Dark Mirror: The Movie

  • the super super condensed version

    At least some of you know by now that I'm writing a screenplay adaptation of Dark Mirror for my screenwriting class. I won't be writing the whole script, indeed only the first act, which isn't all that exciting. I'll probably post that too in a couple weeks when it's done, but for now I just finished writing the entire synopsis and figured it would work as a super-condensed story. :)

    I had to make some pretty major changes including cutting out a lot of subplots and characters, and renaming and altering any characters I borrowed. Also I finally named the Katereis' race... the viir'elei, and they're a slightly more populous race now. City names are the same. Here's the updated cast list, with original char first, new char second -

    K, Katerei, Iannah: still the same
    Avatara: Troyen
    Selax: Suriel
    Shanadar: Eamonn
    Yomu and Beorn: merged into Brin (and now a teenager)
    Rapierian: still Rapierian! (he was a late addition so I didn't have time to think of a new name - but he gets more screen time!)
    Moonshadow: Meiha
    Alaric: unnamed comatose king

    I hope everything else is self-explanatory, but go ahead and ask if you're confused. Try to think of Lord of the Rings or some similar epic fantasy when you read it. ;)


    The film starts with shots that match cut between two scenes. In the first, K stands in a run-down alleyway, checking over her supply of alchemical ingredients before tucking a small vial away into a pouch at her belt. She walks through dirty streets surrounded by dilapidated wooden buildings and enters a seedy-looking tavern. A viir’elei male and a human male are brawling; we suddenly see the viir’elei morph into a bird of prey and dive at the man. K spies a rough-looking fellow who has just lost at gambling and is drawing a dagger angrily, but she taps him on the shoulder, smiles seductively and offers to buy him a drink. He accepts, and as the bartender places it down, she whispers something into the man’s ear and empties the vial into the drink. Moments after she leaves, the man falls off his barstool, stone cold dead.

    In the second scene, Katerei tends her garden outside a tiny wooden house. She stops for a moment to stare out at the ocean dismally, but turns at a sound. A child playing with his friends on the dirt road has cut his knee. Katerei quickly pulls some herbs from her apron and rushes to the child to apply a poultice. When she removes it after a minute, the cut is healed. The boy hugs her and runs off after his friends, and Katerei smiles sadly after him. (pg 1-3)

    After her successful job, K visits her favourite place, the shore in front of old man Niall’s house. He asks her to track down a thief that took his horse and she reluctantly agrees. She shifts into a wolf to track the scent, and unwittingly pursues the thief through the gateway to the parallel world. The horse throws the rider and flees; when K catches up, the thief is paralyzed with a snapped spine. He confesses to being a scout for Suriel. She takes pity and gives him herbs for a painless death, and leaves the body in the respectful viir’elei fashion. (inciting incident) Later, the captain of Cademia’s guard Eamonn arrives at Katerei’s house. The horse thief’s body has been found and the death seems natural, but the corpse is human and was found in the viir’elei burial state. Moreover, the corpse is the exact match of a townsfolk who is still alive. Eamonn asks Katerei to help him track down the viir’elei responsible, and she reluctantly agrees. He takes her to where the body was found and she shifts into a wolf to track the scent, but panics and instantly shifts back. The scent is her own. (pg 4-15)

    K recovers the horse and tries to return it to Niall, only for his wife to tell her Niall died years ago. The woman comments K looks like a woman who lives near the ocean. Unnerved, K wanders down the shore with the horse until she unexpectedly encounters Troyen. Their reunion is awkward after many bitter years. He explains that they’re in a parallel world and admits he followed Suriel through the gateway to kill the spirit. K reluctantly agrees to help. Eamonn and Katerei return to the judge’s castle, the seat of Cademia’s government, to strategize. An unfamiliar teenage boy named Brin awaits them at the gate. He explains that he is an emissary of the Suriel from the world they are currently in. Brin also shares his knowledge of the villain Suriel’s plans, and that he fears the land is in grave danger. Katerei is reluctant to leave her quiet life behind, but agrees to help Eamonn and Brin investigate. (end of act I, pg 16-30)

    Troyen and K settle in an abandoned house for the night. They finally discuss, with great pain and stilted conversation, the events from years ago surrounding his wife Meiha’s death, K and Troyen’s subsequent argument, and K’s angry departure. Meanwhile, Eamonn persuades Katerei to discuss why she was so unnerved at finding her own scent earlier that day. She confesses that she doesn’t want to know what another version of herself would be like. If they are exactly the same, does that mean she has no free will? If the other is a worse person morally, does she have the potential to be the same? If the other is better morally, what has caused her to fall short of her potential? (pg 31-35)

    The next day, the ranger Rapierian appears at the judge’s castle and requests to speak with Eamonn. He informs the captain that he has captured one of Suriel’s scouts and learned about an assassination plot meant to occur that night, with the three leading mages of Cademia as the targets, including the judge. Eamonn, Katerei and Brin go to speak with the judge, but he refuses to believe them about parallel worlds or a conspiracy. His only safety measure is to have the castle gates locked and refuse anyone entrance until the next day, and refuses to allow Eamonn use of the guard to investigate. Eamonn asks Brin where they could find this world’s Suriel for assistance, but Brin admits he does not know where his master is. (pg 36-40)

    Rapierian also finds K and Troyen and asks for their help with the assassination plot. K has always disliked the ranger and Troyen thinks it’s not important to his goal, but Rapierian persuades them that it could lead them to Suriel. They start at the house of the most likely target and succeed in taking out the assassins, but when they go to the castle to rescue the other two mages, they are refused entry. Troyen lifts K over the back wall of the castle so she can try to slip in and open the gates. Instead, she inadvertently encounters Iannah, her old friend who is now the head of the assassins. K lies and says she is now serving Suriel too and that the assassination was called off. Eamonn spots Troyen and Rapierian at the front gate, and not realizing they are from another world, thinks he recognizes Troyen as a criminal who escaped from prison. Katerei realizes it is not the Troyen she knows and loves and begs Eamonn to trust her. Troyen bullies Katerei into giving them entry through the gate by saying that K is currently trying to save them all, and that if K dies, it will be Katerei’s fault. While everyone else is occupied, Brin is standing still in the middle of the courtyard with assassins rushing him from each side. Troyen and Rapierian enter in time and kill the assassins, while Katerei runs to find the second mage, only to find him already dead. Iannah reveals that she knows K is lying: Suriel was just in the castle and has already left, taking the third target – the judge – with him. Iannah escapes over the back wall, and K rushes into the courtyard only to come eye to eye with Katerei. (midpoint of act II, pg 41-60)

    The heroes decide that the castle is no longer safe and retreat to the abandoned house that Troyen and K commandeered the previous night. Privately, Troyen recounts the events at the gate to K, and she realizes that Katerei would only be so sure of Troyen’s identity if she had loved the other Troyen. They all hold a council session the next day and agree that they must work together, despite that they are unlikely allies, unwilling to trust one another. Rapierian suggests pursuing the assassins to learn Suriel's plans and rescue the judge, but Troyen overrides him and insists that Suriel will go straight to Land King Hall, the seat of the kingdom and the location of the Void point. K and Katerei argue over whether to allow Brin to come, as Katerei says he is too young and will be unsafe, but K says he's old enough to decide for himself. It's eventually agreed his knowledge of Suriel and the Void is needed. They leave for Land King Hall by way of the ocean road, which will take them through the city Odemia (pg 61-70.)

    That night, K and Katerei finally have a private conversation while the others sleep. K admits that she doesn’t think it’s possible to kill Suriel and Katerei accuses her of leading them into a suicide mission. K retaliates by criticizing Katerei’s god complex for wanting to save the world. Katerei correctly guesses that K is only in it because she has a debt to Troyen, and hits a nerve. K angrily says that if Katerei had stuck up for herself and asked “her” Troyen to stay, maybe he could have gotten them out of this mess by giving Suriel what he wanted. (pg 71-75)

    During a rest from the traveling the next day, K and Katerei are both down at the river, tension still high from the night before. K attempts to use water magic and it works too well, dousing her, and Katerei laughs at her. K defends herself by saying that magic works better in this world because the elementals are still there to balance it, and implies she’s a stronger mage as a result. Katerei calls K out on being arrogant and acting superior, and both of them snap. They shift into wolves and attack each other, attracting the attention of Troyen and Eamonn, who break up the fight. (76-80)

    Iannah’s assassins surprise attack the group that night. The heroes come out better, but Iannah taunts K to kill her. K refuses and tells Iannah to surrender because Suriel is going to abandon her anyway, but Iannah claims she has nothing to lose. K screams that Iannah doesn’t know what loss is, and decks her solidly in the face. Reeling, Iannah looks around and sees her two surviving followers badly wounded – the only two she cared about personally. She asks for them to be spared since she led them into the fight. Katerei, regretting her fight with K and recognizing that Iannah means something to K, offers to heal their wounds if the assassins surrender and return to their own world, and Iannah agrees. (81-85)

    The group moves on the next day and arrives in Odemia. They receive news from the Odemia judge that the king is seemingly in a coma. Brin explains that the king has a stronger spiritual connection to the land than the average person, and he may be in a state of shock due to the world overlapping with another world in which the king is dead. Later, K reflects on the situations with Katerei and Iannah and realizes what she has to lose when they confront Suriel: she might survive and Troyen might die. Unwilling to let things end unresolved, she speaks with Troyen privately. K confesses that it was she who made the arrangement with Suriel to have Troyen’s wife Meiha killed, so that Troyen would agree to help Suriel. K believes, and has always believed, that Suriel could not be killed by mortals and that letting him access the Void was the only way for the land to return to normal. She explains that she changed her mind almost immediately and went to Suriel to call it off, but Meiha was already dead. Troyen is stunned at this betrayal by his closest friend, but asks why K is still trying to help him kill Suriel. She quietly says that it’s because she loves Troyen and wants to atone for destroying his life. (end of act II, pg 86-90)

    They finally arrive at Land King Hall only to find Suriel’s army waiting for them – hundreds of soldiers who have arrived through the gateway. There is what can only be described as an “oh s###” moment as they see how outnumbered they are. Brin uses his connection to Suriel to call out to the spirits of the land, who rise up in droves and swarm the army. Encouraged, the group joins the battle, and K and Katerei find themselves fighting back to back. The heroes are triumphant and without casualty, but the carnage is gut-wrenching. K and Katerei quietly invoke a viir’elei prayer for the dead together. A water elemental swirls around them briefly before disappearing back into the ground, and the two viir’elei women realize they are closer to one person than separate. Later, when the elemental spirits have all vanished, Brin explains that they were aware of the war Suriel provoked which killed the elementals in the other world. The elementals were angry with Suriel but would not attack him directly for fear of causing another war, and settled for destroying his army. (pg 91-95)

    The group moves into Land King Hall, surprised Suriel is not already there. The king’s deputy informs them that the judge of Cademia was found dead, presumably in a bid to delay Suriel. The deputy allows the group entrance to the Void chamber, a place crackling with magical energy tied to the king’s life. They set up an ambush and wait. Troyen sets a rune trap that will bind Suriel to the ground, and K and Katerei enchant Eamonn and Rapierian’s weapons with ice magic that will allow them to damage the spirit, but it seems like it won’t be enough. Suriel arrives and battle breaks out in full force. Even bound to one spot, he is too agile and strong for them to get a solid hit in. In desperation, K attempts a suicide move that leaves her defenses wide open – only for Brin to leap in front and take the blow from Suriel’s sword. K screams with panic and fury– she was meant to die instead – but as Brin’s body crumples to the ground, a spirit remains standing. This world’s Suriel had been trapped inside a human body and was released by the boy’s death. He seizes the opportunity created by the other Suriel’s shock and charges him. The spirits battle in an astounding manner, destroying the stone columns that support the roof of the Void chamber, and as the roof begins to collapse, both Suriels vanish into the Void. The stunned and wounded heroes escape the crumbling building, and the deputy joins them carrying the prone form of the king. (96-110)

    Outside the remains of Land King Hall, they regroup and celebrate their survival. Suriel may be gone, but the world is intact and the king is still alive. The deputy loyally tends to the king and makes arrangements with a clerk to send news to the major cities. Katerei quietly thanks K for attempting to sacrifice herself, but also berates her. Katerei realizes that K was not only trying to atone for her debt to Troyen, but allow Katerei to take her place and start a life with Troyen, and Katerei explains she believes they both deserve a chance to start over again. They part awkwardly, but amicably. Eamonn teases Katerei about falling for Rapierian instead, which she firmly denies, but smiles slightly at Rapierian over Eamonn’s shoulder. Troyen seems in shock, after years of waiting for revenge that he didn’t achieve – but he seems to be slowly waking from his blind rage that has held him for so long. He stands with K apart from the others and holds her close as they stare up at the mountains where the gateway back to their world is, and quietly says “Our home is out there somewhere.” (end of act III, pg 111-120)

    This post has been edited by iKaterei : 07 July 2011 - 08:50 PM

  • This makes much more sense than the TS does.

  • This was really fun to read, thanks for posting it ^ ****_^

    I was really impressed with the changes and cuts you made in order to make it somewhat more straightforward. What do you think would be the length of the finished movie?

    Only the ending was unsatisfying. Is that how the TS will end too?

    Looking forward to reading Act I in detail! : ****D

  • Heh, I had to change and cut soooo much, it's crazy when you really start to break DM down and realize how much there was to it. All the events in Kosha gone - the whole golem battle gone - the entire time K and Av spent pretending to be allied with Iannah gone.

    The script is 120 pages because that was the maximum we were meant to aim for, and usually 1 page of a screenplay equals 1 minute of actual screen time. So the movie would be about 2 hours, but I think it could easily go 2 and a half.

    I realize I forgot to explain the changes I made with Saltwax Co - I think the ending is happier than it sounds here. In my version, alt-Wizard is dead already and alt-Suriel has some tinge of human emotion :p by mourning his friend. The Void is like nirvana, a plane of higher existence, which Suriel wants to access because he no longer sees a point to existing on earth. So, as far as the heroes know, Suriel will be happy when he gets there and not want to return.

    whether he does or not is part of the sequel movie which I'll show you guys next month :ninja:

  • Excellent work on condensing DM's story. I think that you did really well in removing extraneous scenes and creating a cohesive narrative.

    In addition, given Wizard's participation in the TS, I'd say his role in this version was expanded ;) .

  • Oh I get it. This is the story from Kat and K's view point. They were just really drunk most of the way through and missed and confused a few details. :p

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