD Florian as Bors! Oh Holy Hera, that's possibly the weirdest, most fantastic casting of all times! I CAN'T WAIT!

Also: I love Octavius as Pellinore! And Bernardo clad in only a leaf would be priceless! =D

Van said...

Good to know that the first batch of casting confirmations went well. XD

I am sure there are many Naronian ladies (and some men) who would be quite happy to see Bernardo clad in nothing but a leaf. ;)

morgaine2005 said...

And poor Ash is blushing something horrible at the thought of turning up to the trial in only a fig leaf!

In other news LMAO! Seriously! Florian as Bors? PRICELESS! I hope nobody tells Florian that Bors's actual personality is most similar to Roderick's -- that would spoil the fun.

And I am quite certain that Octavius will acquit himself well as Pellinore.

I can't wait to see the rest of the casting decisions!

Van said...

Luckily for Ash (if unluckily for certain audience members), Bernardo's costume will definitely provide more coverage than a fig leaf. ;)

I'm thinking Morgan will have some chats with everyone about their characters (though we'll probably only see one; I'll PM you for some input on that post before the fact). She may have to be creative in her wording when she gets to Florian, but for now, if anything about the part upsets him, it'll be that he's in only one scene with no lines.

Octavius as Pellinore was one of the first casting choices I finalized. It just seemed like a good fit. :)

As for the rest of them... well, some will be good and some will be purposely mmismatched. Also, it's worth noting that Hilla and Riona got to pick their own parts as payment for casting help. Hilla's playing Lyndsay, partly because Bernardino is playing Ash, partly because Baby #3 is due after the performance and she now works at the school as Asalaye's replacement. Riona, of course, went for a more prominent role; we'll see which role in a few posts, or maybe a preview pic if Cherry's already started the costumes.

Van said...

*Bernardo. I'm on my phone, battling the dreaded autocorrect.