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CADFAEL in

"In The Name Of The Father"

written by

Kathrine P

Kathrine used to write for Television and
produced this screenplay to practice her skills.

 

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

Abby at Shrewsbury, at the end of evening vespers. The brothers are breaking up their service.

BROTHER PRIOR

When will Brother Cadfael be returning?

FATHER ABBOT

His business in Redcliffe Bay should be concluded within the day. It's a two day ride, so I expect him to return in two days.

 


 

SCENE ONE

Redcliffe Bay, Cadfael is finishing a post mortem, and announcing his conclusions. The local sheriff or constabulary, as well as three nuns are present.

CADFAEL

This man was not murdered, he suffered a failed heart while drawing water from the well, fell in and was drowned.

SHERIFF

How can you be sure.

CADFAEL

I can find no signs of violence on the body. The man was well liked and respected, loved by his family. And, your village surgeon told me that he suffered poor health over the last few months. He was warned to reduce his physical chores, and he didn't. There were no other footprints in the wet soil around the well, and no witnesses. You have no strangers in town?

SHERIFF

No. Just a couple of nuns traveling together.

CADFAEL

So it would be safe to assume a death of natural causes.

SHERIFF

Thank you, Brother.

CADFAEL

I am puzzled about one thing. Why did you send for me?

SHERIFF

Your reputation at solving questionable deaths

precedes you. Everyone here assumed murder.

CADFAEL

I must say, this was probably the easiest mystery

I had to solve. (TO THE NUNS) Sisters, you can

prepare him for burial now.

CADFAEL AND SHERIFF WALK OUT THROUGH CONVENT AND OUTSIDE CADFAEL STOPS TO GENUFLECT TO THE TABERNACLE

SHERIFF

Is there anything we can do for you before we go?

CADFAEL

No, I don't think so. You've been very hospitable to me. I should start back to Shrewsbury. I should like to bathe before I go.

SHERIFF (POINTING)

There is a bath house down the street.

CADFAEL

Thank you. I won't see you again before

I leave, so I'll say my farewell's now.

SHERIFF

(SHAKING HANDS)

Goodbye, Brother Cadfael, and thank you.

CADFAEL

Good bye.

CADFAEL TURNS AND BEGINS TO WALK DOWN THE STREET. HE WALKS INTO THE BATH HOUSE.

 


 

SCENE TWO

INSIDE BATH HOUSE, CADFAEL TALKING TO CLERK

CLERK

You can take room two Brother, it should be vacant now.

CADFAEL

Thank you.

CUT TO INSIDE ROOM, A WOMAN BATHING, SHE STANDS UP TO GET OUT OF THE BATH AND CADFAEL WALKS IN TURNS TO SEE HER STANDING THERE.

CADFAEL

Great merciful heaven!!

CADFAEL COVERS HIS EYES AND TURNS HIS BACK, PUSHES HIMSELF INTO A CORNER.

CADFAEL

(STAMMERING)

I-I-I beg your pardon madam, I-I-I the clerk told me this room was vacant.

KEEP CAMERA FOCUS ON CADFAEL

SARAH

Don't be embarrassed Brother, it's my fault. This room was supposed to be vacant, I stayed beyond my allotted time. It's been so long since I've had a hot bath, I guess I just wanted it to last a little longer.

CADFAEL

I-I'll leave.

SARAH

No, I will. You can turn round now, I'm robed.

CADFAEL TURNS AROUND WITH A LOOK THAT'S OF EMBARRASSMENT SHAKING HIS HEAD. SARA TAKES HIS HAND. CADFAEL LOWERS HIS EYES.

SARAH

I'm sorry I embarrassed you. I will tell the clerk what happened.

CADFAEL

No, the devil's rumors travel faster than the word of God, leave it. And please leave me.

SARAH

Very well, it's nice to have met you.

CADFAEL

(ALMOST AMUSED)

Thank you.

SARAH LEAVES, CADFAEL SHAKES HIS HEAD, WALKS TO THE BATH TUB, PULLS DOWN THE ROPE FROM THE CEILING, OPENING THE WATER LUGE TO CHANGE THE WATER.

 


 

SCENE THREE

CUT TO OUTSIDE LIVERY STABLE, CADFAEL IS GETTING READY TO MOUNT HIS HORSE, SARAH LEADS HER HORSE OUT OF THE STABLE

SARAH

So we meet again, Brother.

CADFAEL

I beg your pardon?

SARAH

That's twice in one day. (WHISPERS IN HIS EAR)

What's the matter don't you recognize me with my clothes on?

CADFAEL THINKS A MOMENT AND THEN SNICKERS

CADFAEL

(SHAKING HANDS)

I am Brother Cadfael, from the Abby in Shrewsbury. (MOUNTING HIS HORSE) I'm going back there now.

SARAH

I'm Sarah Wilson, I'm originally came from London, I am on a quest to find my lost brother. I have been traveling from village to village, following clues. I always seem to be just one step behind him. (MOUNTING HER HORSE) Shrewsbury just happens to be my next stop. I don't know the way, may I ride with you?

CADFAEL

I should like the company.

SARAH

I can assume I'd be safe traveling with you.

CADFAEL

Absolutely.

THEY RIDE OFF TOGETHER.

 


 

SCENE FOUR

CADFAEL AND SARAH ARE RIDING ALONG THE ROAD A GROUP OF SOLDIERS RIDE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

SERGEANT

Good evening Brother, have you seen anyone

riding through here in the last two days?

CADFAEL

Only my traveling companion and myself.

SARAH

We've just come from Redcliffe Bay.

SERGEANT

I'm sorry Brother, but we have to ask you for your papers.

CADFAEL, SARAH, AND SERGEANT DISMOUNT, CADFAEL GIVES SERGEANT HIS ABBOT PASS.

SARAH

I'll water the horses.

CADFAEL NODS. SARAH LEADS HORSES TO STREAM AND STRIKES UP A CONVERSATION WITH A SOLDIER THERE.

CADFAEL

Why do you need to see my papers?

SERGEANT

I'm sorry for the inconvenience Brother, but we can't take chances when we're trailing a murderer.

CADFAEL

A murderer? There was one death in Redcliffe Bay.

SERGEANT

Then we're too late, he's been here.

CADFAEL

Oh no, Sergeant, I ruled the death natural causes. A failed heart.

SERGEANT

All the others were ruled natural as well.

CADFAEL

There's more?

SERGEANT

Yes, six in total. Here is a list, names and villages.

SERGEANT HANDS CADFAEL A LIST, CADFAEL READS IT.

CADFAEL (READING)

Ashbury, Banbridge, Gullway, Falmouth.. it seems your murderer is taking a direct path. After Redcliffe Bay, the next stop would be Shrewsbury. That's where I live.

SERGEANT (AMUSED)

Are you confessing, Brother?

CADFAEL

This is hardly a laughing matter, Sergeant.

SERGEANT

Brother... Cadfael, when you have been on the road as long as we have, you find your humor wherever you can.

(SERGEANT MOUNTS HORSE)

SERGEANT

To your mounts men, we have another death to consider. Ahead to Redcliffe Bay!

(SOLDIERS RIDE AWAY, SARAH WALKS HORSES BACK TO CADFAEL)

CADFAEL

It will be dark soon, we should make camp.

SARAH

We should look for a clearing. Follow that stream as far as we can.

(THEY MOUNT THEIR HORSES AND START RIDING SARAH IS HUMMING A TUNE)

CADFAEL

You have been humming the same tune since we began this journey, what is it?

SARAH

Just a little tune my father taught me.

CADFAEL

Ah....Do you mind a personal question?

SARAH

No, not at all.

CADFAEL

Why do you not ride side saddle?

SARAH

I never learned how.

CADFAEL

I suppose that's good enough reason.

SARAH

I'm not one for false modesty, Cadfael. The only thing I care about is staying on my horse, be it straddle or side saddle. I've always known the day I fall off a horse, would be the day I die. I don't want to take any chances.

 


 

SCENE FIVE

CADFAEL AND SARAH ARE CAMPED IN A CLEARING, SARA COMES FROM THE WOODS WITH SOME PEARS, CADFAEL FINISHES TAKING THE SADDLES OFF THE HORSES, PICKS UP A BOWL OF WATER AND A SLEEVE FULL OF CHESTNUTS .

SARAH

Look, I found some pears.

CADFAEL

I found some chestnuts. I've watered the horses, and brought a bowl back for us.

SARAH

Well, God's provided well for us.

CADFAEL

Let us give thanks then.

(THEY SAY GRACE SILENTLY TO THEMSELVES)

CADFAEL

Amen.

SARAH

Amen. Throw the chestnuts on the fire.

(CADFAEL SHAKES OUT HIS ROBE TO THROW THE CHESTNUTS. THEY SIT DOWN BY THE FIRESIDE TO EAT THE PEARS, SARAH BEGINS TO HUM THE TUNE AGAIN)

CADFAEL

There you are again with that tune. Are there words to it?

SARAH

Yes.

CADFAEL

My curiosity is getting the better of me. Please sing it.

(SARAH SINGS THE FOLK SONG: THE ASHGROVE)

SARAH

The Ashgrove how graceful,

how plainly tis speaking,

the harp through it playing,

has language for me.

Whenever the light through,

its branches is breaking,

a host of kind faces

is gazing on me.

The friends of my childhood,

again are before me,

each step wakes a memory,

as freely I roam.

With soft whispers laden,

the leaves rustle lowly,

the ashgrove, the ashgrove,

alone is my home.

My lips smile no more,

my heart looses it's lightness,

no dream of the future,

my spirit can shear.

I only would brood,

on the past and it's brightness.

The dead I have mourned,

are again living here.

From every dark nook,

they press forward to meet me.

I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome.

And others are there,

looking downward to greet me.

The ashgrove, the ashgrove,

alone is my heart.

CADFAEL

You sing beautifully (SARAH SHRUGS).........How can you be sure that you would die if you fell off a horse.

SARAH

I don't know how. I just know it. I know I will be on a horse, he will rear, I will fall off and die.....Would you like a pear.

(CADFAEL NODS, SARAH REACHES TO HAND HIM A PEAR, THE CRUCIFIX THE WEARS AROUND HER NECK FALLS OFF, CADFAEL PICKS IT UP AND HANDS IT BACK)

CADFAEL

You dropped this.

SARAH

For the second time today. I think the clasp might be broken.

CADFAEL

It's beautiful.

SARAH

It was my father's, it's the only thing I have of him since he died.

CADFAEL

When did he die?

SARAH

Almost fifteen years ago. He was forced into poverty by a group of wicked men. I watched him wither away. He died a broken man.

CADFAEL

Is that why you're searching for your brother?

(SARAH NODS)

CADFAEL

What was your last stop before you made Redcliffe Bay?

SARAH

Um, Falmouth. Why?

CADFAEL

The sergeant showed me a list of deaths and villages, Falmoth was the last one he had before making Redcliffe Bay. I wonder...

SARAH

What?

CADFAEL

Forgive me I was just supposing.

SARAH

No, I want to know what you were thinking.

CADFAEL

Is it possible that your brother is taking revenge for his father?

SARAH

Oh, no. No, he's a quiet still soul. He's been frail

since birth, and lame since seven. He wouldn't have the strength to kill anyone.

CADFAEL

Yes, but all the deaths were supposed as natural causes. Forgive me but, could he be committing these murders and making them look natural?

SARAH

I try not to speak of this, but my brother's birth frailty is that he was born simple. He hardly knows who he is himself.

CADFAEL

Forgive me.

SARAH

No need. I took no offense. (SHE STIRS THE FIRE) The fire's dying, we need more wood.

CADFAEL

I'll fetch it.

(CADFAEL GETS UP AND WALKS INTO THE WOODS, A MOMENT LATER HE SCREAMS IN PAIN)

SARAH

Cadfael? Cadfael?

(SARAH PICKS UP A BURNING STICK LIKE A TORCH AND RUNS INTO WOODS TO SEE HIM SITTING ON THE GROUND HOLDING HIS NECK)

SARAH

Are you alright?

CADFAEL

Something bit me.

SARAH HOLDS UP THE BURNING STICK TO SEE A LARGE SPIDER

SARAH

It's a hook spider. Let me see the wound...(CADFAEL BARES HIS NECK) I have to draw out the poison.

(CADFAEL THINKS A SECOND THEN NODS, SARAH BEGINS TO SUCK OUT THE POISON, CADFAEL MOANS IN A COMBINATION OF PAIN AND PLEASURE, SARAH SPITS OUT THE POISON. TWICE IN SUCCESSION)

SARAH

Let me help you back to camp.

(CADFAEL LEANS ON SARAH AS THEY MAKE THEIR WAY BACK TO THE CAMPFIRE. CADFAEL IS WEAK, STUMBLING AND BARELY ABLE TO SPEAK SARAH SITS HIM DOWN AT THE FIRE)

CADFAEL

I've never known the poison to act so quickly.

SARAH

Perhaps because you were bitten on the neck. (SHE CHECKS HIS BROW) Your fever has gone up already. (CADFAEL NODS) Lie down.

I wish the fever were your only problem.

CADFAEL (WEAK)

What.....

SARAH

The chills and the visions.

CADFAEL

Visions?

SARAH

Terrible, horrible visions. I knew one man who committed suicide to rid himself of the visions.

CADFAEL FALLS UNCONSCIOUS. SARAH TEARS A LARGE PIECE FROM HER DRESS SKIRT TO USE AS A COMPRESS FOR HIS FOREHEAD.

SARAH

Oh, dear God. What can I do. I have no medicines. You're burning up.

SARAH BEGINS TO LOOSEN HIS HABIT, TEARS A PIECE OF HER PETTICOAT AND USES IT TO PUT COOL WATER ON HIS CHEST.

SCENE FIVE

THE ABBY IN SHREWSBURY, FATHER ABBOT AND BROTHER OSWIN ARE TALKING

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Cadfael should be returning any time. Have a warm meal ready for him when he arrives, it's an arduous ride from Redcliffe Bay.

BROTHER OSWIN

It's almost dark. It would be dangerous to travel by night.

FATHER ABBOT

I will give him until mid-day tomorrow. If he does not return by then, I will send out a search party.

 


 

SCENE SIX

AT THE CAMPFIRE WITH CADFAEL AND SARAH. TIGHT FOCUS ON SARAH, SHE IS SLEEPING BESIDE CADFAEL, SHE IS AWAKENED BY CADFAEL SHIVERING IN A STATE OF SEVERE CHILLS. HIS HALLUCINATIONS ARE STARTING. IN CADFAEL'S MIND WE SEE HIM WALKING HOLDING HANDS WITH SARAH, THEN WE SEE THEM BOTH NUDE AND DRAWING CLOSE TO KISS, SARAH SUDDENLY CHANGES TO A MAN SIZE HOOK SPIDER, CADFAEL IS CLOTHED, SCREAMING, IS COVERED WITH SPIDERS AND FALLING INTO INFINITY CADFAEL LETS OUT A BLOOD CURDLING SCREAM THAT CAUSES THE HORSES TO BOLT AND RUN AWAY

CADFAEL (SCREAMING)

Get them off!! Get them off!!

SARAH

What? What?....The visions....(HUGS HIM) Be brave Cadfael.

CADFAEL(CALMER)

Get them off. Get them off.

(CADFAEL BEGINS TO MOAN, THEN CURLS UP AND STARTS RETCHING ON HIMSELF AND ON SARAH. SHE GRIMACES AT THE SIGHT. RESOLVES HERSELF TO WHAT HAPPENED AND BEGINS TO REMOVE HIS COWL FOR CLEANING.)

 


 

SCENE SEVEN

THE ABBY AT SHREWSBURY. FATHER ABBOT, THREE MONKS, HUGH AND A FIVE MAN POSSE ARE GATHERED IN THE FORECOURT

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Cadfael is now four days overdue. His horse returned to the Abby last night without him. We must assume that he ran afoul on the road. Therefore we must mass and all out search for him. The Brothers will ride with you in the event Brother Cadfael is in need of spiritual help as well. Sheriff?

HUGH (TO MONKS AND POSSE)

There are three possible avenues into Shrewsbury. We will split into three teams. Two of my men and one monk. (POINTING) You two will ride with Brother Jerome and take the south road, you will ride with Brother Oswin and take the east, you and I will ride with Brother Prior and take the west. Mount your horses.

FATHER ABBOT

(MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN THE AIR)

And may God guide your search.

THE POSSE MOUNT THEIR HORSES AND RIDE OUT OF THE CITY.

 


 

SCENE EIGHT

AT THE CAMPFIRE, EARLY EVENING, CADFAEL IS SLEEPING, COVERED IN SARAH'S CLOAK, OTHERWISE NAKED. SARAH IS AT THE STREAM WRINGING OUT HER DRESS AND CADFAEL'S HABIT AND THEN HANGING THEM ON A TREE TO DRY. HER TORN PETTICOAT IS WET FROM LAUNDERING THE CLOTHES AND SHE REMOVES THAT, WRINGS IT OUT AND HANGS IT TO DRY. SHE GOES TO THE HORSE'S SADDLES AND TAKES A BLANKET AND WRAPS HERSELF UP IN IT PICKS UP A BOWL OF WATER AND SITS NEXT TO CADFAEL AND CHECKS HIS BROW.

SARAH (EXHAUSTED)

You're still fevered. Is this ever to end?

SARAH PLACES ANOTHER COLD COMPRESS ON CADFAEL'S HEAD. THEN LIES DOWN NEXT TO HIM TO TRY AND SLEEP.

 


 

SCENE NINE

ON THE ROAD WITH HUGH, BROTHER PRIOR AND A SOLDIER THEY COME TO A CROSS ROAD THEY DISMOUNT THEIR HORSES

HUGH (POINTING)

Well, we know he isn't behind us. Brother Prior, you take that path, soldier you take that one, I'll go this way. We'll go in for a mile and return to the crossroad.

 


 

SCENE TEN

SARAH AND CADFAEL SLEEPING ASIDE EACH OTHER, CADFAEL BEGINS TO GRUNT AND HAVE CONVULSIONS. SARAH WAKES UP AND SEES HIS SEIZING SHE TRIES TO RESTRAIN HIM

SARAH

Cadfael. No, no, Cadfael

SARAH IS FIGHTING WITH HIM, IN HIS CONVULSIONS HE HITS SARAH ACROSS THE JAW KNOCKING HER DOWN. SHE GETS BACK UP AND TRIES TO RESTRAIN HIM AGAIN. HE HITS HER IN THE JAW A SECOND TIME, THIS TIME KNOCKING OUT A TOOTH

SARAH

Alright Brother Cadfael, if that's the way it is to be.

SARAH STRADDLES CADFAEL'S HIPS AND SITS ON HIM, GRABS HIS ARMS AND USES HERSELF AS A RESTRAINT.

SARAH

Come on Cadfael, let it go!

BROTHER PRIOR IS WALKING INTO THE GLEN AND SEES THEM IN THEIR POSITION, SARAH SITTING ON CADFAEL AND HE GRUNTING AND CONVULSING BENEATH HER, BACK LIGHTED BY THE CAMPFIRE

SARAH (BREATHY)

Oh, Cadfael, let it go....let it go Cadfael!

BROTHER PRIOR IS DEEPLY SHOCKED, GRACES HIMSELF, AND BACKS AWAY.

 


 

SCENE ELEVEN

AT THE CROSSROADS, BROTHER PRIOR RETURNS TO MEET THE OTHER TWO, HE HAS BEEN RUNNING, AND IS IN SHOCK. MOUNTS HIS HORSE.

PRIOR

I must return to the Abby!

HUGH

What is it Prior? Did you find Cadfael?

PRIOR

I must return to the Abby! Come with me!

PRIOR TRIES TO RIDE AWAY, HUGH GRABS HIS BRIDAL

HUGH

Prior! Is Cadfael down that road?

PRIOR

Come with me, back to the Abby!

HUGH RELEASES PRIOR'S BRIDAL, THEY ALL RIDE AWAY

 


 

SCENE TWELVE

AT THE CAMP, CADFAEL IS SLEEPING, DRESSED IN HIS HABIT. SARAH IS WATCHING HIM SLEEP, LEANING ON HER ELBOW, HOLDING HER JAW IN HER HAND, CADFAEL STIRS AND WAKES, LOOKS AT SARAH, SHE STARES AT HIM.

SARAH

Good morning. How do you feel?

CADFAEL

I have a flutter in my stomach.

SARAH

That's to be expected. (SHE HANDS HIM A GORD CUP) Here, drink this.

CADFAEL (DRINKING)

What is it?

SARAH

One of the soldiers we met four days ago gave me a pinch of tea.

CADFAEL

Four days ago? That was yesterday.

SARAH

You have been delirious for the last three days.

CADFAEL

Delirious? The spider bite.

SARAH REACHES TO GET A DRINK, CADFAEL NOTICES HER BADLY BRUISED FACE

SARAH

You were a challenge, but I managed, with God's help.

CADFAEL (IN SHOCK)

What happened to your face?

SARAH

Oh, courtesy of your flailings.

CADFAEL

I did that?

SARAH

Now don't go on about it. It's alright.

CADFAEL

Did I hurt you?

SARAH HESITATES

CADFAEL

The truth.

SARAH

(HANDS HIM HER TOOTH)

Here. A battle souvenir. You knocked it out.

CADFAEL

Oh, God forgive me.

SARAH

It is not for Him to forgive you. I already have. Don't eat yourself with guilt. This was not a conscious assault. It was an accident. The unconscious flailings of a sick man. I forgave you the moment it happened.

CADFAEL

Thank you........Four days ago? I'm four days overdue at the Abby. They will surely search for me. We must ride back at once.

CADFAEL TRIES TO STAND BUT BECOMES DISORIENTED AND SWAYS.

SARAH

We are not going anywhere until you are steady on your feet.

SARAH SITS CADFAEL BACK DOWN.

CADFAEL

I shant argue.

SARAH

Besides, we have to walk the rest of the way to Shrewsbury.

CADFAEL

What are you talking about?

SARAH

(POINTS TO MISSING HORSES)

We have no horses.

CADFAEL

(TURNS TO LOOK)

What happened?

SARAH

They bolted the first night when you wailed like a banshee, and I haven't had the time to look for them.

CADFAEL

I have caused you so much inconvenience.

SARAH

Ah, but the adventure is yet to come. We still have a long walk ahead of us.

 


 

SCENE THIRTEEN

AT THE ABBY. BROTHER PRIOR IS REPORTING HIS SIGHTING TO THE FATHER ABBOT, BROTHER JEROME AND OSWIN ARE PRESENT. FATHER ABBOT IS PACING.

FATHER ABBOT

I will not accuse a Brother of breaking his vows with out proof, Brother Prior!

PRIOR

But I saw them with my own eyes, Father Abbot. There at their campfire, engaged as lovers.

FATHER ABBOT

There was no moon last night. How can you be sure it was Brother Cadfael?

PRIOR

In her moanings, the woman called his name, twice. The name Cadfael is unique enough to know there is only one is Shrewsbury.

FATHER ABBOT

Why did you not announce your presence?

PRIOR

I was too embarrassed, Father.

JEROME

He should be stripped of his habit and excommunicated!

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Jerome!

JEROME

Would you do any less if it were any of us?

FATHER ABBOT

I will not condemn a man without a fair inquest.

JEROME AND PRIOR IN SHOCK

FATHER ABBOT

I would not do any less, if it were any of you.

PRIOR

None of us would be in this dilemma.

FATHER ABBOT

Leave me.

JEROME AND PRIOR LEAVE, OSWIN REMAINS

OSWIN

By your leave, Father. Brother Cadfael is my appointed mentor at the Abby. I know him, well. I trust him. I have grown to love him as a father. Forgive me, but I do not believe Brother Prior. Brother Cadfael may be capable of many things, but not of breaking his vows.

FATHER ABBOT

I can only pray your trust is not misplaced, Brother Oswin.

OSWIN

What will you do?

FATHER ABBOT

The rules of the order are very specific on this. Brother Cadfael and his accomplice must face his accuser. In this case, Brother Prior.

OSWIN (WHISPERS)

Brother Prior

 


 

SCENE FOURTEEN

CADFAEL AND SARAH ARE WALKING, HE STILL LEANS ON HER FOR SUPPORT. THEY COME TO A STREAM

CADFAEL

The bridge is out.

SARAH

Bridge? Is the river deep?

CADFAEL

No.

SARAH

Is there a strong current?

CADFAEL

No.

SARAH

What are we waiting for then? Let's cross it.

SARAH CLIMBS DOWN THE BANK AND INTO THE RIVER

CADFAEL

Why not?

SARAH AND CADFAEL CROSS THE RIVER, THE WATER IS ABOUT WAIST HIGH, WHEN THEY REACH THE FAR BANK, IT IS A MUD BOG, KNEE DEEP AND ABOUT 20 FEET WIDE. THEY STRUGGLE THROUGH IT, FALLING AND FLOUNDERING, CADFAEL'S HABIT CATCHES ON A TREE BRANCH AND TEARS UP TO HIS KNEE, SARAH'S ALREADY TORN DRESS BECOMES MORE TATTERED. THEY FINALLY REACH THE BANK COVERED HEAD TO TOE WITH MUD, OUT OF BREATH, SARAH IS BAREFOOT, SHE SITS ON A ROCK.

SARAH

I've lost my shoes in the mud. You know what I think, I think we crossed that river backward.

CADFAEL CHUCKLES

CADFAEL

I must say, we will be a sight when we get to Shrewsbury.

SARAH

Do I look as done in as you?

CADFAEL

Probably.

SARAH

How much further?

CADFAEL POINTS TO THE ROCK SARAH IS SITTING ON, IT READS, "SHREWSBURY- 2 MILES" CADFAEL SITS DOWN NEXT TO SARAH

SARAH

I'm exhausted.

CADFAEL

So am I. But it's only two more miles. Come along, I'll help you this time.

SARAH

I'm fine, I can make it.

CADFAEL

Shall we go then?

SARAH

Let's go.

CADFAEL STANDS AND BEGINS TO SWAY. SARAH GRABS HIM AND HE LEANS ON HER TO WALK

SARAH

And you were going to help me?

 


 

SCENE FIFTEEN

THE ABBY, FATHER ABBOT IS TALKING TO BROTHER PRIAR WHILE WALKING OUTSIDE

FATHER ABBOT

It is the rule of the Benedictine order, that Brother Cadfael face his accuser. You Brother Prior. But let me make one thing clear. This will not be a summary hanging. Brother Cadfael has a right to a proper defense, and I will allow him the time and resources he needs. What ever the outcome, he is still a monk and will receive the respect he deserves until proven otherwise.

PRIOR

Yes Father Abbot....

(CADFAEL AND SARAH FINALLY STRAGGLE INTO THE ABBY COURT, THEY LOOK LIKE SOMETHING AN ANIMAL DRAGGED IN, LEANING ON EACH OTHER FOR SUPPORT)

PRIOR (ACCUSATORY)

Brother Cadfael!

CADFAEL (EXHAUSTED)

Brother Prior?

PRIOR

You are a disgrace!

CADFAEL

For being late? Well there is a reason--

PRIOR

We will not discuss it out here. Come inside, where there is a panel of inquisition to consider your future here. And your...

FATHER ABBOT GRABS PRIOR'S ELBOW

PRIOR

Companion must accompany you.

FATHER ABBOT AND BROTHER PRIOR ENTER THE ABBY, LEAVING SARAH AND CADFAEL IN THE COURT YARD.

SARAH

What's going on?

CADFAEL

I don't know.

 


 

SCENE SIXTEEN

SARAH AND CADFAEL LIMP INTO THE ABBY, THEY ARE UNASSISTED, THERE IS A CIRCLE OF MONKS, WITH BROTHER PRIOR AT THE HEAD, SARAH HELPS CADFAEL TO SIT IN A VACANT CHAIR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR.

PRIOR

Brother Oswin, bring another chair.

SARAH

I prefer to stand.

PRIOR

As you wish....Brother Cadfael, the purpose of this tribunal is to determine your future here at the Abby. You stand accused of breaking your vows.

CADFAEL

I've broken none of my vows!........ Which one and who accuses me?

PRIOR

You are accused of breaking your vow of chastity, and it is I who accuse you. I saw you in the act! With this woman!

CADFAEL

Sarah?....... I have not! Father Abbot......

SARAH

Father Abbot, do I have a right to speak? Since I am accused as well?

PRIOR

No!

FATHER ABBOT

I will grant it.

SARAH

Thank you, Father. Have any of you noticed that we are covered in mud? Do we look as though we were off on a lover's tryst? Look at me, at my condition. What do you see?

JEROME

A dirty harlot.

SARAH WALKS OVER TO JEROME AND STRIKES HIS CHEEK, THE SOUND ECHOS THROUGHOUT THE ABBY HALL,

PRIOR

Brother Cadfael!

CADFAEL RESTRAINS HER.

CADFAEL (WHISPERS IN HER EAR)

Sarah! Don't make matters worse.

JEROME (HOLDING HIS CHEEK)

Oh, most certainly. Let's not make matters worse.

CADFAEL

My I know when and where this indiscretion was to have taken place?

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Prior?

PRIOR

A day's ride from here, in a glen at the English crossroads.

CADFAEL IS CONFUSED BUT SARAH UNDERSTANDS

SARAH (SLOWLY)

Oh, no.

PRIOR

Is that a confirmation?

SARAH

No. Father Abbot, I request a recess long enough to summon a physician.

FATHER ABBOT

Are you ill?

SARAH

No.....But for the rest of the testimony, we will need his expert opinion.

PRIOR

More delays.

FATHER ABBOT

I will grant the recess. Brother Oswin, go.

OSWIN

Yes, Father.

 


 

SCENE SEVENTEEN

CADFAEL IS SITTING IN THE CHAIR IN THE ABBY HALL, THE SURGEON IS EXAMINING HIS NECK THROUGH A GLASS, SARAH IS STANDING BESIDE HIM

PHYSICIAN

It is a spider bite.

SARAH

There you see.

PRIOR

Doctor, can you tell one spider bite from another?

PHYSICIAN

Usually, but not completely. The fact is, I have never seen a hook spider bite.

SARAH

Oh, for heaven's sake! Brother Prior, you're grasping at straws. Doctor, do you know the symptoms of a hook spider bite?

PHYSICIAN

Yes.--

SARAH

Keep silent then. Let me tell what happened, then you can confirm or deny what I say.

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Prior?

PRIOR

Agreed.

SARAH

Thank you, Brother....When Cadfael was struck, the poison acted very quickly. Perhaps because he was bitten in the neck. Immediately, he was feverish and stumbling. His fever turned into chills and hallucinations, which turned into flailings. That's what Brother Prior saw, me sitting on top of him trying to restrain him. If I had known Brother Prior was there, I would have called to him for help. Look at my face. Do you see this bruise? In his flailings, Brother Cadfael struck me, twice. He even knocked out a tooth. (SARAH GRABS CADFAEL'S ARMS) Look at his wrists, the bruises match my fingers where I was holding him down. Brother Cadfael is a powerful man, I am not. I had no recourse but to sit on him. (SARAH TRIES TO RAISE HIS HABIT, CADFAEL RESISTS) Let them see the bruises on your legs.

CADFAEL RAISES HIS HABIT TO SHOW BRUISES ON HIS SHINS

SARAH

Again, from the flailings.

PRIOR

Why was Brother Cadfael not wearing his habit when I saw you.

CADFAEL IN SHOCK

SARAH

Brother Cadfael's habit was made foul by sweat and retch and elimination. It needed to be washed, and so did he. It was drying on a tree.

PRIOR

And why were you naked?

CADFAEL AGAIN IN SHOCK

SARAH

In one of his retching fits, he soiled me as well.

CADFAEL BURIES HIS FACE IN HIS HANDS.

PRIOR

Brother Cadfael, you have not spoken a word in your defense. Why?

CADFAEL

I know nothing of any of this.

SARAH

His delirium has left him with no memory of it.

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Cadfael, you and the lady are excused while we deliberate.

 


 

SCENE EIGHTEEN

CADFAEL AND SARAH ARE IN A HALLWAY SARAH IS PACING, CADFAEL IS PRAYING. BROTHER OSWIN ENTERS

OSWIN

Brother Cadfael. You and the lady are requested to return to the chapter hall. A decision has been reached.

CADFAEL, SARAH AND OSWIN ENTER THE MAIN HALL, OSWIN SITS, CADFAEL AND SARAH STAND IN THE CENTER OF THE HALL.

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Cadfael, after much deliberation we have come to a decision....

CLOSE UP SARAH'S AND CADFAEL'S HANDS, SARAH TAKES HIS HAND IN HERS.

FATHER ABBOT

We have decided that the charges against you are unfounded, that you committed no act of disgrace. Brother Prior?

PRIOR STANDS

PRIOR

I have....It has been decided that I owe you and the lady an apology.

FATHER ABBOT

And we owe the lady a debt of gratitude....

SARAH FAINTS ON THE FLOOR. CADFAEL ATTENDS HER.

FATHER ABBOT

Is she ill? Should we call back the physician?

CADFAEL

No, Father. She's exhausted. And I am the cause I'm afraid. She needs a place to rest.

PRIOR

The infirmary and guest houses are filled to capacity, and we have no provisions for female visitors in the Abby.

CADFAEL

She can stay in my workshop. It's private and detached from the Abby. Oswin, help me lift her.

OSWIN HELPS CADFAEL, THEY CARRY HER OUT OF THE CHAPTER HALL.

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Prior, Brother Jerome, carry a cot to Cadfael's workshop. See that all her needs are met.

CADFAEL

Yes, Father.

 


 

SCENE NINETEEN

BROTHER PRIOR AND JEROME ARE SETTING THE BED IN CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP, CADFAEL AND OSWIN LAY SARAH ON THE BED.

CADFAEL

Oswin, find a blanket.

JEROME HANDS OSWIN A BLANKET, JEROME AND PRIOR LEAVE

OSWIN

Right here, Brother.

CADFAEL COVERS SARAH.

CADFAEL

Poor child, I never realized how much of a burden I placed on her. She doesn't deserve any of this. All she wanted was to find her lost brother.....Her brother! He may be in Shrewsbury right now. She was trailing him when we met on the road. I have to make inquiries....Oswin, I have two spare habits in that cupboard,(pointing) get one and lay it out for Sarah. There's not much left of her dress, just a few modestly placed rags. I need to bathe, and start a search. I will ask the Father Abbot if I can make arrangements with the dress maker.

OSWIN

The dress maker?

CADFAEL

Of course, Oswin! She has no dress left, and she can't go through life wearing my habit, now can she? We must leave her now and let her rest.

OSWIN LEAVES, CADFAEL BENDS DOWN AND KISSES SARAH'S FOREHEAD, TAKES THE OTHER SPARE HABIT FROM THE CUPBOARD AND LEAVES. BROTHER PRIOR IS SPYING IN THROUGH THE WINDOW, AND HAS A VERY DISAPPROVING LOOK ON HIS FACE.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY

CADFAEL IS WALKING TO HIS WORKSHOP. OSWIN RUNS UP TO HIM

OSWIN

Brother Cadfael, I found this in the hall where the lady fainted, is it hers?

OSWIN HANDS CADFAEL SARAH'S CRUCIFIX

CADFAEL

Yes it is, it falls off occasionally. She thinks the clasp is broken.

OSWIN

Can you repair it?

CADFAEL

It doesn't look broken, but then I don't know of such things, I'm not a jeweler.

INSIDE CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP, SARAH IS WASHING IN A BASIN, OUTSIDE THE SHOP CADFAEL AND OSWIN ARE WALKING TO THE DOOR. INSIDE, THE DOOR OPENS AND CADFAEL WALKS IN, SEES SARAH AND TURNS QUICKLY TO KEEP OSWIN OUT. SARAH PICKS UP A CLAY POT AND THROWS IT AT CADFAEL. CADFAEL TURNS AND LOOKS BACK

CADFAEL

My best pot!

OUTSIDE THE SHOP

OSWIN

Is something wrong?

CADFAEL

I did it again.

OSWIN

Did what?

CADFAEL

Made an ass of myself.

SARAH COMES OUT OF THE WORKSHOP, WEARING HIS HABIT

SARAH

Brother Cadfael, this is becoming a very annoying habit!

CADFAEL

Now, don't be cross with me, young lady. This happens to be my workshop--

SARAH

Which you loaned to me as living quarters as long as I stay. Common courtesy would have commanded you to knock, and I would have bid you to wait!

SARAH WALKS BACK INTO THE WORKSHOP

OSWIN

Is your self opinion the habit she is speaking of?

CADFAEL

Go back to the Abby, Oswin! You will take your lessons later.

OSWIN

Yes, Brother.

CADFAEL GOES TO THE DOOR, STARTS TO OPEN IT, BUT KNOCKS INSTEAD

SARAH

Who is it?

CADFAEL

Brother Cadfael.

SARAH

Please enter.

CADFAEL ENTERS AND SEES SARAH WITH A VERY ANNOYED LOOK ON HER FACE.

CADFAEL

Now before you say anything. I apologize profoundly. You were right, I should have knocked.

SARAH

Be careful Cadfael. I understand that turn about is fair play. Besides, I wouldn't mind a second look at the crescent mark on your thigh!

CADFAEL COVERS HIS THIGH WITH HIS HAND

CADFAEL

I'm afraid I am just a creature of habit.

SARAH

Very bad bit of humor, Cadfael.

CADFAEL CONSIDERS A MOMENT AND THEN SMILES.

SARAH

Speaking of habits, whose is this. (PULLING AT THE ONE SHE'S WEARING)

CADFAEL

Mine.

SARAH

It itches.

CADFAEL

There was really nothing left of your dress. Which is what brought me here in the first place. The Abby has made arrangements with the dress maker for you. I came to fetch you for measurements..... Shall we go.

SARAH (RAISES HER HABIT)

Um....shoes?

CADFAEL REALIZES WHAT SHE MEANS AND TAKES A PAIR OF SANDALS FROM THE CUPBOARD AND PUTS THEM ON HER FEET.

SARAH

I look like a monk!

CADFAEL

Not for long, I promise you. Come along.

THEY LEAVE THE WORKSHOP, BROTHER PRIOR AND JEROME ARE WATCHING FROM A WINDOW.-- INSIDE THE ABBY, BROTHER PRIOR IS LOOKING OUT A WINDOW, BROTHER OSWIN WALKS BY.

PRIOR

Brother Oswin?

OSWIN

Yes, Brother Prior?

PRIOR

Whose habit is the lady wearing?

OSWIN LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW

OSWIN

It's Brother Cadfael's, he lent it to her until she could get a new dress. Her's was reduced to rags. Is that all, Brother?

PRIOR NODS, OSWIN LEAVES, JEROME AND PRIOR BEGIN TO WALK SLOWLY DOWN THE HALL

JEROME

What is it Brother?

PRIOR

I am not completely sure that Brother Cadfael's emotional detachment is intact.

JEROME

Do you mean to say---

PRIOR

I am merely saying, I do not dismiss the possibility.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-ONE

IN THE VILLAGE, CADFAEL IS SITTING WAITING OUTSIDE THE DRESSMAKER'S SHOP, BROTHER PRIOR IS FOLLOWING AT A DISTANCE AND WATCHING. THREE CHILDREN ARE PLAYING IN THE STREET, THEIR TWO ELDER SIBLINGS ARE PLAYING A LUTE AND FLUTE, THEY ARE PLAYING: THE LEWIS BRIDAL SONG. SARAH AND THE DRESS MAKER COMES OUT OF THE DRESS SHOP

DRESS MAKER

Her dress will be ready it three days, Brother.

CADFAEL

Oh, thank you mistress. (TO SARAH) Shall we return to the Abby?

SARAH

If you don't mind, I should like to walk around a while.

CADFAEL

Of course, I'll walk with you.....I made some inquiries in the village regarding any travelers. I was hoping I could help you in your search for your brother. But, no one here has seen any strangers in town. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid his trail has gone cold.

SARAH SEES THE CHILDREN DANCING.

SARAH

Cadfael, is it expressly written in your vows that you're not allowed to dance?

CADFAEL

No. Not at all.

SARAH GRABS HIS WRIST AND BEGINS TO DRAG HIM TO THE CHILDREN

SARAH

Good. Come with me.

CADFAEL

What?--

SARAH LEANS TO SPEAK TO THE MUSICIANS

SARAH

Play it again.

THE CHILDREN PLAY THE LEWIS BRIDAL SONG (AN OLD ENGLISH FOLK SONG) SARAH BEGINS TO SING THE SONG, AND DANCE WITH THE CHILDREN. CADFAEL STANDS BY HAPPILY WATCHING UNTIL SARAH GRABS HIS WRIST AND DRAGS HIM INTO THE DANCE. AS IT FINISHES CADFAEL SITS TIRED ON A STOOL.

CADFAEL

I'm too old for such frivolity.

SARAH

Well, then you're the youngest old man I've met.

THE CHILDREN RUN UP TO SARAH AND CADFAEL AND HUG AND KISS THEM BOTH. THE CHILDREN RUN AWAY AND CADFAEL SMILES.

CADFAEL

Sarah, was your father a minstrel.

SARAH

In his youth. How did you know?

CADFAEL

You always seem to be full of music.

SARAH

I suppose it was a gift from my father.

CADFAEL

It would be a more beautiful gift if you smiled.

SARAH

What?

CADFAEL

I just realized, I have never seen you smile. You do your best to make me laugh but you never so much as smile yourself.

SARAH

I guess I don't feel I have the right to smile.

ROBERT DUNCAN, A LOCAL MERCHANT, WALKS UP TO CADFAEL AND SARAH.

DUNCAN

Fancy bit of footwork, Brother.

CADFAEL

Involuntary I assure you. Sarah, this is Robert Duncan, a local merchant, Robert this is Miss Sarah Wilson, a guest of the Abby.

DUNCAN

Do you make all your guests wear monks habits?

SARAH RUNS AWAY, DUNCAN AND CADFAEL SPEAK

DUNCAN

What did I say?

CADFAEL

She's been through an ordeal, and it's left her a bit high strung.

DUNCAN

What did you say her name was?

CADFAEL

Sarah Wilson.....What is it?

DUNCAN

I don't know. I think I've heard that name before.

CADFAEL

It's common enough.

DUNCAN

Perhaps. Good day to you, Brother and eh don't stop your prayers.

DUNCAN LEAVES, CADFAEL PONDERS A MOMENT, THEN GOES TO THE ABBY.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-TWO

CADFAEL'S GARDEN, HE IS WORKING AND PRUNING HIS BUSHES. SARAH COMES INTO THE GARDEN, CADFAEL DOES NOT LOOK AT HER RIGHT AWAY

SARAH

Cadfael?

CADFAEL

And the prodigal returns. Where did you go?

SARAH

I ran to the river. I just sat there.

CADFAEL

Why did you run off?

SARAH (STAMMERING)

That man..he's..I..when he commented on how I was dressed,..I became embarrassed. After all this is your habit.

CADFAEL (LOOKS AT HER)

My habit allows me to maintain my vow of modesty. I was only trying to do the same for you. You were not so embarrassed to be seen dancing in it.

SARAH

I guess I'm just confused. Suddenly, I don't feel very feminine in this.

CADFAEL PUTS HIS HANDS ON HER SHOULDERS

CADFAEL

You would be feminine if you wore a flour sack.

CADFAEL HUGS SARAH AS A FATHER WOULD. BROTHER PRIOR AND JEROME ARE WATCHING FROM THE ABBY WINDOW.-- INSIDE THE ABBY WITH BROTHERS PRIOR AND JEROME

PRIOR

First they're dancing in the streets, and now this. Lovers in a garden. His behavior is most unseemly. He's been acting like a smitten school boy.

JEROME

Perhaps there is something to your original conclusion. Perhaps there's more here than meets the eye. Should you inform the Father Abbot?

PRIOR

Not yet.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-THREE

OUTSIDE THE DRESS SHOP, CADFAEL IS SITTING WAITING SARAH COMES OUT FROM BEHIND HIM

SARAH

Cadfael?

CADFAEL TURNS AROUND AND SEES SARAH IN HER NEW DRESS, SHE TURNS AND MODELS IT FOR HIM, HE IS MOST IMPRESSED. HE STANDS UP

CADFAEL

You're beautiful!

SARAH

Really?

CADFAEL

Stunning. (GIVES SOME COINS TO DRESSMAKER) Thank you mistress.

CADFAEL AND SARAH WALK BACK TO THE ABBY, BROTHER PRIOR IS TRAILING THEM AND WATCHING THEIR EVERY MOVE IN DISAPPROVAL.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-FOUR

IN CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP, SARAH IS ALONE, SHE IS LOOKING THROUGH HIS HERB CUPBOARD. CADFAEL WALKS IN WITH AN ARM FULL OF PLANT SPRIGS AND STARTLES HER.

CADFAEL

Sarah! The hospitality of my workshop does not extend to my herb cupboard.

SARAH

The handle was loose, I thought I would do you a favor and tighten it lest it come off in your hand. You needn't be so suspicious, Cadfael.

CADFAEL BEGINS TO WORK WITH THE PLANT SPRIGS AT THE TABLE

CADFAEL

It's in my nature.

CADFAEL JUMPS WITH A START.

SARAH

What's the matter?

CADFAEL

A spider.

SARAH PICKS UP THE SPIDER AND TOSSES IT OUT THE WINDOW THEN GOES TO COMFORT HIM

SARAH

Don't worry. This too shall pass.

SHE CARESSES HIS CHEEK, BROTHER PRIOR BURST INTO THE ROOM

PRIOR

Brother Cadfael!

CADFAEL

Brother Prior?

PRIOR

You are late for office.

CADFAEL

Oh, I didn't realize. I shall go directly then.

CADFAEL WALKS OUT THE DOOR, BROTHER PRIOR TURNS TO FACE SARAH

SARAH

Brother Prior?

PRIOR

For someone who was so insulted at being labeled a harlot that you struck Brother Jerome, you are certainly doing your best to prove the accusation now!

SARAH

What are you saying?

PRIOR

Your behavior here at the Abby has been disgraceful. Every moment you stay here shortens Brother Cadfael's future. You are a temptress and a witch. Even the strongest of Christians can fall under a spell such as yours. Leave here now.

CADFAEL CALLS BACK TO BROTHER PRIOR FROM THE GARDEN

CADFAEL (OFF STAGE)

Are you coming Brother Prior?

PRIOR

Directly! (TO SARAH) Leave this Abby!

PRIOR LEAVES THE WORKSHOP, SARAH IS STUNNED BY WHAT HE SAID AND SITS SLOWLY DOWN ON A BENCH WITH A DISTANT HORRIFIED LOOK IN HER EYES.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-FIVE

THE NEXT MORNING, VESPERS ARE JUST ENDED. CADFAEL AND OSWIN ARE WALKING OUT OF THE MAIN HALL, BROTHER JEROME WALKS UP TO THEM.

JEROME

I did not see your lady at refectory this morning.

CADFAEL

I know.

JEROME

Is there something wrong?

CADFAEL

I hope not.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-SIX

CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP, CADFAEL KNOCKS ON THE DOOR, THERE IS NO RESPONSE.

CADFAEL

Sarah?

(HE OPENS THE DOOR AND ENTERS CARRYING A BREAKFAST TRAY)

CADFAEL

Sarah?

HE PUTS DOWN THE BREAKFAST TRAY AND LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW, LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM AND NOTICES A NOTE ON THE TABLE. HE PICKS IT UP TO READ.

SARAH (VOICE OVER)

My dearest friend.

I realize now how much trouble I have caused you and your order. You have been so kind to me and as Brother Prior said, I have behaved shamefully. Perhaps Brother Jerome was right after all. I may not act it, but perhaps I am a harlot at heart. As the Holy Book says, adultery in the mind is the same as adultery in the body. I'm afraid I have caused you a scandal. I didn't realize how well ordered your life is, and how the slightest change could be so dangerous. My only recourse is to leave as quickly as possible. I'm going to Worcester, in hopes of ending my search. That was the path I set for myself before. Take consolation in the fact that you allowed me to rest from a lifetime of sadness and wandering. I will always remember you and keep you well in my heart.

All my love, Sarah.

AFTER READING THE LETTER CADFAEL CHARGES OUT OF THE WORKSHOP

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-SEVEN

THE FATHER ABBOT'S OFFICE, BROTHER PRIOR IS THERE TALKING TO HIM, CADFAEL STORMS IN.

CADFAEL (TO PRIOR)

What did you say to her?

FATHER ABBOT

Brother Cadfael!

CADFAEL

I'm sorry Father Abbot, forgive the intrusion, but Brother Prior has much to answer for.

CADFAEL HANDS THE NOTE TO THE FATHER ABBOT

PRIOR

I will not stand here to be accosted by you.

PRIOR TRIES TO LEAVE, BUT CADFAEL STANDS IN HIS WAY

CADFAEL

You were so anxious to accuse me of breaking my vows! And when I was found innocent you couldn't stand it! To be made a fool of in front of the entire order. (WAVES THE NOTE AT HIM) I want to know what you said to Sarah to make her so despondent. That child has lived a life of misery and loss, I only tried to share God's love with her. I was just beginning to break ground and you stepped in with your accusations. You needed a sin to condemn. My being found innocent wasn't good enough for you. You had to make her guilty instead. If I hear anything has happened to her, I will hold you responsible!...By your leave Father.

CADFAEL LEAVES, PRIOR TRIES TO FOLLOW

FATHER ABBOT

Not so fast, Brother Prior. We will talk.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-EIGHT

IN THE MAIN CHAPEL HALL, CADFAEL HAS PROSTRATED HIMSELF BEFORE THE TABERNACLE, LAYING FACE DOWN WITH HIS ARMS STRETCHED OUT TO HIS SIDES, HIS FOREHEAD ON THE COLD STONES, FATHER ABBOT APPROACHES, WE SEE ONLY HIS FEET NEAR CADFAEL'S HEAD

FATHER ABBOT

You've not fallen in love with her, have you?

CADFAEL TURNS HIS FACE AND LAYS HIS CHEEK ON THE FLOOR TO ANSWER

CADFAEL

No Father, I've not fallen in love with her....I admire her tenacity, her shyness, her grace, her ability to show strength when there's none left....And I fear for her.....She gives of herself with such great love, and when it's her time to receive, there's no one for the giving. And if the time were to come, I don't think she would know how to ask for help. I tried to at least teach her that there'd always be One person to whom she could go for help, if she looked hard enough.

FATHER ABBOT LEAVES, CADFAEL TURNS HIS FACE BACK TO THE STONES.

 


 

SCENE TWENTY-NINE

"TWO WEEKS LATER"

CADFAEL STANDS IN HIS HERB GARDEN, LOOKING PENSIVELY ABOUT HIM, PRUNES A FLOWER FROM A VINE, SNIFFS THE ODOR, STARING RATHER WITHIN HIS OWN MIND THAN AT THE GROWTH AROUND HIM. HUGH ENTERS THE GARDEN, SEES CADFAEL STANDING MOTIONLESS, CADFAEL STARTS BACK TO REALITY ONLY WHEN HUGH LAYS HIS HAND ON HIS SHOULDER

HUGH

God bless the work, if any's been done here today. I thought you had taken root.

CADFAEL

I was just pondering a lost friend, and the seasons of the year and the hours of the day. I never heard your approach, I was not expecting to see you today. I thought you were in Worcester.

HUGH

I was. But a matter of some urgency brings me back to see you.

CADFAEL

In Worcester?

HUGH

Come, we must see the Father Abbot.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY

THE FATHER ABBOT'S OFFICE, HUGH AND CADFAEL ARE TALKING TO THE ABBOT.

HUGH

She was arrested and sentenced to hang without even attempting to clear her name. She says it's God's will.

CADFAEL

Father, Hugh has acquainted you with all that he has learned in Worcester. He has also told you of the fate of Sarah.

FATHER ABBOT

He has. I trust that this meeting here is to discuss your plans to vie for her release, even if nothing better can be achieved.

CADFAEL

I hope to prove her innocence and find a murderer. When first she touched my life, I did not expect that in any way my commitment to this place would change. Nor, did I ever expect to see her again, nor she ever have need of me. Thanks to Brother Prior's chastisement of her, she believes herself a terrible sinner. It is for the safety of her mind as well as her life that I am concerned. In her present state, she would accept any penalty just or unjust.

FATHER ABBOT

Has your commitment to the Abby changed?

CADFAEL

Father, if I presume that the restoration of my life imposes a duty upon me, I do conceive of such a duty, and cannot heave it off my heart. I am a Welshman, and when Welshmen feel a debt, they honor it. I feel bound to go.

FATHER ABBOT

And I put the opposing view to you. Do you trust her?

CADFAEL

I have, with my life!

FATHER ABBOT

No, that was not a trust. That was an urgency, and in that urgency she did what any good Christian would do. Do you know her well enough, to say positively, that she could not have committed murder?

CADFAEL HESITATES

FATHER ABBOT

Doubts? Your vows tie you here. Of your own free will you chose to abandon the world and all your ties within it. That can not be shed like a cloak.

CADFAEL

I took my vows in good faith. From all other ties my vows absolved me. All other personal relationships my vows severed. I cannot abandon this one. She suffers captivity and I am free. She may be in peril, and I am safe. Is this a fair exchange for the saving of my life?

FATHER ABBOT

Ask what you have come to ask. Let it be plainly said.

CADFAEL

I ask your leave and blessing, to go with Hugh to Worcester, to see Sarah delivered free.

FATHER ABBOT

And if I forbid, will you still go?

CADFAEL

Under God's eye, and with reverence to you, Father, yes.

FATHER ABBOT

Then I do not forbid. I will give you leave to go with Hugh. One week to see to your task. I pray some good may come of it. Return with Hugh as you leave with him. Once the week is finished, your leave of absence ends. If you delay any longer or travel further, then you go as your own man, none of mine. Without my leave or blessing.

CADFAEL

Without your prayers?

FATHER ABBOT

I have said it.

CADFAEL CONSIDERS A MOMENT, RESOLVES HIS DECISION, BOWS TO THE ABBOT AND LEAVES.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY ONE

WORCESTER, THE VILLAGE IS IN AN UPROAR, VILLAGERS ARE SCREAMING AND THROWING STONES. A SOLDIER LEADS A HORSE AND CART, SARAH IS IN THE CART HER HANDS ARE BOUND BEHIND HER AND SHE IS GAGGED, THE VILLAGERS ARE TRYING TO STONE HER. CADFAEL, HUGH AND A SERGEANT RIDE INTO TOWN AT FULL GALLOP. THE CART IS LED TO A GALLOWS, SARAH IS DRAGGED KICKING AND STRUGGLING AGAINST THE SOLDIERS. CADFAEL AND HUGH DISMOUNT AND PUSH THEIR WAY THROUGH THE CROWD, SARAH IS DRAGGED STRUGGLING UP THE GALLOWS STEPS. THE NOOSE IS PUT AROUND HER NECK. CADFAEL AND HUGH PUSH THEIR WAY UP THE STEPS. CADFAEL GRABS HUGH'S SWORD, THE GALLOWS ARE RELEASED AND IN A FLASH CADFAEL CUTS SARAH'S ROPE. SHE FALLS IN A HEAP UNCONSCIOUS ON THE GROUND.

CADFAEL(OUT OF BREATH, TO THE CROWD)

I am Brother Cadfael, of the Abby of Saints Peter and Paul, in Shrewsbury. I have been summoned here in defense of this woman. I will leave no stone unturned to find her guilt or innocence. If she is found guilty, you may execute her, the method I leave to you. But if she is found innocent, she and all accusations leave with me.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY TWO

THE JAIL, HUGH IS CARRYING SARAH INTO HER CELL, CADFAEL FOLLOWS STILL HOLDING HUGH'S SWORD, HUGH LAYS SARAH ON HER COT AND BEGINS TO UNTIE HER HANDS. CADFAEL SUDDENLY REALIZES HE HAS HUGH'S SWORD, RAISES HIS HAND TO LOOK AT IT, TURNS IT UPSIDE DOWN LIKE A CROSS CLOSES HIS EYES A MOMENT, TOUCHES THE HILT TO HIS FOREHEAD AND HANDS IT BACK TO HUGH. CADFAEL BENDS OVER SARAH AND REMOVES HER NOOSE AND EXAMINES HER.

CADFAEL

Her shoulder has fallen, help me put it back.

THEY MANIPULATE HER ARM TO RELOCATE HER SHOULDER. IT POPS BACK

HUGH

It's a good thing she's unconscious. I could hardly bear it when it happened to me.

CADFAEL

She won't be asleep for long....(SHAKING HER) Sarah?....Sarah, wake up.

SARAH WAKES UP SLOWLY AND THEN PANICS WHEN SHE REALIZES WHAT HAPPENED, SHE SITS BOLT UPRIGHT AND GRABS HER NECK AND SCREAMS.

CADFAEL

Slowly, slowly. You're alive.

SARAH

Alive?.....Cadfael?...(SHE HUGS HIM) I thought you were an angel....How did I get off the gallows?

HUGH

That you owe to the swift sword of Brother Cadfael.

SARAH

Then you are an angel. My guardian angel.

CADFAEL

Well, I don't know about that, and I don't know why you were being hanged. Tell me what happened.

SARAH

I don't know. Everything happened so fast.

CADFAEL

Think hard, your life depends on it.

SHOW SCENES DEPICTING SARAH'S NEXT DISSERTATION

SARAH (VOICE OVER)

When I first came here, the reputation so kindly provided to me by your Abby had preceded me. Suddenly, I was the harlot that led the monk to break his vows. I was the subject of ridicule the moment I arrived. People were yelling and throwing things. I managed to make my way to the livery stable, and hid myself and my horse inside. I had been there only about five minutes when the smith's wife showed me out the back way. She was very kind and gentle in her way. She took me to an inn. The inn keeper there was a good Christian and not one for gossip and allowed me to stay out of sight. I waited about a day before I ventured out. I kept my cloak hood over my head, as a sort of disguise. No matter what the present state, I still needed to eat. The only place that would sell me any food was the tavern. It's a dirty foul place, filled with wicked women and men sour from ale....When I got my food, I sat in a corner to eat, I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. I had only just finished eating when one of the women came to me and asked what my secret for tempting Holy Brother's was. I tried to leave when a man grabbed me and tried his hand at me. I was so frightened that I hit him with a cup and ran. He followed me. I ran to the river to hide. I suppose I lost him, because I didn't see him after that. I waited about an hour and went back to the inn. The next morning, I awoke at a pounding on my door. The sheriff burst in and dragged me out. The man was dead, and I was the last to see him alive. Cadfael, I hit him with the cup, but I didn't kill him.

CADFAEL

Of course you didn't. I don't believe you could kill anyone.

SARAH

There is one here who believes I did.

CADFAEL

Who?

OLIVIER

I do.

CADFAEL TURNS AROUND TO SEE A MANS FIGURE STANDING IN THE CELL DOOR, HE STEPS INTO THE LIGHT AND CADFAEL SEES OLIVIER de BRITAGNE STANDING THERE

CADFAEL

Olivier!

OLIVIER

Hello, Brother Cadfael.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY THREE

CADFAEL AND OLIVIER ARE WALKING NEAR A RIVER BANK TALKING

CADFAEL

So they made you Sheriff of this shire.

OLIVIER

Yes, Ermina had a lot to do with that.

CADFAEL

Are you a father yet?

OLIVIER

Not yet.....(POINTING) The body was found just there.

CADFAEL SQUATS TO EXAMINE THE SITE.

CADFAEL

Was he lying face up or face down?

OLIVIER

Face down, what difference does that make?

CADFAEL

Look here, footprints. Three sets. A man and two women.

OLIVIER

Two women? How can you tell that?

CADFAEL

The impression of these tracks are not as deep as those. These tracks are smaller than those. See how far apart these tracks are compared to these. One woman was running toward this area and one walked in. One woman was young and frightened. The other was older and limped.

OLIVER

How can you tell that?

CADFAEL

Look at the impression of the left foot as compared to the right. It's not as deep, which means she was favoring her left foot for some reason.

OLIVIER

Incredible. I missed it, I missed all of it.

CADFAEL

Simple deduction. Are you still convinced Sarah committed the murder?

OLIVIER

There's one piece of evidence that links her to this man.

OLIVER TAKES SARAH'S CRUCIFIX FROM HIS SACK AND HANDS IT TO CADFAEL

CADFAEL

Sarah's crucifix?

OLIVIER

You know it then?

CADFAEL

Yes, it was her father's.

OLIVIER

The man was found clutching it so tightly in his hand that he drew his own blood.

CADFAEL

Oh, Olivier. That's not incriminating as it is. This crucifix has a broken clasp. It's falls from Sarah's neck. Twice in my presence. Perhaps he found it here. Sarah said she hid by a river, it may have fallen off then.

OLIVIER

There's no clasp on it now, as though it was torn from her neck.

CADFAEL

There's some kind of oil on it (SNIFFS IT)....the odor is too faint to identify it....Where is the body kept?

OLIVIER

In the church mortuary. I asked them not to touch it until you arrived.

CADFAEL

Until I arrived? How did you know I would be coming?

OLIVIER (SMILING)

Simple deduction.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY- FOUR

IN THE MORTUARY, CADFAEL IS EXAMINING THE MAN'S BODY. FIRST HIS HAND, THE WOUNDS, HE FITS THE CRUCIFIX INTO THE HAND TO MATCH THE WOUNDS.

CADFAEL

He definitely had a death grip on the crucifix, as though he treasured it as much as Sarah. I wonder why.....Pottery shards in his hair...Sarah said she hit him with a cup.....On his stomach, a knife wound!....

OLIVIER

She stabbed him to death then?

CADFAEL

No, this wound was not fatal....and it was made by a man.

OLIVIER

How can you tell that?

CADFAEL

See the position and direction of the wound? In the stomach and angled upward. When men strike they strike from the hip, upward into the stomach. When women strike, they strike downward from the shoulder. If Sarah had stabbed him, his wound would be downward and in the heart..... I've never known Sarah to have a knife.....Why are you trying so hard to convict her?

OLIVIER

Why are you trying so hard to free her?

CADFAEL

I have my reasons.

OLIVIER

You're not!.....Are you the Holy Brother her reputation speaks of?

CADFAEL

I won't dignify that question with an answer.....Look here, there's blood on his mouth, but no wound.....(HE PULLS THE MAN'S MOUTH OPEN) He's bitten his tongue off!

OLIVIER

What could cause him to do that?

CADFAEL

I don't know.....Was he married?

OLIVIER

Yes, but his wife is frail and taken to her bed.

CADFAEL

Nevertheless, I will need to speak with her....After I speak to Sarah.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY FIVE

IN THE JAIL, CADFAEL IS WALKING THROUGH THE CORRIDORS, HE HEARS A WOMAN CRY OUT, HE QUICKEN HIS PACE TO SARAH'S CELL, THERE IS A MAN, THE JAILER ABUSING SARAH, DRAGGING HER BY HER HAIR, FORCING HER TO HER KNEES, SLAPPING HER ABOUT. TRYING TO OPEN HIS TROUSERS

JAILER

I'll take my share now, harlot!

CADFAEL STORMS THE CELL AND PUSHES THE MAN AWAY, SARAH FALLS IN A HEAP ON THE FLOOR, THE STEPS FORWARD READY TO FIGHT.

CADFAEL

Take to your heels before I take to your throat!

JAILER

Come to reclaim your property, ay Brother?

CADFAEL (DEAD CALM)

Leave.

JAILER

Alright, alright. Don't get holy with me. I can always get it later.

THE MAN LEAVES, CADFAEL TURNS TO HELP SARAH

CADFAEL

Sarah?...

SARAH MOANS, SHE IS BRUISED AND BATTERED, SHE HAS A BLOODY NOSE

CADFAEL

Gently now...

CADFAEL TRIES TO HELP HER TO HER FEET. SHE CRIES IN PAIN

SARAH

My ankle, I think it's twisted.

CADFAEL HELPS HER TO HER BED AND EXAMINES HER ANKLE

CADFAEL

Not twisted, broken....What did he think he would get?

SARAH (DISTANT)

His fair share.

CADFAEL

Sarah, I cannot apologize more profusely. The Abby has done you a great dis-service. I will find a way to make it up to you.

SARAH

It doesn't matter anymore. Brother Jerome was right.

CADFAEL

Brother Jerome is a fool in such matters.

SARAH

I'm not so sure....perhaps he could see into my soul after all. I deserve to die a sinner's death.

CADFAEL

I'll hear no more of that. You were fighting to stay alive at the gallows. Keep that spirit.

SARAH (MOANS)

Oh, my side.

CADFAEL

Let me see....I can't tell anything through your dress, let down your blouse.

SARAH OPENS HER BLOUSE, HUGH WALKS INTO THE CELL.

HUGH

Here now Cadfael, lets not give prudence to the rumors.

CADFAEL

Now don't you start. She's been assaulted by her jailer....Your ribs are not broken only bruised, but I have to reset your ankle...prepare yourself.

SARAH TAKES A COUPLE OF DEEP BREATHS AND THEN HOLDS IT, CADFAEL SETS HER ANKLE, AND SHE STIFLES A SCREAM.

CADFAEL

Good girl, you bore that well...Now lie down and rest. Hugh find something with which I can make a splint.

HUGH FINDS TWO LARGE STICKS, CADFAEL TEARS A STRIP FROM SARAH'S HEM TO TIE THE SPLINT.

CADFAEL (TO HUGH)

Come with me....

THEY WALK INTO THE CORRIDOR

CADFAEL

Have you found out anything?

HUGH

The dead man did assault Sarah in the tavern. One of the (AHEM) ladies recognized Sarah. She told me that the man was a brutal customer. He had to totally dominate his women. His wife is frail and small, and he never hurt her.

CADFAEL

Who was he?

HUGH

He was the village smith.

CADFAEL

The smith? It was the smith's wife that hid Sarah when she first arrived here. I wonder....

HUGH

What?

CADFAEL

When I'm sure, I'll let you know. I must talk to the smith's wife. I want either you or your sergeant to stand guard here at all times. Don't let anyone but you, me or de Britagne in to see her. They've taken the last shred of dignity she has. They won't be able to abuse her anymore.

CADFAEL LEAVES. HUGH ASSUMES HIS GUARD OUTSIDE SARAH'S CELL.

SCENE THIRTY EIGHT

CADFAEL IS WALKING THROUGH THE VILLAGE TO THE LIVERY STABLE. HE WALKS IN STABLE. LOOKS AROUND, AND NOTICES SIGNS OF A SCUFFLE IMPRINTED ON THE DIRT FLOOR. THERE ARE ALSO TRACES OF BLOOD. HE ALMOST TOPPLES OFF HIS HEELS AND KNOCKS OVER A TRIDENT. THEN HE NOTICES ONE OF THE TINES IS BLOODY. HE THEN REALIZES THAT IT MADE THE WOUND ON THE MAN'S BODY. OLIVIER WALKS IN

OLIVIER

Taken to horses, have you?

CADFAEL

Look here...The dirt on the floor is shifted, with signs of a scuffle...A man and a woman... And here..the trident has blood on it. If it were used as a weapon, it would make a wound as we found on the victim.

OLIVER

By a man?

CADFAEL

Man or woman, the wound would be the same.

OLIVER

So we're back to the beginning. It points to Sarah.

CADFAEL

It can't.

OLIVIER

Because you wish it?

CADFAEL

Because I feel it.

OLIVIER

Never let it be said that I doubted the conviction of a Holy Brother, but I am not as convinced as you. As much as you believe her innocent, I believe her guilty...What hold does she have over you to make you so convicted on her release?

CADFAEL

She has no hold on me....I owe her a debt.

OLIVIER

It must be very great for you to pursue this crime so fervently.

CADFAEL HESITATES FOR A MOMENT TRYING TO DECIDE IF HE SHOULD TELL OLIVIER OR NOT, HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND SPEAKS SOFTLY

CADFAEL

She saved my life.

OLIVIER WITH A SURPRISED LOOK ON HIS FACE.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY SIX

CADFAEL AND OLIVIER ARE WALKING THROUGH THE VILLAGE TO THE SMITH'S COTTAGE.

CADFAEL

And that's everything that happened.

OLIVIER

So it was your Abby that soiled her reputation.

CADFAEL

More specifically, Brother Jerome and Prior Robert.

OLIVIER

This is the smith's cottage.

OLIVIER KNOCKS ON THE DOOR, THE MAID SERVANT OPENS THE DOOR.

CADFAEL

I am Brother Cadfael, is your mistress at home.

MAID

She is ill and taken to her bed. She speaks to no one.

CADFAEL

I am the physician of my Abby, perhaps I could be of some help.

MAID

You're welcome to try. The others have had no success.

THE MAID SHOWS CADFAEL AND OLIVIER IN, AND TO THE BED CHAMBER. THE SMITH'S WIFE IS LYING ON HER BACK EYES CLOSED ARMS CROSSED OVER HER CHEST AS THOUGH SHE WERE TO BE BURIED.

MAID

She's been like that for days.

CADFAEL (TO THE LADY)

Mistress?....Mistress, I am Brother Cadfael from Shrewsbury, this is Olivier de Britagne, the sheriff of this shire....

MISTRESS

I know who you are.

CADFAEL

Then you also know why we're here.

MISTRESS

I am ready.

CADFAEL AND OLIVIER LOOK AT EACH OTHER BEWILDERED

CADFAEL

Ready? For what?

MISTRESS (LEANS UP ON HER ELBOW)

You've not come to arrest me?

CADFAEL

Now why would we do that?

MISTRESS

For killing my husband.

CADFAEL (ASTONISHED)

You killed your husband?

MISTRESS

In the stable with the trident. I struck him with it.

CADFAEL (GENTLY)

Why?

SHOW SCENES DEPICTING THE MISTRESS DISSERTATION

MISTRESS

Because could not stand his adultery any longer. Night after night he went to the tavern, drinking and carousing. He didn't know I was watching him that night he tried his hand with that child that came from Shrewsbury. Your lady friend. He acted like he knew her. He tore her crucifix from her neck (CADFAEL AND OLIVIER LOOK KNOWINGLY AT EACH OTHER) and tried to keep it for himself. When she hit him with the cup, I ran back to our house and waited. When he came into the stable to bed down the horses, I met him and we had words. I told him to stop his adultery or I would leave and publicly humiliate him. He shook his fist at me. He still had the crucifix in his hand. He had such a tight fist around it that he drew blood. I could not bear such sacrilege so I picked up the trident and struck him with it. He bled badly and ran out of the stable. When I dropped the trident I punctured my own foot with it. I could barely

walk but I went to find him. I found him by the river, as you found him....dead. I was so ashamed of what I did, I've been waiting here to be arrested or die.

CADFAEL (GENTLY)

The wound you gave him was not fatal. It would have healed over time. You had nothing to do with your husband's death.

MISTRESS

I didn't kill him?

CADFAEL

Not in the least....I think you've answered all the questions we had for you. Thank you Mistress. (SMILES) It's time for you to rejoin the living.

CADFAEL AND OLIVIER LEAVE, WHEN THEY EXIT THE HOUSE, OLIVIER SMILES.

OLIVIER

It seems you were right all along. And I have much to learn. Could you teach me?

CADFAEL

Olivier, that would take a lifetime. And my leave from the Abby is almost finished. Now I must speak to the magistrate and convince him to free Sarah.

OLIVIER

I'll do that. You get her ready to leave.

OLIVIER JOGS OFF, CADFAEL SMILES AS A PROUD FATHER WOULD.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY SEVEN

CADFAEL IS PREPARING TO LEAVE, HE AND OLIVIER ARE TALKING

CADFAEL

I'm sorry I leave the search unfinished.

OLIVIER

You've proven Sarah innocent, that's all you set out to do.

CADFAEL

I wish I could stay and help you find the real murderer.

OLIVIER

I learned a lot from you this past week. I think I can manage from here on.

CADFAEL(SMILES)

Oh, I know you will.

HE MOUNTS HIS HORSE, HE REACHES DOWN AND PATS OLIVIER'S CHEEK AS A FATHER WOULD. HUGH IS CARRYING SARAH TO HIM, THEY HELP HER SIT SIDEWAYS ON THE SADDLE, SHE NESTLES HER HEAD INTO CADFAEL'S SHOULDER AND FALLS ASLEEP. HUGH AND THE SERGEANT MOUNT THEIR HORSES AND THEY ALL RIDE OUT OF TOWN.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY EIGHT

SARAH IS TAKEN BACK TO THE ABBY BY HUGH AND CADFAEL. THEY RIDE INTO THE COURT YARD WHERE THEY ARE MET BY BROTHERS OSWIN AND INFERMATUR. THEY TRY TO HELP HER DOWN FROM THE HORSE.

CADFAEL

Take care, she has a broken ankle. Is there a bed for her in the infirmary?

OSWIN

No, Brother. The infirmary and guest houses are still filled.

CADFAEL

I suppose we know where that leads.

OSWIN

I'll get a cot.

 


 

SCENE THIRTY NINE

AGAIN SARAH LAYS TO REST IN CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP. THIS TIME HE IS CARING FOR HER WOUNDS. HER BROKEN ANKLE IS MENDING. THERE ARE SCENES OF CADFAEL GIVING HER WATER TO DRINK, CARVING A CRUTCH AND A COMB FOR HER. HELPING HER WITH RECUPERATIVE WALKS. CUTTING FLOWERS FOR HER. TEACHING HER TO RIDE SIDE SADDLE. ALL DONE IN A FATHERLY WAY. THIS WAY HE IS SHOWING HER THE LOVE OF A FATHER THAT WAS STOLEN FROM HER. PRIOR ROBERT AND BROTHER JEROME ARE STILL WATCHING IN DISGUST AND DISAPPROVAL. FINALLY THE TIME COMES THAT SHE MUST LEAVE. SHE IS IN THE WORKSHOP PACKING A SMALL BAG, BROTHER JEROME ENTERS.

JEROME

I have a message for you from Prior Robert.

SARAH

I do not wish to hear anything he has to say. Common courtesy would have bid you to knock on that door. I could have been disrobed.

JEROME

I looked through the window and saw you packing.

SARAH

I didn't know that voyeurism is one of the Benedictine vows.

JEROME

Do not compare me with the frivolous nature of Brother Cadfael!

SARAH

Take care, Brother Jerome, your piety is showing.

SARAH PICKS UP HER BAG AND LEAVES THE WORKSHOP, BROTHER JEROME TOUCHES HIS CHEEK WHERE SHE STRUCK HIM BEFORE, AS THOUGH SHE HAS JUST STRUCK HIM AGAIN. IN THE ABBY COURTYARD. THE ABBY HAS GIVEN HER A HORSE, AND CADFAEL IS WALKING WITH HER TO THE ABBY GATE. FATHER ABBOT, PRIOR ROBERT AND BROTHER JEROME ARE WATCHING FROM THE STEPS

CADFAEL

How's your ankle?

SARAH (TWISTING AND TURNING IT)

Still stiff.

CADFAEL

Where will you go from here?

SARAH

Perhaps home, to try to pick up what's left of my life there. May I ask you a question?

CADFAEL

You can ask me anything.

SARAH

Is Cadfael you first name or your Sir name?

CADFAEL

My first name.

SARAH

What is your full name?

CADFAEL

Cadfael ap Meilyr ap Dafydd of Trefriw

SARAH

That's a mouth full....Am I allowed to write to you?

CADFAEL

Yes, but I think you should know, Father Abbot reads our letters before we do.

SARAH

I'll be careful.

SARAH GIVES HIM THE SMALLEST HINT OF A SMILE

CADFAEL

Do I believe what I see?...Faint though it is, I believe I see a smile!

SARAH BECOMES SHY AND LOWERS HER HEAD CADFAEL RAISES HER CHIN

CADFAEL

You must never be shy about sharing the beauty of a smile.

SARAH

I have something for you. I want you to have this.

SHE HANDS HIM HER CRUCIFIX

CADFAEL

Your father's crucifix? I thought it was all you had of him.

SARAH

It is, but somehow suddenly it would mean more to me if you had it.....I shall miss you.

CADFAEL HESITATES

SARAH

I know, your order strictly forbids any ties to the outside world, when I leave the Abby, I leave for good.

CADFAEL

You may leave the Abby, but not my heart.

SARAH

If you don't mind, I should like to kiss you goodbye.

CADFAEL OFFERS HER A CHEEK TO KISS, SHE LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER AND SEES JEROME, PRIOR AND FATHER ABBOT WATCHING INTENTLY, SMILES, TAKES CADFAEL'S FACE IN HER HANDS AND KISSES HIM PASSIONATELY ON THE LIPS, AN EMBRACE HE DOES NOT FIGHT BUT ACCEPTS WITHOUT HESITATION. BROTHERS PRIOR AND JEROME ARE IN SHOCK, FATHER ABBOT IS AMUSED

PRIOR

Father Abbot! Do you see? Even now, his behavior is inexcusable!

FATHER ABBOT (AMUSED)

Oh yes, Prior Robert, I see.......perfectly.

CADFAEL AND SARAH RELEASE THEIR EMBRACE.

CADFAEL (TENDERLY)

Shame on you.

SARAH

It worked.

CADFAEL (AMUSED)

I'm afraid I shall have to live with this for quite sometime.

SARAH

But, won't it make life interesting?

CADFAEL

Come along, up you go.

CADFAEL HELPS SARAH MOUNT HER HORSE, SHE FORGETS HERSELF AND STRADDLES THE HORSE, CADFAEL SNAPS HIS FINGERS, TO CUE HER TO DISMOUNT AND REMOUNT AND RIDE SIDE SADDLE. CADFAEL SMILES AT HER AND WAVES GOODBYE. SARAH STARTS TO RIDE AWAY AT A SLOW WALK, CADFAEL WATCHES HER RIDE. HE STARTS TO WALK AWAY WHEN HE HEARS A DOG BARKING, AND TURNS BACK AROUND. A LARGE DOG HAS RUN UP TO SARAH'S HORSE AND IS BARKING AT IT, SARAH IS TRYING TO CONTROL THE HORSE BUT HE REARS AND BUCKS SARAH OFF, SHE COMES CRASHING DOWN ON A SMALL CART, THE HORSE BOLTS AND RUNS OFF

CADFAEL (SCREAMS)

SARAH!!!

FATHER ABBOT AND CADFAEL RUN UP TO SARAH, AND CADFAEL ROLLS HER OVER TO CRADLE HER IN HIS ARMS. SHE HAS BLOOD RUNNING FROM HER MOUTH AND SHE MOANS IN PAIN. CADFAEL SEES HIS HAND SOAKED IN HER BLOOD. SHE SAYS "HOLD ME" BUT HER VOICE IS SO FAINT THAT HE STRUGGLES TO HEAR.

SARAH (A LITTLE LOUDER)

Hold me.

CADFAEL HOLDS HER CLOSE TO HIM

CADFAEL

She's been impaled! Someone get a travoy!

SARAH

No....Too late.....God's will......I have to leave,.... my quest ended.....Goodbye, my gallant knight.

SARAH'S HEAD DROOPS BACKWARD AND SHE DIES

CADFAEL

Goodbye, my morning dove.

HE CRADLES HER CLOSE TO HIM AS A FATHER CRADLES A BABY HOLDING BACK HIS TEARS. FATHER ABBOT BEGINS LAST RIGHTS. CADFAEL TRACES A CROSS ON HER FOREHEAD AS PART OF LAST RIGHTS, BECAUSE HIS HAND IS BLOODY, THE CROSS ON HER HEAD WAS DRAWN IN BLOOD. HE HOLDS UP THE CRUCIFIX AND GRIPS IT TIGHTLY IN HIS HAND, THEN BOWS HIS HEAD IN SORROW

 


 

SCENE FORTY

CADFAEL'S WORKSHOP, CADFAEL AND OSWIN ARE WORKING, CADFAEL REACHES TO OPEN HIS HERB CUPBOARD, AND REALIZES THAT HE NEVER USED THE HANDLE TO OPEN IT RATHER THE BOTTOM EDGE OF THE DOOR. HE OPENS AND CLOSES IT SEVERAL TIMES.

CADFAEL

Oswin, have you ever noticed the handle on this cupboard to be loose?

OSWIN

No, Brother, I haven't. Why do you ask?

CADFAEL

I found Sarah peeking in the cupboard right before she left for Worcester. I surprised her. She told me she was doing me a favor and fixing the loose handle. I didn't realize it until now, but I never use the handle, so I wouldn't know if it were loose or not.

OSWIN

Brother Cadfael, the lady has been dead and buried these ten days now. Shouldn't we move on?

CADFAEL

You're right Oswin. It's amazing how a small happening can spark a returning memory.

HUGH WALKS IN WITH SARAH'S BAG

HUGH

Cadfael? One of my patrols found this, I believe it belonged to Sarah.

CADFAEL

It did. I saw her tie it to her horse. When the horse returned to the Abby it wasn't on the saddle. Perhaps it fell off on the road.

CADFAEL TAKES THE BAG AND OPENS IT. OSWIN LEAVES

HUGH

Perhaps there's a name of a family member to whom you could send the bag with condolences.

CADFAEL LOOKS THROUGH THE BAG

CADFAEL

The comb I carved for her....The only names I found are on this paper. It's a list of names and villages.

HUGH

Perhaps family.

CADFAEL

I'm not so sure,... I've seen this list before.... But where?... I can't remember.

HUGH

With everything you've been through these last three months, it's a wonder you can remember anything.

CADFAEL

Hm....All but one of the names on the list have been crossed off...(LOOKS MORE CLOSELY TO THE LIST)....Hugh, isn't this the name of the man that died in Worcester?

HUGH

Aye, it is.

CADFAEL

And this is the name of the man that died in Redcliffe Bay.

HUGH

Perhaps she was tracking them as well. You said she was searching for her brother. Could he be the murderer?

CADFAEL

That's what I thought originally, but something doesn't fit.....(HE LOOKS INTO THE BAG AGAIN)..Look here, a sprig of hemlock...

CADFAEL GOES TO HIS HERB CUPBOARD HUGH PICKS UP THE HEMLOCK

CADFAEL

There doesn't seem to be any missing...

HUGH

It's greasy.

CADFAEL

It's the oil from the roots that make the poison.

HUGH

How can you tell if someone has been poisoned by it?

CADFAEL

They die a seizing death, I remember one man that seized so badly he bit his tongue nearly...off...

CADFAEL SUDDENLY REALIZED WHAT DIDN'T FIT. HE TAKES SARAH'S CRUCIFIX OUT OF HIS SCRIP BAG AND LOOKS PENSIVELY AT IT

CADFAEL(LOOKS AGAIN AT LIST)

Hugh, Robert Duncan's name is on this list, and his is the only one that isn't crossed off. Go and fetch him. I'll have the truth yet.

 


 

SCENE FORTY ONE

INSIDE THE ABBY HALL, HUGH ENTERS WITH ROBERT DUNCAN, THEY COME TO CADFAEL AT THE SACRISTY.

HUGH

Brother Cadfael?

CADFAEL STIRS AND TURNS AROUND

CADFAEL

Come with me.

THEY WALK TO SARAH'S POSSESSIONS ON A TABLE.

CADFAEL

Lord Beringar's patrol just found this bag. It belonged to Sarah. Do you remember her?

DUNCAN

The little nymph you were dancing with?

CADFAEL

She was hardly a nymph....When I opened the bag I found this....(HANDS DUNCAN THE LIST)...Do you know these names?

DUNCAN (NERVOUS)

No, why would I?

CADFAEL

Look more closely, your name is among them.

DUNCAN

I have no knowledge---

CADFAEL (RELENTLESS)

Ah, but I think you do. All these men are dead.

DUNCAN

Dead?

CADFAEL

Murdered. Two I saw. There is a squad of soldiers tracking these murders, as we speak. Should they discover you are the only man on this list still alive, they could easily assume you are the murderer. They'll hang you.

DUNCAN (PANICKED)

I'm not a murderer! I had nothing to do with their deaths!

CADFAEL

No, but you had something to do with their lives. Tell me now, and I want the truth.

DUNCAN

It was about twenty years ago.....all the men on this list swindled a naive man out of all his worth. They falsed a murder, led the man to believe he was responsible and blackmailed him for years...

CADFAEL

And you?

DUNCAN

I was the victim....

CADFAEL

What was his name?...His name!

DUNCAN

Um...Wilson, he was always singing, like a minstrel. Happy as a lark. That was how we picked him for the swindle. We left him broken and with nothing.

CADFAEL BECOMES DISTANT

CADFAEL

Hugh, is there any statute on a twenty year old crime?

HUGH

I don't know.

CADFAEL

Did he have children?

DUNCAN

Yes, one child,........a daughter, charming little thing......her name was... Sarah....That's where I heard that name before.

CADFAEL

And you have been living here on the funds you stole from him. That's why Sarah ran away when she met you here. She knew who you were.... How old was she when you cheated her father?

DUNCAN

Eight, Ten, I'm not sure....The last time I saw her, she swore a curse on all of us...We never thought much of it, she was so young.

CADFAEL (DISTANT)

Yes, she was young. Torn from her father at a very young age, and swindled out of any chance of love.

HUGH

Come Duncan, we've more questions for you.

HUGH AND DUNCAN LEAVE, CADFAEL SETS THE LIST A LIGHT FROM A CANDLE AND DROPS IT INTO A TRAY TO BURN

CADFAEL

She accepted her fate, as the will of God.

 

 

THE END

 



Written by SteveC