Well, I’m giving The Journey/Diary of Gwennyth Grimsbane another week before I go back and look at it again, but I am working on a story that prequels Wolf in the Shadow, along with the ‘novel that never ends’.
The story takes place a year or so before Timothy and company visit Black Crystal. Since there is no longer an afterlife, the souls of the dead tend to build up and have to be periodically disposed of . This is the celebration of Akatha Mabikym. Of course, not everyone agrees that destruction is the best answer, so a wizard tries to interrupt the ceremony. Cooley Cray and Reverend Morgan Nottle (She may not stay in this one. I haven’t decided yet.) have to track down the wizard and deal with him.
I wasn’t happy with the way this one was going, so my not-too-bright self decided I’d give it a shot as a screenplay. I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out or what I’ll do with it, but, hey, it’s something different. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
Here’s a short excerpt in its raw, unedited stage (I haven’t even checked for typ0s). There’s still a lot of work to do on it.
EXT BLACK CRYSTAL CEMETERY – NIGHT
The cemetery stretches from the rail line to the shore of Crystal Hand Lake. Lighted jack-o-lanterns sit on every grave, and a rock-ringed bonfire burns in the center. The townsfolk mill about, many in masks, and speak quietly. Tables and baskets of food sit piled at the edge of the cemetery. The spirits of the dead are more prevalent, though it’s clear the townsfolk don’t see them.
Cooley moves among the townsfolk dressed in his simply shirt and trousers. He speaks to some, but he’s paying more attention to the movements of the dead. Fog swirls off the lake and obscures his view.
A bell bongs in the distance. The townsfolk freeze. The bell bongs again, and the townsfolk form a large ring around the fire. Parents grip their children’s hands, and couples move closer to each other.
On the third bong, Reverend Morgan enters with three Brothers and three Sisters. All are wearing dark robes that hide their faces. Reverend Morgan takes her place before the fire. The Brothers line up on her right, and the Sisters line up on her left.
Cooley moves to the back of the crowd but stays where he can see the Reverend and her entourage. He mutters under his breath, and a faint nimbus surrounds him. Cooley disappears from sight, but we continue to watch the ritual as if we were standing with him.
The fog thickens as the Reverend begins to speak. From Cooley’s place, her words are muffled. The Brothers and Sisters join in at points. A vortex of swirling energy appears over the fire. The flames turn from orange to blue. A chill wind blows through the crowd, and they shiver. An agonized wail sounds through the cemetery, one felt as much as heard. The Reverend’s voice grows louder, but so does the wailing. The dead are pulled into the vortex. Several people scream, and some of the children cry. Cooley, though invisible, shudders.
EDILIUS EGLODAM, in a black cloak, his features completely hidden, appears on the other side of the fire. Steel gray bolts of energy shoot from his hands toward the vortex.
ANGLE ON THE VORTEX – The vortex reverses direction, and the dead move away from it.
WIDER – The Reverend continues the ritual, and the wizard continues to oppose her.
Cooley, still invisible, moves among the crowd. He dodges frightened townsfolk until he stands behind the Edilius. Cooley tries to get a look at him, but the hood and the magic prevent it. Cooley grabs Edilius around the neck and pulls backwards. Edilius stumbles backwards, a stray bolt shooting into the sky.
ANGLE ON MORGAN – She renews her efforts, and the vortex resumes its original direction. The dead are pulled into it. An anguished scream echoes across the cemetery, and the townspeople step backwards. It’s obvious some of them want to run away but are resolved not to.
ANGLE ON COOLEY AND EDILIUS – Edilius is on his knees with Cooley, still invisible, behind him. Edilius struggles, but Cooley is bigger, stronger, and more experienced. Edilius snarls at Morgan and disappears. Cooley falls face first into the grass. A barely seen helm, the Helm of Darkness, falls from Cooley’s head and disappears. Cooley is visible.
The woman standing closest to Cooley screams and steps backwards. Cooley jumps to his feet, looking for Edilius. He moves toward the back of the crowd.
The vortex over the bonfire whirls faster, and more and more dead are pulled into it.
The Harmarayon, including GARLAND PRIDDY, a middle-aged man with a rough, rustic look about him, swarm from outside the cemetery. The Harmarayon are even more conservatively dressed than the townsfolk. Most of their clothing is brown, and the women wear long, straight skirts and bonnets. All the men wear hats, and young women have their hair braided.
The Harmarayon fight their way toward the Reverend and her entourage. The sheriff’s deputies do their best to stop them. Cooley dons the Helm of Darkness and, invisible, hurries to protect the Reverend.
ANGLE ON A HARMARAYON TEENAGED GIRL – She pauses in the rush to kick over a jack-o-lantern. The fruit bursts, and the candle goes out. The girl smiles and hurries after the others. A townswoman picks up her small child and holds him close, out of the path of the crazed girl.
ANGLE ON THE SISTERS – A small Harmarayon woman tackles the Sister on the end. The Sister falls and lays still. The Harmarayon woman rises, dusts off her hands, and turns to the other Sisters. Three other women attack the other two Sisters, but these two fight off their attackers, leaving them lying by the fire, and return to their places.
ANGLE ON THE BROTHERS – Several male Harmarayon attack the Brothers. The Brothers fight. The small Harmarayon woman slips in among the men and stabs the Brother on the end in the chest. Cooley, invisible, knocks her backwards. She hits her head on a rock and lays still, eyes staring.
ANGLE ON MORGAN – Several of the townsfolk move to protect the Reverend. They don’t see Cooley standing there with a knife in his hand. Cooley looks at the Reverend to see glazed eyes and moving lips. Her arms are held up in front of her, and her fingers move in intricate patterns.
The sheriff’s men and the male townsfolk round up the Harmarayon. They are held at rifle and sword point. Throughout all this, the Reverend continues the ritual. The vortex swirls and hums. The dead scream. Mothers hold their children close, and fathers stand protectively over their families. A wind rushes through the cemetery and extinguishes some of the candles in the jack-o-lanterns. The vortex collapses. The blue fire returns to orange. The townsfolk breathe a collective sigh of relief and move off to get the tables and the food. A few of the men remove the Harmarayon woman’s body.
Cooley ‘removes’ the Helm of Darkness’ and appears beside Morgan. He ignores the gasps from the people nearby. He stands ready to catch her, but Morgan simply shakes her head and blinks a few times. She pushes back her hood and hurries to the fallen Brother.
ANGLE ON MORGAN – The Brother lays on his back with a knife sticking from his chest. Blood soaks his gray shirt. Morgan closes his eyes and bends her head. Her shoulders shake from sobs. A single tear falls from her cheek to land on the Brother’s chest. Cooley approaches from behind. Morgan dries her eyes and stands. Several townswomen approach and offer comfort.
Avery approaches Cooley, his hat in his hands.
(looking at the bound Harmarayon)
Well, that went better than expected. (beat) Didn’t see you being much help, though.
Avery motions for his men to lead the Harmarayon away, and Cooley leads him away from the Reverend.
Rounding up unruly townsfolk isn’t my job. You know that. (motions toward Morgan) She had the dead well in hand.
Some of the townsfolk set up tables and place a large side of beef on a spit on the fire. Others set up tables and cover them with food. Lanterns are lit to cut the darkness.
What about that guy who disappeared?
I’ll need to talk to the Harmarayon. (sighs) The wizard was one of theirs.
Well, I can’t hold all this lot all night.
I’ll be along shortly. I need to speak with the Reverend first. She’ll be able to tell me at least a little about the wizard.
Fine. Just don’t be all night about it.
Avery heads off back toward town. Cooley approaches Morgan, who is now composed. The women have moved off, and DR. WINNIFRED FEASPETAL kneels beside the first Sister attacked. She checks the bandage covering a gash in the Sister’s head and moves away with several men carrying the Brother’s body.