[personal profile] arthur_of_the_britons
Episode 2.5: Go Warily

Writer: Jonathen Crown


OPENING SCENE


Ominous music. Llud is being chased down a hill by a huge masked warrior, carrying a spear.

Llud gets trapped against a tree. The warrior; Brosk, throws his spear, but misses Llud by inches. The chase continues. Llud stumbles down a bank into a river, and falls to his hands and knees. Brosk closes in.

We see that Llud is in his own bed, and this is a nightmare.


Llud: [shouts] No! No! No!

Arthur awakes, leaps up, rushes across to Llud, and grips him by the shoulders, trying to calm him.

Llud: Aargh! Argh!

Arthur: Wake up. What is it? Llud?

Llud continues to make sounds of panic, and throws Arthur off. He lands on the floor. Llud is still moaning and crying out, “No!” in the grip of his nightmare.

Arthur: Llud! It’s Arthur! Llud!

Llud is still dreaming. Arthur picks up a bucket of water and throws it over him. Llud suddenly comes fully awake. Arthur looks down at him anxiously. Llud closes his eyes in relief that it was just a dream.

[OPENING CREDITS]


PART 1


Outside the longhouse, Arthur refills the empty bucket from the water trough.

Arthur: Lenni!

Lenni comes running, Arthur speaks to her. She mimes a response.



Back in the Longhouse, Arthur puts the bucket down beside Llud’s bed and hands him a cup of water. Llud drinks. Looking concerned, Arthur sits down on Llud’s bed.


Llud: Sorry about this … everything.

Arthur: They say you should never disturb another man’s dreams.

Llud: Or intrude on them afterwards.

Arthur looks wary.

Llud: I suffer from sodden clothes. I’ve had enough of this.

Llud starts getting up; Arthur pushes him back down.

Arthur: You have a fever.

Llud puts a hand on Arthur’s knee.

Llud: Leave me alone, nothing ails me.

Arthur: Perhaps you’re just tired. The last skirmish with the Saxons taxed us all.

Llud: You believe because I’m twice your age that battle begins to weary me? Well Llud is not old yet. Nor feeble.

Arthur: Nor foolish. Our campaigns will be greatly weakened with you unfit to play your part.

He puts a hand on Llud’s shoulder.

Arthur: Rest a day or two. Lenni will take care of you.

Llud: I need no nursemaid!

Lenni comes in, and makes reassuring gestures at Llud, that she will stay with him and that he should lie down. Arthur gets up off the bed.

Llud: Where are you going?

Arthur: Don’t worry.

Llud: Where’s Kai?

Arthur: I’ve asked him to check a report that there’s an armed party coming this way – led by Brandreth.

Llud: Brandreth? They say that he and his tribe are more treacherous than the marshlands they inhabit. [gets off his bed] Bed’s no place for any warriors.

Arthur talks over him and restrains him with a hand on his shoulder.

Arthur: Now you look. You rest for a while. They’re a long way off. Wait till Kai returns.

Arthur leaves. Lenni starts taking Llud’s wet shirt off him, and reluctantly, Llud submits.



Kai runs from his horse, stooping, so as not to be seen, and looks down on Brandreth’s camp from a hillside vantage point. He strokes his chin thoughtfully as he weighs up the situation.



A little while later, at Brandreth’s camp. Kai has joined Brandreth’s party and is lounging with the group around their campfire.


Brandreth: Tell Arthur, he need have no fear. I come in peace, to swear a pact of allegiance with him.

Kai: Are these all the men you have with you?

Brandreth: [looking faintly amused] Did you not scout the area thoroughly before you approached?

Kai: [also looking amused] I’ll deliver your message.



Back in the Longhouse, Llud is still lying in bed, while Lenni sits near the door, sewing. Ominous music resumes. Llud is having the nightmare again, with his eyes open. He wakes, relieved.



Looking down from the hillside where Kai carried out his reconnaissance earlier. Kai is seen riding away from Brandreth’s camp. Cador, a traitor to Brandreth, is whispering to Brandreth’s twin brother Gavron.


Cador: His name’s Kai. He was sent here to look us over and decided to make contact. Now he rides back to tell Arthur of our meeting place.

Gavron: You’d best rejoin your master before he becomes suspicious.

Cador: I’ll be ready to go when you attack.

Cador sidles away. Gavron goes to speak with another of his men, Kellas.

Gavron: Brosk is waiting for my signal. You know what to do. And remember. I want my brother taken alive.



Kai rides across a river, past the huge warrior, Brosk, who is hiding in the trees. Brosk retrieves a large handcart, and wheels it to the edge of a river.



Llud is outside the Longhouse. He flexes the fingers of his good hand, and looks worriedly at both his hands.



Gavron looks down from a vantage point on a hilltop, then back to Brosk. On Gavron’s signal, Brosk upends the handcart, right in the path of Brandreth and his party.

Gavron’s men ride in and ambush Brandreth’s. A fight ensues. As his men prevail Gavron rides down from the hill; Brandreth is dragged from his horse and brought before him.


Brandreth: Gavron.

Gavron: No harm will come to you. A few uncomfortable days in a nearby cave … while I settle once and for all with Arthur.

Brandreth: In my name.

Gavron: I’ve made sure of that. Our appearance is identical. Your name is my name. It’s a family matter.

Brandreth: You’ll never understand will you? We Celts are fighting the Saxon now. Old hatreds, Brother, lie behind us.

Gavron: I will have revenge.

Gavron rides off, and Brandreth is led away.



In the longhouse. Kai and Arthur sit at the table, eating and drinking, while Llud sits on his bed.


Kai: Brandreth seemed a man of reason.

Llud: What’s he doing here in the west?

Kai: He seeks to make a pact. Arthur, I believe he wants peace.

Llud: [angrily] Since when did these eastern tribes begin to know the meaning of the word?

Arthur: The way Llud feels today, he’d suspect his own shadow.

Kai: [to Llud] What’s wrong?

Llud: Nothing. We were talking about Brandreth. Why this sudden urge for brotherhood?

Kai: He also has the Saxon wolves snapping at his heels. He would move his people to greater safety and join his army to ours.

Arthur: When do we discuss this pact?

Kai: Tomorrow, at a place a few hours’ ride from here.

Llud: Why doesn’t he come here to talk?

Kai: With only a handful of men, he’s as cautious of us as we are of him.

Arthur: Where do we meet?

Kai: Beyond the great oak forest, where the river turns south.

Llud looks worried: this is the place he dreamed about.

Kai: Brandreth will be waiting on the meadow on his side of the river.

Llud imagines that Brosk is chasing him.

Arthur: Kai. You and I’ll leave at daybreak.

Llud: I’ll go with you.

Arthur: No Llud. You stay in command of the camp.

Llud: [very insistently] I’ll be fresh in the morning. I’ll ride at your side.

Arthur: Isay, you’ll remain here.

Furious, Llud throws his cup at the wall, and strides out.



We see a close-up of a large pendant hanging from a thong around Llud’s neck. Llud lies on his bed, staring fearfully at the visions in his head.

More ominous music, and shots of Brosk chasing Llud.

Lenni wakes Llud. She presents him with a bowl, and then mimes sleep. Llud angrily gets out of bed.


Llud: I need no sleeping potion, Girl. Leave me alone!

He goes to the table, and – while Lenni fusses with his bed – he pours some liquid from a jug into a goblet.

Llud: Wait! Let Arthur know I would talk with him.

Lenni nods, and leaves. Llud puts the sleeping powder into the drink he has poured for Arthur.



The next morning. Arthur is asleep in bed. Kai, already mounted up, is waiting outside. Llud, also mounted, joins him.


Llud: I talked with Arthur last night … We decided that I should go in his place.

Llud sets off, but Kai doesn’t move. Llud turns back.

Llud: Arthur’s sleeping [he nods, and smirks] … soundly.

Kai: The sleeping draught that was meant for you.

Llud: I want to meet this Brandreth first

Kai: Why?

Llud: I’m concerned

Kai: I’ve met Brandreth. I thought him to be an honest man. Are you not prepared to accept my word?

Llud: Kai, I … I have thoughts of my own. [to horse] He …ey!

He rides off, and Kai follows.



In the longhouse, Arthur sleeps on.



Gavron, wearing Brandreth’s clothes, rides up to the meeting place. Kai and Llud approach along the course of the river.


Gavron: Greetings.

Kai: Greetings, Brandreth.

They ride up onto the river bank.

Gavron: [looking at Llud] You are not Arthur.

Llud: I am Llud. Like Kai, I also serve as one of his lieutenants.

Gavron: I expected Arthur.

Llud: He would have us ask more questions of you. Make certain arrangements.

Gavron: Such formality. Such sheltering. Is that what comes of having so young a leader?

Llud: He is young in years. But the future lies in his hands.

Gavron: With the help of us all.

Llud: True, he needs stout allies.

Gavron: Very well. Leave your horses to water, and approach. We will talk.

Kai and Llud dismount and approach Gavron. They fall into a pit, and Gavron’s henchmen, armed with spears, surround them.

[INTERVAL]


PART 2


In Arthur’s village. A Minstrel sits on the edge of the water trough.

Minstrel: [sings]
Where the grass lies low, and the wind sweeps wide.

Inside the Longhouse, Arthur awakes.


Minstrel: [sings]
Where the black dove flies, by the green lakeside.
There I must go ... must stand … must stare.
For ’twas there on the lake, that I lost me a bride
If the stones could walk, and the mountains move.
If the trees could talk …

As the Minstrel carries on singing, Arthur holds his head, then gets up and sniffs the goblet by his bed and the one on the table. Angry, he throws down this second goblet.



From the hilltop, a lookout keeps watch over Gavron’s camp, where, inside a tent, Kai and Llud are tied to poles, facing each other. A guard checks that Kai’s bindings are tight enough, and leaves the tent.


Kai: Why did you not tell one of us about this dream?

Llud: I brought you both up never to show any fear. Would you have had me admit to it?

Kai: Had you, we might not have ended up here, trussed up like chickens for the spit.

Llud: I couldn’t know that this was a premonition. Warning.

Kai: Well it was. What else happened in that dream?

Brosk comes in, walks around Kai and then towards Llud, who seems terrified.



Back in Arthur’s village. Arthur approaches the Minstrel.


Arthur: Did you see Llud and Kai leave?

Minstrel: [nods] Just after sunrise.

Arthur sticks his head in the water trough to wake himself up.



In Gavron’s tent.


Gavron: It’s a pity it was not Arthur who walked into the trap. I thought Brandreth had made it easy for me.

Kai: Where is Brandreth?

Gavron: He is safe. I have no wish to harm my brother.

Llud: But you would kill Arthur?

Gavron: Four years ago a battle was waged over disputed hunting grounds near the old Roman remains at Sarum.

Llud: I remember. Celt against Celt. I fought there, with Kai.

Gavron: Many men were slain that day – among them, our father, killed by Arthur.

Llud: Your father fell as a fighting man. He ran the same risk as all of us.

Gavron: I have sworn to avenge his death.

Kai: Yet your brother would make peace with Arthur.

Gavron: My brother is weak. But by crawling to Arthur he gives me a chance.

Kai: A chance you’ve lost by capturing us.

Gavron: No. One of you will send a message to Arthur, telling him to come to this meeting.

Llud: [emphatically] Never!

Gavron: [to Kellas] I want them separated.

He strides to the tent flap and turns back menacingly.

Gavron: I’m sure that one of you can be persuaded to change his mind. And save his neck.

He leaves.

Kai looks over at Llud.



Outside the tent, Gavron pokes at a fire.


Gavron: [to Kellas] Take Llud out and stake him to the ground. Let’s see how he feels about losing his other hand.

Gavron grins and holds up a hot poker.



Brosk thrusts Llud’s good hand – already badly burnt and blistered – into the burning hot coals.


Gavron: Put the hand well in.

Llud: [cries out] No!

Gavron leans over him, looking gleeful.

Gavron: Unless Llud would write a message for us.

Llud: [cries out] No!

Gavron: Say the word.

Llud: Burn in hell.


Inside the tent.

Kai: What are you doing with Llud? [shouts] Llud!


Gavron: Say you’ll write the letter. A simple message, that’s all.

Llud: [softly] No.

Gavron: A simple message.

Llud: Yes. Yes. Yeah.

Brosk removes Llud’s hand from the coals.

Llud: [quietly] Yes.



Llud is seated at a table with Gavron behind him. Gavron hands him a quill. Brosk lurks in the background.

Llud dips the quill in an ink pot. He tries to write but seems unable to.


Llud: I can’t use the quill. My hand’s too damaged.

Gavron: [threatening] Write!

Llud: I swear I can’t. It’s as numb as the other one.

Gavron: Very well. I shall write it. You sign.

Brosk pulls Llud out of the chair. Llud grunts in pain. Gavron sits down and starts writing. Llud holds out the large round pendant that is hanging on a string around his neck.

Llud: This brooch will be my signature. Arthur knows it well.

Gavron pulls it from around Llud’s neck.

Gavron: Good.



Inside the hut, where Kai is tied to a post.

Kai: You’re lying. Llud would never betray Arthur.

Gavron: I’m sending a man now, with this – [holds up Llud’s pendant] to give credence to Llud’s message. Arthur will be here by sundown.

Kai looks downhearted.



In Arthur’s village. Arthur takes the pendant from Kellas, and looks at it thoughtfully.

Kellas reads from a scroll.


Kellas: The meeting place to be the same. I have asked Brandreth to write this letter for me, as I cannot write it myself. I was thrown from my horse, and have injured my hand.

Arthur looks pensive.

Arthur: Give me the scroll.

Kellas gives it to him. Arthur studies the scroll and looks up at him.

Arthur: Is his hand badly hurt?

Kellas: Hmm. A sprain I think.

Arthur gives him back the scroll, without looking at him.

Arthur: Return, and say that I will keep the meeting.

He weighs Llud’s brooch in his hand.



In the hut, Kai, still tied to the pole, is kneeling on the ground. One man is standing guard.


Kai: Please. Can I have a drink? I’m parched.

The guard leaves. Kai changes position so that he is seated on the ground. The guard comes back, carrying his sword and a cup. As he approaches, Kai trips him, then traps the guard’s head between his thighs, and breaks his neck, then starts manoeuvring the guard’s sword with his feet.



Having freed himself, Kai cuts a slit in the back of the tent and runs up the hill.



Arthur is on his way to the meeting. Gavron is also approaching on his horse, with a group of henchmen marching behind.



Kai runs into more of Gavron’s men with swords and spears, including Brosk. He is surrounded and has to give himself up.



Arthur approaches the same meeting place where Kai and Llud were captured. Gavron arrives, apparently alone, and stops to wait for him.


Gavron: I am Brandreth. Greetings.

Arthur: Greetings.

Arthur rides forward towards Gavron. Gavron dismounts; Arthur follows suit, looks cautiously around, starts to approach, and falls into the pit. Gavron’s men surround him. Arthur looks up at Gavron.

Gavron: I have waited a long time to avenge my father’s death.

Arthur: Then I fear you’ve waited in vain.

Arthur gives a slight smile as his men ride up, yelling, swords at the ready.



Brosk throws Kai, his hands bound, into the tent where he was held before, then hauls him up, and holds him against the post.



Arthur, looking very angry, is hiding in the bushes, holding a knife to Gavron’s throat.


Arthur: Call them.

Gavron: Kellas! Brosk!

Kellas and Brosk come out of a tent.

Gavron: Over here!

Kellas, Brosk and more of Gavron’s men run towards Gavron. Arthur’s superior force emerge from cover, and surround them.

Arthur removes the knife from Gavron’s throat and pushes him forward.



Arthur comes out of the tent, followed by Kai and Llud. Arthur approaches Gavron, who is now his prisoner.


Gavron: How did you know?

Arthur: Know?

Gavron: The area was surrounded by your men. How did you know it was a trap?

Arthur: You told me. You wrote that Llud could not write because of his injured hand.

Arthur glances at Llud, and shakes his head.

Arthur: Llud cannot write at all. He never learned.

Arthur makes a gesture, and Gavron is taken away at spear-point.

Brosk breaks away from his Celt captors, and makes a run for it.


Llud: [shouts] Hold!

Llud starts to run after him.

Arthur: Don’t be a fool, Llud. He outreaches you.

Llud: He’s mine! I have a dream to put to rest!

Llud runs up the hill after Brosk and they begin to re-enact his nightmare.
Llud throws his sword at Brosk, and misses. Brosk turns, and chases after Llud, brandishing his two spears. He throws one, but it misses and embeds itself in a tree. Llud tries to pull it out, but can’t. He runs on, pursued by Brosk. They reach the river, and Llud wades in. Brosk throws the other spear, which misses, and embeds itself in the opposite river bank. Llud pulls it out, throws it at Brosk, and hits him in the chest. Brosk falls into the river, dead.



It is night. Kai is lying in bed, apparently in the grip of a nightmare.


Kai: [agitated] Leave me! No, no! Go away!

Arthur gets out of bed and wakes Llud.

Kai: In the name of the gods, no! No!

Kai writhes and moans. Llud comes to lean over Kai’s bed, with Arthur behind him.

Llud: Kai, wake up. What is it?

Kai continues to thrash and moan.

Llud: Kai, it’s Llud. You’re having a dream.

Kai opens his eyes.

Kai: A dream? That monster was more than a dream.

Llud and Arthur look very concerned.

Llud: Monster?

Kai: Uh-huh. A giant.

Llud: Yes.

Kai: Coming at me.

Llud: Alright.

Kai: I ran. I fell.

Llud: Alright.

Kai: Then two gigantic arms were round me. I was carried off.

Llud: [softly] It’s alright.

Kai: Pushed down on the grass. I was helpless. Her grasp held me like a vice.

Llud: Her grasp?

Kai nods.

Kai: She held me so tight, I was powerless … but it was very nice.

Arthur smiles. Kai and Arthur both start laughing. Llud walks away from the bed, nodding.

Arthur collapses onto Kai’s bed, where they are both engulfed in gales of laughter. Llud picks up the water bucket and throws its contents over Kai and Arthur, who now have their arms around each other. More raucous laughter, with Llud joining in.


[ROLL THE CREDITS]

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