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The Humble Tyrant

The tale of a great king who ruled over an ancient realm, a fierce and unforgiving world that rose and fell long before the coming of man.  The story of the what befell the world’s first ruler when he became too grand for his own kingdom…

The gentle breeze of the morning winds drifted through the forest.  The leaves of the towering conifers shivered.  The dirt at their feet trembled with them, but it was not the blow of the current that stirred them.  The thickening sound of a slow and heavy drum filled the woods.  

The king had begun his march.  

Golden, reptilian eyes glinted beneath the heavy shadows of his brow ridge, scanning the silence around him.  The small furred and winged creatures hidden in the leaves scrambled or fluttered as he cleared his path.  The tiny arms bent beneath his massive chest were nearly useless for the task, but his colossal, angular head was more than capable of plowing through the trees.  They bent before him as grass bows to the wind.  The king’s nostrils flared as the current filled them with the familiar scent of the others who had recently visited to quench their thirst.  There was no sight of them to be had, but they were not far off.  He sunk his scaled, three-clawed feet into the stream.  Its pull was strong but his thick, serpentine tail swayed and supported his balance.

Once on the other side of the bank he saw furtive movement beyond the ridge where the trees ended.  Powerful cords of iron in his loins sparked as he quickened his pace, crossing through the forest in but a few brief strides.  Once at the height of the ridge he obtained clear view of the vast strip of grass plains before him.  From here he had sight of the two large beasts fleeing from the forests and onto the grasslands, where the remainder of his subjects were grazing peacefully.  They came in a variety of forms, colors and sizes packed together in mottled herds.  From here as he towered above them they seemed as clumps of dirt.  A few of them raised their heads when they saw the other pair flying towards them.  Those with keener sight tilted their heads up in his directions.

At once they bellowed turned into a chaotic stampede, the larger ones giving no thought to the young or the meek as they scrambled towards the hills at the horizon’s edge.  He watched them run for a moment before finally descending upon his realm.  He gave no thought to chasing them for today he was not on the hunt.  His belly was still full with the kill he had made from the previous night.  A mighty behemoth it was.  A tree eater whose head ascended into the skies from atop an endlessly long neck.  But that head came crashing down when he took that neck in his jaws and gave it a cracking twist.  The thunder of its fall caused the entire forest to quake, and all who dwelled in it.

By the time he had made it to the flats of the grasslands near all of his subjects had vanished over the hills, but the stampede had been unforgiving to a few.  They lay in dirty pinkish heaps.  Some of their bones sticking out in disfigured angles.  The swift runners of the pack who had been hiding within the grass stalks began to appear.  They sprung upon the largest of the fallen beasts, a beige form that stirred slowly and gasped with measured, heavy breaths.  His eyes widened at their audacity, knowing fully well that he always retained rights as first to the kill.  His jaws widened, revealing a deep cavern of jagged teeth and gave a deep warning hiss.  The pack hunters froze as he approached the dying beast.  A few of them cawed in protest as they reluctantly backed away.  The wiser among them saw the futility of resistance and immediately dashed away towards some of the smaller corpses, joined quickly by their fellows.  He ignored their complaints as he stooped over the wounded animal, a grass eater with a high trumpet that curved in a great arc from atop its skull.  Its weary, clouded green eyes peered up at him followed by a moaning plea.  He greeted its plea by seizing its throat with his teeth and giving it a vicious pinch.  The breath grew still.  The king seized the choicest chunks of meat and wolfed them down, but after a few chews he snorted in derision.  The quality of this meal was far beneath that of the previous one.  He left it for the scavengers to scrap over.  

The remainder of the day he spent roaming his kingdom.  The sky deepened from orange to purple as the great golden eye descended upon the darkening hills.  The bull tyrant decided to head back towards the river.  When he came upon the outer wall of his forest dwelling the shimmering of light on the bushes caught his eye.  Normally he would have ignored such a distraction but the flurry in their activity caused him to take notice.  The shape of a short stocky creature with a stub of a tail revealed itself.  It barely rose above his ankles but was oblivious to him for it was in a tug of war with a stubborn branch seized within its beak.  It had to be an infant if its senses were so dull he could creep upon it like so – which meant its meat would be tender and juicy and perfect for a snack before he went to rest.  His maw opened as he dipped his muzzle to put it to rest.

The forest cracked as the crashing of nearby trees caused him halted him before his teeth could make it to the babe.  A trio of immense horns exploded through the vegetation as a large four legged  beast sprung from the dark woods.  The little one, now fully awakened with fright sprawled to get behind the thick, muscular pillars of its savior.  The king took a step back, cocking his head to study this bold newcomer.  Although its head only reached just beyond his knees two of the horns, perched above its furrowed brow rose up and extended its reach to his belly.  The third one was shorter than the others and jutted from above its nostrils.  The creature was built like a short mountain with a dark blue-gray hide and an immense shield fanning from the back of its head and covering its neck.  It’s heavy tail hovered just above ground.  The king’s eyes kept reverting back to those horns, glancing between the great crown on the adult and the mere stubs on its infant.    

The eyes of this challenger grew crimson as it stepped forward with a shrill cry.  For a moment the king gave pause, never before having met anyone who dared to stand against him.  His blood began to rise.   He opened his mouth  and sounded his own roar, the trumpet of war that shook the lands and froze all who beheld it.  It was the bringer of death.  Yet this unruly one remained unmoved.

The king began to circle the stubborn beast with a stalking pace.  The challenger crouched low and rotated to keep its horns pointing at him while the young one clung to its rear for safety.  A stifling heat rose between them, thickening the cool air of the coming night.  Muscles locked and tightened while a low rumble bellowed from his chest.  A deep silence took hold of the wind, freezing it with a chill so sudden it burned.  The forest stilled.  

A cloud of dust erupted from the earth, growling as the horned one charged.  With a swiftness that belied his size the king darted to the side, his right leg narrowly missing the bony spikes.  The cloud followed the beast as it passed him, thickening as it struck the ground with its heavy feet.  It rounded its charge to circle back around.  The little one had vanished back into the brush now that the battle had begun.  The king paid it no mind.  He would finish it after he had made amends with its bold guardian.  As the horned one began rounding about for another charge he shuffled laterally, studying its movements as he strafed.  The second charge came a tad slower and the tyrant wondered if the beast had already begun to tire.  If so then this would be just a matter of waiting out its blind rushes.  But as it came within range its heavy plodding pistoned into a bursting gallop.  Within a blink its deadly crown was bearing down on the king.  He leaped back, his long legs creating a mass of space as he dashed left to clear its weapon.  This time as the beast passed he followed after it, seizing the momentary lapse in its charge while it tried to circle back around.  He opened his maw and leaped upon it.

He sunk his jaws into its back, but the hide was pebbled and glided against his teeth.  The bite did nothing but enrage his comrade, who jerked its body violently to shake him off.  The king raised his forked foot and stomped on the beast’s spine to clutch it and keep it stable before the creature could escape.  He attempted a 2nd lunge, this time at the opening beneath its frilled shield just above the back of the neck.  The beast swung its body sideways and shook his footing off.  The king halted his strike and planted his feet into the ground to avoid crashing into the trees.  The horned one spun around to face him, backing away to create more distance.  He mirrored its steps, keeping stride to prevent it from getting another full charge but also giving room to maneuver in case it tried to surprise him with another quick rush.  His eyes glinted as he spotted fallen trees behind his foe.

He pressed forward with a blazing dash, swiveling his head side to side like a poised serpent.  He feinted a strike towards its foreleg from his left.  It quickly backed up and aimed its horns in that direction.  The king weaved his head back mid-rush just out of reach, and dipped to the other side to sink his teeth into the opposite leg.  The blades sunk into the flesh and clamped down like a vice.  The heavy beast wrenched back its powerful leg, but a stream of deep crimson flood began to pour down its pebbled skin and form specks on the dirt.  The king gave a shrill hiss and lunged for the rear leg.  The beast sprung back…

But too far. And too sudden.

Its rear foot stumbled upon a dead tree lurking treacherously behind it, rolling the ankles and forcing its knees to the ground with a heavy thud.  The tyrant was upon it before it could attempt to rise.  He sprung for its wounded right foreleg once more, managing a tight grip near the elbow.  With the strength of a titan he began pulling it up from the ground.  The creature screamed as it tried to scramble to free itself.  It wiggled its head to aim its horns towards the predator but only found air.  Meanwhile the tyrant continued to rip and yank at its leg.  The beast’s frightful wrestling threatened to tear a mortal wound if he could keep his teeth locked on it.  But bleeding it to death would be tiring work both long and boresome.  The quicker and more sure method to end this was to flip the heavy beast onto its back.  He continued tugging while the beast wailed in agony, trying to release itself from the trap.  The air rang as another set of wailing accompanied the cry of its parent from the background.  A trickle of saliva poured into the wound of the great beast as he savored the meal to come.

The beast started panting.  The sapping adrenaline of the battle had begun to take its toll.  The tyrant was able to bully it around with more ease now.  The soft flesh beneath the neck became apparent as it began to stumble to the other side, no longer able to support its weight on that leg.  He released his grip on the leg and made one final lunge for the throat, his tongue whispering near its flesh.

A sudden, impossible instance flashed in the gap between his assault.  The creature pushed back with an inspired surge, launching itself upwards in a surprising fury.  Somehow it had managed to regain its footing.  The force of its push whipped his head back before he could latch onto its throat and threw him off balance.  

He should have been able to avoid the next move – but his belly was full.  And the heavy weight of too many meals slowed him down.  

A searing pain erupted  through his left hip.  He roared as the foreign feeling of pain shocked his loins.  Out the corner of his eye he saw a set of twin horns lodged into his leg just below the joint.  

He snapped wildly at the creature’s neck but missed.  It had now risen to its feet, all three but the wounded one, but still possessed the size and strength to continue driving him back.  Its head twisted and jerked with violent jitters, tearing and gnashing the sinews of his muscles as they mashed into the bone.  A tightness filled the king’s lungs and strickened his chest.  If it were not for the neighboring trees to his right he would have been driven to the ground.  He made another desperate strike for the beast, coiling his body around awkwardly to get another bite of the wound he had inflicted upon it.

The creature pulled back and avoided him.  It backed away, poising itself for another charge.  Then it paused.  Its bloodshot eyes were locked on the dread tyrant but in the air the sound of its wailing infant cut through.  The beast turned to the sound of its calf, half hidden in the shrub before taking a look at its own crippled leg.  The horned beast gave the king one more look.  

It turned away from him and hobbled towards the cry of its babe.  The king watched with clouding eyes as they vanished into the brush, the adult limping behind its child, tired and with a trickle of red dragging behind it.

The king sighed with exhaustion.  He craned his neck to look at his leg.  It was a mess of mottled flesh blood and bone, a pair of jagged holes caving in as if the peak of a mountain had been speared into it.  He slumped against the trees for several hours, breathing heavily and unwilling to test it.  It occurred to him that this was a similar feeling to the final moments of his subjects just before he plucked their last breath from them.  A sharp pang erupted in his chest as a fear unlike any other took him.  With heavy and laborious motion he moved his body around so that his left side could be supported by the trees while he dragged himself forward with the right leg, relying heavily on his tail to keep him from tipping over.

It took him long to reach the river.  The great golden eye above had been supplanted by the new, silver ruler of the darkened skies.  His body dumped unceremoniously into the river’s depth.  The rush of the stream stung as it washed his flesh.  His eyes dimmed as his head dipped into the cool water, mixing strangely with a warmth rising from within him.  The night turned black.

 

The forest woke as the morning breeze stirred its leaves.  The swift runners of the pack glided through the woods carried forth by the scent of a large fresh carcass.  Without hesitation they leaped upon its hide and began to pick at it with their hooked claws.  This was a feast that would fill them for days.  

A slight sound emitted from the trees, as light and bare as the soft brush of wind.  One of the pack members raised his head to give a look.  His head remaining fixed on a familiar form that hovered from beyond the trees.  The other members took notice and paused.   A familiar form it was though not as large as they remembered.  Their  eyes fell to a pair of deep, gaping scars perched high upon its leg.  As one they returned to consuming their feast, taking their time and tearing out the biggest, choicest chunks of meat.  Savoring each bite and taking in more than their stomachs could fill.  

The king watched them as his stomach growled.  The pain of hunger was new to him, but the pain in his pain in his leg hurt more.  He sighed as he lowered his head and waited until he could take his turn at the scraps.

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Rise of the Phoenix: Opening Scene

My first attempt at a movie script. This is the opening scene.

DREG FOREST – THE RUINS

 

Twilight.  Within the deep woods of the Dreg there is a secret stone ruin, once a temple of the old gods.  Barely visible beneath the moonlit sky stone gargoyles and other hideous creatures that once guarded the temple lie scattered about.  LORD VALDIN, a tall middle-aged man with platinum blonde hair, draped in a diamond studded mantle, becomes visible in a clearing.  He is accompanied by a trio of scarlet armored guards.  From the darkness a shadow appears; XIN HATOS.  He is hooded in all black and his features are obscured.

 

VALDIN:  I trust you have a bit of good reason for summoning me at this hour… and up here.  Not all of us bear wings or whatever it is you use to make the climb.

XIN HATOS:  I could always leave you in the dark if you prefer comfort.  The news I bring will not be pleasant.

VALDIN:  I am here so on with it.  What dark words do your crows sing now?

XIN HATOS:  They sing nothing.  Something strange travels through the winds, clouding my vision.  I have consulted with the other members of my craft, and some have said their abilities have been waning.  Something moves against us.

 

XIN ‘s head tilts as if listening for something.  VALDIN is silent, but a jeweled glint lights from his eye.  They begin to pace through the temple.

 

VALDIN:  You suspect someone has prying eyes.  Any idea who?

XIN HATOS:  I have sensed the stirring of ancient things… forces that have been long hidden beginning to rise.

VALDIN:  And does your silent friend know of these tidings?  I presume he would have some insight over such matters.

XIN HATOS:  I shared it with him when I first began to sense it.  Since then I have not been able to contact him as frequently…

 

XIN pauses as if searching the air again.  He rests a thin, skeletal finger on a horned gargoyle.

 

XIN HATOS [cont’d]:  He is sending one of his lieutenants.  He will aid in discovering the source of this power, but I have already begun to act.  This interference is deeper than common sorcery, and will require more use of your coin.

VALDIN: rolls his eyes and sighs, And thus the reason for my summons.

XIN HATOS:  You will need to finance the Faith.  Help persuade them to start taking an active stance to remove all foreign practices from the realm.

VALDIN: New cults arise every month… usually to give people a reason to celebrate something.  They may bring in new gods but they’re usually accompanied by gold, wine and trade.  I think we could use a little more tolerance.

XIN HATOS:  Ignores the jest.  There is a new faith beginning to give rise.  The commoners believe it is false and full of lunatics.  I believe it houses mystics.

VALDIN:  I’m not about to stir up the people with a witch hunt until you can provide me with more than just suspicions.  Right now the king’s treasury requires backing while he keeps sending soldiers to ward off the raiders in the north.  And General Dakkor has begun a campaign to expand into the Falcs.  Who knows how long and how much that will cost before he sees victory.  And I hope you haven’t forgotten how much coin has gone into supporting whatever projects you’ve been up to as well.  Contrary to what you may have heard I do not shit and piss gold.

 

XIN now completely turns away from VALDIN and stares at seemingly nothing.

 

XIN:  But you have an art for pulling it from thin air when the need arises.  Soon I will show you what your coin has rewarded but for now…

 

XIN raises a hand and clenches it into a tight fist.  A shrill scream is heard.  Nearby one of the columns a man materializes from thin air and falls to his knees, clutching his chest.  VALDIN raises his eyebrows as he studies the man, obviously a spy or ranger.

 

 

Combat Method – Blusage

The Raptor/Phoenix:  The Evolution of Blusage’s abilities.

At story’s beginning Blusage already displays abnormal strength, speed and agility; attributes that seem to be unique to his mysterious race.  He and his father at one point are wrestling down a hill and showcase excellent, almost catlike footwork and the ability to torque their body in awkward positions while still remaining balanced.  Luthaneas was also trained in military but it is unknown what/if any service he provided in terms of a cause or if it was just mandated civilian service.

 

When Blusage first appears fighting for the mercenaries he employs a mobile, ranging method of attack.  For visual reference imagine a safety or linebacker prowling a zone of field, but able to cover greater distances in shorter amounts of time.

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Blusage will prowl, seek weaknesses and openings in his foes.  When he attacks rarely does he key in on just one opponent.  He is a crowd control fighter, able to swiftly take down multiple foes or squads.

Early on in his career Blusage uses quick weapons like daggers, flails, and occasionally light sabres.  His power weapons are his body, able to launch and drive bone crushing hits by being a human projectile.  He has exceptional pain tolerance and wears armored padding on his shoulders and forearms to decrease force trauma received.  Nupe Zonray actually uses Xavin magic to increase Blusage’s healing abilities.

Mystic Aid.  Blusage has inate access to spiritual/magical powers.  For him that comes in particles of light energy that crystalize into solid matter.  These light wisps spiral from his wrists like wreaths of fire, some say like wings, and generally float or spiral around his arms and body until he uses them.

With certain motions Blusage can fling these wisps of energy at a target.  In their fluid form they can latch onto a foe.  Blusage is kinetically linked to these wisps (as they are an extension of him) and whenever they latch they can pull him towards the target like a grappler, or he can set his feet and pull the target to him.  It is a unique chain fighting system which he uses to distract, throw  foes off balance, launch them in the air, and set them up for his infamous bone crushing hit

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“The Cannon”  Blusage’s trademark one hitter quitter.  He basically launches himself at accelerated speeds like a human cannon, spear.  Generally he aims with his shoulders or forearms but sometimes the finishing blow is a haymaker punch

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Xavin Mystics – Scene 1

XAVIN MYSTICS – INTRO BATTLE
Opening sequence:  BLUSAGE is now a few years into his life as a mercenary.  He is in his early 20s, 6’1” 220 lbs.  He wears a mix of garments he has acquired from his travels:  a long, tailed kilt similar to ones worn by the barbarians of the northern tundra, a curved gauntlet and greeves similar to those of the Superium (an empire similar to Macedonia), and bandages and earrings from the Eastern provinces.

Setting: Mercenary ships at sea.  Fog of morning.  The ship is sailing between two immense cliffs, a pass called Inferno’s Breach.  This region of the world is called the Lost Continents (it is a mix of large land masses and islands that have been shattered apart.  It is revered because it is a world where many great mythic heroes have emerged but also houses terrible monsters like hydras and cylopes.)  BLUSAGE is sitting and gazing about, GROTTO is beside him picking his teeth with his dagger, DHUZIN and NUPE ZONRAY behind him, looking at him.  The sweat on BLUSAGE’s palms betray his calm demeanor.  As the ship passes BLUSAGE looks up and sees winged creatures peering at them from above, griffons.

 

(Optional.  BLUSAGE v.o. narrative)

 

The ships dock at the cliffsides.  Mercenaries unboard and begin filing through an opening, which turns into a murky cave.  They travel in the darkness for a time.  A few of their weapons glimmer and provide light in the caverns.  On the other end of the tunnel the sun shines brightly and reveals hordes of army tents and ships at sea.

Cut to – Inferno’s Breach.  Battle Plains.  The mercenaries are in intense battle with the opposing army, armored in bronze with shields and spears.  A large, muscular race of men; Spartan-like.  Some are almost 8 feet tall.  They even have skilled Amazonian women fighting with them.  Although outnumbered the mercenaries possess unique fighting styles, and an array of odd weapons.  Some mercs are seen cutting down several of the bronze warriors at once, others are impaled or overpowered by the spears.  It seems a draw…

Until DHUZIN and NUPE ZONRAY levitate into the sky.  They begin gesturing with their hands and the earth begins shifting, causing the bronze men to lose their footing and fall through cracks in the ground.  The giants among the bronze warriors leap over the cracks and lead a surging phalanx to plow through the mercenaries, shifting their attention to the levitating mages..

Enter Blusage.  He leaps from off screen and lands into the fray.  His stripes glimmer and the silver eyes begin glowing softly.  Camera pans right as he creeps into a beastlike trot, picking up speed.  He comes upon the first of the bronze men, dodging their sword arcs and spear strikes then leveling them with the blunt edge of his gauntlet.  As he moves faster wisps of light particles (star dust) begin to spiral around his arms, enhancing the power of his punches to a point where he starts shattering their shields.  When he has moved through the first wave he swings his arm and a light wisp flies at a bronze man off screen,  Camera speeds as BLUSAGE zips towards him like drawn from a magnet.  BLUSAGE flicks his wrist and the man goes upward, launched by the wisp.  Another wisp appears around BLUSAGE’s left hand as he moves in and cuts at the man as if wielding a dagger.  BLUSAGE rapidly cuts down the 2nd wave, juking and weaving through them with slashes while throwing the spiraling light wisps at random foes to hook them and fly towards them, lowering his shoulders to deliver shield shattering, jaw cracking hits.  He slows down, camera CIRCLES around him from behind as two giants rush at him.  He swiftly maneuvers around them on the defensive.  DHUZIN is seen in the background gesturing causing the earth to shift, and suddenly springs BLUSAGE in the air at an angle that defies gravity.  BLUSAGE wisp-zips towards the jaw of one of the giants and thrusts his gauntlet forearm into the giant’s chin, ending him, then jukes backwards to swipe at the feet of his comrade, cutting him down.  For the remainder of the battle we see how BLUSAGE’s supernatural athleticism and powers are aided and enhanced DHUZIN in the battle.

Cut to –  Sunset.  Battle’s end.  A king dressed in wreaths of pillars of gold and jewels stands atop a rock at the peak of a cliff, overlooking the vanquished bronze army.  Accompanied by his royal guard he offers the lead mercenary officers (MERC 1 and MERC 2 are present among them) chests and wagons of jewels, supplies, and other goods.  BLUSAGE stands further off near the bottom of the cliff.  Camera zooms in for close up of his face.  His expression seems longing, almost bored.

Cut to – Mercenary campfire.  Nighttime.  MERC 1 comes to BLUSAGE and presents him a sampling of his earnings for the victory.  Giving him a bonus as well, and assuring him that more will be on the way when they return home.  He disperses more earnings to the rest of the members present.  BLUSAGE tosses the earnings behind him and GROTTO remarks he needs to keep a better eye on his stuff “mercs are a greedy lot”.  BLUSAGE says he knows not to trust anyone (alluding to broken promise) and leaves it at that.  NUPE comments that it seems he has little love for gold.  GROTTO asks what does he seek.  DHUZIN says he believes BLUSAGE desires/seeks the mysterious.  The group then goes into a dialogue about these mysteries, Blusage’s powers, Blusage asks them about their magical abilities.  DHUZIN remarks that it is not magic – at least in the popular sense – but a form of powered mystic spiritual force, which enables them to do what they do.  The conversation leads to BLUSAGE asking how to learn these things.

 

The Mercs – Scene 5

The loss of one family brings Blusage to join another… The Mercs

Tomor Island.  Morning.  The mercenary ship approaches on the gold stripes of the sea.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  For some reason when we got there I knew I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for.  I couldn’t sleep last night because part of me feared what Dhuzin had said about the Holy Lands was true.

 

BLUSAGE and the mercs land on the island.  As soon as their ship draws in sight many locals come to the shore.  When the mercs step off the boat many people greet them and begin offering them gifts.  BLUSAGE makes his way through the crowd to check the docking stations.  He approaches a hut which serves as a check in station and navigation guide.  A bald fat and sweaty pig of a man is sitting next to the window with a pipe in his mouth.  He sees BLUSAGE coming but is focused on the back door of the hut where some men are moving crates back and forth to and from a nearby cargo ship.

 

BLUSAGE:  I’m looking to see if a certain voyager has made it here.

FAT MAN:  (grunts something unintelligable)

BLUSAGE:  If you have records of every ship that has come through it could be as far back as a year and some months ago, maybe even more recent.

FAT MAN:  What was the name?

BLUSAGE:  I think it was named the Sky Treader – or something with sky in it-

FAT MAN:  (shouts) Make sure you don’t miss anything!  (snaps his finger at one of the workers and points at a crate beneath a chair)  Not one box short you here?  (glancing up at Blusage)  Where was it headed?

BLUSAGE:  The Sea of Stars.  The Lands where the sun rests.

 

A billow of smoke puffs from FAT MAN’s pipe, almost as if from a stifled laugh.  One of his men is looking around the hut for something.  FAT MAN curses and jumps up and begins gesturing angrily at some crates obscured by drapes.

 

FAT MAN:  Not one box short!  No.  No ship named Sky Rim or any other headed for those lands has come by in the past few weeks.

BLUSAGE:  (stifling his anger)  I said it could have been in the last fifteen months or so.  Could you check your loading records?

 

The sound of a crate smashing against wood disrupts them.  FAT MAN looks to see one of his workers barely holding onto a heavy crate, desperately trying to keep it from falling over into the water as it teeters on the boat.  FAT MAN sticks his head out from the window.

 

FAT MAN:  Next time try throwing yourself overboard!  You’re a lot easier to replace than the stock in that cargo.  Sheesh good help these days.  Hey kid you want a….

 

BLUSAGE slams his palms on the hut.  It is a thunderous sound and the entire dwelling shivers.  FAT MAN falls back into his seat and the workers freeze.  The silver-blue in BLUSAGE’s eyes glints with a blinding fury and the stripes in his head glimmer for a brief second.

 

BLUSAGE:  I just want to know of all ships that were heading were sailing to the Holy Lands.

 

FAT MAN stares at him bug eyed and blinking for a moment.  His wits return and he immediately pulls up some bins from beneath him that contain thick books and scrolls.  He spends several minutes looking through them.

 

FAT MAN:  I’m not seeing any ships that checked in with the name Sky… or any others with destinations that far west.  I see some were sailing northwest to Green Rock and some southwest to Talico, Calhous, and even the Chaos Isles.

BLUSAGE:  Look again.

 

FAT MAN starts as if he wants to protest but the look in BLUSAGE’s eyes keeps him in check.  He grumbles and curses as he goes back through all of the records, slower and more carefully than before.  He even points to certain ships and destinations to see if BLUSAGE recognizes them.  He shakes his head.

 

FAT MAN:  (sighs heavily and slumps back in his chair)  That’s all kid.  Everything as far back as the past two years.  We don’t keep anything past that unless it’s war vessels or special trade ships.

BLUSAGE:  Is there anywhere else on the island I could look that might know more?

FAT MAN:  We’re the main port facing east.  There’s another station on the western shore but they send their reports here.  It’s a small island kid.  Not much goes missing here.  You’re only other option is to go ask every person on the island if they’ve seen the ship that matches your description.

BLUSAGE:  What other islands are further west?

FAT MAN:  None directly.  You would have to go north or southwest for a long while before you find another rest station or bay that can hold ships.  There is a chance that the voyager you’re looking for could have gone to either of those locations but they’re pretty far out of the way.

BLUSAGE:  Has anyone ever made it out there?  Is there anyone on the island who’s ever been to the Holy Lands?

FAT MAN:  (leans forward and puffs heavily on his pipe)  Kid.  I’ve been around for 53 years, served at this hut for 42 of them.  I’ve seen almost every ship that’s sailed out west in those decades.  Of the ones that came back I never met a man, woman, child, or pet that said they been to a land where the sun rests.

 

BLUSAGE turns away from him and digs his hands into his scalp.  He begins wandering aimlessly about the island.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  I knew it was true even before he had even begun looking through his books.  I guess I just wanted to hear it before I finally came to accept it.  Since I first suspected my parents were gone I started to feel as if things weren’t real anymore.  My dreams and my life seemed to be one and the same… some false sort of illusion.

 

Later in the day.  BLUSAGE is sitting next to a tree overlooking the sea and the shore.  His eyes are glistening red with water but no tears are falling.  Even now he seems to have aged and his features have hardened.  He watches the ships come and go, noticing that the ship he came on with the mercs was still at bay.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O. cont’d):  I think I always knew it wasn’t real, even from the time when I was a kid.  I don’t think I ever believed in the stars, the sun, the Chryslans, the Holy Lands and all that other bullshit my parents prayed to.  But I think I wanted to… so long as it kept us safe and happy.  It’s always easier to run with the lie until the truth drives your head to the ground.  There was the possibility my folks were out there somewhere.  I mean how could they just vanish?  I suppose this unknown reality was better than me knowing for certain that their ship had wrecked at sea, or they had been raided or murdered by pirates.  Or even if they had made it to the Holy Lands and they just decided to never come back.  My dad was so pious I used to sometimes wonder if he loved the gods more than me.

Either way I was now on my own.  I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep right now.  Forever perhaps if it meant I could stop living in this illusion and escape the nightmares.  I could stay here and hope for their ship to return or go back home to nothing…

 

MERC 1 and MERC 2 appear, climbing up the shore to approach BLUSAGE.  They can tell by the look in his eyes that his parents never returned.

 

MERC 1:  I am sorry for your misfortune boi, but we’re about to head back.  Are you coming with us?  We’ll drop you off at Tapokia before we sail further East.  We have received word of a king who needs some sell swords to help fight off some rebellious lordlings.

 

BLUSAGE remains quiet, not looking at either of them.  After a time the mercs begin to turn away from him.  Before they could descend…

 

BLUSAGE:  Hey…What does one have to do in order to become a mercenary?

 

MERC 1 and MERC 2 exchange a grin.  MERC 1 nods casually and waves for BLUSAGE to follow them.  With no more hesitation BLUSAGE gets up and the three descend beneath the setting sun, the dim stars, and cast towards the ship and the open sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mercs – Scene 4

When Blusage is introduced to the mercenaries he begins to doubt the things he once believed in.

Merc ship deck.  The ship is sailing across the Bay of Drema.  BLUSAGE is aboard with MERC 1, MERC 2 and a host of other mercenaries who resemble unique races – some with turquoise skin and elfish ears, others appear pirate-like, and one is a large satyr.  The mercs are joking with one another and playing die.  BLUSAGE is leaning against a rail aside from the others and gazing into the deep.  MERC 2 looks over at him a few times…

 

MERC 2:  Whatsamatta!  You sick boi?

BLUSAGE:  (sighs)  Yep…

MERC 2:  Make sure you stick ya’ head further out, just keep ya’ balance and hold tight to the rail.  If I lose this game I got cleaning duty when we port.  Would make my job just a wee bit easier if I don’t have to wipe ya dinner off the hull.

MERC 1:  It’s not the sea that’s got him.  This one is plagued by another illness.  Not to be too harsh boi but I just want to remind you when we land at the harbor we’re turning back – with or without you.  As soon as we get there I recommend you ask all the porters if they saw the ship your folks was on.  If not… well then you’re better off heading back with us than staying there trying to find out more.

MERC 2:  Could be years before you find enough coin to sail back.  Besides, if you don’t hear anything about ya’ folks  it doesn’t mean anything’s happened to them…necessarily.  I mean the sea is tricky young’n.  One sweet pass of the wind can cause delays.

MERC 1:  Best not let your head get the best of you.  Dark thoughts bring dark skies…

 

BLUSAGE lifts his head as he remembers some of the nightmares he’s recently suffered.  He turns towards the mercs.

 

BLUSAGE:  Ya’ll ever been to the Holy Lands?

MERC 1:  (Exchanges looks with MERC 2)  Never…  Nor do I know of anyone who’s ever made it.  Have heard many go looking though.

 

A few of the mercs pause from their game to glance at them.  BLUSAGE notices and a troubled, curious look falls upon him.

 

BLUSAGE:  You’re saying no one has ever returned.

MERC 1:  Only the ships that never found what they were looking for.  If anyone’s ever made it that far west they never came back to tell me about it.

BLUSAGE:  Then how does anyone even know it exists?

 

One of the men, a half-sized man named DHUZIN wearing a cylindrical turban and baggy clothing tosses the dice hard against the deck.  The game has ended and they are beginning to shift towards the conversation.

 

DHUZIN:  It doesn’t.

BLUSAGE: (angrily) How do you know?

DHUZIN:  I’ve seen many things.  Come to know many truths… and lies

MERC 2:  Good friend Dhuzin is.  Has a knack for tell’n you what you don’t wanna hear the hardest way to hear it.

BLUSAGE:  Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

DHUZIN:  True.  But I have come upon things that even if you did see you would not believe.  Secret things.  And to know the truth of them bestows unique gifts to those who seek.  You learn to discern between the legends that unlock these mysterious truths… and the tales which keep people suppressed beneath their fallacies.

MERC 1:  There he goes with that wizard-talk.  Speak plainly.

DHUZIN:  (smirking) Just be careful what you put your faith in.  (turns his head to give them all a keen eye)  Your beliefs channel the paths that unfold in your life.  Distorted beliefs can reveal treacherous portals.

 

The one-eyed satyr, GROTTO, pulls out a dagger with an embroidered hilt of a golden dragon and begins to pick at his teeth with it.  He is a tall, broad shouldered creature with a bandana sagging sideways on his head between the goat horns.  He squints his eyes as he looks at DHUZIN and then BLUSAGE.

 

GROTTO:  I think you’re speaking too much Dhuz.   This one has a hidden eye me thinks.  Mind circles around long enough and he’ll begin to pick up on what you’re saying.

DHUZIN:  Let him.  Looks like he could be of use if molded right.  Built like a warrior – probably even stronger than he realizes.  If he’s got a sharp mind then he could make for a potential hitter.

 

GROTTO leans back and sizes up BLUSAGE.  BLUSAGE is much shorter than him, just over 6 feet tall but with immense shoulders and hammer like forearms, built like an elite olympic athlete.  NUPE ZONRAY a teal skinned man similar in appearance to DHUZIN but of full height with long, sharp elfish ears sticking out from beneath his turban begins to circle BLUSAGE.

 

NUPE ZONRAY:  Curious look he has.  Skin like stardust. Beast-like stripes.  Not fully human are you?  I think he has magic in his blood.

 

BLUSAGE grows uncomfortable with their attention and looks back at MERC 1 and 2.

 

BLUSAGE:  My father seemed to despise ya’ll.  Did you know him?

MERC 1:  Eh… we had come across Luthaneus a few times in the day.  Probably before you came to be.  If he is out there somewhere then he probably wouldn’t want us sharing too much with you.

BLUSAGE:  He was a mercenary?

MERC 2:  He wasn’t one o’ us but our paths crossed many times.  He was skilled with a blade, but preferred to use his skills for things outside of serving blood for gold.

BLUSAGE:  Like what?

MERC 1:  A man does not need to know everything about his father until his time is right.  We will be landing on the island tomorrow so should you see him soon he can determine what more you should know.

 

BLUSAGE starts to press for more, then shakes his head and then looks up at the stars with a bitter frown.

 

 

The Mercs – Scene 3

His parents never return from the voyage – Blusage’s world begins to shatter.

Gold Harbor.  Daytime.  A year has passed and BLUSAGE is seen waiting on the docks.  He speaks to some of the incoming ships and their crews.  There is some excitement and angst as he anticipates the arrival of his parents.  The day passes to late night and he is still waiting until the last ship sails in.  His look gives way to dismay as he discovers it is not the one returning from the voyage to the Holy Land.  He makes the long journey back home.

 

BLUSAGE V.O.:  For a while I came to the docks once a month just in case my folks had come back early.  Once it started getting close to the year mark I began coming here once a week.  I would’ve come every day but since it was no easy walk to get from the village to the docks I made sure I got all my work done.

 

Cut to Temple.  BLUSAGE prays more fervently, even on nights so dark the stars cannot be seen.

Time continues to pass and BLUSAGE is visibly becoming worried.  Scenes alternate between him at work in the farms and the market, at the temple, at the docks, and at his home lying in bed but unable to sleep.

 

BLUSAGE V.O:  When it was three months past when they were supposed to have come back I knew something was wrong.  I began asking around to anyone who knew anything if they had heard of any ships returning from the Holy Lands.

 

Clips of BLUSAGE speaking to Ingrims on their pastures, the crews and fishermen at the as well as the mercenaries at the docks, and at various locations.  They all shake their heads and BLUSAGE turns from them with a heavy, forlorn gaze.  At the temple he is often quiet and rubbing his eyes as frustration mounts.  Even when the Ingrims are there he sits apart from them and doesn’t speak.  When he is lying at bed he just gazes up at the sky.  Occasionally his eyes drift and he falls asleep.

Dream Sequence.  Blusage standing at the docks gazing upon a beautiful golden sunrise.  The ship appears and there is a childish delight in his eyes.  His parents appear alone from the rails and descend to greet him.  They hold each other in a long embrace.  The dream shatters.

 

BLUSAGE V.O:  The dreams always felt real.  So much so that they became torturous.  When I would wake up and see the reality I wished I could sink back into them.  Eventually I came to see the trick for what it was.  The sunrise was a lie.

 

The dreams become distorted, warping from one vision to another, alternating between suns, stars, vague water, darkness and other mysterious things.

 

BLUSAGE V.O:  Praying only made things worse, and whenever I went to the temple my heart burned so bad I couldn’t think straight.  From bouts of panic and loss of sleep I was beginning to lose my mind.  Sometimes I had to drink some of the herbs that the priests would use to help people who were sick and dying go to sleep.

 

Tapokia pub.  Ext.  Night.  BLUSAGE is speaking to MERC 1 and MERC 2, the same ones from his childhood.  They are nodding as they listen to him.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  That’s when I turned to the mercs.  They knew things that most others didn’t or had ways of finding them.  I started hiring them to do searches, and even managed to find a way to sail with them out west.  It cost a lot but if they could help me find out something then I figured it was worth it.

 

 

The Mercs – Scene 2

Blusage finds peace in the Faith

Tapokia village.  BLUSAGE is seen in various cuts speaking to the human farmers and some of the shepherds.  He performs manual labor for them and helps transport their goods to the market.  Every now and then he stops and looks at the mercenaries whenever they are in town telling stories to the children by the well, but he quickly resumes his chores.

Temple Night.  A cut to BLUSAGE sitting quietly in the dark temple at an altar.  There is a hole above the altar which reveals the stars shining dimly.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  Every night I would go pray for them.  At first I couldn’t stand it.  I would rather just murmur some prayers in my head than be up here in the dark all alone.  But I figured the stars would listen better if I tried to get closer to them.  Maybe they would provide better safety for my parents if they saw me following the example they had set.

 

A sharp sound disturbs BLUSAGE from his prayers.  He peers around but there is only darkness.  No moon tonight.  Another sound almost causes him to jump but he sees the glimmer of fur as a mammal scurries from the temple into the woods.  He shivers.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  Sometimes I had this feeling that I was not alone when I prayed.  And it wasn’t the feeling that I was getting closer to the gods.  One of the reasons we prayed was to keep dark spirits away… the serpents of the wind.

 

Cut to another night at the temple.  It’s flickering with torchlight.  BLUSAGE is accompanied by some of the Ingrim shepherds.  They pray with him and teach him the spiritual ways, sometimes bringing books for him to read.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  I was always glad when the Ingrims would come up.  Growing up when we were kids we kind of left them alone.  They were real quiet, packed together like herds, and they had these curious looks in their eyes.  Look long enough at you and it felt like they could peek right into the soul.

 

Close up pan of one of the elder Ingrims as he speaks to those gathered, his yellow-green eyes widen and dilate as he preaches.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  My dad said it’s because they were such devout believers the stars blessed them with the gift to see things beyond light.

 

The elder Ingrim’s gaze fixes on BLUSAGE for a time.  The glint of the torches flickers in them and causes BLUSAGE to look away.

 

BLUSAGE (V.O.):  I didn’t like that look though, no matter how close I got to them.  I always felt like there was some doubt when they saw me.  Like they were uncertain of what I was.  Or afraid of me.  We used to think they were fanatics, but in reality they were just convicted with their beliefs.  And the more I was around them the more I could start to believe in the stories.  Now they weren’t near as interesting as the ones the Mercs told, and often they were confusing to understand.  Since we were mortals the Ingrims said we weren’t meant to comprehend the ways of the gods, but they liked that I asked a lota questions.  I sometimes wondered if I was becoming a religious quack, but at the end of the night I would be at peace.