The Tower of Ríë
|The Tower of Ríë|
“The Tower of Ríë” is an opera written by Adrienne d’Ortonnaise, which first aired in October 305 AC, during the earlier phase of the Inheritor War. The opera was semi-commissioned by a casual suggestion within one of the military meetings, where the issue of nationalistic support to the Second Elven War was raised. It tells the vague story of a pair of sisters witnessing the symbolic rise and fall of the Elven Empire, eventually finding solace under the Imperial Spirit. The opera’s script should be available from the more specialised stores of literature, and anyone could wait to see a performance in the more culture-inclined sub-realms of the Regalian Empire.
The Tower of Ríë
- Humanum … Ailor … men and women of the west,
- This is the most tragic time in your lives, I attest.
- For centuries, you have been ruled over by the law
- Of those who defeated your kingdoms in many a war.
- For as long as your history had been counted sight,
- You aimed to withstand and keep up thy fight.
- Though fallen, wretched you stand here in front
- Of the empire of the Elves, slaves in chain.
- And here we build a tower, for the Moon’s an affront
- To the greatness of the wizard and his unholy reign.
- (The woman is busy scraping the stones in front of her with a pick. She is chained to a rock, together with a younger sister of hers.)
- For twenty years, we slaved below the might of this wizard.
- For twenty years, we shaped the bricks in draught and blizzard.
- The tower we carved has stained our flesh and bones,
- Knowing no sensation but the whip on our back,
- Deformed we stand amidst the dead and the stones,
- Lacking a destiny, lacking a faith, a future painted black.
- (The other seems far more exhausted and broken than her sister, the chains having left visible wounds on her wrists.)
- Shush, sister! For can’t you see the wizard climbing the stair?
- He is not walking but floating in the air as we all stare in awe!
- Quick sister, fall to your knee!
- For he professes himself one worthy of prayer,
- And as soon as disobedience is what he see,
- He will turn you into sand, such I swear!
- For the Elves were busy hauling in slaves,
- They were raising a tower up from their graves.
- A tower high enough to scrape the skies,
- To topple the Spirit above, this one wizard tries.
- For twenty years, we pulled his plough.
- For twenty years, we could not lift a brow.
- Obedient, without ancestry or a name,
- We have slaved, clothed in but shame.
- (The woman suddenly turns towards the chorus stand, squinting her eyes in awe.)
- But look, sister! The wizard scaled the steps,
- And is now but an arm’s reach away from rest.
- He shall touch the Moon high up in the sky,
- So will he soar, so will he fly!
- So will we be freed and lifted too,
- A brighter fate they promised us true!
- Believe what you will, my sweet sister.
- For I knew no sun in my life, only blister.
- I never knew the touch of a man
- Over this brittle lifespan I crave,
- I never knew the meaning of a free life,
- Merely the cold of a knife against my nape.
- Nameless and lifeless they stood there, alone.
- Every day they saw the wizard; up the stairs he's flown.
- Higher and higher with each passing night,
- Closer and closer in sight to the glinting Moon,
- Though with each and every passing day,
- So did their plight and desperation grow.
- Until came the light, and the wizard on his way,
- Ascend to the final row and touch aglow.
- (She falls to the ground almost like she was preparing for a prayer.)
- To your knees, sister. To your knee!
- From the sight of the wizard we should flee.
- Up the stairs he climbs with such grace,
- The day he touches the Moon, we face!
- Shush, sweet sister. Don’t say a single word.
- For if you speak too loud and make yourself heard,
- The wizard will find us and have us butchered in herd!
- (The younger sister sounded up with surprising optimism.)
- Worry not, my sister in blood.
- For today we shall rise from the mud.
- The wizard will take down the Moon from the sky,
- And we will join their ranks, together will we fly.
- (The older one shook her head fervently.)
- Foolish little sister, I can’t fathom why you would think
- That it’s rewards we receive and not a swift death.
- Our lives mean nothing, they are merely the ink
- To their book, and us in their storm of life a still breath.
- A thousand Ailors lie in awe, kneeling in front of the tower.
- Their eyes could not withstand the majesty lurking over.
- The wizard reached the top of the spire
- As his eyes grew engulfed in the fire of determination and power.
- He stretched his arm towards the Moon,
- The great ritual of the elves will loom!
- (She points up at the chorus stand, in full awe.)
- Look, sister! How his fingers clutch at the orb!
- Watch as all the light in the world will be absorbed!
- I see nothing sister, but a stumbling wizard!
- His limbs twist and curl like a lizard,
- Look how he stumbled and will fall!
- In the sight of his slaves, his Elves and all!
- For indeed the fingers of the wizard drew the Moon amiss,
- And atop his tower he never realised in his bliss,
- That he took a step off his ledge with a stretched hand,
- Now he is nearing the very sand,
- Which his slaves so devoutly kiss.
- (The woman turned away, shielding her eyes with her palms.)
- Turn away, oh sister. For you should not see his demise.
- The wizard has fallen, and now in the sand he dies.
- Blood seeping from his wounds and mouth,
- He is abandoned by his Elves fleeing south.
- (The other retained her visage at the chorus stand, jaw dropping and body shivering as the woman paled.)
- Oh sister! Take a firm hold of me.
- For it is the eyes of the wizard I see.
- Lifeless, lying in the mud and peel,
- His face pierced by a stud of steel.
- His limbs in stupor, all unfurled,
- This Elf believing he held the world.
- Come, sister. For we have to leave
- While these Elves their leader grieve.
- For if we stay behind much we will be part
- Of a civil war, ripping their empire apart
- But why, sister? Why did so many die,
- Just to see him fly? Oh my, I will break down and cry.
- (She turned back to look around. She tugged at her sister’s chains, now seemingly broken.)
- Think, sister, think quick. For we have to leave soon.
- All the wizard spoke was a lie, only held true by whips of his goon.
- (The younger sister broke down to the ground in despair.)
- But what, sister? What can drive one to cause so much pain?
- How did he not realise that all the suffering has been in vain?
- Power blinds much, sister. Come, let me help you stand.
- It is about time we fled and left this wretched land.
- But where to go? We have nothing but our shame.
- If we remain here, sister, we will die all the same.
- (The younger sister turned to the audience, shielding her eyes and squinting.)
- But look what I see, sister. I see bright light arising!
- Fear not, sister, for it’s but a mirage on the horizon.
- My words carry no deceit, sister. The sky brightened and I felt hope.
- Look how others have seen it and are now descending the slope!
- The others but know a way to pursue, blood of my blood.
- We should hurry up and leave, not follow their flood.
- (She followed on behind the younger sister despite her statement.)
- Though as they walked down the hill
- Where the Elven tower pierced the sky still,
- The older sister now noticed the gleam too,
- And the liberated Ailors formed up in a queue.
- The light shone above their heads and flew north,
- All through the sun rose, illuminating as they set forth.
- They crossed rivers drenched in water, and passed woods
- So deep they could hardly see the light above,
- The one guidance they had, their leading dove.
- Many Altalar nationalists are annoyed when they examine the play as they feel it doesn’t properly display the true magnificent of Ríë nor the true height of its towers which they say didn’t touch the moon, it blotted it out.
- Some radical Unionists find this play incredibly offensive as it would suggest that the Imperial Spirit is a) a weak and stupid dove as opposed to the magnificent stork and b) not yet chosen a host despite the fall of the Elven Empire occuring at a similar time to the formation of the Regalian Kingdom where Theomar was taking his throne.