Act 2, Scene 2: The Giant Stirs [Baumszene]


Pompeian Religion

Pompeian religious beliefs were deeply rooted in superstition, and often reached ridiculous levels of symbolism in order to ward off bad luck or the evil eye.

Practices against every kind of disease in favour of health, fertility and love were very common, as is indicated by the various amulets discovered around the city.

The most popular symbol among Pompeians was the phallus. It was reproduced in every possible manner, from paintings and bas-reliefs to pendants and charms. It could be found everywhere: on the walls of buildings, at the entrances to shops, on fountains and even inside houses.

The number of deities being worshipped was virtually boundless. Pompeii was a city of Greek origin, and so it is not suprising that Greek mythology played a big role in everyday pompeian life. Hercules, Bacchus and Venus were the chosen patrons of the city. Especially so was Venus - the creator of the universe - she who decides over life and death.

The dead were gods of the underworld or afterlife, and any dutiful son was expected to venerate his mother as parental divinity after her death.

Another favoured mythological figure was the Egyptian goddess Isis. A temple dedicated to her was erected in the theatre district and several houses in Pompeii bear witness to her cult. She was also linked to Fortuna, the goddess of fortune and the personification of luck and fate in Roman religion.

In addition, each family typically worshipped a number of household gods. This usually involved dedicating an altar to them and offering them libations, a simple ritual that involves pouring a liquid such as wine or milk. In certain situations, even living humans could be assigned god-like qualities. For example, every man leading his own household was believed to embody the genius, the generative principle and guardian spirit of his ancestors, which others might worship and by which his family and slaves took oaths.

Main Dialogue

%HND% Curtain - open

%LIG% Lights on (daylight)

%AMB% 0601 - Tree Ambience

%ACT% Vinnie climbs up the tree [4] and lifts himself up on one of the upper branches

Vinnie: "Hah! I'm first!"

%ACT% Vesonia climbs up the tree [5] and lifts herself up on one of the lower branches

Vesonia: "You're a good climber!"

Vinnie: "That's one of the few good things about being a rat. Now where's Marcus?"

%ACT% Vinnie and Vesonia look down

Marcus (off): "*gasp* *wince* I'm sorry, I've always been more of a digger than a climber."

Vesonia: "Come on, handsome, we don't have all day! Here take my hand."

%ACT% Vesonia bows down, and gives Marcus a hand, pulling him up on the branch.

%ATT% First, Marcus' hands appear near Vesonia, then he lies on his right, his feet appear, then sit up

Vesonia, Marcus: "Hrrrrrrngr!"

%ACT% Marcus sits on the branch near the trunk, looking down, frightened. He clings to Vesonia's hand and doesn't let go.

Marcus (frightened): "This tree is pretty tall!"

Vesonia: "Yes, but it's the last place they'll be looking for us, and I've got an important appointment to make!"

Vinnie: "Up here, in a tree?"

Vesonia: "Yes! Just wait for it and you'll see. By the way, you can let go of my hand now, Marcus."

Marcus: "NO!"

%ACT% Marcus clings to Vesonia with BOTH hands (effectively hugging her), looking down.

Vesonia: "I think I can understand now why you didn't want to become a soldier ..."

Vinnie: "Vesonia, there's something I wanted to ask you. What makes a slave like you suddenly risk her life to save a couple of strangers?"

%MUS% 0602 - Storytelling Music

Vesonia: "I wasn't always a slave. My home is far in the north, way beyond the borders of the Empire. Me and my sister came here on my father's ship. He used to trade precious metals - the kind that the legions need to harden swords. They're very rare, and extremely valuable. But a high ranking magistrate by the name of Caius Gavius Rufus didn't like his pricing. He murdered my father, telling everyone he had refused to pay his debts. And because he was a foreigner, nobody gave a shit about his death."

Marcus (stricken): "Oh my, that's horrible! My father died in an accident when I was twelve and it took me years to come to terms with it - and yet I can't even imagine how awful it must have been for you... What happened after your father was killed?"

Vesonia: "Gavius sold me to Scipio, the guy who runs the amphitheater. Scipio made me wash the halls, get food and drinks for his favourite gladiators and be his personal ... plaything."

Marcus: "Un-believ-able. What about your sister?"

Vesonia: "Gavius is keeping her locked up in his house to keep me silent. For months I've been planning a way to free her, get back the gold that rightfully belongs to my family, and get as far away from here as possible. But alone I can accomplish nothing. When I saw you, it was obvious you wanted to get out of here as much as I do - and besides, you were way too pretty to die like that."

%MUS% 0603 - Storytelling Music Ending
%MUS% 0602 FADE

%ACT% Marcus sits up and looks up at Vesonia

Marcus (perplexed): "Uhm... why, thank you!"

Vinnie: "That's a very touching story, but how do we know it's true?"

Marcus: "Vinnie, she risked everything to save us. Why should she lie? And if a way home even exists, what good is it if we don't survive? Vesonia knows her way around, and escaping with a bag of money doesn't sound at all bad to me."

%SND% 0604 - Raven Approaching

Vesonia: "Oh look! There comes our date."

%SND% 0604 - Raven: "Caw! Caw!"

%ACT% A raven flies in, cawing. It's the raven Aurelia sent, and it has a small parchment scroll attached to its leg.

Marcus: "A bird? We've been waiting for a bird?"

Vesonia: "Yes! This is how Aurelia and I keep in touch without Gavius noticing. Come here, little one! I've got food for you!"

%ACT% Vesonia holds out her paw

%SND% 0605 - Raven: "Caw! Caw!"

%ACT% The raven hops closer to Vesonia, and pecks something out of her paw

Vesonia: "Good girl!"

%ACT% Vesonia takes the bird on her lap, and removes the scroll. She unrolls it, and reads.

%MUS% 0606 - Adventure Music

Vesonia: "Yes! My prayers to the Goddess have been answered. Aurelia managed to convince Gavius I went to Herculaneum trying to get on one of the trader ships, and it seems most of his servants will be out to help at the amphitheatre instead of guarding the house today. That's brilliant news!"

Marcus: "Gavius may be rich, but he's not exactly the brightest button, is he?

Vesonia: "Well, he's certainly not an idiot, but he has one weakness: He's prone to become very thoughtless at the slightest chance of a piece of ass. I already know that he sends the guards away when he's up for some alone time with my sister. And today, she's promised, she'll do her best to make it last as long as possible."

Vinnie: "Very nice but how are we even supposed to get inside his house?"

Vesonia: "Aurelia writes that Gavius' cook, Octavia, frequently attends the bath house to keep herself up to date with the latest gossip. She's one of the few people who has a key for the back door to Gavius' house."

Vinnie: "So the plan is to take the key, walk into Gavius' house, knock him out during the act, and then walk out again like nothing happened? Excuse me, Ma'am, but that sounds too good to be true."

Vesonia: "Of course it won't be quite that easy. That's why I can't do it alone. I need your help. Please don't let me down!"

Marcus: "Don't worry, Vesonia! We will stand by your side! Just thinking of that Monster screwing your sister makes me want to ..."

Vinnie: "Helllloooo? Time to whistle for your gonads and wake up, Marcus! You don't even know her! Weren't you always the one telling me to think rationally?"

Marcus (angry): "There is no rational explanation for any of this! But you know what? Right now, I'm in the middle of an adventure, next to a beautiful woman, and for the first time in ages, I feel like my life might actually have a purpose!"

Vinnie: "This is not some goddamn fairytale! One false move and we're dead!"

Marcus: "If I'm going to die, I'd rather do so for something worth it!"

%ATT% EARTHQUAKE - This is the moment where Mount Vesuvius erupts the first time

%HND% The tree starts to shake violently.

%MUS% 0606 - Rise + Terror
%MUS% 0605 FADE
%SND% 0607 - Explosion and Earthquake, Shaking Tree, Rustling Leaves
%SND% 0607 (cont.) - Raven caws and flies away

%ACT% The raven flies off.

Everyone: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!"

%HND% Lots of leaves and dead squirrels fall out of the tree.

%ACT% Vinnie slips off his branch but manages to hold on with his arms.

%ACT% Marcus flails with his arms helplessly

Marcus: "Wooooaaahahaha!"

%ACT% Marcus falls off his branch backwards

Marcus: "Aiiiiie!"

%ACT% Vesonia QUICKLY reaches down, grabbing Marcus by his paws

Vinnie: "Marcus! No!"

Vesonia: "I've got him!"

%HND% One branch with a large bird's nest in it (which was hidden behind another branch) just above Vinnie becomes visible. (It's on a hinge and can be lowered). The nest is hovering just out of Vinnie's reach.

%SND% 0606 (cont.) - The rumbling subsides
%SND% 0607 (cont.) - Terror Music Ends (maybe more music)

%HND% The shaking stops

%ACT% Vesonia pulls Marcus back up on the branch.

Vesonia: "Hrrrrrgn!"

%ACT% Marcus sits on the branch, out of breath.

Marcus: "Wow. That was close. Seems you saved my life a second time!"

Vesonia: "I think it's becoming a habit."

Marcus: "Yeah right, rub it in ..."

%ACT% Vinnie looks up, and finds the nest above him!

Vesonia: "The giants' sleep has become very restless lately."

%ACT% Vinnie tries to reach the nest with a paw, but can't reach it.

Marcus: "Oh, you mean there have been earthquakes like this before?"

%ACT% Vinnie tries to reach the nest with both paws, but can't.

Vesonia: "Yes, they've become quite common in the last few days."

%ACT% Vinnie breaks off a little sub-branch from the branch he is sitting on

Marcus: "Wait a minute ... who's the current emperor again?"

Vesonia: "Titus Vespasianus. For about a month. Have you been living under a rock?"

Marcus: "What day is it?"

Vesonia: "Sunday, 24th of August."

%ACT% Vinnie pokes the nest with his stick!

Marcus: "Oh shit."

Vesonia: "What is it?"

Marcus: "Vinnie? Vinnie!"

Vinnie: "I found a nest! Maybe there are eggs inside! Aren't you hungry, too?"

%HND% The nest tilts forward, emptying a LARGE SET of metal cutlery, knifes, forks, spoons on Vinnie.



%ACT% Vinnie falls halfway off the branch again, disappearing behind the foliage.

%ACT% Vinnie pulls himself back up, a fork and a knife sticking in his head - apparently not causing much discomfort.

%ACT% Vinnie sits back down

Vinnie: "Oops. Apparently this was a magpie's nest. What were you saying again?"

Marcus: "Today is August 24th, 79 AD. Look at the volcano! It precisely matches the recordings of Pliny the younger. Today is the last day of Pompeii!"

Vinnie: "That means we'd better run, right?"

Vesonia: "What in Jupiter's name are you talking about?"

Marcus (hesitating): "I hate to say it, Vesonia, but your sister ... the volcano ... I mean ..."

Vesonia: "Yes?"

Marcus (determinde): "Oh, screw it, we're going to save her anyway."

Vinnie: "WHAT????"

Marcus: "After the first explosion we'll have at least 12 more hours before the final shockwave hits the city. We can still do it, if we're quick."

Vinnie: "You must be totally out of your mind!"

Marcus: "And you have fork in your head!"

Vinnie (shouting): "I KNOW!"

%ACT% Vinnie pulls the fork out of his head and keeps it in his paw.

%SND% 0609 - Spoink!

Vinnie: "Marcus, you know you're neither a fighter nor a hero, don't you?"

%ACT% Marcus looks into Vesonia's eyes

Marcus (softly): "Well, there's always a first time."

%ACT% Vesonia grabs Marcus' paws with hers.

%ACT% Vinnie watches the two, shakes his head

Vesonia (relieved, softly): "*SIGH* Thank you so much! This really means a lot to me!"

Vinnie: "It's hopeless!"

%ACT% Vinnie sticks the fork back in his head in a gesture of futility.

%SND% 0610 - SPONG :D

Vinnie: "Can we please just get the hell out of here?"

Marcus: "Of course. Come on, Vesonia, let's go and take a bath!"

%MUS% 0611 - Ending Music
%AMB% 0601 FADE

%LIG% Lights out

%HND% Curtain - close