The W&W Episode That Never Was
[Fade back into the shot of the wildmage hitting JUSTIN with its blue beam. ERIK and MARKO shield their eyes in horror.]
ERIK: Justin! No!
[As the blue radiation fades, we see a very large, very cheap jug of wine sitting where JUSTIN once crouched.]
MARKO [horrified]: I guess you really are what you eat.
[With a blood-curdling roar, the wildmage sends out another shot. Grabbing the JUSTIN JUG, MARKO leaps in one direction while ERIK leaps in the other. Without hesitation, the wildmage closes in on the bright shiny target presented by ERIK, who has by this time begun running for his life -- or at least for his continued life as a human being, as opposed to, say, a small wet spot underneath a falling cow.]
ERIK: Use the explosives!
MARKO [to the JUSTIN JUG, as he sets it down]: Don't go anywhere.
[MARKO frantically rummages through the contents of COLTER's bag, still scattered all over the ground. Casting an anxious glance at the running and dodging ERIK, he strikes a match on the COLTER-STATUE's leg.]
MARKO: Sorry . . .
[Lighting a bomb, he hurls it at the wildmage. At the last second, the beast spots the incoming explosive and hits it in mid-air with its blue beam. It immediately transforms into a large bouquet of red roses, which fall at its feet as if tossed there by adoring fans.]
ERIK [still fleeing]: *Big* help, Marko!
MARKO [hopefully]: Maybe it's as allergic to roses as I am . . .
[As MARKO, looking very harried, rummages around in the explosives for a second try, the wildmage gathers its forces to zap ERIK once and for all -- and then the bouquet of roses explodes with great violence, leaving nothing but a large crater where the wildmage once stood.]
ERIK [bent over, hands on knees, gasping for air]: You don't get much more allergic than that.
[Shouts reveal that the commotion has attracted a whole mess of castle guards, closing in at an alarming pace. Even more alarming, dozens of them are readying their crossbows.]
MARKO [drawing his sword]: Break's over. Here come the guards.
ERIK: Come on, Marko! There's too many!
MARKO [with the irrational manic intensity usually reserved for ERIK]: No, we can do this.
ERIK [yanking MARKO around to look him in the eyes]: Marko! Getting us killed isn't going to help Cassandra! We need to take Justin to Traquill for help before he gets drunk -- and I *don't* mean in the usual way. I'm talking about a scenario involving a Death Trooper and a goblet! [He casts an anxious glance at the incoming soldiers.] We'll come back for her, Marko, and we'll take 'em by surprise. I promise.
MARKO [blinking and taking a deep breath]: Sorry. Lost it for a minute, here.
ERIK: You *must* be in love. No other explanation.
MARKO [dubiously]: I dunno, you act like this all the time.
[ERIK's retort is cut short as a hail of arrows begins, causing both of them to cringe-and-duck in perfect sync. ERIK grabs the JUSTIN JUG, while MARKO makes a token effort to heft the COLTER STATUE. It's obviously not going anywhere.]
ERIK [whistling for the horses]: *Now,* Marko!
MARKO [abandoning his efforts]: Boy, we're batting a thousand on this rescue!
[As the horses gallop in from offscreen, MARKO and ERIK mount BEN and SOUTHWIND and take off, with JUSTIN's riderless horse trailing behind.]
[Cut to a smirking DIRK and a stoic VECTOR, watching the undignified retreat from a turret window.]
DIRK: We should have sold tickets. I haven't seen anything so comical since the Grogan All-Clown Traveling Circus came to Karteia.
VECTOR [surprised]: You despise clowns. You ordered them all locked in their miniature clown coach until they suffocated.
DIRK [nostalgically]: Yes, talk about laugh . . . [Returning to the present.] The wildmages were a clever touch.
VECTOR [inclining his head to acknowledge the compliment]: I like to keep two in reserve at all times. [Pauses a beat.] Of course, to trap replacements in the Mountains of Madness, I would need use of the monocle . . . .
DIRK [dryly]: Dream on, Vector. [He turns his attention to a small pedestal draped with a square of black velvet cloth. Outlined beneath the cloth is an unknown oval object, approximately fist-sized. Standing just behind and to the right, he eyes it curiously.] So what have you got for me, wizard?
VECTOR [whipping the cloth away to reveal a brilliant green carbuncle]: A magical gem, my lord, enchanted to destroy one specific man . . . Shriker.
DIRK [intrigued]: Go on.
VECTOR: The servant may wear it anywhere upon her person. It is harmless until the target steps into the line of fire. And then . . .
DIRK [impatient]: Then?
VECTOR: As you are well aware, a wizard's spells cannot *kill,* my lord . . .
DIRK [amused]: I sense a "but" coming.
VECTOR [grinning evilly] . . . but this particular spell persuades every molecule *inside* the victim's body that it would be far happier on the *outside.* [Pauses a beat.] After a few seconds of intense suffering . . . suffice it to say they'll be repapering the walls.
DIRK [undergoing an erotic moment]: Oh, you have outdone yourself with this one, Vector.
VECTOR [ominously]: I have indeed. [With renewed toady eagerness, he beckons to DIRK]: As you can see, I have made it outwardly attractive, so the servant will suspect no evil motive when your brother gives it as a token of his . . . high esteem.
DIRK [moving forward to inspect the gem more closely]: Yes, that should be --
[With a sudden hum, the carbuncle shoots its green death-ray at DIRK. With the quick reflexes of a snake, he leaps to the side, countering it with the monocle's blue ray. Once he is out of its line of fire, the carbuncle subsides into a harmless jewel once more. VECTOR is looking very dismayed -- not at the "malfunction" of the equipment, but at DIRK's survival.]
DIRK [teeth clenched]: What, may I ask, was *that*?
VECTOR [hopefully]: There are perhaps still a few . . . kinks in the design?
DIRK: Kinks. [Clenching a fistful of VECTOR's robe in a stranglehold.] Your designs appear to suffer an inordinate amount of "kinks," Vector. Rather like your spine may suffer in the next thirty seconds.
VECTOR [beginning to sweat]: Surely you don't think --
DIRK [with a dangerous gleam in his eye]: Don't insult my intelligence. It annoys me to no end. I become very . . . tense. [He chokes VECTOR just a little more, crossing the threshold from discomfort to outright pain.] Besides, why would you think I view incompetence with any greater tolerance than outright treachery?
VECTOR [in a strangled wheeze]: I shall fix the gem immediately.
DIRK: Yes, why don't you do that. [Almost gently, he releases VECTOR, rearranging the collar of his robe with mock solicitousness.] I grow weary of your failures, wizard. Back at the Royal Schools, Erik used to accuse me of being a "sore loser." He was half right. When I lose, you can be certain someone will be *very* sore.
VECTOR [rubbing his sore neck]: I understand you perfectly, my lord.
DIRK: I should hope so. [DIRK massages his own neck.] You've already made me *awfully* tense. [Turning to leave.] When everything is ready, send word. I'll be indulging in a bit of . . . relaxation . . . in the interim.
VECTOR: I'll send word to the dungeon immediately.
DIRK [taken aback]: Did I *say* I was going to the dungeon, Vector?
VECTOR: Why, no, but . . . with you, "relaxation" and "dungeon" being . . . well, synonymous . . . I . . . just . . . thought . . . [Floundering, he trails off.]
DIRK [with a hurt puppy look]: Why, Vector, you wound me. I'm hardly as predictable as all that.
VECTOR: Of course not, my lord.
[Smirking, DIRK reaches the door. VECTOR relaxes visibly. Without warning, DIRK spins back around and zaps the heck out of him with the monocle.]
DIRK [gazing down at the prone VECTOR]: For example, I doubt you predicted that at all.
VECTOR [barely able to speak]: Not really, no.
DIRK: Make a mental note, Vector: I'll be in my private chambers -- *not* the torture chambers. Unless, of course, you'd care to accompany me to the dungeon? We could discuss the . . . kinks you've been experiencing.
VECTOR [still twitching from random bolts of energy frying his nervous system]: I wouldn't dream of interrupting your . . . relaxation.
DIRK [highly amused]: Oh, I'm sure I'd find it *very* relaxing. But alas, time is short. [He poses in the doorway, his huge silhouette blocking out almost all the light.] Take this as a warning, Vector. I do hope you and my brother won't disappoint me this time. I would hope you're working as if your very lives depended on it . . . since they do.
VECTOR [with the air of a man who will be laundering his underclothes in the very near future]: Rest assured that Geoffrey and I will play our parts with utmost zeal, my lord.
[Cut to GEOFFREY, standing in the hallway in front of CASSANDRA's door with a look upon his face that would not be best described as "zeal." "Anger," "resentment," and "humiliation" all stand a much better chance of winning the Name-That-Emotion contest. He is still clad in leather pants and boots, but has topped the ensemble with a hugely poofy, billowy-sleeved, black silk pirate-style shirt, open almost to the waist. His Lothario Look resembles nothing so much as a cross between a cheesy romance novel cover and a bad Tom Jones impersonator. Behind him, a SERVANT (struggling manfully not to laugh) is holding a tray upon which rests a bottle of wine, two goblets, a plate of carpacca balls, and a single red rose. The soft sounds of CASSANDRA's sniveling can be heard through the door. Taking a very deep breath, GEOFFREY unlocks and opens the door. CASSANDRA, who has been huddled sobbing on the bed, immediately plasters herself against the headboard in terror. The SERVANT places the tray upon a table by the bed and discreetly withdraws, closing the door behind him. GEOFFREY approaches CASSANDRA slowly, holding his hands out in a non-threatening fashion.]
GEOFFREY: It's okay, just relax. [Noticing a significant lack of relaxation on her part, he tries again.] I'm not gonna hurt you.
CASSANDRA [still shrinking back against the headboard]: Wh-where's your brother?
GEOFFREY: Don't worry, he's not here. It's just me.
[CASSANDRA immediately sags with immense relief, beginning to breathe again. Geoffrey takes a bit of umbrage.]
GEOFFREY: Well, you don't have to relax *that* much. It's not like he's the only one around here with any power, you know? [As he becomes increasingly agitated, CASSANDRA reverts back to Shrink Mode.] No one ever takes me seriously. It's not like I couldn't torture you to death too, if I wanted! [As he looks to CASSANDRA for confirmation, she whimpers. The sound snaps him back to reality, and he hastily attempts to repair the damage.] But . . . of course, I don't *want* to. Not at all. Okay? No torturing. Promise.
[CASSANDRA nods in frantic agreement to this plan. Smiling in a friendly fashion, he sits down beside her on the bed. CASSANDRA immediately retreats as far away from him as possible. He notices her fear, but fails to be gratified by it, given how opposed it is to the emotion he's supposed to be inspiring. With an air of desperation, he grabs the rose from the tray.]
GEOFFREY [holding the flower under her nose]: I brought you a rose -- since it's as sweet and fragile as you are.
[For a few perfectly-timed seconds, CASSANDRA merely looks at him as if he's bonkers. Then she sneezes hard enough to shake loose several petals from the bloom.]
CASSANDRA [meekly]: I'm allergic . . .
GEOFFREY [rubbing his hand over his eyes in frustration]: This is *not* how it was supposed to go. [He rises abruptly, pitches the abused rose out the narrow window with unnecessary force, and uncorks the wine bottle, pouring wine into the goblets as he talks.] How about some wine? It'll settle your nerves. [sotto voce] And mine. [He knocks back a nervous swig.]
CASSANDRA: Wh-why are you being . . . nice?
GEOFFREY: I'm always nice. [Seeing CASSANDRA regarding this declaration with some skepticism, particularly in light of his earlier torturing threat, he amends it.] Compared to Dirk, anyway. [Handing her a goblet, he sits back down.] I hear he was pretty rough on you this afternoon, with the vision scope and all. That was really mean. He's good at mean.
[CASSANDRA winces, her lower lip trembling involuntarily. Automatically, she takes a large gulp of wine to fortify herself.]
GEOFFREY: Anyway, I just wanted to see if you're okay, and if you maybe needed someone to talk to.
CASSANDRA [uncertainly]: I'm . . . okay.
GEOFFREY: You don't look okay. Come on, you've been in here all afternoon, you must be hungry by now. Help yourself to the carpacca balls. They're really good -- extra cheesy. [He smiles encouragingly and pops three in his mouth at once.] See? They're not even poisoned. [He stops in mid-chew as a sudden, horrifying thought hits him.] You're not allergic to cheese, are you?
CASSANDRA [sipping her wine to hide a faint smile]: No, I like cheese.
GEOFFREY [relieved]: Great! I knew you had good taste. [Washing down the food with a long swallow of wine, he picks up another carpacca ball from the tray. Holding it to her mouth, he speaks in a wheedling tone, as if coaxing a baby to open up for pureed peas.] Now, come on, give one a try. For me? [Hesitantly, she accepts the proffered snack, chewing cautiously. Much to his gratification, she smiles shyly.]
CASSANDRA: Thank you. [Throwing restraint to the wind, she quickly wolfs down six more, obviously famished. GEOFFREY is a bit taken aback by the sudden disintegration of her table manners, but he recovers admirably.]
GEOFFREY: See, you're looking better already. [He eyes her hat critically. In addition to the broken horn, it is now almost completely sideways.] That looks really uncomfortable, though. Let me help --
[As he sets down his goblet and reaches out to remove the battered hat, she flinches reflexively, turning her head and jabbing him right in the eye with the intact horn. Clutching his face and yelping, GEOFFREY writhes face-down on the bed. CASSANDRA immediately hovers over him, terrified, trying to see the damage.]
CASSANDRA: Oh, gods, I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to, I swear I didn't!
GEOFFREY: It's all right. I'll be all right. [He sits back up and exposes his eye very reluctantly. There is a faint redness to the skin around the eye, but otherwise he seems unscathed. CASSANDRA exhales in relief.] Now, *hold still.*
[CASSANDRA remains frozen as he reaches out and removes the hat, allowing her light golden-brown hair to fall unrestrained to shoulder-length. The effect is quite transforming. Judging by the look on GEOFFREY's face, he's noticed.]
GEOFFREY: That's much better. You do realize I have to confiscate this? Deadly weapon. [Grinning, he gets up and tosses it out the same window he chucked the rose.]
CASSANDRA [blushing]: I'm so sorry --
GEOFFREY: Stop apologizing. It's okay.
CASSANDRA: I always hated that hat.
GEOFFREY [sitting back down beside her]: Why wear it, then?
CASSANDRA [each word dripping with an astonishing amount of venom]: *Ariel* gave it to me.
GEOFFREY [uncomfortably]: Oh.
CASSANDRA [in a sudden, unexpected outburst]: I did *everything* for her! Everything! I thought she liked me . . . but she doesn't care about me at all! [Carried along on the frenzied tide of emotion, she grasps his shirt.] Do you know what it's like to have no say over your own fate at all? No self-respect? To try and win the favor of someone you know couldn't give a whoop if you're alive or not, except when there's a chore for you to do? To be completely subject to the whims of a self-centered, petty *tyrant*? Do you have *any idea* what that's like?
GEOFFREY: Actually . . . I have a pretty good idea . . .
CASSANDRA [coming to her senses and releasing his shirt]: I'm sorry, I -- I don't know what came over me. [Returning to her meek huddle.] I shouldn't say such things about Ariel. She's a princess. Besides, you like her.
GEOFFREY: It's all right. You're under a lot of stress. And it's not like she thinks anything of me, anyway.
CASSANDRA: Oh, I'm sure she does.
GEOFFREY [encouraged]: Really?
CASSANDRA: Sure. You must've made a big impression on her. [Her eyes grow dreamy as she quotes him.] "Your hair is the essence of radiance and all-consuming loveliness."
GEOFFREY [immensely pleased]: You remember that?
CASSANDRA: What girl wouldn't remember? [She sighs, and continues sadly.] It's not like I'd forget if Marko ever said anything like that to me. [Reflects for a minute.] Although, come to think of it, he's never even *seen* my hair. Stupid hat. [As her head droops, her tangled hair falls over her brow.]
GEOFFREY [Leaning forward with great intensity]: Marko's a fool. [As she stares in shock, he strokes her unruly hair out of her eyes.] If he wasn't, he would have made the effort to look . . . [She stops breathing as he draws close, his lips an inch from hers.] Your hair is like . . . like the fall of sunlight on fields of ripened corn.
[CASSANDRA squeaks. Slowly, gently, he kisses her. Finally, he draws back. CASSANDRA is open-mouthed with astonishment.]
GEOFFREY: Forgive me for being so bold, I just felt -- MMPH!
[Without warning, CASSANDRA launches herself at him in mid-sentence and yanks him into a passionate kiss. A change in camera angle reveals his wide, slightly panicked eyes. As CASSANDRA clutches him tighter, they wobble off-balance for a moment, then fall -- presumably onto the bed -- out of camera range.]
[Cut to DIRK reclining in a steaming tub, eyes closed, face as serene as he ever gets. In accordance with gratuitous shirtless scene number two, female viewers are treated to a stellar view of his damp pectorals and biceps. Due to the water and the camera angle, unfortunately, this is as far as it goes.
With a lavender glow and a low hum, BETHEL materializes off to the right, slinking over to the tub to lean on its edge. DIRK, eyes still closed, betrays no visible reaction to her presence, but when he speaks, it becomes clear he knows she's there.]
DIRK: Don't you ever knock?
BETHEL: I thought we were past such formalities. We *are* engaged. [Lips pursed into a sultry smile, she examines the bath, trailing her fingertips through the water.] Feeling . . . dirty?
DIRK: Just . . . relaxing. [Opening his eyes, he stares at her coldly.] I've been in dire need of it.
BETHEL: Yes, I've heard about Shriker. Such a shame. He was one of your best generals, wasn't he? [She raises her hand, watching the water stream from her fingers.] Have you killed him yet?
DIRK: Not yet. [He reaches up and strokes the length of her arm.] You know, it's the strangest thing. It's *Geoffrey* who revealed his treachery. I would have never thought him clever enough.
BETHEL [massaging his neck]: Sometimes people surprise you.
DIRK [giving himself over to the sensation]: Mmm.
BETHEL: You *are* tense.
DIRK: Where was I? Oh, yes. So I had Geoffrey's room searched.
BETHEL [stiffening]: Oh?
DIRK: I found the most extraordinary thing. [His hand tightens around her wrist, in a gesture which is not at all playful.] A note betraying Shriker. The handwriting was clearly disguised, but the words . . . and the faintest trace of perfume . . . reminded me of you.
BETHEL: You're being paranoid.
BETHEL: Someone must have set me up.
DIRK: Who would do a thing like that?
BETHEL: Vector, for one. Any number of enemies who hate to see us together -- who want to ruin our destiny, the power we could wield over all of Aperans. [With her free hand, she toys with his monocle, as if reminding him who stole it in the first place.] Why would I know anything about Shriker?
DIRK: The very question I've been asking myself all day. Over and over. These . . . conspirators of yours had no way of knowing I'd search Geoffrey's room. [With an abrupt splash, he stands upright, yanking her to him, causing her -- and the entire female audience -- to gasp. Unfortunately, it's a waist-up camera angle. Sorry.] If there's one thing Saris taught me, it's that sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one. Is it correct this time, Bethel?
[BETHEL refuses to look him in the eye. She's thinking quickly.]
BETHEL: I had . . . heard rumors about Shriker, that he wasn't quite the man you thought he was. When I . . . confirmed those rumors, I knew I had to tell you, but . . . you know how angry you can be when you're proven wrong. [She gazes up at him entreatingly.]
DIRK [amused]: So you set Geoffrey up as your messenger. I see. Just tell me this, Bethel: precisely how did you . . . "confirm" Shriker's treachery? With a little treachery of your own?
BETHEL: Of course not. I had nothing to do with Shriker. [The hand toying with the monocle trails lower, out of camera range. Lord only knows what it's doing.] There's only you, Dirk. You know that. I'm sorry if I caused you to doubt it, even for a moment.
DIRK [wryly]: I wish I could believe you.
[BETHEL lifts her arm to the neck fastening of her skimpy costume. As the camera angle switches to filming her from behind and from the waist up, she releases the fastening. An abrupt switch in camera angle reveals the dress falling in a tiny silvery puddle at her feet. Thanks to this fancy camera work, you actually don't see anything more than usual. Sorry to all the men out there -- but hey, she *is* shirtless. Technically speaking.]
BETHEL: I can be *very* convincing. Perhaps I could even help you to . . . relax.
[As he looks her up and down, a tiny smirk tugs at DIRK's lips. They kiss. Cut to their wavering reflection in the water.]
[Cut to a horse's hoof splashing into water (seemingly the same water, in a neat little camera dissolve), then up to a shot of ERIK and MARKO riding across a creek in the moonlight.]
MARKO: Hold up, I need to get something to drink.
ERIK: Don't we have anything left?
MARKO: Not unless you wanna drink *him.* [He points at the JUSTIN-JUG in ERIK's saddlebag.] Ben's thirsty, too.
ERIK: Okay, but tell Ben to hurry up.
[ERIK and MARKO dismount. MARKO leads the horses to water, and fills their water skins. ERIK wanders downstream a little ways, impatient to keep moving. He gasps and shields his eyes as the ethereal female figure of BELLDONNA suddenly appears.]
MARKO [over at the stream]: Oh, gods, he's at it again.
BELLDONNA: Grave warnings do I bring, brave Erik. A monster grim with violet eyes/livestock hurtling from the skies!
ERIK [Just a tiny bit impatient]: Already happened.
ERIK: Falling cow, wildmage. I'm afraid we've been there, done that.
BELLDONNA [nonplussed]: Oh. Well, then, watch for one with eyes of blue/your brother could become a brew!
ERIK: Another wildmage, Justin gets turned into wine.
BELLDONNA: Oh, dear. [Her lip trembles a bit.]
ERIK [soothingly] It's all right. I know you did your best. Just tell Traquill to get a spell ready to help Justin. We're on our way. [He strides away briskly.]
BELLDONNA [as she's already fading]: Wait! Don't you want to hear about the poisoned stream?
ERIK [freezing in his tracks]: Poisoned stream?
BELLDONNA: Yes! A hundred years a man will sleep/if e'er he drinks its crystal deep! [Smiling the perky smile of one happy to have been of service, she fades out completely.]
ERIK: Oh, no -- *Marko!*
[Running back to the stream, he's treated to the sight of MARKO, sprawled out full-length, snoring like a lumberjack.]
ERIK [to the empty air]: Belldonna, you're beautiful, and I appreciate your help, but couldn't you have said that rhyme *first?*
[Struggling, he hefts the considerable deadweight of MARKO across the back of BEN. Mounting SOUTHWIND, he leads BEN along by the reins, along with JUSTIN's riderless horse. Almost immediately, MARKO starts to slip off. ERIK quickly stops to rebalance MARKO and tie him on lightly. He pats BEN's neck.]
ERIK: Do your best to keep him balanced, okay? We're going to have to go at a walk as it is. It'll take all night to get back. [He shakes his head ruefully.] I hope Cassandra's doing better than we are.
[Cut to CASSANDRA, sleeping peacefully under a red satin coverlet in the guest bedroom. Suddenly, a man's hand muffles her mouth. She squeaks automatically, eyes flying open, arms flailing out, and then the camera reveals it's GEOFFREY standing by the bed. He's in his normal clothing now.]
GEOFFREY [removing his hand]: Shhh!
CASSANDRA [whispering]: What are you --
GEOFFREY: Come on. There's not much time!
[He quickly pulls her out of bed. She's fully dressed, thus creating ambiguity as to exactly *how* far their former encounter went -- ambiguity which will remain unresolved. Ain't I a stinker?]
CASSANDRA: Not much time for what?
GEOFFREY: To help you escape! [Wrapping a cloak around her shoulders, he hustles her over to the wall. He turns a candle sconce, causing part of the wall to swing inward and reveal a secret passage.] Let's go! [As they rapidly descend the hidden stairs, he continues talking.] Dirk's planning to torture you tomorrow. I couldn't let that happen. I had to get you out of here. I . . . I care about you too much. Dirk will be furious, but I'll handle him. [He sets his brow into a look of no-nonsense toughness.]
CASSANDRA [looking up at him worshipfully]: You'd do that for me?
GEOFFREY: In a heartbeat.
[They emerge into the night air. A horse is saddled and ready. GEOFFREY leads her over to it, then pauses, clasping her hands romantically.]
GEOFFREY: If you don't mind . . . I'd like to give you this. Something to remember me by.
[Reaching under his cloak, he reveals a gold circlet, the green carbuncle set in its center.]
CASSANDRA: It's beautiful.
GEOFFREY: Not as beautiful as your eyes by moonlight.
[Gently, he places it on her head. It actually looks rather pretty, if gaudy. Definitely better than the old hat.]
GEOFFREY: Wear it always, and think of me.
CASSANDRA [vehemently]: I'll never take it off!
GEOFFREY: Good. [Waits a beat.] Er . . . when you're back in Camarand, could you do me a favor?
CASSANDRA [thrown by this abrupt change in tone]: Um . . . okay?
GEOFFREY: There's a very dear friend of mine who's been captured by Erik. General Shriker.
CASSANDRA [horrified]: I can't help a prisoner of war escape! There'd be too many guards, and --
GEOFFREY: No, no! Nothing like that. I just wanted you to stop by, go see him, talk to him a bit. Lift his spirits by telling him we're still thinking about him back in Karteia.
CASSANDRA [immensely relieved]: Oh! I can do that. [She smiles shyly.] That's very nice of you, to worry about your friend like that.
GEOFFREY [having the decency to look a little guilty]: Mr. Nice Guy. That's me.
[Impulsively, CASSANDRA leans forward on tiptoe and kisses him again. Finally, he pulls away.]
GEOFFREY: I wish I could kiss you all night, but you need to hurry. You have to get back to Camarand as soon as you can, before Dirk finds out you're missing.
CASSANDRA: I understand. [She blinks back tears.] I know what a big risk you're taking for me -- a risk no one else would. I -- I mean, I . . . [She appears to be about to say something very momentous, but loses courage, or can't find the words. Instead, she takes a deep, shuddering breath.] Just, thank you.
GEOFFREY: You're welcome.
[GEOFFREY watches as CASSANDRA urges her horse away, up the path and out of sight into the woods. After a few seconds, DIRK and VECTOR appear from the shadows, watching her leave.]
DIRK [clasping his arm around GEOFFREY in a fraternal embrace]: Congratulations, Geoffrey. You've seduced a servant. It's only taken you a decade to master what I was doing at fifteen.
GEOFFREY [sullenly]: So what happens now?
DIRK: The servant returns to Camarand, pays her respects to General Shriker, and your little present blows him into bits too small to bury.
VECTOR [grimacing]: You have a way with words.
GEOFFREY [peering over DIRK's shoulder]: Wait a minute. Do we have a lawn statue?
DIRK: Of course not. Why?
[Cut to the moonlit stone statue of COLTER. Cut to DIRK, GEOFFREY, and VECTOR eyeing it with interest.]
DIRK: A souvenir of your wildmage, no doubt. Get rid of it, Vector. I've never cared much for public art.
VECTOR: At once, my lord. [Extending his arms, VECTOR levitates the COLTER STATUE and drops it in the moat with a hearty splash.]
DIRK: Much better. The moat monster could use a new toy. [He turns to go back into the secret passage, then pauses when he notes GEOFFREY still standing there, watching the path where CASSANDRA rode away, looking a bit guilty.] Something wrong?
GEOFFREY [distantly]: No, nothing.
[DIRK thinks for a moment, quietly scheming about which buttons to push. Finally, he clasps his brother on the shoulder.]
DIRK: All joking aside, you did well.
DIRK: Really. I'm proud of you, Geoffrey.
GEOFFREY: Thanks! [He breaks out into an absurdly happy smile, CASSANDRA forgotten, and bounds after DIRK like a loyal puppy.]
[Cut to the COLTER-STATUE underwater. A large and fearsome-looking moat monster swims up, sniffing it curiously. Then, opening its gaping maw, it devours poor COLTER . . .
. . . and the screen fades into a graphic-novel-style close-up of the hungry monster, as we break for one last commercial.]
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