Returning to the academy the next day, Damir approaches the secretary again and asks about their request to speak with the head of the Transmutation department. Upon hearing that this request was denied, Damir sinks slightly deeper into his depression. He decides to try a last-ditch effort of simply wandering the campus looking for information about Mr. Transen. Damir suggests that Emby try to get into the library while he "bards around," trying to glean knowledge from the student body by pretending to be an incoming student whose master studied under Transen. He doesn't find any students who know about Mr. Transen, but he does find out who has been at the school the longest (faculty and staff members, that is). Since the janitor is one of those members, Damir decides to try talking to him. Damir finds out what Transen looked like (reddish-brown hair, a beard, blue eyes, human) and also discovers that Transen was one of the only professors who regularly attended student productions. After this interview, it is nearly noon, and Damir goes back to the keep-top to meet up with Emby for lunch. Emby returns a few minutes later looking completely dejected; she had no luck getting into the library, and in fact, she embarrassed herself trying to get in (by running into a barrier). This breaks Damir's heart, and as she's telling Damir about it she just seems to be getting more upset; Damir hugs her for a few minutes, and they go to lunch to try to regroup. On the way to the restaurant for lunch, they see a poster for a student play that will be put on that night and decide to try to acquire tickets, or, failing that, to sneak in. They think that if Transen is still at Mount Pon, there is a good chance he may be at the play. Until then, however, neither Damir nor Emby can really come up with a good plan for something to do with the afternoon. Emby comes up with a letter-writing campaign plan; Damir and Emby attempt to compose a letter, then copy it and send it to everyone on the faculty. This results in a mass return mailing: all letters declined. This exhausts their afternoon, however, so they head down to the ticket office just to find out that the show is sold out. Damir cases the audience in the keep-top looking for people who have spare tickets. After nearly half an hour of searching, he has only found one man who has not yet decided on a date for the play. Damir bites his lip and introduces the man (a 24-year-old orange-robe) to Emby, leaving as soon as they hit it off. Damir soon finds a dumpy first-year who also has a spare ticket; she seems reluctant to sell it, so Damir weasels into taking her to the play. He agrees to meet up with her a half hour before the play begins (at 8:30 PM, he will meet with her) and goes off to work on his song, "Tears," for a while. He returns to his date and shows her into the theatre about 15 minutes before the play is supposed to start. He excuses himself from her for a minute, explaining that he would like to talk to the musicians in the pit as he is something of a musician himself. He goes to the pit and strikes up a conversation with the musicians, then asks them if they'd like to play a piece before the play begins. Damir jumps to the stage and pretends that he belongs there, giving rounds of thanks to the band, the professors that showed up (so that he could get a look at them), and the CSSCCS (Current Student Support Council and Career Services) for sponsoring the play. He then plays along with the band, playing a tune that is rather popular on campus at the moment. He sneaks away while the band are taking their bows and returns to his seat quietly and without incident. Damir learned that the professor who heads the Illusion department is there as he is supplying the FX, and the only other member of the faculty who showed is one of the assistant deans. Damir thinks that if Transen is still on campus at all, he may be this assistant dean. Damir spends the first act of the play (until intermission) formulating a plan and watching the play; the play (described below) causes him great heartbreak, but his date seems to think it is absolutely ridiculous. During the intermission, he excuses himself to use the restroom; he waits outside until the intermission is nearly over, then sneaks over to the roped-off entrance to the Royal Box (reserved for faculty). Damir pokes the rope suspiciously, afraid that is is trapped, but nothing seems to happen. Reluctantly, he squares his shoulders, resolving to do the last thing he can possibly think of to try to get Emby an audience with someone who might help her. Damir unhooks the rope and slips past; as soon as he does, the rope animates him and grabs him, hissing like a snake and wrapping around him to entangle him. Damir slips through the rope's grasp and bolts halfway up the spiral stone staircase, far enough up to hide him from sight from both ends; then he pauses to think about what he can do. He looks up the stairs; seeing two distinct silhouettes, one human, one gnomish, he decides to use ghost sounds to send a whispered message near the human. Damir's message is as follows: "I believe that you may have been formerly known as Professor Transen, and if I am correct I have a message for you from Mr. Malicor in Gwivonna. It is urgent. If I am correct about your identity, please meet me after the show on the keep-top; I will be wearing a blue outfit with a black hat." The man does not turn around, but points at Damir; Damir pauses, afraid of what is going to happen, but when nothing seems to happen, he begins to slowly back down the stairs… right into a solid stone wall. Damir feels the wall that now blocks the stairway; assured that it does not give at all, he sits down on the stairs to wait, resigned to the fact that his fate is out of his hands. He waits out the last half of the play expecting to be banished or killed at any moment, and by the end of the play he is in complete shock. After the play ends, Damir feels a hand rest upon his shoulder; the assistant dean's voice rings in his ear, asking what is going on. Damir begins to explain, but the assistant dean stops him and says "We should discuss this in my office." The assistant dean teleports them to his office, then allows Damir to explain his story. Upon mention of Emby, the assistant dean asks where she is; Damir says that he does not know but could try to find her for him. They teleport back to the Royal Box, and Damir looks down into the audience, searching for Emby. He does not see her, but he sees his date; she is crying. He expresses sympathy for her, saying "I wish I could apologize for leaving her." Damir then suggests that they check the keep-top, and they teleport there. Not seeing Emby there either, Damir suggests that he leave a message at his hotel to have Emby report somewhere specific if she returns to the hotel; instead, the assistant dean teleports them into the hotel room, where they find Emby lying on the bed. The assistant dean takes her letter, then tests her; Damir, exhausted mentally, sits and waits. At one point, Emby is asked to cast magic missile upon the assistant dean; Damir, not entirely there mentally, absent-mindedly casts a cure light wounds on the dean afterwards, gaining him a "look." Emby is eventually granted probationary admission and is told to report to complete the first week's work; she has two days to do so. The assistant dean teleports out, and Damir gathers up Emby's stuff to take her to the dorms. Emby is pulsing with emotion, hugging Damir, shaking his hand, laughing, and crying. He walks her to the dorm and sees that she is settled in, then tells her he will wait out the two days to make sure she gets in. Damir spends those two days in his hotel room for the majority of the time (getting a hotel room at the cheap place for those two days); he only leaves to eat once per day and to get the brooch from the treasure horde appraised and sold. After the two days are up, he meets up with Emby and finds that she gained admission; she is wearing her purple robes and looks every bit a wizard. Damir tries to give her more than her share of the treasure, as he doesn't really want his share; Emby will have none of this, however, and Damir barely manages to convince her that he got more than he actually did for the brooch (got 130 GP; claimed he got 139 GP). He gives Emby her share of the treasure and promises to give the same share to Dextra, then he tries to leave; this takes nearly all afternoon, as Damir can't stand to leave Emby's sight. Emby finally notices that for the past few days, Damir has been entirely too subdued and not his usual boisterous (and oft annoying) self; she believes that this is because he will miss her, and she is more right than she knows. Uncharacteristically of Damir, he cannot contain his emotion at this farewell; he cries quite a bit and barely manages to get control back. As twilight begins to fall, he finally drags himself away; Emby returns to her dorm, and Damir heads to the secretary's desk to thank the assistant dean and the secretary, then to the Cave of Trials to exit. Damir trudges his way out through the cave, filling his waterskins on the way out, and finally exits to find Dextra waiting for him past the walls of the city. Dextra has built a small shelter for herself and has gathered some furs. Damir gives her share of the treasure to her, as well as some five days worth of trail rations that he purchased for her. Damir then asks if he can turn in, and wordlessly goes to bed. The next day, Dextra and Damir pack up camp and head out; Damir doesn't say a word unless he is spoken to. Dextra returns Damir's rapier, which he places in his newly-purchased scabbard; Damir, however, forgets to fish his dagger out of his backpack and put it back on his belt. During the walk, Damir fingers his piccolo idly for a while, then begins to play "Tears," thinking to himself about how much he misses Emby; after a couple minutes, Dextra scolds him for being whiny. Damir softly apologizes and returns his piccolo to the scroll case he purchased to store it. He then trudges on behind Dextra in silence.
Melancholy Doll, a musical play; sponsored by the CSSCCS; illusory effects provided by the Illusion Department Head
This is a play about a woman who falls in love with a wizard who ignores her to concentrate on his work. She pines for him until one day she dies in a tragic accident, falling into a well and drowning. On her way to the afterlife, she decides to see him one last time (her spirit, at least); however, the wizard is constructing a golem at the time, and his binding spells trap her spirit in the flesh of his golem. She lives as a golem for a while, happy to be near her love but more unhappy that she is trapped and controlled; she often tries to break her enchantments to do things for her, but she rarely succeeds. When she does, however, the wizard fails to notice that his spells compelling her sometimes fail. Time passes, and the wizard takes a lover; now the golem tries to sabotage their relationship on the rare occasion when she can break her enchantments, but her plans backfire on her. At the climax of the play, the wizard is creating a magical item in his lab and he and his lover are knocked unconscious by a backfiring spell; the lab catches on fire, and the wizard and his lover seem sure to die. The golem, however, manages to break the spells compelling her one last time; she uses her golem body to shield the wizard and his lover from the falling, flaming debris, and in the process she is killed. Eventually, the wizard and his lover are rescued thanks to the golem's sacrifice. The finale of the play is a musical piece sung by the spirit of the lovelorn girl who was in the golem; she sings as her spirit rises and passes into the afterlife, and the curtain then falls for the final time.
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