Prelude to a Coup (pt. 11)

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The Holy Land. Several Months Later.
(The battle rages on with the Crusaders taking key victories over Saladin’s forces. As a result the morale amongst the English has never been higher. The Crusader army advanced inland towards Jerusalem. Saladin was forced by pressure from his emirs to disband the greater part of his army. Learning this, Richard pushed his army forward, spending Christmas at Latrun. The army then marched to Beit Nuba, only 12 miles from Jerusalem. Muslim morale in Jerusalem was so low that the arrival of the Crusaders would probably have caused the city to fall quickly. Appallingly bad weather, cold with heavy rain and hailstorms, combined with fear that if the Crusader army besieged Jerusalem, it might be trapped by a relieving force, led to the decision to retreat back to the coast for the time being.)

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Nottingham Castle. The Great Hall.
(Meanwhile in Nottingham, the Council of Nobles have been gathered to discuss a battle on another front.)
Sheriff: “Rebellion. We Nobles cannot allow a rebellion to rise up among the people. We must make it clear to them that taxes are being raised for the glory of King Richard’s crusade. (Snapping at a Noble who has raised his hand.) Yes?”
Woodvale: (Getting to his feet:) “The people of my district are starving, the taxes-”
Sheriff: (Cutting in:) “Will not be lowered. We must all keep our heads down and noses to the grindstone if we are to make it out of these harsh times. (Motioning swiftly with his hand for Woodvale to sit back down.) Now, on to another matter that must be dealt with, the Nightwatchman. (Murmurs from the Nobles:) A name given to this rebel by the people. This rebel who takes it upon himself to ride through the villages and deposit food for those that cannot feed themselves. Very heroic isn’t he? Hm? Your thoughts, Rufus?”
(Attention turns to Rufus who is standing in a darkened corner, taking this all in.)
Rufus: (Walking forward into the room:) “A hero? (Shouting:) I say he is a menace to society! I say those who can’t feed themselves are a burden on those who can! I say, those who are about to die had better hurry up and do it and decrease the surplus population!”
(Loud murmurs of disapproval erupt through the Council. Marian’s eyes flicker towards Rufus, her expression one of deep disdain.)
Sheriff: (Making a hushing movement with his hands:) “Gentlemen please. (The Nobles eventually quieten.) What my friend says is no doubt radical, but then again there is a truth behind it. You see this…Nightwatchman character is a problem. Though his intentions may seem honourable I believe he is doing this for his own selfish reasons. By winning the hearts and minds of the people this man is becoming a symbol. A symbol that the people may soon choose to rally behind. And when that happens, all it takes is for this one man to challenge our rule and with the people behind him we will indeed have that rebellion that we can ill afford. And so, it is with a heavy heart that I must declare the Nightwatchman an enemy of the state. (Rufus smiles smugly as yet more murmurs and chatter from the Council break out. Speaking over them:) It is so ordered that the Nightwatchman be hunted down and captured in the name of King Richard and his glorious crusade!”

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(Marian’s eyes widen at this though her gasp of shock is luckily muffled by the sound of Gisborne entering the room from a side entrance.)
Gisborne: “My lord, there is a messenger here to see you. He wears the insignia of-”
Jasper: “Prince John. (All eyes turn to the man now standing up in the gallery entrance.) Permit me to introduce myself gentlemen. (Taking an exaggerated bow:) I am Sir Jasper, the Prince’s special envoy. (Standing straight he looks down directly at the Sheriff.) The Prince has a message for you, lord Sheriff.”
(Everyone turns back toward Vaisey who stands a moment, then adopts a false smile.)
Sheriff: “Er…This meeting is adjourned, thank you all for coming. Now if you’ll excuse me. (Walking briskly to join Sir Jasper.) Gisborne, follow me.”
(Gisborne nods and walks behind the Sheriff. Marian watches them go as the other Nobles begin to leave the Great Hall. Amid the commotion she does not notice Rufus watching her very closely.)

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Sheriff’s Office. A Few Moments Later.
(The Sheriff and Jasper are sitting on opposite sides of the desk. Jasper rolls the scroll across the table to the Sheriff.)
Jasper: “I’m here to give you something from Prince John.”
Sheriff: “Oh? Really? And what would that be?”
Jasper: “News of the King’s success abroad has left the Prince deeply troubled. Taxing the people into starvation may have worked in turning the people against the King in theory…”
Sheriff: “But now that the King is winning?”
Jasper: “The people love him even more! No matter how much it’s stressed that the taxes are to fund Richard’s crusade, the people continue to curse John’s name and praise the King’s.”
(The Sheriff reads from the scroll as Gisborne steps forward.)
Gisborne: “And what would the Prince have us do? Tax the people even more?”
Sheriff: “No. (Looking up from the scroll.) Although that is a very good idea. No, the Prince’s plight is more immediate than waiting for the poor to die from starvation.”
Jasper: “If the Prince can’t win the people’s love, he must take it from them.”
Gisborne: “Then what’s the plan?”
Sheriff: (Looking to Gisborne:) “To remove Richard from power of course. Without the Lionheart, the Prince will be able to rule England however he wishes.”
Gisborne: “And how will he achieve that?”
Sheriff: “We, or rather I should say, You…are going to kill the King. (At Gisborne’s look of shock.) Take a seat, Gisborne. Your time to shine has finally arrived.”

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Exterior Corridor.
(The rest of the Council of Nobles move quickly down the main steps into the courtyard and disperse in various directions once reaching the Town. As Edward and Marian are about to reach the bottom of the stairs Rufus calls out.)
Rufus: “Lady Marian, could I have a moment?”
(Edward looks to Marian who squeezes his hand and nods. Edward gives Rufus a wary look but continues down the stairs to wait at the portcullis.)
Marian: “Yes, Sir Rufus?”
Rufus: “Oh, I’m not a Sir, Lady Marian. I’m neither a Lord or have any pretense of Nobility about me. I’m just a humble servant of my Lord Sheriff.”
Marian: “Indeed. How may I help you?”
Rufus: “I just wanted to assure you, now that he has been officially outlawed, the Nightwatchman will soon be caught.”
Marian: (Smiling pleasantly:) “I’m sure he will. Although I don’t believe the Nightwatchman is necessarily hard to find. I would assume you’d just have to wait outside one of the houses of the many starved villagers Nottingham now has.”
Rufus: (Smiling:) “Sounds simple enough. (Marian nods and turns to leave:) Although he does wear that mask. (Marian turns back.) So while he’s quick to help those in need, by hiding his identity he shuns the glory that comes with such Noble deeds.”
Marian: “And you point is?”
Rufus: “My point, Milady, is that not many men would turn down the chance for glory. I mean, in your experience, have you met any man who would?”
Marian: “In my experience, men are capable of many things. But subtlety is not one of them.”
(She nods then turns away to join her father. As she does, Rufus notices a smirk cross her face. Leaving him to wonder just how subtle Marian herself can be.)

*Fight Scenes By: http://www.lacedemon.info/galeria/

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Choices (pt. 10)

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Locksley. Early morning.
(Kate and Rebecca are just getting their work day started. They smile at one another as they thump clay on the table, when Rufus interrupts.)
Rufus: “All right, everybody! Listen up! (Kate and Rebecca stop and watch as Rufus walks into the centre of the village and stops.) And listen well! (Turns around, back towards Kate and Rebecca.) You don’t know me, you don’t know what I’m like. (Rufus turns around as Kate and Rebecca walk towards him.)
So I’m going to give you a little example of the kind of tax collector I am, and what happens if you don’t pay up.”
Kate: “We pay our taxes. We don’t need his example.”
Rufus: (Turns around to face Kate.) “Think I’m going to be the one who decides that. (Walks towards Kate.) This yours?”
(Walks past Kate to the shelves.)
Kate: “Yes.”
(Rufus takes down a pot.)
Rebecca: “It’s our livelihood.”
(Rufus tosses the pot in his hands.)

Rufus: “Remember it fondly. (Rufus spreads his hands wide to drop the pot, which crashes to the ground.) Guard!”
(A Guard walks up behind Rebecca and grabs her, putting her hands behind her back.)
Kate: “Let her go! (Rufus smashes two pots together.) You’re just hurting an innocent woman.”
(Rufus dumps some hanging shelves and continues into the work area.)
Rufus: (Loudly enough for all to hear:) “Learn something I’ve learned! If you’re weak… (dumps another shelf)… hope is pointless. The world is hard on the little people. (Knocks over a standing shelf.) The small exist to be stamped on.”
Rebecca: “It’ll take us months to put right.”
(Rufus takes a butcher’s hook from his belt, walks out from under the shelter and starts knocking out the horizontal braces of the roof with the hook.)
Rufus: “You don’t say.”
(Rufus walks down the length of the shelter, knocking out all the braces as he goes. Kate fidgets helplessly as at the end, Rufus pushes on a post.)
Kate/Rebecca: “No! No!”
(The shelter collapses onto each set of supports like dominoes and then crashes into the kiln’s chimney, which falls over. The fire inside explodes, the Guard lets go of Rebecca and she puts her hand to her forehead in shock.)
Kate: “You didn’t have to do that. You didn’t have to destroy everything!”
Rebecca: “Kate, stop it.”
Rufus: (In Kate’s face:) “She’s right. You want to keep your mouth shut.”
Kate: “No, I really don’t.”
Rufus: “I tell you what I’m going to do. Just this once, I’ll play nice. I won’t make you suffer for disrespecting me. (Glances at Rebecca.) I’ll make her suffer instead. Do you want her to live?”
Kate: “Yes.”
Rufus: “Then I have a message from the new Lord of Locksley. You pack up your things and leave Nottingham and I’ll let your mother go. (Kate looks at Rebecca.) So what’s it going to be, little lady? Do we have a deal?”
Kate: “You want us to leave our home?”
Rufus: “Sheriff’s orders.”

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Nottingham Castle. Sheriff’s Office.
(Gisborne stands broodily at the window as the Sheriff, seated at his desk, watches him.)
Sheriff: “Oh do cheer up, Gisborne. The whole point of returning to Nottingham was to have a completely fresh start. We can’t have your old nursemaid running around the place telling all who’ll listen what their new lord and master was like as a child. It undermines your authority.”
Gisborne: “I could have dealt with it my own way.”
Sheriff: “Hm, yes I’m sure. By the end of the week you would’ve had them move into Locksley Manor and tripled their salary. Grow up, Gisborne! Let our man Rufus be the villain in this. (Getting to his feet he crosses the room to Gisborne.) As the new Lord of Locksley, you will be my eyes and ears amongst the villagers. You will be able to inform me of any unrest or uprising coming from the common man. Then, after awhile, once they know you, once they trust you, that is when you show them strength.”
(Gisborne says nothing but nods in understanding.)
Locksley Village.
(The fire from the pottery has been doused and lays smouldering. The villagers are gathered around to say their farewells to Rebecca and Kate. No one is happy to see them leave, but with their livelihood destroyed and the Sheriff’s threat hanging over them, Kate & Rebecca have no choice. Will watches as the women say their teary goodbyes to friends and neighbours. Unable to offer any words of consolation he stands there angry and frustrated at this turn of events. As Kate secures her satchel to her back and takes one last look at her childhood home, Will turns and stalks away determinedly.)

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Knighton Hall. Exterior.
(Marian is headed towards the stables. Edward exits the house.)
Edward: “Marian, I don’t think it’s wise to leave the house right now.”
Marian: “I will not be put under house arrest, father. We have done nothing wrong!”
Edward: “Marian…(Moving quickly to catch her up. Taking her arm.) Just yesterday I was convinced that I was to be hanged in the streets by this new Sheriff. I have no idea what changed his mind but I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
(Edward releases Marian and looks over her shoulder. Frowning, Marian turns to see Will stalking towards them.)
Marian: “Will, to what do we owe this-”
Will: (Agitated:) “The Sheriff’s new taxman has destroyed the potteries. He’s evicted Rebecca and Kate.”
Marian: “What?”
Will: “He’s making an example out of them, saying if we don’t pay our taxes then we expect more of the same. (Angrily to Edward:) I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”
Edward: “Now see here, boy. I am no longer Sheriff, I don’t have the power to-”
Will: (Interrupting:) “Don’t have the stomach for it more like. This is wrong!”
Marian: “Will, please…(Holding her hand up.) that’s enough. (Calmly:) Now I don’t know who this new taxman is but I promise you I will find out what’s happening.”
Edward: (Warily:) “Marian, no.”
Marian: (Turning to her father:) “I’m going to speak with Sir Guy at the castle, I believe him to be an honourable man.”
(As she turns back around we cut to:)
Nottingham Castle. Sheriff’s Office.
(Marian is recounting what she saw in the village to Gisborne who stands with arms folded listening to her. Across the way the Sheriff is also listening.)
Marian: “Mindless destruction, fires – he scared half the villagers out of their wits. I demand to know what’s going on.”
(As Gisborne is about to speak, Vaisey cuts in.)
Sheriff: “You demand? You. Demand. Well I don’t know what you’re used to, Missy, but I am the only one who makes demands around here!”
(Marian silently fumes at the Sheriff and does not back down.)

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(As Marian is about to retort she is grabbed by a grubby hand under her chin, her face roughly turned to face Rufus.)
Rufus: “The Sheriff of Nottingham does not have to answer questions from the daughter of a traitor.”
Marian: “My father is not a traitor!”
(Marian attempts to push Rufus’ hand away to no avail.)
Gisborne: (Stalking towards Rufus:) “Let her go right now!”
Rufus: (Smirking:) “I don’t take orders from you, Gisborne. I wouldn’t even if that were the case.”
Gisborne: (Raging:) “Oh, we’ll see about that!”
(Gisborne knocks Rufus’ hand away and shoves him backwards forcefully. The two men square up to each other as Eve enters the room with the Sheriff’s lunch.)
Sheriff: “Enough of this! (Motioning for Eve to lay the tray on his desk.) You’ll put me off my meal. (The two men move further away from each other but neither man truly backs down. To Eve:) Eve, my dear, please escort Lady Marian out of the castle, won’t you?”
Eve: “Yes, my lord.”
(Marian stands rubbing her jaw and glaring at the Sheriff who is more interested in his food than anything. Eve clears her throat to gain Marian’s attention. As Marian looks to her, Eve’s eyes widen in silent communication as if to say ‘Come on, let’s get you out of here!’ Without another word Marian straightens up and follows Eve out of the room.)

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(As the door closes behind them, the Sheriff speaks to Gisborne:)
Sheriff: “Remind me again why I couldn’t just execute her father? (Gisborne glances at the Sheriff then back to Rufus who is smirking at him.) That is the kind of insolence we cannot tolerate, Gisborne.”
Rufus: “Especially from a girl, albeit a very pretty one.”
Gisborne: (Snarling:) “Touch her again and I’ll kill you.”
(Rufus shivers in mock horror, waggling his fingers at Gisborne in a ‘I’m so scared’ manner.)
Sheriff: “Grow up, you two. (Sighing:) You have to admire her spirit I suppose. Very well, Gisborne. Sir Edward will not be executed. He’ll have a place at the Council of Nobles where I can keep my eye on him. (Smirking to himself.) Yes, it may just be more delicious to see him squirming under my rule than to see him dangling from the noose.”
Cut To: Interior Corridor.
(Eve and Marian walk silently down the corridor towards the main entrance.)
Eve: “I’m sorry, Marian. For all that’s happened to you and your father.”
Marian: (Bitterly:) “Not sorry enough to stop serving the Sheriff his meals though.”
(Eve stops walking and turns to Marian:)
Eve: (With a hushed voice:) “You know I don’t have a choice.”
Marian: “Everything is a choice, Eve. There is a cloud of corruption and greed hanging over Nottingham. Now, you can either choose to be part of the problem or fight for a solution. (At Eve’s conflicted expression.) I’ll see myself out.”
(Marian walks on, leaving Eve to stare strickenly after her.)

There’s A New Sheriff In Town (pt.9)

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Holy Land. King’s Camp. Afternoon.
(Three graves, adorned with shields painted in English colours, lay beneath the setting sun. Soldiers pay their respects to their fallen brothers.)
King’s Tent.
(Robin has a pained expression on his face as he stands before King Richard.)
King Richard: “How could this happen, Robin. I can’t make sense of it.”
Robin: “Regardless, your Majesty, I must shoulder the blame.”
King Richard: “You? Why?”
Robin: “Thomas was under my direct command, I should’ve kept a closer eye on him.”
King Richard: “Did you know of his plans?”
Robin: (Nods:) “He thought he could cut off our enemy’s communications in one fell swoop.”
King Richard: “You ordered him to stand down? (Robin nods.) Then he went against your orders and cost this army three men. You are not to blame for his actions.”
Robin: “If it’s all the same to you, your Majesty, I’d like to tell the families a different story when I write to them.”
King Richard: (Considering Robin for a moment:) “Very well, do as you wish. Write the families and then put this tragedy behind you. I need you focused on what lies ahead my friend. Dismissed.”
(Robin nods then leaves the tent.)
Nottingham Castle. Morning. Sheriff’s Office.
(Marian stands behind the desk arranging papers and straightening the room up for her father’s return. There is a knock at the door and Gisborne enters.)
Marian: “Good morning, Sir Guy.”
Gisborne: “Morning, Milady. I have news from London. You may wish to prepare yourself.”
Marian: (Frowning:) “Prepare myself? What is it? (She looks earnestly at Gisborne who doesn’t answer right away.) Guy?”
Gisborne: “I received word via messenger…Sir Edward returns to Nottingham today as planned. (Looking at Marian:) But no longer as Sheriff.”
(As Marian’s eyes widen at this information we cut to a carriage making its way across a dirt road, bound for Nottingham.)

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Nottingham Castle. Later That Day.
(The villagers file into the courtyard and there is a hum of anticipation in the air. The trumpets sound and Sir Edward exits through the main doors with Vaisey not far behind him. Raising his hands Edward motions for the villagers to quieten as he prepares to make an announcement.)
Edward: “Good people of Nottingham, I have returned from London with some unfortunate news. As of this day, I shall no longer serve you as Sheriff. (The crowd breaks out in murmurs of disapproval.) It has been my greatest honour to serve you these many years and I just wanted to tell you all- (Vaisey loudly and obnoxiously clears his throat.) Ah, your new Sheriff of Nottingham, Vaisey of-”
Sheriff: “Thank you, Sir Edward. (Sarcastically:) What a moving speech. (Turning to the people:) Now hear this, with every new regime there will come changes. While it is true that the people of Nottingham have thrived, it has been at the expense of the nation. We are all in this together and we must show Prince John that Nottingham is ready to pay its fair share.”

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(As the Sheriff continues to pontificate, Marian exits from a side entrance. Edward sees her and moves to join her. Gisborne exits from the main doors to stand beside the Sheriff.)
Sheriff: “Taxes must be levied to ensure that our great city remains just that…(Pounds his fist into his palm.) great! It will not be easy but I believe that the people of Nottingham-”
(Edward stands beside Marian as the Sheriff continues. She silently reaches over and takes her father’s hand, squeezing it. Gisborne looks over to her and their eyes meet a moment before she looks away.)
Sheriff: (Continuing:) “Soon I shall meet with the council of Nobles and introduce myself to them. Once I have unpacked and changed I will be visiting all of you at your villages. So, for now, good day to you all and..er..(Hesitating;) Long live King Richard.”
(The villagers echo the sentiment then as the Sheriff turns to speak with Gisborne, they begin to disperse. Marian turns to her father.)
Marian: “Father, what happened?”
Edward: “Later. (Looking around.) The Sheriff has given us one hour to fetch our belongings and be out of the castle.”
Marian: “But..”
Edward: “Don’t argue with me now please Marian. I’ll explain everything as soon as we are safe at Knighton. We’ve been loaned one carriage so take whatever you can carry and let’s leave this place as quickly as possible.”
(Edward squeezes his daughter’s hand then heads hurriedly back inside the castle.)

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Main Steps.
(Gisborne watches Edward walk inside as Marian stands visibly unsettled by the latest revelations.)
Sheriff: “Been making friends, Gisborne? (Follows Gisborne’s line of sight.) Oh, yes. She is a pretty one. Shame she won’t be sticking around for long.”
Gisborne: (Confused:) “My lord?”
Sheriff: “Well, she’ll hardly want to stay around here after I’ve executed her father.”
Gisborne: “Sir Edward?”
Sheriff: “Mmm. Seems the old fool is in league with traitors.”
(The Sheriff turns and heads up the stairs into the castle. Gisborne following soon behind.)
Interior Corridor.
Gisborne:
“My lord I can assure you, Sir Edward is no traitor.”
Sheriff: “And how would you know that? Were you there in London when his good friend the Earl of Shiring was arrested?”
Gisborne: “No. (The Sheriff continues walking as Gisborne tries to keep up.) But was there any proof Edward was involved?”
Sheriff: “Guilty by association, Gisborne. That’s all I need.”
Gisborne: “Please, my lord. You can’t just execute-”
Sheriff: “I can execute whomever I like, Gisborne. Haven’t you heard? I’m the Sheriff. (Gisborne continues to try and reason with the Sheriff but Vaisey’s attention is elsewhere.) Excuse me, miss? Miss? Yes you dear. (The Sheriff stops walking as Eve comes into view.) Hello, my dear. Do you work for the Sheriff?”
Eve: (Arms full of clothes:) “Yes, my lord. Sir Edward-”
Sheriff: “Oh, no no no. I am the Sheriff now, you are to serve me.”
(Marian rounds the corner and takes in the scene.)
Eve: “But I have to take Sir Edward’s clothes to-”
Sheriff: “My dear, girl. You are not listening to me. (Taking the clothes from Eve.) I am the Sheriff. (Flinging the clothes across the hallway. Smiling:) My needs come first. (Gripping her by the arms and crouching slightly to make sure he has her full attention.) And what I need is for you to retrieve my bags and unpack them all for me, understand?”
Eve: “Y-yes, my lord.”
Sheriff: “Good. (Releasing her and standing straight:) Gisborne, show me to my new office. (Passing Marian who has stooped to pick up her father’s clothing.) Lady Marian.”
(The Sheriff continues on as Gisborne hesitates, wanting to stay and help but a roar from Vaisey changes his mind. Fuming, Marian stands, her arms laden with clothes, and stares after them.)
Eve: “I’m sorry, Milady.”
(Eve hands Marian the rest of her father’s items then hurries away.)

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The Holy Land. Night.
(A fire burns in the darkness. Two lone figures stand by it facing the flames. Much, his head down occasionally glances over to his master. Robin meanwhile stands with his eyes closed, lost in his thoughts, his face streaked with tears. His earlier jubilation at finally receiving a letter from his love having turned to desolation. Sighing deeply, he opens his eyes and begins to re-read Marian’s letter again.)

My dearest Robin,

It is with a heavy heart that I find myself writing to you.

Your father passed away peacefully last night. His last thoughts were of you and how he wished to one day see you once more. He was so full of life and laughter that his passing seems all the more tragic.

I was there when he passed.

We had remained friends in your absence and he spoke of you with much love and affection. He was always so proud of you.

As I write this, my father is making the arrangements for a funeral to befit a man the likes of which Nottingham will never see again. He was kind, generous and beloved by all those who knew him.

You will be in our thoughts and prayers as we lay your father to rest.  

Yours, with deepest sympathy.
Marian.

P.S.

Your father and I spoke of the day you left for war and it was revealed to me all may not be as it seemed.

I believe you and I have much to discuss once you return to Locksley.

I must go now and help with the arrangements.

Look after yourself Robin and tell Much I’m thinking of him.

(Much walks over to join Robin.)
Much: “Do you think Malcolm told her the everything?”
Robin: (Shaking his head:) “I can’t be sure.”
Much: “At least she’s speaking to you again.”
Robin: “It’s a beginning.”
Much: (Putting his arm around Robin:) “Come, let’s toast your father.”
(Robin folds the letter and puts it in his pocket. Nodding, he forces a smile and lets himself be lead away from the fire by Much back towards the camp.)

A New Regime (pt.8)

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Acre. Night.
(Safiyya is asleep in her bed when she is woken by the sound a loud crash and the door being slammed. She rushes out of bed over to the window to see her brother being dragged from the house through the street.)
Safiyya: “No! Djaq!”
Cut To: Village Square.
(Djaq is tied to a post by his wrists. He is bloodied and barely conscious, his attackers have been working on him for sometime.)
Morgan: “You’re not talking now, are ya smart arse?”
(Morgan lands a stinging right fist to Djaq’s face, sending teeth flying.)
Thomas: “Make this easy on yourself. Just tell us the names of your network of spies and this will all be over.”
(Barely able to hold himself up and severely beaten, Djaq gives the soldiers his answer by spitting at Thomas’ feet.)
Thomas: (Sighs:) “Have it your way.”
(Thomas looks to Morgan and nods.)
Morgan: (With an evil smile:) “Now the real fun starts.”
Cut To:
(Safiyya is frantically searching for a weapon of some kind to save her brother with, when she hears a roar from outside. Running to the window she sees Saracen fighters pour into the village square, surrounding the pair of English soldiers.)

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The Royal Court. Afternoon.
(The Prince reclines luxuriously on the throne as the last rejected Nobleman is escorted from the room.)
Prince John: “Quite the productive day, I think. (The doors burst open as Joan stalks toward her brother.) Ah, my darling, devoted sister.”
Joan: “What is the meaning of this, brother? We were meant to hold these evaluations together.”
Prince John: (Waving her off:) “Oh, I thought it best to get them out of the way now. Give you and Raymond some alone time with…(Sneering:) the baby.”
Joan: “Cut the crap, John! You’ve dismissed half the Lords and Noblemen of England.”
Prince John: “Only the half that I could not trust. Those that didn’t have my best interests at heart.”
Joan: (Frowning:) “Your interests? We are trying to run a country, here. This isn’t about your interests, its about what’s best for-”
Prince John: (Roaring:) “I will be the one who decides what is best! I need people around me who are loyal and dedicated to me. Those that hold me in their hearts above all others.”
Joan: “You are behaving like a spoiled little child!”
Prince John: “No, I am seeing things clearly! (Slowly walking around her:) You came here under the guise of uniting the family and all the while you love Richard more than I!”
Joan: “That’s simply not true.”
Prince John: “Oh really? It wasn’t me you named your traitorous offspring after was it?!”
Joan: “That was never meant…”
Prince John: “To hurt me? To humiliate me?! Wasn’t meant to do what, sister?”
Joan: “I just wanted to…”
Prince John: “I know exactly what you wanted to do. You thought you could ally with Richard against me and force me out of power using Shiring’s army.”
Joan: “Shiring?”
Prince John: “Ohhh, (Waggling his finger in her face:) don’t try and deny it. (Turning to an antechamber door, calling:) Waleran!”
(The door opens and Waleran enters.)
Waleran: “You bellowed your highness?”
Prince John: (Smirking down at his sister as he speaks to Waleran:) “Tell my dear, deceitful sister of the plot you have uncovered as you escort her out of my castle.”
(Prince John turns without another word and leaves the room.)
Joan: (Raging at Waleran:) “What nonsense is this that fills my brother’s head?”
Waleran: “A plot was confessed to me by the Earl’s own secretary, your highness. Bartholomew seeks to raise an army in your name and overthrow the Prince.”
Joan: “That’s absurd. I had no hand in this, my brother must know that I-”
Waleran: “Your brother is in no mood to be reasoned with your highness. In time I’m sure he will come to realise that your love and loyalty to him is beyond repute but for now I believe leaving London is your only option.”
Joan: “No. No, I must go to Shiring and speak with Bartholomew.”
Waleran: “Again, I must advise against that milady. The Prince has already dispatched men to Shiring to bring the traitor here for trial. A trial in which your name will surely be called to stand as witness against Bartholomew. (Softly:) Return to Sicily with your husband and child, Milady. Leave all this messiness and cruelty behind you.”
Joan: (Fuming:) “Very well. (Striding towards the doors and flinging them open, revealing a startled Regan Hamleigh standing before her. Snarling to Waleran:) I want your confessor found and hanged for this!”
Waleran: (Bowing:) “Yes, Milady.”
(Joan, angrily pushes past Regan and strides determinedly down the corridor.)
Waleran: (Quietly to Regan:) “I believe Shiring will soon be yours.”
Regan: (Relieved:) “Thank you, your grace. I don’t know what I can do to repay you.”
Waleran: “I wish to be made Bishop once the Prince has secured the shires. The current one will have to be removed, of course.”
(Waleran walks on down the hallway leaving Regan to stare concernedly after him.)

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Shiring Castle.
(Dozens of men on horses storm the gates lead by Percy Hamleigh. The soldiers of Shiring are taken by surprise and an almighty battle breaks out. Bartholomew has gone to join the fight leaving Edward to protect Aliena. They move quickly along a raised platform but are spotted by William Hamleigh. Flanked by his bodyguard Walter, Hamleigh quickly climbs the stairs. Edward and Aliena move hurriedly towards a room and bolt the door behind them. Aliena leads them through another door into another room beyond that. Hamleigh quickly bursts through the first door with Walter close behind. They turn to their right, see the other door and Walter kicks it open. The room is deserted. As Hamleigh throws open the bed curtains searching for Aliena, Walter remarks:)
Walter: “She must be somewhere!”
(Walter leaves the room in search of her as Hamleigh bellows:)
William: “Aliena!”
Courtyard
(The villagers and soldiers battle with the invading forces as Bartholomew enters the fray. He cuts down several men on his way to their leader.)
Bartholomew: (Calling across the courtyard:) “Percy!”
(Percy turns his horse to face him and charges. Bartholomew ducks and knocks Hamleigh from his horse.)
Bartholomew: (Raising his sword:) “Get up!”
(The two men trade blows and are evenly matched but with Bartholomew constantly moving forwards, eventually backing Hamleigh up against a tree. Bartholomew draws his dagger and holds to Hamleigh’s throat.)
Percy: “Surrender, traitor!”
Bartholomew: “I’d rather die!”
Percy: “Then so will every man, woman and child in this keep!”
(Bartholomew hesitates, turning to look around at the mayhem and destruction.)
Bartholomew: “Halt! Halt. (To Percy:) Hear me out.”
Percy: (Raising his hand to the soldiers:) “Halt!”
(The men cease fighting and look towards the Earl.)
Bartholomew: “Spare my people. The Prince knows you covet my title. If you spare my people, I will confess my guilt to his face.”
(Bartholomew lowers his sword, takes it by the blade and presents it to Percy.)
Percy: (Taking the sword:) “Thank you, Earl of Shiring.”

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Acre. Almost Dawn.
(The aftermath of a senseless battle. Just as the Saracens arrived to surround the two crusaders, Robin lead the charge to rescue his rogue soldiers. The fighting was quick but brutal, ending when the crusaders retreated from the village. Robin kneels over a mortally wounded Thomas as Much runs to his side.)
Robin: “I told you not to do this, I ordered you not to!”
Much: “Robin..”
Robin: “How many dead?”
Much: “There’s no telling how many Saracens, but two of our number.”
Robin: “Who?”
Much: “Matthew Kent and Morgan Foster.”
Robin: (Shaking his head:) “Dammit. Foster brought it on himself but Matthew? (To Thomas:) Those men died because of you, what were you thinking?”
Thomas: (Crying:) “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry.”
Much: “I’ll fetch the medic.”
(Much runs off as Robin inspects the wound.)
Robin: “You hang in there, Thomas. I won’t dig your grave as well.”
Thomas: (Tears streaming:) “T-tell my family I didn’t cry. (Grips Robin’s sleeve.) Tell them i wasn’t crying. (Relaxes his grip and slumps back. Emotionless.) I was laughing on the wrong side of my face.”
(With a last gasp of breath, Thomas stares up at the sky and the camera zooms in as the light goes out of his eyes.)
Cut To: Safiyya’s House.
(The camera zooms out again to see another pair of unseeing eyes. This time they belong to Djaq. Safiyya kneels at her brother’s side weeping. The Saracens who brought his body to her slowly disperse to give her some privacy. Safiyya raises a tremulous hand to her mouth, kissing it, and then places her hand on Djaq’s face, closing his eyes. Slowly she rises to her feet and goes to splash some water on her face. After a moment she looks up at her reflection in the mirror. Glancing back at her brother’s body she reaches for a pair of scissors on the table and turns back to the mirror. Deciding on what she must do, she takes a deep breath, brings the scissors up to her hair and begins to cut.)

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London. Castle Courtyard. Dusk.
(Vaisey & Prince John look on smiling as Bartholomew is wheeled, caged, towards the dungeons. A cloaked Edward and Aliena follow quickly beside him.)
Bartholomew: “Edward, please protect my daughter.”
(Edward nods and pulls Aliena away from the cart. There is a commotion as a high pitched scream can be heard.)
Cut To: The Battlements. Moments Before.
(The Bishop stands on the battlements taking the view of lush greenery of the Royal gardens.)
Regan: (Approaching:) “Good evening, Bishop.”
Bishop: “Lady Regan, what a delight! You’re a nature lover too I see?”
Regan: “I wanted to speak with you in private if I may, I have a rather troubling confession to make.”
Bishop: “Oh, I am sorry. Isn’t Waleran Bigod your confessor?”
Regan: “Yes…but my sin is for your ears, dear Bishop.”
Bishop: (Warily:) “I don’t understand.”
Regan: “I have been asked…(Shakes her head.) I have been asked to commit a murder.”
Bishop: “Oh, my dear. By whom?”
Regan: “Waleran. Which is why I can’t-”
Bishop: (Nods:) “Yes, I see.”
Regan: (Taking the Bishop’s hand:) “He mustn’t know that I’ve told you.”
Bishop: “No my dear. My lips are sealed. (Regan sighs in relief:) Whom does he wish you to murder?”
Regan: (Leaning in to whisper in his ear:) “You.”
(Drawing back to look in his stunned eyes, Regan grabs the Bishop and shoves him hard off the battlements. The Bishop lands with a sickening thud in the gardens below. Taking a moment to compose herself, Regan emits a harrowing scream and rushes from the battlements before anyone finds her.)

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Castle Corridor. East Wing
(Tuck rushes toward the source of the screaming but is stopped along the way by Waleran.)
Waleran: “Oh, brother Tuck that reminds me. The Bishop has asked me to assign someone to accompany Joan on her journey back to Sicily as a sign of good faith. I’ve recommended you.”
Tuck: “Sicily? But I’ve-”
Waleran: “You will travel with the Queen and once she is safely home you will visit Rome.”
(Tuck’s protestations cease upon hearing this.)
Tuck: “Rome? I am honoured.”
Waleran: “You will be my special envoy to the Pope. Speak of me well and do me proud.”
Tuck: “Of course, your grace.”
Waleran: “Start packing, the Queen’s departure is imminent.”
(Tuck nods and heads back to his room. Waleran smiles, having swiftly dealt with the troublesome priest.)
Cut To: The Castle Gates.
(Joan stands just inside the gates, her expression is one of grim resignation.)
Raymond: “Come, my love. We must leave for Sicily where i can guarantee your safety.”
(Joan relents and they leave the castle. Several dozen feet behind the departing Queen, Edward is pulling Aliena along with him by the hand.)
Aliena: (Struggling:) “I can’t just leave my father!”
Edward: “Your father would not want his only daughter to witness or share his fate.”
Aliena: “He is not guilty, I must speak for him!”
Edward: “I made a promise to Bartholomew to protect you. You must come with me to Nottingham.“
William: (Stepping out from an alcove:) "Oh, I don’t think that’ll be necessary. Let me take her off your hands.”
Edward: “Stand aside. You’ll harm Aliena over my dead body.”
William: (Snarling:) “That can be arranged.”
Edward: “I’m not as young as I used to be but I can still stop you.”
William: “Do you know, I think I believe you. But what about him?”
(Edward is suddenly grabbed from behind by Walter, his sword at Edward’s throat. William quickly moves past them and roughly manhandles Aliena, dragging her away.)
Aliena: “Edward!”
Edward: “Aliena! (Struggling furiously:) Unhand me and face me like a man you coward!”
Vaisey: “Gladly.”
(Edward is spun around by Walter and pushed to the floor violently.)
Walter: “He’s all yours.”
(Walter sheathes his sword and turns to follow William who has thrown Aliena over a horse and about to gallop away.)
Vaisey: (Looking down at Edward:) “My, how the righteous have fallen. (Edward struggles to his feet as Vaisey’s men surround him.) Come, Sir Edward we leave for Nottingham.”
Edward: (Raging:) “I don’t require an escort from the likes of you.”
Vaisey: “Tsk Tsk. Is that any way to speak to your new Sheriff? Prince John made it official an hour ago. I am your replacement. (Smiling malevolently:) And I thought it would be nice and give the announcement a sense of occasion if you introduced me, hm?”
Edward: “I would rather die.”
Vaisey: “Oh no. (Leaning in sinisterly:) Not without an audience at least. (Straightening:) Come then, to Nottingham!”
(Vaisey pushes past Edward on his way towards to stables, the surrounding guards motion for Edward to follow. He looks around desperately for Aliena until a guard shoves him along.)

Dissent & Dismissal (pt.7)

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The Royal Court. The Next Morning.
(The Lords and Ladies stand around chattering amongst themselves in an excited buzz. Trumpets are played as Prince John proudly leads his sister and newborn son into the room. The crowd burst into applause as the Prince beams in delight. As the noise causes the baby to cry a little, the Prince motions for those gathered to temper their response.)
Prince John: “My Lords, Ladies and (Looking to the Hamleighs) you common people, it gives me enormous pleasure to introduce to you my new nephew. (He makes a sweeping motion that invites Joan to step forward and hold her son up for the masses.) Unfortunately, my dear brother in law, the King of Sicily missed the wondrous occasion. But I was honoured to be there by my sister’s side when her darling baby boy was born. (Polite applause breaks out.) Now, as dear Raymond has not yet arrived we are unable to tell you all my nephew’s name. (Raising his hands at the few murmurs that can be heard.) Which I am sure, given the circumstances you will all understand.”
Joan: (Stepping forward:) “Actually, dear brother, I believe we can.”
(Prince John stops and slowly turns toward his sister. Meanwhile Vaisey enters at the back of the room.)
Prince John: “Really? Are you sure you want to announce it without the baby’s father present?”
Joan: “The King and I discussed baby names at great length when we first learned of the happy news. Besides, everyone is already gathered to hear my angel’s name. (Leaning in conspiratorially to her brother.) I have not seen Raymond in months and I suspect we will want our privacy, just the three of us.”
Prince John: (Nods in understanding:) “Splendid! Well ladies and gentlemen it seems you will all be hearing the name today after all.”
(The Prince stands aside and gives Joan the floor.)
Joan: “Thank you, dearest brother. My husband, King Raymond and I thought long and hard about the name of our child. If it were a girl would she be named after his mother, or mine. And similarly, if he a boy would he be named after my father or the King’s. But after much discussion and after all our family has been through over these last few years, there was only one name chosen. A name that represents peace and unity. (Smiling at the Prince.) A name that, in this time of war, is powerful, hardy and brave. Much like his namesake. (The Prince bites his lip and looks to his sister who nods as if answering his silent question ‘Is it me?’ 🙂 So it is with great pleasure, that I introduce to the world…(Prince John throws up his hands and walks into the crowd, basking in the glory of having his nephew named after…) Prince Richard!”
(The crowd erupts in uproarious applause as the new Prince is held high. Prince John’s expression crumbles into one of pain, disappointment and anguish. Many are too busy to notice this as cheers of ‘Long live Prince Richard’ echo throughout the hall. However, it is not missed by Vaisey who grins in evil delight. For he alone realises just how fragile an ego John has and how the Queen’s unintended slight may affect it.)

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Nottingham Castle. Marian’s Chamber.
(Marian sits at her desk, quill in hand, looking down at a blank piece of parchment. There is a knock at her door.)
Marian: “Come in.”
(The door creaks as it opens and Gisborne enters the room.)
Gisborne: “How are you feeling?”
Marian: (Forcing a smile.) “Oh, just trying to start a letter but I can’t seem to find the words. I never really expected Malcolm to die, he was so full of life.”
Gisborne: “Tomorrow is promised to no man, Milady. Though I never met Lord Locksley, I need only to see you count him as a dear friend to know that he was a good man.”
Marian: “Thank you, Sir Guy.”
Gisborne: “If I may ask, who is it you are attempting to write to?”
Marian: (Smiling despite herself:) “Lord Locksley’s son, Robin. He…was to be my husband.”
(Gisborne raises his eyebrow at this new information. The merest hint of jealousy crosses his face.)
Gisborne: “You were betrothed? (Marian nods.) Where is he now?”
Marian: “He left to join the King’s army in the Holy Land. I believe he is part of the King’s private guard.”
Gisborne: (Frowning: Drawing a conclusion:) “It was an arranged marriage and the coward ran from his responsibilities.”
Marian: (Smirks:) “That’s quite the imagination you have, Sir Guy. No, Robin and I fell in love.”
Gisborne: “Forgive me, I was wrong to assume.”
Marian: (Waves her hand dismissively:) “No, it’s quite all right. For the longest time that’s what I thought happened. That he just up and left me for a glorious crusade. It was only last night that Lord Malcolm revealed the true circumstances to me. (Suddenly, as she thinks of Robin, the words suddenly come flooding to her.) I’m sorry, Sir Guy, if you’ll excuse me I must write this letter.”
Gisborne: “Of course, Milady. (Gisborne bows his head and turns to leave. Standing at the doorway he utters:) I’m sorry for your loss.”
(He closes the door behind him, leaving Marian to think of Robin.)

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The Holy Land. The King’s Camp. Dusk.
(Three men sit around the campfire on sentry duty. Dressed in armour, chain mail and long cloaks, the men are in a lively conversation.)
Thomas: “Don’t you ever wonder why we’re never able to plan a successful surprise attack?”
Robin: “The nature of a surprise attack means that in order for it to be work, it cannot be over planned.”
(Thomas accedes the point with a nod.)
Thomas: “Fair point. But what I’m saying is, they always seem to know we’re coming.”
Much: (Chewing on something:) “We’re hardly easy to miss, are we? (Swallowing:) I mean, we’re an army of white men all dressed in white, we don’t exactly blend in.”
Thomas: “Yes, all right there’s that too. But-”
Robin: (Talking over him:) “Plus the fact that the local villagers are placed to spy on us. The King’s servant girl for example.”
Much: “Talia.”
Robin: “Yes. I quite often see her sneaking out of camp at night.”
Thomas: (Incredulous:) “And you let it happen?”
Robin: “A few coins do not buy loyalty, Thomas. We are invading their country. I would be more surprised if there wasn’t someone spying on us.”
Thomas: “So the King is aware of this?”
Robin: “He realises that the people of this country are proud and cannot be bought, it’s a trade off. Unless of course you want to be the one serving his food and washing the Royal undergarments?”
Much: (Holds his hand up:) “I definitely do not, I had more than enough of that at home, thank you very much.”
(Robin smirks at Much.)
Thomas: “OK, well whatever – what would you say if I told you I knew where the main rendezvous for the spies was?”
Robin: (Jokingly:) “I’d say I’m surprised you know the word ‘rendezvous’.”
(Much sniggers at this.)
Thomas: “I’m serious! (Lowering his voice.) It’s in a village not far from here. I say we go in, take the village and break up their network of spies in one hit.”
Robin: “And have potentially dozens of civilian casualties as a result?”
Thomas: “It will cripple their resolve!”
Robin: “We do not attack innocent men and women. Especially over a minor annoyance.”
Thomas: “They are always one step ahead of us!”
Robin: “And it is our duty as soldiers to cope with whatever obstacle our enemy throw at us. Look around us, Thomas. I say we have not done too badly for ourselves.”
Thomas: “But this could be a major victory for us!”
Robin: “Battles are won on the battlefield, not in the homes of defenseless villagers.”
Much: “There are rules about these things.”
Thomas: “We’re making a mistake if we do nothing.”
Robin: “You have had my last word on this. We leave the village alone. Now, (Getting to his feet.) break’s over, back to your posts.”
(Robin turns and walks off. Much finishes eating and throws the bones into the fire. Thomas sits staring daggers at Robin’s back, but gets up and resumes his duties.)

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Shiring Castle.
(Bartholomew, Aliena and Edward are discussing the virtue of the alliance between Prince John and Queen Joan.)
Edward: “Prince John has the support of the church and the backing of any who fear being ruled by a woman.”
Aliena: “Which is most of the men in this country. The Prince is only on the throne because he’s a man. (Edward chuckles.) What’s so funny?”
Edward: “Oh, forgive me. It’s just that Marian said the same thing before I left.”
Aliena: (Smiling:) “She’s a clever girl, that one.”
Bartholomew: “John may have the support of the church but that does not mean his intentions are virtuous. (Getting to his feet to stand with them.) I loved Henry, he had my complete support. However I realise now that his methods were not best for England and her people. Richard is trying to right the wrongs of his father and I must do the same. I truly hope I’m wrong about the Prince but if not, I cannot allow him to repeat his father’s mistakes. Aliena is right, Joan should be the one minding the throne in the King’s absence. And so, in her name I will raise an army and take the Prince by surprise if the need should arise.”
Aliena: (Smiling proudly at her father, turns to Edward:) “Come, we must leave for London.”
Edward: “Yes, I mustn’t be late.”
(As they leave the room the camera pans to Brother Francis, the Earl of Shiring’s secretary who has a troubled look on his face.)
Cut To: The Royal Court.
(King Raymond of Sicily has arrived and he and Queen Joan reunite to rapturous applause from the crowd. Meanwhile, sitting on his throne with an oddly serene smile on his face, Prince John looks on.)

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A Tavern, Just Outside London.
(Brother Francis sits at a table by himself. On the table there is a chess set. The door to the tavern opens and in walks Waleran.)
Waleran: (Approaching as Francis gets to his feet:) “I trust this will not be a wasted journey?”
Francis: “Thank you for coming, Archdeacon. Please, sit with me.”
(Waleran raises his eyebrows but takes a seat at the table.)
Waleran: “So, what is this about, my son?”
(Francis reaches out and moves red King forward on the board.)
Francis: “I believe Prince John is in danger. (Sliding three blue chess pieces forward.) Earl Bartholomew of Shiring is secretly raising an army against the Prince so that Joan may rule in the King’s absence.”
Waleran: (Looking down at the pieces:) “A woman cannot take the throne. Is the Queen aware of this plot?”
Francis: “I cannot say. The Prince must know of their treachery. But if word came from me Shiring will have me hanged.”
Waleran: “So you wish me to tell the Prince, very well. If Joan assumes power the church loses. (Glancing at the chess pieces again.) Who is the third traitor?”
Francis: “Sir Edward of Nottingham. He is a guest at Shiring, Although I’m not convinced he’s a part of this plot, as he is here to meet the Prince about keeping his position as Sheriff.”
Waleran: “Sir Edward? Interesting. You have done the Lord’s work in telling me this.”
Francis: “Thank you, your grace.”
Waleran: (Picking up the third chess piece:) “Very interesting indeed.”

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Acre. Leader’s House. Exterior. Night
(Talia sneaks through the streets and knocks at the door.)
Main Room.
(Djaq opens the door. Talia speaks to him in Arabic, which translates to ‘English soldiers spotted near the village.’ She dashes inside. Djaq checks the street before closing the door. Safiyya listens from another room as Talia tells Djaq what she saw.)
Djaq: “How many did you see?”
Talia: “Two, maybe three men on horses.”
Djaq: (Thinks:) “Hm, it may be nothing but they’re too close for comfort. We’d best play it safe, go and tell the others.”
(Talia nods then turns and leaves the house. Djaq looks worried for a moment then turns around to see his sister watching him.)
Safiyya: “You’re crazy, you know that?”
Djaq: (Rolling his eyes, having heard this before:) “Someone has to stand up to these invaders. This is our land, we have to fight them.”
Safiyya: “You are not a soldier, Djaq. In fact, I can beat you up.”
Djaq: (Shrugs:) “Yeah, well…you’re very strong for a girl.”
Safiyya: (Scoffs:) “A woman, you’ll find.”
Djaq: “Safiyya, listen. (Taking her hand.) I know I’m not a soldier but I have to do something. We have to fight! Our friends, our neighbours…what do you think will happen to them if the English defeat Saladin? Do you think they will share Jerusalem with us? No, they will enslave us all. It’s what these people do.”
Safiyya: “But the Qur’an teaches peace.”
Djaq: “The armies are evenly matched, we need an advantage! That is what our spying does. It gives us a slight but crucial edge over our enemies. Normal villagers like you and I are out there risking their necks to win this war.”
Safiyya: “Until you’re all captured and killed.”
Djaq: “They all understand the risks they take. (Taking a knee beside his sister, earnestly:) Our methods are peaceful. If anything our spies prevent further bloodshed.”
Safiyya: (Looking at him, smiling:) “Or merely delay it awhile.”
Djaq: “It’s something! We cannot let the English take Jerusalem from us.”
Safiyya: “Spying in the name of peace? (Djaq nods:) I still think you’re crazy.”
Djaq: (Smiling:) “You wouldn’t have me any other way.”

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The Royal Court. That Afternoon.
(Edward stands at the doors waiting to be announced when he is approached by Waleran.)
Waleran: “Sir Edward, I wonder if I may speak with you?”
Edward: “It will have to be quick, I’m about to be called.”
Waleran: “It won’t take but a moment. I wanted to ask, how do you feel about Prince John assuming the throne?”
Edward: “Feel about it? I don’t feel anything about it. The Prince has the King’s proxy in all matters and that is who I’m here to see.”
Waleran: “There are those who would rather see another on the throne. Queen Joan, for example.”
Edward: “King Richard left the Prince in charge, that is the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned.”
Waleran: “And Earl Bartholomew? (Edward stares at him:) There are rumours he’s planning a coup.”
(Trumpets sound and Edward’s name is announced.)
Edward: “Rumours should stop at our ears, Archdeacon. Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.”
(Waleran bows slightly and accedes the point as Edward makes his way into the throne room.)
Throne Room.
(It is a long solitary walk for Edward with many of the gathered people staring at him. He notices Regan and William Hamleigh give him less than welcoming looks as he passes. Waleran goes to join them as Edward arrives in front of the throne where Prince John is seated with Vaisey stood by his side. Edward bows and waits to be addressed.)
Prince John: “So, Sir Edward. You were appointed to be Sheriff of Nottingham under my father’s command?”
Edward: (Standing straight:) “Yes, Sire. The loss of your father was felt deeply all through Nottinghamshire.”
Prince John: (Sizing him up:) “Hm. And you wish to remain Sheriff under my rule?”
Edward: “If the King wishes it, yes Sire.”
Prince John: “Today is not about my brother’s wishes, Sir Edward. You are here to impress me.”
Edward: “Yes, Sire. My apologies.”
Prince John: “I am told you are currently a guest of the Earl of Shiring. (Glancing over at Regan Hamleigh.) And whilst Royalty does not listen to rumour, it would be unwise for me to dismiss rumblings of dissent outright.”
Vaisey: “Especially in a time of war, your highness.”
Prince John: (Coldly, looking into Edward’s eyes:) “Indeed. Therefore as I do not trust those whom you call friend, I cannot put my trust in you.“
Edward: "Sire, I assure you…”
Prince John: (Speaking over him:) “Request to remain as Sheriff of Nottingham denied! Position to be filled forthwith. You are dismissed. (Leaning forward in his throne, speaking so only Edward can hear him.) Be grateful that I am allowing you to leave here with your head. Of course, I do not speak for your replacement once you return to Nottingham. (Hissing:) Now get out of my sight.”
(Edward recoils as if having been struck. Prince John leans back in the throne as Sir Edward is escorted from the room by two guards.)

Life & Death (pt. 6)

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Nottingham Castle. Marian’s Bedchamber. That Night.
(Marian is in the midst of a fitful sleep when she is shaken awake by Eve.)
Eve: “Milady, wake up. Lady Marian, wake up.”
Marian: (Groggily:) “What is it?”
Eve: “I tried knocking but you didn’t answer. The girl at the gates insisted she speak with you.”
Marian: “Girl? What girl?”
Eve: “She didn’t mention her name she just said she had urgent news about Lord Locksley.”
Marian: “Malcolm? (Runs a hand through her hair.) Give me a moment to dress and I’ll be right with her.”
(Eve nods and leaves the room.)
External Corridor. Moments Later.
(Kate stands anxiously waiting as Marian turns a corner to meet her.)
Marian: “Kate, what is it, what’s happened?”
Kate: “It’s Lord Locksley, he’s taken a turn for the worse. He’s got a fever and he won’t let me call for Matilda. I stole a horse and rode here, I thought you could make him see sense.”
Marian: (Nods:) “You did the right thing, Kate. Come on, I’ll saddle my horse and be right behind you.”
(The women head down the steps into the courtyard and down a side passage towards the stables. As they turn a corner and drop from sight, Gisborne steps out from the darkness, his face unreadable.)
Interior Corridor. London.
(Queen Joan of Sicily slowly makes her way from her bedchamber towards the kitchens, seeking something to drink. Supporting her back with one hand and feeling the walls with the other, she negotiates through the near darkness. As she sees the light of the kitchens up ahead she sighs in relief. Her sighs turn to gasps however as she clutches her stomach. Taking a step back she kicks off a shoe and traces the floor beneath her with a bare foot. The floor is wet, her waters have broken, the baby is on it’s way.)

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Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
(There is a commotion downstairs as the muffled voices of Gladstone, Kate & Marian can be heard. Malcolm smiles ruefully, pulls himself up higher into a sitting position and braces for the inevitable. Footsteps can be heard rushing up the stairs and moments later the chamber door bursts open.)
Malcolm: (Brightly:) “Lady Marian, what a lovely surprise.”
Marian: “Save it, Malcolm. What is this nonsense about not wanting to be treated?”
(Gladstone comes into the room.)
Gladstone: “Sir, I tried, I really did.”
Malcolm: “It’s alright, old friend. Leave us.”
(Gladstone shrugs apologetically and leaves the room.)
Marian: (Hands on hips:) “Well?”
Malcolm: “I am an old man, Marian. It is just my time.”
Marian: “Rubbish. It’s just a fever, Matilda can sort that out in no time.”
Malcolm: “It’s not just the fever, Marian. I am tired. Tired of all of it. All the lies, all the secrets that I must keep. I cause too much pain to the ones I love. It has to end.”
Marian: (Shaking her head:) “If Robin were here he would not let you speak like this. If Robin were here he’d tell you that-”
Malcolm: (Cutting her off:) “I am the reason Robin is not here. I am the reason he went to the Holy Land.”
Marian: (Scoffs:) “Your son left Nottingham in search of glory, it had nothing to do with-”
Malcolm: (Defiantly:) “It had everything to do with me! (Marian is taken aback by the outburst. Softer:) My son has never desired glory or riches, he just wanted to be loved. He wanted you, Marian. He loved you. And because of me he lost everything he holds dear.”
(Marian stands a moment just watching Malcolm, who cannot look at her. Slowly she moves her hands from her sides and lowers herself to sit gently on the side of the bed.)
Marian: “All right, tell me everything.”
(Malcolm exhales slowly and meets her gaze.)

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Internal Corridor. London.
(Joan is slowly, determinedly making her way back towards her bedchamber. The pain so excruciating she can hardly make a sound without fear of having the baby by herself, alone in a darkened hallway.)
Vaisey: (From above:) “My my. We are making a mess aren’t we, your highness? (Joan glares up at him. Vaisey smirks.) Small joke. (Vaisey turns and calls for help.) The baby is coming, we need help here, immediately! (Vaisey moves quickly towards the staircase and hurries down the steps to the Queen. Taking her arm and helping her along.) It’s all right, your highness, we’ll get you through this. My grandmother was a midwife, take my hand if you need to hold onto something. (Joan nods, taking his hand and squeezing hard.) Yeow! OK, we’re even, your highness, we’re even.”
(The pair make their way quickly along the corridor.)
Locksley Manor. Bedchamber.
Malcolm:
“And that’s the truth of it.”
Marian: (Shaken:) “Why didn’t he tell me? I would have understood. My father could have helped-”
Malcolm: (Shaking his head:) “Your father offered to pay off my debt. Robin wouldn’t hear of it.”
Marian: “But why?”
Malcolm: “Lord Sheridan needed the money I owed him for weapons, he needed it immediately as he was headed to meet the King. He threatened my life if I could not pay and…Robin made a deal with him. (Looking up at Marian.) My life for his. (Marian looks down at her hands.) So you see, Marian, I don’t deserve your kindness or your friendship. For the second time in my life I’ve come between a man and the woman he loves. I serve no purpose, the world will be better off without me. (Looking down:) I have not heard a word from Robin since he left, for all I know he is already dead.”
Marian: (Frowning:) “No, he lives, he has written to me almost every day but I haven’t opened a single letter. (Realising something.) He must know that I know the truth! I have to tell him that I still- (Malcolm begins to cough loudly and violently. Marian moves over to help re-position him. After awhile Malcolm calms.) Listen to me. You and I shall write to him. We shall tell him everything, we must let him know that he is loved. That will be your purpose, Malcolm. (Malcolm watches her.) You shall see your son again, safe and home. Now, (Getting to her feet.) I’m going to fetch Matilda. She’ll put you right and come morning you and I will write to Robin. (Malcolm smiles weakly and nods.) Good. Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back!”
(Marian turns and rushes out of the room, down the stairs and out of Locksley Manor to rouse Matilda from her bed. Malcolm shakes his head and adjusts his position on the bed when he hears a creaking noise. Looking up he sees the door being slowly pushed open and a man dressed all in black enters the room.)

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Joan’s Bedchamber. London.
(Joan screams from her bed as the pain rips through her. The midwife mops the Queen’s brow with a wet cloth.)
Midwife: (Calling to the other servants surrounding the bed:) “Hot water! Where’s the girl? (A serving girl rushes in with an arm full of blankets. to Joan:) Deep breath, it won’t be long. (Joan gives an almighty scream as she bears down.) Short breaths now, Milady.”

Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
(Malcolm sits upright on the bed as Gisborne closes the door.)
Gisborne: (Approaching:) “You know who I am.”
Malcolm: (Slight nod.) “Guy of Gisborne.”
Gisborne: “And I believe you knew my mother.”

Joan’s Bedchamber. London.
(Prince John bursts into the room.)
Prince John: (Panicked:) “Where is she! Oh!”
(Alarmed by what he sees, he almost feints.)
Joan: (Laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of her brother:) “Come here, brother.”
Prince John: (Snapping out of it:) “Yes, yes of course!”
(The Prince makes his way over to his sister’s side and takes her hand.)

Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
Malcolm:
“I loved Ghislaine like no man has ever-”
Gisborne: “You stole her from my father! You stole her from me!”
Malcolm: “No! We had every intention of telling you both about us. We would have been a family, united.”

Joan’s Bedchamber. London.
(Joan squeezes hard on John’s hand as she bears down, her face covered in sweat from the effort.)

Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
Gisborne:
“I should have saved her. I should have braved the flames.”
Malcolm: “It would have been too late.”
Gisborne: “You don’t know that.”
Malcolm: “She was already dead.”

Joan’s Bedchamber. London.
(The baby’s cries can be heard as Joan lays back exhausted.)
Joan: “It’s a boy!”

Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
Gisborne:
“You killed her. All these years I thought it was my fault, that my parents died because of the fire that I started, but it was you. (Slowly steps towards Malcolm, his anger rising.) That guilt was with me every day. (Grabs Malcolm’s shoulders. Roars:) Every day! (Gisborne pulls a dagger.) You deserve this.”
Malcolm: “You’re right. Death would be a release. There’s been many times that I’ve been tempted to do the job myself.”
Gisborne: “You expect me to feel sorry for you?!”
Malcolm: “Of course not. But please, I need to know my son forgives me.”
Gisborne: “Your son?!”
Malcolm: “Robin, my only heir. His life could have been so much different if it wasn’t for me.”
Gisborne: “And I would have had a family, if not for you.”
Malcolm: “Please…”
(Gisborne’s grip on the dagger tightens, his hands shaking with rage. But he thinks better of it, releasing Malcolm and getting to his feet. He puts the dagger away and opens the door.)
Malcolm: “Your mother would be proud.”
(Gisborne stops and turns to face the man on the bed. Wordlessly he pushes the door closed again.)

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Joan’s Bedchamber. London.
(Joan’s breathing slowly returns to normal as Prince John smooths her hair from her face.)
Prince John: “I am so proud of you, my sister.”
Joan: (Smiling:) “Thank you, dear brother.”
Prince John: “May I?”
Joan: “Of course.”
(Prince John beams as he stands and takes the baby from the midwife, walks to the door and exits, holding the boy up for the gathered crowd to welcome the newest member of the Royal family.)
Locksley Manor. Master’s Chamber.
(Matilda, already speaking and carrying two big bags of supplies, enters the room.)
Matilda: “I don’t know what kind of magic you have over this one, Lord Locksley, but this is the second time she’s been to see me on your behalf.”
(She drops her bags on a chair in the corner as Marian enters, carrying a third. Placing the bag at the foot of the bed Marian goes over to check on Malcolm.)
Marian: “He was awake when I left.”
Matilda: “It’s the middle of the bleedin’ night, what do you expect? I was asleep before you came storming in.”
Marian: (Frowns, feeling Malcolm’s head.) “His fever’s almost completely gone.”
Matilda: “Well there now, you see? Typical.”
Marian: (Slowly realises something is wrong.) “He’s not breathing.”
Matilda: “You what?”
Marian: “I’m serious, Matilda he’s not breathing!”
Matilda: “Get out of the way and let me have a look. (Matilda gently moves Marian aside and sits on the bed beside Lord Locksley. Checking for a pulse on his neck, then resting her head on his chest she listens for any signs of a heartbeat. Finally she takes Malcolm’s wrist and checks there. There is nothing.) I don’t understand. He was fine yesterday.”
(Matilda looks up at Marian who has tears falling from her eyes. Quietly Matilda moves Malcolm’s hand to rest on his chest. She leaves her own hand atop his for a moment as she says goodbye to an old friend.)

Arrangements, Engagements & Estrangements (pt. 5)

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Shiring. The Next Morning.
(Earl Bartholomew is standing in the courtyard inspecting various swords and weaponry beside men dressed in chain mail and armour. Sir Edward walks through the tall gates, looks up at the impressive expanse of the castle and notices the Earl.)
Edward: (Walking up from behind:) “I do believe Shiring flourishes under your rule.”
Bartholomew: (Smiling and puts the sword back on the table:) “That she does, (Turns to face Edward.) old friend.”
Edward: (Smiling:) “Barty.”
(The two men embrace in a warm hug.)
Bartholomew: (Pulling back from the hug but keeping his hand on Edward’s shoulder:) “What brings you to my humble home?”
Edward: “A Royal summons. I am to submit myself to Prince John’s interrogation so that I may keep my role as Sheriff.”
Bartholomew: “Ah ha. I believe you’re in luck. There’s been a shake up at the Royal court.”
Edward: “Really? How so?”
Bartholomew: “Queen Joan of Sicily has managed to get through to her brother. Aliena has gone to witness it herself…”
Cut To. The Royal Court.
(People from all walks of life make their way into the already crowded throne room. Aliena is amongst the throng of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the new regime.)
Bartholomew: (Overdub:) "Apparently she and the Prince are ruling together, in the name of family unity.”
(Seated alone, Queen Joan occupies the throne atop the raised platform. Looking down from above, hidden from the eyes of others is Prince John, smirking as his sister takes one of the Noblemen to task.)
Joan: “So, Squire Thornton, what exactly do you wish me to do about this?”
Thornton: “Your majesty my wife refuses to see a physician, she defies me at every turn and still she has yet to provide me with a son and heir.”
Joan: “I see.”
(The Queen smirks and takes a moment to look out over the sea of people gathered in the Hall. Clearly those who arrived early have some idea of what that smile means as some are sniggering behind their hands in anticipation.)
Joan: (Addressing Isabella:) “Lady Thornton. Am I right in assuming that you cook for your husband?”
Isabella: “Y-yes, your highness.”
Joan: “You cook, clean and keep the household in order?”
Isabella: “Yes I-”
Joan: “And as day turns to night, attend to your husband’s every desire?”
Isabella: (Blushing slightly:) “Yes, your highness.”
Joan: (To Thornton:) “You do not work, Squire Thornton, is this correct?”
Thornton: “Well, I-”
Joan: “You did in fact inherit your fortune from your uncle, did you not?”
Thornton: “That is true, your highness, but-”
Joan: “You do not work. You do not toil in the fields or break your back in the mines all day?”
Thornton: “No, your highness.”
Joan: “So one could say that your only job of any kind is to bed your wife? (Titters of delight and excitement from the crowd spread across the room. Thornton looks angrily around.) Would this be correct, Squire Thornton?”
Thornton: (Trying to control his anger:) “I..”
Joan: “So, it would appear to me, given that it is your one and only job and you have as yet not sired an heir…(More chuckles from the gathered masses:) That the blame must lie firmly at your feet. (To the crowd:) It is hereby ordered that Squire Thornton submit himself to be seen by a physician and not his wife. (To a silently fuming Thornton:) Hopefully after hours of poking and prodding, the answer to your prayers may be found. (Sweetly to Isabella:) Dismissed.”
(Cheers ring out from the crowd as Isabella curtsys and Thornton angrily pulls her along out of the room.)

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Sometime Later.
(The people slowly file out of the hall. The Hamleighs, who have been banned from the room after the previous days incident watch the crowd disperse. William is pacing up and down. When Aliena emerges however, William heads straight for her.)
William: “Aliena.”
Aliena: (Stops and looks around.) “William.”
William: (Hurriedly as his mother and father approach:) “May I call on you at Shiring?”
Aliena: (Hesitates and sees Regan and Percy join their son. Politely:) “My father and I would be delighted to receive you at Shiring.”
(Aliena quickly bows her head and then moves along with the crowd.)
Regan: “What are you doing? Consorting with the daughter of your fathers rival like that?”
William: (Watching Aliena until he can no longer see her:) “Oh hush, mother. If all goes well I shall ask Aliena to marry me and that will be an end to fathers petty rivalry.”
(William does not wait for a reaction but turns and walks away, leaving his parents to look on speechlessly.)
Courtyard.
(Vaisey exits from a doorway and makes his way down the large steps into the courtyard. Waleran approaches him from a side exit.)
Waleran: “Lord Vaisey, I wondered if we might have a word?”
Vaisey: (Not slowing his pace:) “As long as it’s a short one.”
Waleran: “Having Joan rule with John was hardly the ideal arrangement. Neither was having our allies barred from the Royal court.”
Vaisey: “Our allies as you call them are lucky to still have their heads attached to their shoulders. You need to reign that Hamleigh boy in. His impetuous nature will cause a lot of trouble if it’s not nipped in the bud.”
Waleran: “So you agree with their exile?”
Vaisey: “I most certainly understand the Prince’s feelings on the matter. Had anyone insulted my sister so brazenly, their tongues would have been cut out of their mouths before an apology could be uttered. (As Waleran begins to speak:) Joan has always been the Prince’s favourite sister and sibling for that matter. They were very close growing up, it is only natural that they would ally together. The Queen is one of those rare people who actually believe what they preach. (Sneering at Waleran:) You as a man of God have to admire that.”
Waleran: “So what can be done about it?”
Vaisey: “Done? Absolutely nothing. And if anything untoward happens to the Queen or her unborn child I’ll know that you and your minions will have had a hand in it. (At Waleran’s protestations:) Joan is idealistic which is generally awkward but sometimes commendable. We shall wait and see what happens but in the meantime, get your own house in order, Waleran.”
(Vaisey quickens his pace and leaves Waleran to fume after him. His attention is diverted however by a disturbance coming from a passageway to his right.)

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Exterior Corridor.
(Thornton is stood with his arms out wide arrogantly smirking at Tuck who is stood between Thornton and Isabella.)
Tuck: “I will not allow you to beat this woman!”
Thornton: “And what are you going to do about it huh? She’s my wife, my property! I can do what I want to her – it says so in your own bloody Bible!”
(Isabella looks on alarmed and afraid as Tuck lunges at her husband.)
Tuck: “That is not what my or any bible says you disgraceful swine!”
Thornton: “Out of my way preacher, or you’ll feel my lash on your back.”
(Tuck rages, grabs Thornton and pushes him violently up against the wall.)
Isabella: “Stop! Please..(Moving to stand between Tuck and her husband.) Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
(Tuck steps back looking at Isabella who is now shielding her husband.)
Tuck: (Taking a deep breath, knowing he has crossed a line:) “I’m sorry. (Thornton smirks. to Isabella:) Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”
(Tuck and Isabella share a moment of understanding before Thornton grabs her by the arm and pulls her away. Tuck frustratedly watches them go, then turns to see Waleran standing before him.)
Waleran: “Prior Tuck, I believe we need to speak about your temper, don’t you?”
(Tuck drops his head slightly, breathing hard as Waleran indicates for Tuck to follow him.)

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The Royal Gardens. Afternoon.
(Prince John and his sister are walking the grounds arm in arm. Their pace slow and relaxed in the warm weather.)
Prince John: “Oh, I haven’t been this restful since I took the throne.”
Joan: “You do look calmer, dear brother.”
Prince John: (Smiling:) “I feel a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
Joan: “I hope that some day soon I will have this weight lifted from my belly. (She pats her stomach affectionately:) I feel I am ready to burst.”
Prince John: “When does your husband arrive, tomorrow was it? (Joan nods.) Ah, family. That’s truly what it’s all about isn’t it? And I was so angry at Richard for what he did to father.”
Joan: “As you should be. (At John’s shocked look:) I never said I agreed with what Richard did. No matter what the circumstances, a son should never defy his father.”
Prince John: “Siding with Phillip like that, I mean really.”
Joan: “I think perhaps, he did it for the sake of our mother. Her house arrest was a terrible thing.”
Prince John: “Well father wouldn’t have had to do that if she’d not sided with our elder brother against…(Stopping himself and chuckling:) Oh we have an awful family history do we not?”
Joan: (Smiling:) “The Plantagenets have thrived on conflict. That is why you and I must stand united, behind Richard. (A pained look crosses the Prince’s face, unseen by Joan.) We must show the world we are a force to be reckoned with. With our family reconciled who would dare stand against us?”
Prince John: “It’s so charmingly simple: Through love, shall come peace.”
Joan: “For our family and our nation, at last.”

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Shiring Castle. Courtyard. Later That Afternoon.
(Edward stands watching his friend Earl Bartholomew discuss the matter of William’s proposal of marriage to Aliena with his would-be in-laws, the Hamleighs.)
Bartholomew: “Some children are…(Sniggering:) Well they’re born willful my good Percy. I must warn you, my daughter has turned down more suitors than there are (Indicating with his hand.) stones in Shiring castle.”
Regan: “You need to be more forceful with her then.”
Bartholomew: “Oh, I have tried. But I made a promise to Aliena’s mother that the girl could choose her own husband.”
Regan: (Incredulous, chuckling:) “I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
Percy: “This marriage would be advantageous to all, Lord Shiring.”
Regan: “Yes!”
Percy: “My son would gain a title and your daughter some of the richest farmland.”
Bartholomew: (Smiling kindly:) “The way to my daughter’s heart is through affection, not advantage. Isn’t that true, Sir Edward?”
(Edward chuckles and nods in agreement.)
Regan: (Relieved:) “Oh, then we needn’t worry. Our sweet William will work his charms on her and true love will win the day.”
Cut To: Shiring Castle. Interior.
(William Hamleigh and Aliena sit quietly together on a window sill. William reaches over to place his hand on Aliena’s which are resting in her lap. She gives him a sideways glance and humours his awkward attempt for a moment. Encouraged, William over plays his hand and roughly pulls Aliena to him, forcing a kiss upon her. Outraged, Aliena pushes him away, scratching his face. As the two part Aliena reaches for a nearby candelabra and whacks William in the arm with it. Stalking away, deeply embarrassed, Aliena calls after him.)
Aliena: “A dog would suit you better for a wife, Lord William. A dog, for your own safety, with no teeth!”
(Cackles of delight from the onlookers echo throughout the castle as William and his henchman Walter, push past them. Making his way towards the exit he does not stop even when he passes Sir Edward, Earl Bartholomew and his parents on their way up the stairs.)
Bartholomew: (Turning to face the Hamleighs, without even masking his smiling face:) “Oh dear.”
(Bartholomew quickly turns on his heel and continues on his way. Edward shrugs at Regan and Percy and follows the Earl up the staircase.)