The Circus Act

Rating: Teen
Flavor: Humor
Era: between Orzammar and the Landsmeet
Language: none
Violence: none
Nudity: partial (m)
Sex: reference to a toy/torture device
Other: no

Author's Notes:
A snippet floating unconnectedly around in my brain, brought on by a RAZT prompt. Doesn't contain any particular spoilers or anything. May or may not be canon. There's no reason it can't be, but I'm not sure if it will be put in the main story anywhere.

The Circus Act

"When I first saw you coming down the road, I wasn't sure if you were the Grey Wardens or a travelling circus."



"Ladies and gentlemen," Bannon crowed, flashing the drab bar crowd a brilliant smile; "may I have your attention, please!" He waved from the small stage. "Tonight is your lucky night, ladies and gentlemen! The world-famous Broma Brothers Travelling Circus is here in your town for one night only!"

The paltry crowd stared.

Bannon kept the brilliant smile plastered on his face. Show business was so tough. He looked to where his companions were pretending not to know him. "Come on, someone get up here," he hissed out of the side of his mouth at them. "Sten, let's go!"

Scowling like a thunderhead, the qunari giant climbed up onto the stage.

"It is my great honor and priveledge to present to you: Sten! Let's give him a big hand, ladies and gentlemen!" Bannon clapped. No one joined in. He persisted doggedly. "Come on, a bigger hand than that; he's a big guy!" They weren't biting. "My good friend Sten here will now delight and amaze you with a traditional qunari song and dance, never before seen outside his homeland of Tar Valley!"

"Par Vollen," the qunari grumbled.

Ignoring him, Bannon leapt lightly to the side and extended both arms to present the qunari as the center of attention. "Take it away, Sten!"

Sten folded his arms and glowered.

Bannon rolled his eyes from the audience to the giant. He raised his brows at his performer. Sten glowered. The elf raised his brows further, tipping one hand suggestively.

Sten glowered.

"Ha-ha-ha!" Bannon said, straightening up from his pose. "Seriously, though, this is an amazing act, never before seen on this side of the Anderfels! Sten will now do an impression of... A Stone Golem!" Again he made the 'ta-da!' gesture with his arms.

Sten glowered.

Sten glowered for two whole minutes.

"Look at that, ladies and gentlemen! So true-to-life! Many of you may not have ever seen a stone golem, but mark my words, they look just like that!" Bannon clapped his hands again. "Amazing!" Some drunken sot in the back clapped once or twice. The elf moved over to the side and stage-whispered to Zevran, "Are you sure this qunari is alive?"

Zevran grinned and projected a supposedly quiet voice, "What difference does it make?"

"Good point! Make sure we have a hand cart... this will save us a bundle in food costs!"

Someone at the bar snickered.

Bannon beamed at the audience again. "Now here's something we can all appreciate, so close to home! I present to you... Sten's impersonation of... General Loghain MacTir!"

Sten glowered.

Bannon was sure he heard Alistair choking backstage. A couple of soldiers at one table chuckled.

"Isn't he wonderful? Ladies and gentlemen, another rousing round of applause for Sten!" The elf shooed the annoyed qunari off the stage while... miracle of miracles, some people clapped. A little. "Zevran, get up here," Bannon said to his partner. The assassin bounded up onto the stage, mugging the audience, smiling and waving. "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, all the way from Antiva for your entertainment - the Amazing Zevran!" In a low voice he added, "Take your armor off."

The blond elf waggled his brows. "As you like." He started unbuckling his weapon harness first.

Bannon went to the side of the stage and got Leliana to find him some props very quickly. When he turned back. The Antivan was strutting back and forth at the front of the stage, wearing nothing but his gloves, boots, and smallclothes. He blew kisses to... Great Maker, everybody. Somewhere, somebody wolf-whistled. Somebody else yelled, "Oy!"

"A-hem!" Bannon said forcefully. He skewered Zevran with a glare, then flashed his smile to the audience. "As you can see, the Amazing Zevran has no armor, and no weapons! He has no secret tools hidden anywhere on his person. Yet he will attempt a feat of great daring and dexterity. Using nothing but his teeth, ladies and gentlemen, he will attempt to escape from this chastity belt!" He brandished a handful of heavy chains and locks.

At the words 'chastity belt,' Zevran let out an unmanly scream, leapt down from the stage, and hit the floor running. He dodged tables, leapt over a chair, and tore out of the door as if his smallclothes were on fire.

"Annnnnnd there he goes!" Bannon gestured grandly after the fleeing figure. "Escaping from the chastity belt! Yes... look at him go. Let's give him a big hand!" Maker bless them, some people were laughing!

Bannon returned the chains to Leliana. "Alistair, Oghren, let's go," the elf called. The Templar gamely took the stage and stood there, looking embarassed and waving stupidly. "Leliana, hurry up," Bannon urged.

"Give me a moment! He's stone drunk again!" A resounding burp came from backstage.

The elf returned to the front of the stage. Alistair had his teeth clenched and showing, like a very scared man who needed an outhouse. "Ladies and gentlemen, I present, from our own homeland of Ferelden - Alistair the Houndmaster!" Bannon clapped loudly. Alistair looked more constipated. He waved timidly at the audience again. "As you know, Ferelden is famous world-over for its mighty war dogs! The smartest, the strongest!" The elf shot a look towards Leliana. "And the wonder of wonders..." He circled his arms in a big flourish. "Muffin, the Wonder-Mabari!"

The bard shoved the dwarf onto the stage. "Oy, wot?" His red beard was as neatly-braided as usual. His hair was hastily tied up in two perky pigtails on either side of his head with Leliana's ribbons. Oghren stared at his empty right hand, probably wondering where his tankard had gone. He shuffled towards Bannon and Alistair.

Someone from the crowd yelled, "That's the ugliest mabari I've ever seen!"

"Oy!" Oghren growled. "I'll give you ugly, you sodding pike-twirler!" He also gave the guy the finger. The soldiers sniggered and guffawed.

"Take it away, Houndmaster!" Bannon urged as he quit the stage.

"Take it away, where?" Alistair hissed desperately after him.

"The usual dog tricks!"

Alistair put his rictus grin on again. "Okay... Muffin. Um, sit!"

Oghren glared blearily up at him. "Sit where, you nincompoop? There's no chair!"

"Uh, speak!" Sweat trickled down Alistair's face.

The dwarf let out a prodigiously echoing burp. This actually garnered some smattering of applause.

Encouraged, Alistair unclenched his jaw a bit. "Heh heh. Uh... Stay!" All right, that was a dumb one. Oghren standing still was hardly entertaining. Bannon ran into the back and scrabbled around to pry a hoop off a barrel. He dashed back to the stage, where Alistair was gamely trying, "Lie down! Roll over!" and Oghren was just standing there scratching his crotch. The elf shoved the hoop into the Templar's hands.

"Uh, right." Alistair held the hoop up. "Now jump through this hoop!"

"Are you out of your nug-humping mind?" Oghren stomped over. "Give me that!" He snatched the hoop and tried to smash Alistair over the head with it. Of course the hoop just passed harmlessly over the man's head and shoulders, and got stuck a minute around his arms. Alistair wriggled around a bit and the hoop shook loose to clatter on the stage.

"Psst!" Bannon whispered something to Alistiar.

"Uhm... Right. Sit up and beg!"

"For what, you dirt-grubbing, tree-sniffing, pike-twirling pumpkin rider?"

Bannon handed up a mug of ale. Alistair held it up high over his head. "Here boy, beg for the ale!"

"Why you-!" Oghren lashed out and kicked Alistair right in the nuts. The Templar doubled over with a loud 'Ooof!,' but the dwarf managed to rescue the mug without spilling a drop. He chugged it down, to the loud cheers of the crowd.

"Thank you!" Bannon leapt back up onto the stage, egging the crowd on with his own enthusiastic clapping. "A big hand for Alistair and Muffin the amazing Wonder Mabari!" He shooed them off the stage. Oghren gave the crowd another 'salute' as he stomped off, and Alistair limped slowly, still doubled over. Trying to lead the crowd in applause, Bannon edged over and shot a glance at Wynne and Morrigan. "Ready, ladies?"

"Under no circumstances!" said Wynne.

"Not unless you finally want me to turn you into a toad," Morrigan offered. "A flaming one."

The elf knew when he was beaten. "All right. Leliana?" The bard nodded, and Bannon returned to center stage. "Ladies and gentlemen, you've been a wonderful audience! The Broma Brothers Travelling Show thanks you from the depths of our hearts. Give yourself a generous round of applause!" He clapped enthusiastically, and of course, the foolish sots had to applaud. "And now for your pleasure," he continued after that died down; "from the mysterious halls of the Chantry, I give you Leliana, the bard with the voice blessed by the Maker!"

He left the stage more sedately, letting the dulcet tones of Leliana's lute speak for itself. She came forward and bowed, and then began to sing. The audience listened, rapt. Bannon took the opportunity to carry a bowl around to the crowd, milking them for tips and donations. And, of course, keeping an eye out for any... 'lost' coin pouches lying around.