Return of the Ring

Part one: Where in the world is that wizard?


Use long shots, shots from behind, blurred background shots of alternative characters


Scene 1: the volcano


Etab: long shot of stone sided volcano, smoke rising from its distant cone

††††††††††† Less distant shot zooming in of Strath and Barrow making their way with his horse through the rubble.

Close up of Strath looking ahead.

††††††††††† Shot of rubble

Strath halts and pulls out a map

Close shot of the map

Shot over Strathís shoulder of the map and the volcano in the background

Close front shot of Strath)



            This is the place.


(behind Barrowman over his shoulder with Strath turning towards him in background with volcano behind him.)



            This is an evil place


STRATH: (same shot)

            None the less, we have to look around


(long shot of them climbing the stony side of the volcano

A shot of some dark shapes hiding behind a large boulder looking at Strath and Barrowman pass.

Then a close shot of the two, Strath in foreground



            Evil spirits lurk here.



            If you want to leave, leave

            But Iím not leaving until I get what I came for


(Close shot of him looking down at the ground.

The ground is littered with stones and human skulls

The two men move into a continue to climb

A shot of dark boots as the dark shapes slip out from behind the boulder, kicking stones on the stone and several skulls

Front shot of Strath in foreground and Barrowman in background.



            What was that sound? A ghost?


            Ghosts donít kick stones

(shot of sword coming out of sheath

side shot of Strath moving ahead clutching the sword

rear shot of them two men approaching a crevice in the earth

Longer shot of Strath halting and reaching down

††††††††††† Shot of something gold glinting in the rocks as hand come into frame, brushes aside the stones and comes towards the camera and out of frame

Shot of Strathís face as hand brings object into frame Ė it is a ring

Close shot of Strath



            This is it


Rear shot over Barrowmanís shoulder with Strath in background a sword rising to touch Strath



            I will take that.


(reverse shot of a startled Strath in foreground with Barrowman and sword in background with dark shapes appearing in the extreme background.

Reverse again over the shoulder of Goblins who also have swords and stab Barrowman who falls. Strath is in the extreme background

Reverse again from over Strathís shoulder of the several Goblins approaching with swords



            Give us the ring


(close shot of Strath)




            I already have a buyer.


(Clash of swords. Strath stabs one of the Goblins, then rushes down the hill towards the waiting horses with remaining Goblins howling in the foreground)


Shot of Strath approaching horse

Long shot of Strath riding away, and as camera draws back, a dark rider on a dark horse is revealed.





Scene 2: Tavern


STRATH:  Iím looking for an old man, who used to come in here. He called himself a wizard.



            There was an old man in here a while ago. But he didnít say much except to complain about the evil things going on in the East.

People tell tall tales in here all the time. But wizardís never anything Iíve heard any one talk about.

 My grand dad said he knew a wizard once, but he also said there used to be a little people living around these parts Ė some even here in this village. But I never saw any.



            The old man? Do you know where he went?



Itís not my business to keep tract of people. But he seemed in a big hurry. I remember he dropped off a letter for me to deliver. He wanted me to send somebody out to the west. He seemed to think little people still lived there, and needed to contact one of them in a hurry.



            Did you send the letter?



            The fact is I never did. Still have it here.

(pulls it out)

            Couldnít find anybody with a reason to go in that direction. Most people donít leave this village and when they do, they go south or east, never west. So it just sat here.



            Whatís in the letter?



            I donít know. I never read it. I donít pry into another manís affairs.Ē



            But you seem to feel guilty about not sending it.



            My grand dad didnít send a letter once, and it caused a whole lot of trouble Ė if you canít believe any of the wild stories he used to tell



            Would you trust me to deliver the letter?



            Why would you want to do that?



            Letís say Iím curious about the old stories, too. And maybe they know where the old man went off to.Ē


BARKEEPER: (pushing the letter across the bar at Strath)

            Come back when you find out if itís real or not. I need to know.




SCENE 3: The land of the little people


(STRATH rides off down the road.

 Dark riders follow.

He comes to a gate.

 The gate house is empty.

He rides through the woods,

 over a bridge,

 and sees open fields cows and sheep graze.

 Then, he comes to a farm house where little people are standing out front.

He calls to them, shows them the letter.

They point up the road.

Then they hurry away inside and slam their door.

He rides on.

He comes to the small cottage with a round door pressed into the side of the hill and knocks

The door opens, Rosy a little person, answers.


ROSY: (coolly)

† ††††††††††††††††††††† What can I be doing for you?



            Iím looking for Samson Underhill. I have a letter for him.


ROSY: (Shouting towards the side of the house)

††††††††††† Samson Underhill.

††††††††††† You come over here quick.


(Samson comes around the side of the hill carrying a gardening spade, which he drops when he sees Strath. Then, he recovers himself.)



††††††††††† Glory be, Rosy.

††††††††††† What are you making such a fuss about?



††††††††††† Weíre respectable people, Sam Ė not like that crazy great grand uncle of yours who used to take off for foreign parts.

††††††††††† The last thing we need is for folks to see big people standing at our door..



††††††††††† Nobody said Iím going off anywhere.



††††††††††† Not yet maybe, but I feel it in my bones.


SAMSON: (addressing Strath)

††††††††††† Is there something I can do for you?



††††††††††† I have a letter for you from an old man who says heís a wizard.



††††††††††† Not that man again.

††††††††††† How many times have I toll you, Sam, not to be cavorting with characters like that.


SAM: (Suddenly serious)

††††††††††† Youíd better give me that letter, and wait here.


(Rosy and Sam go through the round door into the hallway where Sam reads the letter.



††††††††††† Well, what does it say?



††††††††††† The old man needs to meet with me near Wood Hall.

††††††††††† He says it is very urgent.



††††††††††† What did I tell you, Sam



††††††††††† Itís only to Wood Hall, Rosy.

††††††††††† Thatís only a fortnight there and back.

††††††††††† Iíve done that before.

††††††††††† Itís not like Iím going to up and vanish like my great grand uncle did.



††††††††††† One road leads to another.

††††††††††† You know THAT much for the old stories as well as I do.



††††††††††† If the old man send for me, it must be important.

††††††††††† After all, heís been looking after us all these years.



††††††††††† Snooping, you mean.

††††††††††† How can you trust a man whose name you donít even know.



††††††††††† I donít know why I trust the old man, but I do.

††††††††††† He seems connected the old tales.



††††††††††† And what if he asks you to go someplace else?

††††††††††† If you went away, I would just die.



††††††††††† Well, I donít go like that or any other way.

††††††††††† The farthest Iím going is there and then straight back.



††††††††††† I would feel a lot better if someone went with you Ė to make sure you come back.



††††††††††† Who could I trust to do that?



††††††††††† Thereís Sancho Proudfoot.



††††††††††† Heís too young.



††††††††††† How old do you need to be to go to Wood Hall?



††††††††††† All right.

††††††††††† Go get him while I pack for the trip.



SCENE 4: The road to Wood Hall


(Sam steps out the door with hooded garment, backpack and walking stick)



††††††††††† Well?



††††††††††† The letter said to meet the old man near Wood Hall.

††††††††††† Rosy has gone to fetch someone to come with me Ė if itís no bother.


(Sancho rushes around the corner of the hole)



††††††††††† Miss Rosy says I shouldÖ


(He halts and stares at Strath)


††††††††††† Ö should go with you so you wonít disappear, butÖ



††††††††††† Are we ready?


(Rosy appears around the side of the hill)



††††††††††† You come straight back, you hear me Sam?


(The trio heads down the path. Sam hums, then starts to sing an old song and when he finishes, Sancho shake his head.



††††††††††† Canít say as I like the sound of that at all.

††††††††††† It sounds Elfish or something.



††††††††††† Itís not Elfish, Sancho.

††††††††††† It comes from my great grand uncleís time.

††††††††††† But I donít know exactly who made it.



††††††††††† Can we hurry a little?

††††††††††† Thereís something in air tonight that makes me nervous.



††††††††††† I feel it, too, Mr. Sam.

††††††††††† Maybe there are elves in these woods like people say.



††††††††††† The elves sailed away a long time ago.



††††††††††† No, not all the elves sailed west.

††††††††††† A few remain, but theyíre destined to fade.


(Then down the path at a break in the shrubbery, Sam turns)



††††††††††† This way.



††††††††††† But thatís not the road to Wood Hall.



††††††††††† Weíre not taking the usual road.

††††††††††† Since the two of you have made me nervous with your talk, I figure weíll take a way where we wonít be seen.



(As they vanish from the road, a dark rider appears on it, riding in the direction in which theyíve come, halting suddenly at the place where they left the path. The horse snorts. The rider Ė hooded so you canít see his face Ė sniffs at the air.

Meanwhile, Sam, Sancho and Strath cross a narrow bridge, then go through some deeper woods, and come again to a road. Then they climb into grassy hill county, and eventually come into woods again)



††††††††††† When are we going to stop, Mr. Sam.

††††††††††† Iím awful tired already.

††††††††††† And we just passed the last Inn in these parts.



††††††††††† We not staying in any inns, Sancho.

††††††††††† I plan to sleep out under the stars.



††††††††††† Out in the open?



††††††††††† Weíre safe enough in these parts


STRATH: (looking up at the ridge)

††††††††††† Are we, I wonder?

(He points to a dark rider moving along the ridge.


SAM: (staring in shock)

††††††††††† That canít be what I think it is. Not know.

††††††††††† My great grand uncle used to talk about such things, and the stories got passed down to me. But down deep I never believed any of it.



††††††††††† I donít know about your old stories, Sam. But that rider is real.



††††††††††† Youíve seen him before?



††††††††††† Him or a ride just like him on my way here.



††††††††††† I think weíd better get out of sight.


(They climb down off the path and under the roots of a tree. The river crosses above them, stops, gets off the horse and starts to sniff. Strath grips the hilt of his sword. Sancho shudders. Sam looks back through the roots of the tree and sees the hoof and the boot of the river. Then the rider is distracted by the ringing tiny bells. The rider mounts the house and leaves. Sancho, Sam and Strath jump up. A line of elves appears on the path



††††††††††† Elves!


††††††††††† And theyíre coming this way.

††††††††††† First those dark riders and now this.



††††††††††† Itís right out of the old tales.

††††††††††† But donít worry, Sancho.. The elves wonít hurt us.



††††††††††† Perhaps not. But theyíre a strange lot. And Iíd rather not meet up with them right now.



††††††††††† Itís too late. Theyíve se3en us.


(Gildaf, the leader of the elves lifts a hand for the line to halt, and them come ahead to meet Sam, Sancho and Strath)



††††††††††† Master Samson.

††††††††††† This is not a sight I have seen in many lives of the Halflings that you small folk have been out in the wild like this.



††††††††††† They would not be here except for an old man, who says heís a wizard, wants us to meet with him at Wood Hall.



††††††††††† We have just come from Wood Hall and there is no wizard there or near by or we would have sensed his presence.



††††††††††† Now isnít that a kick in the head.



††††††††††† As them about the dark drivers.

††††††††††† Iím sure they mean something bad.



††††††††††† Dark riders?



††††††††††† We saw two riders tonight, or perhaps the same rider twice.


††††††††††† GILDALF:

††††††††††† ††††††††††† This is not good news

††††††††††† My guess is that is has something to do with the wizard.


STRATH: (reaching into his pack to pull out a wooden box)

††††††††††† And this, too, perhaps.


(He opens the box to reveal a golden ring. All stare in awe. Stuttering, Sam is the first to speak)



††††††††††† This is not possible.

††††††††††† My great grand uncle said he and the others went away to destroy the great ring.

††††††††††† Where did you find it?



††††††††††† Far from here. In the foot of a smoldering volcano.

††††††††††† The wizard sent me to find it, and now that Iíve found it, I canít find the wizard.



††††††††††† These are ill tidings.

††††††††††† We knew a wizard kept watch on the land of the Halflings. But we never guessed it was a matter as grave as this.



††††††††††† What do we do?



††††††††††† I cannot guide you in these matters.

††††††††††† Few on this side of the great sea can

††††††††††† Yet if you ask, I suggest you find the wizard as soon as possible.



††††††††††† If he isnít at Wood Hall, where would we look?



††††††††††† The best advice I can give you is to seek the elf lodging at the foot of the great mountains in the east. Though the elders have sailed, some of their kindred still linger there.



††††††††††† Thatís a three week journey in the best of circumstances. With dark riders on our tails, we wonít make it.



††††††††††† I can offer no better counsel.


SCENE 5:† Change of plans


Strath, Sam and Sancho huddle in the woods.



††††††††††† I think we ought to head back to the tavern. The wizard might have fled the dark riders and taken refuge there.



††††††††††† Thatís outside my lands, and I promised Rosy I would come right home.



††††††††††† You canít go home with the dark riders looking for you.



††††††††††† My guess is the dark riders are looking for the ring. They followed you here. They will follow you out when you leave.



††††††††††† If thatís the case, why did the wizard for you?

††††††††††† My guess is that you are as bound up with the fate of the ring as I am, and those riders wonít let you rest, if I am gone or not.



††††††††††† I promised Rosy.


STRATH: (Points at Sancho)

††††††††††† Send him back. He can tell her whatís happened.


SANCHO: (in a panic)

††††††††††† Me, go back alone? With those dark riders out there?

††††††††††† Besides, I promised Miss Rosy that I would bring Mr. Sam back, and sheíd have my ears off if I came back without him, dark riders or not.



††††††††††† That settles it.

††††††††††† Iím going back


(At this point, a screech sounds in the woods, followed by another answering it.)



††††††††††† Going back may be a moot point.

††††††††††† Those riders are coming for us



††††††††††† So what do we do?


SAM: (With a heavy sigh)

††††††††††† Head for the ferry.

††††††††††† Horses canít cross the river here, can they?



††††††††††† Letís hope not!


(They run and are chased, and they reach the ferry and take off before the riders can reach them. The riders glare from the shore as the boat sails to the other side).



SCENE 6: Return to the Tavern


The trio arrive at the gated village in the rain. Strath knocks. The gate keeper open the small hole



††††††††††† What do you want?



††††††††††† We want to come in?


GATEKEEPER: (frowning)

††††††††††† You and who else?



††††††††††† I have two Halflings with me, and we want lodging for the night.




††††††††††† Halflings?

(He opens the gate)

††††††††††† Now thatís something we ainít seen in my life time for sure


(The trio make their way through the village to the tavern and enter. The barkeeper is flustered)



††††††††††† No, we havenít seen the old man.

††††††††††† But weíve seen other men, dark riders came through here asking about you and the little people.



††††††††††† Recently?



††††††††††† Just today Ė and they said they will be back.

††††††††††† And if theyíre up to any good, Iíll eat a barstool.



††††††††††† Is it safe to stay here overnight?



††††††††††† Safer than being on the dark road.

††††††††††† If we leave in the morning, we can get off the road quickly where they might not find us.

††††††††††† (to the barkeep)

††††††††††† Do you have any rooms?



††††††††††† For the Halflings, yes. We have a few left from the old days.



††††††††††† Fine, Iíll bunk in with them.


(In the room, Strath pulls Sam aside and hands him the box.)



††††††††††† You want ME to take the ring?



††††††††††† I think the old man means for you to have it.



††††††††††† What about your money?


STRATH: (looking a little manic)

††††††††††† Just take the ring

††††††††††† Something about it makes me uncomfortable.


(Sam take the box and joins Sancho on the bed. Strath settles near the window in a chair clearly too small for him, smoking a corncob pipe. Eventually he nods off, and is jerked awake by a crash outside Ė it is near dawn.

He grabs up his sword as dark shapes pass the windows. He goes to the two Halflings and shakes them easily, holding a finger to his mouth.



††††††††††† Time to go



SCENE 7: The ruins on the hill


(Shots of hills and woods and swamps ending with the three approaching a hill crowned by ruins)



††††††††††† This is an awful place, Mr. Sam

††††††††††† Why are we stopping here?



††††††††††† Weíre stopping here, Sancho, we can get a good look around.

††††††††††† And this is where I would come if I was the old man.



††††††††††† And if I was one of those riders, this is where I would come, too.


SAM: † (Staring up)

††††††††††† Something terrible happened here.



††††††††††† This place has a long history of good and bad deeds, most of which are long forgotten.



††††††††††† I mean something bad, something that happened to my great grand uncle here or his friends when they cam here.



††††††††††† Here?

††††††††††† Your great grand uncle came here?



††††††††††† Itís part of a long story he told his sons they and they passed down to the rest of us, about the great ring he and his friends went away to destroy.

††††††††††† I remember something about his being pursued, too, and that they came here.

††††††††††† I used to get bored hearing about his stories because they seemed to go on and on without end. Now I wished I had paid closer attention.



††††††††††† I donít think those old stories can help us now.

††††††††††† Something terrible and unexpected has happened in the world the old kinds and elves did not reckon on.

††††††††††† I caught a bit of this when the old wizard hired me. But he couldnít tell me anything directly.


(fade to wizard sitting in the tavern smoking a long pipe)



††††††††††† Always after a defeat and respite, the shadow takes up another shape and grows againÖ.


(fade back to Strath near the hill)



††††††††††† It seem to be something heíd said before and why he sent me to that awful volcano to recover the ring.

††††††††††† I also got the impression that he hoped I would not find it, which is why I made him give me half my money up front.


SANCHO: (looking up at the ring of ruins at the top of the hill)

††††††††††† You mean for us to go up there?



††††††††††† Weíre here to look and thatís the best place to do it from



††††††††††† And a good way to be seen, too, and by folk we wonít want seeing us.



(The three climb up the side of the hill to the ring of runs at the top. Sam and Sancho huddle against one wall as Strath gazes out.)



††††††††††† I wish the old man was here, even though Rosy hates him and I used to get annoyed by his showing up unannounced.


(Fade to home with Sam and Wizard in Samís home)



††††††††††† Why are you always bothering me?



††††††††††† I need to keep an eye on you, Sam



††††††††††† Why?



††††††††††† Because I have ill feelings that I canít explain

††††††††††† Something dark still hovers over this world that shouldnít exit, and Iíll keep my eye Ė no both eyes on you Ė until I figure out what it is.


(Fade back to Sam at the ruins on the hill)



††††††††††† So every once in a while, he comes around, looks me over and leaves.



††††††††††† Some folks say he put a spell on you.



††††††††††† Some folks donít know what theyíre talking about.

††††††††††† Iíve had urges to wander off long before I ever saw the old man, and if not for Rosy I might have done so a long time ago.


STRATH (Still looking out)

††††††††††† Whenís the last time you saw the wizard?



††††††††††† About a year ago. He seemed very anxious about something. He came, looking at me, and said heíd heard some very disturbing news. He wouldnít tell me what, but he said he had to go off and find things out. But he said I would hear from him. But until you showed up, I hadnít heard word from him.



††††††††††† That must have been about the time he hired me to look for the ring.

††††††††††† He seemed very concerned then, too. Where he went, I canít say, but I thought I saw him riding down the south road when I went east.


(Strath stiffens, then ducks behind the stone and presses his back against it)


††††††††††† Theyíre here.

(he takes out his sword. The dark riders appear at the gaps on several sides at once. A shot of Sancho in a panic. A shot of Sam holding the box in his lap as he is seated against the wall. The riders attack Strath. He fends them of, shouting for the two Halflings to flee.

Sancho just stares.

Sam looks at the riders, then at the box, then he opens the box, takes out the ring, looks at the ring Ė then puts it on his finger and vanishes.

Sancho looks over and yells.



††††††††††† Mr. Sam! Mr. Sam!

(Sancho turns towards Strath)

††††††††††† Mr. Sam has vanished.


(At this point, the riders stop their attack and rush out of the stone circle again. Strath rushes to a gap in the stone and looks out, then turns to Sancho.



††††††††††† Get our stuff.



††††††††††† What about Mr. Sam?



††††††††††† Thatís where weíre going. To get him.

††††††††††† The problem is, with that ring on his finger, we canít see Sam, but the riders can.

††††††††††† Letís hope Sam has sense enough to take the ring off and hide, or weíre all doomed.

††††††††††† Come on!


(Strath leaps out after the riders and Sancho picks up his and Samís packs and heads towards the gap Strath just exited by.



††††††††††† Miss Rosy isnít going to like this one bit


(fade Ė end of part 1)



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