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.
I want to talk to him. Get out of
my way or I’ll take the other eye.
Mira enters, not waiting to see if Bathory is there or not.
Where is my son?
Do you really want to know?
Is he here? Did you kill him?
What kind of person do you think I am?
I think you’re the monster who
cut off my husband’s hand!
Watch your tongue!
(wipes blood from mouth)
Why should I? You’ve taken everything.
Why not take my tongue as well?
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.
I want to bury my son.
You can’t - there’s no body to bury.
What did you do to him?
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.
Which would you prefer?
Let my husband go, and I’ll
do whatever you want.
Dominik rides on Mira’s old mule, Ilka and Léone walking alongside. They enter--
No smoke pours from the little chimneys. Everything cold and dark. No one visible - the village seems deserted.
Where is everyone? Have they all left?
No. They’re here.
This is where you live?
I need accommodations.
And who might you be?
I require food, and warm clothes. A bed.
Go back to your castle!
I am your Countess! You will do as you’re told!
You were the Countess. You’re not any
longer, or you wouldn’t be down here with us.
How dare you talk to me that way.
You’re nothing, woman
Return to your homes!
You must take us in.
The Elders have spoken.
I saved you.
You ungrateful little wretch! I should have
left you chained to the floor!
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.
He’s coming down to the village.
I don’t think he’s man-shaped anymore.
You’re dreaming. It’s just a dream.
I see what he sees.
(points to his eye)
(points to his forehead)
What do you see?
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.
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.
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.
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.
No. Please, no.
I am letting her get very close. I am
letting her see me. She is afraid.
Léone’s face, twisted in terror, screaming.
BACK TO SCENE
And Dominik smiles, an awful smile.
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.
Stop it! Enough!
I am drinking. It is thick and
good. It is making me even stronger.
Let her go!
I told you she was mine, Ilka!
Léone. It was Léone.
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.
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.
Mira picks up the dress. Starts putting it on.
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.
Behold the evidence of your lack of faith. Father
Janos gave you ample warning - but you
ignored him. See how God punishes you!
God didn’t kill this girl. Bathory did.
Enough! I don’t care who you used to
be - saying such things will see you whipped.
Father Janos is wrong. God has no power over Bathory.
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!
And what would you have us do?
Ignore the Count’s commands?
To Hell with his commands! He subjects
you to misery and hunger and fear and
death by your own sufferance.
Rise up against him.
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.
Where are you going? Cowards!
This is our life. There’s no changing it.
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.
You were never very pious, 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.
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.
Come. There’s something I’d like to show you.
Mira looks down at an ornate CHEST, gilded and jewelled. Looks back to Janos.
There’s nothing here.
That’s because the Count took it. The chest once
held a vial of the blood of blessed saint Briccius.
What would Bathory want with a holy relic?
He has used the blood in perverse rituals. He has
desecrated it, used it to make himself something dark and terrible.
The man Bathory used to be died a long time ago.
Why show me this?
You can bring his rule to an end. You are
strong, where everyone else has been weak.
He must be destroyed!
I can’t. An army could, perhaps, but
one woman? I’ve seen what he can do.
You need only retrieve the vial. Without it, he is vulnerable.
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.
How do you know all this?
Destroying the Count is my life’s work. He is
an evil that must be wiped from the Earth.
And what have you done besides hide in your chapel and pray?
I’m not proud of my cowardice. Bathory has
allowed me to come and go as I please.
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.
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.
It’s time, isn’t it?