Read Chapter One here.
EXT. THE CLEARING – DAY
Potolok smacks his lips sleepily.
The sound of cawing. He coughs a raven, puckers uncomfortably. His cheeks and eyes bulge.
He spits out a cloud of ravens. They swarm the clearing.
Well now, what is this?
He hacks a feather.
EXT. THE UNDERWORLD – DAWN
Morya helps Ivan from the boat. He shows her the egg. She looks back at the cottage, the chickens.
A bag. Food. Clothes. Morya’s gifts.
EXT. THE UNDERWORLD – CONTINUOUS
They set out with luggage, across the meadows, forests, plains.
The riders in white, red, and black cross forest and plain with the strange sun.
THE COPPER FOREST – THREE DAYS LATER
The trees are animated. They lean in, groaning to speak, comparing colored string.
What on earth are they all doing?
One tree’s tied a bow.
It looks like you’ve met Princess Lisa.
She tamed the trees?
She can do anything. You should meet her too.
Ah. Morya smiles warmly.
They arrive at the rope. Ivan gives it a tug. It’s taut, caught under Potolok, despite its frayed end.
It’s too far.
They grab the end, start to climb, Ivan first.
…up and up…
The white stone of Potolok blocks the way.
The door is shut.
Morya looks down.
It’s a long, long way to the ground.
Don’t worry. I know what to do.
Are you sure, Ivan?
EXT. THE CLEARING – SAME TIME
The abandoned camp. Potolok’s back to snoring. The ravens crowd every branch, waiting.
They scatter. Potolok snorts, wakes.
KOSCHEI (V.O., CONT’D)
I don’t have all day, you limestone lug-about!
Potolok squints through panicked wings.
That you, your majesty?
Ivan hangs just under the stone, grinning.
Morya clutches the rope, proud of her son, wary of the heights.
(as Koschei) Who else would it be? Why on earth have you closed? Are those royal brats still up there?
Morya stifles a chuckle.
The rope creaks.
No, they’ve gone. A moment and I’ll clear the way, m’lord.
He heaves, stands, topples…
The rope snaps free.
Ivan and Morya scream, fall.
A thunder of iron hooves: Vigla charges into the clearing. Horse and ravens dive into
Racing like a meteor shower, faster and faster.
Ivan and Morya fall towards the forest.
Baba Yaga peers up from her bridge at
Vigla gallops straight down as ravens fly, as Ivan falls, and swoops underneath him and Morya. They land across the saddle.
Ivan pulls Morya up after him.
Vigla arcs back into the sky. The ravens follow, panicked cries excited now. They rush to the entrance.
Baba Yaga squints. Her dog whines at her heels.
Well done, Ivanushka.
The specks of Vigla and her riders vanish through the hole.
EXT. / INT. TISHINA CASTLETOWN – LATE AFTERNOON
Artisans move wood and stone to build siege works. Nervous soldiers pace the walls.
Soldiers shout drills to a ramshackle militia. Archers watch for birds from
CARPENTERS and MASONS come and go to consult a blueprint.
Loren eyes the sky, then the siege works.
Diana comes up the steps with a basket. She’s clearly struggling to keep calm.
Doesn’t seem much point when the horse flies, does it?
Loren tries to smile.
It keeps people sane.
Right… I brought you all lunch.
You didn’t have to…
Oh, I had to… just to be out of there.
They look out at the forest. Loren glances at her then away. She glances at him then away.
Martin still hasn’t said anything about Ivan?
I’d prefer anything to what he is saying.
He looks puzzled. She makes a few failed starts:
You know, I wouldn’t even mind. We knew it might happen, but… if he’d just seemed a little broken up about it…
It’s not easy for any of us.
She snaps a paper from the basket: An official letter. Loren takes, scans it.
(reading) “…understanding it would be unseemly to receive with anything less than dignity this unfortunate decision to…” What is this?
(near tears; angry) You tell me, your highness. I don’t know.
Loren’s reading the letter, perplexed.
Tell me what he did—this sorcerer. I don’t care. I’ll do whatever I have to.
I don’t know. I don’t understand how Martin could…
An argument below: A FARMER and the GUARD
But I always bring vegetables this time of week.
I’m sorry, but your name is on my list.
List? Since when is there a list?
(re: the argument) Diana, will you excuse me a moment?
She nods shakily, glares out at the forest.
Loren hurries downstairs.
You could be kin of the king and it would make no diff…
Let him in, guardsman.
(a bow) Your highness.
We’ve known Aleksey’s family for five generations, just let him in.
Diana looks on with a few locals.
You know I can’t do that, your highness. Your brother’s giving the orders now, what with your father…
My father is alive and still king. These are our citizens, not foreign soldiers—and we are not at war yet.
He said we’re to take no risks.
(re: the farmer) Then you’re not taking his food.
I don’t know what’s going on, your highness, but if this has something to do with defeating the wizard, maybe I should…
Sorcerer. And no, you shouldn’t. I think I need to speak to my brother. If you’ll excuse me a moment…
He storms up the street towards
EXT. / INT. THE CASTLE – CONTINUOUS
Even the light is cold.
Martin stands watching a perspiring PAGE (ND) pen a list. Beside him, Lisa sits in a wooden wheelchair, the kind with leg straps.
TAILORS (ND) come and go with fine gowns studded with gems. One takes a dress down from a standing mannequin, another puts his up.
Lisa’s glance at each is cursory.
Dress down. Dress up.
Dress down. Dress up.
(to Lisa) You’ve been at this all day.
All of one day. No.
My father’s not getting any younger, princess.
Are you going to be in such a hurry when we’re married?
It depends if the armies march out the next morning.
He nods; the page takes the list and retreats. Loren storms in, letter still in hand.
Martin, why are you turning away Farmer Aleksey at the gate? And what is…?
Dress down. Dress up.
What is going on here?
Her highness is being very particular about her dowry.
What I am is not particularly interested.
A shocked beat
Martin, you’re not seriously…
Martin steals the letter.
I’ve fulfilled all formalities. As for the list, I put a lot of thought into it, now that we know how sorcerers are born. Princess, could you just…?
What about Diana?
She still has secure employment. I don’t see what she has to complain about. You get along well enough without…
Is she that girl you sent off crying?
Your Highness, there’s a slight shortage of eligible princes at the moment. You could at least attempt some gratitude — I’m inconveniencing myself for your sake.
I’m a little more concerned about someone else you’re “inconveniencing.”
Martin, Father won’t approve of any of this…
And no one is going to worry him. Go back to your books.
I have been at my books. Maybe I should have been looking up a bit more.
Did you find anything about Koschei?
Stacia’s at the door, a long wrapped bundle over one shoulder.
Well, if it isn’t the one who could have prevented all this…
Well, if it isn’t the prince who wouldn’t heed an elder’s wisdom. A little bird I ran into at the market tells me one of your highnesses is courting.
Martin crumples the letter.
Your stitchery can’t be any worse than the rest.
Stacia hobbles to the dummy and regards the princess worriedly, gives a stiff curtsy.
Anastasia Petrov, your highness; but they all call me Baba Stacia. You must be Princess Lisa.
(surprised) Vasilisa, but how did you know?
Martin goes back to his list and Loren frets as Stacia rolls up her sleeves:
Let’s just see if I can’t cheer you up a little.
Jewels glitter warmly and Lisa’s exact bejeweled dress stands on the mannequin.
As Lisa stares, Stacia shrugs like it’s nothing.
Where in the world did you get a dress like that?
It’s one of a kind, I believe. I’ll have the shoes along by tomorrow. I have only one apprentice, after all.
(agitated) You have an apprentice now?
Son of a local. You know how hard it is to find a trade for the youngest of three. He helped me with finishing touches.
You could buy half the kingdom with a dress like that.
That is the point of a dowry. (to Lisa) Now, rumor has it, princess, you’ve need of a gown, shoes, and…
Why yes, of course.
She bows to them again.
So if this satisfies, I’ll see about those as well, if it would calm your fears.
I’ll admit, your apprentice seems unexpectedly talented.
It’s about time.
I’ll not give my word yet.
I don’t need your word, just your hand. Unlike your last proprietor, time waits for none of us.
He turns on his heel and storms off. Loren looks after him worriedly.
Stacia catches Lisa’s eye, smiles behind their backs, then curtsies again.
I can’t believe it…
Until tomorrow, your highnesses.
The end is coming up and your feedback would be most appreciated. Here we have the story of two pairs of siblings. One has failed to mend. What about the second? I have my own ideas and a draft about them, but I’d love to hear how you feel it’s going, what it feels like, what you expect or what would disappoint you.