Pyrrha: A Play, scenes 17, 18 and 19

Published August 21, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

For the earlier scenes, see this page.


 

Scene: The chambers of Lycomedes (Dusk)

{The king’s chambers would be ornately decorated, but not heavily furnished.  Possibly not really recognizable as a bedroom in the modern sense.  In fact, it wouldn’t have to be “his chambers,” just a setting where they wouldn’t be disturbed or overheard.}

Lycomedes paces his chambers, muttering angrily to himself. Diphilos approaches the king at a run, and bows low before him.

Lycomedes: You have nerve to lie to me, Diphilos. How shall I punish you for the gross deception you have played upon my fragile heart?

Diphilos: It is not I, sire, who stands in the way of your union with the young lady.

Lycomedes: No, it’s the young lady herself!

Diphilos: Nay, sire, listen to me, I pray you! It is those strangers, the men sent by Agamemnon!

Lycomedes: What? What do you mean by this cryptic accusation?

Diphilos: They both covet her for themselves, and their handsome youth distracts her from the love she truly bears for you.

Lycomedes: Then you think she will restore her affection for me once they’ve sailed off to die in battle?

Diphilos: Not if the queen has her way, sire.

Lycomedes: That blasted woman! Always standing in my way!

Diphilos: But I have a plan, sire. If her two handsome beaus should kill one another, then the lady Pyrrha will have no man but you.

Lycomedes: I doubt the scrawny one could even scratch the son of Telamon.

Diphilos: That way might work even better. If the son of Telamon slays his companion, then you could banish him from Scyros for murder.

Lycomedes: Ah, yes, so I could! But they seem quite friendly. Can they really turn to blows so easily?

Diphilos: Leave it to me, your majesty. The hearts of young men in love are easily manipulated.

Diphilos bows, and leaves quickly.

Scene: The royal garden (Night)

Pyrrha sits on the bench, looking forlorn. Deidameia enters, walks up to her, and scowls at her, crossing her arms.

Deidameia: What are you doing? I’ve been waiting forever for you to come to bed!

Pyrrha: You know, ‘forever’ is actually a very long time. You shouldn’t use it so lightly.

She laughs bitterly.

Pyrrha: Sometime, you should ask my mother about what ‘forever’ really is. She knows better than anyone.

Deidameia: Well, if you’ll finally introduce us, I’ll be sure to do so. Unless you’re planning on settling down and being a good wife to your new betrothed?

Pyrrha scowls.

Pyrrha: Don’t even joke about it.

Deidameia: Then tell my father the truth at last!

Pyrrha: I can’t! I promised my mother!

Deidameia: Is your foolish promise more important than my honor?

Pyrrha gets to her feet angrily.

Pyrrha: What a stupid question! My promise is my honor. And that’s worth far more than yours.

She starts to go inside.

Deidameia: Do you really think you have any honor left after this charade?

Pyrrha stops cold, and glances at Deidameia over her shoulder.

Pyrrha: (menacing) There’s just enough left to be worth killing over.

Deidameia makes a frightened, choking noise, stepping backwards. After a short pause, Pyrrha leaves the garden.

Deidameia collapses beside the bench, crying.

Scene: A wide courtyard (Day)

There are guards standing at one end of the courtyard, blocking the exit. A number of courtiers mill about in private conversation. Patroclos enters, and heads towards the guards, stopping just in front of them.

Patroclos: What’s this? Are we suddenly no longer allowed to leave the palace?

Guard: Forgive me, but it’s the king’s orders. No one is to leave the palace until we’re ordered otherwise.

Patroclos: Why not?

Guard: We weren’t told why. We don’t need to know that.

Patroclos sighs.

Patroclos: A walk down by the shore would have done me considerable good, but I guess I’ll have to make do with a walk through the palace. This kind of imprisonment is no way to treat a guest, though. Perhaps I should speak to Lycomedes about it.

He walks back towards the center of the courtyard, then stops, scowling.

Patroclos: (sotto) Then again, given what he did to Theseus, maybe it’s best not to risk pointing out what a bad host he’s being.

Aias enters, and walks towards Patroclos.

Patroclos: Hmm? Aias, is something wrong? The look on your face is enough to frighten the dead.

Aias draws his sword. The guards at the gate start backwards in horror, as if trying to hide in the doorframe. The courtiers press themselves back against the wall.

Patroclos: Aias, what are you—

Aias: I heard all about your scheme!

Patroclos: Scheme?! What are you saying?!

Aias swings his sword towards Patroclos, who quickly gets the shield off his back to parry the blow.

Patroclos: Have you lost your mind?! What are you attacking me for?

Aias: I heard about how you tricked the queen into arranging a marriage between you and the Lady Pyrrha!

Patroclos: Tricked? I didn’t—

He stops talking to deflect another blow with his shield.

Patroclos: Aias, listen to reason! I’m not your enemy!

Aias: Fight me, coward!

Patroclos: I’m no coward!

Shifting his shield to one arm, he draws his own sword. The courtiers all run out of the courtyard.

Patroclos: I’d be careful what I ask for, if I was you. You’re not so skilled with a sword as you are with a spear. And you left your shield back on the boat.

Aias: I don’t need it to deal with the likes of you!

Aias swings his sword at Patroclos again, and it is again rebuffed by the other’s shield. Patroclos makes a swing of his own, and Aias has to parry it with his sword.

The duel continues for some time. Aias is slowly losing ground, as he has no shield with which to block Patroclos’ blows, but it does not look like the fight will be settled quickly.

Pyrrha runs into the courtyard.

Pyrrha: What are you two idiots doing?!

Patroclos: Don’t lump me in with him! I’m just trying to stay alive!

Aias: You’ll fail in both your ambitions.

Patroclos: Both?! What’s that supposed to mean?!

Aias doesn’t answer, pressing his attack instead. Pyrrha watches the duel a moment longer, then runs over to the guards.

Pyrrha: And? Why aren’t you stopping them?

Guard: Th-that’s not our job…besides, they’d probably kill us.

Pyrrha grimaces, then spins the guard in place, grabbing his shield off his back. She repeats the procedure with the other guard, then runs in between the combatants, using the two shields to block both their swords.

Aias and Patroclos back off immediately, but don’t put their weapons away.

Aias: What are you doing? You could have been hurt.

Pyrrha: What I’m doing is breaking up a fight! What do you think you were doing?! I thought you wanted to go to Troy and avenge Menelaos’ honor? You won’t be able to do that if you go around killing each other over nothing!

Patroclos: That’s what I tried to tell him, but—

Pyrrha: You were fighting, too!

Patroclos: (weakly) Just to defend myself…

Pyrrha: If it was just to defend yourself, you wouldn’t have gotten out your sword. A shield is all you need to defend with.

Patroclos nods meekly.

Pyrrha: If you understand, then put away your sword.

Patroclos sheathes his sword, and replaces the shield on his back. Pyrrha turns an accusing stare at Aias.

Aias: But…he…

Pyrrha: He what?

Aias: Surely the marriage isn’t really your will?

Pyrrha: Is that what this is about? There isn’t going to be a marriage, believe me.

Aias looks away from her gaze.

Aias: Maybe I was misinformed…

Sheepishly, he puts his sword away, then leaves the courtyard. Pyrrha sighs, and dumps the shields on the ground where she’s standing.

Pyrrha: Do you always need this much supervision?

Patroclos laughs weakly.

Patroclos: Normally, I never make waves. I’m sorry I let him rile me into fighting back. It won’t happen again.

Pyrrha: No, it certainly won’t!

She stomps out of the courtyard.

Patroclos: Wait, please, let me explain!

He runs after her. As soon as they’re gone, the guards retrieve their shields.

Guard: Imagine two big, tough warriors being told what to do by a little slip of a girl like that, and just doing it, without a word of complaint! It’s not right. Not at all.


 

And the next update will be the final two scenes.  (I was wrong earlier when I said there were 22 scenes; there’s only 21.  I mis-labelled them in the Word file, which is weird.)

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