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  #16  
Old Apr 30th, 2021, 11:09 AM
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Endless, Nameless
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Normally, the hypnotic rhythm of Durza's dancing would put the skald into a trance like state and soothe his troubled soul, but not tonight. The cool night air, the heat of the crowd, and the knowledge of things to come coalesced into a rushing river of emotions. Lofwyr was riding the waves of energy. His heart hammered in time with the dancer's steps and at that moment he felt weightless, euphoric.

She twisted, turned, and burned a path back onto the stage all whilst lighting up the sky above. Now it was his turn, Lofwyr stepped forward with his old mountain dulcimer and his chiseled chin held high.

Traditionally, the dulcimer is played on one's lap or a low table, that is the way the Skald learned but he is all about breaking traditions. He holds it vertically, high and close to his chest, near his heart, with his left hand on the neck to work the frets much like Spyder and his lutes. Lofwyr plucked out a slow tune on the melody string with his thumb. Gradually, he brought in the other three strings building the tempo smiling at the screaming Meemaws who rushed to the front row. His strumming settled into an easy rhythm as words came to him from somewhere deep inside. Lofwyr wasn't much of a vocalist with his low gravelly voice but these words seemed important and would not be held back.

"This is the end, beautiful friends. The end.
This is the end, where have we been? The end."
The skald struck a power chord and launched headlong into an impromptu spoken word verse. He called out loud and clear, a godbourne voice echoed over the masses.

"A band woke up in a basement, they needed a heart to open the door. So they jumped down a well. Down in the dark, they met a demilich, and they walked on down the hall." He was not playing the dulcimer now, rather his arms were outstretched beckoning the crowd. Snorkberth crouched behind him and kept time by pounding the wooden stage with great hairy fists.

"They met a washed-up diva and a band of brutal bugbear mercs. The Slashers said 'Haters stand aside or we're going to kill you now.' Gods were toppled. And they walked on down the hall." Lofwyr smiled wickedly as he started strumming and picked up the rhythm again.

He turned away from the crowd as he played and faced Baron de Boom. Tears who would not be denied burst forth as emotions other than fury washed over the Skald. His voice broke slightly as he sang.

"This is the end, beautiful friend, the end.
I hope to look into your eyes again."


He strummed out a chord with familiar aggression as he sang the last word and turned around with a glistening face and poured everything into his dulcimer. Fingers flew and plucked like a panicked cat scrambling up a tree to escape a savage dog. His hands seemed to move on their own across the four strings building to a crescendo as a low growl rose from his heaving chest. Snorkberth danced wildly across the stage. Spinning, leaping, and pounding on the ground as if he was a direct conduit for Lofwyr's mental state.

The skald played a frantic solo like a man drowning in a sea of feelings, and in a sense that's exactly what was happening. His dulcimer Prestidigitation!appeared to burst into flames but he played through the rage. "It's all for the music!"

When all felt like it would break and send everything crashing down, he let loose a primal scream. Snorkberth tore his armor off and flung it into the crowd howling along with the Bardbarian. Sweating and shaking like at the end of a battle frenzy, Lofwyr settled into a diminuendo passage and slowly backed away giving the stage to his friends.

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Last edited by AnotherDragoon; Apr 30th, 2021 at 06:12 PM.
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  #17  
Old Apr 30th, 2021, 11:52 AM
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Hingalon's two parts
HINGALON AND LILY
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Hingalon was impressed. Justin had really nailed it, a perfect performance! As his words were dying down, the halfling made his move.

He had spotted an old, battered piano in a corner of the stage -- perhaps it had been used by another group earlier in the Battle? Certainly not by the teenagers. The halfling didn't really play the piano, but hey -- as long as he was concerned, hammers striking strings make for a percussion instrument. He quickly moved to it and lifted the lid, ready to hit whole bunch of keys with his balled fist to accompany Lily's voice.

With a nod, he told Jane to start playing in unison with her. A long-forgotten poem-turned-song, called I Know the Truth: incredibly, Jane had been able to learn it and actually retain the notes in her musical mind, more prone to explosive improvisations full of multiphonics than the actual presentation of a melody. In this case, though, she was able to play it in an uncharacteristically subdued, most poignant way.

As the eladrin blew the first notes, Lily seemed to multiply. She was on stage behind the piano, yet down in the audience, and perhaps in the whole city (her body still lying behind a brick wall in a basement, somewhere in the slums, withered and forgotten).

Each single member of the audience felt her voice whispering in their ear, just a few inches away, as if for a private performance:

LISTEN TO LILY
The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew
The storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
who never let each other sleep above it.


***

HINGALON'S SOLO
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Hingalon by @LostCheerio
After the eladrin trio, it was time for a percussion interlude. Hingalon had planned to use the glockenspiel, and told Lythienne to bring it, but when she arrived at the hotel she found that Jane had taken all the little metal plates off the glock's frame to play dominoes -- not the real game, the one where you make the tiles stand up and then let them fall one on the other in a series -- but then she got mad because it didn't work, since they were all of a different length, which is sort of like the idea with a multi-note instrument, and tossed most of them out of the window.

He had wondering what to do when, discarded under the stage, he had found the solution to all his problems: a cowbell. Yes, his interlude would've featured MORE COWBELL.

LISTEN TO HINGALON

After his solo, Hingalon called his bandmates to join a three-part musical war cry. He shouted the first line alone. Baron and many Slashers joined the second, while the third one was yelled full-volume by the whole band, plus Lily, Snork and all the others, with Kuqi adding an impossibile double-high coloratura on top:

We have already won

Those bands who trod this fabled stage

They're only scum!!!



Hingalon's OOC and ActionsOOC: Performance roll: 33

Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move:
Action: I use Enthralling Performance. "Once per short rest, you can choose 4 creatures that watched and listened to you perform for 1 minute. Each target makes a WIS saving throw (DC 15) and is charmed if it fails for 1 hour."

I target the judges!!!

Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:
Notes:


 
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Last edited by stepanxol; Apr 30th, 2021 at 11:54 AM.
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  #18  
Old May 1st, 2021, 01:38 AM
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Dagger JaneIt has been widely suspected that Jane can't actually play the saxophone. That's not true. She can. But there's a lot of other stuff to do while the band is on stage. Run around. Shriek into other people's microphones. Go get drinks. Pull down posters from the wall. Fall into the pit and be buffeted about by dancers. Look out windows and make demonic faces at people who aren't in the club. Pretend her saxophone is a live angry snake. But tonight, stunned into a kind of mute paralysis by the enormity of the situation and the size of the crowd, she finds herself in possession of an instrument and in the midst of a musical performance, and decides to play.

She plays Performance: 24 (13+7+4)competently. She executes Hingalon's commands. She makes the notes come out of the machine in her hands that match the notes other people are playing, for the very first time. It feels like she is in a dream. Yes, she is frozen into compliance by the breathtaking collision of sadness and exhilaration that's lighting up her brain, but as Minstrel/Maxtrel pulls off the most coordinated, organized show they have ever, ever done, she realizes: it wasn't just about spotlighting. It was about coordinating, not as a mad cacophony of unstructured sound, but as a band. The very act of working out the spotlighting has led them to this. And it sounds good.

Jane had cackled gleefully over all the disguises she would burn through during her solo: s*xy squid, s*xy octopus, and s*xy kraken, then tentacles, tentacles, tentacles all day. But now, as she plays, she uses up her spells to match the other Slashers. When Spyder solos, she goes drow, tattooed with webbing, wreathed in leather, and teetering on high heeled boots. When it's Justin's turn, she lets herself spring out to fit his vibe, pretty golden curls and pink skin, feathery tendrils and vines floating around her and out of the sax. Maybe she will be an orc for Durza. A hin for Hingalon.

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Yes, there is a crowd out there, and a Lythienne, and a Dergu, and stupid parents, but she doesn't want any of that crowd or any of those people. She turns inward, to the band. If she could create enough unison to make gravity, if she could keep the center firm, she would hold them there forever. But even as she thinks about this, standing still for once, playing the notes for once, in order for once, Jane knows she is a wild satellite. She can't hold anything. This will break. It's breaking now.

Lofwyr sings his raw skald song, and the words reach down into Jane's slimed and tired soul: This is the end. It's true. The band is over, at the very moment in which they have actually managed to be one. They can never keep Spyder after the world has seen him like this. Hingalon is spiraling into depths they can't follow. Justin is ascending in the summer court -- he won't want to go slumming with them much longer. She looks around for Baron. She would use her last disguise spell to be a goblin for him, but he has already gone, to get in position for his big send-off. Somewhere he's waiting. Lofwyr is crying, and Durza is dancing, and it breaks Jane's heart. Now Jane is crying and it's time for her solo.

Instead of the planned s*xy aboleth in seashell underwear, she burns her last disguise to put herself into the formal funeral robes of her eladrin folk. In her solo she makes the extreme sacrifice of playing exactly the notes she is supposed to play, in the order they are supposed to go. No joke honks or digressions into carnival tunes. And when she gets to the end she looks up and raises her hand. If she could say the word she wanted, it would be: Wait! But instead she says the word she should say, the right word, which is: Goodbye!


Last edited by lostcheerio; May 1st, 2021 at 02:12 AM.
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