Short screenplay for the July 2016 "Bring Me The Head" contest. "Throne Games" THRONE GAMES OVER BLACK Distant sounds of SAWING and HAMMERING. INT. PRISON CELL - DAY A filthy medieval hellhole. The tiny room contains a low cot, upon which an unshaven figure lies. This is ROGER, a handsome nobleman, now a prisoner. He stares at the ceiling while he listens to the hammering. INT. TOWER STAIRWAY - DAY Heavy boots clump up the stone steps, followed by a pair of sandal-wearing feet, flopping. The sandals are too big for the feet. INT. TOWER LANDING - DAY A hand inserts a big key into a lock and turns it. CLICK. INT. PRISON CELL - DAY Roger sits up on the cot, wary. The door CREAKS open. A helmeted SOLDIER gives Roger a gap-toothed smile. SOLDIER Wakey wakey, rise and shine, "my lord." Sarcasm drips when he says the title. SOLDIER (CONT'D) You've got a visitor. The soldier steps aside to reveal a robed MONK who is bent over with age and sports a wispy white beard. SOLDIER Five minutes, no longer. MONK Thank you, my son. The monk steps into the cell, the soldier slams the door shut. The key rattles in the lock. ROGER You're wasting your time, Father. I turned my back on God long ago. MONK When was this, my son? ROGER I can't remember. The monk stands at the door, patiently waiting. Roger becomes irked. ROGER Wasn't so bad when the war began. We were fighting the Blackharts on the battlefield. It was man against man. The strongest arm and the keenest blade deciding who lived and who died. Roger stares at the floor. His voice grows bitter. ROGER (CONT'D) Then the butchering started. Didn't matter who they were. Women, children. They were given no mercy. It's a war to the finish now. The Montfalcons against the Blackharts, the Larkins against the Grints, the Woosters against the Flintpoles. We're all going to keep playing this bloody game until there's only one butcher left alive to claim the throne. MONK Then let's make sure it isn't a Blackhart, a Larkin, a Grint, a Wooster or a Flintpole. Let's make sure a Montfalcon sits on the throne. Roger stares at the monk, bewildered. The monk tears off his false beard and straightens up, he's a young man. ROGER Henry! Roger leaps up and embraces the monk, who is hereafter known as HENRY. MONK/HENRY I had to wait until I was sure that bastid couldn't hear us. ROGER It is good to see you. But you have placed yourself in much peril. HENRY I hope not! Hear me, little brother, I have brought a dozen trusted swords with me. They're holding a side gate open for us. Had to cut a few throats on the way in, but it's no more than the bastids deserved. Fresh horses stand waiting outside the walls. We ride hard for Castle Montfalcon! There we shall gather our forces and plan our revenge against the Blackharts. ROGER Sounds good to me! But how will we get out of this cell? Henry grins and pulls the key out of his robe sleeve and shows it to Roger. HENRY Come, we must be swift, your jailors are already gathering below in the courtyard to witness your execution. Henry listens at the door. He inserts the key and turns it. CLICK. He pulls the door open an inch, looks out. HENRY (CONT'D) All clear! Follow me! INT. TOWER LANDING - DAY Henry cautiously steps out onto the landing. He starts downstairs, but realizes Roger isn't following him. He turns and hurries back to the cell door. INT. PRISON CELL - DAY Henry stands in the doorway, looking puzzled. Roger's sitting on his cot again, staring at the floor. HENRY What madness is this, are you not coming with me? Roger turns his head and looks at Henry. His expression betrays his sadness and regret. ROGER I am sorry, brother, truly I am. Heavy footsteps echo as SOLDIERS rush upstairs, swords drawn. Before Henry has a chance to fight he's grabbed, his arms are pinned. An OFFICER pushes through the soldiers. OFFICER Henry Montfalcon, known as "The Bloody," by the authority of Lord Blackhart you are charged with murder and reaving most foul. Henry stares at Roger with disbelief. HENRY You would betray me? When I risked all to rescue you? ROGER I wasn't sure if you would come. HENRY Of course I would! You are my brother, damn you! ROGER I was your brother. Until you put innocents to the sword. Until you ordered wholesale slaughter and impaling. You have stained the good name of House Montfalcon. HENRY You stupid little twerp. A good name gets you nothing. You take what you want in this world, and you keep it by killing those who would take it from you! That's the Montfalcon way! OFFICER Enough! The executioner's axe awaits you, Henry the Bloody. Make your peace with your gods, if they will listen to you. (to Soldiers) Take him away. The soldiers bundle Henry downstairs. Roger watches them go. The Officer remains. OFFICER (CONT'D) If it were up to me, you'd be joining him on the platform. Roger stares at the floor, not reacting. OFFICER (CONT'D) But my lord gave you his word, and he will keep it. A servant will come for you soon and show you to the stables. You must ride from this castle and never return. The Officer exits downstairs, leaving the door open. Roger leans back against the wall and closes his eyes. Loud cheers and cat-calls reach him from outside. A long silence. Then Henry shouts: HENRY YOU WERE ADOPTED! The THUNK of an executioner's axe. A huge CHEER goes up. Roger sighs. ROGER Forgive me, brother. But I promise you I shall restore House Montfalcon to its former glory. WHUNK! A crossbow bolt goes through Roger's neck! His eyes widen in shocked surprise. Roger slowly keels over sideways on the cot, leaving blood spatter on the wall. Standing in the doorway, the ARCHER who fired the bolt casually leans his crossbow against his shoulder and grins. ARCHER What, you thought you was gonna get to walk away from this? Nah, that just doesn't happen, mate. The Archer exits downstairs, whistling. Roger's open eyes stare into eternity. Pull back. The ghosts of Roger and Henry stand looking down at Roger's body. Henry is headless, he holds his own head under his arm. HENRY So much for getting revenge on the Blackharts. ROGER I believed he would keep his word. HENRY As only an idiot would! Ghost Henry puts his other arm around Ghost Roger's shoulders. HENRY (CONT'D) Come, brother. Let's go haunt the bastids. We'll give them cause to fear the Montfalcons yet! The two ghosts turn and exit... through the wall. FADE TO BLACK ROGER Was I really adopted? HENRY Yes. Cue rousing theme tune, roll credits. FADE OUT

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