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FJARRIAUGA - A Thesis on Neglect in Five Acts

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FJARRIAUGA

A Thesis on Neglect in Five Acts

Penned by Bianca La Fleur

Based upon tales of Brunhylde Volsung and the Frostborn Coven

 


 

CAST

 

Brunhylde Volsung – A young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. Strong of arm, but plain of face.

 

Vidarr Volsung – A strapping youth with blonde hair and blue eyes. Half-brother to Brunhylde, the son of a Frost Witch.

 

Olaf One-Eye – Brunhylde’s father, a legendary Volsung raider.

 

Freja Volsung – Brunhylde’s sister. A young mother, beautiful and sweet.

 

Dagmar Volsung – Freja’s husband, a warrior.

 

Witch Mother – A Frost Witch seer. Wicked but beautiful. Former lover of Olaf. Grey skin, glowing blue eyes, white hair. 

 

Bran Volsung – Freja and Dagmar’s son. A baby.

 


 

ACT 1


 

Spoiler

 

CURTAIN OPENS upon the lair of THE WITCH MOTHER - sorceress, seer, cannibal. She glitters with jewelry made from ice, resplendent and vicious. Her long talons scrape across the surface of a CRYSTAL BALL.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Upon my misty crystal, visions move.
Part the veil and grant me but a glimpse
Of times and places far distant from here.
Behold, my scrying magic does reveal:
There will soon arise a land of prophets
And bold warriors whose names shall be writ
Upon the unchanging rock of legend.
Asulon, this great country shall be called.
From its soil, great empires will rise
Ruled by kings whose names shall ring eternal.
I, too, desire to live in eternity
And so let my curse breach this sacred realm
And turn its young kingdoms to barren ice.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
(off-screen)
Witch, I have need of your abilities!

 

WITCH MOTHER
Aha, and hence opportunity comes.
Olaf One-Eye, great raider of the north,
Enter my domain and see your future.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE enters, along with his family.  Among them are FREJA, his beautiful daughter, and her husband DAGMAR. 

 

BRUNHYLDE, Olaf's eldest, hangs back. She is boyish and plain, a woman warrior of great strength, but flawed by terrible shyness.

 

Freja and Dagmar place GIFTs of gold and jewels before the Witch.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Witch, these offerings I bring unto you,
So that you might unveil the mystery
Of wondrous voyages yet to come.
My family tires of ice and snow
And now seek we warmer waters to sail.
With your powers, I pray, guide us beyond
The frigid, foul oceans of Skjoldier
And bring us to a land ripe for our use.

 

WITCH MOTHER
I know indeed of such a place, Olaf.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Then tarry not, Witch, for we depart soon.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Dear Olaf, the man who once shared my bed,
Do not so quickly hasten forth from here.
Do you truly detest my company?
She to whom you once made the sweetest love?

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Ja, indeed, I once loved a woman fair,
But my dear maid to sorcery turned.
Foul magic warped my love into a beast
And now a monster hides within these caves.
Yet even this dark creature has her use
For none foretells visions of the future
So well as she altered by wicked ice.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Take care you do not insult me, raider.
You might bring me casks of silver and gold,
But we are both aware of my true price.
Such knowledge cannot with money be bought.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Then what is your wish, enchantress of snow?

 

WITCH MOTHER
Behold, Olaf, the son you gave to me.
Vidarr, he is called.

 

ENTER VIDARR, a strapping and handsome youth. 

 

He gazes across the room at Brunhylde. Their eyes meet - and Vidarr SMILES.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Grown he is now into vig’rous manhood,
Strong of back with hands to clutch the rigging.
I ask you give him a place on your ship
And bear him hence from here to Asulon.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
I hardly see this as a price to pay,
One more strong crewman for my raiding ship.
Yet there must be a hidden cost to this.
I know well your cunning. Where lies the rub?

 

WITCH MOTHER
You shall find there is none, O great raider.
No man grown should in mother’s house remain.
From tender infancy I raised your son.
And I give him now to serve on your crew.
So let keen-eyed Vidarr guide your ship
And bring you swiftly to Asulon’s shores.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Very well, I’ll take the youth. But know this --
Should any misfortune befall me
Upon this voyage to new Asulon,
Vidarr shall bear the brunt of my anger.
Though he is my son, he is a stranger
Who is yet unknown to our family.
So let him bring luck and not misery,
Or I shall teach him the cruelty of my sword.

 

WITCH MOTHER
It is agreed, then. Go, Vidarr, and sail.

 

OLAF exits, followed by his family.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Yes, my cursed son, go and bring our sin
To the shores of prophesied Asulon.

 

CURTAIN FALLS.

 


 


 

ACT 2

 

Scene 1

 

Spoiler

 


CURTAIN RISES upon the raiding ship of Olaf One-Eye.

 

OLAF raises a spyglass to his eye and peers at the horizon.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
By Vultur, Lord of Frothing Winter Seas,
I spy upon the horizon a green land
Of rolling hills and deep, verdant forests.
By my troth, I say it is Asulon,
That place foretold to me by the Frost Witch.
Prepare, my children, for we soon ashore!
Brunhylde, my eldest, I call upon you!

 

BRUNHYLDE enters.

 

BRUNHYLDE
My strength is yours to command, O father.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Dearest Brunhylde, though you are no beauty,
You are the loyalest of my captains.
I select you as the first of our crew
To set foot upon this unspoiled place.
Take a rowboat and scout the wild shores
Floating there upon the new horizon.
Bring Vidarr with you, for his eyes be keen.

 

BRUNHYLDE
As you command it, so shall it be done.
Vidarr, my half-brother, come hence at once!

 

VIDARR enters.

 

VIDARR
Dearest sister, I am here at your side.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Asulon awaits us. Prepare to land.

 

 

Scene 2

 

Spoiler

 

VIDARR and BRUNHYLDE climb out of the rowboat onto land.

 

BRUNHYLDE
What a beautiful place this is, so lush
And still yet unmarred by the hands of men.

 

VIDARR
Like you, my sister, unsullied and pure,
A virgin flower in its fullest bloom.
Upon my mind, a single question preys.
Why is it this woman remains unwed?
A fine bride you should make for any man
But instead you waste your fair youth slaving
Aboard a ship full of vulgar menfolk.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Brother, I beg of you, please mock me not.
For though my arm is strong, my heart is weak.
I know I am as ugly as an orc.
My only choice is to serve our father
For happy marriage is out of my reach.
Fate gave beauty to my sister Freja
And instilled in me the virtue of strength.
I shall never know the touch of a man.
For what man would desire me for his?

 

VIDARR
Such a man stands before you now, Brunhylde.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Curse you, Vidarr! How I resent your jests!

 

VIDARR
And what if it were not a jest, sister?

 

BRUNHYLDE
Then I should curse you doubly for your sin
For you are my brother, not a lover.

 

VIDARR
I ask you, why cannot a man be both?

 

BRUNHYLDE
Such a union would be scorned by the Gods!
Do you wish to court the wrath of Heaven?

 

VIDARR
Heaven has no place for a man like me
Who sprang forth from the loins of a Frost Witch.
From the moment of my birth, I was cursed,
Forever chilled by my mother’s magic.
I never knew the feeling they call love
For witches are incapable of such.
My heart in frigid ice was locked away.
And yet when I first gazed upon your face,
My frozen heart began at once to thaw
And beat with the heated blood of a man.
I confess it, I loved you from the first
And have since admired you in secret.
Now we are at last alone together
After many desolate months at sea.
Let us deny our desires no more
For you have looked with lust upon me too.
I’ve noticed your sly and secret glances.
No one is here to cast judgment on us.
Come here and rest in your dear lover’s arms.

 

BRUNHYLDE
(to herself)
By the Gods, this is the blackest of sins
For a brother to lie with his sister.
And yet I am beset by temptation.
O woe, I still possess a maiden’s heart,
One that desires to kiss and be kissed,
To love a man and be loved in return.
No man has ever professed love for me.
To think, my own brother would be the first!
I feel as though I am an ugly cur,
Begging for scraps at my master’s table,
Hungering for love and yet never fed.
I do indeed find my brother handsome
And were I not his sister, I might fall.
Who can blame the woman dying of thirst
For slaking it at a poisoned wellspring?
Who can fault the woman starving to death
For feasting upon foul and rotting meat?
Would it be so wicked for me to accept?
Is sinful love better than none at all?

 

Brunhylde turns to look at Vidarr.

 

A pregnant pause - before she flings herself into his arms.

 

BRUNHYLDE
If this be sin, then why is it so sweet?
If this be wicked, why is it wondrous?
Vidarr, if Hell is my destination,
Then let us descend united in love.
I care not for the Heaven of the Gods,
For I know no better Heaven than you.

 

They KISS.

 

CURTAIN FALLS.

 

 


 

ACT 3
 

Spoiler

 

CURTAIN RISES upon the newly-erected Volung Fortress.

 

FREJA nurses her baby son - BRAN.

 

Enter OLAF.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Freja, my daughter, where is your sister?
I have need of her.

 

FREJA
I do believe she is out with Vidarr.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
What, again? Those two cannot be parted.
Everywhere they go, it is together.

 

FREJA
Ja, their loving bond is sweet to behold.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Methinks it is not quite a family’s love
That binds Brunhylde to the handsome Vidarr.
Freja, your sister adores you truly.
It is in you she most oft confides.
Probe her feelings and see what the truth is,
Whether her love be innocent or no.

 

FREJA
O, Father! Ask me not to betray her!

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Betrayal? O, no. Think of it this way.
My eldest child and heir, Brunhylde is.
You must protect your sister from evil,
Lest the entire family suffer. 
A tender hearted girl you are, Freja.
For your sister’s dear sake, you must do this.
(gesturing off-stage)
There, your sister comes; I shall hide myself
And listen as you bring her to confess.

 

Olaf HIDES.

 

Enter BRUNHYLDE, who is aglow with love.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Hail, sweet Freja!

 

FREJA
Brunhylde, my sister!

 

Brunhylde sits down next to Freja.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Is Asulon not the most lovely of lands?
Far afield I’ve wandered at Vidarr’s side
And his sharp eyes have revealed such wonders.
Freja, breathless am I to describe them!

 

FREJA
Ah, would that I could come with you, sister.
But glad I am that you’ve become so close
With our half-brother; he is good to you.
While lesser men would belittle your looks,
He treats you as you truly ought to be -
As a virtuous and noble maiden.

 

Brunhylde BLUSHES at the mention of Vidarr.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Indeed, he is a most loving brother.

 

FREJA
But you know sisters ought not be so attached
Lest we invite wicked accusations.
Vidarr is of marriage age, as are you,
And in search of spouses you both should be.
Younger than you I am, and yet married
Already with baby upon my breast.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Yes, but you are as lovely as the sun.
As for me, I am sadly hideous.

 

FREJA
Nay, I think you grow prettier each day.
They say love makes girls the more beautiful.
Has a man excited your heart, Brunhylde?

 

BRUNHYLDE
You’ve caught me, Freja. I confess it so.

 

FREJA
And who is he that has won my sister?

 

BRUNHYLDE
Alas, I cannot speak his name aloud.

 

FREJA
Pray tell, why is this?

 

BRUNHYLDE
It is our secret; and fear plagues my heart
That you would hate me if you knew the truth.

 

FREJA
O, but I could never bring myself to hate
The loving sister who has sheltered me,
Who has confided in me all her woes,
With whom I’ve shared my softest hopes and dreams.
If you cannot say his name, describe him.
And Freja, she who knows your heart the best,
Will surely understand your gentle love.

 

BRUNHYLDE
The man I adore has hair of pure gold
And eyes so blue they rival the sea.
He disregards the plainness of my face
And sees beyond to the soul within me.
Yet sadly we cannot be together
As Gods and men both forbid our union.
But what is sinful in our faithful love?
Try as I might, I cannot understand.
I love him too much to see any flaw,
Any reason why we might be parted.
If it was sin, the Gods would strike us down
Yet our pure and tender bond still remains.

 

Freja begins to CRY.

 

BRUNHYLDE
O, my dearest sister! Why do you weep?

 

FREJA
Is it true what our father claims, Brunhylde?
Do you love Vidarr?

 

BRUNHYLDE
I beg of you, Freja. Pray, hate me not.
You know I dare not bring shame to our clan.
Vidarr and I do plan to flee from here
And go to a place where we might live in peace
Joined In love as a husband and his wife
Where none know the truth of our relation.

 

Olaf EMERGES from hiding.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
I would never allow such sinful bonds!
I’ll slay that cur who seduced my daughter!

 

Olaf RUNS off stage.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Father, you mustn’t! I carry his child!.
Freja, how could you? You have murdered him!
My love shall die by your traitorous hand
And lo, my child will grow up fatherless!

 

Brunhylde DASHES off stage after Olaf.

 

Freja sinks to her knees, WEEPING

 

CURTAIN FALLS.

 

 


 

ACT 4


 

Spoiler

 

CURTAIN RISES on a snowy woodland.

 

OLAF PUSHES VIDARR onto the stage.

 

Vidarr STAGGERS and FALLS.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Vile roach! Defiler of my daughter!
I knew I should not have trusted the witch!
You have brought misery onto my clan
And for that, I will exact my revenge!

 

Olaf DRAWS HIS SWORD. 

 

Brunhylde RUSHES IN and tries to stop him, grabbing his arm.

 

BRUNHYDLE
Father, I beg of you! Spare him your blade!

 

Olaf PUSHES her aside.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Any last words, you filthy seducer?

 

VIDARR
No regrets have I, for I love Brunhylde.
Though my life be cut short, I  –

 

Before he can finish, Olaf STABS him. Vidarr falls over DEAD.

 

Brunhylde SCREAMS.

 

BRUNHYLDE
No! Vidarr! 

 

She FALLS to her knees, WEEPING over the body.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Brunhylde, my daughter –

 

BRUNHYLDE
Silence! I will not hear another word!
How could you do this evil unto me?
No man will love me so well as Vidarr.
Now my loneliness shall be eternal!
If you slay him, then you must slay me too,
For I cannot live without my dear love!
Father, if you care anything for me,
Lift your blade and end my sad suffering!

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Dear Brunhylde, I cannot bring harm to you.
Since your birth, you have served me loyally
Both as my captain and as my daughter.
Your maiden’s heart led you into error,
But this aberration might be forgot
With time and prayer unto our many Gods.
Ja, your child will know not his father;
All the better in my estimation.
Let your son live free of his sire’s sin.
Leave Vidarr’s body and come home with me.

 

BRUNHYLDE
No, here is where I choose to end my life,
At the side of my brother and my love!
If you will not kill me with your cruel blade,
Then let the frigid winter steal my soul!

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
Fool girl! You would reject my forgiveness?
I would have overlooked your part in this
Out of love for a daughter so faithful,
But now I see you for the traitor you are.
So die here and may your soul be taken
Straight into the maw of Govaskgraad!

 

Olaf EXITS.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Govaskgraad’s maw would Heaven also be
If my darling Vidarr were there with me.

 

She LIES DOWN in the snow next to the body of Vidarr.

 

ENTER THE WITCH MOTHER.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Ah, what unfortunate scene meets my eyes.
Vidarr, you have well completed your task.
A son is lost but now a daughter gained.
Come now, Brunhylde, and meet your destiny.

 

Brunhylde looks up, STARTLED.

 

BRUNHYLDE
The northern witch? How is this possible?

 

WITCH MOTHER
Doubt not the breadth of my power, daughter,
For such power might also soon be yours.
Long have I searched for one to inherit
The frigid magic I wield within me.
From mother to daughter it must be passed
And, until now, I had no female child.
But Vidarr has given me a true heir,
One worthy to wield the gift of Kultis.
Rise and come to your frozen mother’s arms.
Rise and bring winter to green Asulon!

 

BRUNHYLDE
Begone, monster! I reject your wicked gift!
No promises of power could tempt me
For now my only wish is to lie dead
Alongside him my heart does truly love.

 

The Witch LAUGHS.

 

WITCH MOTHER
Alas, poor girl, for you are mistaken.
The dark gift has already been bestowed.

The seed of evil was planted within you

Long before we met.

 

The Witch SEIZES Brunhylde by the throat and HOISTS her to her feet.

 

WITCH MOTHER
By my hand this night, you will be transformed!
Remade anew with the magic of ice!
Let this tragedy freeze inside your heart
And bring about a daughter of Kultis!

 

CURTAIN FALLS.

 

 


 

ACT 5
 

Spoiler

 

CURTAINS RISE on the Volsung Fortress.

 

FREJA holds her baby son while DAGMAR sharpens his sword.

 

FREJA
O, I pray Brunhylde comes to her senses
And reunites with her loving family.
I cannot bear the thought of her dying
Out there alone in the cold and the snow.
Dagmar, should we not go and search for her?

 

DAGMAR
Your father has made his decree, Freja.
Brunhylde would be welcomed if she repents.
We are to remain and await her here.
If she does not realize her fatal error,
It is by her own obstinance she dies.

 

A SCRATCHING sound upon the door.

 

FREJA
By my troth, it must be Brunhylde returned!

 

Freja rushes to OPEN the door.

 

The creature that enters the fortress is indeed BRUNHYLDE, but TRANSFORMED. Her hair is WHITE. Her skin is GREY. And her eyes glow an unnatural CYAN BLUE.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Mercy. Have mercy on me, O Great Gods...

 

Freja SCREAMS.

 

Dagmar DRAWS his sword.

 

DAGMAR
A monstrous beast, here to feast on our flesh!
Get behind me, Freja. Slay it, I shall!

 

BRUNHYLDE
Halt! Halt! Stay your hand, please, I beg of you!
Do you not recognize your own kin?
It is I, Brunhylde, though cruelly transformed
By the touch of the wicked northern witch!

 

DAGMAR
The Frost Witches are beasts of deception.
Trust not its honeyed words, for they be false.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Brother, have mercy, for I do repent!
My sin is now made manifest on me!
Touch my skin and find it as cold as ice,
And gory hungers awaken now within.
Our father knows the ways of Witches well.
Bring me to him and let us find a cure!

 

DAGMAR
Come no further, foul abomination!
I will not have your curse upon our house!

 

BRUNHYLDE
Woe! O woe! So this is to be my fate!
Deathless and preserved by magical ice,
Forever separated from my love,
Forced to bear a fatherless child!
My heart once beat with heated mortal blood
And now by tragedy it shall turn cold!
I curse the clan that turned their back on me!
Let me dye the snow crimson with your blood!
No love or patience for traitors have I!

 

Brunhylde DRAWS her sword and STABS Dagmar. He falls over dead.


FREJA
No, my sister! Stop! Please!

 

Brunhylde STABS Freja and she, too, falls.

 

Enter OLAF.

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
By the God Kar, what is this awful scene?
Brunhylde, transformed into a horrid beast?

 

BRUNHYLDE
Behold now your failure as a father!
It is by your hand I was made this way!
Starved of love from the moment of my birth,
So now I feast upon the flesh of men!
Draw your sword and strike at me if you dare!
No tender flesh nor warm and beating heart
Lies beneath my frosted, icy skin!
Father, your cruel neglect has turned me cold
And a wicked monster I have become!

 

OLAF ONE-EYE
I’ll slay you and the Witch who begat you!

 

They FIGHT.

 

But alas, Olaf is old and withered - and Brunhylde is empowered by evil magic. She gains the upper hand easily.

 

BRUNHYLDE
And now fall, father!

 

Brunhylde SLAYS her parent. Olaf sinks to his knees, dead.

 

BRUNHYLDE
O, but look at this evil I have wrought.
All around me, my family lies dead.
The distant father who gave me no love.
The sister who my confidence betrayed.
The brother who shed no tear for me
When it was believed that I had passed on.
The only one who showed me any care
Lies dead in the snow, slain by my father.
All my life I hungered only for love
And the cruel lack of it drove me to sin.
First to lie within my own brother’s arms
And next to murder those who denied me.

 

Baby Bran CRIES in his dead mother’s arms.

 

BRUNHYLDE
Hark, my orphaned nephew calls out to me!

 

Brunhylde gathers the baby and holds him close.

 

BRUNHYLDE
It matters not if this clan rejects me.
With you and your cousin, I’ll build anew.
From weeping orphans and broken women,
I’ll forge an army to strike fear in all.
The Frostborn Coven, my clan shall be named
And one day soon, great Renatus will bow
To those it tormented and rejected.

 

CURTAIN FALLS.
 

 

 

 

 

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