If you have no read Part One, go do that now!
The Festival of Magic had packed up and moved on by the end of the week, leaving the courtyard empty for the musician’s troupe to stage their plea to the Federation. Izadi and her companions prepared a lavish stage, ready to perform all day, with a few rehearsing testimonies to share with the crowd. Amriel arrived the same time as three Senators, who started shaking hands with the tyvansae troupe. A Militia officer came behind her and tapped her on the shoulder, “A fine little operation you have here.”
“Trevor?” Amriel spun and grinned, “Thank goodness you made it.”
“Of course. Pushed all the papers through. Everything is legit. And there should be no trouble,” Trevor grinned and then looked up, spotting Izadi approach from behind, “Hello there um, Miss.”
Izadi smiled, “And hello to you. I do love a handsome man in uniform.”
Trevor’s smile faded and his face turned red. He nodded to the two women and made an awkward laugh, “You enjoy your show. Your own show or, you know what I mean.” He turned and walked away, leaving Izadi to stifle a snicker.
“They’re so cute when they do that,” Izadi hugged Amriel’s shoulder, pointing her at the stage which had been decorated in every color imaginable, “What do you think then?”
Amriel gasped as she saw it, an enormous smile on her face, “It’s beautiful. You have outdone yourself.”
“I am so glad you think so!” Izadi replied, waving Timothy over. Timmy took baby steps towards them, handing over a guitar and barely looking up from the ground, “Come on Timmy. Buck up.”
“You’re nervous Timothy?” Amriel asked.
Timothy nodded, making a high pitched response, “Yes.”
“Poor boy is an excellent musician but has such difficulty with crowds at the start. Once he gets into it though he’ll be fine, right my boy?” Timothy nodded again and tiptoed away.
More people began to gather, curious about the stage and a few began to talk to the Senators there. “On with the show then. Enjoy, Amriel.” Izadi winked and took her guitar to the stage. The music began shortly after, summoning even more people to watch and encouraging them to cheer and sing with them. Amriel clapped along, staying in the back with Lady May who only smiled warmly.
A few troupe members told their stories between the songs, telling people about the needs of the tyvansae. One young woman talked about how lost she felt as a child, living as a boy and desperately trying to fit in with the men of her village. A young man said his family tried many ways to convince him something else was wrong. Izadi mumbled her own speech over and over as they went, occasionally shooting Amriel a nervous smile. Finally, it was her turn to speak. She finished a song, dropping her guitar to her side and raising a hand to get the attention of the crowd. Before she could speak a single word though, the crowd moved aside like before.
“Show’s over folks!” Officer Goffrey pushed the crowd aside, along with two other Militiamen. “Everyone clear out. This is an illegal operation.”
“We have papers!” Izadi protested, “And the support of these lovely elected officials.”
“Not anymore. By order of the President. Your little performance is being made under false pretenses. We aren’t putting up with some dragon sympathizing freaks in this city.”
The crowd made loud murmurs to each other while Amriel started to search frantically for Trevor. She found him going over the papers he had filed, “What’s happening?”
“I don’t know! Someone must have tipped off Goffrey and he went over my head.” Trevor nearly dropped the papers he was shuffling through, “What now?”
Amriel pursed her lips and looked back to Izadi for advice. Izadi didn’t look in her direction though, still eyeing Goffrey. “Well, I will not be leaving.” She held her guitar in front of her, motioning to the band behind her, “I will play this guitar and tell my story. I am selling you nothing and make no requirement that you stay, but I welcome you all to hear my story anyway.”
“I told you freak, the performance is over.”
“This is no performance. I am practicing my strings and speaking to my friends about a boy from the seashore. Do come listen until the end.”
The crowd quieted when Izadi began to strum the instrument, the band playing as well and regaining control over the audience. “My father wanted a doctor. My mother a philosopher. Neither a performer, of any caliber. And I am the best caliber,” Izadi strummed again as the audience laughed, “And certainly they never expected a proud and noble daughter yet here I am. Izadi Fiora Javeliene Arthur, of the south sea. A strummer, and singer, and poet, and finest lover a lover could be.” The crowd laughed again, as Goffrey motioned the Militiamen to the stage. “I ask for few things, my friends. But for the chance to be who I am, in spirit and body, until my end. My end when my spirit is all I am and if you agree then say with me ‘Give them their change!’”
Izadi raised her hands as the Militiamen approached the stage, encouraging the crowd and troupe to chant. The troupe began, repeating “Give them their change!” Then the crowd began, yelling “Give them their change!” The officers stormed the stage, approaching Izadi. Before they could get to the young bard though, a wall of purple and blue blocked their way. They hit the magical wall like a glass door, banging on the other side.
Amriel stood in the crowd, hands glowing with violet. “Officer Goffrey you leave these poor people alone! You might just learn something!”
“Stay out of this!” Goffrey shouted back, “If I have to call in reinforcements, I will!”
“Goffrey, leave them alone. You know full well they have every right to be here!” Office Trevor stood next to Amriel while the other officer growled under his breath.
“Trevor these sick people don’t deserve your sympathy! Men in dresses is all they are!”
“Perhaps the Officer is just jealous he doesn’t look as good in a dress,” Izadi quipped as the two officers continued to fight the shield. The crowd laughed again. “I can give you some pointers Goffrey, though no amount of gold can hide that hideous personality. Nor that questionable facial hair.”
“That’s enough out of you! Go find a mage!” Officer Goffrey waved at the two soldiers to leave the stage, the crowd cheering Izadi on. “Your little circus is over.”
“Goffrey I will get our commanding officer. This has gone far enough.”
“That’s right!” Amriel nodded.
Goffrey clenched his fist and glared at Amriel, then Trevor, then turned back to Izadi whose smug grin had not faded at all. Finally, he threw his hands up, “Fine. Have your party of freaks.” The officer waved at a few of his companions and they left, the crowd roaring with cheers as they did.
Izadi’s band entertained for the rest of the day while the Federation Senator’s spoke with some of the tyvansae men and women who introduced themselves to the crowd. Amriel sat by the fountain with Officer Trevor, watching along as the sun began to set and turned the courtyard a sleepy orange. “Thank you for your help as always, Officer Trevor.”
“I’m happy to do it Amriel. I must say I’m surprised to see you involved in something like this,” Trevor admitted, “Needed a break from Rebellion work?”
Amriel chuckled, eyes still focused ahead, “Their cause is important to me as well. And they are beautiful and passionate people who deserve happiness.”
“That Izadi is a character huh?” Trevor’s cheeks turned pink as the bard took the stage again. Even from the back of the crowd, he caught a wink from her and turned back toward Amiel with a cough.
“Indeed she is! A simply delightful woman I think,” Amriel giggled and searched the crowd. Her cheery smile faded as she scanned the faces there several times and sighed. “Clarity must’ve been busy.”
“A shame. I was looking forward to meeting her.”
“I shouldn’t be surprise. Girl rarely finds time for anything but the cause. Wish she would relax once in a while.”
Trevor squirmed, fidgeting his hands as he tried to decide how to proceed with the conversation. “So she is your partner right?”
“Just in the Rebellion if that’s what you’re asking Trevor. Clarity hardly has time for anything like that, and neither do I.”
“You definitely are busy ladies, aren’t you?” Trevor watched as a Senator walked on stage to address the crowd and Izadi pulled her in for a hug. They listened to her begin to talk to the crowd about her love for tyvansae people. “Interesting folks aren’t they?”
“Musicians have always struck me as fascinating types.” Amriel nodded, still trying to listen to the Senator’s speech.
Trevor made a nervous grin, “Well that too but I mean their um…”
Amriel waited, watching Trevor’s mouth contort. “You mean how they’re tyvansae?”
“Yes, that! I had heard of it vaguely but I had no idea so many people were like that.”
The Senator spoke on, announcing she would be pleased to appeal to her colleagues to try and allow Izadi to attempt the test treatment. “Fascinating? I guess so. To people who might not know them.”
“You think the change will help? With their condition I mean.”
“Condition?” Amriel lost interest in the Senator’s speech, glaring at Trevor from the corner of her eye, “What condition?”
“The tyvansae thing.”
“That isn’t a condition.”
“Well you know what I mean.”
“No I don’t actually,” Amriel shook her head, “Why don’t you explain more?”
“Just, clearly whatever is going on in their head, they’re trying to find a cure to fix it. I wouldn’t want to completely change my body like that personally but if that’s what they think will-“
“Stop.” Amriel put a hand up, “Trevor, tyvansae isn’t a condition. Tyvansae is about our spirit. Our spirits aren’t the problem.”
“Our?” Trevor paused, watching Amriel freeze and then pull her scarf down, “Amriel, I didn’t know.”
Amriel stood, still holding her scarf over her face, “I should go.”
“Wait!” The mage was gone and disappeared into the crowd before Trevor could stop her, going past the stage and down the stone road back into the city. The crowd and the band hardly noticed her leave except for Izadi, who stood near the stairs.
She managed to sneak away, following Amriel until she could catch up, “Amriel! Where are you off too?”
Amriel stopped, taking a deep breath and adjusting the ring on her forehead. “I’m sorry Izadi. Just had to run home.”
“Oh you wouldn’t just run home like that. What happened?”
“I don’t understand how you do it Izadi,” Amriel turned to face the bard, “You don’t hide anything about yourself. I can’t imagine how people must treat you.”
“It is not my choice Amriel,” Izadi explained, “Not all tyvansae can blend in like you can. So we can either choose to flaunt it or to blend in best we can. I choose to embrace it.” Izadi posed dramatically then dropped her arms back to her side, “You are blessed in more than one way my friend. I appreciate that you use it to help people.”
“What does it matter if people can’t understand? Won’t understand? Even if we succeed here, that won’t stop the Goffrey’s of the world or teach people any better.”
“So what? We should stop? That doesn’t sound like something the leader of a Rebellion should say,” Izadi chuckled, squeezing Amriel’s shoulder. “You do the best you possibly can and hope for the best others can possibly give. You definitely don’t quit, magic girl.”
Amriel took a breath through her nose and put a hand over Izadi’s. The road turned dark as they talked and the sun disappeared, but just as the lights came on she saw a shadow approach them. “Am I interrupting?”
A woman in tight black curls and a long leather coat approached the two, smiling gently at Izadi. The bard released Amriel and bowed courteously. “You must be the famous Clarity! Amriel has told me so much!”
“Not too much I hope,” Clarity nodded her head at Izadi and then glanced at Amriel who just blushed. “May I steal her?”
“Oh of course. I should get back to my stage. See you at the tavern I hope, Amriel!”
Izadi left the two, skipping back to the crowd which received her with applause. Clarity stood at her side, raising a brow as the woman left, “She seems nice.”
“She really is. It sounds like she may just get what she’s hoping for too,” Amriel replied, grinning at her friend, “I’m surprised you made it.”
Clarity shrugged, “I figured you wouldn’t do something like this unless it was important.” Amriel just nodded, moving back toward the crowd, welcoming Clarity to join her. The two went back as Izadi began her final song.