5th November 2011, 4:04 AM
Thanks--by then I'd ironed out the kinks in the worldbuilding.
I've been meaning to write Episode 34 of this, but I've had PC issues (my USB ports failed, rendering my PC unable to even turn on)
8th November 2011, 11:08 PM
Episode 34: A Date with Drama
[BGM: Searching in the Sands]
"Wow..." Ash gasped at the imposing, yet dusty, adobe, stone, and marble buildings as Mina landed before the front gate of Amanta later that evening.
"So many people--are they all signing up for the tournament?" Janine asked.
"They have to be--for large tournaments like this, they set up registration kiosks all over the city to handle the eager throngs that want to sign up." Misty explained, pointing out a couple of simple wooden booths on the sides of the street marked "TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION" that had rapidly growing lines.
"Come on--signing up for a tournament can't be that hard!" Ash giggled as he ran to get in line.
"You were saying?" Brock chided a few moments later, as Ash struggled to carry the large stack of paperwork needed for the five of them to compete.
Dawn was just as surprised at the sheer minutiae of the questions. "Great grandmother's maiden name?"
"Uncle's profession?" Brock was just as surprised at one question on the form as the five of them settled in the town square to fill out the papers.
"Don't blame me for the questions--many of them you don't have to answer." Misty assured the surprised group. "They just add many obscure questions to weed out those that wouldn't survive the competition."
"I know we can survive! We have to!" Ash declared as he went to work filling out the form. Brock just sighed and focused on finding the star marked required questions on his form.
[BGM: Brock's Harp: Love by the Illumise Light]
After several hours of working, Ash gave Misty his form and watched her hurry off to a registration booth nestled in the brightly decorated stalls of the market district. He admired the square shaped stone houses and buildings around him as he listened to Brock play the wistful yet playful melody of a song Milina often sang--"Love by the Illumise Light". Judging from the intrigued Yanmas and Taillows gathering around him and the coins filling the harp case, the song about a maid finding her true love with the help of an Illumise was both soothing and enjoyable as he looked off towards the north district, where a magnificent marble building stood, its red, yellow, blue, and green banners fluttering in the evening breeze. That can't be a temple or a guild hall... he mused. A palace, maybe?
Some applause startled him from his speculation--he looked up and saw a young woman about Brock's age clad in a red, purple, and blue suit with gold trim enthusiatically applauding Brock's performance. "Bravo, Sir Minstrel! Well played!"
"Thanks." Brock shyly stammered as he cleared out his tips and put his harp away. "I was merely playing to pass the time in waiting for my companion to return from signing us up to compete in the tournament."
"Here for the Tournament of Fate, are you?" the woman smiled. "I am Silvana Bianchi, the impresaria for the Theater Royale of Amanta. It's that large building at the edge of the north district." She pointed out the marble building, then fanned out five blue tickets with a gold circle hanging from them before the group. "As thanks for a wonderful performance, I would like to invite you and your friends to see our current production, 'Tabithi and the Sword of Mystic Light'"
"We would be honored, Lady Silvana." Ash smiled before taking the tickets from Silvana.
"If you plan to come, our next show begins at seven tonight." Silvana explained. "If you cannot come, you're welcome to give them to anyone in need of a fine show." After brushing some of her dull blonde hair from her face, she departed. "I hope to see you there!"
"Bye, and thank you!" Dawn called after her just as Misty returned.
[BGM: Searching in the Sands]
"Okay--we're due to report to the arena at nine tomorrow morning for the opening ceremony." Misty replied. "In the meantime, we're free to explore and see all Amanta has to offer."
"How about going to the theater?" Ash suggested as he proudly showed Misty the tickets.
"Where'd you get those?" Misty asked as she examined one of the tickets.
"Oh, Brock was just playing harp to pass the time, and the impresaria of the local theater happened to hear him." Dawn explained. "She was so touched by his performance, she gave us those tickets."
"But who is this Tabithi? Is she like Dokusentoki?" Janine asked, piqued.
"Tabithi is said to be one of Mavi's great rulers--her claim to fame was retrieving a blessed sword to slay a dragon that an evil wizard summoned." Misty explained as the group started towards the theater. "It's a thrilling story--action, comedy, a little romance, and adventure...I'm sure Brock knows a few episodes from it."
"That I do." Brock replied as he stopped to admire the swords and bows for sale at a smith's stall. "I know the episode where Lugia blesses Tabithi with courage for her journey, and the episode in which she and her companion Reine find a magical harp."
"I have never attended a theater from the outside--what is it like?" Janine was even more curious as the group approached the theater, where a large crowd was gathered. "Most productions we put on are very simple in nature--few sets, simple costumes, perhaps a musician or two, but nothing more."
"A lot more elaborate." Ash explained. "Beautiful costumes, acrobats, musicians galore, pantomime, and even puppets! In fact, I remember the time Milina took me to see 'The Mage and the Hunter'--they used a puppet for the Chimchar, and the acrobatic routine the birds did in Act 2 was amazing!"
"I had the honor of playing Entei in 'Briadon, Rider of Flames' once, when Amhran was competing in a drama competition..." Brock added. "The Entei Briadon rides we decided to portray in two forms--during the scenes where Briadon actually rides him, we made a large Entei puppet that needed three people to perform--one to work the head and do the voice, one to perform the front end, and one to perform the back end--all seen from the audience. When Entei appears to Briadon in spiritual form, we used an actual actor--me."
"Is Entei a full masked Pokemon, or what?" Ash asked.
"You're right, Entei is a fully masked Pokemon, and so the channeler in the chorus speaks and sings his lines while the actor in the costume just follows the narration in pantomime." Brock replied. "Not easy to see inside the head mask, and since the head mask we had on hand was meant for someone with a larger head, it felt very loose--was half afraid I would be unmasked mid-show."
"What's the difference between masks?" Janine interrupted as the group got in the line that snaked across the theater grounds.
"There's three main kinds of mask--the quarter mask, which only covers the eye area of your face..." Brock explained. "Then there's the half mask, which completely covers your face, and then the full mask, which completely covers your head." Janine nodded to show she understood.
"If you have any more questions, the narrator typically explains what's going on at the beginning." Misty assured Janine as the group approached the theater entrance.
[BGM: Impresario's Rag]
"Tickets, please." a boy in the familiar red and gold suit of an usher called. He smiled as the group flashed their tickets. "Guests of our lady Silvana...right this way, please." he smiled before leading the group inside the theater. Ash was careful not to lose the usher as he almost ran down the plush red carpet with elaborate golden swirls.
The group wound around several corners and passed many different lecture rooms, a ballroom, and some smaller theaters before finding themselves inside the main theater, which was beginning to fill with people.
"When we get to our seats, you give the usher the gold circle as proof that you've paid to get in." Dawn told Janine as the usher led them up a small stairwell to the balcony seats, where five seats with a "RESERVED" placard on them were waiting.
"And here we are, everyone." the usher smiled as he removed the placards. Once Ash was settled in his seat, he carefully removed the gold circle on his ticket and handed it to the usher. Janine hesitantly did likewise, then Dawn, Brock, and Misty. "There...enjoy the show." the usher smiled before running to assist another group.
"I've never seen a huge stage before..." Janine gasped at the large sloped stage before them.
"Well, you have to account for the actors, the chorus, the narrator, acrobats, extras for a crowd scene..." Ash explained. "So a lot of room is needed." He was about to say more when he heard a tic-tic, tic-tic-tic and the lights flashed twice, quieting the chatter.
"That means the show's about to start." Dawn whispered to Janine as the crowd settled in and quieted.
[BGM: Overture to 'Tabithi']
A flowing harp melody filled the air, and after a few tense seconds, the lights revealed the performer--a pale orange haired girl in a long green and blue tunic with gold ivy designs swirling around it, with some purple and gold boots to complete the look. But her harp was the most impressive--it was crescent moon shaped with the column resembling Moltres flying, and studded in many rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, with some feather decorations at the top.
"If only I had an instrument like that..." Brock gasped as the last chord of the overture faded away.
"Good evening and welcome, travelers--tonight, we wish to present to you the daring exploits and exciting adventures of the Blade Queen Tabithi, and how she saved her kingdom from a terrifying dragon with a sword blessed by Anima." the narrator began. "If you are from another land and visiting us tonight, I must first explain some conventions of the stages of Yoso. First of all, our plays are very musical in nature, and so I have a chorus here to help me, led by our house venutist, Melin." Applause went up as a spotlight appeared on a black haired girl in a purple robe clutching a long and slender flute made of a dark wood. She bowed for the audience, then the light returned to the narrator. "Sometimes our costumes for Pokemon, monsters, and spirits require the actor's head to be fully covered, so our channeler Tania will speak and sing for those actors that can't speak or sing themselves." Applause went up as a brown haired girl in a blue robe stood up and bowed. "And finally, any stagehands, prop masters, and puppeteers are all in black for a reason--they are but shadows, and unseen to you."
"Ah, no wonder I see people all in black by the chorus's section..." Janine mused as the narrator prepared to play again.
"Now, in a time long ago in Yoso, a great queen named Tabithi ruled the city of Mavi." the narrator began. "She was a kind and just ruler, and well loved by her people." With that, she played a regal melody as the curtains rose to reveal an elaborate set of a palace.
Ash smiled as he studied the beautiful set--maybe seeing the adventures of a great hero onstage would inspire them in the tournament!
To Be Continued...
7th December 2011, 4:08 PM
Apologies for the slow going, I'm having a bit of trouble plotting out the play the gang sees...