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EXT. CAVE COLONY - NIGHT
JUDITH, a beautiful twenty-year-old woman, emerges from a
Cave, watches what's going on.
Let me through.
CROWD lets JUDITH pass. JUDITH looks ARTABAN over, notices
winged circle on his breast.
You are a doctor. My brother is
(starts to go)
Two men stole something from me. I
want it back.
JUDITH keeps going.
I want it back now.
Save my brother and your possession
will be returned.
JUDITH runs into Cave. ARTABAN and ORONTES follow.
INT. CAVE - DAY
Dark and foul. PASSHUR, twenty-two, lies on bed of straw.
JUDITH and ARTABAN approach, as ORONTES waits near Cave
I've brought someone to you.
ARTABAN crouches down near PASSHUR, feels his forehead.
My brother's going blind.
ARTABAN holds lantern up to PASSHUR's face, waving it
slightly in front of PASSHUR's eyes to gauge reactions.
I'm so afraid.
There are several procedures I can
(reaches into tunic, pulls
I need some water.
JUDITH hands him cup of water.
We haven't many friends in the
outside world, but we help the few
Ekron! Come here at once.
ARTABAN pours the contents of the vial into cup, mixes it,
tips his fingers into solution and begins touching PASSHUR's
All right, rest now. In a few
hours, we'll know if it worked.
ARTABAN turns to see the MASS of HUMANITY mobbed outside Cave
opening. EKRON, without mask, comes to Cave. A teenager, he
is bleeding from knife wound.
Give it to me, Ekron.
EKRON hands over packet to JUDITH, who hands it to ARTABAN.
He looks inside for pearl. It's there. He's relieved.
EKRON backs away. JUDITH nods to EKRON, who steps closer.
ARTABAN examines wound.
Get me some bandages, clean
JUDITH signals for MUTE to get them. ARTABAN treats EKRON.
We need someone with healing skills
to care for all --
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Not us, lady, we're on a very
If you could stay for just one day,
it'd do some good.
There are lepers out there, leprosy
One day isn't going to make any
difference in finding the Messiah.
These people need me.
I'll tell you one thing right now,
I won't touch any of them,
understand? Beat me if you want
to, set my hair on fire, I don't
care, I won't help.
As you wish. Make sure the horses
are safe and rested.
One day, you promise.
One day. Now be off.
ARTABAN and JUDITH leave. As ORONTES holds his nose,
EXT. CAVES - THE NEXT MORNING
Horses stamping their feet. ORONTES leads them to where
ARTABAN is examining the ears of an old WOMAN.
Ready to leave, Master?
ARTABAN looks up. JUDITH stands at head of a long line of
PEOPLE still waiting to see him. He turns to ORONTES.
Just one more day.
On ORONTES, rolling his eyes, leading horses away,
EXT. HILL ABOVE CAVE COLONY - TWILIGHT
ORONTES emerges from crude shack he's built on side of hill,
looks down at colony below, sits to write letter.
Lord Abgarus Greetings. Yes, we
are still at the colony of
outcasts. One day has stretched
into two, then a week and a month,
until I've lost count of how long
we've been here.
He looks back down at colony, sees JUDITH going into Cave.
INT. CAVE - TWILIGHT
JUDITH enters Cave, where ARTABAN examines scars of a LEPER,
applying salve on sores.
We're out of bandages.
ARTABAN looks at her.
Still I refuse to help these
disease ridden half-lives.
ARTABAN takes off cloak. As HE rips cloth into strips,
EXT. AROUND CAMPFIRE - NIGHT
ARTABAN lies with his eyes closed, as JUDITH tries to run a
meeting with EKRON, WHORES, BEGGARS, and PASSHUR, still
The townspeople hate us. If they
had their way, the Roman soldiers
would come down here and wipe us
Let 'em try.
"Yeahs" from OTHERS in group.
I wish there was a way we didn't
have to deal with them at all.
(eyes still closed)
MURMUR from group. ARTABAN sits up.
Rather than stealing and whoring,
to support the colony, become self
sufficient... Grow your own food.
Do we look like farmers?
LAUGHTER from group.
You could be taught.
Who'd teach us?
I mean, I could get you started.
So -- start.
As ARTABAN rises, smiling at JUDITH,
EXT. CAVES - DAY
ARTABAN helps group of male COLONISTS pull a large boulder
from ground. They struggle and struggle, trying to pull it
I worry about leaving the pearl
among that den of hoodlums. If
it's stolen or lost, our only
chance of getting home will be
Boulder finally comes loose. As they all pat each other on
INT. CAVE - DAY
ARTABAN and JUDITH deliver a BABY to a WHORE.
Lord Abgarus, I beseech you to
contact your son. Order him to
On ARTABAN's excited look,
EXT. GARDEN - DAY
ARTABAN instructs JUDITH and other WOMEN on how far apart to
If he refuses, send someone to help
me drag him out of this foul place.
EXT. CAVES - DAY
COLONISTS building, sawing, hammering.
And what's strangest of all, he's
happier than I've ever seen him.
Why? I'll never know.
On ARTABAN supervising,
EXT. FIELD - DAY
On ARTABAN, knees in dust, tending the plants.
INT. CAVE - DAY
ARTABAN gives PASSHUR another potion, as JUDITH watches
hopefully. He drinks, they wait a beat.
What I really wonder is How long
can he keep it up?
PASSHUR shakes his head, "no", nothing's changed. On their
INT. CAVE - DAY
ARTABAN sleeps. The interior of his Cave has been improved
tremendously, clearly displaying evidence that it's resident
has been there a while.
Artaban! Artaban, look!
ARTABAN starts, goes to Cave opening, looks out
EXT. CAVE - DAY
JUDITH surrounded by the other COLONIST proudly holds up a
beautiful ear of corn.
Our first harvest!
CHEERS from COLONISTS. ARTABAN smiles, CHEERS back. As HE
walks out to them,
EXT. MARKETPLACE - DAY
ORONTES, older, is studying two oranges at a fruit stand.
How long are we going to sit back
and watch that colony of riffraff
suck off our land?
ORONTES turns to see a large group of angry TOWNSPEOPlE
gathered listening to one MAN.
It was one thing when they stopped
buying food from us. But now,
people are actually starting to go
out to that hellhole to buy fresh
fruits and vegetables from them.
CROWD "BOOS." ORONTES approaches.
I propose a law barring normal
people from associating with those
types. And if that doesn't work,
we'll burn them out.
CROWD ROARS with approval. Yet several people are in
disagreement and one gives the phooey sign. This is
definitely not where ORONTES wants to be. On him leaving,
INT. CAVE - NIGHT
PASSHUR sits, eyes wrapped in bandages. ARTABAN and JUDITH
stand on either side of him. All three are older.
As I take off the bandages, you
should gradually see more and more
(starts to unwrap
I don't see anything yet.
That's fine, don't worry.
ARTABAN gives JUDITH a half-smile, she looks concerned.
How about now?
ARTABAN, frustrated, turns away. JUDITH emotionally
exhausted, starts to cry, goes to her BROTHER, cradling him
in her arms.
We'll find it.
He exits Cave.
EXT. CAVE - DAY
ARTABAN emerges to find ORONTES, waiting.
Well, what brings you down from the
mountain? You said you'd never set
foot in this place.
Master, there's something I must
tell you -- We must leave here. At
But the villagers --
I've been pretty lenient with you.
But that's going to change. From
now on, if you want to eat, you can
work on the crops like everyone
You are my Master. You are obliged
to feed me.
Not if you don't do as you're told.
ORONTES storms off. As ARTABAN, realizing he was too hard on
him, shakes his head wearily,
EXT. CAVES - NIGHT
ARTABAN, older, his back hurting, crosses to ONE-LEGGED
WOMAN; who sits on ground near well. He tips jar, gives her
glass of water. Then, trying to help her rise, he falls
under her weight.
Your son works morning, night and
noon. His sleep always interrupted
by another cry of pain.
A TEENAGE BOY, comes over, helps ARTABAN, who insists he's
alright and helps the ONE-LEGGED WOMAN. The BOY helps the
WOMAN off. ON ARTABAN, rising, his back really hurting,
INT. CAVE - DAY
CU of a sixty-five-year-old ARTABAN. PULL BACK to reveal him
using crude form of sign language to "speak" to DEAF GIRL.
In this world of anguish, he finds
many to help. But none to follow.
It seems he has totally forgotten
As DEAF GIRL suddenly stands and runs away,
EXT. HILLSIDE ABOVE COLONY - NIGHT
Darkness. ORONTES stands with letter. Two FIGURES run by
him, knocking him over, heading down hill toward colony.
Watch where you're going!
FIGURES disappear into camp. Behind ORONTES, more VOICES,
This way. Over here.
He turns to see group of MEN, including the TOWNSPEOPLE from
the marketplace, running in pursuit, carrying torches.
Sensing danger, he heads downhill, with MEN now chasing him.
Look out! Hey!
COLONISTS turn to see ORONTES, followed by ANGRY MEN.
COLONISTS all scatter, as MEN enter camp, knocking things
over, hitting COLONISTS. ARTABAN and JUDITH try to protect
What're you doing here?
What's the matter with you people?
Some MEN go to garden, setting it on fire. Another knocks
ARTABAN down. ORONTES sees this, runs to him.
I'll help you, sir.
EKRON tries to stop the MEN, is killed with a sword. As MEN
continue to destroy the colony,
EXT. CAVES - DAY
SLOW PAN revealing entire colony in disarray. COLONISTS are
sitting around sobbing, OTHERS are just returning from
hiding. JUDITH finishes changing bandages on top of ORONTES'
head as he writes letter. She turns, sees ARTABAN, amidst
burned-out remains of garden.
We'll build again. We'll make this
place just as good as it was
before. Better --
No, we won't...
(looks at her)
I'm sorry. I just have nothing
more to give.
He goes to smoldering fire, sits. ORONTES looks at letter
he's been writing.
I worry about his health.
ARTABAN pulls out packet, unwraps it, exposing the pearl. He
studies it. ORONTES stands, watching him, looks back to
ORONTES (V.O., CONT.)
In closing, Lord Abgarus, let me
say that a day has not gone by when
I have not kicked myself for
promising you that I'd --
SOUND of TRUMPET. ORONTES and ARTABAN react, as MEN exit
from Caves with weapons. WOMEN run, carrying CHILDREN.
SOLDIERS enter camp. ARTABAN rushes toward them.
What is it you want?
A man named Artaban.
I am Artaban.
ORONTES puts hand to head.
You have a visitor.
JUDITH approaches, running. CAPTAIN signals. A portable
chair, carrying a striking fourteen-year-old girl, SHAMIR,
arrives first. Then another chair arrives, carrying
TIGRANES, looking splendid and rich.
Tigranes. I can't believe you're
Old friend, thirty some years stand
Oh, yes. This is my daughter,
SHAMIR smiles, shyly.
You are beautiful, my dear. What
brings you to Judea?
The power of the Magi has grown
tremendously and that's in no small
part due to my financial wizardry.
I intend to take these people for
every coin they've got.
The situation here is quite
different, Tigranes. Be careful --
Oh, please, don't talk trade. I
want to hear about Lord Artaban's
You're somewhat of a legend back
home. But frankly, when I heard
you were in a leper colony --
(looks with disdain)
Tell me. Did you ever find your
I can't bear to see you like this,
Artaban. Come, with us, let us
care for you.
Listen to Lord Tigranes, sir. He's
a very wise man.
Once you said to me, "Don't let
pride stand in your way." I say
the same to you now.
I don't need your help.
Your pride won't let you admit you
were wrong. And even if you do
someday find your King, how could
you -- a beggar -- possibly serve
Don't talk to him that way.
Your father believed that you would
return and rule the Magi. If he
had known how you've disgraced him,
wasting your life among these scum,
it would've killed him years ago.
What do you mean, years ago?
Your father is dead. He died
miserable and alone, surrounded by
I've been sending letters to a dead
ARTABAN's body begins to shake, in uncontrollable waves of
pain. He starts to cry, reaching out, lost. TIGRANES turns
Artaban is so sad. Can't we help
He's made it clear, he doesn't need
He mounts chair. Reluctantly, she follows. ORONTES takes
ARTABAN's trembling hands.
What have I done? Orontes, what
have I done?
ARTABAN breaks down completely, falling into ORONTES arms,
like a baby. On the two of THEM,
EXT. CAVES - DAY
JUDITH paces as ORONTES sits, peeling an orange.
He's been like this for weeks.
Sitting, staring into nowhere.
LONG SHOT of ARTABAN on a rock, alone, sullen, drawn.
Never seen his spirit this broken.
But isn't there something we can do
Give him back the last thirty years
of his life...
(rises, crosses to
You want a slice of orange?
If you ask me, you made only one
mistake in your life letting your
mind get in the way of your
ARTABAN turns to look at ORONTES. THUNDER.
Oh, so at least you can still hear.
It's time to part company.
What do you mean?
You never liked it here. You never
wanted to leave Persia. You only
stayed with me because of an oath
you gave my father. Well, my
father's dead. I release you from
your promise. And I give you your
Eyes brightening, ORONTES lets out a yell, then stops.
Leave it to you to give me my
freedom thirty years too late in
the middle of the most God-forsaken
place on earth.
That's no concern of mine.
Why're you doing this?
Because I'm tired of your whining.
That's the gratitude I get --
Gratitude? For what? For thinking
of no one but yourself? For
looking down at a group of people
who deserve your caring and
respect? You have never been the
slightest help to me, Orontes.
I don't know why I've kept you
around as long as I have. Now go
away and leave me alone.
All right. I will.
ORONTES walks to JUDITH, who stands near PASSHUR, still
partially blind, and another OUTCAST, as they prepare to
mount horses. THUNDER.
Wait up! I need a ride.
Where are you off to in such a
Artaban has granted me my freedom.
You can leave him so easily?
Lady, he's still an arrogant,
ORONTES mounts horse behind PASSHUR. GROUP sets off. JUDITH
goes to ARTABAN. THUNDER.
What was all that about?
I have failed, Judith. My life...
I am dying. My heart. I won't
last through this winter.
What chance is there of finding the
Is that why you sent Orontes away?
He's been a good friend. I didn't
want him around to witness my final
ARTABAN reaches into his tunic, pulls out packet containing
(takes out pearl)
It hasn't lost its lustre one
Take it to town. Sell it. Buy the
things the colony needs.
Artaban, no --
I should have done it long ago. I
JUDITH puts the pearl in her pocket. Gentle rain falls.
Perhaps I am not worthy to enter
His Kingdom. Or perhaps His
Kingdom is only some figment of my
The townspeople caused this... And
your friend Tigranes...
No! I am the cause. Why have I
always tried to do everything
Come inside, Artaban. It's
starting to rain.
I'll be in soon. I like the rain
on my face -- it reminds me of
JUDITH nods her head and goes. On ARTABAN, alone,
END OF ACT THREE