Saturday, December 31, 2011

False Dawn: Life's Question

Happy New Year's Eve! Hope everyone has awesome plans! (Mine involve MI:4, thank you very much!)

Since False Dawn is on the back burner for a while, I figured I'd end with this. It's my entry into an anthology. Only three stories were chosen, and mine came in sixth. I still take that as a win. I also received great feedback from a writer/artist in the industry who took the time to critique it and from one of the entrants whose story made the cut.

Hope you enjoy!

Summary: Despite living fifteen lifetimes, Lance only has one question: Why is he still here?

“Life’s Question”

NOTES: Narrations are all Lance’s. I have references researched for all aspects of costumes and characters as needed.

1—An elderly, mocha-skinned woman with a bloody bandage wrapped about her eyes and night-colored hair draped across her shoulders kneels in a rundown stable before Lance. Her bony hands are clasped upon Lance’s face, who is also kneeling, but his arms are tied behind his back. He’s wearing the garb of a Macedonian solider.
WOMAN: Take heed, Lance.
WOMAN: You have lost a piece of yourself. From this point forth—you shall know only two things: LOVE and LOSS.

2—Close-up on Lance’s horrified face as he looks straight at the camera. Behind his head and at the top of the panel, two stable boys bring forth a bucket of purple fire and a branding iron.
WOMAN (off): Forever shall you walk hand-in-hand with DEATH.

3—In silhouette against the stable wall, we see Lance jerk when the branding iron touches his shoulder. Before the wall (not in silhouette), the woman is silently crying, tears dripping from under her bandages.
WOMAN: In every life, you will lose the person you love most, and cursed, you shall rise again only to lose again.
WOMAN (linked): Take heed, Child.

4—Lance is wincing, tears seeping through his closed eyes with the branded mark of the lion now on his shoulder.
WOMAN (off): Take heed.

1—Extreme close-up—A broadsword blade slicing through a man’s stomach. For reference: The man’s wearing a black T-shirt, and he bleeds blue blood.
NARR: I feel the slickness of a Skadioan Warrior’s blood on my blade.
NARR: It looks no different than a blue slushie.

2—Establishing shot—Lance and the warrior are fighting in a fast food joint called Burger Castle. Lance is pulling his sword out from a Skadoian Warrior’s stomach and is wearing his usual clothing. The warrior is a Caucasian male with paler than usual skin, black hair (any style), and black eyes. He’s wearing a tight T-shirt, cargo pants, and is holding a dagger and a blaster.
NARR: I was just drinking one in this FINE establishment, and man, that’s GROSS.

3—CASIA has her back to Lance. (Lance’s back is in the right hand corner of the panel, but Casia’s the focus). Her body is completely engulfed by flames (so we really just see her outline in the flames), and she’s throwing some fireballs at other Skadoian Warriors. She’s smiling like she’s loving this.
NARR: Casia’s flames THREATEN my back, like they always do.
CASIA: Hot buns! Watch it!
NARR: I hope she’s not talking about me—

4—RAL fights warriors with his sword, much like Lance was. He’s between two warriors, and blue blood slicks his blade and splashes onto his clothing.
NARR: —at least not in front of the KID.
RAL: Will you two get a room?
LANCE (possibly off): Mind your own business, Ral.

5—Now we see Lance, Casia, and Ral fighting the warriors.
NARR: The warriors came out of nowhere, probably trying to grab Ral. He’s a hybrid—half-shadow demon, half-light something or other—shaken, not stirred.
NARR: So the warriors want to see the effects of such a union.
NARR: And I just keep thinking—

1—With their backs to the reader, Lance and Addy sit at a bar in a medieval tavern, a pitcher of beer between them. Lance is dressed in a royal’s garb; Addy in a queen’s gown. Mud is splashed upon both of their clothes. If anyone else is in the bar, including the bartender, please draw them in peasant clothing.
NARR: Adeline Dawson. Ral’s mom.
NARR: My “mom.”
LANCE: Why am I here, Addy?

2—Addy leans over and kisses him on top of his head.
ADDY: I don’t know, my love, but I am and always will be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.

3—A servant stands by the royal chamber door.
SERVANT: Emperor Napoleon, it is time.

4—Lance stands by the windows of a king’s chambers—elegant and opulent with golden bed posts, a seating area, and large windows which overlook a garden. He’s dressed in French royal clothing.
NARR: At that time, I didn’t care for much—except CONQUERING EVERYTHING—as if that would fill the sucking VOID in my LIFE.
LANCE: Why am I here—

5—Mid-shot of Connor, who is dressed in a dirty and tattered suit. He’s laughing.
LANCE: —Connor?
NARR: Connor Dawson. Ral’s uncle.
NARR: My “dad.”
CONNOR: To get your ASS kicked.

1—Lance, Casia, and Ral sit at a table in Burger Castle before they’re attacked. Ral is eating a burger and fries. Lance is stealing Ral’s fries and has a blue shushie in front of him. Ral looks in between and past Lance and Casia, who share a side of a table.
NARR: Ral, my little fourteen-year-old hybrid brother, doesn’t get a normal life with sports, homework, and of course—

2—Lance looks over his shoulder at the cheerleader sitting in the booth. He smirks.
LANCE: You going to TALK to her or just GAWK like a nerdy high school stalker?

3—Ral ruffles his hair as Lance steals a fry, and Casia steals Lance’s slushie.
RAL: Nah…I…can’t.
CASIA: Why not?
RAL: Because…what would I say? ‘Hi, I’m a HYBRID. What’s your deal?’

4—Lance shrugs as the shadows of the room begin to rise and form warriors.
LANCE: The ‘hi’ was a good start. The rest, a little forward. I’d try the rest with, ‘Name’s Ral, and I’m going to rule the world one day.’

1—The Skadoian Warriors lunge at the group’s table.

2—Lance runs toward Philip II of Macedonia as he’s stabbed by one of his generals. The setting: Outside of an ancient gladiatorial arena, so it can simply be by huge wooden doors or just outside the arena.
NARR: Why am I here?

3—Bergener, Lance’s knight brother, is beheaded. (This is in silhouette.) Lance is held back by French peasants. He’s about sixteen and shocked with tears in his eyes, fighting to stop his brother’s execution by the Black Prince. Setting: On a grassy and bloody battlefield.
NARR: WHY am I here?

1—Cat, a farmer’s daughter, lays bleeding from a bullet wound. Lance holds her. Lance is about eighteen wearing a Union Army soldier’s uniform.
LANCE (weary): Come on, Cat. Please…Don’t leave me, too…

2—Lance grabs Ral by the torso and drags him out the blown out wall of Connor’s bar as Connor and Addy are consumed by a dark cloud. Connor’s dressed in jeans and T-shirt. Ral’s wearing the same. Lance has on a leather jacket that’s a little too big for him (It’s the one Ral now wears). Casia has on jeans and a peasant top with fire burning her hands. Addy is dressed with jeans and a tight sweater. The boys wear sneakers. The girls wear boots.

3—A warrior lunges for Ral, his sword pulled back and ready to slice the teen’s head off. We’re now back at Burger Castle.

1—Top half of page—Lance slices off the warrior’s arm.

2—The Skadoian Warriors slink back toward the shadows. Casia’s embers die upon her skin and clothes. (Casia is now wearing a peasant top and jeans with boots). The injured warrior forms a black bandage about his arm (by manipulating the shadows under a table and weaving them about his bleeding bicep).
WARRIOR: Light does not burn shadows. Shadows CONSUME the light.

3—The final warrior slinks and disappears into a shadow.

4—Casia, Lance, and Ral assess the devastation inside Burger Castle. The owners and workers peek up from the registers and counter.

1—Lance clasps Ral on the shoulder.
LANCE: You okay?

2—Ral looks up at Lance, his eyes shining.
NARR: Kid’s in shock but getting used to the whole “living-in-war-between-dimensions” thing.
RAL: Thanks.

3—Lance smirks.
LANCE: You’re welcome.

4—Now Lance thumbs over his shoulder at the cheerleader who is huddling and shivering under a table.
LANCE: So are you going to talk to her or what?


“Life’s Question” would be part of a series entitled False Dawn.

RAL DAWSON is a fourteen-year-old hybrid who is half shadow demon and half light bearer. He lived a relativity normal life in Wayne, New Jersey, with his doctor mother and bar-owner uncle who, unbeknownst to him, were immortals. That was, until Skadoian Warriors came and took his mother and uncle. Now he travels with his surrogate siblings/parents Casia, a were-phoenix and Lance, a cursed immortal, who are also looking for his mom and uncle. Together, they avoid federal agents, mercenaries, and other immortals while looking for their missing family members. He has short brown hair with bangs that fall into his jade eyes and boyish face. He wears jeans, a T-shirt, and Connor’s leather jacket, which is two sizes too big for him.

LANCE EVANS has lived fourteen lifetimes since the gladiatorial games when he was the illegitimate son of Phillip II of Macedonia (Alexander the Great’s father). As a cursed immortal, he lives, dies, and lives again. Addy and Connor Dawson took him in during the eighth lifetime and gave him a family when he wouldn’t have known one. Lance has been a squire during the Middle Ages, would-be conqueror of Europe, and a Union soldier in the American Civil War. He’s really good at killing, and he’s deadly with any weapon, including a TV remote. In his first lifetime, he “let luck and chance guide” him, which led to people dying. He then was cursed by a mage to feel the pain he caused, so he loses the person he loves most in each lifetime. Addy, Connor, and Casia are immune to his curse because they are immortals and an extended mortal, respectively. Lance fears Ral is the person of his curse in this lifetime. In his current lifetime, Lance’s nineteen years old. He has abysses for eyes, black hair with blonde tips, and wears a long-sleeved T-shirt to hide his numerous tattoos from his different lifetimes.

CASIA LaCROUX is a were-phoenix, a mystical creature who can form fire and becomes all “fire-bird” on the Solstices. She has other powers like clairvoyance and flight, though she doesn’t exactly know from where her powers come or how they work. Casia doesn’t even know much about her past. Her earliest memories are in Skadoia where the warriors held her captive and experimented on her to discover the source of her flames. Addy and Connor eventually saved her from a hunting pack of Skadoian Warriors and kept her safe until her strength returned. Though 230 years old, Casia looks sixteen. She has flame-red hair, a petite form, and sea-blue eyes. She wears a peasant top, jeans, and calf-high boots.

ADELINE (“ADDY”) and CONNOR DAWSON are Ral’s biological mother and uncle and Casia and Lance’s surrogate parents. They are immortal but in the traditional sense where they don’t age. They found Lance in every lifetime since his eighth and gave him a stability he wouldn’t have known with his curse, and they gave Casia a family when she wouldn’t have had one. Both are from Zenith’s Rise, a parallel, medieval-like dimension with no darkness. Connor was banished by the king to our dimension (Knightsdale) when he bought fast food to Zenith’s Rise. Adeline, the queen of Zenith’s Rise, left with her brother, who was forced to drink from the Fountain of Youth and become a “crossing guard,” a protector of the portals in and out of Zenith’s Rise. Kidnapped by warriors, Addy and Connor are currently missing, though it is believed that they are being tortured for the location of Connor’s portals. Fifteen years ago, Adeline had relations with a warrior, resulting in the birth of her son, Ral.

DONNELLIE JACKSON is a preppy girl with a slut’s wardrobe and a know-it-all’s mouth. She was the Oracle of Delphi and the person who cursed Lance to be an immortal. For that, she feels some guilt, though part of her believes Lance deserved it. She’s a longtime “ally” of Casia and Lance through the lifetimes, though in this lifetime, she’s currently twenty.

SKADOIAN WARRIORS are mercenaries from an all-darkness parallel dimension known as Skadoia. They seem to have two forms—a shadow one and a human-like one. They also can steal power from the shadows about them, which makes them impossibly strong at night. They can also eat fire and suck someone into their own shadow forms, holding them hostage. The warriors stole Addy and Connor Dawson from Connor’s bar, “Forever’s Run.” Ral, Casia, and Lance escaped the incident, but they are the warrior’s prey. It is believed the warriors are trying to conquer Zenith’s Rise because the River of Life (Fountain of Youth) flows from Zenith’s Rise, into Knightsdale, before reaching Skadoia polluted.

Though not named specifically in the script, the warrior who attacked Ral at the end was AMARIS, one of the generals of the Skadoian Warriors and unbeknownst to Ral, his father.

Though not in the short story, the SKADOIAN LORD is the ruler of Skadoia who orchestrated the kidnapping of Connor and Addy. He currently is after Ral to discover what powers he has being half shadow/half light. He also seeks Addy’s hand in marriage, which he hopes will help him conquer Zenith’s Rise. Also not in this story, LASANDRA is the executive assistant of the Skadoian Lord. She is one of the two main warriors who clash with Ral and company. She also has feelings for Connor, which he reciprocates, even though they are enemies.

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