A Little Goes a Long Way (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Our author once described him thus:

Slow to speak, quick with a quarterstaff, the face of Robin’s right-hand Merry Man is as unreadable as it is difficult to see without tipping one’s head waaay back. And while Little John may not always feel the need to contribute a great deal to a conversation, his strong and level-headed presence provides much-needed stability in a world where someone thought it was a good idea to let Will Scarlet behind the wheel of a minivan…

“Welcome, Little John!” Will greets the man now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – why are you so huge?”

Green eyes shadowed beneath heavy black brows perform a slow, flat blink. “Genetics.”

“From a family of giants, then? Any of your ancestors have a run-in with Allyn’s dad? I hear he was an ‘and the beanstalk’ kind of Jack.”

Silence.

“Will,” Allyn hisses from off-camera. “If you’ve prepared any actual interview questions of the non-offensive variety, maybe now’s the time to ask them.”

“Sorry,” Will mutters. “I just… got a bit nervous. He has that effect on me.” He casts a leery glance Little John’s way. “Is it intentional?”

His guest rumbles a longsuffering, “No.”

“Well, that much is better than not, I guess.” Will shifts around in his chair, straightening with a bracing breath. “Y’know, it’s funny – in Danielle’s earliest planning stages for ‘Ballad’, she envisioned that you and I might be best friends. What do you suppose that would have been like?”

“Much like it is now,” Little John replies, his massive shoulders taking on more the essence of a shrug than the actual movement. “You would be a manic pest. I would tolerate it. Everything the same, except you wouldn’t fear me.”

“Hey, in fairness to me, your character is canonically pretty intimidating. Also canonically constant. Will Scarlets, Allyn-a-Dales, even Maid Marions – their inclusion in any given story is hit and miss. But one would have to search a good long while before they found a Robin Hood without his right-hand man. What is it that makes your connection to Robin so unbreakable?”

Little John considers a moment, then answers, “Respect. Trust. And understanding. Whatever our differences of personality or opinion, we know each other’s worth and reliability – and our simple humanity. We’re not in awe of one another. That counts for much.”

“Yeah, I’d imagine that makes both of your lives a lot easier. Now, this one is just me being curious: What would you single out as your favorite scene in ‘Ballad’, and why? No spoilers, naturally.”

Another pause for thought, and then, “Just before we leave on our quest. The exchange in Allyn’s tent, regarding the lute. I appreciated the courage and compassion on display. And the quietness.” The essence of a brow raised wryly. “You make much of the book very loud.”

Will flashes a grin. “It’s a gift. And I’ll beg one more indulgence of you before we call it a wrap. Tell me, what is our author Danielle E. Shipley’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret? Or” – the grin takes on an uneasy quality – “would you rather kiss me?”

“Secretly,” says Little John, back turned on the kiss option altogether, “Danielle’s a little miffed that her best friend published me a month ahead of ‘Ballad’. See ‘Grace the Mace’. My AU character isn’t hard to spot.”

Refraining from another obvious remark about the less-than-little John, Will calls behind him, “Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “and a number of enticing prizes for those who care to try for them, was brought to you by the Launch Week+ celebration of The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale’ (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book One) by Danielle E. Shipley – available now!”

Ballad Cover, front 02

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you, too, Little John! And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

Hooray for the Scarlet, White, and Blue (Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Hooray for the Scarlet, White, and Blue’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a backdrop showing the spires of Avalon Faire’s castle through the prop trees of “Little Sherwood”. Allyn-a-Dale enters and crosses to the center from stage left, Will Scarlet from stage right, both in their typical Faire garb.]

Will: Ah, Allyn! I was just coming to find you.

Allyn: And found me you have, on the way to my tent.

Will: Your tent? You can’t go in there – not today, of all days. It’s the 4th of July!

Allyn: Should that date mean something to me?

Will [scoffs like “duh” ]: Only if you’re going to call yourself an American.

Allyn: Which no one in Avalon is.

Will: Even so, this is a very important holiday. It all started centuries ago at midnight, when Paul Revere rode through the colonial American towns, shouting—

Image via http://www.allposters.co.uk/
Image via http://www.allposters.co.uk/

[Enter Marion Hood. Tricorn hat upon her head, stick horse firmly in hand, she gallops across the stage.]

Marion/Paul Revere: The British are coming! In stylish red coats! One if by land, two if by sea! TO ARMS, AMERICA!

[Exit Marion.]

Allyn [blinking at Will ]: I don’t get it.

Will: Oh, it was all to do with the Boston Tea Party.

[The largest of the prop trees rotates, revealing Robin Hood and Little John in its hollow, sporting waistcoats and powdered wigs, seated at a small table set with a fine china tea service.]

Little John [in an exaggerated British accent ]: More tea, Mr. Jefferson? I can offer you sugar and cream, as well, though sadly, representation along with your taxation is right out.

Robin/Jefferson: That’s outrageous! [throws down napkin ] As a patriot, I won’t stand for it! This means WAR!

[The tree revolves back into its original position.]

Will: After that, it was all kinds of revolution up in the streets – from Washington crossing the Delaware, to Ben Franklin flying kites in a storm, to a mysterious hooded man robbing the king’s men on the forest highway.

Allyn [eyelids lowered to sardonic height ]: You don’t say.

Will: True story. But in the end, the states united and came out on top, to much celebratory fireworks and barbecue.

Allyn: A fascinating history, Will. But I don’t see how any of this bars me from entering my tent.

Will: Erm, mostly because it kind of caught fire when I went in to surprise you with an Independence Day bouquet of sparklers.

Allyn: What?!

[Marion gallops across the stage again.]

Marion/Paul Revere: Those darn red-loving Brits, I tell you!

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience member Chelsea de la Cruz,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘sparklers’ and ‘mysterious hooded man’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

“Moiety” or “The Daddy Issues Diet”

It’s Save-a-Word Saturday! For any who need a reminder of/never knew what that means, here’s how it goes:

Save-a-Word Saturday

1) Create a post linking back to the hosts, The Feather and the Rose.

2) Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in the post. (If you find yourself in want of options, Feather ‘n’ Rose recommended a site that may have some word-lovers drooling. Luciferous Logolepsy. Even its name is old and delicious!)

3) Provide a definition of your word, and use it in a sentence/short paragraph/mini story vaguely related to the particular week’s chosen theme.

4) Sign up properly on the host post’s linky list so participants can easily find each other and share their logophilistic joy.

5) Be a hero by sharing these retro words with the world!

I’ve been participating in the weekly fun via my Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” Facebook page, giving myself the extra challenge/fun of relating every word I pick to my re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, the “Outlaws of Avalon” trilogy (a.k.a. the magnum opus to be self-published after the completion of “The Wilderhark Tales”, Book Two of which launches on Friday!). But I figure, hey, with this week’s vignette all pre-written and ready to go, no reason I can’t post it here for the blog-inclined to see!

So, without further delay, here’s my word-saving civic duty of the day.

The theme: Buttered Toast.

The word: “Moiety”, a noun meaning “portion, part, half, or equal share”.

The Example:

It was only the two of them at breakfast beneath the trees so far, the other three Merry Men off rehearsing a fight scene together. Having taken what he wished from the skillet, Little John offered it to Allyn-a-Dale.

“Oh, no sausages, thank you,” the minstrel declined. “And no need for a full slice of toast; a moiety will suffice.” Under the silent interrogation of his titanic comrade’s gaze, he added a bit defensively, “I’ve already eaten.” He fluttered a hand toward the past. “Scarf-a-Scone Saturday.”

Little John’s brows sank to a level of incredulity. “That scene was three months ago.”

Allyn squirmed. “Isn’t one vignette where everyone watches me chew enough?”

“So I won’t watch.” Little John pressed a pair of sausages between two pieces of butter-slathered toast and handed the lot off to Allyn without a glance. “We’ll even end the narrative before your first bite, if you’ll promise it’s not the only bite you’ll take today.”

Allyn accepted the sandwich with a grumble. “I know how to keep from starving, thank you. When one apprentices to Gant-o’-the-Lute,” he muttered, “it’s a trick one’s body had better learn.”

Little John just shook his head. Keeping his bandmates alive was part of his job description. Their psychological quirks, however, were their own to handle.