Written in 308 AC, “The Balaur Opera” (also known as “Balaur”) was commissioned by Regalian nobles for a performance in Regalia. It was written to portray the lives of Elisabeta and Drogi Balaur, infamous leaders of the Byala region of the Regalian Archipelago from how they met until their death. The play was written during the height of the Clicker Crisis and was meant to provide peace and happiness in such a dark time, though the first performance of the piece was met rather mutely by the nobility trapped in the capital.
Narrator: We open in the countryside of modern Rumvalia. The noble Elisabeta (not-yet) Balaur spars with her female palest, who carries a white shield barring an insignia of a black dragon. As they finish...
Palest: You put up a great fight, m'lady Aldea. You're getting much better by the day.
Elisabeta: Naturally, so. You certainly keep me on my toes. So, we shall return to the estate. Come, come.
[A faint yell could be heard from offstage, crying "A Raiding Stampede is coming!" We return to the noble estate on the opposite side of the stage. We see it ravaged and set alight. Szabadok doings.]
Elisabeta: Condemn them to the Void! This must be the work of the Szabadok. The Szabadok make a mockery of our estate! They have torn it to the ground! They are barbarians and monsters alike. Their kind has no place in Rumvalia. We shall tear them apart. Their leader shall be drawn and quartered.
[The palest could be seen weeping.]
Elisabeta: Weep not, dearest Sorina. We shall make them pay for their transgressions.
Palest: We shall? I mean not to doubt your prowess in combat, but who shall we fight with? Surely we could not fight off a Stampede by ourselves?
Elisabeta: Not by ourselves. It's foolish to suggest I'd do something so stupid. We must report to Lord Balaur to cull the horde. With his aid, we can lead them like lambs to slaughter.
[We cut to the Szabadok stampede. They wear exaggerated masks of metal, with faces almost like demons. They laugh and taunt. They are routed by Lord Drogi Balaur's soldiers. The palest can be seen slaying the Szabadok in an attempt to protect Lady Elisabeta. However, she soon falls and is carried off stage by the legs by a Szabadok warrior. Her shield is left behind. Elisabeta picks up the shield.]
Elisabeta: (On the verge of tears) Dearest Palest, my most loyal of guards, my sparring mate, and my friend. They take you from me too soon. These monsters. These cruel, wicked demons, twisted in body and spirit. The Szabadok. They take you from me too soon. You fought by my side, keeping me safe, and yet you fall to them. They must pay for such transgressions. Their kind has no place in Rumvalia. I shall slay their kind. This Raiding Stampede shall die by the blade. Their horses shall be slaughtered, their women and children shall not be safe. I shall make their kind suffer for what they do to you, dearest friend. This I swear to you. I take your shield in my arm and bring unto them great pain.
Drogi: M'lady. I am so truly sorry for your loss. Your estate and your palest in the same evening lost to the Szabadok beasts. This is truly a moment to reflect on ourselves.
Elisabeta: Of course, M'lord Drogi. I am saddened by the loss of my Palest. I grieve for her. However, you have saved my life. For this I am grateful.
Drogi: It's odd, how I have gotten to know you so fast. I feel as if I have known you much of my life.
Elisabeta: And the same for I with you.
Drogi: (To the audience) To fall in love so fast. Is it even possible? It seems improbable. Nay, impossible. I know not this feeling inside of me. Is it love? I know one thing: I must ask Elisabeta to marry me. I have saved her life, and I love her for this alone, but I know in my heart that we are meant to be.
(Back to Elizabeta) M'lady. I have but one question for you: how do you feel about me?
Elisabeta: I care most deeply. I wish nothing more than to spend my life here in Balur Castle.
Drogi: (On one knee) Then spend your life here with me. I wish to love you. I wish to marry you. Shall you wish to do the same?
[The steps of a Unionist temple.]
Celate: The Union of this couple shall remain resolutely against even the attempted harm or violation of the protections on the Imperial Family and the Emperor himself. He is sacrosanct, the Princes are untouchable, and the Imperial Guard stand above all others in their capacity to defend the Imperial Family. These and all other truths should be fully obeyed and followed by the couple in this Union!
This Union shall now join the faith of Union and all who stand before and will stand after. May they bless future Unions and stand strong with the Empire and the Emperor, as they stand strong with them for the same cause, the same dream, and the same Paradise! (Turning back to the congregation)
If there are any objections as to why these two should not wed, speak now or forever hold your peace! (A beat)
Now as the two bodies of water once separated have re-united, so shall this Union now be seen as one by the Faith and the State. We declare Drogi Balur and Elisabeta Aldea married by the Faith. The couple may now mark their Union with a final seal in the form of locking lips, much as I, Eugen Moldovan, Father of Union seal this marriage before the Imperial Spirit! You may now kiss the Bride! (They kiss, and music plays.)
[A feast is held. There is a lot of chatter. A messenger bursts in.]
Messenger: A raiding stampede is ravaging nearby territories! Everyone take shelter!
Elisabeta: No! (Stands up) We shall not stand idly by and let these Szabadok hunt down our neighbors! They will not stop at them. They will continue to us someday soon. We must stand up, take up arms, and bring the fight to these beasts! We must take down the raiding stampede, and fight against their dirty tricks.
[A meeting of nobility.]
Elisabeta: Fellow noblemen and women, I have gathered you today to discuss a need for our cooperation. The Szabadok threat has become more and more severe with each passing day. They have ransacked local villages and killed many.
Drogi: It is up to us to stop them. Elisabeta and I shall lead the charge. Each house must lend soldiers to the fight. We cannot guarantee they will all return home. However, we shall not lead them to death's door willingly.
Nobleman: And should we trust you? What gives you the qualifications to lead OUR soldiers?
Drogi: Why trust us? The answer is simple: I have seen the threat of the Szabadok firsthand and had the gull to spit in their eyes. Elisabeta and I shall take the pain and suffering the barbarians have inflicted on our people and reciprocate it tenfold so no good person Unionist is victim to their barbarism ever again. Any questions?
Noblemen and Women: (Various cheers are heard)
Elisabeta: We shall then sign a treaty. We are now known as "The Order of the Black Dragon," to name it in honor of my dearest Palest.
[The battle.] [The battle is large, with animalistic imagery for the Szabadok. The battle is won by the army of Drogi and Elisabeta.]
Elisabeta: The battle is won! The threat is dead.
Drogi: We declare this day a holiday in honor of the Order of the Black Dragon!
[A peaceful day in Rumvalia. Drogi and Elisabeta are taking a stroll just outside of town.]
Elisabeta: Today is most peaceful. The crime of the land has died, and we have saved the people of their formerly corrupt leaders. The Szabadok have been purged. Indeed, every day is to be celebrated. We have-
[Two red-eyed Szabadok emerge and take the two by surprise. They stab Elisabeta, but are soon cut down by Drogi.]
Drogi: Dearest Elisabeta... My lover and friend... We have seen so much together. If I had only known your days were numbered, I would have cherished our time together tenfold.
Elisabeta: I love you...(Dies)
Drogi: Love is tragic and worth dying for. My love is pure, and I cannot live another day like this, without my lover by my side. I cannot go on… (Impales himself with his sword)
[A corpulent nobleman comes from off stage, with two red-eyed Szabadok behind him. He carried a scroll, reading from it, he says:]
Nobleman: The Duke and Duchess Balaur have been slain. A mob of commoners learned of their deepest secrets. They were of the Sanguine curse. Vampires, both of them. They have been killed, and justly so. Their reign of terror ended today, and the people of Rumvalia are once again free.
Peasant Woman: (Coming front and center) The loss of the Balaurs is truly tragic. They brought with them peace and prosperity. To lose such benevolent leaders is truly a loss for the world. They have been proclaimed vampires, but this cannot be true. I know the truth and wish to spread it to you. Take the secret, and share with those with whom you truly trust. These words may be heresy to some, but they ring true to all who lived under the great and wise rule of the Balaurs.
- This play is seen as quite strange by most educated people as it portrays the universally reviled Balaurs in a good light for seemingly no other reason than to make them look good.
- Supporters of this play often argue that it wasn’t intended to make the Balaurs look good, but instead highlight the barbarian nature of Szabadok warfare.