Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Guilding of Lillis -- scene 1

This screenplay was earlier posted on my now-defunct web site. It is the first of two episodes in a series called Heros for Hire (with more planned). I decided to post it in pieces here so that it is still available to the many Doc Rampageologist who like to study my early work. By the way, the title isn't spelled wrong; it's a very bad and forced pun. I'm planing to name all the episodes like that.

Heroes for Hire
Episode 1 – A Guilding of Lillis

Rolf the elf and Zantar the dwarf (two demihumans with no redeeming characteristics other than their on-screen charisma) manage to survive a number of harrowing escapades that they get into through greed and arrogance. In fact, they not only survive their foolishness, but sometimes prosper in it (giving a very bad object lesson to any young viewers).

A medieval fantasy world with elves, dwarves, goblins, and other creatures.

Principle Cast
Zantar: a bearded, box-shaped, belligerent dwarf (about 5' tall) with a serious case of greed.

Rolf: a young-looking, thin, belligerent elf (about 5'6") with a serious case of greed and delusions of grandeur.

Goblins: Fur-covered humanoid creatures with weasel-like faces. They are about Zantar's height but thin. Their only clothing is a belt where they carry a flint knife and sometimes a small pouch. They carry flint-tipped spears.

Scene 1

Zantar is walking along a dirt road on a warm summer day. He comes to a three-way crossroads. In the middle of the road sits an elf playing a pipe very badly. Zantar is belligerent, looking for a fight, and Rolf is quite willing to oblige.

ZANTAR: And here I thought I was hearing a cat being tortured to death!

ROLF: (glaring) What would an uncultured and lack witted dwarf know of the aesthetic value of refined elven music?

ZANTAR: (smug) Krikey. I don't know nothing about elven music, Kid, but I've heard cats being tortured before.

Rolf leaps to his feet, drawing his sword.

ROLF: Silence, blackguard! Defend yourself!

Zantar's eyes narrow as he unslings a huge axe from his back. It is obviously a two-handed weapon, even for someone much larger than Zantar, but he holds it one-handed.

ZANTAR: I don't know if it's worth dirtying my blade with the blood of a skinny, sissified little punk like you.

Rolf goes into some fancy footwork and flourishes; he obviously knows how to handle a sword.

ROLF: Hah! My great patience has ended, fool! Prepare to die miscreant! I'll sell your skin to ...

Zantar steps in and swings the axe one handed. His footwork is slow, but he handles that axe like a conductor's baton. Rolf, caught in mid-flurry and mid-insult, yelps in surprise and barely escapes being cut in half.

ROLF: ... I'll gouge out ... Yipe!

Rolf dances back then lunges in for a quick riposte.

ROLF: Scoundrel! Take tha...

But the axe is already swinging back, and the sword flies out of his hand to land under a tree some distance away.

Rolf leaps behind a sapling for protection.

ROLF: Surely you are not such a villain as to cut down an unarmed man!

Apparently Zantar is just such a villain, because he swings again, and the sapling is felled like a stalk of wheat. Rolf dodges past Zantar to get back to his sword.

ROLF: Vermicular devil! I'll ... Yipe!

Zantar almost gets him as he runs past. Zantar is chasing Rolf and beginning to breath heavily.

ZANTAR: Krikey! Stand still you scrawny weasel!

Rolf gets to his sword and grabs it up, spinning and swinging down on Zantar who is chasing close behind him. Zantar swings up and the sword goes flying straight up to stick point first into an overhanging branch. Rolf leaps for the sword, and Zantar's next swing passes just under his feet. Rolf grabs the sword with both hands, and ends up hanging, as the sword refuses to come out. Zantar takes a few swipes at the hanging feet, but Rolf keeps pulling them up to avoid the blade.

ROLF: (between Zantar's swings) Villain! Miscreant! I'll have you know that I am a powerful wizard. Only my great mercy has spared your life up to now! But my patience is wearing thin and ...

Zantar steps closer so that he can swing higher, and Rolf manages to scramble up onto the tree branch

ROLF: ... and if you do not desist in this foolishness at once, I shall be forced to stern measures!

Zantar tries jumping and swinging, but he can't even get close. He and Rolf are both breathing heavily now, but it seems to have little effect on Rolf's power of speech.

ROLF: Hah! Now my patience is ended! Now you shall pay dearly for your impertinence, vile troll!

Zantar seems unimpressed, he is eyeing Rolf much like a cat might eye a bird in a cage.

ROLF: Now I shall cast upon you the most powerful spell in my prestigious repertoire. Yes! Yes! The Spell of a Thousand Days of Pain and Death!

Zantar looks speculatively at the tree trunk, at his axe, then back to the tree trunk. He smiles as he steps toward the tree trunk.

Rolf stands up on the branch and braces himself against the trunk.

ROLF: Now you shall pay for you impertinence! Now you shall know the horror of the vengeance of a great and puissant wizard!

Rolf is shaking some powder out of a pouch.

ROLF: Prepare to suffer, imbecile!

Rolf holds the powder in the palm of his hand, closes his eyes, and (wonder of wonders) actually closes his mouth. A glow appears in the palm of his hand, then the tree shakes as Zantar strikes with his axe. There is a pop, the glow turns to a greasy smoke, and Rolf's face turns blue (really blue) as he starts coughing violently. But even the coughing cannot stop his tongue for long.

ROLF: Rogue! Knave! Reprobate! That powder costs its weight in gold! You owe me two pewter!

Thud! The tree shakes again.

ROLF: (reaching into another pocket) Impudent lowlife! The Death of Thousand Pains or whatever is too good for you. You shall suffer instead the Spell of Boiling Blood!

Thud! Rolf's feet are jarred out from under him and he lands seat-first on the branch. He scrambles back to his feet, pulling out of his pocket a tiny bundle of twigs wrapped by a thread.

ROLF: Know your doom! Your blood shall boil within you and you shall explode in a putrescent mass of flying flesh!

Thud! Rolf leans out to judge the progress of the tree cutting. He seems pleased with what he sees.

ROLF: Hah! Swing away impotent little goblin. Before you have finished your task you shall be grotesquely slain!

Rolf pulls a twig from the bundle, breaks it, and points the ends at Zantar while muttering something.

Thud! Rolf looks a little disturbed by Zantar's lack of reaction, then Zantar suddenly stops in mid swing and puts a hand to his stomach with a quizzical look on his face.

ZANTAR: Be-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-elch.

Zantar produces one of the loudest and longest belches in history. He puts his hand to his mouth in startled embarrassment.

ZANTAR: (embarrassed) Krikey. Uh, excuse me.

Rolf blinks.

Zantar gets another quizzical look on his face. Suddenly he lets loose with one of the loudest farts in history. He jumps and spins around as though startled at the explosive sound behind him. He pauses and glares up at Rolf.

ZANTAR: That wasn't funny.

ROLF: Well it wasn't supposed to be funny, ignorant buffoon. It was supposed to kill you.

ZANTAR: A belch-and-fart spell was supposed to kill me?

ROLF: (conversationally) actually, it was a cooking spell. Guaranteed to make pots boil even when they are being watched.

ZANTAR: Say that's a pretty good trick!

Rolf leans against tree and examines his nails.

ROLF: I did appraise you of the fact of my wizardly greatness. Such traits are common among us elves.

ZANTAR: Krikey! You're not an elf, you're just a scrawny human kid.

ROLF: (shocked to the core of his little elven soul) Not an elf? Not an elf?! Open your eyes, sirrah! Observe my apparel: the gentle forest colors...

He turns around for Zantar's inspection.

ROLF: the exquisitely tailored cut...

He flourishes his cloak.

ROLF: The little balls on the toes of my boot.

He holds out a foot and points to the toe.

ROLF: Behold the eldritch beauty of my countenance!

He frames his face with his hands and almost falls from the tree, but manages to catch himself without a break in his lecture.

ROLF: Discern my grand and stately bearing!

He strikes a dramatic pose.

ROLF: How can even such a dense creature as a troglodytic dwarf not be struck with the fact that I am a member of the greatest of all races, the elves?

ZANTAR: Elves aren't great, they're squirrelly. Besides there aren't any elves around here.

ROLF: Elves are not squirrelly! Why does everyone keep saying that! We merely happen to be high-strung as a result of our sensitive natures. Look!

Rolf leaps down from the tree and puts his ear in Zantar's face.

ROLF: See that? Hah!

Zantar peers seriously into Rolf's ear for a moment.

ZANTAR: I've got wax in my ears too, so what?

ROLF: Wax? Wax!? I assure you my hygiene is impeccable. I have no wax in my ears. No, no look at the fine and beautiful shape of my external auditory organs. Are they not the very archetype of elven characteristics?

ZANTAR: Then what's that clumpy brownish stuff in there? It sure looks like wax.

ROLF: (frustrated) Forget the damn wax! Look at the pointy tip lack wit. I clearly have pointy ears! Therefore I am clearly, ipso facto, and proovenus totalus, an elf.

Rolf straightens up, folds his arms, and regards Zantar with a smile of smug victory.

ZANTAR: (doubtful) Well, it's a little pointy I guess...

ROLF: A little pointy!? Are you daft dwarf? These points are like spear tips. So pointy they are practically an aberration even among elven kind!

ZANTAR: (unwilling to be convinced) Maybe you got your ears caught in door when you were a kid...

ROLF: (outraged again) Simpleton! Dunce! Bonehead! I shall prove it to you! Let us go and find a person of refinement and intelligence who shall tell you the obviousness of my great lineage!

ZANTAR: (musing) You mean we'll ask the first person we meet?

ROLF: (straightening his clothes with great dignity) Precisely.

ZANTAR: (slyly) And the loser buys the winner enough drinks to put him under the table?

ROLF: (impatient) Yes, yes, fine. Let's go.

Rolf starts down the path Zantar just came from.

ZANTAR: Where are you going, kid?

ROLF: Why to find a person of refinement and intelligence to settle the matter as we agreed!

ZANTAR: (pointing down another path) I'm going that way.

ROLF: That is quite impractical. I have just come from that direction and have no wish to retrace my steps.

ZANTAR: Well we'll just go far enough to meet someone and then you can turn back.

ROLF: I find your suggestion to be without merit.

ZANTAR: Well, Krikey, I can't go the way you're going, people back there want to kill me.

ROLF: I see. (hesitates) It so happens that I am in a similar situation in regards to direction of travel. I suggest that we compromise and take the third fork.

ZANTAR: Why not? It's not like I have anywhere to go, just somewhere to leave.

ROLF: (from behind as the two start down the third trail) It so happens that I am in a similar situation in regards to direction of travel.

ZOOM BACK from the two till the foreground is dominated by Rolf's sword, which is still sticking point-upward in the tree branch.
Scene 2

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