Author: Stormcloud Empath PM
An exceedingly depressing story focused on Percy, set after 'The Black Seal.' Don't read if you're out for fluff.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Tragedy - Words: 1,670 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 7 - Published: 06-06-04 - Status: Complete - id: 1897849
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Blackadder belongs to Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and Rowan Atkinson.
The Black Adder—"The Black Seal"
'Don't drink the wine!'
Later that night Percy couldn't remember who said it, whether it had been he, or Baldrick, or both of them in unison. Percy did not cut an impressive where cleverness was concerned, but it was unusual even for him to forget a simple sentence that had countersigned Edmund's death warrant.
Percy also couldn't remember how long ago Baldrick had left him alone. Percy's own sobs seemed to disturb Baldrick almost as much as the sight of the room full of corpses; he preferred to wander about the castle to grieve silently on his own.
Percy, of course, did not realise this. His eternally naïve mind had landed upon an extraordinary answer for Baldrick's sudden departure. Baldrick, Percy imagined, had gone off to come up with a cunning plan. By daybreak, the astute squire would surely find a way to bring Edmund and the others back to life. And when he did, Edmund would open his eyes, see his true friends at his side and welcome them back as his servants. It would be just like old times.
Percy bent over Edmund and took the wine goblet from him. Percy got up and walked dutifully towards the kitchens. He fancied Baldrick would want to give Edmund some sort of medicine to awaken him, and Percy thought it best that Edmund should have a clean goblet when his cure arrived.
Percy scrubbed the goblet as best he could; nothing was particularly sanitary but the innocent, incessantly-smiling young nobleman happily took no notice. He was thinking only of that glorious moment when Edmund would at last awake. Though Baldrick's cunning plans did not have a perfect record, Percy, sporting his ever-present optimistic grin, was positive that this plan would. He returned to Edmund's chamber to await Baldrick's return, smiling like the fool he had always been. By the time Percy fell asleep, he was as giddy as dung shoveller who has just found a precious stone buried in the mountains of horse manure. He admonished himself for crying earlier; Edmund would surely be revived by morning. Baldrick's cunning plans always managed to save the day.
Unfortunately, history was never Percy's best subject.
Hours slipped by unnoticed. Twice Percy woke in the middle of the night. He wondered what was taking Baldrick so long. Never did it enter his mind that his old friend might not be coming. Both times, he simply sighed and went back to sleep, though not before assuring Edmund's still form that everything was going to be just fine.
When Percy woke again, Baldrick was standing over him, shaking him roughly by the shoulders. Percy's eyes instantly lit up.
'What's the plan?'
Baldrick stared back in bewilderment. 'What?'
'You always have a cunning plan! How are we going to bring Edmund back?'
'What are you talking about?' Baldrick asked, a look of dread beginning to cloud his face. Percy had seen this look once before: the time that Edmund had sent his faithful squire off for some quality time with the Spanish Infanta. Percy began to feel worried, although he wasn't sure why.
'I came in here because we need to bury Edmund's body, along with the rest of the royal family,' Baldrick said quietly. 'I went off last night to…you know…prepare myself for it.'
'Well, in that case you ought to have bathed,' Percy replied, sniffing the air in disgust. It was only when his friend made no response that the reality of Baldrick's words began to penetrate Percy's thick skull.
'What do you mean, bury them?' Percy asked, his voice trembling.
'They're dead, of course,' Baldrick answered, without allowing any emotion to show in his features. 'That poison you put in the wine…it killed all of them. Of course, Edmund would have died anyway, with wounds like that…'
Baldrick's voice trailed off, and Percy sat bolt upright to stare at him. 'But the plan,' he whispered, hardly able to speak, 'the plan, you always have a plan-'
'Not even the most cunning plan can revive the dead,' Baldrick replied stonily. 'Perhaps the Witch Queen could have helped us, but you killed her, too.'
Without waiting for Percy's reaction, Baldrick strode over to where Edmund lay and attempted to lift the corpse. The short man nearly crumbled under its weight and choked out the words, 'Couldn't lend a hand, could you?'
Percy did not even hear the question. Baldrick's previous words were replaying themselves in his mind, taunting him. That poison you put in the wine…it killed all of them…Perhaps the Witch Queen could have helped us, but you killed her, too…
Upon seeing that Baldrick really did intend to bury Edmund, Percy screamed and ran from the room.
Percy was not sure how long he ran, or when he started to cry, or how many tears he had shed. All he knew was that when he fell over backwards, having run straight into a tree, his body was exhausted and his face was soaking wet. His head throbbing from the collision, Percy did not even try to move. He simply lay there, fallen, on the ground.
I told you to poison the Black Seal's goblets, not poison the whole vat!
Don't drink the wine!
That poison you put in the wine…it killed all of them!
Perhaps the Witch Queen could have helped us, but you killed her, too!
Baldrick was standing over him, shouting at him…
You killed Edmund! You killed Edmund! YOU killed Edmund! You killed Edmund and the King and Queen and Prince Harry! You killed them all! YOU KILLED THEM ALL!
Baldrick was disappearing: Now it was Edmund who stood before him, dispatching one cruel metaphor after another just as he had when he dismissed Percy from his service…Now Edmund was waving an angry fist, shrieking about how he, Percy, had taken his life…
King Richard IV appeared then, irresponsibly and uncaringly brandishing his sword inches from Percy's face…the Witch Queen came next, shouting angrily in her foreign tongue…then Prince Harry, who did not have a chance to say anything as his father came roaring back to the front, furiously shouting about how Percy had destroyed his dynasty and prevented his beloved son ever becoming a king…
Edmund had the last words: Take some poison yourself, you lowly rat with a brain as thin as a splinter from having been squeezed between your arse cheeks all your life!
Percy's eyes sprang open. He was freezing; he did not how long he had been lying on the ground or when he had passed out. He had never had such a terrifying nightmare, nor one that looked so real. His body was writhing violently. His teeth chattered from a mixture of biting cold and all-consuming fear. Even in his conscious state, Percy could still hear their voices screaming that he had killed them.
Percy lay on the ground still longer, too frightened to move. He lay there in an immobilised silence, his heart pounding in his chest, the dead figures shouting and waving their hands in accusatory gestures. It was not until many hours later that Percy passed out again, not because of sleepiness or a cessation of agitation but simply because sleeping was an involuntary human activity.
Again Percy saw Edmund and the royal family, yelling and pointing at him, but soon they faded out, and Percy was met with a far more menacing figure: himself.
You killed them! You killed them! cried the other Percy. Go down to Edmund's sick room and drink your bloody wine!
No! No! he tried to shout back, but the other Percy grabbed him by the neck and shoved him into the wall.
Yes! Yes! screamed the other Percy. You killed them! YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM! Now you have to die with them! Drink the wine! DRINK THE WINE!
YES! DRINK THE WINE! YOU KILLED THEM! DRINK THE WINE!
Percy's eyes opened again and he screamed, screaming as loud as he could, screaming to drown out the voices…his own voice…
'There you are!' cried another voice, which Percy barely heard. Baldrick was racing across the grounds. 'I've been looking everywhere! Stop yelling, I'm here now!'
Baldrick bent over Percy and shook him. Percy did not see Baldrick at first. He saw Edmund and his royal kin, led in a chorus of 'Drink the wine!' by the other Percy. When Percy did see Baldrick, he saw him joining the livid group. Baldrick's earlier words echoed in his mind: 'That poison you put in the wine…it killed all of them…you killed her, too…that poison you put in…it killed…you killed…'
DRINK THE WINE! DRINK THE WINE!
Baldrick slapped Percy's face, but could elicit no response other than continuing terror buried those usually innocent eyes. Baldrick began to drag Percy back to the castle. The poor beleaguered nobleman was still screaming and sobbing long after his friend had put him to bed. Baldrick had stayed as long as he could bear it, but ultimately he was forced to turn away from an obviously deadly problem he had not the slightest idea how to fix.
Eventually Percy fell asleep once more, and what he saw and heard in this dream need not be told. When he woke again, he heard nothing but his own voice, telling him that he had murdered Edmund and his family, that he must pay for his sins.
Percy always was religious. As he walked down the corridors he could hear even God shouting at him, and as the wine passed his lips, he swore he saw Edmund, his master, the Black Adder…smirking.