EXT. GARDEN -- DAY

--

BURKHARD and SAGE are sitting outside enjoying afternoon

tea. SAGE's light hair is slicked back. He is a boy of

medium build and muscled arms. Red-clad servant girls serve

them tea and cakes on platters. BURKHARD takes a cake.

--

BURKHARD

It is a delightful thing, the

colors of our land. Don't you

think, Sage?

--

SAGE

Red is also the color of blood.

--

BURKHARD raises an eyebrow but keeps his smile.

--

SAGE (CONT'D)

And the color of our war.

--

BURKHARD is dismissive.

--

BURKHARD

Don't think of that yet, son. The

war might not even happen.

--

SAGE looks away.

--

SAGE

I'm not your son.

--

BURKHARD

I forget sometimes.

--

SAGE

You're a fool to think the war

won't happen. All of this, the

manor, the stables, the wealth--

--

BURKHARD

(being served by a young female

servant)

--the servants--

--

SAGE

(laughing ruefully)

It will be taken from your

family. And you'll just sit

pleasantly and watch it go, won't

you?

--

BURKHARD

I have to say the servants will be

missed. But all of this negativity

won't. Come now, Sage, tell me:

how are the streetfolk doing?

--

SAGE

Enjoying the burnings.

--

BURKHARD

Oh, delightful.

--

SAGE

What could be more delightful than

watching assassins from a rival

country have their flesh melted

from their bones?

--

BURKHARD

If I could stop it by a decree, I

would.

--

SAGE

In a heartbeat.

--

BURKHARD

If I still had a heart.

--

There is silence. The young man and the older one say

nothing for a long time.

--

SAGE

Today you have far more fat than

heart. But that is another

matter. Put down your cake and

tell me: who is this odd man my

Cacil talks about? You haven't

taken in another streetrat--

--

BURKHARD

No, no, not after what happened

when I took in the last one. I

never did find my underwear...or my

favorite china cup...

--

SAGE

Who is Cacil's new tutor?

--

BURKHARD

Oh, him. Sorrel's not from the

streets--he and I used to attend

classes together fifteen years. He

is such a character! A depressing

one. Too many quills up his

britches, I suppose.

--

SAGE

This Sorrel. Does he have

hopelessly messy hair and wear

glasses that look just as old and

out-of-date as you?

--

BURKHARD

(thinking for a moment)

Yes, that is Sorrel!

--

SAGE

How hopeless. Here he comes.

--

SORREL stumbles in, self consciously straightening his

shabby clothes as he approaches the two higher class

gentlemen. When he reaches them, BURKHARD and then SAGE

stand up. BURKHARD bows. SORREL bows. Then SAGE bows

too, cold eyes never leaving SORREL's face.

--

SAGE

Uncle. It's been twelve years.

--

SORREL

Eh? Oh yes, I suppose you are that

old. I don't recognize a hair on

your head...er...?

--

BURKHARD

Sorrel, this is Sage d'Yaupon. My

brightest. My best.

--

SORREL

Oh. Yes.

--

BURKHARD

(patting SORREL)

Glad the lantern in your head has

finally been lit.

--

SORREL

What?

--

BURKHARD sits back down in his chair, and then SAGE and

SORREL do the same.

--

BURKHARD

We were just discussing the

politics between the councils.

--

SAGE

And how war is unavoidable.

--

SORREL

(pushing his glasses up his

nose)

Well, I agree. But I wouldn't say

the war is unavoidable.

--

SAGE

Then you don't agree, stupid man.

--

BURKHARD

(cocks head to side)

Sorrel?

--

SORREL

(staring off and looking

wistful)

I mean that war has already begun.

--

EXT. DIFFERENT PART OF THE GARDEN - DAY

--

CACIL is sitting on a small bench in a different part of the

garden. Flowers bloom all around her and the grass grows

long, healthy and green. She is supposed to be knitting,

but is instead staring off into the distance with the same

wistful look SORREL had. A bird lands on her

shoulder. CACIL opens her mouth and begins to sing.

--

CACIL

(singing)

Oh how stupid humanity--selfish

humanity, stringing together words

as if they mean a thing--selling

them for twice their worth on the

corner of the street--lifting their

guns, choosing their targets--the

hearts of--

--

SAGE walks in. CACIL abruptly stops singing and resumes the

knitting pattern in her lap. The bird flies away.

--

SAGE

(sitting down beside her)

What was all that racket Gads, I

thought I heard you attempting to

sing!

--

SAGE laughs. CACIL says nothing but her eyes begin to well

up with tears.

--

SAGE (CONT'D)

Ah, no matter. You're a girl not

an idiot. Do you know what

happened when I went for a walk

down to peasant street the other

day? Go on, ask me. Ask me!

--

CACIL

You...were attacked...?

--

SAGE

Not bloody likely! If any of

them had rounded on me I'd have

taken my gun and shot two ghosts

straight through their heads.

--

CACIL

I...I have a shaftar.

--

SAGE

Shaftar? Pah, those are weapons

for peasants who can't acquire

foreign guns. Which brings me back

to what I saw.

--

CACIL

Was it another murder? Of a rival

council?

--

SAGE

Better. Nay, worse, because what

it was was the most ridiculous

performance my eyes have ever had

to bleed at in their life. What

happened was that this fat, fat

streetrat and the woman who may

have been his wife or just a whore--

--

CACIL

My father doesn't like me to use

that word.

--

SAGE

Ah, go shove your father. The

badger. So anyway, they must have

been poorer than even the real

rats, for they were singing and

dancing and parading around for a

few gold coins in a hat!

--

CACIL

Well, what did you do?

--

SAGE

I walked right up to them and said,

fine show, good man, smelled almost

as bad as my horse's arse! And I

grabbed the hat with the money and

I flung it all into the sewer!

--

SAGE dissolves into great bouts of laughter, but CACIL looks

so sad she is sick.

--

SAGE (CONT'D)

Don't look that way! Bugger, you

know you've got to treat the

streetrat peasants that way or

they'll get power and thoughts

into their heads and they'll rise

up and revolt! Then they won't

want to let themselves be drafted

and they'll be no one to fight in

our war? Where does that leave

us? We'll be dragged out of our

homes and into battle too! I'm

just looking out for you, Cacil.

--

CACIL

(looking brighter)

I think it would be exciting to go

off to war.

--

SAGE

(crossing his legs and digging

something out of his teeth)

All little girls do. You'll grow

out of it.

--

CACIL

But it's no fun staying

here. Sorrel is mean sometimes.

--

SAGE

He's a fool.

--

CACIL

No. He's not a fool. He's

just troubled. He's troubled.

--

SAGE

He's troubling. Probably plans to

murder us all in the street and

take our money for his own pockets.

--

CACIL

He wouldn't do that.

--

SAGE

He's a streetrat. No telling what

they wouldn't do.

--

The bird lands on SAGE's head. He angrily waves it away.

--

SAGE (CONT'D)

That reminds me. I shall have the

ring in my hands soon enough.

--

CACIL

(confused)

A ring? Why? Will it be pretty?

--

SAGE

(taking her hands)

Yes. It will be very pretty.

--

CACIL

Shiny?

--

SAGE

Very shiny.

--

CACIL

Which finger will it fit on?

--

SAGE

Your prettiest one.

--

CACIL

Oh. Well that's my pinky!

--

SAGE

No, it won't go there.

--

CACIL

My thumb?

--

SAGE

What the...?

--

CACIL

What about my pointer finger?

--

SAGE

Cacil!

--

CACIL

Hnn?

--

SAGE

It won't go there. But it will be

gorgeous. And you will love it.

--

CACIL

Okay! If you say so, Sage-shu.

But, ah...

--

SAGE

What is it now?

--

CACIL

When the peasant streetrats rise up

and revolt against us and refuse to

go off to war and get ideas in

their heads and steal all our

money--can I sell the ring to buy

food?

--

SAGE is momentarily struck dumb by the sheer magnitude of

this question.

--

CACIL (CONT'D)

(alarmed but happy)

Oh! I just remembered.

--

SAGE

Another ridiculous question?

--

CACIL

Non! I remembered I owe Kale a

hundred-forty lines of scripted

text. Oh well. I never do my

homework anyway.

--

SAGE

With a teacher like that Sorrel,

there's no need to, honestly.

--

CACIL

No, he's really nice. Sometimes.

--

SAGE

I've seen the man. He's the

stupidest being this side of your

head.

--

CACIL

(confused)

But...he's not on my head...

--

SAGE

I'm trying really hard to love you

right now.

--

CACIL

(pleased and seemingly

surprised)

Oh! You love me?

--

SAGE

I'd love to strangle you, you'd

better believe it.

--

CACIL's face loses all emotion. She looks and scoots away

from him but SAGE, growing serious, puts his hand on her

arm. She winces.

--

CACIL

You should maybe...be nicer?

--

SAGE

I'm as nice as I can be to you. If

you aren't pleased tell it to your

father but I doubt he'll

listen. Everything he hears goes

straight through--

--

CACIL

Not nicer to me. To Sorrel!

--

SAGE

I won't talk to that man again as

long as I live. Unless it is to

point out yet another of the very

stupid mistakes he's made in the

week since we met.

--

CACIL

You don't have to talk to him,

Sage-shu. Just help me fix his

glasses, please? I want to take

them and repair them better. Maybe

with gold?

--

SAGE

How do you plan to get them, steal

them off his face when he's asleep

and hope he doesn't attack you in

his nightmares?

--

CACIL

(very serious)

Yes.

--

Silence.

--

CACIL (CONT'D)

I can melt the ring you're going to

give me, and use the metal to fix

the bridge where it's held

together!

--

SAGE

(through gritted teeth)

That ring will be worth several

hundred pounds of gold.

--

CACIL

Then it will be perfect! Very

shiny!

--

SAGE

(disgruntled)

Do you really think he deserves it?

--

CACIL

No. But he will.

--