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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Leo

She wants to be fearless,
to be full of disregard,
for all of the people,
who always make her drop her guard.

She sleeps with the lions,
dreams of blood and bone and rams.
But her stomach is empty,
because she can’t slaughter lambs.

In desolate acres,
over miles of forgotten land,
she longs for the peace of mind,
others find by their own hand.

All of the illusions,
that rip and tear into her eye,
shroud her in sorrow,
lead the lions to wither and die.

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Exceedingly fun to write, though I’m sure there are a some historical inaccuracies. I did my best to keep true to historical events (ie Magellan was in fact injured at the battle of Cannanore in March of 1506, though I took liberties with the nature of the injury, and of course Columbus died on May 20, 1506). A cursory search also shows that a fair number of the words and terminology used emerged closer to the latter half of the 16th century.

I intend this to be a short graphic novel under the working title: The Myth of the Flat Earth. In the introductory pages below, I haven’t yet made any distinctions between panels, though I have added some description where I thought it was helpful or needed. The characters alternate between each line of dialogue.

Fantasy map of a flat earth

The workshop of an aged inventor and explorer, Portugal 1506. A conversation between Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan, age 25) and his uncle, Diogo.

Diogo: How is your leg fairing?

Magellan: As good as to be expected and no better, I fear.

Hmmm?

Magellan grimaces.

de Almeida does not seem to think I would be able to tether the rigging.

And could you?

In my sleep. I am young enough not to be bothered by an annoyance.

I would hardly call it such, but if you consider it so. Da Vinci’s work?

Diogo admires Magellan’s leg brace as his nephew observes the contents of the workshop.

His design, yes. He is quite enthralled with human anatomy. It is a bit disconcerting.

Quite ingenious. The cur!

Magellan grins.

Is there no modern mind with whom you hold no contempt?

Great minds are always set against the current beliefs and are often ridiculed because of it.

The inventor shuffles off between the shelves. Magellan follows.

I suppose that hinges on the distinction between belief and truth.

Empirical evidence, of course. Observational, first-hand accounts. There can be no doubt in that.

And yet your plans are still fixed?

Unwaveringly so.

Despite such evidence against it?

Misinterpretation.

And what of Aristotle? and of Bede?

Mistaken.

But surely the appearance of the New World…

Has proven nothing, but that Columbus is poor navigator and an even poorer mathematician. Next you will be convincing me that the sun and moon do not move across the sky!

Diogo distractedly rummages through the teetering shelves, picking out various maps and charts as he goes. For every paper he adds to his overflowing arms, another falls from them to the ground. Magellan picks them up as he follows.

Yes, but has it not shown that there are lands beyond the sea! It is every explorer’s ambition to finally discover the unknown world.  Ah, but I must see it for myself!

I am not so much concerned with the New World as I am with what lies beyond it and I shall not waste another moment on postulation!

Magellan looks at his uncle warily.

I suppose you have heard then?

Heard what? That the pompous wretch lies bedridden… I shall not let him die thinking for one moment that he has bested me!

Your plan is reckless. Columbus’ crew did not bear well and he has made four trips in his life.

I will do in one what he could not do in a hundred voyages!

In his eagerness, Diogo topples over the worn bust of a Viking warrior as well as the pile of papers precariously balanced on its head. The inventor takes no notice and simply steps over the mess, depositing the contents of his arms on his desk. Behind the desk is pinned a rough circular sketch of the known countries of the world; the sea stretches endlessly to the circumference of the Earth. Magellan sighs and begins to clean up.

It would do me a grievance to see anything happen to you Tio. I suppose my only solace is that you should not find a captain, let alone a crew, willing to indulge such foolish ideas.

I have already found such a captain and crew, and a good ship. I leave within a fortnight.

Magellan drops everything and stands abruptly.

What mad fool have you contrived into helping you?! Tio, only an unbalanced mind would agree to such absurd terms and I would not have you in their society for a moment!

Unbalanced! Absurd! Such slights am I used to, but never from my own blood!

Be reasonable Tio! You are an accomplished scholar, but in this you are wrong. Every evidence and rational thought of the last six centuries is against you. If you commit to this folly, then you will be infamous for it! Abandon this campaign and set this quarrel to rest!

You err in thinking that I am swayed only by the passion of a quarrel; though I would like to shred his smug face against a grindstone! Diogo sighs, turning to his nephew. The world is both spherical and flat, it is both self-contained and ever flowing. Until we can see for ourselves, it is both of these things and it is neither.

Diogo pauses for his words to take some effect.

So?

So the evidence that stands against me is equally contended by the words and accounts of human history!

Magellan laughs.

In myths you mean, don’t you?

In the old stories lie countless truths.

And countless fallacies. Would you set out to prove the existence of dragons?

Could you say, with empirical proof, that there are none in all of the world; a world that you just so justly put, has yet to be fully discovered?

It is not for me to prove, Tio, for you could say that of anything a man can imagine.

Exactly so! We have an opportunity, nephew, to find out for ourselves the true nature of this world!

You harbor under the delusion that I should help you in this madness.

I have taken the liberty of putting you on the ship’s manifest. I trust you have no objections.

I have every objection imaginable!

You are unable to perform your duty in the regiment fleets and no other ship will bring you on in the interim with such an injury. The inventor grasps Magellan’s shoulders firmly. Fernão, you belong to the sea and she to you. We could chart the unknown ocean; we could be the first men to go to the edge of the world! No greater feat will you accomplish in life!

Magellan considers his uncle’s words, studying the maps and stellar charts pinned on the walls.

To the edge of the world and back, I hope. But I suppose at the very least I will be able to begin my exploration of the New World. Who could say they were offered such an opportunity at this stage in their career?

Precisely, though I will hear no more of this “New World”. It has nothing to do with us.

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What if you were hunted by what you’d created? Because what you created wanted to be free…

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.01.40 PM

He hurried down the narrow pathway, turning back every few moments to see if it remained empty. The bundle of papers in his hand was hastily wrapped in twine, the pages torn and wrinkled from the rain despite his best efforts to keep them under his coat. His hair flew untamed in the wind as he dashed between alleys, his raincoat flapping in his wake. It didn’t matter to him that his clothes were soaked through, or that his bones rattled with every shallow breath he took. If someone were to catch a glimpse of him now, running through the muddy backwaters of London, they would not know him. They would see some vagrant in a tattered black trench, with eyes that gleamed white beneath a tuff of unkempt curls. Still there was lightness in his step; he flew down the street as though on wings. He felt free… or perhaps he just knew the world better now. He saw it for what it was; what he now knew it had always been. It was the kind of knowing that was both wonderful and terrifying at the same time, and it was the kind that would see him dead. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw someone, a girl with black hair and calm, welcoming eyes. He realized then how little time there was.

The lightning crashed above him and rent the sky in a flash of light that sought to reveal every shadow. Soon there would be nowhere left to hide. He took a sharp left, weaving between overturned trash bins. The lighting struck the rooftop above him, dropping shingles and broken brick. He leapt out onto the sidewalk, nearly crashing into an old woman holding a white umbrella, the print of a map faded from years of use.

“So sorry,” he panted without stopping.

“You can’t outrun them,” she called after him. He knew that. He had no intention of outrunning anyone. Not anymore.

He pulled the bundle from beneath his coat. The address on the top was barely legible, the ink spreading on the wet paper. He raced up to the post box, stuffing the bundle in as he past. Somewhere down the street a car swerved onto the road, blasting “Stone Cold Crazy” so loud he would have laughed if he weren’t out of breath and numb with fear. He dashed back into the alley just in time to avoid being dragged under the front end of the Bentley.

He continued to run, suddenly forgetting all he’d known about the city, forgetting the names of buildings and streets. He ran until all he could hear was the sound of his own breath, and then he stopped. He doubled over, exhausted. It felt as though his lungs might explode. He had never been the most athletic person, and, after a time, no one had seemed to mind. He nearly wished he had decided to be a gym teacher or a pharmacist… nearly. When he straightened, the girl with dark hair stood silently in front of him, her beautiful face puckered as though she were wrestling with a thought.

“Somehow, I knew you’d come,” he said with a weary smile.

“In the end, I always do,” was all she said.

He heard it then, the purposeful click of fine dress shoes on stone. Even though the rain fell heavily, he could hear them; two sets of footsteps. He looked down the alley. It was empty. When he turned back, the girl was gone, but he knew she wasn’t really. He waited there for what seemed like an eternity, as sheets of rain pelted the rooftops of London and slid down its gritty brick walls, drowning the city… or perhaps only him. He wondered if an unseen city stretched below, if fishponds spanned as far as oceans, if gods walked among men.

He saw them approach, two mismatched figures strolling calmly down the alley, unconcerned by the rain that would surely ruin their crisp black suits. Suddenly he felt the urge to run, to call out to someone for help, but instead he stood, wordlessly, his trench coat wrapped around him like a protective cloak. As the two men stood before him he realized that he knew them, he’d known them nearly all his life and, for a moment, he felt regret.

“Dreadful night, isn’t it?” said one with a crooked smile.

“Quite right you are, Mr. Vandemar,” replied the other. “Dreadful indeed.”

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More forays into the wonderful world of graphic novel writing! This is an idea a good friend of mine and I cooked up. I’ve noticed more an more how much I visualize panels as I’m writing for graphic novels, but I’m never able to capture the full scope of the panel’s visual in words. I have a specific angle, depth, emotion in mind when writing and that, I think, is the hardest to convey. But it’s great practice in keeping my verbosity in check!

***

INT. NEST – NIGHT

Panel One

Terri wakes up in a dim cavern, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dark.

Panel Two

There are shapes on the ground, lumps of cloth roughly the size of human bodies.

 Panel Three

Terri shakily gets to his feet, wincing as he puts pressure on his right arm. There is a limp hand protruding from the folds of a cloak nearby.

Panel Four

He staggers towards the wall, tripping over a human-shaped lump that collapses inward. He looks back at it and starts.

Panel Five

It is a man’s face, twisted into a painful scream. His features are charred, the corroded flesh clinging to the bone. The partially exposed jaw reveals an elongated and bloody canine tooth.

Panel Six

FLASH–The man’s face is burning in front of him, the flesh curling back and parting like paper. It seems as though he’s burning from within.

Panel Seven

Enraged, the man lunges at Terri’s throat, its teeth piercing his neck as the creature’s skin continues to burn.

Panel Eight

FLASH–Terri shuffles back against the wall, his hand protectively reaching for his throat.

Panel Nine

His fingers run over the wound on his neck. It’s covered in dry blood and seems to be healing.

Panel Ten

Terri looks down a narrow passage leading out of the room, he gets to his feet, still pressing his palm to his throat.

Panel Eleven

He uses his left hand to steady himself on the wall as he walks, his right dangling nearly useless at his side.

Panel Twelve

Terri enters the heart of the underground, a huge cave of overlapping rock and stone.

Panel Thirteen

He walks to the edge of a chasm, peering down into the infinite depths of a cave that twists into passages and hollows. There are bodies everywhere, contorted as though they had died writhing in agony. There flesh is seared, some of their bones are crumbling into ash.

Panel Fourteen

At the center of the nest there is a spire cut from a large rock formation. At the top, is an alter carved with deep groves and trenches entwining around and down the spire, flowing like veins throughout the entire cave. Here and there, the blood gathers in dark pools. The whole thing seems to both ingenious and primal.

Panel Fifteen

FLASH–Terri is climbing the side of the spire, keeping to the shadows to avoid being seen. Blood now flows down the spire, through the trenches, and out into the tunnels.

Panel Sixteen

Terri reaches up towards the next handhold, revealing rows of vials sown into the inside of his coat. The vials contain a glowing yellow liquid.

Panel Seventeen

As Terri pulls himself up the next ledge, his foot slips against the rocks and he hits against the wall.

Panel Eighteen

FLASH–Terri is leaning too far over the ledge and the rock crumbles beneath his feet, causing him to slide down the shallow slope.

Panel Nineteen

Terri falls into a dried up trench, his face landing in a small pool of blood.

Panel Twenty

Terri straightens in a panic, instinctively spitting the blood out of his mouth and wiping his face with his hands, though smears of blood remain.

Panel Twenty-One

Terri stops wiping his face as he sees a faint light coming from a nearby passage.

Panel Twenty-Two

Terri licks his lower lip nervously and steps over the bodies towards the light.

EXT – NEST – NIGHT

Panel One

Terri emerges from the cave, stumbling on the rocky slope. It’s still night, but the sky is tinged with a faint purple glow. Soon the sun will rise.

Panel Two

He looks at the city below him. It’s an abandoned ruin.

Panel Three

Terri glances down at the sleeve of his brown coat. There is a small hand-drawn emblem on a hastily stitched patch.

Panel Four

He moves to rubs his fingers through his hair, now matted by the blood, but winces and lets his right arm drop. He begins to walk down towards the city.

EXT – CITY STREETS – NIGHT

warner-swasey-observatory-e

Panel One – Three

Terri walks slowly down the empty streets. Cars are abandoned or overturned, store windows are either smashed in or hastily boarded up.

Panel Four

There are bodies lying haphazardly in the alleyways, their gaunt faces drained of life and blood, their throats torn open as though by animals. A few rats gnaw on their fingers.

Panel Five

Exhausted, Terri reaches his destination: the city’s observatory. A single floor building, with a small dome at the center.

Panel Six

Terri turns away from the observatory, heading down the alley a few streets away.

Panel Seven

The alley is a dead end. There is graffiti scrawled in red paint on the wall next to him.

Panel Eight

Out of habit, he steals a glance around before bending down and lifting the heavy manhole cover awkwardly with his left hand, slipping into the sewer.

Panel Nine

The sky is a soft yellow glow.

INT- OBSERVATORY BASEMENT – DAY

Panel One

The observatory basement is dark. The tables have been pushed against the wall and covered with white sheets. There are chairs and stools in clusters. Some of the doors are barricaded. There are star charts and maps all over the walls.

Panel Two

Terri enters the room from a heavy metal door, sliding inside carefully.

Panel Three

He walks between the chairs and heads to the front of the room. There is a old poster of the solar system, the kind you would find in a high school lab. The emblem on his jacket sleeve is scrawled over top the sun with black permanent marker.

Panel Four

There is a clatter from another room above. Terri grabs a wooden stake from the table and heads for the stairwell door.

Panel Five

Terri emerges on the first floor. The sound is coming from the break room.

Panel Six

Terri grasps the stake tightly with his left hand as he slowly pushes the door open with his right, biting back a gasp of pain.

Panel Seven

A heavy wooden bolt flies at his head and he narrowly ducks to evade it.

Panel Eight

He brings the stake up towards his enemy, but his movement is awkward, and a hand shoots and grabs his left wrist.

Panel Nine

Terri is standing in front of a young boy. His brown hair is messy, his dark eyes focused and calm. He’s grasping Terri’s wrist tightly, holding a crossbow aloft in his other hand.

Panel Ten

Terri winces as the boy squeezes his wrist, but he doesn’t drop the stake.

TEAGAN

Whoa there boys. Let’s take it easy now.

Panel Eleven

An older punk girl, TEAGAN 26, walks from the back of the room, putting her stake into her belt next to a few daggers.

TEAGAN

We’re all on the same side.

Panel Twelve

The girl has blond streaks through her black hair which is tied in a messy bun at the back. She’s wearing baggy cargo pants and a snug t-shirt. There is blood splattered all over her cloths and a fresh scar on her lower lip. She grins at him.

TEAGAN

Hullo there Terri.

Panel Thirteen

The boy releases Terri, who jerks back.

TERRI

Teagan? Fuck, what are you two playing at?!

Panel Fourteen

The boy walks past him, pulling the wooden crossbow bolt from the door where it was stuck. Terri eyes him suspiciously.

Panel Fifteen

Teagan smiles broadly.

TEAGAN

Christ, I thought you were dead! How’d you make out?

Panel Sixteen

Terri rubs his head, sitting one of the plastic chairs.

TERRI

What?

Panel Seventeen

A mousy faced boy is sitting at the back of the room. His face is partially hidden in his hoodie.

DAVID

By the looks of him, my guess is not so good.

Panel Eighteen

TEAGAN

Don’t mind David. He’s an ass.

Panel Nineteen

DAVID, 23, shoots Teagan a disgusted and angry look, but says nothing.

Panel Nineteen

The pale boy walks past him and begins to reset his crossbow.

VINCE

Did you complete your objective?

Panel Twenty

Terri unconsciously rubs his neck.

TERRI

Yeah. Yeah, I did. How many more made it back?

Panel Twenty-One

TEAGAN

Near as I can tell, the five of us are the only ones.

Panel Twenty-Two

TERRI

Five of us?

GEN

Terri?

Panel Twenty-Three

Terri turns to see GEN, a 23-year old girl with brown curly hair tied back into a low pony tail.

TERRI

Gen?

Panel Twenty-Four

Terri stands up and she takes a step back.

GEN

Terri, I can explain. I just couldn’t sit around and…

Panel Twenty-Five

Terri quickly walks up to her and hugs her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More excerpts! This one is longer than my other posts, but if you have the time, give it a read. I’m not really happy with the first half, but I think the pace picks up quite nicely after that. Writing is rewriting!

***

They sat in tense silence as the sky settled into an evening dusk. Matt stood with his arms crossed, leaning back against the far wall of the cell. His gaze seethed in silent reproach, considering Wit who lay unconcerned on the pallet in the corner. Fae paced the length of the iron bars despite trying to keep a tight reign on her anxiety. She didn’t like being shut in; she didn’t like being trapped. She allowed Lori’s consciousness to sooth her mind, embracing a momentary calm as she let her worries drift up through the stones to be swept up by the wind. She smiled sadly as she thought of her sister trapped within her mind, as she herself was trapped within these bars. Sensing Matt’s gaze, she turned her face towards the small barred window, watching the sun slowly sink below the rooftops.

“I suppose we’re too late to meet up with Serina,” she said, keeping a steady tone.

“We’ve been held back a little,” Wit shrugged casually before Matt could say anything. “She’ll understand.”

“We wouldn’t have been help up a little if you had bothered to think things through.” Matt said harshly.

“Yes well, I didn’t really expect there to be a naked dead man, did I? Or an guild assassin for that matter, which you still owe me an explanation for,” he noted. “It was still the best course of action.”

“Except now we are thought to be murderers as well as thieves.” Matt interjected.

“Near as I can tell that alchemist’s been dead for a week at least. They’d have sent us to the gallows already if they had though we actually had anything to do with it.

“Now, I can still get us out of the cell, it’ll just require a little more finesse, that’s all. It’s already taken care of, so just sit back and I’ll have us out in no time.” He assured them with a grin.

“I just wish you would have told us earlier instead of springing it on us like that,” Fae sighed forcing herself to stand still.

“I told you that you’d have to trust me.” Wit pointed out as he sat up. “I don’t reveal all my cards until I have to.”

“This isn’t some game.” Matt said with a dangerous edge to his voice.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Wit responded grimly, staring Matt down without flinching.

Fae sighed as she turned away from them, grasping one of the iron bars tightly. She could feel her anxiety bubbling inside and she could barely keep from hyperventilating, but she didn’t pace, even though her feet itched to be standing still. She breathed deeper and tried to calm her nerves with an old trick her sister had taught her when they were girls. Focus on a pinprick of light in your mind, and allow it to absorb your anxiety and fears, transforming them into pure white light. When the light becomes unbearably bright, let it course through your entire body. Accept the light as a part of who you are and you can control it, and your fears, as you would control your own breath.

But as she did so, Lori’s consciousness expanded as well and filled her with a seething light. She could feel sweat beading her face, her hand tightening it’s grasp around the iron bar of the cell, but it all seemed distant to her. She was floating untethered in her own mind. The calm was overwhelming; her thoughts and feelings echoing through the void until she could see the pattern of her own being. Her mind appeared to be a tranquil pool that stretched into the darkness. Ahead of her, she could see her sister lying atop the water, small ripples drifting across the surface beneath her still body. Her calm was shattered by a surge of emotion. She reached forward but Lori faded away as Fae was drawn back into herself.

“Are you alright?” Matt’s voice seemed far away at first, then the cell became real, his voice became real. She turned towards him; both Matt and Wit were starring at her concerned.

“Yes.” She managed to say letting go of the iron bar. “How much longer?”

Wit eyed her warily as he stood. “Actually, I think we’ve waited long enough.”

Despite having been searched for weapons, Wit pulled out a thin dagger and pick from the folds of his clothes. He walked over to the door of the cell and picked the old lock. He heard a soft click, carefully pushing open so that it didn’t creak.

“That was surprisingly easy,” Fae noted as they followed Wit out into the alcove.

“Old lock,” Wit shrugged walking past the door that led to the corridor where two alchemists were posted to keep watch.

He picked the lock of the next cell, which was filled mostly with crates and storage boxes. They made their way carefully to the back corner of the cell, ensuring not to knock anything over. Wit crouched down, prying a heavy stone out of the floor. There was a narrow gap dug underneath the wall.

“I dug this years ago, thought I might need it someday.”

Fae followed him through the gap, uncomfortably pushing her way through hard-packed earth. She emerged on the outer wall, crouched within a large tangle of shrubbery. Matt followed closely behind her, nearly hitting his head against the stone that hid the hole as he wriggled free.

“How is it that no one knows this is here?” he asked.

Wit was peering out at the rooftop sentries across the street. Luckily it was easy to spot their outlines against the clear evening sky.

“Like I said, the guards can’t come onto the grounds, and I don’t think they’ve ever had to use those cells other than for storage. Let’s go.”

Wit gracefully raced out of the bush, Fae and Matt close behind him. They squeezed through the metal bars, the shadows concealing them from the street patrol that stood only a little ways up the alley. Wit led them through a series of winding alleys and streets. To Fae’s surprise, they ran into few patrols and those they did encounter were easily avoided. When they turned down a deserted street Matt held out his arm to stop Fae, and Wit also slowed to a halt. They could hear drunken laughter somewhere in the night.

“Where are we going? We need to rejoin Serina,” Matt stated, emphasizing that the last we did not include Wit.

“Listen, usually they wouldn’t kick up much fuss for a couple of kids caught trespassing, but we were actually inside the Alchemist Observatory. We could have seen things, heard things; they aren’t just going to let us go. They’ll be looking for us; we need to get out of the city.”

“We can’t leave without Serina,” Fae interjected. “We’ve been avoiding the patrols so far, let’s just head back to the get her.”

“It’s not just the patrols I’m worried about.”

“What do you mean by that?” Matt asked pointedly.

“I wasn’t the only one following you earlier,” Wit admitted. “Whoever they are, they’re probably interested in why you went into an alchemical auxiliary, and what you found out.”

“Why are they following us?” Fae asked.

“Why were you following us?” Matt added, his eyes now scanning the rooftops more closely.

“I’ll tell you, but first we have to get out the city. I know a place, and I’ll get a message to your friend to meet us. Just trust me.”

“Is the place your taking us going to lead to another dungeon?” Fae asked skeptically.

Wit smiled mischievously. “I can make no promises.”

“Really not the time.” Matt said, purposefully looking around. “Where are we headed?”

“Actually, we’re almost there.” Wit lead them down the street, the sounds of laughter and drunken yells grew louder.

“They probably know we are heading out of town, but I think I managed to loose them a little ways back, so they’ll have trouble finding us now.”

They emerged in a wide and crowded street lit by lanterns that hung from the sides of the taverns and bars. As they pushed their way through the crowd, Fae caught glimpses of women dancing in the streets to entice patrons, men sipping bottles from beneath their cloaks, and playing dice on overturned crates. A man doubled over in front of her and she narrowly avoided the contents of his stomach splashing on the cobblestone.

“Keep your head down,” Matt cautioned from behind her as they walked past a couple of guards who were laughing drunkenly with a group of street merchants. Fae pulled up the hood of her cloak when they had passed, allowing her face to be obscured from the lantern light.

“Here we are,” Wit said over his shoulder, and he pushed open the door a small tavern, his voice suddenly lost as the sounds of fiddles and drunken cheers spilled into the street. The tavern was brighter than she had expected, it was easy to distinguish faces, clothing, and the glint of metal from dagger hilts. She felt gazes turn their way, even though she couldn’t really tell who was watching. Wit scanned the room, but before he could step any further a grizzled barman hobbled towards them.

“Bringin’ more trouble?” he growled loud enough to be heard above the noise. He eyed Fae, then just as quickly dismissed her. He lingered on Matt a little longer, whose face was indignantly indifferent.

“Why would you think that, Dirk?” Wit smiled grasping the man’s forearm firmly. As he slipped his hand back, he let a small pouch fall into the large man’s hand.

“Then why do I hear the city guard be looking for ye?” Dirk lowered his voice so that only they could hear.

“Aren’t they always.” Wit shook his head disparagingly. Dirk grunted.

“Only when yer make stupid mistakes. I hear they had ya begging on hands n’ knees.”

“Please Dirk,” Wit said painfully. “You shouldn’t believe everything you hear.”

“Well one of ‘em is waiting for ye. Said to tell ye he were here.” Dirk nodded behind them.

Fae looked to the back of the room and saw a lone guard sitting as he watched them intently. She hadn’t really noticed he was there until now, and she felt her heart sink at the sight of him.

“Good.” Wit clasped his hands together, his brow slightly creased with worry. “Bring over some drinks in a bit will you?”

Before Dirk could respond, he started across the tavern, picking his way through the drunken din.

“This doesn’t look good,” Fae noted as Wit approached the guard, grinning broadly.

“No. It doesn’t.” Fae jumped; she had forgotten the squat barman was still there. Now he was looking at her levelly, and she shrunk back into her hood to hide her face. Dirk grunted and turned back towards the bar, hobbling nimbly around drunken patrons.

“Come on,” Matt said, placing a hand on her shoulder. When they got to the table, Wit and the guard were talking quietly as Wit scribbled hastily on a piece of parchment, but they stopped as soon as the two sat down.

“This is a friend of mine. He’s going to help us get our things back, and he’s going to bring a letter to your friend,” he smiled, patting the man on the back.

“It’s a fine mess you’ve gotten yourselves into,” the man said simply, his plain and trusting face giving away no signs of concern.

“Yes well, you owe me one,” Wit reminded him, drumming the tabletop. “Where are those drinks?”

“Yeah, but I’ve never done anything half as stupid as this. I saw you when you were up there, you nearly wet yourself when this one had you over the edge,” he smiled.

“No need to be crude,” Wit sniffed, crossing his arms. “And I did not.”

“This may be some pitch-filled city in a field, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to take this seriously.”

“We know what it means to be have been caught inside an Alchemist Auxiliary,” Matt said gravely.

“No, I don’t think you really do,” the man said, leaning back. “You, on the other hand, have no excuse. And I’m risking more than I’m comfortable with because of it.”

“I know, I know,” Wit said rubbing the bridge of his noise. “I didn’t really expect all the company.”

“Guild business,” the man said, idly glancing at Fae for the first time since she sat down. For some reason she felt as though he had grasped much about her in that one look.

“It was very important that we get into the observatory,” Fae assured him, stopping herself from shifting her weight uncomfortably. “I’m the one who asked him to take us, I’m sorry for the trouble it’s causing you.”

“I only hope it was worth it.” He looked at her again and she couldn’t help but feel as though he were trying to figure something out. His eyes were a deep chestnut, his jaw sturdy and his features plain, almost generic. She may not have been able to pick him out of a crowd. She was relieved when Dirk hobbled over and brought them each a mug of yellowish-brown liquid. Fae could smell the yeast from where she sat and politely passed hers to Wit, who was already nearly finished his own.

“It was nothing easy, but I managed to get my hands on what they confiscated from you when you were taken. I’ll have them sent to where you’re going,” the man told them between sips.

“And where is that?” Matt asked.

“It’s a secret,” Wit said as he set down his empty mug. “But you’ll know soon enough.”

“Why?” Fae asked, starting to get annoyed with all the secrecy.

“Because I like secrets,” he said. “And it will be easier to get you there if you don’t know where there is.”

“That doesn’t make much sense.”

“No not really,” he grinned. “Alright, my friend. Here is the letter I need you to deliver. She’ll be at the Evening Veil.” Wit folded the letter, and pulled a used stick of wax from his cloak, holding it to the flame. He let the wax drip onto the fold and then pressed it flat with the bottom of his mug.

That man nooded, taking the letter and slipping it under his coat. He finished his ale as he stood. “I better be going, they’ll miss me soon enough.”

As he moved to leave Wit caught his arm in a firm grasp.

“I do appreciate this,” he said seriously. “You know I wouldn’t ask.”

“I know,” the man sighed. “I guess you owe me now.” He smiled.

“Well I wouldn’t go that far.”

 

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Threads of Fate

EXT. Universe
Panel One
The dizzying array of the cosmos.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
The universe is in constant motion, hurtling towards an indeterminable future.

Panel Two
Drawing back, the galaxies begin to form glowing fault lines as though part of the aurora.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
Indeterminable to those who cannot see the threads of Fate, weaving infinite futures into a single path, a single purpose.

Panel Three
Even further still, the galaxies look like they are part of a web of glowing white filament.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
And through this, the delicate balance of all universes is created. So fine, that even the slightest fray could unravel the very fabric of our world.

INT. Wayne Manor – Thomas Wayne’s Office – Night
Panel Four
Still pulling back, the thread is part of a necklace of pearls.

Panel Five
The necklace is on the neck of a beautiful woman in a portrait.

Panel Six
The portrait is of the Wayne family, the pearl necklace resting around Mrs. Wayne’s pale neck. Bruce is in his late teens.

WORKING TITLE  Batman: Worlds Apart

Panel Seven
Wide shot. The portrait hangs on the wall behind Bruce Wayne’s desk, which once belonged to his father. The chair is vacant. Bruce (35) is standing at the window.

Panel Eight
Alfred enters, remaining at the door.

ALFRED
Master Wayne, nearly all the delegates have arrived.

Panel Nine
The two are standing at opposite ends of the room, Bruce with his back to Alfred.

BRUCE
It’s Bruce, Alfred.

Panel Ten
Alfred bows his head, reserved.

ALFRED
Of course Sir. Shall I introduce you?

Panel Eleven
Bruce’s fingers rest on the rim of a glass of scotch. Inside the glass, the reflection of the Wayne’s family portrait is almost indiscernible.

BRUCE
I’m sure they already know who I am.

Panel Twelve
Wide. The two stand in silence.

Panel Thirteen

BRUCE
…I’d rather not go out there.

ALFRED
You are the face of Wayne Enterprises, Sir. The title comes with certain responsibilities, as tiresome as you may find them.

Panel Fourteen
Beat. Bruce takes a swig of his glass.

BRUCE
Shall we then?

BATS AND BRUCE

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Where have I been? I’m not sure.

Wandering a forgotten city. Dozing by a traveler’s shrine. Mourning the loss of a friend. Falling through endless space.

Writing takes you all kinds of places, but some things can’t be put into words. Have you ever tried to write something indescribable? Sometimes, I feel everything is… indescribable, unfathomable, unattainable.

Where Have I Been

Words are such cumbersome things… drawing isn’t easy either.

 

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