By the Order of the Red Dragon (Act II)

ACT II

By the Order of the Red Dragon (Act II)

ACT II SCENE 1

THOUSANDS OF STRIKERS ENCIRCLED AND PICKETED THE PIT OF GLAMORGAN COLLIERY IN LLWYNYPIA. 200 METROPOLITAN POLICE ORDERED BY WINSTON CHURCHILL ARE PRESENT INSIDE THE SITE. 10:30 PM, NOVEMBER 7, 1910.

RHYS: (HANDS IN THE AIR TOWARD THE STRIKEBREAKERS)No one is going in. Why don’t you do all of us a favour, turn around and march back to wherever you came from.

SB: This is not your property, you don’t own this place.

RHYS: No, so?

SB: The owners are willing to pay and we are willing to work so it’s not your business.

RHYS: And still, you are standing there all talk.

SB: Because you are blocking the way! But it’s not up to you, is it? Nothing here is up to you. We are legally entering the workplace.

RHYS: Nor can do! Sorry for the inconvenience, but this, is an ongoing struggle of the working class. You either join us, or get lost.

SB: Look, we came all the way and we really need the money, brother, we have families to feed.

RHYS: Don’t we all, brother! And you are taking that away from all of us by doing what you are doing. Have you no self-respect? The wage they pay you couldn’t even fill the gut of half a dog, and you, you toil yourself to live life a half-dead.

SB: Still, half dead and undignified is better than proud and dead. You, all of you, are dead men walking, and particularly you, a martyr of a lost cause, a king without a crown.

RHYS: And you are to follow as soon as we are gone. You and us, are not so different, brother. Matter of fact, I think I will remember to take you with me should things go south.

POLICE: Let them in, Rhys.

RHYS: Look who’s talking. Hired guns, badges with hats, uniforms with batons. Over my dead body, coppers!

POLICE: Maybe them lot will do just that.

RHYS: Yeah? Not if I walk over yours first! Ye pieces of shit. Shame on you, traitors of the working men, Judases who sell themselves out like whores.

POLICE: At least we get paid more than you. What have you got in your coffers? Oh right, nothing!

RHYS: Damn fools! Your time will come, sooner than your hubris soars. They pay you to do their dirty deed today, tomorrow the same deed will be done to you.

POLICE: I don’t think so somehow.

RHYS: You place your trust in somehow? Your ignorance is dumbfounding! Don’t you know, after all, we are all disposable?

POLICE: We will dispose of you in a minute.

RHYS: Yeah? How about now? Bring it on, motherfuckers.

POLICE: Come on in, you chicken shit.

RHYS: No, you come out. Hiding behind the gate, who’s the real chicken? Hmm? Come out and I will bash your face so deep in cow dung you will choke on shit.

EMRYS: (SQUEEZE THROUGH THE CROWD TO THE FRONT GATE) Rhys, something’s up. The guys couldn’t get into the mine to shut it down so they went to the powerhouse as we planned.

RHYS: Yes, either way, we have got to shut this place down. This is their last defence.

EMRYS: But the coppers are guarding the place tight. There was no way to get in there either. The fellas started throwing stones at them, the coppers fought back and the situation is getting ugly fast.

RHYS: Fuck! Stay here Em, I’m going to the powerhouse.

EMRYS: Ay. No problem, I’ll keep them in check.

BLACK-OUT

ACT II SCENE 2

AT THE POWERHOUSE. A PORTION OF THE WOODEN FENCE SURROUNDING THE SITE IS TORN DOWN AND BEING USED AS WEAPONS BY THE MINERS TO BATTLE THE POLICE WITH BATONS

RHYS: Rhi! What the fuck! Rhi! (TRYING TO SQUEEZE THROUGH THE CROWD TO GET TO RHIANNON)

RHI: Rhys? Rhys! I’m here. (RAISES HER HANDS, WAVING IN THE AIR, SIGNALLING HER POSITION)

RHYS: I see you! Coming! (PUSHES HARDER)

POLICE BATONS CHARGE AT RHI AS SHE WAVES AND SHE FALLS DOWN WITH BLOOD ON HER HEAD.

RHYS: No!!!!! No, you fucking don’t! (SCREAMS AND MANAGES TO PUSH THROUGH TO THE FRONT)

ARON AND BRAN PICK UP RHI.

Da, take Rhi home. Bran, come with me!

BRAN: Ay! (MOVES TOWARD RHYS AND HANDS HIM A WOODEN STICK THAT WAS PART OF THE FENCE) Here ya! Hold this! We improvised! (LAUGHS IN MANIA)

RHYS: Nice! That’s handy! (GRABS ON TO THE STICK TIGHTLY) Now, let’s make them bastards fucking pay!

BRAN: Yeah!!!! Yeah!!!!!

MOUNTED BATONS ARE RAINING DOWN ON THE MINERS. AN INTENSE HAND TO HAND BATTLE ENSUES AND ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

RHI: (STILL WAVING A PIECE OF WOOD IN HER HAND, STRUGGLING TO GET BACK IN THE FIGHT) Da, I’m not going home. There’s no way I’m leaving. I am a miner too, I am a fighter! Da! Let go of me!

ARON: No, you are going home alright. Your mother will bloody kill me if anything happens to you.

RHI: Ma’s not here, you fucking let go of me!

ARON: N O spells no! (PULLING RHI BACK HARDER FROM THE CROWD) If you really want to help, I tell you what you can do. Your ma and the other women have been making rolls all day. The hours are getting late, go get some food and drinks, the strikers are getting hungry and tired.

RHI: Ok, you come with me da. I won’t be able to carry everything.

ARON: Nah, your ma and the others will help you. Give us the stick. I still got some fight in me!

RHI: Then be careful, da!

ARON: Always, you know me!

RHI: Ok, be back in a jiffy!

ARON: Go!

RHIANNON RUNS BACK HOME. BLACK-OUT.

ACT II SCENE 3

GAYNOR AND OTHER WOMEN ARE STILL BUSY MAKING FOOD.

RHI: (OPENS THE DOOR AND CHARGES IN) Ma!

GAYNOR: Oh my God! Look at you! What the hell happened to you! (WALKS UP TO INSPECT RHIANNON’S HEAD WOUND)

RHI: It’s nothing! Ma, I need to bring food and drink, and I…

GAYNOR: I know, they are hungry. We will bring everything soon enough. Sit! (GAYNOR WENT TO THE CUPBOARD AND DIGS OUT A FIRST AID KIT)

RHI: Ma, it’s chaos out there. They called in the coppers from London, on foot and mounted ones, with batons!

GAYNOR: Oh God! Where are your dad and brother? (ATTENDING RHI’S WOUNDS)

RHI: (TOUCHES HER HEAD) Ah!!! It hurts!

GAYNOR: Of course it hurts! Your head is bleeding, lass!

SARA: Tea, Rhi. And a roll. You must be hungry yourself.

RHI: Thanks, Sara! Hmmm, yum, still warm! Lee was ok when I left. He was somewhere in the back.

SARA: Thank God! (SIGHS) What have we got ourselves into? (SITS DOWN NEXT TO RHI)

GAYNOR: But there’s no turning back now.

SARA: No, I know. (SHAKES HER HEAD) It’s just…

RHI: What are you trying to say?

SARA: It’s not fair, our men went on foot but they have mounted coppers, beating us down.

RHI: You just gave me an idea!

GAYNOR: You are thinking what I’m thinking, aren’t you?

RHI: You are my ma, what can I say? (SMILES)

SARA: What are you two talking about?

RHI: We are going to bring horses and things that can be used as weapons.

SARA: Weapons? Oh, Jesus Christ! Are we breaking the law?

RHI: Too late for contemplations now. (PUTS HER TEA DOWN) I’m finished. First, we will gather the horses, then we will strap them up with food, drinks and tools. Then we will join our men! And you lot are coming with us! (EYEING ALL THE WOMEN IN THE ROOM)

WOMEN: Ok. Yeah.

RHI: Change into trousers, something you can move around in more comfortably. Wear your man’s if you haven’t got any. Now go home, get changed and we will meet up with you guys here.

WOMEN: (START TO LEAVE) We will be back with tools.

RHI: Yeah, good idea. And it’s getting dark, light the torches and bring them with you!

WOMEN NOD AND LEAVE. BLACK-OUT.

ACT II SCENE 4

A PORTION OF THE STRIKERS HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE STRIKERS AT THE LLWYNYPIA SITE AND DRIVEN TO TONYPANDY SQUARE. THE WOMEN ARE RIDING HORSES AND JOINING THE FIGHT.

RHI: (RIDING A HUGE WHITE HORSE WHILE HOLDING A TORCH IN ONE HAND AND A WHIP IN ANOTHER) Ma! I see Rhys and dad!

GAYNOR: Where?

RHI: There! (POINTING HER WHIP TOWARDS THE CROWD)

GAYNOR: (POINT HER TORCH AT THE DIRECTION WHERE RHIANNON IS POINTING) Oh yes! I see them!

HORSES ARE RUNNING CLOSER TO THE CROWD AND HEADS START TO TURN.

RHYS: (WAVING IN THE CROWD) Rhi!

RHI: (THROWS A METAL POLE TO RHYS) Catch!

ALL THE WOMEN ARRIVE, START UNPACKING THE FOOD AND DRINKS, HANDING OUT TOOLS AND JOINING THE FIGHT. MINERS AT THE BACK START TO EAT AND DRINK AND THEN MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE FRONT WHILE THE ONES IN THE FRONT MAKE THE WAY TO THE BACK.

GAYNOR: (HANDING FOOD TO ARON AND RHYS) What happened? Where are the others?

ARON: The mounted police separated us and we got pushed to town.

SARA: Lee’s still at the pit?

RHYS: Yeah.

SARA: Ok, I will try to get to him and bring the rest of them here.

RHYS: Yeah, we need to stay together. Otherwise, they will take us out in small groups.

SARA: Understood. It’s not going to happen. Wait for me! (RIDES OFF WITH SOME OF THE OTHER WOMEN)

LOUD NOISE AND BANGS, SOUNDS OF GLASS BREAKING.

GAYNOR: What’s happening? What’s that loud sound!

ARON: Sounds like windows are being smashed.

BRAN: (RUNNING TOWARDS THEM) Rhys! They are smashing all the shops and looting everything as they go!

RHYS: No! Imbeciles! Now those bastards are going to paint us into villains and give us a bad name.

BRAN: What do we do?

RHYS: I’m going to stop them! Ma, give Bran something to eat and drink. (POINTS AT BRAN) You can join me after you finished your food.

BRAN: Ay. (GRABS A ROLL AND WOLVES IT DOWN)

GAYNOR: And water. (HANDS BRAN A CUP AND FILL IT UP WITH WATER)

BRAN: Thanks, Gaynor! That’s enough. (TAKING BIG GULPS AND WIPES HIS MOUTH WITH HIS SLEEVE) Gotta go!

BLACK-OUT

ACT II SCENE 5

BOTH SIDES HAVE MEMBERS ON HORSES WITH WEAPONS AND THE FIGHTING AND LOOTING LASTED ALL NIGHT TILL THE NEXT DAY. lOCAL POLICE REQUESTED MILITARY SUPPORT FROM THE WAR OFFICE AND CAVALRY TROOPS WERE CALLED IN FROM CARDIFF. NOVEMBER 8, 1910.

BRAN: Look! (POINTING OUT)

RHYS: Bloody hell! They really did it. They called the fucking troops in.

ARON: Churchill held them in Cardiff in case things gets ugly but for God sake, is this really happening? Troops on domestic soil? On horses, with rifles, bayonets and all.

GAYNOR: What they gonna do? Shoot us? Are we the enemy of the state now?

ARON: This is not on. This is just not on!

SARA: We will see! Wait for me! (RIDES OFF)

BATTLE RESUMED AND WOMEN STARTED POURING HOT WATER AND THROWING HEAVY OBJECTS DOWN THEIR BEDROOM WINDOWS ONTO THE COPPERS’ HEADS BENEATH.

RHI: Ma, look! It’s Sara! Oh my God, she is leading all the kids in.

GAYNOR: Sara, are you out of your mind? They are going to get hurt!

SARA: A miner’s child is as brave as a miner. Besides, monsters as they are, they wouldn’t want to have the blood of the children on their hands.

GAYNOR: True and true. Good thinking, still, let’s hope no harm will come to them. Let them join their mothers.

SARA: Ay. Kids, follow me! (JUMPS OFF THE HORSE AND STARTS LEADING THE KIDS TO THEIR MOTHERS)

MULTIPLE GUNSHOTS ARE FIRED, CROWD STARTS TO PANIC AND DISPERSE

ARON: Oh no! They opened fire! No! No! No!

EMRYS: Rhi! Rhi!

RHI: Emrys! Here! (WAVES HER HAND)

EMRYS: Rhi, Aron, Gaynor! Rhys, he’s been shot!

GAYNOR: No! Where is he?

RHI: Is he still alive?

EMRYS: Yeah, but it’s bad!

ARON: (STANDS UP IMMEDIATELY) Take us!

EMRYS: Yeah, come, this way!

THEY ARRIVE AT THE SPOT WHERE RHY LIES IN A POOL OF BLOOD. WHILE THE CROWD WHILE ARE STILL IN SHOCK THEY PUSH BACK TO GIVE THE DRAGOS SOME SPACE. RHYS HAS BEEN SHOT IN THE CHEST AND IS DRIFTING IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

GAYNOR: Son! My son! Oh no! Oh no! (HOLDS RHYS IN HER ARMS AND CRIES)

ARON: Son! Da’s here! I’m here, my son. Son! Can you hear me? (LOOKS UP) How can they do such a thing?!

RHI: (KNEELING NEXT TO RHYS) Rhys, stay with us! We are gonna get you home and fix you. You will be ok. Rhys. (GRABS RHYS’ HAND)

RHYS: (SMILES) It’s too late. (COUGHS BLOOD) Fight… on… (HIS HANDS DROP)

A LOUD SHRIEK ESCAPED GAYNOR’S CHEST AND SHE COLLAPSED. SUDDENLY, RHIANNON STARTS TO SEE RED MIST RISING IN HER EYES AND SHE FEELS HER BODY IS ERUPTING FROM UNDER HER SKIN. SHE LOOKS DOWN AND REALIZES SHE WAS RIGHT. SHE TRANSFORMED INTO A COLOSSAL RED DRAGON.

CROWD: (EVERYONE STOPS FIGHTING AND LOOKS UP) Look! What is that!

MINER #1: A giant!

POLICEMAN #1: A monster!

CHILD #1: A red dragon!

THE RED DRAGON STANDS UP AND RISES ABOVE THE TREES AND BUILDINGS. SHE EXTENDS HER MONSTROUS WINGS KNOCKING THE ROOFS OF NEARBY BUILDINGS OFF AND BLOCKING THE SUN. SHE THUMPS ON THE GROUND LIKE AN VIOLENT EARTHQUAKE BREAKING THE EARTH UNDERNEATH HER AND IN ONE POWERFUL PUSH, SHE TOOK OFF INTO THE AIR. SHE ROARS WITH DEAFENING SOUND AND BREATHES FIRE ONTO THE POLICE. THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THE TIME TO SCREAM AND INSTANTLY TURN INTO SOOT.

ARON: (HOLDS GAYNOR’S HAND) My dear, am I hallucinating? Are you seeing this?

GAYNOR: Yes. Our daughter is a red dragon. (SHE PUTS HER HAND IN HER POCKET AND TAKE OUT A SMALL RED SHELL-LIKE OBJECT)

ARON: What is that?

GAYNOR: A dragon scale, dear, a red dragon scale.

ARON: You knew?

GAYNOR: Yes. She transmuted right after birth. Scared the midwife shitless. She had to take some tonic to calm herself down. But she convinced herself she was hallucinating anyway.

ARON: And it never occurred to you to tell me?

GAYNOR: I thought I was hallucinating too. I never expected she would transmute once again. I have always had this feeling that neither I or the midwife was hallucinating that day but I didn’t want to sound crazy. Now, we know for sure.

ARON: But how?

GAYNOR: I think I know. I eat an ostrich omelette 9 months before giving birth to Rhi. I always wondered if ostriches lay their eggs in caves, now I think it was a dragon egg.

ARON: Oh yeah, the egg. (NODS) So, what is Rhi?

GAYNOR: Magic, dear. Rhi is magic! (TUGS HIS HAND)

THE RED DRAGON CIRCLES IN THE AIR FOR A LITTLE WHILE THEN FLIES OFF AND DISAPPEARS ON THE HORIZON.

ARON: (LOOKS UP) Where is she going? Should I go find her?

GAYNOR: She will be alright. Besides, you wouldn’t know where to look. Let’s get our boy home. (BENDS DOWN AND TRYING TO LIFE RHYS’ BODY UP)

ARON: (BENDS DOWN AND HELPS GAYNOR TO LIFT RHYS’ BODY UP ONTO A HORSE) Let’s go home.

BLACK-OUT

ACT II SCENE 6

MERERID WALKS IN A DARK CAVE WITH A TORCH IN HER HAND. SHE SEES RHIANNON LYING ON THE EDGE OF A LAKE IN HUMAN FORM. MERERID GATHERS SOME TWIGS AND WOOD AND STARTS A FIRE NEXT TO RHIANNON TRYING TO WARM HER UP. RHIANNON IS SLOWLY WAKING UP.

RHIANNON: Where is this? Mererid? Is that you?

MERERID: (TURNS AROUND) Rhiannon, you are awake. Welcome to Avalon! I told you we would meet again.

RHIANNON: Avalon? The island Arthur went after the battle of Camlann?

MERERID: Ay, one and the same. Are you warming up, my dear?

RHIANNON: (LOOKS DOWN AND SEES STEAM RISING FROM HER BODY) I’m naked! How on earth? (LOOKS SHOCKED AND COVERS HERSELF WITH HER ARMS) But yes, I’m feeling warmer, thanks for the fire.

MERERID: It’s no trouble. If I put clothes on you when you were still wet, you’d get a lot colder a lot faster. Now you are dry, here, put these nice dry clothes on. It’s cold, they should keep you warm in this weather. Do you remember how you got here?

RHIANNON: (PUTS THE CLOTHES ON AND TOUCHES HER HEAD) A bit fuzzy, but, I, uh, I’m not sure. It doesn’t make any sense.

MERERID: (ADDING MORE WOOD TO THE PILE) No, but do go on anyway.

RHIANNON: Was it a dream? Or was it real? I couldn’t tell anymore. My senses dumbfound me. If it was a dream, it was so vivid. I dreamt I was flying in midair while the earth burned beneath me. It felt so real it was palpable.

MERERID: It wasn’t a dream. You were flying. That’s how you got here. No one ordinary can cross over Morgan’s mist. You are the red dragon.

RHIANNON: The red dragon? You mean literally that I’m a dragon? Oh no! That can’t be true. (SHAKES HER HEAD IN DISBELIEF)

MERERID: (LIGHTS UP A TORCH FROM THE FIRE AND POINTS IT AT THE BACK OF THE CAVE) Look behind you.

RHIANNON: (WALKS TO THE BACK OF THE CAVE, COVERS HER MOUTH WITH HER HANDS IN ASTONISHMENT) Are these?

MERERID: Ay, animal carcasses, mostly sheep and cattle. All that flying takes a lot of energy, you were hungry.

RHIANNON: It starts to come back to me, yes, I think I remember some parts of what happened. They are, um, quite fragmented. But if it was true then did I kill people? Coppers? I did, didn’t I?

MERERID: Indeed. But they killed your brother. I heard it on the radio. That’s probably what provoked you to change.

RHIANNON: You knew I could change form?

MERERID: I saw it when I first met you. You and the red dragon, you are one.

RHIANNON: (SHAKES HER HEAD IN DISBELIEF) No, no, no. Tell me this is all just a nightmare. It’s not supposed to happen like this.

MERERID: Supposed to?

RHIANNON: It was just a miners’ strike, that’s all. People might have got hurt but nobody was supposed to die, not like that. Not the coppers, not Rhys. O, Rhys, my poor brother! (BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS)

MERERID: My condolences. What happened to your brother was a tragedy. I understand it is a woeful time but you need to forgive yourself for it was not your fault. One way or another, everyone eventually dies. If it’s of any consolation, your brother did not die in vain. His death has woken the red dragon.

RHIANNON: But Mererid, I took those coppers’ lives. I burnt them alive right to the ground, untied their unfortunate souls and scattered them into the violent winds in all directions.

MERERID: So I heard. But child, life is but a fleeting dream. And their dreams ended when a bigger dream manifested itself into reality. It could not be helped. You had to burn the old down in order to make way for the new.

RHIANNON: What bigger dream?

MERERID: The foretold tale of the red dragon that will one day return and breathe life back to this land. My child, you are the bringer of new life, the harbinger of a new dawn. Turn your sorrows into strength, brace what’s yet to come, we still have much to do.

RHIANNON: To do what?

MERERID: What were your brother’s last words?

RHIANNON: (PUTS HER HAND ON HER FOREHEAD) I remember he said, fight on.

MERERID: And that’s what we shall do.

RHIANNON: Fight with what? They have guns and cannons and what not!

MERERID: You. You are a dragon, remember? You will be the instrument of the creator, the voice of the people, the guardian of millenniums to come.

RHIANNON: But I’m back in human form and I’m not sure I can do it again.

MERERID: You can and you will. In time, you will get better at it, but you need practice. I imagine a new body that size must be quite disorientating to control and get used to.

RHIANNON: But how do you know?

MERERID: I’ve done it before. Once, a long time ago.

RHIANNON: Wait, you mean this has happened before?

MERERID: Ay, I trained the dragon named Tarran that laid the egg which became of you.

RHIANNON: I was hatched from an egg?

MERERID: Not quite, you were born to your mother after she consumed the egg. It was not her fault, she was foraging and came upon it. I guess it was fate. She must have thought it was a large bird egg of some sort.

RHIANNON: What happened to the other dragon Tarran? The one to whom I relate in blood?

MERERID: She’s here. She saw you flew in and brought me here.

RHIANNON: (EYES WIDE OPEN IN EXCITEMENT) She did?

MERERID: Ay, and she will help you learn the skills you need to manoeuvre your winged body. But before that, we need to see the King.

RHIANNON: The King? Do you mean THE King? Arthur Pendragon?

MERERID: (NODS) Ay, that Arthur it is.

RHIANNON: So Arthur lived?

MERERID: Arthur never died.

RHIANNON: Really? All this time! How?

MERERID: After Arthur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlann, Morgan took him here and healed him using the Holy Grail.

RHIANNON: The one he retrieved from Annwn.

MERERID: Ay, the fountain of youth, happiness and eternal abundance.

RHIANNON: So he looks…

MERERID: Ay, handsome as a man can be. A crown of golden, two pools of blue and a body chiselled out of the purest diamond.

RHIANNON: Can’t wait to see him!

MERERID: He can’t wait to see you either. Didn’t want to intrude while you slept so he told me to inform him as soon as you are awake.

RHIANNON: That’s great! I’m ready!

MERERID: Grand! Shall we go now?

RHIANNON: Lead the way!

BLACK-OUT

fantasy
 Et Imperatrix Noctem
Et Imperatrix Noctem
Read next: Understanding the Collective Intelligence of Pro-opinion
Et Imperatrix Noctem
See all posts by Et Imperatrix Noctem