Also, it occurred to me while writing these pages that I might need to actually name "blank-faced manservant." Tell me what you think.
INT. CASTLE - ARMORY - NIGHT
TORCHES are lit. DAGGERS pulled off the walls, tucked into Mira and Ilka’s dresses.
They aren’t pretty, but they will draw blood.
How long has the Father been trying to get you
to kill the Count?
Janos told me the Count was a demon, and he
wanted me to “destroy” him.
Janos has never said anything like that to me. I...when
I first married the Count, I loved him. I was only
fifteen, and all of this was so magical. To be the
lady of my own castle... Erzsebet was born before a year had
passed, and I was so happy. I think a part of me still
loves the Count, wishes he loved me. Perhaps that is
why Janos has never confided in me that particular fear.
She comes and goes as she pleases. That is why
the Count locked her up - she began trying to
go down to the village.
And begin to search.
What is wrong with her?
I have asked God that question many times. When
she was born, I begged to be allowed to nurse her
myself. The Count wished to bring in a wet nurse, but he
finally let me feed her. My milk made her sick. Girls were
brought up from the village instead - none lasted long. But Beta
grew stronger, healthier. She hated me, though. I don’t know
why - she never says more than a word or two. Maybe she blames me,
for not being strong enough to raise her myself. Once,
I thought she had forgiven me. She crept into my bed one night. I
had just lost my first son. I had not left
my bed for some time. When I felt her little body against
mine, her head on my shoulder, her arm about
me, I thought God had finally answered my prayers. I was
happy, Mira. I would not be happy again until I held your son.
At first, I felt nothing. No pain. Beta pressed her
face against my neck, and I held her tight. And then...
For a little while, I was told of her progress. Erzsebet is learning
how to read so quickly, Erzsebet can write the most wonderful
poetry in Latin and Greek, Erzsebet has embroidered a
beautiful tapestry of the Bathory crest. Then something happened. That’s
all I know. The Count was most displeased. The last I heard was that she
had been sent to work in the kitchens.
Before coming here, I would have told you to
pray, but I think God has no power in this place.
The women clasp hands again, and begin their descent.
INT. CASTLE - STAIRCASE - NIGHT
Pitch black. The torches illuminate little - a wall to their right, a handful of steps in front of them, gently curving to the left.
What is down here?
The dungeon and crypt. The Count told me they
were sealed off, that I was never to come down here.
Ilka grabs Mira, pulls her closer to the wall to their right.
You do not have to come with me.
INT. DUNGEON - NIGHT
Mira and Ilka’s single torch does little to cut through the ink-black gloom. They walk down a center aisle, CELLS on either side. A rack in one room. Chains in another.
They approach a room with an open door. Peering inside - a POOL OF BLOOD. Still wet.
Sometimes I see things. It may not be real.
It’s real. I see it, too. Blood.
It’s not real.
We haven’t heard him cry in a long time.
We don’t know that it was Dominik we heard.
Mira and Ilka head deeper into the dungeon, around a corner. The aisle growing more and more narrow until they must squeeze through single file.
The footsteps ever closer. Running. Something malevolent in the sound.
A locked iron GRATE up ahead. Echoes of dripping water coming from behind it. The doors to the cells all shut save one - they run inside the last cell on the right.
For a beat, they both stare, nonplussed. DOMINIK, asleep on a pile of straw. Mira runs to him while Ilka awaits the maniacal running bearing down on them.
I’m here. I’ve got you.
The blank-faced manservant in the doorway. Not so blank-faced now. A horrible GRIN stretches across his face, a fell light shines in his eyes.
He makes a sound, like a drowning man gasping for air. It is laughter. He takes slow steps toward them.
Ilka brandishes the torch.
Ilka pulls out her dagger.
You run, Mira. You take him and run.
I won’t leave you.
He looks down at the dagger, then back at her. Holds up a finger - “tsk tsk.” Pulls the dagger out and turns it on Ilka. The grin widens.
The manservant stops. The grin melts away. He turns to look, revealing Erzsebet standing in the doorway, staring at him. A silent battle of wills.
The manservant, blank-faced once more, slinks away.
Ilka looks at Erzsebet with almost as much fear. Goes to retrieve the torch.
Erzsebet comes up to Mira. She slides limp fingers down Dominik’s cheek - dismisses him.
That man. Did you make him go away?
He’s mine. I made him.