[Black screen, NICKís voice over as tympanums beat ominously in the background:
Between the time of the decline of the House of Gaunt and the rise of the sons of York, there was an age undreamed of. Hither came Flux the Fedaykin, blonde-ish of hair (most of the time), doe eyed, sword in hand Ė a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and small breasts, destined to tread the jewelled land of England under her stylish yet affordable footwear. It is I, her chronicler, who alone can tell thee of this saga. Let me tell you of these days of high adventure]
When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies
Don't you want somebody to love
Don't you need somebody to love
Wouldn't you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love
When the garden's flowers, baby, are dead
Yes, and your mind, your mind is so full of red]
19 September 1453
Just before sparrowís fart
(If sparrows farted)
(Which they donít)
(Unless theyíre Australian sparrows)
(Why would an Australian sparrow be in medieval London?)
(Well, they could be visiting relatives in Earlís Court. Or maybe theyíre over for the Ashes)
(A sparrow appears on screen and appears to be in the process of bearing down)
(None of that, none of that! I wonít be resorting to toilet humour only 2 episodes in. Now get on with it)
(The sparrow flies off as FLUXís foot lands next to it)
[SCENE: FLUX, NICK and TALBOT move swiftly through London streets in the early morning before dawn. They are wearing long cloaks and keep to the shadows to avoid drawing attention from the night watch]
TALBOT: Come, hurry. The meeting place is only two more streets away.
FLUX: Can we slow down? I think I had too much mead last night.
NICK: Yeah, surely we could meet at a more convenient time for this, say, after breakfast.
FLUX: Or just coffee. God! COFFEE! We so need to invent the double macchiato with lemon twist.
NICK: I still donít understand why we had to meet so early and what the rush is all about.
FLUX: Couldnít this have waited until later. I really am not at my best this time of the morning. Or in fact any time before noon.
TALBOT: Look, are you going to allow me to do the exposition or not?
NICK & FLUX: Sorry.
TALBOT: The future of England rests on a blades edge today. There is much to be done today if we are to turn it to a path of our choosing, and not lose all in the process. Hurry, or the White Roses will be starting without us.
NICK: Yeah, and whatís up with the names. Red rose, white rose, they all smell the bloody same. Oh, I said bloody. Help Flux, I think Iím turning English!
FLUX: Will you stop it! (hits NICK on the back of the head as they move stealthily along) (to TALBOT) I still donít understand whatís so important about today.
TALBOT: Well, if you stop interrupting the exposition, we could finish the scene setting and move on to the fun action bits. (NICK & FLUX nod obediently) For generations, England has been torn between two lines of descendents from Edward Longshanks. At different times, one side has been dominant over the other, only for fortune to then reverse the roles. And the great, and not so great, families have chosen their factions to further their own grievances against their local rivals, as have I. For the last three kings, the Lancastrians have ruled and we Yorkists have suffered for it. Now, the wheel is hopefully about to turn again. Today. At the Regency Council. If we can convince the people that the future lies with my Lord Edward of York.
NICK: I still donít understand why we have to come along.
TALBOT (to NICK): Lord York has asked to meet you. He apparently has need of your medical skills. (gesturing to FLUX) And I have seen what happens to men who leave your friend out of the picture. And for Godís sake, donít tell them your name.
NICK (interjecting): Because any thing with a Mc will antagonise the Northerners. You will become the McFly in the ointment.
FLUX: But thatís not even my real name. I keep telling youÖ
TALBOT: It doesnít matter. And DONíT let them know that you are a woman. It is strange enough that you travel so freely let alone Dr Brown treats you as an equal. The only use for women is the size of their dowry and the number of sons they can produce.
FLUX: Any lip, and they wonít be having sons anytime soon.
NICK: Lord Talbot is right, Flux. We donít want to draw attention to ourselves. Letís just sit and watch quietly for a change.
[SCENE: Dimly lit but large room packed with an audience of men dressed in sombre cloaks, arrayed before a long table with a committee of three facing them. Edward of YORK sits in the middle of the three, chatting quietly with them as there is a general buzz of murmuring around the room. ]
[TALBOT, FLUX and NICK enter, TALBOT handing a white rose to the man on the door, just as YORK calls the meeting to order.]
YORK: Ey up, luds.Tah títhysel fuh cummit downt tuht tun tiddy. Wiv mooch to coíer while tímeetun wi tíLards o tíReyjunsay. Afore wístut, as ennyun uv awt tísae.
(confused looks around the room)
(YORK clears his throat and spits out a large wad of phlegm)
Sorry about that. I was meeting a few of the local constituents last night. Got a bit carried away with the moment. Now where was I? Oh yes. Thank you all for coming this morning, brothers. Now as you are awareÖ
(YORK notices TALBOT, NICK and FLUX as NICK stumbles over some feet of the audience as they try to find a seat)
Yes, Lord Shrewsbury, bring forth the newcomers.
(TALBOT, NICK and FLUX change direction, again disturbing the audience as they go back out, and then up to the table at the front)
TALBOT: My Lord York. Let me introduce Doctor Brown who administered his medical arts to restore my health of body and valiantly supported me against the many travails encountered in France to mend my wracked soul.
YORK: Doctor Brown. Lord Shrewsbury has already told me much of your skills as a physician. I have a need for your opinion, if you will render me your assistance, in looking at my son, Richard, later. He is not a year old but the doctors fear gravely for his health.
NICK: Well, pediatrics are not my specialty but I will be happy to oblige.
YORK: Excellent. And this isÖ (looking at FLUX)
TALBOT: Ah, yes. (uncertainly) This isÖ
NICK: My manservant, Bob.
TALBOT: Er, Bob Flux, my Lord.
FLUX (interjecting): And Iím not a servant, I am a companion.
NICK: A serving companion. She, I mean, heís with me.
YORK (confused look on face): Right. (does double take between NICK and FLUX) Anyway, Doctor and Bob, I must warn you that we live in perilous times. We brothers of the White Rose are dedicated to restoring England to its great path and end the peril. To that end, there is not a man of us who is not willing to face the peril and lay down his life for the cause.
VOICE from the back of the room: Well, one.
YORK: Alright, all but one of usÖ
SECOND VOICE: And me.
THIRD VOICE: Me, too. I donít want to die.
YORK: Alright, alright. There are a significant number of us who are willing to die for the cause. We have suffered much to date. I myself as a young boy saw my father be beheaded by the Lancastrian dogs.
VOICE from the audience: Bloody kingís favourite.
YORK: What? How does having your beloved pater de-pated make me a favourite.
FIRST Lord (seated to the right of YORK): Look, when I were lad, both my father and mother were hung drawn and quartered before my very eyes.
SECOND Lord (seated to the left of YORK): Luxury! When I were lad, my father was hung drawn and quartered, my mother was raped, then hung drawn and quartered, and all of our sheep seized.
FIRST Lord: They raped our sheep and then they hung drew and quartered them.
YORK: Thatís nothing. Not only was my father beheaded, but they also hung drew and quartered me with a raped sheep, THEN they cut me head off and used it as a football, AND then I had to put my own entrails back in and sew my head back on.
FIRST Lord: And you tell young people this these days and they wonít believe you.
(much nodding of heads and hmmming)
YORK: Right, where were we?
FIRST Lord: Raping sheep?
YORK: No, before that?
SECOND Lord: Perilous times?
YORK: Yes, yes. Now how are the numbers looking for the Council meeting today? William Hastings, bring forth the Roll.
(WILLIAM HASTINGS, a tall, good looking man in his 20ís in courtierís garb steps forth from the shadows with a scroll)
HASTINGS: Well, the sides are pretty evenly balanced. Naturally, Lord Beaufort of Somerset is leading the Lancastrians because of his blood feud with you. Your son in law, Lord Holland of Exeter has joined the Lancastrians because you had his father beheaded. Lord Mowbray of Norfolk is with us because Lord de la Pole of Norfolk wore a red rose to market on Wednesday. Earl Bourchier of Essex is with us which means Earl de Vere of Oxford has joined the Lancastrians in hopes of raping his sheep. Lord Percy of Northumberland will fight either side depending on his mood, and the Tudors will fight everyone who wonít let Wales go. And Lord Neville of Warwick is waiting to see who will win before picking a side.
FLUX: I donít understand.
HASTINGS: I thought I made it perfectly clear. Lord Beaufort of Somerset..
FLUX: Yes, yes. I heard all that. But I donít understand why you are choosing sides to fight each other. Surely there must be another way to resolve whatever started this. I mean what did it all start over.
YORK: Well, we were in the gardens at Temple having an argument over a point of law and I made a perfectly good point when Somerset said Ďdid notí and then he picked a red rose and I picked a white rose and it all flowed from there.
FLUX: What was it about?
YORK: The roses?
FLUX: No, the legal point.
YORK: I donít know. Something about sheep. Look, it doesnít really matter. What matters is that the white roses come out on top for a change.
FLUX: But why are you wasting your time fighting each other. Why arenít you united against the common enemy?
THE ENTIRE ROOM (in alarm): The Scots!?!
FLUX: No, no. The French. I mean we have just come from all this pillaging of your lands in France but you seem to be more interested in who kill whose father here.
FIRST Lord: Or raped sheep.
SECOND Lord: And who raped whose sheep.
YORK: Look it doesnít matter. What matters is who will the parliament choose to control the Regency Council today.
(turning to FIRST Lord)
Reg, whatís the word on the street.
FIRST Lord: Well, if we get up, I expect it will weaken the stability of the country a bit, with some increased risks of revolts but if we can demonstrate that we can run the country better, the mob should settle down over time. And lets face it, we couldnít do a worse job than Somerset. If Somerset holds on, apart from putting our necks on the block, the incompetent governance is likely to raise the risk of revolts anyway but it will please Margaret and therefore improve relations with France.
YORK: Right, so we better get to work on the numbers. I want everyone ready for action today. Keep on your toes for anything. But whatever you do, I want them to make the first move. I donít want to be seen as the aggressor.
[SCENE: YORK, TALBOT and NICK walk along a corridor]
YORK (to NICK)(in a concerned voice): Itís been two years now. Iíve had the best physicians in the land looking at him but the boy still fails to thrive. I was hoping you could offer another opinion. It's not like I really need the lad. I already have 3 strapping sons but it never hurts to have spare. Besides, I donít like to look like a failure. Not good for the image, you know.
NICK: I see. Having sudden Oedipal flashback. (stares off to middle ground) Thanks, dad. (shakes head and turns to YORK) Anyway, back the present. Or the past as it is, I suppose.
(They enter a bedroom, with 3 men gathered around a 2 year old boy, RICHARD, in a cot)
NICK: Anyway, please state the nature of the medical emergency.
1st DOCTOR: My liege, good grace and fairly met, my lord. We were just examining the boy.
(NICK steps forward to feel the boyís glands)
2nd DOCTOR: My liege, who is this man?
YORK: This is DoctorÖ
NICK: Oh lets not worry about names. You wonít be staying long enough for it to matter anyway.
(NICK feels under the boyís armpits. RICHARD starts to giggle)
3rd DOCTOR: My liege, I must protest at this highly unusual practice of touching the patient.
NICK: And how precisely were conducting the examination when we just walked in?
1st DOCTOR: By examining (holds up a chamber pot in front of NICK, YORK and TALBOT) his stools.
NICK (holding his nose and pushing away the bowl): My God, man. You donít look at faeces to make a diagnosis. This isnít the Middle Ages. Oh wait, yes it is. Okay, point taken but still no no to the poo poo.
YORK: So, what is the diagnosis, doctor?
NICK: Well, it isnít lupus. (off quizzical looks from the 3 doctors) Itís never lupus, all right!?! Trust me on this one. Anyway, normally about this time I would order blood works, an EEG and MRI, wait 40 minutes to have a sudden epiphany and a valuable life lesson before wrapping up with a witty, self deprecating remark. (off further quizzical looks from YORK and TALBOT) What? It works for House. Okay, okay, since time doesnít permit for the usual, I will go with Ė nothing.
NICK: Nothing. Thereís nothing wrong with the boy. His glands are normal, lungs are clear, his nervous system responds to stimuli and he is alert and responsive to social interaction. Which Iím guessing he hasnít had a lot of given your loving words as we walked in.
YORK: Richard was born with a withered left arm and leg!
1st DOCTOR: We have been binding his limbs and applying leeches liberally for the last 12 months to treat this most grievous affliction!
NICK: At a hefty fee Iím sure. (to YORK) Look, he may well have been born with one or two limbs shorter than the other. That can happen, depending on how the foetus lay in the womb. But once theyíre born, babies generally even themselves out. And he looks more or less symetrical now. (squints at RICHARD and leans slightly to the right whils adjusting RICHARD's shoulders)
YORK: But he is soÖ. small. The other 3 boys were much bigger at his age.
NICK: Iím sure they were. Its just that some people areÖ smaller than others. And having leeches dropped down your nappy every morning wonít help things grow either. All this boy needs is love, affection and stimulation.
YORK: Very well. (turning to the three DOCTORS) Gentlemen, you are dismissed. (turning to NICK) He is all yours now.
YORK: I am turning Richard over to your care and attention. You shall give him the affection and stimulation and umÖ
YORK: Yes, that. You can give him those things to make him thrive.
NICK: But thatís your job! Youíre his father!
YORK: Oh no, I place all of my sons with retainers to care for them until they are old enough to help me against the Lancastrians. Now, I have a pressing meeting in parliament to attend to. Good morning, Doctor.
(YORK and TALBOT turn and leave)
(NICK is left holding the baby)
NICK: Damn it, Jim, Iím a doctor, not an au pair. (mumbles to self) I bet Doug Ross never got treated like this.