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Conversations in Paxlair – by the NBTT - Echoes from the Caverns

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The New Britannia Theater Troupe Presents

Conversations in Paxlair

Written by Womby

Produced and directed by Asclepius

Music supervisor and director of Public Relations Amber Raine

Stage Manager and Technical Director Sir Stile Teckel

Voice Cast

Doctor Shroud as Harry
Lord Baldrith as Fred
Lady Adnor as Citizen 1
Asclepius as Citizen 2
Cordelayne Valkaris as Guard
Sophi as Christine
Jynx as Oracle Agent
Amber Raine as Sarah

And Asclepius as the narrator

Narrator
Every day, the market square in Paxlair is a bustling center of activity. Stallholders stand ready to sell their wares, trying to catch the attention of passersby. However, what seems to be a typical day at the market, with innocent and hard-working merchants, can be something quite different beneath the surface. Let us listen in for a moment to the adventures of three such merchants. Fred and Harry are at their stalls, chatting to each other in between selling priceless treasures to customers. Sarah, at an adjoining stall, is quietly going about her business.

Harry
Fresh fish, get yer fresh fish here. Caught this morning in Spindrift Bay. Look into their eyes and see how fresh they are!

Narrator
A well-dressed lady approaches Harry’s stall and catches his eye.

Harry
You Madam, one glance at your impressive attire tells me that you have exquisite taste. It is so refreshing to encounter a person of such refinement. Only one such as yourself could possibly have a palate sufficiently refined to appreciate the delicate flavours of my exclusive produce. Take these extremely rare Wobbegong fillets, for example. Caught fresh this morning.

Citizen 1
I’m not familiar with the Wobbegong. What breed of fish is that?

Harry
I’m not surprised that you have not heard of it madam, for it is an extremely rare delicacy, and dangerous to capture. This very catch took the lives of two fishermen. Naturally when I heard of this I immediately bought the catch and notified a certain gentleman who lives on a hill not far from here. Professional discretion of course prevents me from revealing his name, but he has a standing order for any items of exceptional rarity and taste that I secure. He will be serving Wobbegong as the main course at his banquet this evening. Fortunately for you I kept four fillets with the intention of surprising my wife. Sadly she was unexpectedly called away to tend to her sick mother. I am therefore prepared to part with them for a mere 500 gold apiece. That is considerably less than I received from a certain gentleman whose name I cannot mention, but you impress me, and I am prepared to let them go at cost.

Citizen 1
Well, I do feel like I deserve something a little special. All right, I’ll take your remaining fillets.

Narrator
As his customer departs, Harry turns to Fred

Fred
Where was I? Oh yes. So anyhow, there I was hiding in the wardrobe hurriedly putting on my pants when Dagnar comes racing up the stairs and bursts into the room, accusing his wife of infidelity. I can hear him noisily searching everywhere while he berates his wife, so I open the wardrobe door and wave to him. While he’s standing there looking half-furious, half-confused, I say, “Ah, thank goodness you’ve arrived. The Oracle has an important job for you.”.

Harry
You certainly like to live dangerously Fred. What happened next?

Fred
Well, fortunately Dagnar’s curiosity overcame his anger, and rather than attacking me he paused, saying “What is the meaning of this? You have five seconds to explain yourself before I turn you into sausage meat.”

Narrator
A man wanders through the market place and pauses in front of Fred’s stall.

Fred
Good morning sir, can I interest you in the freshest produce in the entire vale? Just this morning we received a rare, limited shipment of these incredible new dorick seeds, which are selling fast. I suggest you act quickly if you don’t want to miss out.

Citizen 2
What’s a dorick?

Fred
You haven’t heard? The plant they grow into produces incredible fruit. They are unlike anything you’ve ever tried before, and they keep for ages. An ideal snack at more refined parties, or they can be used as a nutritious lightweight provision on long journeys.

Citizen 2
Can you show me their fruit?

Fred
If only I could! Sadly the fruit are always sold out within minutes of obtaining a new supply. If someone were to plant and harvest these I would pay good money for a steady supply. I would do it myself, but sadly I do not own land.

Citizen 2
Hmm. How much for your entire collection of seeds?

Fred
The entire collection? Well, I guess I could let them go for 1000 gold, but I would be very reluctant to do so. I would need a guarantee that I would get first refusal on the purchase of any fruit that they produce.

Citizen 2
That seems fair. Agreed. Here you go.

Narrator
As the customer departs. Fred turns back to Harry

Harry
So what happened next?

Fred
Well, as you know, Dagnar is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I turned to him and said, “What I am about to tell you is top secret information, and I can only reveal it if you agree to assist the Oracle in an operation of the utmost secrecy and importance.”

Naturally he wasn’t about to turn down what he thought was a direct request from the Oracle, so he nodded in acquiescence. I then asked if he agreed to serve the Oracle faithfully and without question, and never to reveal anything that he learned in her service.

Dagnar replied “I do,” at which point I told him that the occupant of the row house next door was a member of a banned Obsidian group, and was no doubt plotting an insurrection. I told him that I was one of two operatives that the Oracle intended to place in row houses on either side of the subject’s home, and that Dagnar’s wardrobe was ideally placed to enable me to observe him. Naturally I would need access to the wardrobe during the day so that I could observe the subject using a small hole drilled through the wall. I added that the Oracle would look favourably on him for providing assistance in this matter.

Harry
He bought it?

Fred
Hook, line and sinker. To this day I regularly visit his wife while he is away at work, and provide him with frequent updates on the progress of the evil Obsidian plot. Speaking of evil plots Harry, did you ever discover why the house next to yours is haunted?

Harry
Indeed, and a rather odd tale it is. As you know, the sounds from that house have been keeping me up for weeks. Since it is at the end of the street, and thus has no other neighbours, I have been the only one to suffer. Getting the local guard to take an interest proved fruitless, so I decided to investigate on my own.

Fred
And to think only a few minutes ago you accused me of living dangerously. Go on…

Harry
Well, since the house has been unoccupied for years, I figured the chances of the owner turning up were minimal, and forced a window to gain entry. The front room was pitch dark, and I dared not use a light spell for fear of attracting a passing guard. Fortunately, all these row houses share an identical layout, so I began to slowly feel my way up the stairs. It was at that moment that I heard the eerie sound that had woken me every night for weeks, coming from the top floor.

Narrator
At this point a guard enters walking purposefully to Harry’s stall. He is accompanied by a mature woman, who is dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief.

Harry
Greetings citizens, how may I help you this fine day? I have only the freshest fish for sale, caught this morning in Spindrift Bay. Look into their eyes and see how fresh they are!

Guard
Is this the one?

Christine
Yes, that’s him. He used to have a stall in Owl’s Head, until he was chased out of town. This is the evil snake who promised to marry my daughter, and then skipped town with the dowry.

Guard
What do you have to say for yourself, citizen?

Harry
Ah, Roland. Roland, Roland Roland. I love my identical twin brother dearly, but he leads a troubled life. I have tried many times to place him on the right path, but I fear that we are destined to be complete opposites. Why only last week, as I was donating food to the poor, I thought of him. I wondered if there was not some way that I had overlooked, whereby I could have steered him towards a path of virtue.

Christine
Ha! What a preposterous tale! Only an idiot would believe you have an identical twin brother. There is no doubting that you are the despicably cad who broke the heart of my poor, weeping daughter. It is a tragedy that in this so-called enlightened metropolis, being the rear end of a Kobold is not a capital offence.

Guard
I have an identical twin brother. He is a great disappointment to the family.

Harry
Please believe me lady when I tell you how mortified I am that your poor daughter has been yet another victim of my despicable brother. Much as it pains me to say this, I really hope that he can be caught and punished before he brings more misery to the world.

Guard
Aye. I know how you feel. My brother Reginald has done untold damage to our family name. Please let me know if you hear of Roland’s whereabouts.

Narrator
The guard nods curtly at Harry and starts to walk away.

Christine
What? You believed that drivel? Come back and arrest the lying scoundrel!

Narrator
Christine wrings her hands in frustration and hurries off after the guard.

Fred
I believe you were ascending the stairs. Please continue…

Harry
Indeed. After cautiously inching my way up the stairs I eventually reached the top floor. With each step the sound had been growing louder, but as I reached the top of the stairs it suddenly stopped. The door to the front room was open, and a thin shaft of moonlight forced its way through a dirty, broken window, allowing me to barely discern some vague shapes. I tiptoed towards the room from whence I was certain the sound had come. Reaching the door I peered inside. In the far corner of the room I could see a dark, huddled shape with a single glowing eye. Gathering my courage I forced myself to approach the strange beast, and it was then that I discovered the true nature of my nightly tormentor.

Fred
Go on…

Harry
It was an aether vibration amplifier, sitting on a bedside table. A small rodent had taken up residence inside, and its nocturnal ventures occasionally switched the device on or off. Since it was not tuned to a station, the result was the strange hissing sound that had been waking me up at night.

Fred
[SARCASTIC] Great story Harry. Terrific climax. Now I know how your wife feels. Anyhow, there goes the sun. Shall we pack up and adjourn to Wody’s?

Harry
Of course. Why should today be any different from every other day?

Narrator
Harry and Fred pack up their wares and head off toward Wody’s Tavern, chuckling as they go.
Meanwhile, a mysterious person approaches Sarah’s stall.

Oracle Agent
The Oracle needs your report, agent Sarah.

Sarah
As directed, I have observed the behaviour of Fred and Harry. It appears that Fred has been spreading misinformation about the Oracle, and I overheard him mention an Obsidian plot. Harry has been breaking and entering houses in PaxLair.

Oracle Agent
Excellent work, agent Sarah. I think they both warrant closer scrutiny. They may very well be instigators of a serious plot against the Oracle. Commencing tomorrow, agents McQuade and Walker will begin around the clock surveillance. Rest assured that if these two turn out to be Obsidian agents, they will both be taken care of…

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