The King in Yellow

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Plot
Cassilda is Queen of a City (Yhtill) which overlooks the Lake of Hali.

On the far shore of Hali, when the Hyades rise, can be seen the mysterious city of Carcosa, a city with five singularities (of which four are revealed). It is said The King in Yellow rules there.

Yhtill is at war with the city of Alar, ruled by Aldones who is closely related to Cassilda – there is an endless stalemate in this war.

Nothing ever happens of note in Yhtill.

There is an endless debate about the succession between Cassilda’s two sons that seems to hinge on which one their sister Camilla chooses as her husband.

Cassilda fears the coming of The Yellow Sign – a symbol sent from Carcosa to all Yhtillian monarchs. Its significance is unclear

A stranger wearing a pale mask arrives in the city, causing a great commotion.

The stranger tells the royal family that the mask is a weapon against the King in Yellow. He reveals that he wears the Yellow Sign – and later claims he does this as a sign of its powerlessness against the Pallid Mask, but its revelation causes horror amongst the royal family.

The Stranger suggests a masked ball, in which all shall wear the Pallid Mask, and thus be free forever of the influence of the King.

During the ball, the Stranger reveals that he is a spy from Alar, and that he wears no Mask.

At this, the King in Yellow makes his appearance, slays the Stranger and tells the people of Yhtill that Yhtill and Carcosa are now the same city, and that the price of this alliance against Alar, which will be destroyed is the ‘fixing of the Mask’ – Cassilda and her family are horrifed and the King ends by asking ‘Did you think to be human still?’

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Adaption by Talbot Estus – “Carcosa, or the Queen and the Stranger”
The play as described (which is as it was seen by the PCs) differs significantly from the script, but the performers say that they performed the script exactly as written.

In both versions of the play large sections of exposition appear to be missing – the cause and effect relationships between various elements are a total mystery. The character of the Child, for example is very peculiar.

At the beginning of the second act, the child delivers a speech in front of the closed curtain indicating that it is now too late for the audience and that by returning to watch the second act they have committed themselves to the consequences.

During the play, people’s reactions did not seem to be in line with what was actually happening on the stage. People would react with gasps or laughter at points where nothing appeared to elicit surprise or humour.

Lt. Wraithbone noted that in the latter part of the first act, there appeared to be something being said very subtlety between the lines.

He also noticed a couple two rows in front of him leave during this time, but the other PCs said that this event did not occur.

The play, particularly The Yellow Sign seemed to affect the emotions of some people very strongly, whereas others were affected little, if at all. After the King’s exit in the last scene, there were many people overcome with emotion (to the point of almost fomenting a riot). Stanley Wraithbone attempted to rush the stage. Due to the uproar, the last few lines of the play were drowned out.

Some people seem to have watched (or thought they have seen) different versions of scenes than others.

The King in Yellow

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