Opposing Ambivalence

Characters

General Laura Nightwalker as GENERAL

Councilor Magnus Fernandez as COUNCILOR

Setting:

Chamber with double doors. A table with a map on it.

(The GENERAL enters, and closes the doors carefully, GENERAL looks at the map.)

1. GENERAL: (lowers her head) According to the meeting, we will be placing some troops in the north of Crocus, (puts some flags the map taps her chin thoughtfully) and division 4 will be led by...

(COUNCILOR barges in while carrying some papers, GENERAL takes off her coat immediately to cover the map)

2. COUNCILOR: (mumbling) Dang! (sees GENERAL) Oh here you are Laura! There's something that I want you to see. (walks to GENERAL)

3. GENERAL: Ever heard of knocking? Jeez, you've caught me off guard!

(COUNCILOR spots the map, GENERAL tries to block his view, but fails. COUNCILOR uncovers the map)

4. COUNCILOR: (shocked) Laura, please don't tell me...

5. GENERAL: (slightly irritated) What? I am always in charge of foreign affairs, don't give me that face.

6. COUNCILOR: (tilts back his head, then leans forward) Foreign affairs? Don't lie to me. Everybody knows that you, Laura Nightwalker, General of the second division, leads the military forces.

: So what? Let me tell you something, my dear Magnus, our country will stand against Crocus, and...

(COUNCILOR slams the papers on the table, GENERAL stiffens and raises her head)

8. COUNCILOR: (places his hands on the table, explaining) Do you have any Idea of how much a war will cost us at a moment like now? Have you seen the casualties in our previous battles? (gestures to his papers)

9. GENERAL: (puts a hand on her hip, feeling offended) And that is why you are trying to stop me?

10. COUNCILOR: Yes.

11. GENERAL: To be honest with you, (shrugs nonchalantly) l don't really care if you cannot face reality. Deaths and injuries are inevitable in war.

(COUNCILOR balls his fists, his head sinks even further)

12. COUNCILOR: Laura you don't understand...

13. GENERAL: (lays her hand on COUNCILOR's shoulder, trying to calm him down) Sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

14. COUNCILOR: (shrugs her hand off) But can't we just sign a truce with them?

15. GENERAL: The other generals refused.

16. COUNCILOR: (holding up his hands) I am sure there are other alternative solutions

17. GENERAL: There's none that's as good as that, Magnus, there's none.

18. COUNCILOR: Brute force is definitely not the way.

19. GENERAL: (Flicks her hair) Not in my opinion.

(GENERAL wanders around the room, COUNCILOR follows behind.)

20. GENERAL: You are the youngest councilman in the council, you aren't familiar with the way we do things.

21. COUNCILOR: (protests) It's not a matter of experience! It's a matter of logic and human conscience!

22. GENERAL: (turns around, voice raising) You mean what we've done all these years are wrong? Are you questioning the king's decisions?

23. COUNCILOR: Not wrong but, unsuitable.

24. GENERAL: (grabs him by the collar) We stand here today because we've crushed every enemy in our path, or we will just be a pile of bones and ashes. (pulls him closer) And don't you dare to judge the king and our duties!

25. COUNCILOR: Yet you call it a duty... How many innocent people you've hurt, and how many more will be killed in the foreseeable future...(snickers)

(GENERAL shoves COUNCILOR, almost violently; COUNCILOR tries to balance himself)

26. GENERAL: (Yelling furiously) Why mock a pain you've never endured? Why can't you see the point? Two years ago Crocus has invaded our land and we've almost lost everything. Everything! They've brought us shame, despair and so much more, and now is the time for us to take back what they stole!

27. COUNCILOR: (murmurs) Why now Laura, can we wait?

28. GENERAL: Wait? There's not much time left... (shakes head)

29. COUNCILOR: (worried)What happened?

30. GENERAL: Recently, there are signs and reliable information of Crocus' imminent invasion, can't you see? There's no room for negotiation! It's either them or us...

31. COUNCILOR: (grabs her wrists, pleading) Laura, Laura... Look at me. I am asking you to stop this, as a friend. Please, for the sake of our soldiers and people.

(GENERAL turns away, remained silence)

32. COUNCILOR: (sincerely, tone smooth and slow) I know you haven't recover from your last subjugation. It takes time for wounds to heal, and it takes time for the armies to regain their best form. Our kingdom cannot afford to lose you, and I too (stuttering) don't want to...

33. GENERAL: Can you stop being so selfish? I... (turns around)

(COUNCILOR kneels down, his hands resting on his thighs)

34. GENERAL: (puzzled) Wait, what? Stand up!

35. COUNCILOR: (insists) I won't do so as long as you assert your point!

36. GENERAL: (shouting) Get up immediately Magnus Fernandez!

37. COUNCILOR: (shouts back) I am not one of you pawns general! I don't listen to your commands! They don't have the guts to challenge you, but I do!

38. GENERAL: I thought you of all people would understand, but you disappoint me. So much for being my dearest friend...(groans)

39. COUNCILOR: (looks up suddenly) you shouldn't place such expectations in the first place, general. I never had a thirst for blood. I long for peace.

40. GENERAL: Excuses! Under all these facades, you are just another coward. God, I just know you too well!

41. COUNCILOR: Say whatever you like, I am not letting any of this happen!

42. GENERAL: (gesture straightens, both hands on waists, leaning on her left leg, snorts derisively) I'd love to see you try.

45, COUNCILOR: (whispering)You leave me no choice...

(COUNCILOR pulls out a dagger from behind, positions it on his throat)

46. GENERAL: (utterly startled, hands reaching out) You...!

47. COUNCILOR: (tilts his head, dagger never leaving his neck) Sometimes I wonder if you ever care... now I can find out.

47. GENERAL: (stammering) I... I... It's not the time for jokes! Put that down!

48. COUNCILOR: I am very serious. If my life is what it takes to stop everything, I'll gladly lend it to you.

49. GENERAL: Don't be foolish... (ruffles her hair in frustration)

50. COUNCILOR: I know exactly what I am doing, general. Another no and I will have this dagger buried deep in my throat.

51. GENERAL: (Screaming) Magnus Fernandez! You bastard!

52. COUNCILOR: (nervelessly) You render me no choice.

(GENERAL stares at COUNCILOR hard in the eyes, and grunts loudly)

53. GENERAL: (Looks around, then focus back on COUNCILOR) The princess…is kidnapped. Do you know why I am telling you all of this despite it's classified information? (Takes a deep breath and confesses) Because I trust you, and assuming you would've support me as you know I will never do anything against the stability of our country. I believe you will have my back, as you're always the one that understands me the most. (Sighs) But you're still rather dense in a way you know?

(COUNCILOR gasps and hesitates, GENERAL grabs the chance to kick away his dagger)

54. COUNCILOR: What?

55. GENERAL: (discouraged) Seeing you questioning my motives is somewhat disheartening. (voice appears to be exhausted) Is asking for simple trust such an arduous task for you?

56. COUNCILOR: (at a lost for words)I...I...

57. GENERAL: I won't change my decision even if your blood spilled all over the carpets, Magnus, I won't regret. Your majesty has given orders for me to make preparations for the war, nothing will change that. My loyalty to the king is absolute.

58. COUNCILOR: (shoulders down, defeated) Laura, Laura...

59. GENERAL: You should learn to cherish your life, the soldiers are out there, life at stakes, striving to survive, and you are here, posing effortless threats.

60. COUNCILOR: (shakes head sadly) I don't mean to... (trails off)

61. GENERAL: (pats his shoulder gently) One day you will understand. I am leaving tomorrow, and perhaps I won't be back in good pieces (chuckles), who knows? This is war we are talking about. Nothing is certain. (A hint of melancholy slips pass her eyes, but swiftly she collects herself, her gaze stern as ever) Got to go now, I also have to deal with the security issues in the south regions. (walks to the door before she looks back, voice tender) You will learn, Magnus.

(GENERAL attempts to leave, COUNCILOR bolts out and grabs her wrist.)

62. COUNCILOR: (whispers) Please, please be safe... I've still got a lot to learn from you…

63 GENERAL: (looks up, smiles softly) No promises, but I'll try.

(Lights off.)

The End