Writing Revisited: The Spectacular Selvario Sisters

You know it’s a party when somebody starts juggling waterlemons on fire.

I try to keep everything I talk about or even allude to on this blog at no more than a PG-13 level (the Canadian equivalent, of course, being 14A), so as much as I love the Dragon Ages and Mass Effects, I haven’t talked about them much, because they are very much M-rated and at least a couple steps up from the level of content I cleave to while writing Realmgard.

That being said, this particular scene owes a debt to the good people at BioWare, specifically the writing staff of Dragon Age Origins, specifically the scene where two of your sidekicks need to bust you out of jail, one of the high points of the game. Both in terms of humour and gameplay.

Basically, if you don’t decide to go in guns swords blazing (incidentally, Flaming Weapons is a spell in Origins), your characters will resort to an increasingly-implausible (and therefore hilarious) series of lies to infiltrate the dungeon — up to an including having two obviously unrelated characters claim to be a pair of performing siblings…

Incidentally, a reminder that Lucia looks like this:

A drawing of Lucia Tormalina.

And Alda looks like this:

A drawing of Alda von Middlesbrooke.

“They have the map. We need to get in there,” Lucia says.

“But I’m just a kid,” Alda protests. “What am I going to do?”

“Just follow my lead,” Lucia tells her.

Alda nods and follows Lucia up to the big, burly swordsman guarding the door of the mercenaries’ guildhall. He holds up a big, burly hand to stop them as they approach

“And who might you two be?” he asks. “I don’t recognise you. Which means you’re not members of the Sparkly Butterflies. Which means you two need to keep moving.”

“Your band of mercenaries is called the Sparkly Butterflies?” Lucia asks.

“It was the Captain’s daughter’s idea,” the guard mutters. “And, for the record, we happen to be the finest mercenaries operating out of Middlesbrooke, thank you very much.”

“I mean, yeah,” Lucia says, her brain barely able to keep up with her tongue. “Of course, the Sparkly Butterlies. Who hasn’t heard of the Sparkly Butterflies? And if you’re them, that means they’re you and that means we’ve been looking for you. And we’re right where we want to be.”

She glances down at Alda.

“Right, Alda?”

“Uh, yeah,” Alda says.

“I doubt that very much,” the guard says. “Sparkly Butterflies only.”

“What, the Captain didn’t tell you?” Lucia asks, desperately trying to formulate a backstory. “We’re here to, uh…”

“… Perform!” Alda offers. “You know, for the Captain’s…”

“… Birthday!” Lucia concludes.

“Hm. I thought that Captain’s birthday was in the fall,” the guard mutters. “Hmm. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s on a different day each year.”

He looks sceptically at Lucia at Alda.

“And just who are you two?”

“Oh, um,” Lucia stammers. “We’re the, uh…”

“Spectacular,” Alda offers.

“Selvario Sisters?” Lucia concludes.

“Sisters? You two are sisters? Really?” the guard asks.

“Yes,” Alda and Lucia answer simultaneously.

“We’re twins?” Lucia adds.

Twins?” the guard repeats incredulously. “But you look nothing alike. And you’re not even the same age. And you’re a Wilderling!”

“No, no, no,” Alda interjects. “What she means is that we are twins, but we’re not twins with each other. Like, we each have our own twin. But neither of them are performers like we are.”

“I see,” the guard says. “But you are sisters?”

“She’s adopted,” Lucia and Alda say, each pointing to the other.

“So, let me get this straight,” the guard says. “You’re the Spectacular Selvario Sisters. You’re both adopted. And each have a twin who isn’t a Spectacular Selvario Sister.”

Lucia and Alda nod.

“And you’re here to perform for the boss’ birthday. Even though the boss’ birthday is on a different day than it was last year,” the guard continues. “Is that about right?”

“Yes?” Lucia replies uncertainly.

“Makes sense to me,” the guard says cheerfully, stepping aside from the door. “In you go.”

Lucia cannot believe that worked.

“Well,” she stammers as she recovers. “Thank you very much.”

“Wait,” the guard declares suddenly as they reach for the door. “Just one more thing. What, exactly, is your act?”

“Oh,” Alda says, exchanging a nervous glance with Lucia. “I, um, ride around on a unicycle playing the accordion…”

“While,” Lucia says, reaching for something, anything, to say, “I juggle waterlemons. On fire?”

“So are the waterlemons on fire, or are you?” the guard asks.

“Yes,” Lucia answers. “It’s a very particular skillset. Needs very specialised equipment. Took years of practice to master.”

“Wow,” the guard says. “That really does sound spectacular.”

Pardon the pun, but this is a spectacular scene. That being said, I think it needs a little massaging before I can include it as part of a full-length story, but as the result of me sitting down to bang out 500ish words as quickly as possible, I couldn’t be happier with it.

Also, I’m thinking that doing a scene like this with different combinations of characters could be pretty funny. I should write that down…

Anyway, this week’s chapter is here:

More short scenes here.

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