[Casting note: with the exception of Ada, all characters may be played by either gender. Genders assigned to characters in the text are only recommended/preferred.]
Red Rider: Wears a black business suit with the jacket left open, and a red tie. Playful personality. Has a sense of humor.
White Rider: Wears a white, button up long-sleeved shirt with khakis. Optional: some kind of light coat. Serious personality. Often annoyed, seldom satisfied.
Black Rider: Wears black/dark clothing that gives illusion of thinness/gauntness or accentuates actor's own. Really gets into her job, or rather, the theatrics of her job. Has a taste for antiquated words of the current Kingdom.
Pale Rider: Wears a pale gray robe/cloak with hood. Says little, speaks through what he does, rather than what he says. Solemn.
Ada: Wears some kind of simple clothing; ragged.
Maker on High: Wears a white mask of any kind, and a white robe/gown. Because of the mask, may be played by one of the other actors. May or may not be as eternally amused as Maker on Low, but either way, doesn't show it as often.
Maker on Low: Wears a black mask of any kind, and a black robe/gown. Because of the mask, may be played by one of the other actors. Eternally amused.
PREVIOUS ACTION: Basically? The world ended. Or at least, is in the process of ending. We come in on the Four Riders meeting in a kind of "break room".
[RED is sitting on a battered couch, reading a black book (a Bible). WHITE is standing near the entrance to the cave, looking out.]
RED: (Without looking up from book) A watched pot never boils, kin.
WHITE: I've nothing better to do. Not all of us find so much enjoyment from the literature of the Kingdoms.
RED: Well, you should give it a try. Especially the Bibles. Every Kingdom interprets xyr Decree in the most
WHITE: (Turns to look at RED.)Who's decree?
RED: (Motions upward.) You know. Big guy. Sense of humor.
RED: Yeah. It's one of this Kingdom's gender-neutral pronouns. I like it, so I use it. Big Boss doesn't really lend xemself well to 'him' or 'her', now does xe?
WHITE: Whatever. (Turns back to entrance.)
RED: You think they'll ever stop?
WHITE: (Jabs thumb out at world beyond cave.) You mean their game?
WHITE: Well, considering they wouldn't have much else to do if they did stop, I'd say no.
RED: They could play chess.
WHITE: Kin, you know very well that this is their chess.
RED: Oh, come now, don't be like that.
WHITE: What? You know it is. Can you think of any other reason they keep creating these Kingdoms over and over? With the same pieces?
RED: Philosophical exercise of dark versus light?
WHITE: I'm ignoring you now.
RED: No wonder they could never figure you out.
RED: This Kingdom. They wondered if you were actually the Antichrist-
WHITE: That dick?
RED: You're always so grumpy, I can hardly blame them, you know.
WHITE: (Glares at RED.)
WHITE: (Continues to glare.)
[The Black and Pale Riders enter. PALE is carrying an unconscious ADA.]
BLACK: Hark, kin! We return! And we--
BLACK: And we-
WHITE: You could not contemplate how bored I've been. And all I've had to talk to is this one. (Points at RED.)
RED: Hey! I am a marvelous conversationalist. You're just always grumpy.
WHITE: (Threateningly jabs finger at RED, and opens mouth to speak.)
[Both RED and WHITE look over at BLACK and PALE. They notice ADA for the first time.]
RED: (Stands up from couch.) Ah. So you've found our seed, then?
[RED throws a venomous glare at WHITE.]
BLACK: I think so, yes. (She motions to the couch, and PALE places ADA.)
BLACK: May we begin, please?
[RED and WHITE go to BLACK and PALE. They all place a hand on ADA and close their eyes.]
RED: She is no child of Ares.
WHITE: Nor the Storm.
BLACK: There is no decay in this one.
BLACK: And none of the Pit.
PALE: Life only.
[All four remove their hands.]
So we do have our seed, then.
RED: You found no other candidates?
RED: And no one else worth saving?
[PALE shakes head.]
RED: [dejected] Ah. I guess our seed will have no soil, then.
BLACK: It appears that way.
RED: Is the Garden ready?
BLACK: Nearly. It will be completed shortly. We should soon head out.
BLACK: Or what?
WHITE: I have better idea.
[WHITE produces a knife from his clothes.]
WHITE: We make this the last Kingdom.
WHITE: You heard me.
RED: You can't- it's not- what?
WHITE: We can make this a true End of Days. No more clearing and setting up the game board for Them. No more games period. No more interruptions of our pursuits outside of the Kingdoms.
WHITE: We can be free.
BLACK: What do you expect us to say? To do?
WHITE: Nothing. And nothing. Just let me at the girl. She sleeps. I will make sure
she continues to sleep.
RED: What gives you the right to end Man?
WHITE: You've caused countless deaths, kin. You're not one to talk.
RED: I contribute to the pruning of a tree. I fulfill my purpose. You intend to fell that tree. A tree which I greatly enjoy watching grow.
WHITE: I expected as much. (Turns to BLACK and PALE.) And what of you two?
BLACK: I... I...
[BLACK looks to RED, and to WHITE, and back to RED.]
BLACK: I don't...
WHITE: You know you want this. Freedom. Say it with me; freedom.
BLACK: I do, but...
WHITE: But what?
RED: You don't really think they'll leave us alone, do you?
WHITE: [annoyed] Who?
[RED points up, then down.]
RED: You say their game is all they have to occupy their time. We're part of that game. If you clear away all the pawns, what do you think they'll do? Just stop playing? No. They'll play with the knights and bishops.
WHITE: Then I'll take the kings if I must! I'm tired of this game. It never ends. One. Biiig. Circle. I've had enough. I want a new shape. And I've realized I need to craft that new shape myself.
RED: Then what? Rule over a ruined world? An empty, burned world.
WHITE: I don't need you for this. (Turns around, indicating PALE and BLACK.) I don't need any of you for this!
[WHITE begins to move toward ADA. BLACK step in to block his path.]
[A look of disappointment or sadness (or both) washes over WHITE's face.]
WHITE: Fine then.
[WHITE raises his knife.]
[RED jumps on WHITE from behind. They struggle for a moment, then WHITE staggers away, the knife protruding from his chest.]
[WHITE looks down at knife.]
WHITE: You've freed me, after all. [Alt. line: "You've helped me escape, nonetheless."]
[WHITE goes limp.]
[RED slumps to the ground.]
BLACK: You're wounded!
RED: No. I'm fine.
RED: Why did he... why couldn't...
[RED appears to be on the verge of tears.]
[BLACK offers her shoulder, and RED accepts the offer.]
[PALE watches without comment.]
[Blackout/fade to black.]
[End Act I.]
[Lights come up to reveal an apple tree, the center of the garden previously
[RED, BLACK, and PALE enter, PALE carrying a (still) unconscious ADA.]
[PALE lays ADA at the base of the tree.]
RED: Why do we always take off?
RED: After this. After the drop-off.
PALE: Way it's always been.
RED: Yes, but have you ever wondered what we could do if stayed? If we took the new Kingdom under our wing?
BLACK: Come to think of it, no. I have not. Curious.
RED: He did have a point. Just one big cycle. Over and over. Man never
learns. No matter how many Kingdoms come and go, no matter how many die, they never learn.
BLACK: You speak the truth, kin.
RED: Maybe we are partly to blame.
RED: No, we are. There's no denying it. Even if an adult does not break up a fight between children the first time, there are sure to the second time. And we're on the threshold of... what, the 17th time? 20th?
BLACK: I too have lost count.
RED: I'm staying with the girl. Makers be damned.
[BLACK looks to PALE.]
BLACK: We'll as well, kin.
RED: Let's wake her, then.
[RED goes to ADA, and gives her a gentle shake.]
[ADA stirs, and sits up.]
ADA: I just had the strangest dream...
[ADA looks around at her company.]
[End Act II.]
[Maker on High and Maker on Low enter onto a plain stage.]
M.LOW: So it seems they've finally got it, then, hmm?
M.HIGH: Yes. It would appear so. The White Rider was a let down, though. Although everything considered, I think he may have helped push the others forward.
M.HIGH: Yes. Still.
M.LOW: Should we let them know, or should we let them sweat for a while, thinking we're just biding our time before coming to smite them?
M.HIGH: I'd rather not directly interfere. I think I'll give them some kind of hint, though. At some point.
M.LOW: Ah! So you do wish to see them fret. If only just a little?
M.HIGH: I never said I didn't.
M.LOW: Now then. Should we set up our next 'game board' then, as White would have put it?
[M.HIGH swings his arm, gesturing offstage.]
M.HIGH: After you, old friend.
[Both MAKERs exit.]
[End Act III.]