Elsewhere, on a forest path toward seaside ruins, MAHKYEL, the Prince’s scoundrel uncle rides with two guards and his weakling aspiring sorcerer cousin BOORYEL. Both are Eastern (Asian) and are dressed well from royal ties and ride with confidence. Booryel sneezes as they approach the ruins.
When they dismount, they are met by the chief kidnapper, HEDDAHNTON. He is a very fit man in warrior’s armor and has the look of a successful mercenary. Some of his thugs and captured women mill about the ruins, now a makeshift base.
Mahkyel approaches Heddahnton with caution. “Well done, Heddahnton. I trust the little rat is safe?”
“He is, Your Highness.”
Mahkyel wags a finger at him. “Not yet. There will be a time when others call me king, but I expect no such respect from a mercenary.”
Heddahnton leers. “Guilty. Like all men of deeds, I respect sword and coin.”
“Understood,” Mahkyel says, strolling through the camp. “A bonus. Booryel?”
The weakling cousin strolls up, pulling an amethyst necklace from a robe pocket. He holds it out for Heddahnton.
“Did you charm this?”
“Nay,” Booryel says, disappointed. “Simple stones from the queen’s closet. No magical potential.”
“Nonetheless,” Heddahnton says, snapping a finger. A thug comes up and looks at his boss. Warily, he takes the necklace in his gloved hand.
Mahkyel smiles. “I’m the kind of liar you can trust, Heddahnton. There’s more riches to come.”
“What about your giant?” Booryel asks.
“Charmu?” Heddahnton wears a satisfied expression. “Like me, he does his job. My men fulfill his craving for mares.” He looks at Booryel. “And what of your craving for magic? If I remove your hand, could you regrow a new one?”
Booryel swallows hard, taking a step back. “I…uh…”
Heddahnton laughs as Mahkyel intercedes, annoyed. “Save your charms for the ladies, High Warrior.” He takes Booryel by the sleeve and they head for their mounts.
Nearby, there are cliffs above the sea. Several individual jail cells have been built into the cliffs, 50 feet above a rocky beach. Most of the cells are occupied only by skeletons in rags.
In one, along with an ancient skeleton, sits THE PRINCE OF ENDLESS. He is an Eastern (Asian) boy of ten dressed in simple if regal pajamas. Sitting on the rock floor, he is adjusting a dirty wool blanket around him to keep warm. At the bars are two buckets. One is dirty (for bathroom use) and the other contains stale bread. Sea breeze ruffles his hair, and he’s trying not to cry.
The ground shakes, accompanied by heavy splashing sounds, and dust falls from the rock ceiling. Beyond his cell door, slowly and malevolently, appears CHARMU.
Charmu is a 60-foot giant in simple clothes and with a braided beard. He peers into the cell, sneering. The prince scoots back, fearful.
“Prince,” Charmu scoffs. “Mighty prince.” He turns to go.