Cry for the Wolf, Chapter 19. by Richard Walker

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Chapter 19.

Myranna and her ersatz Scarlet Players labored on opening day under the demands of the performances they had contracted to provide so many months ago, to find the burden of the four shows they gave extremely taxing. Although the reputation of the Scarlet Players was well and widely known, the troupe of counterfeit Players suddenly found that wearing the Scarlet had them scrambling to meet a standard that was very high, indeed. They found their skills tested against the sophisticated tastes of a knowledgeable urban crowd, as well, which was something Myranna had not reckoned with. And to uphold the Players’ reputation and make the show the success that the crowd expected, she and her troupe had to not only meet the crowd’s expectations but exceed them. It was well they had resources at their disposal beyond those of the common run of human folk. Not having been raised to the work or grown into the craft by long apprenticeship, they needed every ounce of the strength of the wolf running in their veins to perform and also win the admiration of the crowds.
The blood of the wolf made them fierce, proud and magnetic. The perfect performers.
The audiences adored them.
Myranna worked alongside Tarl and astounded the people with the tricks the two of them were able to make the wolf-prisoned dwarfs do for their keep. Having Patches and Ruggles to lend a hand behind the scenes proved to be a gift from the gods. Of the five of them, though, she and Bandar had the worst of it. The balance of her day was spent under a striped canvas cloth awning propped up by the entrance to the great pavilion, swathed in broad sheets of bright canvas she could pull down to provide a sem-blance of privacy. There she gave readings for pennies with brightly painted cards showing mystical images and symbols, or in the heart of her glittering crystal for a few pennies more. For his own part, Bandar played his harp sitting in the grass on the other side of the pavilion entrance while Myranna provided readings, standing security for her. She had always known he was good with his harp, but she hadn’t realized he truly was as skilled as any member of the guild whose colors they wore until he stood center stage and stole the affections of everyone in the house.
It had been a long day full of labor for all those providing services for the Fête.

Guiseppe loved being a Scarlet Player now in his forties just as much as he ever had as a youth, perhaps even moreso. His long tenure among them made him privy to many secrets he’d not been allowed in his youth, like Master Peryn and the others he’d met with in the morning. He gladly took his time about the duties the charter in his wallet assigned him. Indeed, the very nature of those people he was ordered to mix with required him to spend rather a fair amount of time in many different parts of the city plying his musical craft and chatting with the clientele of inns and taverns, alehouses and houses of call of many different crafts and stations, from the wealthy to the day laborers, but mostly among those of the various strata of the commonalty.

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