[Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

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[Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 09 May 2017, 22:23

Ferran finds himself standing in darkness, not entirely remembering how he got here. The floor lurches and shifts under his feet as the deck of a ship might, but without the familiar sounds of the sea and wood creaking. The air is cold and still.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 10 May 2017, 02:53

Ferran tries to get up, waves of nausea washing over him. He bracers himself and finally gets up, musing that no sea could make him stagger like this.

Slowly at first, then with the speed of a diving falcon, it hits him.

Everything comes back. The rocking of the boat traversing the Po river. The brigantine packed with heathen pirates. Their living "merchandise". The heat and human smells of the cargo hold. People's anxiety and fear. His rallying speech and solemn oath that he'd free them. The assault on the Ottomans. The madness of the brawl. The pirate nearly decapitating him. The meeting at the gates with Giovanni. The sting of a knife. The bearded man holding him still on an oaken table, calling him "dead meat". The pain and anguish of his death throes. Marco weeping for his passing.

Ferran inches his hand slowly towards his throat, terrified of what he might find. He feels the stitches running across his neck and recoils as if a viper stung him.

- Am I dead? he ponders. - Is this the afterlife?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 May 2017, 03:25

As if to answer Ferran's inquiry, the sky begins to glow. A storm with blood red clouds churns overhead, casting an ominous light over the landscape. The silhouette of the horizon is sharp and angular and confusing to look on at first. After a few moments the odd shapes coalesce into recognizable features. Faces, the size of mountains make up the landscape; each looking skyward with slack jaws and glassy eyes.

With building horror, Ferran recognizes each one of the faces, one after another. Rocco. Ambrogio. The smoking pirate. His father, Pepe. And many more; all the faces of people Ferran knows to be dead.

Finally, Ferran looks down to the face that he stands upon and sees his mother Sofia looking back up at him.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 10 May 2017, 03:40

The sight is too much for Ferran, who falls to his knees.

- I thought honest people went to Heaven. I always believed myself a good one, fighting for what's right, despite my failings. But this place looks like Hell.

A shadow passes over Ferran's brow. He stares at the nameless pirate, then Rocco, and finally his mother. Ferran breaks down in tears.

- You had it coming you stupid oaf! A good one? Ha! "Thou shalt not kill" Ferran. You had it coming. This is what you deserve!

His face vanishes inside his palms, his figure ravaged by crying. Slowly he composes himself and stops.

- I only hope the captives are free, for no one should live a slave. At least something good might come from my passing.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 May 2017, 03:51

The mouths of the faces all speak as one; their voices harmonizing and clashing with one another. "Have you come to take your place, beside those you have wronged? I would still be alive, if it were not for you."
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 10 May 2017, 04:17

Seeing them was one thing. Hearing them accuse him was another. Ferran's bowels are consumed by rage; he feels angry at himself, at his accusers, at the world. His fury explodes as he starts shouting.

- Have I wronged you? HAVE I? he screams at the pirate.
- You, who exploited men like cattle? You, who hunted 'em down for your own petty gains? If not me, then another. You had it coming slaver!

To Rocco. - Then you! You dragged us all into this! You wronged us, who did nothing wrong to you! You wronged your men, who followed you without question! You wronged yourself, for picking this life! Am I to blame for your choices Rocco? Would you be happy if everyone was slaughtered that night, enhancing your moniker, Rocco the Red?

- I only acted my part ordained by Providence! If this is the price to pay I gladly accept it! 'Cos the world is a better place without you lot!



He takes a deep breath to recompose himself, then continues speaking softly.

- As for you my master. He says to Ambrogio.
- I never wronged you. You were a pillar of light in my life, giving me sense and direction. I kept my promise to you, even with my parting breath.

To his father, even more softly.
- Nice to see you papa after all these years. A smile breaks Ferran's face.
- I told you those thunderheads were no good. You insisted on going... You called me a coward and a lazy bum... If only you had listened to young, foolish, lazy Ferran then... We'd still be together, living a happy life...

Finally he turns to Sofia.
- Mama... I've never seen your face but in my mind's eye. You are as beautiful as I ever imagined. I was a baby mama. It was the Almighty's will to take you from us, not my doing. At least that's what the priests been telling me all my life, every port I visited. For I always felt it was my doing mama. But this is not a matter a mortal can decide. Only God above can rule such things.

Suddenly his jaw sets, and says with a commanding tone.
- I won't lie, I have killed. If this is the place I belong, so be it. I only did what I thought was right. Let God be my Judge. Because my conscience is clear now. Away with you spirits!
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 May 2017, 05:57

The chorus of voices speaks as one. "Are you so arrogant as to blame the dead for the consequences of your choices? You alone are responsible for everything you know and more. Yes, even the fate of your mother. For to live, was your first choice. But to die, will not be your last. Knowing all you do now, would you choose all the same? Would you choose to live again?"
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 10 May 2017, 06:08

- No one wants to die, you know that. But I ask you. Who are you? You are not my parents nor my master. Neither are you my victims.

- Nor my conscience. For I have no guilt over what I have done. I did what I did and my heart is light, my brain unclouded. I rejoice at the fact that my deeds helped others. Even if I end in Hell, it will be my consolation that others live a better life because of what I did.

- So I ask you again. Who are you to speak of second chances? Appear before me and ask me in the face. Or trouble me no more!
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 May 2017, 07:02

The faces tremble and rumble "As you wish."

The horizon and sky split from each-other revealing a starry night sky behind it. Ferran is swept off his feet as the world folds back upon itself. His surroundings are replaces by a bountiful garden with fruit trees and flowers in full bloom.

A star brightens and streaks across the sky. It falls to the ground at amazing speed, getting brighter and more furious as it comes directly for Ferran. At the last moment it before impact it stops and radiates heat that makes Ferran shield his face.

The light fades and so does the heat, leaving only a strange creature. A muscular body of a man with green skin, topped with the head of a ram floats before you. Sprouting from his back are are pair of great wings made of ostrich feathers and in his hands he wields a shepard's crook and a threshing flail. When he speaks his voice rings out, metallic from the horizons. "I am your judge. My task is to weigh your heart and your defiance works against you. Fall to your knees and beg forgiveness. Repent for your misdeeds... Unless you think you have done none."
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 11 May 2017, 11:18

Ferran is awed by the entity's fantastic presence. He falls to his knees as commanded and looks at his accuser like a beffubled child.

He wants to confess all his failures. To ask for judgement. Beg for absolution.

Almost. The Catalan reaffirms himself that he was in the right. He springs up and looks his tormentor squarely in the eye.

- Judge me? I think not. Don't try to burden me with false accusations creature.

- Would I change anything? The answer is no! People live because of me! The families on that brigantine won't suffer under the yoke of slavery because of my actions! Not because of something nebulous, like Heaven or God. They are well because of the hard choices I made. If there was a God as the priests say, I should be among the living - simply because of this!

- But it seems God abandoded us. Even His beloved Pope cowers before that devil of an Emperor, while Rome lies in ruins! The world has gone mad and God simply doesn't care!

- And you ask poor Ferran of misdeeds? You'd better ask God instead! No vaig fer res dolent!*


[*] "I did nothing wrong!" in Catalan
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 16 May 2017, 08:00

The ram's head speaks impassively. "Then you are sentenced to damnation." Before Ferran even has a chance to fully comprehend what was said, the creatures raises it's crook and flail and hold them crossed above it's head. The garden shifts and swirls around Ferran before it melts away like wax over a fire.

Darkness and a bone-chilling coldness runs over Ferran, as if he were swept off his feet and plunged into icy water. When Ferran tries to cry out his words choke in his throat. Without a horizon or landmark to keep his bearing he is disoriented and confused when he turns his head. He floats haphazardly, gripped by coldness wondering how long it will last. If it would ever end.

From far away Ferran hears a feminine voice, smooth and soothing. "Oh Ferran. Look at the trouble you have gotten yourself into now." As the voice comes closer the bite of the cold gets stronger. "I think what you did, risking your life to protect the others... It was noble and commendable. Those pirates, well, they brought it on themselves didn't they?" The direction the voice comes from shifts and starts circling around Ferran. "And blaming you for your mother's death... how heartless. It makes me wonder if they even understand what loss is; living in that make-believe world of theirs. With their every want or need ready to be wished into existence, I doubt they've ever had to make a hard decision in their life. It must be easy to deal with moral absolutes when you don't stand to suffer any of the consequences yourself."

The voice moves around to the front of Ferran's face. "I don't want to lie to you Ferran." The darkness cracks open and before Ferran he sees a large and grotesque creature. A misshapen and hideous wyrm with lizard scales and wreathed in mist and sleet. It is now obvious that the creature is the source of the great coldness that surrounds Ferran. "I was beautiful... once." It says, as if in reply to Ferran's thoughts.

The creature backs away from Ferran, giving him respite from the cold. "Do you want to know what my sin was? What crime deserves this curse? I refused to bow before man. They told me that man was my better because he had free will and I did not. It still doesn't make sense to me... After all, if I did not have free will, how could I have refused? If I did have free will, then man would not deserve my worship as he would no longer be superior."

The creature coils over itself in the air and focuses it's large predatory eyes on Ferran. "I don't want to hurt you." it says disarmingly. "Quite the opposite actually. We need to help one another. Standing up for what is right is what is important. To ally against tyranny... no matter how hopeless the fight, what could be more good?"

The icy grip around Ferran's neck loosens enough for him to speak again.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 16 May 2017, 08:58

Ferran eyes the serpent with morbid curiosity. He even manages to break a feeble smirk.

- Turns out you have freedom of choice like man does, don't you? After all you refused to bow to man, didn't you? You are right, it makes no sense.

The Catalan seems to be seeking for the right words. A tiny voice inside his head starts speaking. Ferran is unsure if its the creature's doing, or something deeper and more intimate. The words repeat again and again, building up in tempo and volume, like a rising gale.

"You did what is right."
"You bled and died for it."
"It's not fair."
"'Twas God's doing."
"You've been betrayed."


Ferran feels like everything is torn asunder - everything but him and the coldness. The wyrm's coldness. He tries to focus on the wyrm. He starts speaking as in a trance.

- We've been betrayed. Both of us. For doing what we were created for. Now I know it for sure. God exists. I keep my faith in His existence. But my faith in His Love is gone. For he's a spiteful One, punishing His creations for doing what He created them for. There's no such thing as freedom. Not with God. It's a vile lie. If there's one thing I know now is this. Still the knowledge brings no consolation - not now. Because we are both trapped here. We're both condemned.

- But you spoke of help. What could you possibly do for me? And more importantly, what would you want in return? Because you can't get something out of nothing, correct?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 21 May 2017, 06:23

The creature coils over itself. "You would be surprised what one can get from nothing..."

"I can offer you what that judge could not." It spits the word with disdain. "A chance to finish what you started. I can return you to your previous form." It looks Ferran up and down. "In exchange... I ask nothing you wouldn't rightly do, knowing what you do now. Speak the truth of what you have seen and how we have been betrayed. Spread the word, and fight for what is right against any authority. Win people to our cause... and undermine the Church at any opportunity."
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by Benedict » 21 May 2017, 06:53

Ferran gazes at his pale hand, bluish veins showing underneath. He lifts his gaze to the wyrm.
- 'tis true I have unfinished bussiness...

The Catalan's face turns grim, his tone severe.
- The hard earned knowledge of God's spitefulness forces me to fight against His tyrrany. No one should live a slave - man, angel, or demon. What you ask of me is being true to myself. Even if you hadn't asked me so, if there's one thing I'd be doing it'd be opposing tyranny.

The youth continues, as the wyrm's lips curl to a feral grin - more akin to a snarl.
- I won't give you my word for that, for words can be twisted and bended to one's favor. I give you my choice of actions instead -- the same ones that got me here. For that is who I am!
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: [Act 2] [Scene 3] [Ordeal]

Post by thirtythr33 » 21 May 2017, 07:27

"Yesss." The wyrm hisses, it's eyes glowing. "Then the bargain is struck. Come." As if by command, Ferran floats towards the creature, the biting cold becoming almost intolerable. One of the beast's clawed hands disappears beneath it's folds and withdraws carefully holding something small which it then presents to Ferran. "You must swallow this, to complete the ritual. As above, so below." It hands to Ferran a small black coin, as cold as ice. On one face is a portrait of Ferran and on the other is the coiled visage of the wyrm.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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