Act 2

Scene 6: Curses and Enchantments

astle walls. Right in front of them the imperial army wielding siege ladders is advancing. On the walls, Wilhelm runs left and right, nervously watching the approaching threat. Accompanying him is a handful of extremely haggard-looking skeletons clad in heavily worn armor and wielding rusty, and partially broken, spears and swords.]

[Wilhelm] [to himself] Damn it… Okay, okay, don’t panic. You can do it. It’s just a full scale frontal assault. You just need to fight them off. Easy.

[The demon turns to the skeletons.]

[Wilhelm] [straightening himself, with a commanding tone] Castle Soldiers! The time of our trial has come! Behold, the enemy is at our gates! Never have so few faced so many and lived to tell the tale… Not that the last part matters when it comes to you guys.

[The skeletons stand still. Their slightly greenish ghastly eyes stare impassively at Wilhelm. One of them suddenly drops his jaw … that is, it literally breaks off and falls at the demon’s feet. Besides that, none of the skeletons reacts in any way.]

[Wilhelm] [to himself] Okay, motivational speeches seem a bit obsolete here. [to the skeletons] Archers to me.

[At first, neither of the skeletons moves. Suddenly one of them, hesitantly and unsteadily, steps forward. He holds a bow, but it lacks a string. The skeleton raises its bow and opens its mouth in a silent smile. Wilhelm hits his forehead with an open hand.]

[Wilhelm] Well, that’s it for the greeting salvo. Now, what else do defenders do when the enemy attacks their walls? [after a short while] Oh! I know! We will pour hot tar on them! [pointing his finger at two skeletons] You there, run and fetch the cauldrons of boiling tar.

[The skeletons turn and look at the great cauldrons standing by the battlements, in which the tar has solidified… about a hundred years ago.]

[Wilhelm] [irritated] Come on … Who the hell is responsible for the supplies in this Castle?!

[All the skeletons simultaneously glance at Wilhelm.]

[Wilhelm] [noticing their stares] What ?! No! Shut up! [after a while, with a sigh] Okay, wait here, I’ll go get the tar.

[The curtain falls. After a while it rises. The scene shows the Castle dungeons again. Wilhelm once again stands under the heavy door that leads to the domain of the chaos dwarves. The demon is about to start banging on the door when he suddenly remembers something.]

[Wilhelm] [to himself] No, lets try a different approach…

[Wilhelm mumbles a magic formula. Suddenly a loud “ding-dong” sounds at the door.]

[Wilhelm] [to the audience] “Sounds” spell. It will be quicker this way.

[After a short while, heavy footsteps and an unpleasant creaking of the door mechanisms are heard. The doors soon open. As usual, a cloud of sulfur and black dust is released. Zahrruk stands in the doorway. At the sight of Wilhelm he makes a low, displeased grunt.]

[Wilhelm] [not looking directly at his speaker] May I have some tar, please?

[The dwarf’s eyes widen and he stares in bewilderment at the demon.]

[Wilhelm] [still looking to the side, pointing upwards] For, um … the walls …

[Zahrruk] [shaking his head, looking menacing] Are you thick or something?

[Wilhelm] [suddenly furiously, grabbing the dwarf by the beard] The invading soldiers are climbing  ladders up the walls! Since, as it turns out, I am the only one in the entire Castle who cares about this siege, then I need tar to defend the walls!

[Zahrruk] [shocked, nervously pushing William away] Hey! Never touch my beard again! You will ruin the braids!

[Wilhelm] [folding his hands in irritation] So ?! Am I going to get that damn tar or not ?! [looking out the narrow window outside] Look! The ladders are already leaning against the walls! No time to talk, time to act!

[Zahrruk] [rolling his eyes] You really don’t get it, do you?

[Wilhelm] What am I not getting now?! If we don’t do something soon, they will get in here and they will burn and plunder!

[Zahrruk] [through his teeth] These walls are enchanted, you moron. Do you never listen to what Drachenfels says?

[Wilhelm] [with a sigh of irritation] I know [emphasizing] you moron, that they’re echanted, but they don’t want to break through them. They will climb them!

[Zahrruk] [shaking his head] Right, this is useless. Come on you fool, I’ll show you …

[The curtain falls. Then, as it rises, the scene shows the castle walls again. Zahrruk and Wilhelm are standing next to the same as before group of pathetic skeletons, and they look outside the walls.]

[Wilhelm] [pointing to the soldiers on the ladders] Well ?! See?! They are already halfway up the walls! They will be here soon! [to the skeletons] To arms! We will defend the Motherland to the last drop of… [looking at the skeletons] Er … Yeah, we will just defend it!

[One of the skeletons “triumphantly” raises a rusty sword towards the sky with a trembling hand, but then the hand comes off and the sword clatters at Wilhelm’s feet. The demon looks at it with resignation. Zahrruk, on the other hand, seems to be unmoved by everything that is happening. The dwarf yawns slowly, then goes to the hand that has fallen off the skeleton, picks it up and starts scratching his back with it.]

[Zahrruk] [to Wilhelm] Yeah, the thing is, they’ll never get here.

[Wilhelm] [surprised] What?! They’re practically here! They’re almost at the top!

[Zahrruk] Right. “Almost”. Look again.

[The demon quickly looks outside and watches the climbing soldiers for a moment. The attackers seem to be climbing as if held in place. Although they move their arms and legs, they do not come closer to their climbing goal. Wilhelm looks from side to side and notices that this is the case on all ladders.]

[Wilhelm] [confused] Hey, what are they doing ?! Why do they stop there?!

[Zahrruk] I told you, you idiot. These walls are enchanted… or, to be more precise, “cursed”. Those manlings there will climb and climb and climb until their arms fall off and they will never reach their intended destination. Like that ancient guy, Syphilis!

[Wilhelm] [raising an eyebrow] “Syphilis”?

[Zahrruk] [waving his hand] Or “Sisyphus”, whatever, same difference. The point is, you are making a scene like a little girl for no reason.

[Wilhelm] [ignoring the dwarf] Hmm, that does sound like something the boss would come up with.

[Zahrruk] Yeah. Now, [ironically] “forgive me” but you piss me off and I have slaves to supervise.

[The dwarf throws the bony hand away, decapitating another skeleton with it, which in turn instantly disintegrates into a small pile of bones. Zahrruk is heading downstairs. Suddenly Wilhelm grabs him by the beard, but immediately lets go when the dwarf draws his pistol with fiery eyes.]

[Wilhelm] [pointing towards the field outside the walls] Look! They’ve got a magician! I knew it! It’s all over! He will lift the curse and we will be done for.

[At the other end of the scene depicting the field in front of the castle, Brother Albert appears. He is accompanied by Gustav, Kurt and an elderly mage with a long gray beard, clad in ornate blue sorcerer’s robes, threaded with glittering golden thread forming intricate runic patterns.]

[Albert] [pointing at the walls] What do you think about it, wise Hermann?

[Hermann] [expertly examining the situation on the walls] Hmm, this looks like a curse, your excellency. Truly a nasty one.

[Gustav] [frowning] Can you do something about it?

[Hermann] [stroking his beard] Er … I think so. This is a primitive incantation. I’m will dispel it. Give me some space.

[Brother Albert, Gustav and Kurt take two steps back. Hermann straightens the long sleeves of his robe and stands slightly astride. Then he raises his hands to the sky, as if drawing magic powers. Then, he begins to gesticulate, showing with his hands various complicated signs and whispering incantations under his breath. Soon he gestures more intensely, and his whispers turns into loud chanting. The magical powers gathering around him become almost palpable. Suddenly Hermann pauses and his face twists in a strange grimace.]

[Gustav] [to his companions] Hey, what’s going on?

[The mage’s body begins to tremble. At first it trembles slightly, then the trembling turns into true convulsions, and Hermann’s face twists even more like a caricatural mask.]

[Kurt] [concerned] Hermann, is this how it’s supposed to work or are you having a stroke?

[Suddenly the mage’s head literally explodes. Blood and brain debris splash on the terrified Gustav, Kurt and Brother Albert.]

[Zahrruk] [from the distance on the walls, but loud enough that the humans can hear] Hahaha! His head exploded! What an idiot!

[Everyone else stares in shock at the mage’s corpse. Curtain falls.]

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