Act 2

Scene 8: We Bring Gifts

rachenfels’ carriage. As before it is driven by the headless coachman and drawn by skeletal horses. It enters from the right side of the stage. The decorations show a barely traveled trail in a dark thicket of forests. Here and there decorated with intricate runes are some forest elves’ boundary stones. Suddenly, at the back of the carriage, something in the trunk rumbles.]

[Death] [from inside the carriage, concerned] What’s that?

[Constant Drachenfels] [from inside the carriage as well] Nothing special. I brought a gift for the elves. It’s a bit loose in the trunk. Don’t worry about it.

[Suddenly, countless arrows fly out of the forest, instantly destroying the skeletal horses and the coachman. A large number of the arrows hits the carriage causing thudding sounds. The carriage stops.]

[Death] And what was that? Sounds from the trunk again?

[Constant Drachenfels] No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve arrived [slightly opening a black curtain in the window, which is pierced immediately pierced by an arrow] but it seems that … it’s raining.

[Drachenfels mumbles a slightly modified “Protection Against Rain” spell version – “Protection Against Arrow Rain”. The Great Enchanter gets out of the carriage and helps Death do the same. When Drachenfels emerges from the carriage, “O Fortuna” starts playing in the background. After a while, more arrows fly towards the travelers, but they bounce off the invisible barrier spread by Drachenfels. After a few volleys, the shots stop.]

[Constant Drachenfels] [towards the forest, pointing theatrically at the arrows at his feet] Thank you, we have enough arrows now. [after a moment] We’re just passing by, can we talk?

[In response, a single arrow flies out of the forest, but it also bounces off the magic barrier.]

[Constant Drachenfels] [still towards the forest] We have no ill intentions. On the contrary, we carry gifts.

[There is a moment of silence.]

[Ethoriel] [from the forest] We don’t need your filthy gifts, Drachenfels … You are trespassing on the sacred forest ground, leave now.

[Constant Drachenfels] Ah yes, “trespassing”, that’s also what I wanted to talk to you about. Come closer, friends, do not be afraid. We’ll just exchange a few words and I’ll be on my way.

[There is a moment of silence. Death pretends to be looking for something in the carriage and looking little anxiously at the trunk, which is slightly trembling.]

[Death] [also towards the forest] We have, er … Cookies!

[Constant Drachenfels] [raising an eyebrow, whispering] Cookies?

[Death] [also whispering] Sure, everyone likes cookies. It’s been scientifically proven.

[At this point, three elves emerge from the thicket of the forest. The sorceress Ethoriel has a storm of red curls on her head. Her green eyes are extremely piercing. Her body, barely cloaked in skimpy clothing that constitutes of  a jumble of leaves and vines rather than fabric, is covered with numerous intricate tattoos. She is accompanied by two archers in gray cloaks and hoods concealing their faces. They are wielding exceptionally long bows which are ready to fire.]

[Death] [to Drachenfels] Ha, you see?

[Ethoriel] [angrily] We haven’t come for the cookies. Again, we don’t want your filthy gifts. We want you to go away!

[Constant Drachenfels] [conciliatorily] Yes, yes, but before that happens, we were going to talk about, as you put it, “trespassing.”

[Ethoriel] [rolling her eyes] Well then, say what you have to say, and do it quickly.

[Constant Darchenfels] [with great calmness] You are extremely kind. [adjusting the cuffs] Well then… Less than a month ago I ordered from … a vendor residing in the hills of Massif Orcal, a small, some sixty or so, detachment of night goblins to guard the castle pantry. See, my guests sometimes take the wrong corridor in my castle. Then they make an awful mess, eat all my pickles and stuff.

[Ethoriel] [with a hateful stare] To the point, human.

[Constant Drachenfels] [smiling, ignoring the elf’s agitated tone] Imagine my surprise when my goblins did not arrive.

[Ethoriel] What do we have to do with this? Why do you file your complaints with us? Report to your filth supplier.

[Constant Drachenfels] [nodding] I did indeed do exactly so. Then when I, uh… completely unintentionally slightly injured him…

[At this point the Great Enchanter, as if casually, conjures a small orb of dark magic on his open palm. The archers take up combat positions aiming at Drachenfels, Ethoriel begins to accumulate her magic, the greenish discharges of which cover her entire figure.]

[Constant Drachenfels] [ignoring the elves, casually watching the black orb of energy vibrating on his hand] … he told me a heartbreaking story of poor little goblins who were joyfully travelling to my castle, jumping up and down, whistling and singing happy travel songs… sometimes burning and robbing a village or two when they got hungry … when at one point they ventured into a great dark forest … just like the one we’re in right now …

[The Great Enchanter moves slightly towards the elves. His figure emanating dark magic casts a sinister shadow on them. Death, with a gleam in her eye, places her hand on the hilt of her dagger, but Drachenfels restrains her with a gesture of his free hand.]

[Ethoriel] [through gritted teeth] Not one step further.

[Constant Drachenfels] [with a slight smile, ignoring the elf, coming closer] … and here our story gets to the sad part. [with mock anxiety, looking meaningfully at the elven archers] Bandits! [with emphasis] Those foul, mean bandits, attacked the poor, small, sweet, friendly goblins. [with even more emphasis] my goblins.

[The Great Enchanter stops right in front of Ethoriel, looking deep into her eyes. It is obvious that the elf is trying to raise her hands to try to cast a spell, but some invisible force is preventing her from doing so.]

[Ethoriel] [with evident effort] What is this farce?! If your creatures crossed the boundaries of the sacred forest, they suffered the fate of all those who trespass, death.

[Death] [slightly surprised] Yes?

[Ethoriel] [ignoring Death] Boundaries must be observed!

[Constant Drachenfels] [nodding] Indeed, boundaries must be observed … That’s why I brought you something that, one might say, also crossed the boundaries of your forest. Something you lost a long time ago.

[Something starts making angry noises in the carriage’s trunk again. Archers hesitate whether to target Drachenfels or the trunk.]

[Ethoriel] [still struggling to raise her hands] What are you talking about, you charlatan?

[Constant Drachenfels] You see, the moral of the story about the poor little goblins is that it’s hard to lose a friend…

[Death clears her throat and whistles innocently as she watches the sky for no reason at all.]

[Constant Drachenfels] … that is why when I found this poor, stray forest spirit far away in the Gryphon Woods, I knew that I had to bring it home as soon as possible. [moving his face close to the elf’s face, blinking an eye] Let’s call it empathy.

[Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, the Great Enchanter points his hand with the orb of magical energy towards the trunk of the carriage. The orb turns into a beam of dark energy, which after a moment tears to shreds a large padlock securing the lock of the trunk. A creature erupts from inside the trunk. It is a dryad, a forest spirit that looks a bit like a human-sized treeman with a female physiognomy, whose limbs resemble branches. The dryad’s eyes are dark and radiate purple magical energy.]

[Ethoriel] [with horror in her eyes] Th-that … that’s Drycha!

[At this point, all the characters on the stage, except for one of the shooters, freeze. The elf walks towards the audience.]

[Toriel] [addressing the audience directly in an impassive voice] Dear viewers, you deserve a word of explanation here. For those of you not familiar with the lore, Drycha is an insane forest spirit wielding powerful magic, who, due to some historical events, hates elves. [extremely dispassionately] Woe to us, we all shall perish.

[The elf then returns to his initial position. The other characters move again. Drycha lets out a terrifying, chilling scream.]

[Drycha] [with a screechy, resonant voice] Free at last! [seeing the elves] Asrai … Murder … Death …

[Death] [surprised again] Yes? [realizing the situation] Oh, you didn’t mean me.

[Drycha, mumbles a magic formula. Roars and commotion can be heard from the forest. Among the thickets, more dryads appear. They immediately move in blind fury towards the elves. Three of the dryads catch up with one of the archers and tear the terrified elf to pieces. Ethoriel and the second archer run into the forest in panic to Drachenfels’ obvious amusement. Drycha and the frenzied dryads follow them. A few moments later, in the distance, deep in the woods, there are sounds of fighting and horrible screams.]

[Constant Drachenfels] I like myself a story with a happy ending. [to Death] Well, now that that’s that, would you like to accompany me on my way back to the Castle?

[Death] Yes, it looks like my services are not required here anymore. [looking at the horses and coachmen full of arrows, distressed] Oh, but I think we lost our means of transport.

[Constant Drachenfels] [raising an eyebrow] Please… [chanting casually] Abracadabra, stupid arrow rain, what once fell can rise again.

[Skeletal horses immediately get up and shake off the excess arrows. The coachman also stands up, removes a few arrows from his body and as if nothing had happened, gets back on his seat.]

[Constant Drachenfels] [to Death] Shall we?

[Drachenfels and Death get into the carriage and depart to the sounds of terrible screams in the wilderness.]

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