The Yulemen

 Scene 1

The northern seas.  It’s a cold and cloudy day on the Isle of Ice.  The year is 978 A.D.    A scrawny teenaged boy (about 14) named Hentrish is standing next to his older brother (about 24) named Fardeen.  They stand in front of the entrance to Deboning Dungeon.  The lighting is dreary and dim.  Hentrish looks worried but Fardeen looks proud.  Hentrish is nervously shifting.  It is unusually cold and stormy.

 

Fardeen

I can’t believe you’re going to be a yuleman.  Oh Hentrish, you make me proud.

 

Hentrish

I don’t want to be a punisher.  I want to reward.

 

Fardeen

No.  Our family’s dynasty…our very bloodline….insists that every son of Monjur will embrace his fate as a punisher.  It is our job to seek those that defy the very laws of Yule and to punish them….to end their existence.  Wipe away those tears, boy.  If Monjur were alive today, he would very disappointed.  Don’t fail him, Hentrish.

 

Hentrish

These are not tears of fear.  I want to reward.  I do not want to track down a child or a woman who has broken the laws of Yule and then capture her,  torture them in the deboning room dungeon.  And for all of Yule, I could not eat the flesh of those that we capture.  The dungeons are not a place for a Yule boy like me.  I know it’s important to punish the evildoers but I cannot eat the flesh of another Yule.  I can’t.

 

Fardeen

It’s not your decision boy.  You were born a son of Monjur and a son of Monjur you will die.  The laws of Yule are clear.  There are punishers and rewarders.  You are a punisher.  There is no grey area.  You will eat the flesh of all those that defy the laws of Yule.  For if you do not the evildoers will have succeeded.  The evildoers must know we are relentless and without mercy.

 

Hentrish

And you eat the evildoers?

 

Fardeen

Yes.  I love it.  The sweets screams of pain from evil children!  Their satisfying cries for mercy!  The succulent smell of fresh child meat!  Not to mention the warm feeling that you get inside when you eat a moldy child.

 

Hentrish

Don’t make light of this.  I’m serious.  I can’t eat the flesh of a Yule.

 

Fardeen

You’ll feel differently when you meet the evil child.  When you know what they have done.  When you can create justice.  When you place them in a large hot pot.  When the flesh is removed from the bone. 

 

Hentrish

Stop!  Stop!  You are making me regurgitate my breakfast.

 

Fardeen

Stop being a woman.

 

Hentrish

How dare you call me a woman!  Bring me into the cave, brother.  I will show you wrong.

 

            The brothers enter the cave of the Deboning Room.

 


Scene 2

Inside the Deboning.  There are five boys in ceremonial robes waiting for the ritual to begin.  There are a lot of people watching proudly on the boys becoming rewarders or punishers.   A shaman enters the dark cave.  He is a thousand years old and has staff made of bones of all the children he has deemed “evil.”  A hush comes to the crowd.

 

Shaman

For a thousand years, all of Yule has followed the sacred laws.  Today a new generation will embrace our customs and law.

Rule One:  We must always follow the decisions of the rewarders and the punishers.

Rule Two:   Children deemed evil must be eaten and tortured by punishers.

Rule Three:  Children deemed good must be rewarded with a present of their greatest wish.

Rule Four:  A good child is one who accepts what the gods have given them.  Therefore if one were born into the family of hunters than you must be a hunter.  If one is born as a fisherman then you must be a fisherman.  If one is born into a family of Shaman, they you must be a shaman.  If one is born into a family of slaves than you must accept that you will always be a slave.

Rule Five:  A bad is one who will not accept their fate or worse who defies their fate.

 

And now will the new Rewarders of our Society rise.

 

            Three boys and one girl stand.

 

Rewarders

Oh Great Shaman, we accept our fate.

 

Shaman

And now, will the Punishers of our Society rise.

 

Three boys and Hentrish start to stand.  Hentrish sits down for a quick moment and looks at his brother who is worried.   

 

Larcenic

Hentrish, what are you doing?  The Shaman is waiting for our pledge.  Hentrish?

 

Hentrish

My legs won’t move.  I can’t stand.  This is against everything I believe.

 

Larcenic

It is the law.  Don’t make me punish you.

 

Hentrish

Larcenic, help me.

 

Larcenic

Give me your hand, friend.

 

            Larcenic helps Hentrish stand.

 

Punishers

Oh Great Shaman, we accept our fate.

 

            The crowd shouts “Yule, Yule, Yule.”

 

Hentrish

This isn’t right for me, Larcenic.  I feel like I’m going to pass out.

 

Larcenic

You are overwhelmed.  You are from the family Monjur – the greatest punishers in all of Yule.  I can only hope to serve by your side, Hentrish.  Now let’s go get some ale and celebrate.    There are girls to dance with and games to play.  This is a day of great triumph for all of Yule. 

 

Hentrish

No, this is not who I am! I do not want this, I cannot pay the price for this power, I am not strong enough, I know that. I was born to be a rewarder!

 

Larcenic

You are a punisher, you shall eat he evil children tonight, you shall be the most powerful of them all, worthy of the gods themselves!

           

Fardeen comes over.

 

Fardeen

Hentrish, why do you look so glum?

 

Hentrish

Tonight is a sad night for me, brother.  My fate overwhelms me.  Help me home, I shall faint.

 

           

Scene 3

Elena, age 10, is chewing bones alone in her cave.  Her hair is wild and her eyes are angry.  Her mother enters.  Elena takes the largest caribou bone and throws it at her mother’s head.

 

Elena

How dare you enter.  I hate you.  Hatred.  Hate.  I wish I had never been born from your body.  You disgust me.  You weak willed woman.  I hate that my face looks like yours.  It makes me sick that your blood races threw my veins.

 

Mother

X-Ain the guard told me that he saw you attacking one of the other children.  He sent me here to try to control you.  You are not following the rules, Elena.  And what are you eating?  Were you hunting again?  How many times must I explain to you:  You are a slave.  We are a family of slaves in Yule.  It is your destiny to serve our betters.  You have no sense of obedience.  Do you know what will happen if they catch you hunting?

 

Elena

I’m already here.   I might as well enjoy my last moments of life.  Leave me alone for my final hour of life.  I hate you.

 

Mother

I will hide you.  Keep you safe.  We will leave Yule.

 

Elena

We cannot escape.  Just leave me to rot.  Just like before.  Just like when you allowed punishers to kill my sister.  You did nothing to stop them.  I used to be obedient.  What a fool we were.

 

Mother

Myreed tried to better herself.  She was caught reading one of the scrolls of Yule.  Forbidden.  She had been warned.  But her curiosity…her sick evil curiosity….got the better of her.  She had to die.   She couldn’t know the secrets of Yule.

 

Elena

Even if she broke the laws you were non-respondent to her screams and cries.  You even helped the guards drag her from her bed.    You shouted “Yule, Yule, Yule” when they threw her in the pot to boil. 

 

Mother

I’m her mother but I’m also a member of Yule.  And it is my duty to enforce the laws.  You have never accepted the laws of Yule.  You have to go away. I can’t lose two daughters.

 

Elena

Leave the place?  Leave my home?  Leave my sister’s grave?  I will mourn Myreed forever.  Even if that means my death.  And I’m no slave, mother.  I’m much more than a slave.  I was born to hunt.

 

Mother

You are a slave.  So am I.  So was Myreed.

 

Elena

That doesn’t make us nothing.  Just because others look down on us, doesn’t mean we need to look down on ourselves.  Now get out of here and accept my fate.  At least I’ve chosen to die with my dignity.  I don’t want to be remembered as the slave who died helplessly trying to escape the grasps of Yule.   Now you can prove to me that you love by leaving right now.

 

Mother

I knew as soon as you picked up your first bow that you were doomed to fate.  I will go back and report you to the council.  I have no choice.   May Yule have mercy on your soul. 

 

Elena picks up bones and throws them at her mother.  Mother bursts into tears and storms out.  Elena eats the meat she hunted defiantly.

 


Scene 4

The Deboning Room.  Hentrish is preparing a seasoning for the bad children.  The evil children are in tiny cages hanging from ceiling.  They are wide eyed and terrified.   Elena is among them.  Her knees are up to her chest and she looks on angrily.  While the other children whimper quietly, Elena refuses to cry.  She maintains her dignity.

 

Hentrish

It’s just salt mostly.  We have to use a lot of salt or the meat will be infected and too tough to eat.   We’ll rub spices and oil on your skin and then we’ll add the salt.  It won’t take too long, I promise.  Please stop crying.  You’re all making this worse for me. 

 

Elena

Shut up, boy!  Shut up!  Do your job , you mindless frog!  You disgust me.  Wining and Wining about how hard your job is.  We’re about to be boiled alive and eaten by people in our tribe who think we’re evil.

 

Hentrish

You only have to deal with one death: your own.  I’m going to have to learn how to deal with hundreds of lives that are taken by my hand.  I’m going to have to learn to eat the flesh of a fellow Yule. 

 

Elena

You were not the only one that was born into a fate that you don’t like.  Are you going to die for it?  At least I had the courage to accept who I was and to stand up to the Yule and to accept my death with dignity.  Look at yourself, you scrawny fool.  You will never get what you want in life unless you fight for it.

 

Hentrish

And where did fighting get you?  You’re in a gruesome birdcage about to be boiled alive.  And dignity?  What dignity is there in being salted and eaten by those of my kind?  You will be remembered as a platter – no more.

 

Elena

You’re cruel.  You pretend not to be but you actually like what you do.  You like being a punisher.

 

Hentrish

You have no idea.

 

Elena

And I never will because of you.  Don’t you see, if we could choose our own destinies – maybe you and I could have been friends.

 

 

Hentrish

There are no friends in Yule.  I have just my brother, Fardeen.  And my own thoughts.

 

Elena

I have no one.

 

Hentrish

I have to punish you.  You broke the law.  You hunted like a hunter.   Slaves do not hunt.

 

Elena

At least I was able to do what I was good at in my short life.  What were you ever good at?

 

Hentrish

I am afraid I will never find out.  But for now the seasoning is almost ready.

 

Elena

When you eat me….I want you to remember these last words:   You are weak.  A coward.  You will always be weak and a coward until you finally realize what you’re doing is wrong.  And unless you stand up for what you believe in than you obviously don’t believe it enough.

 

Hentrish

I don’t want this life anymore.  I’ve never killed anyone.

 

Elena

Get me out this cage.  Let’s escape.  Be brave now.  Stand up for yourself.  You don’t have to kill us.

 

Hentrish

I can’t betray my family.  I can’t betray the Monjur name.

 

Elena

Ghosts. They’re all dead except your brother.  They’re all ghosts that you serve.  They don’t even exist in this world.  But you still insist on worrying about honoring them.

 

Hentrish

I don’t know…..

 

            Enter Larcenic.

 

 

 

Larcenic

Why are your hands trembling, Hentrish?  Did you see a ghost?  Why isn’t the seasoning finished yet.  Am I going to have dip the first cage in the cauldron all by myself?    I thought you were a punisher, Hentrish.

 

Hentrish

I am,  I think.  Larcenic, are you scared to eat Yule flesh?

 

Larcenic

Why would I be.  It’s our destiny.  Assigned by the gods themselves.  It’s why people fear us.  Isn’t that right, children?

 

Children shake their cages and whimper even more.  Larcenic takes a hot rod out of the fire and pokes one of the bigger children who cries out.

 

Hentrish

Stop it!  You’re torturing him. 

 

Larcenic

They’re evil.  They deserve it.  This one was caught casting a rod into the cold seas.  Trying to take the job away from a fisherman and his family.  No you were born a soldier and that’s what you were supposed to me.  Now you are my dinner.  He’s a plump one…I will enjoy eating his juicy flesh!

 

 

Hentrish

They are not as evil as you may think. They are Yules, they are just like you and me!

 

Larcenic

You are acting childish again. Shut your mouth, boy, and let me prepare this batch!

 

Larcenic angrily walks over to the cauldron mixing it with a large wooden spoon. Hentrish watches in horror, but Elena looks happy.

 

Elena

Prove yourself, coward! Kill him now!

 

Without thinking Hentrish pushes Larcenic into the pot and shuts the cover. Hentrish looks nervous and is looking at his own hands in horror.

Hentrish

I-I killed him. I did the exact thing I was trying to prevent!

 

Elena

Good job! Now just unlock my cage and let us escape! You are a punisher, you must know a secret trail where the gravesmen carry out the corpses’ to the kitchens.

 

Hentrish

Well, there is one way.. But, but… I killed him! A fellow Yule.

 

Elena

Oh no, don’t tell me you will be wining about this. By the gods you are so weak. \Just unlock me and let’s go.

 

            Hentrish unlocks Elena’s cage and she steps out they both run of the stage in a hurry to get out of the Deboning room, leaving the rest of the children behind.

 


Scene 5

Deep in the woods. Elena and Hentrish are sitting in the woods. Elena is eating a chunk of animal meat that she hunted. She is eating it defiantly and jerking her head back and forth to rip chunks of meat off. Hentrish is awkwardly watching, while he’s eating a small piece of bread.

                                                                               Hentrish

Could you attempt to eat that food in a more clean way? If you leave bits of meat and bones on our trail, people will follow us into the deep woods.

             Elena
Hush, boy. This is not a good time to criticize me. I just escaped and I am not about to follow orders.

                                                                               Hentrish

I just saved your life.

                          Elena (sarcastically)

Oh, I apologize for my rudeness. Oh, great punisher.
          

    Hentrish

Shut up. Where are we going? We obviously are not going to survive in the wild for too long.  We have to figure out how we’re going to survive.  We have no plan.

                                                                                Elena

You are right, and we are not welcome in the kingdom. So we must change our own destinies.


Hentrish

You don’t mean…

 

Elena

Yes, I do mean it. We must go to The Temple of Yule, we must speak to the gods themselves and change our destinies so we are excepted into the kingdom once again!


Hentrish

Elena, don’t be so naïve. We cannot do that. The gods would destroy us in an instant.

Elena

Do you think we have a choice? I love Yule, and it betrays me. I must stay here, and I must be accepted. We need to change our destiny!

           

 

 

 

Hentrish

Elena, have you gone mad? This is insane, and we will never survive going back to town, facing our families who want to kill us, and sneaking into the temple and facing the gods.

 

Elena

What do you think we are to do then? Think about it, Hentrish! You could become a Rewarder.  You could give presents to all of the little children!

 

Hentrish

But what about Larcenic?

 

Elena

Who in all of Yule is that?

Hentrish

The person in the room, the person I murdered! If they suspect me, I’ll be dead!

 

Elena

There will be no evidence! No one was in the room to see it! There are no witnesses!  If you stay on the run, it’ll look like you’re guilty.  Look at yourself, do you really think that they will think YOU of all people is a cold-blooded killer?

Hentrish

I had to kill him! To escape a life of pain and guilt!

 

Elena

Hentrish, I was born into a slave family.  I know that the price to pay for freedom is death, whether it’s your own, or if it’s someone else’s.

 

Hentrish

No, I always promised myself I would never kill anybody.

 

Elena

Well, you already have killed someone. We need to get to The Temple by the night of Sacreds.   The gods are most powerful on ths night.

 

Hentrish

I tell you a killer shall not be worthy of the gods!  They will deem me a Punisher again.

 

Elena

Let’s get out of this forest.  I think we’re lost.  This forest is dangerous.  We should never have run so far.  We need to get back to Yule.  The gods will give us new destinies.

 

Hentrish

These woods are indeed dangerous.  Filled with black magic.   And wolves.

 

Elena

Hentrish, I am a born hunter! You have no worry at all!  We just have to move quickly.  The moonlight will guide us.

 

Hentrish

You are but a child. If we run into a bear, you will be ripped to shreds.

 

Elena

Hentrish, you are becoming paranoid.  We must get to the Temple of Yule.  It is our hopel

 

            They both exit


Scene 6

Elena and Hentrish are running and then stop. Hentrish is out of breath and is panting heavily. They a hear a roar in the distance.

 

Hentrish(Breathing heavily)

Did you see it? It was huge the size of house! It was horrifiying!

 

Elena

Hentrish, do not fear! I can slay any monster!

 

Hentrish

No… It was a- a!

 

A huge a Hmmulticore Creature!  roars in the distance.   It’s mixture between nature’s fiercest animals – It has the body of a tiger and the head of a snake.

 

Elena

Oh no, not a Hmmulticore Creature! From the stories of the Yule! Myreed would read them to me after reading it in the book of Yule! It is the first trial of the warrior! One person always’s dies! To pick of the weak from the pack!

 

            Hentrish gulps

 

Hentrish

Are you sure that we must fight it?

 

Elena

How else are we to defeat it? I hope you do not even consider fleeing!

 

Hentrish

I do not know, Elena… It’s a Hmmulticore Creature!  It’s claws are as sharp as steel.  And it’s venom is deadly.  I saw it attack a bear head on and the bear didn’t stand a chance.

 

Elena

Yes, and we must fight for our lives! Now is not the time to be coward! Now draw your sword and let us slay it!

 

The Hmmulticore Creature enters and Elena immediately slashes her sword at it.  The Hmmulticore Creature stumbles for a second but tries to eat Elena and Elena dodges the Hmmulticore Creatures attempt. The Hmmulticore Creature leaps onto Elena and traps her.

 

Elena

Hentrish! I am doomed! Go on! I will kill the Hmmulticore Creature’s fire gland! It will explode and it will die! Go on, Hentrish! Change your own destiny!

 

Hentrish

No! Elena, I won’t last two days out here without you!

 

Elena

Hentrish, please be brave for this one time and just accept the gift I’m giving you. 

 

Hentrish

But, I will be alone! Everyone in my life would be gone!

 

Elena

Do not let my death go in vain. Good luck, Hentrish, and goodbye.

 

            The Hmmulticore Creature swallows Elena whole.

 

Hentrish

Elena!

 

The Hmmulticore Creature turns to Hentrish and roars. Hentrish runs off the stage.


Scene 6

Temple of Yule.  There is a Shaman burning some herbs over a giant pool of water.  We are inside the holiest of all temples.

 

Hentrish

Out of my way, Shaman.  I have traveled very far and I demand to speak to the gods.

 

Shaman

How do you get in here, boy?

 

Hentrish

I disguised myself as a shaman.   I stole one of the black robes and moved quickly to this room.  I want to talk to the gods.  There has been a huge mistake.

 

Shaman

Who do you think we are?  You are not worthy to talk to them.  These are the Mighty gods! 

 

Hentrish

I am the son of Rahmuslanas Monjur.  My destiny is not one I embrace.  I want it changed.  They had no right to deem me a killer!  I will not be a Punisher! 

 

Shaman

We do not change the destiny.  You were born a punisher – you must be a punisher!

 

Hentrish

No.  Bring forth the gods or I will kill you.  Let them address me themselves.

 

Shaman

You are not worthy.  You will disintegrate into dust in their presence. 

 

Hentrish

I will risk their wrath.

 

 

The Shaman takes his staff and jams it into a giant key hole in the wall.  He begins to chant mystical sounds.  The water begins to move, making a giant whirlpool.    The water changes color into a brilliant molten gold.    The gods start to rise from the water.  They are animal forms with human characteristics.  One is a bird but her eyes are human.  One is lion but paws are fingers.  One is Fish with the mouth of a human.  The rise above the water and hang suspended in the air.  Their eyes look over to Hentrish

.

God

Motal, why you do you bother us tonight.  On this most holy night of Sacreds.  Shouldn’t you back home punishing a child for breaking the law?

God 2

You are not a shaman?  Why do you bother us?  We have deemed you a destiny of power and greatness.  Many would kill for such a gift.

 

Hentrish

I should not be a punisher.   I want to change who I am.

 

God 3

Why do you think you are worthy enough to change your own destiny?  Why should we help you?

 

Hentrish

I don’t know how to change it on my own.  I need the gods to change it for me.  I have traveled very far.  I have seen my friend killed trying to change her destiny. 

 

God

The Monjur family blood line is the strongest in all of Yule.  If we were to break your title – it would weaken your whole line.

 

Hentrish

Please, I beg for mercy.  Make me a slave.  Make me a woman.  Make me a weak garbage picker!  Make me a sailor.  Just don’t make me a killer.

 

God 2

We will grant your wish.

 

Gold rain showers down upon Hentrish.  His body dissolves into dust.  The dust blows across the room and gathers in a pile.  The ashes start to rise up but they do not return to the shape of Hentrish.  He is now changed into the body of Elena.  The actor who played Elena will now play Hentrish.

 

Hentrish

Curse you gods!  This is not what I asked for!  Curse you! 

 

God

Get this slavegirl out of here.  She is unworthy of our time.  You are now powerless, Hentrish.  You gave up all the power of the Monjur family.  You begged for a life different than the one you were given.  And now you are ungrateful again.

 

God 2

Get him out of here, before we kill.

 

God 3

You mean she.

 

            The gods dissolve back into the vortex of water.  The water settles.

 

Hentrish falls to the ground weeping.

 

Hentrish

What have they done to me?  What will I do?

 

 


Scene 8

Fardeen sits alone in his hovel drinking.  He misses his brother.  Larcenic, his only friend, was buried this morning.

 

Fardeen

Oh Hentrish, where are you?  Please come back to me, brother.  

 

            Hentrish enters.

 

Get out of here, slave.  No wait.  Refill my wine goblet.  Now, slavegirl.  Why are you dressed like warrior?

 

Hentrish

Fardeen?

 

Fardeen

Who allowed you to talk?  How did you get in here?  I warn you, girl.  I have had a terrible morning.  I had to bury my best friend, Larcenic, in the ice today.  And my brother….is missing.  There are rumors that he did it.  That he killed Larcenic.  But Hentrish would not harm a fly.  He was gentle.

 

Hentrish

This is so awkward.  I must tell you something, Fardeen.

 

Fardeen

Spit it out, fill up my goblet, and go back with the other slaves?  Who are you?  You  look familiar?  Are you one of my slaves?  You look like that one girl….Elena.  But you can’t be.  Her mother found her bones riddled throughout the forest last week.  She was attacked a Hmmulticore Creature.  She didn’t stand a chance.  Stupid girl.  She should have accepted her destiny.

 

Hentrish

I am Hentrish.  Your brother.  The gods put me into the slavegirl Elena’s body.

I am doomed to forever be a mere woman.  A slave.  Look in my eyes, surely you see the spark of the Monjur family.  Fardeen, look at me.  I am lost.

 

Fardeen

Lies.  You cannot be Hentrish. Hentrish is missing since last week.  In the company of Elena.  Were the bones that were found my brothers?  Witch, answer me.  What happened to my brother?

 

Hentrish

Elena was killed by the Hmmmulticore creature. I had to puch on to the temple of Yule, so I could speak to the gods, so they could change my destiny! But when I demanded that they change my destiny, the changed me into Elena. I am Hentrish, but I am no longer the boy I used to be, now they have changed me into a slave girl.

Fardeen
No… why would you do this? You were a punisher, the most feared respected people of the land of Yule! How could you just give it up? Why would you do this? Oh, Hentrish……

you FOOL!

 

Hentrish

You are not the person who has been permanently been changed! Can you try to focus on me for once?

 

Fardeen

There is nothing I can do to change you back! Hentrish, you couldn’t just be brave and deal with your job. You don’t think others feel awkward when they start? OF course they do! But they grow out of that stage!

 

Hentrish

So I must be cursed to be a slave forever?

Fardeen

I am afraid so. Hentrish, what have you done to yourself this time?           

 

END OF PLAY

Eric Sanford
Age 12, Grade 7
MS 51 William Alexander
Silver Key

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