The Curio Folio v. VII

Author: Crassius Curio
Released In:

This text was first published on Douglas Goodall’s Substack on 2/21/24

Dramatis Personae

CONUS CURASSO, a Dashing, Ribald Adventurer

VIROME, the Beautiful and Desirable Princess of Shimmerene

DUMBUK URVON, a worshipper of the Mad God

KISSI, a poor Khajiit servant

Scene I

The grand ballroom of Shimmerene. VIROME is seated at the head of a large table and CONUS is at the foot, closest to the audience. Extras, dressed as ALTMER NOBLES, occupy the remaining seats. Their meal is near an end with plates empty and only wine being served.

CONUS gazes upon VIROME with plain desire. CONUS addresses the audience.

CONUS: Have you ever seen such beauty? Such reserve? And a princess as well! Of course she is a hopeless, unattainable dream for an adventurer from Cyrodiil such as myself. You know what they say about the High Elves. When you finally pierce the ice, there is a flood of desire. Oh, to experience that for myself!

KISSI enters and begins clearing the table. Extras begin saying their goodbyes and leaving the table. As seats closer to VIROME are emptied, CONUS sneakily gets up and takes the closer seat. Continue once CONUS is seated next to VIROME.

KISSI spills a goblet on the pants of one of the ALTMER NOBLES. KISSI takes out a cloth from her apron and begins slowly wiping the wine off.

KISSI: Oh, forgive me, Most Highest Elf, for Kissi is just a poor Khajiit who can’t control her hands. Kissi is so very sorry. Please, Most Handsome Elf, Kissi will do anything to make you forgive poor Kissi.

VIROME watches and snorts in disdain, dramatically turning away from the spectacle and turning her nose up.

ORCHESTRA: To Aetherius, softly.

CONUS: Pardon a mere adventurer’s curiosity, but tell me what upsets you so?

VIROME: The Khajiit.

CONUS: And what is it about the Khajiit?

VIROME: They are animals. Totally without morals, self-control, or any sense of decorum.

CONUS: I quite agree.

VIROME: Can you imagine doing something like that in public? Fondling a man’s…pants.

VIROME (breathing faster): Abasing yourself like that. Offering yourself to a stranger, for such a meager reward?

CONUS: No, I…can’t imagine.

CONUS looks into the distance, imagining.

KISSI and the ALTMER NOBLE exit, KISSI continuing to plead with the Altmer.

VIROME (gazing longingly at KISSI and the ALTMER NOBLE as they leave): Having no shame, no position to uphold, no reputation? Free to give in to your deepest desires?

CONUS (eagerly, leaning forward): And you, princess? Do you not sometimes…give in?

VIROME (looks Conus up and down): No. No, no, no, of course not. What are you suggesting? If I were a Khajiit…but if you’ll excuse me, I must…retire.

VIROME gets up and hastily exists.

CONUS (alone now on stage, rubs his hands together and addresses the audience): So, she is not as icy as she appears. But she has such a fascinating view of the Khajiit! One that I would like to fully explore. And I think I know a way to do just that. I’ll need to find the nearest shrine of the Mad God.

CONUS exists.

Close curtains.

Scene II

Shrine of Sheogorath. small Statue of Sheogorath. DUMBUK URVON stands in front of the statue. Various worshippers frolic nude, rock back and forth in a corner, pull at their unkempt hair, etc.

CONUS enters, wearing only a cloak of raven feathers. CONUS carries a wooden case with runes carved on it, a small cage of live toads (or similar), and a (stuffed) shaved cat. He approaches the statue and DUMBUK.

ORCHESTRA: The Stars that Boil My Hands or similarly chaotic piece.

DUMBUK: So it’s the n’wah, come back to claim his reward.

CONUS: Yes, I’ve done everything the Mad God asked.

DUMBUK: Gambolpuddy is yours.

DUMBUK pulls out a black glove and hands it to CONUS. Instead of taking it, CONUS puts down the cage, cat, and everything else. CONUS opens the wooden case, holding it out to DUMBUK.

DUMBUK: The outlander will take the glove.

CONUS: Ah, no if the great one didn’t mention it, I am but a messenger, meant to deliver it to another. I must not touch it myself.

DUMBUK: Wealth beyond measure, outlander.

DUMBUK places the glove in the wooden case and CONUS closes it. CONUS bows to the shrine and exits.

Close curtains.

Scene III

The grand ballroom of Shimmerene, empty except for KISSI and a few servants, sweeping, dusting, whatever servants do when you’re not admiring them.

ORCHESTRA: any inoffensive court tune.

CONUS enters, looks around a bit and walks up to KISSI.

CONUS: Perfect! Kissi, isn’t it?

KISSI: Yes, my lord adventurer, what can poor Kissi do for you?

CONUS: You’re just the Khajiit I wanted. I was hoping you might…clean my glove.

KISSI: Is…is that all?

CONUS opens the wooden case, displaying the glove.

KISSI (disappointed): Very well.

KISSI takes out a cloth and begins cleaning the glove.

KISSI (in a gruff voice): Need to practice more. What day is today? By Malacath’s tusks, what am I doing here? I should be in Orsinium.

KISSI drops the glove and exits. CONUS bends over and carefully scoops the glove back into the wooden case.

CONUS: Ah, that was close! I wouldn’t want to think I was a Khajiit myself. Now I must get this to the princess tonight.

Close curtains.

Scene IV

Same setup as Scene I: The grand ballroom of Shimmerene. VIROME is seated at the head of a large table and CONUS is near the foot, closest to the audience. Extras, dressed as ALTMER NOBLES, occupy the remaining seats. Their meal is near an end with plates empty and only wine being served.

VIROME glances at CONUS frequently.

CONUS uses the same trick as before, moving into empty seats as people leave until he is next to VIROME.

CONUS: Princess, I would like–

VIROME (rising out of her seat): You again? Explain to me why an Imperial has been invited to dine with us?

CONUS (gets on his knees and opens the wooden case): Princess Virome, I ask but one thing before I depart forever. Let me give you a gift. A beautiful glove, one of a kind, crafted by a master.

VIROME struggles to decided whether she should leave or take the glove, turning back and forth slightly a couple times.

VIROME: Th-thank you, adventurer.

VIROME takes the glove.

ORCHESTRA: Begin To Aetherius, slowly and softly at first, but louder and faster as the scene continues.

CONUS: My princess, if you would but permit me–

VIROME (looking around, a bit dazed): Princess? Princess? Oh, Conus, you shouldn’t go through all this trouble for poor Virome.

CONUS: It was a little bit of trouble. The cat and all the toads and birds…

VIROME (tugging at her dress): Oh, just look at this fancy dress and this whole ballroom. Can you afford such…roleplay as a mere adventurer?

CONUS (standing, visibly aroused): Whatever you want is yours, Princess.

[Margin Note: check the inflatable to make sure it still works.]

VIROME: Oh, there are so many things I want. So many things, for so many years.

VIROME leaps up onto the table and begins dancing, kicking the plates and goblets off. The remaining ALTMER NOBLES stare at her in horror.

VIROME: Oh, poor Virome is dancing on the table! What a sight she must be! What a disappointment to everyone!

VIROME trips and falls on the table and begins tearing her dress off. She reaches her arms to CONUS.

VIROME: Forgive poor Virome, a mere Khajiit with so little self-control. Oh, Conus, low-born, Imperial Conus. ETIQUETTE! MANNERS! MODESTY! TAKE ME NOW!

CONUS leaps onto the table and obliges.

[Margin Note: as usual, check with the local authorities. Stricter areas are easier to fake, and the audience expects less. Usually there is a brief close curtains here.]

ORCHESTRA: Finish To Aetherius at the right moment. Obviously.

CONUS: Oh, Virome. Thank you, thank you. That was everything I imagined it could be.

VIROME: You are too kind to a poor servant like Virome.

The NOBLES and SERVANTS who stood around to watch are now leaving.

VIROME (handing Conus the glove): Your glove, master.

CONUS (sits up and takes it absent mindedly): Thank you.

VIROME pulls the ruins of her dress partly over herself and exits.

CONUS sits contentedly, staring off into space.

CONUS (looks down at the glove in his hand): Oh, no! Now I will think I’m an Altmer! Wait, I don’t feel any different at all.

SHEOGORATH descends majestically via a crane, holding out one hand and swinging his cane in the other.

SHEOGORATH: The glove, if you please.

CONUS hands him the glove.

CONUS: Of course, but why didn’t it work on me?

THE KINSLAYER WHO STOKES THE EMPTY FORGE: Dumbuk was such a wonderful fellow. He so longed to worship me and let his thrilling madness ring forth. He did amazing things with pig guts, not to mention sailcloth, and that true work of art at the Feast of the Dead with the statue of Kyne. Ah, if only I had a hundred such followers! But he believed, deep down, that only Dunmer worship Princes such as myself. And so he hid his true face until the glove freed him.

THE SKOOMA CAT WHO LEAPS AT SHADOWS: Kishni hated her job and her status and longed for bloodshed and war. But she believed herself weak and inferior, fit only to serve others, until the glove inspired her. And now look at her, Kishni gra-None, the Mad Warlord of Pale Pass.

THE HARSH BUT FAIR TEACHER OF THE USELESSLY CREATIVE: From the very start Queen Virwen wanted you to tear her clothes off — oh, yes, she was already my child, for her tastes — and make love on the dining table. Especially in front of her disapproving peers. But she believed that such behavior was beneath her until the glove freed her. You needn’t go to all that effort as a young man, although I enjoyed the spectacle. Mortals rarely understand my precious gifts, but Kishni and Virwen have far more interesting, if a bit shorter, lives. Not to mention how content and distracted the King of Shimmerene is these days.

CRASSIUS: Then I won’t go mad?

THE COMFORTABLE TRUSTWORTHY BANKER (checking his pocketwatch, distracted): Oh, you are not mad, Crassius. Merely selfish and immoral. A dull and ordinary man.

CRASSIUS looks out at the audience with an expression of failure and disappointment.

Curtains! Curtains! Curtains! Theaters always have such lovely, intact, flammable curtains! No need for the crane again, I shall make my own way.

[Hastily scribbled note: What was I drinking? I don’t recall writing the last half of this scene last night. This isn’t how I planned to end it. Sheogorath isn’t even in this play. Conus is jaunty and bold! Neither dull nor ordinary! And I need to make extra sure I check all the names. Double-triple-quadruple-check for real names. Elysanna suing me after The Three Blushing Roses was enough. Scene IV may need a complete rewrite.]

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