I Want To Be Your Canary

(If you're curious about the actual script of the play, feel free to read along here as the events unfold!)

The evening of January 15th has arrived! Tonight, the whole of Alexandrian territory is celebrating the birthday of Queen Garnet Til Alexandros XVII in spite of, or perhaps even because of, recent events that led to Alexandria once again laying in a state of disrepair. Still, the people of Alexandria are a pretty hardy folk, and repairs are well underway! In the meantime, it's been a bit of an annual tradition for the Tantalus Theater Troupe to perform I Want To Be Your Canary, the most famous of Lord Avon's works, on the Queen's birthday. It also just so happens that tonight is also the Lunar Concurrance - the one night the whole year that both moons are full at the same time. Though the sun never shines in Treno, the two moons hang brightly in the sky, lighting the whole city, especially the Treno Colosseum. The place is in a bit of chaos tonight, with nobles, commoners, and beggars all over the country flocking in to see the play - and one of the main draws tonight is that Eiko Fabool will be playing the role of the leading lady, Princess Cornelia!

Each of you has a few different ideas about getting in - Theta managed to secure two VIP tickets, but given how many people he wants to bring along to see the play - he ended up giving the tickets to Elizabeth and Adenine. Their tickets gave them a guaranteed access to a rather cushy box up with a great view of the place. The stage is set up along north wall of the area, a huge feature with a castle backdrop for the scene. One might notice large boxes set up on the walls of the arena as well, which Theta and Amaryllis might recognize as loudspeakers!

In the meantime, Theta leads the girls in through the back with subtle uses of invisibility magic and geomancy getting them past the tightest security. As they make their way to Liz and Adenine's box, though, it's only a matter of time before they're spotted, stopped and questioned by security personnel! Luna puts on a great show, though, really playing up the part of a crybaby emissary from Black Mage Village. The ticketer notices Theta's tail and how well most of you are dressed, and you can pretty much see his balls retract into his stomach as he imagines what'll happen to his job if he doesn't make an exception. He quickly apologizes, letting the issue drop and even escorts you to the VIP area. The girls laugh between themselves as the guards leave, and you easily rejoin Liz and Adenine. The view is great, if a bit small, maybe, but that's what the handily provided binoculars are for! You get some premium food service up here for free, too. Shit is cash.

Ammy on the other hand, creates a set of fake tickets, simply going through the front. Unlike SOME con artists (I'm looking at you, 'I want to be your Crow'), Ammy is a highly skilled expert at this sort of subterfuge. All it takes is for you to get a good look at the tickets a hawker is selling to duplicate them with little trouble. Noah seems nervous throughout, but the tickettaker tears your tickets and shows you through. You manage to get pretty good seats - not in the VIP section, but the concessions are cheap, the area not too crowded, and the actual seats are pretty comfortable! All in all a good spot.

Lenore and Blade, on the other hand, hatch a cunning plan to use Lenore's magic to transform into mice. No one even glances your way until you both come out of the women's bathroom together, which earns you a few stares, giggles, and eyerolls. You make your way through the crowds and get some middle-class seats. This area is fairly crowded, but who cares? No one approaches to search for your tickets, mostly because they take one look at Blade glaring at them and decide against it. Also, as a plus you're really close to the action!

You all end up in good places to check out the show. Baku strides on stage, dressed in truly kingly regalia, and lifts something to his lips. To the surprise of many people in the stadium, Baku's voice booms from each of the boxes hanging around the area as he gives the traditional introduction. ""Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight's performance is a story that takes place long, long ago. Our heroine, Princess Cornelia, is torn from her lover, Marcus. She attempts to flee the castle, only to be captured by her father, King Leo. When our story begins, Marcus, having heard of this, crosses swords with the king. And now, Your Royal Majesty, Queen Garnet… nobles and paupers of Treno, refugees and esteemed guests alike, Tantalus proudly presents 'I Want to Be Your Canary'!"

Clapping spreads through the audience and Baku steps off stage, and the play opens with a stormy scene of battle! A group of men step out of a dark alcove, swords bared! The characters are Zidane, Blank, and Cinna… huh, familiar names! They're played by their respective members of Tantalus - aside from Zidane, who is played by Bunce! Lamenting Marcus's ill fortune, they rush to the aid of their kinsman, who is facing off against King Leo (played by Baku!). Together, the four engage with the King and his minions in a bloody battle of revenge, blades clashing, steel meeting flesh, incredible spells rocking the stage, and the forces of the king being cut down. King Leo is heavily injured, and he limps off-stage. Zidane goes to pursue, but Blank blocks his path! An angry dialogue is exchanged between the two - with Marcus contending that the upcoming arranged marriage between Princess Cornelia and Prince Schneider would bring peace to all the lands! A cynical Zidane counters with one of the more memorable quotes of the play, "T'is foolishness! If all were so easy, why, none would suffer in this world!". Both men draw their blade and descend on each other. The agile youth playing the part of Zidane is more than quick and vigorous enough to keep up with the man a decade his elder and their blades clash in a flurry of lights and sound! The orchestra begins to kick up!

'Zidane' and Blank leap from the stage and onto the sides of the arena and begin swordfighting on the railing in front of the spectators! It's an incredible display of swordplay skill, acrobatics, parkour and coordination, weaving along the area and even into the crowd at points! They eventually end in a draw as they run out of the stadium together, and the scene moves on!

The next scene has Marcus and Cornelia meeting in secret. Eiko is the one playing the part of the princess, and her acting is excellent as she and Marcus meet on-stage. The two lovers speak to each other, Marcus expressing his concern that her status will tear them apart and that she'd be happier without him. Cornelia renounces this, however, saying that she wishes not to be a lowly puppet in a loveless marriage, and that she would gladly throw her status and fortunes to be with him. Happy, Marcus makes plans to steal away on the next boat out of the city, and leaves to chart it. Blank is shown to be eavesdropping however, and still set on ensuring peace for the kingdom, kidnaps Cornelia once Marcus is out of sight.

Blank then goes to see King Leo, who, still wounded, expresses concern over his now-missing daughter. When Blank assures the King that the princess is safe and she will wed Schneider, however, the king grows suspicious and wonders how Blank can be so sure. His motives questioned, Blank pleads that he has betrayed none but Marcus, but the king draws his swords and slays him on the spot, unwilling to trust such a snake. The angry monarch then orders his men out to scour the streets in search of Cornelia.

Marcus awaits his love at the docks, but she does not show. He is advised by Cinna that he could escape the kingdom and everything could be peaceful as Blank envisioned, but Marcus stubbornly stays, even as the boat leaves. He wonders briefly if Cornelia has betrayed him, but casts aside such thoughts, instead beseeching the bright moons above to grant him his only wish, to bring his sweet Cornelia to him once more. At this point, the king's men storm onto the scene and drag him to the king's palace and the dungeon. We cut to Cornelia, who has finally gotten free of the bindings Blank left her in, and escaping her place of capture, she hurries to the docks, and finds them empty. Her heart sinks, thinking Marcus has left without her, and she prays upon the moons to lead her to her love… Just then she overhears conversation about how a traitor the kingdom has been captured and will be executed in just hours! With a terrible feeling in her stomach, Cornelia departs for the castle.

King Leo stands ready to execute Marcus on the third chime of the morning, lecturing him all the while about his status, but his speech is interrupted by Cornelia rushing onto the scene. Marcus takes the opportunity to break free of the men holding him, and the lovers rush to each other and embrace. Zidane and Cinna, hidden and ready to rescue their kinsman, spring out as well and Zidane declares King Leo should bless their love instead of condemning it. Leo refuses, however, and another battle breaks out, the King standing behind his men. The king tries one more time to appeal to Cornelia, but to no avail, and Marcus, seething with rage, declares vengeance for his parents and for his love, and moves forward to strike. Cornelia, however, moves in front of him and takes the blow herself, apologizing with tears running down her face. She declares forgiveness from both the King and from Marcus, and dies in her love's embrace. Marcus, overcome with grief, takes his own life as the king kneels down to grieve.

The show draws to a close. Unlike Melodies of Life, this story was a true tragedy, with nothing bittersweet about the ending. King Leo solemnly prepares his armies for war against a now incensed Prince Schneider's forces, and they close as the King marches off with his men, pausing only to lay a flower on the grave of his daughter, who has been buried next to Marcus. And so shall they be, together for eternity - now free of their cage of flesh and sorrow.

The End…