ďThree HeroesĒ
by David Nicholson

FADE IN:

INT. TAVERN - NIGHT

A gust of wind enters the tavern as the door opens, blowing in dried leaves and a fine mist of rain. A cloaked figure (MAREK) enters the dark bar room. He is dressed in a black cloak which nearly covers his entire body from head to toe. An oversize hood conceals his face in shadow. Gloved hands come up and wipe the water from his cloak before the hood is pushed back, revealing the face of a young, but harsh man. As he opens his cloak to shake it, a large sword can be seen hanging from his belt. The man approaches the barkeep and places two coins on the counter. The barkeep hands him a mug and watches as he dips a gloved finger into the ale and lets a drop fall on his bare arm. He winces slightly as the liquid sizzles on his skin. He slides the mug back towards the barkeep and slides another coin across to him.

MAREK
Give me your strongest stuff.

The man goes into a back room and returns with a big jug and pours it into a mug. Marek grabs it, touches it hesitantly to his tongue, smiles slightly, and gulps it down. The barkeep refills the mug and Marek takes it to a nearby table and sits down. After arranging his cloak around the chair, he gives a quick perusal of the inhabitants of the tavern and then returns to his mug, urging the barkeep to bring him another before the second one is half empty. The barkeep approaches the table and pauses for a moment.

BARKEEP
You look like a man with a troubled mind.

MAREK
What business is it of yours?

BARKEEP
Just donít want any trouble is all.

MAREK
A bit too late for all that Iím afraid.


 


The barkeep leaves and the doors open again, showing the rain has begun to pick up. Another man enters the tavern and begins to scan the small crowd. His eyes fall upon Marek and an unpleasant smile comes to his face. He heads for the table and takes a seat across from Marek. Shaking the water from his cloak, several drops land on Marekís bare arm, leaving red marks.

MAREK
Watch what youíre doing.

STRANGER
I meant nothing by it, simply trying to shake the dampness off me.

MAREK
You can do it elsewhere.

STRANGER
You must have just arrived here, I havenít seen many new faces
these last few months. Where do you come from?

MAREK
Quite a ways off, a little village named Tantaria.

STRANGER
Tantaran? I believe I have met someone else from that village.
Surprising that two people from the same backwoods village would travel
so far from home. Perhaps you know him. About your age, a feisty one, the
clocks are always running, has a scar on the side of his left cheek.


 


The strangerís hand self consciously moves up and covers a scar on his own left cheek. Marek does not notice.

MAREK
Good ole Stave, only other Tantarian fool enough to go trudging
through this god forsakened world. Of course itís all his fault that I
find myself here in this hole. Sometimes I wish I had never met him.

STRANGER
Strange, you donít seem to be his sort, how did the two of you
meet?

MAREK
Oh, it was long ago when we were just kids. Ha, what a laugh,
it canít be more than a couple years now. It seems like a different lifetime,
some fantasy dream that never was. I was the tough kid and me and a bunch
of my buddies would play tackle down near the meadow. I used to see this
crazy kid up on the nearby hill. Sometimes heíd be watching us, sometimes
heíd be staring off into space, people thought his Mum had drank too much
bog water before he was born. If he wasnít reading, he was up there writing.
Lord did that drive me crazy. Heíd glance down at us and then heíd buzily
scribble down something. Like some king passing judgement on his subjects
beneath him. I didnít know if he wanted to join the game or just watch
us like a dizzy old night owl.
(voice trails off as we fade into other scene)


 


EXT. HILLSIDE - DAY

Up on the hillside sits STAVIAN. He is writing in a book and occasionally looks down towards the field where MAREK and several others are playing a game similar to football. Marek sees Stavian, glancing several times, then he smiles to his friends and throws the ball at Stavian. The muddy ball lands in the middle of his papers. Marek casually walks up the hill to retrieve it.

MAREK
Hey, sorry Stavian, the ball slipped.

STAVIAN
Yes, Iím sure it did

Stavian shoves the ball into Marek's outstretched hands.

MAREK
God, donít take offense to it. I said it was an accident.

STAVIAN
I know what you said.

MAREK
You calling me a liar?

STAVIAN
Yes.

MAREK
Hey guys, the weasel up here just called me a liar. You know I donít appreciate
being called that.

STAVIAN
Then maybe you shouldnít lie.

MAREK
If you were anyone else Iíd beat you senseless for that. But seeing
as who you are, I donít know what I can do with you, a single slap
would probably kill you.

Stavian sets his books aside, standing up to Marek. Marek laughs. Stavian swings his fist at Marek and misses badly. Marek taunts him for a few moments and then hits him once. Stavian falls down in pain. Marek turns and shrugs to his friends. Stavian slowly pulls himself up and rams into Marek. The two of them tumble down the hill and into the mud. Marek shoves Stavianís face into the mud and grabs one of his fingers, bending it back sharply. Stavian cries out in pain.

MAREK
Give up, or I swear Iíll break it.

STAVIAN
I give, I give.

Marek lets go and begins walking away.

MAREK
What makes you think you can fight kid?

Stavian slowly pulls himself up and climbs back up the hill to gather his papers. He then walks down the hill, past the group of boys.

MAREK
Head on home to your mother, sheíll make everything better.

Tears start rolling down Stavianís face. He wipes the tears off with his muddy hands, leaving a thin trail of blood and dirt across his face. Marek watches him as he disappears into the woods. Marek tosses the ball to one of the other boys and then begins walking away.

BOY
Aren't you going to play any more?

MAREK
Nah, don't really feel like it anymore.

Marek sloshes across the muddy field and walks towards a lone tree in one corner. He sits down in a lone grassy path around the tree and begins scraping the mud from his boots. He gives a quick nod to one of the villagers hauling water back from the river. The villager grunts back at him. Once he is out of sight, Marek leans back against the tree and closes his eyes.

EXT. RUNDOWN VILLAGE - NIGHT

Marek pushes through a crowd of people all headed for a hillside. He comes to an opening where everyone has made a circle around the top of a hill. In the centre, at the very top, is an old man, dressed in black. He spreads out his hands and a hush falls across the crowd.

OLD MAN
There is a balance, my friends, a balance between everything in this
vast universe of ours. There is a balance of light and dark, for each
star there is a black hole, for each living world like ours, there is a
lifeless rock like the room that orbits around us. Within our world
there is a balance of good and evil, a balance of strength and weakness,
intelligence and stupidity. But most importantly, there is a balance within
each and every one of you. For every skill you have that is better than
the one next to you, they have another skill that makes them equal. But
look around you right now and think of the skills of the one standing
beside you, the one behind you, in front of you. Do any of them have
any special gifts, or talents, or skills that you donít? Do you look up to
anyone in this village? The question I have come here to ask you today
is this: Do you have any heroes? I have watched you all, not just in this
village, but villages all over. Look around you, this village is a dump, this
world you live in is a mess. See that waterwheel over there by the river?
Do you realize how long it has lain dormant? Seventeen years ago there
was a great storm and the gear was snapped apart. It would take one
day to fix it, one single day, and yet it has stood there broken for seventeen
years. Every day you walk down to the river and carry jugs of water back
to your to your homes. Every day you complain about how long the walk
is and how heavy the jugs are, and you wonder why no one has fixed the
waterwheel yet. I have watched you all this time and I am disgusted by it.
You spend your days hoping for heroes, hoping for someone, anyone
who has the power to drag you away from this wasteland. Well let me
tell you something, the power is within each and every one of you, but
you refuse to use it. For years, I have watched you and I trusted you,
I knew that one day someone would be fed up with it all. But I am
growing weary and I cannot keep waiting and hoping. So I have chosen
three young children among you. They are no different than the rest of
you, but to each of them I will give a power, a power that will help them
rise above this common existence that you all seem so content to stay in.

Marek wakes up. It is late evening. He looks across at the empty field where his friends were playing. He lifts himself up and heads back towards the village.

EXT. FIELD - DAY

Marek and the boys are out in the field playing ball once again. Marek looks up from the play and notices Stavian climbing up the hilll once again with a book under his arm. Marek sighs in exasperation. Then a smile comes across his face and he nods to the other boys who glance up at Stavian. Stavian takes a seat near the top and opens up his book and begins to write in it. He looks up to see the others looking at him and he quickly returns to his book. Marek takes the ball and purposefully rolls it on the ground, coating it with a thick layer of mud. The boys giggle to themselves as Marek lobs the ball up at Stavian. Marek cries out at the last second. Stavian looks up in time for the ball to hit him square in the face. The boys nearly fall down laughing. After getting over the initial shock, Stavian wipes the grime from his face, sets the ball down beside him, and quietly resumes his writing as if nothing happened. Marek storms up the hill towards him.

MAREK
Hey, give us the ball back.

STAVIAN
Itís mine now.

MAREK
Don't tell me you're looking for another beating.

STAVIAN
No, but if thatís all you have to offer I guess it will have to do.

Marek begins to laugh until he realizes that Stavian is serious. He pauses an looks down at his friends.

MAREK
Look, I donít want to have to have to whip your butt again today.

STAVIAN
Then donít.

MAREK
Fine, just hand me the ball back.

STAVIAN
No, youíre going to have to fight me or go back to your buddies without it.

MAREK
Then I guess you leave me no choice.

STAVIAN
Whatever you say.

Stavian barely has time to rise to his feet before one hit from Marek sends him back down. Stavian struggles to pull himself up again.

MAREK
Stay down, you've done your bit. Donít make me hit you again.

GARTH
Come on, finish the stupid bugger off.

Marek looks back at his friends and then over at Stavian. He hits Stavian again and his friends cheer. He grabs the ball and walks back down the hill.

GARTH
Letís have it.

Marek tosses the ball and then watches Stavian get back up and head down the opposite side of the hill. Marek continues watching him until he disappears from view.

INT. LIBRARY - DAY

Stavian is siting on one of the tables, going through a pile of books. Marek walks in and begins to look around. He casually runs his hand along one row of books. Then, seeing Stavian, he walks up to him.

STAVIAN
Come to finish the job? Iím sorry but I donít have much fight
in me right now.

MAREK
No, I came to apologize.

STAVIAN
Takes a big man to apologize when none of his friends are
around. If your friends showed up now youíd pound me again.

MAREK
No, I wouldnít.

STAVIAN
Oh, and why not?

MAREK
Because I felt like a coward today for fighting you. Damn it, every
day I see you up there writing in your little books and I donít
know, for all I know youíre writing about me and my friends
and calling us stupid fools for rolling in the mud while you sit
reading your books and thinking great thoughts. I figure what
right do you have to judge me, what do you know about real life?

STAVIAN
Ever think I might be writing about how much I wish I could
be like you, be accepted by you and play your games?

MAREK
Tell me something, why did you fight me? The first time,
fine, I figured you were just plain stupid, but today? What
did that accomplish?

STAVIAN
It got you to talk to me didnít it. Made you feel bad for doing it.

MAREK
Well congratulations, so I have a conscience, does that
help you sleep better at night?

STAVIAN
I wanted to know if you did have one, if you could care
about anything. I watch you and youíre right, part of me
canít stand you. I see your rough and tough ways, the way
you use force to decide whatís right and wrong. But part
of me respects you. I see certain aspects in you that I truly
admire. See, youíre not like the rest of the nobodies around
here. They walk around mindlessly, never knowing or caring
about anything. Your friends just tag along behind you, they
follow everything you do. Youíre like a sculptor, you have
the ability to make these people into whatever you like, you
have that power. I donít.

MAREK
Perhaps you just scare everyone off. Look at you, playing
this solitary kid on the hill. No one will come near you. Can you blame
them? So tell me, if you had this great power, what would you do?
Would you tell all my buddies to drop their foolish games and go to
the library and read great wisdom from 500 years ago?

STAVIAN
Who made you fight me today?

MAREK
No one, I chose to myself.

STAVIAN
If your friends weren't there, would you have still fought me?

MAREK
No.

STAVIAN
Then your friends made you do it.

MAREK
Don't try to play your foolish word games on me kid. So tell
me, what makes you so special, what have you done to
improve this great world we live in? All I see you do is read
those foolish books and write about God knows what. You
read about worlds that no longer exist. You need to deal with
the world now, no matter what it's like. If you want to survive
here you've got to be strong and you've got to be willing to fight.

STAVIAN
In this world, the way it is right now, perhaps. But I don't
want to live in this world. I want to make this world better.
I see in these books the way it used to be, the way it could
be again. It gives me hope and it gives me an idea of what
we need.

Stavian roots through his pack and pulls out a book. He thumbs through it and opens it to a page and begins to scan it.

STAVIAN
It is just so incredible to learn how this world once was,
how beautiful it was. Oh yes, there were days when the
skies were dark and the air was cold or when the ground
turned to mud, but there were days when the sun shone like
a great fire above the world, bringing life to everything. The
trees were green, the grass grew high, and the gardens were
filled with the brightest of colors. When I read all this I
realize that this world doesn't hold a place for me.

Marek begins to look at several of the books from Stavian's pack and he opens one and sees rough sketches of men sparring.

MAREK
Ahh, so this was your plan? Gonna read how to beat me? Do
you really think you can learn everything from books? That's
sure as hell no way to learn about fighting. Really want to
learn how to fight good? Come on, I'll give you something
to learn bookworm.

Stavian stands up and Marek approaches. Stavian flinches as Marek raises his arms, but Marek only begins to show Stavian the correct way to stand.

EXT. HILLSIDE - DAY

Stavian is sitting on the hill reading a book. Marek and his friends head out onto the field to begin playing another game of ball. Marek looks up to the hill.

MAREK
Hey Stavian.

Stavian looks up. Marek tosses the ball to him and he catches it.

MAREK
Come on down, play a game with us.

Stavian smiles and gets up.

MAREK
Listen guys, take it easy on him.

GARTH
Yeah right Marek, don't worry, we will.

MAREK
No, I'm serious.

Stavian joins them and they begin playing.

EXT. FIELD - DAY

Stavian, Marek, and several others are sitting under a tree, resting after a game.

STAVIAN
Have you ever thought of leaving this place?

MAREK
And go where? What's out there?

STAVIAN
I don't know, but there must be more.

MAREK
And if there are any other places out there, they are
probably as dirty and run down as this place is.

STAVIAN
You never -

Stavian feels a pain in his cheek. He puts his hand up to his face and finds he is bleeding.

MAREK
Are you all right? What happened?

STAVIAN
I don't know, I guess something bit me.

Stavian pulls his hand away and sees a small slash going across his cheek.

EXT. WORKSITE - DAY

VALOUS is looking at himself in a ragged piece of mirror, trying to shave. He has just nicked himself and the blood is running down his cheek. He wipes it with his hand and looks closely at his reflection, his haggard face, down at his grubby hands, the dirt under his nails. A trickle of blood runs down to his mouth and he spits on the ground.

VALOUS
I can't take any more of this dirt. I was meant for something
much greater than this.

Valous leaves a collection of tents, trudging through the mud towards a quarry. Others are beginning to go to work digging in the hard rock.

WORKER
What you doing Valous? Going to quit?

VALOUS
Damn right, I'm getting the hell out of this hole.

Valous walks up to a building and flings the door open. Inside are two men. One is sitting at a desk weighing various gems.

THOMAS
Hey Valous, you know you ain't supposed to just barge in here.

VALOUS
Sorry Thomas, I've had enough of your garbage, I'm quitting.

THOMAS
Well you're welcome to leave, but you're not going to find anything else out there.

Valous eyes the gems on the table for a moment, watches the other man as he slowly organizes them according to weight. He thinks for a moment and then pulls out the knife he had been shaving with.

VALOUS
I'm going to need a little something to help me get by. Hand
it over and I won't be hurting you.

The two men laugh at Valous.

THOMAS
Valous, are you trying to threaten me with that puny knife?
God damn it son I knew you were stupid, but this beats
everything. Put the blade away before you cut yourself.

Thomas nods to the other man who turns around to grab a sword off the wall.

VALOUS
Sorry Thomas, after all the time I've wasted in the waste,
I ain't leaving here empty handed.

Valous lunges towards the men with his knife.

EXT. FIELD - DAY

The group of boys get up and are getting ready to play some more. They toss the ball back and forth. Stavian catches the ball and then stops. The others wait for him to return the ball but he doesn't. His face grows serious.

MAREK
What's wrong?

STAVIAN
I don't know.

MAREK
Well come on, let's have a game.

STAVIAN
I'm sorry, you guys go ahead, I just don't feel like it right now.

Stavian begins heading down one of the paths.

MAREK
Hey Stavian, the ball.

Stavian notices the ball in his hand and tosses it to Marek.


As you can see, I don't have too much of it on-line yet. I originally wrote this script about five years ago. I've just dusted it off recently and found that there are all sorts of problems with it. So, I'm slowly rewriting it, adding a few scenes here, removing entire sections there, and generally giving the entire thing a face-lift. As I begin to feel good about certain sections, I'll place them up here. Not much to comment on yet, but you're welcome to write me. Just go to the contact page.

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