The Poisoned Ground
and the Healer Consort
A Play in Three Acts
By Laurel A. Rockefeller
Adapted from the novella.
© 2017 by Laurel A. Rockefeller
Email: [email protected]
ACT I, SCENE I
ACT I, SCENE II
ACT I, SCENE III
ACT I, SCENE IV
ACT I, SCENE V
ACT I, SCENE VI
ACT II, SCENE I
ACT II, SCENE II
ACT II, SCENE III
ACT II, SCENE IV
ACT II, SCENE V
ACT III, SCENE I
ACT III, SCENE II
ACT III, SCENE III
ACT III, SCENE IV
ACT III, SCENE V
ACT III, SCENE VI
ACT III, SCENE VII
CHARACTERS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
CHARACTERS BY SCENE
NE 1, beinor 4. Palace in Hejing. ANYU picks her way through smouldering wreckage to a small table containing a computer. Picking up a chair and dusting off ash and debris, she sits down.
Computer, begin recording and transmit to coordinates 23978 by 29458 by 5492.
This is Anyu, Queen of Beinan, transmitting to my friends and allies across the known universe concerning the history of my people. In my first transmission, I spoke to you of my foremother Princess Anlei and of the great succession crisis that changed her fate forever, setting the stage for the coming of Lord Yelu and the exile through which we became acquainted. Now I shall tell you a different story, a story of great courage in the face of terror, the story of the healer who dared challenge the corrupt tyranny of King Gareth the First, who sought to stop the plague created by the poisoned ground.
(END OF SCENE)
Act I, Scene I
Strip mine located near Nan-li City. RONEL and CARA ENTER to find barren desolation where once a forest stood. Cara wanders around the stage, scanning the area with her computer.
Why do you weep, Your Grace?
Can you not feel it, Ronel? The air, the land, even the Amba Mederi Ocean from three hundred li 里 away – all that was good and healthy here is gone!
Your Grace, Lady Rachel is expecting you. You did call this meeting with her at the mine, remember?
To verify the reports, yes, of course. When we are done here, I want to meet with Lady Healer Gwyneth of house Gurun at Nan-li Central Healing Centre. She is still head researcher investigating brown-eye syndrome, is she not?
(tapping and scrolling on his computer)
I believe so, yes. Will shir-or 5.25 be convenient?
Make it so!
(Cara continues meandering around the stage as she continues to take her scans. RONAL EXITS upstage right. RACHEL ENTERS centre stage left and makes a gesture of respect as Cara reaches her.)
Welcome to Nan-li, lady abbess of house Ten-Ar.
(returning the gesture of respect)
Thank you for receiving me on such short notice.
Given the public accusations you made on the floor of the Great Hall of the Assembly, how could I refuse?
(Cara walks with Rachel, still taking her readings. Finally, she waves her scanner over Rachel to Rachel’s great irritation.)
What are you doing now?
Running a preliminary health scan on you.
You do not have my permission to examine me, healer. I really do not care that you are the head of the healers of Ten-Ar or what your baby-sitting knights may think. Call them all if you like; the law stands with me on this.
Lady Engineer Rachel, are you aware that you are dying?
Really? What kind of Ten-Arian nonsense is this?
With all due respect, Lady Rachel, recognizing your position as one of house Ana’s representatives on the Great Council, how old are you?
One hundred sixty-eight yen-ars, eighty-nine beinors – why?
You have the body of a woman twice your age. I am detecting early and middle stage cancers across your body’s systems, including two tumours in your brain and the beginning of lung cancer.
I am fine.
That is not what my scans indicate.
What scans? You came here to verify reports you received at the last session of the Great Council!
I head the healers of Ten-Ar, Lady Engineer Rachel. For over fifty yen-ars I have researched and healed countless patients across all strata of Beinarian society.
You know nothing about me – or my people.
We shall see.
(CARA EXITS upstage right as LIGHTS FADE OUT.)
(END OF SCENE)
Act I, Scene II
Nan-li Central Healing Centre. Corridor. CARA ENTERS stage left as GWYNETH ENTERS stage right. The ladies meet centre stage.
You said it was urgent?
I’ve finished my readings at and near the Nan-li argene mine.
Last report there was a thirty percent increase in atmospheric argene and two hundred percent increase in both bilast and dilast.
My readings indicate levels and now much higher. But it gets worse: without her permission I scanned Lady Engineer Rachel of house Ana, the one who keeps fighting Ten-Arian efforts in the Great Council to improve mining safety and protect the health of area residents. Gwyneth … I detected at least six cancers growing in her.
Banumu Hehe help us! I checked her medical records, Cara; there was no evidence of any illness five yen-ars ago when she came in for her last physical.
I have soil, water, and vegetation samples with me for the healing centre lab to conduct comprehensive analysis, proof that our position as healers about the mines is correct: we are on the verge of a major ecological disaster if we do not find a way to stop strip mining operations and restore the forests. Nowhere should there be more than one bilast molecule per billion in our atmosphere. At the mines, the atmosphere is a full five percent bilast – enough to kill anyone not on special breathing gear. But that’s not the worst news.
It gets worse?
The crude on site refining is creating atmospheric argene which is saturating everything. We know from studies conducted by both Ten-Ar and Gurun since the Nan-li mine opened in BE 5300 over two hundred yen-ars ago that direct and unprotected exposure to argene destroys Beinarian helices, creating not just the surge in cancers we’ve both detected, but attacking our very retinal penta-chromatism, destroying two of our five retinal cone receptors.
How can anyone function with only three retinal receptors? Such a condition would make an affected person all but completely blind in our atmosphere.
Creating an epidemic of de facto blindness and creating the sort of massive under-class that could destroy our carefully-built constitutional monarchy. Back at the Ten-Arian monastery we call this disease ‘brown-eye syndrome.’ It attacks the eyes slowly for those newly exposed, but far faster on those born here or to one or more suffers.
Are you saying that with each generation born here and exposed to argene, the condition becomes locked into the helices, moving from generation to generation even after a person or family leaves this area?
Yes. Primarily estimates indicate it may take several generations to fully correct the damage. But surely you know this – your eyes, my friend! You have early stage brown eye syndrome!
I know. But being healers we both know no permanent solution can come without the support of the Great Council. If they will not listen to our data, to the results of over one hundred yen-ars of research – what then? Cara, there are over five hundred eighty-nine thousand residents in Nan-li alone; hundreds of millions more across the north-western region of Xi-Nan Fang where they dig most of the mines – not just for argene, but countless other minerals.
Perhaps the lab will have some answers for us that our training as healers in chief of our respective houses cannot find based on the data at hand.
I will have the lab run analysis right away. Can you stay in Nan-li overnight? I estimate it will take from six to eight shir-ors to run a comprehensive analysis – assuming no critical care patients arrive in the emergency ward.
Can you suggest a nearby lodging establishment with good food?
Lan-xing Ulen is not far away. I understand they offer a rather palatable breakfast buffet, including Belarian waffles.
Belarian waffles? Really? Well then Lan-xing Ulen it is!
(END OF SCENE)
Act I, Scene III
Lan-xing Ulen hotel. Front desk. DROID hovers attentively. RONEL ENTERS stage left. Droid approaches them.
Welcome to Lan-xing Ulen, how may I help you?
Two rooms, please.
We have several room options. What perimeters should I search for in order to find each of you the perfect lodging?
I am Lord Ronel; my mistress is Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar.
Dignitaries from Dong-Bei! Well then, I have a two-bedroom luxury suite available to your mistress for thirty tai-ors per beinor featuring two private bedrooms, a common living room, private access to global communication channels, and access to a small private garden. You are the abbess’ knight protector?
Do you still wish for two rooms or is this suite to your liking?
(offering a payment card)
We will take the suite,” agreed Ronel, offering a triangular payment card to the droid.
(scanning the payment card)
Welcome to Lan-xing Ulen. Please enjoy your stay.
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Lady Abbess Cara finds herself caught up in a royal conspiracy when she journeys to the southern city of Nan-li to investigate a mysterious outbreak of cancers plaguing the city. As the tyrannical King Gareth uses his power to stop her from finding the truth, Cara finds herself caught between love and her loyalties in this thrilling stage adaptation of the Peers of Beinan novella. Perfect for backyard theater, schools, and community theater. Run time: 60-80 minutes.