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A little while later, the crowd has already reached a remarkable size. Men and women all gather in front of the stage and there is much expectant murmuring and chatting. The three performers have withdrawn into the wagon for their final preparations.


You are willing to assist, but it appears that you have already slept through most of the work to be done, so you sit down on the small steps at the wagon’s door and wait. After a while, the first few potential spectators approach from the road.


Her long dark hair is put up with many ornamental jade needles and pins in a shape that recalls the majestic birds you saw a while ago, one of which you shudder to remember. Her dress is of many warm colours, long and flowing and her feet are bare.


While Myszshu is tuning the instruments, Shasha is sitting on a small stool, cleaning the costumes with a brush. You can hear her quietly mumbling some curses under her breath. She is already dressed in what looks like a dancer’s costume.


The wagon has been halted on a clearing in the forest. A small stage attached to it is already nearly fully set up. Yenot is currently mounting the screens to a device at the back of it that lets him switch them quickly through a winding mechanism.


Eventually, your eyes adjust, and you see Yenot carrying a large painted screen from the inside of the wagon to the outside. After you have sluggishly gotten up and properly stretched your limbs, you step out through the door onto a soft green lawn.


In the morning, you are awakened by loud noises coming from outside. The wagon is standing still. A large, bright ray of sunlight entering through the door forces you to shield your eyes with your hands as you try to open them.


You see a silhouette from a great distance. Below, the ground is soft; above, an all-devouring black. In the air, fine sparks of coloured light, specks in your vision, sizzle before you like electrical current. There is no sound, your ears feel clogged.


From the front of the wagon, Yenot answers: his two companions were unable to sleep and have joined him outside; you needn’t worry and should go back to sleep as there are still a few hours until sunrise. Reluctantly, you do as he says.


You are roused from your sleep! A noise within the wagon. It did not belong to the rattling of the vehicle. You look around but no one is there, including your hosts. You call for them several times...


Satisfied to finally have had something at least resembling a regular conversation with human beings, you sink down on the rough blanket and wish your hosts a good night’s rest. As you lay down your head, you notice fine, red animal hair all over it.


While you were chatting, Shasha had offered you a very fragrant alcoholic drink that is white of colour and has a hint of something resembling pear to its taste. It quickly takes effect, and you begin to feel both giddy, as well as very sleepy, again.


Suddenly, you remember your recent acquaintance residing in your pouch and exhibit it to them. They are curious at the sight of the little slug-creature but offer neither further commentary nor ask any questions. Which you find suspicious, as well.


However, they claim to have no great interest in the land’s comings and goings, as long as they are able to continue to travel and perform their acts. You keep discussing them, their profession, and other matters that will not be recorded here.


To what end the nobility follows this custom is not known, but it is both by order and tradition. Said order comes from this land’s ruling house, which has been managing the kingdom’s affairs for the past few centuries without interruption.


You inquire further: apparently, it is custom for this land’s lords and ladies to be extremely reclusive and secretive and to reveal their faces to no one but their closest attendants. Being travelling performers, they do not know who the local ruler is


Not wanting to appear too brash, you move on. The mysterious rider is as unknown and strange to them as he was to you, but the litter and its entourage must belong to a member of the land’s nobility, they say. Who was it inside of it?


What sort of experiments these were is not known, since even after his death, no one had dared to go near the tower out of fear of the evil magic possibly still lying on it. You get the sense that the whole truth is being deliberately concealed from you.


It seems, they know quite a bit and finally some of your questions are being answered: the tower was the home of an old alchemist. Not much is known about him, but people say that he had met his end a long time ago while performing one of his experiments.


The woman is called Shasha, the man Myszshu and the coachman Yenot. You introduce yourself and tell them your story: immediately, at the mention of the strange tower, there is a visible look of surprise in their eyes.


Going to sleep right away would be discourteous. While they rest cross-legged at the opposite end of the wagon, observing you with an almost childlike timidity, you think about how to open the conversation. You start by asking them their names.


Taking a break because I need to come up with character names.


The young woman takes a thick blanket from one of the shelves and, folding it once, spreads it out in an empty corner of the wagon. She tells you that they do not have beds and that she hopes it will be sufficiently comfortable for you like this.


As you enter the wagon, you learn that this little group is apparently a troupe of travelling performers. Big painted screens lean against the wall to your left. Various theatre props, musical instruments, and costumes lie on shelves and the floor.


About Spiders For Saleone of us since 9:23 PM on 02.28.2016

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