Story Time - The Princess Bride

Part Two

DISSOLVE TO: Ext., Florin Channel, Dawn

[SABBATH's boat is still being followed by the black sailboat. In the light, it can be seen that the sailboat is being piloted by a MAN IN BLACK, and it's rapidly catching up on SABBATH and the others]

LEE: [staring at the sailboat] He's right on top of us! What the Hell wind's he using? 'Cause it sure as hell ain't ours!

SABBATH: Whomever he is, he's too late. [points] See? The Cliffs of Insanity...

[The Cliffs of Insanity rise from the water, almost impossibly high.

[The two boats race for the Cliffs, and the MAN IN BLACK is closing, closing, but not fast enough, SABBATH's lead was too great, and LEE sails the boat straight at the Cliffs with extraordinary skill]

SABBATH: [staring back] We're safe. Only Ssard is strong enough to go up our way. He'll have to sail around for hours until he finds harbour.

[SSARD reaches up along the cliff face, grabs a jutting rock, reaches behind it, and pulls out a length of thick rope, which stretches all the way to the top of the Cliffs.

[He drops back to the boat, gives the rope a swing, and nods, satisfied.

[LEE hurries over to SSARD, straps a harness on him, and SABBATH, TRIX and LEE grab hold of the harness.

[SSARD begins to climb the rope, carrying the other three with him as he goes.

[The MAN IN BLACK sails in towards the Cliffs, watching as SSARD climbs.

[And SSARD keeps climbing, climbing, climbing...

[The MAN IN BLACK reaches shore, leaps from his ship to the rope, starts to climb. SSARD's over a third of the way up, there's no way the MAN IN BLACK can catch him, but he doesn't seem to care - he's practically flying up the rope, gaining, gaining...]

LEE: [looking down] He's climbing the rope. And he's gaining.

SABBATH: Inconceivable!

[He prods SSARD, who silently increases his pace.

[The MAN IN BLACK is hurtling up the rope, cutting SSARD's lead]

SABBATH: Faster!

SSARD: I am.

SABBATH: You were supposed to be this giant. You were this great, legendary thing. And yet he gains.

SSARD: I have to carry you three. He only has himself.

SABBATH: I do not accept excuses. [shakes head] Apes, next time. It'll have to be apes.

SSARD: I think... [pauses] I think your honour must be a ragged little thing by now.

[The MAN IN BLACK seems to have speeded up, if that's possible. The distance between him and SSARD is smaller and smaller - it's getting too close now]

SABBATH: Did I make it clear your job is at stake?

[The MAN IN BLACK is barely a hundred feet behind them, and still gaining - but SSARD has made the clifftops. SABBATH eases himself away from the harness, pulls a knife, and begins to cut at the rope, while LEE helps TRIX to her feet.

[The MAN IN BLACK is closer, closer, closer-

[And SABBATH cuts the rope.

[It slithers across the cliff edge, and-

[-is gone.

[They look over the cliff edge]

SSARD: He has good arms, for a human.

[The MAN IN BLACK is suspended hundreds of feet in the air, clinging to the cliff face for dear life.

[SABBATH is, quite frankly, astounded]

SABBATH: In-con-ceiv-able...

SSARD: You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. [looks down again] And he's still climbing.

[And that's exactly what the MAN IN BLACK is doing - climbing the cliff, step by painful step]

SABBATH: Whomever he is, he's obviously seen us with the Princess, and must therefore die. A hard choice, but better we ensure there are no witnesses. They can be such a problem sometimes. [to SSARD] You, carry her. [to LEE] We'll head straight for the Guilder border. Catch up when he's dead. If he falls, fine. If not, the sword.

LEE: [nods] I wanna duel him left-handed.

SABBATH: We're in a hurry.

LEE: Look, if I use my right - it's over much too quickly. This way, at least I get a fight.

SABBATH: [turns to go] Have it your way.

[The MAN IN BLACK is still climbing]

SSARD: Be careful. People in masks - [glances at SABBATH] - should be watched.

[LEE nods]

SABBATH: Come on.

[SSARD hurries after SABBATH.

[LEE watches them go, then turns and looks down over the Cliffs. He watches a moment, shakes out his hands, exercising them, then practices a few moves with his sword.

[The MAN IN BLACK is still climbing, now about half a foot from where he was last.

[LEE walks away, sighs, comes on back]

LEE: [shouting down] Hey!

[The MAN IN BLACK looks up, makes a grunting sound]

LEE: You okay down there?

MAN IN BLACK: Just fine, thanks. But I'm trying very, very hard not to think "What the bloody hell am I doing" and go screaming to my death, so would you mind?

LEE: Sorry.


[LEE steps away, draws his sword, practices a few thrusts, then resheathes and peers over the edge again]

LEE: Could you move it on a bit?

MAN IN BLACK: I _would_, but unfortunately I'm pretty much stuck like this, unless you have a rope, or a tree branch, or _something_ that's gonna get me off this cliff!

LEE: Er... well, I've got some rope up here, but I don't think you really want me to help you, 'cause I'm waiting 'round to kill you.

MAN IN BLACK: Huh. Well, there goes _that_ plan. [his fingers grab onto another hold a few inches higher]

LEE: ...Okay. What if... what if I don't kill you till you reach the top?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Well, _that's_ comforting. You'll just have to wait till I, y'know, actually get there.

LEE: [mutters] Hate waiting... [thinks, calls down] You could trust me. I'm an American.

MAN IN BLACK: [hanging from the cliff] No good. I've met too many Americans.

LEE: No way you'll trust me, then?

MAN IN BLACK: No chance.

[LEE raises his right hand, his eyes burning, and his voice takes on a whole new tone, a new flame]

LEE: I swear on the soul of my father, Chang Tso, you will reach the top alive.

[There's a pause]

MAN IN BLACK: Throw me the rope.

[LEE hurries to the rock the rope was tied around, unties the rope, coils it up, hurries back to the edge and throws the end over.

[The rope hangs near the MAN IN BLACK. He lets go of the rocks, grabs the rope, hangs in space for a moment, then looks up at LEE.

[LEE's straining, pulling with all his strength, pulling the rope up, and the MAN IN BLACK's rising, rising, until, finally, he crawls to safety, then looks up at LEE]

MAN IN BLACK: Thanks. [tries to draw his sword, fails]

LEE: We can wait.

MAN IN BLACK: Thanks. Again. Seriously. [He sits down on a rock, tugs off his leather boots, and seems honestly surprised to see stones come tumbling out.

[LEE stares at the mask that covers the MAN IN BLACK's face]

LEE: Er... this probably sounds like a totally surreal question, but you don't have snakes' eyes, do you?

MAN IN BLACK: ...I didn't bring any dice, if that's what you mean.

LEE: No, actual snakes' eyes. Y'know, with the slits and everything?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Do you usually say this to people you're about to kill, or what?

LEE: My Dad... my Dad was killed by a guy with snakes' eyes.

[The MAN IN BLACK pulls down his mask, reveals blue eyes]

LEE: [nods, continues] He made swords, great swords, Dad did. The snake-eyed guy showed up one day and asked for a special sword, and Dad took the job. He spent a year on that sword before he finished. [hands the sword over to the MAN IN BLACK, who runs his fingers along it, impressed]

MAN IN BLACK: Never seen anything like it.

LEE: [pained] The snake-eyed guy turned up again, but he wanted it for a tenth the price - a tenth. Dad turned him down flat.

Snake-Eyes stabbed him through the heart.

I loved my Dad... couldn't think of anything else, so I challenged the bastard - and I lost.

He left me alive, though - left me with the sword, and with these. [LEE traces two diagonal lines on his shirt - scars]

MAN IN BLACK: [looks up at LEE] How old were you?

LEE: I was eight. When I recovered... when I recovered, I decided to take up fencing. Gave my whole life to it.

The next time I meet Snake-Eyes, I won't lose. I'm gonna go up to him and say "Hello. My name is Chang Lee. You killed my father. Prepare to die.".

MAN IN BLACK: That's all you've been doing? Fencing?

LEE: [shrugs] More chasing than practicing, these days. Can't find him anywhere - been, what, ten years now? That's why I started working for Sabbath - needed to pay the bills. Not a lot of money in the revenge business.

MAN IN BLACK: [hands the sword back] Wouldn't wanna be him when you catch up.

LEE: You ready?

MAN IN BLACK: [shrugs] Eh. You've been a better host than most, anyway.

LEE: Look, you seem like a nice guy. Really gonna hate killing you.

MAN IN BLACK: Not such a bad guy yourself. And I really hate dying.

LEE: Begin!

[The swordfight begins, and even from the start it's apparent that this is something different, something _else_ - the two of them aren't even close to each other, no sword-crossing, nothing like that.


[The two of them look as if they're too far away to hit the other, but each time one of them makes even the slightest move, the other ripostes, and the silence is absolute and complete.

[They begin to circle - and the teasing, the testing, is over; this is the real business now.

[Swords cross, then again, and again, and the sound of swords clashing becomes almost repetitive, rhythmic, muscial.

[LEE presses on, forcing the MAN IN BLACK up a rocky incline]

LEE: [excited now] Bonetti's defence?!

MAN IN BLACK: Well, yeah. We _are_ on rocky ground...

LEE: And you _gotta_ know I'm gonna use Capo Ferro... [shifts styles]

MAN IN BLACK: 'Course. Of course, _you_ know a Thibault cancels Capo Ferro, don't you?

[The MAN IN BLACK now stands at the edge of the ruins, nowhere to go - and jumps to the sand.

[LEE stares at him, then slowly smiles]

LEE: Yeah, that's true... 'less you've studied Agrippa...

[LEE jumps off his perch, somersaults over the MAN IN BLACK's head, and lands facing him]

LEE: -like me.

[They're almost flying across the ground now - not losing their balance, not even coming _close_ to fumbling, both of them playing it with consummate skill, advantage first to one, then to the other, and this isn't just two swordsmen having at it, this is two swashbucklers in their prime, head to head - this is the sort of swordfight that people _dream_ of seeing, that people wait their whole lives to see, and finally here it is, here - and then it begins, incredibly, to get even faster-

[-and LEE's on the defensive now, being pushed back, back, back to the Cliffs, and he fights and he feints and he parries and he slashes, but the MAN IN BLACK has the advantage now, keeps pushing LEE back, closer and closer to the Cliffs]

LEE: [*really* excited now] You're _incredible_!

MAN IN BLACK: Thanks. It took a lot of work.

[The Cliff edge is very close now]

LEE: Okay. Okay. You're _definitely_ better.

MAN IN BLACK: So why're you grinning?

LEE: 'Cause I know something you don't.


LEE: I'm not left-handed.

[LEE throws the sword into his right hand, and suddenly the tables are turned, suddenly the MAN IN BLACK's on the defensive, trying to keep LEE by the Cliff, but it's not working, it's not working, and now he's on the retreat, more and more desperate-

[And LEE's sword is virtually invisible now, as he intensifies the attack - and then switches styles again - and the MAN IN BLACK is retreating, he's retreating up to a plateau, and nothing he can do is stopping LEE, nothing *can* stop him, and he makes every move, every riposte, goes flat-on all-out, and it's failing, they're _all_ failing, and the MAN IN BLACK tries final desperation moves, but even _they_ aren't enough-]

MAN IN BLACK: Spectacular.

LEE: Oughtta be, after ten years.

[The MAN IN BLACK is caught now, caught up against a stone pillar]

MAN IN BLACK: Something you should know.

LEE: Yeah? What?

MAN IN BLACK: I'm not left-handed either.

[He changes hands - and if you thought you'd seen a battle before, then this is something else, something *more*, this is swordplay as _art_.

[And now LEE's being forced down the plateau. One attempt, another, another, but it's the MAN IN BLACK's fight now, and then-

[-he knocks the sword out of LEE's hands.

[LEE retreats, down the plateau, dives to a ruined archway, swings out, lands, scrambles for his sword.

[The MAN IN BLACK watches LEE, then throws his sword to the landing, and then... well, if LEE was good, the MAN IN BLACK is astonishing. He dives for the archway, *over* it, and lands with a near-perfect backflip.

[LEE stares in awe]

LEE: Who *are* you?

MAN IN BLACK: No-one important.

LEE: I've gotta know!

MAN IN BLACK: Disappointment's a bitch.

LEE: You said it, not me.

[LEE leaps forward, slashes, then back again.

[The MAN IN BLACK is parrying, riposting, then goes on the attack, slashing again, but LEE's ready for it, blocks it, returns it, and they're off again, amongst the ruins and-

[LEE's sword is knocked free, but he catches it, and this is pushing him, pushing him to his limits and he just doesn't have any more to *give*- he's spent, spent all he has, and there's just nothing *left*-

[The MAN IN BLACK moves in for the kill now, easily casting aside anything LEE throws at him, and sends LEE's sword flying for the final time.

[LEE stands for a minute, only a minute, then drops to his knees, bows his head, and readies himself]

LEE: Make it quick.

MAN IN BLACK: Are you kidding? Killing you'd be like killing... I don't know, da Vinci or someone.

_But..._ since I really don't wanna go through all this again-

[He clubs LEE over the head with the hilt of his sword. LEE falls forward, unconscious]

MAN IN BLACK: But still... that was one Hell of a fight.

[He grabs his scabbard, and heads off]


CUT TO: Ext., Hill Path, Mid-Morning.

[SABBATH is staring down, staring at the MAN IN BLACK far below. SSARD, beside him, is carrying TRIX]

SABBATH: Give her to me. [takes TRIX] Catch up with us quickly.

SSARD: My way?

SABBATH: Your way.

SSARD: Very well.

[SABBATH and TRIX leave]

SSARD: [frowning] It is times like this I wish I had a proper weapon... this never struck me as being particularly honourable...

[He hefts one of the rocks and gets behind a boulder.

[The MAN IN BLACK hurries up the hill, slowing as he reaches a bend in the trail, listening for a moment, then starts forward again, only to be met with a rock crashing into the boulder next to him.

[SSARD steps out onto the path, holding another rock lightly]

SSARD: That was intentional. The next one will hit you.

MAN IN BLACK: I'll take your word for it. What're you going to do now?

SSARD: We face each other one on one, as honour demands. No tricks, no weapons. Skill against skill.

MAN IN BLACK: You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try to kill each other like civilized people?

SSARD: I could kill you now.

[The MAN IN BLACK shakes his head "no", takes off his sword and scabbard, and walks towards SSARD]

MAN IN BLACK: Y'know, I have the funny feeling _you've_ got the advantage like this...

SSARD: [shrugs] Can I help it if humans are so fragile? [throws the rock away]

[There's a moment's pause, as they ready themselves.

[Then the MAN IN BLACK hurls himself at SSARD's chest, slams him in the stomach, twists his arm, gives him a bear-hug, tries everything he can think of, and ends up battered and bruised against SSARD's armour for his efforts, while SSARD watches the scenery.

[Finally, the MAN IN BLACK pushes himself away, and looks up at SSARD]

MAN IN BLACK: Are you _trying_ to mess with me or something?

SSARD: I wanted to make sure you fought well enough for a warrior's death.

[They ready themselves again.

[Abruptly, SSARD jumps forward, reaching for the MAN IN BLACK, who drops to his knees, twists loose, and slips between the Ice Warrior's legs]

SSARD: Agile. Impressive.

MAN IN BLACK: Good thing, too.

SSARD: Why the mask?

MAN IN BLACK: I might ask you the same thing. Truth is, it's a fashion thing - they're very comfortable, you know.

[SSARD thinks this over, then charges the MAN IN BLACK, who slips down to avoid it - but this time, SSARD is there with him, ready to block his escape-

[-and the MAN IN BLACK jumps for his throat, he's riding the Ice Warrior's back, both arms locked around his throat, squeezing]

SSARD: [still standing and talking] I believe I have finally worked out the problem.

MAN IN BLACK: What, Life, The Universe, and Everything?

SSARD: Mm... No, I am still thinking about that one. No, why I have so much trouble with you.

[He charges towards one of the boulders that line the path, and just before he collides with it, he twists his whole body so the MAN IN BLACK takes the impact.

[And the MAN IN BLACK's _got_ to be hurting from that, but he still has his arms around SSARD's neck]

MAN IN BLACK: ...Yeah...? Why...?

SSARD: [starting to strain *just* a little] I have been fighting humans in groups for too long. Humans do not tend to attack me individually, you see - they group up, so they have the advantage of their combined strength and numbers.

MAN IN BLACK: ...They still lose, though.

SSARD: Naturally.

[SSARD charges towards another boulder, twists again, and slams the MAN IN BLACK against it.

[And the MAN IN BLACK's in agony now, complete agony, and for a brief moment, it looks as if his grip's weakening, but instead he holds on through the pain]

MAN IN BLACK: ...Wha... What's the difference?

SSARD: ...In... in unarmed combat, as with all combat... you use different techniques for fighting a group... then when you fight only one...

[SSARD smashes the MAN IN BLACK into another boulder... but this time, he's been seriously weakened, and slowly begins to fall to the ground.

[He halfway stands, nearly makes it, but there is no air. He falls to his knees, holds it, then falls on all fours, the MAN IN BLACK doing his best to increase the grip, and SSARD trying to crawl back up, until finally SSARD falls flat on the ground and lies still.

[The MAN IN BLACK strains, tries to turn SSARD over, but manages to turn him on his side, and SSARD's still breathing, gentle sibilant breaths.

[The MAN IN BLACK manages to stand]

MAN IN BLACK: ...That's _definitely_ gonna hurt in the morning... me and you both... But hey... have a nice nap... deserved it after that... philosophical Martian wrestler... huh...

[He bends down, wincing in pain, picks up his sword, and heads off on the hill trail again]


CUT TO: Ext., Cliff Top.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR slips his foot into a footprint on the ground.

[KASTCHEI watches from horseback. Behind him are half a dozen armed Ogrons.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR's horse, a great white steed, waits riderless in front, as its rider studies the terrain - not just studying the ground, but following the fencers' moves]

EIGHTH DOCTOR: Hm... A great duel, great indeed... they ranged across the ground. [pauses]

Both of them were masters, at the very least.

KASTCHEI: Wizards?

EIGHTH DOCTOR: Maybe, maybe... There have been no wizards for a very long time... but it strikes me that here, we may have two. [shakes his head] Two wizards in combat... such a thing has not been seen for ages - if, indeed, it ever has happened.

KASTCHEI: How did it end?

EIGHTH DOCTOR: [looks down] There was... there was a winner and a loser. The loser ran off alone. [points in the direction the MAN IN BLACK took] The winner followed ...yes, these footprints. Heading for Guilder.

KASTCHEI: Shall we track them both?

EIGHTH DOCTOR: ...I think not. We still have a chance to follow the Princess... we must be ready for anything that lies ahead.

KASTCHEI: And if it is a trap?

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR vaults onto his horse]

EIGHTH DOCTOR: I always think everything is a trap. It's why I'm still alive.

[They gallop off]


CUT TO: Ext., Hilltop.

[The MAN IN BLACK has just reached the top of the hill-

[-only to see SABBATH munching on an apple and holding a knife to TRIX's throat.

[SABBATH has laid out a picnic on a convenient boulder - a tablecloth, two goblets, a leather wineskin, some cheese, a couple of apples.

[SABBATH and the MAN IN BLACK regard each other for a moment]

SABBATH: So. It's down to the two of us.

MAN IN BLACK: [nods at the apple] An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

SABBATH: If you want her dead, then by all means, keep moving forward. [pushes the knife deeper into TRIX's throat]

MAN IN BLACK: What do you want with her?

SABBATH: That, I am afraid, must remain a secret. _Your_ motives, however, are perfectly obvious - you want to kidnap a girl... who's already _been_ kidnapped. [chuckles] Lord, what fools we mortals be.

MAN IN BLACK: ...Maybe we could make a deal?

SABBATH: No deals.

[He jabs with his knife. TRIX gasps at the pain.

[The MAN IN BLACK halts]

MAN IN BLACK: But if we can't make a deal...

SABBATH: [nods] We are at an impasse. My card - my _only_ card - is the Princess, and once she is dead... [shrugs] I imagine you could dispose of me easily - but you will have lost what you seek.

MAN IN BLACK: ...A challenge, then?

SABBATH: For the Princess?

[The MAN IN BLACK nods]

SABBATH: [considers] A contest of wits, then? As I said, I imagine you would dispose of me easily in a physical challenge.

[The MAN IN BLACK nods again]

SABBATH: Now, the only question that remains... is the question of the stakes.

I would not be satisfied with anything less than your death... and I would be disappointed if you asked anything less of me.

So... to the death?

MAN IN BLACK: ...To the death. [nods to the wine] Wanna pour?

[SABBATH does so. The MAN IN BLACK withdraws a small packet from his clothes, and hands it to SABBATH]

MAN IN BLACK: Smell, but don't touch.

SABBATH: [smells the powder] Nothing.

MAN IN BLACK: Iocaine. It's got no smell, no taste - [sotto voce] much like you - dissolves instantly in liquid, _and_ it's one of the deadlier poisons known to humankind.


[He watches as the MAN IN BLACK takes the goblets, and turns his back. Moments later, the MAN IN BLACK turns back to face SABBATH, and drops the iocaine packet in front of him.

[The MAN IN BLACK then rotates the goblets back and forth, back and forth, before putting one in front of SABBATH and one in front of himself]

MAN IN BLACK: Okay - where's the poison? You choose, we both drink, then we find out who's right - and who's dead.


[He studies both goblets for a long while.

[The MAN IN BLACK begins to fidget]

SABBATH: Patience, patience. This cannot be rushed.

[He studies the goblets again.

[The MAN IN BLACK fidgets nervously]

SABBATH: I will decide when I wish, not a second later.

MAN IN BLACK: ...You're stalling.

SABBATH: I'm sure you'd like to think so, wouldn't you?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Are you?

SABBATH: Believe what you will.

MAN IN BLACK: [looking extremely nervous now] Trying to get the answer out of me? Lemme tell you, that's not gonna work.

SABBATH: Please. As if I needed to resort to such crude psychological warfare.

But I do know where the poison is.

MAN IN BLACK: Okay. Choose.

SABBATH: So I will. I choose... [pauses, points behind the MAN IN BLACK] Are those Prince Zagreus's men?

MAN IN BLACK [turns, doubletakes] Huh? Where?

[SABBATH switches the goblets]

SABBATH: Hm. My apologies. Must have been the sun in my eyes.

[The MAN IN BLACK looks at his goblet suspiciously. SABBATH watches intently]

MAN IN BLACK: What's so fascinating?

SABBATH: Nothing that would interest you, I fear. Come, let us drink.

[He picks up his goblet. The MAN IN BLACK picks up his. SABBATH hesitates a minute, letting the MAN IN BLACK drink first, before drinking himself]

MAN IN BLACK: ...You guessed wrong.

SABBATH: [smiling now] Did I?

MAN IN BLACK: [looks down at his goblet] You switched the goblets.

SABBATH: [smiling] Do you know, I honestly didn't think that would work. You fell for one of the oldest blunders in the book - the first of which is 'never get involved in a landwar in Eurasia', but only slightly _less_ well-known is 'never go up against a devious mastermind when death is on the line'.

[His smile grows just a _touch_ wider, before he falls over, dead]

MAN IN BLACK: ...Y'know, I didn't think _that_ was gonna work, either.

[He lets out a breath, stands up, walks past SABBATH's body, and takes the blindfold and ropes off TRIX, who catches sight of the body]

TRIX: Who are you?

MAN IN BLACK: No-one you wanna mess with.

TRIX: [studies him] You don't _sound_ particularly eloquent...

MAN IN BLACK: I missed the elocution lessons, okay? Now can we get moving?

[TRIX allows him to lead her off the beaten path]

TRIX:.[finally] So how _did_ you do it?

MAN IN BLACK: Poisoned both of them. Spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocaine.

TRIX: Hm. A plan for every contingency, then?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Something like that, yeah.

[With that, he sets off into uncharted territory]


CUT TO: Ext., Hill Path.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR is kneeling, inspecting the ground, while the others wait for him]

EIGHTH DOCTOR: ...Someone fought a Martian... and won. [frowns]

KASTCHEI: Our wizard of the sword, I take it.

EIGHTH DOCTOR: [doesn't reply, but vaults back onto his horse] Onwards.

[They charge off]


CUT TO: Ext., Open Ground.

[The MAN IN BLACK is running, pulling TRIX along with him. Finally, when he's near exhaustion, he stops to rest]

MAN IN BLACK: Gotta... catch my breath.

TRIX: Do you always have this much trouble with kidnap attempts?

MAN IN BLACK: ...Har har. Very funny.

TRIX: In that case, this ought to be hilarious: no matter where you go, the Prince will find us. He's one of the best hunters I've ever known.

MAN IN BLACK: [mutters] Wouldn't surprise me. [normal] Guy must really have the mad-on for you, y'know.

TRIX: [shrugs] He may do. But this I _do_ know - he will have what is his.

MAN IN BLACK: ...Wait a minute. You don't _care_ if he cares about you?

TRIX: [shrugs] I told him so when we were engaged. I do not care for him, or whatever he may feel for me.

MAN IN BLACK: What the...? If you didn't care for him, why the hell did you get engaged?

TRIX: It was either 'marry me' or 'die'.

MAN IN BLACK: [shakes head] ...I honestly don't know which of you is the more screwed-up. Come on.


CUT TO: Ext., Hilltop.

[SABBATH's body lies flat on the ground, the EIGHTH DOCTOR kneeling by it. The picnic remains where it was, still spread out.

[As the others ride up, the EIGHTH DOCTOR picks up the empty iocaine packet, sniffs at it, then hands it to KASTCHEI]

EIGHTH DOCTOR: Iocaine. In both cups, I suspect. Ingenious.

KASTCHEI: [mulling it over] Iocaine resistance. Interesting.

EIGHTH DOCTOR: [nods] And these [gestures] are the Princess's footprints. She is still alive... or she was, as of an hour ago. Onwards.

[He jumps back on his horse, and they ride off]


CUT TO: Ext., Ravine.

[The MAN IN BLACK and TRIX stand at the edge of the ravine. The drop to the bottom is almost sheer, while the bottom itself is flat - but it would most definitely not be a pleasant fall]

MAN IN BLACK: ...Gotta... rest...

TRIX: [snaps fingers] I know who you are.

MAN IN BLACK: [looks momentarily nervous] Yeah?

TRIX: You're the Dread Pirate Bond.

MAN IN BLACK: 'Course. Know anyone _else_ nuts enough to do something like this?

TRIX: I'm sure you do.

MAN IN BLACK: ...'Kay, so now we've got the pleasantries outta the way, anything I can do for you - aside from letting you escape, anyway?

TRIX: You can die painfully cut into a thousand pieces.

MAN IN BLACK: [ouch] Okay, _that_ was uncalled for. Didn't I just rescue you from your last kidnappers?

TRIX: [quietly now] You killed my love.

MAN IN BLACK: [uh-oh] Er... anyone I know? [looks cautiously at her] It wasn't the fat bastard, was it?

TRIX: [shakes her head] No. A farm boy. Poor, he was, poor and perfect, with eyes like the sea after a storm.

[And she'd be crying now, if she didn't hate Bond]

TRIX: Your ship attacked on the high seas, and the Dread Pirate Bond never takes prisoners.

MAN IN BLACK: Uh-huh. And I've kidnapped you because...?

TRIX: You're mocking me.

MAN IN BLACK: [studies his fingers] Wouldn't be so easy if you didn't make yourself such an easy target. Yeah, I think I remember the guy. 'Bout five years ago, wasn't it?

[TRIX nods]

MAN IN BLACK: You sure you wanna hear this?

TRIX: Nothing you can say will upset me.

MAN IN BLACK: Yeah. Y'see, the reason I remember is the way he died. No threats, no bribes, no blubbering... nothing like that. Just... 'Thank God'. And, y'know, most people, they don't usually say that, so I asked him what the hell he was talking about, and he told me 'bout this girl, short blonde hair, catlike eyes, pointy nose, all over the poor sod, couldn't get away from her - [eyes her] - I take it he meant you?

Said he'd had to tell her he was going to America to get the hell away from her, and could I kill him now just to make sure?

So I did.

TRIX: You're lying.

MAN IN BLACK: Uh-uh. True as I'm standing here.

TRIX: Do not think you can mock me. I *died* that day!

[The MAN IN BLACK's about to reply when he catches sight of the dust cloud from the EIGHTH DOCTOR's horses, and stares at it momentarily -

[-but it's just long enough, as TRIX pushes him away with all the strength she has]

TRIX: And _you_ can die too, for all I care!

[The MAN IN BLACK totters on the edge of the ravine, before he goes tumbling down, tumbling, crashing, smashing, until he finally hits bottom.

[TRIX stares at his body, lying far below, until his voice comes drifting up to her]

MAN IN BLACK: ...stupid...cow...

TRIX: ...I beg your pardon?

MAN IN BLACK: ...sorry... as... you... wish... you... stupid... cow...

TRIX: [gasps] ...Westley! What have I done?!

[She starts down the ravine, only to find herself falling, tumbling, crashing down after him]


CUT TO: Ext., Open Terrain.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR and his troops rein in as the dust cloud settles]

EIGHTH DOCTOR: [shakes head] Disappeared. He must have seen us and panicked - because, unless I'm wrong, they are headed straight into the Fire Swamp.

[Even KASTCHEI looks a little pale at this, behind his sunglasses]


CUT TO: Ext., Ravine Floor

[FITZ and TRIX are lying there, bruised and battered, as FITZ attempts to crawl towards TRIX]

FITZ: ...You okay? Can you move?

TRIX: ...Move? You're alive. If you want, I can fly.

[FITZ looks as if he wants to give the rocks another chance to bash his brains out]

FITZ: ...Told you... I was gonna come for you... Why didn't you wait?

TRIX: ...You were dead.

FITZ: Oh yeah.

TRIX: I will never doubt again.

FITZ: [mutters] ...Like *that's* likely...

[TRIX leans in for a kiss; FITZ, bruised and battered as he is, isn't in a position to resist, and it's a tender kiss, tender and sweet and gentle - well, for TRIX, anyway]

CHLOE: [off-screen] ...I don't think they _do_ like each other that way.


CUT TO: Int., Bedroom.

ANJI: You don't?

CHLOE: [shakes head] Uh-uh. Fitz doesn't sound like he thinks that way about Trix - not now, anyway.

ANJI: ...Well, he _does_ have good reason...

CHLOE: [frowning] But Trix sounds like she cares about Fitz... I would have thought Fitz would respond to that.

ANJI: ...Let's just say Trix is really good at what she does.

CHLOE: [ohs] So why did he rescue her?

ANJI: [frowns] Guess we'll have to see.

CHLOE: [ohs again] So what happened next?

ANJI: ...Okay. Let's see... ah. Westley and Buttercup raced across the ravine floor...


CUT TO: Ext., Ravine Floor

[FITZ and TRIX are racing along the floor. FITZ glances up.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR and his men are stood at the top of the ravine, looking down at them]

FITZ: ...Heh. Too late. Just a few more steps and... oh, cruk. Let me guess.

TRIX: The Fire Swamp.

FITZ: Uh-huh.

TRIX: No-one's ever escaped it alive.

FITZ: ...Oh, cruk.

[The EIGHTH DOCTOR and his men watch them go]

Part One - Part Three - Part Four

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Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat.