Utalentia

Setting: The Princess's house. Rebecca, Sarah, and Lola are babysitting.

(Lola slowly walks back into the room, carrying a tray of drinks.)

Sarah: Thanks. (Takes a sip.) Mm. Green tea. Nothing like it, might I say so myself.

(She hoists Vili upwards on her knee.)

Rebecca: Talk about spiritual. Sarah, you couldn't pick the best tea to save a life.

Sarah: Oh, yeah? Well, seeing as how I need to go toilet, maybe you could hold Vili for me.

Rebecca: Why?

Lola: Are you almost done yet?

(She gestures to the unfinished knitting on Rebecca's lap.)

Rebecca: No.

Lola: You haven't done much, have you? (She looks closer.) What even is it meant to be?

(Someone knocks at the door. Lola goes to answer it.)

Elliot: Where's Rebecca?

Sarah: Lola, who is it?

Lola: Um…

Elliot: For god's sake, just let me in. We need to talk.

Lola: You and Rebecca?

Elliot: Hmph! Yes, me and Rebecca. Where is she?

Sarah: For goodness sake, Lola – who is it?

Lola: She's right in here.

(Lola begins to lead him inside. Sarah sits up straight, and passes the baby to Rebecca.)

Sarah: Flipping blimey Lola – who is it-

(Elliot enters.)

Sarah: Oh.

Rebecca: What are YOU doing here?

Elliot: I came looking for you. We need to talk.

Rebecca: And where do you think you've been for the past seven and a half years? Did you get lost?

Elliot: I came to make amends…

(Rebecca hands Vili back to Sarah, who then exits.)

Rebecca: Get out.

Elliot: What?

Rebecca: I said, get OUT!

Elliot: Look. I'm sorry. I want to apologise-

(Vili begins to cry, as Sarah enters again.)

Sarah: Shush, shush, darling.

Elliot: Oh, for god's sake, hand him here.

All: You WHAT?

Elliot: I said, hand him here. All the brat needs is a good old shaking, that's all. A good rough shake will do him plenty a good.

(Elliot grabs at Vili. Embrystical enters.)

Embrystical: Get your filthy rotten hands OFF my son!

(She grabs the baby, and goes to slap Elliot. Sarah stops her.)

Sarah: Don't Em – it's not worth it.

Elliot: Flipping nutter. (He stares at her.) Keep your distance.

Embrystical: And you stay away from my child.

Elliot: I was only trying to help. Jeez! (To Rebecca) Tell Curtis I'm here, won't you? I need to see him.

(Elliot exits.)

Embrystical: What on EARTH was that?

Setting: The Prince's throne-room. He is talking with Elliot.

Curtis: Yes, well, there's not much more I can do.

Elliot: I get it. Just do what you can, yeah?

(Embrystical and Rebecca enter. Sarah meets them at the door.)

Embrystical: He's still here?

Sarah: Sure is. They've been arguing for ages. Only just calmed down, by the sounds of it.

Curtis: Bye, then.

Elliot: See ya.

(Elliot exits.)

Curtis: Girls?

(They step forward.)

Curtis: Well, what is it? Don't have all day, Em. Spit it out already.

(Embrystical rolls her eyes.)

Embrystical: I was getting to that.

Curtis: So?

Rebecca: You can't trust him, Curtis.

Curtis: Who, Elliot?

Rebecca: Who else?

Curtis: You gotta be kidding me. 'Course I can trust him.

Rebecca: We're serious.

(Pause.)

Embrystical: You know what he's like.

Curtis: Exactly. That's why we've both agreed to make amends on MY own set terms.

Rebecca: This is dangerous territory you're treading on now, Curtis. One false move, a single misjudged step, and he could get anything he wanted. Everything.

Curtis: Look, girls; I know what you want me to do, and I ain't doing it. Not unless I'm, sober straight for twenny four hours, thinking right. Elliot's family, and…well; now…he's a citizen too.

(Rebecca storms off in a huff. Embrystical stays behind. Curtis stares at her.)

Curtis: What is it now?

Embrystical: WHAT was that?

Curtis: Beer?

Embrystical: I'm being SERIOUS.

Curtis: So am I.

Embrystical: He's up to no good; let me say that now before we really get into the nitty-gritty stuff. He's a lousy, useless lowlife with nothing left to lose. It's too big a risk, Curtis, and you know it!

Curtis: That's my business, just as well you know. If I want…

Embrystical: Oh, WA wa wah. I want, want, want. That's all it ever is with you, isn't it, Curtis? Don't you realise what he's done? All the meaningless troubles he's caused?

Curtis: Em-

Embrystical: No. Don't Em me like always. Don't look for the easy way out.

Curtis: There's not much reason to act, though, so-

Embrystical: Oh, SHUT UP! He tried to hurt my baby, for god's sake! If I hadn't got home when I did, goodness knows what could've gone on. Vili could've DIED!

Curtis: That's a little on the sharp side, isn't it…

Embrystical: You need to act.

Curtis: I need a valid reason.

Embrystical: Now.

Curtis: As in?

Embrystical: What do you think?

(Pause.)

Embrystical: He deserves to die for all his worthless crimes.

(Curtis rises from his seat.)

Curtis: Ridiculous! What do you take me for, a blind, half-witted fool? I'm your damn FATHER! I call the shots around here. Not you.

Embrystical: Do you think that I only care about myself? Look at Charlotte. If it hadn't been for him, she would never have gotten ill. And you damn well know exactly what that felt like, don't you?

Curtis: That's not enough for an execution, and you know it Embrystical.

Embrystical: So? He'll be getting what he rightfully deserves; you know that all too well.

Curtis: Maybe you just need to take a minute to calm down…

(She looks around. They are alone.)

Embrystical: If it hadn't been for him, Joanna might – no, would – still be alive.

(Pause. Curtis motions Fallowby over.)

Fallowby: Yes?

Curtis: Order the death penalty for my brother.

Setting: A Utalentian classroom. Girls of varied ages are messing about. Lola and Bella are flipping through one of Gloria's old fashion catalogues.

Lola: Just look at that dress!

Bella: Ug-ly!

(Hazel walks over.)

Hazel: Whatcha looking at?

Bella: What's it to you, nerd?

(Hazel turns away. The girls laugh at something loudly.)

-Shot of Miss Ratchet outside-

Lola: She's coming!

(Everyone scampers to their seats. Miss Ratchet enters.)

Miss Ratchet: Good morning, girls!

All: Good morning, Miss Ratchet.

(Lola tries to put the catalogue into the tray. Teacher sees.)

Miss Ratchet: Miss Lola? Is there something of interest down there on the floor beside you? It must be very important for you to be down there looking for it.

(Lola shoots bolt upright.)

Lola: No, Miss.

Miss Ratchet: Really? Are you quite sure, Lola? Those magazines do seem very intriguing.

Lola: N-n-no, Miss. 'Course not, Miss.

(Lola goes back to her seat.)

Miss Ratchet: Today, we will be practising our recitation of the Chaffian bible.

(All groan.)

Miss Ratchet: Hazel, will you please hand round these scriptures?

Hazel: Y-y-yes Miss.

(Hand out.)

Miss Ratchet: Now, girls, everyone turn to page thirteen.

(All groan.)

Miss Ratchet: Now, now, don't be like that, you sour lot. If you're not careful, we can be studying molecular physics of frog legs instead.

All: NO!

Miss Ratchet: Well then, stop-

(Someone knocks at the door.)

Miss Ratchet: Come in!

(Fallowby enters.)

Miss Ratchet: Yes?

Fallowby: All these girls need to get outside, right now.

Miss Ratchet: Pardon?

Fallowby: The entire building's being evacuated. Now, quick, quick, get moving.

Miss Ratchet: I don't think so, missy. I'm right in the middle of a lesson here, so if you don't mind, please would you kindly bog off.

Fallowby: Who're you calling missy!?

Miss Ratchet: You, I think.

Fallowby: Oh, well. Now, girls line up. And be quick about it, won't you?

All: Yes, Miss Henderson/Jefferson.

Fallowby: It's Fallowby.

All: Yes, Fallowby.

Fallowby: That's more like it.

(All line up.)

Fallowby: If I were you, I'd watch my mouth in future.

Setting: Sarah's chamber. Hazel and Lola are preparing her for the upcoming coronation.

(Lola finishes tying up the bow on her dress, as Hazel rashly enters.)

Lola: Oh! Sarah, you look so pretty!

Hazel: I'm here, I'm here! Don't start without me!

Sarah: Don't worry. So, did old Lily let you off early?

Hazel: Sarah! 'Course not! Miss Ratchet got a telling-off from Miss Henderson.

Sarah/Lola: Fallowby!

Hazel: Oh yeah. I forgot again, didn't I?

Sarah: It really bugs her when people call her that.

Lola: Especially Magnus.

Hazel: Why him?

Lola: Duh – he's her dad.

Hazel: Oh.

Sarah: Guys, can I get on a bit? We've only got a few more days.

Hazel/Lola: Yeah, 'course.

Sarah: Good. Hazel, could you hand me my veil please?

(She gestures to the table. Hazel picks it up.)

Hazel: This?

Sarah: Good.

(She puts it on. The girls gasp.)

Hazel: You really do look like a princess now!

Sarah: Do I?

(She nods, and brushes hair away from her eyes.)

Lola: Uh…what now?

Sarah: We'd better…

(Finnster enters.)

All: What is it?

Finnster: Prince Curtis would like to speak to milady.

(He gestures to Sarah, and bows discretely.)

Sarah: Is it urgent?

Lola: We're still preparing for Thursday.

Hazel: We're all very angry – no, sorry, busy still.

Finnster: He says it's all futile compared to this.

All: Huh?

Finnster: Yes, it's urgent.

(He pauses.)

Finnster: Or so he claims, anyhow.

(Sarah sighs.)

Sarah: Tell him I'll be out in a minute. I just need to wrap up here, okay?

Finnster: Fine with me. He'll be waiting outside for you when you are ready. Yes?

Sarah: Yes.

(Finnster exits.)

Lola: What does that dolt want now?

Hazel: Yeah.

Sarah: Mm. I wonder.

Setting: The palace grounds.

(Sarah comes out onto the courtyard.)

Sarah: You wanted to talk to me about something?

Curtis: Yes, indeed.

Sarah: So? What is it? I had to rush out from my chambers for this.

Curtis: We need to talk. About the city's future, I mean.

Sarah: What about the future?

Curtis: About us.

Sarah: Still clueless here.

(Curtis sighs.)

Curtis: About us, Sarah. Us. Me and you.

Sarah: Yes, I get that much. Perfectly understand.

(She pauses.)

Sarah: Are you talking about marriage.

Curtis: Well, um…yes, I think I am proposing the idea.

Sarah: Are you off your head!?

Curtis: No.

Sarah: Well, what the flipping hell do you think you're suggesting? That we run away and elope like those kids of yours did?

Curtis: Let's just quickly recall; that was not my fault.

Sarah: I guess she isn't really your blood daughter, but, besides.

Curtis: I wasn't even suggesting eloping.

Sarah: So? Nothing could be much worse, could it?

Curtis: It would be so much better for us if we did partake in a ceremony. A proper, traditional Utalentian wedding – sermons and all. Better for me, better for you, better for Anja – better for everyone.

Sarah: Better? Better? How is it "better" for me, if I spend the rest of my waiting on you, you worthless, wriggling scum of a dwarf, hand and blinking blooming foot!? How, Curtis, I ask you harshly, how is that even fair, never mind flipping BETTER!?

Curtis: Jeez, Sarah, don't lose your head. You'd be my wife, not my living doormat. Equality, remember. Equality.

Sarah: Equality? Curtis, you're the flaming prince, not just some random guy.

Curtis: So?

Sarah: So, equality isn't possible here.

Curtis: You really think that, do you?

Sarah: Yes, yes I do.

Curtis: Fine.

(Silence.)

Sarah: So, what now?

Curtis: Go back to your chambers.

Sarah: Why should I do what you say?

(Curtis sighs angrily.)

Curtis: I need time to think.

(Sarah exits.)

Setting: Celestial grounds. Eleanor is dreaming.

-Song of choice-

Lyra: Ellie! Wake up!

Eleanor: What now?

Lyra: We've got a new arrival.

Eleanor: Guy?

Lyra: Yeah.

Eleanor: What's he like?

Lyra: Right idiot, that's for sure.

Eleanor: Someone I might recognise?

Lyra: Potentially.

(Joanna bursts in.)

Joanna: Since when did that imbecile become a celestial guardian?

Eleanor: Huh?

Joanna: He hardly deserves to have been granted entrance, for god's sake!

Eleanor: What imbecile?

Joanna: Elliot.

(Eleanor gasps.)

Lyra: Exactly. We need to-

Joanna: I mean, COME ON!

Lyra: -speak to Meg about this.

Eleanor: Why Elliot?

Lyra: No-one knows. But I certainly know why he's here.

Eleanor: And?

Lyra: He was executed yesterday. Just, showed up out of the blue, and that was it. No chances.

Joanna: Well, at least Curtis hasn't dared take leave of his senses still. Sometimes it still seems like he's a nutter.

Lyra: Jo! Language!

Joanna: So?

Lyra: Never mind! Anyhow, it wasn't Curtis who sentenced him.

Joanna: So who was it, then?

Lyra: Your daughter. I'll tell you now, though, I wish it'd been my Bella to point it out to him.

Joanna/Eleanor: Point out what, exactly?

Lyra: That the guy's scum.

(Joanna nods appreciatively.)

Lyra: Precisely.

(Silence.)

Eleanor: Anyone for a muffin?

Setting: Sixteen hours earlier. Utalentian classroom.

Miss Ratchet: Today, we will be focusing on perfecting our summoning skills.

(The girls cheer.)

Miss Ratchet: Now, now, calm yourselves. We will begin with a quick demonstration-

-Snip-

Elliot: Get off! I did nothing to deserve this, you freaks!

Finnster/Spore: Prince's orders, sir.

Honeydew: Nothing we can do.

Finnster/Spore: Sorry dude.

-Snip-

(Everyone runs over to the windows.)

All: Who's that!?

Miss Ratchet: No cause for concern girls. Now, come back and sit down so we can get on.

(All get down, except from Bella and Lola.)

Miss Ratchet: Girls! Get down here to your seats NOW!

Bella: What are they doing? Miss Ratchet?

Lola: Exactly.

Miss Ratchet: That's none of your concern, girls.

-Shot of Curtis outdoors-

Bella: What are they doing!?

Miss Ratchet: Um…uh…nothing important, Bella. Come on, sit down.

(Bella stares.)

Bella: It's an execution.

Miss Ratchet: Why would you say that?

Bella: Maybe it's because that's exactly what Curtis is saying.

Miss Ratchet: Um…

Bella: It is, isn't it?

Miss Ratchet: There's no way to say so…

Bella: Is it!?

(Miss Ratchet hangs her head.)

Miss Ratchet: Yes.

Bella: What!?

(She steps down from the window.)

Lola: Um…Bella?

Bella: What!

Lola: Benjamin's got an axe.

Miss Ratchet: I didn't know anything, Bella. You have to believe me on this one.

Bella: And why the hell should I believe you!?

Lola: He's refusing the blindfold.

Miss Ratchet: Fallowby doesn't tell me these things. I'm squat to her.

Bella: Oh, shut up!

Lola: Bella, you're gonna wanna see this…

Bella: You too Lola. Just shut UP!

Lola: He's lifting the axe.

Bella: What do they think they're doing!?

(Pause.)

Lola: He's done it.

Miss Ratchet: Bella, I'm sorry…

Bella: Why didn't you try to stop it Lily!? You're meant to be my friend!

Miss Ratchet: Bella, I tried. I swear I did-

Bella: You never try to do anything right!

Miss Ratchet: Decapitation is never a nice thing.

Bella: Really? You think I don't realise that?

Miss Ratchet: Bella…

Bella: Stop.

Miss Ratchet: Just-

Bella: STOP!

(Silence.)

Bella: I need to go and talk to Curtis about this. Hazel, Lola, come with.

Hazel/Lola: Sure thing.

(They exit.)

Miss Ratchet: Okay…um, class dismissed.

(Pause.)

Miss Ratchet: Just be real quiet about it.

Setting: The Prince's throne room.

Curtis: Right, so the funeral's all set up ready for Friday…

(Charlotte enters angrily. Curtis sighs tiredly.)

Curtis: Oh god, what is it now?

Charlotte: You are UNBELIEVABLE!

Curtis: Huh?

Charlotte: Don't HUH me.

Curtis: Calm it – can't you women keep your tempers for a minute?

Charlotte: You KILLED him!

Curtis: Who?

Charlotte: Who do you think!

Curtis: Dunno.

Charlotte: ELLIOT!

Curtis: Oh, yeah. That.

Charlotte: Is that ALL you can say. Oh, yeah, that.

Curtis: What else can I say? He deserved it, Charlotte. We both know that.

Charlotte: Who told you to do it?

Curtis: That's irrelevant.

Charlotte: Who, Curtis?

(Curtis avoids the gaze.)

Curtis: Embrystical.

Charlotte: How can you trust her over me!?

Curtis: She's my daughter, Charlotte. It's not like I have much of a choice.

Charlotte: You've got plenty of choices. Here's one for you: ignore her.

Curtis: It's harder than you might think.

Charlotte: Oh, really?

Curtis: Yes, really.

Charlotte: He was my blimming FATHER, Curtis. Don't you get how much this hurts me?

Curtis: And he was my brother. We all have to make sacrifices.

Charlotte: And what has she sacrificed, huh? Tell me, Curtis; tell me honestly, how does she deserve a father?

Curtis: He had abandoned you, Charlotte. You had no-one to look after you, or your sister-

Charlotte: She's not my flipping sister, Curtis!

Curtis: Well, she is now. And us two together – we're all you've got now.

Charlotte: Yeah, exactly. Life sucks, doesn't it?

Curtis: Don't be like that.

Charlotte: What should I be like then Curtis?

Curtis: How should I know? You're the princess, not me.

Charlotte: Well, I wish I wasn't!

(Charlotte exits.)

Setting: Celestial grounds. Eleanor has fallen asleep in a meeting.

-Song of choice-

Lyra: Ellie! Wake up!

Eleanor: Yeah, yeah. Ruined a perfectly good dream there, you did.

(Meg enters.)

Meg: What are you doing, Eleanor?

Eleanor: Um…

(Meg sighs.)

Meg: Whatever. Obviously, it's too unimportant to concern me. Besides, we need to talk.

Lyra: About what?

Meg: Elliot.

Lyra/Eleanor: Oh brother.

*FAMILY HISTORY*

Meg: If we don't stop him soon, the prince's blood will spill before the next full moon may rise.

Setting: Bella's chambers.

Hazel: Will this work?

(Bella sighs.)

Bella: I sure as hell hope so.

Lola: Ready?

(Bella nods.)

Bella: Expergiscere amica mea.

Hazel/Lola: Did it work? Is she here?

Bella: How should I know? She's a spirit. Maybe she's invisible.

(Lyra enters.)

Lyra: Hello Bella.

Hazel: Maybe we should leave.

Lola: Yeah.

(Lola and Hazel exit.)

Bella: Mum?

Lyra: Yes, Bella, it's me.

Bella: It worked!

(Lyra rolls her eyes jokingly.)

Lyra: It worked alright.

Bella: So…it's really you, then?

(Lyra nods.)

Bella: I…um…what's it like? In the celestial grounds, I mean.

Lyra: It's okay, I guess.

Bella: Do you like it there?

Lyra: Like I said, it's bearable. I miss you so much, though.

(Pause.)

Lyra: I'm always watching over you – you know that, right?

(Bella nods, and chokes slightly.)

Lyra: Meg told me some scary things earlier. Important, scary things.

Bella: Like?

Lyra: She told me that a terribly unsettled bloodlust haunts our bloodline.

Bella: Terribly unsettled bloodlust? What did she mean by that?

Lyra: Both of us are just as clueless as you are, darling.

Bella: Both of you?

Lyra: Timothy's mother, Eleanor.

Bella: Oh, okay.

Lyra: Anyhow, she said something about some ancient evil that must be vanquished. Something about your great-aunt Starlight Everbright. Any idea who she's gabbling on about?

Bella: She's also Claudia's grandmother.

Lyra: Claudia Jensen. Hm…

Bella: Is Dad okay?

(Lyra avoids the gaze.)

Bella: Mum?

Lyra: The guardians didn't let him in with me.

Bella: Oh.

Lyra: But he's still okay! He's around here somewhere, Belle, I know he is.

Bella: I believe you.

(Lyra looks round nervously.)

Bella: What is it?

Lyra: I need to go, darling. I'm sorry.

Bella: Bye.

Lyra: Goodbye…

(Lyra exits. Bella cries.)

-Shot of Timothy watching.-

Setting: Palace grounds. Lady Sarah's coronation.

Finnster: Hail the newfound Lady of Utalentia, Sarah Pomjeira…

Sarah: Curtis, are you absolutely sure about this?

Curtis: Just play along!

Sarah: Why should I?

Curtis: Mm…let me think…

Sarah: Stop being so obnoxious, for heaven's sake!

Finnster: …And the princesses!

(Sarah and Curtis stand.)

Sarah: You could've at least told me what you were planning!

Curtis: Yeah? Just look at how you reacted!

Sarah: How am I meant to react!?

(Curtis shrugs.)

Sarah: Oh great!

(Rebecca nudges them.)

Rebecca: Watch it you two! You're making a right show of yourselves!

Curtis: So?

(Rebecca sighs, and Finnster crowns Sarah.)

Finnster: And now for the wedding ceremony!

Sarah: WHAT!

Curtis: At least no-one's here except from our family.

Sarah: Oh, REALLY?

(Curtis sighs disappointedly.)

Curtis: Please, Sarah, just wait until this is over.

(Sarah turns away to exit.)

Curtis: Where are you going!?

Sarah: Away. Away from you, you wretch, Curtis.

(Sarah exits.)

Setting: Bella's chamber.

Timothy: I sure hope this works.

(He looks around.)

Timothy: Expergiscere amica mea.

(Eleanor enters.)

Eleanor: Timothy?

Timothy: Mother?

Eleanor: Yes, yes, it's me darling.

Timothy: So it worked then?

(Eleanor rolls her eyes.)

Timothy: I'll take that as an indefinite yes.

(She nods sweetly.)

Eleanor: I've been expecting you to see me. I expect Lyra has just been here to see Bella a few spare minutes prior?

(Timothy nods.)

Timothy: I was watching her.

Eleanor: I know.

Timothy: Mother, what did she mean? That woman who was talking to my wife?

Eleanor: Who, Lyra?

(Timothy nods again.)

Timothy: Yeah, her. Something about an 'ancient evil?'

Eleanor: What about a terrifyingly unsettled bloodlust?

Timothy: Yeah, something 'bout that too.

Eleanor: Does Edward know you're here?

Timothy: No. No-one does. They're all out.

Eleanor: What about Curtis and Sarah?

Timothy: They've gone out onto the courtyard for the coronation.

Eleanor: Good.

Timothy: Is there some secret I need to know about?

Eleanor: Something like that.

Timothy: What is it?

Eleanor: It's about your father.

Timothy: Yeah? What about him?

Eleanor: It's not Edward.

Timothy: Huh?

Eleanor: You're taking the news extremely well.

Timothy: Who is my dad, then?

(Pause.)

Timothy: Well?

Eleanor: Curtis.

Setting: Charlotte's chamber.

(Charlotte sighs.)

Charlotte: I can't ever truly have anything I deserve, can I?

(Timothy enters. Charlotte looks round.)

Charlotte: What do you want now?

Timothy: I just came to say sorry.

Charlotte: But you're not, are you? If you were really sorry, you would've never run off with her in the first place, would you?

(Silence.)

Charlotte: What did you want to tell me, anyhow?

Timothy: I don't hate you, if that's what you're thinking right now.

Charlotte: I can think what I want.

Timothy: I think I know how I can help you.

Charlotte: What's that?

Timothy: I could summon Elliot to see you.

Charlotte: You could, yes, but the real question is, would you?

(Timothy nods.)

Timothy: Just step back a second – they don't always come up right in front of you.

(Charlotte steps back.)

Timothy: Ready?

Charlotte: Ready.

(Silence.)

Timothy: Expergiscere amica mea.

(Elliot enters, as Timothy makes his exit.)

Charlotte: Elliot?

(Elliot rolls his eyes.)

*ASSASSINATION PLOT*

THE END

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