False Dawn #3: “Consequence of Love”
Part Two of Three: Necessity
Plot for 22 Pages
Devin Leigh Michaels
Skadoian Warriors are bad in the nighttime but in the daytime, too? Ral and company want a little space! Meanwhile, Lance finds out why reading the Horror-scopes is a bad thing when he gets some unsettling news from a Starweaver. And someone other than the warriors searches for the crew.
Note to Letter: All “NARR” are Ral’s thoughts unless otherwise noted.
1—Overhead shot of a forest; it’s mid-day.
NARR (omniscient): The Platinum Forest is FORBIDDEN.
2—From ground level, light trickles through the canopy of the forest, but it’s still empty.
NARR (omniscient): As it is, danger tempts none.
NARR (omniscient): Perhaps only the stupid venture inside since the harmless shadows give no fear.
3—Camera shot of river, which flows through a small basin in the forest. Evidence of someone camping—a bloodied knife, some fire, a campsite with food.
NARR (omniscient): The river basin, sliced by the sacred Brook of High Point, creates an oasis for the animals blessed by the light and for those foolish enough to enter.
4—Close-up shot of the knife, which is bloodied.
NARR (omniscient): Death exudes the serenity that has survived more than a thousand years, and no one is stupid enough in Zenith’s Rise to commit SUICIDE.
5—A close-up on maroon, calf-high boots running through the forest, kicking up dirt from the speed at which they travel.
NARR (omniscient): Except Griff.
1—Shot of Griff—short blond hair, brown eyes, freckles littering his face, a tunic, black breaches, and maroon boots—looking desperately through the forest.
NARR (omniscient): He hesitates.
NARR (omniscient): And prays.
NARR (omniscient): And cries a little, though he will never tell Sabella that.
2—Griff bends down to the ground and runs his fingers over tracks in the dirt.
NARR (omniscient): He will tell her how he followed signs the best trackers would not have been able to see.
3—Camera over Griff’s shoulder, seeing the river basin in the middle of the forest.
NARR (omniscient): He will be honest and tell her how he never expected to find his target.
4—Griff dashes again.
NARR (omniscient): He thought he would actually die in the forest like all those who ventured before him.
5—Close-up on Griff’s heel on the edge of a little mound before the basin, the dirt tumbling down a small cliff.
NARR (omniscient): Of course, he will leave out how he almost joined them voluntarily.
6—Griff looks down at the river, seeing a man wadding in the river. The hearty man is wading half-naked in the water, his shoulders built for a hard laborer and the scars to match the profession. He has a tense jaw and clear, tired gray eyes. He has dark blonde hair and a heartless expression upon his tough face.
NARR (omniscient): But not when he saw his salvation.
1—Griff starts down the decline and tumbles.
2—Dirty, Griff lands at the bottom of the basin, where he lands at the man’s feet on the bank of the river.
MAN (off panel): Knave…
3—As if looking through Griff’s eyes, we look up at the man’s face.
MAN: …are you stupid?
4—Griff sits up.
GRIFF: Y—Yes, sir, but I had to come.
GRIFF (linked): Lady Adeline and her brother Connor have been found.
LOCATION CAP (located on the bottom right hand corner of the cell): ZENITH’S RISE
1—Majority of page—The Skadoian Warrior, standing at the opening of the Paper Clips Photocopy Place, points an arrow pointed directly at the reader.
NARR (Ral): Thing to note: Skadoian Warriors suck.
WARRIOR: Surrender and death will be—
LOCATION CAPS (located on the top left hand corner of the cell): OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
2—Using his body as a shield for Ral, Lance slowly gets off the boy, his face twisted with anger.
NARR (Ral): And I have no freakin’ idea what else he said.
1—Behind the warrior, Lance, and Casia now stand. Flames twirl about Casia’s legs, climbing up her body. Customers scream and dash toward the exit.
NARR: At that moment, customers scream bloody murder like they’re being sliced open and their insides are spilling all over the place.
2—Focus on Ral, who is slowly sitting up, while Lance is pulling out his sword.
NARR: And yeah, I know what that sounds like.
3—Ral’s standing, his necklace in fist, and flames wisp about the edge of the cell—Casia.
NARR: It’s times like these I wish there were still monsters in my closet.
LANCE: Wow, you come up with that all by yourself or has it been said for centuries?
4—Casia’s specter forms in her fiery hands.
CASIA: We wish you no harm.
5—The warrior lets the arrow go.
WARRIOR: Pity I can’t say the same to you.
1—Lance breaks the arrow with his blade, a vicious grimace upon his tense face.
NARR: I don’t know how old Lance or Casia are—
2—Casia’s diving into the air behind Ral.
CASIA (linked): MOVE!
NARR: —and I don’t know how long they’ve been working together—
3—As Ral pitches to the left, Lance takes a fraction of a step back. The warrior swipes with a sword, ready to take off Lance’s head.
NARR: —but one doesn’t survive thousands of years without some combat training—
4—The warrior’s blade clangs with Casia’s staff.
NARR: —and a little insurance.
1—The warrior screams as the fire swirls from her staff to his blade and then to his hands.
NARR: See, Skadioan Warriors are most powerful at night.
2—With flames still eating a hand, Warrior reaches toward a mass of shadows made by a copier, forming a ball of black in his opposite hand.
NARR: They feed from the shadows to create their own.
3—He tosses the ball, and the darkness burns away the fire from Casia’s staff.
NARR: That’s why we like to travel and work during the daytime for that reason.
4—The warrior kicks through the remnants of fire and shadows, knocking Casia back.
NARR: We’re relatively safe.
5—Casia topples over the counter to the copy center.
6—Close-up on the warrior’s hand, where he arms a small, round, silver device.
7—The warrior throws the device in the direction of Casia.
1—Ral dives into the panel, hitting the device away from Casia with his sword and sending it toward the paper aisle.
NARR: Oh, no you don’t.
2—The device explodes, throwing multicolored paper into the sky like snow.
3—Lance grunts and starts to fall when a warrior backhands him across the face.
WARRIOR: You are to be spared, Cursed.
WARRIOR (linked): Do not take that as a blessing.
NARR: Cursed? Okay, I need Cliff Notes.
4—The warrior stalks toward Ral, who puts up his sword. He’s a little nervous but holding it together.
WARRIOR: You have outlived your worth, boy.
NARR: Wow, and just a few days ago, Lasantra was saying I was on her list. Apparently, it wasn’t her Contacts.
RAL (linked): Your people started this.
RAL: We never wanted a war.
5—The warrior stops before Ral, his face unusually reserved and with no pleasure.
WARRIOR: But the battle is at an end.
WARRIOR (linked): That much is certain.
1—Ral takes a half-step back.
NARR: No kidding.
RAL: I don’t want to fight. All I want is my mom and uncle released.
WARRIOR: They are the guards. They are necessary collateral damage.
RAL (linked): Necessary?
2—Anger slowly creeps onto Ral’s face.
RAL (angry/louder): Necessary?
3—Ral throws himself at the warrior, swiping with vengeance.
RAL (screaming): This is NECESSARY!
1—Ral jerks back in surprise as a flare soars past him and smashes into the warrior’s face.
2—The warrior staggers back, but Lance attacks, a kick to the stomach. Blood seeps from Lance’s mouth.
3—The warrior swipes desperately swipes, but Lance dives and wraps an arm about the warrior’s waist, taking him over a copier.
NARR: Lance proves once more why he’s lived fifteen lifetimes.
4—Only the warrior’s sword can be seen skimming across the tiles and his hand reaching for it.
5—Shot from behind Lance’s back—we can see the warrior scrubbing in what would be a headlock.
NARR: I try to remind myself that the warrior wanted to kill us. It was him or us.
6—Focus on Ral, who squeezes his eyes shut, his face tense and even frightened.
NARR: It was…necessary.
1—Lance rises from behind the copier, his face and hands bloody, his face determined and without remorse.
NARR: I know Lance kills.
2—Lance wipes the blood from his mouth.
NARR: I’ve seen him come back bloody and beaten from battles, but I’ve never actually seen him kill before.
3—Shot of Ral, who’s now nervous and edgy, barely holding it together.
NARR: And I was part of it.
4—Casia’s hand cups Ral’s chin.
CASIA: Ral, we don’t have time for this. The authorities will be here shortly.
NARR: Casia’s sad but not sorry.
5— Lance’s sword shrinks down to his keychain, and he grabs Ral’s arm, jerking him forward.
NARR: That’s more than Lance.
LANCE (softly): Come on.
1—Outside, Lance leads Ral by the arm away from the group that has gathered outside the store. In the background, a woman with white hair so light it is tinted blue stands in a long trench coat.
2—As the Blazer squeals away, we see a closer image of her. It’s Lasantra looking almost human in a black dress with just a hint of a smile.
3—Lasantra turns and heads toward the parking spaces.
4—She reaches out to the shadows.
5—She fades into them.
6—Standing in the No Man’s Land of Paper Clips, an older man with a graying temples and a worn face turns from his conversation with two other detectives.
LOCATION CAPS (top left hand corner): LATER
SKYLAR (off panel): Excuse me? Are you the lead detective?
DETECTIVE: I’m in a middle of an investigation, Miss.
1—Straight-on shot of Skylar and Towne. The woman on the left is dressed in a black power suit without a tie and an open white undershirt. Her honey hair is pulled back in a ponytail to show intelligent gray eyes. Her smile grants her the appearance of a cheerleader as she does her gum chewing. Her wallet is open to show her badge. The man on the right has wire glasses framing his eyes and an elitist attitude. His dark skin is impeccable as is his body with the muscles to compete in decathlon and win.
SKYLAR: Actually, you’re in the middle of our investigation, Detective.
SKYLAR: Special Agent Holly Skylar.
TOWNE: Special Agent Darnell Towne.
2— Towne pulls out two pictures—one of Lance and one of Casia. Skylar blows a pink bubble.
TOWNE: Are these the people who did this?
3—The detective’s jaw sets.
DETECTIVE: Yeah. Buncha kids—teenagers.
4—Towne holds up a third picture—this one of Ral from school.
TOWNE: How about the boy? Was he with them?
DETECTIVE (off panel): Yeah. We have a surveillance tape of the event and a computer that was mostly destroyed during the attack.
DETECTIVE (linked): Would you like to see them?
5—Towne and Skylar meet intense gazes. Skylar’s bubble pops.
TOWNE: Yes, we would.
OFF (not pointer): You killed that man!
1—Close-up of the Blazer racing down I-81. It’s rural with only trees along the side of the road and a car not within a hundred feet of the Blazer.
NARR: Parents fight, and it sucks every time they do.
2—From behind the wheel of the Blazer, Lance rolls his eyes.
LANCE: I had to. It was either him or us.
LANCE (linked): I wasn’t going to let it be us.
3—Shot of Lance and Casia in the front seat. Casia looks concerned; Lance is just pissed.
CASIA: It was still a stupid thing to do.
LANCE: It’s the only thing I know how to do.
NARR: At the moment, I don’t really care.
4—Another shot of the front seat where Lance stares out the window.
CASIA: Really? Is that why you died at the age of thirteen in your last life?
LANCE: Is that the reason you spent more than fifty years as a captive of the Skadoian Warriors?
NARR: All I can think about is that warrior.
5—Ral sits in the middle of the back seat, his eyes lowered and covered by shadows.
RAL: How could you?
RAL (linked, shouting) How could you just—
6—Casia pats his knee.
CASIA: Ral, honey. Let me deal with this.
7—Casia turns back to Lance.
CASIA: That’s not the point, Lance. Ral—he’s new at this.
CASIA (linked): You can’t just expect him to—
8—Lance lifts a tense hand.
LANCE:—to survive? To fight for his own life?
LANCE (linked): Well, if he can’t, then maybe he shouldn’t be here.
1—Casia crosses her arms.
CASIA: You’re right, Lance. Let’s get his soul as tainted as yours and mine have become in our prolonged lives.
CASIA (linked): Yes, let’s send him off to purgatory to be judged and damned for ETERNITY.
2—Lance slams the hand against the steering wheel.
LANCE (shouting): DAMNIT, Casia! He’s ready, or he’s gone.
LANCE (linked): He hesitates in the field, then we’ll all be gone and who will find Addy? Or Connor?
LANCE (linked): We have no time to hold the kid’s hand.
3—Ral edges up to be near the front seat, while Casia looks out the window. Lance looks her way, not taking his eyes completely off the road.
RAL: You don’t have to hold my—
CASIA: Oh, please. Don’t kid yourself, Lance. You and I both know what this is about.
LANCE: Oh? Mind letting me in on it?
4—Casia’s still looking out the window.
CASIA: You can lie to yourself and say you’re training Ral to fight for his own benefit, but it’s really for you, isn’t it?
CASIA (linked): You’ve all but ADOPTED a Perishable, and you’re afraid he’ll become just another victim of your CURSE.
5—Focus on Lance, who’s just pissed. His face is dark, his head tilted down. He’s ready to explode on Casia.
6—The Blazer jerks to the shoulder and screeches to a halt.
1—Side shot of Ral and Casia—Ral’s face is in the back of her seat; Casia’s holding on for dear life.
CASIA (shouting): Lance, what the—
2—Lance thrust open the door and gets out. Nothing’s around except trees and maybe the occasional deer and groundhog.
3—Ral’s in shock as he watches Lance through the windshield. Casia’s already fighting with the door to get out.
CASIA (mutters): Come on!
4—Casia forces her door open with so much force she falls out of the Blazer.
CASIA: (yelling): LANCE!
CASIA: Lance, come on! It doesn’t mean it will happen again.
CASIA (linked): It doesn’t mean he’s the one!
5—Lance doesn’t turn around, just keeps marching on.
6—Casia heads back to the SUV, cursing under her breath.
7—She sits down in the SUV, her head in her hands. Ral looks over from the backseat.
RAL: What curse?
1—On a computer is an image of Lance killing the warrior.
2—Leaning over the desk in the cramped office, Agent Skylar keeps her face neutral.
3—She meets her partner’s gaze. They say nothing. They don’t need to.
4—As Skylar clicks a few buttons on the keyboard, Agent Towne’s gaze pins the detective and the Paper Clips’ manager in their seats.
TOWNE: You will destroy these files, claim a few drunken customers destroyed your photocopy place, and you will forget you ever saw the three children on the tape and us.
5—Towne silences the older man with an otherworldly glare.
TOWNE: You will not object, Detective.
TOWNE (linked): I’d hate to have to tell someone to forget you.
6—Popping another gum bubble, Skylar holds up the DVD on her way toward the door. Towne fixes his jacket better upon his shoulders as he follows.
TOWNE: Good day, gentlemen.
1—Dusk draws a dark landscape as a pick-up truck stops just before a dirt road.
LOCATION CAPS (on the upper left hand corner of the cell): SHILOH, TENNESSEE, LATER
2—Lance gets out of the passenger side and waves.
3—He starts the journey down the road on foot, his hands in his pockets.
SFX: Crunch. Crunch.
4—As he comes to the rickety fence surrounding the small, forgotten graveyard, he steps over the vines claiming the land for itself.
5—Close-up on a forsaken stone, its top weathered down, vines attempting to strangle it, and chunks falling off of it.
WORDING (mostly covered): Catherine Johnson, 1843-1862.
6—Lance pushes the weeds away from the stone with a sad smile.
LANCE: Hey, Cat. Good to see you, girl.
1—Close-up on a sneaker snapping a twig in high grass.
2— Lance shoots to his feet and whirls, his sword now occupying his hand.
OFF: And this maiden she lived with no other thought/Than to love and be loved by me.
3—Close-up on the newcomer. In his late twenties with a cocky smile and spiked, brown hair, Tony wears jeans bummed at the curve of his butt while his T-shirt reads, “I know I’m not, but what about you?”
TONY: Edgar Allan Poe, in case you are wondering.
4—Lance’s sword shrinks to his keychain and puts out his hand. Tony takes it.
LANCE: Annabel Lee. I know my rabid dead poets.
LANCE (linked): Tony?
TONY: Lance Evans, your name precedes you.
5—Rolling his eyes, Lance shrinks his sword as Tony snatches Lance’s wrist.
LANCE: I’d ask how you know I’d be here, but I think that’s moot.
TONY: Much is with a Starweaver.
6—Tony’s well-manicured fingers follow the lines of Lance’s palm. (Tony’s nail are painted a starry blue.)
TONY (off panel): I see a long lifetime, longer than most but as short as others.
LANCE (off panel): No kidding. I could have told you—
TONY (off panel): SHH!
1—Tony returns to the reading, his brow wrinkled; Lance isn’t amused.
TONY: You are not traveling alone—a girl and a boy. Ca—Ca—Casey and Leigh?
LANCE: Casia and Ral.
TONY (linked): It’s not an exact science.
2—Tony follows a different line, his face troubled.
TONY: You—You’ll be crossing over soon, attempting to find that which is lost.
TONY (linked): At the same time, you fear that which has been gained.
LANCE: Crossing over? Like DYING?
LANCE (linked): That’s really nothing—
3—Tony’s face blanches. His eyes grow three sizes, and he drops Lance’s hand.
TONY (frightened): The war—The war has BEGUN.
LANCE: The war? Tony, I know prophets are supposed to be melodramatic, but that’s not what Casia and Ral and I—
4—Tony snatches the wrist in a death grip.
TONY (shouting): NO!
TONY: You do not understand. You are new to the battle, but the lines have long been drawn.
TONY (linked): You will meet the Black Prince before you see the Light.
5—Lance struggles to free his palm.
NARR (Lance): Living and dying fifteen times makes you understand death. That doesn’t mean you’re is comfortable with it.
LANCE: What are you—
1—A single blast shattered the relative silence of nature, and blood splatters across Lance’s face and chest. He recoils.
2—When Lance finally pulls it together, he sees Tony, the older man’s knees buckling. In his chest is a huge hole, bubbling blood.
TONY (whispering/fading): Crossing…
TONY (linked/dying): Cross…over…
3—Dark tentacles skim across the high grass behind Lance.
LANCE (muttering): Damnit!
4—The tentacles wrap around Lance’s body, pinioning his arms to his sides and causing him to drop Tony.
LASANTRA (off panel) Hello, Evans.
1—Full Page—One tentacles comes up to caress Lance’s cheek. He refuses to shun away as the rest of the shadows swirl to form a beautiful mass of darkness with long boots and a hostile smile.
LANCE: Lasantra. Long time, no see. I enjoyed every minute of it.
LASANTRA: Then they will have been the last minutes you will enjoy in this lifetime.
TO BE CONTINUED…