SCENE ONE: A densely wooded forest, outside Northwind Castle.
[amid laughter] Behold! The army of the Unicorn
Has left its torches burning through the night,
And Dunan Castle smolders from within
As if to herald its own fiery fate.
Like swine unto the slaughter, they shall burn,
In swifter fire than they conjure here!
With snouts and hooves they cower, plead and squeal,
Already bleating their retreat. Too late!
Too late! My loyal Wolves, hear how they howl!
Hark now, welcome it double as they fry,
Sectioned and flayed just like the pigs they are.
Your Highness! We have tripped into their trap!
The Unicorn have struck at our advance,
And then engaged our forces to the rear.
An ambush, sire! Our cover of night is breached.
They strike like cowards, hiding in the woods.
But your incompetence is baser still,
You worthless fool! You are not wolf, but cur!
Your Highness, strike me down now if you--
[A hail of arrows kills several of KING LUCA’s soldiers and unhorse him.]
Protect his Highness! Long life to Highland’s King!
[A second hail kills the LIEUTENANT and the rest of the soldiers, but KING LUCA remains.]
This is no trap! Our cause is here betrayed!
Out now, you swine, and answer for your crimes!
[Enter FLIK and a complement of archers.]
I swear upon the honor of my sword,
Named in remembrance of my love Odessa
Who hated tyranny and died for peace--
Upon that honor, I tonight proclaim
That I, Blue Lightning Flik, shall have your head.
Come at me, blowhard. Boast of what you will,
But my own butcher’s might shall claim this kill.
[They duel. FLIK is bested, but with all due credit to his skill.]
Base pig! What of the honor of that sword?
Then let it be your skewer as you roast.
[dodges and kneels] He sets his sword aflame! Take heed.
[Enter VIKTOR with a complement of archers.]
I got it, Sparky. Just leave it to me.
Don’t think this bear will roast so easily.
[They duel. VIKTOR is bested, but with all due credit to his skill.]
Maggots! Swine! My sword will eat your eyes!
You cannot win!
Commander! He’s all yours!
[Enter RIOU and SHU.]
Your luck has run out, Luca. All your men,
And all your strength will not avail you now.
My trap has shut its jaws around your leg.
Your trap? Ha ha! What trap can maggots build?
Right here, right now, I’ll crush you to the ground.
Come here, you little pig, and let me in.
I’ll take your head and stuff it in your trough!
[RIOU and KING LUCA duel. Just when RIOU is driven back, he raises his arm aloft and the Bright Shield Rune glows.]
O soldiers of the Unicorn Army,
And of the Brigade for which you were named,
Avenge the thousands this Mad Prince has killed,
And do not let him live to see the dawn!
[The Unicorn Army soldiers, revived, rejoin the battle and converge on KING LUCA. He fights his way through them, but is eventually wounded, and his armor broken.]
I lost? How could I lose? Never to you!
You little swine. Who do you think you are?
No one! My fate is never to be crushed,
Never defeated, never, not by you!
I cannot die until all of you pigs
Are smeared across the filth of Jowston’s earth
And wiped away! You hear? I cannot die!
[VIKTOR and FLIK are roused, and KING LUCA withdraws offstage.]
Go after him, Riou. We’ve come this far.
We can’t just let him get away with this.
For those who would make of this war an end,
Let Luca Blight draw no more breath tonight.
Then come with me, Flik, Viktor. Let this end.
Of all the men in Dunan, I attest,
No two know more of laying wars to rest.
[Exit the three, leaving SHU with the remaining soldiers.]
[aside] I should not feel insulted by the truth.
[aloud] All archers, to me, then to our next post.
Tonight, it shall not be the swine who roast.
SCENE TWO: A cliff overlooking Lake Dunan, with a prominent hollow tree.
[Enter King Luca, wounded.]
You filth, you pigs, I shall not die tonight.
Not while the swine of Jowston still draw breath.
Not while their cloven hooves stamp down the earth
That here belongs to Highland. Not while they,
The maggots the defiled my mother,
Still live to spawn and spread their vile pus;
Not while their spawn, the filth burst from their loins,
Still reeks and festers in the streets of Muse
And spreads its pestilence to Highland’s hills.
I shall not die tonight! Not here, not now!
Not while this fire in my sword, my hand,
My breath still burns--oh no, I shall not die,
But stoke its blaze and set this world aflame
And roast this herd of swine down to their bones
So that their salted blood will scorch the earth
And naught shall grow in Jowston. I shall live,
And all who see my sword shall die of it.
What’s this? Does Death look on in fear?
I fear it not! No, Death itself must quail,
And fear itself is paltry, pithy, base!
I fear it not, and laugh to see it flee!
What dangles, glowing, from this cursed tree?
A wooden locket? What within it gleams?
What joke! What insects! How the State must reach
For childish toys and games to tempt its men--
Now, archers! Let your arrows fly again!
[KING LUCA is pierced by many arrows, and falls.]
[Enter RIOU, VIKTOR, and FLIK.]
We’ve got you now! Put up your stinking sword.
You're finished, and the battle with you.
What are you barking, bear? Or squealing, pig?
Finished, you say? [He rises.] Come and fight.
We’ll see which of us here will last the night!
[KING LUCA and RIOU duel, and the scene is set ablaze. KING LUCA is bested, and falls without yielding.]
The deed is done. Now lay your cause to rest.
No army have you here, nor hand to take,
Nor will your lungs draw breath to curse us hence.
Lay down your sword, and have your recompense.
My recompense? Ha, no, give me my sword,
And I shall put you to it! Little pig,
Answer me this. Why fight me here at all?
Why not curl up and die like all the rest?
To end this war.
To end this war? All talk!
Whether you sprang from Genkaku’s arse,
Or merely crawled into his chamber pot,
You truly are his son. How weak you are!
How childish! He infected you with dreams.
For even if you slay me here tonight
And march on Highland ‘til your last man falls,
No peace shall come to Jowston evermore!
Instead of rest, you shall have empty sleep;
Instead of homes, burned shanties and soaked fields;
Instead of soldiers, layabouts and thieves,
All hungering for war to fill their heads
As even maggots starve within their bowels.
Peace? Never! Vengeance shall be the cry
That rings through Muse, Radat, Southwind, Greenhill,
And all shall take it up! To end the war?
War has no end! As long as borders rise
And follow as you graze and spawn and die,
War shall not end, and great men such as I
Will feed that beast that slavers at our backs.
The thirst within me dies, but I rejoice!
The breath to laugh deserts me, yet I rage!
Hundreds it took to slay me, Lord Riou,
Yet tens of thousands died upon my sword.
What better servitor has war than I?
What truer face of villainy here smiles?
None, say I, none! For though I perish here,
You all, not I, are perishing with fear.
[KING LUCA dies.]
Is it now ended? Have we won the day?
I know not, but we should not tarry here.
[Exeunt, bearing KING LUCA’S body. Enter JOWY and LEON, unobserved.]
You played your cards as well as could be played,
Considering the poisoned hand he dealt.
Are you displeased?
Truth told, I cannot tell
One feeling from another in this twist.
My bones say one thing, my veins another,
And neither knows whither my heart will call
What life remains within. What think you, sir?
I think we have a greater beast to tame
Than the one that was put down here tonight.
Then let me bear the muzzle and the reins,
And wean it on the poison that we share.
In life he made me heir, but here I spurn
The base prescripts of this inheritance,
Yet quail to will it to another’s care.
Bet let us end the war, tonight, and sue
For their surrender, if peace be untrue.