Vagrant Story


The Wine Cellar

Entrance to Darkness

[Ashley enters a room piled with wine caskets.]

ASHLEY: Ah, vintage wine....

[The room shakes, a small earthquake.]

ASHLEY: ...no live burials today, thanks.
“A strange power,” indeed...

 

*****

 

Smokebarrel Stair

[Ashley enter’s a room with two Knights at the far side. They attempt to open a door, and it releases a shower of sparks.]

GOODWIN: Well? Got ‘er open?

SACKHEIM: ...it’s no good. No’ even a budge.

GOODWIN: What’s this? It weren’t lock’d a moment ago, eh?

SACKHEIM: No key holds this door... It be a Grimoire what’s doing this!

GOODWIN: Well, who lock’d it then? ...someone inside?

SACKHEIM: Buggered if I know!
Look--we’ll be cut off from the others!

GOODWIN: And where are those scouts, man?

SACKHEIM: ....they’ve not return’d.

GOODWIN: This be no time for loadin’ around!

SACKHEIM: Keep yer cap on, brother!
...now come up ‘ere and take a look at THIS!

GOODWIN: What’s that?

ASHLEY:  ...a “Grimoire”?

[Exit the room. Ashley follows.]

Wine Guild Hall

[The knights watch a cloudstone float back and forth.]

SACKHEIM: This too, be a Grimoire’s doing?

GOODWIN: By the gods!
I’d oft heard o’ it... But this!

SACKHEIM: ...an’ a wyrm--a DRAGON--was sighted at the Duke’s manor.

GOODWIN: Well, if there’s magick about, dragons won’t be far behind...

SACKHEIM: I worry about Guildenstern and the others.

GOODWIN: ...ach, they’ll be fine.

SACKHEIM: Think of it!
If we’ve witnessed miracles such as these on Leá Monde’s doorstep, what then lies within!?

GOODWIN: ...ye wear naiveté like a crest, Brother!
Surely the maesters know of this “Grimoire”. Mayhaps we’ve just been in the dark, eh?

SACKHEIM: Yet our charge is too drub those Müllenkamp scoundrels an’--

GOODWIN: And procure the miracles of Leá Monde!
‘Tis just a rumor, but I’ve heard that Guildenstern’s lot works them magicks as well...

SACKHEIM: Rubbish! We’re servants of the Lord!
No true Knight of the Cross would dabble in the black arts!

GOODWIN: It’s only a rumor, Brother...
But if Sydney is truly the worker of diablerie they claim he is, I say fight fire with fire!

SACKHEIM: I say let the Lord be our shield!

GOODWIN: Ever the choirboy!
The only shield I see is the one coverin’ yer eyes.
Heretic or no, I believe what I see, and right now... I see sorcery.

SACKHEIM: .........
 ...swine’ll take wing ‘fore the likes of us use magick, my friend.

GOODWIN: Aye, but with a Grimoire, your fattest sow could outfly my swiftest falcon--if ye believe the chroniclers.

SACKHEIM: With a Grimoire, you say?

GOODWIN: Ye could even make cobblestones float like clouds...

[Ashley turns and sees a young boy standing before him. He steps back and the boy disappears. The noise draws the Knight’s attentions. They fight, Ashley defeats them, and he continues through the dungeon.]

 

*****

 

Wine Vintage Vault

[In another room, two Knights stand before Guildenstern.]

GUILDENSTERN: Here comes one of the Parliament’s watchdogs. You, go back and silence his yapping.

KNIGHT #1: Parliament’s...watchdogs?

GUILDENSTERN: An agent of the VKP.
You can follow orders, can you not? The VKP is your enemy.
Now, go!

KNIGHT #1 and #2: Sir!

[The guards run out of the room. “Guildenstern” turns and changes back to his true form...Sydney.]

 

*****

 

Chamber of Fear

[Ashley entered the room. It begins to shake.]

ASHLEY: Not again!
This is a big one!

[The earthquake eventually subsides.]

ASHLEY:  ...I do not feel I’m welcome here.

 

*****

 

The Rich Drown in Wine

[Ashley tries to open a door, and finds it locked.]

ASHLEY: There is something holding this door shut...

[Ashley looks at a switch on a platform above him.]

ASHLEY: Hmm, I wonder...

 

*****

 

Room of Rotten Grapes

[Ashley enters the room. There is a flash of light and he suddenly finds himself in a lush green meadow. There is a single tree in the middle with a blanket spread underneath. Ashley looks around, confused at what he is seeing. The boy he saw earlier appears beneath the tree and looks directly at him.]

“...papa.”

[Ashley stares at the boy. There is a flash and he is surrounded by darkness. Another flash and he suddenly returns to the Wine Cellar. The boy is standing before a door. He looks at Ashley a moment, as if beckoning him, then turns towards the door. There is a flash, and Ashley is facing a group of bats to battle.]

 

*****

 

The Gallows

[The ground shakes as Ashley enters the room. What could have seemed like another earthquake is shown to be the footsteps of a massive beast. The Minotaur stomps towards Ashley, waving its gigantic mace. Ashley defeats the creature. A soft clicking sound starts in the background. Ashley warily turns. Sydney stands behind him, clapping his metal claws together.]

ASHLEY: Sydney!

[Sydney stops clapping.]

SYDNEY: So this is a Riskbreaker.
Most men complacently accept “knowledge” as “truth”. They are sheep, ruled by fear.
But you are different.
Always calm, detached. A smooth flow of thought into action.
Indeed... It is almost as if...
...as if you had no soul.

[Ashley stares at him, unaffected.]

SYDNEY: How do you do it? Body and soul are one...
Yet yours are separate, like a child from the knight in his storybook.
Where is your soul, Riskbreaker?
Is this VKP training?
Or did you see something that made you shut your soul away?

[Sydney reaches a claw towards Ashley.]

SYDNEY: Show me your soul...

[Flash of light. Ashley is back in the meadow. A family sits under tree having a picnic. They are talking and laughing, but their words can’t be heard. Their son, the ghostly boy Ashley saw, is running around near them. The man and woman kiss, and she walks away for a moment. The man talks with his son. When he looks up to see two men chasing the woman.  They catch up with her and she falls. The man gets up as if to run to her. When he looks back, his son is lying dead on the blanket. The man cradles his son’s body and screams. Flash of light, and Ashley is on his knees in the Wine Cellar with Sydney standing before him.]

SYDNEY: You killed your beloved wife and child...

ASHLEY: ...they were slain by fallen knights, jackals.

SYDNEY: Wrong. You failed to protect you wife, your child.
You failed in your duty as a knight, as a husband...as a father.
You killed them!

[Ashley lunges at Sydney. Sydney flies back out of his reach and lands on a platform on the other side of the room.]

SYDNEY: Try to catch me, Ashley Riot!
Look outside yourself to find your truth.

ASHLEY: What’s your game?

SYDNEY: Hardin!

[Hardin stands in the doorway, holding Merlose with a knife to her throat.]

MERLOSE: Ashley!!

ASHLEY: Merlose!!

MERLOSE: Pay no heed to me! Take them, Riot!!

SYDNEY: The City of Shade will forgive your sins, my son--
And call forth a power... A power that lies within you even now!
This is my game.
I run, you give chase. I am the hart, and you are the hunter.
But this hart has laid a few snares of his own...
I am waiting for you, Riskbreaker.

[Sydney floats up and disappears.]

ASHLEY: H-hold! Sydney!

[The door slams behind him. Hardin has left with Merlose.]

ASHLEY: Damn!

[Ashley is seized by bright, crackling energy. He eventually falls to his knees again and the energy disappears.]

ASHLEY: What...what is happening?

“I am waiting for you, Ashley Riot...”

 

*****

 

Room of Cheap Red Wine

[A Knight (Mandel), covered with blood, is slumped against some wine crates, likely one of the Knights Ashley overheard talking about Grimoires earlier. Ashley kneels near him. He looks at Ashley, perhaps recognizing him from the battle.]

ASHLEY: .......

MANDEL: Ur..I..I b-beg of ye... Sss...stop the...p-pain...

[He coughs out blood and slumps down. A white ball of light escapes his body. While Ashley watches, the dead body moves. It stands, limp but moving, and Ashley moves back.]

ASHLEY: Is this some magick, or merely the power of Leá Monde...?

[The zombie stumbles toward him.]

 

*****

 

Room of Cheap White Wine

[Three bodies are scattered on the floor. When Ashley comes, the zombies get up and begin to wander the room.]

ASHLEY: ...is this, too, part of your game, Sydney?

 

Part 3