Act I Scene I
Andrew, alone in the castle tower of his ailing father, King Alfred, just after killing his older brother Henry, heir apparent to the throne.
Andrew: “Hark, who goes there? Present thyself that thee be made of substance and not of mind." Nothing answers but the sound of a tormented wind beyond the castle's walls. "Yea not a word comes forth but the torment of tongues wetted by my brother’s blood.” Andrew wipes his bloodied dagger upon his crimson cloak. “Show thyself in proof that hell is empty, all souls here to condemn me my brother’s death.”
An off stage Voice speaks: “If seeing be your forbearance than it shall be withheld. I am not legion as you suspect. Yet many phantoms guide my tongue.”
Andrew: “A hound loosed from hell! Alone!" Andrew laughs.”Are your mere words deigned to frighten me? A guillotine blade must be weighted with more than aerial vapors to condemn me.” He laughs again.
OS Voice: “It is not words that censure, but by your own hands that judgment is made corporeal.”
Andrew: “True my dagger drips fresh with my brother’s blood. Surely it is the trail that led you to this chamber. But both shall be washed clean. Do not entertain your incorporeal words have power over my destiny.” He tries to fling the dagger from his hand, but it will not release.
OS Voice: “Blood has a conscience that washing will never clean. The trail of blood dripped from your brother’s corpse cannot be washed away. The dagger in your hand joined sinew to sinew. Its blade now pointed to pierce and kill in vain the memory of your deed.”
Andrew, still trying to fling the dagger from himself, despair showing upon his face: “What enchantment has manacled me! Your Voice disarms. Deception crouches in its lure, coiled to spring its dooming ruse. I will not listen!” He covers his ears with his hands, the blade of the dagger gouging his head; blood begins to drip from the wound.
OS Voice: “Hark! Hindered footsteps approach. Led here by the bloodied path to your door. Nay not a hound of hell but of justice blinded by grief servant to paternity.”
The chamber door opens. Enter King Alfred: “My son, my son. What is this that you have done?”
Andrew: “Father, my hand is pale.” He presents his hand holding the dagger, now wet and mingled with his and his brother’s blood. Blood drips and trails into his eyes from his wound, blinding him. “See with your own eyes, Father. My hand is virginal and unstained. It is only the Voice that accuses and makes apparent what is not there. Do not listen; it will enchant you to believe its lies. ”
King Alfred, takes the bloodied hand, holds it to his face and begins to weep.
OS Voice: “Your father weeps. Blood will have blood.”
Andrew “Surely, my father will not kill me.”
King Alfred: “Nay, I will not slay you my son. I weep that you are the shadow of your father. In all solemnity I prayed Poseidon’s oceans wash my own brother’s blood from my hands that I might be King; but the blood remained and now its incarnadine mark stains you. “
Andrew: “Then we shall smear the blood elsewhere, that blame be misdirected.”
OS Voice: ”The dagger in your hand, slick with murderous gore, will not be freed by deception.”
King Alfred: “Your brother’s soul cries out for vengeance, as does my brothers. The voice will not be silenced by trickery.”
Andrew “Then I shall learn to live with it, as one does the howling of winter winds. As you have done.”
OS Voice: "Blood will have blood."
King Alfred nods his head: “The day will soon come when you cannot weep for the death of one son because of the act of the other silhouettes your past sins so completely. “
Andrew “To be King, the payment is but a small penance.”
King Alfred: “And so thought I until now in that I cannot weep for one son’s death that the other may be spared to carry on my legacy.”
Andrew: “So be it.”
End of Act I Scene I
"Blood will have blood" is an archaic saying meaning that blood is a continuous system in a family. A heritage stating the sins of the father are often visited upon his lineage.
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