There is a stillness to the cold winter air in the low-town of Queldoras. A lamplighter passes house-to-house, illuminating the streets. Rats and vermin scatter from the light into the crevasses of the nearest alleyway. The alley is dark and quiet, a perfect place to hide from the light. A crumb here, a crumb there, the rats discover. Were these crumbs left by a baker who was bringing his goods into high-town? Did a high-born parade come through here? Both were very unlikely; the low-born and high-born hardly interacted with each other. No, these crumbs were placed intentionally.
A pinch of stale breadcrumbs descend from the air, sprinkled by the hands of a young Halfling. This Halfling was no older than 14 years old. Dirt stained their face. While most Halflings’ were stocky from a well-fed diet, this adolescent was not. Their clothes, like rags, were loose to their body.
Crumbs sprinkled the ground and the rats charged for them; devouring with haste. A trail of crumbs led to the farthest corner of the alley. Rat after rat charged to the farthest point of the alley. Eventually, they began to pile up. Then SWOOSH! A large linen sack flies across the ground, scooping up as many rats, as could fit in one pass.
A second Halfling, looking identical to the first, scoops up as many rats as they can; wrestling with the bag of vermin. The captured creature squirm and squeak, viciously.
“Now, into the box!” – the first Halfling calls, as they open the lid of a large wooden box.
The Halfling holding the rats moves awkwardly toward the box; for the bag of rats is almost as large as they are. The bag is tossed into the box and the first Halfling slams the lid shut. The twin pulls out a large lock and slaps it onto the box, securing the package is complete.
“I swear to you…” the first Halfling says, “one day… one day, we will get out of this town…and we won’t ever wrangle rats again! We’ll live in the fanciest house in all of Queldoras. We… we’ll live in the castle, right there!” The Halfling points to the distance, far beyond the low-town, rises a castle resting atop the Queldoran mountains.
“Don’tcha see it? I see it. I see it every night in me dreams. We’ll get there, I promise.”
The second Halfling looks up at their twin with a tear of joy in their eye, nodding in agreement, unable to speak.
– – – 10 Years Later – – –
“Come one, come all. For I guarantee you have not heard a better performance than I am about to bestow here, today!”
The first Halfling, now an adult, skips merrily to the center of town with a fiddle in hand. The town square is filled with high-born people conducting business by merchant carts. Folk pause their business, as the Halfling calls their attention. They stop what they’re doing and gather in the square. Noble-born children rush to the front of the crowd to see the performing Halfling.
The gathering town erupts into discussion: “Oh i love this little performer…” “What a wonderful thing…” “I wonder what they’ll play today…” “You know, I lost my purse the last time I saw this Halfling perform…”
The Halfling engages the town, telling stories of the King and how heroic he is to keep meddling magic users out of the Kingdom. The town responds with joy.
Another figure scuffles through the crowd, no taller than some of the children here in the square. They move quick through the crowd, not staying in one place for too long. A bandana covers their mouth, as black, as a raven’s wings. The figure makes eye contact with the performer and gives a nod, signaling to begin playing.
The Halfling performs a rhythmic melody on their fiddle. The townsfolk light up with joy, as the Halfling plays for a call and response. Moments as the song ends, the figure, now outside and to the rear of the crowd, locks eyes with the Halfling again.
“All done?” The fiddler messaged the figure.
The figure, another Halfling, winks at their twin before darting off to the shade cast by the buildings, disappearing from the town square, pockets filled with the coin of the townsfolk…
The Twins of Song & Dance are designed for partner play style. Two players will work together in a tabletop setting. This story consists of two Halfling twins, a bard and a rogue, who are devious in nature, but kind in spirit. The story begins here, but how it ends is up to you. Where will you take these characters? What are their names? What will their next adventure be?
I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
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