Tilda and the Witches 4.1

Tachybaptus, Going Postal
Illustrations © Zenobia 2018



A Tavern in Hafnium, a Port City in the Country of Hedera, near the Border of Uraemia.




FELIX: I thought we’d never pass over the frontier,
With Thetan border guards as thick as thieves.
JESSICA: Those bears I made were good.
TILDA:            Indeed they were;
I never saw grown men run off so fast.
VULPECULA: Our scrying glass doth tell me that this tavern
Is oft frequented by our friend Red Kevin;
When he’s in harbour, in he comes most nights.
FELIX: Ho, landlord, bring us five pints of thy best;
We are weary travellers, seeking Red Kevin th’ pirate.
LANDLORD: O, do not say that word among our patrons;
It tends to scare them off to other inns.
FELIX: Here are two ducats for our drink, and more.
Pray tell us privily how to find this Kevin:
We’ve business with him.
LANDLORD:            Ha, ’twixt thee and me
And th’ doorpost, he should be here very soon.
Yet, looking at thy company, ye seem
Not of the sort that most consort with him:
Ye have a certain air of quality
Though ragged and besmeared with dust and mud.
FELIX: Needs must when th’ devil drives, tak’st thou my meaning?
LANDLORD: Say no more, friend, we live in troubled times.
TILDA (to JESSICA): Go easy on that beer, ’tis passing strong.
KEVIN: Ho, landlord, bring a quart o’ sack and a fowl.
We had fine sport today with a merchantman
Laden with jujubes and opoponax,
Mangosteens, bdellium and the sardine stone.
I am in generous mood: here’s twenty ducats.
LANDLORD: I thank you, sir, and run to do your bidding.
Yet ere I go, some folk have business with you.
KEVIN: Where are these folk? Come forward and be seen.
FELIX: Greetings, good sir.
KEVIN:            O, ’tis those bloody women!
One bit me on the hand; I’ve the scar yet.
TILDA: ’Twas done with th’ best intent – of getting away.
KEVIN: I must allow, all’s fair in love and war.
But now, sir, what have ye to say to me?
Most of the time ’tis I who do the talking.
FELIX: There’s lucre in it: may we speak in private?
KEVIN: I like the sound of that, let’s go upstairs
Where common folk hear nothing of our plans.
(They go above.)
TILDA: Kevin, we shall speak plainly. We can give thee
Riches above the wealth of Solomon.
KEVIN: ’Tis music to mine ears, but where’s the catch?
TILDA: Thou and thy men shall have to fight for it.
KEVIN: No problem there, that is what pirates do.
(Enter LANDLORD, with Food and Drink. Exit.)
Ah, I have earned that – a hard day at the’ gunwales.
Here’s to the health of all. Now tell me more.
TILDA: We offer thee the Thetan treasure ships,
All six of them, laden with bars of gold
Piled a yard high.
KEVIN:            Offer? What dost thou mean?
To pick them up like apples from a stall?
We long to take them, but these ships are galleys
Able to row swiftly against the wind.
We never got within a league of them.
TILDA: We’ll show you where they are, within a mile
Or closer when we are in striking distance.
How would it go if thou cam’st up at night
And dropped down silently with no light showing?
KEVIN: How so?
VULPECULA:            Look closely in this scrying glass:
Here’s captain Rottun of the Pestilence.
KEVIN: Well, stap my vitals, there the bugger is!
Where does he stand?
VULPECULA:            Prithee, give me a chart.
KEVIN: Ho, Darryl, bring the chart we bought this morn.
VULPECULA: He’s there – creeping home, hugging th’ coast;
The galley’s almost sinking with that gold.
KEVIN: If thou speak’st sooth, we’d round the cape in days
And cut him off ere he turns south to Theta.
But there’s the rub: the galley is well guarded
And, though we may be bold, we are but few.
TILDA: But we are many: look outside the inn.
FELIX: I offer thee two hundred fighting men
And twenty simply terrifying women,
And thou canst have thy pick o’ th’ best of them.
KEVIN: ’Tis well, and if the women are like those
Who fought my men and me upon my ship,
Then they must be the terror of the world.
But ye must have some interest in this:
One does not offer wealth and men for naught.
FELIX: Nay, indeed, for we truly need thine aid.
The price we ask is succour in our fight.
Our country is invaded; we can do
Little against the goons that grip our land.
But we can take the battle to the Thetans
And hit them where it hurts the most, i’ th’ purse.
So I ask thee to raid the Thetan ports
Aided by all our folk, to carry off
What wealth thou findest; it will not be small.
ETTY: The instruments of torture in their temples
Are solid gold; even th’ cords o’ the racks
Are made of golden wires twisted together.
In the great temple porch at Thurralibad
The Golden Virgin, wherein men are crushed
To please their lord, weighs seven hundredweight;
Even the spikes are gold – and thou canst have her.
FELIX: All that we ask for this in recompense
Is a pirate’s share, according to thy laws,
For each of ours, what thou would’st give to thine.
What say’st thou?
KEVIN:            I say aye, with all my heart.
Pirates no longer, we are privateers
In th’ honoured service of Uraemia.
FIRST PIRATE (aside): Ah, pull t’ other one, it hath bells on it.
SECOND PIRATE (aside): Belay that, lad, for silence may be golden.
KEVIN (to FELIX): We’ll harry them like beagles at a hare,
Unresting till we have them in our grasp;
The nation of Uraemia shall be free!
(Aside, to the PIRATES) And a little gold doth always come in handy.
FELIX: Then I the king shake hands with thee, my friend.
Together we will fight for our common end.
(Exeunt Omnes.)


Text © Tachybaptus 2018. Images © Zenobia 2018.


Audio file