People scattered quickly when they saw the tiger and the lion padding through the crowd, then slowed and returned to the pathways when they saw the tall, slight figure between and just behind the two huge felines. He was dressed in white jodhpurs a white shirt and a red waistcoat his feet were clad in high leather boots and his hands in leather gloves. Wrapped around his torso, over one shoulder is a leather whip, but it seems to be more a part of the costume than an item of functionality. The whole thing is surmounted by a shining black top hat.
He takes it off to a lady as he passes and two doves fly out from beneath it, they flutter out, landing on the shoulders of members of the audience. One edges out along the arm of a small child and pecks at the popcorn clutched tightly in his fist. He laughed in delight as it plucks a kernel from the cardboard cup and takes flight once more, flitting gracefully back to the young man, alighting on his palm and dropping the popcorn into his open mouth. The dove flutters to the top of his hat and he ruffled the head of the young boy as he passed. Another girl runs up and asks if she can pet the lion. He simply smiles and, without a word lifts her and sits her astride the animals back, he takes her hand and pushes it deep into the lions mane.
"Hold on, but not too tight."
His voice is gentle, musical almost and he releases the girl to let her ride on the back of the huge cat. There are gasps of wonder and fear at the spectacle but he raises his hands for silence. "Ladies, gentlemen... children. She is perfectly safe, Lorenzo wouldn't hurt a soul. Watch."
He clicks his tongue and growls deep in his throat, patting the top of the lion's snout. He obediently opened his mouth and the animal tamer kneels, removing his top hat and passing it to the girl, before putting his head between the lion's jaws. The tamer clicks his tongue once more and the lion's jaws close to screams from the audience, stopping so that they just, and only just touch his skin. There is a moment of frozen silence, and then the audience that had gathered burst into rapturous applause. The tamer extracted his head and patted the lions head, then wafted his hand in front of his nose, prompting laughter from the crowd. There is a small commotion and then a monkey appears between the legs of the front row and runs over with an over sized toothbrush and starts to scrub the lion's teeth. Laughter peals through the crowd and cameras flash.
Nathaniel helped the little girl down then jumped up, one foot on the back of either animal, taking a low bow, balancing effortlessly on the shifting beasts backs. "Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I am here all day."
He unslung the whip, and ever the theatrical performer, cracked it once in the air. The lion and tiger beneath him leaped forwards and carried him off through the crowd as he caught up his hat from the stunned little girl.
A few of the newer carnies, as well as the last few trailing visitors pointed and laughed at the small monkey scurrying along with a plate balanced above his head. He was dressed in a small red waistcoat that showed up brightly against his dark fur as he trotted through the grass towards a tree on the edge of the firelight. The tree was surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes, from an elephant to a multitude of butterflies moving restlessly from leaf to leaf. The huge grey beast turned its head and unrolled its trunk and the monkey scurried neatly up it before leaping onto a low branch. It leapt up to another and there proffered the plate.
Nathaniel looked at the food with disinterested eyes, but took it from the wide eyed monkey, recognizing the expression of concern on it's small wizened face. He balanced it on his lap and picked at it with his fingers, eating a little, but offering most to the various animals and birds perched on him and the surrounding branches. He preferred to watch the carnies, rather than engage with them. He'd given up on that a long time ago, he'd seen them all, the tough ones, the ones who cried, the ones who railed desperately against the Master's power. None of them lasted long, they either left or were taken by the Dark ones. He had even given up learning their names, now it seemed like no time at all before they were replaced by a new person, a new soul taken by the Circus.
He watched as the clown took food to the magician, smiling bitterly, remembering himself doing it once, before... before...
He threw the plate away, the elephant lifting it's head unhappily as sauce splattered on her ear.
"I'm sorry Eliza, old memories..."