The first act of my play-- Death in the Blue Roses
|Prologue: A Symphonic Funeral
Curtain: A bleak cemetery in mid-winter. An ebony coffin with gold locks rests under a willow tree. The corpse inside is of SYMPHONY RHODES, and a plaque beside the coffin, visible to the audience, bears her name. JULIET sits with her head on the edge of the casket, weeping. EITHNE stands nearby, smirking. A priest finishes the funeral ceremony.
Priest: …and may the Earth keep you, Symphony, for as many eternities as you wish, or until the sun rises over a forever darkened sky, or justice reaches the profitless. So it be. *turns to Juliet* There, there. Don’t cry, child. Your mother sleeps in the caverns of crystals for the guiding light surely has not led her astray.
Juliet: It is not my mother for whom I weep, but for the people she could have helped, but was never given the chance. I know my mom rests in an infinity far more pleasing than this. I do not fear death, but only those stranded in life.
Eithne: Don’t listen to the brat. She’s only upset because Symphony’s will failed to mention her fate, and so she is being turned into the Council.
Juliet: I’ve told you, Aunt Eithne, that that particular document is a forgery! I know my mother’s signature when I see it, and that was definitely not it!
Priest: Shhh… little Juliet. Aren’t you jumping to conclusions?
Juliet: No, I’m not my mother was poisoned as well. She didn’t die of some stupid illness, as you said she did. Slightly more worthless particles destroyed her.
Priest: You… have a very large vocabulary. I’m sure you’ll get along just fine at your Aunt’s—
Eithne: Oh, no. I’m not taking her. No way. That twerp is going to an orphanage where she’ll have to earn her keep, beg for each meal—
Juliet: Which I would consider fine, if you would subject yourself to the same!
Eithne: You, little girl, shall not talk back to me! *slaps Juliet*
Priest: Surely, there is no need for violence.
Juliet: If you could get her to hear that, you could move mountains.
Eithne: Shut up, you horrid creature! *turns to priest* You are dismissed. Please pray for this child’s swift obedience.
Priest: Mam…I believe I should remain here in order to moderate things… Just in case the child becomes a bit too rebellious…
Eithne: I’ll take care of that. Just leave, you dawdling old geezer.
Juliet: May the light bless you and keep you as well.
Priest: Thank you, Juliet. I shall remember your kindness. Dream of your mother.
Juliet: Thank you, I shall.
Eithne: Get on with it!
Juliet: You’re so kind to your elders, Aunt Eithne.
Eithne: He may be my elder, but he is not my superior.
Juliet: How… amusing. I could say the same of you.
Eithne: All right, you worthless, spoilt…. The first thing you need to do is lose your smart mouth.
Juliet: I only speak the truth, and, with that, I can find no fault.
Eithne: Shut up, you little twit! *tugs Juliet away from the coffin* From now on, if you’re going to live with me, you’re going to abide by my rules. Your mother’s dead now. Deal with it. If you don’t watch yourself, you’ll soon be joining her. The days of your spoilage are over.
Juliet: I would be fine with that, I repeat, if you would attempt such a life style yourself.
Eithne: *slaps Juliet* No more fancy comments! From now on, your vocabulary consists of “Yes mam,” “No mam” and “I’m hungry.” Got it?
Juliet: No mam. *walks back to coffin* Good bye mom… don’t ever leave me…. *cries bitterly*
Scene 1: Bakery Theft
Curtain: A basic Textoverdian market on a summer’s afternoon. A street peddler stands at the corner of Sterling Street and Darkwood Boulevard, selling pastries and breads. GEB and JULIET sit on some abandoned steps under a purple awning. CLAIRESSE and VICTORIA stroll down the street, gossiping.
Victoria: Oooh! Did you hear? There’s a new band of ruffians in town…. The Turquoise Salamanders, I believe they’re called. Gregory told me all about them last night, darling.
Clairesse: How dreadfully tedious!
Victoria: Oh no, not in the least. It was quite fascinating in fact—
Clairesse: Gregory or his stories?
Victoria: Both, dear, both. Anyway, the Turquoise Salamanders are a gang of escaped children from our orphanages who prey on good people like us, and squander their money on… Oh, whatever a child would want…
Clairesse: You make it sound so awful. How old are they?
Victoria: About five to eleven, or so Gregory says.
Clairesse: Where do they live?
Victoria: Some back alley of Darkwood, Clairesse, but don’t worry about it—the Council will find them before they can do us any harm.
Clairesse: Oh! I wasn’t thinking like that! I was hoping we could help them… Invite them to tea… Or SOMETHING!
Victoria: Verily, they’re dangerous! The Council put a bounty of one-hundred Aurums on their leader, Geb, fifty for each senior member, and fifteen for each normal renegade…. dead or alive.
Clairesse: But, Victoria, isn’t that a bit harsh? I mean, I have a little cousin who’s nine. It would be horrible to think of her killed. Children appear to be the epitome of innocence, after all.
Victoria: “Appear”, is the key word here, Clairesse, Gregory said—
Clairesse: I see what you’re doing. It all comes back to Gregory, now, doesn’t it? You just want him to be right because the two of you are lovey-dovey… right?
Victoria: *blushing* Well, yes we are…. dating, but only of yesterday! It isn’t like we did anything…
Clairesse: Speak of the Devil! There he is!
Gregory: Good day, Victoria, merry afternoon, Clairesse. How do you fare?
Victoria: I’m fine now that you’re here….
Clairesse: Ugh… I’m supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Gregory: I suppose that is well enough. May I intrude on your conversation, ladies?
Victoria: Of course! We were just discussing about what you told me last night about the Turquoise Salamanders. Clairesse doesn’t seem to understand how horrifically dangerous that particular group tends to be.
Gregory: She doesn’t! My, my, how could that be…? They openly defy the Council, question the authorities, not to mention their atrocious pick-pocketing habit! How could they not be dangerous? They’ll grow up to be scoundrels or worse. Their threat needs to be eradicated now, while the weeds are still young.
Clairesse: But they’re CHILDREN. How could the Council order the deaths of so many?
Gregory: How many deaths would they cause left untended? Believe me, it’s better this way. And, also, I heard one of them was Symphony Rhodes’s daughter.
Victoria: Really? How absolutely…. scandalous.
Gregory: Well, she had to have gone somewhere, and she’s certainly not where she’s supposed to be.
Clairesse: Even so, they are children. They can be taught to change, and to live peacefully with the rest of the world. Just for a few petty thefts, it doesn’t mean they should be condemned for life!
Victoria: Oh, just shut up, Clairesse. You’re just jealous because I’m dating Gregory.
Clairesse: Ummm… not really….
Victoria: What do you mean “not really”?!?
Gregory: It was only one night. *looks to Clairesse* We just had dinner together. That’s it.
Victoria: You said you loved me!
Gregory: I said I could have loved you, given time. We still need that time to make this work…… and I’m quite busy right now. I don’t have time for a large personal relationship.
Victoria: That wasn’t the way you acted!
Gregory: Maybe I was a bit tipsy, Victoria…. I really can’t put forth the effort right now.
Victoria: You’re worthless. I HATE YOU! *runs dramatically off stage, crying*
Gregory: I need to go talk to her, so I hope to meet you sometime soon, Clairesse. Good day! *exit Gregory*
Clairesse: And a fair evening to you, sir! *sighs* *looks around* *sees Geb and Juliet*
Here, darlings, I’m sorry you had to witness that. Here, take a few Petras and go buy yourself some candy, kids. Tell me if you see any of those Turquoise Salamanders—I think if I told Victoria it might make her happier.
Geb: Yes, miss, we will.
Clairesse: Thank you, that would be wonderful. *skips offstage, looking delighted*
Juliet: That was…. quaint.
Geb: You and your way with words. That was friggin AWESOME! You think she knew?
Juliet: Absolutely not! We’d be dead if she did!
Geb: Chill, Jules. She seemed nice enough, and she gave us the Petras.
Juliet: She asked us to turn us in to make her friend feel better! Ditzy though she is, she’s still dangerous.
Juliet: Another slipup like that, and we could be dead. Geb! One hundred and fifty Aurums in all for both of us…. *shudders* We should hide more often—people will be more likely to find us, especially if our rates keep skyrocketing.
Geb: Don’t worry, we’ll make it… we always do. It’s the Salamander Way.
Juliet: Humph. It only takes one time for our pistol-proof record to be broken, and after that, we’re dead.
Geb: I guess you’re right…. but perhaps denial is my way of coping.
Juliet: That would explain a lot.
Geb: It would?
Juliet: Yes, you lovable moron. It explains tons.
Geb: Cool! I have insight!
Juliet: …I wouldn’t go that far.
Geb: Drat it. I want to be smartical. *taps head*
Juliet: I have enough of a brain for both of us, so shut up.
Geb: OK… What’s the plan?
Juliet: We’ve ever had a plan?!?!
Geb: I thought you did, Miss High-and-Mighty.
Juliet: *dripping sarcasm* Nope. My plan is to not have one. I was just faking all those hours I spent on statistics and probabilities. I have no plan whatsoever.
Geb: So, what do you suggest we do?
Juliet: I go up to the peddler over there and distract him, while you make off with as many muffins as you can carry. Got it?
Geb: Absolutely, Wonder Woman.
Juliet: Oh, shut up, you incorrigible dimwit. *puts on cutesy face and walks over to the baker* Hello Mister, I’m doing a survey for my school newspaper. Can I interview you?
Baker: Sure, kid. I suppose you ain’t gonna go away….
Juliet: Ok, Mister… My first question is… how do you turn soggy lumps of dough into scones, tarts, and such? It just seems to cool and magical….
Baker: *laughs* If you want to see magical, go ask one of them apprentice mages to help you out. *pause* OK, kid. The truth is, I don’t know. I just stick it in the oven, and POOF! I got bread. NO questions asked on my part.
Juliet: OK, next question. Do you like chocolate or vanilla better?
Baker: CINNAMON RASIN TOAST
Juliet: O-kaaaaay. Does your job have any family ties to it?
Baker: Well, actually, yes. My great-great-granduncle was a cook on the feared pirate ship—the Purple Giraffe.
Juliet: Really? Then of course you were destined for nothing else but selling pastries on the streets of Textoverdi.
Baker: Quite right! Being a street peddler selling baked sweets is my destiny! I asked this gypsy woman and she told me so. That’s when I decided I didn’t want to be an axe-murderer and went to culinary school! Ah, the good old days of college….
Juliet: And about your great-great-granduncle?
*Geb begins to dramatically and hilariously pile muffins into a burlap sack*
Baker: Well, Sir Benjamin Friedrich the II thought he had better things to do with his life then devote it to piracy. Boy, was he wrong. When he turned fifteen, the vessel he was traveling on was captured by the infamous pirate Bluebeard.
Juliet: You mean, Edward Teach?
Baker: Yes, yes… him. Anyway, they were going to kill Uncle Benjamin with the rest of the crew when the cook came out and said, “I burnt the hardtack again!” and Bluebeard was like, “Again? Walk the plank!” So they needed a new cook, you see, one that wouldn’t burn the hardtack. Naturally, they came to my great-great-granduncle Benjamin and asked him, “Hey, buddy, do you know how to cook hardtack?” and Benny said, “No…” and the pirates said, “You’re hired!”
Juliet: Interesting… what else did your granduncle do?
Baker: Well… he plundered, looted and pillaged with the rest of them!
*Geb knocks over cart, causing a large crash to be heard*
Baker: Hey! You’re that Teal Lizard boy everyone’s been talking about!
Geb: We’re the Turquoise Salamanders.
Baker: Oh! That kid! Wait, I could get one-hundred-and-fifteen Aurums off of the two of you…
Juliet: One-hundred-fifty. I’m worth more than that.
Baker: Well, all the more reason to catch you!
Juliet: One problem with that…
Geb: You’ll have to grab us first!
*big chase scene that goes into the house that I’ll choreograph and add script to later*
*ends up with Baker sitting in the middle of the stage, dazed, while Juliet and Geb hide in opposite ends of the orchestra pit*
Baker: Those kids…. I ought to report them to the Council. * picks up cart and wheels it off the stage*
Geb: *in the orchestra pit* Is it safe to come out?
Juliet: It better be. We’ll both emerge.
Geb: What does that mean?
Juliet: To exit.
Geb: All right, we’ll both emerge.
*both climb up on stage*
Geb: That was a close one.
Juliet: Of course, Captain Obvious. We could have been caught! As it is, we didn’t even get the pastries. The rest of the Salamanders are expecting us to come back with lunch, and, thanks to you I might add, leaderman, we don’t have a thing to feed ourselves with!
Geb: I’m sorry Juliet, I really am…
Juliet: *sits down on step* It is fine, I guess.... but be more careful next time.
Geb: I will, I promise.
Juliet: Good there is one thing I lied to you about, though.
Juliet: We still get the luxury of a noontime meal.
Geb: How? Why?
Juliet: I snitched sixteen Argents from that idiot peddler while he was grabbing for me. Buy the gang something nice in my honor, won’t you?
Geb: I sure will, Julie. You rock.
Juliet: I know. But—one more thing. Don’t splurge. These Argents may have to last us a while.
Geb: What’s the matter? We can always get more. Tourists, if you haven’t noticed, are in a near unlimited supply this time of year.
Juliet: Yes, but so are “Wanted” notices, and in case you haven’t noticed, the Turquoise Salamanders are public enemy number one.
Geb: And you call me Captain Obvious?!?!?
Juliet: Sit. Think. One of us is going to get caught sometime. The Salamanders need to be able to fend for themselves if we die—which is likely. I don’t think the Council wants us as guests for a dinner party.
Geb: *sigh* I guess you’re right, Juliet. I just wish you weren’t.
Juliet: *laughing* You know what? Me too. I wish I could be wrong every once in a while, just to mix things up a bit. But as you know, that never happens.
Geb: Oh, no. Never.
Juliet: You’re right. Hey, don’t buy lunch for me. I’m going off to practice.
Geb: You? Practice? Why?
Juliet: I think I might be getting a little rusty.
Geb: Sixteen Argents from an angry baker? That isn’t ‘rusty,’ my friend.
Juliet: He had more that I could have gotten. Also, that was luck. One day, luck will run out. Tell the gang who their lunch came from. *exit Juliet*
Geb: Wait! I need your help to haggle prices with the shopkeepers! *sigh* *dim out*
Scene Two: Shattered Plots
Curtain: A tidy shop filled with exotic spices, exquisite artwork, costume jewellery, and the smell of fresh baked bread. A sign behind the counter reads “Cyra Alabaster’s Soup Parlor.” A bowl of stew sits on the marble countertop. JULIET sits on the floor next to the curtained back wall, obviously eavesdropping.
Cyra:*off stage* We must continue the raid on schedule! If we stop now, that will amount to failure, and, in this, case, a simple failure may amount to the loss of a civilization! The Council’s plans must be halted—the New Moon Society must take hold of our freedoms, and grant liberty to all! We must defeat the Council, and to do so, it is vital that we recover these documents in order to continue our search for what is right and just.
Gregory: *also off stage* Be reasonable Cyra. As it is, we are ill prepared for such a mission. Your New Moon Society numbers about ten, and the compound you wish to break into contains hundreds of people, all armed to the teeth with nasty magical powers!
Cyra: So it be. But the light is made to shine its way through the darkness, and to liberate our souls. It is horrifically wrong and irrational to postpone our mission.
Gregory: You may say so, Mrs. Alabaster, but you know you speak of an impending doom that is much further away than you believe. We need more troops—
Cyra: More troops? What are you, a general? We are a group ten strong; even if we tripled then we still would not have a chance on any other day but the Summer Solstice, with a full moon. Our celestial helpers will give us the strength to continue, and, with their help, we may acquire the key to victory!
Gregory: You and your stupid astronomical beliefs! The sky is nothing but a cloudy void! You and your kind are quite mad to believe in such spirits of the wind, sea, and sky—
Cyra: And if we do not, what is there left? The Council and their abuse. You are young, Gregory, and know little of the ways of life. What I say is for the best. I just need for you to trust me on that.
Gregory: I’d trust a weasel’s metaphysical guidance more that your—Wait. We are being watched.
Juliet: *scrabbles back, and hides next to the countertop*
*Gregory pulls back curtain to reveal a secret room occupied by an oak table, many chairs, Gregory, and Cyra*
Gregory: Come out; come out wherever you are…. I’m waiting for you. * walks along the edge of the counter pushing off bowls and plates that make a sickening CRASH! As they hit the floor* Come out you dirty rotten little twerp! *pushes off bowl that lands on Juliet’s head*
Juliet: *involuntarily* Ouch!
Cyra: Gregory, stop damaging my cutlery! I only have so much of it.
Gregory: *walking over to Juliet* It doesn’t matter. I’ve found the little witch-spawn.
Juliet: *backing away* I’m a friend of Cyra Alabaster’s! You can’t hurt me.
Gregory: Let’s see… *pulls out knife*
Cyra: *walking out of the back room* Gregory, put her down now! That child is Juliet Rhodes, and a better advocate for the New Moon Society than you! Juliet, are you alright?
Juliet: Not really… but I’ve taken worse in my relatively short life.
Cyra: I’m glad you’re alright. Now, please. Sit down, both of you.
*both sit, still glaring at each other*
Juliet: May I ask what mission you were talking about—and can I help in any way?
Cyra: Of course, Juliet. We’re planning an attack on the Fire Lord’s Complex in order to retrieve some documents vital to continuing our rebellion.
Juliet: Mhm. What papers do you need?
Cyra: Oh, we’re looking for some plans for the Council’s latest plots for getting rid of us, and how we can thwart them. I have a feeling they know more about us then can logically be accepted. I was hoping to ‘misplace’ a few of their more important files, and to collect a few more. We might even write some replacements.
Juliet: Isn’t that a little risky? I mean, the Council keeps tight tabs on their stuff. I don’t think they’ll take lightly to our snooping.
Cyra: Well, it’s necessary. I don’t care how unlikely it seems. We will do what we have to in order to gain our freedom. The world is on our side—we will succeed. Do not think for a moment that we will fail in our endeavors for liberty and justice. Look at the sky! It stretches on forever, guiding us into eternity. We shall prevail, because we speak for the forgotten celestial bodies and the forces of the Earth—discarded and abandoned with the so-called ‘progress’ of modern life. Textoverdi shall be emancipated from the steely grip of the Council. We shall prevail in our quest for justice and light. The forces of the natural world have sided with us, and in them I entrust my fate.
Gregory: Don’t be a fool! You and your silly philosophies will be the downfall of the New Moon Society—
Juliet: I agree with Cyra. We need to hold firm in our beliefs in order to survive. Trust in the arcane is the only answer in times like these.
Gregory: There are so many things I could say to that—
Cyra: Quiet, Gregory! You just threatened the child with a knife; give her some time to recuperate.
*Gregory nods unhappily*
*Juliet sticks her tongue out at Gregory*
Cyra: Juliet, I know you’re young, darling, but try to behave yourself. We do not want to provoke the esteemed Mister Gregory.
Juliet: Like my presence wasn’t provocative enough?
Cyra: Juliet, please try to work with us…
Juliet: Fine. I’ll do my best.
Cyra: *ruffles Juliet’s hair* I know, sweetie. That’s all I can ask.
Gregory: Once you two are done with your sunshine and rainbows, can we get back to business? We have a pointless raid to plan, and a multitude of other issues to discuss, aside.
Cyra: Might I add that you, too are at fault here? You must expect Juliet to hold a grudge, even with her temperament as docile as I know it to be.
Gregory: Something makes me doubt the veracity of your claims, Mrs. Alabaster. You care far too much over petty things to ever make a true difference in this world.
Cyra: Oh, yes-- especially when those things are liberty, honesty, truth, and kindness. Those are petty ideals, indeed.
Gregory: Could you even pretend to comprehend what I’m talking about?
Cyra: You’re being spiteful, biast, and malicious. There is no reason for you to be so upset. After all, I’m the one who’s being insulted.
Gregory: Oh, so now its all about you, is it? What about your precious little friend? *motions to Juliet*
Juliet: I’m with Cyra. Gregory’s an imbecile.
Gregory: Oh, and I’m the one at fault here?
Cyra: Both of you—act mature. Juliet, I know to expect better from you. Gregory… I don’t know what to expect and this is truly frightening. Consider our conference concluded. Take your leave quickly.
Gregory: It’s nice to see how much I’m appreciated, Cyra. As for Juliet… I suppose we’ll be meeting shortly.
Juliet: With my best regards, sir, I doubt it.
Gregory: You’ll see. I promise you.
Cyra: Leave, Gregory.
Cyra: I apologize for his lack of manners, Juliet, but he’s a new recruit and, despite his rather unattractive qualities, he’s invaluable to the New Moon Society.
Juliet: For what? Threatening the members?
Cyra: Hey, you ought to give him a chance. He thought you were a spy sent from the Council. Surely you’d be a bit jumpy, too. And, aside, as you’ve said, you’ve taken worse. I know you have.
Juliet: Still, his behavior was rather rude. Wouldn’t you want the spy alive so you could bargain with the Council for his/her life?
Cyra: Not really, because then we’d have to officially admit our existence, and that wouldn’t be good.
Juliet: True. That would cause a few problems.
Cyra: Would you like to come on the raid with us? We most certainly could use your help. You’re a natural at pick-pocketing, so that would be useful, and your youth would make you nearly undetectable in the compound. The New Moon Society needs your help, Juliet.
Juliet: Cyra, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can. My face is all over town because of this Turquoise Salamander business, so I’d just set even more alarms off. Also, I’m so young my presence would actually cause suspicion.
Cyra: That may be true, but I think you have an alternate reason.
Cyra: You’re afraid they’ll hurt you like they hurt your mother. *pause* You are afraid they’ll recognize your lineage, and single you out for it. You are terrified of learning, for once, what they really are, and liking it. Discovering that something you wished so hard for was in vain, and that it is fated for you to become just another one of them, and that they’ll swallow you up; take over your life. These fears are valid, Juliet, but let me tell you, they are false. You are too strong of an individual to fall victim to their shallow traps. You are too astoundingly a person to become just another cog wheel in a machine of dread. You are simply too you to let any of that happen. Come with us, Juliet. Prove that, ironically, you have nothing to prove. Relinquish your fear of failure long enough to stand with us in a final struggle to defeat a common enemy. The world is with us. We shall prevail.
Juliet: I—I’m sorry Cyra, but I just can’t. I’ll get caught. I’ll fudge up the mission for everyone. Go on your own and I’ll pray and hope for you. I shall help in other, more mundane way, but I’ll leave the important actions to those who are knowledgeable enough to follow through with them.
Cyra: Very well. I am disappointed, but I suppose that is to be expected. You’re doing the best you can, and that is all I can ask for. Would you like to stay for dinner?
Juliet: No, I need to get back to the Turquoise Salamanders. They’re probably falling apart without me. I’ll take care of my life, you can work with yours.
Cyra: Fairly well. Come see me if you ever need any thing. The raid is on the Summer Solstice, two days from now. Please call before then.
Juliet: You can rely on it, Mrs. Alabaster. When I see you again, I’ll be sure to bring Geb and the rest of the Salamanders. They’ll absolutely adore you.
Cyra: I’m positive. And you will see me again, of that I am positive.
Juliet: Alright Mrs. Alabaster. I’ll bring over the gang next time.
Cyra: Be sure to, darling! I’ll see you after the solstice.
Juliet: I hope so, bye!
Cyra: Oh, I do hope she’s alright. The Council is after the Turquoise Salamanders simply for surviving. However, if our raid proves successful, there is no need to fear. We shall live in freedom and prosperity, and no longer fret of the consequences.