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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1223648
by Kirrix
Rated: E · Script/Play · Drama · #1223648
It is more secure to be feared than loved.
ACT I

PREFACE

A lone man walks onto stage in a bards garb. This is the BARD. He gazes at the audience with a cold glare.

BARD
Good people of the audience-
I make no pretense. The story you are to witness this evening is not one of hope. Far from it, tonight's story is one of power, and its conjoined twin, corruption. You will have no hand to play in the coming events, though you may see clear the path that they will follow, and though you may wish to change it, you cannot. You will simply watch as a once pure and innocent soul is transformed and warped by the lust for power.

The Bard walks to the side of the stage and sits there, watching the story with his intent glare. He plays his lute throughout the scenes with music that fits the mood.

SCENE 1

Two servants, JANECK and EDMUND, are cleaning a balcony that overlooks the entrance of a castle. Both are dressed in dirty, dull colored clothing Janeck is scrubbing a pillar while Edmund is kneeling on the ground scrubbing the floor (SR). Janeck looks over the side of the balcony.

JANECK
Hey, Edmund, look at this.

Edmund looks up at Janeck.

EDMUND
What is it Janeck?

Edmund gets up and looks over the side of the balcony. He gets a surprised look.

EDMUND (CONT’D)
Woah!

JANECK
Have you ever seen so many soldiers before?

EDMUND
No. What do you supposed they’re here for?

JANECK
I heard from Mary in the kitchen that all the princes in Gerith are here for the week.

Edmund looks at Janeck.

EDMUND
All of them? Why have they all come here?

Janeck looks at the other end of the balcony and Edmund follows his gaze as a door (SL) is opened from the inside.

JANECK
Even the court fool could figure that one.

Wendy, daughter of the king, comes out the door in extremely fine clothing and looks over the railing of the balcony.

EDMUND
Wendy? What would the princes of the kingdom want with the daughter of King Williams?

JANECK
Are you daft man? Don’t you know what tomorrow's date is?

EDMUND
Yes, the 26th of March. Wendy’s fifteenth birthdate.
(pause)
Oh.

Edmund leans back against a pillar.

EDMUND (CONT’D)
How old is the youngest prince in Gerith again? Fifty-seven?

JANECK
(chuckling)
Yeah, they are all old codgers, aren’t they? But most of them do have sons or nephews.

Edmund groans. Wendy, still looking down, shakes her head, then exits (SL)

JANECK (CONT’D)
Look, we’ve a bigger problem than the fact that the girl of your dreams-and I emphasize dreams-is going to wind up marrying another man.

EDMUND
And what would that problem be?

JANECK
All these princes are noblemen, and while I’m sure there are some of noble virtues, how do you suppose most of them think about servants?

EDMUND
Hell. And Sir James isn’t here to help us either.

JANECK
Hmm... Times like these I wish I had mastered the age old art of “keeping my head down.”


SCENE 2

Wendy sits in a courtyard on a circular fountain or planter.

WENDY
What is it my father wants of me?
(laughs at herself)
What a foolish question. What I should be asking is why he wants it. I’ve been told by many a knight and knight errant that I am the fairest maiden in the kingdom, yet I wonder how often it is that it is less my fair face but the fair glint of my father’s crown and gold treasures that attracts them.
(she sighs)
Ay me. How I should enjoy love to be more than a myth for legends and stories of heroes. Perhaps it is the gods’ sense of humor that created this desire for affection to be given and returned. What I would give to-

She is interrupted as a door to the courtyard is opened, and an agitated Edmund steps through, not noticing Wendy.

EDMUND
(high pitched mocking voice)
You boy, do this! You boy, do that! Fetch me another draught of wine! More pig over here!
(normal voice still agitated)
How I loathe aristocrats.

Edmund finally notices Wendy, who has been listening the entire time. He is suddenly embarrassed at having been caught saying such things.

EDMUND (CONT’D)
(worried)
M’lady, my apologies, I did not see you there. I, of course, meant no offense to the princes-

WENDY
(interrupting him)
Please, no, don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone what you said, I promise.
(calming down)
If anything I agree with your assessment of the princes of Gerith.

Edmund gulps nervously.

EDMUND
(nervously)
You-you do?

WENDY
If I had it my way, I’d have nothing to do with the lot of them. But-

She stops and chews her lip, trying to decide whether or not to bear her soul to Edmund, then chooses to do so.

WENDY (CONT’D)
(quickly)
It’s just that, my father believes that in order to keep the kingdom strong I should marry a knight or a noble-blooded man, and one who is charismatic and strong so that he can keep the kingdom united and I realize as the king’s daughter I am bound to the fate of the kingdom and should thus do what is best for the kingdom, but in everything I’ve ever read or been told, marriage happened between two people who love each other, not because it’s politically a smart move, and that’s all I really want out of life is to find someone that I love and can be happy with till the end of my days.

Wendy is out of breath and panting, Edmund looks as though he is trying to process what had just been said.

EDMUND
(hesitantly)
Perhaps you should go down to the ball and start meeting some of the young men who have come to seek your hand.
(takes a deep breath)
Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone down there who excites you, who you can relate to and bond to. And if you don’t, well, your father is a good man, I’m sure if you told him you truly don’t wish to marry any of these men, he’d be willing to accept it.

Wendy wordlessly asks if he means it, and Edmund barely manages to put on a reassuring smile.

EDMUND (CONT’D)
I’m sure of it.

Wendy nods.

WENDY
You’re right. I best get to the ball.

She begins to go, then turns back.

WENDY (CONT’D)
Thank you...

EDMUND
Edmund.

WENDY
(smiling)
Edmund. Nice to meet you.

She continues off stage. Edmund becomes clearly unsatisfied with his performance.

EDMUND
How cruel the fates are.


SCENE 3

Edmund is walking down a corridor and comes to a partly open door (opens outward) that he hears talking coming from. Moving closer, the talking becomes more clear to him and the audience.

PRINCE OF MERIN
So, tell me, how do you intend to carry out this deed.

ASSASSIN
This dagger has been passed down through many generations of my family. The inside of the sheath is covered in a poison that coats the blade every time it is put away, giving it fresh venom every time. I’ll put it to the King’s gut and make my escape through the back hall.

Edmund grows wide eyed

PRINCE OF MERIN
Good. It’s very clever and very efficient.

ASSASSIN
That is why you hire the best. However, the best comes with a high price. Do you have my payment?

PRINCE OF MERIN
A skillful killer and a shrewd business man, eh? Well I do. Here is one hundred coin-

ASSASSIN
One hundred?! We agreed on two.

PRINCE OF MERIN
The other half of which you will receive after you complete your mission. And so will this contract be honored.

ASSASSIN
Ah yes, the making of me the new Prince of Merin when you are King or Gerith. It is good to do business with you.

PRINCE OF MERIN
Likewise, now get to work.

ASSASSIN
Yes M’lord.

The assassin opens the door outward towards Edmund, shielding the servant from the killer’s view as the assassin goes to slay the king. He goes off stage.

EDMUND
(”whispering”)
I must make haste and warn the king of this foul plot, or, I fear, that Gerith will be
cast into darkness.

Edmund flees the other way. Black out.

Spotlight on the Bard. The bard rises and walks to the center.


BARD
Gerith will go to darkness either way. It matters not what he does.

SCENE 4

Lights slowly rise on a large ballroom with many people dancing. As the light rises, the Bard goes and joins the band. His cold gaze follows all the action. The assassin is leaning against column down stage, watching King Williams, who sits in a thrown up stage. Wendy is dancing with a young man. There are gaurds by the doors with large pikes. The song ends and Wendy steps away from the young man.

WENDY
It was a pleasure to meet you.

She walks to her father and sits next to him

KING WILLIAMS
Wendy, my dear. What’s wrong? You should be out there dancing.

Wendy winces.

WENDY
My feet begin to tire, father. Give me but ten minutes, and I shall continue dancing.

Attention is brought away from them to young Edmund who is at one of the doors seeking admittance. The guards have crossed their pikes to block him.

EDMUND
Please you must let me in! I must warn the King of this plot.

GUARD
What are you going on about, huh?

The assassin gets off the column and begins moving towards King Williams.

Edmund sees him.


EDMUND
There he goes! Dammit!

{i{Edmund ducks under the pikes and rushes into the room. The guards begin to pursue. Edmund tackles the assassin to the ground. They begin to grapple as the party-goers and guards give them room and begin to watch. The two begin shouting at each other.

ASSASSIN
What the hell are you doing?

EDMUND
Stopping you!

Several guards rush forward and pull the two apart. The assassin is successfully restrained, but Edmund keeps breaking free and reaching for the assassin.

KING WILLIAMS
What is going on here?

EDMUND
He’s an assassin! He was going to kill you your majesty!

There are excited whispers in the onlookers.

ASSASSIN
What?! That’s preposterous.

EDMUND
Search him! He has a poison coated dagger meant for your belly. And a purse with 100 coin.

A guard comes forward and begins searching the assassin. He pulls the dagger and coin purse from the assassin. Gasps from the onlookers.

GUARD
Your Majesty! Look at this.

King Williams comes forward. The guard shows the dagger to King Williams. Edmund is released.

KING WILLIAMS
A dagger and a 100 coin purse.

The King turns to Edmund.

KING WILLIAMS (CONT’D)
How came you to know of this plot?

EDMUND
I over heard him and the Prince of Merin but a few minutes ago.

There are more excited whispers.

KING WILLIAMS
Bring me the Prince of Merin.

Several guards move to leave the room.

EDMUND
Search his compartment. There is another 100 coin purse and contract that will make this assassin Prince of Merin.

The guards leave.

KING WILLIAMS
(to Edmund)
If you have lied to me, you will find yourself most uncomfortable.

EDMUND
I have not lied to you, Your Majesty.

Two of the guards return. They are leading the Prince of Merin.

PRINCE OF MERIN
Your Majesty, what is the meaning of this?

KING WILLIAMS
You stand accused by this servant of the crimes of treason and conspiracy to assassinate the sovereign. How do you plea?

PRINCE OF MERIN
Not guilty, of course. Whatever evidence this boy has against me, let him bring it forward.

The rest of the guards enter. A guard steps forward and kneels before King Williams.

GUARD
Your Majesty, we found these in the Prince’s compartment.

The guard takes out a coin purse and a piece parchment.

GUARD (CONT’D)
There are 100 coin in there, and this document is a contract that will make some one else Prince of Merin once the current Prince becomes King of Gerith.

KING WILLIAMS
What do you have to say to that evidence?

PRINCE OF MERIN
Clearly this servant planted those in my room.

KING WILLIAMS
And pray tell me, where would a servant boy get 200 gold coin? Or learn to write so masterfully?

The Prince stops for a second to think.

PRINCE OF MERIN
Ever have I been a loyal and faithful servant to you, Your Majesty. Never would I ever-

KING WILLIAMS
I’ve heard enough! Take them away!

Several guards come forward and drag the assassin and Prince away. King Williams turns to Edmund.

KING WILLIAMS (CONT’D)
As for you...

Edmund looks up at King Williams.

KING WILLIAMS (CONT’D)
There seems to be an opening in the nobility. To reward your loyalty and valor, I think I will give you the position.

NOBLEMAN
Your Majesty-

King Williams holds up his hand.

KING WILLIAMS
Kneel before your king...

Wendy comes forward and whispers in her fathers ear.

KING WILLIAMS (CONT’D)
Edmund.

Edmund kneels.

KING WILLIAMS (CONT’D)
Hense forth, I entrust the safeguarding of this castle and the province that surrounds it, the province of Merin, into your hands. From this day forth, you will be Prince Edmund, Lord of Merin.

END ACT I
© Copyright 2007 Kirrix (kirrix at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1223648