The Blackest Room

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The Blackest of Rooms by Ursula Seleivara

Characters and the Cast that played the roles

Act I

Scene One: Forest

near a castle, past. (Forest stage dressing)

Narrator: Two young friends chase each other through the woods outside of a castle, the girl is obviously faster than the boy.

Darak - Ashra, wait up! You are too fast!

Ashra - No, you are too slow Darak!(Ashra lets him catch her) ~they stop center stage~

Darak - There, why do you run from me, Ash. I only wanted to talk to you. You always run when I...

Ashra - (interrupting) I run because you are always talking. I run because no matter what you say, the world is the way it is, Darak.

Darak - It doesn't have to be Ash. We can promise. I can promise. You know I would never break a promise.(Darak hands her a locket bearing his family crest on one side and goodly god on the other)

Ashra - I know you wouldn't but it is not your promise to give. You know that. Your father would...

Darak - (interrupting) I am not my father. I will make my promise. He will have to accept it. I promise, Ash. I swear (he grabs her hands closing it around the locket) I will always be yours.

Ashra I wish I believed you, Darak. I really do but...

Narrator: * Booming voice echoes through the forest, coming from the castle walls *

Darak! Prince Darak, you must come at once!

Darak turns to listen to the call from the castle, dropping Ashra's hands and she runs off before he can turn back around. Darak looks into the woods before walking back to the castle (offscreen) and the scene goes dark.

((stage lights off, setting stays forest))

Scene Two: Castle

Present.((same stage setting)) ((Stage lights up))

Narrator - Years later, in the same forest, two women walk from the woods to the castle carrying a basket of flowers. They are met by a dashing man walking up from the castle.

~Wen and Ash come walking in the from the side and Guhner from the other, no horse.~

Guhner - Hello ladies. Wendolyn, you are looking as lovely as ever. Ash, you are...

Ashra - (interrupting) Shut up, Guhner.

Wendolyn - (laughing) Ash, be nice. Thank you, Guhner. Are we still on for this evening's winter ball?

Guhner - Of course, Lady Wendolyn. I have been looking forward to it all week. Ash, are you coming tonight? I know Darak was hoping that...

Ashra - (interrupting quickly) I will be there.

Wendolyn -Maybe you could escort us both to the dance, Guhner? I do not want her to go alone.

Guhner - (before Ash can interrupt) Of course, m'lady. I would never refuse you. Now if you ladies will excuse me, I have business to attend to.

~he walks off to the castle, offstage~

Ashra - That wasn't necessary, Wen. I am fine on my own. And Darak will be there so I will hardly be alone.

Wendolyn - I know, but you know there will be...(pauses briefly) there will be others there as well. Right?

Ashra - I know Wen. I always know. But they don't matter to him. They are his father's doing. It will be like always, a parade of foolish girls and then he and I can dance the night away.

Wendolyn - I hope you are right, Ash. It's just... I worry about you. I mean you are so sullen all the time. What if tonight he...

Ashra - (interrupting) What if tonight he what? It is fine. And I am not sullen. I am just not you. ~she storms offstage~

Wendolyn - (softly) I hope you are right, my friend.

((stage lights off, curtain down,))

Act II

Scene One: Castle

Narrator: The night of the ball has arrived, the castle decorated beautifully as guests mingle and dance, guest names called off as they enter the room. (Ashra and Wen are standing to the side, king/queen in the center by the door, Guhner walks up to them from the side and hands wine, all emoted and small talk)

Narrator announcing guests: Ladies and gentlemen, Prince Darak.

Darak enters walks to the trio.

Narrator: Hushed whispers fill the room, the ladies stare dreamily at Darak as some speculate he may be seeking a bride. Whispers quiet while the music starts again. (darak walks over while the narration is happening)

Darak - Hello friends. Ashra, you are as lovely as the night. Wen, and you are as bright as the sun. (he bows to them) What are we drinking, Guhner?

Guhner - Just wine tonight, your father's orders. For some reason, he wants you to stay sober.

Darak - (laughing) Very well. Ash, do you want to dance?

Ashra - Sure, if your highness wishes. (dramatic curtsey) (Wendoyln laughs)

Darak - C'mon Ash. You know I hate that.

Ashra - Of course, m'lord. If it pleases you. (she takes his hand, just a little smile)

The two start dancing, as Wendoyln and Guhner join as well. They move to the side a little to dance, not where Appalea enters from

Narrator: Ladies and gentleman, Lady Appalea. Appalea enters and stops before mid-stage A fair-haired woman enters causing a few gasps at such beauty. Darak stops dancing and drops Ashra's hands.

Darak - Sorry Ash.

He goes to greets the Lady. Wendolyn goes to Ashra's side quickly. Guhnar walks with Darak.

Darak - Lady Appalea, you honor us with your presence. I did not know you would be traveling to the castle this evening. I hope your carriage ride was uneventful. (he kisses her hand)

Appalea - (her voice as smooth as honey) Prince Darak (bows) I was sure your father would have mentioned my arrival. No matter, it is good to see you again.

Darak - I would be honored if I could have this dance, m'lady.

Appalea - My pleasure. (takes his hand as they gracefully dance)

Everyone stops on stage, the lights go out, Ashra walks to center with a candle for her soliloquy

Ashra-in soliloquy

"My heart, it aches. It is torn open, seeing him with another like this, it is torment. My life has been spent by his side, never more than a house or a step away. All those nights, we'd sneak off to read poetry in the woods. He was the first to kiss these lips, to hold me in an embrace. The only one. If not for my station, we would have wed years ago but... Am I foolish for these dreams I still hold? Our future, our life together, is it not to come? He gave me his promise (she pulls the locket from under her dress) and that is everything to him. His word is like my love for him, unwavering."

The scene goes dark, candle put away, stage lights back up, Ashra now back to Wen and Guhner.

Narrator: The king and queen step up and the music stops for the king.

The king and queen step to center

King - My son. Please come up here. Lady Appalea, you as well.

the pair go to join the King and Queen in the center stage

King - It is my great honor to announce that my son and Lady Appalea will marry this spring. Please join me in a toast to the happy couple.

Narrator: Cheers fill the room and the sound of clinking glasses and applause.

(Darak looks bewildered, but takes the glass to toast with his family)

Wendolyn - (quietly) Oh Ash. I am sorry, I had no idea. Are you...

(Ashra lets go of her hand, pulls the locket from around her neck and leaves it broken on the floor before running off. Darak watching after her starts to follow but his father, the King puts his hand on Darak's shoulder, stopping him)

King - No son. Let the foolish girl go.

Ashra runs off stage through the theater and uses the backstage entry to get into her next scene.

The scene goes dark ((Stage lights off, curtain down))

Scene Two: Forest

outside the castle, dark. Winter ((Scene change to forest and druid circle, lights up))

Narrator: We find young Ashra alone in the dark forest, her heart broken by the news.

Ashra leaning against a cold stone, sobbing. Her tears rolling down her cheek to the stone.

Ashra - (her voice desperate) I was such a fool. I should have never let myself love him. (cries more) I have nothing now. I have no one. I would give anything to make him see, to make him mine.

(Darak approaches from the darkness)

Darak - Ash, I don't know what to say. My father (her puts a hand on her to comfort her and she recoils)

Ashra - Darak, I've loved you since we used to race around these woods as children. You swore an oath to me. You swore to love only me.

Darak - It is not that simple. You know that. I do love you but I will have to marry Appalea. It is my family.

Ashra - (her voice almost a hiss) How dare you speak to me of duty! Of her name. It ~IS~ simple, Darak. Now go, leave me here in this darkness.

Darak - It is dangerous here at night, please Ash. Come back to the castle.

Ashra - (she screams) GO!

(Darak sighs and leaves her in the darkness.)

((lights down on stage, curtain down))


Scene One: The dark forest

Where we last saw Ashra.

Narrator: We return to the forest where young Ashra cries alone in the dark draped across a large stone. As her tears fall on the rock, the rock suddenly begins to glow. Bright red runes appear on the stone. The runes turn to words, an ancient tongue. ((Ashra puts on the red light, lighting the stage))

(Distraught, Ashra runs her finger across it, trying to make out the words.)

Ashra - Ix...Ix (she struggles with the language slightly) Ixt... What curse is this? If evil is here to take me, take me now as this life holds little for me. My heart is stone and I want to see...(she looks over the stone again) I want to see him suffer as I do.

Narrator: The runes glow brighter as the words leave her lips.

Ashra - Ixt... Ixtlan.

Narrator: As the word leaves her lips, the ground trembles and shakes. A coldness fills the air, sulfuric and bitter. A creature appears. Ashra stumbles back.)

~Ixtlan appears.~

Ixtlan - (voice booming) Why do you call me here, foolish child!

Ashra - I did not call you, creature!

Ixtlan - You spoke my name. You called me here. Now speak. What do you want of me?

Ashra - I spoke your name? Ixtlan? You are Ixtlan?

Ixtlan - I am Ixtlan. You bring me here and I find you crumpled in a ball, wet with your tears. I grow impatient. What do you need of me? What do you want?

Ashra - I want...(she wipes her tears from her face) I want him to know my pain, my suffering.

Ixtlan - (the mighty creature wraps his wings around the small woman) Suffer he shall! ((Fancy fiery exit, stage lights go down, scene changes)) Narrator: The two disappear in a fiery burst. ((curtain down))

Scene Two: A dark forest

((Lights up on stage, curtain up, Ashra and Ixtlan are standing center stage when curtain goes up))

Narrator: Months have passed since we last saw poor Ashra. The cold has turned to warmer days. Spring flowers are beginning to bloom everywhere, except where the Ixtlan and Ashra stand.

Ashra - Ixtlan, the wedding is near. Are we ready? It must be just perfect.

Ixtlan - Child, you always question me. I promised you that you would have your revenge. Together we will make him suffer. We will make them all suffer.

Ashra - Not Wen. She is to remain untouched. You know the deal we made. Wen is not a part of this.

Ixtlan - Not Wen. (the large creature laughs a deep laugh, one clawed hand pats Ashra on the head) Foolish girl and your attachments. They will be your death, you know?

Narrator: the creature's form shimmers and changes to the appearance of Darak briefly.

Ixtlan - Is this what you seek? You will destroy him, so you must be sure. I need your promise, Ashra.

Ashra - Stop doing that, Ixt. I know who he is. I do not need to see him.

Narrator: His form returns to normal.

(she leans in and grabs his giant clawed hand) Ashra - It is almost time. I am not sure I would have survived if I had not found you. Your heart to my heart, Ixtlan, they shall be now and forever tied. There is no turning back now.

Ixtlan - Come, let's go see your Prince Darak. (stage lights down, curtain down))

Scene Three: Castle

Interior, decorated for a wedding.</c> (King/Queen, Darak, Guhner, Wen all off to the side, Appalea waiting on the other side to make her entrance up the aisle/across the stage)

Narrator: The Castle is a rush of activity. The people lined the way to watch the wedding of Prince Darak and Lady Appalea. The king and queen at the end of the aisle, with Prince Darak standing next to Guhner, awaiting his bride. Wendolyn stands to the side holding a bouquet of flowers.

Guhner - I searched again, Darak. No sign of her. Wen said she has not seen her since the ball.

Darak - She would not stay mad this long, I am sure she will come.

Guhner - Darak, you need to let it go. I fear something may have happened to her. This is your second chance. Lady Appalea will make a great wife. She loves you and you will love her in time.

Darak - I will not let (interrupted by the king)

King - Quiet you two. Son, love has nothing to do with it. You will straighten up and you will marry. End of story.

Narrator: Lady Appalea walks down the aisle, radiant and glowing, as the wedding music starts.

((a portal will open mid stage and Ashra and Ixtlan step through. Darak and Guhner draw blades))

Narrator: The king, queen and Lady Appalea are quickly rushed away to safety.

(Ash and Ixt are centerstage)

Ixtlan - You all shall perish! Ashra is mine and we will see each of you suffer and burn!

Darak - Ash! Come to my side, I will protect you! (blades drawn, side by side with Guhner)

Wendolyn - Ash, my friend! (Wendolyn rushes for her)

Ixtlan - You are not part of this, girl. He casts a spell, freezing her into stone.

Ashra - My friend. (she runs a hand across Wendolyn's stoned cheek and turns to Darak and Guhner) I do not need your protection. I am beyond your protection, Darak. (looking around) A shame, it was such a lovely wedding.

(Ixtlan starts throwing fire all around)

Darak - Beast, you've bewitched her! Free her from your spell at once!

Ixtlan - You do not make demands, Prince. You are nothing.

Darak - Guhner, to me!

A portal opens and Ashra and Ixtlan go through, followed by Darak, Guhner. The scene goes black.((lights down, curtain down))

Scene Four: The Battle

((Darak, Guhner fight Ixtlan, Ashra stands to the side watching.))

Darak - Free her from your spell, beast!

Ixtlan - You've barely scratched me! Do you think you can make demands?

Guhner - Ashra, come to my side, we will bring you back through the portal. We can help you.

Ixtlan - She is going nowhere but with me.

Narrator: The battle rages on. Darak and Guhner are nearly beaten, Ixtlan not even a scratch. Ixtlan raises a mighty clawed hand to pierce Darak's heart and finish him.

Ashra - No! Wait! (Ashra steps between the two)

Darak - No! Ash!

Narrator: As the claw enters her heart, Ashra falls to the ground. At the same time, the mighty Ixtlan falls, his heart linked to hers. He crashes to the ground with a thud.

((the two fall down on stage))

Darak - (Darak kneels over Ashra, dying, holding her in his arms. He brushes her hair back away from her bruised and bloodied face. Ashra, what have you done...

Ashra - (Her breath is low and shallow, her voice barely a whisper) I..I am sorry Darak. I just wanted to ... (Her voice trails off into a cough)

(He leans his head lower to hers)

Darak - Ashra, don't speak. Let me heal you. He begins applying bandages and uttering prayers under his breath, trying to stop the bleeding.

Ashra - Your god cannot reach you here, Darak, it is too late. You must go before the portal...

(She sputters as the bandage falls off, blood oozing out from where her heart should be)

Darak - Ashra, I...I love you. It's always been you. Forever. (sobbing)

Narrator: Nothing but silence as his tears fall on to her face. His words hang in the air. She will never hear the words of love that drove her here in the first place. The portal begins to flicker.

Guhner - Darak, we must go, the portal is failing!

Darak - I can't just leave her here. She...

Guhner - There's no time. (he grabs Darak and pulls him through)

Narrator: The portal closes, leaving Ashra alone in the darkness. Ixtlan's massive body nearby.

(*pause for drama, silence*) (A soft laugh emanates from Ashra. She sits up and wipes his tears from her face. Ashra walks to Ixtlan. Ixtlan stirs and stands.)

Narrator: The wound on Ashra now healed, as Ixtlan's heart was never pierced, their link bringing her back.

Ashra - You were wonderful, Ixt. Better than I imagined.

Ixtlan - Your plan was brilliant, little one. He is a broken man, under the weight of his loss.

Ashra - (she takes Ixtlan's clawed hand) Good. Now, where shall we go, my love?

((Ixtlan laughs and opens a portal and the pair step through.))

The End


The Academy of Bardic Arts has printed The Blackest of Rooms in a lovely series of three books broken up by act complete with stage and performer notes.