THE SALTY SEA
SCENE ONE - PULLED ASHORE
Camera sees the entire Earth spinning, then takes a long zoom into the Mediteranean, then Italy, north-west Italy, open water, finally a small island expands and passes away to the left. The zoom finishes at sea level on a rowboat and 7 men inside.
EXT. LIGURIAN SEA, ROWBOAT - NIGHT
TITLE: Ligurian Sea 776 AD
Seven men sit silently in a row boat, in calm open sea, hunkered down under cloaks. The sky is clear and lit by a sliver of moon. In the bow, ACHILLUS is dressed in expensive clothes of high quality. He is young and clean faced clearly from a rich upbringing. He shushes the others to stay silent and use only hand signals.
Across from him is CAPTAIN GONDARB, dressed in a sharp captain’s outfit. He is skeptical of Achillus, and keeps looking forward in anticipation.
A rope lifts up out of the water and pulls the bow towards shore in strong steady pulses. As they get close to a sandy beach, they see a giant shirtless man MEGAPHAGE, at the end of the rope. He is very muscular, and all wet from swimming and steaming from the cold. The waves on shore are minimal. The men carefully step into the shallow water and pull the boat inland. They struggle to lift the boat but it’s too heavy. Megaphage joins in then they can carry it ashore silently.
EXT. GORGONA, BEACH - NIGHT
They are in an enclosed alcove blocked in by the sea and surrounded by a u-shaped 10 foot high wall of smooth rock. As they walk inland FABERGAS’s boots makes loud squishing noises.
(Points down at Fabergas’ boots and pantomimes: “What The Hell?”)
(Pushes his palms upwards: “These are the only ones I got!”)
A pebble bounces off Fabergas’ chest, he catches it and puts it in his pocket.
(signals to shut up and keep alert)
Beeprix hands Megaphage a leather vest of many pockets, then a jacket made from sheep skins, it goes to his waist. MARINHEIRO hands him weapons: a long sword in a scabbard and double leather belt goes around his waist. Knives and darts have spots in the vest, then a bow and quiver of arrows around his shoulder. Gondarb, Megaphage, Achillus and Beeprix huddle together to plan. In the background we see Fabergas removing his boots and wringing them out.
(enjoins the others to silence and points to the rock wall that must be surpassed)
Gondarb takes off his shoes to reveal large muscular feet. He loads a rolled up rope ladder over his shoulder, approaches the wall and climbs up like a mountain goat. A tense moment as it appears he will fall, but he makes a daring jump and gains the top. He anchors the rope ladder on a convenient log, lowers it down and the others climb up.
EXT. GORGONA, FOREST - NIGHT
Achillus leads them through a dwarf forest at first, then the trees get taller. They step softly and slowly, they’re nervous and on edge.
They come out of the trees and see a wide arc of hilltop, Achillus signals to stop. Following the crest of the hill is a wall of hundreds of tall trees that have grown so close together they form a single trunk, with thick foliage on top. Megaphage takes up his bow and Achillus hands him an arrow with a stone strapped to the tip. Achillus produces a device that shines a pale blue light in a thin beam.
He points the blue light onto a bulge on the wall of wood. Megaphage takes careful aim, then fires upward in a long arc that hits the bulge. The sound is not the hard thump of solid wood but a pulpy squish.
Achillus nods, they continue on and now walk alongside the long wall of wood. The men marvel at such a thing, it has the texture of bark. Achillus signals them to avoid touching it.
They pause and repeat the same arrow shooting scene as before on another bulge. This one had a more difficult angle but after a suspenseful moment Megaphage hit the bulge first time again. They proceed.
Up ahead is a another shorter length of tree wall facing the larger one forming 2 sides of a short hall. The bulb is inside there and a shot from afar is impossible. Megaphage takes two stone tipped arrows and steps slowly forward. He makes his shot and it’s only a partial hit. In a flash he reloads, leaps forward and while in the air fires off a hard bulls eye, like a basketball dunk. An amazing move, big squish.
They step into the gap between the wood walls and a faint yellow light appears.
There is a door here, it must be opened.
Gondarb feels out the wall, his fingers pause as he discovers a thin vertical crack. He directs them to put several swords into the crack and they all lever together. A door stubbornly opens. Yellow light and humid air spill out. They open it fully and inside is a ramp going downward. They gulp, control their anxiety and head on down.
SCENE TWO - THE CARFILIAN
INT. MEDUSA'S DUNGEON
The sides, floor and ceiling of the slanted corridor are smooth wood like a sapling with the new bark peeled away. There are many pointy little knots, as if it has grown this way.
Slowly they descend the ramp, very nervous and silently as they can. At the bottom there is a level floor and walls made from a different material, like polished cement but lighter.
Numerous characters wince their noses showing that there’s a smell in there.
Several corridors branch out in a maze. They hear 2 sets of calm footsteps coming from different directions and Achillus motions them into a shadowed hallway to hide. They crouch down. While hiding:
(looks at Beeprix and winces his nose saying “What’s that smell? it’s familiar”)
(returns a quizzical look that says “Yeah I know it too but can’t place it either”)
A pair of convenient shadows appear on a wall of a man and a woman. It’s RAVELIN and MAGISTOLES.
Only visible by their shadows, they stand silently for a while then make small talk.
Any word on the Interocitor?
Cabins one, Deerhags zero.
Around here somewhere.
Hmmm. And the infundibulum?
Slightly synclastic, with tapered resonators.
Sensing the audience was over, Magistoles walks away briskly and Ravelin remains. Achillus jumps out from the alcove to greet her.
They whisper a conversation that the men can’t hear. He is obsequious and begging, she is dismissive and indifferent. He wants something and she won’t give it. Finally,
You must come with us, NOW!
She walks past him, steps around the corner, looks at the men and is horrified.
How did they get in here?
Gondarb jumps up, a natural gallant.
Dear Lady, it is not our purpose to alarm you, reports of your condition have caused us concern.
She stares at him while her head tilts at odd angles but does not reply.
This is the princess! Held here against her will!
The light changes and they hear the distant thoom of heavy foot falls. Something big is headed towards them.
Megaphage ducks around a corner. A powerful LIZARDMAN arrives. He carries a peculiar looking sword, it’s wide, the edges are thick and have a double line. He’s slow but immensely strong.
MARINHEIRO marches forward and lays down a fast strategic pattern of strong sword hacks on the Lizardman’s arm, belly and neck in bravado style. But it’s skin is too thick and none of the slashes penetrate it.
The Lizardman swings his sword fast, a light briefly appears along the edge of it that cuts through Marinheiro’s sword and cuts Marinheiro in two horizontally at the waist. His torso falls off his legs.
By the gods!
FLAVIO sword chops at Lizardman’s neck as Marinheiro is bisected but with no effect. Lizardman swings back and the light appears on the other side of the sword, dimmer this time. It cuts through Flavio’s sword and his neck, taking off his head and releasing a fountain of blood.
Lizardman’s slash carries through and strikes BEAZLE on the side of his head but no light appears and he isn’t cut, just swatted really hard.
(shakes his sword nervously)
The rest pull back in shock and dismay. Then Megaphage reappears behind the Lizardman holding his over sized sword up above his head. In an amazing leap he delivers all his might to a 2 handed stab at the base of Lizardman’s spine, penetrating the skin and going in so deep his sword can’t be pulled out. He shakes his hand in pain.
One of Lizardman’s legs goes limp and it collapses against the sidewall, it opens it’s mouth to roar in agony but no sound ensues. It’s sword has no more light.
The men look at Marinheiro slumped against the wall, his torso upright, looking horrified, his eyes are open and alert, he’s cut in two but not bleeding, he looks at his legs and waist that are still standing as they twist and fall on the floor.
Beazle staggers about, holding his head. Ravelin is astonished.
Achillus grabs Ravelin by the hand and she runs down a corridor with him. Megaphage abandons his sword and gives chase. Down a side corridor he sees Magistoles and runs toward him instead, away from the others.
Gondarb and Beeprix run after Ravelin, supporting Beazle between them. As they run past a side corridor, Gondarb glimpses a tall warrior looking woman in the distance. He pauses to look at her and they make eye contact. But he must run on with Beeprix carrying the wounded Beazle.
SCENE THREE - MEGAPHAGE’S FATE
INT. MAGISTOLES LAB
Magistoles trots down a hall to a sliding glass door in a glass wall, pauses and looks back before going in. Megaphage runs up, goes through the door and it closes and locks behind him. The two circle around a large waist high table. Megaphage towers over the smaller man, so confident he doesn’t even brandish a weapon.
What are you doing here? How did you get in?
Achillus hired me, to rescue Ravelin. I know all about you and your evil doings, prepare to face justice for your unnatural acts!
Those are all lies, you have been mislead by someone false.
All will be made clear after you ...
Megaphage surprise lunges across the table and grabs Magistoles. But as he touches him he shakes and is stunned.
Gondarb and Beeprix now without Beazle, run down a corridor and up to the glass door, it’s locked. Inside Megaphage is unconscious, laying down face-up on the table.
Magistoles removes the last bit of Megaphage’s clothes and he is naked. At the wall he manipulates complex controls and tends to an ostrich-sized egg with ornate decorations sitting in a holder.
Gondarb and Beeprix bang on the glass which is so thick the sound is muffled.
Megaphage! Rise up! Megaphage!
Magistoles, leave him be!
Magistoles glances up but ignores them, after a final preparation he slips through a section of wall that closes behind him.
A loud hum sweeps from low to high frequency, then returns to mid range values that go crazy. Beeprix turns and looks back down the hall for any danger.
The table drops down quickly to a lower position. Megaphage floats down slowly then goes fractal and sparkly. Gondarb gasps and starts to shake and Beeprix looks at him.
Close up of Gondarb’s eyes as they widen and reflect the sparkling fractal effect. He is seeing something that Magistoles avoids looking at.
Megaphage’s body turns to mist, then melts into a fluid that falls into the table. The egg glows with energy. Gondarb screams in horror, Beeprix finally turns around to look but he’s missed it. All he saw is that Megaphage has disappeared.
The glass door opens and Gondarb and Beeprix rush in. Megaphage’s clothes, boots and weapons on a side table are all that is left, his body is gone. They bang on the wall where Magistoles disappeared but there is no way in.
Where did he go? He must be here somewhere.
He melted! Into fluid! that fell into this table!
Beeprix looks down into the table and sees a 3D matrix of hundreds of thin glowing wires in a pit. As he watches they fade out and are gone. A loud splashing sound attracts them into the next room.
A naked SPASM WOMAN slides out of a chute covered in a clear thick fluid. She coughs, spasms, shakes and trembles, and is extremely beautiful. There’s a drain hole in the floor, with a leather belt they wipe the slime off her.
Another victim of this dungeon of hell!
Now I know that smell, it’s of new born baby.
The sound of heavy foot-falls alerts them, a second Lizardman is on the way. They grab Megaphage’s sheep skin jacket, leather vest and weapons. They cover the girl with the jacket, it’s big as a cloak and reaches to her knees. They drag her away and out the sliding door. The new Lizardman appears at the end of a corridor, holding Megaphage’s sword it marches towards them. It’s not as slow as the last one.
Gondarb on a hunch runs back in and grabs the ornate egg. It’s really hot and can’t be lifted. He loops some leather straps around it to make a sling and tugs, it won’t pull out. A humming sound previously ignored goes quiet, he tugs again and now it easily pulls out of it’s holder.
He avoids the Lizardman with seconds to spare, rejoins Beeprix and they run down a corridor carrying Spasm Woman and fleeing for their lives. After a few turns they are lost in the maze.
Achillus appears at the end of a corridor.
By the gods!
We may live yet!
They wobble to Achillus and pass out an exit. Achillus closes and bolts the door. They hear the lizard man on the other side slam into it and try to open the door. It starts smashing against it.
INT. MEDUSA'S GROTTO
They step out onto a dock inside a watery grotto lit from under the water, caustic curves move on the ceiling. Floating at the dock is a large metal manta ray with a sunken upholstered seating area in the centre.
Sitting there is Ravelin looking small and worried, Fabergas looking scared and hopeful, and the insensate Beazle moaning and twisting. Gondarb and Beeprix get in carrying Spasm Woman. Ravelin’s eyes go wide.
He’s still back there, in Magistoles’ workroom! But there’s no way past the lizardman!
He’s dead! The sorceror melted him!
Melted? Was he frozen? What do we do next?
Escape now, and live to fight another day.
We’ll be leaving your brother behind, is that what he would do for you?
My brother is dead, flee while we still can! Achillus!
The sound of the Lizardman bashing on the door gets louder, it’s getting through. All are now safely onboard and Achillus jumps onto the forward bench facing a complicated control panel and a partial steering wheel.
There is a hum of energy and the manta shaped boat speeds out of the grotto and back to the open sea. Achillus pilots with confidence despite the darkness, his face is lit from below by light from the controls, he looks like an older man. The riders are glum and silent, except for the wounded Beazle and the twisting Spasm Woman. They just got their asses kicked.
SCENE ONE - THE SHAGAZZ
EXT. LIGURIAN SEA, THE SHAGAZZ, MIDNIGHT
Achillus slows down the Manta boat, a great shadowed bulk looms ahead in the dark, amid the sound of waves lapping against something large.
The Manta pulls up to the rear of THE SHAGAZZ. Gondarb jumps out onto a platform above water level and helps everyone out. They climb a flight of outside stairs, turn a corner astern, and stand on a railed mezzanine. The weakest bit of moonlight reflects off a line of glass windows with ornate wood mullions in a Chinese style. A door opens and they step inside.
INT. SHAGAZZ - GREETING ROOM
A single lantern illuminates the room. Inside GROFIUS the sailor lights more lanterns and a warm light fills a cozy greeting room. Gondarb and Fabergas have their arms full of equipment. Beeprix supports Beazle, and Achillus and Ravelin support the Spasm Woman.
Where’s Flavio and Marinheiro?
Killed by a powerful monster, a lizard that walked like a man, it couldn’t be stopped
Megaphage killed it, or at least maimed ...
Gondarb sorts through Megapage’s belongings, putting things in their place, the scabbard is empty and there’s only one boot. Fabergas dumps his stuff on the floor all at once.
A young boy ZOY assumes care of Spasm Woman who quickly falls onto a rug on the floor. Fabergas and Grofius fuss over the beautiful Ravelin, helping her sit in the comfiest chair.
Beeprix struggles to load Beazle in the second best chair next to Ravelin’s. He looks at Fabergas and Grofius doting on Ravelin and wonders what’s got into those guys. She does have a super cute face, and an awesome body.
Where’s Father? What’s happened to my Father?!
That’s what we all want to know!
I saw him melted into a liquid! By fearsome energies invoked by Magistoles!
I saw no such thing, more likely he was stolen away to some hidden place. He’s still back there! We must return, and liberate him!
I tell you he is no more, he was transformed into mist, then, fractured by, a sparkling madness, into bits of atoms, he could not have survived!
How is this reasonable? More likely he was moved, while the light sparkled in your eyes. I still see it there now!
YES! There is something different about your eyes, I noticed when you came in!
And what of the rest? A lizard that walks like a man? A boat that propels itself? Trees fused into a wall? The smell of new born baby, those sounds? Surely none of this is reasonable!
Nehh, if a man told me such a tale I would say he’s mad. The sorceror’s magic is strong, I have seen things that cannot be imagined, I must re-evaluate all I have known ...
Zoy points to Spasm Woman in Megaphage’s sheep skin jacket shaking on the floor.
Who is this? Wearing Father’s jacket?
This broken woman emerged from one of Magistoles’ devices. Her mind is a void.
(steps to stand over her)
She could reveal much, if she regains her senses.
Spasm Woman sits up off the floor with her mouth gasping as if she’s about to speak. She burps and farts loudly at the same time, then falls back on the floor and resumes spasming.
Surely there lies a clue.
Revealing yet fleeting.
And then there’s this.
Gondarb brings out the heavy ornate egg in it’s sling and shows it. Ravelin’s eyes go wide.
Somehow this is important, perhaps we can decipher it.
(speaking to Achillus)
What role do you play in this drama? How do you learn to control the magic boat?
(stammering and weak)
This, this is the, Princess Ravelin! she was being held against her will, she had to be rescued ...
Why does this concern us?
Megaphage agreed to help, for, for ...
For how much?
One hundred, talents, of gold ...
So little? And where is this gold? and why was there no warning of Lizardmen?
I meant, to pay with, the gold we would find ...
Invading a place to take their women and their gold is not a rescue, it’s an attack! A shameless criminal act!
You misrepresent! Megaphage assured me ...
He’s dead! (glances at Beeprix) And not here now!
Gondarb paces in shock. A heated silence ensues.
(standing in front of Ravelin, innocently)
What can you tell us?
Ravelin has been sitting quietly, serene and calmly amused.
Beazle sits akimbo in the chair next to her, wild eyed, he drifts in and out of consciousness.
Yes what of you? Are you a princess held against your will? Or another of Magistoles’ ilk?
Beazle flows out of his chair and crumples onto the floor into a painful position.
Check on the cook.
Fabergas kneels and examines Beazle, rises then shakes his head. They all make the sign of the cross, then turn back to look at Ravelin.
Achillus twists into an awkward position.
(relaxing into the chair)
I was a paid worker there, I was the cook.
They stare at her, then turn away.
We must return at first light, and barter for the exchange of our brother. If we have taken either of these women in error, then we can exchange them. But first we establish communication with the sorceror, this is key, we have something he wants ...
(exasperated and fed up)
Yes! Of course! We’ll trade their cook back to them for Magaphage! Because he’s not getting good meals right now! Where he is, walking and talking, his belly grumbling, pissing on the ground ...
(throws his arms up while pacing)
They breathe a moment, calm down then go glum.
Tomorrow we fight. Tonite we need to rest and repair.
Gondarb steps over to Spasm Woman.
How do we care for the mindless beauty?
He taps the sole of Spasm Woman’s foot with his toe, her face goes to a different grimace and her arms sway in a different pattern.
We could set her up in a cabin.
What if she hurts herself in the night?
I could sit next to her, to prevent this, to keep her safe!
In the crew’s room, she would have helpers all around.
She can bunk in with Zoy, he will watch over her.
The men agree that this is best.
Let’s retire, battle lies ahead, we must present our best.
The meeting is over and they leave to do their business. Gondarb steps over to Ravelin.
Come, I’ll show you to your room.
Is it similar to yours?
well, um, (rethinks) The better ones are upstairs.
He picks up a lantern and she follows him out the back of the room, her walk is regal and fearless. They emerge onto a broad balcony above a cavernous area, the lamp light doesn’t reach the other side, it has a big room echo. They turn and walk up a wide staircase.
They enter a fancier hall than the first, where the doors are farther apart. The area is lit by a lantern on the wall.
(stops at a door facing the inner side of the ship)
This one will suit you for ...
(walks past to another door facing the stern)
How about this one?
He pauses, nods, opens the door and she looks into the darkness.
This will do, thank you very much Captain, I’ll see you in the morning.
Here, take this lantern to ...
That won’t be necessary, I can take care of myself.
She goes in and closes the door behind her. Her confident foot falls fade into the distance. He turns out the hall lantern, then enters his own cabin.
INT. SHAGAZZ, DEAD OF NIGHT, MONTAGE
A) Crew Hammocks - [Fabergas and Grofius make small talk then fall asleep]
B) Private Cabin - Beeprix snores, turns over then snores less
C) Private Cabin - Zoy lies back to back with Spasm Woman who won’t stop moving. Zoy cries then sings a lullaby in his pre-pubescent voice. It stops his tears and calms Spasm Woman, big exhale as she falls asleep.
D) Captain’s Cabin - Gondarb cries, then falls asleep, in fitful dreams he sees the sparkling fractal effect
E) eyes pop open and seem to glow, pull back to reveal that it’s Ravelin, she closes her eyes and
END OF MONTAGE, SNAP TO BLACK
In the blackness we hear fast footsteps running down the outside stairs, and the Manta speeding off into the distance.
EXT. GORGONA ISLAND, DEAD OF NIGHT
The silence is shattered by immensely loud sounds that ring for miles, ripping, tearing, landslide, bright lights, then a huge fireball that bursts into the sky and doesn’t come back down. The island has exploded like a volcano. There are numerous forest fires and dawn is still hours away.
EXT. SHAGAZZ, TOP OF AFT CASTLE,
Everyone crowds upon the deck looking, pointing and shouting, except Achillus who is missing, and Ravelin, who has locked herself in her room.
The Manta returns to the starboard dock.
SCENE 2 - BARE CLIFFS
EXT. MANTA, SHAGAZZ DOCK, BEFORE DAWN
The men of the Shagazz trasport their warrior gear to the starboard dock.
Present are Achillus, Gondarb, Beeprix, Fabergas, Grofius, and Zoy.
This is so difficult without Megaphage, that man was invincible. Just as you despaired of ever getting out alive, he would save the day with some amazing leap.
Neh, and Flavio was a great man as well, an expert in the intrigues of both war and peace.
Marinheiro was a strong warrior, but often difficult, impulsive and aggressive, sometimes I wondered if we were his enemy.
Beazle was a rough faced old man who often tried to kiss me. Sometimes I though he was a counterfeit cook who just wanted our company, usually on those occasions when his food was bad.
Which is to say almost always.
(they now load the gear into the Manta)
You got the crossbows?
Neh, and my hunnic Special, best bow in the world (he brandishes a curvy bow)
Do those things still work? (looks skepticaly at the dusty old crossbows)
Here’s our best swords Captain.
I told Megaphage to get a curved blade, looks like he was right.
So you’re off to parley, negotiate and make friends?
I need to be careful, we lost 4 of our best men yesterday.
But you did gain a cook, one with much greater charm.
And a well formed beauty, though with no mind to speak of. Which is worse.
At this rate a half measure of women will replace all our men.
Odd that her face is so supple and refined, she can’t have been mindless for long. Or those spasms would have worn in.
(Fabergas hands a bunch of 5 spears over to Achillus)
Will you be using all of these at once? Hey here’s a good one!
That was Marinheiro’s
The others share a cold glance.
Last time we saw him he was still alive, but in 2 pieces.
Perhaps Magistoles can put him back together for us.
EXT. MANTA, STERN VIEW OF THE SHAGAZZ
The Manta slowly heads out revealing the stern of the Shagazz. There are balconies, stair lengths, one row boat held up on ropes, next to an empty spot for a row boat that’s missing. Above the row boat stands Ravelin on the balcony of her room, with a grim look on her face.
They speed off towards the island.
SCENE 4 - CLIFF WALLS
EXT. MANTA, LIGURIAN SEA, PRE-DAWN
Achillus pilots the Manta across the water heading to the grotto entrance from last night. The water is calm and the sea is silent. There is an unnatural reddish light in the west, and only a faint lightening of the sky in the east.
They glide across the water in the magic Manta boat and each man is silent. Mulling on what has already happened and what lies in wait ahead. The red light in the sky becomes more yellow. They arrive to see a great forest fire burning above the island, and numerous smaller fires here and there.
The Manta powers down to a low hum and stops moving. They examine the shore. There has been a cataclysm and the grotto has been destroyed, filled in by fallen rock. The Manta sits rock steady in the water even among larger waves.
Hell has burst upon the Earth.
We can’t land, the heat is too hot.
Did it explode like a volcano?
An eruption? At such a poignant time? More like another of Magistoles impossible exercises.
A great cracking and crashing sound as the burning trees fall down into something, and the fire gets weaker.
ooohh, by the gods.
I know a place where we can disembark.
They sit back down and Achillus heads off to the left.
EXT. MANTA, VIEW OF ROW BOAT
The Manta drives past the row boat still on shore
There’s our boat, just as we left it
EXT. MANTA, ROCK SPIT
Up ahead lies a rock spit, Achillus manoevers over to it. A convenient spot offers a flat surface next to deep water. They pick up their weapons and head ashore.
The Manta is pitching here, I can’t tie up. I’ll go off shore and return when you reappear.
Achillus drives the Manta out to sea. Gondarb looks disappointed but not surprised.
EXT. GORGONA ISLAND, ROCK SPIT, PRE DAWN
the landscape is all different, it has been demolished and destroyed, they walk up in a daze, where the dungeon was last night is now a great pit of burned out debris, scorched trees and fires, some burning low [what could have wrought such devastation?]
the curious walls of wood have crumpled and folded but some sections still stand, it’s tree trunk on both sides, like trees that had grown into a wall
[Magistoles has enacted things beyond imagination]
from the bottom of the pit rises an impossible thing: a tower of a single stack of a hundred rocks, each sitting one atop the other. At the top sits a large and unnatural eye that looks at them no matter where they are. The men are very anxious, Zoy is shocked, Gondarb is no longer fazed by anything after what he’s seen.
[no one will believe this back at the estate]
the eye watches them as they walk past. They revisit the small wooden wall from last night. It had been blown down away from the pit.
[could anyone have survived? The cook said many people had lived there. Hope of finding Megaphage dwindles.]
they walk on past the pit and through more forest. The ground rises and the trees fade out, they arrive at the cliffs
up a wide slope of bare solid rock there are numerous pits, the land is bored through like swiss cheese. Numerous caves and alcoves are cut into a tall rock cliff.
in the dim morning light the bottom of the pits and the back of the alcoves are black
In the cliff face is one alcove where two tall men have taken refuge, one old and white bearded, and one black and muscular.
the old white man calls out to them for rescue, very polite, he’s quite likable
Animal sounds start from all around, and from out of the pits ugly half men appear, their clothes are tattered, and each one is deformed in a different way
they brandish clubs and rocks - the team pulls back and tries to walk around
the half men are initially confused, the team makes a group decision and they rush the half men
pushing them into the pits and dodging their clumsy club swings. Those guys are so slow and clumsy you can just run circles around them
they’re not a big threat. Below the ground the pits are connected into a complex warren, a mutant fallen into one pit will walk up out of another
[their only strength is their appearance and demeanor]
At the base of the cliff they talk to the white man while the black man stays silent
“The half men have chased us here and confounded our escape.”
“We have dispatched them, it’s safe to come down.”
the men agree to come down, Frick climbs down the outside of the cliff, at one point upside down
Elsifer disappears then emerges at ground level around the side, apparently there is a sloped passage inside leading up to the alcove. Bit of a mystery why they didn’t just come down on their own.
who are you, Elsifer and Frick, why are you here, to escape Magistoles wrath
I was a paid worker there, I was the alchemist, I formulated all manner of potions and salves.
This is Frick, a loyal soldier who has suffered trauma in the exercising of his duties. He is unable to speak, lie, or perform amoral acts. It is my goal to help him recover and one day regain his full abilities. [a lie, later he will say that Frick was prepared for a client and had not yet been fully trained - another lie]
the sailors immediately feel warm identification with Frick, they nod and touch him in solidarity, let him know that they got his back, they tell stories of friends who had it
Zoy intuits that the half men have regrouped for an attack
the half men attack
SCENE 4 - THE NADIR
EXT. GORGONA, INTERCONNECTED CAVES, PRE DAWN
Gondarb is pushed from behind and falls into a pit. His sword clangs away out of reach. Soft dirt and straw breaks his fall.
Overhead the sound of fighting rages, he picks himself up, other mutants fall into the pit farther away.
Gondarb heads into a darkened region, he hears himself being stalked.
Father! Can you hear me?
EXT. GORGONA, CLIFFS, DAWN
Zoy, Fabergas, Grofius and Elsifer duke it out with the mutant clan. Fricks stands motionless off to the side. Beeprix is hurt but still confounds and trips up the mutants. It’s just a rumble, deadly force is not used by either side, just knocking others down.
EXT. GORGONA, INTERCONNECTED CAVES
Gondarb stays silent and moves slowly into the deep shadows, he trips over some debris.
he examines the junk for potential use as a weapon, it’s malformed human bones, dry and brittle
many large empty tortoise shells of all sizes litter the place, the shape of them is wrong
he examines one, it’s light, smooth and ellipsoid, like giant insect bodies
he taps it against his hand, it sounds very hard, the mutants have been eating giant insects
the half men approach, Gondarb walks backwards holding his knife as he retreats. He bumps into something
He feels behind and finds a thick dull sword like the lizardman’s from last night, standing upright.
he pulls it out of the ground. It’s heavy, has no balance, and has two parallel dull edges with a gap in between.
He swings it, and decides it might be useful as an unweildy club
seeing the sword the brutes delay their advance, then rally their courage and return to menacing
he makes a dash through them into a circle of direct sunlight
EXT. GORGONA CLIFF, SUNRISE
the sun has just risen, he swings the sword to swat them away
Father! Where are you?
after a moment in the sunlight the sword leaps to life, swinging and thrusting with it’s own force, Gondarb merely hangs on
the edge lights up with a thin line of light, it cuts right through a mutant’s body at nipple height. The mutants retreat in terror
Gondarb climbs up a ramp, into direct sunlight and the sword goes wild, vibrating and flickering light along it’s edge. Two red embers of light appear at the top of the hilt, on the eyes of a filigree face
it lifts itself in the air in a victory sign with Gondarb hanging on. The others trot over.
By the gods! That’s Lizardman’s sword from last night! How did it come here?
Great work Captain!
the sword calms down and drops point down next to Gondarb’s feet, standing straight up, the lights go out
as he explains with his hands, he loses contact with the sword but it doesn’t fall down and stands on it’s own
he describes the hard shells and directs them to go down the ramp and gather them up
soon they have stacks of different sizes, they’re very light
the mutants shout and threaten but do not reappear
Frick appears carrying two large chests so he can’t carry any shells.
Where did those come from? What’s in there?
Ummm, that’s my stuff.
GONDARB, FABERGAS, GROFIUS
Oh right. Ahhh. Yeah.
They check their gear and walk downhill back into the forest.
SCENE 1 - EYE ROCK TOWER
EXT. GORGONA FOREST, SUNRISE
The team with the addition of Elsifer, Frick and the sword, walk down the hill.
How came you to be allied with Magistoles?
I worked for him as a potion maker, formulating various unguents and salves. To relieve one’s pain, secure one’s fortune, or quiet one’s enemies.
What has become of his lair? In the place where I think to find it I see only a great pit and fires all around.
Elsifer shoots him an examining gaze.
Are you aware of the feats that Magistoles is capable?
I have seen the magic at his command. He reduced my brother to mist, and water.
Elsifer looks off into space, then at the other men present. He looks at Gondarb directly. Pause.
The volcano erupted, the luckless castle was cast into the sky, and all within scattered to the wind.
They stare at each other in the eye. Continue walking. Gondarb changes the subject.
Ahead lies futher evidence of his machinations.
From yonder pit rises a pillar of a hundred stacked rocks, supporting a magic eye that sees all.
Elsifer immediately stops and calls everyone in to listen as he lays out a plan.
EXT. GORGONA PIT, EARLY MORNING
Grofius, Fabergas and Beeprix go ahead and space out evenly along the top of the ridge. They throw rocks at the spire with the eye on top. The eye moves around to look at each one in turn. None of their rocks hit, they fall too fast once they’re over the pit, it’s wierd, like they were sucked down. The spire ripples with s curves as the eye moves to look at them.
Then a large rock soars from uphill in a high arc. It hits the spire directly at it’s base and the whole thing falls down. Half way down the eye turns to see what hit it from behind but it’s already too deep in the pit to see anything. There is a crash of broken glass as the eye impacts the fallen pile.
They continue on to the beach, carrying lots of shells, Frick carries the 2 chests
[Gondarb wants to find out what kind of guy is Elsifer? He comments about Elsifer’s tunic, nice neckline, and asks how did he come to be under Magistoles’ employ? But his probes are clumsy and basically backfire as he gives way more information than he gets.]
SCENE 2 - ROWING HOME
EXT. GORGONA BEACH
Above the beach from a lookout they scan the sea for Achillus and the manta but no sight of either.
They take the path to the beach alcove from last night and find the rope ladder and row boat are still there
sailors climb down first, then Elsifer and Frick, then Zoy
Gondarb is last, he unhooks the rope ladder then climbs down. Elsifer and Frick watch with interest.
the boat is heavy and it looks like a big challenge
Frick joins in and they drag the boat to the water
they get in, Frick is very heavy and tips the boat when he enters, they start to row, Frick does the lion’s share
everyone makes eye contact about what a strong guy Frick is
the Shagazz lies ahead, Gondarb steers for the stern dock
SCENE 3 - LUNCH SPECIAL
EXT. SHAGAZZ, STARBOARD DOCK
As they pull up to the dock they can smell the food cooking. They disembark except for Fabergas and Grofius who hook the boat onto ropes. They hook their feet under the seats and pull on other ropes slowly winching the boat up into stowed position.
INT. SHAGAZZ, DINING ROOM
The team marches in and is invited to sit at a table.
Elsifer recognizes Ravelin, hey I remember you.
Oh I remember you too, you like your [food] served with [condiment]
Gondarb says this is the princess I mentioned
Princess? she was the cook, and an excellent one at that
Ravelin serves fluffy nut pancakes with honey, cooked oats with berries and cream, and slices of crispy fried goose
Umm! Oh my god! and what is this? Honey with garlic, and butter with herbs
They crunch into the thinly sliced and crispy fried goose, Ohh! By the gods, this is heavenly! groans without words
the gang tucks in to the excellent food, Ravelin is a star, they toast her loudly
talk more with Elsifer, we hear his story, he was a potion maker who kept his sanity by not knowing what went on - where his ingredients came from, what Magistoles did in his workroom, their relationship was stricly professional, Elsifer’s recompense is inside the chests, please don’t steal!
Ravelin comes and goes in and out of earshot, when she lingers they question her and their stories match
Ravelin leaves the clean up to Fabergas, who’s tired from winching up the rowboat, he frowns, Zoy enlists Grofius and they all chip in
Gondarb takes Ravelin, Frick, and Elsifer on a small tour
he shows the big kitchen, the performance stage, auditorium with seats, balcony rooms and skylighted roof
the stage is perfect for plays and music
a large dining area for dinner theater and a lavish central area fit for a king and his harem
above is a ring of private apartments with great views, once posh but gone sloppy
they climb up the grand staircase to center deck, then forward to the top of the forecastle, the sun is setting
There is a monastery on the other side, they must have seen and heard things, we could investigate there. For centuries the devout monks have done awesome things.
The sun is almost down, and tonight is the dark of the moon. We will sail there tomorrow. I’m exhausted and must sleep.
He looks at the others, they all are looking at him in the sunset light. Ravelin and Elsifer smile at him then nod in unison. Frick just stares.