A Muse's Day (Ahante)
So, why are Muses always so cheerful? I mean, drama includes tragedy, music often expresses sorrow, and many great artists have succumbed to depression. Yet, in the many Yuris I have lived in the kingdoms, the most downcast Muses I have met are merely those who are having a bad day, nothing that a box of chocolate and a witty limerick won't fix. So what's your secret?
I decided to investigate. A quick visit to Onyx to dye my hair an embarassingly 'happy' shade of blue, and I'm ready. I hide my Shamanic talismans, plaster a grin on my face, and make my way to the Buya theater. The muse there kicks me out.
Right...well...what else can I do? Oh yes...a sinister chuckle escapes me as I return to Onyx for a more suitable hairstyle. I start advertising for a Muse to help in a Moon ritual. It's not long before I'm speaking with an ever-cheerful Muse in our Valley, ecstatic to be playing music for the ritual.
What's that? Confused? You've never seen a ritual dance this complicated before? Oh, it's just a trick I've developed to capture more moonlight. Hmm? The chanting? Oh, don't worry, I'm just calling my familiar spirit to help.
Oh, it's getting dark? Well, it is midnight, after all...but she's already unconscious. I grin, and lay her body on an altar. A quick ritual, and her body stands up, while mine, in serpent's form, lies unstirring beneath a nearby bush.
There, this should suffice. I chuckle to myself, and the muse's musical laughter rings out. Perfect. And just in time for their Dinner Theater. If I remember correctly, she's a serving girl there.
Charms jingling, I make my way to the theater, trying to look graceful. There are already people entering, and I simply file in with them, looking around for my fellow servers. They're seating people, laughing and flirting the whole time. Sure, I can do that.
I grab the rogue next to me, almost knocking him off balance, and pull him to a table. Right, what next? Oh yes! I give him a big flirty kiss on the cheek, and take off for the next victim. Now that wasn't so bad.
A dozen kisses later, and I'm ready to murder the next one that tries to kiss me back. Maybe I should have chosen a less attractive Muse....
But it's alright, because the show's starting. They'll be too busy watching the antics onstage to try to harass this Shamanic Muse.
I've barely begun daydreaming about what might happen if a so-called Muse suddenly summoned a horde of skeletons in the middle of the theater when a huge platter of grilled beef is shoved into my arms, followed immediately by a dozen flasks of some strangely colored, fizzling drink hung around my neck. I stagger under the load.
"Go on, they're waiting!" Someone is urging me on, but I can't even see where I'm going! I glance to one side, and see a woman looking at me strangely. Uh-oh, I must be doing something wrong.
Blindly, I step forward, praying to whatever spirits might hear that I not trip and spill everything. Fortunately, I manage not to embarrass myself, and I make my way back to the other servers swinging an empty platter.
Oh, okay. A basket of apples and more fizzy drinks. On it. I stumble across the grass. All the other Muses are cheerfully lugging food back and forth, bowing and smiling at the guests. Why? How? I don't understand....
Then Hajime whispers me, saying they need help with costuming. Released at last! I drop the last of the apples in a heap behind a building, and dash towards the cool darkness of backstage. In the dim light a zibong greets me, and I recoil in shock. What do these Muses do in the privacy of their own rooms?? But then the zibong takes out hairbrushes and jars of facial paint that look just like Onyx's...a flurry of movement, and another Muse's hair is properly arrayed to look like...Lasahn! I watch, transfixed, as the spirit repeats the procedure with another Muse...he turns into M'hul!
Nearby, a third actor is struggling to get into his armor. Obviously, Muses don't wear armor much. Well, it's been years since I've done it myself but...with a dexterity that surprises me, I tug the shoulder plates into position, and tie the whole thing together. He gives me a look of pure gratitude as I push him towards the curtain entrance, where Hajime is frantically waving for him.
Haj grins at me, and motions for me to join him. Together, we peer out at the backs of our actors as they recite their lines, dance about, and mock-fight with wooden sabers painted to look like steel blades. I look beyond them, and see the audience, enthralled by the drama enfolding before them.
Then it's a scene change, and everything is chaos backstage. Actors recite their next lines to themselves as we toss costumes and props all over. Then suddenly, it's quiet again, as the last few characters file onto the stage. Knotted string and discarded armor lies everywhere, and the fake swords are tumbled in a haphazard stack in one corner. But outside, everything looks perfect, and the audience laughs and gasps at all the appropriate times as if they, too, are on cue.
Almost too soon, it's over. The actors line up, and the audience applauds, cheering and whistling their appreciation. All that approval sweeps over me, almost overwhelmingly, and I have to plop down into a pile of silk scarves.
So that's why you do it...all that work, all that chaos, just to appear effortless in all your endeavors for the community. There is a sense of comradarie in the theater that I have found nowhere else. I think I finally understand.
I leave the Muse sleeping in her body amidst the silks, and return to my own serpentine form. She has her bustling life amid all her companions and friends, and I have my own path to follow. But at least now I've seen what lies behind the perfection of the Muse on stage, and will be happy to offer chocolates whenever needed.
//Liberate Tuus Animus\\