Lady Lion

Little Primarchs- Shakespire

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Magnus was prowling the halls of the Imperial Library. He was intending to grab a book to start reading since his homework was done. He had a specific one in mind, but it was deep in the Library. He was distracted from his course by a distinct wave of sadness. It was coming from the section devoted to plays. Curious, Magnus turned and followed the sadness to its source. It was Malcador. The Sigilite was sitting in a chair, looking quite depressed.
"What's wrong, Uncle Malcador?" Magnus asked as he approached. Malcador looked up as if he hadn't been aware of Magnus' approach.
"It's nothing important," Malcador said Magnus didn't look satisfied by that answer.
"But you are sad," Magnus pressed. "There has to be a reason."
"There is," Malcador admitted. "However, you are too young to quite understand why it makes me so sad."
"Does it have something to do with being the last Sigilite?" Magnus asked, he always wondered how Malcador wasn't lonely.
"It does," Malcador said. "This doesn't change things though. You haven't lived long enough yet for a true understanding. It's nothing against you, Magnus."
Magnus made himself a bit smaller than Alpharius, closer to the size of a normal child his age. He then climbed onto Malcador's lap. He wasn't sure if this would make Malcador less sad, but it was worth the shot.
"You are probably here for a different reason than me," Malcador said, though he made no attempt to remove Magnus.
"True, but I could sense your sadness from two sections away," Magnus said. "I had to find out what was wrong."
"Someone died, and it means that something is lost," Malcador said softly. "That something is now gone forever."
"You're right, Uncle Malcador," Magnus said. "I don't understand why that makes you so sad, but I probably will in time."
"You should go get whatever book you were going for before," Malcador said, shifting to try and dislodge Magnus. "I should return to my duties."
Magnus got off, but Malcador made no indications to rise just yet. "Don't stay sad, Uncle Malcador," Magnus said as he trotted off to get his book. He was confused by the encounter. He resolved to ask his father about it when he returned to the residence.
"Father, why is Uncle Malcador sad?" Magnus asked when he returned with his new reading book. The Emperor raised an eyebrow in question.
"I didn't know that Malcador was sad," the Emperor replied. "Why do you ask?"
"I found him in the Library," Magnus said. "He was so sad I could feel it two sections away. He told me someone died, and because of it something was lost, possibly forever."
"Interesting," the Emperor mused. He then rose, "I'll have a chat with him myself. What section was he in?"
"The drama section, Father," Magnus said. "But he said he should head back to his duties."
The Emperor departed from the residence. The Primarchs were old enough to be left alone briefly. He reached out with his mind and found Malcador's psychic spoor. He followed it to Malcador's residence. He knocked, and then waited before entering. Malcador stood and bowed a greeting.
"Magnus is worried about you," the Emperor said without preamble. "He says you are quite sad about something."
"The last of the great Shakespirean actors has died, my lord," Malcador said quietly. "He had no apprentices, nor troupe. The plays of Shakespire will no longer be performed on stage."
"That is a tragedy," the Emperor said. The plays of Shakespire had been performed on stage since the Bard had lived in M2. The Emperor could understand why Malcador was upset by this news. The Sigilite was quite the fan of theatre, and this was quite the blow to something that had been fading for millenia.
"I know Magnus wanted to know," Malcador said. "However, he's simply too young to understand what kind of a loss this is."
"Indeed, it is quite the loss to the greater culture of humanity," the Emperor said. "And my sons are too young to appreciate the full value of the event." He then turned away, willing to leave Malcador to his grief. An idea struck him on the way back to his own residence.
"Did you talk to Uncle Malcador?" Magnus asked as the Emperor entered the living room.
"Yes," the Emperor said. "The last of the Shakespirean actors has died without either apprentice or troupe. Malcador feels this as a great blow since the plays of Shakespire have been performed since M2."
"That's a long time," Mortarion said. He was impressed with the endurance of these plays.
"Indeed, and they have not stayed on Terra," the Emperor said. "They have been performed throughout the Imperium."
"There are records of Shakespire's plays even on Macragge," Roboute said. Macragge was far to the galactic east, near the fringe of the galaxy. It was about as far away from Terra as one could get without leaving the galaxy.
"There has to be something we can do to cheer up Uncle Malcador," Magnus insisted.
"We could put on one of Shakespire's plays," the Emperor suggested. Fulgrim looked excited by that.
"That's a great idea!" Magnus said. "We could even get it recorded so that Uncle Malcador can have a copy."
"I could set that up," Perturabo said.
"I could do lighting," Ferrus said, also getting into the idea.
"What play should we do?" Horus asked. "Shakespire wrote several."
"What about Summernight's Dream?" Roboute said. "It's one of the comedies, and generally well liked."
"A good suggestion," the Emperor said. He was pleased that his sons had accepted the idea. "Malcador is very fond of that one."
"That settles that," Horus said.
"I can build the stage!" Rogal said. "I can look up how they made the stages back in M2 so it would be the most authentic that we can make it."
"I can help you with the design of the stage, Rogal," the Emperor said. He had studied the original stages used in the Globe before it had burned to the ground.
"That would be nice, Father," Rogal said. He liked working on projects with the Emperor.
"Malcador also has to see us perform it," Alpharius said. "It wouldn't be the same if he just saw the recording."
"True, we should invite others from the Palace staff, so it won't just be him," the Lion said. He felt that it would be awkward to perform for just one person.
"Who's going to play what role?" Fulgrim asked.
"We can decide that when we get the script," Horus said.
"We have to be careful about all of this," Magnus said. "It'll ruin the surprise if Uncle Malcador finds out before we're ready."
"Quite true, Magnus," the Emperor said. "I have some things that should keep him busy though."
It was the next day before the Primarchs were able to obtain scripts for everyone. They then sat down to decide who was going to play what role. Fulgrim looked though the parts, trying to see which would fit him best.
"I could be Titania," Fulgrim said after he finished perusing the parts.
"The Fairy Queen?" Ferrus asked with a smile.
"Why not?" Fulgrim asked. "You don't think I'm regal enough?"
"Of course not," Ferrus said as he began to laugh. "I just thought you would go for Oberon."
"Titania will probably be more fun," Fulgrim asserted. "You could be Oberon though."
"But they're married," Ferrus objected. "That would just be weird."
"I'm going to be Robin Goodfellow," Konrad declared. No one contested that.
"Lion can be Snug," Leman suggested.
"You can be Snug," the Lion retorted after checking the part. This got everyone else to look at the part.
"You don't want to be a character that plays a part called Lion?" Horus asked innocently.
"No, that would just be too confusing," the Lion said. "I would rather play Lysander or Demetrius."
"That's no surprise," Corvus said.
"I'll take Snout," Rogal said.
"Even less of a surprise," Perturabo said. Rogal responded by sticking his tongue out at Perturabo.
"I can make representations for the extras that don't have speaking parts," Magnus said.
"You could also be Oberon," Horus said. "It's the part most like you."
"Yeah, that does sound like fun," Magnus said. "And I can order Konrad around."
"Horus, you can be Theseus," the Emperor said. He would be directing the play, not acting in the play.
"I like that idea," Horus said, being a duke would be interesting.
"Who will be Hippolyta?" Angron asked. He liked the idea of Amazons.
"You spoke first," Horus said with a smile. The part would require a wig for Angron, who hated hair.
"I can be one of the fairies," Sanguinius said, distracting everyone from the seething Angron.
"Yeah, you would barely need any make-up," Alpharius said. He had taken over the make-up aspect of the production.
"You could be one of the other fairies, Alpharius," Lorgar said. "I'll be Quince." He was choosing Quince because of Prologue, he figured it would have a decent chunk of speaking.
"I'll play Bottom," Mortarion said. He wasn't sure who Pyramus was, but he thought the name of Bottom was funny. The Emperor began to chuckle, but didn't dissuade Mortarion from the part he wanted.
"If Lion takes Lysander, I could be Demetrius," Roboute said. He liked the name Demetrius because it sounded Macraggean. The Lion indicated his agreement with that idea.
"I'll play Flute," Vulkan said. He liked the idea of being a bellows-minder. "Corvus could play Hermia."
"What?" Corvus said. He had been hoping for a smaller part, Hermia sounded like a major part.
"That's going to be a bit awkward," the Lion said. He had already noted that Hermia was in love with Lysander.
"But it would be funny," Corvus admitted. He was doing a lot better about making jokes with the others.
"Then we would need a Helena," Horus said.
"I could be Helena," Jaghatai said. He pronounced it Hel-EN-a, while Horus had pronounced it He-LEH-na. The Emperor noted that this difference could cause an argument.
"That just leaves Ferrus and I," Perturabo said. He looked pleased with this.
"I'll be Philostrate," Ferrus said.
"I'll take Egeus, I guess," Perturabo said after a quick glance at the parts.
"You could also be Starveling," Horus suggested. "Moonshine is silvery."
"I might be able to do both, if they don't appear on stage together," Perturabo said.
"That just leaves us with a few parts that have speaking, but no actors," the Emperor said. "We will have to figure out who can best cover those parts as we go."
The Primarchs began reading their selected roles. Fulgrim had screeched quite loudly when he realized that Titania kisses Bottom. Mortarion had reached that part at almost the same time, and laughed hysterically. Everyone now understood why the Emperor had laughed when Mortarion claimed Bottom.
"He'll have a donkey head on," Magnus pointed out. "It's not like you have to kiss Mortarion on the lips or something."
"It's still disgusting," Fulgrim said. "At least I'll know where the donkey head has been, unlike Mortarion."
"Hey!" Mortarion said sharply. Fulgrim smiled and they both laughed.
"The donkey head isn't going to have time to get too nasty," Vulkan said. With Rogal making the stage, he was making the props. This included the donkey head.
"That's my point," Fulgrim said. "Mortarion'll have fate knows what on him."
"I could wash my face just before the play," Mortarion asserted. "Then I'll be all nice and clean for you to kiss." This caused a ripple of laughter through the Primarchs. They then went back to reading the play.
Rehearsals began after the Primarchs had read through the play. They went to one of the more remote reception chambers in the Palace. Malcador couldn't hear them from his chambers. The Custodians also had enough time to warn them if Malcador headed their way. It was also where they would be staging the play. Rogal's stage wasn't finished, but he was working on it. They went through only the first act of the play.
"We could do the whole thing," Vulkan said. He hadn't had much of his part. Leman was amused by his part, and the Lion was quite happy to have not gotten that part.
"Not today, Vulkan," the Emperor said. "I want us to work carefully on each act before moving on to the next one. This is for Malacador and it should be the best we can give him."
"Alright, Father," Vulkan said. Rogal quickly turned to working on the stage again as the others filed out.
They rehearsed everyday, each day the next act until they had gone through all five acts of the play. They tried out several different styles for each of their characters, trying to find the best fit. Once they had gone through all five acts they began to put the acts together, each day adding the next act. After rehearsals those Primarchs involved with creating things worked on their various projects. This added new things for them to work with as the stage and props were completed.
The day before the play Fulgrim and Sanguinius worked together to design a flyer that they could put up around the Palace, announcing the performance. Magnus made a specific point of sliding one under Malcador's door, and running off before the Sigilite could open the door. Several of the others placed them around the Tower of Hegemon, where the Custodians lived.
The day of the performance arrived, the Primarchs were all excited. It had been determined that some of the Primarchs would voice actorless characters from off stage while Magnus created their visual forms. This meant less work for Alpharius, and less hassle for those who had multiple parts.
The audience hall began to fill with curious people. The Primarchs had already carefully placed and then roped off a nice seat for Malcador. It was clearly labeled as well, to avoid any confusion. Lorgar had found a curtain they could use for the stage. The Primarchs were waiting behind the curtain, watching the people come in.
"Is he here yet?" Magnus asked. The Emperor shook his head.
"Not yet, Magnus," the Emperor said. They were all waiting expectantly for Malcador's arrival. They knew that he was coming. The door opened again, and Malcador finally arrived.
"There he is," Corvus said. He smoothed part of the dress that he was wearing for the role of Hermia. Malcador looked a bit surprised when he spotted the chair that was clearly set aside for him. He went and sat down, then the Emperor stepped out from behind the curtain.
"Thank you all for coming to this," the Emperor said. "The reason we are doing this is to ensure that we are not going to forget the stage arts of Shakespire. So, to that end, Summernight's Dream."
The Emperor stepped aside and the curtain rose. The play began. Ferrus controlled the lighting through a remote control. Perturabo had his own remote to control the servo-skull that he was using to record the performance. This allowed the audience to be out of the shots, while there was nothing blocking the view for the audience.
The audience laughed at all of the various jokes. There were even a few laughs at points the Primarchs hadn't found funny. They decided that those would make sense when they were older. The end of the play arrived, and Konrad was alone on the stage. He recited Robin Goodfellow's final lines, ending the play.
The audience stood, clapping and several of the normal humans cheered. The Primarchs all stepped out on the stage and bowed to the audience. They were quite proud of themselves. The audience settled down and began to disperse. Malcador waited, and then headed back stage. Magnus rushed forwards and embraced Malcador.
"Did you like it, Uncle Malcador?" Magnus asked, looking up at Malcador.
"Yes, you all did an amazing job," Malcador said. The other Primarchs were pleased with the praise. Perturabo approached with the data-core from the servo-skull he had used to make the recording.
"We made a recording of our performance for you," Perturabo said, holding out the data-core. "It can be a relic form of Shakespire on stage."
"That was very thoughtful," Malcador said as he took the data-core. He tucked it into a pocket of his robes, he would store it in his quarters, beside other prized relics of the Imperium.


  1. Nyctophora's Avatar
    I would have loved to see this! And now they'll be prepared if there's ever a school play at Nova.
  2. Lady Lion's Avatar
    Yes they will be


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