Hopefully everyone enjoyed part 1 of my screenplay, so here is part 2. At this point it may become clear why I left things where I did in part 1. The next scene is almost as long as the entirety of part 1, and the scene after is even longer. If people think these are actually too short then I can post bigger, but I figure blog posts shouldn’t be too massive.
EXT. MARKET SQUARE – MORNING
The market square is the only melting pot of the city. Paths from the slums converge with the entrance to the merchant’s row and streets leading to the Temple district and the rich quarter, which also houses the Grand Library. Poor and middle-class people crowd together to buy food and clothes, while the occasional aristocrat is seen appraising stalls filled with “treasures” from distant lands. It is here that we begin to see some signs of magic. Small magic crystals are found in the center of scales for the “upscale” stalls to insure accurate measures. The archways leading to the other districts have large crystals inset in the keystones. An aristocrat carries a cane tipped with a magic gem, useful to defend oneself with.
A single wall of the market, situated near the entrance to the slums, is dominated by a gallows. The raised wooden platform sits menacingly over the crowd, who give it a wide
berth, ignoring it as best they can. Two empty nooses swing on either side of the center post, which is stylized to look like a sword, with a scarlet eye glaring forth from the pommel.
In one corner of the square, is an old, worn stall with a small stove beside it. The stall is covered in wrapped, steaming potatoes, which occasionally get placed back in the
stove to keep warm. Guarding the food is an elderly woman sitting on an ancient stool, GRAMS. She is wrapped in a colorful shawl. She seems half-asleep, hand resting lightly
on a gnarled old stick.
A young boy dashes in front of her stall. Quicker than lightning the old woman raps him on the back with her stick, stopping him before he can get more than two paces. Sheepishly, he returns the potato he had tried to steal and flees back into the crowd. Arachne approaches the stall, giving a passing glance to the kid.
Sharp eyed as always Grams.
Hmph, brat was so slow, I almost let him have it out of pity.
And the fact that he only returned one of them?
Grams pulls a potato out of the stove, freshly baked, and begins wrapping it.
Now I wouldn’t know nothing about that, or anything about that poor waif’s sister who caught the fever last week.
Getting soft in your old age? A potato won’t help, not after a week.
Maybe I am.
Grams hands the potato to Arachne.
More kids running about than there used to be, more problems too. Makes an old bird yearns for the sounds of her youth; laughter, song…
The clink of coin?
Arachne tosses the stolen money purse to Grams, who catches it chuckling. She stops though, after weighing it in her hand.
Prices have gone up, but not this much. You think I need charity?
No, just settling my debts.
Grams looks doubtful, then squirrels the bag into her shawl.
Rumor has it you’ve got some fool-hardy scheme planned. You’re a clever girl, don’t go doing something stupid.
Thanks for everything Grams.
Arachne walks off into the crowd, placing the steaming potato in her bag. Grams settles back down in her stool.
Hopeless brats, all of them.
As Arachne walks through the crowd she puts her hair up into a ponytail, tying it off with a blue ribbon. Then she takes out a small pair of glasses. She looks less like a commoner and more like a student now.
She stops, the sound of heavy chains CLANKING rising above the crowd, which hushes and stills. All eyes turn towards the gallows, where a priest leads a hooded figure onto the stage. The priest is dressed in white robes, which almost glimmer in the dust and ding of the marketplace. The robes have a silver trim on the edges, and upon his face he wears
a steel half-mask. He leads the hooded prisoner to the noose, and places it around their neck, then turns to address the crowd.
People of Kals, I stand before you, not as a man, but as the voice of Krethios, God of Justice, He who is Order, who watches this blessed city with an unwavering gaze.
The crowd mumbles a blessing to Krethios
Through his divine decree this city was founded, and we were charged with maintaining its perfection against the darkness and evil of the outside world. We have been
vigilant, protected our holy city from the outside, but time and again we have found the true threat comes not from outside but from within.
He turns and gestures to the prisoner. Arachne notes his bony wrists, his slim build. He is young, younger than her, and clearly emaciated. On his right hand is a black circle
with an X.
This man gave in to the shadows, gave into the darkness which still
lurks on the fringes of our city. He gave them his soul, forsaking
order for personal gain. Look into the darkness which infests this city.
The priest grabs the black hood, gesturing into its depths.
It consumes those who give into it, taking their reason, leaving behind
only a pleasant mask to the vileness within. It is our duty,
no, our privilege, to punish this wickedness, to purge it from our streets!
The priest moves over to the lever at the base of the center post.
May Krethios drive all such beasts of darkness into the open, so they may face Judgement.
Arachne turns away, her face stiff, and weaves through the enraptured crowd. She hears the MOAN of wooden gears, and flinches slightly at the SNAP of the rope pulling taut.
She looks to her right hand. The simple circle and X morph again, this time the circle is double braided and the shape inside is a mason’s compass. The color fades from black to
Arachne exits the square, heading to the Rich District.
EXT. STEPS OF THE GRAND LIBRARY OF KALS- LATER
The Grand Library of Kals sits like an ungroomed beast amidst the finery of the Rich District. It stands a mere two stories tall, and is made of tan sandstone instead of the polished marbles and limestones of most of the other buildings.
Arachne sits midway up the steps, finishing her potato and staring out across the district. Wealthy merchants meet in cafes to discuss trade routes, noblemen strut between
high-priced tailors, their servants in lock-step behind them. Arachne’s fingers itch with the desire to rob them blind.
Amongst the pomp and ostentation is the occasional spot of brown, a scribe, accountant, or scholar. One, THOMAS, catches her eye as he dashes between the crowd, a large pile
of scrolls clutched desperately beneath his arm. He’s tall and thin, his hair is unkempt, and his robes, while nice, are simple and disheveled.
Arachne stands up as he reaches the bottom of the steps.
I’m… so sorry… I’m late… Claire… Baron Peters summoned
me… he had finally found his great-grandfather’s journal.
Thomas bends over to catch his breath
He wanted me to swear an oath of secrecy before he donated it. As if
I care about whatever affairs some minor noble had eighty years ago.
Arachne laughs softly, taking some scrolls from Thomas before they hit the ground.
But, why would anyone want a personal journal if not for all the juicy secrets?
They turn and head up the stairs.
You know perfectly well that the Baron was part of the expedition
that discovered those ruins in the mountains.
He pats his bag with his free hand, a glint in his eye
His journal is sure to contain a better account of what they
actually saw there than that officially sanitized report the Library has.
Plus, the man was an amateur artist, if I’m lucky he’ll have
sketched out something that will help me discover if they really are
connected to the legends of Varen the Nightslayer, which would indicate-
That the Blade of the Nine Suns was real, and that would suggest the
Daemon Empire isn’t just a story made up to scare good little boys
into staying home at night.
Arachne gives Thomas a small smile.
The great Thomas Arc, uncovering the truth to the myths of the world.
Well, I wouldn’t call myself great, not until The Librarian stops
calling my research an “amusing waste of everyone’s time”
They reach the landing before the library entrance. The front of the Library is a massive bas-relief. It depicts a huge, blindfolded man writing in a giant book, with rays of light emanating from the book. A smaller man stands looking on in awe, further down that same man is shown as a great teacher, the first teacher of reading and writing.
Beneath the relief is a small double-door made out of copper. The door stands wide-open, but is guarded by two soldiers in polished armor carrying spears.
He’ll see eventually, besides he’s given you access to the Vaults
hasn’t he? That must mean he thinks you’re on to something.
He just needs another body to sort through the mess left over from the
upheaval last century.
Thomas shakes his head
I swear, those fanatics would probably have burned the law books
if Harvack hadn’t proposed the “Heresy Vaults”.
Where all the most vile lies of madmen are sealed away.
Yesterday I found a cookbook in there. A cookbook! Who actually
thought that counted as heresy?
A mad chef who-
The guards cross their spears, blocking entrance into the Library.
Oh come on Carter, we’ve been through this enough times haven’t we?
Librarian asked for increased security after the scribes reported
another scroll had been stolen. You want in? Show your identification.
Thomas sighs, then holds out his right hand. He has a doubled circle as well, the shape inside is a sunburst, and it is a dark blue.
Thomas Arc, Scholar of Myths and Legends, second rank. Can we go inside now?
The guard turns to Arachne. She also holds out her hand.
Claire Mobile, apprentice to Master Sabi, the architect.
The guards allow them entrance.
Stolen scrolls. I doubt it, probably just the scribes getting drunk and misplacing them.
Because that’s what you scholarly types think of as a good time
Who would want to steal parchment when the nobles next door have
enough treasure to feed half the city for a month?
The interior of the library is crowded with bookshelves, but well-lit with glowing crystals set into the ceiling and walls. It is an unconscious display of vast wealth, given to the Library over centuries of service to the nobility in the role of record keepers and scribes.
The ground floor contains row upon row of desks, some have individuals poring over books and scrolls in solitude, others have scribes scribbling furiously, either at the behest of someone else, or from a dusty tome. Thomas and Arachne head past the tables, walking towards a small door on the far side
So Claire, is your report for Master Sabi almost finished?
Yes, it is almost done… I’m just waiting on one last thing…
Claire… I like you, I really do, but I could get in some serious trouble for letting you see…
Thomas looks around nervously
We’ve been over this Thomas. First of all, no one will know. I look at
the plans, you put them back and no one is any wiser.
Arachne turns, staring him in the eyes
Secondly, if I can prove that the estate actually is an undiscovered
Fiskare I’m practically guaranteed to move up. Everyone knows Master
Sabi is fanatical about Fiskare’s designs.
She places her hand on his shoulder
Please Thomas, I’ve been poring over every half-baked theory and
amateur report in the Library, I just need to see the original plans
to see if Fiskare’s signature statuettes are anywhere within the estate.
Even if I agreed, how would you prove it to Master Sabi without
letting him know you’ve seen the plans?
I… I befriended one of the maids.
Thomas tries to interrupt but Arachne keeps going
I don’t have time for her to search the whole place, it’s huge. I’m
planning on meeting her tonight and telling her where to look. If I can see the plans.
They stop at the doorway, it leads down into the basement, where the Vaults are located. Thomas sighs.
Fine, I’ll let you see them. They’re kept in the Vaults anyway
so no one should suspect, but as compensation I demand that you help
me with my work until you need to leave. Deal?
Deal. Thank you Thomas, it means a lot to me that you’re willing to do this for me.
They head down towards the Vaults.
What can I say, I can’t resist a beautiful face. Besides, after all your talk, I’m kind of curious myself to see if the Royal Estates were built by the famous Fiskare.