TNC - Events Listing.   Posted by The Night Circus.Group: public
The Night Circus
 GM, 4 posts
Wed 13 Jan 2016
at 03:22
TNC - Events Listing
-----Events Listing

Year 1885
  • The Wunschtraum Clock

Year 1890
  • January 13th: Lighting the Bonfire
  • January 13th: The Twins

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:28, Thu 14 Jan 2016.

The Night Circus
 GM, 5 posts
Wed 13 Jan 2016
at 03:39
TNC - Events Listing
-----The Wunschtraum Clock

Munich, 1885
  • Herr Fredrick Thiessen receives an unexpected visitor in his Munich workshop, an Englishman by the name of Mr. Ethan Barris.   Mr. Barris admits that he has been attempting to track him down for some time after admiring several Thiessen-crafted cuckoo clocks, and was pointed in the right direction by a local shopkeeper.
  • Mr. Barris inquires as to whether Heer Thiessen would be interested in making a special commissioned piece. Herr Thiessen has a constant stream of custom work and tells Mr. Barris as much, indicating a shelf of variants on the traditional cuckoo clock that range from simple to ornate.
  • "I'm not certain you understand, Herr Thieseen," Mr. Barris says. "This would be a showcase piece, a curiosity. Your clocks are impressive, but what I am requesting would be something truly outstanding, das Meisterwerk. And money is absolutely no object."
  • Intrigued now, Herr Thiessen asks for specifications and details. He is given very little. Some constraints as to size (but still rather large), and it is to be painted solely in black and white and shades of grey. Beyond that, the construction and embellishment is up to him. Artistic license, Mr. Barris says. "Dreamlike" is the only descriptive word he uses specifically.
  • Herr Thiessen agrees, and the men shake hands.   Mr. Barris says he will be in touch, and a few days later an envelope is delivered containing an excessive amount of money, a requested date of completion some months away, and an address in London for the completed clock to be shipped to.
  • It takes the better part of those months for Herr Thiessen to complete the clock. He works on little else, though the sum of money involved makes that arrangement more than manageable. Weeks are spent on the design and mechanics. He hires an assistant to complete some of the basic woodwork, but he takes care of the details himself. Herr Thiessen loves details, and he loves a challenge. He balances the entire design on that one specific word Mr. Barris used. Dreamlike.
  • The finished clock is resplendent. At first glance it is simply a clock, a rather large black clock with a white face and a silver pendulum. Well crafted, obviously, with intricately carved woodwork edges and a perfectly painted face, but just a clock.
  • But that is before it is wound. Before it begins to tick, the pendulum swinging steadily and evenly. Then, then it becomes something else.
  • The changes are slow. First, the color changes in the face, shifts from white to gray, and then there are clouds that float across it, disappearing when they reach the opposite side.
  • Meanwhile, bits of the body of the clock expand and contract, like pieces of a puzzle. As though the clock is falling apart, slowly and gracefully.
  • All of this takes hours.
  • The face of the clock becomes a darker gray, and then black, with twinkling stars where the numbers had been previously. The body of the clock, which has been methodically turning itself inside out and expanding, is now entirely subtle shades of white and gray. And it is not just pieces, it is figures and objects, perfectly carved flowers and planets and tiny books with actual paper pages that turn. There is a silver dragon that curls around part of the now visible clockwork, a tiny princess in a carved tower who paces in distress, awaiting an absent prince. Teapots that pour into teacups and minuscule curls of steam that rise from them as the seconds tick. Wrapped presents open. Small cats chase small dogs. An entire game of chess is played.
  • At the center, where a cuckoo bird would live in a more tradition timepiece, is the juggler. Dressed in harlequin style with a gray mask, he juggles shiny silver balls that correspond to each hour. As the clock chimes, another ball joins the rest until at midnight he juggles twelve balls in a complex pattern.
  • After midnight the clock begins once more to fold in upon itself. The face lightens and the clouds return. The number of juggled balls decreased until the juggler himself vanishes.
  • By noon it is a clock again, and no longer a dream.
  • A few weeks after it is shipped, he receives a letter from Mr. Barris, offering his sincere thanks and marveling at the ingenuity of it. "It is perfection," he writes. The letter is accompanied by another exorbitant amount of money, enough for Herr Thiessen to retire comfortably if he wished. He does not, and continues to make his clocks in his workshops.
  • He thinks no more of it, other than a passing thought of how the clock itself might be doing, and where it might be (though he assumes, incorrectly, that it remains in London), particularly when he is on a clock that reminds him of the Wunschtraum clock, which was how he referred to it during the more troublesome parts of its construction, uncertain whether or not it was a dream that could be realized.
  • He does not hear from Mr. Barris beyond that single letter.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:28, Thu 14 Jan 2016.

The Night Circus
 GM, 6 posts
Wed 13 Jan 2016
at 04:06
TNC - Events Listing
-----Lighting the Bonfire

January 13th, 1890
  • Opening day, or opening night rather, is spectacular. Every last detail is planned, and a massive crowd gathers outside the gates long before sundown. When they are finally allowed to enter, they do so wide-eyed, and a as they from tent to tent, their eyes only get wider.
  • Every element of the circus blends together in a wonderful coalescence. Acts that have been training in separate countries on separate continents now perform in adjacent tents, each part melding seamlessly into a whole. Each costume, each gesture, each sign on each tent is more perfect than the last.
  • The air itself is ideal, clear and crisp and cool, permeated with scents and sounds that entice and enchant one patron after another.
  • At midnight, the bonfire is ceremoniously lit, having spent the earlier part of the evening standing empty, appearing to be a simple sculpture of twisted iron. Twelve of the performers quietly enter the courtyard with small platforms that they set up along the perimeter like numbers on a clock. Precisely one minute before the hour, they each ascend their respective platforms and pull from their backs shimmering black bows and arrows. At thirty seconds before midnight, they lit the tips of their arrows with small dancing yellow flames. Those in the crowd who had not noticed them previously now watch in wonder. At ten seconds before the hour, they raise their bows and aim the flaming arrows at the waiting well of curling iron. As the clock begins to chime near the gates, the first archer lets his arrow fly, soaring over the crowd and hitting its mark in a shower of sparks.
  • The bonfire ignites in an eruption of yellow flame.
  • Then the second chime follows, the second archer sends her arrows into the yellow flames, and they become a clear sky-blue.
  • A third chime with a third arrow and the flames are a warm bright pink.
  • Flames the color of a ripe pumpkin follow the fourth arrow.
  • A fifth, and the flames are scarlet-red.
  • A sixth brings a deeper, sparkling crimson.
  • Seven, and the fire is soaked in a color like an incandescent wine.
  • Eight, and the flames are a shimmering violet.
  • Nine, and violet shifts to indigo.
  • A tenth chime, a tenth arrow, and the bonfire turns deepest midnight blue.
  • On the penultimate chime, the dancing flames change from blue to black, and for that moment, it is difficult to discern the fire from the cauldron.
  • And on the final strike, the dark flames are replaced with a blinding white shower of sparks falling like snowflakes around it. Huge curls of dense white smoke swirl up into the night sky.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

-----The Twins

January 13th, 1890
  • All told, opening night is an undeniable success.
  • There is only one minor mishap two minor mishaps of sorts, one two unexpected occurrences.
  • One passes unnoticed by most of the patrons, and many of the performers are not aware of it until after the fact.
  • Just before the clock chiming of one-o-clock, Noah is found to be having a trifle with one of the patrons whom had mildly assaulted Audrey, the assistant and sister to the macabre artisan. While a small troop of fellow performers attempted to aid in the situation, it was ultimately handled by the knife thrower.
  • One passes unnoticed by any of the patrons, and many of the performers are not aware of it until after the fact.
  • Just before sunset, while the last-minute preparations are being made (costumes adjusted, caramel melted), the wife of the wild-cat tamer unexpectedly does into labor. She is, when not in a delicate state, her husband's assistant. Their act has been subtly modified for her absence, but the cats themselves seem agitated.
  • She is expecting twins, though they are not due for a few more weeks. People joke afterward that perhaps they did not want to miss opening night.
  • A doctor is brought to the circus before it opens to the public and escorted discreetly backstage for the delivery (an easier feat to accomplish than moving her to a hospital).
  • Six minutes before midnight, Winston Aidan Murray is born.
  • Seven minutes after midnight, his sister, Penelope Aislin Murray, follows.
  • When the news is relayed to Chandresh Christophe Lefevre, he is mildly disappointed that the twins are not identical. He had thought up various roles in the circus for identical twins to perform once the children were old enough. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, lack the amount of theatricality he had expected, but he has Marco arrange the delivery of two enormous bouquets of red roses anyway.
  • They are tiny things, each with a rather surprising amount of bright red hair. They barely cry, staying awake and alert with matching pairs of wide blue eyes. They are wrapped in spare bits of silk and satin, white for her and black for him.
  • A steady stream of circus performers comes to see them in between acts, taking turns holding them and inevitably remarking on their exquisite timing. They will fit right in, everyone says, save for their hair. Someone suggests hats until they are old enough for hair dye. Someone else remarks that it would be a travesty to dye over such a color, a chocking red much brighter than their mother's auburn.
  • "It is an auspicious color," Tsukiko comments, but she refuses to elaborate on her meaning. She kisses each twin on the forehead and later makes strings of folded paper cranes to hang above their cradle.
  • Close to dawn, when the circus is emptying, they are taken for a walk around the tents and into the courtyard. The purpose is ostensibly to lull them to sleep, but they stay awake, watching the lights and costumes and the stripes on the tents around them, strangely alert for being only a few hours old.
  • Not until the sun has risen do they finally close their eyes, side by side in the black wrought-iron cradle lined with striped blankets that already waits them despite their early arrival. It was delivered as a gift a few weeks earlier, though it had no card or note. The Murrays assumed it was a gift from Chandresh, though when they thanked him for it he claimed he had no idea what they were talking about.
  • The twins quite like it, regardless of its dubious origins.
  • No one recalls afterward who it was that dubbed them Poppet and Widget. As with the cradle, no one takes credit for it.
  • But the nicknames stick, as nicknames do.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:38, Thu 14 Jan 2016.