I stood looking at the young woman, whom might well be the most beautiful creature that I had ever seen. She struck a pose and tossed her thick locks of dark brown hair back over her shoulder.
“You are so beautiful,” I said. “Why would you want to go into such a disreputable business as acting? You could do anything you wanted.”
“It’s not what I want; It’s all that I have left,” she replied. “You see, my family the Capillaries…”
“I thought you said your name was Fennec.”
“That’s my stage name,” she explained. “My real name is Megara Capillarie. And my family and other family, the Montenegroes, have been involved in a feud for dozens of generations.”
“Is it the kind of feud in which you fight the other family, or the kind in which you challenge them to some type of word game?”
“It is the kind in which you fight and kill the other family.”
“Hmm,” said I. “Those types of feuds can be bad, especially if you are the one being fought and killed.”
“But there’s more. I met a lovely young man and fell in love with him, only to find out later that he was none other than Henri Montenegro, the son of my family’s great enemy. We met and exchanged fair words and fair kisses. But then yesterday there was a fight in the street and Henri, beautiful, sweet Henri killed my cousin.”
“So you don’t love him anymore? You hate him now.”
“Of course I don’t hate him! I love him! But we can never be together. He has been banished to Oordport, and I shall never see him again.”
“It so happens that I already have all the actresses that I need to portray the characters in my play,” said I.
“You are one short,” Megara said, tossing her hair back. “Two days ago, the Sorceress Myolaena Maetar arrived at the theater just after the performance and turned your lead actress Angelletta Seedling into a tree.”
“Oh bother,” said I. “I suppose though, that with a name like Seedling you have to expect that sort of thing. I guess I will have to find someone who can change her back.”
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. You see the locals are in constant need of firewood, and well…”
“I’m afraid so,” she said.
“I find myself in need of an actress then,” said I. “But I could not claim the names of Buxton and of Eaglethorpe, which is to say Eaglethorpe Buxton if I were to take advantage of your unfortunate predicament, which is to say your situation, for my own gain. Before you settle for the life of the stage we must see if we cannot reunite you with your lost love.”
“You would do that for me?”
“Of course,” I replied. “I am Eaglethorpe Buxton, friend to the friendless, protector to the defenseless, finder of lost children and reuniter of lost lovers. And I have a plan.”