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07 April 2011 @ 06:28 am
Draft Two - Day Twenty-Seven  
A big chunk of pages - I've been struggling with sequence and pacing here.  I'm also running a little longer than I would have liked, though not as bad as I feared.  I'm shooting for 100-110 pages for total length, and I still might just squeak by.  I'll need to do more edits/polishing anyway, though.  Forgive what are no doubt many typos; I caught two while formatting here and surely missed others.

INT. CORRIDORS - NIGHT

The blank-faced manservant continues to lead Mira, ignoring his ruined eye. He turns right - she keeps going straight.

She marches down the hallway, rusty blade still in hand. Turns left. The blank-faced manservant stands in front of her, waiting. Raises a finger - tsk tsk.

MIRA
I want to talk to him. Get out of
my way or I’ll take the other eye.
 
INT. WEST TOWER - BATHORY’S QUARTERS - NIGHT

Mira enters, not waiting to see if Bathory is there or not.
MIRA
Where is my son?
Silence.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Tell me!

BATHORY (O.S.)
Do you really want to know?
 
Mira spins, looking. She sees nothing. Turns back - Bathory stands in front of her.

MIRA
Is he here? Did you kill him?

BATHORY
What kind of person do you think I am?

MIRA
I think you’re the monster who
cut off my husband’s hand!
 
Bathory HITS her. She falls to the floor.

BATHORY
Watch your tongue!

MIRA
(wipes blood from mouth)
Why should I? You’ve taken everything.
Why not take my tongue as well?

BATHORY
You insolent child. Your husband crossed the
river - I could have done much more than
cut off his hand. I was lenient. You should thank me.

MIRA
I want to bury my son.

BATHORY
You can’t - there’s no body to bury.

MIRA
(screams)
What did you do to him?
 
Bathory grabs her hair, HAULS her to her feet. Doesn’t release his grip - their faces very close. Mira stabs out with the rusty blade - it CRUMBLES TO DUST on impact.

BATHORY
You can be the Countess. Your husband will be
released from the dungeon, and you will live here
with all your needs attended to. You will wear pretty
dresses, and eat whatever you wish, and you will never
have to see me beyond necessary visits to my bed.
Or, I will take your tongue, and cut out your eyes,
and chain you to the floor like a dog.
(beat)
Which would you prefer?

MIRA
(trembles)
Let my husband go, and I’ll
do whatever you want.
 
Bathory smiles.

CUT TO:
 
EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD - DAY

Dominik rides on Mira’s old mule, Ilka and Léone walking alongside. They enter--

THE VILLAGE

No smoke pours from the little chimneys. Everything cold and dark. No one visible - the village seems deserted.

ILKA
Where is everyone? Have they all left?

LEONE
No. They’re here.
 
Ilka follows Léone’s gaze - they pass a house, a FACE stares out at them through a window. The briefest glimpse of fear, and the curtains are snatched closed.

LEONE (CONT’D)
They’re hiding.

DOMINIK
Where’s Mama?
 
Ilka ignores him, staring at the huts.

ILKA
This is where you live?
 
More faces watch from the windows. Fear, mistrust, antipathy. Then a door is flung open - a man exits. LEONE’S FATHER. Bruises on his face.

LEONE’S FATHER
Léone? Léone?

LEONE
Papa!
 
She runs to him - they embrace. Other doors open. Villagers step out, staring at Ilka and Dominik.

ILKA
(to villagers)
I need accommodations.

MAN
And who might you be?

ILKA
Your Countess.
 
Murmurs - angry, fearful. All the villagers, including the Elders, now stand outside, circling Ilka. Drawing closer.

ILKA (CONT’D)
I require food, and warm clothes. A bed.
 
She turns in a slow circle. Scorn on every face.

WOMAN (O.S.)
Go back to your castle!
 
Ilka spins, but cannot tell who said it.

ILKA
I am your Countess! You will do as you’re told!
 
More angry whispers. Dark looks.

NICOLAE
You were the Countess. You’re not any
longer, or you wouldn’t be down here with us.

ILKA
How dare you talk to me that way.

NICOLAE
You’re nothing, woman
(to villagers)
Return to your homes!
 
The villagers melt back inside their cottages. Ilka casts beseeching looks to them, which are ignored. Finally, only Léone and her father remain.

ILKA
You must take us in.

LEONE’S FATHER
The Elders have spoken.
 
He goes inside. Léone lingers.

ILKA
I saved you.
 
Léone shakes her head sadly, closes the door.

ILKA (CONT’D)
You ungrateful little wretch! I should have
left you chained to the floor!
 
But there’s no one left to hear her.

INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT

Ilka and Dominik lie huddled together in a pile of HAY. Dominik sleeps - Ilka watches him. A SCRATCHING sound nearby. The sound gets closer - Ilka is a little afraid.

But it’s just a CAT, stalking through the hay. A pounce, and it comes up with a big RAT in its mouth. Two good shakes, and the rat hangs limp. The cat and Ilka stare at each other for a beat, and then the cat turns and trots away, the rat’s limp tail dragging through the hay.

DOMINIK (O.S.)
He’s coming down to the village.
 
Ilka turns. Dominik sits up, awake. His eyes are dull, his voice listless.

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
I don’t think he’s man-shaped anymore.

ILKA
You’re dreaming. It’s just a dream.

DOMINIK
I see what he sees.
(points to his eye)
Not here.
(points to his forehead)
Here.

ILKA
What do you see?

DOMINIK
A house. A lamp in the window. There’s smoke
coming out of the chimbley. He’s at the back
of the house. He’s watching.

ILKA
Watching what?

DOMINIK
He’s making a sound. It’s not a man sound. A dog is
coming over. It’s sniffing around. It’s a friendly dog. It
comes over to me, and I grab it and break it with my
hands. The dog is making a smell, a good smell, but
I don’t want the dog, so I throw it away.
 
Ilka stares, doesn’t seem to breathe.

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
Now I’m making a dog sound. A hurt dog sound.
I make it louder. The lamp in the window is moving.
The door is opening. There is a girl there. She is holding
the lamp out and looking. She is calling out a name.
She is looking for the dog. She is walking toward me.
 
For just a beat, a glimpse--

OUTSIDE A COTTAGE

As Léone steps out, lantern held high. She is afraid, but doesn’t turn back.

BACK TO SCENE

Ilka holds her hands as though praying.

ILKA
(whispers)
No. Please, no.

DOMINIK
I am letting her get very close. I am
letting her see me. She is afraid.
 
A FLASH

Léone’s face, twisted in terror, screaming.

BACK TO SCENE

And Dominik smiles, an awful smile.

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
The good smell is all around her. I am jumping
now. I am very strong. I knock her to the ground. I am biting her neck.

ILKA
Stop it! Enough!

DOMINIK
I am drinking. It is thick and
good. It is making me even stronger.

ILKA
Let her go!

 
Dominik turns to Ilka, his face twisted, bestial - it almost looks as though his face has changed. But the voice is still a child’s.
 
DOMINIK
I told you she was mine, Ilka!
 
Ilka SLAPS him. Not hard, but his head snaps to the side. He looks all around, rubbing his cheek. The chanting tone is gone from his voice. His face is his own - sweet, troubled.

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
(crying)
Léone. It was Léone.
 
Ilka gathers him up, rocks him. No fear, no tears. ANGER.

INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY

Mira stands at the window, staring out. She turns to look back at the bed - a DRESS laid out on it. A wedding dress.

Mira rifles through the vanity. Sets out: a NAIL FILE, a PERFUME BOTTLE, a CANDLE STUB. She prepares.

BEGIN MONTAGE

1. With the nail file - CARVES an X into the candle wax.

2. EMPTIES the perfume bottle.

3. FILLS the perfume bottle with LAMP OIL.

END MONTAGE

Mira picks up the dress. Starts putting it on.

CUT TO:
 
INT. VILLAGE CHURCH - DAY
The bells toll. The bier that Peter, the boy from the woods, had been laid on - now LEONE lies on it. Cold. Dead.

Villagers enter, those hunted and pinched faces. Nicolae stands by the bier, grim.

NICOLAE
Behold the evidence of your lack of faith. Father
Janos gave you ample warning - but you
ignored him. See how God punishes you!

ILKA (O.S.)
Not God.
 
Everyone turns to the front. Ilka stands - shining, glorious.

ILKA (CONT’D)
God didn’t kill this girl. Bathory did.

NICOLAE
Enough! I don’t care who you used to
be - saying such things will see you whipped.

ILKA
Father Janos is wrong. God has no power over Bathory.
 
She walks to the bier. A crucifix has been placed in Léone’s hands. Ragged wounds in her neck. Ilka pulls down her chin - a whole head of GARLIC has been stuffed into her mouth.

ILKA (CONT’D)
You think this will stop him? Garlic and crosses?
They mean nothing to him. And he will continue to
hunt you down, murder you, drink your blood,
change you into demons too foul
for even hell itself, and he will never stop!

NICOLAE
And what would you have us do?
Ignore the Count’s commands?

ILKA
To Hell with his commands! He subjects
you to misery and hunger and fear and
death by your own sufferance.
 
Ilka pauses. The villagers listen closely. Glints of something in their eyes - determination. Readiness. Life.

ILKA (CONT’D)
Rise up against him.
 
Excited whispers. Then Nicolae LAUGHS, and silence descends.

NICOLAE
When I was a child, my father and grandfather, and
the other men of the village, decided to overthrow
the Count. He would have been this Count’s grandfather,
I suppose. They prepared for weeks and weeks. I remember
my father hiding weapons in the barn. Everyone thought
they were so clever. I remember watching the men
gather. At sunrise, of course. The women and children
and old men - but not all the old men, some of them
went, too - watched them head up the mountain. I waited
until Mother had stopped watching the road and was
talking with the other women, and then I ran up to join the
men. I brought a broom handle with me. I had sharpened the
end of it, hardened it in a fire. It was a good weapon. I caught
up with my father, and he was proud to see my courage,
but he sent me back to the village. He told me to protect
my mother and sisters. It was good that he did. My father
came home that night, but he was not my father. He killed
two of my sisters before I drove my stake
through his heart and cut off his head.
 
Beat. Downcast eyes. Quiet weeping. The villagers shuffle out of the church.

ILKA
Where are you going? Cowards!
 
Todor, the butcher, walks up to her, looking tired and old.

TODOR
This is our life. There’s no changing it.
 
Ilka can only watch until she is left alone.

CUT TO:
 
INT. CHAPEL - NIGHT

Mira wears the wedding dress. She kneels in front of the altar, stares at the FLAME of a single candle. Mira doesn’t pray - no hope on her face.

The flame puffs out. BEAT.

JANOS (O.S.)
You were never very pious, Mira.
 
Janos kneels beside her. A kind smile she doesn’t return.

MIRA
I never heard a thing. When I woke up that morning, the first
thing I saw was my sister. She was still in bed beside me.
Her eyes were open - I thought she was playing a game. It
wasn’t until I went to shake her shoulder to wake her that I
realized there was no shoulder to shake. Whoever
had taken her body had left her head.
(looks at Janos)
Now I know who took her, and my father and
mother, and grandfather, and aunt. Tonight I will marry him.
 
Mira tries to relight the candle, but the match won’t strike.

MIRA (CONT’D)
So no, Father, I’ve never been very pious. God allowed
my family to be massacred, and He let me find what was
left of them. He’s not interested in listening
to any of my prayers. He forsake this village long ago.

JANOS
Come. There’s something I’d like to show you.
 
BEHIND THE ALTAR

Mira looks down at an ornate CHEST, gilded and jewelled. Looks back to Janos.

JANOS
Open it.
 
Mira does. Velvet interior, and a clear impression where a small cylindrical object once laid.

MIRA
There’s nothing here.

JANOS
That’s because the Count took it. The chest once
held a vial of the blood of blessed saint Briccius.

MIRA
What would Bathory want with a holy relic?

JANOS
He has used the blood in perverse rituals. He has
desecrated it, used it to make himself something dark and terrible.

MIRA
A demon.

JANOS
(nods)
The man Bathory used to be died a long time ago.

MIRA
Why show me this?

JANOS
You can bring his rule to an end. You are
strong, where everyone else has been weak.
 
Beat. Mira SLAMS the chest shut, heads for the doors.

JANOS (CONT’D)
He must be destroyed!

MIRA
I can’t. An army could, perhaps, but
one woman? I’ve seen what he can do.

JANOS
You need only retrieve the vial. Without it, he is vulnerable.
 
That gives Mira pause.

MIRA
And mortal?

JANOS
What would kill an ordinary man will only incapacitate the
Count. Keep his heart from beating, sever his head, and
you will earn some time, but even from those wounds will
he eventually heal. His servants need only bring him innocent
blood upon which to feed, and he will be
restored. No, his body must be destroyed. Fire is the only way.

MIRA
How do you know all this?

JANOS
Destroying the Count is my life’s work. He is
an evil that must be wiped from the Earth.

MIRA
And what have you done besides hide in your chapel and pray?

JANOS
I’m not proud of my cowardice. Bathory has
allowed me to come and go as I please.
(touches rosary)
And, I think, he knows I have power of my own.
Still, I was unable to save Ilka. And what
he did to her - it cannot be allowed to happen again.

MIRA
I don’t care what he does to me. Let him
make me his bride, let him whelp his demons
on me. He’s already taken my son from
me - I only want to save my husband.
 
Janos looks as though he’s about to say something when a CLICKING sound is heard. Janos and Mira turn - a WOLF walks to the entrance of the chapel. Waits. One blue eye - the other eye is GONE.

MIRA (CONT’D)
It’s time, isn’t it?

JANOS
Yes.
 
Mira joins the wolf. Follows it obediently down the hallway.
 
 
 
nhpwnhpw on April 10th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Hi! Late comment is late, sorry. Poor Leone :( But I think the scene with Dominik channeling the Count was a lot more powerful this time, knowing the identity of his victim.

I'm sort of wondering about Mira preparing for an attack before Janos tells her that fire is the only way to destroy the Count - particularly where she makes sure she has lamp oil. Does she know about the fire thing already, and Janos just doesn't know that she knows?

Good continuation, and I like the way the bits from the first draft are weaving back in!
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on April 10th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of wondering about Mira preparing for an attack before Janos tells her that fire is the only way to destroy the Count - particularly where she makes sure she has lamp oil. Does she know about the fire thing already, and Janos just doesn't know that she knows?

Argh. See what I said about sequencing. I'm glad you caught this, though - I pondered how to fix it, and decided it was a lot simpler to just cut the whole preparation/montage scene, and have Janos give her the oil. I'm going to end up not really using the ad hoc charm anyway, I think, and this saves half a page - and I'm going to need all of those I can get. So good call, man.

You'd think it would be faster, cutting and pasting in earlier stuff, but no. No, it is not.
nhpw: sheridanorly?nhpw on April 11th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
But now you're done! Yay! And I hope you took some relaxy times for yourself last night for a job well done.
Shannon: b5 deconstructionkungfuwaynewho on April 11th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I watched an episode of Supernatural and went to bed at 9:30 WHAT IS UP. And I didn't even bring my script to work with me today. I feel like I'm being a very bad girl for, like, reading on my breaks instead of feverishly trying to finish a scene. It's...weird.