Chapter 12: "Lost Time"

 [shot of Alan's sleeping face]
Caption: Three months ago.

[Alan moves slightly]
A: Mrh...

[Alan opens his eyes.]

[Big panel. Alan is lying, chained to the ground. He's in the BM stables]
A: Ahhh!

[Alan's in the foreground. Kenemi is in the background. She looks into the air.]

A: [scared] I... ah! Miss?

[she looks at him, disinterested]

A: What... I.... where am I?

K: Emperor's fortress.

A: What am I doing here?!
K: Waiting.

A: [tries to move his hands] For... for what?

K: Anowa.

A: Anowa? She's here?
K: Yes.
A: H-how?
K: She works. Always has.

A: B-but...

[Kenemi just looks at him]
A: I thought she... and...

K: Anowa has been here for five hundred years. She is important to us.

A: W-what....? I thought.... She can't be...
I thought she was just a regular mage! Don't you have mages, like, all over the place?

K: A blessed few. Most are tainted.

K: [looks almost... sad] Magic is a gift.
Taint spreads.

A: I don't understand... What are...
Who are you, then?

[Kenemi just looks blankly into the air]

[there is a click from the door]
sfx: click

An: [shows up in door, enthusiastic] Kenemi!

[Anowa hugs and kisses Kenemi]
sfx: *mwah!*

[bigish panel. Anowa looks at Alan]
An: Geez, Kenemi, didn't they teach you about basic hospitality?

[she snaps her fingers, and Alan's chains open]
An: If I ask nicely, will you tell me why you were snooping around Tiwa?

A: [rubs his wrists] We were just... just...

A: [looks up] Where is my sis?!

An: [feels stupid] Ah, of course.
We apprehended her a week ago. You were here for her?

A: I'm here to make sure she's okay.

A: Please-
An: [interrupts] She is captured and alive.

An: You need to go back.
A: No!

An: Alan.
Al: No! I don't care, I want my sister back!

Al: And I don't care if you're a traitor, or if you sent the tainted to the monies! I don't care if you're an evil mage, working for the Emperor since the beginning of time! I DON'T CARE!

Al: I just... I just want my sister back.

Anowa: [looking sad-ish] I can't give you that. You should know.

Al: Then I'll rescue her on my own. Will you stand in my way?

An: No. But I won't help you, either.

Al: Fine! [walks towards the door]

An: Alan.

An:  I don't think you understand. Without help, you cannot get in. This fortress is inhabited by less than hundred people, and only a handful or two have access to the dungeons. You need a permission and strong magic to even enter.

[Alan has stopped]
An: I will not help you. I will, however, promise to keep her alive. It's not much, I know, but maybe there'll be a day when your luck has turned, or I'll be able to help her without repercussions.

An: I know it does not seem like it, but I respect her, and I wish her no harm.

An: Like I wish you no harm, Alan.
Turn back now before I'm forced to turn on you as well.

 [Alan breathes heavily]

Al: Why'd you betray us?

An: I didn't betray you. I simply left when you had nothing left to offer my cause.
Al: ...which is?
An: What I told you.
Al: You hardly told us anything!

An: I never told you or Kih a single lie. That I can say.

Al: Will you take care of her? Make sure she's not hurt?
An: I'll do my best.

Al: [looking determined] All right.

 [Anowa picks up a BM from a stable]

[she hands the "seletųj" to Alan]
An: He will fly you back.
Please take care of yourself and Zota, will you?
A: I will.

[Alan climbs to the BM's back]

An: And Alan.
Al: Yes?

An: I didn't send the tainted. They found the colony on their own.

Al: ...
Thank you.

 [Huge panel. Alan takes off]

[Anowa stays in the window, looking back at Kenemi.]
An: Someday -

An: [closes eyes] - I won't have to lie anymore.

 [Huge panel. Alan is standing in the forrest. Same panel as end of chapter 10. In the sky, the BM is flying away]

[A looks around]

[A closes his eyes, crying]

 [He cries openly]

[Tired, he slumps down, sitting on the ground]

[he keeps crying]

[he falls down, lying on the ground, still crying]

[He buries his head in his arms]

[he keeps lying there]

 [big, horizontal panel. Alan is still lying on the ground]

[Big, horizontal panel. Feline feet step next to Alan]

[Big, horizontal panel. Hands suddenly yank Alan upwards]

 [Huge panel. Zota is holding a very scared Alan up, yelling angrily]
Z: What the STONES, kid?!!!
I've been running all over the place, trying to patch up where YOU AND YOUR STUPID SISTER left off! I 'ATE THOSE FUCKING FEY!!
And here you are, TAKING A NAP!
Gods, I oughta bash your stupid brains in and save myself the trouble!!

[shot of Alan, looking terrified]

[shot of Alan, vaguely smiling]
A: I'm... glad to see you again, too.

 [Big panel. Zota lets go of him.]
Z: Ugh. Just be glad I came by 'ere, or you'd be lost.

Z: [waves] Come along, I'll lead you to the pixies.

[Alan follows (picking himself up)]

A: [smiles] So, what've you been up to?

Z: Talked to the pixies. Made them look into the jewel.
They think there's a lot of potential there.

A: Really?
Z: They have suspicions. If they're right, we're attacking Tiwa.

A: [stops] What?

Z: We're gonna attack Tiwa. Probably.

Z: Come along. You need to tell us 'ow you got away. We'll need the info.

A: B-but... An attack?

Z: [smiles broadly] Isn't it great?

[they keep going. Alan looks a bit sad]
A: No...

[big panel. AZ walk into the fey camp. Annie is flying enthusiastically towards him]

[Annie hugs Alan. He looks very happy to see her]

[bigger panel, other setting. Alan and Zota are talking. Alan is smiling/shy, Zota is slightly angry]

[smaller panel. Zota is putting on a a hood. Alan is talking to Erik]

 [Splash page. Alan/monies/pixies study. Zota sneaks around the Emperor's fortress.]

 [Splash-ish page. They study. Alan speaks to a Monie. A Monie talks to a few pixies. Two pixies sit up late and study.
Bottom of the page. Erik is studying the jewel when he suddenly lights up.
Erik: Bingo!]

Erik: We determined early that this jewel is one of binding - something more-or-less established when Alan and his wristband fused together when he and the other cat found it.

Erik: We assumed at first that this was a human product, hence why it was able to combine and transform the entire Triad.
However, this jewel's strength is beyond the extraordinary - and definitely beyond human capabilites.

Erik: We know, though, of one other people capable of reaching this level of multimagical skill and power.  I will go so far as to say that this jewel must have been produced by Fey.

Erik: The *original* Fey.
The way the jewel seems to draw endless power instead of exhausting itself also suggest that an entire soul may very well have fueled its creation.
In short, this is an artifact of unparalelled power and historical significance.

[shot of the audience]
Random Monie: What does this mean?

[Splash page of a smiling Erik, the jewel and the audience. Alan looks on the verge of protesting.]
Erik: It means that the Emperor is going down!