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Rated: 13+ · Script/Play · Fantasy · #1314984
Comic Script: Ian Stone, the Conjurer, fights the forces of evil.













CONJURER #1

By

Brian E. Ritenbaugh



PAGE ONE

(1)          Full Page

BANNER: Twenty-three years ago. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

CAPTION: The modest residence of Todd and Alicia Stone. Their son Ian should be sound asleep. But voices carry…

Ian Stone, age 7, is sitting on his bedroom floor. He has brown hair, short and messy. His eyes are sapphire blue and he is wearing pajamas. He is playing with a toy robot, but he is not happy. It is night and the only light comes from a streetlight through a window with a taped up crack running through it. From what we can see of the bedroom, it is shabby and obviously not well maintained. There are a few scorch marks on the walls and holes in the wallpaper. Despite this, there are toys all over the room, cars, trucks, more robots, action figures, and a few (not too many) stuffed animals. Off panel, his parents argue.


TODD STONE:
         Come ON, Alicia! Toys just don’t pop out of thin air!

ALICIA STONE:

         I’m telling you, Todd. I didn’t buy any of them. We BOTH know we can’t afford them!

PAGE TWO

(1)
In their bedroom, the Stones continue to argue. They are a couple in their mid thirties. Alicia has black hair and brown eyes. She wears a waitress uniform. Todd has brown hair and blue eyes. He wears coveralls with a tag on the right breast that reads “Quickie Kleen”.

TODD STONE:
         There where the hell does it all come from? Is he stealing them?

ALICIA STONE:
         How could he? He’s only seven years old!
(2)
Todd and Alicia undress and get ready for bed. They do not see that Ian stands in their doorway.
TODD STONE:
What did he say when you asked him?


ALICIA STONE:
Sigh. He said he makes them.
(3)
Todd stops undressing and stares at Alicia.

TODD STONE:
MAKES them? That’s bullshit!

ALICIA STONE:
         I KNOW it is. But how else…?
(4)
Alicia and Todd have seen Ian and they kneel in front him. We see Alicia on the left, her hands on Ian’s shoulders, Todd is in the middle and Ian is on the right.

ALICIA STONE:
         Ian, honey, what are you doing out of bed?

IAN STONE:
Are you an’ Daddy mad at me, Mommy? Is that why you are fightin’?

ALICIA STONE:
         No, we’re not mad at you, Sweetie. It’s just…

PAGE THREE

(1)
Now Todd places his hands on Ian’s shoulders and turns his son to look at him. Alicia and Todd are concerned. Ian is scared and thinks he did something wrong.

TODD STONE:          
Where did you get all those TOYS, son? Did you…are you STEALING them?

IAN STONE:          
Oh. No, Daddy! I didn’t steal ‘em.

(2)
Ian steps away from his parents. He raises his hands chest high. Mystical flames surround them. Inside the flames is a half manifested toy, a small fire truck. (This will have some significance later as it will be a treasured memento of an adult Ian Stone. It will be the only thing he has to remind himself of his parents.) Ian’s face is serious and contorted in strenuous concentration.

IAN STONE:          
Like I told Mommy. I MADE ‘em! Watch!

PAGE FOUR
(1)
CAPTION: It has been three years since Ian Stone first conjured a toy in front of his parents. Since then things have not been so happy for Ian. But that is about to change. The Stones have a visitor…

Ian’s parents have abused his gifts for their own benefit and have given no consideration to the effects on Ian. Off panel comes the voice of Nikolai, a wizard specializing in enchanting objects and Ian’s new mentor. He is here to take Ian away from his parents. We see Todd and Alicia Stone sitting at a dining room table in a much nicer home than their first home. All of the furniture is new and beautiful. There are various catalogs on the table of furniture, electronics, etc. The Stones sit ramrod straight on the chairs, their faces blank. In front on them, on the table, is a candle that burns a blue flame. They are hypnotized by it. Next to them, Ian is slumped in his chair, looking wan and exhausted and heavy bags under his eyes. He is not hypnotized by Nikolai’s blue flame candle; he is just too tired to move.



NIKOLAI:          
…so you see, Mister and Mrs. Stone, young Ian needs training.

(2)
We change angles here. We now see the back of the Stones’ heads and a small part of Ian as he is slumped in his chair. Directly across from him is Nikolai. Though he is seated, we can see that he is tall and lanky. His hair is black and short with gray at the temples. His eyes are gray and confident. Behind him we can make out the sweeping wings of a marble statue. It is Sphinx. She is enchanted with the ability to take human form and is a living library. Nikolai addresses the Stones as if he is still trying to convince them that Ian should train with him. But it is obvious that Ian is going to whether or not the Stones agree.

NIKOLAI:
He’s using too much energy making even the simplest of objects.

(3)
We change angles again here to a side view with the Stones on the left and Nikolai and Sphinx on the right. Despite the hypnotic candle, fear is starting to show on the faces of Todd and Alicia.  They are not as much afraid of Nikolai as they are afraid of what he is telling them.

NIKOLAI:
How a wizard of such potential has remained undiscovered is beyond me.


(4)
Ian, now too, is beginning to understand and to be afraid. Though still very tired, he has sat up straighter in his chair and we have a close up on him as we still hear Nikolai speak, more to Ian than to his parents.

NIKOLAI:
You are fortunate someone, or SOMETHING, else did not discover him first. Sphinx!



PAGE FIVE

(1)
We now have a wider shot of Nikolai and the Stones in the background. We get a full view of Sphinx in the foreground.  I see Sphinx more as the Greek version of a sphinx than the Egyptian. She has the body of a lion sitting on hind legs. Wings arch from her back half open. Her head is female and her hair is long enough to travel down her back and to cover her breasts. In this form she looks marble, as she is actually a statue. In this shot, we see her change from statue to human. In human form, she can be any type of woman, short, tall, blonde, brunette, white, black, etc. Her default form is Caucasian, about five feet nine inches, waist length black hair and solid black eyes. Also, as part of her character, and in addition to what Nikolai says below, Sphinx, in the present, is also a computer hacker and can interface directly with computers.

NIKOLAI:
Sphinx is one of my greatest achievements. She is a living library. Every book I could find of Art, History, Literature…

NIKOLAI:
…Mathematics, Science and, of course, several more ARCANE texts are now store inside her infallible memory. Simply amazing, if I do say so myself.

(2)
We are now looking at Sphinx, just behind Nikolai, from the Stones’ point of view. She holds her head high and her back straight. She is a servant awaiting orders.

SPHINX:
Yes, Master Nikolai.

NIKOLAI:
Sphinx, inform Mister and Mrs. Stone of the precedents of wizards and uncontrolled conjurations.



(3)
A wide shot of Todd, Alicia and Ian, they’re faces show fear and shock.

SPHINX:
According to several references, wizards who have tried to master conjuration alone, die.

SPHINX:
Most were burned up by their own magic. Some were killed when the object of conjuration manifested inside their bodies.


PAGE SIX

(1)
Nikolai has moved to kneel beside Ian and to stare intently at the young wizard.

NIKOLAI:
I promise you, Ian, I will not let that happen those things happen to you.

(2)
Nikolai, still kneeling beside Ian, now stares, with some anger, at Todd and Alicia.

NIKOLAI:
Nor will I abuse your gift.

(3)
Ian and Nikolai look at each other. Ian measures Nikolai’s words. No dialogue.

(4)
Ian and Nikolai both look relieved as Ian nods to Nikolai. Just behind Nikolai we can see Sphinx smiling warmly.

IAN:
Okay.

PAGE SEVEN

(1)
BANNER: Nikolai’s Penthouse. San Francisco, California.
CAPTION: Ian relaxes in his new bedroom with two new friends…

We are looking over Sphinx’s shoulder as she stands in the doorway of Ian’s new bedroom in Nikolai’s home, several hours later. Ian is wearing a medallion around his neck. (This is a very important item in the story arc. It has the ability to heal wounds and restore health. Its theft later on will catapult Ian and company in action.)

Ian is sitting on an ornate four-poster bed and petting a very small Dachshund puppy, Spike, who is curled up in his lap. Also curled up next to Ian is a much larger German Shepherd puppy, BellaDonna. Both dogs are enchanted to speak telepathically and to see in color. In addition, Spike can scent magic and follow the trail of magical objects and people. BellaDonna has a sixth sense in detecting movement and the approach of people. She is also super strong (i.e. She can bite into someone’s leg crushing the bone and/or throw them across a room.)


SPHINX:
I see Spike and BellaDonna have found a new friend.

(2)
Sphinx has entered the room and sat on the edge of Ian’s bed. Ian is holding a still sleeping Spike in his hands. Both dogs remain asleep.

IAN:
They’re wonderful! I’ve never had pets before, Sphinx.

(3)
Same as Panel Two, except Ian is frowning.
IAN:
I tried to make a hamster once, but nothing happened.



PAGE EIGHT

(1)
Sphinx tenderly pushes a stray lock of hair away from Ian’s forehead.

SPHINX:
You cannot conjure living things. That is the way of your magic.

(2)
Ian and Sphinx are petting both Spike and BellaDonna. Spike and Belladonna are awake and speaking to Ian.

SPHINX:
You know, Ian, Spike and BellaDonna are more than just pets.

BELLADONNA:
We are your companions and bodyguards.



(3)
Ian looks on in complete surprise as the puppies speak to him. Sphinx smiles at Ian.

SPIKE:
Yeah! We kick butt, big time!

IAN:
OH! WOW!


(4)
Spike has become rambunctious, as is his way. Belladonna, the more level-headed of the two dogs, calms him by nuzzling him. Ian and Sphinx look on, laughing.

SPIKE:
No one’s gonna get in our way!

BELLADONNA:
Easy, Spike.


PAGE NINE

(1)
Spike has calmed down and the two dogs resume cuddling close to Ian. Suddenly weary, Ian yawns and lies down again.


IAN:
Yawn

SPHINX:
The medallion still has more work to do and you need to sleep. I will leave you to it.

IAN:
Sphinx? What’s the medallion for and why did Mister Nikolai ask me to make that stick earlier?

(2)
Sphinx looks at Ian as she tries to figure out the best way to answer his question. The stick in question is Ian’s quarterstaff. He conjured it and Nikolai enchanted it. It is meant to be a battery, storage of sorts, for the excess magic Ian uses while conjuring. It will play a vital role in the series in relation to how Ian uses his powers. I.E. Ian is terrified of conjuring anything without a firm hold on the quarterstaff.

SPHINX:
The medallion will restore your health. It can also heal wounds.

SPHINX:
As for the quarterstaff, it is a tool to help you. Master Nikolai will explain later…

(3)
Nikolai strides into the room, interrupting Sphinx. He is carrying an ornately carved, six-foot long, ebony quarterstaff with golden filigree.

NIKOLAI:
Ah. Good. You’re awake. I need to know that my enchantments will hold. Let us see.

(4)
Nikolai, standing on the opposite side of the bed, across from Sphinx, holds the staff out to Ian, who has sat up and is reaching for it hesitantly.

NIKOLAI:
Hold onto the staff, Ian, and try to conjure a...rubber ball. Focus!



PAGE TEN

(1)
Ian awkwardly holds the quarterstaff in one hand. He holds his other hand palm up, fingers slightly curled and glowing. His face is a mask of serious concentration. Though we can’t see them, the dogs are still curled up asleep. No dialogue.

(2)
This is a close up of Ian’s glowing hand. A rubber ball is forming inside the glow. No dialogue.

(3)
Ian holds the ball and staff above his head triumphantly. Spike was dumped off of Ian’s lap as Ian stood on the bed, and looks at him angrily. BellaDonna has raised her head and watches. Nikolai and Sphinx also look on; Nikolai is ecstatic. Sphinx smiles warmly, sisterly.

IAN:
WOW! That was so easy!

(4)
Nikolai now holds the ball, still smiling.  The staff sits across Ian’s legs as he sits again on the bed, still smiling. Spike has curled up beside BellaDonna and both dogs have gone to sleep again. Sphinx looks proudly at Ian.

SPHINX:
Well done, Ian!

NIKOLAI:
And the enchantments held!

PAGE ELEVEN

(1)
Wide shot encompassing everyone in the room, still surrounding Ian on the bed.

NIKOLAI:
The quarterstaff absorbs the excess magic you create, Ian. That is why it was so easy.

NIKOLAI:
It will also serve you as a weapon. I will teach you the former, Sphinx the latter.

NIKOLAI:
Do you understand?
(2)
Ian holds the quarterstaff in both hands and looks at it seriously.

IAN:
Yes, sir.

(3)
Close up as the staff shrinks from six feet to two feet in Ian’s hands. Ian gasps.

IAN:
Gasp!

SFX: Zzripp!

(4)
Nikolai places the staff on the nightstand next to the bed. Ian has laid back down while Sphinx arranges the blankets over him and the dogs.

NIKOLAI:
Good. Now. You must get some more rest. Come Sphinx.

(5)
Outside Ian’s bedroom, beside the closed door Nikolai and Sphinx face each other. Both have serious expressions on their faces.

NIKOLAI:
It will be a difficult road for him.

SPHINX:
You will teach him to survive, Master.

NIKOLAI:
I can only hope.

PAGE TWELVE

(1)
BANNER: Twenty years later in that same penthouse in San Francisco.

Two dark figures slip through the balcony door. They are MARK and KELLY KNIGHTSBRIDGE, a brother and sister team of thieves. MARK has gadgets hanging from his dark clothes. KELLY has nothing but a knife and small pouch around her waist. MARK knocks over a framed photograph on a desk nearby.

SFX: FLIP!


(2)
Next to the desk, against a wall, are two dog beds, one small, one large, one bears the name “Spike” and the other “BellaDonna”.  Above them is a shelf upon which sits the fire truck Ian first conjured for his parents and the rubber ball he conjured for Nikolai. As the figures look around the room, Mark rests a gloved hand upon the fallen photograph.

MARK:
HOW can there be NO security systems on this place, Kelly?

KELLY:
Shut up, Mark! Someone could still BE here!

(3)

Kelly disappears down a hallway, looking for occupants. Mark picks up the fallen photograph.
KELLY:
I’m checking to see if anyone’s home.

(4)
A close up of the photograph. It shows an adult Ian (He looks like his father, but has a goatee) with Sphinx (in human form) and adult Spike and BellaDonna. We can see Mark’s hand hover closely to Ian’s face.

MARK:
Maybe we should get into kidnapping and ransom.

PAGE THIRTEEN

(1)
Kelly returns. Mark is replacing the photo on the desk.

KELLY:
No one is here. Did you say something?

MARK:
No. Nothing. Let’s just get it and get out.

(2)
The two thieves are sweeping through the penthouse in search of the URN OF ABRA-MELIN, the second important item of this story arc. It is a prison for seven of eight evil sorcerers. Kelly’s hand touches a book on a wall of bookshelves. There is a click.

SFX: CLICK!

(3)
The shelves slide open in front of Mark revealing Nikolai’s old workroom. It is dusty and has been unused for some time. There is a table in the center covered in dust and old books. More shelves line the other three walls filled with various items.

MARK:
Woah! Check this out, Kelly!

(4)
Mark and Kelly have entered the workroom. Kelly has discovered the medallion on a shelf as well as the Urn of Abra-Melin. Kelly speaks of the Matriarch here. The Matriarch is our antagonist. She is the leader the sorcerers called The Vosem (Russian for “Eight”). The Vosem are currently trapped inside the Urn. The Vosem also happen to be Nikolai’s family. Ian does not know this, though Sphinx does and has been ordered by Nikolai to not tell Ian. Also, as will be revealed to the reader in Issue #3, the Matriarch sent Kelly and Mark because she knows of Spike and his ability to scent magic. He would have figured out who she is immediately.

KELLY:
This is it, Mark! This is what the Matriarch sent us for!

MARK:
Great! Let’s get it and go. There’s something weird about this place.

PAGES FOURTEEN AND FIFTEEN

(1)
An adult Ian is dressed in blue jeans and work boots and a black T-shirt beneath a waist length leather jacket. He is fighting two black robed and hooded figures, the Brothers of Shadow, with his glowing quarterstaff. Fighting alongside Ian are the two dogs, BellaDonna and Spike and Sphinx in human form. BellaDonna is growling and leaping at the throat of a third black robed figure. Spike has his teeth clamped firmly on a fourth’s ass. Sphinx is dressed in jeans, boots, and a black sleeveless T-shirt and her hair is pulled up into a ponytail. She shows tremendous strength as she is holding a fifth robed guy above her head and kicking a sixth.

BANNER: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

CAPTION: While thieves work at Ian’s home, the young wizard must deal with black magicians who call themselves the Brothers of Shadow.

IAN STONE:
They’re persistent bastards, I’ll give ‘em that, Sphinx!

SPHINX:
Persistent, Ian?

IAN STONE:
Persistent. Stupid. To-may-to. To-mah-to.

SFX: Growl! Yowch! Umph!


PAGE SIXTEEN

(1)
The Brothers, except for one, are thrown to the ground. The Brother still standing is pointing at Ian and company.

BROTHER 1:
The Brothers of Shadow will have the Urn of Abra-Melin, Conjurer!


SPIKE:
What you’ll have is another hole is your ass, Punk!

BELLADONNA:
Easy, Spike.


(2)
The Brothers have formed a triangular configuration. They stand each with a hand on the brother in front of him. One in the rear disappears with a small POP! The guy at the apex is holding his hands forward, glowing with magic. Ian and co. stand opposite; Ian is conjuring a concave mirror.

SPIKE
Levin bolt!

IAN
On it!

SFX: POP!
(3)
The levin bolt is deflected by Ian’s mirror (ZRRAK-PING), just as a Brother of Shadow reappears behind BellaDonna (POP). He raises a knife aimed at the dog.

SPHINX:
BellaDonna, look out!

SFX: ZRRAK-PING
POP
(4)
Close up of the knife piercing BellaDonna’s side.  The German Shepherd yowls in pain.

BELLADONNA
Yoowwwllll!

PAGE SEVENTEEN

(1)
Ian angrily screams and throws the quarterstaff at the Brother of Shadow. Crescent moon blades form on both ends of the staff as it whirls towards the Brother.


IAN:
No! Bastard!

(2)
The staff passes through the Brother as he teleports away.

SFX: WHOOSH! POP!

(3)
The staff strikes a park bench, splitting it in half.

SFX: CRACK!

(4)
Ian screams as the other Brothers of Shadow depart (Multiple POPs). Sphinx calls him back to himself as Spike lovingly nuzzles a mortally wounded BellaDonna.

IAN:
Come back here, cowards!

SPHINX:
Ian! They’re gone. We must help BellaDonna.

SFX: POP POP POP POP POP

(5)
Ian kneels beside BellaDonna. Sphinx and Spike are next to him. Spike’s eyes are large and moist, Ian’s eyes stream freely with tears. Sphinx is sad, but is the most in control.

BELLADONNA:
Well, Kiddo, it had to happen some time. We’ve had some great times.

IAN:
Don’t talk like that! You’ll be fine, Old Pup.

PAGE EIGHTEEN
(1)
Ian’s quarterstaff returns to his hand and shrinks to two feet.

SFX: Zzripp!

(2)
Ian picks up BellaDonna, Sphinx holds Spike. Bandages appear around BellaDonna’s wound.
BELLADONNA:
Don’t ...try to... fool... me.... It...doesn’t...hurt anymore.


IAN:
See? You’re getting better already.



(3)
Ian is sitting in the back seat of a convertible car; Spike is sitting next to him looking intently at BellaDonna still cradled in Ian’s arms. Sphinx is in the driver’s seat.

SPHINX:
We’ll be at the nearest veterinarian in moments.

BELLADONNA:
No. Home. In my own...bed.

(4)
This is a close up of Sphinx’s blue eyes looking at Ian’s face through the rearview mirror.

SPHINX:
Ian, the medallion!

IAN:
Of course! Let’s get home, Sphinx!

PAGE NINETEEN

(1)
Ian and company arrive home. Ian still carries BellaDonna and Sphinx carries Spike. As they entered the penthouse door, we can see the bookcase wall slightly ajar.

IAN:
Here we are, Belladonna. The healing medallion will have you better in no time.

(2)
Ian puts BellaDonna in her bed while Sphinx is at the bookcase wall and sees it is open.  She is reaching to open it wider.

SPHINX:
Master? Have you returned?

(3)
Ian looks at Sphinx from BellaDonna’s bed. Anger clouds his face.

IAN:
Nikolai left us five years ago, Sphinx. He’s not coming back. Get the medallion.





PAGE TWENTY

(1)
Sphinx is inside the workroom. She is facing the empty shelf where the URN and MEDALLION were kept.

SPHINX:
Oh no!



(2)
Sphinx has left the workroom. The wall is closed behind her. In her hand, she holds a small vial. At her feet, Spike sniffs the ground.

SPHINX:
It’s gone, Ian. It’s been stolen.

SPIKE:
I can smell the medallion and the…

SPHINX:
…people who stole it.

(3)
Sphinx and Spike exchange a look. Sphinx doesn’t want Ian to know the Urn has been stolen. (Remember, Nikolai ordered Sphinx to not tell Ian about the Urn or the Vosem.

SPIKE:
Yeah, right.

(4)
IAN:
DAMN IT! We don’t have time for this!
BellaDonna needs help now!

SPHINX:
There’s still chance we could get her to a  vet.



PAGE TWENTY-ONE

(1)
From her bed BellaDonna weakly raises her head. The bandages Ian conjured are full of blood. It is clear she has very little time.

BELLADONNA:
I’d rather be turned to stone.

(2)
Sphinx lowers herself next to BellaDonna’s bed. She is uncorking the vial in her hand.

SPHINX:
I thought you might feel that way, BellaDonna.

(3)
Sphinx pours the contents of the vial onto BellaDonna. The moment it touches her she starts to turn to stone.

(4)
BellaDonna is now completely stone, a sad statue of a wounded and bandaged German Shepherd. No Dialogue.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO

(1)
Ian is beside himself in surprise, anger and grief. He reaches for the vial in Sphinx’s hand. With her amazing strength Sphinx holds Ian’s arms. She looks him in the eye calmly.

IAN:
What the hell are you DOING, Sphinx!

SPHINX:
We don’t have any other choice, Ian. She’ll die without the medallion.

(2)
Spike sadly nudges the stone form of BellaDonna.


SPIKE:
How long do we have, Sphinx?





(3)
This is a shot of Ian and Sphinx’s faces. Sphinx keeps eye contact with Ian. She is calm and level headed. He is shocked and horrified.

SPHINX:
We have forty-eight hours before the transformation is permanent.

(4)
Ian is now determined. He has channeled his anger into action. His quarterstaff is in his right hand. He holds Spike in the other. Sphinx is in the background.
IAN:
All right then. Spike, let’s track those thieves and get that medallion back.

SPIKE:
I can’t wait to sink my teeth into ‘em!


To Be Continued…
© Copyright 2007 Brian E Ritenbaugh (crankyoldmage at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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