by Serban, Quartermaster @ The Guild Hall
April 12 2020
It takes a short while for Arty and Calamity to reach the circus. They look about for who they need to find. They talk to Elion, who guides them towards a large caravan, covered and walled, almost like a building on wheels. It has a black tarp over it and a door in the back. After a few knocks on the door, it opens. A blonde man smiles. Arty forgets she has legs. Calamity remembers why she always feels odd. It doesn’t take more than a minute of flirting before Arty mysteriously requires some oils for her violin. Even more mysteriously, she must rehearse now, so she asks Calamity to go and fetch said oils.
Calamity goes to fetch oils. Because she understands how it feels to be shunned. In the meantime, Arty and the man rehearse human connection. They think they are successful. They’re wrong.
A few hours later, Arty will regret this. She’ll ask herself why she hadn’t seen the scars on his body, or the dagger in his boot. But not right now.
Inside the town, a few other oddities sit down at an inn table and talk amongst themselves. Ado looks towards Amedame with an evil smirk.
‘Can you help me with something?’
‘We’ll make a little bit of a bet. Just distract the fools when I tell you. Dorr, come over here.’
With flamboyance, Ado walks over to a dwarf and asks him to make a bet. He’ll play cards against Dorr. The dwarf accepts and Dorr quickly loses. The crowd gathers around Dorr; then, a sign is given. Ame gets surrounded. Money gets stolen.
Targal watches around confused. He’s not from around here. He’s not quite sure traveling is the best choice for him anymore. He’s excited about the circus that night.
They all are.
‘What?’ speaks the sleepy tiefling once more.
‘Rehearsal has started a while ago.’
It’s the second time she’s been late to rehearsal that day. It’s the second time she’s fallen asleep that day. It’s also the first time she’s fallen asleep in someone’s arms. But not just for that day. For a while.
She runs to rehearsal with her violin in hand. When she arrives, Lady Miriam is already there.
‘What is wrong with you?’ she asks, not even looking at Arty. The Ulfwaldian accent cuts deeper than usual.
‘I’m sorry. I just fell asleep. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. Let’s just rehearse and get started.’
‘Oh, my dear… Please, take some care of yourself.’
A few hours later, the circus tent is full. Targal, Naila, Calamity, Amedame, Ado, and Dorr are all sitting together. Arty is preparing herself on the side, violin in hand, and plenty of parts in her mind. When the show starts, she will play horribly. She does not know that yet. The man she had rehearsed with comes up to her.
‘I had plenty of fun. Listen, I need you to do something for me. When the time comes, duck.’
‘Why would I?’
‘Just do it.’
His tone is ominous and daggers in his boot. No one sees them.
The show has started for five minutes. And now Arty knows she’s playing poorly. And the dancers do too. And so does the crowd. What usually were beautiful dances are now nothing but off-tempo wreckages, like two goblin tribes ambushing each other instead of a cart they were chasing. It takes a good three songs before Arty rights herself and the songs begin to match the movement. The crowd is pleased, yet only barely so.
The time comes for the man to dance alongside his colleague. Their master comes up to Arty. His gaze is cold and angry.
‘Don’t you dare play like that for my boys, or you won’t play ever again.’
She doesn’t. She plays better than she has the entire night. The dance is unique and beautiful, delicate and powerful. No one sees them prepare their knives. They all see them tossing them into the crowd. Arty doesn’t duck.
The assassins were expecting the crowd to run away. And they do. Targal Bearchin runs as fast as he can. But he sure doesn’t run away. He runs towards them.
The goliath’s force is overwhelming, his strikes are brutal and fierce, but he is not fast enough to keep up with the assassins. Naila, however, is. The tabaxi rushes in and her quickness is a perfect complement to Targal’s force. The two stand their ground. From the crowd, crossbow bolts shoot out from Calamity and Ado, with Amedame’s fire bolts joining in. Arty puts down her violin and lifts her rapier. A fight ensues.
People die that day. Assassins. The others live. All of them. Because oddballs stick together.
When the city guard arrives, they are met with a group of civilians who dispatched of the threat and a bard who swears her singing wasn’t part of their deadly act. Her unusual and feisty nature makes her seem defensive, so she gets taken to jail, where she’ll spend her night alone, awaiting investigation. The rest of her friends are confused. They look at each other and they know that she’s innocent. They also know they’re going to prove it.
They aren’t guards, nor are they investigators. On that day, they’re an army. And they’ll do everything to save their own.