Story Time - The Princess Bride
CUT TO: Ext., Fire Swamp.
[The Fire Swamp looks exactly like you'd expect your basic firey swamp of doom to look, with added trees for that 'block out the sunlight' touch.
[FITZ is looking panicked, but if TRIX is, she's doing her best to hide it]
FITZ: [trying to put a brave face on it] Huh. Looks like a nice place. I mean, it's not like you'd want a summer home here or anything...
[There's a small popping sound and a burst of flame erupts from the ground. Both FITZ and TRIX dodge out of the way, but TRIX is just a little too slow, and suddenly the bottom half of her dress is on fire.
[FITZ does his best to smother the flame using only his bare hands, and eventually succeeds, at the cost of a few burns and singes]
FITZ: [sucking at his hands] Ouch. You get singed?
[TRIX shakes her head "no"]
FITZ: That's good...
[He pulls her to her feet, and as he does, there's another small popping sound, and FITZ grabs TRIX, pulling her to safety as another gout of flame erupts from the ground.
[TRIX disentangles herself from FITZ, and dusts herself down]
TRIX: Well. This certainly keeps you on your toes..
[FITZ eyes her, trying to read some sarcasm into that line, but fails]
CUT TO: Ext., Another Part of the Fire Swamp.
FITZ: [attempting to be jaunty] Just another couple of minutes, and we're outta here, 'cause Bond's ship "Vengeance"'s anchored at the other end... and since _I'm_ Bond...
TRIX: I meant to ask about that. How can you be the Dread Pirate Bond when he started twenty years ago, and you only left me five years ago?
FITZ: [nonchalantly] Guess it's just one of those little quirks.
[There's another popping sound, another gout of flame. Both of them easily dodge it, and pick up the conversation without missing a beat]
FITZ: [lying through his teeth] Y'see, what actually happened was, he captured me, I said "Please. I wanna live", and that caught his attention - well, that and my descriptions of your beauty.
[TRIX pinks a little at this.
[There are some nasty-looking (and possibly flesh-eating) vines up ahead. TRIX taps FITZ on the shoulder. He gets out his sword, and slices through them, the vines making a groaning sound as they fall]
FITZ: [back to the truth] Anyway, what he said next was "All right, er, Westley, I've never had a valet before. You can try it for tonight. I'll most likely kill you in the morning." Three years he said that. Got almost kind of used to it in the end, which scares me. "Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning." Spent the time learning to fight, fence, anything they wanted to teach me, and Bond and me ended up becoming friends.
Which was when it happened.
TRIX: What? -Go on.
FITZ: Well, Bond'd got so rich, he wanted to retire. So what he did was, he took me to his cabin and told me his secret. "I'm not the Dread Pirate Bond," he said. "My name's Grant. I inherited this ship from the previous Dread Pirate Bond, just as you'll inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from wasn't the real Dread Pirate Bond, either. His name was Turlough. The real Bond's been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia." He said the name was what inspired the fear, not the person - no-one'd surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley."
[By now, the two of them have crossed a swamp pond without even noticing]
FITZ: So what we did next was, we sailed ashore, got a whole new crew, and Grant stayed on as first mate, calling me Bond the whole time. Once we'd convinced _them_, he went off, leaving me as Bond. And now we're nearly outta this, I'm gonna retire and hand it off to someone else.
[Unfortunately, the two of them have been so engrossed in the conversation, TRIX doesn't notice as she steps on a patch of Lightning Sand - like quicksand, only quicker - and she sinks in.
[FITZ spins round, cuts a vine in half, leaving it still hanging to the tree, then grabs it, drops the sword, and dives into the Lightning Sand.
[The Sand remains undisturbed for a few minutes.
[Then there's a rather disturbing panting sound, which gets louder and louder until a Rodent Of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S), which looks remarkably like the rat from "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", except maybe not so fake, bursts into view, sniffs around a bit, then leaves.
[FITZ and TRIX burst out of the Lightning Sand, gasping for breath.
[Using the vine, FITZ manages to pull them to the edge of the Lightning Sand pit.
[Their faces are encrusted with the Sand - it's got everywhere.
[The R.O.U.S watches from above.
[FITZ and TRIX are wiping the sand from their faces. TRIX pauses, looks around, and catches sight of the R.O.U.S.
[It stares at her. TRIX stares back.
[FITZ hasn't noticed]
FITZ: Well, we're nearly out of _that_...
TRIX: Are we? [still looking at the R.O.U.S]
FITZ: 'Course. We've got through the flame bursts and the quicksand, so it's just if anything _else_ wants to give it a try.
TRIX: Like a Rodent Of Unusual Size?
FITZ: A what?
[As he says that, a R.O.U.S comes flying at him.
[FITZ is pinned under it, he can't fight it off - it's got its teeth sunk into his arm, and he's screaming.
[He lashes out in panic, hitting it in the face, sending it flying.
[TRIX bends down, picks up his sword, and impales the thing, which lets out one last, long scream and dies.
[FITZ lies on the ground, exhausted]
FITZ: ...Where'd you learn to do _that?_
TRIX: What, you think I didn't learn anything on the farm?
[FITZ rolls his eyes and falls back]
CUT TO: Ext., Edge of the Fire Swamp, Dusk.
FITZ: [can't believe it] We made it. We actually made it.
TRIX: So we did.
[They pick up their pace, just about to reach the edge of the Fire Swamp and safety, when-
[-they see the EIGHTH DOCTOR on his horse, KASTCHEI beside him, and some of the Ogrons waiting behind.
[TRIX looks exhausted. FITZ looks worse]
EIGHTH DOCTOR: Surrender.
FITZ: ...Okay, that's it. I have had it up to _here_ with this!
I've been snogged by Trix, been captured by pirates, been stuck as a pirate's valet for five years, had to climb those damn cliffs single-handedly - single-bloody-handedly - and that's *without* having to climb them without a rope - had to fight Chang Lee, master swordsman, had to wrestle Ssard, been pushed down a ravine, had to trudge through a Fire Swamp, dodge blasts of fire, crawl out of Lightning Sand, fight off a huge bloody rat, and then end up having you ask me to surrender.
And do you know why? Do you?
So I could get out of this bloody story, that's bloody why!!
So why don't _you_ surrender to _me_, and we can get all this over with!
EIGHTH DOCTOR: Full marks for bravery - but please, don't make yourself a fool.
FITZ: [nearly incandescent with rage] DOCTOR-!
NARRATOR (v.o.): ...I don't think that's the Doctor, Fitz.
NARRATOR (v.o.): That's not the Doctor. Prince Zagreus, remember?
FITZ: ...Oh, cruk.
TRIX: [looking from one to the other] ...You said it.
[-and catches sight of something else - an Ogron with a loaded crossbow aimed at FITZ.
[She looks the other way-
[-and there's another.
[No way out]
ZAGREUS: Surrender. I will not ask again.
TRIX: ...Will you promise not to hurt him?
[ZAGREUS whirls to confront her]
ZAGREUS: ...What was that?
FITZ: [staring at her] Trix, this's *Zagreus*! Mr Anti-Time himself! Do you know what he *did* to us?!
TRIX: ...If we surrender, and I return with you, will you promise not to harm this man - or me?
ZAGREUS: [raises right hand] May I live a thousand years.
TRIX: He is a sailor on the pirate ship "Vengeance". Promise you will return him to his ship.
ZAGREUS: I swear it will be done.
FITZ: [hisses] Trix, you can't trust him! You didn't see what he did to us!
TRIX: [hisses] *I don't have a choice!*
ZAGREUS: [aside] Once we're out of sight, take him back to Florin and throw him in the Pit.
KASTCHEI: [almost smiling] I swear it will be done.
TRIX: [low, quiet] Fitz, I know what happens in this story. Zagreus's been playing by the story so far. If I can keep things on track, we'll get out alive - things are going to get bad for you before we can get out, but not as bad as they'd be if he kills you now.
FITZ: [glances at ZAGREUS] ...All right. I just hope you're right...
[Abruptly, ZAGREUS leans down, scoops TRIX off her feet, onto his horse, and rides off. FITZ stares after her.
[KASTCHEI watches as the Ogrons bring FITZ to him. He's holding a sword in one hand]
KASTCHEI: Come, sir. We must get you to your ship.
FITZ: [tiredly] Come off it. We both know you're not gonna do that. Wouldn't be interesting that way.
KASTCHEI: Truly spoken- [FITZ looks at him, staring at the sunglasses] -What is it?
FITZ: Your eyes - snakes' eyes - Lee's looking for you-
[KASTCHEI clubs FITZ over the skull, and he starts to fall-]
FADE IN ON: Int., The Pit of Despair.
[The Pit is dark and cold, a windowless room lit by dim torches, with a cage set in the middle of the room. FITZ lies in the centre of the cage, chained and immobile.
[SHAYDE enters the room, a figure with a smooth black globe for a head, wearing a black bodysuit; only his hands are recognisably human. He carries a tray of food and medication]
FITZ: ...Stupid question, but where am I?
SHAYDE: The Pit of Despair. [begins attending to FITZ's wounds. FITZ winces] Don't even think about trying to escape - the chains are too thick. And don't dream of being rescued, either - the only way in is secret, and only the Prince, the Count, and I know how to get in and out.
FITZ: [considers] Eh. I've been in worse. So "here till I die", sort of thing?
SHAYDE: Until they kill you, yes.
FITZ: So why bother patching me up?
SHAYDE: The Prince and the Count always insist on everyone being healthy before they are broken.
FITZ: Torture. Brilliant.
FITZ: Okay, how bad is it? Should I update my will?
SHAYDE: You survived the Fire Swamp. You must be very brave...
...but no-one survives the Machine.
FITZ: ...Okay. Torture. I just hope it ends up being one of those cutaway scenes... [normal tone] Er, I suppose I should ask the obvious question right about now - what the Hell happened to your head?
SHAYDE: There was an accident with the waste disposal.
CUT TO: Int., Castle Corridor.
[TRIX wanders down a corridor, sad, perhaps a little pale.
[As she passes an intersection, not even seeing it-
[KASTCHEI and ZAGREUS are watching her]
ZAGREUS: She's been like that all night. It's my father's failing health upsetting her, of course.
KASTCHEI: Of course.
CUT TO: Ext., Florin Castle, Night.
NARRATOR (v.o.): The King died that very night, and before the following dawn, Buttercup and Zagreus were married.
CUT TO: Ext., Castle Courtyard, Day.
[If it was crowded the last time, this time, it's even more packed, almost to bursting.
[ZAGREUS, KASTCHEI, and ROMANA stand on the balcony]
NARRATOR (v.o.): And at noon, she met her subjects again - this time as their Queen.
ZAGREUS: My father's final words were...
CHLOE: [off-screen] ...I thought this was going to have a happy ending.
CUT TO: Int., Bedroom.
[CHLOE's sitting up again, and she's looking a bit stronger now, stronger than when we first saw her]
ANJI: It does... or it should, if everything works out
CHLOE: But how? I mean, if Trix marries Zagreus - which is _not_ what should happen, not when Fitz's stuck in the Pit and can't even make an attempt to escape-
ANJI: Wait and see, okay?
CHLOE: ...Okay, Mum.
ANJI: All right. ...at noon, she met her subjects again - this time as their Queen.
CUT TO: Ext., Castle Balcony.
ZAGREUS: My father's final words were "love her as I loved her, and there will be joy." I present to you your Queen. Queen Buttercup.
[And TRIX emerges from the archway, and the crowd begins to kneel, wave after wave of them kneeling, until everyone is down.
[And TRIX appears moved by this - and then stunned.
[An old woman, EVELYN, approaches her through the crowd, booing as she goes]
EVELYN: Booooo! Booooo!
TRIX: Er, excuse me-?
EVELYN: Oh, sorry, dear. This is supposed to be the standard dream guilt trip. I'm obviously here as the voice of your guilt.
TRIX: ...I'm not feeling guilty. I know what's supposed to happen in the story, and it's a hell of a lot better than if Fitz dies by the Swamp, believe me.
EVELYN: Well, *I* know that, and *you* know that, and *Anji* knows that, but the story doesn't *know* we know that. Which is why we're standing here talking about dream guilt trips.
EVELYN: Ahem. BOO! BOO! SLIME! MUCK! RUBBISH! [sotto voce] Sorry about this, dear, but we have to make it look good for the story. [raises voice again] BOO! BOO!
[She reaches out her hands towards TRIX's throat, reaching, reaching, and then suddenly-]
CUT TO: Int., Castle Bedroom, Night.
[TRIX snaps out of her dream, grabs a robe, and starts running]
NARRATOR (v.o.): It was ten days till the wedding. The King still lived, but Buttercup's nightmares were growing steadily worse.
[Off-screen, CHLOE whews]
NARRATOR (v.o.): Told you to wait and see.
CUT TO: Int., Prince Zagreus's Chambers, Night.
[TRIX bursts into the room]
TRIX: It comes to this: I love Westley. I always have. I know now I always will. If you tell me I must marry you in ten days, please believe I will be dead by morning.
ZAGREUS: [stunned] I could never cause you grief; consider the wedding off. [to KASTCHEI] You returned this Westley to his ship?
ZAGREUS: Then we shall alert him. [to TRIX again] Are you certain he still wants you? After all, you left him in the Fire Swamp. Not to mention that pirates aren't known to be men of their words.
TRIX: My Westley will always come for me.
ZAGREUS: I suggest a deal. You write four copies of a letter. I'll send my four fastest ships. One in each direction. The Dread Pirate Roberts is always close to Florin this time of year. We'll run up the white flag and deliver your message. If Westley wants you, then I shall bless you both. If not ... then I ask you to consider me as an alternative to suicide. Are we agreed?
[TRIX nods - but she knows, as we do, he's lying]
CUT TO: Ext., Grove of Trees.
[KASTCHEI and ZAGREUS enter the grove]
KASTCHEI: Your Princess is a winning creature. A trifle simple, perhaps, but her appeal is undeniable.
ZAGREUS: Mm. The people are quite taken with her. Hiring Sabbath to have her murdered on our engagement day... I felt it had a certain simplicity. But it's going to be so much more moving when I kill her on our wedding night. Once Guilder is blamed, the nation will be truly outraged. They'll demand we go to war.
KASTCHEI: ...Ah, here we go. [pushes secret knot on tree, and the tree opens, revealing a staircase leading below] Coming? I believe Westley has some of his strength back. I think I'm going to try him on the Machine.
ZAGREUS: Kat, I admire your work... [sighs] but I have this country's five hundredth anniversary to plan, a wedding to arrange, a wife to kill, Guilder to frame for it, and the Web of Time to disrupt as a result. [sighs again]
KASTCHEI: Get some rest - if you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything. Believe me, I should know.
[He hurries down the stairs as the door slides back into place]
CUT TO: Int., The Pit of Despair.
[KASTCHEI drags FITZ up against an enormous Machine. There are wires, levers and wheels everywhere on the thing, giving it a rough mechanical appearance - and a dial marked from '1' to '50']
KASTCHEI: An interesting little thing, don't you think?
FITZ: ...Yeah. Real interesting.
[SHAYDE begins attaching suction cups to FITZ's body]
KASTCHEI: It took me half a lifetime to create. As I'm sure you've learned, I have a deep and abiding scholarly interest in matters of pain. At present, I am writing the definitive work on the matter - which, hopefully, should enable me to discover even more vistas of pain.
As such, I want you to be completely honest with me on your feelings when the Machine is activated.
[There are suckers all over him now, on his head, his chest, his arms and legs.
[KASTCHEI goes over to the dial]
KASTCHEI: As this is our first try... I think I'll use the lowest setting.
[He turns the dial to '1', and fiddles with the Machine a little more.
[Then he opens a little floodgate. Water pours down a chute, turning a wheel and setting the Machine in motion.
[And FITZ _screams_, gasping at the pain, it's almost too much, too much to bear.
[KASTCHEI switches off the Machine, picks up a notebook and pen, sits down in a chair, and opens the book]
KASTCHEI: The concept of the Machine is quite simple, drawing on the concept of the suction pump for inspiration, with a few little additions of my own - however, it doesn't draw water, it draws life. About one year's worth of life-force has been drained from you. It may be possible to go as high as five... but I've never seen what that would do to someone.
So tell me: What did this do to you? And how do you feel now?
[FITZ begins to sob.
[KASTCHEI watches, then starts to write]
CUT TO: Int., Prince Zagreus's Chambers.
[ZAGREUS is snowed under with paperwork. Piles of paper lie all around the room.
[The VALEYARD, a tall, balding man with slicked-back hair, dark eyes, and black robes, enters]
VALEYARD: [bows] My Prince.
ZAGREUS: As Chief Enforcer of Florin, I wish to trust you with a secret that has recently come to my attention.
[The VALEYARD nods]
ZAGREUS: Assassins from Guilder are infiltrating the Thieves' Forest and plan to murder the Princess Buttercup on our wedding night.
VALEYARD: ...My information network has heard no such intelligence. I shall interrogate them myself.
TRIX: Any word from Westley?
[ZAGREUS and the VALEYARD turn to her]
ZAGREUS: Too soon, milady. Patience.
TRIX: [eyes flashing] He will come for me.
ZAGREUS: Of course.
ZAGREUS: I will not see her murdered. On the day of the wedding, I want the Thieves' Forest emptied and every inhabitant arrested.
VALEYARD: Many of the thieves will resist. My regular enforcers will be inadequate.
ZAGREUS: Then I give you permission to form a Brute Squad. The Thieves' Forest will be emptied before the marriage.
VALEYARD: Very well, my Prince. I shall do so. [leaves]
ZAGREUS: [sighs] Try destroying the Web of Time some time...
CUT TO: Ext., Thieves' Forest, Day.
[The thieves are being rounded up by the Brute Squad, a mixture of Ogrons, Cybermen, Sontarans and Ice Warriors. The VALEYARD stands on a cart in the midst of the confusion]
NARRATOR (v.o.): The day of the wedding arrived, and the Brute Squad found their hands full carrying out Zagreus's orders.
VALEYARD: [to a SONTARAN] Is everyone out?
SONTARAN: Almost. A Chinese human is giving us some trouble... we are dealing with him.
VALEYARD: [smiles unpleasantly] Be sure to give _him_ some trouble, won't you?
[The VALEYARD's wagon begins to move]
CUT TO: Ext., Hovel in the Thieves' Forest.
[CHANG LEE is sprawled in front of the hovel, blind stinking drunk, a bottle of beer in one hand and the great sword in the other. However, the way he swings the sword around is enough to make anyone think twice]
LEE: I'm... I'm waiting for you, Sabbath... "Back to the beginning", you said, so that's where I went... Here now, gonna stay right here. Not gonna move an inch.
[He swigs from the bottle of beer, but stops as the SONTARAN comes into view]
SONTARAN: You there!
LEE: Not... not movin' an inch. Stick "you there" where the sun don't shine. [waves sword]
SONTARAN: Prince Zagreus has given orders-
LEE: -Sabbath did too. Job goes wrong, y'go back to the beginning. This's where we got the job, so this's the beginnin', and this's where 'm stayin'.
SONTARAN: [gestures at a Brute] You! Yes, you! Come here!
LEE: Waitin' for Shabba-
VOICE: Shouldn't that be "Sabbath"?
[LEE feels something on his back - a hand. He compares it to his own, smaller, hand]
LEE: It's you!
SSARD: [nods] True.
[The SONTARAN prepares to club LEE's brains out, but SSARD lands a mighty punch right in the face.
[The SONTARAN staggers under the impact, and falls backwards, out cold.
[SSARD puts LEE down]
SSARD: Hmm. I am no expert in human physiology, but from what I can see, I do not believe you are in a healthy condition at the moment.
[LEE lets out a foul breath]
SSARD: Correction: what I can see and /smell/.
LEE: Mebbe not. Feelin' fine. Put me down, an' I'll show ya.
[SSARD experimentally puts him down.
[LEE falls over]
CUT TO: Int., Empty Alehouse in the Thieves' Forest.
[LEE sits slumped in a chair, while SSARD attempts to spoon him stew. It's not going too well, what with SSARD's large hands and LEE's lolling mouth, but they're making progress]
NARRATOR (v.o.): Lee and Ssard were reunited. As Ssard did his best to bring his inebriated friend back to sobriety, he told Lee of Sabbath's death, and the existence of Count Kastchei, the man with snakes' eyes.
Considering Lee's lifelong search, he took the news remarkably well.
[LEE falls forward into his stew]
CUT TO: Int., Empty Alehouse in the Thieves' Forest.
[Two large tubs, one filled with steaming water, the other filled with ice-cold water, have been placed in the middle of the room.
[SSARD silently dunks LEE in the cold water, then hauls him out, dunks him in the hot water, hauls him out again, dunks him in the cold water, hauls him out, dunks him in the hot, back and forth, back and forth-]
NARRATOR (v.o.): Ssard took great care in reviving Lee.
LEE: STOP! STOP! I'm okay! I'm okay! [gasps] Okay. Where's this Kastchei guy so I can kill his ass?
SSARD: He's with the Prince in the Castle. However, the castle gate is guarded by thirty men.
LEE: And you could take-
SSARD: Ten, at best.
LEE: ...Leaves twenty for me. Couldn't do that even if I was sober. Cruk. [sinks back down] We need Sabbath. We need that devious bastard's _brain_.
SSARD: True. Strategy has never been a speciality of mine, either. And since Sabbath is dead... [shrugs]
LEE: [inspiration hitting] No. We don't need Sabbath. We need the Man In Black.
SSARD: [actually doubletakes] What?
LEE: He wrestled you down - and ain't no-one can do that. He beat _me_ in the sword-fight - and ain't no-one can do _that_, either. Guy musta out-planned Sabbath - and a guy who can do *that* is the guy I want tellin' me how to storm the castle. Let's go-
LEE: Find the Man In Black. Duh.
SSARD: We do not know where he is. Even if we did know, I doubt he would help us, since we were attempting to kill him the last time we met.
LEE: [waves it off] Don't sweat the small stuff, 'kay? What matters is, after ten years, my father's soul will be at rest. [grins] There's gonna be blood tonight!
CUT TO: Int., Prince Zagreus's Chambers.
[The VALEYARD enters and bows]
VALEYARD: The Thieves' Forest is emptied. Thirty men guard the castle gate.
ZAGREUS: Double it. The Princess is to be kept safe at all cost.
VALEYARD: The gate has only one key, and I carry it.
[He shows the key dangling around his throat. Just then, TRIX enters]
ZAGREUS: Milady. Tonight we marry. Tomorrow morning, your men will escort us to Florin Channel where every ship in the armada waits to accompany us on the honeymoon.
TRIX: Every ship but four.
ZAGREUS: ...The four I sent, yes.
VALEYARD: [bows] Your Majesties. [leaves]
TRIX: [flatly] Don't bother. We both know you never sent those ships. It won't matter. Westley will come anyway.
ZAGREUS: You are a silly creature, aren't you? Sillier even than the rest.
TRIX: Silly? Perhaps - for not seeing that you are a tiny, bored little man who plays little games with other people.
ZAGREUS: I would not say such things if I were you-
TRIX: Why not? You can't hurt me. Not in any way that matters. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that. Not with a thousand bloodhounds. And you cannot break it. Not with a thousand swords. And when I say you are a bored little man, it is because you are. You are a _Prince_, and this is what you do with it.
[ZAGREUS jumps at her, hauls her by the collar, pulling her along, his voice cold and distinct]
ZAGREUS: I would not say such things if I were you.
CUT TO: Int., Castle Corridor.
[ZAGREUS throws open the door to TRIX's room, throws her inside, slams it shut, locks it, breaks into a run-]
CUT TO: Int., The Pit of Despair.
[FITZ is strapped into the Machine, but it's not on. KASTCHEI is adding more notes to his book. He looks up as ZAGREUS comes down the stairs]
ZAGREUS: [quiet, terrible] I am Zagreus. I am vengeance. I will be avenged on the Web of Time. This is _not_ some petty game, some little powerplay. This is my time, and my time is the End. [looks FITZ in the eyes] She does not believe. Not yet. Has not seen it, seen its truth.
But she will.
[He rounds on the Machine, twists the dial, grabs the lever-]
KASTCHEI: Not to fifty!!
[But it's too late, it's _already_ too late-
[ZAGREUS shoves the lever all the way up-
[And FITZ is in pain, pain he has never known, beyond anything he has suffered before, beyond _all_ he has suffered before, beyond all he can endure, and something begins, something is forced into being, something that should never be-
[The Death Scream]
CUT TO: Ext., Grove of Trees.
[And the Scream is building, it's getting louder and louder-]
CUT TO: Ext., The Castle Gates.
[And the VALEYARD and the Brutes hear it, and even the Brutes shudder involuntarily, and it's getting /louder/-]
CUT TO: Int., Castle Bedroom.
[And TRIX hears it, she knows exactly what it is, what it means, what's finally happened - and even so, she hugs herself, puts her arms around herself, to stop the trembling, and it's getting *louder*-]
TRIX: [whispers] I'm sorry, Fitz. I'm so, so sorry.
CUT TO: Ext., Marketplace.
[Lots of people - it's the 500th anniversary, it's the Prince's wedding day - but all of them stop as they hear the Scream-
[LEE and SSARD are trying to push their way through the crowd - now quiet as they hear the fading Scream-]
LEE: Ssard - I know that sound - that's the sound of Ultimate Suffering - that's the sound I made when Kastchei killed my father - the Man In Black makes it now-
SSARD: The Man In Black?
LEE: Who else would make this sound, today, this day - who else would have a reason to make it- [tries to push through] -'Scuse me-
[The crowd's too thick]
LEE: 'Scuse me, it's important-
[SSARD is roaring now, terrible in his rage, angry, truly angry-]
[The crowd begin to back away, let them pass-]
CUT TO: Ext., Grove of Trees near the Pit of Despair.
[SHAYDE is wheeling along a wheelbarrow.
[LEE's sword prods at his chest]
LEE: Man In Black. Know where he is?
[SHAYDE shakes his head, says nothing]
LEE: 'Round here somewhere, isn't it?
LEE: Ssard? Wanna help him jog his memory?
[SSARD smashes SHAYDE over the head, sending SHAYDE faltering to the ground]
SSARD: My apologies, Lee. I did not know how much strength would be needed to knock him unconscious. [looks around] Lee?
[LEE is kneeling, eyes closed, holding his sword tight between his hands.
[He faces the grove of trees, and begins]
LEE: [low] Father, for the last ten years, I have failed you. Now, our search can end. Somewhere ... somewhere close by is a man who can help us. I cannot find him alone. I need you. I need you to guide my sword. Please.
[LEE rises, eyes still closed]
LEE: Guide my sword.
[LEE walks forward, eyes shut tight, sword still in his hands.
[SSARD mutters "humans", and follows him.
[LEE walks through the grove, eyes closed.
[He passes by the secret knot, hesitates, then walks on.
[Then he stops.
[He spins round, eyes closed, and the sword strikes home in another knot.
[-and nothing happens. He's failed.
[He slumps against the tree in abject failure.
[Against the secret knot in the tree.
[The tree slides open, revealing the staircase.
[LEE and SSARD look at each other, then go down]
CUT TO: Int., Pit of Despair.
[FITZ lies dead by the Machine. SSARD stands over him, listening, then shakes his head]
SSARD: He's dead.
LEE: [sags] This... sucks.
CHLOE: [off-screen] -Wait, wait-
CUT TO: Int., Bedroom.
[CHLOE's looking stronger than we've seen her so far]
CHLOE: Wait. I thought Trix said they get out of this alive. I thought she meant all of them - [pauses] - Fitz is faking it, right? Like Jamais can.
ANJI: [very very tired and sad] Do you want me to finish?
CHLOE: Do they get out of this? Who's going to save them? Ssard? Lee? Who?
ANJI: Let me finish the story, Chloe, *please*. I have to finish the story.
CHLOE: ...Okay, Mum.
ANJI: Okay... The Pit of Despair.
CUT TO: Int., Pit of Despair.
LEE: [sags, then brightens] C'mon, Ssard. Bring the body.
SSARD: The body? Why?
LEE: Got any money?
SSARD: A little. They pay well in the Brute Squad.
LEE: I just hope it's enough to get us a miracle...
Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat.