The Earl of Bonchurch (pt.3)


Bonchurch. Exterior.
(The coach arrives. The gang sneak through the trees and watch.Robin pushes back his hood.)
Will: “Why isn’t Much running away?”
Djaq: “Maybe he cannot.”
Robin: “Whatever the Sheriff has planned, it will include us. But Much is safe as long as we are not seen.”
Allan: “Yeah, well, Lambert might’ve already given in.”
Robin: “I know. (Looks at Allan.) I need to get into the castle.”
Allan: “Well, I’ve got a lovely idea.”
(Meanwhile, two young men rush to open the coach’s door. Eve walks out and kneels with her head bowed as Much steps down and looks around. Eve looks up at him and then he notices her.)
Eve: “My lord. (Stands.) Welcome. The wealth and bounties of Bonchurch are yours.” (Much nods, then heads inside.)


Nottingham Castle. Dungeons.
“I’m not here for a confrontation, Lambert. I’m here to help you.”
Lambert: (Rushes limping to the cell door.) “Get me out of here, Guy.
They’ll break me.”
Gisborne: “You reconsidered?”
Lambert: “No. I want to help people, not harm them.”
Gisborne: (Quietly:) “But we can help people. Don’t you see? This is the perfect weapon of war for our troops in the Holy Land. It would help to save lives.”
Lambert: “You’re so naïve. I will die in here and all because I have not toed the line. Then so be it.”
Gisborne: “I have a plan to get you to safety, if you give me the ledger.”
(Lambert considers the offer.)

Bonchurch Lodge. Main room.
(Much sits in a chair by the fire.)
Much: “You are surely a spy and this is a trap… of sorts.”
Eve: “I beg to differ, my lord. (Much sees a bowl of grapes on the table, takes one and puts it in his mouth.) I am just Eve, your servant here and I’ll do my best to please you. (Much looks at her in a panicky distrust, chewing and swallowing.) This is a lovely place and it’s warm here, especially at night.”
Much: (Gives her a sidelong look and reluctantly agrees.) “Yes, we’ll see. (Eve smiles and gets some slippers for Much and places them in his hands.) I mean, I must say it is very pleasant as, erm… as traps go.”
(Much turns the slippers around and looks at the ornate “M” that has been embroidered on them as Eve kneels down to remove his boots. She looks at him apprehensively.)
Eve: “Will there be anything else, my lord?”
Much: (Looks at Eve.) “Yes. How does the Council of Nobles work nowadays?”

Nottingham Castle. Kitchens.
(Robin pushes out a horizontal partition, under which he’s been hiding, in a barrel, flipping off a side of pork buried in flour and the cloth to protect him from it. He spits the fine dust from his mouth and looks about.)
Robin: “Meat dip. Nice one, Allan.”
(Robin pushes himself out of the barrel and walks out the door, adjusting the water flask tied to his belt.)     


(Robin waits behind a pillar for the jailer to pass, then punches him in the back. The jailer drops his keys, turns around, parries Robin’s next punch and comes back with one himself. Robin ducks the next one, punches the jailer in the stomach, pushes him head first into a column and throws his unconscious form to the floor. He picks up the keys and looks around for Lambert. Lambert is slumped against the wall of his cell, dozing. Robin unlocks and enters, quietly closing the door behind him. He creeps over to Lambert with his water flask in his hand.)
Robin: “Do you remember me? I’m going to get you out of here.”
Lambert: “No, you’re not. They’ve broken both my legs.”
Robin: (Shakes head.) “A detail. (Robin tries to sit Lambert up but he whimpers. Robin covers Lambert’s mouth with his hand.) All right, sh-sh-sh-sh. We need to get you out some way.”
Lambert: “You can’t.”
Robin: “I’m not giving you a choice. You are the only one who knows how to make Greek fire.”
Lambert: (Tries to chuckle.) “And that is the joke. There have been so many variations in ingredients, amount… shakes his head… I can’t remember everything so I record it all in my ledger.”

“Where is it?”
Lambert: (Slight chuckle.) “And I should tell you? You’re an outlaw.”
Robin: “But it would be catastrophic in the hands of the Sheriff. Now, how much did you make for him?”
Lambert: “There are three barrels of the mixture and the Sheriff has confiscated them.”
Robin: (Hears a noise and glances back to the door.) “In the castle?”
Lambert: (Grimaces and shakes his head.) “I don’t know.”
Robin: (Glances back again.) “The Sheriff will torture you again.”
Lambert: “Yes.”
Robin: “And you’ll break. Everybody breaks, and then the Sheriff will have the ledger and the Greek fire. Now, I can hide it for you in another place, and you can honestly tell the Sheriff you do not know where it is, and I will gather my men and I will come back and rescue you.”
Lambert: “And what’s to stop you from using the Greek fire for your own ends?”
Robin: (Shakes his head.) “Nothing. Other than I am Robin Hood and I offer you my word.”
(Lambert stares at Robin and sees the sincerity in his eyes.)  

Bonchurch Lodge. Main room.
(Eve opens the front door.)
Eve: “Lady Marian.” (Curtsies.)
(Marian takes a step inside.)
Marian: “I have come to pay my respects to the new Earl of Bonchurch.”
(Eve extends her arm into the room to indicate Much standing by the fireplace in his new dressing gown with a goblet in his hand. Marian steps over to him as Eve closes the door.)
Much: “Lady Marian.”
Marian: “Lord Much. Perhaps you might call on us soon at Knighton with our mutual friend.”
Much: (Steps over to Marian.) “I do not think that that will be possible. (Quietly:) Robin hasn’t come yet.”


(Marian, alarmed at the mention of Robin’s name, turns to look over her shoulder to see if Eve overheard.)
Marian: “Well, then, I shall call again when it is more convenient. (Holds up a note. Quietly:) This is for him.” (Marian leaves.)
(Much looks at the note, then slips it into the pocket of his dressing gown as Eve steps in and notices the action. Much looks up to see her and she smiles.)
Much: (Brightly:) “I think I will find it, erm, useful… turns to the fireplace and shoves some food into his mouth… being on the Council of Nobles.”
Eve: “I will have your best robes ready for tomorrow. (Much nods, sipping from the goblet. Eve heads upstairs and stops after a couple.) There is something particular which I think will make your first evening at home… complete.
Come upstairs.”
(Much looks aside wide-eyed.)

Nottingham Town. A nondescript one-room building. Night.
(Robin and Little John enter and Little John starts tapping barrels. Djaq and Allan follow, Allan standing guard.)
Robin: “The ledger is in the fourth water butt.”
Little John: (Taps a barrel.) “That’s this one.” (Lifts the lid aside. Robin reaches with both arms into the water.)
Allan: (Whispers:) “Guards!”
(Robin pulls his arms out with a rush of water. They all duck behind barrels and sacks. A guard with a torch looks in through the window in the door, sees nothing, then moves on. The gang hear him leave and stand up. Little John watches the light of the torch move off and nods to Robin, who reaches in again and pulls a rope-tied bundle out of the water.)
Allan: (Whispers:) “I’m not being funny. It’s soaking wet! It’ll be ruined.”
Djaq: “Let me see. (Robin unwraps the ledger and unties its cover. He opens the book and Djaq pulls it towards her to look.) No. It’s still good. This is it. I knew it. We know Greek fire.” (Robin jerks it from her and ties it up again.)
Robin: “We are keeping Lambert’s ledger safe.”
Allan: “Guards are coming back. Come on!”
(They raise their hoods and leave.)


Bonchurch Lodge. Bathroom.
(Much is snoring in a tub full of water. Eve turns, startled at the noise, smiles at him in satisfaction, then leaves.)
Main room.
(Robin sneaks in from an upper window, then climbs over the railing of the gallery and edges across a beam as Eve, below, searches Much’s pockets for the note. She thinks she hears something and looks up, but Robin has already moved on.)
(Standing behind the tub, Robin tosses a plum into the petal-strewn water. Much is startled awake. He looks at the floor beside him, then at Robin behind. Robin is leaning against the wall eating the other plum.)
Robin: “You sit back and relax, Much.”
Much: “I am trying to complete my mission, master.”
Robin: (With disbelief:) “Yeah? Because I saw this girl…”
Much: “Eve.”
Robin: “Mm. Eve. Well, you do know Eve will be working for the Sheriff?”
(Walks around to face Much.)
Much: “Well, I’m sure she is.”
Robin: “What happened, Much? Hm?”
Much: “I am made Lord Much, Earl of Bonchurch, actually. This is from Marian. (Much reaches to the floor where he looked before, picks up the note and hands it to Robin, who opens it.) And I was thinking that I could be of help. (Robin quickly skims the note.) There’s a Council of Nobles meeting tomorrow and they have access to prisoners.”
Robin: “No need. We found a way in. But we still need to find the barrels of black powder and the Sheriff has made a big mistake making you a noble. ‘Cause now, we have a noble… on the inside.”
(Much looks at Robin, who tilts his head and smiles genuinely at Much. Much smiles too, as Robin nods.)


Knighton Hall. Stables.
(Marian waits by her horse in her Nightwatchman’s outfit, sans mask and hood, when Robin sneaks up and taps her on the shoulder. She turns around, startled, raising a fist behind her, ready to punch the intruder. Robin catches it and laughs arrogantly. His tone throughout shows cynicism, sarcasm and jealousy. Marian keeps her temper under control despite his attitude.)
Robin: “All right. I got your note. So! Gisborne’s going to help us.”
Marian: “Yes.”
Robin: “And what on earth did you do to him to make him agree to that?”
Marian: “Nothing! I played on his conscience.”
Robin: “You see, I’d believe you, if I thought he had one. So go on, what did you promise him?”
Marian: “Something someone betrothed to me would expect promised to him, pity you never stayed around long enough to sample it yourself.”
(Robin, speechless for a moment, decides to concede and returns to business)
Robin: “So what is this plan?”
Marian: “Guy will not attend the Council of Nobles in the morning. He will use the Sheriff’s absence to secure Lambert’s release and then take him on to Kirklees where it is safe. If you wait on the Great North Road, you can intercept them and seize Lambert yourself. And for heaven’s sake, find that ledger and burn it.”
Robin: “I already have the ledger, and I am not going to burn it. I’m keeping it safe for Lambert.”
Marian: “At the risk of the Sheriff getting hold of it?”
Robin: “How is it our calling to judge what should or shouldn’t exist as knowledge?”
Marian: “It is our calling to protect others. (Robin scoffs. Marian’s anger finally shows.) If it is glory you seek by keeping the ledger then God help you.”
(Marian pushes by him and leaves. Robin turns around and watches her go, angry and frustrated with her.)  
Nottingham Castle. Sheriff’s quarters.
(The Sheriff is painting his long toenails black with a small brush. Gisborne sits nearby holding his hand to his face, thinking through Marian’s plan.)  
Sheriff: “What’s the matter, hm? Marian getting you down?”
Gisborne: “I’m tired, my lord.”
Sheriff: “You’re, erm, you’re probably wondering where your loyalties lie. (Gisborne raises his head a bit and gives the Sheriff a sidelong glance, wondering how he knows.) Well, let me tell you where they do lie. Your friend, Lambert…he has slighted your loyalty. You do know that he told Robin Hood where the ledgers were? (Gisborne’s eyes widen.) The information he kept from you, he gave to your enemy. (Circling behind Gisborne:) Now, what friend would act so callously when your every effort has been to protect him, hm? (The Sheriff claps him on the shoulder, wraps his arm round him and puts his face next to his.) Take heart. Look at the bigger picture, hm? Your black powder will open so many doors for us, Gisborne. It is power beyond imagination. And take heed, the sorry state of affairs has in no way affected my judgement of you. Trust! When all others around us falter, that is, that they… We make a fine team, my friend, a fine team. (Whispers:) Let’s build on it, shall we? (Gisborne closes his eyes, sighs and turns his head away.) So… I’ll go and pay our friend a visit. Shall I teach him a thing or two about loyalty? (Gisborne nods.) Yes, it’s play… or pay.”
(The Sheriff stands and massages Gisborne’s shoulders.)


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