INT. Edifice basement - night
After a few hours, much puttering about by Erry, and a long span in which Nolan does absolutely nothing besides staring at a wall, Kit gets the Gateway working, using the patterns built into it, redirecting the ancient flows so they resume. The magic is different now, not what it expects, but it's still magic, following similar rules. At last the crystal glows, and then the Gateway itself rumbles to life, components twisting against each other, other crystals in its frame lighting up. It settles into its new position, emitting a vague hum.
Okay, I think that it's it.
Erry bursts out from a pile of luggage and runs over, Jora following more sedately.
We could travel to sheep.
It's late. We should be getting back.
No! We must go on!
(leaning over the crystal again)
It has to be able to connect to another Gate, but I'm seeing connections to several possibilities. Two of them even seem to be on Cerris, so...
Nolan takes Jora's arm and steers her back toward the stairs.
As they leave, none of the doors present any difficulty whatsoever in opening, allowing them out without trouble.
Even the main door to the building simply opens at a touch. Jora eyes it in surprise.
EXT. Molstead Market square - night
Coraline wakes up on the ground, a bit sooty, with a headache and drying blood in her hair. She sits up dizzily, touches her head, and frowns at the blood that winds up on her hand. The voices are all around, but distorted. Echoing. She is still quite drunk.
At some point everything had gone horribly wrong.
There is no more singing, no more celebration. People are fled or holed up in buildings, or in some cases, dead in the streets. Gogs are clinging to the undersides of eaves like odd little bumps. The bonfire is small, now, but now other things are on fire - stalls, piles of kegs, some buildings. There are yells and screams, coming from no particular direction or apparent source.
A large group of townsfolk, as well as some soldiers in dark armour, are all standing around her, staring at her. Among them is also another man, far dirtier than the rest.
None of it makes sense.
Agata is sitting next to her, alert.
I might worry about our audience first, if I were you.
I'd suggest you do something before someone sees, but it's a bit late for that.
Coraline rocks her head from side to side, and a few of the Carriers follow with their own heads.
But what... what are they doing?
What are they waiting for?
The Carriers all just stare at Coraline, their eyes dark and hungry. She recognises quite a few of them.
Coraline approaches a nearer, familiar, Carrier uncertainly. It looks like Jess.
It is Jess.
Coraline stops and stares.
Jess falls to her knees in front of her, looking up at Coraline with glassy black eyes.
Around, heads turn to follow, though the Carriers make no other moves.
(in a flat whisper)
The black... it burns...
(almost sobbing in confusion)
Something is drawing Coraline to Jess. A hunger is burning insider her. She wants the girl, wants to join her, to take her, to devour...
Coraline grasps Jess's head in her hands, gently, welcomingly, firmly, not even sure what she's doing.
There is darkness, now. All around, amidst the voices, covering the world. Part of her wants this, needs it.
It would be so easy.
Coraline can feel the pain in Jess, the loss, the fear, the hunger. What she cannot feel is Jess. She tries to push it all away, tries to find Jess amidst the black, the hunger, the voices clamouring louder and louder around her, but there's just nothing. It's like nothing, like pushing on solid nothing, except the nothing is pushing right back.
Coraline panics and twists it about, turning the darkness in on itself.
Jess collapses in front of her, dead.
The darkness subsides, just a little, and the voices quiet more or less back to normal.
The Carriers around Coraline start moving toward her all at once, some shuffling vaguely, others rushing forward. One trips and falls on his face. A couple jump at her, grasping, pulling at her mind, and she knocks the first one aside, spinning away from another in armour.
The dirtiest Carrier reaches for her, wrapping her in his filthy embrace, and Coraline elbows him in the stomach. This has no useful effect whatsoever. Some dirt flakes off.
Do what you did before. Take his life and turn it out.
I don't even know what I did!
There is life and there is death. They are the same things. Turn them in on themselves.
Another Carrier grabs for Coraline again, holding her in place.
Something tears inside of Coraline. The voices shift, louder, duller, as the darkness rises once more, and she does it, she turns the life out, and the dirty Carrier lets go, falling on top of her. And the others, too, are all on her, holding, grasping, reaching, pulling, rending at her mind, at her...
A horrible noise squelches out of the ground, shaking some of the nearby buildings. It squelches further, and tentacles erupt from the ground, long and dark, ripping the Carriers away from Coraline.
The tentacle monster emerges a moment later amidst further squelching like a submarine out of an ice sheet. Dirt showers down around it. Some of the dirt falls right through it. Carriers are thrown aside. The tentacle monster grabs a couple with its tentacles and shoves them into its maw, eyes rippling out around it, devouring them whole.
Coraline scrambles away, grabbing Agata, and dodges another Carrier.
The tentacle monster grabs up a few more, devouring them as well, oozing along, low to the ground, tentacles reaching out far to grab others in the process, and trampling them as it goes. It makes a wide circle around Coraline, grabbing, devouring, smashing, leaving behind a trail of bodies and a bloody smear, until none are left standing.
It rises up like a monolith, drawing its tentacles back into itself, and moves toward Coraline.
Coraline stares at the tentacle monster fearfully, holding Agata close.
Agata puts her ears back.
Go. Your sanctuary is not here.
I... you... thank you?
The tentacle monster reaches out with a tentacle and pushes Coraline away, turning her about.
Coraline runs for it.
EXT. Molstead inn - night
Coraline goes around back, trying to figure the best way in, Agata following at her heels. She starts dismantling one of the windows.
So they know. They know what I am?
Not as such, but once things calm, word'll get around. You were out for awhile. People saw that crowd, knew something was the centre of it all. Some probably saw you walk out of it.
It's time you got on with it. Hiding, not working so well.
(removing the pane)
What hit me?
Probably someone aiming for something else.
Coraline sets the pane of glass down carefully, eyeing the cat.
Coraline tries to hoist herself up through the window, fails, tries again, and topples headfirst into the inn's kitchen.
INT. Molstead inn - night
It is disturbingly quiet, and dark. A small trickle of light trickles back from the main room.
Coraline heads into the store room and packs up some supplies, a couple of kegs and the equivalent of a large liquor cabinet, and enough food and questionable potion bottles to crush a small child, stuffing it all into her really rather small pocket bag, pulling the inner lining out a bit in order to swallow up a few of the larger items. Somehow it all fits, and the bag gets no bigger.
In the corner is a small shrine of pretty things. Keepsakes, memories, books, reminders of home, reminders of who Coraline is and how she had gotten here: an ornate filigree mask wired to a pair of sunglasses; a dried flower woven out of grass; a bright cuddly sea-anemone; a wooden statuette of Ganesha, and with it a smaller one of a wombat in a vest. Argument of Hags is perched nearby.
Coraline tucks the things into her bag, and grabs Argument of Hags. The cat doesn't exactly resist, but clings for dear life, digging in with claws.
I know, I know, you don't like being carried, but it's that or leave you here and you've grown on me entirely too much.
Dors enters, crossbow levelled in front of him, but he lowers it upon seeing Coraline.
You take care of yourself out there. This world, it'll eat you.
Dors grins at her and turns back toward the main room.
Coraline hurries over toward her bedroom, wads up her bedding and clothes and some other supplies, and feeds those and all her books and other stuff into the bag as well. Then she gets out another bag that looks much the same size as the outside and fits that into the inside of the other bag, concealing the seemingly bottomless pit within. She puts a small amount of money and another bottle in this.
Thimble is glaring down at her from a shelf.
I'm leaving. Come with me, you delightful meme.
Thimble continues to glare at her with his perpetually angry face.
Coraline gives him an irate look and reaches up and carries him off, and then grabs her bag and heads back toward the window, which she proceeds to fall out of, breaking the pane of glass on the ground in the process.
EXT. Molstead inn - night
Agata gives Coraline and the spare cat a long blank look, then turns away, padding off in a direction.
Coraline follows after.
EXT. Molstead - night
Nolan and Jora get back into town amidst alarming silence, and even more alarming noise. Isolated yells puncture it yellingly from time to time. Most of the noise is fire, and things on fire.
Dead people are in the streets, some townsfolk, some soldiers. Festival stuff is smashed and scattered about, along with random bits of clothing and other discarded items. Gogs peer at them curiously from under the eaves, leaning down to watch them as their pass.
Through it all are a few folks still standing, wandering aimlessly. They are Carriers.
Jora holds her sword at the ready, giving them a wide berth.
Nolan walks up to a Carrier just sort of standing there and pushes him over.
The Carrier doesn't respond, lying where he fell.
Nolan hands Jora a dagger, which she tosses slightly and then stuffs in her belt.
Use that on them first, then kill them.
We should flee. It would be logical. Mathematical. But then we would not know what it was we fled.
The Death of Souls has returned to the forefront.
They continue on toward the centre of town.
A few of the Carriers start to follow Nolan and Jora as they pass. A few gogs skitter around the buildings, following as well.
They come to a building with two elven tourists standing on the roof, back to back. One of them is holding a broom like a weapon. The other has a sheathed sword and seems totally uncertain whether he should get it out or not.
Several Carriers are standing around the building staring up at the roof.
ELF WITH BROOM
You! You're alive! Help?
Jora slows, looking up at them.
Nolan tugs at Jora's sleeve to keep her going.
Stay put. You should be safe up there.
As they continue on, the Carriers around the building turn to follow them, instead.
EXT. Molstead market square - night
The market square is full of bodies. The bonfire is low. There is a suspicious hole in the ground, and an even more suspicious and splattery large wet streak across the ground through the middle of it all.
A small group of soldiers in dark armour are clustered about, watching the area, weapons at the ready. Nurunn and Doranis are among them, investigating.
Doranis is investigating by staring at the ground in confused horror.
Nurunn is squatting by the hole. He picks up some gloop out of it, sniffs it, and frowns.
Nolan marches into the square and goes right to the soldiers. Jora follows slightly more cautiously, watching them carefully, but staying close to Nolan.
The soldiers watch Nolan and Jora guardedly, but make no move to stop them.
Nurunn gets up and comes over.
Several Carriers amble into the square after them.
A few other Carriers run into the square after them.
Jora sighs and turns about, crouching down, sword in one hand, dagger in the other, ready to jump at the runners, but instead the earth in front of her erupts in tentacles, which reach up and grab the running Carriers before retracting entirely back into the ground, Carriers and all.
Nurunn runs over, sword at the ready. The soldiers shift uneasily.
The tentacles are already gone. Only broken ground and large clods of dirt remain.
The ambling Carriers continue towards them as though nothing had happened, walking right into the broken ground, but no more tentacles emerge. A few of them trip and fall.
One of the nearer ones, a WOMAN, stops uncertainly a distance from Jora and Nurunn.
Please. Can you help us?
(holding out the dagger guardedly)
What are you? What happened here?
I don't know... please, help. It's so wrong, so wrong...
They are Carriers of the Death of Souls. There is no helping them.
Guäïn adëaka käïkä.
The spell trickles over everyone in the square.
Nurunn unceremoniously cuts the woman down, and moves on to the other amblers and rather efficiently does the same with them.
Jora lowers her weapons uncertainly, and then when the soldiers go to help, joins in, taking out a couple herself.
Nolan wanders over toward another Carrier coming into the square from a different direction, stops in front of him, and does a little dance.
The Carrier stops and stares at Nolan confusedly.
Nolan does another little dance, this time centred on the other foot.
Nurunn throws a sword through the Carrier's face.
Nolan stops dancing, turns around, and nonchalantly walks back toward Nurunn.
Did you learn anything?
Nolan stops and stares up at Nurunn expectantly.
Fragments of the Black seem to temporarily inhibit the symptoms of the Death of Souls through contact.
Nolan continues to stare at Nurunn expectantly.
Nurunn stares right back.
What is 'the Black'?
An ancient relic of unknown power, safely guarded.
It's not safe.
We're done here.
Nolan turns back the way they came, but Nurunn grabs his hand and presses a black soulstone into it.
Nolan holds it up in front of his face, turning it over, staring into its depths, and then pulls another one out of his pocket.
(holding up the first one)
He wants to see how I react to this. If I'm a Carrier.
Nolan puts the black soulstones over his ears.
Nurunn just stares at him.
Nolan hands the soulstones back, looking almost confused.
Jora marches over, pulls another black soulstone out of her pocket, and waves it at Nurunn.
So that's normal?
Jora shudders and hastily drops the soulstone in revulsion.
(fishing out another black soulstone out of her pocket)
He doesn't have a normal setting. If he did, we wouldn't even be here. Or maybe we would be here, and we'd all be dead. I don't...
She glances at the second soulstone uncertainly, and then notices Nolan already heading off back the way they came.
She drops the other soulstone, too, and runs after Nolan to catch up.
Nurunn frowns after her and picks up the black soulstones.
Nolan! Is this what you wanted the Gateway for?
Nolan doesn't answer as they continue on out of town.
You're not going into shock.
You already are in shock.
Jora stares at him incredulously, and then leaps aside to take out another couple of Carriers.
Okay, different question. When did you fill my pockets with soulstones?
Theoretically yes. We'll see if the math holds.