Find the Beginning

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Find the Beginning is a story and performance by Alosaka, based on a Tehir legend about the end of the world. It incorporates themes of recurrence, folly and the search for meaning. Find the Beginning was first performed at the 25th Annual Bardfest during the preliminary rounds.

Performance at the 25th Annual House Aspis Bardfest

(Dremerie slips her fingers into her Bag of Tricks, pulling out a bright white paper, covered in black and purple runes. She opens it carefully, squinting to read the name.)

Dremerie recites melodically:

Come entertain us!"

Mekimin squeaks oddly.

Khobra's cheeks flush with a deep shade of red.

Mythlore hoots.

Darksin applauds.

Adalfuns lets out a cheer!

Seomanthe lets loose a loud whoop of delight.

Roelon cackles!

Xanthium slowly empties her lungs.

Leafiara applauds Alosaka loudly.

Cyar applauds Alosaka.

You applaud.

Hycis applauds Alosaka.

Fahlo turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Meril applauds.

Mekimin turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Leifa applauds.

Warptoph turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Roelaren applauds Alosaka.

Berkana applauds.

Mearyn turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Chemaine turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Khobra glances at Alosaka.

Traiva applauds politely.

You whistle at Alosaka!

Imrys applauds Alosaka.

Kobane applauds.

Regwen grins at Soliere.

Alosaka carefully places some soft white linen robes on the floor.

Roelon turns to Alosaka and cheers!

You applaud.

Tolwynn applauds Alosaka.

Menio turns to Alosaka and cheers!

Xanthium applauds Alosaka.

Regwen applauds Alosaka.

Bbee applauds.

Alosaka carefully places a bone-inlaid ora headband on the floor.

Faerinn applauds Alosaka.

Warptoph whistles at Alosaka!

Xanthium smiles at Alosaka.

Mearyn applauds.

The deep blue glow leaves Allyria.

Lylia applauds Alosaka.

Bbee applauds Alosaka.

Alosaka slowly empties his lungs.

Akenna applauds politely.

You gaze thoughtfully at a bone-inlaid ora headband.

Guarrin nods encouragingly at Alosaka.

Khobra applauds Alosaka.

Alosaka closes his eyes for a moment.

Guarrin applauds.

Alosaka bows.

Alosaka distantly says, "I wandered, one day, to the Sea of Fire's shore, beyond which the Tehir dwell. The Empire's guards raised their shields and spears, and shouted to me from behind their walls, 'Beware, beware!'."

Alosaka blinks.

Najeira raises an eyebrow.

Alosaka tilts his head up.

Alosaka loudly says, "I called to them, 'I am looking for a story!'."

Soliere tilts her head toward Alosaka, examining him intently as the tip of one ear twitches briefly.

Leifa is admiring Alosaka.

Alosaka says, "'Beware, beware!,' they shouted again. 'Only ghosts and death walk these sands.'."

Xanthium smiles at Alosaka.

Alosaka says, "And nothing more they said. I wandered past, beneath their frightened gaze, into the sands."

(Alosaka steps lightly across the stage, from the right wing to near the center, where the crumpled robe lays unfolded on the floor. He stops, his foot just inches from touching it, and looks down.)

Leifa slyly says, "Not wearing much, but I am not complainin."

Hycis leans forward.

Alosaka says, "I met another wanderer, in that foreign land. A ghost, a slip of moonlight caught on a yucca's spiny leaves. I asked him for a story, and he whispered, 'Find the beginning.'."

Hycis agrees with Leifa.

Asben stares at Leifa.

Alosaka picks up some soft white linen robes.

Talinvor chuckles.

>l alos
You see Alosaka the Healer.
He appears to be a Human from Seareach.
He is average height. He appears to be very young. He has long-lashed chestnut eyes and nut brown skin. He has short, unruly brown hair. He has a delicate face and a small nose.
He has an inked leafing acantha vine crawling across a trellis of slender bones on his arm, and some lines of dark-inked scripture on his wrist.
He is in good shape.
He is holding some soft white linen robes in his right hand.
He is wearing some dark silver-buttoned breeches, and some supple tawny doeskin slippers with bone beadwork.

Alosaka works his way into some soft white linen robes.

Hycis smiles.

Alosaka says, "Further I wandered into the wastes. And as night fell I came across an arid stream, cracked and lifeless. And there I met another traveller in that foreign land. He was a pile of bones, as dry as that river, with one arm outstretched, pointing the way. Beside him, drawn in the sand, was written: 'Find the beginning.'."

Berkana shakes her head.

Leifa furrows her brow.

You lean forward.

Shiril looks at Leifa and hums.

(Alosaka walks from the center of the stage to the left, where the headband rests. He leans down and snags it with one finger.)

Alosaka picks up a bone-inlaid ora headband.

Alosaka puts a bone-inlaid ora headband on his head.

Alosaka says, "Further I wandered into the wastes. And there rose before me an ancient forest, seared into ash. Black trunks rose like tombstones from the gray and blasted sands."

Lylia gazes with interest at Alosaka.

(Alosaka walks in a meandering path back to the center of the stage, one hand raised beside him, brushing against unseen giants. The hem of his robe drags in the ashes of Juspera's dollhouse fire, staining it with dark streaks.)

You furrow up your face and wince.

Alosaka says, "At last, I found the wandering Tehir. And they were not warriors to beware. They loved peace and hated violence. A full year I spent with them, and not once did I witness any conflict or quarrel. No fights over spilled mead or unfaithful women."

Faerinn grins.

Alosaka says, "I saw, once, a young shepherd who fell asleep on a hill while stargazing, and woke to find a colony of anxious blister ants crawling across his legs. Rather than beat them off with stones, he suffered the pain of their countless footsteps, and used a blade of the softest willow to brush them away, one by one."

(Alosaka holds out his arm, perfectly still, and with his other hand gently touches his fingers to it, as though allowing some unseen insect to walk up into his palm. With exaggerated care he leans down and deposits his little friend in the grass.)

Xanthium smiles at Alosaka.

Alosaka says, "In the watch-grass fires they set each night, they made a game of discerning fantastic beasts whose shapes were traced by flickering flames. I joined their games, and they let me work the bellows that stoked the fires, sending clouds of embers miles into the desert sky. They glittered like stars."

Alosaka tilts his head up.

Alosaka says, "They taught me stories, around that camp fire. Stories about the legendary Mir Ul'din, who first stole fire from the gods for the mortal races. About the Ur-Daemon princess Traces-of-Snow-in-the-Void, who taught the young Lorminstra the names of every mortal who would ever die of cold."

You settle your gaze on Alosaka, watching him intently.

Alosaka says, "But none of these were my story. For all they helped me, I still could not find the beginning."

Alosaka closes his eyes for a moment.

Alosaka says, "And I asked them, once, when my year with them was nearly complete, why they set the fires at every sunset, no matter how hot the summer night."

Hycis looks thoughtfully at Alosaka.

Khobra glances at Alosaka.

Alosaka says, "And they told me a new story. Of Nurul abu Sana, a shaman so ancient that only his name remains. His name, and a prophecy he delivered one night in the grips of a terrible fever."

(Alosaka hunches down and wraps his arms around his knees, shivering. He wipes an arm across his forehead, then gazes up with glassy eyes into the bright stage lights.)

Alosaka says, "He saw a monster that walked among the stars. A monster in the shape of a raven, whose wings stretched from horizon to horizon, and each of her thousand wings bore a thousand feathers, each of which bore a thousand eyes, and these eyes were as countless as the stars."

Alosaka says, "The monster drank enmity and violence, and her infinite eyes watched the world, searching the souls of the mortals below for the spark of hatred. And every thousand years, when she was gorged and rotten and bursting full of darkness, she came upon the world as a great mass of fire, igniting everything."

(Alosaka lowers his face between his knees and covers his head with his arms, cowering from some unseen wrath.)

Hycis winces.

Alosaka says, "Only by forswearing the emotions she consumed, and distracting her eyes every night with the light of countless embers, could her reckoning be delayed."

Alosaka says, "And then my year was done, and I packed my meager things, and went back into the desert."

Alosaka says, "I wandered into a forest, lush and green, with trees like giants rising toward the sky."

Alosaka says, "And as I looked up the sun grew hot and fierce and burning, and the heavens wept with fire, and all around me the trees turned to ash. And when I woke, all was as I saw before: gray, blasted sands, with black trunks rising from them."

(Alosaka traces his fingers in the ashes on the stage.)

Alosaka says, "And still I wandered, until I found a dried-out desert arroyo, and I laid my weary bones to rest in it."

Alosaka takes a bone-inlaid ora headband off his head.

Alosaka carefully places a bone-inlaid ora headband on the floor.

Alosaka says, "And, relieved of half my burdens, I wandered further, searching for my story. And I found a stubborn yucca with spindly leaves, and I hung my spirit on it to rest."

Xanthium glances at a bone-inlaid ora headband.

Alosaka works his way out of some soft white linen robes.

Alosaka carefully places some soft white linen robes on the floor.

Xanthium nods slowly.

Alosaka says, "And still I wandered, looking for my story, to the Sea of Fire's shore. And there I found the Empire's guardsmen. 'Beware, beware!' they shouted, as they always had. As they always would. 'Only ghosts and death walk these sands.'."

Squinting slightly, Faerinn focuses his full attention upon a bone-inlaid ora headband.

Seomanthe looks thoughtfully at Alosaka.

Alosaka kneels down.

Alosaka says, "Walk back with me, friends. Walk back with me through our history, through our countless wars, through our love of death. Sift your hands with me through these sands, through this dust of empires. To the start of our story."

Soliere is admiring Alosaka.

(Alosaka reaches down and cups an invisible handful of sand, letting it sift through his fingers to the floor.)

Alosaka says, "Help me find the beginning."

Alosaka bows.