Cabaret - Stage
Assuming that everyone eventually filters into the place and takes their seats, The Lady walks in front of everyone, standing tall, elegant and graceful in her form fitting black dress and her signature White Half-mask. She smiles at the crowd as the lights dim except for the spotlight that stays upon her form. She opens her hands and waves for people to quiet down before speaking.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to thank all of you for showing up tonight and wish you the best of evenings. Before the show Tualth and the Three Noble Trials begins, I'd like to say a few words."
She starts, her words loud and crystal clear. A few in the audience may recognize the voice's owner however.
"I called together this event for more than one purpose. Primarily, I, like the rest of you I hope, wish to better our fellow people. You have all seen the state of the infamous Red Zone, and I have decided that it is the purpose of my organization as well as myself to change at least a section of it into a small safe haven for those looking for a new path of fate to follow. Every bit of money risen through the Auction tonight will go towards expanding the areas we've already rebuilt."
As she says that, her lips form a gentle smile. "I would be lying to all of you here if I said personal pride wasn't also involved."
Reaching up, she pulls off her mask, revealing an absolutely gorgeous face behind it. She flicks her head, letting her short raven hair resettle itself. "My name is Jezebel Tel'vree, and a few of you here will know me from my failed business venture Outside with the Serpent Gaze hotel. I apologize for the misunderstandings that occurred there and my part in the matter. As you can hopefully see, it has caused me to change my view of things."
She explains humbly. She pauses while looking into the darkened audience and guesses that about half will probably feel shock, and certain Watch members might just up and leave. However they feel, she hopes they'll at least hear her through.
"For those of you who don't know me, I believe I owe it to you to tell you a bit about who I am and how I came to be here."
She offers with a small gesture of her hand. "Like many of you here, but unlike most beyond these walls, I came from a privileged upbringing. I was considered Lesser Nobility in the Hive, a vertical Mega-City, I was born to. To teach me my role in society, I had been sent to the Underhive at a young age to learn what it was like to be underprivileged. It was a place much like Red Zone, except worse. Chemical showers, radioactive waste littering the streets, merciless gangs of Higher Nobles deciding to hunt those that weren't as blessed as them..."
Jezebel visibly shudders at the memories before looking back at the audience, preaching to them softly. "The lesson hit me hard and I took it to heart. There were millions of good decent people out there, mutant as well as human, simply trying to survive against all the odds. I spent years there, watching these people slowly wither away just to see more replace them. The cycle was endless."
Jezebel says sadly. "I want you to take a moment and imagine such an existence. If you've experienced it, then remember. Wearing the same clothes for weeks or months on end, being raised without the knowledge of what a bath or shower might be, and knowing that the next glass of "water" you drank might cause you to grow extra limbs or your skin to slough off, yet unable to bring yourself to care in your downtrodden state. That was what daily life was like down there."
"Finally, I decided to do something about it. By that point, I had joined a gang of misfits as well, and over time, we began to solidify our area much like we're doing now in Red Zone. We brought together all the unfortunates we could. Joygirls, drug addicts, fleeing crooks and mutants. We took them in, reformed them, and gave them a Purpose. But more than that, we gave them a life. A life they never had, and in many cases, could barely even dream of."
She explains, pacing slowly back and forth across the stage as she speaks. "We built a real society in that Hell-Hole, and every painful step of that process had been worth it."
She tells them with a near grin.
After a moment though, the grin fades into a sigh. "I could have returned to the Upper Hive any time. Return to that Ivory Tower that lived in ignorance of the common people and spend my life in bliss and politics, but that wasn't my home any more. And as much of a home it was, it didn't last."
She adds sadly, looking down at her mask as she speaks, somewhat quieter now. "You see, my colleagues and I didn't worship the deity that "proper" people should, and foolish zealots chased us away. Ultimately, we ended up here to start anew."
Jezebel looks over the crowd before looking down at the mask in her hands. With a flex of her wrists, she snaps the porcelain piece in two. "A Mask has many uses. Most of which are to hide things. To hide who we are, to hide our weaknesses and to hide our flaws are the most thought of and the most common."
The conductor of the Orchestra reaches up, and Jezebel kneels delicately to pass the pieces to him. "Thank you."
She whispers before getting back up. "But, masks give us something else as well. Protection. They allow us to distant ourselves from the harsh realities of the worlds we live in. We all have them even if not in the literal sense. All of us here have a Mask of Status. Our lives are separated from the lives of those that are less fortunate. So, tonight, I want you to myself, and everyone who's counting on us, a favor."
She says strongly.
"I want you to remove your Masks as I have removed my own. Close your eyes for just a moment and relax. Try to find what you have in common with everyone as a whole. Try to find the purpose of what you're doing here tonight and embrace it. Know that tonight, even if you choose not to do it any other time, you are doing something good for the sake of others instead of yourself. Right now. That is what we're doing at this very moment, and because of it, this moment is a glorious one."
She tells them with a smile.
"I welcome you all to come to the grounds we have been putting together in three weeks time, in order to show you what progress has been made and to make you feel pride in the achievements that are sure to happen tonight."
The cult leader tells the crowd with a near-grin. "That said, I am afraid I have kept you waiting all too long for your show. Tualth isn't going to be like many stage shows as there won't be any dialogue. Instead, all "vocal" work will be done by the talented musicians before us and their Composer, John Williams. Acting will be done by locals within and without my organization who have volunteered to perform tonight. Without further adieu, I present Tualth and the Three Noble Trials."
Giving a deep bow, Jezebel takes her leave as the lights on stage brighten and the curtain draws.
Tualth and the Three Noble Trials
The music starts slow, composed of mostly strings and light brass as the first act opens. It reveals an elaborate scene of a Harem with women sleeping on cushions and the Sheik sitting on a marble throne. In front of him a young woman argues with him. Presumably his daughter, she has the voice of a flute in contrast with her father's oboe. She's quite tom-boyish in appearance, even under the lavish clothing. The fighting seems to go on for a couple minutes before the father stands up and gives a sharp gesture, telling her to stop and leave.
Nearly in tears, she leaves to head to her bedroom, set above the other scene on another platform. Laying back on her bed, she gives a light sigh. The music turns more gentle, almost a swaying lullaby, and the platform below her darkens as a spotlight shines above Tualth, hitting a cloudy area well above her and revealing a handsome young man in aristocratic clothing. She turns to her side, looking out at the audience as she thinks of him.
The music dies off before suddenly flares up as she sits up at the same time and the spotlight on the man shuts off. A plan has come to her mind and she quickly races off behind a screen before stepping out. She's changed into traveling clothes and could easily be mistaken for a young, if effeminate, man. She's dressed in leather boots, trousers, a leather vest, long sleeve shirt and has her long hair tied back. Grabbing a pack, she races down the stairway, back down to the Harem Chamber where a party seems to be going on. Many people, both men and women seem to be drinking and dancing in revelry, but Tualth is in the back, sneaking from pillar to pillar as she makes her escape.
The curtains close for a mere moment before pulling back up, showing a drastically different scene. Those who can sense it will tell that magic was being used to switch out the sets so quickly.
This time, the scene is that of the inside of a European style castle's Grand Hall. Tualth enters the hall from the left side, looking a bit weary from a great travel, but after dusting herself off, walks up towards the Lords of the keep. There were four of them: Grand-Father, Father, Brother, and Son. Son looked just like the man Tualth had been dreaming of, and when Tualth speaks, he is just as shocked as the other three. By the expressions and words they seem to be saying, they believe that Tualth is a man asking for the hand of Son in marriage. Father and Brother stand and yell back, voices of low brass even as Tualth argues back, but after a moment, Grand-Father stands and raises a hand slowly to cut off the yelling.
He appears thoughtful before nodding and raising three fingers. He begins to speak, and one by one, images appear above the stage of the three tasks that will need to be done for the approval of the union to be granted. The first is a golden feather that hangs above a cliff face, the second is a thick tome, and the last remains a blackened cloud of mystery.
The Son looks at him in shock, about to refuse, but a sharp gesture from Grand-Father cuts him off. Grand-Father looks at Tualth with narrow eyes before offering his hand, and the pair shake before the latter leaves. The scene ends with the others arguing amongst themselves.
When the curtain opens again, the stage is split in half vertically. A desert cliff face sits on the left of a dungeon. There's a Tualth in each scene and they continue at the same time. The one at the cliff begins at the bottom and slowly begins to ascend, seemingly to take forever. She isn't wearing a harness to protect her if she falls, but surely there's a method of keeping her safe if she does. The climb is slow and hazardous, with her nearly slipping and falling as rock crumbles beneath her hand, but eventually, Tualth reaches the top to reach a bird's nest filled with gold and other treasures. She appears hesitant to leave any of it, almost reaching out to take some, but she keeps her hand back and simply searches until she finds what she's looking for. The Golden Feather. When she picks it up and holds it in the air, her side of the stage goes dark as the dungeon half brightens.
The protagonist starts at the top and begins racing down the series of passages, twisting and turning and climbing up and down various pieces of a cavern. As she does so, she leaps back, ducks, and swings a blade to avoid or protect herself from various traps. Fireballs, pitfalls, arrows and blades are included. The scene takes even longer than the climb, and at the bottom corner, a pedestal with a thick tome awaits. She approaches it cautiously and after looking around for traps, she takes it. As soon as she does, the stage shakes and percussion instruments sound off loudly, likely startling the audience. A blue light washes over the area Tualth is in, slowly rising as she starts to panic and move out. The "water" rises constantly, following her as she makes the hazardous climb back out of the dungeon. At some parts, she even swims through the air when the blue light gets too deep. In the end though, she finally gets out, struggling and gasping for air with the book in her hands as the curtain closes.
When it rises, she's back at the Castle, ragged and still disguised. She walks up to Grand-Father and kneels before she hands over golden feather and the magic tome. He takes them with a nod before speaking once more. Above them, the image of a man in leather armor and the mask of an eagle appears with a blood-stained sword in his hand. Grand-Father speaks slowly before making a cutting motion across his neck, ordering the bandit's execution.
Even with his precarious situation, Son pales and loosk shocked before standing at Tualth's side, trying to say that it wasn't necessary and that he understood the implications if it was stopped, but his Grand-Father raises a hand to silence him. With a gulp, Tualth gives a nod and an appreciative smile to Son, but takes her leave.
When the audience next sees her, they'll find her walking through a forest, sword in hand and wearing a suit of leather armor. She's dropped most of her disguise, having let her hair down and wearing what's more comfortable. After a moment of wandering, there's a shrill whistle of a piccolo as the Bandit steps on stage, full of swagger, pride, and with a bloody sword in his hand. Tualth takes a step back in surprise and her flute sounds off a little shakily as she speaks. Her confidence slowly grows as she delivers her message and draws her own blade. For some reason, Bandit seems somewhat surprised, taking a step back before raising his own blade.
The two blades clash with the sound of cymbals, and the fight begins in earnest. Tualth is obviously not very experienced and Bandit seems to just be playing with her. She gradually begins to grow more and more frustrated, nearly screaming in anger as she swings until one hit finally gets through, causing Bandit to leap back. His feet land unsteadily and he can't help but fall backwards, losing his sword. Tualth grins and steps onto his chest before flicking her blade up to knock away the mask.
She looks absolutely shocked at seeing Son's face and can't help but take several steps back in horror at the fight they just had. Son begins to speak, a scene showing above them on a different platform. It shows the interior of of a tavern with the scene concentrated on a table in a dark corner. In it, Brother it talking to a shady group of cloaked figures that include Son-dressed-as-Bandit. Above them, the images of Father, Son, and Grand-Father are shown right before Brother draws a finger across his neck and shows a large pouch of gold that is offered as a reward to whomever succeeds.
That scene fades and goes back to the forest where Son tells Tualth that he's been trying to protect
Father and Grand-Father from the other assassins and Brother, and that Brother has told them that Bandit had been roaming the countryside and murdering innocents in order to keep the deal secret.
Tualth takes a minute to compose herself and take all this in before admitting her own story with a small blush, causing Son to be the one shocked this time. After a couple seconds, he reaches up and she takes his hand, pulling him up into a kiss. It lasts for only a small moment, but it's long enough for the pair of them and Son breaks it off, looking rushed. Before there's any time to lose, they race off stage and the curtain closes.
When it raises once more, they're back at the Castle, several guards around them since Son is dressed as Bandit except for the mask. Grand-Father, Father, and Brother all stand, the first two in anger and the third in fear as Grand-Father demands to know what was going on. Son points an accusing finger at Brother as he tells his tale. Panic shows on Brother's face when everyone turns to him before showing anger and desperation. He tries to draw his own blade, but the guards seize him and take him away as he shouts futilely to be let go.
Once he's gone, everyone turns to Tualtha. She shrinks a bit before hesitantly going into her own story. At the end, Father and Grand-Father smile before the former nods. With a gesture, he tells her that all there is hers now and that she's passed her third Trial. With a grin, she pulls Son close and kisses him once more, dipping him slightly as the stage curtain closes for a final time.
The lights in the room begin to brighten and all the cast and crew filter out on stage to give a final bow. All 40 of them.