Our performers were born worlds apart, but all within a single chime of measured time. This is not to imply they aren’t all living in close proximity. For in fact, all reside in or near the port city of Hartwich, Entia, in the greater northwestern lands of Anglandia. Two even share the same dockside neighborhood. But proximity does not always denote shared closeness.
Enter, stage left, our first would-be hero. A boy of a tender six years who looks near on eight, wildly running the streets with three friends and answering to the name Quail. Though not the oldest, Quail is certainly the biggest of his group; a quality he comes by naturally. His father, John the Blacksmith, standing six foot, seven inches tall, has a booming voice and jovial personality to match. There’s no doubt the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree in this one. And if there were any questions to his parentage, one need only look at the black, curly hair (father’s) and gray eyes (mother’s) to know Quail is the by-product of John and Martha’s love.
If Quail has a middle name, which he doesn’t, it would have to be “inquisitive.” Quail is curious by nature. As such, he’s explored most of the neighborhood and knows a great many back ways in and out of the dockside streets where his father’s smithy is located. This has also led Quail to come in contact with one or more of the less savory characters of the streets, including the street-tough Smitty. Fortunately, Quail managed to get the upper hand in their most recent meeting. For there is nothing like a well placed kick to the groin and two swift punches to your opponent’s nose to give one a good head start in running away. What consequences may come from this encounter, only the Host knows.
Recently Quail encountered our next member of the troupe, Sarah.
Sarah is the daughter of a local fisherman, Maco, and his shop-keeper wife, Lidia. As captain of his own fishing boat, Sarah’s father is often gone for days and weeks at a time. Meanwhile, her mother runs a rather successful dockside shop catering to several shipping needs. This includes the making and repair of fishing nets, ropes, and sails. Sarah’s mother also does a fair trade in making candles of mundane to exceptional quality. At age six, Sarah is already quite adept at performing most of the shop’s necessary tasks. This is largely due to her excellent memory and dexterous hands that already rival even the most experienced weavers.
If this weren’t enough, Sarah has several other amazing qualities. Not the least of which is the ability to make music. Her melodic talents were evident even before she could fully walk and talk, skills that also manifested earlier than most. Seeking to foster Sarah’s musical gifts, for her fifth birthday she received a small 16-bar xylophone from her parents. To this, Sarah quickly added a full compliment of mom’s pots and pans to produce a greater musical range for her compositions. Thus began a constant percussive symphony that has entertained many a passer by. Not the least of which was our blacksmith’s son who was recently snared from the streets and enticed to enter the shop. Now Quail’s father has been commissioned to build a larger xylophone, an instrument that will consist of 48 bars and roll on wheels.
Aside from her innate musical talent, Sarah has advanced language abilities. She already exhibits the ability to read and write at a level far above her peers, and is only limited by her current exposure. Unfortunately, her superior language acquisition has also allowed her to pick up several dockside speech patterns, including some of the more salty talk of sailors. Though humorous to her father, Lidia does not share the same enthusiasm for what she reefers to as “Sarah’s Curse.” The most adverse side effect of Sarah’s rapid advancements is that it makes it difficult for her to enjoy the company of other’s her own age. Most are put off by Sarah’s superior ways. And she in turn, by their lesser intellect.
Though Maco and Lidia have more than accepted the uniqueness of Sarah’s gifts, not everyone has been as open minded to her talents. Several of the more superstitious types have taken to giving Sarah and the shop a wide birth. Whispers of the supernatural have also started to make the rounds of the rumor mill. The one real concern Sarah’s parents have is the incident where their daughter unknowingly wove a foreign pattern into a net. The work was quite delicate and consisted of near impossible connections, mimicking a large spider web, but the end result was unsettling to the young girl and her family. So far this event has been kept in strict confidence, with Sarah being kept away from any more net work. However, this is soon to change as mother and daughter have come to consider options involving silk and profit. Little do they realize this decision will introduce them to our next player.
Our third troupe member is the son of a local prostitute. Though to meet Vaush one would never guess at his less than prestigious pedigree. He is a well-behaved, polite young man, with fine features that echo years of tailored breeding. The truth of the matter is that both Vaush’s blood parents could confer a much greater social standing than that of bastard son to a house of ill repute. But, to claim such would only result in immense sorrow and needless bloodshed. So, for now, it shall remain our secret.
It should be noted that Vaush’s mother, Veronica, isn’t just any common whore. She is one of the many exceptional ladies that reside and work at the Pleasure Palace of Eve. The Pleasure Palace, or what some simply refer to as “Eve’s,” is located on vast tracks of land outside Hartwich. The house itself is a true mansion surrounded by palatial gardens and several smaller buildings that would be considered extraordinary in their own right. The clientele of Eve’s is just as discriminating as one would think; with never an ill mannered or sullied customer allowed passage through its doors. It is here that Veronica has been in residence these past six years and has become a star attraction not just for her unspoiled beauty, but for her unbridled charisma and superior singing voice.
Like our other players Vaush is only six years of age, but his nanny is convinced he is possessed of a much older soul. Vaush’s interests are certainly beyond the rest of the house’s brood. Lately he has taken it upon himself to playing “hide-and-seek” with Robert, the house enforcer. Though usually uninterested by the comings and goings of the children, Robert has decided to indulge Vaush’s attempts. Robert has even gone as far as to give his implicit acceptance in having Vaush follow him around the house.
If there is one hint as to Robert and Vaush’s future partnership, it would have to be what some have secretly come to call “The Night of Fire and Blood.” The title refers to an unpleasant evening when a disgruntled patron went too far with one of the ladies. The altercation eventually led to a face off between Robert and the patron with his hostage at knifepoint right outside Vaush’s bedroom door. Wishing to help, Vaush was able to surreptitiously place a lit candle to the man’s britches. The resulting flames distracted him to the point of death, which Robert wielded in the form of two flashing knives and swift snake like strikes. The man was dead five times over before he hit the floor. At the time, Robert’s only comment to Vaush was a soft, “Go back to bed.” By morning the mess was cleaned and all evidence of trouble removed.
Theirs should truly be a story to watch.