A Dragon is Coming!
Creature of Few Words (Kalliper)
Man with a Huge Book (Book Man)
Lead Crow (cross-cast with Guardian)
Musician (cross-cast with Scientist)
Travelers x 2
Peddlers x 3
Groupies x 4
Trackers x variable
Crows x variable
A clearing along a well-traveled road, running thru an old forest. Unless otherwise noted, all traffic flows the same way, towards the unseen city of Eclesia.
Enter Creature of Few Words and Book Man
Creature of Few Words:
An act of Whimsy have I created
For You, Dear friends, and Dreamers of your Part;
Poesy Lovers, Listening Fated,
Voices of Singers, Whisperers of Heart.
Crafters of Fancies, trafficking Delights,
Seekers of Knowledge, the Heavens to chart,
All come at my Call, to show their Bright Lights
And hie to their places, ere we may start;
So open thine eyes, see this, my first play,
Wand’ring in shadows of letters and Ink,
Tangled in verbiage, a Word Smith’s foray
To reach thru the Eye and make Someone Think.
Hark to my Voice now, and Listen True soft,
A Story we’ll tell, ere my Mask comes off.
Book Man: Where go you with such hurry, Friends?
Traveler 1: Have you heard?
Traveler 2: Have you not heard?
Book Man: Heard what?
Traveler 1: A Dragon is coming!
Book Man: A Dragon?!
Traveler 2: A Dragon!
Traveler 1: A Majestic Beast of Great Fame!
Book Man: Woe, Friends! Should you not hurry backward, then? From whence you came? Surely it’s safer. If a Dragon comes—
Traveler 1: Not that sort of Dragon!
Traveler 2: Faith, No!
Book Man: No?
Traveler 2: Not that sort at all.
Book Man: Does it not shower the heavens, laying waste to Fell Darkness with Glorious Fire?
Traveler 1, 2: Indeed, Sir!
Book Man: Does it not stop Men’s Hearts, striking Dead with Awe all Eyes that dare gaze upon it?
Traveler 1, 2: Indeed, Sir!
Book Man: And does it not rip Asunder the Foundations of State, Razing to Earth statute and farm alike, entombing Culture in the wreckage of its own making?
Traveler 1: No, I don’t think so, Sir.
Traveler 2: Not really. Not at all.
Book Man: Not at All? Not even a little?
Traveler 1, 2: No, Sir.
Book Man: Well. Barring that last, it does the other two.
Traveler 1: Indeed.
Traveler 2: Indeed! And very well.
Book Man: In very Deed. Well, too. Yet you’re not affrighted. A Majestic Beast showers the Heavens with fire, striking Men dead who look on’t, yet you fear it not. Wherefore harbor you this reckless abandon for your skins? This careless boldness to endanger your Life’s Blood?
Traveler 1: We said, Sir. It’s not that sort of Dragon.
Traveler 2: Not that sort at all.
Book Man: What other sort is there?
Traveler 1: It’s an Art Dragon.
Book Man: Art Dragon?!
Traveler 1; Aye, a Dragon of the Artistic sort.
Traveler 2: A Thespian Serpent of great cleverness and wit; Famed from Sea to Shore for grand displays of Pageantry that Dazzle Kings and Strike Dumb the tongues of common men, that ever after they Fail to Speak their minds for wont of delivering Proper tidings. ‘Cross the breadth of Land and Country, ‘tis esteemed, Surely, the most Marvelous Creature ever to Grace Nature’s bower.
Book Man: Is it truly Exalted in such extreme excess?
Traveler 1: Nay. Verily, we fail to do its duty justice.
Traveler 2: Upon my Soul, ‘tis true.
Book Man: Well, it’s impressed you lot, that’s obvious. Where saw you this Marvelously Exalted Serpent?
Traveler 1: Not yet seen, Sir!
Traveler 2: By Heavens, no! Do I not still speak? Had we seen it—
Book Man: You’d be struck Dumb with Wonder. Yes, I remember.
Traveler 2: We’ll be struck Dumb soon enough.
Traveler 1: And you’ll regret mocking, too. For no answer will we give when you ask after what we saw and how we gazed upon it.
Book Man: My loss, I’m sure. So you don’t know what it looks like?
Traveler 2: Not yet, Sir. But soon.
Book Man: How will you know it when you see it, then?
Traveler 1: A better question would be, “How can we not know it?” It is a Dragon, after all.
Book Man: True, true. And where is it coming? Where should I go, should I choose to gaze upon this Marvelous Dragon?
Traveler 2: It’s alighting in the fair city of Eclesia! Not half a day’s journey hence.
Book Man: So close! Were it aught but an Art Dragon, I’d fear for the countryside. How know you it alights there? Does it advertise?
Traveler 1: No! Not in the usual way.
Traveler 2: It doesn’t need to. Everyone’s talking about it already. “The Dragon is on the road to Eclesia!” they say, “We must go see it!”
Traveler 1: So we up’d and off to see it, like everyone else. Surely you’ve noticed the traffic, Sir.
Book Man: Not really. I assumed it was normal.
Traveler 2: He’s not from around here.
Traveler 1: Well, it’s not. This is usually a very quiet forest.
Book Man: I see. No matter. How’s this Dragon called, then? Surely you know that much.
Traveler 1: Indeed, that we DO know!
Traveler 2: It goes by the Grand, Divinely Bestowed title of Calliper.
Creature of Few Words: Kalliper?
Traveler 1: Yes, Calliper.
Traveler 2: Where’d you come from?
Book Man: Oh, that One’s been here.
Traveler 1: This whole time? I don’t believe it.
Book Man: Believe it, Sirs.
Creature of Few Words: Kalliper.
Traveler 1: Yes… Calliper. That’s what I said.
Traveler 2: What’s that Book you’re holding, Sir?
Book Man: This? A Mammoth tome of Marvelous, Exalted Esteem. Filled to bursting seams with Words, Words, and more Words. A veritable tedium of intricately woven linguistic enlightenment and distinguished rhetoric, guaranteed to expand the Commonest Mind of the Commonest Crowd. Care for a look?
Traveler 1: I think we’d best pass.
Traveler 2: Indeed, Sir. Even could I read, we’d miss the Dragon, stopping for such an epic length of study.
Traveler 1: Best be on our way, Sir.
Traveler 2: Aye, we dare not be late for the show.
Book Man: A tragedy to miss, I’m sure. Perhaps another time?
Traveler 1: Perhaps.
Traveler 2: And so we take our leave, Sir.
Book Man: A pleasant Journey.
Creature of Few Words: Kalliper.
Book Man: I dare say, that lot is unlikely to ever See their Exalted Dragon. They don’t even know what it looks like…
Creature of Few Words: They think they do.
Book Man: Aye. And the not knowing of their Not Knowing will be their undoing. Mark my word. I’m always right in this.
Creature of Few Words: Not always.
Book Man: Mostly, always.
Book Man: Look here! Another bunch of merry travelers. Off to see the Dragon, friends?
Peddler 1: Oh, aye. Yes. Off to see the Dragon. Laughs
Peddler 2: Aye, indeed. Dragon, ho! Laughs
Book Man: You’re not hoping to see the Dragon, then.
Peddler 3: Don’t be stupid. There’s no such thing as Dragons.
Book Man: No such thing as Dragons?!
Creature of Few Words: Oh, dear. Takes Book Man’s book and wanders away
Peddler 1: Course not. Dragons are a myth. A Fairy Tale, invented to appease the weak-minded and ensnare the gullible.
Book Man: And you’re neither of those.
Peddler 2: Damn straight, we’re not.
Peddler 3: No pish-tosh of hogswallop and Tom Foolery here. Our minds shall stay safely un-rotted, thank you.
Peddler 1 and Creature of Few Words: Hear, hear!
Book Man: Well, if you’re NOT going to see the Dragon, why are you headed to Eclesia?
Peddler 2: For the Crowds!
Book Man: The Crowds…?
Peddler 3: Aye, the Crowds. Where people think There Be Dragons, they gather in Large Number. And Large Number needs must eat a Large Sum of food.
Peddler 1: For a Large Sum of food, One needs must spend a Pretty Penny.
Peddler 2: And for a Pretty Penny, we hie us hither and thither as the clink and chime of Change calls. For Gold is the traffic of the World, Sir.
Book Man: Gold.
Peddler 3: Aye. And Gold we like in Large Sum.
Peddler 1, 2: Hear, hear.
Creature of Few Words: I dislike Gold in Large Sum.
Book Man: I dislike Gold on principle.
Peddler 3: I warrant, Sir, that’s merely because you haven’t any.
Peddler 2: Aye, those who want Gold, oft scorn the Fortune of others.
Peddler 1: They profess dislike only to hide their craving.
Book Man: Well, that may be—
Peddler 1: Oh, it’s true, Sir.
Book Man: But I count Fortunate my Blood is not yet diseased with this Craving of yours. Though I dare say its hooks are deep in your Hearts.
Peddler 3: Aye. And Deeply welcomed.
Peddler 1: That they are.
Peddler 2: You must be poor, Sir, to speak so ill of Society’s Blood. For where would we be—
Book Man: Society’s Blood?! Such Conceit!
Peddler 2: Where would any of us Be without Gold?
Book Man: I imagine, I’d be standing right here, like I am now.
Peddler 1: Oh, that’s Lack of imagination on your part, Sir.
Peddler 2: Aye, there’re many less expensive places to stand.
Book Man: A public Road in a public Forest? Faith, if there’s a cheaper place, I charge you, show me.
Peddler 3: For a coin, I will. For how did this Public road in this Public forest come to be built, if not thru the spending of Gold by the people it connects? Pay me a Penny, Sir, and I’ll show you a cheaper place to sit.
Peddler 1: He doesn’t have a Penny. Pretty or otherwise.
Peddler 2: No, I dare say he’s flat broke.
Book Man: Oh, I have Gold.
Peddler 1: Tsk, I’m sure you do.
Book Man: But I’m not a Fool. Were I to give the vaunted Penny you profess I lack, you’d hie hither, and set yourself here, like this. For Trees and Grass—
Creature of Few Words: And Rocks.
Book Man: —were here long before this Public road was built. And Men can sit upon them for Free as long as they wish, even up until the Ending of the Earth. And when the World Ends, Friends, all the Gold in Men’s treasuries won’t stay Nature’s hand.
Peddler 3: That may be. But at least we’ll die in comfort.
Peddler 2: Not sitting on a rock.
Peddler 1: Cluttering a Public road.
Book Man: Oh, I’ve upset you. Your Craving dislikes thwarting. I apologize. Here: A Penny for your troubles. Split it as you wish.
Peddler 3: You mock us, Sir.
Book Man: All the more reason to relieve me.
Peddler 2: There’s a catch.
Book Man: No.
Peddler 1: There’s always a Catch.
Book Man: Not this time. On mine Honor, I swear there’s none.
Peddler 3: Honor. Laughs If Dragons did exist, they’d laugh at the idea of such absurdity. Gold knows no such thing. Good day, Sir.
Peddler 2: Good day.
Peddler 1: Pleasant rock-sitting.
Book Man: Good Luck. Your Crowds await.
Book Man: Vultures. Scavengers.
Creature of Few Words: Shame on you.
Book Man: I’m all upset now.
Creature of Few Words: It’s your own fault.
Book Man: Can I have that back? I don’t want this.
Creature of Few Words: Gives book back. Takes penny.
Book Man: Why are they like that? Society’s Blood; As if Men would die should currency’s river stop flowing, eating itself to death like a Great Beast devouring the Tale that Birthed it. It’s an artificial edifice. Why should we cease to breath upon the destruction of an imaginary construct? We lived before Trade. Shall we Die upon its Doom?
Creature of Few Words: Shhhhhh…….
Book Man: I apologize.
Creature of Few Words: There are Others coming.
Book Man: Better, or Worse?
Creature of Few Words: Depends on your Perspective.
Book Man: I’ll look for Better, then.
Groupie 1: Squeals loudy You! Have you seen it!?
Groupie 2, 3, 4: Have you seen it?! Have you seen it?!
Book Man: Seen what?
Creature of Few Words: Hides behind Book Man
Groupies All: The Dragon! The Dragon!
Groupie 1: It’s coming to Eclesia!
Book Man: Is it?
Groupies All: YES!
Book Man: Are you sure?
Groupies All: YES!
Book Man: Which Dragon?
Groupies All: …
Groupie 2: There’s more than one?
Book Man: I would assume so.
Groupie 3: I’d’ve thought we’d’ve ‘eard it if there was.
Book Man: Well, maybe there isn’t.
Groupie 4: Doesn’t matter. What matters is if you’ve seen it?!
Groupies All: Have you?! Have you?!
Groupie 1: I want to take its picture!
Creature of Few Words: Peeks out from behind Book Man.
Groupies All: Squeal loudly Oh, look! It’s so cute!
Groupie 1: Can I take your picture?
Groupie 2: What is it?
Book Man: A Creature of Few Words.
Groupie 3: What’s ‘at then?
Book Man: Just what I said.
Groupie 4: Can it speak?
Book Man: When it feels like it.
Creature of Few Words: Examines Groupies’ cameras while they take photos.
Groupie 1: Have you seen the Dragon?
Groupie 2: I want its signature.
Book Man: Why would you want that?
Groupie 2: To prove I met it, of course.
Book Man: But won’t the pictures prove your acquaintanceship?
Groupie 3: Don’t be silly. Nobody believes pictures ‘ese days.
Book Man: But signatures are believed?
Groupie 4: Not really, no.
Book Man: Then why—
Groupie 3: I want one o’ its scales. Can’t deny those. I’ll frame it an’ stick it on me wall. Wear it in me ‘air. Tuck it in me—
Book Man: Okayyyyyyyy!! That’s quite enough, thank you.
Creature of Few Words: Hides behind Book Man again.
Groupie 4: Oh, look. It’s shy.
Groupie 1: I think we’re scaring it.
Groupies All: Squeal. Cute!!
Book Man: Oh my. Soft, Friends! Would you hear a story?
Groupie 2: Is that what’s in your book? Stories?
Book Man: Yes, indeed. A plethora of Fabulous tales, designed to Sate Appetite and Delight the Senses. A Sensual Feast of Words, wherein our Secret’st Desires are given Shape and Form, tangling Hearts within dark miasmas of Passionate—
Groupie 4: But are they Dragon stories?
Groupies 1, 2, 3: Squeal Dragon stories! Dragon stories! Passionate Dragon stories!
Book Man: No. I’m afraid not.
Groupies 1, 2, 3: Awwwwwww.
Bookman: Not the sort you want, anyway.
Groupie 3: An’ what’s ‘at mean? Do you ‘ave Dragon stories, or not?
Book Man: Well. It’s like this—
Groupie 4: You’re distracting us.
Book Man: I beg your pardon?
Groupie 4: You are, you are! He’s distracting us.
Groupie 1: He is?
Groupie 4: He is! He knows where the Dragon is! He’s keeping it from us!
Groupie 2: No, that can’t be right…
Groupie 4: No, it’s not right! Greedy bastard. He’s keeping it for himself!
Book Man: I assure you, that is not the case.
Groupie 3: ‘En what is the case? Where is it?
Groupie 4: Yeah, where is it? If you’re not keeping it, Prove it!
Book Man: Prove it?! You can’t Keep a Dragon!
Groupie 4: But you are. You Are. You ARE!
Groupie 1, 2, 3: He is! He IS! Dragon!! Dragon!! Show us the Dragon!!!
Book Man: It’s on the Road to Eclesia!
Groupie 4: Everyone knows that! Everyone! Prove you’re not keeping it!
Groupie 1, 2, 3: Prove it!! Prove it!!
Book Man: How?!
Creature of Few Words: Moves in front of Book Man. Tries to shield him.
Groupies All: PROVE IT!! PROVE IT!! PROVE IT!! GIVE US THE DRAGON!!!
Guardian: What happens here? Mark me! I charge you: Desist and Cease! Wherefore create you this Disgusting Scene upon a public road?
Groupies All: He’s keeping the Dragon from us!
Book Man: I assure you, Sir, that’s the Farthest thing from my mind!
Guardian: Back off! Off, I say!
Groupie 1, 2, 3: Prove it! Prove it!
Groupie 4: He’s a Dragon hog!
Guardian: There’s no such thing! Get you gone!
Groupie 4: You’ll be sorry! We’ll tell our friends about you!
Groupie 1: You’ll never keep it!
Groupie 2: Never!
Groupie 3: It’s ours!
Groupies All: OURS!!! OURS!!! OURS!!!
Guardian: Get you gone! Or I’ll whet my Sword on you!
Groupie 4: We’ll tell about you too!
Creature of Few Words: Embraces Book Man with back to Groupies
Groupies take numerous photos of Guardian, Book Man, and Creature of Few Word’s back.
Groupie 4: You’ll regret this!
Guardian: Are you all right?
Creature of Few Words: Are you all right?
Book Man: I’m all right.
Creature of Few Words: We’re all right. And your Perspective?
Book Man: Believe it or no… Still looking for the Better.
Guardian: I apologize for my late arrival. I hastened at the Disturbance, but I’m afeard, I was a ways back for the Hearing of it.
Book Man: Our Deep Gratitude necessitates no apology. Most welcome came your aide; And all the more for being unexpected. A minute longer would’ve seen me devoured.
Guardian: Unlikely. Though they’ve Claws to Tear, truly they’re Sad, Toothless creatures. Surpassing Cowardly. Mere glint of Steel staves them, and these present weren’t the first I’ve sent packing. Nor the twentieth. For Tears they live, and the Pathless trails their Pathless Souls tread are flooded with salt water. Truly, Sir. I pity the lot.
Book Man: Pity them? Why?
Guardian: Even if they did, somehow, by the Grace of Gods, manage to lay their blind eyes on their belovéd Dragon… I dare say it would profess ignorance and hide itself.
Creature of Few Words: Why say you this?
Guardian: Were I a Dragon, and of the gentle sort, as is the Thespian Serpent which supposedly Graces this Road, I would fear to feel the scratches of Blind Hate upon my Gentle Heart. For an Artist bares his Soul to those who would See; And a Great Artist needs must bare his Soul more Nakedly than the Newest babe.
Book Man: You are a philosopher.
Guardian: Nay. I am an Art Lover. And a Shield.
Book Man: Yet I see none. You bear a Sword.
Guardian: Nay, I am a Shield. But sometimes such unprotected creatures need Swords to protect them, too. And thus I bear one.
Book Man: And wield it well.
Guardian: Flattery. You’ve not seen me wield it, Sir.
Book Man: That’s precisely whence my praise comes. The best Sword needs not spill Blood to Show its effect. The Averting of such Fountains is more valuable.
Guardian: I would more saw as you do.
Book Man: We are like-minded, then. Tell us, what brings you here? Aside from diverting Flooded Streams of Tears.
Guardian: Ah. I seek employment.
Book Man: Employment?
Guardian: As said, I am an Art Lover. I would Bare myself, yet regrettably my Talents lie elsewhere. A hard Truth to hold.
Book Man: I imagine ‘tis.
Guardian: But if I may not Bare myself without subjection to the harsh Blush of Ridicule, I would Bear my Sword for the Safe Baring of Others. For my Talent in Blade is no small thing. Thus do I Seek the Art Dragon, that I may Humbly bend my Knee and offer Fair Service.
Book Man: And what is your fee, O’ Fair and Talented Sword?
Guardian: Naught save to Eat and Sleep and watch it Perform.
Creature of Few Words: Offers Guardian penny
Guardian: Nay, truly I seek no payment.
Creature of Few Words: Even freely offered?
Guardian: Even freely. For ever freely do I offer. And thus I must take my leave. There are Crows about, and I Fear they will ‘light upon others like yourselves.
Book Man: Crows?
Guardian: Aye. A Dark cloud, Murdering along the Streets and Byways, whence I came. Their goal is Eclesia, for there the Dragon goes. And Ever look they to Feast upon the trappings of its Passage. Their Beaks are Sharp for the Preying.
Book Man: Are we in Danger?
Guardian: Nay. Your Eyes are warned. And I dare say, your wits are Sharper than their Beaks. Their Approach, thus known, may be Avoided. Look to the skies, Friends, for the Darkness that Heralds their Coming. Hide you, upon the Seeing of it.
Creature of Few Words: I dislike hiding.
Book Man: I dislike Preying.
Guardian: And I dislike seeing Dead those I liked Living. But ordering Others is not in my Nature. Take my Advice as it was given; Freely and without Expectation. Now Farewell.
Book Man: Farewell, worthy Shield. Our Thanks again.
Creature of Few Words: Bows
Book Man: When Darkness comes…
Creature of Few Words: We look to Light.
Book Man: And the Sharp Beaks?
Creature of Few Words: Ever Look we to the Light.
Book Man: Ever Look we to Light. Very well. A worthy creature, that. Well met. Nobler and more Generous of Heart than all the Pilgrims of the World. Were its Shield half its Heart’s size, all the Dragons in the World could shelter ‘neath it. Faith, I hope our Art Lover lives to Shield us again.
Creature of Few Words: Need we Shielding?
Book Man: Circumstance would suggest so, from Time to Time.
Creature of Few Words: Haven’t you a Sword?
Book Man: Frowns, rummages in pocket. Pulls out Quill. I have this…
Creature of Few Words: A Shield?
Book Man: Looks around, then holds up Book. I dare say this Tome’s weighty enough to Masquerade as such.
Creature of Few Words: Shakes head.
Book Man: You’re right. This better plays a Sword, than a Shield; Should a Crow ‘light on me, I’d be more like to Bash its Brain in than be Pecked, for such is the massive Heft and girth of my Exalted burthen that a single, well-momentumed swing would decapitate the hardiest assailant. Mark these arms. Surely they’re as strong as any Sword’s, for they wield a weightier weapon, and are like to greater dexterity for its lack of Balance. Such is the Power of Words that their Bearer strengthens simply by the Fact of their existence. All Hark and Hail unto the Power of Recorded Language! Hail the Written Word! Book Binders, flock ye to the world’s Armories! Swords are obsolete! Your services are needed. Mark you me?
Creature of Few Words: …
Book Man: Not even a mock? Lo! I stand ready to defend!