[Scene 12, Rumors --
N: Narrator, A: Advisor, SW: Snow White,
Q2: the 2nd Queen, who was no longer a confused and scared Woman,
M: Mayor, C: Councilor,
R/M: Runner/Messenger, Jane: a Servant, Tom: another Servant,
MM: Magic Mirror ]
M: Is the King alive? Has he been injured?
R/M: The King is alive and leading the armies.
C: Are the women of the camp tending to the injured?
SW: You are both of you just horrid.
M: Oh! Snow White! I didn't know you were around.
I'm sorry to cause you to worry about your father.
SW: I don't think you are sorry at all.
Q2: Be careful how you speak of such things,
in the castle, or in the hearing of the people.
C: But you must both prepare yourselves for the eventuality.
Q2: What eventuality?
M: That the King might not return.
C: Or that he might not return alone.
SW: You have both disobeyed a direct order of the Queen.
M: But we have business with your majesties.
Q2: Why do you talk of a war which you yourselves will not fight?
C: It is about the war. We must send supplies. We need money.
M: Or, indeed, the King might not return.
SW: Jane, call the Advisor.
J: He is outside the castle, M'Lady.
T: The Mayor and the Councilor asked him to see to the crops
when he returned with the Runner.
Q2: Then send for him.
J: I go.
Q2: Until he comes, you two may sit in the conference chamber.
Tom, you will see that these two gentlemen are made comfortable there.
T: I will see to them, M'Lady.
N: The Mayor and the Councilor left with Tom, though not willingly.
Q2: I am afraid for us all.
R/M: Fear is a careless messenger. It is useful, but not as a commander.
SW: Don't be afraid, Mum. Things will work out.
Q2: What if they don't work out very well?
A: If we do our best, only God can judge us.
Q2: Oh! Advisor!
SW: And He will judge us well and faithfully, in the end.
Q2: You weren't gone?
A: I obey the Queen. But I have sent some men we can trust,
to check the crops.
Q2: Tell us the full news, faithful Runner.
R/M: The King has been injured.
SW: How badly?
R/M: The wounds are not mortal.
He still leads both in battle and in parley.
SW: Is ... how ...
Q2: Is he recovering well?
R/M: He is. Do not lend your ears to rumors, my Majesties.
SW: Thank you.
A: How goes the war?
R/M: All parties grow weary of the fighting.
Q2: Why does it continue?
R/M: Our agents tell us that our enemies are being paid to fight.
SW: Of course. Is it clear yet who buys their service?
R/M: Rumors, your Majesties.
SW: These are rumors we must hear.
We will judge for ourselves of their truth.
R/M: Indeed. The money seems to come from partisans
within our own country and the countries of our allies.
A: Are these rumors reliable?
R/M: Proof is hard to come be. There is one more rumor.
Q2: Let us hear it.
R/M: The money is drying up and the partisans are seeking new sources.
Q2: That explains why the Mayor and the Councilor come asking for money.
SW: Do not speak of this last rumor outside this room.
R/M: I hear and obey.
SW: You are all my good friends. Tell our friends I will miss them.
Q2: Miss them?
A: We must protect the Queens.
N: And the Queen, the Princess, and the Advisor made plans
with their most trusted servants and court officials.
[JMR: Written between 21 January and 6 July 2017 and posted on 6 July.]