Some notes before we get this started. This was inspired by Apollonia’s lovely work right here:
If you enjoyed and even if you didn’t, go check it out.
The other thing is that this happens before the Shade Hunt just to keep the timeline simple for me. Besides that, expect to see a lot of edits below. I always find my typos a couple days later.
Dirae Erinyes is not human. Neither is their snuffer spouse. This isn’t something that often weighs on their mind. Daily life here is busy enough to deflect self-reflection. Still, this reality presents a certain problem as their marriage enters into its stable rhythm and the promise of world shaking justice still far in the future. The problem of legacies, of inheritance, the act of creating something that was neither one nor the other but (at least contained the illusion) traits of both into something novel.
Such a problem was not a new one – it was one that Dirae Erinyes struggled with on the surface, back when they were married to the morning. But down here, the problem was not as indelicate, and new solutions could be found. Nonetheless, such solutions were not without cost.
What the Rubberies asked for was not material wealth, or the knowledge that Dirae Erinyes had gained form the years of skullduggery. No, what they wanted was a celebrity.
And the payment upfront.
edited by Shadowcthuhlu on 3/17/2017
Mahogany Hall was in its usual pre-stage chaos. Months of planning had boiled down to this night. The lead human actor was trying to cover up his day-long hangover. The lead actress was another fit of sobbing and Shakespearean monologues. The Rubberyman –given the stage name of Henry Othothotho- was a quivering mess in arms of his lover. A sight that would’ve been more touching if his lover-the deviless Melpomene-wasn’t also the stage manager. Instead, she looked like a girl hauling a doll bigger than her while she ordered the stage hands around. There were last minute repairs, repaints, and rants as the prop department coped with the latest disaster. Evensong stuffed the latest spy into one of the wardrobes before more sabotage could be committed– it would be too scandalous to defenestrate him like the rest. Dirae Erinyes was nervously checking on the audience. A full house, necessary for success and necessary for a riot. The opening act – an experienced singer – was keeping the audience placated. But if they didn’t get this show on the road, the theater was going to be up in flames.
Time to see if it could stand up to the public.
edited by Shadowcthuhlu on 3/17/2017
The Bravery of Henry Othothotho: A Rather Rubbery Adventure Tale
Scene 1-The Streets of London
The play opens to an idyllic London morning: the calls of costermongers, the sounds of hooves on the streets, the squeaking of the bat flocks. The conductor finds little time to rest as he coaxes the musicians to lead into the opening suite. The light focuses on a solo figure in the crowd – Henry Othothotho. He cheerful creates his neighbor, miming their exaggerated mannerisms back to them. Henry’s expressiveness is beyond the normal rubberyman. His talent was the reason that he was picked for this role. A talent refined with months spent under the tutelage of a sardonic French actor from the tradition of Jacques Copeau.
But, this scene takes a dark turn when some of the urchins started throwing rocks and taunts. The crowd quickly turns hostile. The butcher who was previously laughing at Henry’s antics quickly turned into menacing figure. The costermonger-who rewarded Henry’s flirting with a flower in his hat-assemble the mob with a common anti-rubbery slogans. The music takes a sudden switch from its simple and idyllic tone – to a dramatic and fearful piece made up of tortured violins, a booming brass, and a discordant percussion section that destroyed the audience’s nerves. Henry, clearly panicking, ducks and dodges the angry mob. They chase through streets, buildings, and roofs, leaving wanton destruction in their wake. Henry is only saved by his quick thinking, disguising himself with the use of a discarded habit found in a tailor’s shop. At the end, he’s the only one left on stage among the wreckage. Those it ends on a tragicomic as Henry sits, still dressed in the nun habit.
Scene 2-The Beach of Orinth Enclave
The scene opens with our two romantic leads (Georgina and St. John) on a beach reminiscent of the quiet beauty of Hunter’s Keep. Their dialogue is cheerful and light. Through their flirting, the audience learns that they are engaged but there’re some scandal. She’s a zailor, he the son of the barony of this island. However, they are hopeful, and the wedding planning plows forward. The flutes mimic the calls of zeebirds, and the string play the role of the constant zee winds. But there is a quiet percussive undertow, and canny audiences my recognize it from the riot scene and grow uneasy.
Their suspicions are confirmed, as the horn sections blare out. A ship arrives over the horizon. As the ship comes closer, it unfurls its flags. A black flag with a skull and bones! Georgina and St. John try to flee, but the ship-powered by bags of primordial shrieks-makes shore before they can flee too far. (The director did not care about the practicality of such a method of transportation, instead for the effect of the shrieks running through theater when the pirate ship set is rolled on stage)
The orchestra shifts into cheerfully bloodthirsty zee shanties as the pirates jump onto the beach. Members of the audience who imbed too deeply during the performance may be singing along. The pirates menace the couple, complete with jeers and taunts. Georgina draws her cutlass, to defend her and St. John. However, she is overwhelmed by the circling pirates. One of them grabs St. John behind Georgina’s back, carrying St. John on his shoulders. Georgina tries to chase the retreating pirates, but they fill the air with gun smoke. Georgina falls down, her blood soaking into the sand. The pirates jump back onto the ship and it rolls away. Georgina pulls herself up and gives a cry of grief.
edited by Shadowcthuhlu on 3/17/2017
Scene 3 – The deck of the pirate ship
The curtain opens up onto the pirate ship, where the pirates are partying. This is the start of our first dance number- a variation of an Apache dance from the streets of Paris. (For those who do not know, this specific partner dance is a dramatization of an argument between a pimp and prostitute.) What makes this dance different is not only the context: here all the pirates play the aggressor role, tossing St. John from partner to partner. Once their captive is properly terrified, the vile Captain Red-Handed Roger takes the stage.
Captain Red-Hand Rogers is a fierce figure, with a flaming beard and a hook hand. In a pompous declaration, he announces himself, much to the terror of St. John. After the crew gives a cheer, the villainous pirate gives a monologue explaining his evil scheme. St. John’s parents had paid him to kill Georgina, worried that any less lethal measures would simply just cause St. John to run off and elope. With grandiose gestures, Captain Red-Hand Rogers describes the riches of the Barony of the Orinth Enclave, grown rich on the illegal trade of jewels. Once Captain Red-hand Rogers saw the splendor of their halls, and how little they offered for Georgina’s death. Thus Captain Red-Hand Roger decided it would be more profitable to kidnap St. John and ransom him back to his parents for a khan’s ransom. There is a comedic moment here, as the crew celebrates what they will do with their share of the booty: becoming a king in the east, trying to woo Sinning Jenny, and becoming a quiet mushroom farmer. The scene ends with St. John thrown into the brigs and the pirates continuing to party.
Scene 4 – Georgina’s Ship
Georgina has rushed onto the sea, without crew or even tending to her wounds. The orchestra summons the coming storm, with rolling drums for thunder and snare drums for the patter of rain. As she lashes herself to the wheel, she gives her own monologue. She lovely describes how she and St. John first met – a chance meeting when her ship took refuge on Orinth Enclave shores to escape the Killing Wind. Their secret courtship under the false stars as they trade stories and kisses. Their awkward deception when she first met his parents, ending with her unmasked and St. John standing up to his parents. At the end, she swears her love to him, claiming that she would rather cast her heart to the Fathomkings then live without St. John. With that declaration, she sails into the storm. As the curtain closes, lightening arcs across the stage. A trick only capable thanks to the great minds at the Downward Engineering Company at harnessing that new-fangled electricity.
Scene 5 – The beaches on the outskirts of London.
Henry Othothotho is strolling down the beach. His nun habit has been discarded for his regular rumpled suit. His posture is still slouched, carrying the weight of the surface on his back – a vivid contrast to his lighthearted attitude before the riot. His disappointed sulk is disrupted by something he sees in the fabric surf. Pushing his way into the waves, he pulls out the battered form of Georgina. With some emergency ministrations, Georgina revives in Henry’s arms. At the end of her rope, Georgina sobs out her story. She recounts the kidnapping of St. John and her wrecking her boat trying to chase the pirates. Henry is touched by her story – there is a moment of tenderness between two people who life has chewed and spat out. An unspoken statement passes to Georgina. She blinks tears back with an incredulous expression. Henry takes her hands in his tentacles with an emphatic novel. With a cry of relief, Georgina embraces him. A friendship is formed and promises are forged. Georgina leans on Henry, as she limps off stage.
There is a ballet interlude. As part of the deals made for this show, Dirae Erinyes gives the spotlight onto a rising star ballerina. A ballerina who is the daughter of most popular arts reviewer, circulated in in the most popular papers in London. The ballet shows the seasonal cycle of life and death of strange jellyfish found out in zee. For those not interested in their graceful but strange ballet, there are refreshments.
Scene 1-The streets of London
The stage is strangely empty-there is only Henry and Georgina engaged in animate but inaudible conversation. Georgina’s wounds are bandaged and she is able to walk without help. Their conversation is interrupted by a newspaper urchin, calling out the headlines. What is on the front page? Nothing more than the demands of Captain Red-hand Rogers! Henry Othothotho raises a questioning tentacle as Georgina reads out the news.
At this motion, the stage is flooded with extras from the previous London streets scene. Thus begins the Ballad of Captain Red-hand Rogers – a catchy tune inspired by the zee shanties earlier. The tune is toe-tappingly catchy. The lyrics are lurid descriptions of the previous gruesome crimes of Captain Red-hand Rogers. This song will be heard all over London before the weekend. (At least, that’s the hope of the composer-a washed-up musician found in the streets of Veilgarden-trying to get drunk on shoe polish.) After that musical number, Georgina entreats the audience for help. As soon as the words leave her word, they crowd rushes off-stage.
Georgina is despondent, but Henry has an idea. He give a rubbery yodel, and the rubberymen extras rush onto the stage. Each one carries part of the set with them, assembling a rubbery tenement as they gather around Henry. He explains Georgina’s predicament to them in his native language: No translation is necessary, thanks the Henry’s miming.
While the extras are less emotive then Henry, they work hard to convey concern for Georgina: plying her with tea and fungal crackers during Henry’s performance. Georgina tries to be polite, but she can’t hide her discomfort. At the end of the speech, Henry entreats the crowd and is meet by a undulating cheer. Georgina - still uneasy - voices her concern. She doesn’t have a ship, let alone the ability to train them into crew strong enough to take on Captain Red-handed Rogers. Henry gives her a knowing cock of his head, and waves the crowd forward. The crowd picks up Georgina and carries her off stage.
Scene 2 – The Sandstone temple
The crowd is gathered on the edge of the state, looking on from their carved stone perch into the deep zee water below. The silence is interrupted as the drownies enter the stage through a trapdoor under the fabric water. Henry greets them warmly – outsiders need to stick together. (The script writer conveniently ignores any real life squabbles between the Drownies and the Rubberies. They assume that most of London either does not know or does not care about such esoteric politics.) Henry talks to them, with surprisingly vague body language. The drownies give a nod of consent to his mysterious request.
Thus starts the drownie dance. The beginning draws on the songs and dances of the mutton island tradition. However as the number goes on, the words are drawn out into pure sound – turning the song into memories of the choirs from surface cathedrals. Their group dance slowly transforms into a rotating circle, each spinning on their own axis. Those knowledgeable or well-traveled of the surface may recognize it’s resemblance to the Whirling Dervishes. The Neath has no shortage of pilgrims from the surface, looking for answers in the depths. During the dance, the spotlight dims and the round paper lamps in their hands glow.
At the end of their dance, they throw their lights in the air. They fly up into the rafters and the spotlight suddenly turns on. The whole stage opens up, and a ship emerges from the depths, carried aloft by a mechanical tentacle. The algae covered wreck with a bent mast with a masterwork of the prop department, but the tentacle steals the attention. The Rattus Faber crew working hard inside are heartened by a gasp from the audiences. The Rubbery crowd climbs up into the ship, Georgina still in tow. With a triumphant blast of trumpets, the tentacle carries the ship off stage.
Scene 3 – The Pirate Ship
The pirates are still carousing, but are interrupted by a crows-nest lookout. His yells are frantic and confused, as he tries to explain the tentacle carried ship crewed by a Rubbery Men. A ship that is heading straight for them! Captain Red-handed Rogers keeps his cool and organizes the drunk pirates into a fighting force.
Rubbery Men – he assures them – are fragile and placid creatures. Hardly a challenge to crew of veteran fighters on the high zee. Captain Red-handed Rogers’ good humor infects his crew and they are laughing at the makeshift rubbery force that swings onto their deck. However, the Rubberies take advantage of the pirates’ mirth. They may be fragile, but flexible. They dodge the pirates blow with their inhumanly bent body before turning the pirates’ frustration against them. After humiliating them, the Rubberies trap them in barrels, tangle them in the rigging, or trip them off the boat.
Despite all this chaos, the spotlight always stays on Henry. He fights side by side with Georgina, one of the few Rubbery Men with proper weapons. Georgina uses her cutlass, utilizing the straightforward style of the docks. Henry uses a thin rapier, graceful training and his rubbery body combining to create confusing style of elaborate parries, dodges, and strikes. Finally, they cut their way through to face down Captain Red-Handed Rogers.
Georgia charges at him, yelling insults and threats. Captain Red-Handed Rogers dodges her, and with a quick lunge, stabs her in the stomach. Her mocks her as her old wounds open up. Captain Red-Handed Rogers taunts are cut-off when Henry performs a daring rescue. The rapier goes through the pirate’s captain’s chest as Henry jumps up on his back. Captain Red-Handed Rogers roars in pain as he tries to smash Henry against the mast. Henry hangs on despite his obvious pains, his flailing tentacles blinding Captain Red-Handed Rogers. As they struggle, the pirate captain is left open to Georgina’s fateful blow. As his head’s rolls across the deck, the other pirates surrender and St. John is freed. The happy couple reunites and shares a passionate kiss.
Scene 4- The docks of London
The happy couple – now recovered from their misadventure – are dressed in the wedding finery. Despite all of St. John’s parent’s meddling, the happy couple has their happy ending. Georgina and St. John are trying to convince Henry to follow them to Ornith Enclave. Henry refuses them, gesturing to the London city behind him. The couple leaves, promising to visit soon and Henry turns back to the rest of London.
Henry starts on of the plaintive songs that can only be sung by the Rubbery Men. The docks scene is dissembled on beat, and new scenery forms on stage. There is no translation, but Henry’s body language and the scenery tells the audience it’s an ode to London. (Or at least what they audience is supposed to think it means. . .) His voice rings through the theatre as scenes from cheerful Veilgarden, the wretched Spite, the winding Ladybone road, and desolate Watchmaker’s hill swirl around him.
Occasionally scenes from the Forgotten Quarter, the Labyrinth, and the Palace fit themselves among the common life of London. The scene ends with the stage being turned into a miniature Mahogany Hall. Now, Henry takes a bow as the fake Mahogany hall’s curtain’s close. With that, the actual curtain’s close.
edited by Shadowcthuhlu on 3/17/2017
As the performers and stage hands come out to take their bows, an applause starts up in the audience. Dirae Erinyes is glad for the moles in the audience were doing their jobs. The question is will the rest of the audience follow? Would bloody action, technical achievements, and patriotic note win over the common crowd? Would the unusual subject matter, beautiful dance numbers, and many favors win over the Bohemian crowd? The play was not inexpensive to fund and Dirae Erinyes wasn’t eager to face down the board members and their strangely explosive weasels. Would they make their money back, or would Dirae Erinyes be having to clean up weasel guts for weeks? Would the actors be sent rose mushrooms or boxes of live rats? Would Henry be beloved or despised? Dirae Erinyes subconsciously holds their breath, waiting to find out.