Pilgrim’s Progress 4: Racconto

Chapter One[J1]

Approaching Shady Lair by Jaron Belboda

Written from April – July 2009[J2]

Test version depicting Great-heart Jr. (Paul) with Great-grace Jr. (Jehu) along with Asahel and Amos as they enter the town of Shady Lair to conduct some business.

Scene #0 [J3]

Expansion pack: New ideas

Paul:   It’s not a place I want to go, Dad.

Faith:   Isn’t this a bit extreme?

Gh:   It may be extreme, but I fear this is our only hope—as of now.

Asahel:   What is this place?

Paul:   It’s called Shady Lair. It’s ten times worse than Vanity Fair.

Amos:   Why did we come here?

Paul:   To look for clues.

Jehu:   It’s risky everything here is networked. With the Cove under their control I’m not sure we can make it.

Asahel:   What’s going to happen?

Approaching Shady Lair Premiering winter 2011.

Note: It didn’t release in 2011, instead the project died. It happens =)





Scene #1[J4]

Narrator:   And so it was that Paul Jehu Amos and Asahel, came at the hill overlooking the town which they believed was their key to ending the constant harassment by Warcraft and his “creatures.”

Asahel:   So this is the infamous Shady Lair.

Jehu:   Yes, a place of many opportunities. And in our case it has just what we’re looking for.

(Amos and Asahel sound interested.)

Paul:   But, it is an evil place. You will not find a greater strong hold of crime, mindless brutality, and all kinds of lawlessness. We must guard our steps.

(They begin their descent)

Asahel:   Mr. Great-heart?

Paul:   Hm?

Asahel:   Why didn’t we bring our mini transport[J5] ? It might have been easier.

Jehu:   Hmph.

Paul:   It might have been easier, but it would also draw too much attention. This is the place where Faith said her spies reported Warcraft’s headquarters are.

Asahel:   Ah.

Paul:   Besides, it is customary invaders, such as us, to send in a few troops in a mini transport as their special forces.

Asahel:   Oh.

Jehu:   How many do they usually bring in, Paul?

Paul:   Usually four. They are always elite warriors so they really don’t need a lot to get the job done.

Jehu:   Ah. You’re more knowledgeable about these things than I am.

Paul:  Patience, my friend, in time you will learn. But until then don’t feel embarrassed.

Jehu:   Thanks, man.

Amos:  Pardon my ignorance, but why would you be embarrassed?

Paul:   (chuckles)

Jehu:   (chuckles) Well, Paul here, is younger than I am, and yet more skilled with his weapons and battle sense. I have a more refined and structured style, he is freer with his art.[J6]

Asahel:   I didn’t understand half of what you said.

(Paul and Jehu laugh)

Paul:  Watch your step, Asahel, there’s a loose rock.

Asahel:   Oh! Thanks.

Paul:   See unlike Jehu, who comes from the city of Good-confidence, my family comes from an evil place—the town of LB, or Pound as we used to call it.

Amos:   Charming.

Paul:  Quite. LB stands for Lawless Brutality, the two main characteristics of our town. It was a rough neighborhood.

Asahel:   You lived in that town and still came out right?

Paul:   Oh no, my parents lived on the outskirts. We moved to Shark’s Cove[J7]  when I was 15.

Amos:   Hm.

Paul:   Pound was invaded several times by various gangsters and bounty hunters.

Asahel:  Bounty hunters? (Taken aback)

Paul:   Of course; you know the type.

Asahel:   No I don’t.

Paul:   Really? I’m surprised, since you had one of the most notable bounty hunters living in Stupidity.

Amos:   What? (Incredulous)

Asahel:   We did? (Surprised)

Jehu:   Yes, William Warcraft[J8] !

Asahel:   Oh, him. Mother used to have problems with him. What does he do?

Paul:   Well, like other bounty hunters, he captures fugitives for a monetary reward (bounty).

Amos:   Ah. They do a valuable work.

Jehu:   That depends on who they’re working for. Some of these hunters can be quite….corrupt.

Paul:   Aye. Many of them work for the highest bidder, and will even turn on former employers if it pays well—these are the ones that we had in our town.

(Amos and Asahel shudder)

Paul:   And we had to learn how to get along with all of them!

Amos:   A difficult task!

Paul:   Indeed! Many a time my brothers and I got into scrapes with these villains through no fault of our own, and learned the valuable art of adapting.

Asahel:   Meaning…?

Paul:   Meaning that we would not stick to one style of combat, we used all of them while constantly adding to our collection.[J9]

Asahel:   I see. (Beginning to understand) But tell me something, you married a Great-grace girl…she…well, Faith seems to have more skill than her brother! No offence, Mr. Great-grace.

Jehu:   None taken.

Paul:   Faith trained under Master Xomi[J10] . He has a deadly style—mostly because he’s so short.

(They all laugh as they can mentally see Xomi single handedly defeating two giants.)

Jehu:   Yeah, at 4’ 5” you gotta create some advantage.

Asahel:   But she doesn’t use his style! (Insistent) From the little I know about sword fighting and the little I’ve seen, her style and his don’t match.

Paul:  True! He encourages his students to develop their own method based on the basic principles of the art.

Asahel:   That makes sense. (She steps on a sharp rock) Ow!

Amos:   What?

Asahel:  These rocks are like nails!

Amos:   They are? (He steps on one too) Ooh! (Moans) Point taken.

Asahel:   Why are these stones so sharp? (She stops to take one out of her shoe) It’s almost as if they were cut!

(Jehu and Amos concur as they all stop to rest.)

Paul:   They were.

(Expressions of puzzlement from the others.)

Paul:   They were placed here to hedge up the way for travelers that come here by horse—though I must say it is quite effective for foot travelers.

Asahel:   I’ll say.

Paul:   But it is often referred to as Horse Nail Ridge[J11] , in keeping with its original purpose.

Jehu:   Fortunately they end up ahead.

(Asahel and Amos express their relief.)

Amos:   Well, let’s not wait here too long, then.

(They resume their descent.)

Jehu:   So tell us a bit more about yourself, Paul. Even I haven’t heard the whole story yet.

Paul:   Well, there isn’t much to tell. I grew up just outside the town of Pound, experienced several changes of power; attended Shark’s Cove became a student instructor, married your sister…

Jehu:   Of course, you couldn’t do any better!

Paul:   True! Faith and I built our little refuge on the outskirts of Shark’s Cove like my parents, and have lived normal lives that…

Asahel:   Normal? (Incredulous)

Paul:   (chuckles) Well, bouncing bad guys has been everyday life for us.

Asahel:  So you got married and built you house like a bunker?

(Paul and Jehu and Amos laugh)

Paul:   Not exactly, but I guess bunker is more or less accurate. Though, we built it before we were married; just after we got engaged in fact.

Amos:   When were you engaged?

Paul:   We were fairly young.

Jehu:   Yes!

Asahel:   By your tone I sense that they were too young.

Paul:   Perhaps we were. Others have said as much, but I never regretted the timing of our union.

Asahel:  How old were you?

Paul:   16.

Asahel:   When you got married? (Amazed)

Paul:   No! We got married at 18.[J12]

Jehu:  That’s still young! (Emphatically)

Paul:   It was an arranged marriage. The only difference was that we actually wanted to be together. It’s not that we were short on patience but there were rumors about our (clears his throat) close relationship. Some people believed it to be more physical than it actually was and they…well…no need to clutter your mind with the details.

Amos:   So it was physical?

Jehu:   Someone chanced to see them hugging and a whole nest of rumors hatched matched and mated, while the truth was still evaluating its counterpart.

Paul:   In other words, the rumors spread quicker than the truth.

Asahel:   Yeah I got that.

Jehu:   So to avoid bringing shame to our King, they decided to get married and end the suspicion.

Amos:   And it worked?

Paul:   No. Faith was a little too liberal for the conservative community I grew up in, though she was perfectly balanced…

Jehu:   And still is.

Paul:   Thank you. They caused many problems for us which I believe Faith has already alluded to.

Amos:   Yes. But I think she has sufficiently cleared her name.

Jehu:   We wish. It makes me angry to hear some of the things they say about my sister’s way of raising their children. (Bitter)

Paul:   Patience, brother; truth wins out in the end. (Encouraging)

Jehu:   I can only hope it will be soon.

Paul:   True justice and peace cannot be known on this earth apart from Christ.

Asahel:   Then you would imply that those who criticize are outside of Christ because they judge incorrectly. (Beginning to understand)

Paul:   Bravely spoken. Abiding in Christ is a moment by moment experience which few understand fully.

Jehu:   If the truth be spoken, brother, I believe that it is an experience of progressive understanding.

Paul:   Speak on.

Jehu:   Well, it is just like any relationship. Take you and me for example; we can each hold our own in the field, but together, we can put a city to flight. But we did not know this until we began to work together.

Paul:  Hm.

Jehu:   And even then we did not know it until, a situation arose in which we needed to work together in this way.

Paul:   Well thought out.

(The others concur.)

Asahel:   So we don’t even realize the full potential of our union with Christ until we need it most.

Paul:   Nay! Until we see that we need it most. We need it all the time, but rarely do we see our need.

Asahel:   Do you mean to say that we don’t need him any more on this mission than in our daily interaction with each other?

Paul:   That is exactly what I mean.

Asahel:   Hm. (thinking of the implications)

Paul:   Think on these things.

Asahel:  I will.

Jehu:   And more importantly act upon them!

Paul:  Your life will be much fuller when you realize your need of Christ and take Him with you everywhere.

Asahel:   Everywhere?

Paul:   Yes! Having Jesus as a constant companion benefits the Christian immeasurably! Not only does He become your strength in times of obvious trouble, but also the guide of your thoughts and the streamliner (if that’s a word) [they all chuckle] of all your business, your daily activities. Try Him; and you will find that you will not regret it!

Asahel:   I shall.

(They pause as they realize they are just in front of their destination.)

Amos:   I guess this is it.

Paul:   Yes

Jehu:   Remember are not only here to pick up supplies; gather what intelligence you can while here.

Asahel:   Yes sir.

Paul:   Right. (Determined)

Jehu:   Amos, come with me.

Amos:   Yes sir.

Paul:   Come on, Asahel.

Asahel:   Right behind you, Sir!

(Fading out)

Jehu:   Let’s see if we can’t find anything to improve your shoes.

Amos:   A new pair of shoes?

Jehu:   That might be a better idea. I’ve seen some shoes that….





Scene #2

(Jehu and Amos enter the market above ground)

Amos:   Jehu, sir.

Jehu:   Yes?

Amos:   Do you think we could get some of these shoes?

Jehu:   Which ones?

Amos:   (takes them off the stand) These.

Jehu:   (comes over and takes a look) Hm, hard-sole. Yes, I believe these would serve us well. Two pairs!

Amos:  Don’t we all need them?

Jehu:   Paul and I have hard soles built into our Jerusalem Steel boots—the steel doesn’t begin and end at the toe.

Amos:   Ah.

Jehu:   Let’s checkout.

Shopkeeper:   Ah, Mr. Jehu!

Jehu:   Hello, Mikus.

Shopkeeper:   Growing tender souls these days, eh? (chuckles)

Jehu:   We need these shoes for the ridge.

Shopkeeper:   Ah, yes. Horse Nail Ridge, that’s a killer.

Jehu:   Yeah.

(The shopkeeper rings them up)

Shopkeeper:   That will be 20 Crescent Moons.

(Jehu opens his money holder and brings out 40 stars)

Shopkeeper:  40 Stars?

Jehu:   Aye.

Shopkeeper:   You know you really should keep up with the currencies, man. It’ll save you having to dish out so much capital.

Jehu:   It’s all the same in your purse.

Shopkeeper:   (laughs) Quite.

Meanwhile outside the shop….

Asahel:   What are we doing?

Paul:   Selecting one of these speeders.

Asahel:   But these are mini transports.

Paul:   Aye. These are our shopping carts. Aha! Let’s take this one.

Asahel:   Shopping carts…we’re going shopping?

Paul:   (jumps in) Didn’t Jehu say that? Gen 5’s are my favorite. (puts the harness on)

Asahel:   Well yes, but I didn’t think we were doing a lot shopping.

Paul:   How small do you think our family is? Hop in!

Asahel:   Why did…

Paul:   No, no, there is no why! Get in.

(Asahel sighs, puts her hands on the side of the cockpit and jumps in using her arms to help.)

Paul:   Don’t forget the harness.

Asahel:  Right. (I knew that)

(She puts the harness on)

Paul:   Alright, this is where the fun begins!

(He reverses abruptly jarring her and then takes off towards a dark archway.)

Asahel:   Where are we going?

Paul:   The Underground Mall. Surely you’ve heard of it.

Asahel:   Yes. But I didn’t realize it was actually underground.

Paul:   Of course, you were all excited about shopping and could care less where it is.

Asahel:   No I wasn’t.

Paul:   But what girl wouldn’t want to look at all the clothes, shoes, knacks, jewels.

Asahel:   Now I know you’re kidding me.

Paul:   (laughs) Did I miss anything?

Asahel:   Fingernail polish.

Paul:   Oh, I couldn’t mention that! I like Faith’s green nails.

Asahel:   What?

Paul:   I’m joking, Asahel.

Asahel:   Oh.

Paul:   You know it’s her eyes that are green.

Asahel:   Yeah.





Scene #2.5

(Jehu is thumping watermelons while Amos is choosing dried fruit.)

Amos:   So exactly what are we looking for?

(Jehu continues thumping)

Jehu:   (mumbles) No not that one.

Amos:   Mr. Jehu. (trying to get him back to the present)

Jehu:   Huh? (still not quite there)

Amos:   What are we looking for?

Jehu:   Ah, yes let’s takes this one.

Amos:   Okay.

Jehu:   (sighs) I’m sorry, Amos. What were you asking?

Amos:   (confidential tone) What kind of intelligence are we looking for?

Jehu:   (softly)   Closer.

(Amos comes nearer)

Jehu:   Information on exactly where Warcraft’s base is, and how we might get into it.

Amos:   That’s it?

Jehu:   Well we have to get in first to disable the “beasts.”

Amos:   I’m guessing that won’t be a permanent solution.

Jehu:   No, but it should last long enough so we can get more done with our… (there is a noise and he looks about him) …our business.

Amos:   Business?

Jehu:   Of course. The one your mother started back in Stupidity and which Paul and I have been involved in for some time.

Amos:   Ah.

Fruit seller:   Gentleman.

(They cry out being startled. Not too loud—they’re men after all.)

Fruit seller:   Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just that if you’re not going to buy anything, I’d just as soon see you on your way. No loitering.

Jehu:   Oh, we’re buying; we were just discussing.

Fruit seller:   That’s an awfully long time to discuss melons.

Amos:  Yes, well, you see the quality of melons for us is a very important thing, requiring some serious delineation.

Fruit seller: What? (bewildered)

Amos:   What I mean is we want to make sure they’re completely…

Jehu:   (sees where this is headed) Spare it, Amos, just give him his money.

Amos:   Yes sir.

(Amos pays the fruit seller)

Jehu:   He can go on and on with these things.

Fruit seller:   I can tell. You have an enjoyable day, Mister….uh….Great-grace.

(He turns back to tending his stands)

Amos:   Uh-oh.

Jehu:   Yeah, we’d better wrap things up.

Meanwhile under the ground…

(They’ve just finished loading the speeder.)

Paul:   Well, that it’s from this shop. Come on, Asahel

Asahel:   Coming.

Paul:   Oh, do stop looking about, Asahel, you look paranoid.

Asahel:   Jehu said to gather intelligence.

(They put on their harnesses.)

Paul:   Yes, but he didn’t say to look like it. You have learned the ways of the cat, now I must show you the ways of the human.

Asahel:   (giggles)

Paul:   (smiles) I did the same thing when father said that to me. Then I learned that he meant exactly what he said.

(Paul pulls away from the shop.)

Asahel:   So where’s our next stop?

Paul:   Up ahead three blocks, see?

Asahel:   It looks like a dead end.

Paul:   At the end of which is a shop, Marcus Lucas.

Asahel:  Is that your brother’s shop?

Paul:   He and a friend, yes.

(Paul’s communicator rings; he opens the channel.)

Paul:   Jehu.

Jehu:   Paul, I think we’ve been found out.

Paul:   Are you positive?

Jehu:   As much as we can be. The fruit seller seemed unusually suspicious.

Paul:   Who of you?

Jehu:   Paul, it’s no laughing matter.

(Switch to Jehu’s perspective)

Paul:   I’m not laughing, bro.

Jehu:  I know, but you don’t seem to be taking me seriously.

Paul:   Taking you seriously and panicking are two different things. It could be nothing.

Jehu:   True. Though finding out will take time I don’t want to waste getting caught if it is something.

Paul:   Agreed. Things could get really ugly.

(Switch to Paul’s perspective in mid-sentence.)

Jehu:   Yes, so you’ll need to wrap up whatever it is you’re doing as soon as possible.

Paul:   Alright. Junior out.

(Paul closes the channel and accelerates.)

Asahel:   What are you doing?

Paul:   Wrapping up.

Asahel:   But don’t you think we should turn around like right now?

Paul:   There’s something urging me to check out this shop.

Asahel:   But it’s empty.

Paul:   So it is. Hm.

Asahel:   Do you think they closed up for the day?

Paul:   Not likely.

(Paul pulls in and they climb out.)

Asahel:   There’s no on inside. Do you think it’s safe?

Paul:   Let’s have a look.

(The go in through the door.)

Paul:   Well, well. (Whistles and the lights turn on.)

Asahel:   That’s how you turn on the lights?

Paul:   Uh, Marcus is quite eccentric.

Asahel:   I didn’t know he liked spider web patterns on his windows.

Paul:   I don’t think he does.

(The glass suddenly shatters)

Asahel:   (gives a startled cry) I guess that explains the spider webs.

Paul:   (whips around) Indeed.

Asahel:   Why would the glass be cracked?

Paul:   Well uh…Ah! Look here.

Asahel:   Rocks. Somebody hit the windows but they didn’t shatter

Paul:   Until now.

Asahel:   I wonder how it happened.

Paul:   Not sure. Maybe there’s some sort of… (There is a distant crash/rumble) …uh-oh.

Asahel:   What?

Paul:   Do you hear that?

(The distant sound becomes more distinguishable as the sound of a speeder.)

Asahel:   Sounds like a speeder.

Asahel:   Hey… (She moves to the window and looks out) …It’s Jehu!

Paul:   (joins her) It sure is. He’s coming through!

Asahel:   Isn’t he gonna brake?

Paul:   I don’t think so, duck!

(They throw themselves down behind the counter as the speeder crashes through the front display window of the shop. It hits the ground and Jehu and Amos tumble out.)

Amos and Jehu:   Cough.

Paul:   Jehu, subtlety isn’t a part of your procedure these days is it?

Asahel:   Yeah, why don’t you learn to use your brakes!

Jehu:   (coughs) It was just an accident.

Amos:   Say, what’s this?

Paul:   Hm, it looks like a list of some sort.

Jehu:   Is it worth taking?

Paul:   Maybe. Come on, let’s get out of here.

Amos:   Right.

(Amos starts for the front uh…gap.)

Jehu:   Not that way Amos!

Amos:   What? (startled)

Jehu:   That is where our enemies are headed; they’ll be here any minute. Here out the back!

Asahel:   But what about our supplies in the undamaged speeder?

Paul:   We’ll have to get more supplies another time.

(Paul heads for the back door.)

Asahel:   Okay.

(Asahel hurries to catch up with Paul.)

Jehu:   Let’s go, Amos.

Amos:   Coming…Oh! (triumphant)

Jehu:   What?

Amos:   I found our hard-sole boots! (he picks them up)

Jehu:   Excellent!

Paul:   (off; calls) Come on guys!

Jehu:  (calls) Coming!

(They quickly slip out the back door into an escape tunnel. Just in the nick of time too, for their enemies arrive.)

Warcraft:   Secure the perimeter.

Soldier:   Yes sir!

Warcraft:   Well, well. Look what they left here.

Captain:   Weapons? Ammunition? Medical supply?

Warcraft:   Hardly. (he opens a bag)

Captain:   Construction supplies? (bewildered)

Warcraft:   Yes. Which means young Mr. Great-heart was going to set up training school.

Captain:   But he can’t do that now.

Warcraft:  Hm, I wouldn’t be so certain.

(There is a noise from deep inside the shop)

Captain:   What’s that?

Warcraft:   (frustrated) It is the sound of a Great-heart escape.

Captain:   But that’s impossible! Marcus didn’t show us any blueprints for escape mechanisms when he built this shop.

Warcraft:   Fool! He didn’t need to—there was already a tunnel on the property before he built the place. All he needed to do was to “setup shop.”

Captain:   Shall we go after them?

Warcraft:   And risk being shut down by another member of the party? No, give Saber-tooth the heads up. He’ll take care of them.

Captain:   Yes sir!





Scene #3

(They are on their way back up the cliff.)

Amos:   Well, that was an eventful excursion.

Paul:   Hm.

Jehu:   (laughs) I’m afraid the only excitement was us crashing through the display windows at the shop.

Amos:   It was a convenient way to make it look like we didn’t survive our escape.

Jehu:   Yes, but it was slightly overdone. If I’d have hit the brakes a bit sooner it might…

Asahel:   We did find that list because of the crash, so I guess it was worth it.

Paul:   Hm.

Jehu:   Oh come on, Paul. Is that all you can say?

Paul:   Well, we transmitted the list to Faith, but it was in T. Quoda and she doesn’t know T. Quoda.

Jehu:   Are you any closer to finding Sage?

Paul:   No.

Asahel:   Wait, I thought we were trying to get back inside the castle. And what’s the difference I thought that Quoda was one language.

Paul:   It’s a language with about four dialects T. Quoda stands for Technical Quoda. And yes we would like to get into the castle, but we’d like to find Sage while we’re at it.

Asahel:   Is Sage the only one who knows how to translate Technical Quoda?

Jehu:   I’m afraid so. See, it’s not like the languages we usually encounter, like Spanish, French of Russian.

Paul:   Right; it’s almost like a programming language—except that people can speak and write it.

(Amos and Asahel begin to see the implications)

Amos:   But you can say a programming language anyway.

Paul:   True, but it isn’t used for communication between people—Quoda is.

Jehu:   At least Sage got her brother out. (encouraging)

Paul:   Yes, but this war has been hard on Faith and I. I think this is the first time we’ve worked independently from each other.

Jehu:   I’m sorry, did you say independently?

Paul:   Well, I….

Jehu:   You’re not independent. I’ve never seen such teamwork—even back in Stupidity you weren’t this close!

Paul:   Yes, but we’re not together. We work for the same purpose, but we hardly spend time together, anymore. That’s the thing; we were always side by side and…

Asahel:   Hand in hand?

Paul:   It’s pretty difficult to do that when you’re wielding a sword.

Asahel:   Oh, that’s a good point.

Paul:   But the point is…

(They laugh)

Paul:   The point is that we were always on the dance floor together.

Asahel:   The Dance floor? Is this another one of your jokes?

Paul:   It’s a metaphor of harmony.

Asahel:   Okay, I get it. (Sees the picture)

Paul:   In spite of all this, I can still say God is good!

Jehu:   Amen! That’s where our focus should be at this time. Remember your dad’s tagline?

Paul:   Yes! It used to be mine as well.

Asahel:   Which one was it?

Paul:   “I have seen worse times than these.”

(Fond expressions as they remember Mr. Great-heart and his many lessons.)

Paul:   Of course now I’m saying, “I have never dreamed of seeing the terrors I’ve experienced.”

Jehu:   Well yes, but the line doesn’t end there! (earnestly)

Paul:   Yes. He would say, “I’m am still alive. I do not boast for I am not my own Savior.” Yes, I see your point.

(There is a period of silence in which nothing can be heard except the crunch of their feet on the gravelly trail, the birds, and a light breeze.)

Asahel:   Great-heart? (A bit hesitant)

Paul:  Yes? Don’t be shy. (chuckles)

Asahel:   (gig) I know you said there’s no “why” back there in the town, but why did you say “our family?” We’re an entire band of pilgrims.

Paul:   Because we’re being watched. One tongue slip and we’re prisoners. You don’t think Warcraft would have his headquarters here without securing them, do you?

Asahel:   I guess I didn’t think of that. But you have your sword!

Paul:   Asahel, as my teacher used to tell me, “Danielson,” for my name is Paul Daniel. “There are times to go ahead sword a-swinging to the victory. There are other times when it is best to wait and see the salvation of the Lord.” Do you follow?

Asahel:   Uh…sort of.

Paul:   There are times to work with our King through action and there are times when he can only work things out for our best interest when we wait.

Asahel:   But how can we know the difference?

Paul:   That is where prayer comes in.

Asahel:   I see.

Amos:   So you had a teacher? I thought you said that you learned from street fighting.

Paul:   I improved from street fighting, but I learned from my teacher, Master Jabel.

Jehu:   Jabel. I’ve heard of him. Isn’t he…?

Paul:   The one that trained my father, and helped him setup Shark’s Cove.

Jehu:   That’s right. Is he still alive?

Paul:   How old do you think my dad is?

(They laugh)

Paul:   No one knows. They were about the same age, so I assume they still are. Some say Jabel’s dead, some say he’s alive in exile.

Jehu:   That’s true. Many guides have been killed since Warcraft’s tenure. So how are the new shoes working for you two?

Amos:   Oh, they’re working fine!

Asahel:   Yeah. They fit well, and we feel no pain.

Jehu:   That’s good! We probably should have…

Paul:   Jehu! (subdued shout)

Jehu:   What?

Paul:   Something’s wrong.

(Amos and Asahel express their puzzlement at Paul’s strange behavior.)

Paul:  Do you see it?

Jehu:   The layer of sharp stones appears to be thicker.

Paul:  And longer. See? They began here right by this pine tree, as I remember. Now they extend to the…huh?

Jehu:   I see it too.

Asahel:   (incredulous/fearful) A door? What’s that doing here?

Paul:   We’ll soon find out. (Draws his sword)

Jehu:   Do you think we’ve been followed?

Paul:   I’m not sure.

Jehu:   (draws his sword) I’ll take up the rear.

Narrator:   They went forward with trepidation; for it is not all nice to face an unknown potential danger. Just before they reached the door however, a shadow shot across the ground in front of Paul and a man landed on the ground before him.

John:   Hello there!

Paul:   (mildly amused) John. You need to work on your entrances.

John:   Hah! And you need to be more careful with your tongue. (menacing)

Paul:   I didn’t know you were working with Warcraft, I thought you two had a fall out.

John:   Is that what you learned from your intelligence trip?

Paul:   Intelligence…..John how did…were you following us?

John:   Oh, you should know better than to ask. I’m a desperate man, Mr. Great-heart, if I don’t get the upper hand on you I lose my job.

Paul:   And your life.

John:   I’m not as feeble as you presume, my old friend. (indignant) I have everything under control, and you are not going to ruin it for me.

Paul:   Oh, I can see that. So what are your charges?

John:   Spying!

Jehu:   Come on, you’ve got to elaborate on that.

John:   Do I really need to? You have been caught in the act of spying on a WS base—a crime punishable by death. (venomous)

Paul:   And you intend to inflict this punishment upon us?

John:   (puts his hand up against the door) Look man, I’m tired of playing this game. Now if (arrow slams into place between his thumb and index finger) Oh!

Paul:   Ah. (understanding)

John:   Alright Paul, what are you up to?

Paul:   Me? I have no weapon other than my sword.

John:   Don’t push me, I’ve got… (a second arrow finds its mark between his index and middle fingers) Yeow!

(They begin to laugh)

John:   That is not funny!

(Arrows slam into place in between his other fingers and on either side of his wrist accompanied by exclamations of astonishment and trepidation from him.)

Faith:   (off; calls) It seems I have missed your hand, Mr. Saber-tooth. I suggest you let them pass before my aim improves.

John:   Alright I get the message! But do you think I was foolish enough to come alone? (In a challenging tone)

(In answer another arrow flies in cutting a clean diagonal path in John’s hair before imbedding itself in the door behind him.)

John:   Wait I thought you were on my left! (surprised)

Faith:   (off; chuckles) Do you think I’d let you know where I am?

John:   Boys shoot the right! (pulls his hand from between the arrows)

(John’s hidden assassins shoot a stream of arrows and other projectiles at the high bank.)

Narrator:   John’s hidden assassins let loose such a stream of arrows, bullets and darts that it seemed Faith must surely have died in the deadly hail!

(The others express their dismay.)

Paul:   Stay calm. (confidently)

Amos:   Calm? Sir, do you realize the odds of surviving that attack are 957:1?

Paul:   Never tell me the odds, Amos.

Asahel:   Wait how did you know that?

Amos:   It was just a rough estimate.

Jehu:   Courage! Remember Gideon.

Paul:   And our personal experience back in Stupidity…duck!

(Three more arrows from the bank shoot overhead and bury themselves in the door)

John:   She’s still alive!

Faith:   (off; calls) Hold your fire! I didn’t come alone, John, that’s why arrows came from different directions.

John:   Regardless, you and your men had better show yourselves, or else I’ll have my assassins blow up that ridge!

Narrator:   There was a long pause—which may really have been only a minute—in which the others began to fear that Faith intended to wait until the last possible second before coming. But they held their tongues, and prayed that their King would see to the situation.  John however did not hold his tongue.

John:   Do you hear me? Show yourself immediately, as you value your life.

(Faith suddenly appears with Sage and Daniel.)

Faith:   So dramatic! It’s just us.

John:   Faith, only you would be so bold!

Faith:   You knew it was me. (calmly)

John:   Of course! But I didn’t expect you to bring children to help.

(Sage and Daniel squirm uncomfortably)

Faith:   Well, a big force would be too easy to track.

John:   Ah yes, I see you have brought your children. Daniel and Sage, who has escaped again! (sigh of frustration.)

Assassin 1:   Sir! You have an incoming transmission from William Warcraft.

John:   I’ll take that back here. You two!

Assassin 2:   Sir!

John:   Make sure they don’t escape!

Assassin 2 & 3:   Sir yes sir!

John:   The rest of you flank them from behind.

(Most of the assassins close the backward escape. John opens the door and closes it behind him while his chosen assassins move in front, blocking our heroes view and preventing them from advancing.)

Faith:   Hi, Honey. I hope I’m not too late.

Paul:   Your timing is perfect, Faith.

(He hugs her from the side.)

Sage:   Daddy!

Paul:   Sage! (With one arm still around Faith, he hugs Sage) Thank God.

Daniel:   Daniel Great-heart at your service!

(As Daniel speaks, he draws his sword and begins moving it so fast it can barely be seen.)

Paul:   (laughs) Daniel. (amused)

Narrator:   But Daniel did not stop instead he turned a 360 while jumping backwards—landing just in front of the assassins.

Paul:   Daniel!

Narrator:   Faith and Sage caught their breath in horror; Amos and Asahel stood petrified, while Jehu looked on in amazement, for Daniel was now within close range of their hand guns he was sure to be blown to pieces! But they had only a spit second to analyze that fact before they became aware that he was not only in front of the assassins, but was attacking them with speed and fury. All of this takes time to tell, but there was really only time to see it—no time to do anything.

Daniel continued his attack blocking and disarming with such speed and accuracy (not to mention strength) that almost before half a minute, the assassins lay dead. Daniel assumed a classic pose.

Daniel:   (breathing deeply) At your service, Father.

Paul:   Well….I….I…. (amazed)

Daniel:   You’re stammering, Dad.

Paul:   Well, I am.

Sage:   I’m speechless! I didn’t know you knew how to do that!

Paul:   Indeed!

Daniel:   (looks at Faith) Mom, am I in trouble? You’ve got that look again.

Faith:   What look?

Daniel:   Oh, you know the look have when I’ve done something I’m not supposed to do.

Faith:   Well, that was a very brave thing you did.

Daniel:   (brightens) Really?

Faith:   And a very foolish thing.

Daniel:   I knew it!

Faith:   Daniel, you could have been killed! Where did you learn that act?

Daniel:   Father.

(Faith turns to look at Paul.)

Asahel:   Uh-oh. (suppressed laugh)

Faith:   You taught him that?

Paul:   Sort of I…. (sensing he might be in trouble.) Alright look, it’s based on the Windstorm style. You see?

(They all move a safe distance and Paul demonstrates.)

Faith:   Wow! I wish I had that technique back at the castle. (impressed) (confidential tones) But next time, don’t teach him something like that; he hasn’t matured in his judgment.

Paul:   (softly) I’ll keep that in mind.

Jehu:   Hi, little sister.

Faith:   Hey big brother.

Jehu:   If I may ask, which castle were you referring to?

Faith:  Shark’s Cove—we went to get Sage earlier.

(The door, with the arrows still stuck in it opens and John steps out. No one notices)

Jehu:   We?

Faith:   Yeah. I went with Hope, Dawn, Destiny, all our sisters—and Daniel.

Jehu:   Ah. Sorry I missed it.

Faith:   Me too. It was quite challenging, we wished you Paul were there to help us. For every two guards, there were at least ten human sized nulls!

Paul:   Really? (beginning to see the scope of the battle.)

Faith:   Yes; and you didn’t know if they were nulls until you…well…you know.

Paul:   Hm. (understanding) Warcraft is getting clever. His collaboration with Saber-tooth has saved him heavy losses.

Faith:   So they are working together! Warcraft had better watch his neck!

Paul:   I agree. John hinted to me of his ulterior motives.

Faith:   Ah.

Paul:   So son, you went to castle.

Daniel:   Yeah! It was awesome—just like you said! Too bad it’s under enemy control.

Sage:   Yeah, that really sucks. But Daniel was great, he came in and fought all those guards and rescued me.

Paul:   You did it by yourself?

Daniel:   Well, Mom was busy with those Snails. I wanted to get Sage.

Faith:   Yes, he was with us one minute, then he wasn’t with us, and then he returned with Sage.

Daniel:   And they were still fighting in the courtyard.

Faith:   I guess the guards were just a distraction. My guess is they planned to keep us fighting forever while they smuggled Sage out thought the back.

Daniel:   That’s what they were about to do when I caught them. And I used that technique! I went like this. (he reenacts what he did) Hah!

(He unwittingly drives his blade into the shoe of the unsuspecting John Saber-tooth.)

John:   Ugh! (startled)

Narrator:   They all started, for none of them had seen or even heard John return; they had been so engrossed in their conversation. For a moment John and Daniel stared into each other’s eyes with surprise.

Daniel:   (stammers) I’m….sorry.

John:   You missed my toe.

Daniel:   Oh.

(John pulls the sword out of his shoe and examines it.)

John:   It’s not every day a man gets a sword driven into his shoe by a boy who can do it without cutting his foot. (looks at the sword from a different angle) This is a sign of true skill, Mr. Great-heart.

Paul:   I think it’s a sign that you have large shoes, Mr. Saber-tooth.

John:   Of course. Now for the pay back. (calls) Men!

Narrator:   John’s assassins came out of hiding, and they now saw themselves to be completely outnumbered. Even if they did engage in battle, they would be killed before they had any chance of winning.

(The others express their concern)

John:   Now here is my deal: You are outnumbered and outmatched—one wrong move and my assassins here will send you to oblivion. So, I want you to put down your weapons—now!

Sage:   Dad, if we put down our weapons, they will kill us anyway!

Paul:   There’s nothing we can do about it Sage. (calmly)

John:   That’s right little girl. You can only…

Paul:   If I may interrupt, John; isn’t this something you wanted to do slowly? Kill my soldiers, kill my brothers, kill my dad, and kill my wife…

John:   Silence! That was before you had children. It would most inefficient to use that order, now. Besides, I have already killed your brothers, Thaddeus and Valiant.

Sage:   (trembles) Daddy?!

Paul:   Put your weapons down, and gather close.

(They all lay their arms on the ground; Paul, Faith, Sage, Daniel and Jehu huddle close together around Amos and Asahel.)

John:   Fire.

Narrator:   The assassins raised their weapons to shoot, and for one awful moment they realized that this must indeed be the end! It was, of course, possible for them to be rescued—but not likely. Scenes passed before them in which they painfully remembered their shortcomings and mistakes. Asahel remembered her argument with Rachael that morning, and a flood of regrets washed over her. Paul remembered his brothers and how they had trivialized their last time together instead of engaging in meaningful conversation. Not that chit chat is wrong, you understand but because he knew they could have improved the better part of their time drawing closer to their Prince and to each other. And Jehu had a flash back to his younger days and an un-righted wrong which he had nearly forgotten. All this takes time to tell, but as you may have heard, your life flashes before you in a moment when you believe you are about to die.

(Reactions from our friends = various.)

Narrator:   Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, the assassins taking their aim, pulling their triggers the final click, and then….!

(All the assassins drop to the ground and our friends breathe a sigh of relief.)

Narrator:   They all collapsed.

John:   What?! (astonished)

Faith:   I guess it worked, after all!

Asahel:   What worked?

Paul:  (breathes again) Thank God!

Faith:   You’re sweating, Babe.

Paul:   Yeah. I have some things I need to fix. (swallows) I’ll start with you.

Faith:   Uh…

Paul:   Please hear me out. I know I’ve been a bit absent lately and….well…I’ve been blaming this war when I know it’s really my own fault. I could have made the time like I promised I always would; I…I guess I forgot you in all this or at least I didn’t think about how I was treating you, and I’m sorry.

Faith:   (is silent for a moment) Wow, I don’t know what to say. (almost speechless) Why are you apologizing? I may have yelled at you, but I’m not mad at you.

Paul:   You’re not?

Faith:   No! You know I don’t stay upset for long. And hey, I haven’t been all I should be either.

Paul:   I wasn’t complaining

Faith:   But I needed to apologize.

Paul:   (is mildly amused.)

Faith:   Let’s forgive each other, ‘kay?

(She hugs him tenderly)

Paul:   Deal.

(They gently pull back; she smiles at him and he returns his trademark slight lopsided grin.)

John:   (claps is hands in mockery)

(They turn to face him)

John:   Most impressive, Mr. Great-heart.

Paul:   Thank you Mr. Saber-tooth. But what of your challenge?

John:   Challenge?

Paul:   That I am out matched and will fall under your hand.

John:   You’re forgetting the outnumbered part.

Paul:   Ah. So without force of numbers you aren’t able to fight with me.

John:   Ah, ah, ah! Not that again. I will not be lured into one of your traps.

Paul:   John…

John:   Later, Paul….

(He turns, opens the wooden door, enters and in a moment the door shuts and moves entirely revealing that it was in fact a medium transport with a wooden door on the end.)

Sage:  Wow. What’s wrong with him?

Paul:   Recovering from his most recent improvements.

Sage:   Oh.

Asahel:   Improvements?

Jehu:   Wounds from battle is more like it.

Amos:   But I didn’t see any.

Paul:   (sighs) John patches himself up well; giving himself new arms, legs, hands, fingers…

Asahel:   So most of his body parts are fake?

Paul:   Oh I wouldn’t say “fake,” Asahel. They are made from the same material as his nulls. Hence they are very strong and completely effective.

Asahel:   Then…

Amos and Asahel:   Why did he turn away?

Paul:   Because after he has applied a new set of limbs or other body parts, he must rest to insure that their fusion with his being is not interrupted. Do you catch my drift?

Amos:   Yes.

Asahel:   Sort of. (still wondering)

Faith:   I’ll explain it to you later—in simple terms.

Asahel:   Thanks.

Amos:   But there was something else wrong with him. He seemed genuinely impressed with your affection instead of being repulsed like most villains would be.

Asahel:   Yeah.

Paul:   Are you sure you aren’t applying the usual stereotypes?

Amos:   No. Are they dangerous?

Paul:   Preconceptions about villains or heroes, or anyone else in-between for that matter, are largely based on an ideal model. This model usually has no complications such as we see in reality.

Amos:   Hm.

Paul:   Even so, you have seen correctly. John is not the ideal villain.

Amos:   Ah.

Faith:   In fact John used to attend Shark’s Cove.

Asahel:   What? (incredulous)

Paul:   Aye.

Asahel:   How did he…?

Paul:   Become a bad guy?

Asahel:   Yeah.

Paul:   Hm. He became bitter at some point—he lost someone he loved and he completely turned his back on everything he had been taught.

Amos:   So he’s lost then.

Faith:   I think not. There’s still something inside that can be triggered—I don’t think he’s completely lost everything.

Paul:   Please don’t look at me like that, Faith.

Faith:   You know you should.

Paul:   Ah, if I could only get him alone!

Faith:   Promise me you’ll try. (earnestly)

Paul:   Okay. I promise—really.

Faith:   Mm. (satisfied)

Paul:   And Sage I have an apology to make to you too. If I had been taking the time off perhaps you wouldn’t have been captured.

Sage:   It’s alright; Mom told me not to wander off so far. I suppose I’m in trouble now.

Paul:   I think your new collection of scars are trouble enough.

Sage:   Yes sir.

Asahel:  So what happened here? All these assassins fall down at once and you’re acting like it’s everyday business?

Paul:   (laughs) I know. We must seem very strange to you.

Asahel:   No kidding…uh…I mean, I didn’t mean that! I meant…

Paul:   (indicates that it’s okay) Remember that list that I transmitted while we were escaping?

Asahel:   Yes.

Paul:  Well, those were instructions for remotely disabling all of Saber-tooth’s Nulls. After Sage was rescued, my guess is that she translated it…

Sage:   Mm-hm.

Paul:   And then our techs used it to disable the Nulls

Asahel:   Ah.

Amos:   You mean none of those assassins were real?

Faith:   Just the ones that Daniel defeated. And the pilot, of course. The rest were machines.

Asahel:   I see. But why does he call them Nulls? Doesn’t that mean they have little value?

Amos:   Yes it seems contradictory.

Jehu:   They are of little value in the sense that he can go into battle and suffer heavy losses, and then return to his shop and turn out a thousand more where he only lost fifty.

(Asahel and Amos express their new understanding)

Faith:   It will take John a long time before he’s able to create a new programming language we don’t understand so, for the time being, we’re safe.

Amos:  That’s a relief.

Paul:   Aye, but still no time to let guards down. Shall we be off?

Jehu:   Yes back to the house of the Porter!

(The all resume their ascent up the ridge.)





Scene #4

Asahel:   So we’re back to the infamous Shady Lair.

Jehu:   The place of many opportunities…

Paul:   That has just what we’re looking for.

Asahel:   Wait, I thought we already got what we were looking for.

Paul:   We did. And then again, we didn’t.

Amos:   How so?

Faith:   Well, we were able to disarm Warcraft and get him and Saber-tooth to leave. But the supplies for our training course were confiscated.

(Amos and Asahel remember and agree verbally.)

Amos:   So do we still have to be cautious?

Jehu:   Yes! This is still an evil place.

Paul:   We just won’t have anyone turning us over to Warcraft.

Asahel:   That’s a relief.

Faith:   Um, they’ll be handling us themselves.

Asahel:   Oh.

Amos:   But not all the people there were like that.

Jehu:   Yes, but we didn’t take you near the bad section of town.

Asahel:    Looked bad enough to me.

Amos:   Maybe because you loath shopping.

(Asahel gives him a “look.”)

Faith:   Where it gets bad is like by the docking stations, or the Underground Mall.

Asahel:   But we went there.

Faith:   At the entrance?

Asahel:   Well, we pretty much just raced through the entrance.

Faith:  It’s much safer that way.

(They begin their decent)

Asahel:   So, why didn’t we bring our mini transport this time? I mean, it’s not like we’re trying to sneak in.

Jehu:   (chuckles)

Paul:   This is the beginning of our training.

Faith:   ‘Must taste salt before sugar…

Paul & Faith:   Must taste bitter before sweet, must run before walk…

Jehu:   Must sink before swim…

Faith:   Must crash before fly….

Paul:   Must lift before carried.

Paul Faith & Jehu:   Learn the way of the student: The fiercer the trials endured the sweeter the enjoyed.

Faith:   Oh my, they never let me live that one down!

Jehu:   Nor I.

Paul:   That was the way with of all our teachers; though that particular summary was coined by Master Jabel.

Amos:   I thought so.

Asahel:   Why do you keep calling him “Master?”

Paul:  Instead of “Mister.”

Asahel:   I see. So how did you and Faith meet? It seems you went to school together.

Paul:   We did—from age 15 and onwards. But you must remember that it was customary in those days—which were not very long ago.

(They all chuckle)

Paul:   For marriages to be arranged; so it wasn’t like we just met, became interested and that was it. In fact we weren’t even sure we should like each other because if it wasn’t arranged…Mm.

Asahel:   I’m sure glad things are different now.

Faith:   I’m sure you are.

Asahel:   But you still haven’t said how you met.

Paul:   Oh yes, well…

Faith:   We sat together in class.

Jehu:   Oh, did you? (teasing)

Paul:   Yes for three weeks. I refused to speak to her.

(They all laugh)

Asahel:   Why?

Paul:  I didn’t know what to say.

Faith:   He was usually one of the more quiet boys. He hardly said anything.

Amos:   Did you like him?

Faith:   As we said, it wasn’t a matter of who you liked. The custom was for the guides to arrange marriages for their children to keep the guild pure.

Paul:   Until recently. They’ve now decided it’s better for them not to marry.

Amos:   Why?

Faith:   Now that’s another story altogether. But yes, to answer your question, I did like him—in fact I prayed that he would be the one my parents chose.

Amos:   Ah. So you didn’t suggest it to your parents.

Faith:   (laughs) I wouldn’t dream of it! Besides I didn’t know if he liked me at all. He probably hadn’t even noticed me, he was so focused.

Paul:   Hah.

Faith:   Hah, he says.

Paul & Faith:   Hah.

Asahel:   So what were you thinking?

Paul:   Well, I think Nyssa said it best. “You have to admit, Bro, she’s not just pretty—she’s beautiful.”

Asahel:   So you did talk to someone about it!

Paul:   Only Nyssa, we were quite close.

Amos:   Ah.

Paul:   But I also prayed, first that Faith would be the one and second that I might be willing to accept whatever answer I was given—even if the answer was no.

Amos:   Hm, that’s not common these days.

Paul:   True! But because of the culture I grew up in it was perhaps, to some extent, easier to think in this way.

Asahel:   What about you, Mr. Great-grace? You must have wanted to protect your sister.

Jehu:  I didn’t know about it; I was in another class.

Asahel:   Because you were older.

Jehu:   Right. Though, they don’t have grades in this school per say.

Paul:   Yes, it’s more if you conquer this level you are moved onto the next. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

Asahel:   I see. So when did you finally speak to her?

Paul:   Ah yes. That was an experience.

Asahel:   Let me guess—you rescued her?

Paul:   Not exactly. You see it was one of those unfortunate times when I was a scrape with some villains.

Amos:   But I thought you left the villains in the town of Pound.

Asahel:   Yeah.

Paul:  Oh, we did! We did! And moved to a set of new villains—a sort of gang if you will.

Amos:   Ah.

Paul:  Anyways, they were picking on us.

Asahel:   Us?

Paul:   If you listen you will find out in due course. These villains were, unfortunately, students at the school—a group of young people who loved nothing more than to use their training to boss and bully the other students. The “us” I mentioned were us younger or, as in my case, smaller students.

Asahel:  You were a small student?

Paul:   I was slightly sub-average. Anyway, I had heard Faith talking with her friends about flushing these bullies out, and I now saw why. As I came around the corner of a small alley one day, I saw them taking out their energies on Ash—a friend of Nyssa’s.


B1m:  Okay give us your books. Come on!

Ash: No!

B1m:   Well, what you got in that backpack?

Ash:   I’m not showing you!

B1m:   Oh you’re not, huh? Well, how about I turn you upside down and shake it off of ya!

(He does as he says, dropping her roughly to the ground upon finishing.)

Ash:   Oh, stop it you big mean son of…

B1m:   What? What? Son of what?

Ash:   Ugh! (She kicks him in the secrets.)

(He howls in anger and pain)

B1f:   Oh, you take that! (She kicks her so that she falls to the ground.)


Paul:   With that, they began to beat her like a sack of grain.

Asahel:   Oooh. (shudders)

(The others shudder as well.)

Paul:   I couldn’t let this go, I had to do something.


Paul:   Hey! Leave her alone!

B2m:   Leave it alone soft-heart! It’s not your fight.

Paul:   I fear it soon will be.

B1f:   How? Like you’re gonna make us let her go?

B1m:   Yeah like what you are going to do little boy? You going to beat us up, huh? Huh? You going to fight? You can’t beat ten of us.

Faith:   Maybe not. But maybe two of us can.

B2m:   Oh, great. He brought his girlfriend!

Paul:  Come again?

B2f:   You brought a girl to help you out! What is this world coming to?

Faith:   You’re a girl!

B2f:   I said A girl! He should have brought a couple boys too.

Faith:   Whatever. Are you going to let her go?

B1m:   I don’t think so, fire eyes. Come on, buddy. Let’s you and me settle this.

Faith:   Paul it’s a trap! (whispers)

Paul:   Let’s spring it. (whispers)

B2m:   Well? Come on, softie!

Paul:   You know we don’t really have to do this.

B1m:   Aw, come on, man. Come on…Oh! (surprise)

(The struggle begins.)


Asahel:   So what did you do?

Paul:   I attacked the leader, and a fierce unarmed fight ensued.

Asahel:   Wait, you didn’t use your sword?

Paul:   Oh, I didn’t want to cut anybody up! Besides, I didn’t have it—it was at the castle in my classroom!

Amos:   You didn’t take your sword with you?

Faith:   The swords were given to us as sort of a prize when we finished our education. No degrees, you understand.

(Amos and Asahel express their understanding.)

Jehu:   So what happened next?

Paul:   Well, there were about ten of them—five girls five boys. There was also one extra guy that would let them know when trouble was coming; they called him the spotter. I mostly went at the guys; Faith tried her skill on the girls. But then things went wrong. The spotter, who normally doesn’t get into anything suddenly made a rush at Faith…

Asahel:   What did he do?

Paul:   I’m getting there. He stepped on her skirt—hard.

Amos:   How could he do that?

Paul:   You want to take it from here?

Faith:   Sure. I was kneeling on the ground after disarming one of the girls and when I stood up I realized that someone was standing on my skirt.

Asahel:    So what did you do?

Faith:   I took it off.

(Amos Asahel and Jehu express their astonishment)

Paul:   That’s when I noticed that she wore cargo pants.

Asahel:   Cargo pants?

Paul:   Oh, not the ugly baggy things you see nowadays. They were much better styled—they had all sorts of places to store things—in her case, knives!

Asahel:   Do they still make those?

Faith:   Oh, yes. I’m wearing a pair right now.

(She shows them.)

Paul:   Knives included.

Amos:   Dangerous!

Asahel:   It doesn’t look like you’re wearing those things at all.

Faith:  Well, that’s Paul’s special design. But I don’t mean to glamorize this. If anything we should have just grabbed Ash and run only fighting the bullies that tried to grab us.

Paul:   I should interject that we had just turned 16.

Faith:   Yes, I think that had something to do with our lack of judgment; which is what I realized too late for one of the guys grabbed Ash and took off with her—on my horse!

Asahel:   Oh dear!

Faith:   Yes! I threw my skirt in spotter boy’s face and charged after him.


(Faith runs knocking two boys out of the way in the process.)

Boys:   Ugh!

Faith:   Hey that’s my horse! Come back!

(Paul is tangling with four others; Faith runs over and joins him.)

Faith:   Do you know any quicker ways out of here?

Paul:   I got my horse. Quick let’s make a brake for it.

Faith:   Ugh! (Kicks one of the bullies back)

B1m:  Oh!

(Paul and Faith run for Paul’s horse.)


Faith:   We ran for Paul’s horse, and got on barely in time.


Paul:   Hope you know how to ride bare back.

Faith:   Yeah, my dad taught me.

(They jump on.)

Paul:   Come on, Jian, let’s go!


Asahel:   I couldn’t ride bare back

Faith:   (chuckles) Well, I must admit it made me really sore. But not from the bare back—it was how wide I had to put my legs and then bouncing up and down in that position.

Asahel:   So Jian was a big horse?

Paul:   A heavy horse; not the kind people usually ride; they use heavy horses for work.

Faith:   And I was smaller then.

Asahel:   That would make a difference.

Faith:   Yeah, really! But I thought it was interesting that he gave him a Chinese name.

Amos:   What does it mean?

Faith:   Jian means to build or establish which is certainly what he did for us.

Jehu:   How?

Faith:   First he established our relationship. We had avoided speaking to each other which was a bad thing. We needed to become friends, and the first step was working together with Jian.

Jehu:   Ah.

Faith:   Second, he established our reputation at Sharks Cove as ones who would not tolerate the mistreatment of anyone and leave it for someone else to take care of.

Amos:   So, you established a working relationship?

Faith:   Well first off, I was in front of Paul on Jian’s back, and Paul was more used to directing him than I was, so we had to switch while we were galloping.

Asahel:   That’s impossible!


Faith:   Paul that’s impossible!

Paul:   No it’s not. Move back!

Faith:   But I’ll push you off!

Paul:   Move back on the count of three!

Faith:   Paul I…

Paul:   Two, Three!

(Faith pushes back and Paul flips over her landing just a little way up the horse’s neck, before sliding down into riding position.)

Paul:   See?

Faith:   You’re either one of the bravest boys I’ve met, or among the most foolish boys I’ve met!

Paul:   I’m flattered. Jian Height!

(Jian jumps over a short wall)

Faith:  They went right, why are we going left?

Paul:   Faith, if we keep this chase up that creep is gonna end up killing us all! This is a short cut—I think.

Faith:   I hope you know what you’re doing.

Paul:   Just pray, that would be more helpful than your talk.


Asahel:   Wait, didn’t you like her?

Paul:  Whoa, there Asahel. No pun intended. Um, in those days you didn’t just tell a girl that you liked her and expect thinks to roll. Besides, I was trying to make it look like I had no thoughts of that nature.

Asahel:   Oh! Sneaky guy.

Amos:   Please continue.

Jehu:   Yes, this is getting interesting.

Paul:   Yes, and we should have arrived at Shady Lair by now. Didn’t you hear this story already?

Jehu:   I’m afraid I heard the corrupted version—at least many of the details were changed. Yes, we should be able to see the town by now.

(They all look around trying to solve the mystery.)

Paul:   Oh. (realizes)

Jehu:   What?

Paul:   The town’s gone.

Amos:  It is?

Paul:   Well, this is where it was.

(They all concur.)

Paul:   Hm.

Jehu:   I wonder how? Why?

Paul:   Hm. It has been moved.

Asahel:   Um, it could have been destroyed?

Jehu:   Aye, but what kind of destruction leaves no rubble?

Paul:   Hm.

Faith:   (after a pause) Look, there’s no point in standing out here in the sun wondering, let’s get to the shade.

(All agree and they move towards the trees on the side.)

Paul:   So, are you all hungry?

Asahel:   Yeah.

Amos:   I am.

Jehu:   Yes.

Faith:   Well, we brought something. Not much, but it should hold us over until we solve this mystery.

(Faith opens her bag and brings out some refreshments.)





Scene #5

Paul:   Well, that was good. Thanks, Faith.

(The others express their thanks.)

Faith:   You’re welcomed. It wasn’t much, really.

Jehu:   A meal fit for a king!

Paul:   The wise king you mean.

Jehu:   What?

Paul:   The foolish king would gorge himself on all kinds of rich delicacies, not simple fruit.

Jehu:   But the rich food clogs the foolish king’s heart, and numbs his judgment.

Paul:   True.

Amos:  The dried mangos were my favorite, besides the apples, I mean.

Faith:   I think the dried mangos are every one’s favorite. They always say they like those when I serve them.

Asahel:   Oh never mind that, I wanna hear the rest of your story.

Paul:   Oh yes.

Faith:   Where were we?

Asahel:   At the galloping horse.

Faith:   Okay. Simon, cross reference all seismic activity for this area. And give us any other possible leads.

Simon:   Shall I notify you as I discover?

Paul:   No thanks, just call us back in an hour.

Simon:  Will do.

Asahel:   Is that really a computer?

Faith:   Aye. Sometimes I wonder myself, but all I have to do is go and look and he’s just a computer with advanced AI and Cyborg Technology.

Amos:   Cyborg? So he’s part human?

Faith:   No, there’s nothing biological about him, he’s not living but he acts as if he is in the way he responds to instructions and makes suggestions, and…

Asahel:   Oh, so it’s basically like a computer with human intelligence.

Paul:   Not quite. If it was we’d be in trouble, for obvious reasons.

Asahel:   Oh, yeah. But about your story.

Faith:   Oh yes, the horse. Well, we almost didn’t catch my horse.

Jehu:   It was a hard chase?

Faith:   Yes, in fact they were almost to their hideout at school. How did we catch them, Babe?

Paul:   (hesitates) Oh, that.

Faith:   He dumped me into one of the lakes on campus!

(They all burst out laughing)

Asahel:   You what?

Paul:   Well, she wouldn’t say “whoa” loud enough!


Paul:   We’re not going to make it, Faith. Does your horse listen to you?

Faith:   Of course she listens to me! What are you getting at?

Paul:   Well, tell her to stop!

Faith:   Sunni, whoa! Whoa, Sunni!

Paul & Faith:   Ugh!

Faith:   That wasn’t loud enough!

Paul:   Then shout louder!

Faith:   How can I shout louder when I’m being bounced up and down…? (He knocks her off the horse) WHOA!

(punctuated splash)


(they laugh as they respectively recall or envision the event)

Faith:   What’s so funny? It was very effective. (trying not to laugh too much) And after I’d forgiven him for dunking me…

(They laugh harder)

Paul:   Oh, mercy. That was classic

Amos:   So did you get him?

Paul:   Well, her horse came to an abrupt stop, and I reached her just as bully-boy was lifting, or rather dragging Ash off Sunni’s back.

Asahel:   So you just knocked him out, and then…

Paul:   No, he threw her on the ground and ran off with her diary that she always kept with her.

Asahel:  That’s not so good.

Faith:  It was later recovered.

Asahel:   Oh, good! I know the sort of things kid’s do when they steal other kid’s diaries.

Paul:   Oh, yeah. I had my friend Jace track him down.

Faith:   Yeah, he’s good at that.

Jehu:  Oh, you mean Jacen Light-foot?

Paul:   The very one.

Jehu:   I wonder how he’s doing. (thoughtful)

Paul:   Don’t know.

Faith:   We’ve practically lost contact with all of our buddies who remained true.

Jehu:   (musing) It’s sad, but understandable. The moment they made their locations known they’d be in great danger; they’d have to keep moving just to survive.

Faith:   Hm.

Paul:   True.

Asahel:   So what else happened?

Paul:   Well, I went back to pull her out of the lake but she had already gone to get some dry clothes. And since the particular class we were both in had been postponed, I didn’t see her for the rest of the week.

Asahel:   Aw.

Paul:   It’s probably just as well.

Faith:   Yeah, I was as mad as a wet hen.

Paul:   Sans eggs.

Faith:  You mean no nest.

Paul:  I meant…

Faith:   I know what you meant; I was just avoiding using the word “chick.”

Paul:   Uh-huh.

Faith:   Boy, you sure sound impressed.

Asahel:   So what class were you in together?

Paul:   It was a scripture memorization and application class.

Asahel:   Okay.

Faith:  Very basic, fundamental…

Paul:   Elemental…

Jehu:   Atomic…

Faith:   Sub-atomic!

Paul:   Basic training of a guide.

Asahel:   Are there any female guides?

Faith:   Hm.

Paul:   I don’t think so.

Jehu:   No.

Faith:   I think Monica Windstorm was the closest we had to one, but she hadn’t graduated yet.

Asahel:  Ah. So what else happened? Tell me!

Paul:   (chuckles) Oh, Asahel, we could fill up an entire book!

Jehu:    Yeah, maybe you should do that sometime.

(The others concur.)

Paul:   Well, we started talking to each other and became friends, so that was a plus.

Faith:   I focused on first aid and unarmed combat.

Jehu:  Oh, it’s called first aid?

Faith:   Well, it’s like nursing, but it’s not like regular nursing, it’s like more…I don’t know.

Jehu:   Extensive?

Faith:   Yeah, let’s put it that way. Paul?

Paul:   Well, like Faith I also focused on my unarmed combat and sword fighting. Um, I became an instructor for the classes, a student instructor, meaning that I was instructing while still a student. And I did learn some basic emergency stuff but Faith’s the expert when it comes to setting bones and stitching up cuts.

Asahel:  Your training isn’t that extensive?

Paul:   Well I can pop joints back in if they come out of socket, but that’s about it.

Asahel:   Oh.

Faith:   He can do more, he’s just not as confident.

Asahel:   Ah. So you didn’t learn sword fighting?

Faith:   Sure I did, I just took unarmed combat in addition to that.

Asahel:   I see.

Faith:   It’s mostly us second generation guides that have done that, my father didn’t take any courses in that.

Amos:   Ah.

Faith:   So what else, Babe?

Paul:   Well, we just kept progressing and when we were 17 we discovered that our parents had engaged us.

Faith:   Yea!

Paul:   Well, actually they told us that they had decided we would be fitting partners in virtue. We were really excited!

Asahel:   Was that when you hugged?

Paul:   Perceptive! Give the girl a raise! Or a step ladder.

Asahel:   Oh. (brushes it off)

Paul:   Yeah, that was the first and only time we hugged before we got married. It created quite a stir.

Faith:   Some people think we just got married to please our parents, though.

Paul:   Right, some people think that’s the reason we didn’t get pregnant.

Jehu:   That’s interesting that you say “we.”

Paul:   Well, I mean it in all due respect. After all, I have a part to play in this incredible drama. Yeah, I got it from my Dad; he would talk like that sometimes.

Jehu:   But still what possessed you to get married at 18?

Paul:   Ah, Jehu. You ready to tell the big secret?

Amos:   What’s the big secret?

Paul:   You’re on pins and needles, aren’t you? Should we tell them?

Asahel:   Yes!

Paul:   Well… (Making it sound juicy)

Jehu:   The secret…

Paul:   Is…

Jehu:   That…

Paul:   We were following big brother’s example.

(Paul does a double raise of his eyebrows. Asahel and Amos look at Jehu in surprise.)

Asahel:   You’re married? (incredulous)

Jehu:   It’s a little known fact about me. (wistfully)

Amos:   Yes. Why isn’t it more widely known?

Paul:   Have you heard of The E.T.A?

Asahel:   Mm-hm.

Amos:   Yes, you said that’s how you got those scars on your hands.

Paul:    Yes. They are an ancient fraternity. They came in force shortly after Faith and I got married and just messed things up. They had been there for quite a while, but they came more to the front with their operation at that time. So, all of us “good guys” finally had to go to battle against them.

Jehu:   And I lost her in the battle. (sadly)

Asahel:   She’s dead?

Jehu:   I don’t know. (sadly) But it’s been six years so… (He pauses to collect himself) …yeah.

Amos:   Hm.

Faith:   Her sister is dead.

Asahel:   Who’s her sister?

Faith:   Monica Windstorm.

Asahel:  Oh, so she died before she could graduate?

Paul:   Yeah.

Asahel:  That’s too bad. (tinge of sadness)

Jehu:   And I can’t bring myself to talk about Miranda much, because I just fall to pieces.

Paul:   They loved each other very much. But we can tell the pith story if you don’t mind, Brother.

Jehu:   Sure.

Paul:   So this angel’s name is Crystal Miranda Windstorm—she was…beautiful.

Faith:   She was prettier than me.

Amos:   You weren’t jealous, were you?

Paul:   No, man! She was four years my senior, I didn’t even think about it.

Amos:   I meant Faith.

Paul:   Oh.

Faith:   No, I wasn’t jealous—I admired her. She was angelic in character and I wanted to be like that.

Asahel:   Faith, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone prettier than you.

Faith:   (blush/laugh) Well, that’s sweet of you—even if it’s not true.

Asahel:   It’s just hard for me to imagine! (insistent)

Faith:   Well maybe this (pulls a picture out) will help.

Asahel:   (catches her breath)

Amos:   Oh!

Jehu:   Where was that?

Asahel:   That’s an amazing picture of both of you!

Faith:   Thanks. That was overlooking the ocean just beyond the castle.

Jehu:   Oh, yes. That’s an amazing view! It brings back memories.

Asahel:   So you and Miranda were friends. (beginning to understand)

Faith:   Yes we were.

Asahel:   So her parents and your parents agreed that she would be a good match for your brother. (understanding)

Faith:   Well, not quite. Mandy had no parents—she was an orphan.

Asahel:   Oh. (getting the new picture)

Faith:   And my brother married because he was impatient.

Asahel:   Oh. (even more enlightened)

Faith:   He severely broke custom, because they married for love instead of commitment like we did.

Amos:   But they were committed.

Faith:   Oh yes! Very much so! It’s just that it wasn’t properly arranged so that the commitment preceded the passion, if you will.

Amos:   Ah.

Paul:   She was very fast with her sword. And I mean fast!

Asahel:   It must have been really fast for you to admit it!

Paul:   You haven’t seen true speed yet, Asahel.

Asahel:   But you and Faith in Stupidity…

Paul:   Was all based on the Windstorm style developed by Miranda. She could take on twice as many as we did back at Stupidity.

Faith:   Maybe more

Asahel:   That’s impossible!

Paul:   No one told her that! She and her sister were legendary for their speed, accuracy and strength. That’s how I learned that technique I taught Daniel! I watched what they did there and incorporated much of it into my style.

Asahel:   So why did they get killed? If they were so great wouldn’t they still be alive?

Paul:   Well, while highly skilled they were not invincible.

Faith:   And we did find Monica’s body.

Asahel:  Oh.

Amos:   I imagine John had something to do with it.

Paul:  Oh no, John was on our side.

Amos:   He was? (incredulous)

Paul:   Yes you never saw such a warrior! We fought side by side as brothers—he was one of the best commanders we had.

Asahel:   Oh. So how did he…?

Paul:   Turn around?

Asahel:  Yes. You said he lost someone he loved.

Paul:   Well, to your surprise John was the fifth Great-heart boy. My parents took him in as an orphan, and he was raised the same way as the rest of the family.

Asahel:   Now that I would not have guessed.

Paul:   True. But while Jehu fell hard for Mandy, John felt a special affection for Monica.

Asahel:   Oh. (beginning to see) So he got pretty messed up when she died.

Paul:   Oh yeah. He wouldn’t speak to me for a long time. Somehow I think he blames me for her death.

Amos:   Hm.

Paul:   I can see how, Monica volunteered to go as commander of one of the last operations—a dangerous operation—and I….didn’t offer to take her place.

Asahel:   Oh. (feels sorry for John.)

Paul:   That’s the thing that Faith and I had to decide before we got married not to make each other our sufficiency, our everything. We knew that God must always be the everything of our lives.

Faith:   Yes, so we took all the counseling we could get because we’d often seen that all our peers focused on were the novelty and the “tingles” that accompany that part of life. Then if for some reason they don’t get that person, they practically kill themselves! And if they do get that person, then once the adrenaline wears off…

Paul:   Dopamine.

Faith:   Whatever it is. They suddenly find that they can’t stand each other!

Jehu:     That’s because in the youthful mind marriage is clothed with romance, and it is difficult to pierce through the imagination’s fairy tale cover, and impress the mind with a sense of the weighty responsibilities involved in the marriage vow. It links the destinies of two individuals with bonds which nothing except the hand of death should dissolve.

Faith:   And we felt that. We knew that every marriage engagement should be carefully considered, as marriage is a step taken for life. We dared not take it lightly! We needed to carefully consider whether we could stick together through whatever!  (she looks at Paul) ‘Till death.

(They smile at each other.)

Amos:   That’s quite a commitment!

Paul:  It is! But there’s freedom in commitment.

Jehu:   If I may I’d like to continue the thought you started of what happens when we don’t make God our sufficiency.

Paul:   Go ahead.

Jehu:   In the situation with John and myself, I clung to God and what I knew to be true even though I lost the love of my life. John on the other hand, allowed doubt to spring up and began to question everything he ever believed up to that point.

Amos:   But examining ones beliefs is a good thing.

Jehu:   It is—but not when it turns us out of the way. There is a fine line between self-examination and doubt. As I said he began to doubt God’s goodness with seemingly justifiably reasons.

Asahel:   What were they?

Paul:  Well, for one he never knew his father, it was even doubtful that he had a father. He was raised until age 10 by his mother.

Amos:   But how could his mother have him without a father?

Paul:   Oh, there are ways—and I’m not suggesting that he was miraculously conceived. But more to the point, his mother left him with us while she went on a short trip—she never returned.

Asahel:  Sounds creepy.

Paul:   Later he and Jace tracked her location to a Fraternity base, but she died shortly after they reached her.

(Amos and Asahel express their sadness.)

Faith:   She did get to see him, though—just before she died.

Paul:   Yes. The commander of the base caught them in the room and took them to a holding cell. While there they learned that they were brothers, and that the commander had owned them and their mother. She had taken them away from the shadowed life of the Brotherhood and brought them to the town of Pound to save them from the evil plans the Alliance had for them. She had John longer than she had Jacen for she left Jacen with her husband’s family soon after he was born. She had been tortured so as to reveal their whereabouts and had refused. It was the last round of torture that had finally taken her life. But alas, they had been discovered after all those years.

Asahel:   Wow.

Faith:   They could hardly believe it. But they knew in a heart-beat that it was all true. Their mother had wisely put them with separate families so that they would be harder to find.

Amos:   Ah.

Paul:   They were so furious that they broke their bonds and destroyed the entire base! That’s when the fraternity realized that they had better crack down on Shark’s Cove.  They had already begun to get their world view taught to all the students in attendance so that school would no longer turn out such effective warriors, but somehow they had slipped! Yes some of the teachers saw the poison in the soup and refused to serve it to their students!

Faith:   So that’s when the war began in the physical sense, and that’s when John lost Monica.

Asahel:   Did she love him?

Paul:   I think so. She noticed his leanings to the dark side long before I did, and I think that was one of the reasons she kept herself from him.

Asahel:   Meaning…?

Paul:   Meaning that she didn’t agree to marry him. In fact for a short time there was a sort of triangle between John, myself and Monica.

Asahel:   Ah.

Paul:   Though I must say that the connection to me was somewhat imaginary. I was fully content to move out of the way when I learned of John’s intentions, after all Monica was just a friend.

Amos:   So John didn’t have to have a parental arrangement because she had no parents.

Paul:   That was more or less the case. The custom was after all, for the young people to be unaware of the contract until the proper time.

Amos:   Which could be any time?

Faith:   Any time the parents deemed appropriate.





Scene #6

Narrator:   And so it was that the conversation went on to such things as how the war had started on Shark’s Cove, and the various events that transpired during that time. Finally, they received word form Simon.

Simon:   Sir the town hasn’t moved at all.

Paul:   What? (astonished)

Simon:   It seems to be hidden by some sort of cloaking device.

Paul:   Indeed?

Simon:   Yes.

Faith:   I wonder who would be trying to…

Simon:   And you have an incoming transmission.

Paul:   Send it through.

(Simon turns on the holographic projector on the communicator.)

B1m:   Hello, Paul. It’s been quite some time since we rough housed together.

Paul:   Who are you?

B1m:   Oh, don’t play dumb! I am the Wizard of Harms and you know full well you and that queen of yours bested me in a fight.

Faith:   (catches her breath in horror)

Paul:   Damian!

B1m:   There were two. Which am I?

Paul:   The bully.

B1m:   That’s right and now it’s payback time.

Faith:   You know I don’t think this is a time to…

B1m: You expect me to take an insult lightly?

Paul:   No, of course not. So what’s your deal? You out for a grudge match?

B1m:   (laughs) No, Dog. All I want you to do is tell me where I can find Jacen at.

Paul:   I don’t know.

B1m:   Liar! You know exactly where he is!

Paul:   Maybe six years ago, but I haven’t seen or heard from him since.

B1m:   (frustrated growl)

Paul:   Of course you’re welcomed to look where he was seen last.

B1m:   He was last seen headed your direction—then he disappeared.

Paul:   I wasn’t aware of any arrangements to meet me from any of the boys. I guess you’ll just have to keep looking.

(Suddenly the wizard is before them next to his hologram.)

B1m:   Fool!

(They are all startled.)

B1m:   I am right here! My mastery of shadow magic has given me great power!

Paul:   That power will only destroy you.

B1m:   And you with me.

(A figure in a dark cloak approaches unseen by the others and comes up behind the wizard.)

Faith:   (as she draws her sword) A bit sure of yourself, aren’t you?

B1m:    (laughs) You cannot escape me, Vex! There is nothing that can withstand my power!

(Suddenly the clocked figure behind him grabs his shoulders and he passes out. The cloaked person lets him go and he drops to the sandy ground.)

Faith:   Huh?

Miranda:   Except a knockout.

Faith:   Who are you? (puzzled)

Miranda:   A friend. You should be able to move about unhindered now.

(She starts to leave.)

Faith:   Wait!

(She turns back around.)

Faith:   Don’t run off.

Paul:   (whispers) Simon, run a voice recognition check.

Simon:   (whispers) Yes sir.

Faith:   We may be able to help you.

Miranda:   What makes you think I need help?

Faith:   You seem strangely familiar. It strikes me that you are one of my comrades from the war at Shark’s Cove. Stay with us we’ll make sure nothing happens to you as much as it is in our power.

Miranda:   Thank you, I will.

Simon:   (to Paul) She is indeed in the database, sir. She registers as Crystal Miranda Windstorm.

Paul:   This is impossible—after six years! I wonder if she remembers us.

Simon:   I would think so.

Faith:   Paul?

Paul:   (trend of thought broken) Yes?

Faith:   She says it’s too dangerous to enter the town right now, but she has sent the supplies on ahead of us to the Porter’s house. She heard about what happened last time we tried to get our stuff here.

Paul:   Thank you, Madam.

Miranda:   You’re welcomed.

Jehu:   (gets up) Well, I suppose we can head back up the ridge, now.

(All concur and they begin their ascent.)

Narrator:   So our friends, along with their new companion returned back up the ridge in silence. About half way up Jehu turned to her and said,

Jehu:   It strikes me that you are quite skilled in your art.

Miranda:   I was well trained.

Jehu:   Yes, that knock out technique you used, I was never able to master that. Did they even teach that at Shark’s Cove?

Miranda:   What are you suggesting?

Jehu:   Oh nothing, Ma’am! Nothing at all.

Miranda:   You seem afraid of me.

Jehu:   Well, you seem to be a great warrior and…

Miranda:   You said that already.

Jehu:   Yes, and since you haven’t let us see your face, I can’t tell whether you are one that would engage me in combat over an insult.

Miranda:   If I did, I would be overly contentious.

(Jehu peers intently at her for a moment as her voice suddenly triggers his memory for the first time.)

Miranda:   What?

Jehu:   Oh, nothing. You just reminded me of someone.

Miranda:   Someone close to you?

Jehu:   Yes—my wife, but she died six years ago.

Miranda:   Is that what you think?

Jehu:  No. It just seems more logical to say since it has been that long.

Miranda:   Hm. You assume that if she really loved you, she would return sooner if she were alive.

Jehu:   Yes. How did you know that?

Miranda:  I can sense.

(Jehu stops and faces her; the others also stop.)

Jehu:   Alright, who are you? Really.

Miranda:   I was hoping you would ask.

(As she speaks she pulls the hood of her cloak back to reveal that she has golden brown blonde highlight hair, dark eyebrows, blue eyes and gentle smile.)

Jehu:   (whispers in awe) Mandy.

Miranda:   Jaby, I’m so sorry…

(he grabs her and hugs her fiercely)

Jehu:  I’ve missed you so much.

Miranda:   I’ve missed you too. (coughs from the tightness of his embrace)

Jehu:   Oh! Sorry. (he releases her)

Miranda:   That’s okay. I’ve been in prison for 5 ½ years.

Jehu:   Oh. (shocked)

Miranda:   And the last six months I’ve been looking for you, and trying to rescue as many people as I can along the way.

Jehu:   Where did they take you?

Miranda:   To the other side of the world! I think it took me about four months to figure that out. But I’m so glad to be back here. (grateful)

(Jehu is speechless for a moment. Miranda and Faith embrace each other.)

Paul:   (chuckles) Just like old times, eh?

Jehu:  You knew, didn’t you? (accusing tone)

Paul:   What makes you say that?

Jehu:   Don’t play innocent, I know that look in your eyes! That smile you get when you’re all smug.

Paul:   Well, to my discredit, Simon told me. I had him check to see if we had a voice print of her on file.

Jehu:   Then why didn’t you tell me?

Paul:   Because I know Mandy! If she’s got a plan it would be wise to let it bloom.

(They all laugh)

Miranda:  High five, Paul.

(They do a high five.)

Paul:   It’s good to have you back.

(They resume their ascent is if by a wordless signal.)

Faith:   Oh, Mandy?

Miranda:   Yes?

Faith:   I’d like you to meet Amos and Asahel, two of Marianna’s five children.

Miranda:   Hi.

Amos & Asahel:   Hi.

Asahel:   We’re glad you’re really alive! We were feeling really sorry for your husband.

Miranda:   Yeah, me too. I heard how your mother escaped, that was quite something, huh?

Asahel:  Our guide tells us that was just the beginning.

(In the background)

Miranda:   That’s true. You know heard of one pilgrim once, a long time before Christian, who spent a good piece longer than you did trying to get out.

Asahel:   How long did it take him?

Miranda:   Well, it was in the period of darkness so it took him over four years, I believe.

Amos:   That’s a long time!

Miranda:   It is—especially if you’re trying to escape from something!

Asahel:   Oh, right you would know firsthand.

Faith:   What was it like in prison?

Miranda:   Do you really wanna know?

(In the foreground)

Jehu:   Next time just tell me!

Paul:   Sure thing, Brother.

Jehu:   (sigh of relief) She’s back, Paul. My wife is back! It’s almost too wonderful.

Paul:   (put’s his hand on Jehu’s shoulder) So some stories do have happy endings.

Jehu:  Yes. But, I hope this isn’t the end!

Paul:   Why not? You can start a new book!

In addition to telling the Story of Great-heart Jr. and other major characters in Pilgrim’s Progress 3, this chapter is either based on, or directly quotes these references: 1st Timothy 5:14; {TSB 14.6}; AH 340.

 [J1]This title came after it had been written.

 [J2]I wrote most of this story while in production. We recorded the first scene while I worked on Scene #2. And recorded Scene #2 while I worked on Scene #3. That’s where we left off.

 [J3]Something I started with Hardwired. It just seemed a good place to start. The contents of Scene #0 are the notes for my rewrite.

 [J4]“Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker

Of course this was just inspiration. After that it was purely my imagination. I added the walk down the ridge because I wanted them to have one of those classic Pilgrim’s Progress talks.

I was originally going to change the name of the town to something else later and used “Shady Lair” as the stand in name. I gave up working on a new name and focused on the story, and so the name “Shady Lair” stuck.

 [J5]Mini transports are based on the landspeeder which used low-power repulsorlifts to hover about two meters above the ground, both when stationary and while traveling. It is propelled by Turbine jet engines.

My mini transports are supposed to be propelled by electric engines, but I would love for them to use electro-gravitic propulsion—if I only knew how it worked. You just don’t find info on that tech laying around!

 [J6]The New Amplified Pilgrim’s Progress book one speaks of Mr. Great-grace’s skill and proficiency with his weapons. Jehu being the son of Mr. Great-grace, I thought it only natural that he inherit much of his father’s skill.

Probably from the name, and also a good deal from my background in action, I guessed that the Great-grace style was beautiful yet powerful. Practical yet visually pleasing.

I also decided that while Paul Jr. and Mr. Great-heart’s style might be just as breathtaking to watch, it would be more aggressive and a little less polished to the well trained eye.

 [J7]This name first appeared in my drafts for the Pilgrim’s Progress 3 chapter “The Land of Doubt” in which giant Desolation demands to know why he’s still in Despair’s castle instead of at Shark’s Cove.

I guess rhymed with Whit’s End as the scene was based on a scene from Darkness before Dawn: Dr. Blackgaard vs. Philip Glossman.

In my mind Shark’s Cove was the place where all the guides of pilgrim’s were trained in their art.

 [J8]Yes his name is inspired by World of Warcraft, get over it!

 [J9]This is my personal philosophy on Martial Arts. Mostly because I’ve never had any formal training and what I know I learned by putting together many pieces from many sources. As I understand it, this is essentially JKD.

 [J10]Xomi: I had a dream about this little guy. He actually looked like the symbol for Bic in the dream.

Later I discovered Peter Dinklage and he became the model for this strong small teacher.

 [J11]Most of the places in Pilgrim’s Progress have names of this nature. “Destruction,” “Stupidity,” etc. Not to mention people like Alwaysbe Fearing, Valiant-for-truth or Vain-confidence.

 [J12]I was 18 when I wrote this. I was bracing myself for some repercussions, but none came. I guess my explanation helped.

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