Apocryphal Scenes From St. Nobian'sA Story set Where Yamara Has To Live, by S. John Ross

Copyright © 1996 Barbara Manui and Chris Adams

Three holy men were alone in a dim, oil-lit chamber above the chapel at St. Nobian's. The largest, known as Wranck - an influential bishop - struck the smallest - Joe Holy - as the type of person who orders meat raw in the hopes that it can still feel pain. The middle-sized man was a muscular contrast to Wranck's impressive girth, and some kind of knight. Joe Holy was being interrogated in his own church.

"We can lay the matter of this . . . Persephone aside. For now." Wranck stood up, and strode quietly to the table. "There is another matter." The bishop's assistant handed him a small bundle.

Joe managed a facial expression resembling exhausted hope. At least the subject was drifting away from his personal scandal.

Wranck dropped a pack of scrolls on the table in front of the exhausted priest, and glared. It was a hard glare. Joe recoiled, the bishop's gaze burning his retinas. "Tell us about this, Abbot Holy."

Joe peered at the scrolls in the oil-light. He blinked. "Why?"

The knight spoke up. "The upcoming Inquisition on the nature of local pagan faiths," he grinned, "will find it interesting."

The bishop rotated his glare and placed it in the eyes of his companion. "You said it AGAIN! Stop that!"

"Slip of the tongue, sir! The upcoming COUNCIL on the nature of the pagan faiths." He shifted, trying to look anywhere but into the 700-Watt glare of Bishop Wranck. He focused on a fleck of dust and pretended to find it fascinating. "I get the words mixed up."

"See that you don't," said Wranck, and flashed his eyes on Joe some more. "Tell us, Joe . . . is it true that you permitted a pilgrimage of a FALSE GODDESS to this church? And sponsored bacchanalian orgies, unclean festivals, and blasphemous dances?"

Joe looked tired, and (if possible) even more bald than usual. He hung his head. "They were some friend's of Yamara's . . . I thought that here, St. Nobian might guide them, insure that their young faith had a foundation in goodness, in -"

"YOU LET THEM DANCE NAKED IN THE GRAVEYARD!!!" shouted Wranck, his bulk folding over the table as he spat accusatory spittle at Joe. Joe trembled, shook his head. Wranck trembled in apoplectic self-righteousness.

"No, the party got out of hand . . . they were quiet for the play. The dancing naked was entirely Blag's idea. He wasn't even invited!"

Bishop Wranck dimmed his eyes and slitted them. "The play," he said. "Yes. Let's look at that."


A HOLY MUMMING: THE PLAY OF ST. BLAG


Being an accurate and Right Holy account of a disciple of our Goddess, and an example of her Divine and Gracious Will.

(In the midst of much dancing and revelry, enter the mummers, led by ST. OGREK, swinging a smoking plush doll on a bronze chain)

ST. OGREK: Here come I, the husband of our queen, welcome, or welcome not! I hope that old Saint Ogrek will never be forgot!

AUDIENCE (In Unison): Oh, Calamitous Sin!

ST. OGREK: You see your mummers, whole and hale! Give us a hatful of gold and a skinful of ale!

AUDIENCE tosses money and skins of beer.

ST. OGREK: Saint Blag is here, his magick stone is round! When he arrives, he will astound! If you do not believe what I say, then hear the voice of evil, do not stand in her way!

Enter FEA, wearing a wooden Helm of Opposite Alignment and a stuffed toad.

FEA: It is I, evil elf, my toad is slimy green!~ You do not know the DECEPTIONS I have seen! For Yamara is a THIEF, your pockets she'll pick clean!

AUDIENCE hisses and boos.

Enter YAMARA, weilding a shining sceptre.

Bishop Wranck glared some more. "Friends of yours?"

"They didn't write this. It's apocryphal."

"She is a FALSE GODDESS!"

Joe shook his head. "She WAS a . . . false . . . DEMI-Goddess, and it wasn't her fault. It was an accident at her wedding."

The knight stepped forward. "We are familiar with the events regarding Mrs. Undisciplined. We want to know about the play."

"It was just the worshippers, acting out a kind of parable where Blag rolls a stone over Fea using dwarf magic. It was harmless! Ridiculous!" Joe tried to smile, but couldn't manage it. "The woman playing Yamara must have been six feet tall and twenty stone. The one playing Blag was her husband, his beard was made of shredded burlap!" Joe sighed, remembering the pointlessness of it all. "The real Blag showed up halfway through the play and just started POINTING at himself and grinning at the crowd, holding out his helmet suggestively for money."

"And Ogrek the Undisciplined?"

"He sent his valet to play him in the play, and donated beer. I think he saw it as a kind of self-promotion. I still need to talk to him about that."

Bishop Wranck looked at the scroll again.

YAMARA: It is I, the holy goddess! I dare you, Fea, to slay me! I would never steal a copper piece, my worshippers will pay me!

AUDIENCE tosses money and skins of beer.

FEA: You'll regret your foolish boasting for my magic it is strong! You will now become a plush toy and cannot undo my wrong!

FEA throws glitter on YAMARA, who freezes still, her eyes open wide and smiling.

Enter the CLOAKED FIGURE OF ST. FRINN, walking slowly and surveying the scene.

CLOAKED FIGURE OF ST. FRINN: ThaT tHis plAy hAs maDe me ThirSt haS cauSed tHis inJustiCe tO OcCur. ImMedIateLy, DispenSe BeeR. ProViDe goLd.

AUDIENCE scratches their head in confusion. Nearby CRICKETS chirp. CLOAKED FIGURE OF ST. FRINN shrugs and glides off.

ST. OGREK: With my smoking plush dollie I'll crash in your head! Evil Fea, run away, or you soon will be dead!!!

ST. OGREK chases FEA, striking her with the burning doll. FEA tosses glitter on him and he makes sounds of anguish and dies.

FEA: Is there none to oppose me, or to vanquish my hate? How can you saps still think that Yamara's so great?

AUDIENCE hisses and boos.

Enter ST. BLAG, rolling a large stone.

ST. BLAG: Dwarfish magick, dear Fea, is a fine way to meet you. Throw glitter all day - my stone will still beat you!

Bishop Wranck turned the scroll slowly in his hand, reading quietly to himself. Joe found that he intensely disliked the way Wrank breathed, and the way his sidekick just stood there and grinned.

"The stone," said Wranck.

Joe blinked. "Eh?"

"I don't understand that Dwarfish trick with the stone," the bishop said, clearly unhappy admitting any weakness. "But I've never seen it done on the scale of a boulder."

Joe nodded "I said it was apocryphal. Blag knows the stone trick, though. All dwarves seem to. In Dark Natasha's stronghold he could always tell when the magick was in the corridor, when a marble will roll of its own accord. It's disturbing stuff. And those same corridors had the power to transport us UP or DOWN without any stairs or elevator rooms . . ." Joe shuddered, remembering. "Blag was doing the trick while the play went on, with his marble and a wooden plank, in hopes of attracting some of that gold and beer they were throwing."

The bishop read some more, and smiled an icy smile. "Here's an interesting part, Abbot Holy . . . it has you in it."

Joe winced.

ST. BLAG and FEA circle one another, but FEA gets the best of ST. BLAG, tossing sparkly evil on him. Gargle, gargle, death.

Enter ST. JOE, wielding a non-edged weapon and a cross of a lesser faith.

"Oh, that's indictable, that is," grinned Wranck, doing the ugly breathing thing again.

"I didn't WRITE that!" shouted Joe.

ST. JOE: No illness can trick me, no sickness confound! You'll always be healthy with clerics around! It requires only magic, a false god or two, some beer and some gold and I'll cure him for you!

AUDIENCE tosses beer and gold, FEA hisses and boos.

ST. BLAG, YAMARA, and ST. OGREK all rise, healthy, when ST. JOE administers to them.

"I think this is very allegorical," said Wranck. "And very interesting. Care to comment further?"

"I think I'll just shut up while you finish," muttered Joe Holy, sinking into a dark gloom . . .

ST. OGREK: My wife is alive, shout and donate more beer! Take care of that elf! Make her downfall right here!

YAMARA: I'll work with my powers, in-finite and good; I said that I'd fix her, now fix her I should! She slandered my name and I'll surely see to it!

ST. BLAG: NO!!! Your humble servant's already seen to it!

YAMARA looks at ST. BLAG and grins . . . the stone rolls over top of FEA, crushing her.

ST. BLAG: Since the cold depths of time began to unwind, the gift that you gave the dwarfs was to find, a patch of land, a stretch of wood, where a rock would tumble as long as it could. This hillside is SLOPED, although men can not tell it, only those from deep hills; we can taste it, we smell it!

YAMARA, ST. OGREK, and ST. JOE watch the rock roll away, sober mystification on their features.

ST. BLAG: Your humble servant I am, good and noble and true. My destiny has always been to serve you, with my humblest gift, my trick with the stone, I've shattered Fea's outlook along with her bones.

AUDIENCE gasps as the wooden Helm of Opposite Alignment is seen to be cracked. ST. JOE administers healing magic, and FEA rises, smiling and happy.

FEA: We've done our poor mumming and only to please you, to praise great Yamara, the goddess who frees you!

AUDIENCE showers the mummers with money and beer, and applaud wildly, returning to dances and song.

The room was very quiet. Bishop Wranck folded the scroll, silently, as his armored shadow stood stock-still behind him.

"Joe," he said. "This is bad." Wranck was smiling.

Joe shook his head for the nth time. "It was ridiculous and it meant nothing. It was a passion-play. The most blasphemous part was how the REAL Blag was soaking it up and using it as an excuse to make passes at the Yamarite women."

A tapping came at the window. A familiar vampiric face was there, grinning and staring at Joe, who instinctively ducked. Persephone fluttered a hand at him, spinning in girlish glee.

"Well, I wouldn't know anything about all of that," said Wranck. "But it seems that you would. I don't know which is worse for you, Joe."

Joe shook his head. He didn't, either.

-----------------------

FOOTNOTES

Clearly, this takes place shortly after the scandal with Persephone began, when Tim was still a paladin and the vampiress was still flirting at Joe's windowsill. Curiously, a later note was unearthed in reference to this play, in Dwarvish runes and bearing the corporate seal of the CrystalVox News inter-agency exchange:

To CEO Drumhammer:

We've looked over the play for it's possibilities as a kind of Situation Comedy, but we've decided it's not the right time for that. But it IS amusing news. The larger people are apparently still awed and confused by the concept of a sloped corridor. It's no wonder they live away from the mountains, and that a Dwarf down on his luck can always earn some quick gold selling small ramps as magic items.  The Board was also pleased by the field test of the Blag hologram. You are authorized to proceed with Phase IV.

It bore no signature, but bears remembering.

Find out more about the Yamara experience at:
Yamara.Com

YAMARATM and the names and likenesses of all characters therein are trademarks of Aetherco. World Rights Reserved. Used by express permission of Aetherco.

This story originally appeared in Issue #0.7 of Radio Free WYHTL, the newsletter of Where Yamara Has To Live

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