Constructive criticism will be gratefully noted, flames will be laughed at, k?
(a note on spelling: Allorien is British. Therefore, she uses the British spellings of words...colour instead of color, grey instead of gray, jewellery instead of jewelry...you get the idea, right? Just so you know, they're not typos!)
Ahem, eh, on with the story... ^ _ ^ ;
Fireworks - Chapter One
The massive throne room buzzed with excitement. An electric atmosphere filled the air, as the Lords, Nobles and other important figures all along the table waited in anticipation for the show to begin.
The King and Queen of Brittiana sat at the head table along with their three daughters, their son, and their guests of honour, King Davriel of Reirin, his wife and their five children. Prince Tetra, the oldest child and the only male, was a pretty sixteen-year-old boy with long, chocolate-coloured hair fastened into a bun, with loose strands framing his face. A thin gold band encircled his head, which he adjusted as he glanced down the tables, waiting for the fabled entertainer to arrive.
Three tables ran along the outer perimeters of the wall in a u-shape, facing inwards to the centre of the room, where a large space had been cleared for the performance.
All three were massive, polished and ornately carved and covered with crimson silk tablecloths. On the tablecloths stood the most amazing array of food imaginable, a feast that would put many a master chef to shame. Meat of all varieties, chicken, pheasant, sides of roast pork, beef, venison and lamb, and even a peacock, exotic and rare fruits imported from overseas such as oranges, lemons, melons, pears, dates, figs, grapes and every other sort you can think of, all fresh and delicious. Fantastic desserts, chocolate gateaux and trifles piled high, pies and pastries both sweet and savoury, mirangues and wobbling jellies all vied for position. Huge crystal goblets full of water or fine wines sparkled in the candlelight amongst the shining silver cutlery.
Rich scarlet carpets covered the floor, and the high stone walls were hung with gorgeous tapestries embroidered with gold thread on satin and silk of every colour in the spectrum.
An enormous golden chandelier swung from the cavernous ceiling, supporting hundreds of twinkling candles and surrounded by smaller crystal chandeliers.
But right now, nobody was focusing on any of this. All eyes were eagerly fixed on the two gigantic oak doors that led into the royal banqueting hall. Right now they were closed, but any minute now they would come flying open and Virgo, one of the legendary jesters, that for centuries had served the Brittianian royal family, would appear. This was going to be good!
A hush fell over the assembly as the musicians either side of the doors started up a tune. It was a distinctly Far Eastern piece of music, with the rhythmic drum beat and shrill melody of the snake charmer's flute.
The tension grew as the doors swung slowly open, and everybody leaned forward in their seats to get a better look.
There was an awed gasp as a large Persian carpet, hovering a few feet from the ground, advanced in to the room. It stopped in the centre of the staging area before gently descending and resting on the floor. In the middle of the carpet was nothing but a large wicker basket.
All the music stopped apart from the flute and the beat of the tambourine. The audience held its breath and leaned forward a little more. The lid of the basket moved a little, then fell off on to the carpet. Two slender hands, wearing fingerless sky blue gloves and adorned with silver rings and bracelets, emerged and gripped the rim of the basket.
Surely nobody could fit into there?
One after the other, the performer's legs emerged, clad in Arabian-style trousers the same colour as the gloves and ending in feet covered in jewel-encrusted silver slippers with pointed, curling over toes.
The jester slowly lifted the rest of his body out of the basket, head last, until he was doing a handstand on the container's rim. Then, with an agile flip, he somersaulted backwards and landed on his feet, spreading his arms to receive the applause that greeted the dramatic entrance.
Virgo was dressed in an outfit that strongly resembled an Arabian harem girl's, but with individual styling. A traditional jester's hat with two long points hanging down, but like the rest of the outfit it was sky blue. Two fine, semi-transparent scarves trailed from the ends, as well as from the jester's elbow-length gloves. A veil covered all of his face apart from the eyes, which were heavily made up with black eyeliner and mascara, and the rest of his face was painted white in contrast. The jester had wide, sparkling eyes, one blue and one brown, almost hidden under pale blonde bangs. He wore masses of silver jewellery, earrings, necklaces, and anklets sparkling in the light of the chandeliers.
Virgo held up a hand to silence the applause, and turned to the basket from which he had emerged (the slim, graceful figure seemed pretty much androgynous).
Now the flute cut out too, leaving only the atmospheric beat of the tambourine. Virgo closed his eyes and waved his hands across the top of the wicker container, apparently concentrating hard.
The jester jumped forward with a crash from the orchestra that made the spectators jump, and there was a bright flash of light. Virgo leapt away, revealing that the basket had transformed into a strip of translucent blue fabric, wound into the shape of a basket. Grabbing the end of the ribbon, the performer grabbed the end and unwound it with a swift flick, as the music's tempo suddenly increased. All the instruments contributed to the fast-paced Eastern rhythm as Virgo danced and swayed around the room to the nobility's applause, twirling the ribbon. The other veils on the jester's hat and arms made their movements seem even more sinuous and flowing as they paused at one end of the room, before darting across, somersaulting in the air, landing, cartwheeling, somersaulting again and spinning around, finishing at the other end.
Barely pausing for breath, Virgo backflipped right back across the chamber, performing more acrobatics to the crowd, who were as hypnotised by the jester as by the melody that echoed off the chamber walls, almost as if they were snakes themselves, and they were truly charmed.
The young harlequin returned to the centre of the room, taking a few seconds to get his breath back before running the blue cloth through his fingers slowly a few times, like whatever magic was in Virgo was being rubbed off on to the fabric.
The material was thrown up into the air, but just before it hit the ground Virgo leant down and placed a hand near it, not touching it but just as a guide.
As the performer lifted his hands back up, the cloth rose too, magically levitating in the air just like the carpet had before it.
Suddenly Virgo pointed a finger and the cloth shot off, flying rapidly over to one of the tables. Everyone gasped and ducked as it whizzed over their heads like a panicked bird. The young princesses giggled and clapped their hands in delight, trying to catch the magical object as it glided over them. The entertainer guided the cloth right along the table, then made it soar up towards the high ceiling until it was a barely-visible dot, plummeting back down again to the crash of the drums and shrill sound of the flute.
Virgo did another quick backflip as the cloth returned to in front of his face. The music quieted down again, becoming more intense as they concentrated. Everyone else concentrated too, eyes glued on the fabric to see what the brilliant entertainer was going to do next.
Suddenly the jester grabbed at something under the cloth, and pulled out a long silver baton that had mysteriously appeared. Everyone applauded again as the jester set off around the room, spinning the baton and throwing it high in the air, time and time again, before doing a cartwheel or a somersault and catching it perfectly. The cloth began to swoop around again, and Virgo darted around to the adrenaline-packed rhythm, flipping over the cloth and spinning around and around.
The harlequin threw the baton over the translucent material, diving underneath and emerging on the other side to catch the silver rod, to gasps of awe from the spectators.
Virgo paused again, calling the cloth back with a wave of the baton.
Tossing them both into the air, he clapped his hands, seeming to squash the cloth and rod both into nothing, then opened his arms wide to reveal two batons, but no cloth. The jester clapped the batons between both hands again, and with a flash of light three silver rods appeared.
Tucking two of them into their belt, Virgo began to throw the third one up into the air, higher and higher, catching it perfectly every time. With a flick of the wrist, the jester threw it up especially high...but it didn't come back down. The music suddenly cut out as Virgo pretended to search around for the pole, not knowing what had happened.
Virgo put on a great show of looking distressed, glancing around the audience and shrugging, apparently at a loss. Some people giggled. Everyone knew the jester was way too good to make a mistake unless it was on purpose.
Eventually, the entertainer looked up towards the chandelier, and the flute cut in as they spotted the 'lost' baton lodged up in the main chandelier. But how could you get that down again?
Virgo retreated to one corner of the room, taking a few deep breaths and concentrating as the orchestra built up a dramatic drumroll.
Suddenly the jester sprinted across the room, flipping into the air one, then again, higher, and finally with an incredible gymnastic feat, up high enough to grab the bottom of the chandelier!
The audience gasped in amazement as the agile teenager clambered on to the perilously swinging chandelier, eventually moving around to a place where they could grab the baton. Object retrieved, he lit it on one of the chandelier's twinkling flames.
The crowd cheered loudly, people nudging each other and commenting in awe.
Virgo grinned beneath the veil, delighted as ever at the reactions his famous performances always received. With a click of his fingers, the performer summoned the magic carpet, which began to stir from its position on the floor, floating back up so that he could jump safely down on to it.
The music picked up again as the carpet zoomed off, Virgo crouched down with the flaming baton in one hand. They swooped back over the tables with a rush of air, and the jester leaned over the side, snatching up a goblet of wine.
Returning back to the centre of the room again, the carpet landed and Virgo stood up, silver goblet in one hand and baton in the other. The metallic objects sparkled in the candlelight along with the silver jewellery that adorned the slender figure, making him a dazzling sight to look at.
The jester set the goblet down, and carefully dipped the end of the flaming baton into the ordinary wine. There were gasps and shouts of alarm from the audience as the flames shot up out of the goblet, meters into the air. The Arabian melody never stopped as the magical fire flickered and changed colour, from orange to yellow to green, right through the spectrum to blue, purple, red and them pink and white.
There were oohs and aahs at the pretty sight, and the fire filled the room with a sweet, smoky perfume, like incense, adding to the mystical effect.
Dancing around the magical fire, Virgo began to throw the flaming baton into the air again, pulling the other two out as well until they were all alight and being juggled.
The spectators held their breath as the swaying figure began to catch them in perilous ways, twirling around and backflipping.
Throwing all three up, Virgo whipped off the veil that covered their face and dived to catch the batons as they fell, grabbing one in each hand and the third in his mouth, to more gasps of astonishment. Without removing the one in his mouth, the harlequin placed the other two into the flaming goblet. There was a spark of light, and the silver rods seemed to disintegrate into a fine, glittering powder.
Virgo removed the last baton, and the music returned to a quieter, more dramatic beat. The young jester's face was illuminated sharply in the firelight. Under his left eye were painted three blue diamonds, the middle one larger than the other two. The right eye had the top and the bottom eyelashes greatly exaggerated into sweeping blue swirls across his cheek and forehead. He could have been very beautiful under the heavy makeup, but it was hard to tell.
Raising the baton up high, Virgo threw his head back and opened his mouth wide.
The crowd gasped. Surely the jester wasn't going to...?
Virgo carefully lowered the baton flame-first into his mouth until it had almost totally disappeared, paused a second before slowly removing it again, the flame extinguished. The audience applauded loudly as the performer grinned and re-lit the rod for a second go.
After the second fire-eating display, Virgo placed the baton into the white flames and it disappeared like the other two. Picking up the discarded veil, he threw it over the goblet. There was a blinding burst of light and a crash from the musical instruments, and Virgo pulled the veil away to reveal that the goblet and flame had vanished.
The spectators clapped and cheered loudly. With a low, flourishing bow, he threw the veil over himself. There was a flash and a cloud of white smoke.
When it cleared, Virgo was gone. The musicians finished their performance with a final crashing note, and the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation at the spectacular magic display.
The cheers redoubled as Virgo re-appeared in the centre of the room to bow again, panting with exertion but looking just as delighted as the crowd. The jester disappeared again, appearing to bow with the musicians, then up on the chandelier again, and finally in front of the high table in front of the assembled monarchy. Even the kings and queens stood up to applaud as Virgo took a humble bow.
Prince Tetra clapped especially hard as the jester vanished for the final time.
"So, what do you think of my court entertainment, Prince?"
"It's amazing, Sire!" Tetra replied, bowing respectfully to the hosting king "When I become king of Reirin, I want to have a court jester just like that!"
King Tobias smiled, before waiting for the applause to die out so he could begin his speech.
...eh, I think I went overboard on the description there, ne? o _ O
Oh well, review, pleeeease?