"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"DRAGONSLAYER"

Screenplay by

Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins

SHOOTING DRAFT



FADE IN:

CASTLE - NIGHT

Now comes the moon riding over the horizon. Upon a hill at
the edge of the wood squats a castle, its crude stonework
bathed in cold silvery light. Queer carvings and runes
decorate the ponderous gate. Heavy vines are climbing up the
walls. The castle is old, its unfamiliar form testament to
an ancient mind and an ancient craft. Flickering candle light
dances on a leaded windowpane.

Inside, the corridors are dark and silent. Under low arched
ceilings the uneven floors are paved with stone blocks.
Perched over lintels and crouched in niches are icons with
strange animal heads.

HODGE

A sleep on a straw palette in a room strewn with vegetables
and crockery is Hodge, a wrinkled old retainer. A flickering
candle and empty jug are beside the bed. He is snoring gently.

CONJURING ROOM

This circular chamber at the heart of the castle is stuffed
with parchments, scrolls, dusty books, bronze braziers, glass
retorts, chemical salts, birds both stuffed and caged. An
iron candelabra stands on a work table, tapers burning. In
the soft glow it seems that the room is unoccupied, but no,
moving in the background is a shadowy figure, preparing for
a magical deed. Feet are positioned carefully within a
pentagram chiseled into the floor. A scroll is consulted; up
comes an arm and a voice blurts out:

VOICE
Omnia in duos: Duo in Unum: Unus in
Nihil: Haec nec Quattuor nec Omnia
nec Duo nec Unus nec Nihil Sunt.

Nothing happens.

VOICE
Come on, candles, out!

But the little flames stand at attention without so much as
a tremble.

VOICE
In Volunta Divina et Verbum Magi:
Lux! Exstinguat!

It's no use. There is a sigh and the figure moves forward
into the light. Revealed in the glow is the discouraged face
of Galen Bradwardyn, sorcerer's apprentice.

TOWER

Carrying the candelabra, the youth trudges up a circular
staircase.

TURRET

The highest point of the castle is a turret, open to the
stars and the night air. Here, more magic is afoot. An old
enchanter, Ulrich, Magister Ipsissimus, pours water from a
silver ewer into a stone bowl. As the surface ripples
disappear he leans forward and gazes into the pool. All at
once his face hardens as the distant sounds of screams and
thunder reach his ears. Lights and shadows, reflected from
within the basin, play across his face. His frown deepens as
the sound of his own voice comes to him from the vision in
the water -- Draco draconis -- suddenly squelched by the
roar of flame and an ugly snarl.

At that moment Galen reaches the top of the steps and holds
up the candelabra.

GALEN
Vide, Magister. There's something
wrong.

Ulrich, startled from his trance, slaps the water out of the
basin and turns to confront his student. Galen is taken aback
by the old man's grim countenance.

GALEN
What's the matter? What's happened?

ULRICH
I've just seen something. Something
of consequence to you.

GALEN
To me?

ULRICH
(calm)
Yes. My own death.

With a distracted gesture he causes the flames to extinguish
themselves.

ULRICH
Perhaps we had better hasten your
training.

CUT TO:

BARNYARD - DAY

Outside the castle wall Hodge is feeding the chickens and
ducks. He straightens up and squints through the early morning
mists. On a distant hillock two figures are moving toward
the woods.

ULRICH AND GALEN

Hobbling slowly with the aid of a pair of canes, Ulrich guides
his pupil across a wooden bridge and along a stream into the
forest.

ULRICH
(stern and troubled)
This wood, these leaves, the birds,
the very dome of heaven, once they
all rang with one great chord: and
philosophers like me kept it all in
tune. Now, new voices are singing
new songs.
(sharply)
Have you mastered the threefold
transmutation?

GALEN
Of course.

ULRICH
(skeptical)
You have?

GALEN
Well, almost.

ULRICH
It's very difficult. Have you
committed to memory undying the Codex
de Profundis?

GALEN
(a shrug)
The first two chapters.

ULRICH
It's long. And what about the Ritual
of Banishment as prescribed by my
late master Balisarius?

GALEN
To tell the truth, I haven't dared
try it. What's the point, anyway?

ULRICH
The point? The point is you don't
know it, and you're no magician
without it. It was my hope to school
you, to mold your faculties and
wits... I still believe you have
some talent. Somewhere.

GALEN
I hate books. I hate drill. I want a
real task.

ULRICH
There's no time now. When I'm gone,
half the powers in the universe will
vanish with me. And what's the use
of a few lingering skills if they're
left in the hands of a child?
(pause)
Listen!

GALEN
I don't hear anything.

Ulrich gauges the young man standing before him and makes a
decision. Reaching under his cloak he lifts off a fine silver
chain with an amulet dangling from it. He drapes it around
Galen's neck.

ULRICH
Here, wear this.

Galen instinctively wraps his hand around the jewel. He cocks
an ear.

GALEN
Voices, singing on the road.

He hastens forward to a promontory, eager to have a look.
Ulrich does not follow. Instead, doffing his cloak, he whirls
it before him, where it magically floats a few feet off the
ground. Awkwardly, the old man clambers aboard.

GALEN
I don't see anything.

He turns back, but the wizard is gone. A shadow falls over
him. He looks up. There, two hundred feet above the tree
tops his master is soaring on the wind.

AIRBORNE

The old conjurer squints into the distance. Miles away and
far below a company of drab walkers winds along the margins
of the forest. They are singing a mournful round.

GALEN

He gawks skyward. Suddenly, the old man leans down and
addresses him.

ULRICH
(a shout)
We have visitors!

CUT TO:

ROTUNDA - NIGHT

Clustering together in the center of a wide reception hall
is a contingent of weary peasants, awkward amidst the dusty
rugs, drapes and heavy furniture. Their leader is a fineboned
youth, not yet twenty. Like the others, he is uneasy; his
name is Valerian. Hodge enters and sets a tray of mead before
them. He leaves without a word. The visitors stare glumly at
the refreshment, but are too timorous to go near it.

CONJURING ROOM

Galen helps Ulrich prepare for the audience. The sorcerer
peers at himself in a full-length mirror, adjusting the hem
of a black robe.

ULRICH
Looks forbidding enough, don't you
think?

GALEN
Here are your sticks.

ULRICH
No -- they'll think me infirm. You
know, Balisarius wore this whenever
he changed lead into gold. He could
really do that, you know. I never
could. Too bad -- you'd stand to
inherit some real wealth.

GALEN
You're in a morbid frame of mind.
What's all this about dying? You
don't even look sick.

ULRICH
(tying on a sash)
You still wearing that amulet?
(Galen nods)
Good. Don't lose it. It still belongs
to me.

He backs away from the mirror and fits a silver coronet onto
his head.

ULRICH
Now, adeptus minor, get yourself a
handful of that sulphurous ash over
there...

The sorcerer starts down a circular stone staircase.

THE ROTUNDA

The visitors watch warily as a door swings open and Galen
makes his entrance, his face expressionless and hands pressed
together. He looks rather young to be the famous Ulrich.

Galen allows a moment to go by, then throws his arms wide.
Ka-whump! and Ulrich appears in the doorway in a smoky
fireball. Alarmed, the visitors retreat.

ULRICH
Nunc habeus lux!

Pffst! around the room candles flare in their niches.

ULRICH
Et calor!

In the fireplace, the birch logs are suddenly ablaze. Ulrich
totters to the hearth and extends long bony fingers toward
the warmth.

ULRICH
Welcome to Cragganmore. I am Ulrich.
Which one of you calls himself
Valerian?

The travelers are suitably dazzled by the magician's
performance. The young leader of the party screws up his
courage and speaks.

VALERIAN
That would be me. We are here on
behalf...

ULRICH
I know why you're here. You're a
delegation from Urland, from beyond
Dalvatia. Let's see the artifacts.

The travelers exchange nervous glances. Valerian motions to
one of his companions. The man steps forward and hands over
a leather pouch. One by one, Valerian places the contents on
the table for Ulrich's inspection.

VALERIAN
A bone. Scorched. A rock, fire-
blackened.
(pause)
Scales.

At this, Ulrich advances and closely examines three shimmering
irridescent disks as big as saucers.

ULRICH
All right. How did you come by these?

VALERIAN
(proudly)
I found them. At the mouth of the
lair.

ULRICH
(grim)
What else?

Valerian reaches under his jerkin and withdraws what appears
to be a curved sword. He jabs it into the table.

VALERIAN
A claw.

ULRICH
That's no claw. It's a tooth. By the
gods!

He runs a finger along a serrated edge and gazes bleakly at
his visitors.

ULRICH
And you want me to do battle with
that?

Valerian has lost all trace of timidity.

VALERIAN
Who else can we turn to? We all know
what we're dealing with here. This
is a basilicok.
(he takes a step
forward)
A cockatrice.
(another step, bolder)
A dragon.
(he leans close to
Ulrich)
This is no stag, no bear, no natural
creature. This is one of your kind.
And only a necromancer such as
yourself can rid us of it.

ULRICH
Did you try the Meredydd sisters?
What about Rinbod? I've heard it
said he killed a dragon once.

VALERIAN
They're all dead. You're the only
one left.

With a sigh, Ulrich lowers himself into a chair. He rubs his
withered legs and shakes his head.

ULRICH
It's a long way to Urland.

VALERIAN
Every quarter, upon the solstices
and the equinoxes there's a new
victim.

Greil, a grizzled peasant, speaks up.

GREIL
My daughter, for one.

OTHER TRAVELERS
My sister... cousins...

ULRICH
All women?

VALERIAN
Girls. Virgins, to be exact, chosen
by lot.

Galen edges over to the table and inspects the scales and
tooth.

GALEN
Master, don't you think --

ULRICH
Silence!

He broods for a long time.

VALERIAN
Are you afraid of dragons?

ULRICH
No. Sorcerers and dragons go back a
long long time together. If it weren't
for sorcerers, there wouldn't be any
dragons.
(pause)
All right. I'll go.

CUT TO:

COURTYARD - DAY

The travelers are making ready for departure in the grey
light of dawn. As Hodge stuffs provisions into a wicker box,
Ulrich wraps padding on a newly fashioned pair of crutches.

ULRICH
I know of this dragon. Vermithrax
Pejorative: she's four hundred years
old. As far as I can tell she's the
last of her kind. Very appropriate
that I'm the one to finish her off,
don't you think?
(he tries out the
crutches)
There. Flatten the highest mountain.
What say you, Galen?
(no answer)
Speak up.
(still no answer)
You, Hodge.

Hodge mutters something inaudible and grimly keeps packing.

ULRICH
(to Galen)
While I'm gone see you keep your
nose in your books and your hands
out of my reagents. Leave my
instruments alone too.

Galen crouches against the castle wall; he regards his master
sullenly.

GALEN
Look at yourself. How far will you
get like that? A league, two leagues?

ULRICH
I'm not worried about the road.

GALEN
(sarcastic)
Why don't you wave your hands around
and summon up a coach-and-four?

ULRICH
Don't mock me.

Galen gets up and calls out to the Urlanders.

GALEN
You pilgrims: You're used to
lotteries. Why not draw straws to
see who'll be first to carry
ironshanks here.

This is too much for Hodge.

HODGE
Hold your tongue. If the master's
got a mind to go, he'll go.

Galen approaches the old sorcerer.

GALEN
Send me. You're always saying I need
seasoning. I need a test. Let me go.

ULRICH
You're not ready.

GALEN
I'm ready for anything.

ULRICH
(wan smile)
Don't be so hasty. Your time will
come.

The walkers are ready to set forth. Hodge picks up his pack,
steps forward and pulls open the great gate.

HORSEMEN

Three mounted men are outside the gate, helmets on their
heads, swords on the belts and longbows across their
shoulders. They look formidable. The Urlanders take a step
backward.

VALERIAN
Tyrian!?

Tyrian is a lean, heavily bearded nobleman. There is a coat
of arms on the shield strapped to the pommel of his saddle.

TYRIAN
(amiable)
Good morning, all.

VALERIAN
We're not afraid of you. Give us the
road.

TYRIAN
Why, the road is yours. All the way
to Urland. It's a long journey, isn't
it? But when you're in search of a
sorcerer, I suppose no distance is
too great.

Sensing trouble, Galen moves forward. Ulrich touches his
arm.

ULRICH
(under his breath)
Say nothing.

Galen hears the urgency in the old man's voice and obeys.
Hodge takes it upon himself to deal with the strangers.

HODGE
What do you want with us?

TYRIAN
Well, like my good friends here,
I've come for a bit of black magic.
No doubt you've heard of our troubles
at home. This is Cragganmore, is it
not?

HODGE
Aye, this be the place of Ulrich.

Tyrian dismounts and saunters up to the old magician.

TYRIAN
And here we have the mystical presence
himself, no?

HODGE
You'd best keep your distance -- and
your manners.

TYRIAN
If he's ready to lay a dragon in its
grave, he's got nothing to fear from
me.
(turns to the Urlanders)
I've no more love for that creature
than you lot. Nor has the King. But,
before you stir things up, don't you
think it a good idea to see you've
got the right man for the job?

HODGE
Aha -- it's a test you're looking
for. We don't do tests.

TYRIAN
I'm sure you don't. They never do
tests -- and not many real deeds
either. Oh, conversation with your
grandmother's shade in a darkened
room, the odd love potion or two...
but comes a doubter, well then, it's
the wrong day, the planets are not
aligned, the entrails aren't
favorable, we don't do tests.

VALERIAN
We've got no doubts. We require no
test.

HODGE
And you're not going to get one.

When Ulrich finally speaks, his voice is low and
authoritative.

ULRICH
(to Galen)
Go to the conjuring room. The iron
box. Fetch me the dagger within.

Galen's eyes widen with alarm.

ULRICH
The dagger. Be quick.

Galen dashes into the castle. Ulrich gazes almost shyly at
Tyrian.

ULRICH
You shall have your test.

CONJURING ROOM

Galen comes puffing up the steps, locates the iron box, and
flings it open. Amidst the tawdry paraphernalia of a
professional magician is an ivory-handled dagger covered
with runic inscriptions. Galen eagerly examines it to see
how the blade might twist aside or collapse into the handle,
but it is all too genuine. A murder weapon.

ULRICH'S VOICE
(impatient)
Where are you, boy? I'm waiting.

Galen throws open a window and looks down into the courtyard.
He displays the dagger.

GALEN
Not this one, was it?

ULRICH
The very one. Let it fall.

Galen hesitates, then tosses it. Tumbling end over end, it
arcs downward. The old conjurer calmly stretches out a hand
and plucks it neatly out of the air. Galen watches as Ulrich
passes the weapon to Tyrian and strips back his robe exposing
a bony chest. Galen knows what's coming. He rushes for the
door. He's only a step away when it bangs shut of its own
accord. He sprints for a second exit. Whack! This door slams
shut too. Locked in. Quick, back to the window and climb
down the vine... Smack! the heavy shutters seal him in.

ULRICH AND TYRIAN

Ulrich takes Tyrian's arm and guides the point of the dagger
to his breastbone.

ULRICH
Vita regula, vita hieratica!

Everyone is filled with dread. Hodge is shaking. From the
castle come the rattling of shutters and Galen's muffled
cries. A sick sarcastic smile has crept over Tyrian's lips.
He tenses himself to thrust.

ULRICH
Go on. Don't worry, you can't hurt
me.

CONJURING ROOM

Galen stops hammering and presses his face to a crack in the
shutter. Below he can see the participants in this grisly
drama. He holds his breath. Tyrian makes a sudden movement
and buries the blade in Ulrich's chest. But the sorcerer
stands unbent, seemingly unhurt. Then, after a long moment,
he slowly sags forward over the dagger and the hand that
holds it. Tyrian shrinks back and allows the body to fall in
a heap. Very quickly he remounts. In another moment he and
his companions are gone. The others are riveted in horror.
Hodge sinks to his knees and wails his grief.

Galen turns away from the window and gazes blankly into the
gloomy conjuring room. Click! The doors unlatch themselves
and swing open.

CUT TO:

FUNERAL PYRE - DAY

Ulrich, principal magician and sorcerer of the western world,
reposes on a hardwood pyre. His hands are folded on his chest.
His face is peaceful. While the visitors wordlessly look on,
Galen touches a burning brand to the kindling. At first the
fire catches normally enough, but when the flames start to
envelop the body they suddenly turn pale green, producing an
unearthly roar. The onlookers back away from the intense
heat.

GALEN

The erstwhile apprentice stands his ground, blinking back
tears, his face weirdly illuminated by the fire.

CUT TO:

CONJURING ROOM - DAY

Galen sits alone amidst the museum-like collection of magical
apparatus. He stares at the amulet, considering its
significance. His reverie is interrupted by the murmur of
voices below. At the window he looks down to see Hodge bidding
farewell to the delegation from Urland. Valerian is the last
to leave. He pauses at the gate and glances up at Galen.
Then he moves on. The young student of magic sets his jaw,
suddenly filled with resolve.

Moving through the room, he busies himself with the old man's
effects. He scoops up the loose books and parchments and
locks them into trunks. He drapes muslin cloths over the
alchemical devices. He sows a handful of salt over the
pentagram inscribed in the floor. Finally, he opens the cages
and releases the crow, the falcon, and the great horned owl.

COURTYARD

Hodge is up on the burned out funeral pyre, anxiously scraping
ashes and small bones into a leather pouch -- the remains of
Ulrich. Up behind him comes Galen, now clad in a traveler's
cloak, with a pack on his back and a staff in his hand.

GALEN
Hodge -- what are you doing?

Hodge quickly conceals the pouch.

HODGE
Just making my farewell, thank you
very much.

He quickly climbs down, picks up his pack and follows Galen
out through the gate. As the door is pushed shut a huge oaken
timber falls into place, barring the castle against the
uninvited.

CUT TO:

HILLTOP - DAY

Galen and Hodge labor to the crest of a grassy hill and turn
to look back across a wide valley. There on another hilltop
on the far side sits Cragganmore, lit by the red rays of the
setting sun. Galen removes the amulet from his neck and
clutches it in his fist. Hodge is bug-eyed to see it.

HODGE
Be careful with that! You don't know
what you're doing.

GALEN
Stand back!

He raises his hands toward the castle and calls out:

GALEN
Cragganmore! Domus non i am! Silva
celet!

CRAGGANMORE

The vines on the castle walls begin to twitch and stretch,
magically brought to animate life. They flow upward over the
masonry, branching out and covering every surface, then up
onto the roof. Finally only the tops of the chimneys and the
highest turrets stand above the green carpet. A century's
growth in a matter of seconds.

GALEN & HODGE

On their hilltop the old retainer gives the youth a fearful
look. Galen is too flushed with excitement over what he has
done to notice.

DISSOLVE:

FOREST PATH - DAY

Galen and Hodge trudge along an overgrown cart-track under
an arch of trees.

HODGE
Oh, it's a vale of tears in which we
dwell. It doesn't matter who you
are, a king in his robes, a peasant
in his rags, when your time comes,
no magic can save you...

GALEN
I guess...

The apprentice's mind is elsewhere: he's got a coin hovering
in mid-air above his palm, bobbing gently as he walks.

HODGE
...the kindest lord a man could ask
for... now he's gone. Ye gods he was
fussy about his bath. And you'd think
he could boil his own eggs with the
snap of a finger, but no, he had old
Hodge do it, of course.
(snurfling)
Up before five I was, mucking out
the cages, slopping the pigs, and
never once got so much as a thankyou
or a pat on the back...
(through tears)
I'm going to miss him.

GALEN
Me too...

He plucks a low-hanging leaf, waves a hand over it, and
watches it turn into a spray of daffodils.

HODGE
No you don't. All you care about is
the tricks and knavery. Well, you
don't pull any wool over these old
eyes. It'll be a mighty long walk
before you fill his shoes, you mark
my word.

GALEN
What's the matter, Hodge, pack too
heavy? Here.

He gives the pack a slap. It flies out of its harness and
floats alongside them. Hodge snatches it back and clutches
it tightly.

HODGE
Careful with that!

GALEN
Too cold, is it?

A great coat drapes itself over Hodge's shoulders.

HODGE
Stop it!

GALEN
Too warm?

The greatcoat disappears, as do the rest of his garments,
leaving him in his smalls.

HODGE
(spluttering)
Stop it, I say! Out of respect for
the master!

Suppressing a grin, Galen mercifully waves his hand and
restores Hodge to his usual costume.

GALEN
I've got as much respect for the
master as anyone, old man. But --
then again, I'm master now.

CUT TO:

TRAVELERS' CAMP - NIGHT

The Urlanders are gathered around a fire, sharing a meager
supper. The man named Greil pokes at the stew-pot.

GREIL
I left my farm with seeds unplanted,
calves unborn, nothing but a wife to
chase down the strays, and for what?
A funeral, that's what.

He walks up and down behind Valerian.

GREIL
Because some people said, find a
magician. Not just a local fellow,
an import, a good forty leagues from
home. An all-powerful necromancer.
Ha -- some necromancer!

Malkin, an older man, speaks up.

MALKIN
Hold your tongue, Greil. Sit. Eat.

GREIL
I'll not sit. I'll not eat. See you
the Great Bear. His tail points east.
It's the equinox. Have you forgotten?
Or rather not think about it?

VALERIAN
(miserable)
He's right. I brought us here for
nothing. May the gods help whoever's
daughter it is tonight.

There is a noise from the darkness beyond the campfire. Two
of the men get to their feet and listen. At first silence,
then more rustling. Without a word the two men dart into the
bushes and haul two interlopers before the company: Galen
and Hodge.

HODGE
Good morrow, good morrow. Peace be
with you.

GALEN
Easy now. We mean no harm. We've
been looking for you.

GREIL
(growl)
Well, you've found us.

GALEN
(brushing himself off)
More the other way around, I'd say.

VALERIAN
What do you want?

GALEN
A few words, that's all. You were
looking for a conjurer.

VALERIAN
He's dead.

GALEN
Right. Requiscat in pace.
(he takes a deep breath)
Ecce: magister novus!

GREIL
How say you?

Galen surveys the puzzled faces. He draws himself up and
plunges in:

GALEN
My lord Ulrich is no longer. All
that you asked of him, you may now
expect of me. The dangers he would
face, I will now conquer. The task
he would undertake I will now fulfill.
I am Galen Bradwardyn, inheritor of
Ulrich's craft and knowledge, and I
am the Sorcerer you seek.

There is a moment of depressed silence. Hodge rolls his eyes.
Greil starts to chuckle, then to laugh. Soon the others are
laughing too.

GREIL
Well, that's a handsome thought, O
wizard of wizards. But if there's
one thing our friend Tyrian has shown
us, it's to beware the pig in the
poke. Who's got a dagger?

HODGE
No tests!!

GREIL
Call it proof, then.

Someone brings out a dagger and hands it to Greil. Valerian
pushes it away.

VALERIAN
We've seen enough tests.

But Greil persists, waving the knife at the group.

GREIL
Well I haven't. All I've seen is
death. Death in our families, death
on the road, and tonight, death at
home.

He lashes out with the knife. Galen jumps back, but Valerian
steps in, delivering a quick kick to Greil's gut, followed
by a right to the jaw that sends the bigger man sprawling.
He takes the knife.

VALERIAN
What's come over you, anyway? Have
you lost your wits?

He propels Galen out of harm's way and sits him down on the
other side of the fire. Greil nurses his jaw.

GREIL
I don't like it. Young snot-nose
comes in here for sport at our
expense. We're on a fool's errand,
but we don't have to listen to this.
I don't want to hear any more about
sorcery. I don't want to hear any
more about spells.

Valerian hands Galen a plate of food.

VALERIAN
You must be hungry.

GALEN
(nods)
What's the matter with him?

VALERIAN
It's not just him. It's all of us.
It's the equinox.

They both look up at the moon.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - NIGHT

The moon shines down on the far reaches of the Kingdom of
Urland, coldly lighting a barren landscape filled with the
skeletons of dead trees, blackened rock and bare ground.
Advancing across this mournful terrain is a troop of armed
men leading a blindfolded horse and tumbril. The horse is
skittish. Finally, in spite of shouts and lashings, it refuses
to go further. The leader, Horsrik, barks out an order:

HORSRIK
Close enough! Bring her out!

A young woman, no more than seventeen, is brought forth from
the cart. Long black hair falls down over a white tunic. Her
dark eyes dart fearfully around in her pale face. She is
half-carried, half dragged to the edge of a steaming crack
in the ground where she is manacled to a wooden post. By
lantern-light, Horsrik reads from a parchment scroll.

HORSRIK
Now be it known throughout the
kingdom, that this maiden, having
lawfully been chosen by a deed of
fortune and destiny, shall hereby
give up her life for the greater
good of Urland.

There is a low rumble; the earth shakes. Horsrik glances
nervously around. He carries on by rote.

HORSRIK
By this act shall be satisfied the
powers that dwell underground and
the spirits that attend thereto. In
gratitude for this sacrifice His
Majesty has declared the family --
what's the name? --

He prods the girl, but she is too terrified to speak. Beneath
them, the earth seems to groan. Smoke issues from the mouth
of the pit. One of the nervous witnesses leans forward.

RETAINER
Plowman! The family Plowman!

HORSRIK
(rushing it)
-- the family Plowman to be free of
obligations, taxations, levys and
imposts for a period not to exceed
five years...

The horse suddenly rears, and blindfold notwithstanding,
gallops off, dragging the tumbril over the rocks. The men
behind Horsrik break ranks and scatter.

HORSRIK
-- ordained and signed this day,
etc., Casiodorus, in his glory the
reigning king of this our realm...
his seal, his mark, duly read by
Chancellor Horsrik in his holy name.

Now Horsrik joins the flight, chasing his men back over the
murky horizon.

THE GIRL

She strains against her manacles, cocking her head to listen
as the rumblings below subside. Presently the steam and smoke
blow away and she can see the horse pawing and stamping a
hundred yards distant, the wheel of the cart jammed between
rocks. Summoning up a wild will to live, she squeezes her
hands against the cold iron rings. No use. She spits on her
wrists and twists desperately. Blood starts. One hand slips
free. She looks at the horse. The animal tosses off its
blindfold and looks back at her. Now she strains again and
pulls her other hand free. She wipes the blood on her frock
and sprints toward the horse. But she doesn't get there. The
earth abruptly shifts from under her feet, tumbling her among
cracked and steaming rocks. When she raises her head a huge
shadow has fallen over the horse. There is a piteous whinny,
then a roar. The girl's face is suddenly lit by flames. She
scrambles to her feet and rushes back the other way.

THE CHASE

The girl hasn't taken a dozen steps when something huge
hurtles forward and blocks her way. Something scaly and
glittering. She whirls and stumbles off in a new direction.
This time she's cut off by a monstrous claw tipped with rapier-
like talons. She screams and crawls away. Another claw
prevents her escape.

THE CREATURE

Membranous wings fold down against the night sky. Up comes
the silhouette of a reptilian head swaying on a serpentine
neck. There's an angry hiss. A sheet of flame envelops
everything.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

FOREST - DAY

Tyrian kneels beside a mountain waterfall, having a drink
while his men hover in the background. One of them points
down the slope.

MAN
There. I see them.

Tyrian wipes his mouth unhurriedly and strolls over to look.
Far below, half hidden by trees, the little company of
Urlanders winds its way through the forest.

A frown creeps over Tyrian's face.

TYRIAN
Who's that old man?

MAN
Where? Which one?

TYRIAN
That one. That's the man from
Cragganmore. Now what's he doing
here?

MAN
Filling in for the chief, I reckon.

TYRIAN
(weary)
What a pity.

CUT TO:

HODGE

Hodge marches along with the rest. When he's sure no one
else is looking he burrows into his garments and brings out
the leather pouch containing Ulrich's ashes. Reassured that
it's still with him, he tucks it away again. Galen falls
into step.

GALEN
What have you got there?

HODGE
None of your business.

GALEN
A little gold, eh? What do you say I
change it into lead?

HODGE
Save your jokes for someone else.
Me, I don't care for braggarts.

They pass Valerian, who has dropped out of line.

HODGE
And I don't care for frauds.

GALEN
I'm no fraud.

HODGE
Call it fool then. Upstart. Whatever
pleases you.

GALEN
Hodge, nobody forced you to come
along.

HODGE
Oh, I'm here of my own free will,
all right. We each do the master's
bidding in our own way.

GALEN
Well, if he told you I needed
wetnursing, why don't you just turn
yourself around and go back home.

Hodge snorts and fusses with his pack.

HODGE
Home, is it? You've seen to that,
haven't you? Gone to seed, I'd say...

He glances over and discovers Galen missing.

GALEN

He walks back along the trail, looking for Valerian. Pretty
soon the rest of the travelers are out of sight. He hears
the sound of a splash. He turns off the trail and pushes
through some shrubbery.

FOREST POOL

Under the oaks and hickory, a forest stream has widened into
a quiet pool. A pile of clothes lies on a rock at the edge.
Out in the middle, Valerian is treading water.

GALEN
You're too far behind us. Come on
out.

VALERIAN
You go ahead, I'll catch up.

GALEN
Not a good idea to get separated.
Let's go.

VALERIAN
Right. I'll be along.

Galen leans over and splashes some water on his face. Feels
good. He shucks his pack and starts to throw off his clothes.
Valerian doesn't like it.

VALERIAN
That's all right. Don't come in.

But Galen is now naked and walking into the water. He swims
out toward Valerian.

VALERIAN
(edgy)
You better get back to the group,
they're probably worried.

Galen keeps swimming.

VALERIAN
I prefer to swim alone, if you don't
mind.

But Galen has slipped beneath the surface; he doesn't hear.

UNDERWATER

Galen works his way through the murky green underwater world.
Suddenly, he stops short and stares. He's only a few feet
from Valerian's dangling legs. He gasps in surprise. Valerian
is no boy.

ON THE SURFACE

Galen comes shooting to the surface, coughing and sputtering.

GALEN
By the gods!

Valerian is pale and frightened.

VALERIAN
Stay away.

She propels herself backward, then turns and swims for shore.

ON THE SHORE

Galen and Valerian have taken refuge behind separate bushes.
Briskly they pull on their clothes.

VALERIAN
I suppose you'll tell everyone. Go
ahead, I don't care. It's a relief.

GALEN
I'm not going to say anything.

VALERIAN
I don't blame you. I was stupid.
Careless. A silly woman!

GALEN
(feeble bluff)
Take it easy. I knew the moment I
saw you. I've known the whole time.

VALERIAN
You never knew a thing. No one knew.
Not since I was born. Go on, run off
and tell them. It'll make a great
story.

GALEN
Don't worry. No one's going to find
out. Just tell me: why?

VALERIAN
Ask my father.

They finish dressing in silence. Finally:

GALEN
The lottery! Daughters are chosen,
but sons are not!

VALERIAN
That's right. Unless you have plenty
of gold or property.

GALEN
What do you mean?

VALERIAN
If you're rich enough, your name
never goes in.
(bitter)
My father is poor. So are a lot of
fathers.

He studies her. She jams a hat down over her head and, once
more the young man, stalks off.

THE VISION

Galen walks down to the edge of the pool to retrieve his
pack. As he leans over he catches sight of what appears to
be a reflection in the water: Tyrian on horseback. He whips
around, but no one is behind him. Riveted by the vision, he
hurries along the bank to follow it. After a few paces the
blurry figure dismounts, unslings a longbow, nocks an arrow
and draws the string taut.

GALEN
(horrified)
No!

FOREST

Galen sprints through the trees. Up ahead is Valerian, walking
resolutely.

GALEN
No!

She glances back at him and grimly keeps on walking. Galen
shoots past her and on into the forest.

GALEN
Hodge!

TRAVELERS

Galen races up the trail rounds a bend and sees the Urlanders
coming toward him. Hodge precedes the group with an unsteady
gait. He sees Galen, raises up his arms and flops face down
on the trail. A long arrow protrudes from his back. Galen
kneels beside him. The uneasy company keeps its distance.
Hodge struggles to speak.

HODGE
Galen? Can you hear me?

GALEN
I hear you.

HODGE
You know, somebody shot me, but I
can still talk. There's something
that has to be done.

GALEN
I know.

HODGE
Not that cockatrice. Ulrich's ashes.
Here.

Hodge's hand comes out from under his coat gripping the
leather pouch. Galen tugs at it, but Hodge can't let go.

HODGE
Take it. Sorry, you'll have to peel
it loose.

Galen pries the sack out of Hodge's clenched fingers. Suddenly
the hand comes up, grabs Galen by the hair, and pulls him
near.

HODGE
(a croak)
...burning water... find the lake,
throw it in...

GALEN
(holding up the pouch)
What are you doing with this, Hodge?

HODGE
...burning water...

He dies. Galen frees himself from his grasp.

GALEN
Hodge, don't die. Listen to me. You're
not going to die.

Galen is frantic. He pulls out the amulet and wraps his hand
around it.

GALEN
Excede, mortem! Revoca, vitam!
(he shakes the body)
Excede, mortem! Revoca, vitam!

But Hodge has passed on, and Galen's magic has no way to
reach him. Suddenly the youth cries out in pain. He drops
the amulet and looks at his palm. The device has burned his
flesh. Now he becomes aware of troubled Urlanders looking
over his shoulder, witness to his failure.

CUT TO:

LAKE - DAY

Wind whips the leaden wave tops on a vast rainy lake. The
travelers are rowing across in an open longboat, aided by a
tattered lateen sail. Valerian mans the steering oar at the
stern while Galen broods in the bow. He feels like an imposter
in their eyes.

FJORD

The boat pulls into a long narrow waterway with granite cliffs
on either side. Moving through swirls of fog, they beach the
boat and step out onto a craggy shore. Greil leans over and
kisses a rock.

GREIL
Urland!

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

The travelers descend a mountain pass and emerge through a
wrack of cloud into a gray and cheerless region. Fire-
blackened trees dot the barren landscape. As they reach the
flatlands, the Urlanders instinctively pick up the pace.
Galen slows to inspect the weird surroundings. Valerian trots
past him.

VALERIAN
Come on. Don't dawdle here.

Galen falls into step with her.

GALEN
The whole kingdom like this?

VALERIAN
No. We're near the lair. Keep moving.

Galen looks around with new interest.

GALEN
Where?

VALERIAN
Over there. Doesn't matter. We're in
no danger if we just pass through
quickly.

Galen stops. High on the slope beside them is a gaping
fissure.

GALEN
I see it. Let's have a look.

VALERIAN
No!

But Galen is already toiling up the incline.

VALERIAN
Greil! Malkin! Help!

The travelers turn to see what's the matter.

THE LAIR

Galen approaches the lair, pausing beside a wooden post with
iron manacles dangling from it. He fingers them thoughtfully.
Malkin, Greil and Valerian rush up behind him, their faces
drawn with worry.

GREIL
Look, you don't have to do this. We
know you're a fine young magician.
None better. There's no need to prove
it to us.

GALEN
Are there other entrances?

VALERIAN
No. One's enough.

GREIL
Come on. The road's this way. We'll
tell everybody how close you got.

GALEN
(coolly)
No smoke. How do you know it's in
there?

GREIL
Don't be a fool. Come away now and
live to tell about it.

Instead, Galen starts into the crack. Greil and Malkin hasten
away, but Valerian lingers, watching in mounting frustration
as Galen probes further and further into the lair. She picks
up a fistful of stones and throws them at him.

VALERIAN
Go ahead! You're going to die! What
a fine trick that will be!

But Galen is lost in the gloom. She flees.

UNDERGROUND

Galen puts his hand on the rugged wall: the rocks are hot to
the touch. Something glinting on the floor catches Galen's
eye: an irridescent disk, a dragon scale. It flashes the
colors of the rainbow as Galen examines it. All at once the
ground shudders; chunks of rock fall from the ceiling. A
pall of smoke billows up from the depths.

OUTSIDE

Galen staggers out of the fissure coughing and gagging in a
swirl of smoke. There is no sign of the Urlanders. He throws
down his pack, climbs onto a huge boulder and surveys the
massive cliffs rising behind the lair. He grasps the amulet
and closes his eyes.

GALEN
Now, great mountain, hear my command:
Terrae lapsus consignet latibulum
draconis! Evanescat latibulum
draconis!

LANDSLIDE

With a thunderous splitting sound, the entire top of the
cliff pitches forward and topples onto the lower half of the
mountain, sweeping tons of debris into the air. Boulders the
size of houses bound down the mountain toward the magician.
Eyes wide with awe, he turns and runs for his life. Even as
he careens down the slope, chunks of rock rumble past. One
catches him at the knee and sends him flying.

He covers his head and joins the landslide. Finally the dust
lifts and he finds himself in a gully face to face with the
cowering Urlanders. They look with real fear at the man who
just conjured up the Apocalypse. Tattered and torn, covered
with dirt, Galen climbs up out of the shelter for a look at
his handiwork.

LANDSCAPE

The territory has been drastically transformed: the dragon's
lair is now buried beneath hundreds of tons of broken granite.
The Urlanders look upon the new landscape with stupefaction.
Galen grins a triumphant split-lip grin that fails to win
them over. Presently they back away and run off down the
trail, Valerian in their midst. Galen's grin fades.

CUT TO:

VILLAGE - DAY

The Village of Swanscombe is little more than a rough and
ready collection of thatched huts and mud-daubed outbuildings
surrounded by cultivated fields. Dogs sleep in open door-
ways; chickens peck around the communal well -- but there
are no people in evidence as Valerian and her company troop
into town.

VALERIAN

She trots across the square and enters a deserted blacksmith
shop.

VALERIAN
Father? Hello?

She goes over to the forge. Hot coals are burning. She becomes
aware of a sound -- voices -- chanting.

SQUARE

She walks across the square toward the voices. She is joined
by Greil, Malkin and the other travelers, all of them puzzled
by the desolation. As they approach the grange hall the voices
grow louder. They seem to be singing. The main doors open
briefly and three villagers scamper out, dripping wet and
wrapped in white muslin. Valerian and her companions look at
each other in astonishment.

IN THE GRANGE HALL

In a wooden cistern in the middle of the hall a woman is
being held under water. After a few moments she is pulled to
the surface by a tall red-haired man with long bony fingers:
Brother Jacopus Januensis, a Carthusian monk. There's a wooden
cross on his chest and a mad look in his eye. Gathered around
him are the missing villagers, every man woman and child,
here to be baptised and sing a few newly-learned hymns in
praise of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Now are you cleansed of your sins!
Now are you born again, purified in
spirit, into the fellowship of Jesus
Christ!

The travelers enter and mingle with the congregation. Valerian
scans the crowd until she locates her father, Simon, a balding
sturdy journeyman. He's overjoyed at her return and gives
her a hearty embrace.

SIMON
Welcome back, my son.

VALERIAN
Father, what are you doing? Have you
all lost your minds?

SIMON
Some have.

He points to the monk, who is dunking a screaming infant and
carrying on about the Bishop of Rome.

SIMON
It's this monk. He can read and write,
and talk too, I'm afraid.

VALERIAN
And they listen?

SIMON
Shh! They think this a holy place, a
tabernacle.

VALERIAN
This is the granary. What kind of
welcome is this? I've got news of
the sorcerer and news of the dragon.

SIMON
You were brave to go, you and your
friends. But nobody cares. Listen --
he knows what they want to hear.

MONK

Brother Jacopus strides back and forth before the assembly
in an inspired state.

BROTHER JACOPUS
The man who walks with Christ is not
a man to fear a dragon: Yea, though
I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death I will fear no evil!
You say you are preyed upon by a
foul beast. Yes, but what is the
nature of this beast? It comes to
you on bat's wings and clawed feet,
does it not? It breathes fire, does
it not? And it lives under ground.
This is no dragon. This is Lucifer!

VOICE
Whoever it is, he's dead.

This is Galen, who has just stepped into the hall, tattered,
bedraggled and triumphant.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Nay, brother! It is not as easy as
that. Allegiance to Christ, to be
sure, but also prayer and confession.
These are the arms by which Satan
may be put down.

GALEN
You're talking about superstition,
friend. None of that has anything to
do with what I, Galen, have already
achieved.

He marches to the center of the gathering.

SIMON
(to Valerian)
You brought this stranger?

VALERIAN
Ulrich's apprentice. He's a braggart,
but it doesn't matter.

GALEN
People of Urland! Send a messenger
to the king. Vermithrax is dead.
Crushed by the power of the moon and
the stars! Laid low by ancient wisdom.
Dropped into the Abyss by mystical
practice.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Spoken like a pagan. Every word as
reprobate as it is false!
(holding up his cross)
Solum in hoc signo vinces!

GALEN
Nihil plus mysterium!

He gestures boldly and a fireball crackles at the monk's
feet. The holy man scurries back. A hush falls upon the
congregation.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

A procession of curious villagers winds its way into the
badlands. They gather on a promontory overlooking the dragon's
lair. They stand there for a long time, a chill wind whipping
their garments, trying to understand what's happened. The
monk is mightily displeased.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Praise God! Blessed is he that is
humble before the Lord!

VALERIAN
Your god had nothing to do with it.

Indeed, Galen's act is already the stuff of legend:

MALKIN
We saw it with our own eyes. He flew
to the mountain top. He was a bird.
He brought forth lightning. I saw
it.

Some of the younger villagers scamper forward to the spot
where the cave had its opening. With yells and whoops they
beat the ground with clubs. In the crowd Simon begins to
smile, then to laugh. Soon he leads the villagers in a
tumultuous cheer. Brother Jacopus and some of his converts
drop to their knees and pray.

CUT TO:

CELEBRATION

The inhabitants of Swanscombe have decked out the town square
and are making a night of it. By torchlight they dance merrily
to jigs and reels provided by the local fiddlers. Ale flows
freely from oak casks.

VALERIAN'S HOUSE

Valerian is kneeling before a trunk full of women's clothing.
She pulls out a long simple frock, goes to a crude mirror,
and holds it up against her body to gauge the effect. Her
father comes up behind her. He is angry and frightened.

SIMON
Put that away. What if you were seen?

VALERIAN
I'm going to be seen. I want to be
seen. Tonight the world finds out
that you never had a son.

SIMON
No, you mustn't do that. It's too
soon. We've got to think about this,
we've got to make a plan.

VALERIAN
Father: the danger is over.

He sits on the bed and puts his head in his hands.

SIMON
I know. What am I going to say to my
friends who still mourn for their
lost girls.

VALERIAN
You'll say you did what you had to.
This is a time for celebration --
and forgiveness.

He looks up at her, trying to imagine what it's going to be
like having a daughter.

CELEBRATION

Galen is surrounded by a crowd of wide-eyed kids and not a
few adults, entertaining them by pulling duck's eggs out of
their ears and causing coins to disappear. Presently he feels
the attention of his audience shift away to someone standing
behind him. He turns to find a shy but determined Valerian
sweetly decked out in her blue frock. A buzz goes through
the crowd. Valerian blushes and wavers: she seems ready to
bolt for home. But Galen takes her by the hand, and with
conspicuous politesse leads her to the dance.

DANCE

It's forward, back and around sixth-century style: the young
sorcerer can't take his eyes off his partner. But she's too
shy to return his gaze.

GALEN
Looks like you've been up to a little
sorcery yourself.

Valerian doesn't know what to say.

GALEN
Or is it witchcraft?

She still doesn't reply. It's all she can do to keep on
dancing.

GALEN
What's the matter? A real woman never
stops talking.

VALERIAN
I think it was much easier being a
boy.

SIMON & GREIL

They stand on the sidelines, watching the young couple step
to the music.

SIMON
The damnedest thing is, she was twice
the man of anyone else in the village.
Now she's twice the woman.

GREIL
(grim)
Would that I had been as clever as
her father.

SIMON
Come now, Greil. Don't begrudge a
life spared.

GREIL
I begrudge nothing. But I wonder at
what we have seen and how it was
done.

SIMON
You were there.

GREIL
I saw what I saw. But this jack-anapes
was barely ready to carry his master's
chamberpot. Isn't it strange that at
the very moment the beast is put
down we should have a holy man here
in the village?

SIMON
You don't believe that superstitious
Christian rot, do you?

GREIL
(defensive)
It is said God works his wonders in
mysterious ways.

CELEBRATION

While the proud Simon dances in the background with his
daughter, a group of tipsy villagers clusters around Galen,
belching forth a drinking song. The young magician raises
his own mug and joins in on the chorus. Abruptly the music
stops. The singing dies away. The ensuing silence is broken
by the sound of galloping hooves. Presently three horsemen
appear at the end of town: Tyrian and his henchmen. They
guide their horses forward into the midst of the merry-makers.
Tyrian dismounts and looks around in his usual friendly way.

TYRIAN
A celebration! Don't stop on my
account. You -- musicians, more music!

The musicians leave their instruments in their laps. Tyrian
draws himself a measure of ale and raises it above his head.

TYRIAN
A toast! To the deed of the day! You
see, good news travels fast. The
King himself has already heard it.
And like yourselves, tonight he's
overcome with joy.

MALKIN
What would you have of us then?

TYRIAN
Not a thing. It's this one.
(he gestures toward
Galen)
The King would meet our new benefactor
and offer his gratitude to the man
who succeeded where so many have
failed.

GALEN
(sobering up)
What sort of gratitude? A knife in
the belly? An arrow in the back?

Tyrian's smile freezes on his face. He steps in front of
Galen, towering over him.

TYRIAN
My young friend, I'd as soon dispatch
you as I did the others, and for the
same reason. But his Majesty would
like a cozy chat, and commands
otherwise.

VALERIAN
Don't go, Galen. Cast a spell and
turn them into toads. It should be
easy; that's what they are.

Tyrian regards her coolly, taking in her change of costume
and its meaning.

TYRIAN
Well, well: still plenty of cheek
under those skirts, it seems.

Having buried the dragon under a mountain, Galen decides
he's not worried about an appearance at court. He smiles at
Valerian.

GALEN
Don't worry. I'll be back.

CUT TO:

RIDERS

Three horses gallop through the moors and fens of central
Urland. Galen is tucked up behind Tyrian. On the distant
horizon, the battlements of the King's castle glow in the
slanting light of a new day.

CUT TO:

THRONE ROOM - DAY

Within the castle is a great hall with shafts of daylight
poking in through narrow windows set high in the walls. In
the middle of the room stands a carved oak throne. There is
Casiodorus Rex, King of Urland, a bearded man in his fifties,
as spare and somber as the room in which he sits. He is
flanked by a few servants, assorted courtiers and Tyrian.
Standing before them all is Galen, looking unhappy. He pours
a pitcher full of water into a small glazed goblet.

GALEN
One of the best things about the
water here in Urland is that there's
so much of it -- look at that!

Water continues to pour into the goblet without overflowing.
Galen takes a sip.

GALEN
Mmm. Good. But not cold enough.
Perhaps I could borrow a scarf from
his Majesty.

The King makes no sign. Galen approaches stiffly, takes a
scarf and retreats.

GALEN
I cover the goblet, so... remove,
so... and behold: winter in a mug!

And he's done it: he turns the goblet over and a small chunk
of ice hits the floor. The royal reaction is equally frosty.
Galen is bombing, and he knows it.

GALEN
All right. How many of you have ever
seen a table fly?

He mutters an incantation. In the audience, Tyrian notes
that Galen has his hand wrapped around the amulet. There is
a loud clatter as the heavy oak table before the throne begins
to jitter and buck. As the wine spills and plates go flying,
the King wearily raises a hand.

KING
Enough! That's fine.

GALEN
Wait, it'll rise now.

KING
Don't bother. Not necessary.

The table cracks in half and dumps a mess of fruit and
crockery at the onlookers' feet.

KING
Tell me: the landslide -- it was
accomplished this same way?

GALEN
Yes.

KING
I see. And having rendered such unique
service to our kingdom, what would
you claim as a reward?

GALEN
Please -- no payment. I have always
found magical practice to be its own
reward. I seek only some yet greater
challenge.

This handsome sentiment doesn't go over any better than his
tricks.

KING
Did you ever hear of King Gaiseric?
Of course not, you weren't even born.
He was my brother, a great King and
a valiant man-at-arms. When he
ascended to the throne, the dragon
was unbridled. No one knew where it
might strike next. So he brought
forth his broadsword and his spear,
assembled a company of his best
fighters and went out to do battle.
(pause)
He was never seen again. But his
attack provoked the most terrible
reprisals: whole villages incinerated,
entire crops burned. Death, famine,
horrible.

The King grimaces as the memories come flooding back.

KING
(quietly)
How did you arrogate to yourself the
role of savior?

GALEN
I was invited.

KING
Not by me. Did you ever consider the
consequences of failure?

GALEN
What failure? What's the matter with
you people? You want the dragon back?

KING
Then the beast is dead?

GALEN
Yes, of course. Dead.

KING
We shall see.

CUT TO:

DUNGEON

Two guards thrust Galen into a narrow cell and slam the barred
door shut. The young sorcerer waits until they're safely out
of sight, then takes out his amulet. He ponders it for a
doubtful moment. Suddenly a gloved hand darts in and whips
it off his neck and out through the bars.

TYRIAN
Thank you.

He makes an ironic salute and leaves. Galen sits down heavily
and stares at the stone walls.

CORRIDOR

Unseen by Galen, a figure clad in silk and lace skitters
down a murky dungeon hallway and peers around a corner.
Stealing a look at Galen is the Princess Elspeth, a fey beauty
in her early twenties. After a moment, spooked by some
imagined noise, she flits away.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

Dark clouds slide across a pale sun, throwing the ruined
land below into shadow. Soon fat droplets of rain are
splattering on the rocks above the dragon's lair. With each
tiny splash there is a sizzle and a puff of steam. These
rocks are hot!

CUT TO:

DUNGEON

Outside the barred window, a steady rain is falling. Inside,
Galen uses a chunk of limestone to inscribe a pentagram on
the floor of his cell. He marks runic signs on the window
sill and lintel. Then, positioning himself in the center of
the mystic symbol, he raises his hands and spreads his
fingers.

GALEN
(authoritative)
Cubiculum gravis aperat!

There's a long moment when nothing happens. A very long
moment. Finally, a thoroughly frustrated Galen leaps to the
window and rattles the bars.

GALEN
Open up, dammit! Fenestra gravis
aperat! Asser gravis aperat!
Divinitus!

VOICE
Salve, magistrum iuvenilum.

Startled, Galen whirls around to find Elspeth standing outside
his cell. She hands some food and blankets through the bars.

ELSPETH
I've studied Latin. Greek, too. Me
appelo Elspeth, filia regis.

Galen looks her over. He's never seen anyone so angelic.

GALEN
How do you do.

ELSPETH
Please don't think ill of us. My
father is a wonderful man, a wise
man. The lottery was his idea.

GALEN
I see.

ELSPETH
You don't understand. From the moment
it began, the dragon was tame. The
kingdom prospered.

GALEN
And only a few had to be sacrificed.

ELSPETH
Yes, that's true. Isn't it better
that a few should die that many might
live?

GALEN
Depends on who does the dying.

ELSPETH
Oh, but we all take our chances. My
father is a just man. My name is
entered on the lists, along with
every other young --

GALEN
Virgin?

ELSPETH
Maiden.

GALEN
If you say so.

ELSPETH
What do you mean?

GALEN
(sighs)
Nothing.

ELSPETH
I've participated in every drawing
since I came of age.

GALEN
Maybe.

ELSPETH
It's true. You don't believe me. You
think I'm lying. Well I'm not.

GALEN
I'm sorry. I heard a rumor. Families
with money, that sort of thing.

ELSPETH
Don't listen to rumors. They're lies.
I have to go now.

GALEN
Wait -- how long do I have to stay
in here?

ELSPETH
Until we know. Not long. Goodbye.
Vale. Dormi bene.

She slips away down the corridor.

LIBRARY

King Casiodorus and Tyrian are huddled over a table piled
high with manuscripts and papers. Tyrian clears a spot and
sets out a stack of lead bars.

KING
That's enough. Let's not be greedy
here.

The King picks up Galen's amulet, and holds it over the bars
in his clenched fist.

KING
Now then: I, Casiodorus Rex do hereby
command thou base metal to change
thy essence and become gold.

There is a rustle of skirts and Elspeth appears behind him.

ELSPETH
Father?

KING
Not now. Tyrian, remove all but one
bar. We'll try it one at a time.

ELSPETH
Father: did you know that some
families have paid bribes to stay
out of the lottery?

The King and Tyrian glance up at her.

KING
Nonsense. By the power of this amulet,
justly wielded by my hand in
accordance with the laws of Urland,
now lead be thou gold.

The lead remains unchanged, but the King gives out a cry and
drops the amulet.

KING
I'm burned! What devilish thing is
this?

ELSPETH
Have you ever kept my name off the
lottery list?

KING
That'll be all, Tyrian. You may
withdraw.

Tyrian bows and exits. The King uses his sceptre to pick up
the amulet and chain. He conceals it in a hollowed-out book
and places the volume on a shelf among many others.

KING
Now, my dear, what's troubling you?

ELSPETH
Answer my question: am I not exposed
to the same risk as every other man's
daughter?

The King paces over to the window and stares out. The rain
has stopped.

ELSPETH
Well?

KING
(finally)
Your father loves you very much.

Elspeth sways in dismay.

ELSPETH
(a wail)
It's true! What have you done to
me!?

KING
Who fills your head with such ideas?

At that moment a tremor passes through the room. King and
daughter look at each other in alarm.

DUNGEON

The same tremor shakes the bars in Galen's cell. Puzzled, he
rolls off his straw palette and gets to his feet. The tremor
dies away. Suddenly a violent shaking hits the cell, bouncing
Galen off the walls.

CUT TO:

VILLAGE SQUARE

Swanscombe is gripped by the same earthquake. Dodging panicky
barnyard animals, Valerian and her father join other
frightened villagers in the center of town.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY

Above the dragon's lair, boulders are shifting and grinding
together. Massive chunks of stone break loose and tumble
down the incline.

CUT TO:

GALEN

The shaking has stopped. Rock dust filters down from the
ceiling. Galen picks himself up and stares: the door to his
cell is off its hinges and is sagging open. He darts out.

CORRIDOR

Galen dashes along the hallway, rounds a corner and stops.
At the other end of the passage is Tyrian.

TYRIAN
You little meddler! It's alive!

He draws his sword and advances. Galen warily retreats. Tyrian
breaks into a run. Galen turns and sprints away.

COURTYARD

Unruly horses, terrified by the quake, rush blindly around
the courtyard. Hostlers try vainly to catch them. Tyrian
leans down from an upstairs window.

TYRIAN
Close the main gate! Quick!

The men below scramble for the gates. Galen bursts out of
hiding, sees the untended horses, and swings aboard as one
goes past. A cry goes up from the guards.

TYRIAN
There! Stop him!

Galen rides like mad for the exit, but he's a half-second
late: the doors boom shut in his face. He wheels the horse
around. The King's men are coming toward him with pikes.
Digging his heels into the horse's sides, he urges the animal
back across the courtyard, up the steps and right into the
building!

THRONE ROOM

Galen gallops into the empty chamber, knocking over the throne
and vaulting a table. Hot on his heels are armed soldiers.
He kicks the horse again and shoots under an archway.

KITCHEN

The kitchen is already in chaos from the earthquake when
Galen charges in on his wild steed. Food, utensils and cooks
go flying. He reins in, ducks his head, and squeezes the
horse out into a narrow hallway.

HALLWAY

He clatters down the passageway. But here comes a contingent
of footmen from the opposite direction. Galen rides them
into the walls!

STAIRS

The horse scrabbles up the stairs, Galen tucked low against
its neck. On the upper landing he comes face to face with
Tyrian and more soldiers.

TYRIAN
Get him! Stab the horse!

Galen jerks the animal around and plunges back down the
stairs.

LIBRARY

Whinnying and blowing the horse bursts in, a wild-eyed Galen
still in the saddle. He finds himself confronting the King
and his daughter.

Casiodorus grabs Elspeth and retreats into a corner.

KING
Tyrian! Tyrian!

Tyrian sweeps in with his men. The doors slam shut.

KING
So much for your magic! So much for
your sorcery!

Galen is trapped. Just as Tyrian reaches for the horse's
reins, the animal rears up, rolling its eyes. At that moment
the floor heaves and cracks in a new series of shocks. The
men at arms go down like ten pins. Tyrian reels back, dodging
stone blocks loosened from the ceiling. As the shaking
continues, a weakened section of wall gives way. Galen sees
daylight! Without even waiting for the quake to cease, he
prods the horse across the room and through the wall to
freedom.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

The unnerved citizens of Swanscombe gather on the promontory
overlooking Galen's landslide. Every few seconds there is a
new shudder and more rocks pour down the long slope. Valerian
stands trembling with her father. Presently Brother Jacopus
elbows his way forward.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Listen to me, my brethren. The moment
of our fear is the moment of our
triumph. This is a sign from God.
Follow me, and our faith will send
this creature straight to hell.

Holding a cross before him, he starts up the slope. No one
follows. They haven't been Christians all that long. One or
two near Valerian get down on their knees and pray silently.
Greil looks things over.

GREIL
You call yourselves Christians?

He strides after the monk. But he's the only one.

NEAR THE LAIR

The determined monk has arrived at the epicenter. His sandals
are smoking on the hot gravel. Sweat shines on his face and
neck.

BROTHER JACOPUS
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
want. Thou makest me to lie down in
green pastures. Thy rod and staff
they comfort me...

Greil toils up the slope a hundred yards back. He's crossing
himself, but he's carrying a sickle.

VERMITHRAX

There is a thunderous noise. Part of the mountain is tossed
into the air. Up from the depths comes a huge shining wing.
Then a neck uncoils and a head appears. It tips down toward
the tiny human.

BROTHER JACOPUS
(firm)
...for Thine is the kingdom and the
power and the glory forever -- amen.

At the base of the slope the villagers scatter. Greil wavers.

BROTHER JACOPUS
Unclean beast, get thee down! Be
thou consumed by the fires that made
you!

The dragon's head sways back and forth, then belches out a
waterfall of flame. It engulfs Jacopus and sends him to a
better world, if there is one.

CUT TO:

HILL ROAD - NIGHT

Horse and rider race across a night landscape under brooding
clouds. Up ahead, the sky glows with an angry red light. At
the crest of a hill Galen reins in and looks down across a
long valley. There, miles away, is the village of Swanscombe.
Many buildings are ablaze. As he watches in horror, fires
spring up in the fields and trees. Intermittently he can see
the silhouette of the dragon as it spreads destruction.
Finally the creature swoops up and away. Galen stares skyward,
losing sight of it in the clouds. For a moment, silence.
Then, with a thunderous rush of air that almost blows him
from the saddle, the dragon reappears and hurtles a few feet
over his head! It is gone in an instant.

CUT TO:

VILLAGE - NIGHT

Half the buildings in the town are on fire. Desperate
villagers dash here and there, herding children and animals
to safety, trying to save their household goods. Galen walks
woodenly into the confusion, leading his horse, taking in
the scope of the disaster. He comes upon a line of men who
have formed a bucket brigade. He attempts to join up. As
soon as he is recognized, he is shouldered roughly aside.

MAN
Get away, you little bastard. We've
had enough help from you.

Galen staggers back, reaching for his horse. The animal shies
and trots off. A middle-aged woman appears in front of him,
her face contorted with rage. She swings a flaming broom and
catches him on the back of the head. Galen reels away.

WOMAN
This is your doing!

Galen looks up and sees a couple of burlies moving his way
with boards in their hands.

BURLIES
Get him! He's back!

Before they can get too close, Galen runs down an alley and
bumps smack into a glassy-eyed, haunted man. It is Greil.

GALEN
Greil -- help!

GREIL
May the Lord forgive you for what
you have done.

He pushes past. Galen ducks behind a smoldering building.

VALERIAN'S HOUSE

The roof has burned off, but at least the walls are standing.
Valerian is wrestling charred timbers out of the center of
the room. She is covered with soot. There is a hammering on
the door and Galen barges in. He slams the door behind him
and puts his back against it.

GALEN
It's me. Are you hurt?

VALERIAN
Where have you been? Doesn't matter --
listen: Quick! Make it rain. That'll
put the fire out.

GALEN
I can't.

VALERIAN
Then get the animals back. They're
all running loose. There's people
been hurt. Stop their pain. You can
cure them. And we'll need food...

GALEN
I can't do it.

VALERIAN
(this stops her)
What? Why not?

Galen's hand moves up to where the amulet used to hang.

GALEN
I just can't.

VALERIAN
But you're a sorcerer.

GALEN
I'm no sorcerer. Whatever power I
might have had, it's gone.

VALERIAN
It can't be!

GALEN
I know: I'm an imposter. A fraud. A
fake. I'm sorry...

For a moment, Valerian is too stunned to speak. Then her
face colors.

VALERIAN
You're sorry?! Listen to that! The
damn thing is loose, we're all on
fire and you're sorry!

Galen sinks to the floor and sits in the ashes.

VALERIAN
You didn't have the faintest idea
what you were doing, did you? You're
a fool -- and I'm a bigger one for
bringing you here.

She snatches up a pitchfork and glowers at him.

VALERIAN
I don't want you in this house. Get
out.

But Galen still sits there like a puppet with its strings
cut, every dream of glory utterly crushed. This piteous sight
touches Valerian's heart. Her gaze softens. She slowly lowers
the pitchfork.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

TOWN SQUARE - DAY

A knot of villagers lead Tyrian and his henchmen across the
square directly to the blacksmith's shop. The King's men
dismount and pound on the door. It swings open. Valerian is
standing there.

TYRIAN
Where is he?

VALERIAN
Not here. I can't help you.

A cry goes up from the villagers. They know damn well he's
in there.

VALERIAN'S HOUSE

Tyrian pushes Valerian aside and steps into the room. Aided
by some townfolk, his men proceed to ransack the premises,
overturning barrels, sticking their swords through flour
sacks, poking through the tumbledown thatch. Valerian's eye
falls on Malkin, who has involved himself in the search.

VALERIAN
You too?

MALKIN
(returning her look)
Damn right.

Finding nothing, the group pushes into the metal shop, where
Simon is hammering an iron wheel rim back into shape on an
enormous anvil. He lays down his tools and grimly watches
the men go through, overturning benches and tables. Tyrian
props a leg up on the anvil and addresses himself to Simon.

TYRIAN
As the proud new father of an eligible
daughter who was some-how overlooked
all these years, it may interest you
to know that the King has called for
a new lottery.

SIMON
But it's months til the solstice.

TYRIAN
In view of what's happened, we all
know what's required.

SIMON
I've never taken part in your cursed
lottery, and I'll have nothing to do
with it now.

TYRIAN
You were very clever. But she'll
take part, like all the rest. No
exceptions.

The search party has exhausted the room's hiding places.

HENCHMAN
Nothing. If he was here, he's gone
now.

Tyrian nods and leads the way out. Simon catches up and pulls
Tyrian aside at the door.

SIMON
All right. I know what you want. How
much?

TYRIAN
Are you offering me a bribe?

SIMON
Yes.

TYRIAN
Don't waste your time.
(pause)
You could never afford it.

He spins on his heel and joins his men as they ride out of
town. Valerian and Simon watch them go. When the riders are
out of sight, they return to the shop. With a couple of stout
poles, they strain to lift the anvil off its base. Finally
it topples over. Valerian slides the base aside, revealing a
trap door. She raises it and a cramped Galen unfolds himself
from the space below. On his face is a curious look of
determination.

GALEN
Smith -- have you ever forged a
weapon?

WEAPONS

Simon is going through a cabinet, tossing out hoes, rakes,
sickles, scythes, plow blades, and a knife or two. Galen
examines them doubtfully. Now Simon produces an armload of
swords. Galen is impressed; he looks them over carefully,
testing and rejecting them in turn.

GALEN
These are your sharpest?

Simon plucks up one of the swords, carries it to the center
of the room. He lays a horseshoe on the anvil. He brings the
sword down -- whack! -- and cuts the horseshoe in half.

SIMON
Even Tyrian carries one of these.

Galen hefts it dubiously.

GALEN
It's sharp -- but it's not sharp
enough.

Valerian has been watching all this with growing concern.

VALERIAN
Not sharp enough for what?

GALEN
For what I'm going to do with it.

VALERIAN
Nothing's that sharp.

Simon gnaws his lip. Reluctantly, he brings a long box from
the bottom of the cabinet. He opens it. Lying on a bed of
silk is an exquisite two-handed broadsword. The flat blade
gleams like a mirror. Galen reaches in and lifts it out.

SIMON
The best I ever made.

Valerian is as awed as Galen.

VALERIAN
It's beautiful.

Galen brings up a finger to test the edge. Simon grabs his
hand away.

SIMON
Don't do that!
(he looks at Valerian)
Girl-child, when you were born I
knew I had to do something, so I set
about the task of fashioning an
extraordinary weapon: I had the skill
to make it --
(bleak pause)
-- but not the nerve to use it.

She looks at him with affection. Leaning forward, she plants
a kiss on his bald pate.

VALERIAN
I'm thankful for that.
(to Galen)
No man should choose a senseless
death.

CUT TO:

STREAM - DAY

Galen, Valerian and Simon tramp through a glade to a mossy
bank. There a wide stream flows lazily under a canopy of
trees.

VALERIAN
If it's me you're worried about,
don't. So my name has been entered,
what of it? There are hundreds of
girls. My name just won't be drawn.
I know it won't.

Galen walks out into the shallows and pushes the sword-tip
into the sandy bottom, angled so that the edge splits the
current.

GALEN
Valerian, this isn't just for your
sake.

He walks back to shore. All three watch the sword to see
what will happen.

SWORD

Big flat oak leaves are gliding along the current. Very
slowly, they go by the sword, some of them very close.
Finally, one of them floats against the leading edge of the
blade and without a ripple is cleft in two. Simon gives Galen
a significant look.

VALERIAN
I don't care. It doesn't matter.
What you want to kill isn't flesh
and blood.

SIMON
Oh, it'll bleed, all right.

VALERIAN
How do you know? No one's so much as
even scratched it.

They look to Galen. The apprentice's face is full of doubt.

GALEN
I'll need the amulet.

CUT TO:

KING'S CASTLE - NIGHT

Carrying torches to light their way, families -- some with
maiden daughters -- gather from all over the country in the
courtyard of the King's castle. Simon is there with Valerian,
and so is Galen, disguised in rough farm clothes and a wide-
brimmed hat. Like many others, he carries a stick topped
with a bleached skull -- to all appearances, just another
participant in this weird pagan ritual. A barrel decorated
with flames and dragon's wings sits on a raised dais in front
of the main entrance. Horsrik, the King's herald, supervises
preparations for the lottery. Armed guards appear carrying a
sealed chest. Horsrik breaks the seal and the guards pour
the contents -- hundreds of wooden tiles, each bearing the
name of a potential sacrifice -- into the barrel. Trumpets
blare and drums roll and the royal party strolls onstage:
the King, his daughter, courtiers and Tyrian. Valerian nudges
Galen.

VALERIAN
(pointing)
Look at her. The Princess.

GALEN
I know. We've met.

Valerian gives Galen a sharp look. Horsrik unrolls a
parchment.

HORSRIK
(reading)
People of Urland: whereas the peace
of the kingdom has been disrupted by
the mischief of an interloper; and
whereas this interloper being fled;
now therefore, his majesty the King
hereby proclaims the sum of thirty
ducats to be paid to anyone producing
the miscreant Galen Bradwardyn, fraud
enchanter, to our satisfaction.

Galen pulls his hat low over his eyes. As the moment for the
drawing approaches, Valerian becomes more and more uneasy.
She pushes forward through the crowd until she's just below
the barrel. She eyes the people around her. Some of them
seem equally worried, others -- the better dressed and better
fed -- are smug and complacent. The King and his retinue are
serene. A chant goes up from the crowd:

CROWD
Stir the tiles! Stir the tiles!

Horsrik picks up a wooden staff surmounted by a carved
dragon's head and stirs up the names. This done, a new chant
goes up:

CROWD
Bare the arm! Bare the arm!

At a signal, a guard comes forward and cuts the sleeve from
Horsrik's right arm. He holds it high. The crowd surges
forward. The atmosphere is full of dread and excitement.
Valerian looking pale and determined, is jostled and pushed
to the edge of the platform.

CROWD
Draw the name! Draw the name!

The moment has come. Down goes Horsrik's arm and up it comes,
holding one little wooden square, one young woman's fate. An
expectant hush falls over the mob. The virgins of Urland
tremble and wait.

HORSRIK
Now, my countrymen, hear me: behold,
for I am chosen. I shall die that
many may live. I shall lay down my
life for family and fellows. I shall
go to my grave for the love of our
King and his wise policy. And my
name is --

He looks down at the tile to read the name, but no sound
comes to his lips. He looks back at the crowd, a cold sweat
breaking over his face. He swallows, but still can't bring
himself to speak. At his feet, Valerian is holding her breath.
A new chant goes up.

CROWD
The name! The name!

By now Horsrik is trembling. He stares down at the tile, his
mouth set in a grim line. The King is getting annoyed. He
gestures and the crowd falls silent.

KING
Read the name.

HORSRIK
(mastering himself)
The name is: Princess Elspeth Ulfilas,
filia regis.

There is a moment of profound shock. Then a low murmur of
wonder moves through the crowd. Galen looks at Valerian; she
sags with relief. The King turns to his daughter. She shows
nothing. He rises from his chair, comes forward and snatches
the tile from Horsrik.

KING
That's not the name. It's been
misread.

Valerian will not stand for such hypocrisy.

VALERIAN
There's no mistake! The name's been
chosen -- let it stand!

KING
No, the good Horsrik has misspoke
himself.
(he looks at the tile)
In fairness to this individual, whose
name I can't make out, we'll destroy
this tile.

He quickly tosses the wood chip into a brazier at his elbow.
Led by Valerian, the crowd cries out in protest.

VALERIAN
No! What better name than your own
kin? At last we see justice done!

KING
Silence! We will have a new choosing.
I will draw the name myself.

He reaches into the barrel and extracts another tile. He
looks at it and his eyes widen. Betrayed, he swivels to face
his daughter. The din of the crowd reaches a crescendo.

CROWD
Let it stand! Let it stand!

Elspeth takes the tile from her father's nerveless fingers,
looks at it with satisfaction and holds it aloft.

ELSPETH
The name is as you heard it and as
Horsrik read it: Elspeth.

The King moils through the tiles, finding his daughter's
name again and again.

KING
The lottery is invalid. Another and
another. What treachery is this?

Valerian, chanting with the rest, falls silent. She looks at
Elspeth with sudden interest and respect, then awe.

ELSPETH
Hear me, good people! It is true,
that my name appears on many of the
lots. This does not falsify the
drawing, it certifies it! I have
learned that my name has been kept
from jeopardy in all the drawings in
the past. So I have put my name among
the rest many times -- once for each
risk that, over the years, you took
and I did not.

The crowd is dumbfounded. Gradually voices erupt in a
cacophony of shouts, whistles and excited conversation. Galen
sees his chance: there's an unguarded door near the stable.
He drifts toward it and slips inside.

THRONE ROOM

Galen pokes his head in: the room is empty. He scurries over
to a chest, flings it open and starts rummaging. Finding
nothing he moves on to a cabinet. He breaks the lock and
pries it open. Again, nothing.

CASTLE CORRIDOR

Galen can hear the voices in the courtyard as he rushes down
a hall. Suddenly he stops short. There in front of him is a
guard leaning out a window to watch the proceedings. Galen
hovers on the verge of panic as the guard abruptly moves.
But the man is only headed for another window and a better
view. Galen manages to fall into step an arm's length behind
him and slip by without a sound.

LIBRARY

Galen enters the library, his enormous shadow dancing crazily
on the torchlit walls. Hurrying through, his attention is
drawn to some open books on a table. Closer inspection reveals
magical writings and symbols. Galen paws over everything,
suddenly aware that he must be close to the amulet. But where
is it?

COURTYARD

As the crowd disperses Valerian watches Elspeth walk back in
the castle, lofty and composed. She looks for Galen and
discovers he has gone.

LIBRARY

By now, the room is in total disarray. Galen has opened all
the chests and trunks and knocked half the books from the
shelves. No amulet. He's feverishly working on a locked drawer
when a voice interrupts him.

KING
Don't go to all that trouble.

Galen whirls around to find the King standing in the doorway.
The monarch looks shattered. Galen edges toward the split in
the wall and finds that it has been shored up with timbers.
At that moment Tyrian comes through the door, sizes up the
situation and draws his sword.

GALEN
I'm unarmed. If you want a fight, at
least give me a weapon.

TYRIAN
(pushing by the King)
I think not!

KING
Stop! Don't harm him.
(to Galen)
And you -- don't run away... please...

The King's voice is cracking. Galen and Tyrian are equally
taken aback. The King searches through the books remaining
on the library shelves.

KING
(shaky)
I've always had the greatest
admiration for the black arts. You
chaps with your mysterious spells...
I didn't think it would be necessary,
you see. Vermithrax is an old dragon.
And that, I thought, was the beauty
of my plan -- buying time. We'd wait
her out. I'd live to see the end of
her.
(firm)
That's still going to happen.

The King finds the book and takes the amulet out. With
trembling hands, he passes it to Galen.

TYRIAN
Sire!

KING
He shall have it.
(pleading)
It's my daughter. Save her, I beg
you.

CUT TO:

VILLAGE - DAY

The people of Swanscombe are clearing up the rubble and
beginning repairs on their dwellings. Standing in their midst,
lecturing every passerby, is Greil. He holds up the charred
remains of Brother Jacopus' wooden cross.

GREIL
Holy of holies -- he did not die in
vain. Can you hear me, brothers?

Some workmen go by lugging new thatch. Malkin is with them.

MALKIN
(gently)
We hear you, Greil.

GREIL
Well and good, but I'm Greil no
longer. Call me Gregorius, after the
Bishop of Rome.

Malkin and the others stop to listen.

GREIL
I saw him die. Like Our Lord Jesus
on the cross he was, scourged by
evil. But he showed no fear. Such is
the power of the Holy Ghost.

BLACKSMITH SHOP

Galen lurks in the shadows of Simon's metal shop looking out
on the square where Greil is holding forth.

GREIL
Of what avail is magic? The old gods
died with our daughters. From whence
comest my help? My help comest from
the Lord!

Galen quietly shuts and bars the door. He moves deeper into
the gloomy workroom where Simon is pumping a bellows to heat
up the forge. Galen looks at the coals.

SIMON
Good and hot.

GALEN
Don't bother. That's not the kind of
fire we need.

Valerian is staring at the sword, sitting on the anvil in
its silk wrapping. Galen uncovers it, holds it high, and
puts his hand on the amulet.

GALEN
Nunc, per Potestatem Hermeticum --
ex flammis, ferrum sangrinarium!

The sword starts to hum and to heat up. From the hilt outward
the blade glows brighter and brighter: red, orange, white.
It lights up the room, throwing long shadows into the corners.
Galen lays the white hot steel on the anvil. Simon takes up
his hammer and begins the reforging. Valerian sees their
resolve. After watching for several moments she slips out
the side door, looking sad.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

Clouds scud low over the lifeless region. The dragon's lair
now has a newer, bigger entrance. Vapors drift upward from
it. Down the slope a lonely figure works its way from rock
to rock: it's Valerian with a wicker basket on her arm,
searching for dragon scales. The basket is already more than
half full when she finds herself ominously near the mouth of
the cavern. She's about to turn back when she spies a
particularly large and beautiful scale just a few yards
further on. As she reaches for it, there is a sudden hiss!
She jerks her hand back and freezes. There in the shadows is
a baby dragon, a basilisk, all coppery bronze with stubby
winglets. As she backs away, she sees two more come up to
join the first. They watch her retreat through wicked little
green eyes.

CUT TO:

STREAM - DAY

On the mossy bank Galen and Simon unwrap the reforged sword.
Now the blade carries a faint blue halation. Galen walks to
the middle of the current and once again stabs the tip down
into the sand. Then he rejoins Simon onshore to await results.
This time, as the oak leaves approach the sharp edge, they
gently but definitely veer sideways to avoid contact. Such
is the power of the sword that even after many leaves, not a
single one has come close enough to be sliced. Simon is agog
and even Galen seems satisfied. They clasp hands.

SIMON
An edge like no other on this earth.

GALEN
Well done, Simon. Thank you.

Simon hands him a bundle of fighting equipment.

SIMON
(grave)
I'll say goodbye to Valerian for
you. I'm sorry she's not here, but
you know how she is.

GALEN
I understand.

They look at each other for what could be the last time.

SIMON
Fare thee well.

The old man departs. Galen unfolds the bundle and brings out
its contents: mail hauberk with coif, studded leather gloves,
padded jerkin, a scabbard and a small wooden shield. He lays
them out on the stream bank, then strips off his tunic and
kneels down to splash some water in his face. As the cups
the water between his hands, an image comes alive and shimmers
on the surface: Valerian, stripping off her own clothes,
shyly turning toward him, solemn and romantic.

VALERIAN
Galen.

It's as if the vision is speaking to him, but it's not. He
spins around and sees her standing there, fully clothed, and
possessed of a brisk and businesslike air.

VALERIAN
Here.

She throws down a shield. It's remarkable in its construction --
overlapping layers of iridescent dragon scales have been
ingeniously fastened to a leather-clad frame.

VALERIAN
It's a shield. I made it. Might keep
the fire off you. Might not. You
know, you're an idiot. You're going
to die tonight. You'll be ripped
limb from limb. This is the last
time I'll ever speak to you.

Galen turns the shield over and over, marveling at it. He
fixes her with a piercing look.

GALEN
Thank you.

VALERIAN
(rushing)
Another thing. That thing isn't alone
up there. There's little ones. Young,
I think. I don't know how many.

She shudders. Galen's eyes are still fastened on her. She's
fighting to retain her hard manner, but the agitation and
dread are plain.

GALEN
Hatchlings. They'll have to be killed
too. Anything else?

Valerian wants to be bold, but on this final point, can't
muster the courage.

VALERIAN
(tiny voice)
You're in love, aren't you?

GALEN
(slowly nodding)
Yes.

VALERIAN
That's all right. I understand. She's
very beautiful, very brave.

GALEN
Who is? What do you mean?

VALERIAN
Your Princess. But I don't care. It
doesn't change the way I feel.
(firm)
Listen to me, Galen Bradwardyn,
sorcerer's apprentice; you're going
to be dead, the dragon will be worse
than ever, there will be more
lotteries, and I'm not a boy any
more.

GALEN
And you'll be eligible because --

VALERIAN
Because I'm still a virgin, and I
want you to do something about it.

Galen takes her in his arms; she is trembling. He tilts her
face up toward his and kisses her.

GALEN
I am in love. But not with the
Princess.

Their image is reflected in the waters. Through the ripples
she is visible pulling briefly away to remove her clothes.

From afar, they are two tiny figures under the overarching
oaks and willows. They embrace and sink down into the deep
grass beside the water. The leaves continue their unhurried
course downstream.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - NIGHT

A cold wind whistles through the rocks near the dragon's
lair. By the light of a flickering torch two workmen finish
driving a heavy post into the ground. As they affix a pair
of iron manacles they see the torches of a procession coming
up the slope. They hurry down to meet it. Horsrik is in the
lead, followed by soldiers and royal attendants. Elspeth
rides in the tumbril behind a blindfolded horse. Bringing up
the rear is Tyrian. At last the cart can go no further.
Elspeth alights and leads the rest of the troop to the post.
As the soldiers put the irons around her wrists, Horsrik
unrolls a parchment, turns his back on the wind and begins
to read:

HORSRIK
Now be it known throughout the
kingdom, that the Princess, having
been chosen by a deed of fortune and
destiny --

Horsrik blinks. There's a black stain growing in the middle
of the parchment; all at once it bursts into flames. He cries
out and flings the document away. There follows a flash of
light and a puff of smoke and Galen is standing there, as if
he had materialized out of thin air. Horsrik and his startled
men backpedal down the slope.

HORSRIK
No fire, I beg you.

Galen raises his hands in a menacing gesture.

GALEN
Be gone!

That's enough for Horsrik and company: he and the soldiers
depart.

HORSRIK
(over his shoulder)
I declare these proceedings duly
ordained...

Only one man remains behind the challenge the young sorcerer:
Tyrian. He draws his sword.

TYRIAN
I knew I'd find you here. Well, I'm
not as sentimental as some. The
kingdom, every one of us, need this
sacrifice. If you intend to interfere,
you'll have to kill me.

GALEN
I've got plenty of reasons to kill
you that have nothing to do with
this sacrifice.

Galen draws his own sword. As it emerges into the night air
it seems imbued with a blue phosphorescence.

TYRIAN
Most impressive. Can you use it?

Elspeth twists around in her chains.

ELSPETH
Let it be! Please! Tyrian is right --
it's our only hope!

Galen starts to reply, but as soon as his attention wavers,
Tyrian is lunging toward him, sword point directed at his
neck. Galen barely manages to parry the thrust before Tyrian
is at him again, blade swinging toward his knees. Galen drops
the tip of his sword to catch the blow. When the two steel
edges connect, sparks fly. In a series of thrusts and counter-
thrusts, each accompanied by a shower of sparks, Tyrian backs
Galen up the mountain.

ELSPETH
Tyrian -- both of you -- run! Flee!
It's coming!

Sure enough, at that moment the earth gives out a low moan
and undulates in a sickening movement. Vapors begin rising
from the lair.

TYRIAN
In a trice! This is no swords-man.

He might be right, for Galen turns and bolts across the slope.
When he reaches the post with Tyrian two steps behind, he
whirls and brings his blade down on Princess Elspeth's chains.
The chains part in an explosion of sparks.

GALEN
Run! Get out of here!

The Princess darts from the piling as Tyrian swoops down to
continue the attack. Galen dodges and the stake catches
Tyrian's blow. The earth shakes again. Galen glances at the
Princess.

GALEN
No! Stop! What are you doing?

Elspeth is not running away down the mountain. Instead she
is walking, slowly and deliberately, right into the smoking
cave. Swoosh! Tyrian's sword comes down again. The dismayed
sorcerer ducks back and Tyrian's blade again bites deep into
the wood.

TYRIAN
You've failed, my friend, and I thank
the gods for it. Come out from behind
that post.

It's now or never. Elspeth is no longer in sight. Galen grits
his teeth, grasps the sword with two hands and swings it as
hard as he can in a wide arc. The blade never even slows
down as it sails right through the post, lopping it clean
off. The glowing sword flashes above Galen's head and eagerly
buries itself in Tyrian's chest. The King's man is as startled
by the amputated piling as he is by his own death. His eyes
roll up in his head, his knees buckle and he topples backward --
the blade sliding free.

DRAGON'S LAIR

Smoke swirls at the mouth of the cave as Galen enters, holding
his sword before him, lighting his way with its faint blue
glow.

GALEN
Elspeth!

The floor of the cave as it winds down into the mountain is
paved first with rock, then with dragon scales, then with
bones. With each footfall, clusters of mysterious insects
scuttle away. Galen pauses to mop his brow; it's getting
hot. A sound echoes up from the depths, a grinding sound
like the gnashing of teeth, followed by hissing and squealing.
Galen grips his sword tighter and pushes on. Suddenly he
stoops and picks up an embroidered slipper: Elspeth's. The
grinding sounds are louder. He hurries forward and rounds a
corner. He stops and gags.

BASILISKS

Two disgusting little reptiles -- like scaly raccoons -- are
perched on the corpse of Princess Elspeth Ulfilas, feeding
contentiously on choice bits of the royal flesh. Galen groans:
he lashes out and his sword beheads one of the tiny monsters.

The other one buzzes its half-formed winglets and hisses a
hot stream of air. Galen brings down the sword and slices it
in half. Eyes riveted on Elspeth's remains, he edges around
the carnage and backs away. Hissss! -- there's a third one,
lurking in the shadows, munching on something; it might be a
hand. Galen shrieks and jumps away. The little creature comes
at him and clamps its jaws on his leg. Galen stabs at it
repeatedly. Finally it lets go, and flails and flops across
the bloody floor, ululating its death agony. As the creature's
last mewlings echo down through the cavern, the ground
quivers. Bits of stone fall from the ceiling.

LAKE OF FIRE

Galen works his way down a narrow passage whose walls are
alive with insects and beads of sulphurous water. As before,
he holds the sword in front of him; he marvels at its
increasing brightness. The heat is increasing too; sweat
mats his hair and runs down his face. A few yards further on
the sword starts pulsating. Now the walls take on a flickering
rosy sheen and the passage widens into an underground vista
of staggering immensity: an underground lake, its surface
bubbling and torn with sheets of flame. Arching over it is a
vault of stone, penetrated here and there by natural chimneys.
The dimensions of this internal world are unknown -- the
fiery lake disappears into half a dozen side chambers. The
one clear path is accessible only by a series of flat stones
leading across the hot liquid. Galen grips his sword and
resolutely hops from rock to rock.

VERMITHRAX

He's halfway across when the earth rumbles and the stepping
stones teeter beneath his feet. A fiery wave washes over his
legs, leaving his boots smoking. Another tremor knocks Galen
to his knees. As he scrabbles to pick up his sword and shield,
the great head of Vermithrax rises up out of the depths on
its long neck. It gazes at him through huge pale eyes under
armored lids. A tongue flicks out and runs around its lipless
mouth. The head sways from side to side. The mouth hinges
open, the nostril-like igniters come on and touch off the
jet of gas squeezed up out of its innards. A roaring tube of
flame engulfs Galen. He crouches behind his dragon scale
shield which deflects the fire just enough to save his life.
The dragon pauses to take a breath. Galen springs to his
feet, and bounds back the way he came, his skin and clothing
singed. Flames lick at his back as the dragon lets fly with
a second burst.

TUNNEL

Coughing and weeping, Galen staggers up through the tunnel,
nearly tripping over the body of one of the baby dragons. A
few seconds later, Vermithrax follows, squirming and clawing
its way upward. When it reaches its dead offspring it surveys
the scene with expressionless eyes. Bringing its head low,
it sniffs and nudges at the lifeless little ones.

AMBUSH

At that moment Galen leaps out from behind a niche in the
tunnel wall and lunges forward. Striking sparks, the point
of his sword slides across the dragon's plated cheek and
stabs deep between the scales of its heavy neck. There is an
unearthly shriek and the creature flicks its head back and
upward. Galen goes sprawling and finds himself holding half
a sword. The rest is buried in the beast's neck, and
Vermithrax doesn't like it. It flings its head this way and
that, knocking rocks loose from the ceiling. Its movements
cause the ground to quake. As boulders tumble around him,
Galen drops to the floor under his shield. Dragon flame
reaches through the cascading debris and washes over him.

CUT TO:

DAWN

Valerian roams the rock-strewn slope not far from the dragon's
lair. Presently she comes upon a once-familiar object -- the
fire shield. Half the scales are gone, the rest are charred
and curling. Grimly, she moves on. A few paces away she picks
up the blunted sword. She scans the rocks and finally sees
what she's looking for.

GALEN

He's lying face down behind a boulder, his clothes charred,
patches of skin scorched. He looks dead. Valerian rolls him
onto his back. She gasps: the eyes are open, regarding her.

GALEN
Still alive.

CUT TO:

BLACKSMITH SHOP - DAY

Simon is standing by the anvil with the broken sword in his
hand, lost in thought.

HOUSE

In the adjoining house Valerian tends Galen's wounds. He's
propped up on a palette enduring the application of poultices.

VALERIAN
You know what we have to do.
(he looks at her with
dull eyes)
We have to leave Urland.

He winces in pain.

VALERIAN
Not because of what happened. I
brought you here -- it didn't work --
now I'm taking you away. Do you
understand?
(Galen does not react)
You said you loved me. Is it true?
If it is, it's the only good we've
done. Let's not lose that too.
(pause)
Galen?

He seems miles away. She turns aside, on the verge of tears.
Simon is standing there, still holding the sword hilt.

SIMON
She's right. What kind of a life
could you have here? It's too late
for me, but you're young enough.
(he shows them the
sword)
You know what I think? Magic is dying
out, fading from the world. But that
makes me happy. That means the dragon
will be dying too.

Galen looks at him; he has heard everything. He sits up and
fondly regards Valerian.

PACKING

Valerian packs her belongings into a rucksack. The last item
in is her blue frock, carefully rolled. Beside her, Galen
dons clean traveling clothes. He stiffly crosses the room
and drags his pack out of the corner. He sorts through the
effects, and amidst the clothing and supplies discovers the
leather pouch containing Ulrich's remains. He contemplates
it.

VALERIAN
What's that?

GALEN
Nothing. I was just thinking -- poor
Hodge.

He tucks the pouch away, throws some clothes on top and ties
the satchel shut.

CUT TO:

STREAM - DAY

Beside the quiet stream Simon bids farewell to the young
couple, embracing each in turn. They slosh across the shallow
water and follow a path into the woods.

CUT TO:

VILLAGE SQUARE - DAY

Greil is standing outside the half-burned grange hall,
summoning the Christian faithful. He proclaims the call to
worship by hammering on a small bell. One by one the townsfolk
arrive. Among them is Simon, looking bereft.

CUT TO:

FOREST PATH - DAY

Valerian and Galen trudge along side by side.

VALERIAN
How's your leg?

GALEN
Hurts. That thing was small, but its
teeth were sharp.

VALERIAN
At least you killed it. You got all
the young.

This is small consolation, and Galen sighs.

GALEN
But the big one's alive. Somewhere
down in that burning lake.

VALERIAN
Don't think about it. You had your
fight, and you're still here. That's
more than anyone else can say. Let's
think about what lies ahead.

She reaches out to take his hand. But Galen is no longer at
her side. She stops and looks back.

GALEN

Galen has come to a halt in the middle of the path. He's
staring into the middle distance with a sudden inspiration
bubbling in his brain. He flings off his sack, drops to his
knees and tears through the contents. Valerian comes back,
baffled. Galen's gear is strewn all over the trail.

VALERIAN
What are you doing?

Galen comes up with what he's looking for -- the leather
sack. When he replies, it is not to her, but to Ulrich:

GALEN
You old trickster! The burning water!
The lake of fire!

VALERIAN
Galen, what are you saying?

He regards her with astonishment.

GALEN
He had it planned. He knew this was
going to happen.

VALERIAN
Who did? What happened?

GALEN
We've got to go back, I want to talk
to him!

He heads back down the trail, leaving his belongings on the
road.

VALERIAN
Where are you going?

She hurries after him.

CUT TO:

GRANGE HALL - DAY

Greil, a.k.a. Gregorious, stands in the center of the burned-
out granary, delivering a sermon. Behind him, men are filling
the baptismal cistern.

GREIL
The Church is mother to us all. Not
just one lonely orphan who has lost
his way, not just a few, but all of
us that believeth in Him. When enough
voices come together in prayer, He
shall hear, we shall live and the
beast shall die.

In the gathering Simon ponders the hilt of his once fabulous
sword. With its blade shortened, it looks a lot like a
crucifix.

CUT TO:

DRAGON COUNTRY - DAY

Galen bounds up the rocky slope as fast as he can manage,
trailed by a desperate Valerian.

VALERIAN
Galen, stop! Please, I beg you!

But Galen pays no attention. In a burst of speed and fury,
Valerian comes up behind and tackles him.

VALERIAN
Stop! I won't let you kill yourself.

Galen waves the leather pouch in Valerian's face.

GALEN
He couldn't walk -- he knew he
couldn't make the journey. So he had
us make the journey for him! Don't
you see?

He jumps up and runs to the mouth of the lair.

VALERIAN
(pursuing)
No!

She tackles him again.

VALERIAN
All right, all right. You're going
in there, I'm going too.

GALEN
(brought up short)
What? Why? No you're not, this is my
job. Absolutely not.

But Valerian springs to her feet and starts into the lair.

VALERIAN
I'm not afraid. And you're not going
to stop me. After all -- I've been a
man longer than you have.

Galen pauses long enough to snatch up a discarded torch near
the remains of the wooden stake, then charges after her.

UNDERGROUND

Running footsteps resound in the steamy passageway and Galen
comes around the corner holding his torch high to light the
way. Valerian stumbles after him. He grabs her hand.

GALEN
Stay close.

Down and down they go. Soon they reach Elspeth's body.

VALERIAN
What's that?

GALEN
Never mind. Come on.

But she pulls the torch from his hand and goes over to see.

GALEN
All right. Wait here.

He darts off. In the flickering torchlight Valerian can see
the Princess' remains all too clearly. She suppresses a
scream.

VALERIAN
Galen? Galen? Where are you?

No answer. The torch reveals several passages. She doesn't
know which one to take.

LAKE OF FIRE

The passage widens out and once again Galen is standing on
the shores of the lake of fire. He looks around. The water
is rolling with bubbles of gas, and flames run hither and
yon across the surface, but there is no sign of the dragon.
Gathering his courage, he hops across the stepping stones to
the middle of the lake. There he hurriedly opens the pouch.

GALEN
Ex favilla, vita nova!

Gripping the amulet with his free hand, he scatters Ulrich's
ashes in a wide arc over the burning water. Instantly, there
is an ominous rumble and the earth gives a shrug. But no
wizard appears. No dragon, either. There follows another and
stronger quake. Galen crouches to keep his balance. Still no
wizard.

OUTSIDE

Thoroughly bewildered, Valerian stumbles out into daylight.
She wanders a few yards down the slope and collapses against
the stake. Something is strange: it's getting dark. Squinting
up at the sun, she frowns in puzzlement, then gapes at what
is happening.

ECLIPSE

Slowly and ponderously the black disk of the moon slides
over the face of the sun, plunging the world into crepuscular
half-light.

CUT TO:

GRANGE HALL - DAY

The congregation is confused and frightened by the sudden
darkness.

GREIL
Be calm. He watcheth over us! And
this is His sign! Let us pray! Our
Father who art in heaven...

The faithful bow their heads and join in. Simon as well.

CUT TO:

LAKE OF FIRE

The earthquakes have subsided; the water is calm. Galen stares
bleakly into the flames. As he watches, they gather themselves
into a lazy spiral. Gradually the spiral speeds up and becomes
a vortex. Now the flames become tinged with green, and as
the cavern moans with the sound of rushing air, a form takes
shape at the crest of a jet of flame. It is Ulrich, supine
as upon his pyre, reforming before Galen's eyes.

GALEN
Ulrich! Magister! Over here! I can
see you! Over here!

ULRICH
(looks at him)
Not so loud. I'm not deaf, you know.

He slowly raises himself into an upright posture and strides
through the flames.

ULRICH
Sic redit magus ex terra mortis.

The apprentice throws himself at his master's feet.

GALEN
Wonder of wonders -- you're back! I
thank the powers that made me!

ULRICH
Glad to see you, too. You didn't
bring along anything to eat, by any
chance?

GALEN
Food?

ULRICH
No? Oh well, no time anyway.

OUTSIDE

Valerian is standing in the unearthly twilight, anxiously
peering into the mouth of the lair. Suddenly she is hit from
behind by a gust of wind. She does not turn to see the
enormous Vermithrax alighting silently behind her.

GALEN & ULRICH

Ulrich raises Galen to his feet.

ULRICH
Come along. There's much to be done.

GALEN
Wait, I have something to tell you.

ULRICH
It can wait.

GALEN
No it can't. Listen: I thought I was
a sorcerer -- but I wasn't. I thought
I had power -- but I didn't. I thought
I was you -- but I'm not.

He hangs his head. Ulrich regards him steadily.

ULRICH
Well said. Now hurry.

He leads the way across the rocks to the shore and into the
tunnel.

VALERIAN

Time seems to have come to a stop. Overhead, the moon is
locked in front of the sun. At the lair, Valerian stands
frozen as the dragon leans over her. The great head sways
from side to side. The jaws hinge open. Suddenly, Valerian
recovers herself and makes a run for it, leaping and
scrabbling over the rocks. A plume of flame licks at her
heels. She sees a protective crevice and heads for it, but a
winged claw drops to block her way. She changes direction
and is cut off again. Cat and mouse.

VERMITHRAX

The pale yellow eyes stare implacably down at the hopeless
victim. The igniter jets come on, then off, as the beast
suddenly stiffens. The head rotates, almost as if catching a
new scent. Finally the eyes focus on the entrance to the
cavern.

ULRICH

There is the sorcerer, leaning on Galen, coolly regarding
the creature. The old man's expression hardens.

ULRICH
Draco draconis...

The dragon lifts its wings as if to menace them, then flaps
twice and is airborne. The thing shoots overhead and, with a
rush of wind, flies off into the gloom.

IN THE ROCKS

Valerian struggles out of her hiding place.

VALERIAN
Galen!

Galen runs to her. They embrace. When they look up, Ulrich
is at their side.

ULRICH
Where's my amulet? Give it to me,
please.

Galen's hand locates the jewel under his shirt. He finds
himself reluctant to part with it.

With a hurricane howl, a column of flame touches down nearby
and rushes toward them. They stagger back as the dragon sweeps
past.

ULRICH
Be quick!

Galen hands his treasure over. Ulrich closes his hand around
it.

ULRICH
Come close to me.

Galen and Valerian approach. The old man's hand is suffused
with an internal glow. Behind them, the dragon is turning
for another pass.

VORTEX

All at once the glow brightens, and in another instant the
world spins off into a blur, setting all three afloat in a
timeless netherworld. Valerian and Galen cling to each other
in terror.

ULRICH
Don't be afraid. You have served me
with great courage. Now you must
show me you have even more.

GALEN
Anything!

The voices seem to be coming from a huge distance. Starlike
gleams whiz by, and fleeting glimpses of half-recognizable
faces and forms. The wizard's eyes are like glittering
crystals. Tiny motes and planetoids dance in the hairs of
his beard. He seems wreathed in luminescence.

ULRICH
You must destroy the amulet, and me
along with it.

GALEN
No!

ULRICH
You brought me from the flames, you
must send me back.

GALEN
I can't.

ULRICH
When the time comes, you'll
understand. Here.

He dangles the amulet in front of Galen. Even more reluctantly
than he let it go, he takes it back.

MOUNTAIN TOP

Abruptly, the vortex is gone and they find themselves atop a
rocky crag overlooking the eclipse-darkened fields and farms
of Urland. Galen glances at his surroundings and stares at
the amulet, full of awe.

ULRICH
I know what you're thinking. You
have learned much and done well.
Don't worry, you won't need it any
more.

CUT TO:

GRANGE HALL - DAY

Greil is urging Simon, the last of the converts, into the
cistern.

GREIL
Make haste, brother.

He dips Simon's head under water.

GREIL
Now be thou baptized in the name of
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. May
the Lord our God light our way.

In the background, half the congregation is staring through
the burned-out walls, fervently praying and crossing
themselves, wondering if they'll ever see the sun again. A
cry goes up: a shape crosses the solar corona, wheels over
the village and streaks away toward the mountains -- the
dragon.

CUT TO:

MOUNTAIN TOP

Galen and Valerian peer out from behind a boulder and watch
Ulrich hobble perilously close to the edge of the cliff. The
old man spreads wide his arms and tilts his head back.

ULRICH
Nimbus! Tempestas! Fulmen!

From over the horizon roiling inky-black clouds churn down
upon them. Thunder booms and echoes. A bitter wind whips
their clothing. As the storm gathers fury, the dragon
reappears, circling in the distance. Finally it homes in on
the mountain crag and dives at Ulrich. The conjurer makes a
gesture and strokes of lightning explode against the beast's
scaly flanks. It emits a high thin scream and rockets past.

GALEN & VALERIAN

Valerian crawls away and comes back with a hefty chunk of
granite.

VALERIAN
Here. Do as he said. Smash it.

GALEN
Not if it means killing him.

ULRICH

He resolutely waits as the dragon banks against the clouds
and starts another pass. Again, the sorcerer summons lightning
bolts. But the dragon keeps coming; this time a talon splits
the old man's cape.

GALEN & VALERIAN

Valerian wrestles the amulet away from Galen. It falls to
the ground.

VALERIAN
You heard what he said.

She lifts the chunk of stone. Galen grabs for it.

GALEN
No! You can't!

THE LAST ATTACK

Vermithrax spirals up into the storm, then drops earthward.
Ulrich watches as the beast comes straight at him. He folds
his arms and bows his head. Leathery wings humming, the
creature levels out, swoops up past the crag and lifts the
master magician away in its huge hind claw.

ULRICH
Galen!

Galen and Valerian are horrified to see the dragon circling
upward with the sorcerer writhing in agony in its grip. As
the monstrous thing flies high over them, they can hear
Ulrich's faint screams.

DEATH

Now Galen understands. He seizes the granite block from
Valerian and raises it with both hands over his head. He
takes a final look at the amulet, glowing at his feet, then
brings the rock down with all his might. There is a blinding
flash as it shatters into a million fragments.

Far above there is another blinding flash as Ulrich's earthly
body explodes against the belly of the beast. The darkened
sky lights up as huge gouts of flame spew forth from the
dragon's gut. Wings fluttering uselessly, this reptilian
torch plummets to the ground.

LAKE

Below, a stock pond nestled in the foothill pastures. Trailing
a wake of flame, Vermithrax plunges like a comet into the
water. There is a stupendous splash and eruption of steam.

GALEN & VALERIAN

They stare down from their lofty perch, watching as further
explosions boil the water from the pond.

ECLIPSE

Behind a tattered wrack of cloud, the moon slowly uncovers a
pale sun.

DISSOLVE:

THE CARCASS - DAY

Grey misty light reveals the beast's mangled remains. Galen
and Valerian emerge from the fog, walk under a blackened
wing and make their way through the mud and loose scales to
the huge charred head. The death agony has twisted it upside
down. The mouth is frozen in a grotesque look of surprise.
The eyes are glazed. Now the sound of voices floats toward
them, chanting an ancient hymn. A moment later a mob of
Christians, led by Greil, crests a hill and moves toward the
hulk. The song ends.

GREIL
Let us pray.

The members of the congregation fall to their knees.

GREIL
We thank thee, Lord, for this divine
deliverance. Verily is thy presence
amongst us, fully manifest in this,
thy great work.

Galen and Valerian look at each other. She takes his hand.

GREIL
Arise, children of the Lord and
forsake evermore the pagan mysteries.
Rejoice in the true power of the
Christian God!

Galen turns and leads Valerian away. They disappear into the
mist.

DISSOLVE:

FLENSING - DAY

In the clear light of a new day, ladders have been tipped up
against the creature's back. Teams of men swarm over the
crusted flesh, slicing off long strips for piecemeal burial.
Below, yoked oxen drag the heavy carrion away on sledges. In
the background other workmen dump the remains into an open
pit.

THE KING

With the crack of a whip and the clatter of hooves, the royal
coach pulls up to the shore of the lake. A door creaks open
and King Casiodorus totters out. His face is puffy, his eyes
are red. He slogs through the mud to the head of the dragon
and commences hacking at it with a ceremonial sword. Horsrik
steps out of the coach and draws himself up.

HORSRIK
(loud)
All hail Casiodorus Rex -- Dragon
slayer!

The workers pause long enough to listen to this pronouncement
and cast a glance at the sorry spectacle. Wordlessly they
resume their labors.

HORSRIK
(nodding)
Hail and praise be!

DISSOLVE:

ON THE ROAD - DAY

The trail leads through copses and open meadows. Side by
side, Galen and Valerian march up a long slope under a hot
sun. He limps a bit; she finds a staff and hands it to him.

VALERIAN
You want to rest?

GALEN
No. I'm fine.

VALERIAN
You miss Ulricn.

GALEN
Yes.

VALERIAN
And the amulet.

GALEN
That too.

VALERIAN
Not me. I'm glad it's gone. I'm glad
you did what you did.
(he doesn't reply)
You may not be a sorcerer, Galen,
but I love you anyway. I don't regret
anything that happened. I just wish --

GALEN
Yes?

VALERIAN
(sighs)
-- that we had a horse.

Galen falls a step behind. He briefly closes his eyes and
mutters something. They walk on a few paces. Then there is a
whinny from the nearby woods and a white stallion canters
forth. It crosses a meadow, comes right up to Valerian and
nuzzles her.

VALERIAN
What is this?

GALEN
A horse.

VALERIAN
Did you...!?

GALEN
No. It must have been wandering loose.
Or wild.

Galen climbs aboard. He reaches out to help her up.

VALERIAN
Wait a minute. I just wished for a
horse and here it is.

GALEN
You don't want to wish it gone, do
you?

She thinks for a moment, then lets him help her up. Galen
touches the horse's flanks with his heels and they ride off.

FADE OUT:

THE END

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