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17 March 2011 @ 10:10 pm
Vampyr Draft Two - Day Six  
So sleepy typing these pages up.  Likely many errors.  Please point them out if you see any.

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD - DAY

Dominik rides the mule, Mira walks. Though the road switchbacks from side to side, the grade is steep. She starts to tire.
In the distance, the clear howl of a WOLF.

DOMINIK
Mama?

MIRA
It’s all right. It’s nowhere close. We can hear better
up here, out of the trees.
 
They ascend the last switchback, and then it appears in front of them - BATHORY CASTLE. Ancient, weathered stone that seems to have been carved right out of the mountain. Two tall towers, one on either side.

The walls seem to lean over them.

Mira stops, stares. One hand sneaks up to her amulet, tucked under her dress.

DOMINIK
No. No, I want to go home.
 
Mira doesn’t hear him. The castles seems taller, blotting out the sun. She walks slowly toward it. The stones almost seem to glow...

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
(moans)
Mama...

MIRA
(absently)
Come, Dominik.

DOMINIK
I can’t.

MIRA
Now, Dominik!
 
She turns, far too furious, to see Dominik still sitting on the mule, his face ashen. Mira seems to come back to herself.

MIRA (CONT’D)
I’m sorry. Here.
 
She lifts him, sets him down. Loops the mule’s rope around a tree branch. That done, Mira takes her son’s hand and they walk to the massive IRON DOORS. The stones of the wall a flat gray, sun shining clearly.

Mira looks around - no one. No knockers on the doors. She just touches the surface of one, and both SWING INWARDS with an ominous rumble. Mira takes a breath.

INT. CASTLE - ENTRY HALL - CONTINUOUS

Huge, glorious. Enormous fireplaces with roaring flames. Gilt furniture. Exquisite oil paintings.

Mira and Dominik stare, dumbstruck. They have never seen such wealth in their lives. It takes a beat for Mira to realize there is no one else in the room.

MIRA
Hello?
 
She walks deeper into the room. The click of her heels on the floor is loud, echoing. She slowly turns
.
A MAN stands by the iron doors. Immaculately tailored clothes, but his face is BLANK, expressionless. He and Mira look at each other. It’s hard for her to break the silence.

MIRA (CONT’D)
I want to speak to the Count.
 
The blank-faced manservant bows his head, walks her way. Smooth, graceful gait.

MIRA (CONT’D)
My mule, outside. Will he be stabled?
 
The manservant bows his head again. Polite, deferential. Mira and Dominik follow him through the entry hall.

INT. CASTLE - CORRIDORS - DAY

Even the hallways drip with wealth. Hand-embroidered tapestries, gold leaf generously applied everywhere. Every now and then an alcove holds a MARBLE BUST.

INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY

The manservant opens the door, and Mira and Dominik step inside. The room is bigger than Mira’s entire cottage - huge four-poster bed, plush chairs, leather-bound books on shelves.

The blank-faced manservant steps to a BUREAU, opens the doors. Inside, gorgeous DRESSES. The manservant displays one dress, bows, then steps out, closing the door behind him.

Dominik walks to the bed, puts a hand up on the mattress. Mira lifts him up. He rolls over onto his back, wiggles - LAUGHS. Mira can’t help but laugh, too.

She takes out a dress. It is incredible - rich, opulent. She slides her fingers over the fabric. Hanging the dress over the bureau door, Mira goes to a VANITY, sits.

She looks at herself in the mirror, a bit shocked. Dirt still here and there on her face. Her hair mussed and tangled. She inspects the tools laid out - brushes, perfumes, lotions.

Mira checks on Dominik, sound asleep in the exact middle of the bed. She dips a cloth in the clean water in a basin by the door. Cleans her face.

INT. CASTLE - DINING HALL - NIGHT

The blank-faced manservant enters, bows his head to someone unseen. Extends an arm to lead Mira and Dominik into the room.

She has changed into the fancy dress, her hair brushed until it shines. She looks stunning - like a princess.

A VOICE rings out - deep, rich.

BATHORY (O.S.)
I was told a villager had come all the way up
here just to speak to me. I could not
believe it - yet here you are.
 
At the end of a long, long table sits COUNT BATHORY (50). Handsome, though his features are sharp, almost cruel. Iron-gray hair, sumptuous clothes. He stands, bows - exceedingly polite.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Please, sit.
 
He gestures to the other end of the table. Mira swallows, hiding her fear. She leads Dominik over - they sit.

Even though it is nearly winter, the table is covered with trays of FRESH FRUIT. Dominik stares.

MIRA
My Lord, thank you for granting me an
audience. I have come to speak to you about the conditions--

BATHORY
Later, later! First, let us eat.
 
Bathory looks to the back door. Three servers enter bearing silver covered DISHES. They place the dishes in front of the diners, remove the covers, then melt away as silently as they came.

Mira looks down at a plate of succulent, thinly sliced meat, roasted vegetables, a delicate sauce. Mouthwatering. She swallows hard.

DOMINIK
(whispers)
Mama? Can we eat this?
 
Mira looks up at Bathory. He watches them, a slight and curious smile on his face.

MIRA
Yes.
 
She takes a bite, chews slowly. Savors it - bliss.

BATHORY
Good?
 
Mira nods. Another bite, careful not to eat too quickly. Dominik has no such qualms.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
You do not eat this well at home.

MIRA
We do not eat, my Lord.
 
Bathory’s fork is halfway to his mouth, but he sets it down.

BATHORY
I don’t understand.

MIRA
(chooses words carefully)
My Lord, I do not argue with your right to the resources
of your land, even your right to the fruits of our
labors. But soon there will be no one left
to labor at all - no one to grow crops or spin wool.
 
Beat. Bathory stands, slowly walks toward Mira and Dominik. Candelabras stand on the table every few feet, the flames very tall. As the Count passes them, the flames FLICKER.

Mira tenses at his approach, but Bathory just kneels and watches Dominik eat - steady, determined, voracious.

BATHORY
The Elders always assure me that every villager is
provided for before anything is brought to the castle.

MIRA
No, my Lord.

BATHORY
What is your name, child?
 
Dominik stops chewing. Stares. With his mouth full--

DOMINIK
Dominik.
 
Bathory’s expression softens. He rests a hand on the boy’s back.

BATHORY
Your well-being is my responsibility, Dominik.
I have failed you.
 
He reaches over, covers Mira’s hand with his own.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
That ends now.
 
INT. GUEST ROOM - NIGHT

Mira enters, carrying a sleeping Dominik. She leans her back against the closed door. A shuddery breath, a watery smile.

She did it.

LATER

Mira tucks the thick bed covers over Dominik, then walks around the room, rubbing her arms - she has stripped down to a thin shift.

She goes to the fireplace, but it is clean and empty. The copper hamper next to it is decorative - no wood inside.

Mira walks to the single window. Closed. She holds her hand in front of the window - a slight draft.

Mira pulls the heavy curtains securely shut over the window, then burrows into the bed beside Dominik.

INT. GUEST ROOM - MORNING

Mira frowns in her sleep, then wakes. A beat, then she looks down to see that all the bed covers are GONE.

She sits up, shivering. The curtains are pulled open. The window is open as well. Mira looks - the bed is empty. Dominik nowhere to be seen.

MIRA
Dominik?
 
She gets out of bed. The covers are in a pile on the floor at the foot of the bed. Mira looks through them. Then she sees that the door is open a crack.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Dominik!
 
Mira throws the door open. Dominik stands just outside, his back to her. Not moving. Beat. Mira goes--

INTO THE HALLWAY

And crouches beside him. He stares at the wall ahead.

MIRA (CONT’D)
What are you doing?

DOMINIK
What does it mean?
 
Mira follows his gaze - a TAPESTRY. It shows a dragon in a circle, biting its own tail.

MIRA
I don’t know.

BATHORY (O.S.)
It is the Bathory family emblem.
 
Bathory strides down the corridor toward them. Smiling, even more handsome in the sunlight streaming through the narrow windows.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
I wished to show you around the castle.
 
Mira stands, painfully aware of her thin shift, her bare arms.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
It appears I’ve arrived too early.
 
He looks at her with a healthy mixture of appreciation and leering.

MIRA
I’ll just be a moment. Excuse me, my Lord.
 
Mira takes Dominik, slips back into--

THE GUEST ROOM

And pushes the door shut. A pink flush spreads over her cheeks. A stubborn smile.

CUT TO:
 
INT. GRAND HALL - DAY

The type of space only a castle can boast - its only purpose is to awe and intimidate. Bathory and Mira walk side by side, Dominik trails behind.

BATHORY
My ancestors.
 
PORTRAITS hang on the walls. Oil paintings, in evolving styles. Men similar in appearance to Bathory. He stops in front of one painting - a man astride a PILE OF CORPSES.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Hados, the first of my line. A great man. When these
lands were still overrun with miserable pagans
who were more likely to offer up their throats
to the invading heathens than lift up their own swords
in defense, Hados took up arms. He rode into battles himself.
And when the pagans would not fight, Hados spent
all his wealth on mercenaries, who routed the Turks
and drove them from these lands once and for all.
But does anyone remember him? Do they praise
him, celebrate him? Of course not! Instead they
curse the name of this family.
 
Mira blanches, steps back.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Oh, yes, word has reached my ears of just what you villagers
think of me. I am blamed for famines and plagues, for droughts
and floods alike. I am the reason your sheep give no milk
and your hens lay no eggs. A boy is attacked by wolves
in the forest and somehow I am to blame.

MIRA
What else could you possibly expect? No one ever sees
you! Not once in all my life have you come down from
your perch - you have no idea what it’s like. We scrape
together what we can only to see it taken away and
carted up here, again and again and again!
If Hados was a great man it was because he
did something - you do nothing!
 
Mira stops, realizing suddenly to whom she speaks. The Count’s eyes bore into hers. She looks to Dominik - half-hiding behind a pillar.

MIRA (CONT’D)
My Lord, I...forgive me.

BATHORY
No, don’t cower and grovel now.
(beat)
Come. There is something I wish to show you.
 
 
 
singer_shaper: subtitlessinger_shaper on March 18th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
I must be sleepy, too, 'cuz I don't see any errors.

I really like the Bathory mythos, and that all the paintings look like him. Knowing what he is makes them all the more creepy.

I also like that Dominik is intuitively afraid of the castle - smart kid.

Keep up the great work!
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on March 20th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks! One of my notes was to avoid making a Dominik a prop, and make him more of a character, so drawing him into the castle's mysteries is a part of that.
nhpwnhpw on March 18th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
These are some great scenes, and I like the way Bathory is coming off this time - a lot less immediately intimidating. He's a nice guy, really! That the villagers don't have enough to survive is the fault of the Elders, not the Count! He comes from a great family line! But there's just enough creepiness to give a clue that he's not entirely on the level.

The castles seems taller, blotting out the sun.

Probably "castle" singular?

The only other thing I wondered about was the ease with which Mira seems to conduct herself in the castle - it's good to see her being so bold, but I'm having a hard time accepting that she would just put on the dress simply because it was THERE, or that she would stay the night in the castle without some question or further discussion with the Count. I assume somewhere between the dinner scene and the bedroom scene, he told her she should stay the night and head back in the morning, or that they would talk more in the morning, but... I felt like maybe I needed it spelled out.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on March 20th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
I had a hard time writing the dress thing. The idea was that when the blank-faced manservant took her to the room, he pulled the dress out and showed it to her like, please put this on. I need that to come across without any dialogue, because the vamp servants never speak. I'll take another pass at that, because it shouldn't be like, oh, she just has made this place her own!