25: Peer Pressure

Chapter One here.


INT. A STABLE – NIGHT

A crowd of artisans and soldiers are cleaning up — stacking sawhorses, stabling work horses, hanging up tools.  Soldiers chat.  Martin leans over another list. 

Loren enters the doorway, a brace of bottles in one hand.  SERVANTS (ND) linger behind him as he pushes into the crowd.

 

LOREN

Martin!

 

Martin nods, pulls a soldier over.

Loren pushes through the crowd.  He looks around, climbs up on a sawhorse, teeters.

 

LOREN (CONT’D)

Attention, please?

 

No one hears him. 

 

LOREN (CONT’D)

Attention!

 

General bustle

Loren stoops, grabs a soldier by the arm, whispers.  The man grins, tugs others over.

Clang-clang-clang.  They’re beating swords on helmets.  Martin looks up, confused.  Loren raises a bottle.  Some men pass around cups.

 

LOREN (CONT’D)

Thank you.

 

MARTIN

What is this?

 

SOLDIER

When were you going to tell us you were getting married, sire?

 

A roaring cheer.

Martin’s caught.

 

MARTIN

Well…, the Lady’s being rather picky, actually.

 

LOREN

She has until tomorrow to change her mind, it’s true—we should drink while we can.

 

Laughter.

 

MARTIN

We don’t have time to…

 

Whistles and catcalls interrupt.  Martin looks at the soldiers, then Loren, who lifts a bottle.

 

LOREN

A toast to the crown prince!

 

SOLDIERS

Hear, hear!

 

Martin sighs, then forces a laugh.  Loren jumps down, all smiles.

 

MARTIN

What are you up to, Loren?

 

LOREN

What are we staying alive for, Martin?

 

Martin studies him, then the bottle, grabs it.  He takes a long draught to applause.

 

MARTIN

Only for morale.

 

LOREN

Of course.

 

Servants pass around bottles.  Some men go and come back for hurdy-gurdies, lyres, violas….

Loren still holds the other bottle.  Martin nods at it.   

 

MARTIN

Afraid of your own medicine?

 

Someone strikes up a tune.  Loren takes a vindictive pull, coughs it out.  The soldiers jeer, and Martin laughs, steals the bottle.

 

MARTIN (CONT’D)

Some people just can’t hold their wine.

 

Loren wipes his mouth, watches Martin chug …

… and make sure he drinks it all.

 

EXT. THE CASTLE TOWN – NIGHT

THE STREET

Rain pours down from the gutters of Stacia’s house.  A man in a ragged, hooded cloak stumbles into a puddle.  Fine cloth flashes behind the rags.

 

INT. STACIA’S HOUSE – SAME TIME

A knock and Morya and Stacia look up in alarm.

Stacia urges Morya and Ivan towards the loft ladder.

THE STREET

She opens the door a crack.

It’s Symon, clutching a book within the safety of his cloak.

 

SYMON

We have until morning.

 

Stacia lets him in and shuts the door.


Fun Facts of the Week: 

  1. In the original tale titled Koschei the Deathless, Ivan simply arrives at church earlier than his brother.  The priest, not one to ask questions, promptly marries him to the princess.
  2. In another Ivan story, called The Norka, three princesses are rescued and Ivan is brought back to his proper place by the youngest, who stalls her wedding by giving alms to the poor.  In the process, she finds Ivan in disguise as a beggar.
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