In Which Edricus Keeps His Options Open
Another day, another sword fight. Open in Cnut’s camp. He’s showing off what a big ol’ stud he is, bragging about everything he’s going to do to Ironside, because these people are men, after all, you know how men are.
Helpfully announced with a roll of drums, Ironside enters. He and Cnut spend a few minutes standing on opposite sides of the stage, bragging about what they’re going to do to each other – see above re “they’re both men” – before everybody draws their swords. Because this is medieval times, and everybody’s got swords. Kind of like Texas that way . . .
Edricus senseth that his big moment has come(th) and jumps in the middle. He says he thinks he’s speakin’ for everybody when he says this whole war thing is gettin’ damn old – he kills your guys, you kill his guys, nobody ever makes any progress. So as Sleazebag sees it – because he doesn’t want to choose the wrong side, not that he’s leveling with anybody but the audience – there’s only two choices. Either y’all be friends, or let the two kings go one-on-one, and see how they like doin’ the bleedin’ personally.
At this point, both of the Queens step in. Egina tells Cnut pack it in, don’t fight him, let’s all be friends and I couldn’t bear to lose you anyway, ya big galoot. Meanwhile, Emma is saying more or less the same thing to Ironside on the other side of the stage.
When the Queens are finished, Ironside and Cnut stop, exchange a look, simultaneously go “Awwww . . .” And after a beat, shake their heads like they’re clearing a brain fog and respond “Naaahh . . screw that,” and the sword fight commence(th).
Well Cnut has chosen a bad strategy, or perhaps skipped one too many fencing lessons, because Ironside puts him on the ground twice in the space of a page and a half of script. With the second defeat, he tosses his sword aside and says “On second thought . . .”
At which point we learn Ironside hasn’t gotten a lot smarter since the last scene. He gives a big grin, helps Cnut up and gives him a big ol’ bear-hug. Then, having about fifteen seconds ago had shall we say quite clearly the upper hand, he says so Cnut, how’sabout we cut England in half, you terrorize one side and I’ll terrorize the other. I’ll even let you pick which side you want. Cool, responds Cnut. At which point Ironside hollers “party at my house” to the assembled armies and he and Cnut leave the stage, “hand in hand” – but in a thoroughly macho way, I’m sure.
We conclude with indications that things won’t be quiet long. Turkillus and Leofric, who we haven’t seen in quite a while, are still a wee bit miffed about Cnut carving up their kids, and they’re still wanting revenge. And Edricus has now decided he hates everybody, and he’s gone from Richard III to full Malvolio, promising to be revenged generally on ‘em all. So on that note . . .