The Prince of Endless, pt. 6

In late afternoon, Marvella rides a laden chestnut horse across a stream, with the sea visible on the left. Hurrying to catch up, the horse plunges down the path and back into forest.

After a few moments, she rides across a wide wooden bridge and reaches up to Dirkennion in a glade.

“Again, what manner of creature are you that can outlast a horse?”

Dirkennion glances up from studying trampled bushes. “Some say we are cursed,” he replies. “Painted. And alone.” He chuckles, his gaze following signs of destruction and snapped tree branches.

Marvella dismounts with “Good girl,” and pets the horse. “Stories do not do the Ehara credit.”

“I suppose.” He spots something and goes to it.

“Those men on the boat weren’t carrying much money. A few coins. Standard weapons.”

“Hired thugs,” Dirkennion says, stepping carefully. “They keep their treasure elsewhere, if they had been paid yet at all.”

She follows him. “Gold paint, gouge marks,” she notes, pointing. “From a royal wagon?”

“You do your office credit, Marvella,” he says, following a trail. “If I am not mistaken…there is a boat dock about a mile in that direction.”

She follows him a few steps, an eye on her horse which is drinking from the stream. “That would explain how…your cousin arrived at my dock at Dillingham. But…if this is where the prince was taken, why not follow the prince?”

Dirkennion has stopped by the first of several noticeable depressions in the ground. There is a view of the distant water and dock, and a smooth wagon road bends nearby. He points at the smashed bushes and mud.

“This is from a giant.”

Marvella’s eyes widen and she reflexively reaches for her sword.

“It is nowhere nearby, now,” he says. “Ruts in the road. Two bodies,” he notes, pointing.

“The royal guards,” she says, peering at them.

“This is where it happened. My kin, I believe, knew he was outmatched by the giant. So he chose to pursue the hired men, down to the boat, and so forth.”

“How did your cousin come to be here at the right time? This was an ambush, from the looks of it.”

Dirkennion looks around. “Rather fanciful place for a meeting, would you not say?”

Marvella follows his look. “You believe the Prince of Endless was to meet someone here? Like a suitor?”

“If my kin was protecting the suitor…he would have sent her back upon hearing commotion. We should learn where this road leads. Later. That way is Endruskenlessinia.”

 

A dining hall gargoyle statue from the Harry Potter museum (UK).

~~~

 

Endruskenlessinia is a wealthy kingdom spread across several close hills. It surrounded by a high, well-guarded stone wall, with torches lighting up the twilight.

Dirkennion on foot and Marvella on horseback calmly approach through the town, heading for a stone bridge leading to the main gate. There is a guardhouse on the near side of the bridge.

Two guards step out and cross halberds while villagers pause to watch. “State your business, Ehara.”

“We are constables, sworn to protect,” Dirkennion says. “We have urgent business with the Royal Family.”

“No.”

Marvella clears her throat. “Surely, good sir, there is an advisor who can make time for us.”

 

to be continued…

The Prince of Endless, pt. 1

The Prince of Endless, pt. 2

The Prince of Endless, pt. 3

The Prince of Endless, pt. 4

The Prince of Endless, pt. 5

 

 

‘Spotlight’ is a Film for Writers and Character Study

If I’m allowed to make a recommendation for all writers, it is this: See the 2015 Oscar-winner Spotlight. And watch it a second time.

In Spotlight, Boston Cardinal Law has a chat with Marty Baron of the Boston Globe.

Tom McCarthy’s film is all-around brilliant. What’s amazing to me is how subtle everything is. It’s a very quiet film. There’s no violent action, no in-your-face confrontation, nothing that seems over-dramatized at all. (Suffice to say, there also isn’t any comedy or romance). Yet, there’s plenty of tension and menace, magnified by the overall subject matter. (This film is about the Boston Archdiocese’s cover-up of widespread sexual abuse by priests.)

The movie humanizes both the journalist heroes and the villains (of the cloth and of the fountain pen), and most every smile is, in fact, a facade. In a way, the filmmakers got to cheat on a few things. They assume the audience has a working understanding of a big-time newspaper (where things are always complex, and timing and legal issues must be considered) and of the gravity of the whole saga. There’s little tension between the journalists and editors working on the story because, in real life, there wouldn’t be room for it. What they’re working on is so huge and horrible, it can only be eclipsed (in the film) by 9/11.

The long hours clearly take their toll. One quick scene shows Sacha Pfeiffer (played by Rachel McAdams) struggling to get the dishwasher rack in properly. She bangs it, her husband asks if she’s okay. No response, none needed. The story never calls for an awkward domestic moment: “So what did you do today at work, Honey?”

In the end, what that gives us is a 2-hour build toward a satisfying crescendo. There isn’t an erroneous scene or a wasted word of dialogue in the whole movie. That, by itself, is amazing. Some of my favorite moments were the slight or gradual facial reactions to verbal jabs and tough questions. The heroes mine for information, constantly digging for truth. Without dark TV music or flashy cut-scenes, the weight of what isn’t said almost becomes its own character.

I could probably base a college seminar on this movie alone.