THE WITCHER "Wolf Cub" Written by Paul Cochran Draft 7 July 2020 EXT. GRAVEYARD - MORNING CAWW! A raven shrieks into the morning air and alights from-- A crooked, mossy tombstone. PULLING OUT and UP, the tombstone is just one of countless graves and monuments on a large hill, a jumble of fresh and ancient. At the top of this hill, an OLD CRYPT sits perched, a crown ruling the graveyard. At the base of the hill, a road lined with arching trees skirts its edge. We’ll call this GRAVEYARD ROAD. A slow CLOP- CLOP can be heard. EXT. GRAVEYARD ROAD - CONTINUOUS We PAN DOWN to GERALT, mounted on his horse Roach, who continues clopping along the road. CIRI sits behind Geralt on the saddle, gripping him tightly. CIRI What’s it like? Geralt glances at her over his shoulder. GERALT Hmm? CIRI Kaer Morhen. Geralt smiles. GERALT It’s safe. CIRI It’s where you grew up, right? GERALT Yes. They trained me. CIRI To be a Witcher? GERALT Mm-hmm. Everything I know about tracking monsters, fighting monsters... He grimaces, and turns his attention back to the road. GERALT (CONT’D) The war won’t reach us there. 2. Ciri thinks to herself for a moment. CIRI Am I going to be a Witcher? Geralt hesitates, a frown unseen by Ciri. He starts to reply-- When suddenly he pulls Roach to a stop. Ciri looks about, concerned, while Geralt stares, annoyed, at a tree ahead of them. GERALT (calling out) Come out. I smelled you and the others a hundred paces back. Beat. Then, out of the treeline, a DOZEN NASTY BANDITS emerge. From the tree ahead of Geralt, a beady-eyed BANDIT CHIEF lurches out. He makes a prominent display of a pair of hatchets on his belt as he eyes Geralt carefully. BANDIT CHIEF ‘Ello there, white hair! This here road belongs to us-- A bandit with a CREEPY MOUSTACHE gets too excited. CREEPY MOUSTACHE The Cumbucket Gang! Bandit Chief shoots Creepy Moustache a murderous, silencing look, before turning back to Geralt. BANDIT CHIEF The Chumbucket Gang. You may’ve heard of us. GERALT I... have not. BANDIT CHIEF Well, today’s ye lucky day! Now, judging from ye mug and ye hair, clearly, you’s a Witcher, so all I ask is a bit of coin and ye can be on ye way. Geralt narrows his eyes at the Chumbuckets. He starts to reach up, toward his sword-- But glances over his shoulder at Ciri. 3. Geralt plays off the reach as rubbing his neck as he turns back to the Bandit Chief. GERALT I need some for our journey, but I can give you a spare purse. Bandit Chief nods approval, and Geralt tosses him a pouch. The Chief stands aside, but Creepy Moustache grips Geralt by the elbow. CREEPY MOUSTACHE We’ll take the girl too. Geralt glares at the bandit, but the Chief defuses the situation with a slap to Creepy Moustache’s noggin. BANDIT CHIEF Shut ye trap unless you’d like him to lop it off. He’s a bloody Witcher! Let him be. Creepy Moustache glances from his boss to the Witcher, then finally gives in and steps back. Geralt’s gaze is fixed on the bandit, unrelenting and burning, as he sets Roach off again at a trot. Ciri glances at the disappearing bandits, then gives Geralt a curious squint. The Bandit Chief glares after them... Then glances toward his armpit. He pauses, considers it. Giving in, he takes a sniff-- And makes a face.... Geralt was right about the smell. EXT. NIDKE - DAY Geralt and Ciri look about them as they enter a village. This is Nidke, a town with large homes and fine statues to the gods... All in disrepair. The village sits on a quickly flowing river, and a stone bridge crosses the river at the other end of town. Flanking both sides of the road into town, VILLAGERS watch Geralt with dubious eyes. SHOP OWNERS dart inside and lock their doors with audible THUNKS. One LOCAL spits at Roach as Geralt passes. LOCAL Get outta here, witch-fuck. 4. Geralt sighs, letting the insult run off of him. Trodding onward, he hops off of Roach and approaches the only person in town not giving him the evil eye. An OLD WOMAN, knits in a chair outside an aged two-story house. She squints at Geralt. OLD WOMAN Hello, afraid my eyesight’s not what it was. Are you new in town? GERALT Yes, my daughter and I. We’re just passing through. OLD WOMAN Well, what do you think of our little town of Nidke? Geralt trades a look with Ciri. GERALT Lovely town.... Could you tell me where I can get some food and supplies for the road? OLD WOMAN Of course! Talk to my son Dorkin at the Tavern Two-Feet! GERALT Thank you. He starts to get back on Roach. OLD WOMAN You know, Dorkin used to be a pirate. He’s the only sea-dog to retire with both feet. (beat) That’s why it’s the Tavern Two- Feet. Geralt glances back at the old woman, trying to be polite. GERALT That’s... Fascinating. He turns back again to Roach. OLD WOMAN Greatest pirate to ever sail the sea, I tell you-- Geralt sighs to himself, and faces the old woman again. 5. But an angry YOUNG MAN puts a hand on the old woman’s shoulder. YOUNG MAN Freta, don’t you know that’s a Witcher? The old woman (FRETA) does an instant transformation. FRETA Why didn’t you tell me, you bloody mutant!? Away with you! Shoo! Geralt shares a look with Ciri, and grumbles as he climbs on Roach. EXT. THE TAVERN TWO-FEET - DAY Geralt ties off Roach in front of a large tavern and helps Ciri down from the saddle. Ciri goes in ahead of Geralt, as Geralt pauses to watch-- A gaggle of FOUR TOUGHS loitering on the street and-- BURNING THE FLAG OF CINTRA. Geralt grimaces as he watches the golden lions turn to ash. INT. THE TAVERN TWO-FEET - DAY Geralt and Ciri walk into the tavern. A few PATRONS glower at Geralt, like he’s Clint Eastwood walking into the wrong saloon. A handful get up and leave, making a point to bump into Geralt as they walk out the door. Geralt’s ready to let them go, but Ciri grabs one by the cuff. CIRI Say you’re sorry. Geralt nearly bug-eyes at Ciri. The rude patron looks from her to Geralt and back, an indignant sneer on his face. RUDE PATRON What? CIRI You bumped into him on purpose. 6. The rude patron squats down to Ciri’s level. She looks ready to punch him. RUDE PATRON So? Geralt yanks the patron back up by his collar. GERALT So leave. The patron stands his ground for a moment, then turns with a huff and leaves. When he’s gone, Geralt pulls Ciri by the wrist to-- THE BAR, tended by a man IN AN EYEPATCH. This is DORKIN, late 40s, seasoned, seaworthy, and sensible. The image of the ex- seadog is complemented by the helm hanging on the wall over a door to the back. He’s serving some locals at the other end, but casts his eye to-- Geralt and Ciri, taking seats away from anyone. Geralt glowers, READY TO BARK at Ciri. He stops himself, and sighs. GERALT (CONT’D) You shouldn’t have done that. He waves down Dorkin. CIRI Why not? He was being rude. GERALT Better to keep a low profile. Towns like this give Witchers enough trouble as it is. CIRI How are they trouble? You kill monsters. I bet you could take that man with your bare hands. Geralt regards her, and a smile creeps in. Dorkin appears. DORKIN Ahoy, strangers. GERALT Are you Dorkin? DORKIN The only one missing an eye. Can I get you something? 7. GERALT My daughter and I, we need supplies for the road. He hands Dorkin a sack of coin. GERALT (CONT’D) I’ll take as much food and water as I can get for that. Dorkin hefts the sack in his hand. DORKIN I’ll get that right out. Dorkin starts away, then pauses. He regards Geralt for a moment then disappears into the back of the tavern. Geralt senses something off, but turns back to Ciri, who still looks bothered. He puts a hand on her shoulder. GERALT Ciri-- CIRI It’s fine. GERALT No, look. I could fight them, even kill them. Easily. But if you got hurt in the process-- CIRI I can protect myself. GERALT You mean with your powers? Ciri looks surprised. GERALT (CONT’D) Yurga and his wife told me about the boys in the field. They told me how mangled they were. (beat) You don’t know how to control these powers, do you? CIRI ... No. Geralt grimaces. 8. GERALT Your mother had similar powers. I saw them. And I wasn’t the only one. If you use them, and people realize who you are... (beat) Well, we’d have trouble. I don’t want that for you. Ciri acknowledges him with a polite smile. She tilts her head slightly and her eyes go wide. CIRI Geralt. Geralt groans, and he turns around to face-- The rude patron, backed up by the four toughs from outside. TOUGH ONE My mate Mikel here tells me you had a problem. GERALT Not to my knowledge. Tough One smirks. TOUGH ONE Well, I think we do. I caught you staring at us earlier. You a fan of Calanthe’s? GERALT I don’t care for politics. TOUGH ONE Then join us in a toast to the old, dead bitch. He shoves an ale into Geralt’s hand. TOUGH ONE (CONT’D) Fuck Calanthe! TOUGHS Fuck Calanthe! TOUGH TWO I bet the Nilfgaardians did! They pour back mugs of ale, while Geralt glares without a sip. Ciri bounds down from her stool, her hair beginning to flutter-- 9. But Geralt shoves a hand in front of her. GERALT Low profile. Tough One spies Ciri, and throws his mug at Geralt’s feet. TOUGH ONE Where the fuck did you get the kid, freak? The tavern goes quiet, as all eyes turn to Geralt. GERALT What do you mean? This is my daughter. Tough One shoves a finger in Geralt’s face. TOUGH ONE That’s a fucking lie, Witcher! TOUGH TWO You bloody took her, didn’t ya? GERALT What? TOUGH THREE You took our kids! GERALT I think you’re mistaken-- RUDE PATRON GET HIM! The toughs and the tavern patrons SWARM Geralt. CIRI No! She takes a step forward, when A HAND grips her-- It’s Dorkin. Geralt whacks a few of the rabble back with left hooks and right hooks, then swings his head around. GERALT Ciri? CLUNK! He goes down with A BAR STOOL TO THE HEAD, and gets DOGPILED. 10. EXT. BLEOBHERIS - DAY Underneath a towering, ancient oak tree we find an impromptu stage. It sits on a hill adjoining a small crossroads town. In front of the stage a great crowd is gathered, filled with humans, dwarves, elves, and other non-humans of all sorts. They are listening to the closing notes of A LUTE BALLAD from the stage-- Performed by none other than JASKIER. JASKIER And what became of Geralt the graceless git after the tale of the golden dragon? Does he rot in a brothel, or is he drowning in booze? (beat) We may never know. He bows.... And holds it. No applause. Jaskier looks up, insulted. DWARF Toss a Coin is better! HALFLING Yeah, give us that one! AUDIENCE Toss a Coin to your Witcher! Jaskier grumbles and looks around the crowd. Everyone around the oak tree is clamoring for “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”. Jaskier shakes his head in disgust, but his expression flips as he spots-- A voluptuous ELF WOMAN. Her head rests on the shoulder of A MAN WITH A POINTED NOSE, but her eyes are fixed straight on Jaskier. An inviting smile spreads on her lips as they make eye contact. Jaskier drums his fingers on the lute with a wry grin. JASKIER My beautiful friends, why settle for such an old relic of a song? (MORE) 11. JASKIER (CONT'D) Instead, I shall perform for you my newest, greatest song... As soon as I have refreshed myself. MAN IN FRONT ROW When?!? JASKIER Let’s call it three hours’ time. He trades a look with the elf woman. JASKIER (CONT’D) Actually four. The crowd murmurs. A SKINNY KNIGHT stands up. SKINNY KNIGHT We shall return in four hours’ time, to hear the bard Jaskier’s greatest tale yet! AUDIENCE Yea! Here here! Jaskier looks relieved. SKINNY KNIGHT Or our money back! JASKIER I’m sorry, what-- The crowd has started to disperse. JASKIER (CONT’D) Bollocks. He hops down from the stage and makes his way out of the crowd. Looking around, Jaskier spots-- The elf woman, walking alone. Jaskier brushes his hair to one side, and steps off that way-- When YURGA, the merchant from “Much More”, gets in his way. YURGA I didn’t like that song about Geralt. JASKIER Well, that’s a tragedy. Now, if you’d excuse me-- 12. YURGA It’s straight up slander, it is. JASKIER Wait, are you calling me a liar? YURGA I am! I’ve seen Geralt perform acts of bravery, tales to blow your rubbish away. Jaskier squints at Yurga. SMASH CUT TO: INT. FANCY TAVERN - DAY Jaskier slaps a pair of mugs down on a table in front of Yurga. JASKIER ... Tell me. EXT. NIDKE - DAY Geralt dangles from a tall wooden beam, his hands tied above him, and his feet flailing a good six feet above ground. WHACK! WHACK! The men of the village lay into Geralt with tool handles and other bats, beating him like a piñata. TOUGH ONE Where are our kids, Witch-freak?! GERALT I have no clue what you’re talking about! TOUGH ONE Liar! WHACK! GERALT What would I even want with your kids?! The villagers stop whacking him for a second. They look at each other, considering his point-- Then start whacking Geralt again. 13. TOUGH TWO Don’t try to confuse us! You probably eat ‘em! GERALT That’s-- GAH-- hags! RUDE PATRON Then maybe you sell them! Witchers’ll do anything for coin! TOUGH ONE I hear, sometimes they steal kids to make more of their ugly Witch- fucks. He prods Geralt in the nuts with a rake handle. TOUGH ONE (CONT’D) Ain’t that true, Witcher? Geralt glares down at him, catching his breath. GERALT Where’s my daughter? TOUGH ONE She ain’t your fuckin’ daughter! I know me Witchers. You can’t have kids! (beat) Ya pricks don’t work right. The villagers snicker. Geralt just looks exasperated. GERALT That’s not how it-- Just tell me where she is. TOUGH ONE Safe. From you. INT. DORKIN’S HOUSE - DAY Freta carries a bowl of soup with a spoon, setting it in front of-- Ciri, who wrestles against bound wrists and feet. FRETA Got some lovely soup for you, dear. 14. CIRI I don’t want soup! Where’s Geralt?! She thrashes, and nearly clocks Freta. FRETA Oh, dear. KNOCK KNOCK. Dorkin enters through a door, and Freta toddles over to him. FRETA (CONT’D) Careful, son. She’s been possessed by the Witcher! CIRI I’m not possessed! FRETA That’s just what someone possessed would say! DORKIN I’ll handle her... mummy. Ciri stifles a snicker, eliciting a one-eyed glare from Dorkin. Freta pets her sweet Dorkin on the cheek, then exits. CIRI You call your mother mummy? Dorkin smirks. DORKIN I called your grandmummy queen. Ciri is taken aback. Dorkin steps forward-- And pulls out a knife. Ciri bolts up. CIRI Stay back! I’ll kill you! Dorkin looks at her puzzled, then glances down at the knife. He grins. DORKIN It’s for the ties, Cirilla.... Though I’d appreciate if you didn’t gouge my last eye out with that spoon. Ciri holds her ground. 15. DORKIN (CONT’D) I need your help. You and Geralt. Ciri hesitates... and drops the soup spoon hidden behind her wrist. EXT. NIDKE - DAY The villagers are still bludgeoning Geralt. As one goes to whack him with a long wooden haft-- Geralt GRABS IT WITH HIS FEET, wrenching it from the man’s grasp. Swinging his weight around, Geralt manages to whirl the haft around at his attackers, decking several of them-- Until Tough One catches it, taking a hit in the process. He snaps the haft in two, and glares at Geralt as a bit of blood trickles from his temple. TOUGH ONE Hang the fuck. VILLAGER But what about our kids? TOUGH ONE Mutant freak ain’t gonna talk. Least this way we save the ones that are left. Geralt locks eyes with Tough One as a man lays a ladder against the post. GERALT I didn’t take them. TOUGH ONE No, you killed ‘em. The man on the ladder sets a noose around Geralt’s neck, then puts a knife to the rope dangling him by his wrists. He looks to Tough One, who nods approval. Geralt heaves a final breath and closes his eyes. DORKIN (O.S.) WAIT! Geralt looks down at Dorkin pushing his way through the throng. Tough One nods his head respectfully to Dorkin. 16. TOUGH ONE Mister Dorkin, glad to have you. Just about to finish the fucker off. DORKIN Not yet, Lukas. Tough One (LUKAS) gives him a confused look. LUKAS But Mister Dorkin, you don’t understand! He took the bloody kids! Dorkin puts his eye right in Lukas’ face. DORKIN I don’t understand? You think I don’t understand? Lukas and the other villagers back off a little. LUKAS Apologies, sir. Dorkin looks around the crowd, with the fiery gaze of a cyclops. DORKIN All of you, away! I want to hear the truth from him myself. You owe me that. He turns to Lukas. DORKIN (CONT’D) Then I’ll hang him. The villagers murmur amongst themselves. Lukas glances from Geralt to Dorkin, then nods and turns to leave. The crowd dissipates, returning to their homes. Dorkin gazes up at the dangling Witcher. Geralt sizes him up. GERALT Where is she? CIRI (O.S.) I’m here, Geralt. Geralt peers over his shoulder at Ciri, perched on the ladder with Dorkin’s knife. She cuts the line on the noose. 17. GERALT Ciri! Now don’t cut the-- Too late. She has sliced through the line holding his wrists-- And Geralt plummets to the mud below. GERALT (CONT’D) AGH. Ciri bites her knuckle. Dorkin tries his best to turn a chuckle into a cough, then helps Geralt as Ciri climbs down. CIRI I am so sorry. Geralt tries to hide his wince, as he wraps a hug around her. GERALT It’s fine. What happened? Are you hurt? CIRI No, I’m okay. Dorkin is helping us. Geralt turns an inquiring eye to Dorkin. DORKIN I know you didn’t take the kids, White Wolf. GERALT You know who I am. You seem to know quite a lot. DORKIN I know enough. At the very least, I know you’re the only man that can help me. GERALT With what? Dorkin grips him by the arm and grins. DORKIN Rescuing the children. Ciri looks up at Geralt, excited. GERALT Witcher work... Dorkin nods. Geralt hesitates. 18. GERALT (CONT’D) You’re a good man, Dorkin... He grips Ciri’s hand and leads her away. GERALT (CONT’D) But I’m sorry. CIRI GERALT! EXT. THE TAVERN TWO-FEET - CONTINUOUS Ciri shakes free from Geralt’s grip before they can get to Roach. Dorkin approaches, following them. CIRI Geralt, we can’t just leave! We owe him. You especially. GERALT I know, but there’s no time for a Witcher job right now. Ciri crosses her arms. CIRI You mean because of me. Geralt starts to answer, then stops. He squints his eyes at her, then turns to Dorkin. GERALT Do you have any idea who or what took the kids? Ciri hides her small smile. DORKIN Aye. Did you run into the bandits on the road into town? Call themselves the-- GERALT The Chumbucket gang. Yeah. One of them seemed interested in Ciri. I thought maybe he was... inclined, to kids. Are you saying they’re slavers? 19. DORKIN I’m certain of it. I can still handle a sword, and with you by my side we can drive them out for good. Do this for me, and those supplies you asked for are free. Geralt casts a look to Ciri, and turns back to Dorkin. GERALT Just help me keep an eye on-- Dorkin points to his one eye. GERALT (CONT’D) ... Right. Well, grab your horse. CIRI Wait, am I going too? GERALT I’m not leaving you here. He helps her onto Roach. GERALT (CONT’D) But you need to do exactly as I say. As Geralt and Ciri ride off on Roach, and Dorkin on his horse, we PAN DOWN to the ashy tatters of the Cintra flag. INT. FANCY TAVERN - DAY Yurga, his ale drained to the last drop, makes a gesture to Jaskier, whose attention is transfixed on the story. YURGA And that was that. My wife and I, we kept Geralt and Cirilla on a few days. Then off they went. JASKIER And the girl, her hair, you said it was blonde? Blonde like silky, shimmering silver? Yurga gives Jaskier a funny look. YURGA Yeah, it was, um, blonde. Jaskier leans back, fingering his lute. His gaze is distant. 20. JASKIER Huh. It must be her. Geralt went back. It’s... His fingers dance on the strings of the lute, improvising a chord. He looks back at Yurga. JASKIER (CONT’D) It’s beautiful. EXT. GRAVEYARD ROAD - DAY Geralt, Ciri, and Dorkin journey down the graveyard road. Ciri looks over at Dorkin. CIRI The people back there seem to have a lot of respect for you. DORKIN And you want to know why? Ciri nods. DORKIN (CONT’D) Well, let’s say my commerce has allowed my neighbors a certain level of comfort. For a time. CIRI What do you mean? GERALT He’s a pirate. Remember? CIRI Yes, but I thought he retired. Dorkin gives her a sly look. Ciri puts the pieces together. CIRI (CONT’D) You didn’t. DORKIN I was old and tired of sea-legs, but from my tavern I could still plan voyages for my men. GERALT Until Calanthe caught on. Ciri and Dorkin both look astonished. 21. GERALT (CONT’D) Your sword has a Cintran hilt. You raided Calanthe’s ships. Ciri scowls at Dorkin. DORKIN Aye, we did. And I used the plunder to make something of Nidke. A few more good raids and we could have vied for alliance with her rivals. GERALT But Calanthe found you first. DORKIN She did. Brought a regiment to the tavern doorstep and made me an offer. She’d spare the village, and I could continue to raid my men against Cintra’s enemies... But she needed a victory. CIRI What did you do? DORKIN I told her about one of my ships. Filled with a great gold cargo. So she tried to set an ambush. GERALT Tried? DORKIN My men got away, though they had to scuttle the vessel. Not too far from here, I believe. Calanthe never really trusted me after that, so she began taxing Nidke and taking our best men for the army. Left her regiment to see to that. All the most recent graves in the cemetery we owe to Calanthe. CIRI No, it sounds like you owe it to yourself. GERALT Ciri-- 22. DORKIN She’s right. (beat) Calanthe’s not the only one that didn’t trust me. Eventually the surviving crew figured out what I did. Geralt groans. GERALT Your crew is the Chumbucket Gang. DORKIN Aye. We had an arrangement of convenience while Calanthe’s men ruled Nidke. But when she pulled the regiment for the war... GERALT That’s when the children started disappearing. Dorkin tenses his grip on his reins. DORKIN Aye. He spurs his horse on. Geralt and Ciri trade a look. EXT. GRAVEYARD - CONTINUOUS POV: From the peak of the graveyard hill, we see Geralt, Ciri, and Dorkin riding along the road. EXT. GRAVEYARD ROAD - CONTINUOUS Geralt furrows his brow, and glances about him. GERALT Dorkin, stop! They pull their horses to a halt suddenly. DORKIN What is it? Geralt hesitates, concentrating. He shakes his head. GERALT They’re not here. Something... 23. He trails off. Dorkin grimaces and leaps down from his horse. DORKIN But this is where you found them. GERALT Yes. CIRI Maybe they got scared after running into a Witcher. Dorkin seems frantic. DORKIN There must be something, some way to find them! Geralt, help me look! GERALT Dorkin, there’s something wrong here. We shouldn’t-- DORKIN Are you going to help me, Witcher? Geralt studies Dorkin for a moment, then hops off of Roach. Ciri starts down, but Geralt stops her. GERALT Stay here. CIRI But-- GERALT Remember what I said earlier? Exactly as I say? CIRI You still don’t trust me. GERALT I’d trust you more if you’d listen. Ciri has a mini-staring contest with him, then sits back in the saddle. Geralt, satisfied, turns and disappears with Dorkin into the treeline. Ciri watches them go, then slips off of Roach. She turns and peers at-- A marred footprint at the base of the hill, facing the road. It’s not quite human. 24. EXT. TREELINE - DAY Dorkin thrashes about the undergrowth, searching for something. Anything. Geralt follows a few steps behind, one cautious eye on the ground and the other on Dorkin. GERALT There’s something you’re not saying. DORKIN What are you talking about? GERALT You’re on edge now, desperate. This isn’t just about saving the village children. (beat) They took your kids too. Dorkin hesitates, then slumps against a tree. DORKIN My first-born son was the first child taken. It was a message, a warning to me. Now, a few days ago, they took my little Filip too. GERALT Why not gather the villagers before now, take the pirates in force? DORKIN Too afraid. If they knew I’d brought this curse on us... Well, you’ve seen how they can be. Geralt grasps Dorkin by the arm. GERALT We’ll find your sons. Geralt’s gaze tracks down, and he stoops to pick up-- A gold coin. Dorkin’s eye goes wide, and hope returns. DORKIN You know what that is? Geralt peers at the golden lion on the coin. Blue Rev. (mm/dd/yy) 25. GERALT It’s Cintran. DORKIN Aye. From twelve-sixty. (beat) The year my crew scuttled. He smirks. DORKIN (CONT’D) Now we know where they’re hiding. EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY Ciri stalks between tombstones, following an uneven trail of the mysterious footprints. Suddenly, she stops-- And picks up a muddy, cracked pendant. She puzzles over it. CIRI * (parroting Geralt) Hmm. POV: We see Ciri from the same top-of-the-hill angle as before. There’s a FAINT, RASPY breathing. Ciri glances around, sensing something off. She gazes up at-- The old crypt. Ciri gulps, and backs up heading down to the road again. EXT. TREELINE - DAY Dorkin follows Geralt as they pick their way through the woods back to the road. DORKIN So, you’re the adopted father of the princess of Cintra. GERALT It’s a long story. DORKIN How’s that going? GERALT What do you mean? 26. DORKIN Your kind are sterile. I’m sure you never expected this. Geralt shrugs. GERALT Law of-- DORKIN AND GERALT Surprise. Geralt glances at Dorkin. GERALT So you’ve heard the story. DORKIN That’s how I knew who you two were. AHEAD IN THE UNDERGROWTH-- Ciri makes her way toward the sound of their voices. DORKIN (O.S.) (CONT’D) So what’ll happen to Cirilla? Ciri stops to listen. DORKIN (CONT’D) Will you make her a Witcher? GERALT (O.S.) No. Ciri scowls. She turns and dashes back to the road. CRACK. Geralt turns to the sound of twigs snapping under Ciri’s feet. He grimaces. Dorkin frowns. DORKIN I’m sorry. GERALT No, she has to know at some point. DORKIN So why won’t you train her? GERALT Because it would kill her. Dorkin gives him a skeptical look. Geralt remains stern. 27. GERALT (CONT’D) We used to have what was called the Trial of the Grasses. It was dangerous when I was trained. I basically owe my life to chance. Now it’s even more dangerous. DORKIN What do you mean? GERALT To do the trial right, we need someone with magical knowledge, that Witchers now don’t have. Every boy that’s tried dies. DORKIN She’s not a boy. Geralt permits himself a small smile, but shakes it away. GERALT Even if she survives, this isn’t the sort of life I want for her. DORKIN Well, what sort of life does she want, Geralt? Geralt furrows his brow. EXT. GRAVEYARD ROAD - DAY Geralt and Dorkin emerge out of the treeline, finding Ciri already on Roach. Dorkin mounts his horse, as Geralt goes to Ciri. GERALT I heard you. CIRI And I heard you. Silence. GERALT Do you want to talk about it? CIRI No. DORKIN Good, then we can go. 28. Geralt gives Ciri one last look before mounting Roach. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - DAY A small but deep harbor off of a river, sheltered by cliffs. This is the lair of the Chumbucket Gang, marked with several shanty structures by the water’s edge and cliff-side scaffolds. Out of the blue harbor water, the yard of a ship’s mast juts out at an angle. The Bandit Chief and a gaggle of CHUMBUCKET PIRATES watch the water from a makeshift dock. ACROSS THE HARBOR Geralt, Ciri, and Dorkin observe the pirates from cover. GERALT I count at least twenty. DORKIN There’ll be a man guarding the children somewhere down there as well. Gozzem probably has a handful more around the perimeter. GERALT Gozzem’s the smelly one in charge, right? DORKIN My old first-mate. If we wait until nightfall-- CIRI Geralt. Geralt and Dorkin go quiet as-- Two BOYS emerge from the water by the dock. One boy hands the Bandit Chief (GOZZEM) a HANDFUL OF GOLD COINS. DORKIN They’re using them to salvage the treasure! Gozzem smirks and takes the gold from the first boy, hauling him out of the water. He turns to the second boy, who tries to avoid eye contact. GOZZEM I see. (to pirates) Get the bucket. 29. Geralt and Dorkin trade a troubled look. EXT. BLEOBHERIS - DAY Jaskier, pacing behind the stage, takes a few deep breaths. JASKIER (to himself) Okay, okay. I’m good. (beat) No rehearsals... But I’m good. He sighs. JASKIER (CONT’D) ... Fuck. He grabs his lute, and bounds onto the stage-- Facing a MUCH LARGER AUDIENCE than before. Jaskier forces a smile. JASKIER (CONT’D) (through his teeth) Fuuuuck. He looks around the crowd, and spots-- The elf woman. She’s alone now, and gives Jaskier a wink. His libido tagging in for confidence, Jaskier smirks and bows to the crowd. JASKIER (CONT’D) And now, my lovely people, I bring you my newest ballad... The Wolf and the Lion Cub. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - DAY The Chumbucket pirates heave a bucket of rocks off the dock into the water, and a line on the bucket pulls tight-- DRAGGING THE BOY INTO THE WATER. CUE: Jaskier’s lute, strumming a tense, mounting rhythm over the scene. INTERCUT: Chumbucket’s Cove/Jaskier at Bleobheris. Geralt and Dorkin scramble to their feet-- But Ciri, NICKING DORKIN’S KNIFE, is already SPRINTING FOR THE WATER. 30. SPLASH! Ciri swims down into the depths after the boy. Jaskier strums his lute, tapping his foot. Ciri tries to cut at the line, but the boy is SINKING TOO FAST. She struggles to keep up with him, exhausting her air. Jaskier’s audience leans in. Some bob their heads to the rhythm. The anticipation is building. Ciri’s vision is going cloudy, bubbles of air leaving her mouth more slowly-- When GERALT’S ARMS WRAP AROUND HER AND THE BOY, still tied to the bucket. Geralt kicks toward the surface, with one last look down at-- A cluster of at least six buckets of stone. We don’t track their floating, waving lines. Geralt’s grim look is enough. Geralt forces Ciri and the boy’s head above the surface. Geralt’s eyes dart up to the dock. Jaskier’s strumming comes to an abrupt stop. Geralt is facing down a FIRING SQUAD of pirates with bows. GERALT Deep breath! He plunges beneath the water, Ciri and the boy in tow, just as arrows sail through the air. Jaskier’s audience looks confused, and they glance about one another. Jaskier smiles. The pirates on the dock peer into the water. No sign of Geralt. A faint white glow comes from beneath the boards of the dock, and one pirate looks down just as-- AN AARD BLAST TEARS THE DOCK TO SHREDS AND HURLS THE PIRATES IN THE AIR-- As Jaskier drives into his lute, a powerful, action rhythm. He begins to SING OUT THE VERSES of his song. It’s a tale of a lion cub fleeing a burning den, the old wolf that chased her, and the perils they faced to find each other. The metaphor should be pretty obvious. This song plays over the action in-- 31. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - CONTINUOUS Geralt SPRINGS from the water, IMPALING the nearest pirate with his sword before the man can even struggle to his feet. Whirling his blade about, Geralt cuts down each and every pirate foolish enough not to run. Ciri drags the boy from the water, the bucket’s line severed. Getting him behind a crate, she begins to slap his face. CIRI Hey! Breathe! Wake up! The boy begins to cough, and opens his eyes. BOY Did we do mouth to mouth? Ciri rolls her eyes and shoves the boy away. CIRI Ugh. She looks up at-- A cave in the cliff-face. INT. CAVE - CONTINUOUS Ciri darts inside and finds-- A locked pen, FILLED WITH CHILDREN. They all look to her, their faces emaciated and fearful. CREEPY MOUSTACHE (O.S.) Well, if it isn’t the pretty girl. Ciri spins around, only to find Creepy Moustache blocking the entrance. He grins and licks a sword. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - SAME TIME Geralt continues to mow down pirates with brutal efficiency, slashing some in half with his sword, and blowing others through the shanty huts with Aard blasts. But there’s so many. Gozzem keeps a good row or two of pirates between himself and Geralt. He looks up at-- 32. ARCHERS ON THE SCAFFOLDS. They notch arrows, aiming straight at Geralt-- When a WHISTLE comes from above them. The archers look up as-- DORKIN DROPS ON TOP OF THEM, downing the first with the drop as he kebabs the other with his sword. Their bows plummet from the scaffold. Gozzem growls, and grabs one of the bows, and LINES UP A HEADSHOT ON GERALT-- CAPLUNK! One of the archer’s corpses crashes to the ground beside Gozzem, throwing off his shot-- Which decapitates the pirate next to Geralt. The Witcher snaps his attention to Gozzem, and makes a bee-line for him. GOZZEM Fuck! Gozzem shoots a furious look at Dorkin, then scrambles up the scaffolding. Dorkin hops down levels of scaffold to intercept him. DORKIN (to himself) Bloody depth-perception... INT. CAVE - SAME TIME Ciri TUMBLES TO THE GROUND and Creepy Moustache delivers a savage kick to the ribs. CIRI Aaagh! She barely dodges a swipe of his blade, and scurries to her feet. Ciri swings at him with Dorkin’s knife, but Creepy Moustache easily parries the blow, AND BACKHANDS HER. She loses the knife. Ciri falls to the ground again, and Creepy Moustache smirks. CREEPY MOUSTACHE Aww, poor little witcher bitch. He gets close... Too close, as Ciri HURLS SAND IN HIS EYES. CREEPY MOUSTACHE (CONT’D) ARRGH! Hey! 33. He staggers for a moment, and that’s all Ciri needs to GRAB A LARGE ROCK! WHACK! Creepy Moustache goes down. Ciri stands over the pirate for a moment, catching her breath, then clobbers him once more for good measure. She turns to the children. SMACK. SMACK. Ciri uses the rock to hammer on the pen’s lock. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - SAME TIME Dorkin and Gozzem arrive on the same scaffold level. DORKIN You’ll pay for taking my boys. GOZZEM All sins come due, captain. They clash, Dorkin wielding his Cintran sword, and Gozzem coming in like a whirlwind with his twin hatchets. Geralt bounds up the scaffolding as quick as he can, but the pirates continue to harass him, from behind as they climb after him and from in front as they monkey up the sides. INT. CAVE - SAME TIME SMACK! CLANK! The lock finally breaks, and Ciri throws the pen open. CIRI Out, hurry! As she runs out with the children, Creepy Moustache’s fingers twitch. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - SAME TIME Dorkin continues his assault on Gozzem, but Dorkin’s age is starting to show as he pants. Gozzem smirks and lunges. Dorkin tries to parry-- But he misses the second hatchet, as it BURIES DEEP into his thigh. DORKIN Gah! 34. He headbutts Gozzem, hurling the pirate back. Geralt clambers to the top rung of the ladder to their level. GERALT Dorkin! He tries to bound up-- But pirates on the level below have him by the legs, tugging him down. Geralt kicks at them. Gozzem, snarling, wheels around and smacks Geralt in the chest with his boot. The Witcher drops into mob’s paws. Ciri, dashing through the field of corpses below, gasps. CIRI Geralt! Geralt punches at the pirates surrounding him, but he’s surrounded. Dorkin clutches the hatchet in his thigh as Gozzem turns toward him once more, twirling his last hatchet to finish the job. Ciri clenches her fists-- And SCREAMS. The whole cove rumbles, and everyone, the children, the pirates, Gozzem, Dorkin, and Geralt, clutches their ears. Ciri continues to scream, and her power begins to RUPTURE THE CLIFFSIDE. Geralt, wincing through the pain, forces himself up the ladder and grabs hold of Dorkin. The children dive into the water-- And Geralt, with Dorkin on his back, LEAPS from the scaffold JUST AS IT COMES PLUMMETING DOWN! SPLASH! They land in the water, surfacing in time to see-- The pirates buried in a deadly mound of rock and wood. Ciri breathes heavily, exhausted... and collapses. EXT. BLEOBHERIS - DAY Jaskier plays the outro chords to his song. 35. JASKIER (singing) And that is their story, The Wolf and the White Wolf cub. He finishes with one last dramatic flourish of a chord. Silence. Jaskier casts his eyes about his audience, waiting. The elf woman stands, CLAPPING. Now the skinny knight. Now everyone. We hold for a moment on one person in the crowd, a HOODED FIGURE, whose face is covered except for-- Striking VIOLET EYES. DWARF I still say Toss a Coin is better! SKINNY KNIGHT Oh, shut up. Jaskier beams, and blows kisses to his crowd as he glides offstage-- And finds the elf woman backstage. ELF WOMAN Master Jaskier-- JASKIER Please, just Jaskier. She gives him a coy smirk. ELF WOMAN Jaskier, you must accompany me down to the village. I would very much like the company of you and your... masterful tongue. She starts to walk ahead. Jaskier gives himself a fist pump. EXT. CHUMBUCKET’S COVE - AFTERNOON Geralt hauls Dorkin out of the water and lays him against a rock. Around them, the children gawk at the devastation. Geralt looks down at the hatchet wound in Dorkin’s leg, but Dorkin waves him off. DORKIN It looks worse than it is. 36. Geralt touches Dorkin’s leg. Dorkin winces hard. GERALT Uh-huh. A shocked TEENAGER approaches them. TEENAGER F-father? Dorkin’s face lights up. DORKIN Ronn! (beat) Witcher, go take care of your daughter. He nods toward Ciri, still face-down in the sand. Geralt springs to his feet. DORKIN (CONT’D) And Witcher. Geralt pauses, glancing to Dorkin. DORKIN (CONT’D) A word of fatherly advice. The most important thing I’ve done for my sons wasn’t protecting them from the world. It was setting a good example. Geralt raises an eyebrow. GERALT What about daughters? DORKIN Pfft, you’re on your own for that. Geralt acknowledges him with a smirk, then runs to Ciri as she begins to stir. CIRI Urgh, Geralt? GERALT I’m here. Dorkin turns to Ronn, a tear rolling down from his eye. 37. DORKIN I’m so, so sorry I took so long. What you must have gone through-- Ronn puts a hand on his father. RONN I’m okay. How’s Filip? Another look overtakes Dorkin... Fear. Geralt helps Ciri up, and they stagger toward Dorkin. Ciri clutches her ribs as she walks. CIRI Let me guess, you’re upset with me. GERALT A little. But I’ll get over it. CIRI Technically, you never said not to save the children... Or you. Geralt tries to give her a mock-serious look. He doesn’t quite nail it. GERALT On a scale of brave, reckless, and plain stupid, that was, well... He gives her a so-so gesture. Ciri looks offended, and walks ahead to Dorkin. Geralt throws his hands up. GERALT (CONT’D) ... I was joking. Geralt joins Ciri with Dorkin and Ronn, who is just tying off a bandage on his father’s leg. DORKIN Geralt, we have a problem. My younger boy isn’t here. And he’s not the only one. GERALT I hate to tell you, but there were some bodies in the water. RONN No, not them. My father and I were talking, and some of the others... They were never here, sir. 38. Geralt scowls. Ciri glances at him, hesitates, then pulls the pendant from her pocket. CIRI Would any of them have worn this? Dorkin snatches the pendant. DORKIN This is Filip’s! GERALT Where-- CIRI The graveyard... While the two of you were in the woods. (beat) And I think there were... tracks. GERALT Could they be Filip’s? Ciri shakes her head. She has a look of dread. CIRI No. These were... bigger. Geralt grimaces. GERALT Ciri, take Dorkin’s son and see if you can get some food for these children. Pack some for us too. CIRI Geralt, I’m sorry. I should have told you sooner. I was afraid you’d be mad. GERALT Both of you, go. Ciri hesitates, but nods and drags Ronn away. Geralt waits until Ciri and Ronn are out of earshot, then turns to Dorkin. He grunts, searching for the right words, then sighs. GERALT (CONT’D) It’s a grave hag. DORKIN What? 39. GERALT A grave hag took Filip and the others. They usually feed in cemeteries, and your war dead probably attracted it. But if they can eat fresh, they will. (beat) And they prefer children. Much easier to get after the Cintrans left Nidke, I’d imagine. Dorkin sits silent. Geralt takes a spot next to him. DORKIN So, is Filip-- GERALT I don’t know... Possibly. DORKIN Well, I don’t suppose this can get much worse. GOZZEM (O.S.) WITCHERRRR! Geralt and Dorkin snap their attention to-- THE RIVER, where Gozzem and Creepy Moustache make a getaway in a canoe. GOZZEM (CONT’D) Ye’ll pay, Witcher! I’ll slit ye throat in the night! Ye and the magic bitch! Geralt and Dorkin sit in silence for a moment as the canoe disappears from view. Dorkin turns to Geralt. DORKIN Okay, there’s that. INT. INN ROOM - AFTERNOON Jaskier holds on for dear life as the elf woman rocks his world, riding him cowgirl. JASKIER Oh, holy-- Wow. Maybe we should take-- AAAGH! The elf woman bites her lip and leans forward into Jaskier’s face. They french-kiss.