Books and Scrolls
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November 15, 2005, 6:39 pm

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Don Han, by Don Hazhizhab Takl


Among the Centasi, especially those of the northern regions (a peculiar debased form of opera is performed among the islands of the north of which we shall not speak), there is no more beloved, ancient, and respected art than opera, that wondrous blending of theater, song, and orchestra. And there are no more respected composers of opera among the Centasi, whether ancient or contemporary opera, than the late masters Signore Anlar Parlat and Don Hazhizhab Takl. Their masterpieces, Phantom Snake and Don Han, respectively, are iconic to all Centasi.

Don Han, by Don Hazhizhab Takl
Don Han is the partly fictionalized tale of Don Han Jhaklab, a noble of the Jhini Islands of the northwest. It is a partial tale; Hazhizhab Takl fell prey to a mysterious death before finishing part two, thus, it is much shorter than most operas and more fast paced.
Don Han is an appreciator of the famous Belath Dancers of the northern land, and every day goes to watch their sinuous ballet in the Square of Makhla. One day, as he views the dancers, he sees Methi, a beautiful northern girl. Going later that evening to the tent of the Belath Dancers, Don Han accidentaly views Methi bathing, and is immediately enamored.
The next day, he goes to the Belath camp before breakfast, awakens Methi, and seduces her. He asks for her hand in marriage, but the Belath Dancers are departing on a ship to return to the north, and she is dragged away before she can answer him.
Heartbroken, Don Han spends a week seducing women of his town and wasting his money on prostitutes. But one day, he awakens to discover that he has bedded every woman in town.
Gathering his things, and taking with him his manservant Hetrio, Don Han boards a ship for the northern lands.
When they step off in the northern port, they are, in quick succession, robbed, beaten by fanatics, accosted by soldiers of the black empire, and swindled into purchasing a “magic compass” which the salesmen tricks Don Han into believing will lead him to Methi.
Hetrio leads Don Han from the town, where Don Han discovers that the compass is a fake, and doesn’t even work as a regular compass. This is the last straw, and Don Han’s former dreamy optimism breaks. He sings long and sad about all of his life’s troubles, and about his broken heart.
The end of the play (or rather, the end of the single part of the play which exists) features Hetrio singing another long explanation- Hetrio comforts his master, and then sings to the world about his master’s virtues and follies, revealing that Methi was perhaps a figment all along, as Don Han is a man of strange mind and all his life has seen visions.
The play generally ends with Hetrio sitting down beside his weeping, dejected master and giving him a comforting pat on the shoulder; this has become synonymous with uncertain endings, and most stories, plays, and other operas whose endings are ambiguous feature this action in some way.
The name Don Han has become shorthand for both “seducer”, “promiscuous man”, and “dreamer”. The costume tradition for Don Han has changed little since the days of Helbed Raan, producer during the 1320s at the famous Opera Glorious in Simblios, had Don Han’s costume set as a traditional Jhini lord-cloak and black jumpsuit, as well as a red headband (which has become a symbol for a promiscuous or sexually-skilled man).

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Comments ( 4 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

December 11, 2005, 17:29
Nothing at all?
Ah, well. I'm not above a shameless self-bump.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
December 17, 2005, 17:54
This stands well alone, but with it's "sister post", the Phantom snake it's somewhere on the egde of greatness. Not a shameless self-bump at all. Too bad may players can't afford the opera... Broken up in chunks of text might ease reading, that's all.
Voted MoonHunter
January 6, 2006, 11:21
Fairly a duplication of what MJS just posted.

I do not know what the direct inspiration was for the post (and its sister), but it is well executed (if it just had extra line returns).
Voted valadaar
April 26, 2007, 10:50
I think it is a good piece - background detail never hurts. It could be used to flesh out a song a bard is singing, text on tomb walls, etc.

Nicely done!

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