The Adventures of Aster and the Zealots of the Idyll

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
in a distant future, a planet, agreuis, has travelled light years, to intrude on earths orbit to create devastating natural and spacial disasters. on this planet, is a section guided not by leaders, but by lawlessness, created as the south lands. in a peaceful town doused under unity, a boy lives harmoniously with his people, promoting the pockets of civilisation and utopia there is left. but, far into the north lives another: winteriron; the fierce and tyrannical leader striking fear into the soul of every living being, someone, who will stop at nothing until earth is destroyed and the south lands is completely under his control.

Submitted: March 09, 2017

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Submitted: March 09, 2017

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THE ADVENTURES OF ASTER AND THE ZEALOTS OF THE IDYLL:

 COURT OF AGREUIS

 

a planet, aside celestial home, covered in an endless blanket of red soil is encompassed in a bright blue sky with a rare number of little blots that are white clouds. Upon the land lives a small and battered town incomparable to the sheer size of the planet, agreuis. Within the town, people flourish in harmony, servicing goods as trade to other settlements.  

 

INT. SMALL TOWN. HOMAR’S STORE.

Homar, a respected man amongst the people of the town, is attending to his furniture store in the middle of town on a busy district with his co-manager Alpa, as his son, aster, is occupied in the back room of the store sanding down table tops.

Homar: it’s exactly six kilometres that way. Over the sandy ridge, you know, towards the blackness?

Alpa: oh, so there was the ambush?

Homar: yes. There they contaminated the wood, stole our nourishment-

Alpa: all for what-

Homar: dominance…- they even stole our containment of metals- Over small towns like our own. In case they ever need a safe house or the replenishment of their desperately needed necessities.

Alpa: do you think they would come this far, to us, for that? And what about the other towns and cities scattered across the south lands?

A lady customer enters and gestures to a certain chair.

Alpa: yes… yes, its half off. Great for the interior, not too small, it will make the room.

Homar throws his head, unsure.

Homar: this supposed group has probably waged something to constrict others like us, too. This could be going on, continuously, in the south lands.

Homar sighs.

Homar: There isn’t harmony everywhere you look.

Alpa: who knows how many mad men there are like that out there-

Homar: far too many… others, far worse.

Pause.

Homar: That is why I praise our graced lifestyle every day.

Alpa: here we go…

Homar: we have peace! I can walk down any street and feel completely secure that I see a gentleman, of equal nature, at my workshop.

Alpa: then why do you still make them all pay? Giggles

Homar: laugh away, alpa. You know the answer to this one, my friend.

Homar grins.

Alpa: yeah, yeah. we’re all equal in our own special way…

Homar: what’s more: is that none find themselves above any other.

Homar assists alpa in moving the chair onto the customer’s cart.

Homar: it could be worse… you could end up living anywhere out there and that’ll silence your smart mouth in less than a glance at some of those vermin.

Alpa: oh, come on, there may be more out there than you know, homar, it couldn’t be all that bad.

Homar: no, I know it’s not. but it doesn’t hurt to stay prepared.

Alpa: I hear you.

Aster bursts out to the front of the store to greet his father.

Aster: dad, dad! Its… noon, break soon?

Homar: hm, oh yes, yes. Very soon. How’s those table tops? Smooth enough yet?

Aster: just about. when they’re finished, I’ll have my break.

Homar nods to his son who has now disappeared back into the back room.

Homar: what about you, alpa, what do you think of all this?

Alpa: which part, the labour or the alleged harmony?

Homar: our life, our home…tsk, alleged.

Alpa: its great and all. I’m very thankful to be a part of this great town. But you couldn’t possibly hope to believe this will live forever?

Homar: its sustained us for many, many years. And will most likely continue to do so.

Alpa: homar, ha-ha. When I came here I was hoping to live out the remainder of my life in peace, which as you know my friend, is not that much longer. Never expecting this town to outlive me… so what makes you so sure?

Homar: Sure, there is much treachery lurking beyond our little town but there is somehow a natural balance on agreuis… therefore, there must be good, elsewhere, right, alpa? sharing the same values as we are right here.

Alpa: you cannot change anything beyond our town… your question had to do with our lifestyle…

Pause.

Homar: sometimes we are asked to look at the bigger picture in order to understand. But instead to that question I believe we should look to the smaller…

The two look around to the children frolicking in the streets and aster busy in the back of the shop.

Homar: what we hand down to the inevitable generational minds there are to come. To the future. That will not only sustain our grace lifestyle, but also shape the south lands properly, in time.

Pause.

Alpa: against winteriron?

 

Suddenly, jace, aster’s best friend, runs up to the counter and smashes his hands down to audaciously signal his arrival.

Homar: jace... wasn’t expecting you today?

Jace: really? Aster was. Where is he? He told me to come at this time.

Homar: still in the back, he’s just finishing his errands.

Jace: that boy huh, when’s he ever gonna be on time, hey homar?

Homar: I suggest you don’t mind my boy, your father tells me plenty about you at your house.

Alpa giggles.

Homar: how is your father by the way?

Jace: busy. Always busy. I fear the worst.

Homar: for him? Why?

Pause.

Jace: no myself… because one day I’M never gonna stop working like he does!

Aster enters through the back.

Jace: well it’s about time.

Aster: sorry, held up. Work. dad, see you in a few?

Homar nods them off.

 

EXT. SMALL TOWN. STREETS.

The two boys fool about on the crowded streets as best friends would, but jace detaches himself from the joking and behaves far more seriously when in front of the people of their town.

Aster: we’ll go around the block another time then ill head back, okay? what have you been doing today?

Jace: well mostly sleeping. My father’s got me up at night reading up on the elders and quite a bit about the second civil war.

Aster: really?! It’s all interesting, right?

Jace: well… lots of people and their biographies… and how each person complained so much about the other.

Aster: come on, as If it’s not the most fascinating thing know where this all started from?

Jace: fascinating. Frightening. There is still much to understand-

Aster: are you up to the challenge-

Jace: if only I was allowed to share some of these secret with you, aster. then you could probably answer that for me-

Aster: jace?

Jace: sorry, just not sure whether I should continue this or run from it.

Aster: yeah, no, I’m good. Here is heaven, here is home. Giggles

Jace: a furniture store? Really?

Aster: simple living my friend. Just make sure you find more time for that.

Jace: oh, I’ve found it, just don’t think I’m allowed to have it.

Suddenly, a tall, serpent-like individual enters slowly behind jace. It is a town advisor.

Town advisor: jace and friend. Hello. Jace, your father wishes for your attendance immediately.

Jace: another lesson? right now?

Town advisor: it would seem.

Jace turns to aster, frowning.

Jace: but we just had one yesterday and I spent all night studying.

Town advisor: I don’t make the rules…

Jace: no, you just enforce them-

Aster: or ‘advise’ them.

They both giggle.

Town advisor: haven’t heard that one before…’gentlemen’, Jace, if you please.

Jace and the town advisor exit, but not before jace and aster say their goodbyes for the day.

Jace: im sorry about today, I’ll be at yours tonight.

Aster nods. He eventually walks in the opposite direction, back to work.

 

INT. MAGE’S CIVIL QUARTERS.

Jace, followed by the town advisor, walks into a semi-claustrophobic room dressed up as an important office containing a small throne with other distinctly smaller, but still large, council chairs surrounding it-in preparation for meetings. As jace studies the interior of the office, mage, his father and the head of the town, is soon spotted in the furthest right corner of the office, sporting a thick and obvious scar over his stubble and beside the right corner of his lip stretching from his mid-cheek to his under-chin reminding jace of his fathers intense past. Mage, aware of his sons presence, looks out and amongst his people as a strong ray of sunshine beams over him.

Jace: another lesson this week, father? That’s one everyday so far.

Mage: mmm, and your point is?

Jace: nothing, it’s just… so much, why?

Mage: im glad you ask.

Mage turns to his son.

Mage: if it hasn’t become obvious to you as it has to me. You’re growing up. And fast. And if I can’t forward what I have been taught and what I have learnt to you over my years now, then when will It happen?

Jace: but we have years, father. You look healthy enough to produce enough trade for this town for at least ten more years, alone.

Mage walks over to his son and out of the ray of sun.

Mage: you know I’m getting old, my boy. Now stop the complaining. I see what you’re doing. Each and every time you come in here you try and soften your responsibilities, but there is a time and a place for everything and unfortunately, now is not the time for fun. Now is the time for learning. Grasping new knowledge each and every day to make you stronger. In here.

Mage points to his son’s head.

Mage: you may leave. Addressing the town advisor, who bows quickly and exits.

Jace: old or not father, you’re still very capable… I’m not trying to run away from my duties this time…just being flattering-

Mage: it’ll only get you so far, jace. Chuckles. Did you read the scroll on the second elder last night as you promised you would?

Mage gestures jace to sit at the opposing council chair of the small throne in the office.

Jace: I did-

Mage: so… what has it taught you?

Jace: that I can get to sleep faster by reading your scrolls…

Mage: practical. Has it taught you anything else?

the master and the student are left in the opening lecture of the day as it is in each lesson. Bickering and small plays of banter are heard between the two and as the sound of their banter and lessons sway back at each other, jace watches his father passionately explore his teachings and the history of the south lands and much of the planet, inspiring jace to want to appreciate and become more, like his father. But also feeling the weight on his shoulders of his future destiny.

 

EXT. MAGE’S QUARTERS. TOWN STREETS.

The two exit the office to continue their lessons onto the streets and in front of the rest of the community to provide a sense of wholesomeness to jace.

Jace: so, the elder… sacrificed his power… to protect the people?

Mage: to allow the people to grow. As one and one with themselves. To give us what we have today.

Jace: peace?

Mage: well… equity. You can’t expect evil not to lurk where good is, or once was…

Jace: with Evil still around, how does the town…

Mage: continue to grow? you know this. What is the first rule of evil?

Jace remains quiet. Thinking.

The two begin pacing through the streets just outside mage’s quarters. They pass huts and homes of equal sizing, small and appropriate weapon barges as well as much of the preceded tradesmen and stores.

Mage: son, we spent some of last week and this week on the first elder-

Jace: I got it, I got it-

Mage: evil. Evil is inevitable. Evil is a part of life. But evil, should not be allowed to flourish.

Jace: how do you stop evil?

Mage: it depends on the type, son. See in here, evil is a word used too harshly. Some just don’t see eye to eye and some weigh the scale a little too heavily to their side.

Jace: huh?

Mage: selfishness, my boy. Greed. It’s all out of fear. Fear of losing everything one has, fear of being left to be eaten by whatever crawls and scurries along agreuis.

Jace: so the evil of this town… it grows inside the minds of the fearful.

Mage: yes.

Jace: then I must learn to not be fearful.

Mage: chuckles one cannot simply learn to let go of fear. Fear is a part of nature. Sometimes it can drive a certain individual-

Jace: how will I overcome that evil then?

Mage: you must first learn what makes you fearful. Understand it. Grow through it and push past it. For someone may need you one day. Or. You may need yourself.

The two continue walking, looking at every person they pass trying to solidify a greeting along the way.

Jace: how do we stop their fear?

Pause.

Mage: the elders have passed down many instructional scrolls. Informative work to guide us to prolonging their lifestyle. But none have ever overcome the fear of our people. One cannot change anyone but themselves, son.

Jace: well I will. I’ll stand strong enough one day to stop others’ fear.

Mage: oh? Any ideas where to begin?

Jace: no. but I will. I just need more time.

Mage half smiles.

Mage: you always do this. You begin the lesson so wearily and end up looking like the man I want you to become. There is much faith in you. And yes, you must begin with the people. We are all one and stronger in unity. Go now. Your lesson for the day is over. Interact with the people, grow bonds. Learn about their personal culture and how their hard work keeps this town alive. So that one day they will look at you and know to trust you, for someday you may need them and they may need you.

Mage edges jace to continue familiarising himself with the people of the town.

Jace: and tomorrow?

Mage: another lesson, of course. I will continue my ramblings about the second civil war. Exciting stuff.

Jace rolls his eyes jokingly before exiting.

Mage watches his son scurry into the crowds of people. After finding the direction his office is in, he begins walking over, but stops at a fruit stand to converse and chuckle with the old lady standing by it.

 

INT. HOMAR’S STORE.

The bright day sky has turned into a musky darker colour as homar’s store is now closing. Alpa is cleaning the store benches as well as finalising the appropriate placements of the tools for the next day of work. Homar is shutting the front gates and aster is restacking the now finished table tops and stands.

Alpa: alright gents, I’ll see you both tomorrow.

Homar: til daylight, alpa.  

Aster: bye, alpa.

Alpa waves them goodbye and exits.

Aster enters the front section of the store to spend time with his father.

Homar: so, the tops are finished?

Aster: yes, dad. Restacked and everything.

Homar: you know Duke will be here first thing in the morning to collect them for his new restaurant?

Aster: yes, dad. I told you, they’re done. Don’t stress.

Homar: okay. good. And how was your day? Sorry I didn’t spend much time with you, today was extremely busy-

Aster: I saw, ha-ha, its fine, dad really. And it was great, I haven’t much to complain about…

Homar: and your friend, jace, how is he?

Aster: he seems a little stressed. Just wish he had time to be young again, you know?

Homar: ah, but that’s his journey, aster. He’ll soon realise what it’s all for-

Aster: he already has, I just-

Homar: don’t want to see him grow up without you?

Aster: I just don’t want him to forget me. He nods.

Homar: oh son, how will he? When times get too stressful for him, you know he’ll have you there to help him unwind. Besides, his duties are extremely important. When mage is no longer around, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen for a long time, all of the knowledge and experience that moulded mage and the elders before him will have to be encased elsewhere. Not just anyone can be trusted for the job.

Aster: what about yourself dad, you know mage like the back of your hand?

Homar: I’ve been one with the people for too long now, my son. I’m just a simple person trying to make their way in a safe and secure place. I have no time to look over the responsibilities of such a town, and worse, I have no want to attend any possible problems and troubles surrounding it.

aster: what problems will he have to face?

Homar: aster, cherish the life you live now, in the walls we have come to respect. Don’t ask too many questions that do not concern you. Although it is harsh to say, I’m glad the life of an elder never concerned itself with you. You need to be safe.

Aster: but. But, jace-

Homar: mage will know what to do with his son. I can only look out for my own, you must hear my words.

Aster: but, dad, I cant help but…

Pause.

Homar: that makes two of us, my son.

Homar looks into asters eyes intensely, balancing the contrasting thoughts about the tales that extend beyond the walls of their peaceful civilisation.

Homar: I understand that jace is your friend, but why do you worry yourself so much?

Aster shrugs his shoulders.

Aster: dad- its jace…

Homar sighs.

Homar: beyond our walls, the south lands, there is much...chaos. The south lands are not to be trifled with. Show agreuis your upmost respect or it will rain down on you with its hellish nature.

Aster: you mean, out there?-

Homar: I want you to be safe, and I don’t expect you to absorb that information lightly… I’m…I’m just Afraid. Ive always wished for you to know nothing about the outside, there is much out there I beg that is not to be a part of your destiny… but who you associate with Is usually the creation of the path ahead of you…

Homar touches asters cheek.

Pause.

Before aster can muster the many questions he absolutely has to ask…

Homar: go now. Run home. Eat and relax. We have a busy day tomorrow, duke isn’t going to want to move those tops and stands himself, you know.

Aster: will you be okay, dad?

Homar: yes, of course.

Aster moves closer to his father.

Aster: will jace be okay?

Homar: of course, of course. Im just a little paranoid. Years on agreuis does that to a man. Chuckles.

Aster: are you sure?

Homar: yes. And unfortunately, he will be because he has you. Half smile.

Aster soon leaves the store with his equipment and races home. Homar slumps into a chair lightly massaging his forehead in the darkness of his closed furniture store.

 

 

EXT. HOMAR’S HOUSE. WINDOW SILL.

Aster sits quietly on the window sill of his room overlooking the starry night on agrueis awaiting jace’s arrival. He hears the sound of his father walk through the doors downstairs and faintly calls to him to know if his son is home and well. As aster looks out to the south lands, he fidgets breaking eye contact with the inauspicious and inviting darkness.

Suddenly, jace surprises aster by climbing the side of the exterior of the house.

Jace: did I get you or did I get you!

Aster: you’re never gonna stop doing that, are you?

Jace: only when it gets old and boy is it young. Seriously. You look white, pale white.

Aster: it’s not because you scared me. He looks down, saddened.

Jace: what? What’s wrong?

Aster: it’s because I have to see your ugly face every time you do it.

They both chuckle and play fight.

Jace: it sucks to be you but honestly, dido.

Aster: what I would do to have a beautiful girl’s face to look at instead.

The friends exchange salty looks before chuckling again.

Jace: she’d probably overlook… all that. But she wouldn’t get passed your whiny voice.

Aster: getting all your jokes out now before ‘serious time with daddy’?

Jace: don’t kid… and yes. Giggles

Aster: did you bring the agreean bread?

Jace pulls out two loaves of bread and the two dig into the delicacy.

Aster: each bite is just as good as the last one.

After moments of eating, exchanging gracious looks and enjoying the scenery, the friends fall silent momentarily.

Aster: what do you think you future is going to be like?

Jace: what?

Aster: well… what do you wanna do? What do you see yourself doing?

Jace: you know my father wants me to be-

Aster: yes but, what do you see YOU doing?

Jace: Honestly. I want to travel out there. Into the south lands. Witness a style of living we’ve been cradled from-

Aster: style of living? The monstrosity of chaos, you mean?

Jace: come on, as If you’re not interested in the slightest as to what’s out there?

Aster: interested is hardly the word I would use. Death is the only word that comes to mind when looking out there…

Jace: well what do you want?

Aster: to stay here. Hope this town never dies. It’s perfect here, why change that, you know?

Jace: I guess it’s just how we’ve been brought up-

Aster: what could possibly be out there that would invite you, jace?

Jace: a chance to explore. A chance to teach. To live up to the stories of the elders. To be a hero.

Aster: sounds exhausting.

The two laugh.

Suddenly, in the distance, a small bright light pops up in the darkness distinctly different to the surrounding star lights.

Jace: what about that. Do you see it? Tell me the possibilities…

Aster: I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

Jace: hmmm, could be the neighbouring town… or someone who needs help?

Aster: or something that will make us cry out for help?... whatever it is, its late. No point wondering over a little light in a big desert.

Jace: geez, where’s your imagination gone?

Aster: its gonna go to sleep, now. See you tomorrow.

Jace: what got into you.

jace exits off the exterior of the house. Aster smirks then looks out into the darkness, witnessing the burning light once more, his smirk drops. He climbs back through his window sill and into his bed.

 

EXT. THE SMALL TOWN.

The next day, the sun burns brightly in the sky like it does on earth. Most of the town is up and setting their loads of trade for the morning rush. Mage trails through the small flurry of shopkeepers wishing them good mornings and pleasantries on his way to his office.

 

INT. MAGE’S CIVIL QUARTERS.

Mage steps through his office doors, and to his deathly surprise, finds three ill-dressed men holding guns to his head. Ahead of them, stands Relm, the leader of the group, tampering with the small throne.

Mage: what is this?

Relm: mage, it’s been a while.

Mage: a long time, in fact, relm. What are you doing here? Why are your men pointing their weapons at me?

Relm: my people… they’re suffering. We need supplies.

Pause. Mage relaxes.

Mage: why didn’t you say so? What do you need?

Relm: I’m afraid you’re not seeing the seriousness of this situation, mage. I’m here for the town. I’m here to take what’s yours.

Relm’s men aggravatingly step closer to mage.

Mage: relm, please. We can figure this out another way?

Relm: there is no other way, mage. You know so yourself. Agreuis is a dog eat dog planet. No different to what broken earth used to be-

Mage: agreuis? The south lands were forged by balance and understanding, relm? Don’t you remember? What we had to do just to withhold the south lands over winteriron?

Relm: stop lying to yourself! The depths of the south lands only grow darker as you step deeper into it. there was always too much complication to ever create unity, no matter how hard we tried for it. My people are frightened, and quite frankly, as am I, mage. Agreuis is no longer giving to the nurtured. Its taking away now. I must be prepared.

Relm drop back behind his men, somewhat defeated.

Mage: after all we’ve been through. The battles we’ve waged. You of all people should understand, as I do, that fear should not be given into especially in the south lands! That order still exists even If it is not visible! …Killing Is wrong.

Mage looks to all the men holding weapons.

Mage: and now you are going to turn your fear and anger onto someone so close to you?

Relm: it must be done… times are tough, mage. I’m sorry. My destiny lies in saving them, not you.

Relm points to his men.

Mage: not me-

Relm shakes his head.

Mage: does the importance of our past endeavours not sway you, still? So much we’ve accomplished-

Relm: no one can stop, winteriron! No one. We never have, we never will, mage. understand that. If it could not be done before, how can it now? and if it had been done before I would not be here wasting my breath! We pretend to live in courage and pride when our very conceit oozes from each and every person in each and every town! This is the south lands, mage. there is no order here. There is only survival. We are the exiled.

Mage: do you not remember why we clashed in war?

Relm: do you not see what has come before the war? What ‘was’ during the war? And what still is… the south lands has left the second elders teachings for its own prospering goal. Only bringing torment to every living soul on agreuis. Face it, mage. our cause was but a dream of the past, a reach we could never hope to exceed.

Pause.

Mage: so, this is it then? This is what fear has made you?

Pause.

Mage: if you want my town. You will have to take my soul from it first.

Mage stands in front of the office doors openly.

all of the men stand, gripping their weapons more firmly before slowly turning to a shocked and confused relm.

Relm: although what we fought for is now unrecognisable. Our friendship, to me, is not. And I can see it in your face, mage, that you know I couldn’t hope to kill you if I tried.

Mage takes a deep breath in and out.

Relm: I will not let your death be written in the hands of a few men you wouldn’t even know. And I will not let it be by the hands of my own, someone who stood beside you in the worst of war, learning from your gallant ways to hand down to generations themselves.

Mage encroaches relm.

Mage: do not throw your personal feelings into this matter, relm. do what you will, it seems I haven’t taught you enough.

Relm: I am protecting my people-

Mage: and showing them that terrorising someone else will do just that. Mage spits on the ground.

Relm: instead. Instead I will give you until dawn. You may tell your people about what has transpired here today in any effort to save them. This is the kindness of my heart, mage. Surrender this town… or you will all die before the sun reaches its peak in the sky. This is my bargain with you, this is how I say thanks for everything you’ve taught me.

Pause.

Relm waits for mage to retaliate but he does not. Instead, relm gestures for his men to follow him, they leave. Mage watches every step they take out of the town. The townspeople look to mage confused.

 

INT. HOMAR’S STORE.

Homar frantically packs away the tools he had recently been using and in a hurry, calls aster over to him who was saying his farewell and thanks to duke.

Homar: son, I’ve been called to speak with mage. it’s very urgent. Stay and watch the store with alpa.

Aster nods.

 

INT. MAGE’S CIVIL QUARTERS.

Homar rushes into mage’s office greeted by mage and Saagi, Homars respected joined representative, who are both seated in their respectful seats.

mage: ahh, homar, finally. Please sit.

Homar: what’s the matter, mage?

Mage: now that you are both here, there is no point withstanding information from saagi much longer. Thank you for being patient, my friend.

Saagi nods.

mage: I have called you both in, my former council of this town, as I am in a dire need. This morning relm visited these very quarters and placed a large-scale threat upon us. He is ready to assault and steal from the town.

Homar: relm?!

Mage: yes, as unfortunate as it is, He will be back soon bringing his numbers with him.

Saagi: when-

Mage: dawn. And gentlemen, they seem very desperate. This matter is not to be taken lightly.

Homar: well of course not! This is madness! Have you not reasoned with him? How could relm possibly attack this town?! He has so many allies here?

Mage: relm has forsaken his past and everyone in it. He is only granting us a means for escape now-

Homar: and do what?

Saagi: what will we do with all of our belongings?

Mage: he wishes for us to leave them here. And I don’t know. No one in the south lands would have us-

Homar: we wouldn’t survive a day out there! The south lands are beyond comprehension. No one in this town was bred for war!

Mage: then what do you suggest, homar? You don’t leave us very many options.

The room falls silent.

Homar: he will be relentless. Relm isn’t the most stable being.

Saagi: what are his numbers?

Homar: no. you couldn’t possibly be sizing their men against ours? That’s preposterous. Mage?

Mage: with hopes? An equal number to ours, at the least. Relm is an excellent commander and leader, his assemblage would be vast. Especially considering the position, they are in.

Saagi: have you considered any contingency plans?

Mage: it couldn’t be possible. Even in this predicament. Above all, we are trying to show others a peaceful way of living…

Homar: then what is our only option?

Mage: to proclaim our edict: every single person must fight. We all live harmoniously to preserve such a state, then we must all do our duties and fight and stand for it. Unity, gentlemen… equity.

Homar: what you ask of Is sacrificing the entirety of the town for this group of bandits-

Mage: I ask that all lay their hands down for one another. No one life is greater than the other.

Homar and mage look to each other. Pause.

Homar: still… what you ask is madness.

Mage sighs.

Mage: war causes us to think irrationally. It throws us out of balance, shaking our morals, and as you know; sometimes destroying them. We will go to the people. I will address this matter to them. If there remains much dispute in here, then they must be warned. Only they will show us the right path.

Homar nods unassured.

 

EXT. TOWN CENTRE. THE OBELISK.  

People of the town gather holistically around the giant obelisk that signals the centre of the entirety of the town. Mage stands ahead of the townspeople, shadowed by homar and saagi.

Mage: everyone! Please, if you will!

The town comes to a slowing hush before mage has the attention of every person.

Mage: I come before you to speak on an urgent matter. The town we so graciously live in has come under attack by an external threat. What was the council… and I, have come to no real agreement and ask upon you to guide our unified efforts?

The town remains silent.

Townsperson #1: when will this happen, mage?

Townsperson #2: who attacks us? What do they want?

Mage: They are attacking at dawn, this doesn’t leave us much time. It is relm of the former iron collective.

Jace and aster appear close to the obelisk. Homar looks down to aster.

mage: they want everything. They are going to try and force us out-

townsperson #3: try, mage, try! We will fight back!

An uproar is heard in the crowd. Mage turns back to homar. Homar nods.

Mage: it will come at a cost, my friends.

The townspeople fall to a dead silence.

Mage: in a town of equity and just beings, we must come to the understanding that all will fight. Together. Every man, woman and child must protect what we have come to respect.

The crowd falls silent. Homar, unimpressed.

Mage: either this. Or lose it all. sighs

Some of the crowd steps away from mage.

Mage: well? Who’s with me?

Saagi steps forward and places his hand on mage’s shoulder. Jace runs up onto the platform of the obelisk and smiles at his father.

Mage: I know what I ask of is questionable… unredeemable even. But although the shroud of war consumes our very town we must not forsake our souls! For what we believe in! if our way of living is so just when we stand together, unified. Then even through hardship and war will we triumph… as one.

The crowd roars in excitement.

Mage turns back to the former council.

Mage: its settled then, gentlemen. Prepare our weapons.

Homars head drops to the sound of cheering crowds and turns to his son once more.

 

EXT. ENTIRE SMALL TOWN. DAWN.

The entire town is in lockdown and bands of individual’s ready contingent weapons and align themselves at every entrance of the town. Scouts peek over the towns walls at the perches of the tallest buildings keeping a watchful eye for relm and his army.

Above the main gate, mage, homar, saagi, aster, jace and a group of fighters stand on a large overseeing platform.

Homar: couldn’t we possibly fight them outside our walls? There are too many entrances in this town-

Mage: exactly. If we were to fight them out there they will exploit our attention and our town would be under siege before we knew it.

Jace: the town will be our safeguard. The walls will be our defence. Father, what would you have me do?

Mage: circle the town now. The attack is imminent. Rally your troops, son. Prepare them.

jace nods and attends to his duties.

mage: son…

mage stops jace before he leaves.

mage: we have all been assigned to fight for this town but that does not make anyone a bad person. Remember what I said about fear?

jace: does that mean relm isn’t evil too? Just afraid?

Mage: that is up to you to decide.

Jace quickly exits. Aster watches him leave.

Mage looks around the town to see his people gearing up for the inevitable collision. They are all ready.

He then turns his attention to his greatest allies.

Mage: are we all ready?

Town soldier #1: a little tired, truthfully sir.

Mage: are all of the entrances covered?

The town soldier turns to one of the perched scouts and throws hand signals, the scout replies.

Town soldier #1: the scout says were secure, sir. Our town is ready for relm.

 

The sun begins to shine and dominate agreuis. Small signs of light begin to appear.

Town soldier #1: sir… the scouts are reporting a large number of lights in the distance to the north.

Homar overhears the soldier report the news to mage, then turns to his son, aster, standing still and shivering behind the tall group of soldiers.

Homar: son… are you alright?

Aster: y-yes, dad. Always will be.

Homar: it is okay to be afraid, my boy. Were only human.

Aster: are you afraid?

Homar: tremendously, my boy. Half smile.

Aster: what about jace?

Homar: jace will be okay, he can handle himself. Son, do not look upon our town with regret. Our values will still uphold when we are all gone. There is much hope still to be had on agreuis.

Aster: dad. Yes, of course. But wh-

Homar: because, my son. I will not have you die here.

Aster: what-

Homar: go, my son. This is not your fight-

Aster: but the people. I am one with them, I cant abandon them. Or you. Or jace.

Homar: if you leave you are still one with us. It will be you who will carry our traditions down to others in the south lands and eventually, agreuis. Go.

Aster: but dad… the south lands… I cant-

Homar: you will die here, my son. Out there… you may have a chance. Save me. Save my soul…

the two exchange looks of sorrow but understanding. They hug.

Homar: respect the south lands, my son.

Aster turns away and runs towards the south.

Homar wipes a tear off his cheek and turns back to mage who is standing and watching the endearing lights creep ever closer.

Mage: homar…

Homar: mage…

Mage: so this is it. All our efforts, all these years…

Homar: to die for what we truly believe in, hm?

Mage: hm, I guess so.

Town scout: two minutes!

Mage: everyone! Today we show the south lands the true strength of benevolence!

The town cheers and screams.

Saagi: it was an honour, mage.

Mage: always will be, my friend.

Jace climbs up the main gate platform and gestures to all of the men. The brightness of relm’s army’s lights shine upon their faces. But jace looks around to find aster missing.

Jace: where’s aster?

Mage looks around until his eyes meet with homars.

Mage: where is your son?

Homar: gone.

Jace: what? Where?

Homar: I told him to go. This was never safe.

Mage: homar you coward-

Homar: this town lives in equity! I only stretched my rights as one of the people! I never agreed to this fight. I will do anything to save my son.

Mage looks over to jace but shakes his head.

Mage: you and your son should know better. We are all one. Homar…

Jace stands tall and takes a deep breath. Under the scrutiny of his loss, jace disappears into the crowd of newly-formed soldiers.

 

Suddenly, the main gates are broken through as the scouts call out to the townspeople to retaliate.

Homar: I’m sorry.

Homar begins shooting from the platform down onto many of relm’s men. But his forces prove to be too strong for the town forcing them back to the obelisk. Mage, homar, jace and saagi are separated during the siege.

Mage: back to the centre!

Relm’s men are seen destroying the walls and homes of the town whilst simultaneously stealing any trade and valuable item.

Relm steps through the burned and broken main gates, holding his head high.

 

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. OUTSIDE MAGE’S TOWN.

Aster travels further and further from the town only listening to the echoing sounds of cries of pain, the clashing of hand held weapons and bullets constantly whistling through the air. His saddened face mixes well with the lit destruction in the background.

Suddenly, a large ship followed by a smaller craft with a certain insignia on both of them flies over a sand mound and passes aster throwing him off balance. He turns back to watch the ships head straight for his old town. In a spout of courage, aster charges back realising his mistake in leaving, hoping to find someone, anyone, and save them.

 

EXT. SMALL TOWN.

Close enough to smell the debris, aster slows his pace down to a creep sizing up the magnitude of the previous circumstances. Nothing but disastrous diegetic sounds can be heard and the ships are nowhere to be seen. Aster, nervous and afraid but itching to help, slips through the cracks of his towns broken and battered walls. Trudging through the destruction, aster can barely make much of the scenery as it has all cohered into solid, burned and broken objects. He climbs up to the top of a perch of the town, almost slipping on his way up and looks over the town. In a single glance, aster finds the dead bodies of many of his friends and allies as well as many of relm’s people, both of which integrated and can barely be distinguished from one another. he notices the small number of bodies and soon realises there is no one left, striking him as odd. Shifting around the high perch, aster encompasses more of his surroundings still edging for that needing citizen. Instead, he spots the mangled body of relm looking straight up at him with a twisted and pain-filled expression. Aster looks away, horrified. After finding relm, aster is urged to find his father, but neither he nor mage can be found. suddenly, whispers are heard near the obelisk and aster finds the smaller craft that raced into town previously.

After climbing down from the perch and hiding inside an old shop; from afar, aster can see the landed craft hosting four figures in front of it. Aster can’t make out who three of the standing figures are as they are hooded and extremely mysterious, but, he recognises jace, kneeling. Afraid of the consequences, aster remains hidden but continues watching as the leading figure places their hand on jaces right shoulder before he stands. Jace bows to the figures and the group slowly slither into the craft. It takes off. Aster is left stunned.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. DAY

Aster resumes his weary and undisclosed travel elsewhere. The bright light of the sun fades  the flames from the towns and, the smoke rising, disappears in the blue sky. The town looks almost peaceful again. After hours and hours of sheepish steps repeating until his feet are sore, aster feels the weight of the destruction of his town. He drops, to his knees, fiddling with the sand between his fingers and in his bodily crevasses. Images of his loved ones flood into his consciousness mixed with the million questions about his towns people and the hooded figures. In extreme mental and physical exhaustion, aster lays his equipment bag onto the sand and lays his head upon it. He falls asleep.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. NIGHTFALL

Aster awakes in a startle and cold sweats as the heat from the sun has disappeared and the cold, thick air of the night has begun. With only bitter stars and a half decent moon light to forward aster in any direction, he lifts himself off of the ground, takes a deep, calming breath and continues an unknown journey. Along the way, he hears growls, scuttles and wings flapping ferociously around him, he trembles to the thought of the unknown. With barely any visibility, aster tries to keep an eye for any predators that could possibly be lurking in the south lands. But eventually, a large distant light in the night sky encapsulates his attention to the point where the predators, watching his every move, no longer phase him. Instead, he heads for the light which is covered in the thick chilly fog of the south lands hoping it to be a beacon of hope of some kind. Wiping the mists moisture off of his face and after travelling for hundreds of metres, aster finally breaks through the fog to see: a dissipated moon piecing itself back together, slowly, crater by crater, still shining an auspicious and muddled glow. And behind it: earth, broken earth, covered in gigantic cracks along the crust. Its sheer size stunning the boy. What light once seemed as hope comes crashing down on aster with a million more questions to add to his weakening sub-conscious. Suddenly, the growls creep closer and closer to aster. His attention turns back to his surroundings and in the corner of his eye, and by the thanks of the moons glow, he catches a glimpse at one of the predators hunting him but can only make out the silhouette. Standing dead still, his eyes dart from corner to corner, the growls turn to racing footsteps, and as one of the creatures thrash their heavy wings once more, blowing a small red cloud into his still face, the growls louden aggressively, until, the wings stop and its sounds bellow further and further away.

Hes shocked.

The night falls silent.

The silhouette steps forward, into the moons light, he sees the disfigured, hairless werewolf-like creature standing oppose him. In a quick breath, he runs. The creature follows his every step latching onto his scent, it creeps closer, until suddenly the winged creature swoops down from the darkness and attacks the werewolf-like creature for dominance over their prey. Without turning back, aster doesn’t stop, huffing and puffing, until he can no longer stand. With the moons light barely shining anymore, he finds a crevasse in agreuis’ soil and buries himself deep into it. Praying he’s ran far enough from those beasts.

Aster: I just want to go home.

He cradles himself and covers himself with shrubs. As his heart rate drops back to normal and his breathing slows, the distant sound of so many of the same creatures is heard.

Aster: dad, where are you?

He falls asleep to the sound of another fear.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

Aster awakes restlessly. He squints looking around, the sun blinding him. When suddenly, he spots a pair of feet standing in front of him. He raises slowly as his eyes acquaint themselves with the brightness. A man dressed in an unimaginable number of baggy layers held together by a backpack stands staring at him, studying him.

 Aster: hel…

he stops and begins studying the man himself.

Wilde: you gonna say something, or?

Aster: w…what?

Wilde: I mean you’re kinda just looking at me now… its getting awkward…

Aster: weren’t you just-

Wilde: I think ‘hello’ would’ve been a good opening… or, ‘hi’-

Aster: YOU were kinda just staring at me-

Wilde: then you would introduce yourself so we could at least be civil in the matter, right-

Aster: me awkward? You were standing over me!... while I was asleep!

Wilde: you were sleeping in a ditch?

Wilde points to the crevasse in the soil.

Pause.

Aster: who are you? What do you want.

Wilde: suddenly not so awkward am I, wilde.

Aster: wilde?

Wilde: wilde.

Aster: aster.

Wilde: so you gonna tell me why you were in that hole, champ?

Aster: why should I do that?

Aster pushes past him and continues travelling.

Wilde: a few reasons: you’re alone… desperately alone, hm. You look young, how old? Eighteen? …You got a lot to learn, AND FINALLY, you think sleeping in a ditch in the middle of the south lands is plausible!

Wilde follows aster.

Aster: hm, didn’t see it that way

Wilde: how’d you get out here alone?

Aster: again. Why would I tell you?

Wilde: so aster has a backstory! Interesting.

Aster: what?

Wilde: where you headed-

Aster: who are you? Why are you following me?

Wilde: because you look like you need help.

Aster stops in his tracks and faces wilde.

Aster: okay. I’ll tell you my… ‘backstory’ if you tell me who you are and why you’re following me? Deal? because its obvious you’re not gonna leave me alone. He shrugs.

Pause.

Wilde: deal. I’m just a traveller, friend. Bounce from city to town to settlement and back, meet new and exciting people.

Aster: why-what kind of life is that, wilde?

Wilde: one greater than a sheltered one-

Aster: sometimes sheltered is safer-

Wilde: how can you learn if youre sheltered your entire life? in case anything ever happens, what would you do?

Pause.

aster: I don’t know, I guess-

wilde: wait. Hate to interrupt, seriously, but we can’t just stand here and talk, this scenery is getting too boring. Let’s walk, where you headed?

Aster: well…I-I don’t know…

Wilde: you don’t seem to know a lot… what are you searching for?

Pause.

Aster: sighs. Just a place to call home. A good place. Like my town.

Wilde: there aren’t very many good places around here. He thinks.

Aster: anyway, how I got out here-

Wilde: maybe you should meet my friend. He could probably point you in the right direction.

Aster: oh, well… which way is his direction?

Wilde: ahhh… if I just came from the west- the east.

Wilde directs aster and the two begin walking.

Aster: are you sure about this?

Wilde: the right question is: are you sure about this?

Pause.

Aster: anyway, how I got out here…

The two walk into the distance over the same red soil every step as aster tells his tale.

 

EXT. OUTSIDE BOSS EXODUS’ DISTRICT

In the distance, a small city appears on the horizon, it is the small city of boss exodus. The two continue their expedition.

Wilde: If it wasn’t obvious that you are very new to the south lands before then its clear by your story, aster.

Aster: I know plenty. My father upheld much of the values in the south lands-

Wilde: you know plenty about the values exercised by just one small town out here, aster. The south lands is far more complex than that.

Aster: its dangerous, ive heard.

Wilde: dangerous isn’t the word. See I used to think that myself. And why wouldn’t you? There are settlements everywhere… but none you can be sure about heading into.

Aster looks to boss exodus’ district in the distance.

Wilde: wide open land, providing us all with vastness… and a new hope.

Wilde looks to a faded broken earth in the bright daylight.

Wilde: coming such a long way just to fall worse than when we started. There are weapons scattered along the floor here, bodies, dismantled flags and homes. Creatures that roam the night.

Aster: what happened to the south lands?

Wilde: nothing. It was always like this. Nobody can account for peacetime in the south lands-

Aster: you just didn’t look hard enough for anyone-

Wilde: No matter how comfortable you may have been in yours and how large the protective layer was, they all have their flaws. Weaknesses. Moral traps.

Aster: then astound me, wilde. What is your desired, hybrid ‘way of life’?

Wilde: I have no answer. Ive travelled and seen much; but that hasn’t been revealed to me. And quite frankly, I don’t think the south lands will ever show me.

Aster: of course, not. Peace isn’t going to be created miraculously in the south lands like agreean bread. It will be bred from the people.

Wilde: then why hasn’t it happened yet? Why do we continue to set up settlements like that, and that?

Points to boss exodus’ district and back in the direction of asters former town.

aster falls silent.

Wilde: do you wanna know why, aster? Sighs. the south lands can be described as dangerous, but really, its lawless. Leaderless. The people here have no direction. They are guided by a beacon in the lit distance, but mistakenly, that beacon is their own ego; their own self-interest. Together: weve built towns here, districts and even cities. Together: we’ve colonised a planet and prolong human existence. But really, were more separated than ever.

Aster: then how could my town maintain such peace?

Wilde: how long did that peace last in the south lands, aster?

Pause.

Wilde: wait. Wait…

Aster: what-

Wilde: I can hear…-

Wilde gives each direction a quick glance and as aster Is left confused as to what wilde is doing, the sand plains of the south lands remains empty. He kneels down and removes his backpack pulling out a long rug.

Aster: what are you doing? Wilde. Wilde, what are you doing?

Wilde: hush. Come here.

Wilde pulls aster to the closest tall shrub keeping an eye on what is closing in on them.

Aster: but the town-

Wilde: soon. Look.

Aster spots seven mysterious figures approaching from over a sand mound and is frantically overpowered with panic.

Aster: we’ll never make it. What are we going to do? Who are they-

Wilde: relax, aster! Get down! We will get there, just be patient-

Aster: theyre getting closer every second! Do you have weapons? W…whats with the rug?

Wilde: just trust me.

The figures see the two in the distance and race towards them, but wilde has already covered them both and slowly the rug takes the form, colour, texture and look of the surface around them. It is a camouflage covering.

Under the covering, only the sound of aster and wildes breaths are heard. When they hear the sound of the walking figures, wilde peeks through the bottom of the covering and sees men and women dressed in tunics and leggings of the same colour as agreean soil as well as decorative accessories made from the flora and fauna of agreuis.

They menacingly stalk the grounds. They know there is something or someone there but there is no trace. Two pass aster and wilde dangerously close, narrowly missing them by the grace of luck. They all then leave.

Aster: they must be gone by now.

Wilde: are you ready?

Aster nods. Wilde whips the covering off of them and begins packing it back into his bag.

Aster: who are they? What is that?

Wilde: pretty neat, hey? it’s a camouflage covering. Sometimes having friends pays off, picked it up in the fourth settlement, some crazy market dealer named hex-

Aster: and them?

Aster and wilde resume walking to exodus district.

Wilde: indigos. They live on the land, they worship it deeply.

Aster: they worship agreuis?

Wilde: they’re thankful for its resources. Least that’s what ive heard. Ive never spoken to one personally. Ive been itching to! See their take of the world. Right?

Aster: right.

 

EXT: BOSS EXODUS’ DISTRICT ENTRANCE.

Aster and wilde reach the edge of the district. Aster stops.

Wilde: aster?

Aster: I don’t know.

Wilde: what is it?

Aster: im not sure of this place.

Wilde: it’s a town just like yours?

Aster: no… this is much more different.

Aster looks at its black walls.

Wilde: I told you your town was one in a million. This is the best I can do. Trust me.

Aster: what happens in there?

Wilde: bounties and gambling. Lots of gambling. Boss exodus is its leader. Im sure we wont run into him, hes a ‘busy’ man.

Aster: bounties?

Wilde: im telling you, youll be fine. No one here knows here, heck, I barely know you and Just this morning you were sleeping openly in the middle of the south lands? Get inside. I know someone that can probably help you.

Aster: not too long-

Wilde: not too long, I promise.

They both walk into the district.

Wilde: just watch yourself.

aster looks at wilde unimpressed.

 

INT. BOSS EXODUS’ DISTRICT

Once inside, aster examines everything and anything his eyes can be set on. There are spine-chilling, huge men all carrying a weapon of some sort staring straight back at aster followed by machine-hungry and malnourished people swaying their winning tickets around in joy, yelling and shaking gambling machines ferociously in loss or threatening to kill each other for the ticket on the floor they saw at the same time.

Aster: I swear you once said theres good AND bad people outside my town… not, just bad.

Wilde: if I may rephrase, theyre not ‘all bad’, theyre not shooting at us right now.

Wilde begins looking for his friend.

Aster: I still don’t know how you can just walk in here.

Wilde: youre doing it now.

Wilde paces slowly toward familiar area. Aster follows.

Aster: okay that guys unconscious… at least… I think hes unconscious…

 

INT. THIRD LEVEL CROSSTOWN BAR #3

Aster and wilde walk into a small bar, after studying the premises, wilde smiles and reassures himself hes in the right room. And sure enough, his friend, dragonarte, is speaking to the barkeep.

Wilde: dragonarte.

Dragonarte: who? Wilde? Wilde! Hows it going?! Seen much? He laughs.

Wilde: plenty, my friend. But listen-

Dragonarte: what have you learned? Got anything useful for me?

Wilde: oh, no. not on my latest quest. Dee listen, this is aster.

Aster and dragonarte shake hands.

Wilde: he needs your help.

Dragonarte: and how might that be?

Wilde: his town-

Dragonarte: let him speak, wilde. Well?

Aster: I just need to be pointed in the direction of a safe place

Dragonarte: a safe place? Im sorry?

Aster: a place without all this.

Dragonarte: all this?

Wilde: is there anywhere that he can live quietly?

Dragonarte: well, safe im not so sure about. But… there is a farm. Its through to the second settlement and then a right. Somewhere there. Its small, its not much, but its something, and you wont miss it.

Wilde: dragonarte, thank you. Whats the link to your commuter. In case of anything?

Dragonarte: whats your name?

Aster: aster?

Dragonarte: aster? You look familiar, boy.

Aster: ive never met you. Ive never left my town before.

Dragonarte: where is your town?

Aster: it WAS one of the small towns near the sandy ridge. Mage was the appointed.

Dragonarte: mage?

Dragonarte glances at wilde.

Dragonarte: if you never left your town, what has brought you out so far?

Aster: it was destroyed.

Dragonarte: destroyed! how did you escape?

Aster: my father snuck me out of the town before it was attacked.

Dragonarte: here. Transfer my data onto your commuter.

Dragonarte hands wilde his commuter.

Dragonarte: did you know mage?

Aster: he was my best friends father… and the best friend of my father.

Dragonarte: your father is homar?

Aster: yes?

Wildes eyes widen.

Dragonarte: I knew it, I did see homar in you. He smiles.

Wilde hands dragonarte his commuter back.

Dragonarte: im sorry about your loss, kid. He was a good man. Im sure your father taught you many things about the south lands.

Aster: apparently, not enough.

Dragonarte: you’ve made it here alive. Im sure you’ve learnt plenty as of late. Are you hungry?

Wilde: yes. Yes we are.

Aster nods. Dragonarte smiles. He gestures for two meals to be sent over.

 

As aster and wilde dive into their meals, dragonarte begins speaking.

Dragonarte: im sure your journey here hasn’t been light and that you have had to process much in only so long. And im sure that all of this makes you want to just… go to sleep forever. but you’ve been forced from the cradle so its time for you to grow, become stronger. Learn. And im sure wilde has told you all about the south lands and its troubles, but there is a larger threat. Agreuis has an enemy.

Aster: what?

Dragonarte: his name is winteriron. He is ruthless, diabolical. A mad man-

Wilde: tyrant-

Dragonarte: he rules over most of agreuis; belittling and manipulating the south lands.

Wilde: he is the reason for the civil wars

Aster: ive heard of that-

Dragonarte: he forced the hand of his people many, many years ago. You see, everyone deals with oppression differently but it always leads to one of two ways: go crazy or fight back and be set free. No one here will think about it or much less admit it. But we are all descendants of winterirons megacity. When the people had enough they rebelled, and earned freedom over winteriron, we won.

Aster: what exactly did we win?

Dragonarte: all this. Freedom.

Aster: all this is not exactly something I would rejoice over. Im very afraid right now that someone will attack me out of any random impulse, I don’t feel very free.

Dragonarte: what are you saying? The civil wars were for nothing?

Aster: it was worth something. But with the ‘freedom’ we were granted we didn’t do much with it.  there is no peace. This place suits your description of winteriron. These people are no better than winteriron himself.

Dragonarte: the iron collective fought in that war. Along-side many from the south lands. If it wasn’t for the efforts of many, you wouldn’t be here right now. What they accomplished was impressive and what they have given us should not be taken in vain. their mission is not completed. Winteriron will be stopped.

Aster: no, the south lands should have set an example. everyone out here takes the south lands for granted. the mission should have been to show him and his city that his enforcement is wrong.

Dragonarte: harmony can only be achieved when winteriron is gone.

Aster: how can you be so sure?

Dragonarte: because his snake-like shroud fogs the south lands.

Aster: no one here will abandon this life. When hes gone, all that’s going to happen is the growth of the south lands.

Dragonarte: if winteriron lives any longer… there wont be a south lands.

Pause.

Wilde: we best be getting on the road.

Dragonarte: you have much to learn about ‘us’ and who some of us might be. the place youre going to is called the haven. When you arrive ask for jenny and tell her I sent you, she will help. To wilde Ive written the coordinates of it onto your commuter.

Aster nods to dragonarte.

Wilde: see you soon, dee.

Aster: good luck, dragonarte.

dragonarte nods doubtfully.

Aster and wilde leave.

Aster: looks like were going back out there again already.

Wilde: to the haven?

Aster: to the haven. Hey. Its getting dark out. What about the creatures?

Wilde: most hunt by scent. Ive got an apparently ‘rare’ repellent, Got It from some guy in here actually, im thinking he can make more of it; he charges a hefty price for it! I think he ripped me off, actually. His name is…

they exit, as wilde drones on.

 

 

INT. THE HAVEN.

Before the night ends, wilde takes aster to a small out of town inn. Wilde pays for their hospitality. A day has passed now and both of them have gone on to reach the haven where a small colony of people live happily earning off of their agriculture paying for the crop supply of the first and second settlements near them. As aster and wilde walk through the quiet farm lands they approach a woman in the fields.

Wilde: hello. I was hoping you could help us.

Anna: yes, of course.

Wilde: we were sent here by dragonarte. Were looking for a lady named jenny.

Anna: oh. Let me take you. Come.

Aster and wilde follow anna toward wooden households. Aster looks out to the large fields around him surveying the people of the haven. Many work together and others are even being playful with one another. His eyes then stumble across a man and his son, working on the underground vegetables. In a familial and heartfelt moment, the man and his son share a laugh clutching one another briefly. Aster quickly turns away.

 

INT. MS. JENNYS QUARTERS.

They enter a home and room where an old lady lays in a bed. She looks old and a little sickly but is acting completely normal, knitting.

Anna: hello. Sorry to interrupt, ms. Jenny. You have visitors. Ill be right outside.

Anna leaves them both with jenny.

Jenny: yes?

Wilde: hello, jenny. Dragonarte said we could speak to you about this young man.

Jenny: dragonarte? Dragonarte. Drake. Where is he?

Wilde: far. Weve been travelling for some time.

Jenny: if you need refreshments all you need to do is ask. This young man you say? What might be the problem young chap?

Aster: maam, I haven’t a place to stay. I was told this place was safe. I want to be able to take up a residency here.

Jenny: why here?

Aster: my home was destroyed. I never left my home and if im honest, am quite scared of the south lands and everyone in it. My town believed in equity and harmony, I see it here more than ever and am extremely happy that there is a place just like home elsewhere in the south lands.

Jenny: did you work in your old town?

Aster: yes, maam, everyday. I am willing to do my part here.

Jenny: what is your name?

Aster: aster. And this is wilde.

Jenny: how lovely. If you speak to anna outside she will set you up with a room and some comfort. Welcome to the haven. Later we will discuss more about who you are, aster.

Aster nods and turns to wilde for a short second.

Jenny: and what might you be doing, chap?

Wilde: well… im gonna keep travelling. I guess ive done my job here.

Jenny: oh, well If you see drake again, tell him his mamma misses him.

Aster: dragonarte came from here?

Jenny: yes. he is such a good boy. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. I just wish ive taught him well enough.

Wilde: you have, maam.

Pause.

Aster and wilde exit.

 

EXT. THE HAVEN

Aster and wilde step outside and are greeted by anna and a field full of hard working and innocent people.

Anna: I overheard your conversation with ms. Jenny. Your quarters are this way…

Aster: no, please, I have to say goodbye to my friend first-

Anna: then I can take your bag for you if you wish and meet you here when youre done to show you around?

Aster: that would be great, thank you so much.

She takes the bag and smiles walking away from them.

Anna: any friend of drake’s is a friend of mine. She blushes.

Aster and wilde pace toward the entrance of the haven, and as usual, proceed with long, back and forth discussions.

Wilde: I guess this is it then?

Aster: I guess so, wilde.

They both stop in the middle of the fields feeling the cool breeze and a touch of heat from the sunlight.

Aster: thank you for everything. I don’t think I would be alive if you didnt come to my aid.

Wilde: oh you don’t have to be, and yes I know you wouldn’t.

They chuckle.

Wilde: how can you be so sure of this place?

Aster: it looks friendly. The people work hard and move in unity. This is the freedom I was talking about, wilde. This is my new home, now. Weve found it. Why don’t you stay?

Wilde: but anything could go wrong again, aster-

Aster: dragonarte was born here it seems. Therefore this place has lived longer than my town ever did. Im sure it will continue to do so.

Wilde: sighs. as peaceful as It may be, this doesn’t seem real to me.

Aster: what do you mean?

Wilde: this isn’t the south lands. Well, not what its actually meant to be anyway-

Aster: yes, it is, wilde…

Wilde: I guess im just not used to it, plus it seems kinda boring. Theres no action here?

Aster: giggles. Well that’s just the way I like it.

They both shakes and give each other a reassuring smile. They part ways.

Wilde: aster, wait!

Aster: yeah?

Wilde: now that were exactly where youre supposed to be, and you’ve had a taste of whats out in the open, which was better? the journey or the destination?

Aster thinks.

Aster: half-half.

Wilde grins from cheek to cheek, waves finally and then turns to walk out of the entrance.

Aster takes a deep breath in and out and surveys the haven.

When aster hauls himself into the direction that anna travelled he begins to hear a deep buzz in the air. After moments of wondering what it might be and assuming a nonchalant stance over it due to not being familiar of his surroundings, the buzz hums louder and louder then closer and closer and when the people of the haven start to notice it as well, aster begins to panic. He turns back to wilde who mimics him hoping wilde has a solution to this problem somewhere in his backpack. In quick desperation, aster locates a hoe on the ground and holds it up in attack believing the buzzing sound is coming from creatures of agreuis. But, the people of the haven and wilde all stand still, surprised, not knowing what to do. From beyond the second settlements scrapers, aster locates the larger ship that entered and raided his town, and just behind it, hovers another two. The ships fly in and crash into the farming fields destroying all of the crop with their massive machinery. The impact of the crash knocks aster and most of the haven people off their feet, the rest glue their eyes to the three menacing ships that stay dead still. The ships light up and suddenly the doors crash open to the floor. Aster notices and remembers the neon insignia but only the haven people and wilde, who is standing far behind the crashed ships, watching the mysterious destruction take place without a sense of what to do, know what the insignia is and the strangeness about these particular designs. Suddenly, the ship is emptied of soldiers, shooting some of the haven people and as most are taken into the ships after being restrained with a neck brace much like their own, the soldiers manage to infiltrate jennys quarters. Within a second, aster is already retreating without thinking twice about his belongings. With the hoe still in hand, he fends off any incoming soldiers, average people who cannot be distinguished from even aster himself. Inches from leaving, aster makes a final survey for wilde unable to find him. Assuming he already escaped with the chance he had, aster flees. Aster runs and runs until the three ships have cleared the haven and flown away. Then, he stops, still weary of what could be of harm to him out in the open of the south lands, but the previous incident has him in complete shock.

He stays seated, legs crossed, for hours playing with sand.

 

Aster finally collects his thoughts and himself. But when he sizes his surroundings, five indigos are moving in on him. He stands abruptly.

Aster: please! Please, let me go! I don’t want any trouble!

He throws his arms out in trues but they circle him, watching his every movement whilst calculating their own.

Aster drops down and picks up his hoe and starts pointing it at each individual indigo in desperate defence.

They notice a move on the offensive and they immediately respond. A single indigo, silverback, jumps out in front of him ready to face him in battle. The indigo removes a long staff off of his back and points it directly at aster. the others break silence through war cries.

They duel. Aster jabs the end of the hoe at the indigo three times, but the indigo is too fast and too well-equipped for aster. The indigo dodges every attack and is slowly moving his way down the hoe closer to aster. Aster lunges a hopeful unsuspecting final attack with his fist but is immediately grabbed and hoisted over the indigos shoulder. The hoe goes flying. The indigo picks aster up to his knees and slowly replaces the long staff with a short-curved knife perfectly crafted to fit asters throat.

Aster: no, please! Please! Why are you killing me?! He sobs.

Silverback pulls the knife away slowly. The indigos begin whispering between one another.

Aster: what?! What?! What are you talking about? Oh, no, youre making it worse, aren’t you? No, no!

Silverback: hush. What is your name?

Aster: aster, please!

Silverback: why are you out here?

Aster: im… im lost. I don’t know!

Silverback: where have you come from!

Aster: the haven! It was down there, the haven!

Silverback: you are one of those farmers? Take from the land and give to the people who do not deserve it no less!

Aster: no, no! I was sent there! By a man named dragonarte from exodus-

Silverback forces the weight of the knife onto asters throat who freezes, not a single sound from his body, but oozing from his nose: his fear. The onlooking indigos tense up; except for one.

Silverback: exodus?

Aster: no… please.

Aster takes a deep breath. His adams apple scraping the blade.

Aster: I don’t know where I am. I was forced from my town. Please.

Silverback: you have no home?

Aster: no, I do not. Please, don’t kill me.

Silverback: you are lying?

Aster: how?! Ho-

Silverback: your weapon. You have come from exodus district, have you not?

Aster: ye…n…sort of?

Silverback: you are a liar! A thief! A part of the devilish corruption plaguing the south lands! You must be silenced-

Aster: why, why?!

The other indigos rally each other up.

White elk: very well, silverback.

The indigos fall silent as silverback turns away to a companion then back to aster; who is petrified.

White elk: aster?

Aster: y-yes?

White elk: are you any of the things, silverback, has stated?

aster shakes his head.

White elk: do you understand what he is accusing you of?

Aster: I know of it.

White elk studies aster.

White elk: and how much might that be?

Aster: ive learned plenty on my travels...

White elk: not enough it seems. Where is the origin of your travels?

Aster: a small town near the sandy ridge… m-mage was the appointed?

Silverback: mage?

Silverback and white elk shrug at each other.

White elk: were you attacked-

Silverback: we have no time for this weakling, white elk! Leave him then! Let us continue.

White elk: did you not fret that this boy may be a thief? I will ask my questions, silverback.

Silverback: leave him!

White elk (to aster): so you are to remain on the soil of the south lands?

Aster: I guess so- I don’t know? I need help.

Silverback: weak. I told you. Move on!

Silverback gestures for the indigo tribe to move on. They follow him except for white elk.

White elk: i…I cannot leave him.

Silverback: What did you say?

White elk: he cannot be left out here alone like this.

Silverback: we will not go through this situation a million more times, white elk, they are an enemy of the south lands. You know our people would not stand for this, we live as one, they do not. They are Parasites of nature, here. They must be rid of.

White elk: hes just a boy-

Silverback: We move as one.

Silverback continues walking, followed by the tribe.

White elk turns to aster.

White elk: no. we don’t.

White elk follows silverback.

Aster thinks and looks around at the never ending red soil around him, considering his inevitable death along the plains of this vast planet… alone. aster swallows.

Aster: im… im not just a boy-

White elk turns back to him.

Aster: I am extremely important to the land of agreuis-

White elk: you?

Pause. Aster starts to breath heavily.

Aster: I am a part of a special group going to attack winteriron-

White elks eyes widen.

White elk: wait!

The tribe stops.

White elk: I am staying with the boy.

Silverback: what?

White elk: you heard me-

Silverback: the leader will know about this-

White elk: tell the clan leader whatever you want.

Silverback: he will be after you, white elk-

White elk: go. Now.

White elk steps in front of aster protectively.

Silverback: no! this will not be tolerated this time! Your continuance to act out against the clan like this will have you suffer the consequences. Do not disrespect your ancestors, they fought to protect the land not its destroyer. The clan has had enough of your lack of discipline… I have had enough of your defiance, white elk. You will come with us.

Aster shudders.

White elk: not this time, silverback.

Silverback: ive been looking forward to this.

Silverback removes the curved knife and quickly throws himself at white elk and they crash onto aster. As the two indigos scramble for the hilt of the knife to attain the advantage, aster has wriggled his way from underneath them and turns to the other tribe members, standing there and just watching.

Silverback eventually cuts white elks cheek thinly as well as a perfectly timed and positioned elbow to the temple crashes into white elk. White elk responds by locking silverback in a hold and restraining him from attack. But silverback lunges his knee into white elks forehead knocking him seemingly unresponsive. aster reaches for his hoe and before the other tribe members could realise what he is doing, he has already pointed the weapon at silverbacks throat; barding with him.

Aster: let him go, now.

Silverback lifts himself off of white elk and stands perfectly still under asters weapon.

Silverback: what will you do, boy? Do you not remember the last time?

Pause.

Aster: I don’t want to do anything.

Aster lowers the weapon.

Aster: you should not be attacking a friend like that. Now it should be his choice if he wants to leave on his own terms. It is his destiny, not yours. And your tribe members should not be just watching all of this chaos happening. (to tribe) you did not act. How can you be at peace with the land if you are not even at peace with each other?

Silverback and the tribe pull away. Silverback gives one final look to white elk, and leaves.

Aster: are you okay?

White elk: of course, Thank you. My name is white elk. I have travelled with the indigo tribe of Yaiuja for hundreds of years, the soul and spirit of my ancestry lives and carries out within me.

Aster: nice to meet you-

White elk: but you. You are a brave man. Where is your tribe? Where will I find the men among men.

Aster: excuse me?

White elk: no, sorry. Not a tribe. Your clan! Where are the men who will defeat winteriron once and for all?

Aster: oh, oh! Back at exodus district.

White elk: such noble men squander in such a place?

Aster: I said almost the exact same thing. Do you know where exodus district is?

White elk: not entirely, but I will be sure to find it. Not to worry.

Aster and white elk travel toward exodus district.

Aster: why are you helping me?

white elk looks in the direction of winteriron.

White elk: there is an evil out there of unimaginable power.

Aster: what about the south lands?

White elk: nothing is as threatening as him.

Aster: why-

White elk: the south lands can only threaten the south lands. Him? He threatens us all. Everyone.

White elk looks in the direction of broken earth then finally drops his head.

White elk: but don’t you know this already?

Aster just nods his head, his face as pale as a ghost.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. NIGHT.

Later that night, aster and white elk can see the beaming lights of exodus district.

Aster: I need to stop. I need to rest.

White elk: this place is only so far. We mustn’t rest out in the open-

Aster: ive acquainted myself with the creatures out here… but what are they?

White elk: the one that roams and hunts by scent. We call: scarvera. The one that flies and takes you one not dare even comprehend where: hellia. We mustn’t stop now, aster.

Aster and white elk continue travelling.

Aster: are any around here?

White elk: the scarvera are stalking us right now. do not say a word.

Aster does exactly as white elk demands.

White elk pulls an axe from his back and attaches a round of small arrow heads to his left wrists crossbow.

White elk: do you hear that?

White elk pulls aster down to a crouch, they listen for the growling scarvera.

white elk: I hear three. Stay down. Stay quiet. Wait.

White elk travels towards the growling making small sounds along the way drawing the creatures closer to him.

In an instant, white elk disappears from asters eyes. Soon, he hears nothing. Then suddenly, the fight begins. The scarvera pounce at white elk. White elk is pushed back into asters sight trying to stop one of the creatures from biting down onto his face. Aster immediately stabs the scarvera in the back then watches it die agonisingly after white elk throws it off of himself. Another jumps out at aster and just scrapes its teeth against asters arm before being beheaded by white elks extraordinary reflexes. The fight dies down suspiciously. There is no sound. White elk pulls aster closer to himself once more as aster grips the hoe tighter and tighter.

Aster: where is it?

White elk just stares into the darkness, unresponsive.

The sound of asters skin grinds against the iron hoe’s long hilt as his nerves choke him.

Suddenly, the last scarvera charges out of the darkness towards aster and white elk; and in a burst, white elk fires five arrowheads into the scarveras body and head. It dies at his feet.

White elk: vessels of agreean nature, I pray you leave this miraculous land peacefully. I bid to repent for your untimely and unwarranted deaths. (to aster) we must continue.

Aster: r-right? Shocked.

 

INT. BOSS EXODUS’ DISTRICT.

Aster and white elk reach the edge of exodus district by daylight and walk inside. Aster directs white elk to where he last saw dragonarte.

 

INT. BOSS EXODUS’ DISTRICT. THIRD LEVEL CROSSTOWN BAR #3

When aster and white elk walk into the bar, it becomes apparent that an indigos presence is extremely rare in these places as each individual cannot believe their eyes when witnessing white elk strut through. The two then see dragonarte seated at his table aside a mercenary.

Aster: excuse me, dragonarte?

As dragonarte and the mercenary look up at aster, mage turns around from the seat facing dragonarte. Aster is shocked.

Aster: mage?

Dragonarte: aster? What are you doing here-

Aster (to mage): how are you still alive? what are you doing here?!

Dragonarte: mage is a part of my circle-

Aster: I thought you died with the towns people?

Dragonarte: aster?

Mage directly and continuously breaks contact with aster.

Aster: you abandoned your people…do you even know what happened to jace?

White elk (to aster): is this the clan that will lead the crusade?

Dragonarte: what crusade? What are you talking about?

White elk: asters clan to defeat winteriron-

Dragonarte: asters? Dragonarte stares at aster. What about it, indigo?

White elk: I have come to join it.

Dragonarte (to aster): have you now? (to white elk) aren’t you a little far from home?

Aster: nervously, we have.

Dragonarte thinks. Aster looks down at mage. white elk looks at aster.

Aster: mage. how could you?

Mage: alright, enough, aster! only so long before the attack, a messenger of mine had ran a report for me on an extensive mission beyond the sandy ridge to learn about the bandits plaguing the south lands. When he passed the ridge, he watched two ships leaving factions in ruin over and over. But that’s not all, throughout his journey back home he came across relms outpost and learned that these ships had terrorised relm and his people already. Do these ships sound familiar? Those same ships attacked our town. Relms people were desperate, they became the bandits. And im sure we would have ended up in the same predicament. And tell me, did you see the insignia on any of those ships?

Aster: I did-

Mage: that symbol. is winteriron. With all this knowledge, I had to leave my town. I have to save the south lands from this tyrant. he has descended onto us finally after years of waiting and awoken the very dark dreams each of us have despised since the pacifism after the second civil war.

Dragonarte: that’s enough! The boy knows enough already. Now. are you really here to join our fight?

White elk nods.

aster half-nods.

Dragonarte: where is wilde?

Aster shakes his head.

Dragonarte frowns, his eyes darting along the floor as he tries to make sense of wildes disappearance.

Dragonarte: this is it then. Aster and…

White elk: white elk.

Dragonarte: aster and white elk, it seems you two have already acquainted yourselves with mage. meet merlin.

Merlin: merlin.

White elk: why have you pledged yourself-

Merlin: money. Smokes his cigarette.

Dragonarte shrugs.

Dragonarte: you boys have come just in time, we were about to set off.

White elk: do you have a plan?

Aster looks on.

Dragonarte: we must attack winteriron within his own walls secretly and silently. we cannot risk the south lands finding out too much about our plan. If we grew an army winteriron would find out fairly quickly. With numbers, we only assume a bigger target on our back.

Aster: no army-

White elk: how will we get to him?

Dragonarte: that’s the hard part-

Aster: the mission is suicide-

Dragonarte: it is the only way. The south lands could never take on his forces alone. If we finish it once and for all, our way, we can remove the unnecessary deaths of millions of innocents from the equation. (to white elk) we have a middle man making a reconnaissance of the megacity. She is sitting just inside the blackness.

Aster: the blackness?

Dragonarte: the shadow created by the winter walls. It is the one place in all of agreuis that neither the south lands or winteriron can see you. We are awaiting her call.

White elk: what then?

Dragonarte: she will give us the details to where she penetrated the wall unseen. And we will go.

They all fall silent.

Dragonarte: indigo huh? Didn’t think id ever talk to one or one would help me. Hey?

White elk straightens his back.

Dragonartes commuter sounds.

Dragonarte: its her.

White elk and merlin follow dragonarte but mage stops aster.

Mage: I don’t know what youre doing here and I wouldn’t for the life of me dare to think why dragonarte would let you join us? All you’ve ever did was make furniture and worse You’re a coward, just like your father, he knew it and thats why he let you go.

Aster: I know my mistake.

Mage breaks a slight smile.

Aster: trusting you to be our leader.

The smile drops away.

Mage: You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into.

Mage walks through aster and joins the rest of the circle. They await aster openly. Aster stands thinking, more nervous than ever, been given the last chance to back out of this crusade and return to walking alone trying to find the nearest temporary safe place. He looks at all the mens faces, takes a deep breath and plunges himself into the madness.

They set off.

 

EXT. LANDING BAY.

The five men walk into a small landing bay housing three identical ships.

Dragonarte: there she is, the middle one.

He points to his ship and directs the men to the entrance.

Dragonarte: all of these are exodus’ charter ships. Its worth quite a lot so we cant take it the whole way.

Aster: you don’t even own your own ship?

Dragonarte: do you? calmly

White elk: how far are we going then?

Mage: not too far from the blackness but a good walk.

Dragonartes commuter rings once signalling laras position.

Dragonarte: there it is. The coordinates.

Pause.

Dragonarte looks fixedly at mage, who fixes his posture and is handed the commuter, and merlin, shrugging his shoulders in nonchalance sneering at everyone.

Mage: then were off gentlemen.

Mage and merlin enter the ship. Dragonarte suspiciously hangs back and gazes at both white elk and aster repeatedly. White elk matches dragonarte but is eventually outstared, submitting and entering the ship.

Aster attempts to enter the ship following white elk but is stopped by dragonarte.

Dragonarte: why are you here?

Aster: gulps I came back to join your-

Dragonarte: just stop, okay? don’t lie to me. people of your kind don’t exactly move with circles like these. Especially an indigo.

Aster: people of ‘my kind’?

Dragonarte: no offense, kid, but hey, you look like the runt. What makes you think you can take on winteriron?

Aster annoyingly pouts.

Dragonarte: I mean, kid, youre humbled and simple. You came to me to find a ‘safe’ place after losing your last ‘safe’ place. And now… now youre about to enter a world beyond your deepest, darkest imagination. This life is not for you. Don’t tell me im the only one who thinks that here?

Aster fidgets and unknowingly and unintentionally gives himself away.

Dragonarte leans back crossing his arms.

Dragonarte: explain the indigo.

Aster: id rather not-

Dragonarte: you cry?

Aster: …yeah-

Dragonarte breaks a long giggle. Aster accidentally cracks a half smile.

Dragonarte then falls silent, scaring aster.

Dragonarte: What happened to the haven?

Aster: what?

Dragonarte: well, That’s why youre here, isn’t it? I need to know.

Pause.

Dragonarte looks on awaiting asters answer…

Aster: it was… they were... All of them… By the soldiers…

Dragonarte: no.

Dragonarte steps back; shook by asters words. He cant conjure a word to reply to the young boy, his thoughts race over his lost loved ones.

Aster: dragonarte…

Aster reaches over in support.

But dragonarte pulls away.

Merlin: ladies? From inside the hull.

Aster: dragonarte, why is this ‘winteriron’ taking people?

Pause.

Dragonarte locks eyes with the innocent eyes of aster. He quickly turns away, then boards the ship leaving aster clueless and alone. Given moments to reflect before he enters the ship and embarks on this perilous journey, aster thinks of jace and the three hooded figures and is instantly flushed with guilt for not telling the others about these individuals yet. His thoughts thicken as he believes the hooded figures may be connected to winteriron creating an even darker situation for jace.

White elk appears from the entrance of the charter ship.

White elk: aster, are you coming?

Aster: yes, yes.

White elk disappears into the ship. The ships engines roar as it activates.

Asters final thoughts lead to his father and if his father has indeed been captured by winteriron too. he takes a deep breath feeling the thoughts’ weight hoping to slow and eventually stop the emotional swelling. When they stop. He focuses and realises that he has to put his past behind him and let go of the scared young boy he is as ‘he’ would not survive whats coming. He starts to believe he knows what he has to do, who he has to save and who he has to stick by.

he boards the ship.

The ship hovers above the other two charter ships then takes off into the sky of agreuis.

 

INT. DRAGONARTES CHARTER SHIP.

Aster takes a seat away from mage who is opposite dragonarte as merlin captains. The latter lights another cigarette. White elk emerges from the back of the ship and sits aside dragonarte. Dragonarte wearily looks the indigo up and down.

Merlin: we are half a day away, ladies.

Mage: there is still a while, our time on this ship is still young, perhaps we should unpack the contraband?

Dragonarte: then we will.

Dragonarte and mage reach underneath their seats pulling out large black bags placing them onto their laps. Aster and white elk are left confused during the ship raid. Aster turns to merlin wishing he was seeing mage and dragonartes strange behaviour, but, hes already unpacked his significantly smaller black bag revealing a loaded pistol. When aster looks back to the others, mage and dragonarte are holding long rifles and loading their magazines.

Aster: where did you get all this?

Dragonarte: ‘friends’.

Merlin looks over his shoulder for a moment.

Merlin: oh what?! You got the new ordnance?! Where?!

Dragonarte: boss exodus. He gave me these two as prototypes for the ‘favours’ I did… they felt more like funded bullying if you ask me. These are cute, aren’t they?

Merlin: and im here with this silly bullet holder. Merlin tosses his pistol to the side.

Dragonarte: that’s right, actual pulse fusion, this baby will really kick ass-

Aster: and what do you expect white elk and I to use? Sticks, sharpened rocks and an apology in case we dont win?

Dragonarte attacks his clothing in search for a weapon.

Dragonarte: here.

He throws an unusually large wrist guard gauntlet.

Aster: what is it?

Dragonarte: protection. wrist turret. Lock it on, one size fits all, the grip goes under the palm, the mag holders on the inside of the wrist and the thumbs the trigger.

Aster fixes the weapon to his arm.

Mage looks for a weapon to give to white elk but white elk refuses giving mage an assuring half smile.

Aster looks out of the window closest to him and for the first time witnesses the nature of agreuis. A large river flows from one end of the horizon to the other hosting a small forest at one.

Aster: what is all this greenery?

Mage overhears aster mutter. Sneering, he shifts over to aster and peaks out the small window aside asters.

Mage: it is the forsaken forest. It’s a small but dangerous place.

Aster realises mages voice and sneers back.

Aster: is It the only one of its kind?

Mage: no, there is much more vegetation on agreuis, much more; the bladetree jungle, the honey ranges. It is much, much larger. In fact, there is still much of agreuis I have yet to explore.

Aster: is it?...

Mage: it is very safe. theyre beautiful places. Much like the forsaken forest. But the forest. It is a spectacle. Its alive, pulling you in with its awe... but the inside, it is a poison to humanity. Curious, no?

Aster: …nothing on agreuis is as it seems.

Aster and mage continue to look out their windows as the large river splits into smaller stretches of water.

Mage: I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand my actions and the risks I take for them. But aster. You seem to forget I am human too, not ‘once was’. I miss them. not a second goes by that I don’t think about them and where they are. I did not leave my son on purpose, aster, nor did I your father. And when I look around me at these men, who have lost so much just as I have and are still in this ship today, then, this is where I must be, they are what drives me. To save the sons of their sons and to theirs.

He points outside his window to agreuis.

Aster remains silent.

mage: well… you just need to know: together, we will find winteriron and stop him. 

Aster breaks a sorrowed expression to mage.

Mage: the others too.

Mage nods. Aster takes a breath of relief. He turns to white elk, who is drifting slowly to sleep.

Aster then nods to mage and quickly leaves his awkward situation. He sits aside white elk startling him awake.

White elk: oh. Aster, what brings you?

Aster: white elk. I just wanted to thank you properly for what you did in the south lands. These men are lucky to have you join them. Youre braver than most.

White elk smiles.

White elk: if you looked out the windows, just beyond where the jewel breaks up is the sacrosanct. The home of all of my people.

Aster: the jewel?

White elk: the river of agreuis. Yes, this journey has my soul in sickness, I have never been so far from my clan especially now.

Aster: do you miss them?

White elk: much. my people will understand, we all understand one another. But there has been a lot of pressure built in the tribe- a thirst for control has been growing.

Aster: like… silverback?

White elk: craving power can do horrible things to those in unity. Bonds break as some believe themselves above others.

Aster: do you think they’ll know youre okay? and everything will be okay at your home?

White elk nods.

White elk: we will do just fine. When winterirons shackles are cast from agreuis.

Pause.

Aster: what about the south lands?

White elk: my people believe not in polluting oneself and the graciousness of the land that keeps us. Unfortunately, they do not accept anyone of that nature. Points to merlin.

Aster: and the others?

White elk: their intentions are just, I have to admit they have me puzzled. But, they are two of the millions. I believe there can be a change in the south lands… for the better… but it has to come from its people. Either this… or live and die, in suffering.

Pause.

Aster looks at white elks weapons.

Aster: why do they kill? Your people… threatened my life…

White elk: to them you are a parasite. A leach off of agreuis. There is no respect-

Aster gives a reassuring expression.

White elk: there is. I know. I used to think narrowly as they do. One day, long ago, my clan caught two stragglers accidentally wandering towards the sacrosanct. We stopped them, securing our sacred place. And silverback, as distrustful and brutish as he is, questions and taunts them for coming anywhere near what is ours.

Aster: what did he do?

White elk: the stragglers became fearful and in a desperate act, one of the stragglers unveiled a hidden rifle, pointing it straight into the forehead of silverback.

Pause.

White elk: without a second thought, silverback sliced the stragglers arm off and impaled him. He leaves the man to crumble to the floor, giving me the order to kill the other. I watched his face crack slowly into a plea. He asked me what he had done to deserve this. I did not say a word, I did not know what to say... Instead, I just grabbed my knife.

Pause.

White elk: his screams would finally stop. I began asking myself what exactly he had done; even his friend; I could not believe silverback did not understand them… but I now know he just did not want to… I have never hurt another being like that since that day. I have been troubled ever since.

Pause. Asters head lowers in empathy of white elk.

White elk: Its funny, your people resemble us in a way. You would think with all of the spitefulness and greed your people would live alone, away from each other’s tyranny. But you live together. Some enemies closer than others.

White elk gestures to mage and dragonarte having their own conversation.

White elk: others, companions, fighting together. Like their loyalty.

Pause.

White elk: you are not a part of this clan though, are you, aster?

Aster: what? Yes-

White elk: boy. You do not belong…

Aster: I… yes, I guess so-

White elk: why have you done this?

Aster: I cant say, white elk. I just cant-

White elk: I must know. This journey, my ancestors have set me on the path of, is of grave importance…

aster looks at white elk and before he can come clean, he is filled with shame over the fact that his sly lie has most likely doomed white elk and himself.

Aster: I cant.

White elk: then so it will be.

He stands and inches towards dragonarte and mage. aster gazes at each of the men in deep and guilty thought.

Aster: everyone. Um, everyone. I have something you must all know.

They all slowly look at him, merlin turns most of his attention to aster.

Aster: theres something… I haven’t told you. about my town-

Mage: what about it?

Aster: when I returned, after the battle, winterirons ships had already left… but I saw a smaller, different looking craft.

Dragonarte: and?...

Aster: instead of soldiers… there were three people-

Dragonarte: who were they?

Mage: did you see a face?

Aster: no… no. they were completely covered. They were… they were…

Aster looks at mages eyes momentarily then turns his attention back to the others as well.

Aster: they were leaving. I think they took somebody with them.

The others look amongst each other, confused.

Dragonarte: one of them couldn’t have been winteriron could it?

Mage: no. he wouldn’t risk coming down here himself. Maybe there was something his associates were looking for. Of great value-

Dragonarte: it could be someone else completely, its not possible to say.

Aster: have you heard about this before, white elk?

White elk: never in all my years of travel have I heard of covered figures. I fear the worst.

Mage: only one question remains to be added to this catastrophe. Who did they take? And why?

Asters head lowers.

Dragonarte: what is their significance to someone like winteriron?

Merlin: an heir. Why else would winteriron ‘possibly’ send his associates down to this hell hole. Someone as cruel as him could only be forged in the south lands. Chuckles.

Asters eyes widen.

Mage and dragonarte turn to each other.

Merlin: how long has he reigned?

Mage: too long-

Aster: yeah, how long? You speak of winterirons shadow since the time of the first elders…

Mage takes a breath.

Silence.

Aster: what kind of man is he…

Pause.

Dragonarte: he has reigned for 300 years… 300 years.

Dragonarte stares at aster.

Pause.

Aster shudders and freezes.

Suddenly, laras coordinate disappears on the commuter.

Merlin: woah, wait, shes gone. Off the grid.

Merlin desperately presses every switch and in combinations hoping for her signal to return to the screen.

Dragonarte: what the hell. Try and reach her on her transmission. If she answers, her signal will be stronger, track her from there.

Dragonarte races into the cockpit of the ship.

mage massages his temples.

Mage: we should’ve planned for this.

Aster: what?

Aster falls into the seat behind him feeling the tremendous weight of the new knowledge about winteriron that only seems to become heavier with each instalment breaking down the walls of his new-found confidence.

Mage: dragonarte was counting on lara, if shes disappeared… well, I don’t know-

Aster: you don’t have a backup plan? Everyone has a backup plan?

Mage: when you come up with another way to fight winteriron, just give me a shout.

Mage stares at aster.

White elk: well… what will we do instead?

Dragonarte appears from the cockpit.

Dragonarte: ahhh… youll all want to see this.

Dragonarte gives a concerning look at each and every one of the men.

They all flood into the room unable to reassure each other.

Aster pushes past the crowded men to peak at the commuter giving off a holographic voice projection.

Mage: what is it, dragonarte?

Dragonarte: its lara. We couldn’t get her on transmission but shortly after she went off-grid she sent us this message.

Aster looks at mage and dragonarte, biting their nails, afraid for their lives over this plan.

Merlin replays the message, sighing.

Lara: “dragonarte… im hoping you get this messag-…ive been spotted on the north si… be under attack, don’t come to where i-…find another wa-… thanks for your service, broken earth would commend you, over an ou-

Merlin: it cuts there.

Dragonarte: it is more than likely shes been captured by now.

White elk: what do you suggest?

Dragonarte: there isn’t much I can... Even with her coordinates there would be no chance to get through. By now, winteriron is already suspecting unwelcomed visitors. The walls would be heavily fortified. Damnit!

Mage: there must be another way-

Dragonarte: there isn’t another way!

Dragonarte steps eye to eye with mage.

Aster whispers to white elk

Aster: companions, huh?

Mage: there is always another way.

Dragonarte: how? Without the knowledge of the means of her entrance. How would we even know how to begin? This plan is ruined!

Merlin: keep it down would you, show some respect, poor girl.

Merlin removes his hat.

Dragonarte: oh sorry, merlin, Id hate to ruin your fancy funeral party but what happened to her is sure to happen to a million more people! Id like to see you hold one these funerals for all of them, too. now-

Mage: dragonarte.

Dragonarte stops and looks at mage.

Mage: her loss was unnecessary, we are all aware of that. Just relax, we will figure this out we are all just as worried as you.

Dragonarte: this isn’t just about her-

Mage: this is about everything! I know!

Merlin turns around, angered at mages yelling. Mage nods apologizingly.

Mage: does anyone have an idea? A plan?

Pause.

Mage: please. We cant give up yet…

Aster: we could scale the walls?

Dragonarte snickers and leaves the cockpit angrily.

White elk: never mind him.

Aster: well… could we?

Mage: no. the walls are as tall as some of the tallest buildings on broken earth. Well, whats left of them.  It would be an impossible feat, we couldn’t risk our lives and time like that.

Aster: then what is there to do?

White elk: the best we could do right now is track her last position. With it, we could create a perimeter around the signal and decide from there if it is possible to enter or not.

Mage: reconnaissance? Are you sure? It sounds risky, white elk.

White elk: it is safe, trust me. My clan and I would use this method when hunting.

Mage: well. Then it all depends on the coordinates…

Merlin points to laras former positioning on the commuter.

Merlin: should be about there, if my memory serves me right. Were still a few hours out.

Mage: are you sure about this? To white elk

White elk nods.

Merlin: yeah, sure, sure, something like that.

Mage takes a deep relaxing breath. He then gestures for white elk and aster to follow him out of the cockpit.

Mage: merlin.

Merlin: childishly “the appointed”

Mage meets an awaiting aster and white elk, reminding him of his former council from way back when, dragonarte is nowhere to be seen.

Aster: where is he?

Mage: im presuming hes gone to his bunk. White elk, I just wanted to thank you for your contribution. Without you im not sure we would have had the courage to partake in that mission, much less have a mission in play at all by now.

White elk: my ancestors would not have put me here for anything else.

Mage: of course. Now. its time to get some shut eye. Our destination is but a sleeps time away.

White elk nods and dismisses himself to his bunk. Aster lingers watching mage, instead, take a seat near the top end of the charter ship, looking out to the land of agreuis clutching a necklace in his left hand.

Finally, aster disappears into the sleeping bay where dragonarte lays back turned to the others. White el is comforting himself, muttering words of appraisal before sleep. Aster fixes his sheets listening to the echoing of the thick, metal walls of the ship, laying in an uncomfortably lit room. Before his eyes completely shut, he thinks of his former bed and the diegetic sounds of the south lands around him.

He finally falls asleep.

 

 ASTERS NIGHTMARE DREAM SEQUENCE.

Its winter. Aster watches the snow fall around him into the thick blanket of white constricting his legs. In each step, asters muscles struggle to lunge him forward as his eyes struggle to make clear of anything around him. The thick, white fog blows towards his left. Soon, after moments of walking, the thick snow hurdled around his legs starts to thin out and the fog disappears revealing a very lit and strange sky, before he can make sense of anything, the landscape around him turns into the south lands. In his vision, many scarvera, hellia and giant worms roam the land but there is no body in sight. He stops. Then suddenly, a large group of zombified people wearing thick and mechanical neck braces, much like the ones from the siege of the haven, their appearance shocks him as he tries to escape them but soon realises he has become of them, fitted with a similar neck brace, marching for no end and for no means. When they disappear, a white and bright light opens in front of him almost like a tunnel, he stops in its ambience. Then, a silhouette walks out, closer and closer, stalking aster. he starts feeling the need to run and escape, but he cant move, instead, he panics as his heart beats faster and faster and harder and harder. When the figure approaches aster close enough to be seen, its face is still a mystery. Behind it, three hooded figures appear and together, they tower aster, darkening the area around him. Suddenly, another figure emerges from the tunnel as the four figures stand apart allowing for the person to walk to aster. when they are close enough, aster looks, as his eyes adjust, he realises: its jace, Scarred and bruised. The snow begins to fall hard again. Aster reaches out to reconcile with jace and tries to mutter words that just wont come out. With a disturbed and angry look In his eye, jace braces and attacks aster.

aster wakes in a cold sweat. He looks around himself to find dragonarte and mage sleeping in their bunks. He rises from the bed, stretches, and walks out of the sleeping bay.

 

INT. DRAGONARTES CHARTER SHIP.

As aster trudges through the main section of the charter ship sheepishly, white elk is seated, his entire concentration focused on his meditation. Aster sits across white elk studying him as white elk remains unresponsive, eyes closed. Aster peaks over at merlin flying the ship and catches him nodding off looking out into the darkness.

Aster: hey, merlin, you alright there?

Merlin: yeah, kid. All good.

Aster: tired?

Merlin: a little.

Aster: how long are we out?

Aster looks out the cockpit window. The stars shine down heavily onto the blackened soil.

Merlin: my guess is… a few hours, four at most.

Aster thinks.

Aster: why don’t you go get some sleep?

Merlin turns to him shocked.

Merlin: are you… im alright, kid. He sighs. im meant to fly the ship.

Aster: money, right?

Merlin: its my job. What can I say.

Aster: is that all youre here for? To fly the ship?

Merlin: huh? Yeah, but Ill accompany you all to winteriron-

Aster: aren’t you afraid-

Merlin: you ask a lot of questions don’t you.

Pause.

Merlin: here. Let me show you the controls.

Merlin points out each and every section and control of the charter ships mainboard then proceeds to show aster the helm.

Merlin: they all control the panels and flaps of the outside of the ship, this controls the necessary extra force to drive the ship into speed… very fun, this button is for landing and this one compresses the cooling system. Now this is the helm; what you use to steer the ship with. Its very sensitive, a pull to hard will have you swaying into the closest object next to ya. So you want to keep your arms tight, and hold the helm firmly at all times.

Aster absorbs the information.

Aster: whats this do-

He reaches for a large button above merlins head.

Merlin: THAT! Is the weapons control syst-

Merlin presses the large button. The cockpit entrance door closes behind them.

Merlin: oh... its just… yeah.

Pause. Merlin and aster look at one another.

Merlin: just used to it is all. Ahh, here, take the wheel-

Aster: what?

Merlin: go ahead, I guess a touch wont hurt.

Merlin lifts himself out of the seat and aster nervously slides into it. He grips the helm, shaking the ship slightly.

Merlin: woah now, relax. You got this. I told you… its sensitive. He giggles.

Aster: I got it. I got it.

Aster shifts the helm slightly, testing the ship. The ship reacts by rapidly whistling to the right. Merlin is thrown off balance whilst simultaneously gripping the helm and shifting back to centre.

Merlin: okay, okay. had enough fun? This is serious business. Quit joy riding and pay attention.

Aster: sorry-

Merlin: see this little section ive marked out here on the comm? Go towards that and only that, we don’t want to get lost, got it?

Aster focuses and grips the helm extremely tight. He looks into the darkness taking peaks at the commuter inching closer to winteriron. It starts to hit him. The rush of danger mixed in with the already oozing adrenaline from piloting a charter ship for the first time. But he refocuses as merlin moves.

Merlin: im just gonna sit back here, alright? Just… relax…

He sits in a comfortable looking chair behind aster and pulls his hat over his face.

Aster: you finally clocking out, hey?

Merlin: deep breath of relaxation. Shut up.

He starts to doze off.

Aster: okay. okay. ill just call you if theres any… disturbance?

Merlin groans.

As aster continues to fly the ship, the cockpit door opens, unaffecting merlin. White elk walks through to asters chair and rests his arm on its back.

Aster: white elk? Hey! Look at me! Im flying the ship!

White elk: I see that. Impressive.

He looks at merlin.

White elk: all alone too. so tell me, what are you doing up?

Aster: oh, just, couldn’t sleep.

White elk: really?

Pause. Aster thinks of the secret he already holds from white elk, feeling he should at least open up to white elk over this.

Aster: I just… it was… it was just a bad dream. A very bad dream.

White elk: a dream is a dream. Don’t worry too much about them…

Aster: I know, but. This one was strange. It was almost like, like I was seeing into the future. It felt like something I know, a reality, but I cant ‘remember’ it in my past. So it must be a part of my future?

White elk looks at aster stunned.

Aster: a dream is just a dream… but that wasn’t a dream…

Merlin wakes up in a snore.

Merlin: look if you two are just gonna jibber jabber the whole way im off to the bunks. To white elk You got this?

White elk nods.

Merlin: great. He moans deeply.

Aster: night.

White elk: so he is just going to leave you to pilot?

Aster: you said you got this in case I cant-

White elk: I just nodded, I have never flown a ship before.

Aster: what? So now im really alone?!

White elk: relax. I trust you.

Aster accidentally rocks the entire ship throwing everyone off balance and waking dragonarte and mage.

Merlin: what the hell?! Is everything alright in there?! You said you got this? From the main bay.

Aster: yeah! Yeah! I got it… I... got it. Just…fly…straight.

Aster stabilises the ship.

 

Dragonarte: whats going on out there?!

Merlin: take it easy! Everythings under control. Go back to sleep princesses.

 

White elk: see I knew you would be fine.

Aster: yeah… I guess Im alright, im not so bad after all. He-heh.

Aster straightens his posture in an innocent arrogance.

White elk: so…

White elk takes a seat in merlins former chair.

White elk: you going to tell me about that dream?

 

INT. DRAGONARTE’S CHARTER SHIP. MAIN BAY.

Merlin walks through to the main bay rubbing the crust from his sleepy eyes. After adjusting to the sunlight creeping into the ship, he sees mage hurryingly packing the weapons, tools and nourishment.

Mage: ready, merlin? We’ll be there shortly.

Merlin: really? The kid made it? Throw me to the scavs. Wheres everyone else?

Mage: theyre all in the cockpit.

Merlin walks towards and presses the cockpit door activation. He peaks through and sees aster still piloting the ship, white elk aside him and dragonarte packing his equipment seated in the chair in the back of the cockpit.

Dragonarte: merlin.

Aster: merlin! I did it!

Merlin: I see, kid. Gimme the wheel.

Aster jumps out of the pilots seat and proceeds to console in white elk gesturing him to meet him in the main bay. Dragonarte finishes packing and walks over to merlin, who is now piloting the ship.

Dragonarte: time?

Merlin: five minutes.

 

Aster and white elk creep into the main bay as mage walks around them into the cockpit.

Aster: my dream. Should I be worried?

White elk: if your conscious is telling you your friend may be in grave danger and you do believe that the covered figures are connected to winteriron then you must follow your instincts. You should not be questioning if you should be worried about this dream, you shoul be focusing on the one action that must become reality, aster. ending winteriron. for the sake of your friend. for the sake of many.

Aster: do you think he is alive?

White elk: hmmm, I cannot give you a trusting answer. But, what does your conscious tell you?

Aster: that… I guess he is. But I thought you said a dream is just a dream?

White elk: but aster, even you don’t think its just a dream.

Pause.

Mage bursts through the cockpit to the main bay.

Mage: that’s it. Were here. Gentlemen, were here. Pack your things.

The ship starts rumbling and slowing down aggressively. White elk and aster nod to each other and race to their belongings. Mage activates his fusion rifle and takes a seat at the end of the bay.

As aster and white elk pack, the ship comes to a complete stop revving all of the engines loudly, signalling a landing. White elk finishes and sits down strapping himself in as the ship begins to lower slowly, it hovers over the ground gently as the red dust smashes the windows in a cracking sound. Aster finally finishes packing his bag and sits down. He tampers with his wrist turret and soon, the ship hits the ground in man-handling impact. The engines cut off, they echo dies out slowly after.

Dragonarte and merlin enter the main bay, joining the others.

They all stop, reflecting on what is about to happen.

Dragonarte: this is it, gentlemen-

Merlin: I guess this is it…

Dragonarte: whatever happens out there, I just want to thank you for joining me on this quest. For so long ive studied winterirons tyranny. And for so long I watched the consequences of his petty, arrogant actions. But for a long time as well, have I studied the iron collective. A group of warriors, no, true leaders who stand up for what the first and second elders believed in. and that was freedom. Not oppression. Not deceit and manipulation… not winteriron. We may not be much of a crowd. I guess you could say were a little bit of everything, but we make up the south lands, and together, we will stand up for it.

All of the men shake hands, except for aster. who looks down, disappointed. Mage notices.

Mage: We will not just fight for the south lands. The south lands can’t justify themselves over winteriron. Instead, we will fight for agreuis as a whole. For our loved ones. For some we may not like. For more than the south lands, for each other. Everyone. We will fight to represent… unity, to help shape the future so that others may not only learn about winterirons tyranny, but also, the animosity in the south lands. they are all people of agreuis. we, individually, are people of agreuis.

Pause.

Mage: But we, as a team, we will bring the true leaders of freedom back, and whats more, shed a new light on what it is to be free… we will do this, as zealots. The zealots of agreuis. No, not just for agreuis…

Pause.

White elk: but for peace. For the Idyll.

Pause. They all look amongst each other.

aster: quietly The zealots of the idyll…

merlin: catchy.

Dragonarte: lets go.

Dragonarte walks towards the back of the ship, white elk and merlin follow. Mage and aster give each other a reassuring smile and walk out of the ship.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. OUTSIDE THE BLACKNESS. DAY.

Each member slowly creeps out of the ship into the blazing sun. Aster focuses on his surroundings, seeing so much of the same red desert around him as he realises hes now travelled so far from his small town near the sandy ridge. And then, he sees it, a thick black line stretching from horizon to horizon. He gulps.

Dragonarte: you see that? That’s it. Winterirons fortress walls. That’s where were headed.

White elk: how long?

Dragonarte: roughly a weeks travel.

White elk: but, the night-

Mage: we must move quickly if we ought to live.

Dragonarte: we didn’t bring these bad boys for no reason.

Emphasising the weapons.

Merlin: does everyone have their supplies?

They all nod.

Mage: we head north.

Aster gulps, again.

 

In the distance, a mysterious and monochromatically black-clothed figure stands watching every step of the recently landed zealots of the idyll through a pair of binoculars.

 

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. OUTSIDE THE BLACKNESS. DAY.

the zealots march step by step, hour by hour, losing countless amounts of breath feeling the aching pain of trudging over the south lands as the day’s hours wear thin.

Aster turns to white elk.

Aster: what is out here at night?

White elk: I cannot be sure. I know we have flown beyond the range of the scarvera but there is always something dangerous in the south lands… even things none of us may know of…

Aster is left stunned.

Mage: I believe ive found something. We are close to it. This way!

He paces in his beaconed direction.

Aster: close to what?

Mage: theres an established settlement somewhere out here. The isle of lythema.

Aster: lythema? Why Is that name familiar-

Dragonarte: lythema was one of the members of the iron collective… like mage… mage, do you think she would grant you safety for the night to continue our journey in the morning?

Mage: possibly. But I don’t think so… the incident with relm has left me troubled.

They all look around aimlessly and unknowingly.

Dragonarte walks over to comfort mage.

Dragonarte: everything will turn out fine. Lythema wouldn’t hurt her companions-

White elk: we must keep moving. If we do not get there before nightfall-

Mage: then were on the move. Follow me.

Aster: are you sure about this, mage?

Mage: I have to be.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. OUTSIDE THE BLACKNESS. SUNSET.

As the zealots march endlessly feeling the pressure from nightfall, aster stumbles on something buried in the sand.

White elk: it is beginning to seem dangerous out here... The night is upon us.

He picks it up and brushes the sand off of it. It’s a flag.

Aster: uh, hey guys, whats this?

Mage and dragonarte rush over.

Mage: its… it’s a flag of lythemas.

Dragonarte: she must be close.

Aster: which direction?

mage: it says her settlement should be here. But… I cant see it.

Dragonarte: what? So were lost? We aren’t close to the isle and miles from the fortress walls! What are we doing?

white elk eyes dragonarte, who, in the meantime, has been searching the ground and area for tracking clues.

White elk: lets go.

White elk begins walking.

Dragonarte: hey. Wait-what? White elk… where are you going?

No one knows what to say to white elk or dragonarte, they just watch on as this unfolds.

White elk turns to dragonarte.

Pause.

White elk: just trust me.

He winks.

Aster immediately follows… the others eventually do the same.

Merlin: under his breath indigos…

White elk: under his breath tourists…

 

 

EXT. THE ISLE OF LYTHEMA. NIGHT.

White elk leads them into the right direction as sure enough, the zealots come across a large town with buildings twice the size of asters home town, it is truly a settlement reflecting the carefulness of its dozen hospitals. But something about the town moves aster… it has become a ghost town.

Aster: this doesn’t feel right.

White elk: mage?

Mage, unable to comprehend his surroundings, continues stepping through the dark streets.

Dragonarte: where is everyone?

White elk: something has happened.

Aster: but what?

They hear a rattle in a shop close to them.

White elk: in there.

He points to a shop to his right. The zealots follow him in quietly. He opens the door.

Aster: what is th-

White elk: sh.

White elk pushes aster back and dives into the blackened shop. Then suddenly, bursts through the front door, crashing to the floor in front of the other zealots startling aster. in his arms… he holds a woman.

Mage: white elk! Let her go!

He lets the woman go and she scurries towards the door in the blink of an eye.

Mage: seize her!

She desperately slips past merlin; but before she can swiftly hide in her shop again, aster closes the door.

Shes trapped.

Mage: who are you?

she falls to the ground cowering against the door. Mage kneels down and comforts her.

Mage: its alright. Were not your enemy. We aren’t here to hurt you. Hey… Its alright. You can calm down. Its going to be okay…

she eventually stops squirming and sits still, tired.

Mage: what is your name?

Kat: kat.

Mage: im mage… kat, I need you to tell me what happened here.

Aster: and why you were hiding in that shop-

Mage: aster.

Pause.

Mage: please. I need to know.

White elk looks around him hearing a strange but familiar sound in the distance.

White elk: something isn’t right-

Dragonarte: was it the soldiers? The ships?

Pause.

Kat: it was the hellia. They came… they took so many. They come every night… They’ll take us all.

Aster notices white elk unhooks his axe.

Aster: white elk?

The others turn around to face the streets. Kat, realising her chance, scurries back into the shop and locks the door.

Merlin: here we go.

The zealots detach their weapons from their holsters and take aim at the streets and buildings around them struggling to make out any possible threat.

Asters heart pounds faster and faster as his fear begins to wreak from his sweat. 

Dragonarte: where are they?

White elk: all around us. In the darkness. Be ready. When the first one attacks, the others-

The hellia swoop down; so many race out of the shadows to attack the zealots.

Quickly, white elk moves between their piercing attacks, cutting off claws and punching and kicking wings and dark slobbered mouths. When the hellia raise themselves into the sky with their large wings, he shoots his arrow heads into their wings and bodies, cutting them down to plummet into the soil.

White elk: vessels of agreean nature… I pray you leave this miraculous land peacefully…I bid to repent for your untimely and unwarranted deaths…

White elk repeats under his breath slaying the hellia.

Mage and dragonarte repeatedly fire their fusion rifles into every and any flying threat slaying so many with their powerfully upgraded weaponry saving their companions in more instances than one.

Merlin matches the hellia in an aggressive hand to hand combat battle sneaking in devastating pistol shots to the hellias’ temple whilst fighting through scratches and bites occasionally.

Aster, petrified, grips his wrist turret and although he still has much to learn, proves he is noble, and charges into the hellia horde after his companions. One by one, aster shoots and defeats many of the hellia, the confidence on his face proves his comfortability with utilising a weapon like his counterparts; demonstrating he can hold his own in battle. In the corner of his eye, aster sees a large number of hellia surrounding white elk however.

As the champion warrior in the zealots, the hellia form around him to take out their fiercest opponent.

Aster: white elk!

Aster shifts his attention to white elk, away from the hellia in front of him, to save his friend. Dragonarte notices aster turn away from the enemies in his way, so he covers the boy with heavy suppressive fire slashing the hellia down with big bolts of blue energy.

Aster assists white elk by destroying the surrounding hellia as white elk slices through the hellia.

Dragonarte: mage! look!

Mage turns his attention to white elk, who is almost encapsulated by the hellia.

Mage: merlin! Cover dragonarte!

mage straps his fusion rifle to his back and charges towards white elk and the horde of hellia thirsting for him.

Unfortunately, the massing horde of hellia proves to become much too great for white elks abilities as he is soon seized and cemented in the blanket of the hellia’s gripping claws and wings. White elk is lifted into the air as his face is quickly and viciously mauled by the abundantly berserk hellias limbs causing him to fall unconscious.

Aster: no!

as aster fires into the undisturbed creatures, mage charges through the hellia, bursting past the last one to jump, using all of his might, and grab hold of white elks unconscious body. His hand slips as only one desperately grasps for dear life.

The zealots gasp as a large portion of the horde bellow and fly into the clouds. Unseen.

Aster: what?! Where did they go?!

The other hellia unsettle and turn their attention to the rest of the zealots aiming to make them their prey just as white elk and mage have become.  

Merlin: we need to run.

Aster: but the others-

Merlin: now!

The three scatter and are immediately pursued by the blood hungry hellia. Their screeches echoing in the dark streets bursting asters ear drums.

Dragonarte: to the ship! Come on!

Aster and merlin fall in following dragonarte as the hellia continue their chase.

Merlin: we cant out run them forever!

Aster: hes right!

Dragonarte turns to see the massing horde creeping closer to their bodies.

Dragonarte: we just have to try!

Merlin stops.

Merlin: no. we cant. They’ll catch us.

Dragonarte notices merlin has stopped and does the same. Aster follows dragonartes actions.

Merlin: give me your weapon.

Dragonarte: wha-

Merlin: give me your weapon, dragonarte. I will stop them.

Aster: theres too many.

Merlin: then Ill hold them off as long as I can. Get to the ship, both of you.

Dragonarte: merlin, no-

Merlin: its alright. Its my job.

Merlin rips the fusion rifle from dragonartes grip.

Merlin: I better get a raise after this one. Go.

He turns away from them.

Aster: merlin, no.

The horde creeps closer holding whats left of the zealots in a choke.

Merlin: aster! remember the controls, get out of here.

Merlin starts firing at the incoming hellia.

Dragonarte: aster, we must go!

Aster fires into the hellia.

Aster: not without, merlin, we cant afford to lose anyone else!

Merlin: aster. itll be okay. Ill see you after this.

Merlin continues to fire into the horde, taking endless amounts of bodies with each shot.

Dragonarte rips aster from the battle.

Dragonarte: lets go!

They continue their retreat to the ship.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. DAY.

Dragonarte: it should be just over here…

Aster: im so tired-

Dragonarte: its just a little longer, aster, we can do this.

Aster: are you sure about this?

Dragonarte: I tracked our steps from the moment we left. We have nothing to worry about.

Aster and dragonarte pass over a small mound to find nothing. The ship is gone.

Dragonarte: what?!

Aster: where is it?

Pause.

Dragonarte: no! its gone!

Aster: what? How?

Dragonarte: ‘southlanders’, Damnit!

Aster: …what are we going to do-

Dragonarte: what can we do?! Our friends have been taken, maybe even slaughtered. Our ship is gone and we are no closer to defeating winteriron since when we started!

A small sand storm picks up.

Aster: we can-

Dragonarte: we have no weapons! No directions! We are miles from anywhere with civilisation… were doomed!

aster thinks long and hard as dragonarte storms into the distance fuelled by complete anger and anxiousness. Every plan he conjures as a ray of hope concludes with their decimation and a probable lash out by dragonarte. Instead, aster sits in the soil, almost like he did when he first left his small town, coming so far to only crash so hard.

Dragonarte: whispers exodus…

Aster: dragonarte! Dragonarte!

Dragonarte doesn’t respond.

Aster: what about shelter…

Aster cradles himself and looks around for any immediate coverings as the sand storm lives on.

 

INT. DRAGONARTES CHARTER SHIP.

Inside dragonartes ship lurks an ominous figure. The dark and covered figure stalking the charter ship earlier has crept on board and stolen the vessel. The figure stands over the helm and directs the ship beyond agreuis’ atmosphere; towards broken earth.

The figure unveils a small screen attached to the top of the main powerboard in the cockpit. A face appears as the screen brightens.

Officer Jackson: this ship has been detected by earths atmospheric scanners. Please Identify yourself.

Pause.

The figure removes their hood to reveal a girl.

Lara: this is lara, cadet clearance: seven-one-one-one-six, I am travelling inside a rogue ship from the south lands, over.

Officer Jackson: I must ask you to transfer the data of your ship over... now.

She does so.

Officer Jackson: cleared. what is your cargo and destination?

Lara: myself… the EUCRC. 

Officer Jackson: yes, cadet… you are free to land.

The ship floats past shattered points of the moon and toward broken earths capital.

 

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS. NIGHT.

Aster, laying peacefully in the desert soil, wakes as dragonarte aggressively shakes him.

Dragonarte: aster… aster…

aster groans.

Dragonarte: ive got a plan. But we must go now.

Aster wakes slowly, surveying the scenery around him.

Aster: what? Dragonarte, its dark! We need to find shelter... not go back out there-

Dragonarte: we have to keep moving forward.

He stands.

Dragonarte: im sure there must be more settlements straight ahead before we hit the blackness.

Aster: dragonarte, what about the others-

Dragonarte: we cant. I mean… where do we find them? How do we even know theyre alive-

Aster: We couldn’t hope to do this alone. No. we need to go back-

Dragonarte: how can we save them? We could barely fight off the horde together and you want to attack them with just us?

Aster: there has to be another way… we don’t have to fight them.

Dragonarte: how do you even know if theyre alive, aster-

Aster: I don’t! but if you were captured by those things, any of those men would risk their lives to save you. In fact, one just did and he barely knew you. Pull yourself together. We need them.

Pause.

Dragonarte: …what do you propose?

Aster: you said it yourself, alone, we cant fight them off. But we can sneak our friends out.

Dragonarte: around the hellia? Is that even possible?

Aster: you saw them all bunch up in that town. If we go around them, we would be in the clear-

Dragonarte: and do what after weve snuck by them? Where would we find the others?

Aster thinks.

Aster: we’ll just have to figure that out when we get there-

Dragonarte: arent you the person who proposed we have ‘a plan and a back-up plan’?

Aster: …yeah…

Aster walks towards danger… the isle of lythema.

Aster: you coming, dee?

Dragonarte: don’t… don’t call me that…

Dragonarte follows.

 

EXT. EARTHS UNITED CAPITAL REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER (EUCRC). LANDING BAY.

Dragonartes charter ship lands within broken earths atmosphere onto a large landing platform outside a dull coloured mechanical scraper. Many landing bay officers and recruits of broken earths army showed up to greet the courageous cadet on her journey home.

Lara steps out. A small applause breaks out.

Platform handler: good evening, cadet. Congratulations on your return home. The representatives have been expecting you.

Lara: notify them of my arrival, immediately. We have much to discuss.

The platform handler gestures to one of the landing bay officers to speak with the EUCR. Lara then follows him into the building.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

Sunrise dawns upon aster and dragonarte as they courageously journey towards the isle of lythema.

Dragonarte: this should be- there!

Dragonarte points to something long laying in the sand. It is his former fusion rifle.

Aster: is that? Your weapon. Merlin. Merlin!

Aster screams out in desperate search of merlin. Dragonarte races towards the rifle.

Dragonarte: theres blood around the trigger. He could be in a lot of trouble.

Aster: but wheres his body.

Dragonarte: its not amongst these hellia, that’s for sure. They could’ve taken him-

Aster: or he could’ve escaped. He could still be alive.

Dragonarte: lets hope so.

Dragonarte checks the rifles cartridges.

Dragonarte: its empty. He couldve abandoned the weapon.

Dragonarte reloads the gun.

Aster: …merlin…

Dragonarte: there may be a chance he was taken to where the others are… we should keep going.

Aster and dragonarte trudge through the laid carcasses of the hellia towards the isle.

 

INT. EARTHS UNITED CAPITAL REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER.

In the chamber, a group of ten individuals forming earths united capital sit in a circle discussing much of the significant events and debates as of late regarding the diplomacy between earth and its connection with agreuis.

A councilman of the trade corporation extends a hand of unity and eventually bows to the united capital before exiting their chamber.

A general enters the chamber shortly after.

General karissan: honourable representatives…

Head Chancellor chullore: general karissan.

General karissan: I have waited anxiously enough for the cadet. By now we must accept that she will not return and another operation should be put into action-

Chancellor pulbrook: what do you suggest, general? Not another motion toward militaristic violence between the two planets, hm?

General karissan: perhaps. Chancellors, there is little diplomatic action we can take against winteriron.

Chancellor resscadziv: what are you expecting of him, general?

General karissan: I don’t believe he has remained silent for so long to invoke a sense of peace between the two planets. This situation only gives me more reason to angst and without the cadets reconnaissance im sure the people of earth would now feel the same. The time for peace is over. Winteriron knows this, why don’t you?

Head chancellor chullore: the fact of the matter, karissan, is that your plan to send in a stealthy operative has disregarded many planetary-home invasion laws and quite frankly, left us with nothing. Our hold on the sanity of earths people has been shortened and because of you; they are now waiting for granted intel… intel we do not have.

Pause.

Head chancellor chullore: Furthermore, your failed lawless operation makes us look incapable and desperate… if the people of earth found that we were indeed the weaker link in this chain of war… well, how could winteriron fear a broken machine?

Chancellor resqadxiv: how can this broken machine possibly hope to work again?

General karissan looks around him, desperate for an answer.

Lara enters the chamber.

Lara: by coming together.

She steps towards the circle, aside karissan, whos eyes have widened almost seeing a ghost.

Lara: greetings, honourable representatives… general.

Chancellor kyro: cadet…

General karissan: …lara.

Head chancellor chullore: …welcome home, cadet. Have you much to report?

lara gulps.

Lara: I went over winterirons fortress walls and learned as much as I could. It seems winteriron has become more dangerous than previously imagined. It seems he is planning war… Our worst nightmares have come true.

Debate and squabbling is heard exchanging between the representatives.

Head chancellor chullore: what did you see, cadet?

Lara: an army. One greater than winteriron has ever created before-

Chancellor kran: who is his target?!

Lara: it wasn’t clear. They chanted and screamed for the dawn of a new age... He has become unrelenting… more so than ever before. Honourable and esteemed representatives… winteriron wants war… he wants blood… the blood of every man, woman and child that does not follow him inside his cold, fortress walls-

Chancellor kyro: If his army is what you say it is, we wouldn’t stand a chance-

Lara: confused surely a course of action will be set in place with the information brought to you today?

Chancellor pulbrook: we couldn’t possibly hope to face winteriron one on one. Its suicide.

General karissan: but my men are ready, representatives. We can do this-

Head chancellor chullore: you may believe so, karissan, but there is more than meets the eye with winteriron. We must be cautious.

Lara: this is preposterous! During my travel to agreuis I met a local from the south lands eager to face winteriron in any battle. Perhaps we could commune with the south lands and set aside the conflict and moral greyness that sets our two nations apart and end his destructive reign?

Pause.

General karissans face lights up.

Head chancellor chullore: this action is too risky. The south lands is far too unpredictable to share an alliance with…

General karissan: how many more operations will you ignore before winteriron seizes control over you. Or worse, wipes you out completely?

Pause.

Lara: something has to be done about winteriron now, chancellors. Before it is too late.

General karissan: before any more is lost…

the representatives discuss the situation between each other.

Head chancellor chullore: the information you have brought us today has served us valiantly and will not go unnoticed in the eyes of all on earth. Unfortunately, we will not throw earth into a full scale planetary war involving outcomes far more dangerous than initially underestimated. However, the matter within winterirons fortress will not go unrecognised. This capital will reach winteriron in hopes of a satisfactory conclusion. Thank you, general karissan and cadet seven-one-one-one-six, that will be all.

Laras expression breaks.

 

INT. OUTSIDE THE EUCRC.

Lara follows general karissan out of the chamber.

He turns to her.

General karissan: lara… its good to have you back home.

Lara: its better to be back. I couldn’t take a second longer in the agreuis heat... and all for nothing.

General karissans face breaks a little.

Pause.

General karissan: lara… you must trust me… can you do that?

Lara: general… whats wrong?

Karissan sighs.

General karissan: i must turn my back on the representatives on this one. You, I and the representatives themselves know winteriron will not listen to their pleas; we know he will only enjoy every second of powerlessness they bring to him. Because of this, I have been swayed to rebel against their high orders. Instead of nothing, I will do what must be done for the sake of all of humanity… theres too much at stake.

Lara: general?

General karissan: I am going to take a large squadron to winteriron. We will stop this madness once and for all. The representatives mustn’t hear about this, please…

Lara: …something has to be done. general… It was an honour fighting aside you.

General karissan: cadet, youre one hell of a soldier.

Pause.

Lara immediately launches herself at karissan and hugs him tightly.

Lara: thank you, father.

General karissan: thank you… buttercup. Ive missed you dearly.

 

EXT. OUTSIDE THE ISLE OF LYTHEMA. DAY.

aster and dragonarte huff and puff in the extreme heat of the south lands; straight ahead, the isle of lythema stands tall, trapped.

Aster: I can see it now.

Dragonarte: were not too far.

Dragonarte wipes a large collection of sweat off of his forehead.

They continue their journey towards the isle.

Soon, their steps stop only yards from the familiar streets of the isle.

They hesitate.

Aster: can you see any?

Dragonarte: no… not yet.

Dragonarte raises his weapon.

Aster: lets keep moving anyway. This way.

Aster leads dragonarte around the concrete city, which as they peak in, becomes more of a field hospital.

Dragonarte: there… theres a group of them.

Dragonarte points his weapon toward a large section of hellia hanging from the tall buildings hiding themselves in plain sight whilst polluting the very decency of lythemas hospital.

Aster: easy… easy… lets not startle them.

Dragonarte lowers his weapon slowly. They move on.

Aster: where is the end of this town?

Dragonarte: we can only know when we cross the corner. it shouldn’t be that much farther. Come on, aster.

Hellia aggressively flap their wings for comfort as they hang.

The duo halts, their focus breaking at the sound of the terror. A bead of sweat runs down asters face.

Dragonarte turns his head slightly and notices a large hellia sleeping just above him; fearing his fast beating heart will not thump too hard that the beast will hear it.

They both take a large deep breath in and continue to the end of the city. Suddenly, the duo pass the last building of the isle. To their surprise, a large forestation of dead trees covers miles and miles of soil.

Aster: what the-

Dragonarte: how did?... why… I didn’t know lythema built a settlement here?

Aster: what is this?

Dragonarte: this is deadwood. For miles these dead trees dominate the south lands…

Aster: deadwood? Why are these trees dead?

Dragonarte: no one knows… this is interesting.

Aster: …to say the least… what now?

Dragonarte checks around him for any threats.

Dragonarte: lets go into it.

Aster: why?

Dragonarte: the hellia could easily be hiding the others in there.

Aster: like a nest?

Dragonarte: possibly. Theres only one way to find out.

Dragonartes gestures for aster to continue.

In a moment of fear, aster remains still, but he is soon edged on by dragonarte.

Dragonarte: itll be okay, aster. you’ve got my back… and ive got yours.

They venture into the deadwood.

 

EXT. THE DEADWOOD.

 After travelling for miles, aster and dragonarte stop to take a short break.

aster: I don’t trust this place…

dragonarte: just relax, theyre called the deadwood for a reason, there should be nothing in here-

aster: then why are we here? weve been walking for hours.

Dragonarte: the hellia had to have made their nest here, right? the others have to be around here, don’t give up-

Aster: I cant even tell if its day or night anymore, dragonarte-

Dragonarte: we will find them-

Aster: face it, were lost.

Dragonarte: do you have a better plan right now?

Aster: we have to find a way out of here.

Dragonarte: and which way is that? Are you proposing we go back the way we came-

Aster: that would take too long. We should head towards winteriron-

Dragonarte: aster, youre as lost as I am, how could you possibly think to hope that heading north wont been an even longer trip?

Aster looks around at the same intoxicating surroundings over and over. His mind become more and more trapped.

Aster: is there something about the deadwood I need to know…

Dragonarte: what are you talking about, aster-

Aster swings his body amongst the infinite trees once more.

Aster: the trees… like the forsaken forest, is there something in these trees?

Dragonarte: of course not, aster- no-

dragonarte circles, time slowing down around him.

Aster: why did they call it the deadwood again?

Aster: …because there are none who survive it

Aster: what did you say, dragonarte…dragonarte?

Aster is alone. Constricted by the cluster of flora.

Aster panics. Indecisive in which way to escape and to find dragonarte all at once.

His breath begins to elude him.

Aster: dragonarte!

Suddenly, dragonartes mumbling can be heard close by. when aster follows the faint sound, he witnesses dragonartes laying body under a thick cage of branches and logs.

Aster: dragonarte?!-

Dragonarte: your answer. The question-

Aster: dragonarte, I need to get you out of this!

Aster reaches down, trying to pull the tough and heavy wood off of dragonartes suffocating body.

Aster then quickly remembers his wrist turret and fires into the origin of the branches growth. He rips dragonarte from under them.

Aster: oh my god…

Dragonartes clothing has been singed, burned under an eroding acid.

Aster: they were trying to eat you…

Dragonarte: your question. The answer… because the trees have been dead for centuries… and no one seems to know why…

Aster twitches.

Aster: we need to escape now, can you run-

Dragonarte: what about the others?

Aster: dragonarte, youre a little delusional right now, we need to focus on us for a while. If we get out of here we can do something about the others later… im not even sure if theyre in here-

Dragonarte: they have to be-

Aster: if they were, theyd be dead.

Aster looks at his surroundings once more, feeling the illusion effects of the trees, but this time, remaining vigilant.

Dragonarte: where do we go, aster?

Dragonarte begins swaying.

Aster: hold on, hold on!

Aster cannot make the decision.

Dragonarte: aster…

Aster: this way. Move…now.

aster runs into any direction, praying his made a proper choice.

 

EXT. OUTSIDE THE DEADWOOD.

Aster: there, I can smell the fresh air-

Dragonarte: I can see some sunlight-

Aster: you can do this, dragonarte! Just a little longer.

Aster barges through the last tree entrapment, followed closely by a semi-poisoned dragonarte.

Aster: freedom!

Dragonarte crashes to the floor. Inhaling extraordinarily. 

Aster: are you alright?

Dragonarte: ...ill live. My weapon-

Aster: its gone-

Dragonarte: how-

Aster: you were being eaten alive by that… forest. Youre lucky to be out safe-

Dragonarte: but where is my weapon-

Aster: youre lucky to be alive, alright? I didn’t have time to pick up a hunk of metal when I was saving you.

Dragonarte: you couldn’t have grabbed the rifle as you were helping me up-

Aster: are you really doing this after all of that?!... I couldn’t even see it, alright? It mustve been consumed…

Dragonarte: what are we going to do about protection now?

Aster looks around him.

Dragonarte: and what about the others? where are they if not in there?

Aster: I don’t know. but for now… we need to travel away from this place… it gives me the creeps.

Dragonarte nods.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

Aster and dragonarte, after wandering far from the deadwood and the isle, stumble across a large rock formation buried deep into the ground.

Dragonarte: hm, a meteoroid. This will do.

Aster: for what?

Dragonarte: we’ll rest here for now.

Aster: are you sure? What about the creatures-

Dragonarte: we haven’t been attacked yet. My guess is, those bats are all bunched up in that isle… and the others are probably hiding somewhere far from it, well be safe tonight.

They take a seat far away from each other, their companionship continues but their deep seeded differences separates them. Out of their equipment bags they reach for refreshments.

Aster: so…

Dragonarte looks at him.

Aster: you fight for the south lands, huh?

Dragonarte: that’s right.

Aster: studying and learning from the iron collective?

Dragonarte: yes. What concerns you about what I do?

Aster: its just funny… my father was a part of the iron collective and he always believed in peace among others-

Dragonarte: homar was just there for them… and the iron collective did believe in peace.

Aster: the iron collective believed in the south lands which even mage can now see is corrupt-

Dragonarte: winteriron is corrupt-

Aster: theres not just one way of corruption…

Pause.

Dragonarte: the other members of the iron collective still believe in what I do. They trusted the idea of the south lands-

Aster: but look at what it has become! They trusted it… we abused it. I watched a member of the iron collective ravage the town of another member out of desperate need!

Dragonarte frowns.

Aster: Its time for you to fight for another cause, a larger cause… and forget… that one.

Dragonarte sits stunned.

Dragonarte: my cause is real. The south lands stands. Your cause… for peace… sorry, for the idyll… it is a myth. A lie. If the south lands is so corrupt how can you expect idyll?

Aster: we will teach others our ways… what is right in life. That the south lands is the past and should be gotten rid of. That a time for change is now. when winteriron is defeated, the people will see again. The idyll will come in time.

Pause. Dragonarte drops his head.

An agreement cannot be made between the zealots.

Dragonarte: we should turn our attention to what we should be focusing on. the others. They need us.

aster throws his head.

Dragonarte: ill see you in the morning.

 

Aster and dragonarte wake to the uncomfortable brightness of the sun as they lay helplessly against the meteoroid lost on the agreen soil for a millennia, given itself to agreuis in a distant galaxy.

Suddenly, dragonarte notices a trio of hellia flying away from them in the distance.

Dragonarte: those are hellia?

Aster nods, unassured.

Dragonarte: theyre going somewhere, probably to where they held the others-

Aster: how can you be sure-

Dragonarte: where else would they be going, the isle of lythema is back that way.

Aster: what do we do?

Dragonarte: we follow them. They could be leading us to the others.

aster and dragonarte launch themselves to their feet and rush towards the escaping hellia.

 

EXT. THE DARK SPOT.

Aster and dragonarte eventually stumble across a giant hole covered in the darkest soil to appear naturally on agreuis.

Aster: what is this-

Dragonarte: of course, the hellia were sure to build a refuge in one of these-

Aster: one of what?

Dragonarte: one of the dark spots-

Aster: a dark spot?

Dragonarte: its believed that these hollowed out cavities belonged to the steps of giant and godly monster.

Aster: by who?

Dragonarte: mostly the indigos. I have a feeling theyre down there, aster. lets go.

Aster and dragonarte descend into the enormous ditch, scaling down the dark soil step by step. Asters heart, racing.

once the duo reaches the bottom of the dark spot, aster raises his weapon.

Dragonarte: remember, weve got company down here-

Aster: how many?

The duo walk in circles trying to uncover the hidden hellia.

Aster: why haven’t they attacked yet?

Dragonarte: they probably don’t think were in here, but where are the others?

The darkness becomes harder and harder to see in.

Aster: its too dark now, we wouldn’t stand a chance.

Suddenly, the duo stumble into a small camp created by the hellia, a ray of sunlight peaking into the enclosure.

Dragonarte: what is this?

The duo witness hundreds of people tied down to shards of rocks and debris.

Aster: a place one not dare go.

They walk through the camp slowly.

Dragonarte: are they alive?

Aster: probably. Barely. No one here would have the strength to stand. Let alone climb out of here.

Dragonarte: do you think the others might be here?

Aster: I think so. But white elk would surely find a way out of something like this-

Lythema: white elk?

The duo turn to a captured and dying woman.

Aster: e-excuse me?

Lythema: white elk. You said, white elk?

Aster: yes… I did. Do you know him?

Aster and dragonarte approach lythema.

Lythema: he was here a little while ago.

Aster: so they escaped?!

She nods her head ever so slightly.

Aster thinks.

Aster: h…how do we save you? Save you all?

Lythema: my child… I appreciate your honour… but this just cant happen.

Aster: but…

Pause.

Lythema gives aster a reassuring look.

Aster: th-thank you.

Lythema nods gracefully.

Aster turns to dragonarte and gestures for them to leave. Dragonarte nods to lythema. Aster begins walking towards mage and white elk.

Dragonarte: are… are you?...

Lythema smirks.

Dragonarte breaks a smirk in response.

Aster: dragonarte?

Dragonarte chases after aster.

Lythema watches the duo chase their companions.

She smiles.

 

Aster: how far out do you think they are?

Dragonarte: they would be miles ahead of us… lets get out here first, none of this seems right.

Suddenly, the sound of a large growling hellia is heard.

Aster: w-what Is that- tell me its not what I think it is-

Dragonarte: get a grip on yourself! Point your weapon!

Aster: where is it-

Dragonarte: I don’t know!

Another hellia is heard behind them.

Dragonarte gulps.

aster: don’t… star-

in an instant, one of the hellia screech and races towards aster and dragonarte, but is met by the thick blade atop of white elks axe. The other hellia dives in afterwards, but is easily bested by an unstoppable white elk.

White elk lowers his arm.

Dragonarte: you escaped?

Aster: wheres mage?

White elk: quick we must leave this place. Before more attack.

White elk directs them out of the dark spot.

Aster: how did you know we were out here?

White elk: I just knew.

Aster looks at white elk confusingly.

White elk: come. I must show you something.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: THE EXCELLENCE’S QUARTERS.

Within the winter fortress walls relishes a concentrated power, one so great that the very confines of the south lands shivers at its mere existence. Within the fortress walls, a top the largest, most imposing and dagger-shaped spire, far from the mediocre culture that is the south lands; lives the ruler of agreuis, the tyrant of the south lands, the coldly eminent and ruthless: winteriron.

Winteriron, lightly holding a glass of earths greatest and most aged spirit, in a purposely dimly lit room, stalks his very quarters scowling at everything his eyes meet. As he rests and enjoys the very dark energy he himself projects, he sips on his glass ever so slightly and strolls, each boot branding his hellish and moving demeanour into empathy itself. In front of him is a large window, opening his diabolical horizons and portraying the free south lands, and in the distance… broken earth orbiting agreuis.

He flinches angrily. Their very livelihood mocks his very persona. their stare back, thins his patience and provokes his detestation.

But he soon centres himself, pulls his arm firmly behind his back and straightens his posture simultaneously, and sips his spirit again.

Winteriron: insolence. insolent beings. Wallowing in their irrationality. Preserving disorder…

Winteriron chuckles realising the absurdity of the south lands.

His eyes meet with broken earth and soon drift away nonchalantly.

Winteriron: inferiority.

He swirls his spirit.

Winteriron: once… once you, earth, raises and lowers his glass, were prosperous… beautiful. But agreuis was sent to us… it was sent to me. Agreuis brought a new age. It incited the evolution of human behaviour, carved from the very planet itself. To take… by force, and become greater.

He glares at the ruptured moon.

Winteriron: earth may have needed you. Your very light would service that great world, but, you are something of what once was, the past. Such a glorious and monstrously sized phenomenon… destroyed by an even larger force, ripping its way into its own elected path…. No matter the consequence. Agreuis and winteriron are the future. Not those petty things parading outside these fortress walls! Why don’t you all see?... your brutish way of life… don’t you all see your regression?

Winteriron chuckles under his breath.

Winteriron: you have wounded me…

He looks at both broken earth and the south lands.

Winteriron: but like a phoenix I will rise from my ashes. Each and every time. Until it is all under my reign.

Winterirons eyes shut slowly. He listens closely to the deadened diegetic sounds outside his thick window.

Suddenly, his eyes open.

Winteriron: this time. My quest WILL be fulfilled. So now, on behalf of agreuis and by the very nature of my soul, I ask you…

Winteriron reaches out to the south lands and broken earth with the hand holding his spirit.

Winteriron: which of you will contend with me first, in the final act?

Pause.

A civil servant of winteirion enters the eerie ambiance.

Minister zed: your excellence…

Winteriron turns slowly to the sound of one of his followers.

Minister zed: your excellence, I have word from one of our hidden scanners orbiting earth… it seems a rogue ship has entered earth via the south lands.

Winteriron sips his spirit.

Minister zed: we traced back to a code clearance given from the pilot, we found that the clearance was military and weve learned that the pilot is, in fact, an operative of broken earth allegedly assigned by the united capital representatives themselves…

Winteriron barely nods to his follower before turning back to his large window, and eyeing broken earth.

Winteriron: so it will be you…

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

Aster, white elk and dragonarte emerge from the black and greyish soil of the dark spot. Aster and dragonarte smell the fresh and free air of the south lands around them.

Aster: so where is this place you spoke of, white elk?

White elk: further. We must continue quickly.

 

EXT. FORMER IRON COLLECTIVE BASE.

Soon, in front of them, appears a large building standing alone in the south lands soil.

aster: what is that?

White elk: mage calls it the iron collective headquarters.

Dragonarte: this! Is the iron collective base? from the second civil war?!

White elk: apparently so.

Dragonartes face lights up.

Aster: what happened during this war?

Pause.

Dragonarte: I can explain inside.

They enter the base.

 

INT. FORMER IRON COLLECTIVE BASE.

the zealots walk through the emptiness of the base. the very essence of the building wreaks of old. White elk directs aster and dragonarte to the situation room.

 

INT. SITUATION ROOM.

Aster and dragonarte enter to find mage standing tall aside a long and important table, looking outside a little window. He turns to them.

Mage: aster… dragonarte!

Dragonarte: mage, youre alive!

Aster: how did you escape the nest?

Mage: well… white elk over here. He saved both of our lives.

Aster: to dragonarte told you-

White elk: w-where is… merlin?

Aster: oh-

Dragonarte: he sacrificed himself to the hellia for us. He didn’t make it.

Mage and white elk frown.

Pause.

Mage: you two must be tired?

Aster: we are.

Mage: then you must get some rest. We will head out in the morning.

Dragonarte: where will we go?

Mage: I have surveyed the landscape from our navigational system here, and although the equipment is a little rusty, it has found that the blackness is only so close. after you rest, we will head for winteriron.

Dragonarte nods.

Aster: were still doing this then?

They all gregariously nod to him.

Mage: go rest. Ill see you two later.

White elk: the fog has been lifted.

White elk breathes in heavily.

Dragonarte and aster leave.

 

INT. SLEEPING QUARTERS.

Aster and dragonarte walk into a dark room supplying comfortable looking beds.

Dragonarte: so… do you wanna hear about the second civil war?

Aster: sure.

Aster and dragonarte choose a bed each and place their equipment on the floor beside it. They sit and face each other.

Dragonarte: years ago, when we were infants, the fathers before us stood as ones who would pursue the dreams of the second elders…

Aster: which was?

They lean back into a comfortable sleeping position.

Dragonarte: for us to live freely, without a tyrannical leader, without oppression. so, the iron collective challenged winteriron and in a battle stretching into a channel of the jewel and the blackness itself, the iron collective and its army fought against his soldiers… his followers. When the battle was over, and both, the iron collective and winteriron, had lost most of its soldiers, winteriron retreated. The south lands has been untouched ever since… well, we presumed.

Aster is stunned.

Dragonarte: and now…

Aster turns his head to dragonarte.

Dragonarte: we strike back.

Aster turns back absorbing the information.

Soon, they feel the heaviness of the day and fall fast asleep.

 

ASTERS NIGHTMARE SEQUENCE-VISION.

Aster wakes in the sleeping quarters aside dragonarte. He stands up, oddly hearing a screeching sound in the main hall. He follows it. The path is dark and auspicious and the screeching sounds begin to multiply. Then suddenly, flapping wings impair asters ear drums. He recognises the sound. It’s the hellia. They appear from the dark corners of the main hall of the iron collectives base. aster sprints to the door, his heart racing a thousand beats a minute, almost clipped and taken by many of the hellia. He shrugs the final devilish flying bat-like creature out of his way and bursts through the main hall doors. He lands onto the red soil of the south lands in broad daylight. When he stands, darkness starts to fall on him, then hes left in an echoing blackness. He begins to hear the sound of clashing swords. The pitched sound creeps closer, he feels something brush past his shoulder. Then, a daunting figure, a soldier of winteriron, attempts to cut aster down. He falls to the ground… when his arms uncover his face, hes in a completely concrete room. He stands and before he can analyse his surroundings, a person is pushed into him and quickly has their throat cut. He steals a glimpse of the figure and to his damaging surprise; its merlin. The room drips into a strong blood red.

He wakes and shakes his head. He walks out into the main hall to clear his mind.

 

INT. MAIN HALL. DAWN.

Aster walks into the hallway and passes a half-closed door. He peaks inside, knowing he shouldn’t. he sees mage, in his former quarters from his days of yore. At his bedside, he sports large amounts of memorabilia for his former collective members and photographs of each member. He salutes them in an odd way, quickly after crashing his head into the palms of his hands.

Aster leaves mage in his world. He soon walks into the open hall and witnesses’ white elk meditating in the middle of the extremely large room.

Aster: white elk…

White elk centres himself, opening his eyes.

White elk: yes?

Aster: can-can I disturb you?

White elk: no… its fine. Come.

aster walks over and sits opposite white elk.

aster embarrassingly withholds telling white elk about another nightmare.

White elk: aster… if I may ask… who are you? now you are a part of this clan. Now you are one of them. But before… why did I find you?

Aster takes a deep breath in and out.

Aster: I lied. I lied so I wouldn’t be left to die in the sand, alone. When I saw what you were like, I hoped you would know about winteriron and not think particularly high of him. I knew that if you did… that it would make you save me.

White elk is shocked at what he is being told.

aster: im sorry… I know you must be upset. Im sorry for taking you away from your tribe, im sorry about dragging you into this… suicide mission. Im sorry for being weak.

White elk breaks a sympathetic smile.

White elk: as ive said before, aster, my ancestors have set me on this path, a path that radiates light and eventual goodness. Regardless of how I fell into this, this was my destiny. My tribe will be proud with the tales ill have to bring to them.

Aster smiles at white elk.

Aster: white elk… my nightmares… they’ve returned.

White elk: what? What did you see?

aster thinks.

Aster: it showed me… a death.

White elk: did you see who it was?

Aster: I think so… I think it was merlin.

White elk: merlin-

Aster: but white elk, was this a dream?

White elk: I…

White elk falls silent then centres himself once more.

White elk: of course, aster, silly nightmares…

Pause.

Aster: why are you sitting in the middle of the room?

White elk smirks.

White elk: I, aster…

White elk raises his arms into the air.

White elk: am feeling the past, the present and the future of this sagacious building. The people that have walked these halls, the people who reside in it as I speak, the order that will be brought from this journey, its… energy, fills the room, it fills our souls, there is hope in the aura that we walk in…

aster: what is all of this you delve yourself into?

White elk: it is the miracle of agreuis, its mystics, where its aura channels the emotion of a place so that we could understand it, learn from it and become from it.

Mage enters and storms past both of them with a sad look on his face. Aster remembers the experience with mage in his own personal quarters and follows him out.

White elk: aster?

 

EXT. FORMER IRON COLLECTIVE BASE.

Outside, mage halts in his tracks leaving a cloud of red dust to form behind him and eventually disperse into the sky of agreuis. carefully, aster steps out from the former iron collective base, keeping a distance from mage, and surveys the scenario.

Mage: I know you know why im here. 

Mage turns to aster.

Mage: you peeked into my room earlier, didn’t you?

Aster remains silent.

Mage: I know you saw me… huddle for comfort over the photos of my lost brethren… I know you think I live in the past… For some of us, the past is all we have, and the future you seek is well… a fantasy for little boys.

Aster is hit hard with the words mage has spoken.

Aster: I thought you decided to believe in this future.

Mage takes a long look at the base.

Mage: I did… I do… but this place has uncovered so much… and reminded me of so much that’s been lost…

Aster opens his mouth ready to speak but is quickly interrupted by mage.

Mage: this place once stood for freedom. At least, for what we thought freedom was…

Mage chuckles

Mage: we all even had moments where we would speak about our dreams of a perfect world after winteriron, where we would speak of our kin and children, inspiring each other to keep fighting even through the thickest of situations. It was in this base we formed the iron collective. It was in here we decided to become a team, become heroes, and stand up for the little person no matter how confused they might have gotten. In here… we gave them out there, hope. And when the word spread, it was only a matter of time before the people of the south lands joined us, and influenced… each other.

Aster thinks.

Mage: It seems after it all, our efforts weren’t really needed… but our courage, our companionship… to actually stand for what was prophesised by even the first elders.

aster: im sure what all of them fought for is not lost.

Mage kicks the dirt in front of his feet as aster steps towards him as a companion.

Mage: you know as well as I do, that if anyone knew about what relm had done that day… that all of our efforts would have been for nothing. Other members are in trouble, some I don’t know the whereabouts of and others… others have probably, like relm, abandoned the idea of freedom altogether… living invisibly… admitting defeat-

Aster: But deep down… deep, deep down, mage, you and I both know, they still feel the same… deep down, they would do it again, and by your side.

Aster steps even closer to mage, now at arms-length away.

Mage drops his head.

Mage: you cant be so sure…

Aster: I can be. What would your son think?

Mage: he would think this situation the same he would think of me… foolish.

Pause.

Mage: and if not, he would be lost, like myself. And that, I fear the most.

Aster empathetically looks at a naïve mage. 

Suddenly, the roof of the iron collectives former base explodes, forcing crumbling debris to splatter everywhere.

Aster and mage duck, covering themselves as best as they can whilst hundreds of bits of concrete smash against their backs and the soil around them.

When the dust and smoke settle, and all that remains is a semi-destroyed building hosting large tongues of flame upon its crown, a large ship sporting the winteriron symbol whistles through the wreckages’ smoke cloud and lands beside the building.

When mage uncovers himself, he realises the aftermath destruction that the winteriron soldiers are about to release… but then, he looks back to his old base… and before he can gesture for aster and himself to escape, he crumbles, to his knees, his emotional stability as burned and broken as the building before him. His past, lost in winterirons hellish fury.

 

Aster: mage! mage, lets go!

aster pulls mage towards the base. as mage stands and comes to, he realises aster is directing him into the warzone, he pulls away.

Mage: aster…?

Aster: white elk and dragonarte! Hurry!

Aster forcefully pulls mage by the fabric on his forearm.

Mage turns to the now still and powering-down winteriron ship as he edges closer to the base.

Mage: uhhh… aster…

Aster: I don’t care! Theyre still in there!

Mage knows he must go. he reluctantly follows.

 

INT. FORMER IRON COLLECTIVE BASE.

They burst through the closed doors of the base to be hit in the face by a constricting smog and boiling temperatures.

But before aster can rethink his strategy, he dives into the base looking for his companions. Mage still regretfully following.

As aster and mage barge through large broken and burning housing planks and move exploded concrete boulders from their displaced position as well as hazardous rubble and old furniture; squinting through the thick smoky and blackened air looking for their companions, mages attention cannot help but focus on the destruction around him; already losing so many, he is now losing so much.

Behind them, winteriron soldiers flood into the base knocking anything from their path and blasting weapons similar to that of mage and dragonarte into any debris they see fit. The soldiers are moving in on the zealots quicker and quicker.

Aster and mage finally find white elk and dragonarte. White elk is trying to remove a heavy wooden plank off of dragonartes back.

Aster: dragonarte!

White elk: aster! hurry!

White elk and aster, using all of their strength, fail at lifting the warm plank off of dragonarte who lays helplessly, frightened.

Dragonarte: what do we do?! What do we do?!

Mage is lost in grief.

Aster: mage?... mage!

Mage snaps out of his wallowing trance and turns to aster.

Aster: help?!

Mage thinks. As the others try to assist dragonarte from the ground, mage looks around the room hastily and notices dragonartes fusion rifle in the corner under large amounts of black rubble. He quickly snatches the weapon from the rubble and stands using the doorway as cover against the incoming winteriron soldiers he can hear down the hall.

Aster: come on, white elk! Up!

Aster and white elk continue trying to lift the plank off dragonarte, but as the sweat drips from his forehead he soon realises their efforts are being wasted.

Mage, listening to the soldiers closing in by each second, springs from his covered position and lays a heavy suppressing fire on the open soldiers. As he shoots and kills many, many more approach from behind debris and smashed concrete, soon proving to be too much for one rifle. The soldiers take aim as their precise shots are almost injurious to mage as they skim the walls and furniture around him and graze his clothing, mage feeling the burn from their fusion rifles.

Mage: theres too many!

Aster: hold them off!

Aster and white elk perilously continue their attempt at saving dragonarte.

Mage: theyre getting closer!

Aster: you can do this!

Mage peeks from behind his cover and is almost obliterated in hellish and hot blue energy bolts.

Mage: I cant even fire back anymore!

Aster stops as his options and escape routes are wearing thin.

But mage continues trying to lay a defensive attack upon the soldiers attempting to blind fire from cover which stops the movement of the soldiers for a short period.

White elk: aster…

White elk pauses in defeat.

Aster looks at dragonarte who looks back into his eyes, helplessly.

Aster: I cant…

Mage: theyre right there! Ahhh!

Aster: I cant leave him…

Dragonartes expression hardens.

Dragonarte: its okay-

Aster: no! not again! Im not doing this again!

Dragonarte: aster… its okay-

Aster: no!

Dragonarte looks at white elk hoping some sense can be restored.

Dragonarte: go.

Pause.

White elk nods and then turns to aster.

White elk: we have to leave.

Aster: white elk-

White elk: we cannot share the same fate.

Aster: you will just let him go?!

White elk: he has done his duty! We must do our own…

Dragonarte relaxes his head against the floor still trapped under the uncomfortable wooden plank realising his demise.

Mage: quickly!

Aster: youre just gonna let him die?!-

White elk: he will not die if agreuis does not will it!

Pause.

White elk: come.

White elk stands as aster gestures one final time to dragonarte who breaks a half smile back.

White elk joins mage telling him of dragonartes tragedy.

Mage turns to his ally and in a reassuring glance by dragonarte, mage turns back to white elk for their escape plan.

Aster attempts to join the other two before he is grabbed by dragonarte.

Dragonarte: follow your dream, kid.

Aster races over to his companions.

Mage: ready, aster? upstairs! As fast as you can-

Aster: the soldiers-

Mage: just move!

Mage leads aster and white elk into the main hall where their bodies are easy targets for the winteriron soldiers. But in a burst of speed and courage, the trio makes it up the staircase behind a large concrete wall as cover, away from the soldiers attacks.

Aster: now where?!

mage thinks in shock as the south lands wind blows into their very faces; upstairs is nothing but destroyed.

White elk: theyre coming up.

white elk faces the staircase and fires multiple arrowheads into oncoming soldiers trying desperately to raid the second floor of the base.

white elk: we must move, quickly!

Aster: mage?!

Mage: over the wall-

Aster: what?!

Mage: do you have a better idea?!

Pause.

Mage gestures for aster to jump over the broken wall and onto the hard soil down below.

Aster sucks in air and jumps... he lands shaky but unharmed and whistles for the other two to follow.

Mage: go, ill cover you!

Mage fires exponentially down the staircase as white elk hoists himself over the wall, landing perfectly on his feet.

 

EXT. FORMER IRON COLLECTIVE BASE.

Mage then turns to the broken wall and flings himself off of the second floor of the base and down to where his companions are as his joints feel the strain of the impact, he crudely rolls into an eventual, stabilised position.

White elk: now, hurry!

White elk pulls mage to his direction, followed by aster, as they scurry from the former iron collective base. mage shedding a simple tear as they leave his past in fiery demise. The winteriron soldiers, ultimately reaching the top of the stair case, looking over the crumbled wall, try to pick off the three zealots, narrowly and miraculously missing until the zealots are too far gone.

 

INT. SITUATION ROOM.

As dragonarte lays under the now burning plank, three winteriron soldiers creep into the room, calculating their every step precisely as dragonarte squirms.

Dragonarte: winteriron will never have me…

Dragonarte pulls a small, old pistol from his outer thigh and holds it to his temple.

Dragonarte: the south lands will spit on his grave.

Quickly, a soldier realises his ploy and rips the weapon from dragonartes hand, throwing it to the floor aside another soldier.

The soldier slithers over dragonartes helpless body.

Dragonartes face drops.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

Aster, mage and white elk race further and further from the burning base, still blazing in the distance behind them.

Aster: are we far enough?

Aster breathes in and out heavily.

Suddenly, winterirons soldiers’ ship is heard behind them.

The zealots turn to the sound of their predators. Mage clutches his arm as the burn of the slaves’ rifles begins to set in.

Realising a possibly sealed fate, mage desperately inspects his surroundings. Then, to his knowledge, he sees it, an old long trench of war from his years in the iron collective.

Mage: quickly, follow me!

The heroes make haste towards the trench as the winteriron ship closes in on them.

Mage turns to see the predators creeping up on them.

Mage: into the trench!

Aster: they can still see us-

Mage: just fall in!

The winteriron ship locks onto their positions and immediately lets out giant bursts of laser blasts into the heroes’ surrounding area, shaking the ground around them.

 

EXT. OLD IRON COLLECTIVE BATTLE TRENCH.

The heroes jump into the trench, feeling the depth of the trench in their aching legs.

The ship flies overhead, turning back for another assault.

Aster: now what?!

Mage thinks.

Mage: just keep going!

Mage rushes aster and white elk along the trench. The ship is seen stalking them from above.

Mage: go, go!

The ship fires directly into the trench, caving the sides in behind them due to the raw impact of the laser bolts.

Aster: we cant outrun them forever!

Mage gulps.

The ship spits another laser bolt, only this time, smashing the trench walls ahead of them and as the heroes accidentally fall into the collapsing debris, the trench walls ultimately envelops and overwhelms the heroes, and the sheer size of the debris traps them.

When the dust clears, the ship flies over once more, surveying the situation.

Assuming the might of the fallen trench walls is too much for the zealots, the slave soldiers leave.

Suddenly, mage pushes himself through the rubble, struggling for air outside of the choking dust.

Mage: aster… white elk.

Mage watches as the rubble next to him begins to shake and move, white elk emerges from the mess.

Mage: white elk, aster!

White elk dives back into the debris.

Mage waits…. And waits.

Mage: aster…

Suddenly, white elk explodes out of the debris with aster firmly secured within white elks’ right arms’ grip.

Aster coughs heavily.

White elk: we need to get him out of this.

White elk coughs.

Mage completely pulls himself out of the rubble, then begins to assist white elk in dragging aster away from the destruction.

Mage: aster… aster, wake up!

Aster remains unconscious.

Mage: aster!

Aster, still unresponsive.

Mage begins to panic.

White elk: its alright… hes still breathing. Leave him, let him rest.

White elk clears the dust from his clothing.

Mage relaxes himself.

 

Aster finally wakes, an hour later.

Aster: what I miss…

Mage: aster. finally. Are you okay?

Aster: what happened?

Aster groans.

Mage: theyre gone…

Aster raises himself off of the ground slowly, feeling every muscle twitch, aching as they press him into a standing position.

Aster: where are we?

Mage: inside one of the iron collectives trenches…youll be alright. We suffered a bit of a loss back there. Im just glad were all okay. we need to get out of this hole.

Aster hesitates.

White elk: the ship is gone, aster. its alright.

 

EXT. THE SOUTH LANDS.

As aster is helped out of the trench by mage and white elk. He is followed by an assisted mage and finally, white elk being hoisted up by the other heroes.

Mage sets his eyes upon the ruined iron collective base.

White elk: we must continue-

Mage: its all gone…

White elk: let it go! It is in the past now.

Aster: dragonarte…

Pause.

White elk sighs.

white elk: the past, too…

aster: and I suppose merlin is? Winteriron knows were coming after him, I feel it!

Pause.

aster looks around him, seeing nothing but the same red soil… again.

Aster: look at us… were losing. We don’t have the strength to face winteriron anymore…

Aster looks to the horizon.

White elk: enough!

Aster: the walls are still far.

Mage thinks.

Mage and aster look at each other, unreassuringly.

Mage: what choice do we have anymore… Weve come so far, lost so much. for so much that has been lost for years already; and yet we are still in this fight?

Pause.

Mage breaks contact and looks to the soil.

White elk: I will not have my clan bend to the will of fear.

Pause.

White elk stares into the walls on the horizon, now larger and closer than ever before in his eyes.

White elk: dragonarte knew the cost of his life… he knew if he sacrificed himself we could continue our mission toward peace on agreuis… like merlin before him.

White elk turns to aster and mage.

white elk: I still believe in what they do.

Pause.

White elk: this is what he would have wanted, it is what is needed to be done. right, mage?

Aster remains silent showing his inability to continue, his doubt radiating from his complexion.

White elk and Mage look at aster differently; respectively, inspiringly and dismally.

Pause.

White elk: we all know what we have gotten ourselves into…so…

White elk looks to both.

White elk: to the end this time…?

Pause.

Mage looks around.

Mage sighs.

Mage: we established the iron collectives base in honour of a certain place not far from here… Come. Sighs I will show you.

Mage begins walking slowly towards the destination, nonchalantly, almost numb.

Mage: lets hope the soldiers aren’t already there.

Aster gulps.

White elk gives a final reassuring look to aster and gestures for aster to follow him.

After a period of adjustment and watching the two zealots head for their new destination, aster follows gripping his wrist turrets handle extremely tight.

 

EXT. THE VULTURES STRETCH.

Aster, mage and white elk breathe a sigh of relief as the winter fortress walls are nigh. After moments of marching, mage comes to a halt and in his sights, is another building, similar to that of the iron collective base, except, this building portrays a large unknown symbol to aster and is extremely rundown.

Mage: there.

Aster: what is it?

Mage turns to aster

Mage: where the south lands first grew.

As they continue walking towards this unknown building, white elk begins to slow down.

Aster: w-white elk? Is everything okay?

White elk: the…

White elk looks around him.

Aster lifts his wrist turret.

Aster: what is it? The hellia? The scarvera?

White elk: … the land… it is… empty. Very, very… empty.

Aster: what?

White elk: I cannot feel its energy…

White elk looks at mage confusingly.

Mage sighs.

Mage: this is the vultures stretch.

Aster looks at both mage and white elk, confused.

Mage: this is where the second elders suffered their first defeat… where the people first learned just how inhuman winteriron is… how vicious he can be.

white elk paces around the haunting soil and deep in the dirt, white elk spots rotting bones, some still in the shape of their terrified victims of the past. And in the distance, he witnesses small worm-like flying creatures digging at the soil searching for remains as nourishment.

Aster notices white elks odd movements.

Aster: what-what did he do.

Mage: he murdered them. From a top his fortress walls…

Mage points to the walls.

Mage: they fled his city and he killed them. Leaving thousands of innocent bodies scattered across this stretch… as a symbol… as a threat.

Pause.

aster turns to the unknown building. Mage notices.

Mage: that became their home after the slaughter. Right there, is the first church of the second elders…

Aster: they established a church where their people were slaughtered? Why-

White elk: as a denomination. As a means of showing their people something like that will never happen again.

white elk stares into asters eyes.

Mage nods despondently.

Mage: and there is where we will take shelter.

The trio continues their journey.

Mage scowls at the fortress walls.

As they walk toward the second elders cathedral, aster observes and concerns himself with the fallen skeletons around him, praying he and his companions do not become one with them.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: THE WAR ROOM.

In a small darkened room hosting many empty chairs surrounding a long table and a holographic map split in two, firstly, illustrating the outlines of the south land borders and seven pinpointed locations throughout its database, and secondly, a flat depiction of broken earths layout where a large red mark hovers just over the equator beeping.

A league of important winteriron officers stand amongst each other, circling the map, whereas disposable soldiers technologically communicate with an array of computers and built-in base commuters along the right side of the room.

Winteriron strides into his war room.

The soldiers and officers stop what theyre doing and look on to winteriron in shock and awe.

A certain officer, dressed in heavy armour coloured distinctly different to all of the others, evoking a particular arrogance and aggression over any other, steps forward to winteriron, who himself is implying an unashamed display of contempt.

Masc: your excellence. By now I assure you have heard word of the occurrence in earths atmosphere?

Winteriron nods.

Masc: I request to send my squadron down to the south lands immediately and survey the surrounding area of where the operatives ship first departed-

Winteriron: that will not be necessary, my enforcer. The singular operative is of no concern to winteriron, instead…

Winteriron looks around to his followers who look on to him.

Winteriron: we will deal with the much larger threat. Bring up the capital.

Masc turns and gestures to the soldiers to alter the holographic map, which locks onto the red mark above earths equator engrossing it, transitioning to a darkened screen reaching a communication link to EUCR.

Winteriron slowly and confidently walks over to and sits in a large chair in front of the long war room table awaiting EUCR.

Winteriron grins.

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

What remains of the zealots along this perilous journey, reach the second elders cathedral; the building was shining pearl white but is now covered in red soil and green moss. It is small in width but great in height preserving the identity and architecture of a cathedral from the days of true earth. As aster presses his eyes against the large and cracked second elders symbol hailing at the very top of the cathedral, mage cautiously directs white elk and himself through the creaking doors. 

Aster: its too dark, I cant make out a thing.

Mage: this place hasn’t been used in a long time. But watch your step, anything could be crawling in here.

Aster: it gives me the creeps.

Mage: we should be fine. once we find the main power switch, we can settle ourselves here for the night.

Aster: have you been here before?

Mage: once, years ago, if my memory serves me well…

Mage fiddles for the main switch along the walls.

Mage: it should be… just along here somewhere…

Aster: white elk? Where are you?

white elk remains silent investigating the cathedral.

Aster: white elk?

Mage: this place is a lot emptier than I remember…

Aster: keep looking…

aster turns his attention to white elk again who has still not answered his companion.

aster: white elk?

Pause.

White elk: theres something not right in here.

 

INT. EARTHS UNITED CAPITAL REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER.

In the representative’s chamber on broken earth, the chancellors retake their original seating awaiting the beginning of a new meeting and discussion.

Head chancellor chullore: greetings representatives, I trust you are all present this evening.

Each representative nods as chullore looks at each chamber seat filled with its allocated chancellor.

Head chancellor chullore: this evening on the panel, we discuss the recent incursion of agreuis in winteriron. Which of you would like to begin this consultation?

Pause.

Chancellor eobord: are we really trusting the word of one operative, chancellors?

Chancellor pulbrook: chancellor eobords point is valid, further research must be had before any business is to be conducted between earth and winteriron…

Chancellor moon-li: we could not send another operation into that injurious planet if her claims are in fact true-

Chancellor kyro: and why might that be, moon-li?

Chancellor moon-li: because winteriron would then be sure to capture our activity. As of right now, we have the upper hand by having the element of surprise-

Chancellor pulbrook: if a solidifying mission of recon is not appointed on agreuis, her claims will live on as mere claims… ‘hypotheses’… winteriron is not to be trifled with, with such an uncertain and shaky mission report by a sole soldier?

Chancellor moon-li: and if she is telling the truth? If this claim is happening… as we speak… what then?

Chancellor schofield nods.

Chancellor resscadziv: what if winteriron does indeed have this formidable army we have now heard about?

Chancellor larzon: surely earth can stand to winteriron-

Chancellor pulbrook: it can ‘try’, chancellor-

Chancellor kyro: but is it worth that risk? We will lose the population of earth in exchange of winterirons defeat?

Chancellor lafi: then perhaps general karissans offer must be deliberated?

Head chancellor chullore: alone karissan is no match for winterirons artillery…

Chancellor schofield: then we do not stand a chance against him at all. we will lose… we will suffer-

Chancellor moon-li: how would earth handle this news, gentlemen?

Chancellor: resscadziv: I believe the action to question winteriron must happen before we create communication with anyone from earth…

Chancellor pulbrook: chancellor, is it really worth communing with winteriron?

Chancellor resscadziv: what are you suggesting would occur if we do? Besides insight?...

Pause.

Chancellor lafi: do you think it would push him to war?

Pause.

chancellor resscadziv: regardless of the information we have… war is coming to us.

Pause.

Chancellor moon-li: we must decide quickly.

Chancellor eobord: perhaps we could consider the contingency plans?

Pause.

The representatives look around at each other, perplexed.

The head chancellor sighs.

Head chancellor chullore: no…. no. we will commune with winteriron-

Chancellor pulbrook, eobord, kyro and kran gasp.

Head chancellor chullore: perhaps a peaceful resolution can be reached-

Chancellor pulbrook: head chancellor, we will not bargain and bend to the will of criminals!

Chancellor eobord: especially not to one as monstrous as winteriron!

Head chancellor chullore: hush!

Chancellor moon-li: we do not have the power to contend with such a force, chancellors-

Chancellor kran: yes we do!-

Head chancellor chullore: This chamber will have order!

Pause.

Head chancellor chullore: we will have to accept that assumptions are all that can be made at this present time… I agree, giving in to the tyrants wishes is not what any of us have in mind… for ourselves… or earth… but I will also not sacrifice the lives of millions, or even, the entirety that is earth to this tyrant in an unfair, reckless and short-sighted battle.

A public servant of EUCR enters the chamber.

Officer zo: honourable representatives… we have incoming communication… from winteriron…

Pause. All of the representative’s gasp under their breath unable to show signs of weakness.

Head chancellor chullore: very well…

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

As white elk inspects the zealots surroundings and mage continues to search for the main switch, aster follows white elk closely behind breathing heavily in anticipation for light.

Suddenly, a loud strike precedes four distinct overhead lights to beam one after another, encircling the room and illuminating a large portion of the cathedral.

To the surprise of the zealots, the lit building exposes four hooded figures perched atop large and extravagant seats.

Pause.

Aster: its… its them…

The figures, remaining still, turn only their blackened and covered heads to the zealots.

White elk: the hooded figures…

Mage: I thought you said there were only three?...

Aster: there were…

the zealots slowly approach the figures, shadowing their locus.

 

INT. EARTHS UNITED CAPITAL REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER.

As the officer leaves, the lights in the chamber dim slightly; a large screen reveals itself and upon it, winteriron bestows himself.

Winteriron scowls at each member of the EUCR.

Head chancellor chullore: winteriron…

winteriron remains silent.

Head chancellor chullore: you have called upon us this evening, winteriron-

Winteriron: it is your excellence… to you, chullore.

Pause. Chullore clears his throat looking to his surrounding members.

Head chancellor chullore: nevertheless… why have you presented yourself to us?

Pause.

Winteriron: have your people been abiding by our erected planetary laws, chancellors?

Pause.

Head chancellor chullore: of course, wi-

Winteriron: do not lie to me, chullore…

Pause.

Chullore thinks, desperately, then looks to his fellow representatives for an answer… but none dare look back at him.  

Head chancellor chullore: I have no idea what you are talking about.

Winteriron smiles.

Winteriron: it is a pity… what has become of earth. It seems the emergence of a new planet has turned even the most regarded into lying atrocities… once more.

Pause.

Winteriron: perhaps the people of earth have long overstayed their welcome in this galaxy-

Head chancellor chullore: winteriron! What youre suggesting is genocide of the highest form.

Winteriron: I have no idea what you are talking about… chancellor.

Pause.

Winteriron: what are you planning?

Head chancellor chullore: the question is, winteriron: what are you planning?

Head chancellor chullore sighs discouragingly.

Head chancellor chullore: what you have heard is true, earth has indeed broken the planetary invasion law… an operative of ours has indeed crossed into agreuis to spy for us.

winteriron smiles sitting back in his chair confidently.

The surrounding representatives gaze at the head chancellor upsettingly.

Head chancellor chullore: but you have given us reason to believe that you are plotting something against earth…

Pause.

Head chancellor chullore: what is it, winteriron? Dominative fear? War?

Head chancellor chullore gulps.

Head chancellor chullore: I can not possibly hope to intimidate you. You believe yourself a god, and nothing can stand to that. All I… we… can do, is beg you… not to do this.

Pause.

The representatives look amongst each other and finally, to the screen for winterirons rebuttal.

Winteriron chuckles.

they all sit, stunned and shocked.

Winteriron: perhaps, chancellor, you should not have interfered with my planet.

The screen shuts off and winteriron is gone.

Pause.

Chancellor eobord: what will we do now?

Head chancellor chullore remains silent.

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

Soon, the zealots are standing head to head with the outnumbering hooded figures.

Pause.

Aster: who… who are you?

The hooded figures remain silent and dead still.

Mage: what are you doing in the second elders cathedral?

Still no answer.

Mage thinks.

Mage: are you… are you the second elders?

Arch: we… are not the remnants of a once foolish time…

Pause.

Mage: then who are you?...

Mesis: a people on a quest for a new power… an improved power… a people tantamount to your cause…

Aster: what do you mean?

white elk examines the hooded figures.

Telos: the reclamation of agreuis.

nagenissi: we too seek the abolishment of winteriron.

White elk: how do you know of our cause?

mesis: we have watched you for a long time… zealots.

Aster: are you a friend-

Arch: we. Are.

Pause.

Mage: what do you want with us-

Telos: unity. Your journey has nothing but impressed us… so we, awaiting your arrival, have planned the joining of our two great factions…

Mage: our arrival? Here?

Aster: for what?

White elk: who… are you?

Pause.

The figures remove their hoods to unveil four ordinary and unknown individuals.

Pause.

Then suddenly, another light beams aside arch exposing their fellow zealot, merlin, standing tall aside the figures.

Aster: m…merlin?

Mage: merlin, youre alive?!

 

INT. EARTHS UNITED CAPITAL REPRESENTATIVES.

The EUCR discuss their recent meeting with winteriron.

Chancellor kyro: chancellors… he knows. Regardless of what action is taken, winteriron knows weve been watching him… he just intimidated earth… HE will retaliate. He will come with a force so great… we will have nowhere to run, we… we have no hope.

Pause.

Chancellor eobord: then we must do something.

Chancellor kyro: like what-

Chancellor eobord: anything. You said it yourself, he will return… and he will hurt us.

Pause. Head chancellor chullore sighs.

Chancellor schofield: and what exactly are you suggesting here, chancellor?

Chancellor eobord: we cant attack winteriron in battalions, we cant even infiltrate his fortress anymore… we must… destroy agreuis if earth is to survive.

the representatives lower their heads in shame, doubt and fear.

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

Merlin, hardened, remains still and silent.

Without a second thought, aster approaches merlin.

Aster: merlin, what are you doing he-

Merlin scornfully backhands aster, who crashes to the black floor of the cathedral.

mage and white elk are frozen like statues.

Aster looks up at merlin who scowls down at him.

Aster scurries along the floor, away from the threatening merlin, then turns to the figures who pierce holes in his very soul with their daggering eyes.

Pause.

Nagenissi: we… are the court… of agreuis.

Arch: we are the deciders of a new age, where a new generation will rise from the weakness of the south lands, and, the sheepish people of winteriron.

Mesis: for too long have we watched the insufferable and arrogant actions of winteriron. His assumed sole power over the entirety of agreuis has blinded him making his character… ignorant.

Telos: now we, believers of true control, masters of authority, will stand for his mockery in those walls no longer.

Mage: how do you know all of this?

Nagenissi: because we, much like the senseless people of winteriron, believed in his cause, in his efforts to rightfully show humanity what it is to ‘be’…

Mesis: we were his advisors… his committee of entrusted ‘followers’, who would guide his actions to a secured rule-

Telos: but now! we see… we see that is was us who truly ruled over winteriron, who made winteriron himself a nominal position-

Arch: the power was ours… it always has been.

Mesis: and now we will take it back.

Aster, mage and white elk are left in complete shock as merlin continues to look down on his former companions.

Nagenissi: zealots… of agreuis.

The court chuckles.

Nagenissi: will you join us in vanquishing winteriron?

Nagenissi extends his arm in confederacy.

Pause.

Aster steps forward.

Aster: when winteriron is gone… when the shroud of evil is destroyed… will the fortress walls be demolished?... will agreuis live in peace?

Arch: the fortress walls will be destroyed, along with the memory of winteriron… but so will the south lands. Together, they will all build agreuis over. Together, they will be ruled under a more distinguished age.

Aster: do you not see them as equals?...

Telos: They are our people. They will be the servants of agreuis.

at the baffling ideas coming from the court, white elks expression develops into a confusion.

White elk: …they will only be servants of you?

Pause.

Mesis: then so be it.

Mage: we will not join you. To aster: we fight for the people. To white elk: we fight for the land. To the court: we fight for the idyll.

Pause.

Aster: we are the zealots of the idyll.

The court of agreuis flinches at the hypocrisy and foolishness of the zealots, then finally, break a confident smile.

Arch: very well.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: THE WAR ROOM

Winteriron rises from his seat and walks over to the communication officers.

Winteriron: bring up the city broadcast holograms.

Officer evhar: yes, your excellence.

the officer quickly opens a link to the pixelated capture to a proud standing winteriron.

 

EXT. THE STREETS OF WINTERIRON.

Winteriron appears as a hologram upon a beaming disc on the floor. Winteririon civilians and followers turn their attention to their leader.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: THE WAR ROOM.

Winteriron: good evening, people of winteriron, I regret to inform that due to an allegation made upon us by the united capital representatives on broken earth, our great city has been subjected to an unsolicited investigation. Broken earth decided, that our great city is indeed to powerful for them and unfortunately lost their minds in fear. They have recently created contact with me and threatened us. although it burdens my very soul to say this, it is a mockery of how two great civilisations cannot live together peacefully because one cannot control themselves. So I regret to inform you, people of winteriron, the absurdity that is broken earth. the desperation surely must prove to you that earth has become primitive, that the people of earth are not what they once were, they are now inhumane ready to kill every last one of us. that earth is no longer a great planet… but a hell bringing worlds war. we must stop them. Stand with me my fellow men and women… let us represent the will of winteriron!

The hologram shuts off and winterirons cheerful expression drops back to his deathly scowl as he fixes his clothing back to perfection.

Masc: your excellence… what will we do?

Winteriron turns to masc honoured by his own great speech.

Winteriron: your efforts will no longer be needed here, masc-

Masc what? You must entrust that I will combat broken earth-

Winteriron: thank you, masc.

Masc deflates slowly.

Masc: yes, your excellence.

Minister zed enters the war room.

Minister zed: your excellence…

Winteriron: ahh… zed.

Minister zed: your excellence, the people are content with your judgement.

Winteriron smiles.

Masc is left confused.

Winteriron: carry on.

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

From the shadowed background of the cathedral, behind the court of agreuis, the sound of many marching footsteps is heard. Aster steps back, in line with his fellow zealots, who load their weapons ready for attack. Aster gulps.

Mage looks to merlin who is still standing aside the court, fixedly looking back at his new enemies.

Suddenly, the zealots sense a disturbance in the room, an incoming threat stretching beyond the surprise of merlin causing their very fear to wreak. Respectively, their family and friends step from behind the foggy curtain of evil that is the court of agreuis, who are sitting high and mighty knowing the zealots demise will be in their feelings and attachments; jace, wilde, anna and two other common south land civilians are now ahead of the court also constricted by the mechanical neck brace fitted upon what was once assumed to be the winteriron soldiers.

Mages eyes, fixed upon his son, never leave his body.

Aster: it was…you! You are responsible for the takings in the south lands!

Telos: indeed we are.

Unguarded and weaponless, jace, wilde, anna and the other two indoctrinated civilians stand aside merlin scowling at the zealots creating a human wall in front of the court of agreuis. who they once were, gone from the sparkle in their eye.

Pause.

The zealots look amongst each other and slowly lower their weapons knowing they cannot fight friends and family.

Mesis: we will give you a final chance, zealots… will you join us?

Mesis gestures to the court and the indoctrinated soldiers ahead of them.

Aster: they did not join you! You took them from their homes! You robbed them of their lives! You control them!

Mage: never.

White elk straightens his back confidently gesturing to his agreeance with his companions.

The court laugh.

Pause.

The zealots hold eye contact with their loved ones, who stare back coldly.

Arch: if this is your decision…

Telos: kill them.

The slaves of the court and the very relationships being held by a string controlled by the puppet masters, attack the zealots. Merlin, however, suddenly reaches over to the closest indoctrinated civilian, restraining him and elbows him, knocking him unconscious.

The court gasps at merlins betrayal.

The zealots, however, do not see merlins acts of valour, as their attention is choked by their incoming allies.

Mage: jace…

Mage heads for jace, who exhibits an uncontrollable rage in his eye, attacking his father ferociously without a second thought.

Aster grapples with wilde, who regardless of lacking physical fighting training, launches any limb into aster trying to cut down a new friend. As aster watches the rage engulf wilde, aster also fortuitously rejoices in seeing his old friend, who so long ago, ironically saved his life from the perilousness of the south lands. Asters inability to reconcile with wilde disheartens the hope he has in the predicament all of his companions are facing.

White elk contends with anna and the brainwashed civilian easily eventually witnessing merlins conversion back to the side of the zealots.

White elk: merlin!

As aster and mage are too engrossed in their friend and family respectively, white elk lays waste to the civilians’ consciousness, before merlin can run over and help white elk seize anna, who is squirming and screaming out of control trying to break free from their grip.

White elk: how do we stop them?

Merlin: remove their brace.

As jace, using the skills he learned in tutelage of mage, aggressively attacks his father, he lands a swift punch to the side of mages head, causing mage to stagger towards the wall.

Aster: mage!

Aster quickly and cunningly resists a strong blow from wilde after his attention break away to his needing friend and his heart breaks a little as he watches his best friend maul his own father.

the court smile at mages soon-to-be demise.

Aster, numbed by the tragic experience breaking through his very trust and livelihood, tries one more chance at saving and rectifying wilde.

Aster: wilde, its me, aster… you have to come to… I need you!

Wilde continues his onslaught on aster, weighing down on asters emotion as wilde is completely unresponsive to his former friend.

Aster: you are all I had, wilde… you saved me-

After a moment of letting his defence down, aster shows a despairing weakness. Wildes indifferent and aggressive self, grips asters neck tightly.

Aster: wilde… no…

Mage stands himself using the wall and looks into his sons barbaric eyes.

Mage: son… son… do you remember what I taught you?

Jace advances on mage.

Mage: that evil must not be allowed to-

Mage just weaves out of the way of jaces racing fist, which connects rigidly with the concrete wall where mages head just was.

as merlin firmly takes hold of anna, he gestures for white elk to assist aster.

aster: wilde…

as aster struggles for air, white elk quickly appears behind wilde and locks him in a hold.

white elk: the brace!

Aster refocuses and reaches for the brace, removing it from wildes neck.

Merlin attempts to remove the brace off of annas neck, simultaneously.

As the brace is removed from wildes neck, aster and white elk step away from wilde awaiting his return to proper consciousness. Instead, wilde lifts his head slowly, revealing the physical pain the tightness of the brace brought onto him, then turns to white elk and continues his assault on the zealots.

Aster: no…

The court of agreuis continue to laugh as they watch their plan unfold beautifully.

Merlin, watching aster and white elks attempt fail, pushes anna off of himself and awaits her imminent attack.

Merlin: im sorry…

Merlin grapples with anna and eventually overpowers her wrapping her in a sleeper hold. She falls unconscious. He turns to mage struggling against his own sons aggression and propels himself towards their duel.

Merlin: ive got him!

Merlin rips jace from his confrontation with his father.

Mage: what… what do we do?

Merlin: hit him.

Mage: I cant…

Merlin: hit him now!-

Mage: that’s my son!

As Jace keeps his malevolent eyes on his father, he squirms in merlins strong grip indefinitely. 

aster, incomprehensibly desperate, decides to reminisce on wildes aspirations and teachings hoping to tend to wildes true emotion and self.

Aster: wilde! If you will not remember me… remember your hopes! Your dreams and guidance… remember how you always wanted to meet an indigo! How you wished to learn as much as you could so that one day you could pass your knowledge on to someone else… remember your belief that knowledge is power…

Wilde flinches and eases on white elk.

Aster: but how can you be knowledgeable if youre not even aware of yourself!

Pause.

Wilde stops and reaches a state of consciousness. He becomes himself again.

The court begins to panic as the zealots seemingly and miraculously begin to prevail.

Wilde: a…aster?

Aster: yes, wilde, its me.

Wilde drops to the floor in an anemic state. Aster holds wilde comfortingly.

Aster: youre okay now.

Wilde: what happened to me?

aster looks up at the court, angrily.

Mage notices asters triumph in settling wilde and decides to enact his method upon jace.

But as the court have realised their doom, they begin an attempt to escape the cathedral.

Aster turns to mage and his resisting son, his best friend, then turns his attention back to the escaping court unable to decide what he must do… unable to decide which path is of greater importance… then, he sees a vacant white elk.

Aster: white elk!

Aster gestures to the evading court of agreuis; white elk dashes to the now disappearing court affiliates, and in a rush of desperation, shoots a single arrowhead into the hamstring of nagenissi. Nagenissi crumbles to the floor calling out hysterically for his companions to rescue him, but they never return. Aster sighs in relief.

Mage takes a deep breath watching the court escape whilst gracefully knowing one of them has been captured. He instead refocuses on his son.

Mage: jace… I am sorry… I am sorry for leaving our small town… I am sorry for abandoning you there and letting these demons take you! I just thought… someone like you, would be okay on your own… that everything would be alright in the end. I let you grow up too fast and lost sight that you were still my son, that you did not just need guidance and rules and boundaries and responsibilities… that you also needed your father. I was never there. I was lost in my past…. I stopped being your dad when I should have stopped being a soldier… in the end… ive realised I was afraid-that I am afraid! Ive realised that to stop this fear I don’t need the iron collective! I don’t even need myself… I just need my son.

Jace slowly relaxes.

Mage: I love you, son.

Jace, also, reaches a state of consciousness.

Jace: fa-father?

Mage: son!

Mage sprints to his son and forcefully clutches him with his arms. Jace reciprocates.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: WINTERIRON WEAPONS DIVISION

Within the large armoured repository, winteriron slithers over to the lever controlling his secretly built personal nuclear warheads, pushing past the officer on duty.

Officer kos: your excellence, I-

Winteriron scowls at the officer.

The officer nods, shaking with fear quickly escaping his post.

Winteriron pulls the lever.

 

INT. EARTHS NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY

Nuclear projects military private fox: we have the all clear by head chancellor chullore, captain.

The nuclear projects military captain pauses before pressing the unseemly powerful little red button.

He turns to the private, fox gulps.

The captain activates the nuclear warheads of earth… they explode from their kept places and blast toward agreuis.

 

EXT. NEAR THE LOST MOON.

A large fighter ship followed by dozens of smaller and similar ships pilots into and through earths atmosphere, a large ocean of space lays ahead of them as they travel to agreuis.

Inside the largest ship, general karissan stands anxiously watching space and spotting the passing obliterated sections of the moon scattered across the ocean that is space.

General karissan: steady, now. hows the fleet?

Captain mach: we are… golden, sir. Heading through the moon real soon…

General karissan looks out the port window and stares back at the defected earth behind the moon. He smiles knowing he can still recognise its beauty and what it once was. He pulls away from the planets sight and looks back at the hundred soldiers sitting in the hull. now he turns back to the cockpit window and frowns at the sight of agreuis behind what was the moon. Wanting to believe hes only recognised that he will never return to his paradise, no matter how undone it had become. But alas, hes known since he forbade the united capital and took this mission upon himself along the thousands of men aboard the surrounding ships.

Sergeant pone: ahh sir, we have incoming.

General karissan turns back and walks to the sergeant. He then peeks out the port window beside him and sees dozens of green beams in the distance.

General karissan: no…

General karissan races to the cockpit.

General karissan: it cant be…

General karissan meets with captain mach.

Captain mach: general? Whats wrong-

General karissan: check the radar.

The soldiers in the hull begin noticing general karissans behaviour.

Captain mach: general we have bogies travelling at high speeds…destination: agreuis…

General karissan: they didn’t…

Captain mach: sir… is that what I think they are?

Sergeant pone: is it?

Pause.

General karissan: I think so…

Sergeant pone turns his back to the absurdity he cannot come to accept, as captain mach is lost in deep thought.

Suddenly, the radar starts beeping… the radar receives another signal, then another, then another… the beeping becomes painfully eerie.

Captain mach: its… oh my god... theres more…

General karissan: what? How many did earth send?

Captain mach: no… these… are coming from agreuis.

Pause.

General karissan: winteriron.

the commuter begins to ring receiving hundreds of simultaneous transmissions from the surrounding fighter ships.

Captain mach: it’s the fleet, general…

General karissan: of course, theyre just as frightened as we are. Captain.

General karissan turns to his most loyal and brave squadron of troopers.

General karissan: sol…friends. Theres not many chances to say thank you in the battlefield. Or, I am grateful, no, inspired, by you all. It is honour to die beside you, gentlemen.

Corporal keea: and we you, general!

Private alex: yeah, general!

Pause.

Sergeant pone: til the end, ‘JVJ’

Sergeant pone salutes general karissan.

General karissan nods to his men, then turns his attention to captain mach and the cockpit window.

General karissan: captain.

Pause.

Captain mach: general.

General karissan: How far are they?

Captain mach checks the radar and gulps.

Captain mach: it really was an honour serving by your side, general.

General karissan smiles and closes his eyes.

Winterirons advanced nuclear warheads makes obliterating contact with the moon.

General karissan: lara…

The explosion mercilessly burns everything in its forced direction in a ferocious and blazing nuclear cloud.

General karissans ship is destroyed immediately, followed by all of the fighter ships.

The combined destruction races towards broken earth yearning to meet with broken earths own oncoming nuclear warheads.

 

EXT. BROKEN EARTH.

Millions of people watch the sky turn a sick green emitting a terrifying heat wave. Shortly, the heat becomes unbearable and the raging green cloud rages closer and closer to earths crust. The sound of peoples petrified screams is soon lost in the impact of the succeeding, ear blowing soundwave. The contact permeates over broken earth forcing itself upon whats left of its land and oceans. Soon, broken earth is covered in fire; a true hell.

 

INT. WINTERIRONS SPIRE: THE EXCELLENCES QUARTERS.

Winteriron looks on to the illustrious sin he has committed. The tyrant realises his actions further, accepts the sinisterly aura that has graced his presence, and feeds from it.

He sips his spirit.

The hellish fire of broken earth grows. the skies of agreuis barely feel the blazing nuclear cloud but is completely surrounded by its compelling appearance.

Winterirons attention then slowly creeps to the south lands.

 

INT. THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

Wilde and jace sit against a wall of the cathedral worn out from their time as slave soldiers, as an unconscious anna and two south land civilians lay aside them. Aster, white elk, merlin and mage gesture to question the fallen court member.

Mage: where are the others going?

Nagenissi chuckles feeling the hard arrowhead piercing his leg.

Nagenissi: to finish what was started so many years ago. You have already lost-

Mage: how many have you taken from the south lands?!

Nagenissi lifts his head off of the ground, staring at mage.

Nagenissi: too many… you will not handle them all. A change is coming…

Nagenissi looks to each member.

Nagenissi: you are doomed.

Pause.

White elk: no… we have agreuis on our side… we will have the people on our side…

Nagenissi chuckles again. He looks at merlin.

Nagenissi: the people? The people are selfish and barbaric… they would soon turn on you and themselves if a treasure was offered to them as an exchange.

Pause.

Nagenissi: I guarantee you my loss will not be in vain… my loss will not affect the courts plan!... there is no order, there is no chaos, there is only control-

Mage reaches down and holds nagenissi by the throat.

Pause. Nagenissi smiles.

Mage: where have you taken our people?

Nagenissi: you mean the courts soldiers? They are being prepared…

Mage: where?!

Nagenissi: you will never know.

Mage frees nagenissi from his clutch and in an act of frustration, disappears to assist his son and wilde.

Nagenissi: what will you do with me? Are you going to kill me?

The zealots remain quiet, look to each other and eventually walk back to their companions.

Nagenissi is left helpless on the floor of the cathedral, scowling at the zealots.

Aster: jace… wilde.

They nod to their friend.

White elk: are you alright?

white elk appears from behind aster. wilde stands quickly, fixing his clothing and hair.

Wilde: is- is that a-

Aster: yes, wilde…

aster giggles

aster: this… is white elk. The most noble of the indigos.

Aster and white elk exchange satisfying smiles.

Wilde: I-I…um, I-

Wilde falls silent.

Aster: wilde-

Wilde: sorry, I just have… so many questions!

Aster gestures to white elk to amuse wilde.

Wilde: is it true your lands are called the sacrosanct? If so, how long? ancient? Are the grandmasters real?...

They disappear in a flurry of questions. White elk looks worried and overwhelmed.

Mage turns to merlin when jace gestures the alacrity in his wellbeing.

Mage: merlin? W-what happened to you?

Merlin giggles.

Merlin: I guess the hellia were no match for me.

Merlin sarcastically stands tall.

Aster: but… the court?

Pause. Merlin half smiles and lowers his head slightly.

Merlin: the court saved me… the figures stepped out from their ship and invited me to join them, aster.

Aster: and you agreed?

Jace looks away.

Merlin: obviously not.

Merlin giggles.

Merlin: their pay was much less compared to yours…

Aster shakes his head gleefully. Mage tosses his head, somewhat joyed by merlins decision.

Nagenissi screams, interjecting across the room from his damaged position.

Nagenissi: what about you, jace… tell them… tell them why you joined.

Pause. Aster and mage look down at jace as merlin walks over to nagenissi to silence him.

Jace: I just thought… no… no-

Nagenissi: tell them!

Merlin clutches nagenissi brutally, gesturing him to quieten.

Mage: son? Aster: jace?

Pause.

Jace: I just thought… if no one stood for what they believed in anymore… if everyone abandoned their beliefs… then what strengths do those beliefs have? it was time to find people who did... but even them…

Jace sighs.

Aster: did they not tell you their plan, jace?

Pause.

Jace: not entirely. And before I knew it, I was one of their brain washed slaves-

Nagenissi grins.

Mage: Sometimes, we can be blinded by desperation. We can partake in practices we think is right in the short term, son-

Jace: what is right, anymore?...

Jace clutches his head, feeling lethargic and the emptiness brought on by hopelessness.

As white elk and wilde hear his questions, they join the other zealots.

Pause. Merlin soon joins them.

The zealots look amongst each other, smiling.

Jace notices the fallen court member laying alone, in pain.

Jace realises he allowed his fear, a fear of being lost, being abandoned, to flourish within in him. but now, even after lifting the blindness, there is an imperfection in his vision… a fog.

He smiles and is soon helped to his feet by aster.

Jace: im sorry.

Pause.

Aster: jace?

Mage: son?

Jace: I just cant-

Mage grab his sons arm firmly after jace tries to exit the cathedral.

Pause. Mage looks into his sons eyes.

Mage: jace… what are you doing?

Jace: I cant be in this, dad. This isn’t for me.

Jace sneers at nagenissi.

Mage: but the others… the people… will you not save them?

Jace: there is no one worth saving.

Jace pulls away from his father.

Jace look into asters broken eyes; and without a word, he leaves.

Pause.

Merlin: what about the others?

Merlin gestures to the unconscious civilians.

dragonarte: we can only hope they wake as themselves… and not a slave…

Nagenissi sneers, biting his lip.

White elk: for now… we leave them here.

Mage falls into himself. Aster shortly following.

Wilde: no. we should stay and wait it out… see exactly what happens to them upon regained conscious.

Mage: aster… I think theres something I have to tell you about your father…

Aster: my father?

Mage sighs.

Mage: aster… I think hes alive.

Suddenly, a large rumble shakes agreuis. the zealots are thrown off balance, fearing the worst.

After exchanging expressions of fear and doubt, they barge out of the main doors.

 

EXT. OUTSIDE THE SECOND ELDERS CATHEDRAL.

As the zealots pour out of the main door, they see it. The hellish cloud constricting the agreean sky. A sickly green has completely taken over the sky with beacons of blue lightnings as the thousands of deadly chemicals and atoms crash against each other.

Wilde: woah.

aster: what is this?

Pause.

White elk: winteriron.

Aster looks at white elk.

White elk looks right back and breaks a concerning grimace.

The zealots look onto the wicked horror above them.

Merlin: do you think its earth?

Aster: he couldn’t have destroyed the entire planet…

mage: perhaps.

Pause. Aster looks on to the phenomenon horrified and turns to the zealots, helplessly.

Mage sighs.

As the zealots look amongst each other, Aster then looks to the sky fearing winterirons power, he then thinks of his lost friend, his lost brother, torn from him again but this time, by his own choosing. He shakes his head, clearing negative and overwhelming feelings, and looks out at the now close blackness, and, winter fortress walls. looking at the other zealots, who are looking back on to him; coming so far and growing at each turn; aster realises, their journey; far from over, requires one thing before the zealots press on.

winterirons nefarious crime against humanity, looming over them.

Roll credits.

the end.

Billy Gonzalez. 


© Copyright 2018 billy gonzalez. All rights reserved.

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