‘The Austen Code’, Part Three, Chapter 9

bath-in-the-roman-times

9. Aquae Sulis

Roll original 1982 Peter Davison opening credits


NO REPRISE


SCENE #78 – EXT – THOLOS COURTYARD – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
Hot spring weather emanates in the street outside the Baths in the city of Aquae Sulis, 79 AD. Various sorts of people walk about in the hot sunshine including civilian men and women, children playing about in the streets and Roman soldiers marching the street ways. Some of the soldiers chat casually to each other, whilst others are busily on guard outside the Baths themselves. Roman officials, civilians and tradesmen make their way through the entrance into the Baths as they are about to take a bath or pay an offering to the presiding goddess.


SCENE #79 – INT – ROMANS BATHS – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
Within the Baths themselves, a number of Roman officials and civilians gather in the Great Bath. Some men walk along the banks whilst other men take their dip in the hot healing waters generated by the Sacred Spring. Laughter and social interaction occurs between some men sitting in the Great Bath, whilst other groups of men discuss business and matters of the day with each other in the bath. One of these groups includes a Roman official named Gaius Tiberinus, two more officials named Capito and Lurco and an old man named Annalis. Capito and Lurco have already stepped into the Bath to join Gaius and Annalis.

GAIUS
“Ah Lurco and Capito! How fares the work at the market for you both?”

LURCO
(laughs) “To be sure very entertaining, Lord Gaius Tiberinus. Would you not say so, my Lord Capito?”

CAPITO
“Oh to be sure yes indeed! We have been guiding those who have arrived in this city! Many pilgrims seek to be purified with the curative waters…”

LURCO
(finishes) “…whilst another half seek to have guidance from Sulis herself.”

GAIUS
“It is indeed the same paths for all who come to Aquae Sulis.”

CAPITO
(condescendingly) “But all good causes nevertheless, dear lord Gaius.”

GAIUS
(agreeably) “Absolutely no question on both causes! They are all admirable!” (Pause) “I have been at the council of elders this morning and fortune may have it that the Emperor will have to reconsider extending this establishment to improve upon the good nature of our fine lady residing in the waters.”

LURCO
“Extend the establishment?”

CAPITO
(astonished) “Extend Aquae Sulis?”

LURCO
(puzzled) “Why so, Lord Gaius. For the city has been well off with what people give to Sulis and what they ask for her to do when they are in need of eliminating their enemies or providing their friends with great fortune.”

GAIUS
“That may be. But it is on the agenda that word is being sent to the Emperor in Rome to extend Aquae Sulis. That should provide more work for Sulinus the stone mason.”

LURCO
(chuckles) “Oh yes! And to add more pressure to this increasing amount of worshipping factions like those so-called Christians.”

CAPITO
“Absolutely! They cause enough trouble as it is. I mean think what happened to Nero and his Rome back in…sixty-four was it?”

Footsteps echoes, as somebody walks by.

GAIUS
(cheerfully) “Ah, High Priest Gaius Calpurnius Receptus!” (to Caplurnius) “Greetings Priest Calpurnius. How goes the worship in Sulis’ temple?”

The high priest Gaius Caplurnius Receptus, of the temple of Sulis Minerva, approaches Gaius Tiberinus.

CAPLURNIUS
(solemnly) “All is well within the temple thank you, Lord Tiberinus. Sulis has had many offerings and is fortunate to have had so many requests. The temple is full of worship and praise as expected to be.”

CAPITO
(puzzled) “You don’t seem enthusiastic, high priest? Do you have doubts about your own goddess?”

CAPLURNIUS
“Indeed not, Lord Capito. How could you suggest such a thing occurring in the mind of the high priest? I praise the great goddess!”

LURCO
(apprehensively) “Then why the certain hesitation, dear lord?”

CAPLURNIUS
(sighs) “I hesitated, dear Lord Lurco, because I grow tired of my own reputation on having to wait for the great goddess Sulis to appear. I know we do well with our offerings of sacrifice and ceremony. But we want to see what our goddess is like and what she wants of us.”

GAIUS
(assuredly) “The time will come for that, dear priest. Great goddess Sulis Minerva will come. She will give us enlightenment and joy. Indeed our healing in these frigidariums and tepidariums would not have been permitted by Sulis herself. Unless the Gorgon wishes to turn us to stone!”

Laughter occurs between Gaius, Lurco and Capito in the Great Bath, whilst High Priest Calpurnius is not amused. Their sudden laughter wakes up Annalis, as he comes to from having dozed off in the bath.

ANNALIS
(sleepily) “W-W-What? What? What’s this? Have I missed something important?”

GAIUS
(laughs) “You’ve been asleep, old man Annalis. Don’t drop off and sink into the bath so easily. Unless you really wish for Sulis to drown you. She is a warrior of the waters!”

More laughter occurs between the four bathers. Meanwhile Annalis ignores them and drops off again. Just then, another person called Alexandros approaches as he addresses the four bathers.

ALEXANDROS
“Hello, my lords!”

GAIUS
“Why if it isn’t Lord Alexandros come to visit the Baths. Did you find the apodyterium to your liking?”

LURCO
“And were the waters of frigidarium nourishing?”

ALEXANDROS
(chuckles) “Yes. And very cold it was too.” (politely) “May I join you?”

GAIUS
“Certainly Lord Alexandros. Do take your place amongst the group!”

ALEXANDROS
(satisfied) “I’m much obliged to you!” (to Calpurnius) “Ah Calpurnius! I should like to see you at the temple of Sulis Minerva after I’ve finished bathing.”

CALPURNIUS
“I shall wait for you in the sanctified hall.”

ALEXANDROS
(pleased) “Much obliged.”

CALPURNIUS
(to everyone) “I shall take my leave of you!”

Calpurnius bows to the lords in the bath as he departs.

ALEXANDROS
(satisfied) “Fine man, Calpurnius.”

Alexandros steps into the Great Bath to join the group. Meanwhile Annalis wakes up in mid snore.

ANNALIS
(sleepily) “W-W-What was that? What was that?”

But Annalis doesn’t receive an answer, as he slumbers back to sleep in the bath. Moment of silence.

GAIUS
“Tell me, dear Alexandros! What is this business you have with high priest Calpurnius?”

CAPITO
“Yes! What could you possibly want with an old man who has lived…by how Sol has made him live for so long?”

ALEXANDROS
“I cannot discuss my business openly. But I will mention that high priest Calpurnius does intend to increase the chances of bringing Sulis to the forefront of everyone’s eyes. You probably heard how he longs to see the great goddess before him.”

GAIUS
“Yes. He told us not long before you arrived, lord.”

ALEXANDROS
“Well…I shall see to it that his wish is granted.”

LURCO
“Indeed sir? How?”

ALEXANDROS
(cunningly) “By a certain client of mine.”

Before the officials can prod Alexandros further with questions, someone screams and shouts nearby. Everybody turns to see who’s screaming, as Belator, the boy Bath house worker, enters.

BELATOR
(screams; shouts) “Save us! By the grace of Zeus, save us!”

Belator runs on the bank in fear and terror.

LURCO
“Who’s that boy that’s just come in here screaming his head off?!”

CAPITO
“I do not know! I can’t see him properly!”

GAIUS
“It’s young Belator. One of the Bath house workers. But what does he scream about?”

The boy Belator runs to where Gaius and his company are as he keeps on screaming.

BELATOR
(screams; shouts) “Save us! Save us all from terror! Lest it may be the will of the gods!”

Gaius starts getting out of the Bath and approaches Belator.

GAIUS
(calls) “Guards! Soldiers! Seize this boy!”

BELATOR
(screams; shouts) “Great gods and goddesses, save us all! I have seen her! I have seen her!”

Belator gets caught in the arms of strong Roman soldiers behind him.

BELATOR
(screams; shouts) “Help us! Please gods help us!”

ROMAN CENTURION
“Hey, boy! Pipe down! Lest you wish your master to throw you to the lions!”

Belator struggles with the Roman soldiers, as Gaius Tiberinus addresses him.

GAIUS
“What’s the matter, boy? Why do you disturb the relaxation and healing of these Roman officials and civilians?”

BELATOR
“I’ve seen her! I’ve seen her with my own eyes!”

GAIUS
(puzzled) “Seen who? Who is it? Answer me, boy! Answer me!”

BELATOR
“A woman! In strangely attired clothes! I’ve had dreams of her in that fashion and now it’s come real!”

GAIUS
“Don’t talk such nonsense, boy!”

BELATOR
(shouts) “It’s true, lord! By the great mercy of the gods, it’s true I’ve seen her!”

GAIUS
“Don’t you use that tone of voice with me, young Belator!”

Suddenly another Roman solider enters.

ROMAN SOLDIER
(calls) “My lord! Hear me, I beg you!”

ROMAN CENTURION
“What is it, solider?”

ROMAN SOLDIER
“My men have found a woman in strange clothes standing upon the Sacred Spring itself.”

BELATOR
(shouts) “I told you! I told you!!”

There is muttering and gossip from the men in the room.

GAIUS
(commands) “Centurion! Take me and this young man to see what this apparition is!”

ROMAN CENTURION
“Willingly, sir. Follow me!”

The Roman Centurion takes Belator with him and leads Gaius to the Sacred Spring. Capito, Lurco and Alexandros also rise up from the Great Bath.

CAPITO
“I am determined to know what this vision is too!” (to Lurco) “Coming with me, Lurco my friend?”

LURCO
“Oh I wouldn’t miss this for all the gods and goddess, Capito!”

Capito and Lurco walk off, whilst Alexandros remains at a distance.

ALEXANDROS
(quietly; amused) “Wait for me, won’t you gentlemen?”

Alexandros heads off after the others. Meanwhile Annalis the old man snores away, before he wakes up again in mid snore.

ANNALIS
(sleepily) “W-W-Where is everybody?” (Pause) “It must have been a dream.”

And he goes straight back to sleep again, snoring away.


SCENE #80 – INT – ROMANS BATHS – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
At the Sacred Spring, many people enter and gather. They include Gaius Tiberinus, Capito, Lurco, the Centurion, Belator, Alexandros, a few Roman soldiers and some people from the Great Bath. There’s a number of women characters including Flavia Tiberina and her servant girl Apaulia. These two women see Alexandros and approach him.

FLAVIA
“Alexandros! Alexandros!”

ALEXANDROS
“Why Flavia! Flavia Tiberina!”

FLAVIA
(out loud) “What’s all the commotion?! Me and the ladies have been disturbed by the noise out in these halls! Please tell me, what’s going on?!”

ALEXANDROS
“That’s what I intend to find out!” (realises) “Ah! I see you have your servant girl with you! Apaulia!”

FLAVIA
“Indeed I have.”

ALEXANDROS
“Hello, dear Apaulia!”

APAULIA
(distastefully) “Lord Alexandros.”

Tension occurs between Alexandros and Apaulia. Meanwhile, the Roman Solider who called the Roman Centurion earlier shows him what he’s seen.

ROMAN SOLIDER
“See before you, my lords! The lady stands on the spring!”

BELATOR
(excitedly) “See! See, I told you! It’s the woman! It’s the woman!”

Everybody gasps in shock as they see what’s before them.

GAIUS
“What kind of creature is that? Where did she come from?”

FLAVIA
“What strange clothes she wears!”

GAIUS
(realises) “Oh! Greetings, Flavia Tiberina!”

FLAVIA
“Likewise, Gaius Tiberinus!”

The woman, who everybody has come to see, slowly turns round to face them.

JANE
(shocked) “Strange? I could say the same about all of you! Why are all of you half naked?!”

CAPITO
(astonished) “She speaks she does! The lady speaks!”

LURCO
(intrigued) “Aye she does, Lord Capito! She does!”

JANE
(insistent) “I demand to know where I am! What is this place that I am in the presence of such…undignified company?”

Everybody is astonished and aghast, as they see Jane Austen before them.


SCENE #81 – INT – ROMANS BATHS – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
A little while later in the temple courtyard, Jane Austen is under interrogation by some of the Roman officials and civilians. Whilst that occurs, Apaulia takes Alexandros to a private corner.

APAULIA
(whispers) “You said this would be easy! Nothing bad was to happen! That author Miss Austen has appeared where she shouldn’t be.”

ALEXANDROS
(whispers; frustrated) “I don’t understand! Why her?! Why that certain woman we met in the Assembly Rooms? What’s so significant about her that she should appear?!”

APAULIA
“You mean you don’t know?!” (wryly) “Well that’s reassuring! At least you have faults, Mr. Vernon; Mr. Thorpe-Willoughby or whatever you are, Alexandros!”

ALEXANDROS
“Mr. Salvador must know of this! He’s hiding something!”

APAULIA
“Perhaps Mr. Salvador doesn’t know all he seems to know! Perhaps you are ignorant that he is but a fraud!”

ALEXANDROS
“I do not find comfort in your words, Miss Gibbons!”

APAULIA
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have snatched me out of two thousand and eleven against my free will! The way you and Mr. Salvador killed Dr. Moore…”

ALEXANDROS
“Remember where you are, Apaulia! Lady Flavia will require your assistance shortly!”

APAULIA
“You mean my slavery!”

Angry voices are raised, as Lurco, Capito and Gaius treat Miss Austen cruelly.

LURCO
“What are you, woman? What are you?!”

CAPITO
(bitterly) “Yes! What are you doing to appear in our goddess’ Sacred Spring and use her powers to appear instantly with blasphemy?”

JANE
“How dare you sirs address me in such a manner? I daresay all of you are enacting a special date to which I was prevented on knowing. But this pageant you carry out goes too far!”

GAIUS
(bitterly) “Silence, woman! You disgrace the honour of your goddess!”

JANE
“I have only one God, sir. And do not address me as ‘woman’!”

FLAVIA
“She’s obviously a harlot! And a beggar who’s stolen strange clothes to wrap herself up in!”

CAPITO
“No! She’s one of those Christian factions!”

LURCO
“That’s right! They’ve come to spoil our traditions in worshipping the goddess!” (to Jane) “You’ve come to make a mockery of Sulis’ temple! Haven’t you?!”

Before Jane can answer, Gaius Calpurnius Receptus arrives.

CALPURNIUS
“What’s all this? Is this a holiday? Why is everybody gathered in anger and what’s the commotion?”

FLAVIA
(nervously) “High priest Calpurnius! How good of you to attend so promptly! This spirit of the underworld has appeared before us and we ask your advice on how we should deal with her?”

CALPURNIUS
“What spirit of the underworld?”

FLAVIA
“That lady who sits there still!” (shudders) “Oh! I feel as if I shall faint! Oh! Apaulia! Apaulia! Attend to me, girl! Attend to me!”

ALEXANDROS
(quietly) “You heard what your mistress said, Miss Gibbons. Attend to her at once!”

Apaulia reluctantly attends to her mistress, whilst Calpurnius approaches Jane Austen.

GAIUS
(agitated) “You see her! See her Calpurnius Receptus! She sits there! The underworld’s child!”

CALPURNIUS
“Ah, yes! She does have the appearance of one so reserved! And so very demon-like!”

JANE
“I do not understand you, sir.”

CALPURNIUS
(to Jane) “You have been a very foolish woman to attend the Sacred Spring, where water is provided for the water goddess. We shall be very strict on this if we find you have abused her waters. Confess your sins and you shall be atoned for it!”

JANE
“I have committed no sin! And I will not apologise for I’ve done nothing wrong!”

Everyone gasps, as they hear Jane say this.

CALPURNIUS
“Then I must condemn you to what our goddess requires. For I’m sure she’ll be very angry!”

ALEXANDROS
“Please, Lord Calpurnius! Not yet, I beg you! To condemn this young lady!”

FLAVIA
(surprised) “What say you, Lord Alexandros?”

GAIUS
(surprised) “Yes, what say you? Can you not see that the lady causes stirrings among us?!”

ALEXANDROS
“I believe better judgement should be called for! Let me attend to her and see if I may judge her character!”

LUICUIS
(calls aloud) “No! She is a demon amongst us!”

Everyone gasps at this, when Luicius Marcius Memar enters.

GAIUS
“What is this you say, my lord?”

BELATOR
(excitedly) “I knew it! I knew she was a danger to us all! I knew I was right to scream when I did! And good screaming it was too!”

CAPITO
“Oh it’s that omen-reading prophesier Luicius Marcius Memar!”

LURCO
“Oh no! Not him!”

CALPURNIUS
“Depart from us, Lord Marcius Memar! You have no business here!”

LUICIUS
“Beware her bewitching ways, everyone! She will cause a surge in the power of the great goddess to overcome our home! She will trigger the events of a great flood! And this shall be endured by the friends she keeps! She is imp! Sprite! A gremlin that appears in beauty that should not be trusted!”

JANE
(appalled) “How dare you, sir?! If I were not a lady I would use force to cause you injury!”

CALPURNIUS
“Your presence is no longer required. Lord Marcius Memar! Leave us now!”

Just then, somebody enters through the crowd. It is the Doctor.

DOCTOR
(to everyone) “Excuse me! Coming through! Sorry! Must pass! Got somebody to meet!”

Everybody grumbles and complains, as they’re pushed aside by the Doctor.

GAIUS
“Who is this lunatic?!”

FLAVIA
“What right has he to impede on this matter with such triviality? He looks young to be an official!”

Jane stands up to see the Doctor.

JANE
(pleased) “Doctor?! How glad am I to see you again?! Though I do not see why I should be!”

The Doctor eventually faces Jane.

DOCTOR
“Ah, Miss Austen! I wondered what all the commotion was when I came in here! Now I know! And I see you’re really out of place in this century!”

GAIUS
“By Zeus who are you, young man?!”

DOCTOR
(petulantly; to Gaius) ”Excuse me, I’m talking to Miss Austen! So don’t interrupt me!”

JANE
“Doctor, I demand you explain yourself! Why have I been brought here so abruptly when a while ago I was in…?”

DOCTOR
(surprised) “Extraordinary! You still know me!”

JANE
(astonished) “Of course I know you, sir! We were in Bath when we first met and it was in Bath we last…”

DOCTOR
(astonished) “Well that’s amazing, because I haven’t met you yet! So how come you know me already?”

JANE
(puzzled) “What say you sir?”

CAPITO
“What words do they use, Lurco?”

LURCO
“Have they been in these sacred baths before then? For I do not remember seeing their faces!”

DOCTOR
(to Jane) “Come on, Miss Austen…Jane dear! I’ve come to take you home!”

JANE
“Jane? You called me Jane, sir!”

The Doctor is about to take Jane away, before Gaius Tiberinus stops him.

GAIUS
(to Doctor) “Excuse me, young man! I will not have you take this demon of a woman out into the open where she will spread her influence on others! It’s quite clear that she’s very…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Yes, sorry about that. My sister happens to be a little ill. Nothing a doctor can’t do to help but to manage a little medication. And I am a doctor, so that qualifies it!”

JANE
“Your sister?”

DOCTOR
(whispers; to Jane) “Quiet Miss Austen, please.”

GAIUS
“I will not let you leave this temple until all of us here have the satisfaction of sacrificing her on the sacrificial altar on the temple precinct!”

DOCTOR
“Mr…what’s your name?”

GAIUS
“I am Gaius Tiberinus! Official of the Roman Embassy…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Yes well, Gaius Tiberinus! You are interfering with family affairs between me and my sister which you have no right to do so! Now let us go or I shall have to take severe measures!”

GAIUS
“I will not…”

CALPURNIUS
(interjects) “Tiberinus! Please let them pass!”

GAIUS
“But High Priest! Surely you can’t let these two….”

CALPURNIUS
(interrupts) “Do as I say or I shall have to consider asking Sulis to punish you!”

Moment of silence, as Gaius is pretty wound up. Eventually he lets the Doctor and Jane go.

DOCTOR
(graciously) “Thank you!” (to Jane) “Come on, Jane! Let’s go back home and meet up with our friends! You’d like that! They’ve been so looking forward to meeting you!” (to everyone else) “Thank you everyone for looking after my dear lovely sister Jane!”

The Doctor and Jane leave, as they head off out of the temple.

JANE
“I beg you sir not to call me Jane among this society. I’m still a woman of moral…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts; whispers) “Ssh! When we get back to my house Miss Austen, I shall certainly re frame from calling you Jane. But this is merely a ruse, so do play along with me!”

JANE
(whispers) “But I don’t understand, Doctor sir! Where are we? Why are all of these people dressed scantily?”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “When we get back to the house, I’ll explain all!”

JANE
(whispers; astonished) “A house, sir?”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “Yes! Now just keep walking until we’re out!”

They turn a corner, as they leave the temple. Everybody else watches them leave.

GAIUS
(suspiciously) “There’s something not right about all this!”

FLAVIA
“I do not trust them! That woman! She brings trouble! And so does that man that has taken her!”

Everyone else continues grumbling and muttering to each other.

CALPURNIS
(calls) “Alright, everyone! Return to your activities! There is nothing to concern you now! The event has passed!”

Slowly, everybody moves off as they either return to the Baths or worship in the temple. Meanwhile Luicius Marcius Memar remains.

LUICIUS
(gradually) “It has begun already I beseech you all! The curse the woman brings has started! She has brought a man into the reckoning! And now all shall be lost! Aqaue Sulis shall die of time!”

Apaulia shudders at this, as she turns to look for…

APAULIA
(puzzled) “Alexandros?” (Pause) “Alexandros? Alexandros, where are you?”


SCENE #82 – INT – ROMANS BATHS – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
Meanwhile, Alexandros is in the West Baths area. As he enters, he looks around to see if anyone’s about. Someone splashing in water echoes, as Alexandros makes his way over to the frigidarium (the Circular Bath) where someone is waiting for him.

SALVADOR
(coldly) “Do come and join me, Lord Alexandros. Unless you haven’t taken the opportunity to warm yourself in the tepidarium and not been to sweat yourself in the caldarium. The Romans do have unusual structures for cleansing and relaxation, wouldn’t you say?!”

ALEXANDROS
“Mr. Salvador, it’s me! Mr. Thorpe-Willoughby, remember?!”

SALVADOR
(coldly) “Not whilst you’re in Aquae Sulis, you are not. You are Alexandros, curator to the Baths of Sulis and servant to High Priest Gaius Calpurnius Receptus. That was the arrangement we agreed on.”

ALEXANDROS
“Mr. Salvador, please! Heed to what I have to say! The lady Miss Jane Austen is here! In Aquae Sulis! She appeared out of thin air!”

SALVADOR
(calmly) “Interesting. How unusual for her to be here in Aquae Sulis when she should be in Regency Bath!”

ALEXANDROS
(agitated) “Quite what I thought myself, sir! What are we to do? Our plans will be ruined!””

SALVADOR
(firmly) “Do not trouble yourself, mere mortal! You need not be troubled by side effects in our arrangement.”

ALEXANDROS
(bewildered) “Side effects? You call Miss Austen a side effect in our arrangement?” (Pause) “What does she have to do with anything?”

SALVADOR
“She is Jane Austen, Alexandros! In the time you used to live in, she is an ordinary lady. But in future generations she is the greatest literary author of the nineteenth century! She will have written six works of literature that talk about the art of romance and the fraternizing between male and female mortals!”

ALEXANDROS
(astonished) “A lady who writes fiction! Preposterous! Ladies do not have as great a social status as men!”

SALVADOR
“I am astonished as you are, Alexandros. For I do not understand why she would appear now in this time. No-one would be capable unless…” (thinks) “Is she still within the premises of this establishment, Lord Alexandros?”

ALEXANDROS
“No, sir. That Doctor you mentioned came and took her away!”

SALVADOR
(understands) “Yes! The Doctor, of course! He would be behind all this! He would bring Miss Austen into the fold to cause logistical problems in our arrangement.”

ALEXANDROS
“Well, he can do what he likes! I will no more be involved in this matter! I wish to withdraw my contract, Mr. Salvador!”

SALVADOR
“You are in my power, mortal! I will not release you!”

ALEXANDROS
“You cannot keep me prisoner forever! I demand you release me!”

SALVADOR
(cruelly) “Once an agreement has been made with Salvador and his disciple the contract cannot be broken! You are mine, Alexandros, until I have reason to dispose of you!”

ALEXANDROS
“You cannot keep me prisoner! I will not have you as my keeper!”

SALVADOR
“You will lose your reward if you refuse to obey me! You will no longer have your desire! Your precious Nyssa will not be yours if you refuse to do as I command you!”

ALEXANDROS
(angrily) “I don’t care! Miss Nyssa means nothing to me! I will not do it! I refuse to work for you!”

Suddenly Alexandros shakes and shudders, as he crumbles to the floor. He groans in pain whilst he shakes and shudders.

SALVADOR
(cruelly) “You will remain like you are for all eternity! All eternity unless you obey me and treat me with better respect!” (Pause) “You will suffer out of time and remain in the void for all eternity, as I demonstrated to you when you disobeyed me the first time!”

ALEXANDROS
(in pain) “I do not…disrespect you, my lord. Only I…conceal great fears for our plans. I fear for our success.”

SALVADOR
(disgusted) “You beings of shorter lives are pathetic! You do not know what it means to possess knowledge and experience as great as mine!” (sharply) “Do as I command, before I erase you out of time altogether!”

Alexandros keeps shaking and shuddering a while longer, as Salvador slowly begins to fade him out of time.

ALEXANDROS
(in pain; grudgingly) “I…will…do…as…you…bid…Lord Salvador!”

SALVADOR
“In every way?”

ALEXANDROS
(in pain; grudgingly) “In…every…way!”

Very soon, Alexandros stops shaking and shuddering as he reverts back to normal.

SALVADOR
(satisfied) “That’s better. For we have friends and allies, as you know, to speed up our arrangement.”

ALEXANDROS
“Shall I send for Miss Gibbons…Apaulia to come here at once with Flavia Tiberina?”

SALVADOR
“No need. I shall expect Apaulia and her mistress shortly!”

Just at that moment, Flavia Tiberina enters with her servant Apaulia.

FLAVIA
(excitedly) “Ah! There you are, my lovely lords! For we said we should gather here in the West Baths and gathered we are! Have we missed anything?”

SALVADOR
“Not at all, Lady Flavia.”

ALEXANDROS
(charmingly) “Hello there, Apaulia!”

Apaulia doesn’t answer.

FLAVIA
(urging) “Well, Apaulia. Answer him.”

APAULIA
“Oh, very well.” (bitterly) “Hello Lord Alexandros!”

SALVADOR
“I was just about to discuss the matter with Lord Alexandros, my lady. For I think we agreed it’d be best for Lord Alexandros to visit the High Priest Caplurnius Receptus to discuss the matter at the earliest in the temple. Is that so, Alexandros?”

ALEXANDROS
“Yes. I spoke to him earlier and we mean to speak of the matter later.”

SALVADOR
“Good. Then this is what you shall say to him when you meet.”

Alexandros listens to Salvador about what he has to say in his meeting with High Priest Calpurnius.


SCENE #83 – EXT – GAY STREET – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
On a Roman street, where many civilians and officials make their way about their businesses, the Doctor and Jane Austen walk speedily through the staring crowds. People mutter and murmur as they notice the out-of-place presence of Miss Austen.

JANE
“How far must we walk, Doctor? My feet cannot take the extra strain. We must have walked miles from the Baths.”

DOCTOR
“Oh about eight point nine miles to be exact, Miss Austen. But not to worry. We’re nearly there.”

JANE
“Where are we, pray, in this strange city?”

DOCTOR
“This…will be what appears in a thousand, seven hundred and eighteen years time. The street known as Gay Street. At the moment it’s a typical Roman suburban street where most civilians live.”

JANE
(puzzled) “What say you, sir? Gay Street?!”

DOCTOR
“Come on. We’re nearly there at my house.”

JANE
(astonished) “You own a house, sir?! In this place?!”

DOCTOR
“Well did you think I wouldn’t own a house here?”

The Doctor and Jane approach the front door of the Doctor’s house. The Doctor unlocks the door; opens it and steps inside taking Jane with him. They are still being observed as they enter the house.


SCENE #84 – INT – DOCTOR’S HOUSE – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
Inside the house, the Doctor escorts Miss Austen into the main lounge.

DOCTOR
(calls) “Nyssa; Billy?! We have a visitor! Come into the lounge!” (to Jane) “Please be seated, Miss Austen.”

Miss Austen, with some hesitation and feeling tense, sits down on a couch.

DOCTOR
(cheerily) “Usually the Romans lie on their backs to relax. But obviously in your case Miss Austen that won’t happen.”

JANE
(agitated) “Doctor, I demand to know what’s going on! Why are we all in a place where everybody’s dressed in cloaks and robes? And why are you dressed in such a fashion, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Don’t worry, Miss Austen. All will be revealed in good time.”

Just then, Nyssa and Billy enter.

BILLY
“Did you just call us, Doctor?” (startled) “Oh!”

DOCTOR
(charmingly) “Yes Billy. We have a visitor.”

NYSSA
“Why goodness. It’s…is it her Doctor? Is it really her?”

DOCTOR
(amused) “It certainly is, Nyssa; Billy. Allow me to introduce…Miss Jane Austen. Miss Austen, these are my friends Miss Nyssa of Traken, and Mr. Billy Walker.”

BILLY
“Golly! She looks just like her portrait. Except younger of course.”

Nyssa steps forward to greet Miss Austen.

NYSSA
“Miss Austen, I’m very glad to finally meet you. The Doctor’s talked so much about you!”

BILLY
“Where did you find her, Doctor? Not at the Roman Baths surely.”

DOCTOR
“Yes I’m afraid so. I was walking on Stall Street using the temporal tracker. Then I heard all this talk from one of the officials about some demon appearing at the Sacred Spring as a mockery against Sulis. I’m glad my curiosity got the better of me because that’s when I went in to find Miss Austen in trouble. Though to what all this culminates in the end, I haven’t the foggiest.”

NYSSA
“Well it’s a good thing you rescued her, Doctor.” (to Jane) “I’m sure Miss Austen is in need of company after her escapades.”

JANE
(baffled) “I misinterpret your attention towards me, Miss Nyssa. You act as if you do not know me. But…we are already acquainted. You and I know each other intimately, as well as the Doctor and Mr. Walker.”

NYSSA
“Do we?”

JANE
(astonished) “Of course we do! We met in the Pump Room. And we talked to each other intimately whilst we were in the Rooms that evening. You can’t have forgotten an occasion like that!”

NYSSA
“I’m sorry, Miss Austen. I only wish I could have experienced such pleasant conversations with you. But I’m afraid I haven’t met you before. For me, this is the first time I’ve met you.”

JANE
(bewildered) “Nonsense, girl! I remember meeting you for the first time only a few hours ago whilst we were in Bath.”

NYSSA
(to Doctor) “Doctor, she seems to know us already.”

BILLY
“Is there something we don’t know about? Or is this some ‘time gone wrong’ thing again like it always happens when we’re in the TARDIS or with you, Doctor.”

NYSSA
“Temporal paradox again, is it?”

DOCTOR
“I’m afraid so, Nyssa. It seems we’re going to meet Miss Austen later on during her time in either late eighteenth century or early nineteenth century Bath whilst the catastrophe we’re soon about to witness occurs. That complicates things even further.”

JANE
“I do not understand your words, all of you! I demand to know what matters you are discussing! Please explain yourself, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(breathes deep) “Very well Miss Austen, I will try my best.”

Moment of silence.

JANE
“Well?”

DOCTOR
“Miss Austen? First may I ask, when was the last time you saw us?”

JANE
(puzzled) “We were in the Pump Room. The last incident I remembered was being attacked by those ghastly creatures with water dripping from their mouths. And Mr. Thorpe-Willoughby and Miss Gibbons were about to advance when the storm came and cracked open the roof.”

DOCTOR
“Interesting.” (Pause) “And when exactly was that?”

JANE
“What do you mean, sir?”

DOCTOR
(insistently) “The date, Miss Austen. When was the exact date when you first met us?”

JANE
(bewildered) “The twenty-seventh day of November, sir. In seventeen hundred and ninety seven.”

BILLY
“Doctor, that’s the year Miss Austen first visited Bath.”

DOCTOR
(agitated) “Yes Billy, I know! Don’t interrupt!” (to Jane) “Miss Austen, could you tell us where we are now?”

JANE
(baffled) “Do you intend to tease me…?”

DOCTOR
(seriously) “No seriously, Miss Austen. Tell me. Where do you think you are right now and when?”

JANE
(thinks) “I can’t imagine sir. It is a city of evil I know that. But all too unfamiliar to me. And the people are ghastly in appearance.”

NYSSA
“You’re in Bath, Miss Austen. This is the city of Bath.”

JANE
(shocked) “What? No I don’t believe that.”

BILLY
“I’m afraid it is true, Miss Austen. This is Bath where we are now.”

DOCTOR
“More specifically you’re in the city of Bath during the Roman occupation of Britain. Those were real Romans we met in the Baths earlier today, Miss Austen.” (Pause) “This is Aquae Sulis, in Latin it means ‘the waters of Sulis’. And the year which we are in now is the year seventy-nine anno domini.”

Moment of silence.

JANE
“You do tease me, sir, Doctor! You can’t be serious…”

DOCTOR
(assuredly; seriously) “No! Believe me Miss Austen. What I’m saying is the truth! You have travelled back to the year seventy-nine AD from whence you were taken from seventeen ninety-seven in Bath, which is hard to explain. Even I don’t understand it. Yet.”

JANE
“I…time-travelled? No surely not. I couldn’t have time travelled. This is all fantasy.”

BILLY
“Oh no, it’s not. Believe me I’ve travelled in time with the Doctor and Nyssa for quite a bit in the TARDIS.” (laughs) “It’s all grown on me now you might say.”

JANE
(furiously) “You speak in riddles, young man. You talk nonsense. I do not see why Miss Nyssa takes such fancy in being in your company the way you talk and behave to her.”

NYSSA
(rather hurt) “Billy and I have been friends for some time, Miss Austen. I’ve always enjoyed Billy’s company. So don’t you dare judge him!”

JANE
(furiously) “You do keep strange company, Miss Nyssa. I’m sure you are not as eligible a woman as you seem.”

BILLY
(protests) “Hey, hey! Don’t say that about Nyssa! She’s a real lady! And you’re supposed to be the greatest lady author…”

DOCTOR
“Please, Billy. No time now.” (to Jane) “Miss Austen, I appreciate you’re upset…”

JANE
(bitterly) “Upset?! You’re not considerate of my feelings, Doctor. The way you and your friends treat me and jest at me as if I was a girl of fifteen who knows nothing about the world and you impinge me with these fantasies that you must think me a fool.”

NYSSA
“That’s not true, Miss Austen!”

DOCTOR
“Quiet, Nyssa!” (to Jane) “Miss Austen, I cannot ask you not to believe me on what I’ve said about when and where you are. But I must ask you to hear what I have to say about how Miss Nyssa and Mr. Walker don’t know you yet.”

Moment of silence, as Jane become frustrated and upset.

JANE
(gradually; sighs) “Very well. Proceed with what you have to say.”

DOCTOR
(slowly) “Miss Austen, you said you met us in the Pump Room in seventeen ninety-seven.”

JANE
“Yes. I was with my sister, my aunt and my uncle that morning. I met you Doctor and your friend Miss Nyssa there, and Miss Nyssa and I talked whilst drinking the water from the King’s Bath.”

BILLY
“Goodness, Nyssa! You get to drink the waters of Sulis after all!”

NYSSA
“How exciting.”

JANE
“I beg your pardon, sir!”

BILLY
“Wait a minute. If you’ve met Nyssa and the Doctor, what about me?”

DOCTOR
“Billy, please!” (to Jane) “Miss Austen, do take this carefully.” (Pause) “From your point of view, you had met us for the first time in the Pump Room. But by then when you met us, we had already known you a great deal when we came to Bath in seventeen ninety-seven.”

JANE
“What?”

DOCTOR
“Now from our point of view, here in Aquae Sulis, this is the first time Miss Nyssa; Mr. Walker and I have met you. But by now you already know a great deal about us in your time before you were snatched away to seventy-nine AD.”

BILLY
(tries to understand) “So Doctor, hang on. You’re saying…Miss Austen has met us already but we haven’t.”

NYSSA
“And very soon we would have known Miss Austen by the time we went to seventeen ninety-seven but she will not have met us then.”

DOCTOR
“Exactly! Perfect! Couldn’t have put it better myself!” (to Jane) “I hope that wasn’t too confusing, Miss Austen.”

Moment of silence.

JANE
(flustered) “I am at a loss.”

BILLY
“Join the club, Miss Austen.”

JANE
“I’m in need of refreshment. For I’ve had a dreadful day!”

DOCTOR
(to Billy) “Billy? Will you go and fetch a glass of water for Miss Austen? I’m sure she’d appreciate it.”

BILLY
“Yes, Doctor.”

Billy is about to leave the room, whilst Nyssa and the Doctor remain to comfort Miss Austen. Just then, the lounge shudders as it phases out of time. The temporal convergence begins again.

NYSSA
(troubled) “Doctor, it’s happening again! The temporal shudders! The mist!”

DOCTOR
(frustrated) “Yes! They come out everywhere whenever we arrive in this city of leisure! This city of time!”

BILLY
“I can see bits of two thousand and eleven. And I can see Bath that looks like it comes from Victorian times. There are carriages and horses, women in bonnets and men in tight collars.”

JANE
“What is the meaning of this, Doctor? Why cause pain and such affliction? Why must I have my life in disarray caused by the ones I encounter?”

Just then, the temporal shuddering stops and everything reverts back to normal.

DOCTOR
(gradually) “I’m very sorry, Miss Austen. But this is where things get more complicated!”


SCENE #85 – EXT – TEMPLE COURTYARD – DAY, MORNING – SPRING 79 AD
Meanwhile, in the temple courtyard of Sulis Minerva, Alexandros talks to Gaius Calpurnius Receptus.

ALEXANDROS
“So, High Priest Calpurnis! What say you to our arrangement?”

CALPURNIUS
“I cannot proclaim I understand the meaning of your request, my lord. To use the Sacred Spring for specific purposes. To bring our goddess Sulis to appear before the congregation of Aquae Sulis is in itself inconceivable not to say a sin. I have been in service to her greatness all of my long years. But I do not think I can call upon the sun god, or the water gods, indeed of all the gods we rely so heavily on to fulfil our lives!”

ALEXANDROS
(assuredly) “Pray High Priest; do not trouble yourself with such concerns. For I have a client who is influential in those circles of ceremonial upbringing. He has the power to control the gods themselves.”

CALPURNIUS
“No one is powerful enough to control the gods, Lord Alexandros. For it would be blasphemy to consider one more powerful than all gods. Even the Christians claim that there is only one God and not many gods.”

ALEXANDROS
(cunningly) “Ah but my client is not a Christian, my lord. For he indeed has been in service to our gods and is in great control.”

CALPURNIUS
“I doubt your words, my lord. For I have served Sulis for many years as I’ve said before. But never have I been able to control her power. Nobody can.”

ALEXANDROS
“Perhaps you should see for yourself who my client really is. Then you shall be persuaded to see his power.”

Just then, Gaius Tiberinus appears as he approaches Alexandros and Calpurnius.

GAIUS
“High Priest! Dear lord High Priest Calpurnius!”

CALPURNIUS
(acknowledges) “My dear lord Gaius Tiberinus. Pray what is your concern?”

GAIUS
“I wish to make a request to the goddess! No, I wish for a sacrifice!”

CALPURNIUS
“And what is this request nay sacrifice you wish to put to Sulis, my lord?”

GAIUS
“I ask that the lady Sulis gets rid of the woman who appeared at the Sacred Spring this morning!”

CALPURNIUS
“Indeed.”

GAIUS
“I have talked with some of the officials and elders who witnessed the display and we’ve agreed. We greatly fear that this evil spirit of a woman who appeared to us in disgrace of Sulis will cause ruin to us all. Luicius even prophesised it.”

CALPURNIUS
“Then you should make your offering to Sulis at once, Lord Gaius. For she shall be waiting.”

ALEXANDROS
“Uh…perhaps you can make your request to Sulis face-to-face, Lord Gaius.”

GAIUS
(puzzled) “What say you, Lord Alexandros?”

CALPURNIUS
“No, Alexandros. I will not permit this child’s play.”

ALEXANDROS
(to Gaius) “Come to the Sacred Spring at once, Lord Gaius and see for yourself.”

Gaius Calpurnius Receptus and Gaius Tiberinus become silent, as they consider this strange invitation put to them by Alexandros.


© Tim Bradley, 2017

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‘Part Two, Chapter 8’ of ‘The Austen Code’

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‘Part Three, Chapter 10’ of ‘The Austen Code’

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