GATHER: Barnem and Baylee's Caravan of the Weird and Wonderful

Laurie
 

The caravan pulled up to the Gather grounds during the darkest part of the night.  This was partly by chance, and partly on purpose.  Barnem liked to surprise the masses, so even their setup was like a show - not here one moment, but here the next.  Ruby clucked to the draybeasts pulling her wagon and tugged on the reins.  The wagon stopped, and she hopped off her seat and handed the reins to one of the tent-boys.  Her assigned tasks were not to set up the tents, or deal with the animals - at least, not the ‘normal’ animals.  Her job was to set up the “Hall of Horror” and the “Passage of Peculiarities”.  

The show’s ‘tent’ was actually several different tents and moveable walls attached to each other.  Each partition could stand alone, but were lightly fastened together to make one giant enclosure.  Whoever dreamed this up had been a genius - if one ‘room’ collapsed, the rest of the rooms kept their integrity.  Which was a good thing, with everything that went on in the different areas.

By the time Ruby made her way to her area, the outer shell had already been built and the interior was ready for her to begin putting things in their places.  Several large trunks were placed at various points, so she went to the first to begin putting the items in their place.  Turns of practice coupled with displays that were not only well made, but very easy to assemble and disassemble had Ruby’s room ready within thirty minutes.  The lengthy job was putting up the items for display - some were just so very delicate, and others were quite breakable.

The first item was, to her, the most horrifying - both because Barnem actually bought it, and because of the subject matter.  It was a real human foetus, with 2 extra arms coming out of its back, and two feet on the backside of its calves.  There was even a hint of a face on the back of its enlarged head.  This foetus had been carefully preserved in the same way Lords had some of their hunted animals preserved - a method called ‘taksitdurmy’ or  something like that.  Basically part of the Tannercraft, but more involved.  It was still delicate, so they had it in a glass case that had set Barnem back quite a few marks, since the glass had to be perfectly clear.  Not something easy to do.

Intellectually she knew it was twins which had not...twinned, but it was horrifying just the same.  Once that was in place she gave a delicate shudder and began setting up the other horrors.
There was the big-mouthed babe--actually a frog which had been ‘modified’.  That went into a more shadowed corner, to hide any of the stitches and glue which had been used to piece it together.  As did the feline/shipfish hybrid skeleton.  She laughed as she finished putting that up - the people from the Second Pass said there used to be a type of fish called a ‘catfish’, and that felines used to be called ‘cats’.  This struck her as humorous.  This exhibit would have gone into the Corridor of Curiosities, except that it was large enough to be frightening.  The Corridor sported more interesting items, like the tunnelsnake skeleton that had firelizard wings attached.  But the Corridor was Topaz’s duty this go ‘round.

Another of the real items was the herdbeast pelt with a fur pattern of a screaming face.  Granted, they had enhanced it with fabric dye,but it hadn’t needed much.  The tattooed firelizard also didn’t need much enhancement - but the horror on this was who would do that to a firelizard.  Actually, why would a firelizard stay still for it?  

Once she was finished she headed out of her area to see how the others were doing.  Topaz was just coming out of the Corridor of Curiosities, and Sapphire was already in her sparkly uniform.   The sun had been up for a couple of hours - soon the gather would be officially starting.

“Guess we should get ready too,” Topaz said as she came abreast of Ruby.  “The show starts two hours after the gates open, and Barnem will want to have our usual pre-Gather rally.

Ruby nodded, and they headed to the trailer the three of them shared.

***

It was time for the show to open. The strains of music began, a lively tune. Two people ascended the stairs on either side of the stage: Barnem, the head of the caravan and his wife, Baylee. Rather than speaking, they began to sing:

Welcome here my friends to the show that never ends

We're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside

Beyond a red curtain are some sights that are certain

To astonish ev’ry person, go on in, go on in.


Come inside, we’re about to start the show 

It’s guaranteed, a grand time we’ll bestow


We’ve got Pern’s tallest Lord, and the man who eats the sword

We know you won’t get bored, go inside, go inside

The man so strong he’ll shock, another with skin like a rock,

The mind’s mysteries we’ll unlock, be a dear, volunteer



You've got to see the show, it's the best there is

You've got to see the show, we’re the best in the biz

Right behind that door, a long dark corridor,

Is the avenue of horror, take a chance, take a chance


Look up to the skies, the family who flies

And then you’ll realize, there is more, so much more

Fella’s how you’ll wish, to know the girl who is half fish,

So lovely, such a dish, want a kiss? Get a kiss.


How can a person be so fat? Is that a girl? Is this a cat? 

This show is where it’s at! Be amazed, be amazed!

The boy with dragon wings, the tunnelsnake that sings,

And a hundred other things, take them in, take them in.



Come inside, we’re about to start the show 

Guaranteed, a grand time we’ll bestow

You've got to see the show, it's the best there is

You've got to see the show, we’re the best in the biz


Roll up, roll up, roll up

See the show


We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown

Were exclusively our own, all our own, all our own


Come and see the show, come and see the show

Come and see the show

See the show


OOC: (Thanks, and many apologies, to Emerson, Lake and Palmer)


Under these tents will be several different shows. Normal acrobats, jugglers, animal ticks. Then there will be the Hall of Horror, the Passage of Peculiarities, and the Corridor of Curiosities. There will be various living, dead, and, yes, fake, exhibits. Just find Ruby, Sapphire or Topaz, and they'll take you to your wildest dreams or your biggest fears.


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