Cold Open: Ext, Forest Path
The scrape of wood against wood as the camera blurs out of darkness and reveals a polished but battered bar counter, inches from the lens. Two coins clatter noisily down, and we rack-focus to see an exhausted-looking Törk finish off his drink, turn, and walk past dozens of carousing dwarves and outside. A moment later a young elven lass steps into frame and looks behind the camera to where the bartender would stand, “I have a message for the Founder of PROUD, from C.” A gruff voice informs the woman that she’s just missed him. She frowns and heads outside.
Cut to Arroway sitting in the lotus position on a the edge of a waterfall, the sun setting behind her. Her face belies her efforts: a frustrated scowl, a deep breath. We rack-focus again, and see a small hut a few hundred yards down the mountain, where a horseman approaches at a gallop. We cut to the horseman, who is met by a red-garbed acolyte. “I am looking for the Mistress of the Order of the Closed Fist. I have a message from C.” The acolyte’s shoulders slump, “She does not wish to be disturbed.”
Cut to a field bathed in starlight, where a small stone shrine shines in the darkness. Into the firelight steps Vessel, looking road-weary and dirty. A hobbit in vestments steps forth with a wineskin, offers it, and when it is taken he smiles, “Are you spokesman of the One True God? C has a message for you.”
Vessel arches a brow, “I am he, but I know no ‘C’.”
The hobbit grins, “I had hoped you would shed some light on that mystery.” He reaches into his sleeve and produces a slip of parchment, hands it over. Vessel‘s eyes grow wide, then a smile cracks his lips wide. “She did it. She lived!”
Cut to Nameless, bruised and bloodied, running through a crowded marketplace. She glances behind her, and we see four hooded figures approaching. Nameless dives and rolls under a passing cart, then turns a corner and sees four more figures heading toward her. She changes direction, but stops suddenly as the camera pulls out and we see her at the top of a huge public fountain, water tumbling down a hundred feet of well-groomed garden in the midst of the market. The camera continues out to a birds-eye as we see three groups of four figures encircling her, and Nameless determining that she had no place to run. The figures close in and the leader takes back her hood, revealing Leandra, dressed now as one of the Elf Queen’s personal guards. “There’s nowhere to run anymore, Nameless. The Queen would like to see you.”
- Nameless’s positive relationship with The Three (a 5)
- Vessel’s positive relationship with The Priestess (a 5)
- Arroway’s positive relationship with The Emperor (a 5)
- Törk is on a nearby rooftop watching the events unfold. He shoots an arrow at the feet of Leandra, who motions two of her company toward the dwarf.
- Arroway appears next. Leandra: “quite a sense of loyalty to one who stabbed you in the back and ran off.” Arroway: “You are not fit to question others’ loyalty.”
- Vessel walks up the stairs and asks “Is there a problem here?” Leandra: “It is no concern of a deserter”, but Arroway says “I would watch what you call people, my former apprentice.”
- Vessel approaches Leandra calmly, “We are only asking what you intend to do to her.” Leandra prepares to answer, but Nameless starts Gathering Power, and that cannot be ignored.
- Leandra slices into the sorcerer; Törk thins the ranks of heavies; Arroway attacks Leandra, who is then hit by Nameless’s lightning bad enough that she teleports away; the others run soon after.
- Vessel gathers up the badges of the fallen.
- the heroes watch as the beaten elves scamper off. Arroway turns to Nameless: “We thought you were dead! Where have you been?”
- Flashback: Int, The Tower
- Kobold bodies litter the ground as a tranced-out Nameless stumbles forward to the ledge, then takes a breath and steps off into the air. Cut to a wide shot as she falls, falls, and then green draconic wings flap out of her back and she soars off
all are seated around a table by a roaring fire, now. Nameless finishes her story.
- Nameless: “And for the past month I’ve been running from the Elf Queen’s men, moving from place to place as they find me.”
- Vessel: “But it’s been six months since we saw you. What happened those first five months?”
- Nameless shakes her head, “I don’t know.” Beat. “What brought you here?”
- Arroway puts a slip of parchment on the table. “I got a message from C, with a riddle that led me here and now.”
- Törk and Vessel show their parchments, too.
- Nameless looks them over. Extreme closeup on her eyes as she reads them. “What had you been doing before receiving these?”
- Flashback: Monastery of the Closed Fist
- Arroway rides to the gate, hands her horse off to an acolyte. Voiceover: “I returned to my Order. My duties there have been put off too long.”
- Arroway walks into the temple where Kel Rimik awaits: “Mistress you have been gone for so long many of us wondered if you were ever to return.” He is getting angry now, “You left us no word, and the Council has decided to hand Mastery of the Order on to me. Your return will not be well received here, and could confuse the young ones. You should not stay here tonight. Perhaps soon, but you should leave now.”
- Nameless nods, and asks Tork if he was occupied with similar duties. “Darning socks,” he says.
- Back at the Tavern, a messenger arrives with a message for Nameless. She reads it and burns it before revealing it to the group.
- Everyone objects. Finally she relents: “See the Elf Queen -C”
- Arroway shrugs, “Our mysterious letter has given us good advice so far.”
- Vessel shakes his head, “But I just came from there.”
Ext, Queen’s Wood
The scene of Vessel exiting the woods fades into the same woods with the whole group going in
- The trees are tall and old; the foliage lush and thick. Vessel: “This Wood is hell if it wants to be, but it’s making way for us. We are expected.”
- A talking bear tries to lure the party into its lair. Törk trips Arroway and the distraction dissipates the illusion: they’re brownies!
- A dark woods comes alive with bioluminescent light at night
- Pixies chase the party out of their village
- A reptilian creature watches the heroes walk though a path. The audience, looking through the creature’s eyes, sees each character in turn, ending with Nameless, whose normally-blue eyes glow green.
Ext, Court of Stars
- The forest gives way to a village where all three elves live together. There is a bustle of activity, and what look to be fortifications being constructed on the village perimeter.
- Vessel explains that the Court moves often, but that this is their home right now.
- Arroway comments on how connected she feels to this place, despite never being near it before.
- Vessel guides them to the gates of the Inner Court, where Faron Avaia stands guard. “You have already requested an audience with the Queen and been denied, old friend. There is nothing I can do for you.”
- Vessel: “I was denied by Leandra, not the Queen. The Queen would hear what I have to say. Besides, this time I have an invitation.”
- Faron notices Nameless. “An invitation? From whom?”
- Nameless: “From me, apparently.”
- Faron looks at Vessel. “I owe you one less.” and disappears inside. When he returns, he asks. “And invitation, you said. But from whom?”
- Arroway: “C.”
- Nameless: “Me.”
- Faron: “Who, exactly?”
- Nameless, with a deep breath: “Callista.”
- Faron: “She is expecting you.” And he shows them in.
Int, Court of Stars
- A paige shows them to their rooms, where they are allowed/instructed to change out of their traveling attire. They are then given baths, haircuts, massages, etc, to be made presentable.
- Vessel presents a guard with the badges he collected in Concord.
- At dusk, they board a longboat on the lake. They sail out to a massive thousand-foot-tall tree on an island. The side of the tree has a shimmering staircase of glass and magic attached to it, with a hundred-foot-tall throne at the top.
- Vessel instructs the others: “Follow my lead. Do not speak until acknowledged. Be polite and helpful. Do not look at her straight on, for it might blind you.”
- The boats dock and the party ascends the staircase to a landing far below the Throne. Hundreds of guards line the staircase. In normal circumstances voices would not carry, but a conversation from Throne to Landing is easily heard.
- The Elf Queen: “We are pleased to welcome you back from your travels. We have heard many things since you left our company. And now you return. But I must ask: have you brought Callista as a gift to me, or as her protector?”
- Vessel: “She comes of her own free will, seeking answers.”
- The Elf Queen: “Answers indeed. We must talk about her future.”
- Arroway: “Is that why you sent your goons after her?” Arroway immediately feels a terrible weight on her, as if the air had been sucked from her lungs.
- The Elf Queen: “I sent my Personal Guard after her, Arroway. Those closest to me, those who carry my will and my words past this chamber and this wood. I sent them because there was urgent and important business to be done, and in the course of their duties many of them fell, never to rise again.”
- Törk, takes his flabbergasted eye off Arroway and looks up toward the Queen, “We did not mean to harm them, but they attacked our friend, and we defended her. If there had been another way we would have taken it.”
- The Elf Queen: “Your actions were the wrong ones, but I concede that with your limited understanding of the situation at hand you had little choice but to act as you did, and so I will forgive… this time.”
- Törk: “We thank you for your forgiveness, and ask what you wanted with Nam- Callista.”
- As the Queen responds, Vessel notices a stirring high above in the branches of the mammoth tree. There he sees a huge form slumbering: The Green. He motions for Arroway to look, who passes on the message on to Törk, who passes it on to Nameless.
- The Elf Queen: “Something happened six months ago at the Kobold’s tower. Callista, do you know what it was?”
- Nameless confesses that she does not.
- The Elf Queen: “What do you recall of that day?”
- Nameless describes the battle, the green banner, a brush with death, and a voice saying “Free me!” in her mind.
- The Elf Queen: “And after that day. What can you tell me of that?”
- Nameless shakes her head, “Very little. One month ago I awoke in another tower, in a room covered in runes of Draconic and another script I did not recognize. And ever since I have been running from your Guard.”
- The Elf Queen: “As I suspected. I felt that moment six months ago, when it awoke. I felt the waves as the magic swirled around you, even here so very far from it. What would you say if I told you that after that day, you slipped into town after town and murdered my agents there?”
- Nameless says nothing for a moment, “Are you sure?”
- The Elf Queen: “Quite certain, yes. The tide was high for some time after. But you, so close to the epicenter: I had wondered what effect it might have had, if it had broken you permanently or simply overpowered you. But in the last month, nothing. You seem to have stopped.”
- Nameless blinks, “I have.”
- The Elf Queen: “Then given your condition at the time, I have no choice but to extend my forgiveness once more. But I need assurances, Callista. Can you provide them, or shall I?”
- Nameless: “Assurances? Of what kind?”
- The Elf Queen: “Your word is enough. You are never again to set foot in these Woods. Agreed?”
- Nameless takes a moment. “I agree.” As she speaks the words float out of her mouth, reifying in the air before her as crystalline figures. We shift and see the words from her perspective, and suddenly a green bolt splits them in two. A moment later they reconnect, but a tiny green fracture still runs through the center.
- The Elf Queen: “Very good, then. But I need assurances from the rest of you. As Callista’s friends, you should want to help her to keep her promise. And so I require you to tell me that you will not bring her back here, will not trick her into returning. Can I count on this from all of you?”
- Arroway nods, “I agree.” And the words emerge and crystallize.
- Törk holds a hand up, “But your majesty, what if others bring her here? Are we not to come to her aid? Can we not provide assistance?”
- The Elf Queen: “You are under no obligation to stay away yourselves, just as you are under no obligation to keep Arroway away. Merely Callista. I ask only one more duty to add to those I know you already owe.”
- Törk: “I will protect my friend wherever she needs it.” And the words emerge.
- The Elf Queen: “And you, Vessel? That is what they call you now, correct?”
- Vessel: “It is. And I swear only to follow my God.”
- The Elf Queen: “That is not the question at hand. Shall I let your friends go and you might stay here with me again, Edwain?”
- Vessel: “That is no longer my name, but I require who I was for it made me who I am.”
- The Elf Queen: “I tire of this. No more parsing of words.”
- Vessel: “I swear only to the One True God now. No longer to you.”
- The Elf Queen: “Then swear to your God, Vessel. Swear to whatever sun, moon, or star you wish. Whichever of your misgivings, misdeeds, or mistakes you cherish most, you may swear to that. The Court knows each of them. Put it on display. But I require your assurance.”
- Vessel hesistates.
- The Elf Queen: “Or does your God lack the power you require? Or do you merely lack the faith in him?”
- Vessel gets angry. “I swear my assurances.” And the words issue forth, but from his eyes we see the peacock feather and the One True God’s symbol: this is not the Elf Queen’s magic but a Greater Sign.
- The Elf Queen: “Very well, then. I have other business to attend to. Off with you.”
- The guards usher them back toward the boats. Just before they leave, The Elf Queen calls out: “And Arroway, you should learn to hold your tongue. I see far too much of your parents in you.” A stunned Arroway looks back, but the door is shut in her face before she can ask another question.
- Nameless’s positive relationship with The Three (a 6 and a 6)
- Vessel’s positive relationship with The Priestess (a 6)
- Arroway’s conflicted relationship with The Prince of Shadows (a 5)
- Törk’s positive relationship with The Dwarf Kin (a 5)
- Törk leaves the Cathedral, tugging on his beard, “That will be tougher than I thought.”
- Vessel stands before a teeming throng of people, hands raised: “BELIEVE!”
- Arroway stands at the edge of the throng. She sneaks up behind two guards, knocks them out, and sneaks into the door they were guarding
- Nameless crouches near two figures talking, listening to their conversation, “This will be our chance. Tonight: we kill the King!”