By Jamie North
Jamie North (+44) (0)7771 821 413 firstname.lastname@example.org
FADE IN: EXT. FOREST. DAY - 1525 JOCYLYN, a young nun, is filling a basket with mushrooms and anything else that looks edible. She is unkempt, half-starved and traumatised. Her Abbey was attacked and plundered by mercenaries a few days earlier and the nuns have been forced to forage in the woods for survival. HILDE, an Abbess in her 50’s, is also searching for food nearby. She is in a similar condition, though with a more determined expression. She tries a berry and spits it out with distaste. She notices that JOCYLYN has started crying and walks over to her. HILDE God has not abandoned us. We will survive, the Abbey will be restored. JOCYLYN Elsa, Joan, our books, everything else, they will be returned, unburned? HILDE hugs her but she doesn’t reciprocate. HILDE We don’t know what is intended for us. We must trust and pray, that’s all we can do. And find dinner. JOCYLYN pulls away. JOCYLYN What should I pray for? That they never came? A miracle? HILDE Pray for your Sisters. Pray for everyone. JOCYLYN Everyone, even them? HILDE Even them. What are we called for if not for that. JOCYLYN I was not called for that. If this is a test of strength, faith, then I’ve failed. God is nowhere to me.
JOCYLYN Would you pray to the Devil if you found yourself in Hell? HILDE This is not Hell. You have Sisters to care for and you will persevere for them if not for yourself. They must eat and we will feed them. Do you hear me? Yes. Yes?
JOCYLYN Yes, Reverend Mother. JOCYLYN stands and starts searching for something to put in her basket. HILDE walks along with her. HILDE Call of nature. Don’t go too far. She walks off among the trees to relieve herself. JOCYLYN finds a trail of mushrooms and follows them. It is quiet on her own. CHRISTOFFER, a wounded ‘Landsknechte’ - one of the dreaded foreign mercenaries who plundered and burned their Abbey - is sitting against a tree, watching her. His gaudy uniform is filthy and caked in blood. JOCYLYN catches sight of him and recoils, dropping her basket. CHRISTOFFER is too injured to move but he manages to smile. She looks around, unsure what to do. She looks at the sword lying next to him. JOCYLYN You were one of them. She sees a long branch on the ground and picks it up. She approaches him carefully, ready to run, and pushes the sword away from his hand. She picks it up. Devil.
She points it at him. Behind her HILDE runs up to them. HILDE Jocylyn! God of mercy. Put that down. Jocylyn.
3. JOCYLYN lowers the sword. HILDE (CONT’D) What is your name? JOCYLYN He’s one of them. One of those animals. HILDE He is one of God’s creatures. Will you let us help you? She gently parts his clothing to find the wound. His hand pushes her away. HILDE (CONT’D) If you don’t let us tend to you you will die. Where are your friends? She looks around, they are alone in the forest. HILDE (CONT’D) Can you tell me your name? CHRISTOFFER Chris..Christoffer. JOCYLYN snorts. HILDE Jocylyn, we need a compress, one of Joan’s, clean strips of linen and water. JOCYLYN So we can get him back on his feet to pay us another visit? HILDE We don’t know he was one of them, there are hundreds about the country. Will you go. JOCYLYN backs away, but doesn’t leave. HILDE stands up and strides over to her, grabbing her wrist. HILDE (CONT’D) Would you throw away your vows, your duties as a Christian, for pride? For revenge? Fail in this now, fall short in this test, and your suffering has been for nothing. JOCYLYN My vows are nothing, mean nothing, because of this.
4. HILDE pulls her over to CHRISTOFFER. CHRISTOFFER Wasser, water, please. HILDE This man has a soul like any other, whatever evil he has done, his conscience will make him pay. Help him live and I promise you remorse will one day stab his heart worse than any blade. Do you hear me? JOCYLYN Can demons feel remorse? HILDE Jocylyn, can you kill? Has your soul abandoned this world? Because if so strike now. I’ll tell no-one and you can debate it with your conscience through all your years to come. Guilt is the sharpest pain, you can learn that now. Strike. JOCYLYN looks at CHRISTOFFER for a long moment then drops the sword. JOCYLYN I’ll never forgive. HILDE That you can consider one day or many years from now. Now tend to him with me. For the love of God go fetch water, linen, a compress. JOCYLYN Love of God? JOCYLYN slowly turns and walks off through the trees towards the Abbey. HILDE tends to CHRISTOFFER until JOCYLYN is out of sight. CHRISTOFFER Danke. Thank you. She picks up the sword and stabs him. He clutches at the new wound, gasping, staring up at her in confusion and agony. CHRISTOFFER (CONT’D) Why? You are holy woman. HILDE I say the right things to keep my Sisters happy. They are all I have, all you’ve destroyed. (MORE)
5. HILDE (CONT'D) God has failed them but I wonâ€™t. Your death will be on my conscience not hers. CHRISTOFFER Erbame dich. HILDE stabs him again, and again. She turns away and stands with her head bowed for a a moment, then picks up their baskets and walks off through the forest.