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12 November 2010 @ 10:42 pm
NaScreeWriMo - Day Twelve  
INT. MAID’S QUARTERS - DAWN

Tiny. A straw-filled mattress on the floor. One window high on the wall lets in gray light.

Ilka wakes, Dominik beside her. She is exhausted - it takes a few tries before she manages to sit up.

DOMINIK
Can we play today?

ILKA
We must work today.

DOMINIK
Why?
 
Ilka just sighs.

INT. KITCHENS - DAY

Dominik drags a BAG of POTATOES across the floor - the bag is as big as he is.

Ilka stirs a bubbling mixture in one of the big cauldrons with a wooden POLE. A roaring fire underneath. She wipes sweat from her face. She’s too thin, too unused to any physical work - she struggles.

Ilka watches Dominik sit down on the bag. Almost immediately one of the big male COOKS rounds on him.

COOK
Boy, get up!

DOMINIK
I’m tired.
 
The Cook KICKS the bag, right underneath Dominik - it’s enough of a jolt to knock him to the floor.

ILKA
Stop that! Leave him be!
 
The Cook ignores her, jerking Dominik back up to his feet.

Ilka drags her pole out of the cauldron, dripping all over the floor. She marches over and SMACKS the Cook on the back with the pole.

ILKA (CONT’D)
Don’t you touch him!
 
The Cook turns, PUSHES her. She falls back, lands hard. Dominik cries out, runs to her.

COOK
We don’t have time for your nonsense.

ILKA
How dare you touch me, talk to me in such a way.

COOK
Why? You’re nothing anymore.
 
The Cook grabs the bag of potatoes himself, hauls it away. Ilka sits for a beat, Dominik hanging off her neck.

She stands, takes Dominik’s hand, and calmly walks out.

INT. CASTLE - ENTRANCE TO WEST TOWER - DAY

Mira approaches a set of LOCKED and BARRED heavy iron doors. She carries a basket with food inside, a clean dress over her arm.

Mira turns to look at Janos, who begins to unlock the doors.

MIRA
How can you lock her in here? She’s just a child.

JANOS
I wish you would not do this, Mira. It isn’t safe.
 
He stops, looks at her. She stares at him, resolute. Janos OPENS the doors. Beat.

Mira enters--

THE WEST TOWER

Cold, dim, abandoned. Makes the rest of the castle seem positively cheery. Thick cobwebs, broken stones, rotting furniture.

Mira wanders through the bottom level, once a ballroom, perhaps.

She climbs the stairs.

Walks down a short corridor, doors hanging open on broken hinges.

MIRA
Erzsebet?
 
Thick silence. It’s harder for Mira to climb the next set of stairs - a SKITTERING sound overhead.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Beta?
 
Another corridor. The tapestry on the wall - the dragon biting its tail - has been SHREDDED. Mira passes an open doorway, then stops and steps back.

Erzsebet sits against the wall, almost hidden in the shadows. Her face obscured.

Mira gingerly crosses to the middle of the room - sets the basket down. She can’t help but notice the DEAD RAT not too far from Erzsebet.

MIRA (CONT’D)
I brought you something to eat. And a clean dress.
 
Erzsebet just stares at her, unblinking.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Father Janos tells me there is a well at the
base of this tower. We could wash your hair,
your body. Would you like that, Beta?
 
No answer. Absolutely no movement. Mira goes back to the wall, finds a clear spot on the floor to sit. From this distance it is hard to tell if Erzsebet is even there.

MIRA (CONT’D)
My mother died when I was about your age.
She used to tell me the most wonderful stories.
Would you like to hear a story?
(beat)
Once, long ago, there was a beautiful princess
named Helena. She was a very smart and very sweet
young girl, but her parents were afraid for her,
and they locked her up inside the tallest tower.
Helena was very alone, and very frightened. She didn’t
understand that the tower was there to keep her safe,
and that one day she would be set free. And then she
would have anything she wanted, and
she would be very happy.
 
Mira finishes, waits. No movement from Erzsebet, no indication she was even listening. Mira stands, walks to the door.

A slight sound. Mira stops, looks out of the corner of her eye - Erzsebet crouches over the basket of food.

Mira smiles.

INT. CHAPEL - NIGHT

Mira kneels, prays.

JANOS (O.S.)
I am glad to see you.
 
Mira turns. Janos walks up the aisle her way.

MIRA
She’s just a little girl.

JANOS
I wish that were true.

MIRA
Did it occur to no one that perhaps Beta is
not to blame? She has no children her own age to
play with. She sees no grass, no sky. This is no place for a child.

JANOS
And yet you wish your own child to be raised here.
 
Mira looks at the priest - she’s not ready to say anything out loud. Instead, she pulls LETTERS out of her dress. Hands them to Janos.

MIRA
Father, the next time you are in the village,
will you deliver these?

JANOS
You should bid your old life farewell. You must embrace
the place God has set for you.

MIRA
But you were the one who gave me the paper
with which to write.

JANOS
No, Mira. I did not.

MIRA
(beat)
There is something wrong with this castle.

JANOS
Yes.

MIRA
Will you deliver the letters?
 
Janos looks at her steadily, but she does not budge. He tucks the letters into his robes.
 
 
 
nhpw: truefacenhpw on November 13th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Spooky...

OK, I know this might sound strange because he's the villain and everything, but - I'm curious as to Bathory's opinion of Beta. Would he not accept her in ANY CASE because she was a girl? If so, given that he clearly has no problem with execution (his threat on Dominik's life), I'm surprised he wouldn't have just killed her at birth. Why has he allowed her to live on castle grounds all this time? So this leads me to believe he has a different opinion of her, and maybe her existence is important to him for some reason.

This is mostly me musing out loud about the mystery, but am I close at all? :)
Shannon: bicycle dadkungfuwaynewho on November 13th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
First question - should I switch to calling her "Beta" throughout? I am worried that "Erzsebet" is a bit much to read. (Conversely, I've thought about just calling her the Anglicized "Elizabeth," but I'm afraid that might tip my hand too early to anyone who's read about her.)

Second question - how did you sneak into my house and read my outline? Seriously--

So this leads me to believe he has a different opinion of her, and maybe her existence is important to him for some reason.

Yes. You are close. In fact, should I finish sequence four like I want to today, you will find out at the midpoint reveal. :D
nhpwnhpw on November 13th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
First question - should I switch to calling her "Beta" throughout? I am worried that "Erzsebet" is a bit much to read.

You're correct, I stumble a bit over "Erzsebet." HOWEVER, this is a script. That means the only people who would be reading the name would be the actors reading the script; on the screen it would be spoken, and in that respect, for the viewer, I think the full name is very cool. It characterizes her. Like - I don't see a prim-and-proper princess with this name. It speaks to the characterization you've given her. Beta as a nickname is a good offset, because it implies that although she's clearly not playing with a full deck, there is a sense of endearment toward her. Someone cared enough to give her a nickname.

That's my gut reaction, and I'm sticking to it.

On your second question - Dude, if anybody's breaking into anybody's house, you are the one with my address (Though you should send me yours at some point. Yep.) I'm maybe just a hella lot better at mysteries than I thought.

Or I have ESP. Your pick.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on November 13th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Okay, I like your reasoning. I'll keep it. (There have been a few times just writing it out where I'm like, the fuck is this name?)

I like the thing with the nickname! I hadn't really thought about it in that way; hmm.

Well, I'm hopefully mailing your birthday/thank-you/Christmas extravaganza on Monday, so you'll have my address soon enough. ;)
Holly: A/R UB drinkinhollywobbles on November 13th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
I'm having such a hard time figuring Janos out - I'm looking forward to seeing how he turns out.

I had no clue the Bathorys were real until I was reading your comments. I'll have to read up more on them after I finish your script.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on November 13th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
It's funny, when I was doing my early character work and looking up names, I just kept coming across Bathory - and then I put one character against that name and put two and two together and it crystallized about a million things. I don't think knowing the story of the one Bathory in particular is necessary - I think (hope) the movie stands on its own - but it should give it an extra little flavor for someone who's read about it.

I'm glad that you see that there's something about Janos to be figured out, but that you haven't done so yet. That would suck. He's the key, you see.
Holly: Minihollywobbles on November 14th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Ooh....