FotC – S1 – The Calling
[garden view, Lord Zaftat & Lady Aleria in garden]
TXT – With lush gardens surrounding the Manor of Lord Zaftat and Lady Aleria, the Covenant Keep offers a beautiful view of the plains below. The Manor is always open to friends of the Lord and Lady.
[ENT Thorgrim & Zyr]
Thorgrim: M’Lord, Mistress! Tribes of the North have reported that deep in mountains, a gap has opened. From this gap it seemed that the souls of the dead were able to escape from The Underworld and once again roam on the surface, terrorizing the villages in the vicinity.
Zyr: But here is more to Lord Thorgrim’s report of Undead attacks upon the northern tribes than he knows. The gap that has rent through to the deep pits of Tyria is thought to be a small rip in the fabric of the Void.
Zaftat: You don’t mean…
Zyr: Yes, prison of Tyria’s greatest enemy, an ancient and powerful evil by the name of The Watcher. How the Dark One could manage to rend the seams of her prison and whether it truly has occured is unknown.
Zaftat: If what you say is true sir, this is indeed worrying. I am unsure how we might be of assistance to a grievance so dire.
Thorgrim: You must immediately send out as many men you can to the North!
Zaftat: Alas, we are short of hand. And I am unable to lend you aid as I have a responsibility towards this Keep.
[ENT Kelden, /bow]
Kelden: But I shall.. if I might offer assistance. My name is Kelden Nathorr, ranger. I am able to lend you the help you require.
Thorgrim: Thank you sir, but is one man all that the Keep is able to offer?
Zyr: Lord Thorgrim, we do not even know what we are to face. Perhaps it might be advantageous to evaluate what our goals are if we were to journey North.
Zaftat: Yes, let’s retire to my study to discuss this issue in more depth. Perhaps greater knowledge will come to light in the morning.
Thorgrim: Welcome Miss, may I inquire the reason as to your visit?
Ming Na: Sir… My name is Huang Ming Na. I come all the way from Cantha. I believe my destiny lies in aiding you and your clan. You see… I was called. By the goddess Dwayna herself.
[ENT Zyr, Kelden, Zaftat & Aleria]
Ming Na: Thank you for your hospitality. May I proceed to tell my tale. A few weeks ago, I was in slumber when the goddess Dwayna appeared to me, as clear as day! She said in a voice-like the sound of a thousand swallows,
Dwayna: My child, great trouble is brewing in the north. A group of men will rise up from the house of Lord Zaftat and shut the gates to the Underworld. However in their way are many perils. I send you, Ming Na, to aid them in their journey. Do this for me, your goddess, and I shall send you home, for that is where your heart yearns to be.
Ming Na: It was then I woke from my slumber. I remained in a dilemna in the days following, pondering the mystery of the dream, and if indeed my destiny lies in the company of men who are destined for a grievous mission. I finally decided that if it would take me one step closer to home, I would.
Kelden: This is much to swallow, M’lady. And we barely know you.
Ming Na: Yet there is more. Before I left my camp in search of you, the goddess sent me a vision of the Crystal Desert, and a message.
Dwayna: Seek out the Sword of the Living and the Dead. The key that controls the door to the world beyond our own. Heed the warning, whosoever holds the Sword wields great power, and only through wisdom may peace be restored to the land.
Thorgrim: Hmm we should consult among ourselves. We shall return with a conclusion. Would you please excuse us.
TXT – While Ming Na was left alone, she tended to a cut she had gained during her journey with filerrman weed. But was surprised to find that someone was watching.
[SCENE Zyr appearing at corner of the room]
Zyr: An interesting use of the filerrman herb…
[Ming Na spins around]
Ming Na: Herbal remedies are the lowest form but also the most essential. [PAUSE] Is your counsel not sought with the other lords?
Zyr: Dwayna shrouds her words always in subtle weavings. I sense a weighty burden with your message. And when do you wish to reveal the remaining prophecies to the others? That is the one failing of your sect…you can’t hope to protect them all…
[Ming Na is shocked and emotional]
Ming Na: Dwayna will protect us. Prophecy can be amended!
Zyr: Your faith is admirable. We may only hope that it will prove beneficial to the rest of us as it is to you.
[SCENE Inn, bartender and 2 men]
TXT – At the Stonewall inn, approximately twenty-six miles from the Covenant Keep, two travellers made their entrance. The locals took a glance, not long enough to appear disrespectful, but long enough to know these folks were foreigners.
Athena: Waljan, approach the bartender.
Waljan: Go approach him yourself. I’m tired!
Athena: By Bathazaar’s foot, you are as useless as a dead yak! [turn to bartender] Sir, can you tell me if a lady of small build and dark hair has passed this way?
Bartender: Ye! I believe I have seen her. She’s a foreigner, like you?
Athena: Yes, you have seen her?
Bartender: If you hurry you might catch her. She departed yesterday… with a young lad.
Athena: Thank you sir.
[EXIT Athena & Waljan]
TXT – Yet in a corner of the tavern, liquor dripped off a woman… drowned in her sorrows.
Bartender: We are closing, you need to leave. Move yourself, you trash!
Keryn: One more…and keep it coming.
Bartender: Get out! You’ve had enough!
Keryn: Is this any way to treat your customers?
[ENT 2 men]
2 men: Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of her for you.
Bartender: Alright. But don’t mess up the place.
2 men: Well it’s not your place we’re gonna mess up.
[The 2 men fight her, but even in her drunken state she slays the two men]
Keryn: Urgghh.. I curse the day man walked on earth!
[SCENE goes dark, Keryn appears in a strange dark place]
Keryn: What is this sorcery!?
Balthazaar: Keryn Wolfkin. You have spent long years in a fruitless quest to find meaning for your existence. It is in war and bloodshed that we find our true selves, yet you remain lost because you have failed to learn one lesson. All wars cannot be won alone.
Keryn: I don’t need anyone! All I can trust is my blade and my own strength. If those give way to greater foes than I deserve death! I defy your council!
Bathazaar: FOOLISH WOMAN! You dare defy me! Remember this day that you have cursed the War God for your beloved sister shall suffer the consequences of your insolence.
Keryn: No! Punish me, and spare her. She has nothing to do with this.
Bathazaar: If you wish to spare the fate of your sister, seek those of the Covenant now in their day of need. Prove to me that you can learn what I have tried to teach you. Upon that day, your burdens will be lifted.
Keryn: Covenant? Where?
Bathazaar: It lies before you daughter.
[SCENE Kelden and Aleria alone]
Kelden: I cannot leave you here, Aleria.
Aleria: But I am not alone. The walls of this Keep will sustain. My place is here.
Kelden: [turn away] You don’t understand Aleria… you don’t.
[Kelden leaves and finds Zyr]
Zyr: I have read the signs, the Northlands call for us. [Kelden turns & Zyr whispers] Do not be wrapped up in emotions, for they can destroy a man. Remember your place as a fighter. [moves away] Be sure and pack warm clothing, Kelden. The Northlands have quite a bite this time of year.
[SCENE Lane towards Keep, Athena and Waljan roam]
Athena: [gazes forward and sees Ming Na from a distance] Is that who I think it is?
[Ming Na sees her and begins to run, Waljan and Athena run too]
Ming Na: Waljan! Athena!
Athena: Ming Na! What possessed you to leave us?
Ming Na: [stops short] You shouldn’t have followed me here.
Waljan: Of course we would! What are you saying?
Ming Na: Now you are cursed as I am.
Waljan: We know not of your journey and little of the reason you had come. By the haste you took, we know it must have been important. You should not have been travelling alone, your goddess has been merciful to have brought you this far without harm, let us escort you back to Kryta.
Ming Na: No. My duty is here. [turns away] I’m sorry you have come all this way in search of me, but you cannot stay. It is not safe.
Waljan: We have not come all this way to return empty handed. Let us meet with the men you speak of.
[SCENE The Keep, Keryn shouts]
Keryn: Open the gates!
Thorgrim: What is this ruckus about?
Keryn: I am here to seek the men of the Keep.
Thorgrim: For what reason, may I inquire?
Keryn: Get out of my way if you choose to live!
Thorgrim: M’lady, this is no place for adventure seekers! Without any further introduction, I cannot let you pass!
[SCENE Oncoming enemies]
Thorgrim: What is this?! Undead on these grounds? [pause to call out] Men! Danger approaches. Be on your guard!
[Zyr appears, and all three battle the undead]
[Battle scene with the undead. Waljan, Athena and Ming Na appear in battle.]
Athena: Hark! The sounds of battle?
Waljan: Hurry! I believe our help is needed.
[SCENE Aleria watches from Keep as Kelden rushes to her side]
Kelden: Enemies arrive! Take cover m’lady.
Aleria: I never run from a fight!
[Aleria joins the group to fight & Kelden joins too. Aleria is felled, and Kelden rushes to her side]
[When the enemies are dead, the group catches their breath. Scan the dead on the ground. Zaftat arrives]
Zaftat: What has happened here?
Thorgrim: We were attacked by the undead m’lord. [view of Aleria laying down] Aleria is doing poorly.
Zaftat: And who are these men?
Waljan: Waljan Sayre, and my god-sister Athena Alesia. [both bow] We’re here to retrieve the monk, Ming Na.
Ming Na: I am not leaving, Waljan.
Waljan: But why? How have these strangers become more essential than your true friends? What holds you here?
Ming Na: Duty to my goddess. I’m sorry for your trouble… you should leave.
Waljan: [exasperated] What? That’s it then? We should go. [leave but Athena stays] Athena! Come on!
Athena: There is something sinister, some great magic that demands the souls of each and every person here. I can’t explain it, but somehow I feel it.
Waljan: [moves over to whisper to Athena] They are a cursed group, all the reason more to depart hastily.
Athena: How can you leave when our friend remains here? Whatever it is she was called to do, it is a mission of ultimate importance. I would like to help.
Waljan: End the foolishness Athena! We came here to bring Ming Na home! Not to burden ourselves with more troubles.
Athena: [shake head] Your father would be ashamed of you.
[Waljan storms off. Ming Na tries to follow]
Athena: Leave him to his thoughts, Ming Na. I would like to learn more of this mission.
Zaftat: [to Keryn] And you M’lady? I don’t believe you have introduced yourself.
Keryn: Introductions are overrated. You have my blade, that is enough. Alert me when you decide to depart, as I plan to follow. I shall study the undead as you prepare. [run off]
[SCENE Kelden alone with Thorgrim]
Kelden: [sorrowful] She gave everything she had.
Thorgrim: You can do her no good by worrying, my friend. You must rest as well, for you have done no less in the defense of this mighty Keep. We have a higher calling to pursue come the morn.
Kelden: You don’t understand, Thorgrim! She’s always been there for me, and I just can’t leave her right now! I have to know that she is alright or I will be of no worth to anybody! So I request leave from your party. Though its purpose be pure and noble, I fear that I am unable to lend you the aid that I previously swore.
Thorgrim: [thoughtful] Our mission is important, but it would be foolish for me to insist that you betray your heart, lest you live in regret. I only ask that you spend the time to think it over.
[Kelden nods, they depart]
[Keryn approaches Waljan, who stands alone outside the Keep]
Keryn: Have you not left?
Waljan: Why do you follow these men? What is your stake in this?
Keryn: What do you care?
Waljan: It just seems to me odd that you would jeopardize your life for these people you barely know.
Keryn: My goals are my own. [pause] If you’re uninterested in joining the fight you may depart, it matters little to me.
Waljan: Does it? [pause] Answer me this, warrioress – would you grant the wishes of your loved ones, even if everything in you believes it to be the wrong decision?
Keryn: To have died living for what you believe in, is better than to have hesitated, and continued living in fear…
Waljan: Then perhaps I shall stay.
Keryn: It is your decision alone, and now your burden.
Waljan: You haven’t told me your name.
Keryn: Keryn Wolfkin. [pause] You are Troican, are you not?
Waljan: Wha.. how did you know?
Keryn: I recognize the accent. [turn to leave] I suggest you inform your party you are staying, and begin packing. I forsee a long journey ahead of us.
[SCENE Zyr in the hall, walking through the hall when he hears a voice and is shocked]
Voice: Exemplary work you have displayed on my minions.
Zyr: I was wondering where you would move next.
Voice: You have strength, but you have a weakness that will lead to your downfall, and I shall seize the opportunity when the time comes.
Zyr: Curse you, blasted demon spawn!
Voice: You have been betrayed by the gods you continually defend. Remember dark monk, you have yet to draw upon my power, should all others fail you.
Zyr: Leave me be!
[Voice disappears, Zyr is troubled]
[SCENE Thorgrim and Zaftat]
Zaftat: It seems that after all that has happened, there is no neglecting what you have reported. Do you trust the message of the Canthan monk?
Thorgrim: I believe she is sincere. And besides, I too have felt Dwayna’s gentle urging in the matter. We should head first to the Crystal desert to retrieve the mythical weapon she has spoken about.
Zaftat: [ponder] I trust in your wisdom, you have my blessings.
Thorgrim: And what of Lady Aleria?
Kelden: I shall tend to her needs till she is better. I apologize for the hasty withdrawal from your party. But I owe her too much to leave her in this state.
Thorgrim: I understand M’lord.
Kelden: I would, however, regret if I left you empty handed. If you would accept in my place, a guide into the Crystal Desert? An acquaintance of mine knows the way, I shall coax him to make the journey with you.
Thorgrim: Any help at this point is welcome.
Zaftat: Might I assume that you shall be traveling with the group of people who have recently arrived at the Keep?
Thorgrim: I asked for men, and the gods have delivered. Who am I to refuse?
Zaftat: Very well… Godspeed.
Thorgrim: And you.
[SCENE Anduril and Kelden]
Kelden: It is good to see you, friend.
Anduril: The pleasure is all mine.
Thorgrim: So, you are a member of the Shadowfire guild?
Anduril: Yes, I am.
Thorgrim: I must admit I had always thought of the guild to be myth.
Anduril: We attempt to stay hidden. Certain members of high-society believe us to be outlaws when our purpose is only to better Tyria by protecting the weak and defenseless.
Thorgrim: Admirable intentions. However the journey we are to partake will be greater than any you or I have ever encountered. Are you up for the challenge?
Anduril: Sir, may I insist that I am highly trained and am most ready to tackle any obstacle that may hinder our way.
Thorgrim: Excellent! And according to Kelden, you are familiar with the Crystal Desert?
Anduril: Certainly. And I am familiar with a route that will take us through a Shadowfire cache and land us at the ocean in half the time.
Thorgrim: Any chance to speed up our journey to the desert is most welcome.
Anduril: We should be prepared to depart as soon as we are able. The darkness has never been a good companion.
TXT: And so the journey began… Each man called to aid a struggle they knew little of. Nor the distance the journey would take them. But each understanding the role that they should play in this band of men, put together by duty to the gods.
[Team rushes off, Kelden watches from above]
Watcher: Foolish mortals… mwuhahahaha….
[SCENE team, and oncoming undead]
Thorgrim: Stay alert men! I sense oncoming enemies.
[Battle with undead, Zyr gets hit and the voice comes to him again]
Watcher: Tap upon my power.
Watcher: You feel it surging within you… You know you want to….
Zyr: No! Tempt me no more!
[the others look at him, and Zyr turns away, bowing his head in shame]
Anduril: The undead… they are uncommon around these parts, and yet we have seen their display not once, but twice now.
Waljan: I’m certain that the one responsible for the attack is the same one who sent the legion of undead upon the Keep.
Athena: Well, are we going to stand around and let him? Let’s be gone before he sends more!
[party runs towards the Shadowfire cache]
[When the cache had been reached, Anduril turns around and introduces the dwelling]
Anduril: Welcome to one of the many Shadowfire caches hidden around the world, men and women of the Keep. May you get your rest in this dwelling tonight so that we shall be recharged for the journey ahead of us tomorrow morning.
TXT: The team had reached the cache, a secret dwelling hidden in the base of a tree. It was there they made camp. While most went to rest for the night, the monk Zyr stayed awake. There was much on his mind, and he felt distanced by the team due to his sudden outburst.
[SCENE Zyr, Ming Na approaches]
Ming Na: Would you mind if I sat?
Zyr: You may.
Ming Na: I speak to you not only as a sister of faith, but also as a friend. Perhaps I have not stayed long enough for I do not know you completely. But I know a man of faith. And through the past few events, you have displayed characteristics that are uncommon with one of the cloth.
Zyr: Do not expect much religion from me, young monk. I am afraid what I reveal may be blasphemous to your ears, for I maintain not the reverence for the gods that we of the faith ought to display.
Ming Na: It would honour me to comprehend you more. Do grant me the opportunity.
Zyr: [thoughtful] I am revealing certain things to you because you have shown yourself to be of good character, but it goes deeper than that. [turn away] I shall not burden you with unnecessary detail, but let it suffice that I was not a citizen of Kryta or Ascalon. My origins lay in a land now desolate to the south, amongst the ruins of a fallen civilization.
Ming Na: You mean to say you are…
Zyr: Yes. I am Orrian. I have been vagabond near all my days, for I was not present in Orr when it sunk into the depths. It was my lot to have been engaged in a mission of knowledge and lore exchange in foreign lands when it occurred. My return journey was one of unspeakable horror and sorrow. I cannot tell you how it rent my soul, to have to smite my bretheren and sisters who came upon me as I scavenged the ruins of Arah.
Ming Na: I never knew…
Zyr: It was with a heavy heart that I began to move ahead with my life, seeking perhaps a way to reverse what had occurred. I studied every magic, every lore, every ritual in vain pursuit of a remedy – even those of the forbidden, each day taking a step further from everything I once knew.
Ming Na: Did you find what you were looking for?
Zyr: No. Nothing but the realization that the gods themselves are imperfect beings. They are not to be relied upon. I attempted to live out of their circle… but in doing so, I have been visited by other influences.
Ming Na: They spoke to you today…
Zyr: I have said too much. What you offer and bring to this quest, should not be deterred by one such as I. Please consider me as any other, certainly anything but a brother of the faith.
Ming Na: [runs to his side] Zyr… you believe you have lost your heart. But I have seen differently today. You are not alone. However far you may stray, I shall be your friend. And I shall never tire praying for you till you have finally found peace once more.
[SCENE Waljan goes up a tree & sees Anduril]
Anduril: Unable to sleep?
Waljan: I’m not tired and I was wondering if you could use some company.
Anduril: I would gladly welcome some.
Waljan: Today I’ve seen you display skills I have not seen before in one of the bow. Who are you really?
Anduril: Do not be suspicious of me, honourable hunter. I know of your mission to the north and I would like to help. If you are considering the possibility of betrayal then you do not know me very well, but that will come in time.
Waljan: I apologise if I come on too strongly.
Anduril: None taken. I was 17 when I trained with Prince Rurik’s Vanguard, and was taken by the Charr. I was beaten, tortured… till I managed to escape, and rescued by the guild. Trained under their tutorlege. I owe them everything.
Waljan: I see. I…
[sounds of enemies]
Anduril: The enemies have found us. Go down into the storage and tell the others we are leaving.
[Waljan rushes off]
TXT: Hidden within the depths of a secret entrance into a cache in the forest, a passage into the earth, traversed by few. The journey of the travellers would take them into her caverns.
[group running, catchbreath]
Anduril: We will be safe here. This passage was built long ago by the members of the Shadow Fire Guild to allow its dwellers to ‘disappear’ if trouble ever came.
Athena: What are we running from?
Waljan: Creatures in the woods – initially I’d thought they had the appearance of moving shadows. But the shadows gradually formed dark shapes… the form of men!
Anduril: A mockery of life itself!
Thorgrim: Are you sure we are safe here? I feel we might be sitting ducks for an ambush.
Anduril: How can we? No one knows of this dwelling except myself and those who built the entrance. Those of whom were soldiers sworn to secrecy.
Keryn: Says the member of a dubious clan of outlaws.
Anduril: I know many of you remain doubtful of my guild, and my interest in this mission. But would I not ask the same of you? We are all strangers banded together in this mission. I suggest we not find dissension among our ranks.
[Keryn walks off in disinterest. Ming Na spots Zyr in a corner. She walks over]
Ming Na: You know the one who is responsible for the enemies who constantly pursue us, don’t you?
Zyr: I should not…
Ming Na: Do speak, we should acquaint ourselves with the enemy we are facing.
Zyr: I hear only his voice, never his face. He wants me as his pawn, to do his bidding. I feel the temptation overpowering sometimes… but while it is in my ability, I resist.
Ming Na: Do you know of his intentions while he is in the physical realm?
Zyr: He wants… death. Revenge for the centuries he had been cursed behind the bars of his prison. He will stop at nothing to achieve this goal – to relinquish the world of the control of the gods, in order to be its one and only master.
Ming Na: But what is he? Is he mortal?
Zyr: That… young monk, I do not know. But he has powers beyond any mortal.
Ming Na: Yes, we have seen that.
Anduril: Let us continue. We have little time to waste.
[The group rushes off, and the camera zooms into a bubble as if they were being watched]
Watcher: hahaha… So the dark monk believes he might battle me with will?
Daldrath: My lord, is it time for my duty to be fulfilled?
Watcher: No, patience my servant.
Daldrath: But, master, what of the duty you have given me?
Watcher: You wish to have the freedom you have so desired?
Daldrath: I want to serve only you, my lord.
Watcher: I am the Watcher. I know everything about man. Do not attempt to hide your secrets, for no matter what you do, I will know.
Daldrath: Then it is no secret that once I’m unleashed upon the world, I will do what I promised all of Kryta, I shall destroy them. I SHALL BRING OBVLIVION TO THEM! I SHALL DESTROY WHOEVER GETS IN MY WAY!
Daldrath: Why do you laugh at my words?
Watcher: Because…I am the only one you will ever meet that can fulfill your desires. Soon, your duty will come, and our deal will be played out….Only time can tell….
Daldrath: Tell me…what is your command…my liege…
TXT: The journey through the cave took the team further than most of them had anticipated. At the end, they were tired and bothered.
Keryn: Curses to this dreaded journey. Curses to the gods. Might they burn in the fiery pits of Hell’s Precipice. Curses to these hodge podge of men I must follow.
Ming Na: May I speak with you Keryn?
[Keryn isn’t bothered]
Ming Na: I have been concerned for the others, because of the enemy we are facing. Everyone here is under a lot of pressure and the best way to overcome it would be to pull together and keep our spirits high. Spewing curses will do nothing but damage the morale of the group.
Keryn: You speak of evils and damage of another’s actions, and yet how blind you are to the greatest sins performed at your own hands.
Ming Na: I’m afraid I don’t understand…
Keryn: That doesn’t surprise me. Monks are all alike, self-centered and all caught up with the nobility of their callings. Too bad you don’t see yourselves the way I see you and so many others.
[Ming Na is silent, confused]
Keryn: Oh you take such great pride in your abilities, healing the sick, reviving the downcast, spreading the glorious light of Dwayna to every soul…how noble.
[The others watch her]
Keryn: None of you have a concept of what it means to be wedded to combat, to give your whole soul over to the battle, and to accept that your life may be ended in a heartbeat. That is what it means to be a warrior, to be ready to die…and to rejoice as your lifeblood spills its last drops. Now imagine in your limited way, being snatched from that fate over and over again. No one has that right to take what we have earned in our own blood without consent, to restore us to pain and suffering. You call it healing, I call it damnation! Endless torment as you keep us alive with your sickening piety!
Zyr: [moves forward] Woman that is enough.
Keryn: Do not touch me! You are the worst, you damnable hypocrite!
Thorgrim: What is going on here?
[Keryn leaves. Thorgrim speaks to Ming Na]
Thorgrim: You ought to have known the woman has much emotional baggage she carries around, it’s best not to prod her. I would expect you of all people to understand.
Ming Na: Yes… sir.
Athena: End this unneccessary humiliation! Why do you insist on flogging the victim when the perpetrator stands right there! [points to Keryn] If you men are too perturbed to confront this woman, I shall take matters into my own hands.
Thorgrim: Don’t be a fool!
Athena: Who is the fool here? I think I have you made out a little too well. You and that skank!
Ming Na: STOP! I appreciate that you care for me, Athena. But I must accept Keryn’s words, and I must learn how to deal with my failings.
Athena: Ming Na…
[SCENE Daldrath in the darkness]
Daldrath: Yes…I feel the anger, just as my master has told me. But my time is being wasted in this realm, I must now venture into the realm of the living.
[disappears and reappears on a shore]
Daldrath: I am finally in the land of the living!
[points his staff]
Daldrath: Echuva Casta colia. [conjures up minions] Arise, my fellow beings, arise and follow your new leader, I bind your soul and body to my will, arise and listen to your master.
[SCENE the team sees the oncoming minions]
Anduril: Minions of the undead!
[team battles minions, and Ming Na is hurt. Keryn sees it all and is dumbfounded. Athena and Waljan run to her side.]
[Athena turns to Waljan]
Athena: Will she live?
Waljan: I’m no healer, and I will never know how the body operates like she will. But I’ve seen creatures that bled from the mouth… and… it has never been a good sign. We can only pray for a miracle.
Zyr: [kneels by Ming Na’s side] Mother of all purity, whatever sins I have committed against Thee, let them be rescinded for but this moment – I submit this prayer on her behalf.
Thorgrim: Zyr, what is to be done? I fear we cannot overcome these foes, so great have they devastated our numbers.
Zyr: We press on. There is nothing more to be done but to do our part. I shall return shortly, the others will need your strength.
[Thorgrim nods, and leaves for the others. Zyr remains and walks slowly to the shore, meeting Daldrath on the beach]
Daldrath: Ah, at last…
[SCENE Ming Na in a temple in Shing Jea]
Distant Voice: …let them be rescinded for but this moment – I submit this prayer on her behalf.
[She spins around, confused, and sees no one]
Ming Na: Who’s there?
[A monk appears out of the darkness]
Prof Zhou: Ming Na…
Ming Na: Professor Zhou?
Prof Zhou: Come Ming Na, come with me…
Ming Na: Yes I want to… wait for me! Home… I want to go home…
Prof Zhou: Of course you are home. You know that you always have a home with us Ming Na. You are as though a daughter to me.
[Ming Na begins to cry]
Prof Zhou: Why do you cry child? There is nothing but love here for you.
Ming Na: I know. It’s the strangest feeling I’ve been having all day… as though I haven’t been here for ages.
Prof Zhou: But where would you go? This monastary is your home.
Ming Na: I can’t shake the feeling Professor Zhou… I’m here, standing in the grounds. But it somehow feels like I’m miles away.
Prof Zhou: We shall have no more sadness dear one. Come with me… I would like to speak with you.
Ming Na: … Yes. [They leave]
[SCENE Ming Na still on the ground in the caves. Athena and Waljan are seated near her, Anduril kneels nearby]
Anduril: We have to do something. We are losing her quickly.
[Athena runs off crying]
Waljan: What do you suggest?
Anduril: I was once taught the skill of entering a person’s subconscious. Maybe I can use that now.
Waljan: Try it. I’ll be with Athena. [runs off]
[Anduril crouches and begins work]
[SCENE Zyr on the beach with Daldrath]
Zyr: End your attacks on our group!
Daldrath: You know I cannot do that. I am commanded to end your mission by a higher power.
Zyr: I know your master. He is a conniving demon who cares nothing but for himself and his goals. You will suffer while you serve him. And finally, he will end your life when he has what he has set out for.
Daldrath: Say what you will, but he too is a means to an end. I share his goals, and by his might, I shall bring destruction upon humanity.
Zyr: If there is no convincing you, then let us end this discussion and test our mettle to whatever end.
[The two men battle it out till Zyr is almost dead]
Daldrath: This exercise has been diverting but hardly a contest of will. It ends.
Zyr: If my life be given to slow you down, so be it…
[Zyr cripples Daldrath, and Daldrath offers the killing blow]
Daldrath: [limps] Curse the monk! I shall have to return later to finish off the others.
[Camera zooms to see Zyr dead on the shore]
[SCENE Kelden and Aleria in the Keep]
Aleria: I thank you for caring for me. But I feel that I’ve held you back from your true purpose.
Kelden: Aleria, I would give my life in defense of you. Please understand that it’s a decision I made alone.
Aleria: But what of the team that heads north?
Kelden: I do not know M’lady. We can only pray that…
Faint voice of Dwayna: Kelden Nathorr…
Kelden: [starts] Wait, who speaks?
Aleria: What is it?
Dwayna: The team is plagued with an enemy they cannot battle alone. Both the monks have been taken down. [images of Ming Na and Zyr]
Kelden: No, this cannot be!
Dwayna: I maintain charge of the soul of Ming Na, and shall restore it in time. But I am afraid that Zyr has long ago severed channels with your goddess, and he is too far gone from my reach.
Kelden: Tell me what I can do! I will do anything!
Dwayna: Bind their enemy, my son. You must travel to the mountains and perform an incantation. I shall show you the way.
Aleria: Kelden, tell me what is happening? Who are you speaking to?
Kelden: Dwayna has approached me. I have a journey to make.
[SCENE Keryn alone]
Balthazaar: Still having difficulty relying upon them?
Keryn: I told you before how I feel…I cannot change who I am.
Balthazaar: You seek death now more than before, because of what I have done. You have a stubborn will Wolfkin, but not so longlived as those who are divine. Do you suppose to outlive the immortals? How much can you endure before you turn your heart to them?
Keryn: I shall endure long enough. Your patience will wane before my heart gives way. You may as well cease this useless plan…I will not play a part in it.
Balthazaar: I shall be the judge of that my daughter. You cannot see it, but already you have begun to change, although much slower than I had hoped. Nay, you shall not be released from my service until the change is complete.
Keryn: I would see myself dead before then!
[SCENE Thorgrim finds Waljan and Athena near a ship]
Waljan: Sir, I believe we have chanced upon a vessel. Perhaps it might be our ticket to the Crystal Desert.
Thorgrim: Who does it belong to?
Waljan: We know not. It seems to have been abandoned for a number of years.
Thorgrim: We should inform the others then, and prepare to secure it.
[All three rush off to the spot where Thorgrim last spoke to Zyr, and only Keryn is nearby]
Thorgrim: Ms Wolfkin, we have found a vessel and should depart within the hour. Prepare your belongings. [looks around] Do you know where the monk Zyr is?
Keryn: I am not his keeper.
[Thorgrim recalls what Zyr said about returning shortly]
Thorgrim: No! The damn fool! [rushes off and finds Zyr dead on the beach]
Thorgrim: Dwayna help us all… Today we have lost.
[Scene of Prof Zhou and Ming Na on the beach]
Ming Na: Professor Zhou, why do we do what we do?
Prof Zhou: Healing? Protecting? It is our humble service to Dwayna.
Ming Na: But is it not in vain?
Prof Zhou: What do you mean, young one?
Ming Na: We heal the hurt, only to see them hurt once more. We restore the lives of the fallen, over and over again. But what if it is not their choice to be restored?
Prof Zhou: Death and pain are inevitable in life, Ming Na. It is by the evil of men that such things occur. While there is evil, there must be good, to balance the scales. Where there is hurt, there must be healing. It is our duty to lead by the example of Dwayna, our goddess mother of peace.
Ming Na: But, what if the person who is healed did not want to be well?
Prof Zhou: That is impossible.
Ming Na: What gives us the right to decide if a man should or should not live?
Prof Zhou: Question no more, Ming Na. You have been given a precious gift from the gods. Your only duty is to use it to save those who require it. That is your purpose, that is your mission.
Ming Na: Do not think of me ill-mannered Professor Zhou. But something is missing… I can’t place a finger on it. I cannot seem to remember anything before I came to meet you today. However, I do remember whispers.
Prof Zhou: Whispers?
Ming Na: Yes. Strange as it might seem… they were whispers from the waterfall. Like someone beckoning me.
Prof Zhou: Heed not the voices Ming Na. Good, as well as evil, make use of natural objects to project themselves to us mortals. These voices were most likely of evil.
Ming Na: I don’t believe that to be so. They were comforting somehow – I found ease with the whispers than anything I’ve seen today. Everything seems so unreal, it is hard to describe the feeling.
Prof Zhou: I believe you need direction from our goddess. Come with me, young monk.
[SCENE at a corner of the beach, Daldrath regains his strength.]
Daldrath: Revenge…. I must gain my revenge…
[SCENE long ago in Kryta, pictures of 2 women fading away into the scenery]
Daldrath: My mother… my sister, murdered in cold blood by the White Mantle. And me… stripped bare… mocked… tortured. Humanity will pay where I have lost! Kryta shall be the grave of those who have destroyed my life!
[SCENE in the Shing Jea temple grounds, Ming Na prays to Dwayna]
Ming Na: Holy goddess… I must express to you my perplexment. I am in the hall of this monastary but something is out of place. As though I’m not meant to be here but somewhere else. Please grant me wisdom.
Dwayna: Ming Na… You are confused, I understand. You have undergone a terrible sacrifice for the greater good. Let me restore to you your memory.
Ming Na: I don’t understand. Why am I here? Why am I not with the rest?
Dwayna: Oh but you are my dear one, except your soul is trapped here. In the in-between.
Ming Na: The in-between?
Dwayna: Between life and death, I’ve kept you here for a purpose my child. I want you to know the purpose by which you are called to do what you do. And I have re-created your home from the memories you keep in your mind, so that you may ponder these thoughts with the comfort of your loved ones.
Ming Na: Do you mean none of this is real?
Dwayna: None of it. But you will be home soon enough, mark the words of a goddess.
Ming Na: What about the team I am to aid? If my soul remains dormant here, who will heal them?
Dwayna: They too have lessons that they must learn. You shall be reunited soon enough.
Ming Na: But at least inform me of their state so that I might pray for them. Please my goddess.
Dwayna: *sigh* I shall grant you what you seek. But I will warn you that you may not enjoy what you see. And despite that, you may not return till your duty… and theirs, is complete.
Ming Na: I understand my goddess, thank you for your mercy.
[scenes flash over what had happened while she was gone, and it ends at Zyr dead, Thorgrim gasping]
Ming Na: No…
[SCENE Thorgrim, Athena and Waljan on the beach]
Thorgrim: This mission is over. We best get back. I will carry Zyr on my shoulders, and we will give him the burial of a hero.
Athena: What of the duty we have towards the gods and goddesses?
Thorgrim: They will just have to understand! Carrying on this way is nothing but suicide, we would be insane to continue!
Athena: Wasn’t it suicide to begin with? I came on this mission, assuming I would not return.
Waljan: What are you saying Athena? That we continue on to fight the evil in the Underworld with our puny sticks and stones and wait to be cut down?
Athena: I’m disappointed in you my brother. Did your father not teach you of valor and sacrifice? Because he sure taught me.
[Waljan is thoughtful]
Athena: Today we have witnessed the death of a commarade. We are tired, and want to return home. But are we so quick to give in to our hearts’ desires? Or is there a greater purpose for our lives? Shall we live as cowards or die as heroes, even if it will be sticks and stones that we throw at the great evil awaiting us? Should we not avenge the death of our friends?
Waljan: You are all that remains of my family, Athena.
Athena: Then be at my side, dear brother.
Waljan: … Alright.
Athena: So what say you?
TXT: Over valley and mountain did the ranger travel, following the words of the goddess. All the while burdened with regret, for the monk had spoken true. He had allowed emotion rule, and forgotten his place as a fighter. Perhaps… if he accomplished this one quest, he might be able to make up for his mistakes.
[SCENE Kelden in post-sear Ascalon]
Kelden: Dwayna… if you can hear me…
[scan the devastation of post-sear]
Kelden: Why allow this? I know you and the gods have the power to bring peace to Tyria – and yet the war never ends. We have lost too many good men. How much more must we suffer?
[SCENE Ming Na in the in-between. Anduril approaches from behind.]
Anduril: Ming Na.
[Ming Na spins around]
Ming Na: What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.
Anduril: I have searched for you! We thought we had lost you completely. How relieved I am to see you again!
Ming Na: How is this possible?
Anduril: An old trick. I have come to bring you back to the land of the living.
Ming Na: But I am alive Anduril. Dwayna has allowed me solace here among my dearest memories to ponder my life, and my duty as a monk.
Anduril: So this is where you lived before you came to be with us.
Ming Na: I left my home at a tender age, followed the Ascalonians to Kryta, and finally joined the Covenant. I am surprised that such vivid memories still lingered that Dwayna could carve out my home to such detail.
Anduril: You mean to say all this is conjured by the goddess?
Ming Na: Yes, fragments of my mind. It’s comforting to walk through the great monastary once more, to touch the people who had once inspired me to be who I am. But I’m afraid in the lie of what it all is.
Anduril: Come back with me, we need you.
Ming Na: Troubling events have occurred back in your world. Zyr is dead, and the team is disillusioned about their mission… You must tell them of what you have seen and heard here.
Anduril: How do you know this?
Ming Na: I have spoken to Dwayna, it had been revealed to me. It’s time for you to return.
Anduril: I have labored to come here to meet you again. I shall not leave till you are with me.
Ming Na: Anduril… I…
Dwayna: WHO IS THIS INTRUDER? YOU should not be here!
Ming Na: Please mother of purity, he entered here only because he was worried I was dying.
Dwayna: You do not enter the realms I create on your own whim!
Ming Na: Mother goddess!
Dwayna: I want him to be a warning unto others who believe they can outwit the gods! I will show them what power is!
Ming Na: STOP THIS! [starts attacking Dwayna]
[Dwayna loses her hold on Anduril]
Dwayna: Why have you done this?
Ming Na: You have betrayed me! You said you would protect us all, and to trust in your wisdom. But what has it brought us? You keep me here like a bird in a cage, away from the team you called me to. And for what purpose? To search for the answers I may never understand? All this while time carries on in the world outside which I can watch but I cannot return to.
Dwayna: I should have never granted you sight into the world.
Ming Na: I have seen the death of Zyr – Why mother of peace, why have you allowed this? Why save him by your power before when you would let him slip away now with no aid whatsoever? And I was not even there to attend to him as he passed.
Dwayna: Do not think that I have ever betrayed you, my daughter. Zyr had asked for such death, I could not prevent it. He knew what it entailed – that monk is an enigma even to me.
[Ming Na remains silent]
Dwayna: I shall return you to your time, ranger.
Anduril: May I take Ming Na with me?
Dwayna: In time. Tell the others what you have seen and heard here. Be swift to depart for time is of the essence.
[SCENE transition Anduril to where Ming Na lies, he stands up and runs to the others. ]
Anduril: Men. I have returned…
[SCENE Anduril, Athena, Waljan and Thorgrim on the beach]
Anduril: We must go, quickly!
Thorgrim: How can we? Two of our members are down.
Anduril: I have met Dwayna. She pleads that we commence our journey across the seas with haste. We have little time to complete this mission.
Thorgrim: Then you shall have to leave without me.
Thorgrim: It would be cruel for me to abandon my friend… be he alive… or dead.
[Keryn appears, laughing]
Keryn: Stay if you wish. This mission was doomed from the beginning.
Athena: We will take him with us. You must come.
Thorgrim: I need time!
Athena: And we need you! Drop the sentimentality. We have no time for it. Let us mourn our losses on our journey to the desert – but for now we leave. Including you, warrior!
[Thorgrim is silent]
Athena: [to Waljan and Anduril] Load Zyr and Ming Na onto the ship. We depart as soon as we are able.
[Athena runs off. Keryn sees her leaving and leaves too]
Anduril: [to Waljan] How do you manage her?
Waljan: [in jest] The truth is that I do not manage her, she manages me.
Anduril: [laughs] Aye, I do see, I do see.
Waljan: You say you’ve spoken to Dwayna. When was this?
Anduril: When I connected with Ming Na.
Waljan: [shocked] You were able to accomplish that?
Waljan: How is our dear friend? Will she be able to return?
Anduril: I believe so. At least Dwayna seemed to indicate that.
Waljan: And what of Zyr?
Anduril: That… my friend… is a matter that even the gods might not have control over.
TXT: Passing through to the realms of the dead was an experience that the monk had secretly coveted, if only for the sheer experience. However no amount of imagining could have prepared him for his own death.
[Zyr in a desolate wasteland, he ponders at the scenery, then takes a step forward, but is instead whisked into a garden-like environment. There he faces Dwayna]
Zyr: What…what do you want of me?
Dwayna: Zyr Tareniel. You are perhaps the only mortal that has not bowed down at my presence, either out of fear or love. You are as always a mystery…
Zyr: I would not be so now except I swore in life to never serve the gods… Now that it comes to it… I was not ready to leave.
Dwayna: Yes, you certainly caused Grenth some consternation… my lost son. You cannot turn back what must be, all who pass on must follow the same course. I have delayed that course momentarily. Soon you must depart to the realm of the dead.
Zyr: But why bring me here?
Dwayna: I have brought you here for one purpose. Look to the hills.
[Zyr looks, and spots Ming Na standing alone, deep in her thoughts]
Zyr: Goddess, why send me to her?
Dwayna: My son, when have I ever revealed wisdom that should be learned alone. You must ask that of her…remember your time is short.
[Zyr runs to her side, and Ming Na notices him]
Ming Na: Is this why I have lingered?
Zyr: A final gift from Dwayna, though I admit I am unsure as to her meaning. She has granted me a brief respite from my final rest.
Ming Na: There is something I have been meaning to ask you… I was so terrified of you, when you appeared in the halls back then. How you seemed to know everything that I kept hidden. How is it you knew me so well?
Zyr: Do you recall what I said just before I shared my past with you?
[Ming Na nods]
Zyr: I told you that that I would reveal myself as I had perceived you to be of good character. Yet, I spoke in half truths to you, for the reality lies deeper. I sensed a connection that is all but forbidden in our art. I guarded that truth, buried beneath sentiments of duty and piety. I even managed to convince myself, until that woman attacked you with her poisonous words. How her spiteful words drove through my barriers and penetrated to the tender feelings I hid from you… I knew I cared more for you than any other in my years.
[The world begins to spin around them, something is changing]
Ming Na: Why…why must it come to this now, when I have so much I wish to tell you.
Zyr: Hear me, young monk. I would have given up all the years I spent in searching for meaning to have you. I shall never cease caring for you, no matter what abyss I am swept into. This moment together is all I can give you now, here at the end. At least live on to remember that.
[The world spins more, and Zyr is gone. Ming Na is devastated]
Ming Na: Goodbye…