@Chimchar98; @Protopost; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;
Week 186: The Talonflame's Spell
(real tale: Big Bird Dam)
The crowd roars as Brock arrives onstage, eager to hear how he will kick off the eighth season of tales. "There was once a king who had twelve daughters, and he was so fond of them they had to always be at his side; but every day at noon, while the king slept, the princesses went out to take a walk." he begins. "So once, while the king was taking his midday nap, and the princesses had gone to take their walk, they somehow disappeared. There was great grief and sorrow all over the land, but the most sorry of all was the king. He sent messengers out throughout his own and other realms, and gave out their names in all the shrines, and had the bells tolled for them in all the steeples; but the princesses were gone, and gone they stayed, and no one knew for sure what became of them. The most common theory was they were carried off by some evil spell."
Intrigued murmurs fill the air as Brock goes on "Well, it wasn't long before the somber news spread far and wide, over land and town, and over many lands; before it came to a king in another land, who had twelve sons. So when these princes heard of the twelve king's daughters, they asked their father to go out and seek them. They had to work to get his leave, for he was afraid he would never see them again, but they all fell down on their knees before the king, and begged so hard and so long, he eventually relented. He prepared a ship for them, and put Ritter the Red, a knight who was equally at home at sea, as its captain."
"Ooh"s fill the air at the mention of the cowardly knight's name--usually things never ended well for him when he had a role, usually because of his own greed and cruelty. "So they sailed a long, long time, landed on every shore they came to, and hunted and asked about the princesses, but they neither heard nor saw any sign of them." Brock explains. "Seven years passed by, until one day a strong storm blew up, and everyone had to work from sunup to sundown just to stay afloat. But eventually, the storm subsided. They were all so weary with work and the rough weather, they fell fast asleep in the blink of an eye; all but the youngest prince--who was named Brian. He could get no rest, and couldn't get to sleep at all."
He paces the stage as he continues "So as he was pacing the deck in insomnia, the ship came to a little island, and on the island ran a little Growlithe, and it barked at the ship as if it wanted to come on board. So Prince Brian went to that side of the deck, and tried to coax the Growlithe, and whistled and whistled to him, but the more he whistled and coaxed, the more the Growlithe barked and snarled. Well, he thought it a shame the Growlithe had to run and starve, so he concluded that it must have come there from a ship that had been lost in the storm; but still he thought he could not help it, for he couldn't put out the lifeboat by himself, and as for the others, they all slept so soundly, he wouldn't wake them for the sake of a Growlithe. But the weather was so calm and still; and he said to himself; 'Come what may, I must go on shore and save that Growlithe,"
He pushes against an imagined object as he continues "So he began to try to launch the lifeboat, and he found it far easier than he thought." He easily shoves the imagined lifeboat away to illustrate his point. "So he rowed ashore, and went up to the Growlithe; but every time he tried to catch it, it jumped on one side, and Prince Brian followed it till he found himself inside a great grand castle. Then the Growlithe transformed into a lovely princess; and there, on the bench, sat a man so big and ugly, he gave Prince Brian the willies."
"Please don't be afraid, for I know well enough what you want." he explains in a deep and gentle voice for the man. There are twelve of you, and you are looking for the twelve princesses that are lost. I know very well where they are; they're with my lord and master, and there they sit, each of them on her chair, and comb his hair; for he has twelve heads. You have sailed seven years, but you'll have to sail seven more years before you find them. As for you, you might stay here and welcome, and have my daughter Lila; but you must first slay him, for he's a hard master to all of us, and we're all weary of him, and when he's dead I will be king in his stead..."
He then shows the audience a prop sword in its scabbard. "But first see if you can brandish this sword."
Laughter goes up as Brock tries to draw the "heavy" sword "Prince Brian saw an old sword which hung on the wall, but he could hardly lift it. The man, who was actually a troll prince, gave Prince Brian a potion of strength. When he drank it, he could brandish the sword as easily as if it had been his own."
More laughter goes up as Brock draws the prop sword and performs a few fighting moves with it. "Now, when you get on board," he explains as troll prince, "you must hide the sword in your cabin, so Ritter the Red doesn't see it; he's not worthy enough to wield it, but he'll get jealous you, and try to take your life. When seven years are almost up," all this well happen again; bad weather will come on you, with a great storm, and when it is over you'll all be sleepy. Then you must take the sword and row ashore, and so you'll come to a castle where all sorts of guards will stand - Mightyenas, and Ursarings, and Ursa; but you need not be afraid of them, for they'll all come and bow at your feet. But when you come inside the castle, you'll soon see the troll; he sits in a splendid chamber in grand attire and array; twelve heads he has of his own, and the princesses sit round them, each on her chair, and comb his heads, and that's a work you can guess they don't like. Then you must hurry, and cut off one head after the other as fast as you can; for if he wakes up and spots you, he'll eat you alive."
As himself, he continues "So Prince Brian went on board with the sword, and he kept in mind what he had learned." After sheathing the prop sword, he continues "The others still were fast asleep, and he hid the sword in his cabin, so that neither Ritter the Red nor any of the rest saw it. Eventually favorable winds started to blow again, so he woke up the others, and they continued on their way."
Once he is back in his usual spot at center stage, Brock continues "Well, after the seven years were almost up, everything happened as the troll had said. A great storm blew up that lasted three days, and when it had subsided, all the rest grew sleepy and went to rest; but Prince Brian rowed ashore, and the guards fell at his feet, and so he came to the castle. When he got inside the chamber, there sat the king fast asleep as the troll prince had said, and the twelve princesses sat each on her chair and combed one of his heads. Prince Brian beckoned to the princesses to get out of the way; they pointed to the troll, and pleaded with him to flee, but he kept on signaling to them to get out of the way, and then they understood that he wanted to set them free, and hurried away softly one after the other, and as fast as they went, he cut off the troll king's heads, till the blood gushed out like a great red river."
Some cheers go up as Brock draws the sword and performs a few more fighting moves, as if dueling a pantomime opponent. Once sure his imagined opponent is defeated, he goes on "When the troll was dead, he rowed on board and hid his sword." He sheathes the prop sword again, then goes on "He thought he had done enough, and as he couldn't get rid of the body by himself, he thought it only fair they should help him a little. So he woke them all up, and said it was a shame they should be snoring there, when he had found the princesses, and set them free from the troll. The others only laughed at him, and said he had been just as sound asleep as they, and only dreamed that he had done what he said he did; for if anyone was to set the princesses free, it was far more likely it would be one of them. But Prince Brian told them everything, and when they followed him to shore and saw the river of blood, and the castle, and the troll, and the twelve heads, and the princesses, they saw plain enough that he had spoken the truth, and helped him to throw the body and the heads into the sea. So all were glad and happy, but none more so than the princesses, who got rid of having to sit there and comb the troll's hair all day. Of all the silver and gold and precious things that were there, they took as much as the ship could hold, and so they went on board altogether princes and princesses alike."
But when they had gone a bit out on the sea, the princesses said they had forgotten in their joy their gold crowns, they lay behind in a press, and they would be so glad to have them. So when none of the others was willing to fetch them, Prince Brian said..."
In a mimic of Ash, he explains "I have already dared so much, I can very well go back for the gold crowns too, if you will only weigh anchor and wait till I come again."
As himself, he goes on "But when he had gone back so far that they couldn't see him any more, Ritter the Red, who would have been glad enough to have been their leader, and to have the youngest princess Lila, said..."
In an older version of himself for Ritter the Red, he groans "It's no use to be lying here still waiting for him, for all we know he my never come back."
"They all knew, too, how the king had given him all power and authority to sail or not as he saw fit; and so he had the other princes all say it was he that had saved the princesses, and if anyone said anything different, he would die." Brock explains as himself. "The princes didn't dare do anything else than what Ritter the Red told them to do, and so they sailed away."
Gasps go up at the turn of events. "Meanwhile, Prince Brian rowed to land, went up to the castle, found the press with the gold crowns in it, and at last lugged it down to the boat, and shoved off; but when he came where he ought to have seen the ship, it was gone." Brock explains. "Well, as he couldn't see it anywhere, he easily figured out what had happened. Rowing after them was no good, and so he was forced to turn around and row back to land. He was afraid to stay alone in the castle all night, but there was no other house to be had, so he mustered his courage, locked all the doors and gates, and lay down in a room where there was a bed already made. But fearful he was, and got still more afraid when something began to creak and groan and quake in the wall and the roof, as if the whole castle were being torn asunder. Then something plunged down close by the side of his bed, as if it were a whole cartload of hay. Then all was still again; but after a while he heard a voice, which bade him not to be afraid, and said..."
"Here am I, brave Yukan, come to help you all I can." he proclaims in a mimic of Morgan "But the first thing you must do when you wake in the morning, will be to go to the barn and fetch four barrels of rye for me. I will have them for breakfast."
As himself, he goes on "When he woke up, he saw a huge and majestic Talonflame. So Prince Brian went down to the barn to fetch four barrels of rye for Yukan, and when she had eaten she told Prince Brian to hang the press with the gold crowns on one side of his neck, and as much gold and silver as would weigh it down on the other side, then get on his back and hold on tight. So away they went till the wind whistled after them, and so it wasn't long before they passed the ship. Prince Brian wanted to go on board for his sword, for he was afraid someone would see it. But Yukan assured him...""
As Yukan, he warns "Ritter the Red will never see it, but if you go on board, he'll try to kill you, for he has set his heart on having Princess Lila; but don't worry about her, for she keeps a sword by her side in bed every night."
He continues as himself "So after a long, long time, they came to the island where the troll prince lived; and Prince Brian was welcomed so heartily, the festivities seemed to last forever. The troll prince couldn't thank him enough for slaying his Bigwig and Master, and so made him king of the trolls, and if Prince Brian had been willing he might easily have got the troll king's daughter, and half the kingdom. But he had set his heart on Princess Lila, and was even willing to go after their ship. The troll king told him to be patient--they still had nearly seven years to sail before they got home. As for Princess Lila the troll king repeated what Yukan said...."
"You need not worry about her, for she keeps a sword by her side in bed." he assures the audience in a gentle deep voice. "If you don't believe me, you can go on board and see for yourself."
As himself, he narrates "So when they sailed by another great storm blew up, and when Prince Brian went on board they all slept, and each princess lay beside her prince; but Princess Lila lay alone with a sword beside her in the bed, and on the floor by the bedside lay Ritter the Red. Prince Brian took the sword and rowed ashore again, and none of them were the wiser. But Prince Brian couldn't rest, so when the end of the seven years drew near, and only three weeks remained, the troll king said...
As the troll king, he instructs "Now you may get ready, since you can't stay with us; and you may borrow my iron boat, which sails on its own if you only sing..."
He then sings in character Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...
Cheers go up at the familiar spellsong, never mind Brock's shaky bass range. "In that boat there is an iron sword, and that sword you must lift a little when you see the ship straight ahead of you, and then they'll get such a gust, they'll forget to look at you." he continues in character. "But when you get alongside them, you must lift the club a little again, and then they'll get such a storm they'll have something else to do than to stare at you; and when you have passed them you must lift the sword a third time, but you must always be sure and lay it down carefully again, or else there'll be such a storm, both you and them will be wrecked and lost. Now when you have landed, you have no need to worry at all about the boat; just turn it around, and cast off, and sing again..."
He sings as the troll king again Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., even though the audience can clearly hear him struggling to hit the deep, low notes despite being in character.
Some mild applause goes up for Brock's valiant attempt to sing bass. "When he set out they gave him so much gold and silver, and so many other costly things, and clothes and linen which the troll princess had sewn and woven for him all that time, that he was far richer than any of his brothers." he explains as himself, almost relieved to be speaking in his normal voice.
He grins--his next performance is in a range he knows he can hit! "Well, he had no sooner seated himself in the boat and sang..."
He then sings as Ash Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...
"...than away went the boat, and when he saw the ship, he lifted up the sword, and they got such a gust, they forgot to look at him. When he was alongside the ship, he lifted the sword again, and then such a storm blew up, that the white foam flew about the ship, and the billows rolled over the deck, and they had something else to do besides stare at him; and when he had passed them he lifted the sword a third time, and then the storm and the wind worsened, they had still less time to look at him, and make him out." he explains as himself. "So he reached land long before the ship; and when he had gotten all his treasure out of the boat, he cast it off again, turned it around and sang..."
He sings as Ash Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...
"And off went the boat." he adds as himself. "Then he disguised himself as a sailor-whether the troll king had told him to do that, or it was his own idea, I don't know-and went up to the castle and stood before the king, who asked him if it were true that he had seen anything of the princesses.
"Aye, et," he replies in a very convincing sailor's brogue. "I've seen them sure enough, but I don't know whether they're still alive, for when I last caught sight of them, the weather was so foul we in our ship were cast away; but if they're still alive they'll come safe home in a fortnight or perhaps before."
As himself, he continues "When the king heard that, he was almost beside himself with joy; and when the time came that the sailor had said they would come, the king went down to the shore to meet them; and there was joy and gladness over the whole kingdom when the ship came sailing in with the princes and princesses and Ritter the Red. But no one was gladder than the old king, who had got his daughters back again. The eleven eldest princesses too, were elated to see their father again, but Princess Lila, who was to have Ritter the Red, who said that he had set them all free and slain the troll, she cried and was always sad. The king noticed this, and asked why she wasn't happy like the others; she hadn't anything to be sorry for now that she was free, and home, and was to have such a husband as Ritter the Red. But she didn't dare say anything, for Ritter the Red had said he would kill anyone who told the truth about what really happened."
"Boo"s fill the air for Ritter the Red as the audience awaits how he will receive his just desserts. "But one day, when they were hard at work sewing and stitching the bridal array, in came a man in sailor's garb with a peddler's pack on his back, and asked if the princesses would buy something fine for the wedding." Brock continues. "He had so many wares and costly things, both gold and silver. They looked at his wares, and they looked at him, for they thought they had seen both him and many of his costly items before."
"He who has so many fine things," he notes in a mimic of May for Princess Lila, "must surely have something still more precious, and which suits us better even than these."
"Maybe I have," he grins as Ash.
"Oh"s fill the air as the audience figures out who the peddler really is. "But all the others shushed her," and reminded her about what Ritter the Red had said he would do." Brock warns as himself. "Some time later, the princesses sat and looked out the window, and Prince Brian came again with the great cloak around him, and the press with the gold crowns at his back. When he got into the palace hall he unlocked the press before the princesses, and when each of them knew her own gold crown again, Princess Lila said..."
"I think it only right that he who set us free should get what is his due; and he is not Ritter the Red, but this man who has brought us our gold crowns. It is him that set us free." he announces as Princess Lila.
Cheers go up as Brock concludes as himself "Then Prince Brian threw off the sailor's cloak, and stood there far finer and grander than all the rest; and so the old king had Ritter the Red put to death. The joy in the palace grew even more; each took his own bride, and there was a wedding so grand, it was heard of and talked about over twelve kingdoms, at least."
The crowd roars as Brock takes a bow....