Saturday, August 10, 2013

Echoes S01E01: introduction of Mikael, Almira, Vassily, and Nikolai (part 01)

as recorded by archivist Nikki

This is done in script format, as were the latter documents for the The Court Adamantine game sessions.

PC Speakers in Bold
NPC Speakers in Bold + Italics

CITY OF VESPER, WESTERN GANYM

THE FOUNDRY

MAGANOV
Some of the seniors-- including myself-- have been observing your work, and as a result of our evaluation, I am prepared to offer you a full fellowship. You would be a junior; you would have tenure. Is this something that would interest you?

MIKAEL
Of-- course, Senior. I would be honored. But I have not yet presented my--

MAGANOV
The prince of Vesper spoke to me a fortnight ago, and he brought up the need of Vesper's military to improve its steam weaponry-- so I thought of you. Once you are a junior under my guidance, you see, we can turn you away from these little dynamos to improve wheat production and the plight of the poor and whatnot, toward creating turbines that will make steam shots faster and more fatal...
Senior Maganov continues rattling on about the military technology they will develop.

MAGANOV
... Vesper, rising to be the city among cities, with the Foundry in prominent--

MIKAEL
But also-- if you will allow me, Senior-- the efficiencies I am proposing on the civilian side would uplift the entire city. A well-fed army is, of course--

MAGANOV
That may be, but that is not at all what the prince is requesting. In fact, in one month, he requires a demonstration, to which I agreed. Your mind is brilliant.

MIKAEL
I-- I would not really-- It is not really--

MAGANOV
Your mind is brilliant, like mine. And with my guidance, our brilliance will shine, and the prince will look upon this brilliance and give the Foundry its due, and it will be because of you and because of me. Hmm? All you have to do is sign here.

MIKAEL
This is such an honor, Senior. May I have an evening to consider it?

MAGANOV
(laughing)
What is there to consider? This is a fellowship, with me as your mentor. The last junior I mentored went on to win the Zenith award... You will be grateful as well.

MIKAEL
(seeing no way out of it)
Where do I sign, Senior?

Everything goes black.

THE OPERA

ANYA
Just what did you think you were doing?!

ALMIRA
I was singing... because you forgot the line.

ANYA
I did not forget! And even if I did, a simple cue would have sufficed. You sang. The entire. Fucking. Aria!

ALMIRA
Did we not get a standing ovation?

ANYA
That was my part! And if you want to stay in the company, you will remember that your part is in the chorus, Chorus Girl!

ALMIRA
Excuse me, but when was the last time you had a standing ovation?

ANYA
We had standing ovations in all the last three cities!

ALMIRA
Excuse me, but those were never for this aria, always after a chorale.

ANYA
Are you actually so delusional as to think that everything-- that you-- that--?
(shouting)
Get out!
The Hallway Outside Anya's Dressing Room - immediately

CHORUS LEADER
Don't worry, I'll defend you, but I hope the lesson has been learned, all right?

ALMIRA
Oh, I'm sure she did.

In the very next performance, The Incident recurs, only more stunningly than before. Anya, glaring at the chorus girl, is so incensed that she forgets the very same line. Almira graciously allows her a chance to recover before singing the line, the aria, the lead in the succeeding counterpoint, the alto role in the next verse, and, finally, the mezzo-soprano crescendo, since Anya, utterly discombobulated, flounders off-key. Anya stops singing-- and physically attacks!

ANYA
(shrieking)
Stop iiiiittt!

Everything goes black.

THE HOUSE OF IRINOVITCH

After receiving most alarming news from her brother Vassily, Vassily has run to get support from their brothers Vassily, Vassily, Vassily, and Vassily. Drama, naturally, follows.

ENTREMETIER VASSILY
She is not worth it! Kalvada is not even among the Five Houses; they are only after you for your skills. What makes you imagine this girl loves you?

ROTISSEUR VASSILY
She gave herself to me! You would have to kill me to keep me from her side.

POISSONIER VASSILY
Fine, then!

FOUR VASSILYS
(separating the two and wresting knives out of hands)
Vassily!

PATISSIER VASSILY
You see, she commits one of the worst of sins, turning brother against brother!

GARD-MANGER VASSILY
And that Sonja has a face like spilled paprika!

SAUCIER VASSILY
And they are going to make you work with third-grade beef!

Despite these dire imprecations, Vassily is not to be swayed, and soon makes his regretful but determined last goodbyes. The remaining siblings curse, grumble, and/or sulk, UNTIL:

ENTREMETIER VASSILY
Enough. We are cooking for the second prince tomorrow night. We need to plan, and decide who is going to take over the meat station. I propose myself.

Patissier Vassily appears to redouble the fervor of his constant praying.

ENTREMETIER VASSILY
Nothing less than the best for the prince, and it is known that he prefers meat.

POISSONIER VASSILY
Yes, so perhaps we might prepare a cold meat course! I'm sure Vassily could--

GARD-MANGER VASSILY
I certainly could, or Vassily could do a braise, or a stew, maybe a borscht--

ENTREMETIER VASSILY
No. Listen to me-- stop that praying!-- this is a prince of the land, and so we are going to prepare the roast that all know is his preference, and I will do it, and no one is going to mention the name of Vassily again! Are we clear? This is our--

SAUCIER VASSILY
You cannot make a roast!
(into the dead silence that follows)
I am sorry, Vassily, but you cannot make a roast, not to the standards you, yourself, have set for our house... None of us can, not in just one day.

ENTREMETIER VASSILY
I. Can do. A roast. Can I not, Vassily? Vassily? Vassily?

SAUCIER VASSILY
(after another silence)
Am I the only one with balls in this kitchen?!

PATISSIER VASSILY
She's right.

Vassily stomps off, but later comes back. Non-apologies are exchanged, harmony is restored, and the menu is revised. All seems to proceed swimmingly, even when it is discovered that the prince's dinner is in fact a sort of contest-- against, of course, the House of Kalvada.
 

Things become even more fraught when the eldest Vassily is revealed to have been poisoned, and his course-- the soup-- happens to be the one requested for tasting by the prince. Vassily takes over the soup, bitterly informs the estranged Vassily what she believes his new family has done, and flounces off to present the soup for comparison with that of their rivals.
 

Everything goes black.

THE ROYAL RESIDENCE

ROYAL NIECE
If one applies the critique of reason, on a point-per-point basis, the differences in philosophy are not so extreme as to merit such a response. This entire war-- Perhaps it was an error of the Patriarch to declare the other Church heretic.

NIKOLAI
You must bear in mind that not all-- sadly, in fact, not many-- are often governed by reason. Some differences, however minor, may never be resolved.

ROYAL NIECE
Then it would seem our Church must go.

NIKOLAI
(after a brief pause)
I would not stifle the questions of youth-- and intellect-- and these are questions I struggle with myself. But I would not repeat such a statement, outside this room.

ROYAL NIECE
Is it a wrong path of thinking, Tutor?

NIKOLAI
Is there such a thing as a wrong path of thinking? But it is a dangerous path.
Nikolai's discussion with the smarter of his two pupils is interrupted by Vesper's elder prince, her uncle. The niece respectfully excuses herself, giving the men privacy to converse.

ELDER PRINCE
I think-- this is between us-- that even if my impending marital arrangements push through, I will beget no issue. And my brother Anatole-- well, let us just say that his interests lie elsewhere, which makes my niece our heir. Your responsibility is thus magnified, and to that end-- though my niece and nephew's progress has been more than satisfactory-- I have retained a second tutor.

NIKOLAI
That is wise. I would welcome such support.

The new tutor is summoned and introduced, and the prince departs, leaving them to become acquainted. The woman closes the doors and windows-- following which, they kiss!

MAGDA

Congratulate me; it took a year to secure your position; it took me three weeks.

NIKOLAI
I see your competitive spirit is as fiery as ever.

MAGDA
I've instructions: the younger prince is to be the lone prince-- in two nights' time.

NIKOLAI
She is friendly to our cause. This may change things.

MAGDA
Out of deference, I concede the lead.

AT NIGHT, the tutors make their way to the girl's chamber, easily avoiding the already-known guard patrols. While Magda stands watch, Nikolai approaches the sleeping target.

Everything goes black.

THE FOUNDRY

MIKAEL finds himself-- literally, he does not recall how he came to this position-- in front of an audience, delivering a lecture on a new steam-powered rifle, which he finds brilliantly innovative, notwithstanding the fact that he apparently designed it himself.
 

Everything goes black.

THE OPERA

Almira finds herself in a locked room, brandishing a knife over a bound, gagged, and wounded Anya. Horrified, she drops the knife and backs away. There is a pounding at the door.

ALMIRA
This is not what I would do. I don't-- I don't need to-- I am bigger than this!

Everything goes black.

A ROAD

Vassily finds herself on horseback, riding madly through the night.

VASSILY
Where is the prince? Why am I here? Hello? Hello!

Nikolai rides toward her, bleeding. Almira and MIKAEL also ride up. Everything goes black.

A HOVEL

Almira finds herself gently touching Nikolai's bandaged arm, while Vassily makes soup, and MIKAEL checks on the four horses tethered outside. There is a table with some notes on it. Nikolai picks up a paper, which reads: 1) Find Idhira, 2) accounting of acquired Components.

MIKAEL
Excuse me, do you know how we got here?

NIKOLAI
Do I know you?

MIKAEL
No, I don't recall meeting any of you. Have any of you had--?

Everything goes black.

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