I don’t really think there’s much need for preamble to this one. It’s pretty straightforward and self-explanatory.
That being said, I think there’s enough potential here that this could be fleshed out to a longer story, not necessarily a full-length adventure, but at least a short story-length, uh, story.
“Matilda,” Sally calls to her sister. “They’re here! And — Nolan?” She frowns. “Matilda’s not going to like that you’re in her room.”
Nolan turns towards her, but when he talks, Matilda’s voice comes out of him, “No, Sally. It’s me.”
Once Sally’s brain finally makes sense of the scene before her, she sees that it is, in fact, her sister standing in front of her, dressed in long pants, a men’s shirt, and a vest. Most impressively, she has managed to force her very long hair underneath a wig mimicking Nolan’s much-short hair.
“Yeah. I’m going as Nolan for Heroes’ Eve this year,” she answers, picking up a pot lid with a big blue L hastily drawn on it. “See?”
“Um, why?” Sally asks.
“Mostly so I can do this,” Matilda answers. She clears her throat. When she speaks, she has lowered the pitch of her voice and affected a tone of relentless optimism: “Hi. I’m Nolan. I’m Captain of the Lyte Brigade. Adventure is awesome! Let’s go do some!”
Sally grins. “That sounds just like him!”
Matilda chuckles. “Yeah. I’ve been practicing. And — What in the world is on your head, Sally?”
“I’m a squid,” Sally answers, pointing up to the many-armed hat perched on her head. “This is my mantle and my tentacles.”
“I see,” Matilda says, staring at her sceptically.
Sally grabs her arm. “Come on! Let’s go! I want to see everybody else’s costumes!”
The other members of the Lyte Brigade are already in the inn’s dining room when Sally leads Matilda down the stairs.
“Hello, Nolan. Happy Heroes’ Eve” Tancred says. “You’re no doubt curious about my costume. Well —” He dramatically strokes the fake moustache glued to his face. “— I am dressed as my Pelayan great-granduncle’s illegitimate half brother Sir Juan de Ivanhoe-Altosierra.”
“I’m over here,” Nolan calls from the other side of the room, dressed in an orange sweater with black pieces of fabric sewn on to make a jack-o-lantern face. “That’s Matilda.”
Tancred turns towards the real Nolan. “If she’s you, shouldn’t you be her?”
“Are you kidding?” Nolan replies. “I don’t have the hips to pull off one of Matilda’s dresses!”
“Wow!” Pela mutters, looking up at Matilda from behind a pair of prop glasses. “You look just like him! I’m my Mom, by the way. “She’s the reason I’ve always wanted to be an adventurer. And the costume was pretty easy. I’m already short and green, I just needed a pair of glasses.”
“I am a kitty-cat,” Falcata says, indicating the ears on her hairband and her furry tail.
“You look great, Falcata!” Sally exclaims.
The door of the inn opens and Amara steps in, though none of the other members of the Lyte Brigade initially recognise her. Her hair is dyed black and tied into a ponytail. Her dark, simple clothes are the exact opposite of her typical elegant dresses. She has a quiver over her shoulder and a belt with many, many pockets around her waist.
“Happy Heroes’ Eve, all,” she says happily. “I am looking forward to tonight. And —” She notices the stares from the others. “Whatever is the matter?
“It’s just, well, you don’t look like you,” Nolan mutters.
“Well, yes, Nolan. That is usually the point of Heroes’ Eve,” Amara says. “And besides, we are supposed to be celebrating our heroes. So, naturally, I’ve decided to be Katherine this year.”
They stare at her again.
She rolls her eyes. “You know, Katherine? Darkstone? My best and truest friend? Peerless adventurer? Dauntless valkyrie? Honestly, have you even been paying attention?”
“So, anyway,” Nolan ventures, “Mom baked a cake for us.”