Hey good lookin'. Huh. Most people recognise me. I'm Gianna. Worked a spell in the Chitus Theatre, back when you could leave your house without being followed by Templar secret police. I was Shavronne in An Axiom Tragedy. I played Dialla, the Gemling Queen, in Purity Tales, and the fair lady Merveil in Daresso and Merveil, for which I was very nearly nominated to receive a 'Tario.
No? Not a fan of the theatre, I suppose? That's-... That's fine. That act of my story has drawn to a close anyway, but I'm always looking for the next great role. Nothing's quite so thrilling as immersing oneself among the people, and seeing if you can, in fact, pass for the real deal.
I wasn't exactly planning on a life of crime. Yes, most in my profession do end up begging or stealing, but my career was on the up and up, until I was accused of Pecuniary Lust and exiled.
It just so happens that the Boss, cultural elite that he is, saw me in a few shows. He must have noticed my ability to fully embody any role, to become not just the character, but the person. I'm told he was a practitioner of the performing arts himself, in his youth. Obviously, he has a keen eye for talent.
I'm dying to perform a dialogue with him. Good material is hard to come by 'round here, but I did find a piece by a Bestel floating in the foam. Not particularly engaging, and a frankly unhealthy focus on the female lead's figure in the stage direction, but it's something, at least.
Alas, Kurai maintains the Boss' schedule, and I'm told he is booked up indefinitely. Imagine having lucrative work for months to come! A performer can only dream...
Just my luck! Of course you are put on my contract. Do you even know anything about the theatre? The cursed play? The one no performer should ever name, lest they end up consumed by the phantom that haunts it?
It's said that the play's author wrote it while high as an eagle on ergot. He didn't know, of course, and died upon penning the final word.
The play, whose name I shall not utter, is about a beautiful young lady who finds herself swept into a world beneath the sands of the Vastiri, where the dead have built a city of bones. She marries a statue, becomes the queen of this city, and then her skin peels off and a hundred little versions of her spill out. Completely nutty.
It's locked up with the rest of the works deemed distasteful by the Templar, and I simply must have it.
Marilla turns to her beloved's unmoving face and speaks the blessed words:
Marilla: Two into one, one into many, to churn the world beneath the crashing dunes.
Marilla's body shatters like porcelain, each fragment becoming Marilla. Each new Marilla shatters again, and again, each fragment becomes whole. The stage is flooded by Marilla. All is Marilla. The statue rises and exits stage right.
Wow. I mean... wow. That was something! Right? That... that was something, right?
I think I might just stick to the unbanned works for a little while, actually. Thanks, though.
You're handling my contract again? I thought I specifically requested someone with a working understanding of the arts! Fine, fine. It's just a job. Well, I'm sure you've done the necessary reading, but I'm dying to gab a bit.
When I worked with the Theopolis Thespian Society, there was an old, old, old woman. I mean, at least forty. She was our seamstress. She created these costumes that looked just like the real thing. Blackguard uniforms, Templar outfits, you name it. Well, one day she vanished, but the costumes remained.
I want to get ahold of that old woman's costumes. They were just so... believable! With those, it'll be much easier to slip into a role undetected.
I don't know how she did it. Each outfit so perfectly matches the original piece. It's almost as if-...what!? Property of Templar Logistics Office!? They're the genuine article! That woman stole real bloody uniforms! Well, I guess that explains why they always looked so genuine. It also explains why we didn't ever see her again.