Silversword

FADE IN:

TITLE CARD #1 (QUOTE)

This appears in simple white letters over a black background:

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
–“Darkness”
Lord Byron

TITLE CARD #2 (PROLOGUE)

The following appears written in OLD ENGLISH, in black or brown letters, scrolled over tan parchment while voiced-over in Modern English:

NARRATOR
The word werwulf is an Old English term meaning “man-wolf” and arose over one thousand years ago in the folklore of the Middle Ages.  This period, from around 800 to 1100 AD, during which learning and culture were secondary to magic and religion, is also sometimes called the Dark Ages.  The origin of the wolfman legend remains uncertain.

CREDITS OVER:

The opening titles take place over dramatic shots depicting the creation of a massive, silver-bearing sword with red rubies like crimson eyes imbedded in its handle all set to some climactic score.  The title credit–Danny of Dark Ages–appears first in Old English in black letters over a silver moon against a flat-black sky, then quickly dissolves to its Modern English equivalent.

EXT.  FOREST – NIGHT

The MOON SCREAMS, and yet it’s not the moon but a voice coming from the forest below.  MARY ANN COPELAND and her fiance PHILLIP are having a midnight game of tag in the primitive brush around the village of Wimpole.

MARY
Catch me if you can!

PHILLIP
Oh, I’ll catch you all right! And just wait ’til I do!  Then you’ll be screaming.

MARY
Aaaah!  You’re a wolf in sheep’s garments, Phillip Fornwold.

PHILLIP
Will you be my lamb?

MARY
Aaaah!

The couple go ring around the rosey once too often, and fail to notice a set of glowing red eyes that watch them from the underbrush.

POV – THE WEREWOLF

In BLACK AND WHITE, we hear the dry inhalation of its breath as it watches the lovers at play.  It looks upward into the darkly etched tree limbs of night.  The moon is full, the wolf is not.

Phillip is chasing Mary in circles around a tree trunk and becoming winded.

PHILLIP
Wait.  You’re moving too fast.

MARY
Come on old man!

PHILLIP
God, it’s so dark.

An enormous white paw bolts out of the sky and takes Phillip by the collar.  He doesn’t have time to scream as the claws sink swiftly into his neck and he leaves the ground in a single jerk.

Mary turns at the silence, follows a trail of blood up the trunk.  On a thick limb stands a GIANT WHITE WEREWOLF, its red eyes ablaze, one arm steadying itself against the trunk, and in the other dangling the limp body of Phillip like a puppet.  This werewolf is bi-mobile, able to run on all fours and raise to its hind legs at will.  He shakes the body back and forth and stares at it stupidly.

MARY
Aaaaaaaahhhh!

Mary runs.  She runs for minutes, miles, hours it seems–she doesn’t know.  In another part of the forest she stops, the breath leaving her body in huge, heaving clouds of fear, shimmering in the chill of the night.  She pauses to sob.  Too long.

Behind her the werewolf rises from all fours in a sheet of English fog, wearing its vapors like a robe.  It growls almost questioningly and tilts its thick skull.

Mary meets his hell-red glaze.

MARY
Oh God.  Please help me.

The wolf’s mouth seems to mock her vocal movements, its jaws quivering with frothy-white blood.  It actually speaks:

WOLF
If God were to help anyone my dear, it would be me.

EXT.  GRAVE SITE – DAY

Morning.  Drizzle.  The seventy-or-so inhabitants of Wimpole are all at the funeral.  A small white cross made of sticks and freshly-strewn earth mark Mary Copeland’s final rest.  A few KEY CHARACTERS surround the site.  Tears, if any, are lost in the rain.

ELY
There must be some other way.

PERCY
Shut up, swordsmith!  There is no other way.  My brother was killed because of fools like you.  Some hero you must have made.  What a brave knight!

ANNA
Do you think it was the same?

PERCY
Don’t act stupid.  You saw the tracks.

AETHELWOLD
I’m afraid he’s right, dear.

PERCY
That’s not the only thing you’re afraid of.  I thought our leaders were supposed to lead.  If none of you will go, I’ll go alone.

FATHER SAUL
No!  No.  You mustn’t do that.

LEATHER WORKER
We can’t just let our children be slaughtered.  Something’s got to be done.

PERCY
No more sacrifices!  No more murders!

The crowd takes up this chant quietly, resolutely.  AEthewold, their leader, lifts his cane.

AETHELWOLD
Our people have been here for over three hundred years.  We weren’t the first inhabitants of Wimpole and we certainly won’t be the last.  All right then.  Bring the lots.  One of us will go for help.  For the sake of our children…

The elder steps aside, revealing a row of seven or eight other freshly dug graves.

AETHELWOLD
…and theirs to come.

The crowd begins to scuffle.  Anna, a young blonde with a fair complexion and moon-grey eyes, seems entranced.

ANNA
I can feel him watching us.

PERCY
He’s always watching us, and waiting.

A convention of black birds explodes from a tree like buckshot from a barrel.  The flock flies straight for a large, gray castle atop a nearby hill.

ANNA
Wolfbane.

PERCY
Hell.

EXT.  WAR CAMP – DAY

The Saxon battle flag waves timidly over the main tent.

SUBTITLE OVER:
EAST ANGLIA (ENGLAND) 998 A.D.

A gentleman in a brightly colored surcoat exits the tent, yelling:

SIR WILTON
Danny!  Daniel!  Daniel Stuart Greenleif O’Day!  Where in God’s name is that boy.  Peter, lad, have you seen Danny?

The boy points a stubby finger to an old oak upon the nearest rise.

PETER
He’s lookout today.

EXT.  HILLTOP – DAY

DANIEL O’DAY, fourteen, reddish-brown hair, is seated on a tree limb near oak’s pinnacle, carving words into the trunk with a knife.  He is reading the carvings to himself.

Sir Wilton sneaks up behind the trunk.

SIR WILTON
Carvin’ all the names of those your gonna kill in today’s battle?

DANNY
Naah!  Just some poetry.  (Turns.)  Oh!  Sir Wilton!

SIR WILTON
Poetry, huh?  Curse the day your mother ever taught you how to read.  I thought you were supposed to be watchin’ out? Keeping an eye on the enemy’s progress?  That just might come in handy seein’ as there’s a battle about to take place.

DANNY
Oh, I am sir.  I mean, I was.  It just gets so boring up here after a while.

SIR WILTON
Well I’m so sorry to hear that. I don’t suppose that (pointing) would interest you at all.

Wilton indicates a snakey trail of smoke coming from over a distant rise.

DANNY
Vikings!

SIR WILTON
That’s right.  No, don’t worry about sounding the alarm. Everybody seems to know but you.  Come on.  I need you to go find your master for me.  He’s run off and we need him in the tent.

DANNY
I’m sorry, sir Wilton.

SIR WILTON
Go on.  Off with you.

Danny runs throughout the camp, ducking into tents, peeking behind armor, etc.  He meets another boy about his age running in the opposite direction.

DANNY
Wal, have you seen sir William?

WALLY
I saw him go into the bush.

He indicates a small clump of trees.

INT.  CLUMP OF WOODS – DAY

Danny enters the woods, looks around, and comes to a clearing.  There, SIR WILLIAM is found in full armor, urinating on a pile of leaves.  Danny stares for a moment, fascinated at how his master has so ingeneously worked his way out of the armor that the apprentice knight (himself) had so carefully fitted him into.  Danny exits the woods to wait politely.

EXT.  CLUMP OF WOODS – DAY

Sir William emerges from the protective cloth of forest green, shaking his trousers.

SIR WILLIAM
Danny?  My young apprentice.  Where have you been, boy?

DANNY
Sir Wilton needs you in the tent, sir.

SIR WILLIAM
Then let’s go.  The battle is almost upon us.  Can you smell it?

DANNY
Smell what?

SIR WILLIAM
Fear.  Anger.  Hatred.  Blood.  All those things that men go into battle for.  This will be a day you’ll long remember, Danny my lad.  Your first battle.  Your first taste of what being a man is really like.

DANNY
(Uncertain.) Yes sir.

EXT.  HILLTOP – DAY

Danny is again in the tree, eyes shaded with his palm.  Sir William stands at the base in full colors, holding the reign of his horse.

DANNY
I see one…

DANNY’S POV – THE ENEMY

A lone Dane, a single Viking, stalks to the top of the hill and faces the Anglo-Saxon army.

SIR WILLIAM
One!  Well, I think we can handle him.

Several more Danes appear, then more, and more–some on horseback, some afoot.  The Viking army multiplies exponentionally until they number in the thousands and line the far hill like Hadrian’s wall.

DANNY
God be with us.  Look at ’em all.

SIR WILLIAM
Yes, a whole potbroiler of them.  Well, all the better eating.

Sir William of Westerville mounts his horse.

SIR WILLIAM
Now, don’t take yours eyes off the battle, boy.

Danny hands him down his helmet and William rides to join the front ranks of the Saxon warriors, most of which are mounted.

EXT.  SAXON ARMY FRONT – DAY

A bright yellow dog barks at the heels of his master’s horse.  He growls and snaps in the Viking’s direction.  The leader of the Saxon army lifts his sword arm just as William reaches the line.  The yellow dog takes off growling toward the viking invaders before the Angle’s arm has fallen.  The Angles charge.
EXT.  VIKING ARMY FRONT – DAY

The Viking army also charges.

EXT.  HILLTOP – DAY

Danny flinches as the two masses of men come crashing together.

EXT.  BATTLEFIELD – DAY

The green valley has become a blur of gray armor, flashing swords, and blood.  It becomes apparant that the Anglo-Saxon army is being overwhelmed.  Sir William himself is struck by several of the Viking marauders, manages to squeeze out of the foray, and comes riding back to the main camp slumped in his saddle.

DANNY
No!

EXT.  CAMP – DAY

Danny jumps out of the tree and reaches Sir William’s horse just as the wounded knight falls from the saddle.

DANNY
Sir William!  Oh, God.

Sir William is fatally wounded, and Danny is very afraid.

DANNY
Oh, God, no.  Sir William.  Please.  It’s Danny.

SIR WILLIAM
Danny, my boy.  My good and faithful apprentice.  You’ve served me well over the last two years.  I thank you for that now, if I never have before.

DANNY
You’ll have time to tell me later.  Surely you will.

SIR WILLIAM
No.  Lad.  That I won’t.  I just wish I could have given you what you deserve.  Here.

With his own blood, Sir William draws a cross on the boy’s forehead.

SIR WILLIAM
I hereby knight you, Daniel Stuart Greenleif O’Day, in the name of God and his most glorious majesty, King Ethelred II.  God be with you, always.

The old knight dies.  Danny is heartbroken.  He takes up his master’s sword, lovingly.

DANNY
…always.

The Vikings are charging and screaming like barbarians.  The yellow dog lies dead.  Danny, his master’s weapon in hand, runs from the battle field, away from the oncoming Danish frenzy.

EXT.  FIELD – NIGHT

Danny walks the lonely path of retreat, his head lowered, hugging the sword close to his breast, mumbling.

DANNY
I’m not a coward.  I’m not.

EXT.  ROAD – DAY

It is morning and the young hero is obviously weary and hungry.  He is following a major artery into some town as can be seen by the number of people and carts which pass him along the road.  Danny and his sword draw stares from the passers-by.

DANNY
Excuse me sir.  What’s the name of the next town?

MAN ON HORSE
Blimpton.

DANNY
Can you tell me how far it is?

MAN ON HORSE
At your pace you should get thereby nightfall.

DANNY
Thank you.

EXT.  ROAD – NIGHT

Later, Danny is walking slowly along the dirt path.  Lights can be seen from over the next rise in the road.

A LOUD CHEER comes from that direction.

Danny runs to the top of the hill and looks down.  The village of Blimpton is a dark sky with torchlights making up the stars.  A large group of men can be seen shouting near a red barn.

Danny runs back and stashes his sword in a nearby HAYSTACK alongside the road and then jogs toward town.

EXT.  BARN – NIGHT

The large group of men (seen at a distance in last scene) seem to be surrounding a good-sized pit, larger than a grave but smaller than a modest basement.  The young apprentice pushes his way to the front of the crowd just as the assembly parts allowing four men to enter the circle–one in the lead, and another being dragged by the final two.

DANNY
Excuse me sir, but my name is Sir Daniel O’Day and I’m a knight.  Could you tell me where I might find–

UGLY GREASER
Shhhh!

DANNY
What’s going on?

UGLY GREASER
Just wait and you’ll see!

The LEAD MAN stands upon a crate.

LEAD MAN
And here we have one glorious traitor!  Throw him in, boys!

TRAITOR
No!  God, please.  I’ll serve again!  Anything!

DANNY
What’s in there?

The Ugly Greaser snorts, and grabs Danny by the scruff of his shirt.

UGLY GREASER
I’ll show you!

Danny is shoved out over the pit, leaning as far as his bony legs will allow.  The Greaser throws a torch into the pit.

The pit is full of venomous snakes which writhe away from the light.

Dan struggles to maintain his balance.

DANNY
Wh–!  Wha–!  What did he do!

The Greaser yanks him back.

UGLY GREASER
Him?  Why he’s a deserter!

The poor deserter is tossed screaming into the pit.

UGLY GREASER
Now, what did you say your name was, boy?

Breaking free, Danny stumbles back a few steps into the crowd, his wide eyes never leaving the snake pit.

DANNY
Me-!  My–?  N-Nothing!

The old Greaser chortles as Danny runs for the barn.

INT.  BARN – NIGHT

This barn has obviously been converted into a TAVERN due to the overflow of men from the war.  Kegs and boards make up the seats and tables.  The joint is overflowling with soldiers, knights, ruffians, and Angles of every type.  Danny enters and bumps into people, catching stories of great deeds and evil plans.  They all eye him suspiciously.

SOLDIER
…why, I had those whinin’ Vikes runnin so fast they nearly wet their pants.  I cut off one of their heads and have it right here in my bag…

NOBLEMAN
…anyway, I lost my sword in the beast and now I’ll have to find a new one.  Say, that’s a fine piece of iron you’ve got there…

CLOAK
…all the knowledge in the universe!  Meet me by the old trailer at midnight.  See you there…

DAGGER
Right-o.

A GREY MAN in his forties with a long beard stands upon a keg at one end of the barn, clears his throat and raises his mug for attention.

GERALD
Gentlemen.  Noblemen.  Soldiers. Lend me your swords.

BURLY SOLDIER
Shh!  Quiet everyone.  Shut up!

GERALD
Thank you.  Sirs, I have a very serious request to make upon this assembly.  My name is Gerald Godwin of Wimpole, a small village a fortnight’s ride from this very spot.  My time is very limited so I will make my plea as quickly as possible.  I have been traveling throughout the kingdom looking for one brave soul, one spotless knight, one courageous adventurer to journey back with me to Wimpole to face an evil so great that I won’t even mention it here for fear that all of you will turn ghostly white and flee in mortal terror.  The lives of everyone in this village is at stake.  The man who journeys with me must be brave, impeccable, flawless.  We are a poor village, and can offer you no great promises in advance for, as I have said, we ourselves are oppressed and have very little.  But if you should accomplish this great feat–the purging of this monstrous evil–we would be happy to bestow upon you all that our meager means may supply.  You have my offer, whom of you is willing?  Whom able?

The room is quiet for a long time.

BURLY SOLDIER
Sir, your position is well stated.  The question is not of fear, but of circumstance.  We are in the midst of a war, and every able man is needed here.

GERALD
But every one in this village will die!

BURLY SOLDIER
If this war is lost, every one in Anglia may die!  If one of us leaves, that means ten more Vikings for the rest of us to kill.  We’re vastly outnumbered as it is.  It’s just not possible.

GERALD
I know.  Well, thank you for your attention.  Gentlemen.

Gerald leaves the barn.  Suddenly, a voice from the other side of the barn:

DANNY
Gentlemen!  Noblemen!  Soldiers!  Lend me your swords!

The whole barn turns on its kegs to see a fourteen-year-old lad standing akimbo atop a pickle barrel.  Danny is a bit shocked to see the sudden flush of faces in his direction.  He balances precariously on the barrel.

DANNY
I… my name… is Daniel Stuart Greenlief O’Day.  And I’m a knight.  And I would like very much to join you in your battle against the Danes.  I would…

The room is quiet for a long time… then explodes with laughter!

BURLY SOLDIER
Now here’s a lad with spirit!  He’ll make a fine soldier one day!  A grand knight!  If we only had a few more like him in the  fields.

DANNY
But I am a knight already!  And I want to fight!

Another burst of laughter.  They don’t believe him.  The burly soldier picks him off the barrel and shoos him toward the door.

BURLY SOLDIER
Go on, lad.  Before you irk somebody’s ire.

DANNY
But…

BURLY SOLDIER
No more “buts” or I’ll lay my foot into yours.

The group howls again.  Danny moves out the door like a Slinkey.

EXT.  BARN – NIGHT

Gerald Godwin stands nearby with his horse.  He is talking to an OLDER KNIGHT, who shakes his head regretfully.

OLDER KNIGHT
I’m sorry.

The Older Knight leaves.  A light comes to Danny’s somber eye.  He approaches the elder Godwin.

DANNY
Excuse me, sir.  But I am a knight.

GERALD
Hm?  What’s your name, young friend.

DANNY
SIR O’Day.  Sir Daniel Stuart Greenleif O’Day.  I’m a knight, and I want to travel with you to your village and help you rid it of its ancient evil.

GERALD
So, you were in the barn too.  Aren’t you a little young for a knight?

DANNY
Perhaps, but a knight still the same.

GERALD
Well, it’s nice to meet you, Daniel.  My name is Gerald; but I’m afraid that this sort of job is a little out of your range.

DANNY
I can do anything if I set my mind to it.  My master taught me that.

GERALD
Who was that?

DANNY
Sir William J. Jameson of Westermore, future Duke of the same.

GERALD
(Brightens.) Sir William?  “The Lion?”  I’ve heard of him.  Where can I find your master?

DANNY
He’s gone on a great mission fighting evil and he’s charged me with all his other duties.

GERALD
(Disappointed.)  I’m sure he has.

Gerald leads his mount to the bank of a small stream.  The horse begins to drink.  Danny follows, pleading.

DANNY
Please, sir.  I know you may not have much faith in me.  But you and I are a lot alike.  You need a knight and I need a mission.  I know I’m young.  I may be inexperienced.  But I am not afraid of anything, and I’m not a coward.  I want to prove myself. I want to help your people…

Gerald bends to fill his water pouch.  He pauses at the sight of his own reflection, rubs his face.

GERALD
So old.

Above his own, the full moon’s reflection wiggles and leaps on the surface of the stream.

Gerald smiles painfully.

GERALD’S POV – HALLUCINATION

The ghostly reflection of the giant white werewolf appears in the stream and dances and wiggles in time with the moon.  Gerald’s smile melts.  The wolf opens its jaws to howl.  Just then Danny steps up to the edge of the stream, his reflection dissolving into the white wolf’s and subjugating it.  The wolf screams in terror and the image disappears, leaving only Danny’s placid face.

DANNY
(Continuing) 
I know I’m not much, but I’ll do my best.

Gerald looks up to Danny, taken back by the vision.

GERALD
Yes, yes.  I believe you will.  How soon can you leave here?

DANNY
Yes?  You mean you’ll take me?  Now!  Now!  I can leave any time!  Anytime you want!

GERALD
Good.  We’ll have to wait until morning.  Do you have a place to sleep?  No?  Good, you can come back with me to the inn.  We’ll leave first thing in the morning.  Is that alright with you?

DANNY
Fine!  Oh!  But we’ll have to pick up my sword first.

GERALD
(Looking him over.) 
Your sword?

EXT.  ROAD INTO BLIMPTON WITH NEARBY HAYFIELD – DAY

DANNY
It’s right over this hill, Gerald.

GERALD
Please, if we’re going to be traveling together, at least call me Jerry.  All my friends do.

DANNY
Okay, Jerry, it’s right over . . . there.

DANNY’S POV

A field with hundreds of haystacks lay before them stretching as far as the eye can see.  It is a needle’s worst nightmare.

GERALD
Which one?

DANNY
Well, it was dark, and there were no real distinguishable landmarks.

GERALD
You don’t know?

DANNY
I don’t know.

GERALD
Gods.
EXT.  HAYFIELD – DAY

Gerald is tossing out fat clumps of hay with his hands from one haystack while Danny does the same from the one next to that.  Danny’s new horse, ALEXANDER, is eating from the hay tossed by its rider.

DANNY
Alexander!  Stop eating that.  It’s not your hay.

GERALD
Yes.  No one should own this much hay.  And if we don’t find this sword soon I’m going on without you, hero or not!  I’m beginning to wonder if this story of yours is even true at all.  A sword in a haystack!  Ha!  I think it must be just an evil plot by the devil to keep me from returning in time.

DANNY
Wait.  I think I found something.  Here it is!

Danny brandishes the old iron sword and holds it over his head triumphantly.

DANNY
See!

GERALD
Well I’ll be.

JOURNEY MONTAGE

Various aspects of relationship development between the two characters is accomplished through a montage of their journey to Wimpole:  Danny and Jerry swordfighting, laughing, helping one another, traversing difficult terrain, passing majestic scenery, arguing, etc.
EXT.  FOREST CAMPSITE – NIGHT

DANNY
I hope we can pull it off.

GERALD
Don’t worry about the villagers.  Just leave them to me.  You’re a natural born hero.  Let me do all the talking.  You just worry about the Baron.

The two journeyers are in a modest campsite, their eyes to the fire and their butts to the turf.  Gerald is simultaneously shaving himself and gnawing at the gristle on the leg bone of a wild fowl.

DANNY
You sure shave a lot.

GERALD
Yes . . . one of the curses of old age.

DANNY
One day’s ride?

GERALD
Yep.

DANNY
How’s the bird?

GERALD
Still up in the air.

DANNY
How many people are there?

GERALD
Sixty or seventy, last time anyone counted, maybe more now . . . maybe less.  I don’t know.  More than half are women and children.

DANNY
About this “ancient evil?”  How does the Baron fit in?

GERALD
Well, it’s very difficult to explain, and even harder to believe.  It’s something you will have to see to comprehend, and that’s why I am hesitant to tell you outright.  It involves a wolf.

DANNY
A wolf?

GERALD
Yes, but not just any wolf.  This wolf, you see . . . well . . . have you ever heard the term lycanthrope?  It also involves a curse.

DANNY
Lyc–?  No.  What kind of curse?

GERALD
Shh.  What was that?

DANNY
What?

GERALD
Shh!  Listen.  Over there.

DANNY
The wind?

Swords are drawn.  Knees are straightened.

GERALD
No.

DANNY
You’re on edge.

A small tornado enters the camp in the form of a sudden, explosive wind.  It blows blankets into the trees, fire into a flicker, and the two fellow campers into a face-shielded rain dance.  The wind dies as quickly as it arose.

ELWIG
Boo!  Ha-ha!  I just love scaring little boys!  And big ones!  Did I hear someone cry werewolf?

A man stands at the edge of camp, his costume as dark as his hair is white.  A seemingly empty burlap bag is his only companion.

GERALD
Yes, I did.  Only it was more like a whisper.  Now who in the name of night storms are you, and where did you come from?

ELWIG
Ha!  “Night storms,” I like that. Very good.  A man of quick wit.  And you’ll be needing it where you’re journeying.  You, my friend . . .

. . . indicating Gerald . . .

ELWIG
. . . are much too old for your age.

DANNY
What’s a werewolf?  Who are you? What’s going on?

ELWIG
Elwig is my name, sorcery is my game.  I’m the best sorcerer in all of Anglia and was–until about three moons ago when I was let go for reasons that shall remain unquestioned–the court sorcerer to his glorious–minus several other appropriate adjectives–highness, King Ethelred II.  Nice to meet you.  Got anything to eat?

DANNY
Are you mad.

ELWIG
Yes.  Next question.  Go ahead, I’ll answer anything.

GERALD
Danny!  Here, you may have some of ours.

ELWIG
Thank you thank you thank you.  That’s the measure of a true gentleman.  One who acts without question.

One old gizzard gnaws on another.  Danny looks at the man, stupefied.

DANNY
You’re really a magician?

ELWIG
Really and truly, forever and ever, undoubtedly and without question, the greatest wizard who ever lived.  Thank you.  That was delicious.  And now, where I come from it is typical to return a favor with a favor or–in this case–a gift with a gift.

Elwig starts to rummage through his empty sack.  Gerald and Danny share glances.

ELWIG
Let’s see now . . .

The magician starts pulling objects out of the bag, one by one:  a black cat, a book of magic, bells, hats, and other mystical thingamabobs.

ELWIG
. . . flying fury, no . . . love dust, no . . . flying sandals, aaah!  Age potion, no no no.  The shift–absolutely not!

GERALD
Age potion?

ELWIG
Yes.  Makes old things young again, etcetera etcetera.

GERALD
May I have some?

ELWIG
No no.  Very powerful stuff.  Besides.  Wouldn’t do you any good.  Only works on animals.  Ah, here we go.  The Magic Plumbob!

DANNY AND GERALD
Magic plumbob?

ELWIG
Yes!  With this, you’ll never be lost.  It will always show you the direction you should take next.  Sort of like God’s own compass, if you will.  Ha!

DANNY
But we already know where we’re going.  I’d rather have “the shift” instead.

ELWIG
Do you really!  Ah!  But do you know whether you’re going the right way?  The way which God intended you to go?  This will show you.  The Shift’s much too dangerous, anyway.  You night Shift yourself into a star, or worse–a ladies’ bathhouse!–which actually did happen to a good friend of mine once–but that’s another story.  Here.  Take it.  Maybe one day you’ll be able to use it.  You never know.  But for now, I must be Shift-ing along myself!  Tee-hee!

GERALD
Oh!  Wait!  Wouldn’t you like to join us on our quest?  You seem to know so much about us already.

ELWIG
No.  No no.  Would love to, but I’m on sort of a quest of my own right now. Sort of a little search for all the knowledge and truth in the universe, if you know what I mean.

DANNY
No I don’t.

GERALD
But does that really exist?

ELWIG
Oh, it does!  It does!  And I mean to have it before the others!

DANNY
What others?

ELWIG
Well, I’m off.

And with that, the mad magician Elwig blows out like spring tornado in Kansas.
EXT.  MOUNTAINTOP – DAY

Danny and Gerald approach on horses.  At the crest, they pause and look down into the valley below.  There a castle sleeps in the morning mist.

GERALD
There’s Castle Wolfbane, where the Baron lives, feudal lord over all the land bounded by the River of Despair.

DANNY
It’s enormous.

GERALD
It was brought here by the Baron from Germany, stone by rotting stone, and built over the remains of an old Roman prison called “The Abyss.”  Come on,  the village lies to the south.
INT.  CASTLE WOLFBANE MEDITATION HALL – DAY

The only light here steals in through a six-foot, arched tower window, and some of that is being blocked by a figure silhouetted in the morning sun.  BARON EDGAR A. WOLFBANE doesn’t move from his window perch until a MEDITATOR approaches him.

HEAD MEDITATOR
My lord, Baron Wolfbane.

The Baron turns, and still we do not clearly see his features.  A red carpet spans the length of the room, on either side of which are twelve meditators, seated, legs crossed, all lost in their morning meditation.  They are all CHANTING the word “nyeldan” over and over in unison.

BARON
So what does it mean, “Nyeldan?”

HEAD MEDITATOR
I don’t know, sir.  They keep repeating it over and over.  I don’t think it has any meaning.

BARON
Everything has a meaning.  Has the girl’s body been brought up from the altar?

HEAD MEDITATOR
Yes my lord.

BARON
You know what to do with it.  And find out what that word means or you’ll be joining her.

Head Meditator bows and the “nyeldan” chant continues as the Baron exits.
EXT.  WIMPOLE VILLAGE SOUTH ENTRANCE – DAY

Danny and Gerald approach the village on horseback.

GERALD
Here we are.  Just be calm.  And remember Danny, I have faith in you.

As they approach the village, it appears deserted, and worry lines appear on Gerald’s brow

DANNY
It’s awfully quiet.

Finally a woman walks out a door and sees them.  At first she is puzzled, then her expression turns to joy.

WASH WOMAN
Oh!  God in heaven!  Gerald!  Gerald Godwin!  Everyone!  Come!  Come and see!  Gerald’s come back to us!  And brought us help!  Everyone!

Within minutes the streets are filled, and the two horses are surrounded in a circle of humanity.

VARIOUS CROWDSPEOPLE
Gerald!  Good to have you back, boy!  Lookin’ good, Jerry boy.  Who’s the lad?  Is he the one who’s come to help us?  Etc.

GERALD
My friends.  This is Sir Daniel Stuart Greenlief O’Day, the bravest knight in all Anglia.  He’s come to help us.

DANNY
How do you do.

The crowd cheers.  Women are kissing Danny’s hands and feet.  The crowd parts like the Red Sea for AEthelwold, village elder.

AETHELWOLD
Gerald Godwin.  It’s good to have you back.  Very good.  Sir Daniel, I’m AEthelwold, village elder, shepherd of the people of Wimpole.  Our  meager resources are at your disposal.  We would bless anything you might do for us.  God bless you for coming.  Thank you.

The only two hanging back from the throng are Percival Fornwald and RASCAL, his friend.

PERCY
Don’t you think he’s a bit young to be a knight?

RASCAL
Yeah.  He is a little pink.

LEATHER WORKER
Long live Sir Danny!  Long live Gerald Godwin!

CROWD CHEERS.

ELY
Sir Daniel.  My name is Ely Algier–the Smithy.  I’d consider it an honor to create a sword for you to use in your battles.  In all modesty, I am the most skilled swordsmith west of the Humber.

WASH WOMAN
That’s modesty, Elly!

DANNY
Well, thank you, but I already have a sword.  You see?

ELY
Here then.  Let me take it and at least polish it up a bit.  Yes, I can make this a fine sword.  Some re-sharpening–it’s quite dull.  And I’ll inlay it with solid gold for you!

DANNY
Could you make it silver instead?

ELY
Silver?

GERALD
Why silver?

DANNY
Well, it says right here, in that book Elwig the sorcerer left us.  Here:  “A wolf may not be destroyed by any form of ruby, stone, or common metallica–Nay not by any means of precious ornaments or armour–but by silver and that alone, pierced into the flesh–by silver alone and silver pure.”

ELY
So that explains it.

DANNY
What?

GERALD
The Baron has forbidden silver on his land.  All ore was removed years ago by the villagers.  All utensils, ornaments, coins. . . . The Baron said that it would bring a curse upon us all, and it has.

DANNY
What can we use to fight this werewolf then?

ELY
I don’t know.  But I’ll find a way.  There must be some silver left here somewhere.  And wherever it is, I’ll find it.

Ely exits with the sword.  Danny and Gerald dismount and walk their animals toward the stable, pulling much of the crowd along with them.

GERALD
Don’t worry.  Ely is a very good man.

FATHER SAUL
Hello . . . Danny?

DANNY
Daniel O’Day

FATHER SAUL
My name is Father Saul Fellow. Praise God you’ve come.  I’m the shepherd of Wimpole, by profession, but a writer by ambition.  I plan to put all of your adventures down in this book.

DANNY
But I haven’t had any adventures.

FATHER SAUL
Had my fine sir, had.  But I’ve no doubt you will.  You and I will be remembered for generations to come, like that other fellow . . . Author, or whatever his name was.

DANNY
Well, thank you very much–

MERVIN
And I’m Mervin, the town minstrel.  I’ll sing your songs wide and far so that everyone hears of your bravery.

CRITIC IN CROWD
Please sing them far away, Mervin . . . far, far away!

The crowd laughs.

GERALD
Mervin’s an ambitious lad, just not all that talented.

DANNY
Sounds familiar.

A girl of about seventeen with moon-gray eyes exits the stable and comes to a dead stop at the sight of Danny and Gerald.  Tears fill her eyes.

ANNA
Oh, thank you!

She runs straight at them.  Danny opens his arms to receive her.  She is caught up in Gerald’s embrace.

ANNA
Oh Gerald Gerald.  You’re back.  I was afraid I’d never see you again.

She kisses and caresses his leathery face like a blind person.

GERALD
Come on.  You didn’t have that little faith in me, did you?  Anna, I’d like you to meet Sir Danny.

ANNA
Sir Danny.  I’m honored to meet a friend of my brother’s.

DANNY
Your–?

GERALD
Danny, I’d like you to meet my sister, Anna Godwin.

DANNY
Oh, your sister!  I thought–!  Well, I’m very glad to meet you.

Anna definitely gives Danny THE LOOK, and he returns it.

GERALD
I saw several new graves as we rode in.

ANNA
Yes.  But everything will be okay now that you’re home.

An enormous shadow draws itself across the face of Wimpole.

WASH WOMAN
Oh, Gods!  What is it?  The sun is disappearing!

The crowd looks heavenward, shading its eyes.  Something is eclipsing the sun, like a black jet of ink that has been injected into its golden surface.  The sun blot advances until it has nearly eclipsed the entire solar  surface, then suddenly retreats.  The villagers are agasp.

LEATHER WORKER
God in heaven.  What was that?

GERALD
Not what . . . who.

DANNY
You mean . . .

GERALD
The Baron.  He’s up to his evil magic again.

WASH WOMAN
What’ll we do.  If he can do that, surely he’ll destroy us all!  What are we gonna do!

GERALD
Easy!  No one panic.  Whatever it was, it seems to have failed.  Everyone just go back to your homes.  Sir Daniel, AEthelwold, the other elders and myself will decide what must be done.

PERCY
We’ll see about that.

RASCAL
Hmm.
INT.  CASTLE – MEDITATION HALL – DAY

The Baron stands at the full-length window looking straight into the sun.  His face is somewhat shriveled.

BARON
No!  No, you idiot!  You were almost there!  I could almost feel the power within me!

HEAD MEDITATOR
I’m sorry, your worship!  I–

BARON
–am a fool!  Do you know how long I’ve waited for this?  Do you!  Do it right–

The Baron spins, takes the Head Meditator by the throat with one fuzzy-white paw/hand, and brings the old man off his feet.  The Baron is in a state of semi-transformation which gradually recedes as he speaks.  The Head Meditator finds himself thrust out the arched window and dangling hundreds of feet above the moat.

BARON
–or don’t do it at all!

The Meditator is returned to the soles of his feet.

HEAD MEDITATOR
Y-Yes–sir!

BARON
We need more blood–another sacrifice.  Inform the guard.

MEDITATOR’S APPRENTICE
Sir!

BARON
If you ever fail me again . . .

HEAD MEDITATOR
Sir?

BARON
. . . don’t!
EXT.  VILLAGE – NORTH ENTRANCE – DAY

The hooves of THE GUARD’S horse tear through the tender earth and into the moist soil of the village.  He rides to within inches of a WOMAN AT A WELL and throws a scrolled paper at her head.

GUARD
Give this to your leaders,
woman.
EXT.  SKY – NIGHT

The moon that evening is three-quarters full.
EXT.  POTTER’S SHOP – DAY

ELY
This isn’t silver!

POTTER
It most certainly is.  I paid a lot of money for that trinket for my wife’s dowry.

ELY
Well you’ve been had, my
friend.  One good bite will tell you.
INT.  MONK’S HOUSE – DAY

The scrivener is making quill-pen scratches in a huge book, reading aloud as he goes.

FATHER SAUL
. . . and he rode in on a great white horse, with thighs like thunder, his silver helmet agleam and two broad swords in either hand . . .
EXT.  TREE STUMP – DAY

Mervin the minstrel is strumming out some ill-tuned cords on his lyre, and adding some even worse lyrics on top of them.

MERVIN
Oh . . . Danny the brave! Oh . . . Danny the strong . . . the swift . . . he’s ne-e-ver wrong . . !
EXT.  CASTLE FRONT – DAY

Rascal approaches the castle gate, and with him what appears to be a woman dressed in all-white apparel.  They stand for a moment, and then the castle gate begins to lower with a tremendous screech and groan.

RASCAL
Are you sure this is what you want to do?

VOICE
Yes.

The voice is not that of a woman but of Percival Fornwald.  He draws back the side of his hood to see Rascal.

PERCY
Just wait here for me.  Only then go tell the others.

RASCAL
You’re mother’s not gonna like you stealing her gown.

PERCY
Shh.  Here he comes.

The Baron appears at a balcony above and stares at Percy, who replaces his hood.
EXT.  ANOTHER PART OF THE SAME FIELD – DAY

THE SHEPHERD’S WIFE sees what is happening and runs toward the village.
INT.  TAVERN – DAY

A town meeting is in progress.

AETHELWOLD
This message came last night.  Another sacrifice must be made.

FIRST ELDER
Surely you’re not gonna do it?  Not now.  Not with Danny here?

AETHELWOLD
No.  We think not.  Danny said he might have some ideas on how to capture the wolf.

DANNY
Yes.  When I was seven in Yorkshire my father, who was a blacksmith at the time, was elected by town vote to capture and destroy a wolf that had been slaughtering sheep.

GERALD
This is somewhat different situation, though.  This is not your average wolf.  This one is smart, with the speed and cunning of a wolf and the intelligence of a man.

DANNY
I know, but–

The Shepherd’s Wife comes plowing through the door.

FIRST ELDER
No women in council!

SHEPHERD’S WIFE
Everyone!  Come quick!  Someone’s going into the castle!

AETHELWOLD
What?
EXT.  CASTLE FRONT – DAY

A crowd of villagers comes running up a slight incline into the field which lays before the castle gate.  Percy is already half-way across the bridge.

AETHELWOLD
No!  Wait!  Rascal, what have you done?  Why did you let her go into the castle?

RASCAL
I didn’t.  And that’s not a her . . . it’s Percy–gone to kill the Baron.

GERALD
What?  Is he mad?

RASCAL
No sir.  He said he was going to slit the Baron’s throat for killing his  brother.  Got a sword under his tunic.

DANNY
Can’t you call him back?

GERALD
It’s too late.  The Baron is watching, as he always does.

AETHELWOLD
God be with you, son.

GERALD
It’ll take more than God to save him now.

Percy pauses just beyond the gate and turns to glance at the crowd.  A hideous grating and screeching marks the gate’s closure.
EXT.  HORIZON – NIGHT

A bad moon is rising, full and ominous.
EXT.  CASTLE FRONT – NIGHT

Gerald and Danny are the only one’s still waiting for Percy’s return.  The fire is low.  AEthelwold returns.

AETHELWOLD
Come on, Gerald.  He’s not coming back.  The moon is full tonight and we need you back home.

GERALD
Alright.  Danny and I will take the south entrance tonight.
EXT.  VILLAGE – NIGHT

All is deceptively quiet, but the wind speaks its own warning.
INT.  SMALL VILLAGE INN – NIGHT

THREE CHUBBY WORKERS are seated around a table playing a game of chance.  
MILLER
Stupid kid.  He shouldn’t a gone in in the first place.

FAT FARMER
Ain’t no use in tellin’ him  now.  He’s dead.

MILLER
Aaah!  You got green?  I ain’t got no greens.  Where the hell are all the greens?

SHEPHERD
Ha!  Grind on this for  awhile.  Three reds.  What d’ya think about that?

MILLER
You’re cheatin’, that’s what I think.

From the kitchen comes . . .

INKEEPER’S DAUGHTER
Can I get you anything else?

MILLER
You can but I don’t think it’s on the menu!

The three guffaw and the girl returns to the kitchen. 
EXT.  VILLAGE – SOUTH ENTRANCE – NIGHT

Danny and Gerald stand watch.

DANNY
The moon is as full as a mother’s womb.

GERALD
You have an absorbing way with words. 

DANNY
I always wanted to be a poet.  Have you ever seen it?  

GERALD
Glimpses, Danny.  Just glimpses.  Can we talk about something cheery?

DANNY
You’ve got a cute sister.
INT.  VILLAGE INN – NIGHT

SHEPHERD
Two reds!  You’re out a full hand, my friend.  Ha!

FAT FARMER
You’re the luckiest . . . one more round.

MILLER
What are you gonna wager now?  Your flock?  I own everything else.

SHEPHERD   
I’ll–

Three soft taps come at the door, only this and
nothing more.

MILLER
Well . . . what are you just sittin’ there for like baboons.  Go answer it.

SHEPHERD
You go answer it.

FAT FARMER
Not by my chin hairs, I’ll wager.

MILLER
For God’s ache.  I’ll answer it then.

. . . and he does so, very timidly.  After a careful listen, he throws the door open forcefully.

MILLER
Ain’t nothin’ out here but a cold breeze.  Winter’s  commin’.

The clouds part and the moonlight falls.  A sword is planted point-first in the dirt several paces from the door.  Blood glistens along its blade.

MILLER
Good God!

SHEPHERD
What is it!

The door is slammed shut.

MILLER
It’s Percy’s sword!

The Miller plants his back against the door.  A beat later a sword blade comes slicing through one of the cracks and just misses the Miller’s nose.  A HOWL is heard without.  Some tremendous force collides with the door knocking the Miller to his stomach.  One down, two to go.
EXT.  VILLAGE SOUTH ENTRANCE – NIGHT

Danny and Gerald both hear the HOWL and the CRASH.

GERALD
The village!
INT.  VILLAGE INN – NIGHT

The giant white werewolf smashes its way into the inn and shakes the night dew from its fur before turning upon the two men at the table.

It gives a hellish grin.

KING WOLF
The Baron was not amused at your little surprise.

The werewolf stoops to avoid the rafters and advances on the table.  The two fat gamblers waddle to their feet, petrified.  Fat Farmer pulls a short sword from his boot and stabs the creature.  The wolf pulls it delicately from its shoulder, grabs the fat farmer, and sends him sailing through the front wall.

Shepherd takes the hint and backs quickly into the kitchen.  The wolf follows.
INT.  KITCHEN – NIGHT

The Shepherd continues his retreat straight out the back door.  The Innkeeper’s Daughter comes running down a small stairway and becomes cornered by the wolf.

A lantern is knocked from its peg by a hairy white arm.

INKEEPER’S DAUGHTER
God.  Please don’t hurt me.

WOLF
I don’t want to hurt you.
EXT.  INN – NIGHT

Danny and Gerald approach quickly, swords drawn.  A fire is swiftly consuming the inn.

GERALD
You take the back!  Quickly!

Danny diverges toward the rear.
EXT.  BACK OF INN – NIGHT

Danny reaches for the back door but is sent for a loop when the it suddenly comes slicing open.

The giant white werewolf steps out through the smoke and flame carrying the Innkeeper’s Daughter, unconscious, on his shoulder.

The wolf looks straight into Danny’s dazed eyes, and there is a slight hesitation.  Danny notices the huge, bloody scar which rings the wolf’s neck.

GERALD
Danny!  Dan!

The wolf exits.  Danny scrambles for his sword-on-loan.  Gerald enters.

GERALD
Did you see him!  Where did it go?
EXT.  VILLAGE NORTH ENTRANCE – NIGHT

Danny and Gerald approach on horseback, following the wolf’s tracks.

GERALD
Here.  He came this way.

Something in the trail startles Danny’s mount.

DANNY
What is it?

GERALD
Jameson, the shopkeeper–or what’s left of him.  He came the North entrance tonight.

Danny kicks his mount furiously.

GERALD
Danny?  Wait!
EXT.  CASTLE FRONT – NIGHT

The castle gate is just going up as Danny approaches like hellfire.  Gerald catches his reign just before reaching the moat.

GERALD
No Danny!  Wait!  He’s already home.

DANNY
But you didn’t see him.  You saw what he did.

GERALD
I know.  Following him in there without a weapon of silver is one thing.  But following him in on a fool’s moon, that’s sheer suicide.  Come on, let’s go help them put out the fire.  We’ll have our chance tomorrow.

Danny is hesitant, eyes still smoldering.  Finally he relinquishes, and they both trot back toward the blazing village.
EXT.  VILLAGE – DAY

The next morning, what’s left of the inn is chalky white and smoking.
INT.  GERALD’S ROOM – DAY

Anna enters the room and wakes Gerald.  She points nervously out the window.
EXT.  STABLE – DAY

Danny is packing up Alexander.  Gerald comes running toward him tossing on clothes.  Anna is close behind.

GERALD
Danny.  Where are you going?

DANNY
I’m going for silver.  Ely can’t find any.  We can’t do anything without it.

GERALD
No.  You can’t.

DANNY
What do you mean, “no?”  We’re helpless without it.

GERALD
You can’t leave.

DANNY
I’ll be back as soon as I can.

GERALD
No.  It’s not that.

DANNY
Then what?  What aren’t you telling me?

GERALD
Come.  I’ll have to show you.
EXT.  RIVER OF DESPAIR – INNER BANK – DAY

DANNY
I don’t believe you.

Gerald and Danny stand on the village side of a small stream, looking across to the other side.  Anna is holding a rose.

GERALD
It’s true.  I’m sorry.  Anyone who leaves this area–the area controlled by the Baron–marked by this river–will age ten- maybe thirty-times their normal rate of aging, and eventually die a premature death.  It is a part of our curse.  You would be dead within a year.  I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.  I just thought–

DANNY
You’re lying.

Gerald motions to Anna, who hands him the freshly cut rose.

GERALD
A new rose, cut this very hour.

He tosses it sadly to the opposite side of the river bank.  The rose quickly folds, withers, and dies.

DANNY
This is a trick!  A trick to get me to stay!  You’re just afraid I’ll run away!  You think I’m a coward!

ANNA
No!

DANNY
I know you’re lying!  Just look at you!  You came to get me.  You left the village and you never changed!

GERALD
Yes I did.  You never noticed the change.  I was with you for–what?–two weeks maybe!  I was searching for month’s before that!

DANNY
You liar!

ANNA
Danny . . .

DANNY
You just don’t have any faith in me!

GERALD
You don’t have any faith in me!

ANNA
Danny!

DANNY
WHAT?

ANNA
Gerald is my brother.  He is my twin brother!

DANNY
Ha!  That’s impossible.  That would mean that you would have to be the same age . . . as her?

A long, thoughtful silence.  He looks at both of them.

DANNY
Gerald?

GERALD
Yes Danny!  Yes!  Anna and I are the same age!  Look at me, Danny!  I am a seventeen year old boy!  At least I was before I left this hell-hole.  Why did I ever come back here.  I should have just let myself die out there.  A nice peaceful death.

ANNA
No!

She comforts her brother.

GERALD
And the same thing’ll happen to you if you try to leave.

Danny looks at what is left of the rose.

DANNY
You gave up all that time, all those years, just . . .

ANNA
Just to help the people of Wimpole.

The flower is completely gone now, a handful of fragrant dust.  Danny is beyond words.  The silence speaks loudly.

GERALD
Now you know why I shaved so much, jackass.

DANNY
I know I’m not much, but I’ll do everything I can to help.

Gerald hugs Danny.  Anna hugs them both.

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