|Luchiano Forelli||MC & Bard||Rob Gill|
|Pelinar Ap Lloyd||Clown||Michael Switzer|
|Irma||Fire Eater & Juggler||Sally Elphick|
|Nash||Animal Trainer & Clown||John Cornford|
|Hero||Trapeze Artist & Contortionist||Melissa Cassidy|
|Vladimir, the Giant||Strongman, Axe Juggler||Bruce Cassidy|
|Not Miranda||Fortune Teller/Mystic||Jacqui Nelmes|
|Boris the Bear||NPC|
It was a time of great civil unrest in our great land of Markesh. Trouble makers where inciting the normally happy and contented folk of this nation. Rumours of a Pict invasion were running fast and wild. Everyone looked to the palace for a direction in these troubled times. Believing the Baron Targellon to be behind all of these actions, King Andrews sent his only son and heir to investigate. Being Prince Eno’s page boy, I naturally accompanied him.
From our good friend Wizard Lorenzo in Lower Yesil, we were able to obtain a good disguise and infiltrated the guard troops at Fort Targellon. Here we learnt many an amazing fact, not only confirming our suspicions, but realising our fears as well. But before we were able to act upon this information, my Prince was discovered!
By an evil curse lifted from the Tome of the Tiger, an ancient Greek book, My Prince was transformed into a great tiger... a White Tiger, of which this country is famed for. Although to that day I would have called them mythical.
My Prince escaped due to his newly acquired tigerish great strength, and fled the Fort Targellon for the Cardinal Ranges. The white tiger instinct drawing him to their natural home and habitat. I too, managed to escape before being captured, by pretending to be a scullion maid. It was to be the first of many times that the female garb adorned me.
Although penniless, I made good time getting back to White Crests, my Princes city, until I was beset by rogues and beaten senseless. I took a bad wound to my leg, which poisoned my blood and affected my senses. I wandered deliriously for days, desperate to get home but not finding a familiar landmark.
I had lost track of what was reality and what was an hallucination when I found myself walking up the flagstones to the White Crests castle from which brilliant gold light shone from every window. I felt as if I was at the gates of Heaven. I vividly remember my frustration and rage as I stood in the pouring rain, unable to lift the huge brass knockers that adorn the great gates. With a final effort I managed a feeble knocking. As I fell, exhausted, I was sure that no-one had heard me, and that I would die on the doorstep of my Princes home.
The last thing I saw as I drifted into blackness was the great gates opening and an angel looking down upon me. I cherished the vision of her beauty as I fell into the nothingness of unconsciousness.
During the course of the next few days I healed quickly, due mainly to the salves and potions made for me by Not Miranda, the "angel" who had opened the gates for me and forever earnt a place in my heart.
I was befriended by the members of the circus:
|Luciano;||Ring master, great story teller, bard and leader, wise and sagely.|
|Pelinar;||Witty, comic, always with a jest on his lips and a red bulb on his nose.|
|Vladimir;||Giant-like, the strongest man alive, likes nothing better than to eat a whole roast pig, drink a keg of ale and then bash a few heads together.|
|Hero;||Nimble, agile and acrobatic, can throw daggers with the deadliest of accuracy's.|
|Not Miranda;||Mysterious, alluring, very knowledgeable in the Lore of herbs and the mysteries of life.|
|Nash;||Quiet, reserved, fiercely loyal to his friends - man or animal.|
|Boris the Bear;||Warm, affectionate, wants to give everyone a hug.|
The Mayor wanted the circus to cage the White Tiger, after my Prince had had to maim two guards that had tried to "capture" him. The members of the circus quickly and nobly offered to capture the Tiger. The Mayor's offer of a weeks free board at the Castle had nothing to do with their decision, I am sure.
Once the circus arrived at the castle, Nash uncannily led them directly to where the Tiger was, in the wine cellars under the castle. There then came a great chase through the corridors and secret passages of the castle, until the brave members of the circus ran my Prince to ground in his study. My Prince, realising he was cornered, tried to make these strangers realise who he really was, and attempted to play his piano in his study. No-one quite remembers what he played, but I believe it was the old ragtime song "Catch That Tiger!"
Nash then divined who the White Tiger really was and by means unknown, my Prince managed to tell the Circus his tale. My Prince then agreed to be caged by the circus until they could restore him to his natural state.
The circus introduced the castle folk to the tradition of the Blue Bowl, which is set beside each person at the table and exchanged with other persons between courses. Hero seemed quite intent on gathering all of the castles exquisite blue bowls onto the table during the meal. The custom is now quite popular and practiced at most festive meals at my Princes court.
In the following week while I recovered, the members of the Circus spent long hours of research in my Princes extensive library, looking for a cure for my Princes ailment. Eventually one of the searchers happened upon the appropriate page that mysteriously fell out of one of the books. It was found that the book was written in Greek and the page was actually a page from the fabled Tome of the Tiger. After the members of the Circus translated the script, they found that it in fact told them how to remove the Curse of the White Tiger - the very curse that had been placed upon my Prince. Truly I believe it to be an act of the Gods for it to be so fortuitously placed.
It was then decided that the best thing to do was to visit the great Wizard Lorenzo in Lower Yesil, who would be the best person to help the circus to look for the sacred Tigers Tear, which was necessary for removing the curse, as it fulfilled the wearers wishes. The Circus then gave a farewell Show to White Crests in the castle courtyard, and in the morning they, I, and my Prince set out for Pinot. It was decided that it would be best to disguise myself and my Prince, in case Baron Targellon had spies. My Prince was rubbed with soot and clay until he looked like a normal tiger, and I again donned my maids robes.
The Circus learnt from a messenger on route to White Crests that the King had suffered from a mysterious illness, where all of his hair had fallen out. Not Miranda was all ready to ride to the Kings aide, but it was decided that the restoration of the Prince to human form was more important.
On our way to Pinot, the Circus joined up with a merchant train, for there was a lot of highway robbery at that time, and the train had hired it's own outrider guards. While travelling through the Cardinal Ranges, the Circus and merchant train were ambushed by a large force of bandits.
Even though greatly outnumbered, the Circus bested all that came against us. Vladimir cleaving bandits in half with one sweep of his mighty axe. Hero using her dagger skills to deadly effect. The bandits were quickly routed, dropping their weapons and fleeing to the hills. The Circus collected up the spoils of victory, including a fine blade that was obviously a Knights long sword. Luciano nobly decided to return it to it's rightful owner, once he got it off Vladimir.
At Pinot, the Circus spent an enjoyable evening at the local tavern. There we met Elder Rado, the wise man at the village. He told us of many facts relating to the three National Icons, symbolised by the three stars on the Markesh crest: the Tigers Tear, the Tome of the Tiger and the Valley of the Mist. It is these three sacred relics that are the legacy of the Realm of the White Tiger.
I retired early to bed due to my leg wound opening during the travel, but there must have been lots of revelry and drinking that night as several of the Circus swear that they were visited by a Goddess who showed them many wondrous visions including the Valley of the Mist. I believe that they were only Hallucinations, and the hangovers the next morning were certainly real. Whether the tale of Vladimir losing an arm wrestle to a dwarf is real I don't think we will ever know.
The Circus by now knew that the Valley of the Mist was somewhere along the Thousand Foot Cliffs, but still did not know where the Tigers Tear was.
The Circus then set off for the Monastery of the Order of Saint Martin, who we later found out was the Patron Saint of the Flatulent. The monastery was just off the main road to Yesil and is a converted Fort, completely circular with a moat and a port callus.
The Circus was met by Abbot Tware, who was the leader of the Monastery, and were giver a tour of the Monastery. The Tour ended with the Circus being shown the Monastery's private collection of rare religious relics, a rare treat indeed.
We were given a nice meal of legume stew with the rest of the monks and were just about to retire early to bed when it was noticed that Hero was missing. Not Miranda had a premonition that Hero was in trouble and so the Circus searched the whole of the Monastery. We had just given up when Nash said a mouse had told him that Hero was being held captive underneath the Monastery.
The Circus then searched for a secret passageway, finding it behind one of the alter tapestries. We then crept noiselessly down the dimly lit stairwell. At the bottom we found a desecrated crucible and a large chamber with an occult ritual in progress!
Looking from the ante of the chamber, we saw 12 monks standing in a semicircle around an alter which had Hero tied to it. Abbot Tware was chanting over her wearing a hideous mask and holding a wicked dagger with a curved blade. Looming over this scene was a huge twelve foot tall stone idol depicting the evil god Sodoff. The Circus obviously had to act quickly to stop Hero being sacrificed.
Several of the brave troupe nimbly crept forward hiding behind the columns supporting the chamber roof, while Vladimir strode forward and brushed monks aside as he entered the semi-circle. It was at this time that the great statue started to move! We had obviously interrupted the evil ritual not a moment too soon!
Hero was lifted off the alter by Nash as Vladimir kept the Monks occupied. It was at this time that Not Miranda realised that the statue was being bought to life, and that the pendant around it's neck was none other than the Tigers Tear. Not Miranda tried to control the statue herself and thus entered into a battle of Wills with the evil god Sodoff. She managed to stay the statue from hurling the stone alter at Hero and Nash long enough for Pelinar to climb up it's back and cut the leather thong holding the Tiger's Tear. The Statue was instantly turned back to solid stone, and the monks came out of their ritualistic trance state and turned angrily on the Circus. Pelinar threw the Tiger's Tear to Not Miranda, who fervently wished for us all to be out of danger. Through the power of the Amulet, all of the Circus and their belongings were deposited on the road, a half hour from the Monastery.
With the Tiger's Tear and the page from the Tome of the Tiger in their possession, all the Circus had to do was find the fabled Valley of Mist, and they could make my Prince whole again.
At dawn, the party and I descended into the fabled valley. Into the murky depths we bravely trod, the mist closing around us like a shroud. At the bottom of the valley, the Circus found a statue of a White Tiger, and immediately followed the instructions found on the loose page found from the Tome of the Tiger. Circling my Prince and the statue, we adorned my Prince with the Tiger's Tear and chanted the mantra "Tiger, Tiger" written on the ancient scroll.
In a flash of arcane light, my Prince was restored to his true form, and the White Tiger statue came to life, wearing the Tiger's Tear. It bounded out of the circle and disappeared into the mist, as if it never had existed. I was overcome with tears of joy to see My Prince returned to me, whole and safe.
King Andrews health improved miraculously with the return of his son, and the curse making his hair fall out was lifted. My Prince then raised an army and we lay siege to Fort Targellon, where Baron Targellon lived. We eventually conquered the Keep only to find it empty. Guessing that the Baron had fled north, my Prince led the army to the Pict border, where we routed the Pict invading force we found assembling there. Unfortunately Baron Targellon was not found.
The Circus arrived at the capital to a Heroes welcome and a day of celebration throughout the kingdom was decreed. The Circus members were each given the key to the kingdom, which some used liberally until it was taken off them, but that is another story.
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