May 1, 2022

Part 21: The Unconquerable (2)

Arthur: Alright.

Arthur groans and straightens up. Opens the door and steps out into the wind.

Arthur: Which way? 

Yellow: A little more to the left — the light has faded a bit now.

Arthur: Okay!

Footsteps

Yellow: It seems darker out here, as if evening has set in. I don’t know how good of an idea this was. 

Arthur: We can always turn back if there’s nothing for us out here. 

Yellow: You keep saying us, as if we’re one. 

Arthur: It’s an old habit. 

Footsteps

Yellow: The light is just ahead of us now - it’s near the ground. 

Arthur: What is it?

Yellow: I don’t know; keep going. 

Footsteps. Soft piano music plays.

Yellow: It’s a lantern, on its side – fading. A kerosine or oil lamp. 

Arthur: Out here? 

Yellow: The snow melts as it falls on it. It’s still running hot.

Arthur: Who…?

Yellow: Next to it the snow is trampled… as if… as if something fell. 

Arthur: Fell? From where? 

Yellow: Maybe while running. The tracks lead off. 

Arthur: What? Where’s the lantern? 

Yellow: Near your left foot. 

Arthur picks up the lantern.

Arthur: Do you see where they lead? 

Yellow: They lead deeper into the forest, toward our left. Not very far, I don’t think. 

Footsteps

Yellow: Here, stop. They fall again, and uh… uh…

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: Blood. [Piano fades for eerie violins] Deep, red frozen arcs of blood dot the snow around a large flattened area. 

Arthur: Jesus. Is there anyone ar—

Yellow: No. But whatever fell didn’t get up; it was dragged away. 

Arthur: Dragged? This…this could’ve been me. I pulled myself through the snow when I arrived…

Yellow: How long ago? 

Arthur: I don’t really know. Hours, maybe.

Yellow: This isn’t hours old. The lantern is still lit for fucks sake. 

Arthur: Alright, alright…

Yellow: Wait. 

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: There are marks here, around whatever fell here. I think they were made whatever dragged it away. 

Arthur: Marks? 

Yellow: Tracks, maybe.

Arthur: An animal. 

Yellow: Not one I recognize. It's almost… star shaped. 

Arthur: Star shaped? 

Yellow: But wide, like an elephant. 

Arthur: For the King in Yellow, you don’t have very extensive knowledge of animals. 

Yellow: I didn’t know that I was the King till you told me. Even then I’m stretching my mind to remember or understand what that fully means. 

Arthur: What?! You don’t even remember being the King? 

Yellow: Fragments. 

Arthur: You mentioned being torn from your kingdom! You—You said, starving me sounds like something you’d do!

Yellow: It was a long time ago, before the Dark World. Need I remind you that I’ve been at your mercy since you imprisoned me?

Arthur: H-Hold on, then why are you trying to—

Wolves howl

Yellow: Fuck! 

Footsteps

Arthur: Wolves aren’t dangerous to people, they’re more scared of us. 

Yellow: You seem awfully certain despite the bleeding person that was dragged away in the snow. 

Arthur: You think it was a person? 

Yellow: Do cows carry lanterns here?

Arthur: Just keep my eyes open. 

Yellow: I’m trying — keep turning your head. 

Arthur: I am — Jesus. I can’t believe all of this, and you don’t even remember being the King. 

Yellow: What difference does it make!

Arthur: I told you, you chose this life. [Sad piano plays] I was helping you. Why didn’t you even try to hear me out?

Yellow: You imprisoned me within you.

Arthur: You think you’re the one imprisoned?

Yellow: You brought me here. You’re holding me against my will.

Arthur: If you just tried to work with me, I…

Piano stops. Wolves snarling.

Arthur: Jesus!

Yellow: RUN!

Arthur runs. Tense music plays

Yellow: There’s a large fallen tree. Here! Get down — hide!

Arthur hides behind the tree. Wolves snarling.

Yellow: You may need to use that rifle.

Arthur: I will, when they—

Wolf attacks. 

Arthur: Jesus! Fuck!

Yellow: Run, Arthur! 

Arthur cries out in pain

Yellow: Move!

Arthur: Damn it! 

Arthur strikes the wolf — it retreats, whimpering

Yellow: Leave the lantern. Go!

Arthur runs, panting

Yellow: They’re following! There’s a pack of them — their black fur dotted with freshly falling snow. They skulk as if ready for a meal. You need to fire on them. 

Arthur: I… we could miss!

Yellow: Just fire! 

The rifle fires. The wolves whimper

Yellow: They’re scattering — running off. Move.

Arthur: O-Okay.

Footsteps.

Arthur: Are they?

Yellow: I can’t hear them.

Arthur catches his breath

Arthur: Look, maybe I’ve… maybe I’ve been too unreasonable, okay? [Main piano theme] Not being able to see your perspective of things. 

Yellow: [Guarded] Okay?

Arthur: I… I did what I did because of our friendship, and maybe I haven’t tried enough to focus on that. It’s been easy for me to chew out the piece of my friend I hated. Okay? Especially because he hurt me near the end of our time. The parts you… represent remind me of that pain, and the pain that the King caused me, but… but maybe I’m not being fair. I-I’m sorry. 

Yellow: You’re…sorry?

Arthur: I don’t know what you know, or—or if you’re telling the truth, but… but you’re right that I brought you to me, against your will. 

Yellow: Well…

Piano fades. Wolves howl nearby.

Arthur: Fuck! 

Yellow: We need to move back to the cabin. Swing wide to your right — we can move around them. 

Arthur: Okay.

Footsteps

Yellow: They’re stalking us — not as aggressive as they were, but… we need to be careful. 

Arthur: Okay. 

Yellow: Wait — a light! A lot more light than the lantern.

Arthur: How? What? 

Wolves snarl

Yellow: Quickly!

Arthur runs, panting

Yellow: We’re almost past the tree line — move!

Arthur runs

Yellow: Stop, stop!

Arthur: What? Why?

Yellow: They’re not following.

Arthur: Why?

Yellow: When we broke from the tree line… they stopped. There’s light here.

Arthur: Jesus.

Yellow: There’s a building, with lights on… Snow piled high on either side. 

Arthur: Where the fuck are we?

Yellow: Three dead wolves are hung by their feet just out front. 

Arthur: Oh god.  

Mysterious piano music stinger

Yellow: It’s a tavern, the Red Right Hand. Head inside.

Arthur: Here? Okay.

Footsteps

Arthur: Wait. 

Yellow: What? 

Arthur: Do we tell them about what we found in the snow? The blood? I guess someone could be hurt, and lost out there. Or should we just play dumb? I don’t know how these people are, or where we are. What do you think?

Yellow: So what if someone is hurt?

Arthur: If they know we were out here, and we don’t tell them—

Yellow: Why would they care? 

Arthur: Because people care about other people, Yellow. It’s important to us. Look: we’re gonna tell them what we found. Beyond the chance of helping whomever was hurt, I think others would like to know something is out here if it’s deadly. 

Yellow: Fine, fine, just get inside. 

Arthur: Yeah…

Footsteps 

Yellow: The steps are well worn — a path trodden into the wood seems to have been carved over time. I think the building was painted blue at one point. 

Arthur: Okay. Thank you. Are the wolves… recently killed? 

Yellow: They’re frozen solid. [Eerie violins] It looks like they were hung by their feet, and their throats were slit, letting the blood drain out. Red icicles hanging from their open throats. 

Arthur: God. 

Yellow: There’s a frozen circle of blood on the ground beneath where a bucket must’ve collected it. 

Arthur: Hunters, then.

Yellow: Based on the wolves we encountered I’m glad there are experienced hunters out here, especially if the people in here are fool enough to try and head back to where we came from. 

Arthur: I don’t know, but a warm fire and a hot meal sound dreamy. 

The door opens. All conversation within the room ceases. An uncomfortable silence.

Yellow: There are close to thirty men in here. Large men, most in cold weather clothes — some wearing suit jackets, though the elbows are worn through. The floor is covered in salt and sawdust. These men all have dark facial hair — it’s as if they’re all related. And every. Single. One of them is staring at us.

Arthur: Uh…

Yellow: Say something! 

Arthur: Uh… E-Evening… Evening.

Yellow: Move to the bar. It’s to your left, up a few steps. 

Footsteps

Yellow: Be careful of the table to your—

Arthur bumps into a table, rattles glasses. A man grunts, annoyed.

Arthur: S-Sorry, sorry.

Yellow: Keep going. This is the bar. There’s a man… a strange looking man standing opposite you behind the bar. His face is long, and his jaw sticks out as if it’s been broken many times and was never set properly. 

Bartender: What’re you doing here? 

Arthur: [Flustered] I… I-I’m sorry.

Yellow: Arthur, everyone is still staring at you. 

Arthur: I… 

Yellow: Order something! 

Arthur: Blood! Um, out in the snow. Out in the woods…

Yellow: Jesus fucking Christ, Arthur. 

Arthur: Bood, I... [Clears his throat] I was… I was set upon by wolves, but I… I saw a lantern… S-Someone fell… I think someone may be lost, or—or hurt out there. 

Yellow: The bartender is staring at you blankly. Expressionless. 

Arthur: S-Should we…? Uh, d-did you…

Bartender: Order something.

Arthur: P…p-pardon?

Yellow: Order a drink, Arthur. 

Arthur: Uh… Just, anything… W-Water would be…?

Yellow: Order a drink, Arthur!

Arthur: A pint or… or whatever you have...

Yellow: Jesus Christ. He’s stepped away. 

Arthur: Oh thank god.

Mumbled conversation resumes around the bar

Yellow: I think they’ve stopped watching you for the time. 

Arthur: What the fuck is wrong with this place? 

Yellow: I don’t know. Everyone looks a…

A glass is set on the bar

Arthur: Oh… thank you. 

Bartender: Five cents 

Arthur: Of course.

Arthur pulls out the money.

Bartender: Ten cents. 

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: He just said five, and then he changed it when he saw your money, Arthur. Don’t—

Arthur: Here’s twenty, a-and I’ll start a tab. 

Yellow: He’s staring at you. He’s wearing a dirty striped linen dress shirt and suspenders that look about to break. His chin has thin grey hairs on it that hang down. His eyes have a brownish, orange hue, and his pupils seem al—

Arthur: Thank you. 

Arthur turns away

Yellow: Turn back — I was studying his face!

Arthur hums

Yellow: Turn back, Arthur! Stop ignoring me. 

Arthur: [Under his breath] I don’t want to put our back to this bar. 

Yellow: Fine. 

Arthur clears his throat.

Arthur: And I don’t want to be seen talking to myself. [Clears his throat again]

Arthur takes a drink and then coughs violently. A few men around him chuckle.

Arthur: What is this? 

Yellow: I don’t know. It looks like murky water.

Arthur: It-It tastes like motor oil and salt, Jesus fucking Christ.

Yellow: Arthur! The people are looking again — just drink it. 

Arthur groans, not wanting to

Yellow: Drink it!

Arthur takes a deep breath and gulps it down. 

Yellow: There. 

Arthur: Oh god. What was in that?

Yellow: Just calm yourself. 

Yellow: Looks like the bar has settled. There’s a large mounted wolf's head over the fireplace. [Yellow’s voice fades in and out as Arthur’s ears ring — Arthur groans] The fireplace looks like it’s made of black stone, or soot covered stone — I’m not sure from over here. There’s also a number of horns hung on the far wall, I think some of the patrons may be using them as hooks. 

Arthur: Mmm…

Yellow: [Audio distortion continues] Along the wall of the bar there are a few pictures of some sort. I can’t see them clearly from here, but they look like they might be newspaper clippings.

Arthur: [Disoriented] Okay, okay okay okay…

Yellow: Also there’s a piano along the wall of the bar. 

Arthur: [Loudly] A piano? 

Yellow: Yes, quiet your voice! 

Arthur: I don’t feel good. I feel a little strange, I…

Someone in the bar: PIANO!

Arthur: What?

Yellow: Someone heard you. 

Creaking of men turning in their chairs.

Arthur: Oh, no no no, I-I don’t want to play, I— 

Yellow: You play piano? 

Arthur: Yes, of course! Yes, I… b-but I don’t want to…I…

Yellow: I don’t think they mean you.

Arthur: Who? 

The chatter around the tavern quiets. Creak of someone getting up from their chair.

Yellow: I don’t know. It seems like someone is getting up from one of the tables. A thin, older man, with a wiry frame and a loose-fitting suit is approaching the piano.

Arthur: O-Oh.

Footsteps. The piano bench creaks.

Yellow: He’s sitting down. 

The man mashes the keys loudly. Eventually starts to play slow, ominous notes. The men bang on their tables in a rhythm.

Yellow: They’ve all started banging their tables. 

Chairs creaking and scraping

Yellow: A few of them are getting up. 

Arthur: What are they doing?

Man continues to bang on the piano in a kind of dark jig, the men stomping along

Yellow: They’re…dancing.

Arthur: Dancing? 

Yellow: I suppose. They’re rocking back and forth on their heels. Their arms are out to their sides. It’s a facsimile of a dance. [The blaring music and rocking continue] Even the bartender is rocking back and forth. 

Arthur starts laughing

Yellow: What are you doing? 

Arthur starts cracking up.  

Yellow: Shut up! They’re looking at you. 

The song winds down. The men stop rocking, leaving only long, mashed notes.

Arthur: [Panting] S-Sorry, sorry… W-What did they serve me? 

Yellow: What was what? 

Arthur: Did they — did they poison me? 

Yellow: What? No! Shut up. 

Arthur: [Rambling] I’ve been poisoned… I need to lie down… I need, I need a bed, I… I need a place to sleep, I need… 

Yellow: Arthur SNAP OUT OF IT!

Arthur: I need a bed, I need to — I need to lie down, I—

Yellow: You’re fine!

Bartender: The room above is vacant. A dollar for the room and a bath. 

Arthur: What? 

The music finishes and everyone applauds

Yellow: Do not sleep here! 

Arthur: Is there anywhere else in town? 

Bartender: This is the town. 

Arthur: I’ll freeze to death outside, I’m sure of it.

The applause dies down, the normal tavern chatter resumes.

Yellow: Arthur! We cannot sleep here! 

Arthur: Yes, yes. I-I’ll take the room.

Bartender: Up the stairs. Last door on the left.

Yellow: You idiot!

Arthur: Shuttup, I… I don’t feel well.

Bartender: Did you just tell me to shut up? 

Arthur: No, no, sorry, I—

The bartender growls

Yellow: The key is on the bar, to the right of you.

Arthur knocks a glass over. The man next to him growls.

Arthur: Sorry!

Yellow: You’ve just knocked over someone's drink!

Arthur: Sorry! 

Yellow: Arthur! There! The Key. Move before you manage to piss of everyone in the bar. 

Footsteps

Arthur: Ugh, I feel terrible… What did I drink?

Yellow: The stairs are to your left. More. More!

Arthur groans, stumbling

Yellow: Goddammit you fucking human. People are watching you. Just keep it together; we’re almost there. 

Arthur: Where is…?

Yellow: Almost at the top. Here, turn! 

Arthur: Oh…

Yellow: There’s a man in the hallway; stick to the right.

Man: Evening.

Arthur: Evening! Evening… 

Yellow: It’s a tall heavy set man who looks like the people downstairs: black hair, a heavy brow. Just stay to the right.

Arthur: Thank you.

Man: For what?

Arthur: Sorry, I mean… Where…where are we?

Man: What do you mean?

Yellow: Just go to your room!

Arthur: What town is this?

Man: Addison. 

Arthur: Addison? 

Arthur vomits all over him.

Man: What the fuck!

Yellow: God damn it.

Man: You fucking piece of shit!

Arthur: Oh god, I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…

Man: You idiot! Get the fuck away from me.

Yellow: MOVE you idiot. Last door on the left.

Footsteps

Yellow: Here!

Arthur struggles with the door

Yellow: The key!

Arthur: Right, right.

Arthur unlocks the door and enters. 

Yellow: [Annoyed] It’s a small, simple room with a wash basin and a bed.

Arthur: Basin? 

Yellow: To the right. 

Footsteps. Water splashing

Yellow: Yes, splash some water on your fucking face. 

Splashing water

Yellow: Jesus…

Arthur: Ugh... what?

Yellow: Your face. I hadn’t seen your face.

Arthur: Let me guess: The cold, calculated demeanor of—

Yellow: You have vomit all in your beard. 

Arthur: Of someone not to… what? 

Yellow: Lock the door. If we’re going to stay here, I’d rather try to stay alive at least through the night. 

Arthur walks to the door and locks it.

Arthur: Where’s the bed?

Yellow: The far end of the room. 

Arthur collapses onto the bed with a groan

Arthur: The room is spinning. 

Yellow: This is embarrassing. 

Arthur: Distract me.

Yellow: What?

Arthur: I can’t focus on anything. I feel the room moving. I…I can’t keep my mind still. Distract me. 

Yellow: Distract you with what, Arthur? I’m not a fucking radio.

Arthur: I’m going to vomit...

Yellow: Good. Whatever’s in you needs to come out.

Arthur: Just tell me something! 

Yellow: Fine! I find you humans frustrating. I find you petulant, disgusting creatures ,that don't know wh—

Arthur: Shut up. 

Yellow: What do you want from me!

Arthur groans. Yellow sighs.

Yellow: I… appreciate the life I saw. I… am at a loss for words.

Mysterious piano music plays

Arthur: What? 

Yellow: The bar, Arthur, the people – dancing… it was… 

Arthur: Off-putting.

Yellow: Yes. But also… interesting. 

Arthur: What do you mean? 

Yellow: I don’t know. To see people again, to watch them move without reason. Where I came from before…there was nothing. No sense of life or belonging. To see people move for no reason — to express…

Arthur: To express?

Yellow: Yes, to express themselves. The music was…

Arthur: You like Music? 

Yellow: What? I don’t know. Sure. 

Arthur: I played music. 

Yellow: Yes, you said. 

Arthur: No, I…I played music…

Yellow: I don’t care, Arthur. 

Arthur: I know… I know. But I can hope you will.

Piano changes to the simplified main theme 

Yellow: Humans put so much stock in hope. Hoping for a greater outcome, hoping for a better result, hoping for a brighter tomorrow. You waste away the hours, waste away your lives; watch as the sea beds dry up, as hope takes the water away from you. Hope is unique to you and your kind. Even animals know that hope is a wasted feeling. It's why you’re so weak.   

Arthur: You’re wrong. 

Yellow: Animals hope? 

Arthur: You’re wrong that it’s what makes us weak. Hope is what gives us strength. It’s what gave him strength. 

Yellow: You don’t know what strength is. You have no comparison to what true power is. 

Arthur: That’s not strength. It’s about not giving up, about having the will to press on.

Yellow: Will you believe you have. 

Arthur: I know I do!

Main theme plays as Arthur recites: 

“Out of the night that covers me.
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.”

The music fades

Yellow: What is that? 

Arthur: A poem.

Yellow: You wrote it? 

Arthur: No. Someone much more human than I. 

Yellow: Why did you share that?

Arthur: Because… it’s beautiful. It makes me feel strong. It makes me… feel. [Sighs] Doesn't it make you?

Yellow: I suppose.

Arthur: I feel so sick. I ca…

Yellow: Sleep it off.

Arthur yawns

Yellow: This, too, shall pass.

 __________________________________________________

Transcribed by the amazing Croik! My absolute appreciation to them for their effort and patience in making this.