Merlin entered the room in the back of the keep where Tristan rehearsed his new play, Rolf and Hild. The play’s premier was planned for Camelot’s annual Yuletide Feast and Merlin was curious about what abomination Tristan had hatched this time.
A few knights milled about the room while an apprentice knight with a bandaged arm stood on a chair. The apprentice had a woman’s wig on his head and didn’t look happy. Tristan placed a second chair alongside the first. “Let us begin with an important scene. One that will leave not a dry eye in the audience.”
Tristan grabbed a second knight and dragged him over to the empty chair.
“You are Hild,” Tristan said to the apprentice on the chair, “a rich maiden. Let us pretend the chairs are a balcony in a garden behind Hild’s house.” Tristan smacked the second knight in the chest with the back of his hand. “Your name is Rolf. You are wandering knight who has fallen in love with Hild as she has with you. Her family refuses to allow you to marry her or even see her, so you have to meet in secret. Is this clear?”
Both characters looked puzzled.
“Why don’t I just kill her parents,” Rolf asked, “and run away with her?”
“Because I didn’t write the play that way,” Tristan replied. “You stand over there,” he told Rolf, “until Hild calls you. Then you approach the balcony and profess your love.”
“How the hell do I that? And what does profess mean?”
“Never mind. Just go stand over there.” Tristan said in a threatening voice.
Merlin loved to watch Tristan lose his temper. One never knew what to expect when that happened and Merlin suspected a temper tantrum was about to break out.
Once Rolf had been positioned, Tristan stood behind Hild and her chair.
“I’ll whisper the lines to you, and you repeat them, all right?”
Merlin realized Hild couldn’t read and Rolf probably couldn’t either, so the actors had to memorize the lines as Tristan read them.
Hild braced herself, cocked an ear towards Tristan and then said, “Rolf, oh Rolf. Wherefore art thou, Rolf.”
Tristan pointed and Rolf moved to the chairs where Tristan whispered lines to him. “I’m here, Hild, my beloved. Say you’ll be mine forever and a day.”
“I will. Oh, I will. I will be thy wife and change my name to yours. What is in a name? A nettle by other name would still prick thy hand.”
Tristan directed Rolf to climb on the chair, embrace Hild and kiss her.
“I ain’t kissin’ a guy,” Rolf snarled. “What kinda nasty mind do you have, Tristan.”
“It’s a play and she’s supposed to be a woman, so it’s all right to kiss her during the play. It’s part of your role as a character.”
Rolf climbed on the chair and loosely embraced Hild. Hild closed her eyes and puckered up.
“I ain’t kissing’ her,” Rolf said. “She’s got stubble all over her face and her breath stinks.”
Hild opened her eyes and glared at Rolf. “You should talk. Your breath smells like a midden.”
Rolf and Hild both made fists and assumed fighting stances while still on the chairs.
Merlin shook his head. He had seen enough to confirm his suspicion that Tristan’s play writing talent was equal to his poetry talent. Merlin left the room while, behind his back, Rolf and Hild threatened to settle the dispute with swords.
Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well, you won’t find one more untypical that Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outsider her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story take space against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!
Genre – Fantasy, Sci-fi
Rating – G
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