Mira and Dominik play. They hop from one marble tile to the next. They laugh, having fun.
From the shadows at the other end of the hall, Bathory watches them. Especially Mira.
INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY
Mira puts Dominik down for a nap. He’s asleep before his head hits the pillow - Mira takes in the dark circles under his eyes.
She walks around the room, restless. To the window. Looks out over the world, cloaked in snow.
A sound - the heavy iron doors opening below. Mira looks down. Bathory leaves the castle, walking down toward the village. It’s hard to tell from this angle, but it almost seems as if he walks on top of the surface of the snow.
Mira looks back at Dominik - he’s sound asleep.
INT. CASTLE - DAY
Mira explores. Vast, empty corridors. Many of the doors she tries are locked. She comes to a door that isn’t, and enters--
Tall, with its own set of stairs. Ladders for the highest shelves. Rich, dark woods, objets d’art, and books, books, books. Mira stares.
Then notices a WOMAN, sitting in an armchair, tome in her lap. Thin blonde hair, pale skin. Past slender and approaching emaciated. She turns a page with delicate fingers.
Mira gasps a little. The woman looks up sharply. ILKA (25), bright eyes and tremulous voice.
Who are you?
My name is Mira.
What do you think you’re doing here?
I’m here at the invitation of the Count.
Is that so? You’re not the first pretty little village girl
to stay here by invitation of the Count. Where
do they all go? Have you asked yourself that?
Rats! Do you see them?
There are no rats here.
I can hear them, in the walls. Do you
hear the rats, Mira?
I am the Countess. You will show me respect.
Yes, my Lady.
You may call me Ilka. I won’t be the Countess
for much longer.
No? Why...why not, Ilka?
I am to be the bride of Christ. Janos has promised it.
I must go.
I must see to my son.
A son? You have a son?
May I see him?
I want to see him! Please. You must take me to see him.
Don’t leave! Please don’t leave!
INT. CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS
Mira hurries away, Ilka’s voice still ringing out behind her.
INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY
Mira enters. Hurries to the bed - Dominik still asleep. Mira sighs with relief.
Ilka stalks through the halls, thin shoulders shaking as she cries. She enters--
Huge rooms, but nearly empty. A small, thin mattress on the floor, stacks of books against the wall. Light patches on the walls where paintings once hung - now CRUCIFIXES adorn the walls. Ilka’s cries have become sobs.
Why should she have a son? Who is she
but some poor, filthy commoner?
Have I not prayed? Have I not sacrificed?
Of course you have, Ilka. God will reward your faith.
When? When? Three dead children, the fourth...
You will have a son. A strong, healthy son.
How, when the Count no longer visits my bed?
I don’t want your pity! I’m going to the chapel.
Not today, Ilka.
Wringing her hands.
You’re weak. At least eat something first.
INT. CHAPEL - DAY
Ilka marches down the aisle. Drops to her knees, lights a candle. Closes her eyes. Whispers a prayer soundlessly.
Ana hovers in the background, and when Ilka speaks the girl’s face falls.
Give it to me.
Ilka pushes up the sleeve of her dress. Scars, scabs, and finally fresh knife slices through the skin.
She draws the blade 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. Give me a son.
Thick blankets of snow. A full moon shines down, the light reflecting off the snow to create an eerie blue glow.
A crunching sound. A figure wends its way through the trees - hunched over, heavily cloaked. SAMUEL, carrying several bags on his back.
EXT. MIRA’S COTTAGE - NIGHT
Samuel approaches. Sees the dark window, no smoke pouring from the chimney. He frowns.
INT. MIRA’S COTTAGE - NIGHT
Samuel enters, carefully lowers the bags to the floor. Stretches, slow.
So you’re the husband.
Who are you? What are you doing in my home?