EXT. CEMETERY - DAY
Bleak. Expanses of white snow broken only by tombstones, black, gnarled trees, and the dark cloaks of the MOURNERS gathered around an OPEN GRAVE. Mounds of black dirt next to a gaping hole.
A CASKET is lowered by four stooped figures, ropes burning their palms. The casket is too small - it belongs to a child.
FATHER JANOS (20) opens his prayer book. His pink cheeks and warm eyes stand out against the dull, gray faces around him. His voice is strong, almost hypnotic.
As the Lord gives, so the Lord takes away.
White stone walls, white marble floors, white statues of Mary and the saints. No colorful stained glass here - just narrow casement windows.
ILKA (25), pale and wraithlike, kneels at the altar. She wears the rough wool robe of a penitent. A SCOURGE in one hand - BLOOD seeps through the cloth on her back in criss-crossing lines.
Lord, please, I beg You. Give me a son.
A plump SCULLERY MAID runs down the corridor, giggling. She hides behind a TAPESTRY - a black shield, emblazoned with a WHITE CROSS.
The sharp click-clack of shoes on the stone floor. COUNT BATHORY (55) hunts his prey. Iron-gray hair, trim figure, aristocratic good looks - but cruel. He wears a perpetual sneer.
You can’t hide from me, my beauty.
He spies her toes peeking out from under the bottom of the tapestry. A feral grin. He retrieves her, sweeping her up into his arms - she squeals with delight.
EXT. MIRA’S COTTAGE - DAY
A small, homey affair. Two rooms, thatched roof. Chickens pecking at seed scattered over the surface of the snow.
MIRA (25) draws water from a well - after dropping rocks to break the ice first. A dusky beauty, full of vitality, a bit of an imperious tilt to her jaw that betrays her wealthy upbringing.
A cherubic toddler, DOMINIK (3) tries to peer over the well’s edge.
Get back from there, Dominik! You don’t
want to fall in and drown.
One last pull on the rope - strong, muscled arms - and Mira drags the bucket of water up.
EXT. CEMETERY - DAY
The grieving PARENTS - dry, red eyes, ashen faces - toss handfuls of EARTH onto the casket.
From the earth we came, and to the
earth we shall return.
INT. BATHORY CASTLE - CHAPEL - DAY
The sleeve of the penitent’s robe pushed up, revealing scars, scabs, and finally fresh knife slices through the skin.
Ilka draws a SILVER DAGGER across her forearm, a new wound blameless for a beat - then CRIMSON BEADS of BLOOD well up. Drips spatter on the white stones.
Lord, accept my sacrifice. Fill my womb.
Give me a son.
INT. BATHORY CASTLE - COUNT’S QUARTERS - DAY
A sumptuous four-poster bed. Rich velvets. But the hearth is cold - no fire.
The maid scrabbles across the floor, eyes huge with terror. She slips in her own BLOOD.
Help me! Someone help me, please!
The count rests against his pillows, sated. No worries.
Do you think you’re the first wretch
to scream for help in these rooms?
Mira and Dominik knead bread dough. The wood stove filled with cheery flames - cracks and pops.
Really pound it. The harder you pound,
the higher it rises.
Janos closes his prayer book, gazes out over the mourners. A smug, complacent smile.
Return to your homes, and think of your sins.