April 27, 2014

In Which Raia Hears Something Sweet

May 18, 1185

It was Masque Day. More accurately... it was Masque Hour. The first scene opened with Vera and Xeta, Xeta's character reading a letter from Vera's while Vera herself monologued it to the audience from elsewhere on stage; Sister Paulina called it an aside. Then, Vera would make her exit, and Raia and Lonriad would arrive to interact with Xeta.

Cherry's students, with the help of Sister Paulina's, had designed a portable stage that could be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere in less than an hour, complete with trap doors for set changes and collapsible curtains. For the performance, it sat in front of the administrative tower, leaving the entry as a makeshift green room. When she'd first heard of this, she'd wondered how structurally sound such a construction could be, but a few run-throughs on the stage later and it had held up rather better than she'd expected. They would be able to store it for reuse by the Drama students.

But for now, it was their day--a fundraising day, more or less, but still a performance. Vera and Xeta handled the pressure well, just chatting and laughing as they might have done in Nora's sitting room. Something about the frustrations of the students doing their hair, from the words Raia bothered to catch. Xeta's character was supposed to wear her hair tightly in a snood, but Xeta's was too long and thick for the piece Cherry had made; Vera's character had wild and lovely curls, but Vera didn't have a curl to speak of and all they'd managed was a light wave. Though, their costumes both matched Morgan and Cherry's sketches almost exactly--while Raia's and Lonriad's had required some compromise.

Not that anyone was going to be paying much attention to Lonriad's clothes. "I still can't believe you let them glue that thing to your face."

"It comes off pretty easily. Plus, let's face it--someone like Sir Mordred just needs a villainous mustache."

Right. Villainous. She still wasn't entirely sure how comfortable she was with her own casting. Obviously, someone had to play the titular villain--but given the circumstances that had led to the production, it kind of felt like a personal dig. She doubted it actually was--none of the involved were such vindictive people--but it did feel dodgy, especially given her character's life-long rivalry with Ellona's character. Perhaps it was something a little more innocent, like a marketing gimmick. Come see the Chancellor and the Assistant Chancellor square off against each other! And then see the Chancellor in court, where one major patron is the foreman of the jury and another is the judge!

And of course, the general nervousness didn't help either.

Not that that appeared to be a problem for either Vera or Xeta, still chatting away.

But maybe that was why. They were distracting themselves. Further engaging her brother might not have been the worst course of action for the next however-many minutes. "Still. That mustache is almost as bad as Jadin's."

"No, it's worse. I just wear it better." His upper lip wriggled, the chunky sections of beard jerking about with it. "I doubt his itches as much, though."

"Vera, Xeta!" It was Sister Paulina from the door, saving Raia the trouble of deciding on a mustache joke. "We're starting soon. Get in position."


Xeta took off around one side of the staircase, and Vera around the other. If they were being called, it wouldn't be long before Raia and Lonriad had to wait in the wings. To think--a few days ago, this still hadn't seemed quite real. "Good luck."

"Thanks," Vera called back, Xeta apparently out of earshot. She took a few more steps and the door shut. Sure as hell felt real now.

"We'd better stretch our legs a minute." Lonriad eased himself forward and took a deep breath as he stood. He seemed to be coping with the stress of the performance all right, but Raia didn't envy him that--not when he still had to cope with the even greater stress of having lost his wife. "You're going to knock their socks off, you know. You've got that intensity under control."

"But you're going to steal every scene you're in. You're just having so much fun with it."

"Well... I kind of needed this to be fun." With Asalaye watching from the clouds instead of the crowd, that he did. "And having so many scenes with you helped a lot, actually. I mean, you know how it is now that we're all adults and we're all busy and we don't live under the same roof any more. I don't know if I would have had so much fun if I didn't get to work with my favorite sister."

A lucky thing he'd waited for Vera to leave before saying that. "That's... sweet."

"Maybe. Doesn't make it any less true that we're an insanely badass dark magic team." He opened his arms for a hug. She obliged; a hug couldn't have hurt either of them just then.

"You know, if I was actually going to be evil, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be evil with than you."

"Likewise, little brother." For the sake of the moment, she'd omit her reasoning that Falidor would make the most ineffectual antagonist in history. "Likewise."



Van said...

My titles are so sucky these days.

Heading out soon--will post pictures of the cast in costume to my blog when I get back.

Ekho said...

How sweet. I sense Raia is sort of step-toeing around Lonriad right now, which is understandable. He probably is a little 'fragile' since losing Asalaye, but I'd think the performance would help him keep busy and motivated. Excited to see the others in character :D

Van said...

He is in a delicate place--but yes, the performance has been good for keeping him busy.

Alas, we won't be seeing the actual performance, for two reasons: one being that I don't want to rip off too much of Kellie's dialogue, the other being that the more I thought about the stage and the set arrangement, the less I wanted to build it. But we'll be hearing about some of the highlights. ;)

Ekho said...

Haha that's fair enough! I'm just curious about how the Naroni crew make it work together, I'm sure they'd have a few stories to tell ;P

Penelope said...

lol Oh, Fail-dor. No, evil schemes would not work out in his favor.

Hey, so I guess the show is going well? Florian has not streaked across the stage yet, shouting that the British are coming?

Van said...

Ekho: Highlights will indeed be recapped in the next post. ;)

Pen: Yeah, I don't see a career in villainy really going Falidor's way. XD

This is the opening scene, so Florian hasn't had time to make a show of himself just yet. But if there's a way, Florian will find it...

Winter said...

That *was* sweet! Villains are so often the best part of a show. I'm sure Raia, Lonriad, and Lonriad's mustache were all a hit. Playing a lunatic wizard with Jadin-level facial hair seems to be doing some good for Lonriad, too, which is nice to see. I bet Asalaye hasn't stopped laughing.

Van said...

Yeah, I'm thinking they did quite well with their villainous parts. And I doubt Asalaye missed one hilarious minute. :)