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13 November 2010 @ 11:15 pm
NaScreeWriMo - Day Thirteen  
And this brings us to the midpoint!  So we're halfway done, and after thirteen days; I am hopeful that this will give me enough of a buffer to actually finish in November.  That would be smashing.


Dominik helps - as much as he can - to move a sawhorse with Ilka. Rusty swords and axes hang on the walls. A pile of moldering arrows in the corner.

Ilka kneels, feels through the straw and dirt covering the floorboards.

What are you doing?

After my daughter was taken away, after my
first son did not survive his birth, I began
to fear that one day I would be sent away. I would have nothing.
She finds the right floorboard but can’t get her fingers underneath. Dominik brings her a DAGGER and she starts to pry.

When we were first married, the Count
gave me many gifts. I took a few and hid them away.
The board comes up. Ilka reaches down into the hole underneath, pulls out a little JEWELRY BOX. Smiles at Dominik.

Ilka opens the box. It’s EMPTY.

Beat. She checks the hole again, looks at the box. She THROWS it against the wall, moans.

(patting her)
Ilka, don’t cry.
Ilka gathers herself, stands.

Come on.

A big fire burns brightly. Ilka and Dominik enter.

What are we doing here?

Looking for things we can sell, once
we get to the village.
There’s a lot more than just books - Ilka picks up jewelled book ends, silver candle holders, a small marble bust.

Can you sell this?
Ilka turns - Dominik has pulled the ruby necklace Mira gave him out from under his shirt. She walks over, kneels in front of him.

Where did you get this?

Mama gave it to me.
Ilka touches the ruby, looks at it closely.

She said when I was big I could give it to
my wife. Can you sell it?
Ilka looks at him, real love on her face. She slips the pendant back under his shirt.

No. We will not sell it.
A low CHUCKLE from the doorway. Ilka turns to look - Bathory.

How very good of you, Ilka.

(pulls Dominik close)
My Lord.

If you wanted to go, why not just ask? I would have given
you money, driven you down to the village myself.
He walks over to the little table and chair. He passes the fireplace - it is cold. No smoke, no burning embers.

But to beg me to stay, then sneak around, stealing my things...
Bathory sits, greatly enjoying himself. Then he notices the blank paper, the ink.

What’s this?

I don’t know, my Lord.

To whom are you writing letters?

No one.
Bathory stands. Dangerous.

Of course. You have no one. This is for her. To
whom is she writing letters?

I don’t know what you’re talking about, my Lord.

You set this all up for her, didn’t you? Put out the
paper and the ink.
Ilka shakes her head “no,” but the truth is on her face.

Bathory is across the room in a flash - he GRABS Ilka by the throat.

I will not allow you to defy me.
Dominik SHRIEKS. Bathory pushes Ilka away - she hits a bookcase, falls down.

Bathory picks Dominik up and walks to the door.

No! No, don’t take him!
She gets up, runs. Bathory crosses the threshold. The library doors SLAM SHUT on their own just before Ilka reaches them. Locked.

No! Dominik!
Ilka pounds on the doors and SCREAMS.


The long expanse of table is covered with food. Platters of roasted pheasants and capons. Artistically arranged pyramids of fruit and sweets. Sauces in golden bowls.

Mira eats alone, just a simple bowl of soup. Her mind is elsewhere.

She hears the click of boot heels on stone coming her way long before Bathory enters.

He circles around her, taking his time. Mira forces herself to stay calm, wait. She betrays no emotion when Bathory pulls a LETTER out of his jacket, seal already broken.

“My dearest Samuel. I don’t know if you will
ever read these letters, but I must believe that you will.
Don’t come for me. I know you will want to, but you
cannot. It isn’t safe. I would rather spend eternity locked
up in this castle than see you come to
harm, and if you try to rescue me, the Count will kill you.”
Bathory holds the letter above one of the lit candelabras on the table. Watches Mira as the letter BURNS. Just as the flames reach his fingertips, they dissipate.

Why do you insist on disappointing me, Mira?
She doesn’t answer, just stares at him, unabashed.

Bathory grabs the table and THROWS IT OVER in one smooth movement. Platters crash to the floor.

Mira sits, shaking. Bathory approaches her - slow steps. Mira stands. Hooks her fingers in front of her. SPITS.

Bathory stops as though he’s hit a wall. Takes a step back. They stare at each other.

Then Bathory’s eyes shift away. He smiles. Mira looks - the blank-faced manservant and another in the doorway.

Take her.
They GRAB Mira.


They men half-drag half-carry Mira. The iron doors SWING OPEN at their approach. They enter--


And walk across the ballroom.

Stop! Let me go.
Up the stairs. She tries to dig her heels in - no good.


A trap door opens. The men haul Mira up, roughly throw her on the ground. They disappear back down into the tower, the door swinging shut.

Mira goes to the trap door, but it’s secured.

No, come back! Let me down!
Beat. She stands and looks around. A round, flat space, surrounded by crenellations. Mira walks to the edge. The roof of the castle proper is several stories below.

She looks over to the east tower, silhouetted against the full moon. A man appears - even at this distance the black shape is recognizable as Bathory.

He carries a small figure. Thrashing limbs.

Bathory THROWS the figure off the tower.


Bathory spares her a glance - his face is obscured by darkness, but it’s clear he’s looking her way - then leaves.

Grief overwhelms her. She collapses.


Mira lies curled in a ball. Tears gone. Numb.

She stands. Slow, jerky movements. Snow falls gently.

Beat. With dull eyes, Mira walks to the edge. Steps between two crenellations. She looks down - the ground is lost in the darkness below.

Mira starts to step forward.

Mira turns. Erzsebet stands in the center of the roof, wearing the dress Mira brought her. Face stricken. Erzsebet holds her arms out. The girl makes sounds, but any further speech is beyond her.

Mira steps back, away from the edge. Erzsebet runs, clutches at her.


Mira sits, awake, with her back against a crenellation. Erzsebet curled up against her, asleep.

Horses WHINNY in the distance.

Mira stands. Erzsebet won’t let her go, so hand in hand they walk together to the opposite side.

Below, at the castle’s entrance, the carriage and horses. Bathory enters the carriage, and it starts down the road toward the village.

She turns. Janos stands next to the open trapdoor.

Come. Let’s go.

You gave him my letters. You betrayed me.

I had no choice.
She just looks at him. Reproach.

We have to hurry, before the Count returns.
Before the wolves find the child’s body.
Mira reacts as though she’s been slapped.

Mira, we must give him a Christian burial. Do not
damn his soul to be without a body at the
Day of Judgment, when God will resurrect us all.
Mira reluctantly nods.


Moonlight reflects off the snow. Janos, Mira and Erzsebet walk over the rough, rocky ground. Looking.

Mira sees something dark on the white rocks ahead. Closes her eyes for a beat. Walks forward.

It takes her a moment to recognize what she’s looking at. A GOAT - legs broken, lying in a pool of blood.

Mira SAGS with relief. Can’t help the gasping sobs she lets out. Janos joins her.

My son. My son is alive.

For now.


The Count will kill him. He will sacrifice him.


The Count is a demon.

He is evil, yes, but--

(grabs her)
No, listen to me. He is a demon, a
servant of Satan, trapped in mortal flesh. He
feeds on innocent blood. Human blood.
Mira and Janos look as Erzsebet walks up to the dead goat.

And that creature is his own flesh and blood.
Erzsebet puts a hand on the goat’s flank. Pulls it away - her palm is red with blood. She LICKS it.

Beta, no!
Erzsebet looks up, confused. Chastened by the rebuke in Mira’s eyes. She wipes her hand off in the snow.

The Count wants a son. He has wanted a son for a
very long time. And if he cannot get one by you...
He nods toward the girl. Mira follows the implication.

No! You cannot allow that to happen!

And what can I do?

Go to the bishop. Write a letter to Rome.

The bishop is a Bathory. As is the Prince. The Count is
wealthy, a noble. The word of a young country priest
will count for nothing.
No, Mira, there is only one answer. The Count
must be destroyed. And you must destroy him.
Mira shakes her head, not ready to accept this.
nhpwnhpw on November 14th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Question about the fire in the library. Did you intend for there to be a big fire for Ilka and Dominik, and then when Bathory enters there is no more fire? I think that confused me just a little.

Also, I did a little digging. I know Janos is a name from the story of Elizabeth Bathory; did you just use the name? Or is there a direct tie between Janos in legend and Janos in this story?

No, Mira, there is only one answer. The Count
must be destroyed. And you must destroy him.

I like this. It's a very basic statement, no frills, no riddles, and I think it's necessary. It lays it right out for your viewer.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on November 14th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
The fire thing was intentional; I had in my original brainstorming of visual motifs the idea that fire=safety, and decided to make it explicit, that anytime Bathory was around, the fires went out if he came too close. Thanks for pointing out that it was confusing; I'll go back and say something like, "Even though it had just been lit, the fire was now cold, blah blah."

I didn't know Janos was a name associated with Elizabeth Bathory! I picked it because it was a common Hungarian name, but also because to me it's reminiscent of Janus, which is pretty relevant to his character. I went back and looked at her wikipedia but didn't see his name anywhere; what did you read?
nhpwnhpw on November 15th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
Go back to Wiki again and look at the entry for Elizabeth, under "arrest and trial." János Újváry is listed as one of her accomplices and I think in this instance was a "she."
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on November 15th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Hey! That's pretty cool. I guess if you don't have the accent over the "a" it doesn't come up in a ctrl-f.
Holly: Laura of awesomehollywobbles on November 19th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Hm, now I'm wondering if he's really helping her, or if he's going to turn out to be super-evil and just being sneaky. I'm guessing he's good.

Sorry - this week has been sorta crazy, lol.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on November 19th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)