Cutscene 1 – York

Something prowls the frontier in Roman Britain.

A new feature where I share short scenes that can be used to prod the imagination, all written in the standard screenplay format to aid visualization. I’m not sure if it is just me or not, but I find the screenplay format an easy style to use that doesn’t seem so hung up on grammar as with short stories. They tend to be very efficient story devices where a page is assumed to be about a minute of filming time and so lacks a ton of exposition that would be filled in by visual elements on the screen.

These snippets can be used by readers to influence elements for their games because often all it takes is a slight spark from a 3rd party to trigger the creative process in scenarios and encounters. The indent structure of screenplays is pretty specific but I haven’t been able to get the blog to match it quite correctly yet so you’ll have to bear with me.


EXT. ROMAN FRONTIER FORT - BRITANNIA - EVENING

CASSIUS kneels beside a tall pile of dried tree limbs a few
hundred feet away from a Roman frontier fort. His weathered
hand lowers a torch, dull red and nearly extinguished, into
the pile. Flames rise to life as a crackling hiss turns
into a low roar. He raises his head and directs his
attention to the shadowy tree line nearby.

CASSIUS
Do you hear that?

MARIUS, pacing on the cleared dirt around the fire near
CASSIUS, furrows his brow and angles his gaze into the
setting sun.

MARIUS
I hear nothing, save the fire.

CASSIUS
Even the insects are in quiet
hiding from them tonight. I can
feel their eyes on us from the
shadows.

Rising to his full height, CASSIUS rubs the stubble of his
rough beard and scans left and right across the meadow
clearing. His gaze lingering on the nearby wooden palisades
surrounding the legion's camp.

CASSIUS
(CONT'D) (NODDING AT THE FORT) 
Tell them to send out the hounds.
Full compliment.

MARIUS
The handlers will curse your name.

CASSIUS
If they can curse me it means they
are still among the living.

MARIUS
You know they won't see it that
way.

MARIUS extends his arms over his head, each brandishing a
flaming branch in an X.

Shouts can be heard from the camp and in the following
moments the unmistakeable baying of dogs reaches CASSIUS.

He exhales slowly, watching the last of the sunset's orange glow
fade to black. He reaches down and pulls a hatchet
from the ground and puts into a holster on his belt.

MARIUS
(CONT'D)
So you believe the report from
Angicet? About the demon spawned
wolves that can scale walls and
set fires?

The pair of men walk back towards the fort as other flames
erupt in the meadow, watch pyres being set like their own.

CASSIUS
I wasn't there but the runner was
certainly covered in gore and
shaken badly. Something happened.

A dog handler with a pair of wolf hounds on a lead walks
past them towards the watch pyres.

CASSIUS
(CONT'D)
We wont know for sure until the scouting 
party gets back in the morning.

MARIUS
You mean if they come back.

CASSIUS slaps MARIUS on the shoulder like old friends.

CASSIUS
When, or if, still gives us an
answer of some sort, which is more
then we have right now.

Marius smiles warmly at Cassius and shakes his head.

MARIUS
Well I've kept you alive so far,
one more night isn't going to kill
me.

Marius turns his head in reaction to some of the wolf
hounds barking excitedly in the distance.

MARIUS
(CONT'D) (TO HIMSELF)
At least I hope so

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