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EXT. JERUSALEM STREET - DAY
PASSHUR and ORONTES stand at street corner. In b.g., CROWD
CHEERS as a MAN, unseen, rides through on a donkey. The
CROWD carpets the road with their cloaks and with palm
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessings on him who comes in the
Name of the Lord. Hosanna in
Heaven. Blessings on the coming
Kingdom of our father David.
PETER, the apostle, runs by. ORONTES grabs him by the crook
of the elbow.
Hey. Who is that they're making
such a fuss over?
The prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in
This one's real. God is working
through him. God is in him. He
makes the lame walk, lepers clean,
the deaf hear, the dead rise to
life, the poor hear good news and
the blind recover their sight.
PASSHUR reacts. So does ORONTES. PETER continues off.
Where are you going?
Where do you think? I'm going to
PASSHUR disappears in CROWD, ORONTES stares after him, then
looks down, deep in thought. ORONTES then looks up into
heaven, speaks reverently.
Excuse me. I hate to bother you,
especially since I don't think you
exist. But if you do, think you
could give me a little help? You
see, I got a problem. If this
Jesus is the one Artaban's been
looking for, then I ought to go
back and tell him. But if I do
that I'll just get myself trapped
again. I don't want that. So
would you mind telling me what I'm
supposed to do? All this talk
about freedom, all it means is a
lot of responsibility and I'm not
sure I like that.
A TOWNSPERSON crosses by, stares at him. ORONTES becomes
embarrassed, starts to go, returns, looks up.
ORONTES walks past two PHARISEES.
This Jesus is terrible.
ORONTES stops, eavesdropping.
Some of the people are following
Most of the people are following
He puts Himself above Moses.
Who does He think He is.
He puts the spirit of the law above
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All he talks about is love.
It makes me sick.
He stirs the people up.
Raises their expectations.
Which make the Romans unhappy.
He must be silenced.
PHARISEE #1 smiles. They go off together. On a worried
ORONTES, leaving in the opposite direction,
INT. CAVE - DAY
ARTABAN lies, propped up in bed. JUDITH stands with tray of
You must eat something.
Please, take the food away.
JUDITH turns, goes to Cave opening. Just as she's about to
exit, ORONTES enters.
You're back --!
Shhh. How is he?
See for yourself.
She kisses ORONTES, exits. ORONTES approaches bed, waits for
ARTABAN to see him, clears his throat.
What're you doing here?
What would you say if I told you
that I know who He is?
Who, who is?
The Messiah, the fellow you've been
I'd say, I'm too tired for your
Will you just listen to me? His
name is Jesus of Nazareth.
Go back to Persia.
OC SOUNDS of a MOB of people, very excited.
They say He's doing things only God
can do --
What's all that commotion out
ARTABAN rises, goes to Cave opening.
EXT. CAVES - DAY
A great MOB CHEERS and YELLS. They reach JUDITH and part to
reveal PASSHUR, smiling.
Judith. Judith, I can see!
JUDITH lets out yell, runs to PASSHUR's open arms. Another
CHEER from CROWD. ARTABAN and ORONTES emerge from Cave.
How is this possible?
You remember I went after Jesus.
Well, the crowd thrust me forward
and I heard this gentle voice speak
to me. He touched my eyes. I
could feel the power and the love
flow in and all of a sudden, I
What did I tell you?
A great reaction from the CROWD of enthusiasm.
"The blind are given new sight."
He succeeded where I couldn't. I
must find Him. Will you come with
As your slave?
As my brother.
A beat, as the two old MEN bask in the warmth of the thought.
JUDITH reaches into her pocket, takes out pearl.
I didn't sell it. I couldn't.
Somehow I knew your search wasn't
ARTABAN's face lights up. He takes pearl, then hugs JUDITH.
I am so blessed.
Come back to us, after you find
Where do we start?
Let's get something to eat first.
Five minutes, for a small meal...
They go off arguing. As they depart, various COLONISTS shake
hands or hug them. An activity ORONTES still finds
revolting. As they disappear into distance, CAMERA finds
JUDITH. On JUDITH, crying,
INT. UPPER ROOM OF AN INN - AFTER SUNDOWN
MAACAH, a demure woman in her thirties, stands at a long
table, cleaning up the remnants of a Passover dinner.
ARTABAN and ORONTES enter. ORONTES immediately sits, starts
rubbing his feet.
Oooh, that feels good...
We were told that Jesus of Nazareth
You just missed Him. He and His
friends finished eating and left.
Tell us where they went.
Who wants to know?
Lady, stop this run-around and tell
You, I like.
You, I don't.
Do you know where Jesus is?
ORONTES rolls his eyes.
Why do you want Him?
I am poor, stripped of everything I
once owned. And ill of health. My
one wish is to see Jesus before I
Pardon my suspicions but you're
strangers. You could be working
for the Lord's enemies. Such a
loving man with so many enemies...
He's told too many people things
they didn't want to hear.
Like love your enemies, do good to
those who hate you, pray for those
who persecute you.
Those are strong words.
Too strong for some. Go to the
Garden at Gethsemane. He may be
(scorching him with her
Or he may not.
She goes off. ORONTES curses after her.
May your grandmother never eat
ARTABAN clutches his heart.
Are you alright?
I'm no Magi, but I can see you're
sick. Let's rest awhile.
I've waited too long, to stop now.
ARTABAN stands by himself, quite dignified and goes off.
What kind of name for a garden is
As ORONTES goes off, following ARTABAN,
EXT. GETHSEMANE - AFTER MIDNIGHT
The apostle PETER, muscular, handsome, crouches terrified
behind a bush. He hears a SOUND of approaching footsteps,
ducks down further. ARTABAN and ORONTES enter slowly.
ARTABAN stops at bush.
PETER dashes out, trying to escape. ORONTES sticks out his
foot, tripping PETER, who falls face down on ground.
What do you want with me?
Jesus the Galilean is supposed to
be here with His friends --
I don't know what you mean.
You're one of his disciples, aren't
I don't know the man.
Sure you do. I saw you with Him
And I tell you that I don't know
COCK CROWS twice. PETER realizes, starts weeping bitterly.
He said I would deny Him. How did
There, there, my friend... Where is
Judas betrayed Him to the
Pharisees. He was taken before the
Sanhedrim. And now... Pontius
Pilate has Him. They would kill
(calls after Him)
Slow down. Your heart.
He turns to go, sees PETER crying.
A grown man weeping like a child.
He takes out his handkerchief and, tapping PETER on the
shoulder, hands it to him. On ORONTES, running after
EXT. OUTSIDE GOVERNOR'S HEADQUARTERS -- SIX A.M.
ROMAN SOLDIER #1 stands sentry at a door cut into a stone
wall. ARTABAN and ORONTES approach.
Hail, good soldier. Is Jesus the
Nazarene within your walls?
ROMAN SOLDIER #1
Yes. I'm afraid at present he's...
VOICES OVER WALL
Hail, King of the Jews!
I must be allowed to pass.
ROMAN SOLDIER #1
No one enters here, old man.
Over wall, the SOUND of scourging. More LAUGHTER.
ROMAN SOLDIER #1
The coronation ceremony.
He rushes toward ROMAN SOLDIER #1, arms ready to do battle.
But the obvious strength and age of the SOLDIER allows him to
push ARTABAN back easily. In b.g., the scourging continues.
ORONTES bends down to ARTABAN.
Oh, no --
Speak to me. Yell at me.
As ORONTES tries to revive ARTABAN,
EXT. JERUSALEM STREET - DAY
SHAMIR waits outside a doorway. A BEGGAR passes, she gives
him a coin. Then, TIGRANES comes out door, looking terrible.
Father? Father, what's the matter?
What is it?
My investments, the ships... Lost
at sea... I'm wiped out.
Don't worry? Do you realize what
this means? I owe everyone in this
foul, fetid city. Quickly, come
TIGRANES takes off. As SHAMIR tries to keep up,
INT. ZACCHAEUS' HOUSE - NIGHT
ARTABAN lies on a bed, ill. ORONTES dips cloth in water,
placing it on ARTABAN's forehead. ARTABAN stirs.
Where am I?
You've had some kind of attack.
I've sent for Judith to come take
care of you.
I'm not going to die, Orontes --
You'd better not.
Until I see Him.
You really are the most depressing
man I've ever met.
Orontes, we must make our way to
Jesus before He's killed. Don't
you see? This is the reason why I
have been denied His presence for
over thirty years.
(takes out pearl)
With this pearl, I can ransom Him
from His enemies. I can stop the
execution. I can save Jesus.
As THEY move out of room,
EXT. JERUSALEM STREET - DAY
CU of sandals, clattering, bare feet shuffling over stones,
all moving in same direction. CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal
ARTABAN and ORONTES moving slowly, painfully up a flight of
stone steps, moving with CROWD as quickly as two old men can.
In the distance, through an archway, we see three crosses on
They say Jesus has been taken to a
place outside the city walls called
Calvary. That's where they intend
to execute Him.
Coming in the opposite direction from CROWD are SOLDIERS,
dragging a WOMAN, with a cloak over her face. On seeing
ARTABAN, WOMAN SHRIEKS, breaks from the hands of her
tormentors, runs to ARTABAN, and throwing herself at his
feet, clasps him around the knees.
Lord Artaban! Save me!
As SOLDIERS pull her up, the cloak falls from her face to
expose Tigranes' daughter, SHAMIR.
It's Shamir, the daughter of
Wait! I know this woman. Shamir,
My father, the soldiers. There was
a struggle and they killed him.
I'm being sold to pay off his
debts. Save me!
But I have nothing...
SOLDIERS pull her away roughly.
VOICE IN DISTANCE
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
ARTABAN takes pearl, holds it up in the air, hands it to
Here. Free her.
VOICE IN DISTANCE
Oh Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Just then, the darkness in the sky thickens, shuddering
tremors run through the earth. THUNDER, LIGHTNING. SOLDIERS
flee in terror. ARTABAN clutches his heart. ORONTES moves
to him. The walls rock to and fro. Stones loosen and crash
into street. Dust clouds fill the air.
SHAMIR flees, frightened. As ORONTES crouches helplessly,
still holding ARTABAN,
EXT. ROAD FROM JERUSALEM - SUNDAY MORNING
ARTABAN lies on a stretcher, carried by ORONTES and JUDITH.
They make their way slowly over road, with a sign that reads
"EMMAEUS 10 parasangs."
Don't worry Artaban, you'll feel
fine once we get you home.
I'm thirsty... water...
ORONTES and JUDITH lower him to ground. ORONTES looks
You go that way, Judith, and I'll
go this way.
We'll be back in a moment.
ORONTES and JUDITH head off in opposite directions.
A HAND comes into view and gives ARTABAN a cup of water. He
drinks, then looks up at the PERSON who gave him the water.
My Lord, is it you?
ARTABAN smiles as he recognizes the PERSON.
For thirty-three years I've looked
all over for you. And now... I had
precious gifts to give you, but,
I've... I have nothing...
Artaban, don't you realize? You've
already given your gifts to me.
SHOT of ORONTES returning with water.
Oh my God, what're you saying?
SHOT of JUDITH returning with water.
When I was hungry you gave me food,
when I was thirsty you gave me
something to drink. When I was
naked you clothed me. When I was
homeless, you took me in.
Both of them see ARTABAN talking to the MAN, come closer,
look at each other, then fall to their knees. From their
reaction, we know they are seeing JESUS CHRIST.
Not so, my Savior I never saw you
hungry. Or thirsty. Or naked. Or
homeless. I've never seen your
face -- until now.
Whenever you did these things for
the least of my brothers, you did
them for me.
(turns to them)
Orontes! Judith! Did you hear?
He turns back, but JESUS has disappeared.
Right here, Master.
We did it. We've found Him.
(has difficulty breathing)
Oh my God...
ARTABAN collapses. ORONTES kneels next to him, taking his
The journey's ended. My treasures
are accepted. I've found the King.
ARTABAN smiles, ORONTES smiles. Then ARTABAN dies. ORONTES
gently closes ARTABAN's eyes, turns to JUDITH.
We'll bury him near the tomb where
they laid Jesus.
And then where will you go?
Back to the colony with you. There
are many who need us.
JUDITH nods. As the CAMERA PULLS BACK slowly on the three of