Lily’s Game: The Heavenly Jamboree
This teaser was written by Lily B., DM for the 2022 D&D Super Dungeon. Her character creation workshop will be on June 24th at 5PM EST. For details and registration, visit our web page.
The night the sky tore open, the opera house was brimming with fans. Crowds were packed mile-high to see Bulak the Warbler, a famed orc vocalist. Her performances had become a widely revered attraction across Sostenus as she told the tales of heroes and demons in -as the local critics called it- a distinctive musical experience. As people clamored into their seats, Gaylle Yelvaris took a deep sip of a fiery elixir. It had a sharp taste and stung like he swallowed a thorny rosebush. It was only temporary though; after a few minutes he would feel fine. Or, as fine as possible. The elixirs were the only thing that numbed Gaylle’s piercingly painful headaches. They’d been like this for weeks, eating away at his concentration and possibly his sanity. Ever since returning from his archaeology travels in the surrounding islands, he hadn’t felt the same. Perhaps he was just readjusting to life in his home city, he reassured himself. After all, it had been more than a century since he walked the streets of Cirrayne. Gaylle leaned back and settled into his seat. The lights faded to darkness and a single spotlight shone on Bulak as she began her ballad.
Nearing the first act’s end, Gaylle felt himself growing bored. His thoughts wandered, dancing around the house. He craved the chill, early spring air outside, a relief from the stuffy atmosphere indoors. Gaylle was pondering leaving when an elderly gnomish woman beside him suddenly spoke.
“Marvelous, isn’t it?” she remarked in a raspy, high pitched voice. She peered at Gaylle through oversized opera binoculars. He couldn’t help but notice the resemblance to a bird.
“Hmm?” Gaylle answered, caught off guard.
“Her voice. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Oh. Oh, yes. Absolutely,” he stammered. The woman smelled heavily of perfume, not helping Gaylle’s claustrophobia in the slightest. He discreetly scooted to the far corner of his seat, keeping his face as far away as possible from the suffocating fragrance.
“You know,” the woman continued wistfully, “I used to sing too. Back in the golden age of Sostenus. I was young, famous. I was a star!” Her voice cracked and was suddenly dripping with vexation. “I haven’t had work in years. My last gig was at a sleazy tavern. A tavern!” Gaylle recoiled, incredibly unsure of how to respond.
“I-I’m awfully sorry about that” he said, as the woman shook her head in exasperation. Gaylle, desperate to escape the situation, stood up. “Pardon me, I’m feeling a bit warm. I may step out for a moment, if you could just-” Gaylle was cut short. Around him, the entire opera house rose, simultaneously conducting a standing ovation. He’d barely noticed the performance end.
After Bulak took her bow, a tall elvish man took to the stage. Gaylle instantly recognized him, though it took a moment to fully realize the connection. It was Myrvilaur, the mayor of Cirrayne. Gaylle recalled waving to Myrvilaur at the city parades as a child, holding his mother’s hand. Since then, Myrvilaur hadn’t changed much, save for a few more wrinkles.
Myrvilaur strided across the stage, his tailcoat flapping slightly. After reaching the center, he addressed the audience.
“Good people,” he announced, his voice magically amplified, “thank you again for coming to see the lovely Bulak!” Myrvilaur flashed a smile so shiny it would make a thief go mad. “And of course, the orphanage will greatly appreciate every single coin coming from tonight’s benefit.” He paused momentarily, waiting for the cheers to die down. “And as an added treat, Bulak will be back in Cirrayne for our inaugural Heavenly Jamboree!” Once again, the audience erupted into applause. “Come one, come all to our festival of music, of food, of commerce! I’m sure-” Myrvilaur was interrupted by a heavy jolt protruding from the ground. Various spectators shrieked, clinging to their seats. A deep rumble sounded from the sky.
The opera goers rushed out the door, forming a massive crowd on the front street. Townsfolk emerged from their front doors, the majority in their sleep garb. An elvish child rubbed her eyes tiredly, half-asleep in her father’s arms. The herd of people gasped collectively, staring at the sky. The heavens were dotted with stars like every other night. But a gash bled across the night, exposing the infinity beyond the atmosphere. Colors beyond comprehension glistened as the denizens of Cirrayne watched in awe and horror.
“What in Sciear’s name is that,” Gaylle mumbled as a lonely figure plummeted from the rift.