INT. ROOM OLD BREWERY DAY
Half in shadow, a man named VALLON, dressed in black, fastens a clean
white clerical collar around his thick neck. He raises a jagged razor to
his face, RAKES it across his right cheek, drawing BLOOD. He does not
The sharp SCRAPING of the jagged blade against skin is the first SOUND we
VALLON cuts himself similarly on the left cheek, then hands the razor
ceremoniously to a BOY standing beside him. The boy, no more than twelve
years old, looks at VALLON worshipfully, keen eyes shining with fear and
excitement. He starts to wipe the razor blade on the bottom of his jacket.
No. Never. The blood stays on the blade, son.
He hands the boy a dark red velvet pouch. Very carefully, the boy, known
as AMSTERDAM, wraps the razor up, hands it back to his father.
From the shadows, VALLON now raises a long pole with a beautiful golden
crucifix mounted on the end, then holds his free hand out to his son.
Amsterdam squeezes tight.
VALLON nods toward the door. Amsterdam pulls it open. Outside is a dim
hallway. We hear SOUNDS that might be animal or human.
a steady, driving cadence somewhere between a march and a
2 INT. HALLWAY
VALLON strides in long measured steps. Amsterdam has trouble keeping up
They are walking down a long corridor that's like a tunnel. Patches of
LIGHT stain the darkness. Sometimes Amsterdam glimpses a FACE peering out
from the gloom. Once or twice he almost stumbles over a BODY stretched
across his path.
3 INT. ROOM
Another room, even smaller. The only decoration is a bizarre rendering of
a Madonna and child painted on the wall.
A beefy man picks up a home-made PIKE, its iron tip sharpened to a lethal
point. He is smiling. The grin is huge, but cockeyed. It occupies only
half of his face. The grotesque, unending grin is the result of facial
paralysis, and has given him a nickname: HAPPY JACK MULRANEY.
Jack lifts the pike carefully, then takes a candle from the wall and bends
down over a wooden cage full of rabbits. He slowly moves the candle back
and forth across the cage top. Wax falls on the cage, splattering an
Jack thrusts the pike between the wooden bars, impaling the rabbit's body.
He pulls the pike from the cage and leaves.
4 INT. HALLWAY
Jack falls into step beside VALLON and Amsterdam. He holds the pike with
the dead rabbit high, next to VALLON's cross.
Did you bring the boy for a charm, Priest?
No, Jack. For a baptism.
Now a WOMAN joins them. She's dressed in man's clothes, her pants held up
by suspenders. She wears a set of IRON CLAWS.
MUSIC builds, growing more insistent and more ominous.
Now a figure looms before them. Over his street clothes, this WARRIOR
wears a rig of home-made armor made from fracgments of steel, lengths of
chain and bits of leather. He carries a battle-axe as lightly as if it
were a twig.
We'll send a few across the river today, Priest.
He joins the procession. Another woman, as tough as the first and half
again as large, and several more men, all armed with implements of
destruction, fall in beside him. Their faces are marked with blood, like
Vallan's, or covered with ritual markings made with paint and ink.
The group grows ever larger and more forbidding. occasionally PEOPLE dart
around them in the tunnel and scamper out of their way like animals
frightened in a burrow.
5 INT. ROOM
Vast and dank, like a cavern. We start CLOSE on...
... the body of a dead rat being filled with some pieces of lead.
Then a little WIDER to reveal: an eager boy, SHANG DRAPER, about the same
age as Amsterdam. He drops the last few pieces of lead into the mouth of
the rat, then sews it closed. He hefts the animal by the tail, swinging it
as he stands up.
He is near a primitive forge where a half-drunk SLACKSMITH hammers crude
weapons into shape and distributes them to OTHER MEN and WOMEN. The floor
is covered with bits of lead and steel, which Shang has been using to sew
into his rat.
Shang FOLLOWS the crowd of men and women with their weapons. And now we
see this room full. It is huge: the main room of the Old Brewery, crowded
with families huddled together for warmth and comfort, or out of fear; men
and women, together or separately, drunk or passed out. They are like zoo
animals in a pit. There are sticks of furniture jammed in corners, or,
more often, arranged at angles in the middle of the room to form tiny
enclaves where the ancient brewery machinery forms irregular boundaries.
Above Shang's head, VALLON and his gang walk across a plank bridge that
spans the room a hundred feet beneath them. Armed men and women from the
Brewery are climbing a rope ladder to join them. Shang SCURRIES up after
The men and women from the Brewery fall in behind VALLON and the others in
the lead. Shang SPOTS someone near his own age toward the front:
Amsterdam. He presses through the crowd like a hunting dog.