|Grand Master||James Brindle|
|Headquarters||Stage of Whispers (Teufeldorf)|
The long tradition of the traveling bard is well established - musicians, storytellers and entertainers are highly sought after in the villages, towns and cities in the Reaches. Beyond their ability to delight crowds, bards bring news and gossip of events to the remote corners of the Realm. Some bards take permanent positions as advisors, artists, and players to nobles and the wealthy - giving them unparalleled access to information and influence.
Since many bards count on their reputations to pay their way, an organization - known as the Royal Company - was established in the mid-seventh century TA to promote and honor the most talented entertainers. A bard carrying the mark of the Royal Company can count on drinks, meals and lodgings at the cost of a few performances.
The Royal Company is headquartered in a most unique building - called the Stage of Whispers. The origins of the Stage is unknown - although it has clearly been used for performances for hundreds of years. The labyrinthine structure has a massive central stage - under which a maze of trapdoors and lifts lead to storerooms and other mechanical contrivances. The main ballroom is twenty stories high - filled with curtained, private boxes looking down on the stage. The main floor has seating for several hundred.
First-time visitors are often awed by the sheer size and ornate nature of the building -dark woods, rich leather and deep green and red velvet details abound. Clearly a place of high magic, the stage is always lit for the performance taking place without any known source of illumination. While the stage is bright, the main ballroom is constantly shrouded in shadows - with the private boxes lost completely in darkness. Sounds on the stage can be heard clearly throughout the hall. When empty, an eerie low-pitched melody oftentimes accompanied by an indistinct male voice can be heard - thus giving the building its name - the Stage of Whispers.
Many of the lower boxes in the Stage are occupied by performing troupes, talent scouts, and other members of the Royal Company. In the private boxes higher in the ballroom, rumors of secret meetings of nefarious cabals are common. The maze of hallways leading to the private boxes makes navigating to them difficult at best. The highest boxes are filled with cobwebs and rumored to be haunted and long-abandoned.
A bard wishing to join the Royal Company need only to come in and audition on the Stage. No appointments or introductions are needed. Performances are taking place continuously day and night, but none are open to the general public. It is here that some bards perfect their acts or learn from the masters of the Company. The current Grand Master of the Royal Company is James Brindle.