Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

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Secret Alias
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Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

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THE GOLDEN ASS IN GOTHAM CITY

INT. NEW YORK CITY APARTMENT - DAY

The bustling sounds of the city permeate through the windows of a sleek downtown apartment. A modern smartphone buzzes on a table, alerting the traveler, our protagonist.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

The traveler, now in trendy attire, steps out of a luxury ride-sharing car onto the busy streets of New York City. Skyscrapers surround him as he adjusts his sunglasses and takes in the urban landscape.

TRAVELER
(voiceover)
New York City, the land of opportunities. A far cry from Thessaly, but my maternal ancestors would be proud. Descendants of Plutarch and Sextus the Philosopher – quite an honor in this modern era.

The sounds of honking cars and people talking fill the air as the traveler navigates through the crowded sidewalks.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY PARK - DAY

The traveler decides to take a break in a city park, finding a spot on a bench. He pulls out a sleek tablet, wipes it clean, and begins to relax.

TRAVELER
(voiceover)
A different kind of scenery, but the stories remain.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

The traveler notices two friends on electric scooters just ahead. He speeds up, joining their trio.

TRAVELER
(smiling)
Mind if I join your company? A good tale or two could make this city adventure more enjoyable.

The friends, wearing headphones, nod in agreement, and one of them laughs.

FRIEND 1
(teasing)
Stop, please! I can't stand hearing you spin such absurd and unbelievable stories.

Intrigued, the traveler expresses interest in their conversation.

TRAVELER
I'm all ears for a good story. Perhaps we can share tales and make this urban exploration fly by.

The one who laughed earlier dismisses his friend's story with a skeptical tone.

FRIEND 2
This tale is as true as claiming we could control the city's chaos with a traffic light app. Make the crowds flow against their course, the noise stand still, the hustle lack the buzzing of voices. Ridiculous!

Undeterred, the traveler urges him to continue.

TRAVELER
(smiling)
Come on, don't stop now. I'm eager to hear more. And perhaps, my skeptical friend, you might find these unbelievable tales surprisingly achievable in our tech-driven city.

The skeptical friend rolls his eyes, and the trio continues their urban exploration through the modern New York City landscape, leaving the audience curious about the tales yet to unfold amid the skyscrapers and bustling streets.

INT. NEW YORK CITY APARTMENT - NIGHT

A group of friends gathers for a late-night dinner in a stylish Manhattan apartment. The atmosphere is lively as they share stories and indulge in a feast.

FRIEND 1
The protagonist, now known as Apuleius, enthusiastically recounts an unusual incident.

APULEIUS
So, the other night, I'm at this dinner with a bunch of hungry friends. I'm devouring this huge piece of meat, fried with cheese and barley flour, and suddenly, it gets stuck in my throat. I'm on the brink of choking!

The friends chuckle and share empathetic glances.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

Apuleius, now in casual modern attire, continues his tale in the bustling streets of New York City.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
But let me tell you about something wild I witnessed in Athens. I'm at this spot called Peale, and there's a street performer, a real magician. He swallows a two-hand sword with a razor-sharp edge, and then, for a few bucks from the crowd, he devours a spear, point downward. And guess what? He brings it out from behind, and on top of it appears this nimble and pleasant boy, winding and turning like a snake on a staff.

The friends lean in, intrigued.

FRIEND 2
No way! That sounds like some movie magic.

APULEIUS
I swear on the light of this sun that those things were true. Now, let me give you some background. I'm from Egin, on a journey from Thessaly to Etolia, and then Boetia, for the finest honey, cheese, and other goods to sell. My latest venture led me to Hippata, the principal city of Thessaly, for some top-notch cheeses.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

The friends walk through the city streets, Apuleius leading the way.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
But, you know, luck wasn't on my side. A guy named Lupus, a purveyor, had bought up all the cheeses the day before. I was outsmarted.

The friends sympathize with Apuleius.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
Tired and weary, I hit the baths to relax. And there, I see my old friend Socrates, sitting on the ground, looking like a beggar. His life had taken a terrible turn, and he appeared as if he'd lost everything.

The friends listen intently.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
I go up to him, half in despair, and ask what happened. Turns out, his kids are in custody, his wife is forced to move on, and he's here, living like a ghost or a hog. It's a shame.

The friends express sympathy.

FRIEND 3
That's rough. What did he say?

APULEIUS
He told me that I'm ignorant of the unpredictable forces of Fortune. Covered in shame, he shared how Fortune had turned his life upside down.

Apuleius gets emotional, but the friends comfort him.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
But I couldn't bear to see him like that. I lifted him up, covered him, took him to the baths, and gave him some proper care. We laughed and talked at my inn until he shared his heartbreaking story.

The friends reflect on the unexpected turns of life as Apuleius continues his tale in the vibrant cityscape.


INT. NEW YORK CITY COFFEE SHOP - DAY

Apuleius continues his tale in a cozy coffee shop, surrounded by curious friends.

APULEIUS
Alas, poor miser that I am! It all began when I returned from Macedonia after selling my wares as a merchant for ten long months. On my way to Larissa, I strayed into a deep valley and fell prey to a gang of thieves. They robbed me of everything, sparing me only after some struggle. Barely escaping, I stumbled upon the house of an old woman named Meroe, a wine-seller with a tongue well-versed in flattery.

The friends listen attentively.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
I poured out my troubles to her, recounting the miseries of my journey and my unlucky encounter with the thieves. In return for her hospitality, she entertained me and even led me to her bedchamber. Little did I know that the very first night with her would mark the beginning of my wretched appearance. I traded my remaining clothes for her lodging, leaving me in this sorry state.

One of the friends interjects with disbelief.

FRIEND 1
Wait, are you telling us you traded your clothes for a night with her?

APULEIUS
Yes, it seemed like a fair deal at the time, given my circumstances.

Another friend chuckles.

FRIEND 2
Man, you've really had a run of bad luck.

Apuleius nods and continues.

APULEIUS
So, there I was, stuck in this sorry state, and when I expressed my disdain for Meroe, Socrates, a fellow traveler, warned me to watch my words.

The friends exchange curious glances.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
Curious, I asked Socrates about Meroe's virtues. He claimed she was a sorceress with powers to control the heavens, manipulate the elements, and even summon the gods. He spoke of her abilities to enchant not only the locals but also people from distant lands like the Indians, Ethiopians, and Antictons.

The friends lean in, intrigued.

APULEIUS (CONT'D)
And that's not all; he insisted on sharing her more remarkable feats, openly performed before the eyes of everyone.

The friends eagerly await the tales of Meroe's extraordinary exploits in the heart of New York City.

INT. MODERN NEW YORK APARTMENT - NIGHT

Faith Aristomenus, a mysterious and powerful woman, stands in the dimly lit room, facing a certain Lover, who nervously paces back and forth.

FAITH
(whispering a spell)
By the utterance of one word, transform.

The Lover's features contort as he undergoes a magical transformation, morphing into a BEAVER.

FAITH
(smirking)
For your unfaithfulness, embrace your new nature.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

A beaver, wearing remnants of human clothing, scurries along the crowded sidewalk. People gasp and point as the transformed Lover navigates the urban jungle.

CUT TO:

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

Faith, with a glint of satisfaction, observes the chaos through a crystal ball.

FAITH
(to herself)
Lesson learned.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK WINE SHOP - DAY

An OLD MAN, formerly a neighbor and wine seller, now transformed into a FROG, sits in a wine barrel croaking for attention.

CUT TO:

INT. NEW YORK COURTROOM - DAY

A HORNED RAM, previously an Advocate who opposed Faith, now awkwardly argues a case. Lawyers and judges exchange confused glances.

CUT TO:

INT. MODERN APARTMENT - NIGHT

Faith, surrounded by candles and mysterious artifacts, chants incantations in a hidden room.

FAITH
(whispering)
For every injustice, a transformation.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY

The wife of Faith's former lover, her pregnancy seemingly endless, attracts public attention. Outrage builds, leading to plans of a cruel stoning the next day.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - NIGHT

Faith's magic envelopes the town. Streets, gates, and doors lock, trapping everyone inside.

CUT TO:

INT. LOCKED HOUSES - DAY

Townspeople, frustrated, attempt to break free. A city in chaos.

CUT TO:

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

Townspeople plead with Faith, promising not to harm her. Oaths are sworn.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY

Faith releases her enchantment, freeing the town.

CUT TO:

EXT. HILLTOP TOWN - MIDNIGHT

Faith transports the instigator, his house, and everything within, to a town a hundred miles away. The house crumbles before the gate.

CUT TO:

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

Socrates expresses fear of the old woman overhearing their conversation.

SOCRATES
(whispering)
We must leave before she discovers our plans.

FADE OUT:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - EARLY MORNING

Socrates and the narrator prepare to escape the urban mystic's reach as they vanish into the city's early shadows.

INT. MODERN NEW YORK APARTMENT - NIGHT

Apuleius, a man with a weary countenance, sits in a dimly lit room, recounting a bizarre and unsettling tale to his companions, Aristomenus and an unnamed fellow.

APULEIUS
(weary)
In speaking these words and devising with myself of our departing the next morrow, lest Meroe the witch should play by us as she had done by divers other persons...

Apuleius continues his narration, detailing the strange events that transpired the night before. The setting shifts to a dreamlike sequence, where the ancient tale unfolds in modern New York City.

CUT TO:

EXT. MODERN NEW YORK APARTMENT - NIGHT

Socrates, played by a modern man, sleeps soundly, while Apuleius secures the doors and prepares for rest. The apartment, furnished in contemporary style, exudes an eerie atmosphere.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Apuleius lies down, but the fear in his heart keeps him from sleep. Midnight approaches, and the tension builds.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - MIDNIGHT

*Doors break open, locks shatter, and the room transforms into chaos. Socrates is tossed from his bed, and Apuleius finds himself covered by the overturned bed.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Apuleius peeks under the bed, witnessing the entry of two old women, Meroe and Panthia. Armed with a torch and a sword, they approach the sleeping Socrates.

MEROE
(whispering)
This is my dear and sweetheart, who has abused my youthful desires. He plans to run away, leaving me alone like Calypso.

Panthia points towards Apuleius, hidden beneath the bed.

PANTHIA
(grinning)
This is his counselor, persuading him to leave. Let's tear him to pieces or cut off his members.

Apuleius shudders as the horrifying scene unfolds.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Panthia and Meroe leave, the doors close, and Apuleius contemplates the nightmare he just witnessed.

APULEIUS
(whispering)
What shall become of me tomorrow when they find Socrates murdered? How can I tell the truth without sounding mad?

Apuleius decides to escape before dawn, fearing the consequences of the disturbing events.

CUT TO:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - EARLY MORNING

Socrates and Apuleius prepare to leave the city, haunted by the fear of the mystical woman overhearing their conversation.

FADE OUT:

INT. NEW YORK APARTMENT - NIGHT

Socrates falls asleep, exhausted from their journey, while Apuleius ponders the night's events.

APULEIUS
(whispering)
We must leave before dawn to avoid the wrath of Meroe.

FADE OUT:

INT. MODERN NEW YORK APARTMENT - DAY

Socrates and Apuleius make their escape, riding through the early morning shadows of New York City.

FADE OUT:

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - NIGHT

Apuleius reflects on the strange tale told by Aristomenus, pondering the thin line between reality and nightmare. The city lights twinkle in the background as he rides away, leaving the mysterious events of the night behind.


INT. MILO'S HUMBLE HOUSE - NIGHT

Apuleius finds himself in a modest room illuminated by a feeble lamp. He has just introduced himself to Milo, an alderman known for his extreme frugality and usury practices. Milo's wife sits at his feet, and there's an air of simplicity about the place.

MILO
(smiling)
Well, well, welcome! Demeas has sent me a distinguished guest indeed. Please, take a seat.

Apuleius hesitates but follows Milo's urging to sit on a small bed. There's no extravagant furniture, and the table, although bare, reflects Milo's conservative lifestyle.

MILO (CONT'D)
(appreciative)
I thank Demeas for sending me such a worthy guest. Please, sit in my wife's place.

Apuleius respectfully declines, but Milo insists, revealing the scarcity of household items due to the fear of robbery.

MILO (CONT'D)
(laughing)
Fear not, we keep things simple here to avoid attracting thieves. It's safer that way.

Apuleius complies, sitting as instructed. Milo, inquisitive, engages in conversation.

MILO (CONT'D)
(conversational)
Your noble bearing and modest demeanor speak of a gentleman's birth. Demeas praised your virtues in his letters. Our dwelling may be humble, but it's at your disposal. That chamber there is yours. Use it as if it were your own.

Milo calls for his maid, Fotis, and assigns her tasks to attend to their guest.

MILO (CONT'D)
(gracious)
Fotis, take this gentleman's belongings to the chamber. Fetch water for washing, a towel, and prepare him for the baths. He must be exhausted from his travels. Afterward, accompany him to the nearest baths.

APOLOGY AND GRATITUDE

Apuleius, appreciating the hospitality, tries to decline the offered services.

APULEIUS
(humble)
There's no need for all this. I've already been tended to on my journey. But if you could arrange for my horse to be cared for, that would be greatly appreciated. He's brought me here swiftly, and I want to ensure he's well-fed and comfortable.

Fotis takes the money offered by Apuleius to purchase hay and oats for the tired horse.

FADE OUT:

INT. MILO'S HOUSE - LATER

Apuleius finds himself in the provided chamber, reflecting on Milo's simple yet generous nature. The city outside sleeps peacefully, and the quiet room becomes a haven after the day's journey.

FADE OUT.


INT. MILO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Apuleius finds himself in Milo's humble dwelling, having returned from the market with fish for supper. He encounters an old acquaintance, Pithias, who now holds the position of Clerk of the Market. Pithias, dressed in official garb, questions the pricing of the fish and chastises the fishmonger for taking advantage of strangers.

PITHIAS
(displeased)
Is this how you treat our friends and strangers, inflating prices unjustly? You are contributing to the abandonment of Thessaly's principal city. Know that your actions will not go unpunished.

Pithias proceeds to reprimand the fishmonger and orders one of his Sergeants to tread the fish underfoot. Apuleius watches this scene unfold, amazed at the authority Pithias wields in his role as Clerk of the Market. Pithias then advises Apuleius to leave, satisfied with the shame brought upon the fishmonger.

APOLOGY AND GRATITUDE

Deprived of his purchased fish, Apuleius returns to Milo's house, where he cleanses himself at the baths. Fatigued, he decides to forgo supper and seeks rest in his chamber.

FOTIS
(appearing)
My master invites you to supper.

Apuleius, weary, politely declines, preferring the comfort of sleep over a meal.

Milo, determined, insists and takes Apuleius by the hand, leading him to the dining area. Milo sits on the bed, questioning Apuleius about Demeas, his family, and the state of his homeland. Despite Apuleius' fatigue and drowsiness, Milo persistently inquires about various matters.

MILO
(buzzing with curiosity)
Tell me more about your country, its leaders, and the Lieutenant Viceroy.

Apuleius, almost succumbing to sleep mid-sentence, struggles to maintain coherence. Milo, noticing Apuleius' weariness, allows him to retire to his chamber.

MILO
(compassionate)
You seem exhausted, my friend. Rest well tonight. We can talk more tomorrow.

Apuleius is grateful for the respite from Milo's talkative and meager supper. With a sense of relief, he retreats to his chamber, finally finding the quiet and rest he so desperately sought.

FADE OUT.

INT. BYRRHENA'S HOUSE - DAY

Apuleius, intrigued by the tales of sorcery in Thessaly, awakens at the break of day, his curiosity heightened by the thought of witnessing magical phenomena. Convinced that the entire city is transformed by enchantments, he roams the streets, expecting miraculous occurrences at every turn. The stones, birds, and trees all seem altered, feeding into his imagination fueled by the tales he has heard.

Lost in his fantastical thoughts, Apuleius finds himself in the marketplace. There, he encounters a woman of noble appearance, accompanied by numerous servants. An old man, recognizing Apuleius as Lucius, approaches and embraces him. The old man then whispers to the woman, revealing Apuleius' identity and his familial connection to her.

WOMAN (BYRRHENA)
(smiling)
Lucius, my dear cousin! How could you not recognize your own family? Come, join me at my house. We share not only blood but also the same nourishment, having been raised together.

Apuleius, feeling a mix of embarrassment and reluctance, hesitates to accept the invitation, expressing his duty to stay with his current host, Milo.

BYRRHENA
(teasingly)
Do not be shy, Lucius. We share a bond not only of blood but also of upbringing. I am Byrrhena, your cousin. Come, visit my home whenever you pass by.

As they converse, they gradually approach Byrrhena's residence. The entrance is adorned with exquisite carvings, featuring statues of Victory and Diana, each intricately detailed. The craftsmanship is so remarkable that the figures seem to come to life.

BYRRHENA'S WARNING

Byrrhena dismisses her servants, leaving her and Apuleius alone. She takes a moment to share her genuine concern for his safety, cautioning him about the enchantress Pamphiles, Milo's wife. According to Byrrhena, Pamphiles is a powerful sorceress who can bewitch and transform those who resist her advances.

BYRRHENA
(with concern)
Beware, dear Lucius. Pamphiles is a dangerous enchantress. Her desires are insatiable, and she possesses the ability to cast spells upon those who reject her. She can turn men into stones or animals with a mere utterance. I implore you to be cautious.

Apuleius, however, dismisses Byrrhena's warnings, driven by his own desire to explore the mystical arts.

INTO THE NIGHT

Later, Apuleius returns to Milo's house. The absence of Milo and his wife piques his interest, but he remains resolute in his intentions, eagerly anticipating the chance to delve into the world of sorcery.

FADE OUT.

INT. MILO'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Apuleius enters the house and discovers his love, Fotis, busy in the kitchen. She is mincing meat and preparing a savory dish. The atmosphere is filled with the aroma of wine and delicious foods.

Apuleius, captivated by the sight of Fotis, admires her graceful movements. She wears a clean white apron, and her figure is accentuated by a red silk sash. Her hands move skillfully as she stirs the pot, and the swaying of her hips and loins adds to the allure.

APULEIUS
(teasingly)
O Fotis, how gracefully you stir the pot! Your every movement is a dance, and your beauty turns the mundane task into a delightful spectacle.

Fotis, in good spirits, replies with a playful tone.

FOTIS
(laughing)
Begone, you wretch! Leave the warmth of my fire, for if it blazes even a little, it will scorch you. Only I can quench its heat with my stirring and turning.

Undeterred, Apuleius continues his playful banter.

APULEIUS
(mockingly)
Ah, but what a sight it is to see you shake your buttocks while making pottage. Happy is the one permitted to touch you in that place!

Fotis, still engaged in her work, glances at Apuleius and responds with a laugh.

FOTIS
(dismissing)
Leave, you miserable one! Depart from my fire. The flame is not to be trifled with. If it flares up, only I can extinguish it.

Apuleius, undeterred by Fotis' warnings, continues to observe her every move, enchanted by her beauty.

INTO THE NIGHT

Later, Apuleius returns to his thoughts, contemplating the allure of a woman's face and hair. He appreciates the various ways women present their beauty, emphasizing the significance of a radiant face and well-kept hair.

Apuleius then expresses his admiration for Fotis, her hair scattered about her shoulders, as she stirs his desires. His infatuation with her beauty intensifies, and he eagerly awaits the night.

FADE OUT.

[Got a warning about violating their standards about something in this section chapter 9]

FADE IN:

INT. APULEIUS' CHAMBER - NIGHT

Apuleius, after receiving a generous gift from Byrrhena, finds himself in high spirits. The aroma of the delivered feast fills the room. He calls for Fotis to join him, and together they revel in the provisions.

APULEIUS
(smiling)
Behold, Fotis, Bacchus himself has graced us with a gift! Let us drink this wine, and fortify ourselves for the night. Venus requires no more than a lamp filled with oil and cups brimming with wine.

Apuleius spends the day at the baths and in feasting. As evening approaches, he is invited to supper by Milo. Trying to keep Fotis out of Pamphiles' sight, Apuleius maneuvers himself strategically at the table.

PAMPHILES
(observing the candle)
We shall have much rain tomorrow. The light on the table tells me so.

MILO
(teasingly)
A Sibyl prophesier in our midst! Our household is truly blessed. How do you know such things, my dear?

PAMPHILES
(surely)
The light on the table reveals the secrets of the heavens. It is an omen.

Apuleius, recalling his encounter with Diophanes, a charlatan fortune-teller, shares his experiences.

APULEIUS
(narrating)
I knew a man in Corinth, an Assyrian named Diophanes, who made prophecies for money. He foretold various fortunes for people, from marriages to building projects. Though he met an unfortunate end, his predictions were sometimes surprisingly accurate.

MILO
(laughing)
Ah, the whims of fortune! But Diophanes did foretell your safe journey to me, Lucius. Perhaps his gift had a touch of truth.

Night progresses, and the conversation turns to other topics. Apuleius realizes he has lost precious time and is eager for the night's pleasures. He bids farewell to Milo and returns to his chamber.

INTO THE NIGHT

Apuleius prepares for Fotis' arrival. Byrrhena's warning about Pamphiles lingers in his mind, but his desire overcomes any caution.

INTO THE BEDCHAMBER

Fotis, having prepared the room with flowers, enters sensually. She bestows upon Apuleius a garland, and together they share wine, setting the stage for their night of passion.

Apuleius expresses his impatience, and Fotis, understanding his desires, undresses herself. The scene unfolds as they engage in intimate pleasures, indulging in wine and love throughout the night.

FADE OUT.

[Another warning about content violation for chapter 10]

FADE IN:

INT. APULEIUS' CHAMBER - NIGHT

Apuleius, having returned from the supper at Byrrhena's house, finds himself in high spirits. He contemplates the strange customs of the city and recounts his recent adventure in Larissa.

APULEIUS
(to Fotis)
My dear Fotis, did you not hear the strange tale of Bellerophon? A man who, for the promise of wealth, watched a dead body only to fall victim to the wickedness of witches. But I am not one to be deceived by such stories.

FOTIS
(smiling)
Indeed, master, your wit and courage surpass those who succumb to such superstitions.

APULEIUS
(nodding)
True, true. But let us not dwell on such matters. Byrrhena has invited me to celebrate the festival of the god Risus tomorrow. I must come up with something amusing to honor the god of laughter.

FOTIS
(enthused)
Oh, master, I am sure your inventive mind will come up with something delightful! The festival will be memorable with your contribution.

The next day, Apuleius prepares for the festival of Risus, contemplating a way to entertain the crowd.

INTO THE DAY - RISUS FESTIVAL

The city is alive with laughter and merriment as people gather for the festival. Byrrhena awaits Apuleius with anticipation. Apuleius, dressed in festive attire, arrives with a mischievous glint in his eye.

BYRRHENA
(smiling)
Cousin, we are eager to see what entertaining surprise you have prepared for the festival. Risus awaits your offering.

APULEIUS
(with a flourish)
Fear not, Byrrhena, for I have a little trick up my sleeve that will bring joy and laughter to all.

Apuleius steps forward, and the crowd hushes in anticipation. He takes a deep breath and begins to tell a humorous tale, weaving a story that captivates the audience and has them bursting into laughter.

The festival continues with games, music, and more laughter as Apuleius successfully honors the god Risus.

FADE OUT.


OLD MAN
(solemnly)
Hear me, honorable Judges, and all you gathered here to witness the workings of justice. I bring forth this glass of water as a symbol, a reflection of the truth that I shall unfold.

Apuleius, the accused, stands before you, and I, Zachlas the Egyptian, the Prophet of this city, have been summoned to reveal the secrets hidden in the element of water.

Apuleius, with his deeds, has disturbed the natural order. Last night, he committed a heinous act, and the water I hold in my hand shall reveal the truth of his actions.

ZACHLAS raises the glass of water and begins to chant incantations, invoking the powers of the elements.

ZACHLAS
(voice echoing)
By the ancient forces that govern the earth, air, fire, and water, let the truth be unveiled. In this vessel, let the reflection of innocence or guilt be shown.

The water in the glass begins to shimmer with an otherworldly light, captivating the attention of the Judges, the crowd, and even Apuleius himself.

ZACHLAS
(continuing)
Witness the water, the mirror of divine justice. If the accused is innocent, let the water remain pure. But if guilt stains his soul, let the impurities manifest.

As the crowd watches in suspense, the water in the glass starts to ripple, revealing images of the events from the previous night. The reflection showcases the actions of Apuleius and the consequences of his deeds.

ZACHLAS
(intoning)
Behold, the truth is laid bare before you. The water speaks of the accused's actions, and justice demands its due course.

The Judges exchange solemn glances, considering the evidence presented by the mystical revelation.

FADE OUT.

The Judges, solemn-faced, listened attentively to both the accuser and Apuleius' defense. The accusations were grave, and the fate of Apuleius hung in the balance. The crowd, a sea of faces, eagerly awaited the verdict.

The accused had presented a tale of self-defense, a desperate act to protect his friend Milo's home from imminent danger. Yet, in the eyes of the accuser, he was a murderer, and justice needed to be served.

The atmosphere in the Judgement hall was thick with tension as the Judges conferred among themselves. After a brief but intense deliberation, the Chief Judge rose and addressed the assembly.

CHIEF JUDGE
(gravely)
Citizens of this great city, we stand at a crossroads where justice and mercy meet. The accusations against Apuleius are weighty, and the evidence has been presented by both sides. It is our duty to discern the truth and mete out justice accordingly.

To the accuser, you have brought forth a tale of a brutal crime committed against the citizens of this city. Your concern for the safety of the people is commendable, and we acknowledge the duty of the night Watch in preserving the peace.

To Apuleius, you claim self-defense and the protection of a friend's home. Yet, the act of taking a life, no matter the circumstances, cannot be taken lightly.

The Judges exchanged knowing glances, and the Chief Judge continued.

CHIEF JUDGE
(solemnly)
We have called upon the divine providence and sought guidance from the elements. The water has revealed the events of the night, and we have heard the arguments presented.

Apuleius, your actions, though born from a sense of duty, have led to the death of three citizens. This is an undeniable fact. However, it is clear that you acted in the heat of the moment to protect a fellow citizen from harm.

In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and to balance justice with mercy, we, the Judges of this city, declare our verdict. Apuleius, you shall not face the ultimate punishment for your actions. Instead, you shall be exiled from this city, never to return.

May this sentence serve as a reminder to all citizens that justice is tempered with compassion, and that the preservation of life is a sacred duty.

With these words, the Judges concluded the trial, and the crowd, now hushed, witnessed the unfolding of a unique form of justice. Apuleius, though spared from death, would face a life of exile, carrying the weight of his actions far from the city he once called home.
Secret Alias
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

INT. THEATER - NIGHT

Lucius stands in the center of the theater, surrounded by a crowd. A woman in mourning attire enters, holding a child. An old woman, clad in ragged robes, follows, crying and howling. They carry olive boughs covering three bodies on a bier.

WOMAN
(pleading)
O right Judges, have mercy on these slain persons. Help our widowhood and the loss of our dear husbands, especially this poor orphan.

OLD WOMAN
(weeping)
Execute justice on the blood of this thief, the cause of our sorrows!

An ancient JUDGE rises.

ANCIENT JUDGE
(gravely)
This murder deserves punishment. We must find if the accused had accomplices. One man couldn't have killed three. The truth will be revealed with the rack. Let's root out these murderous conspirators.

Torment devices, including the wheel and fire, are brought in. Lucius despairs, knowing he may face torture.

OLD WOMAN
(howling)
Uncover the bodies! Let everyone see their comely shape and youth. He must receive worthy punishment!

Lucius hesitates, but the Sergeant forces him to uncover the bodies, revealing inflated bladders, not real corpses.

CROWD
(laughing)
Rejoicing at the absurdity, the crowd exits the theater.

Lucius, stunned, is led away by Milo.

INT. MILO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Lucius, in a state of shock, sits with Milo, who tries to console him.

MILO
(trying to comfort)
Lucius, forget the shame. The city intends to reward you. They plan to make you a Patron. Your nobility is known throughout the province.

JUDGES and MAGISTRATES enter, attempting to pacify Lucius.

JUDGE
(insistent)
Put away your cares. The celebration of the god Risus is renowned for humor. The city wants to honor you.

Lucius, reluctant, responds.

LUCIUS
(resigned)
Thanks for the benefits, but leave statues for the more worthy.

A messenger interrupts, announcing supper at Byrrhena's.

MESSENGER
Your cousin awaits, the supper is ready.

Lucius declines, fearing further embarrassment.

LUICUS
(deflecting)
Excuse me; my host Milo insists I stay. Another time, perhaps.

Milo leads Lucius away, trying to shield him from the eyes of the city.

INT. MILO'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Lucius retires to his chamber, overwhelmed by the day's events, his spirit broken.

FADE OUT.

INT. LUCIUS'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Lucius lies in bed, recalling the day's events. The door creaks open, and Fotis enters, her demeanor grave. She carries a whip and, with a frown, speaks.

FOTIS
(confessing)
I admit I've caused all your troubles today. Revenge yourself on me or even slay me.

Lucius, surprised, rejects the idea of harming her.

LUCIUS
(dismissing)
This pestilent whip won't touch your delicate skin. Tell me how you caused my trouble. I know you harbor no ill intentions.

Fotis, teary-eyed, embraces Lucius and reveals her involvement.

FOTIS
(tearful)
I fear to speak openly, but your love compels me. My mistress, who commands the powers of hell, is infatuated with a man named Boetian. I overheard her saying she would have cast perpetual darkness if the night hadn't come.

She explains that her mistress ordered her to collect hair from Boetian, but the barber interfered. Fotis, fearing punishment, considered running away but was reminded of Lucius. Instead, she gathered hair from a goat to deceive her mistress.

FOTIS
(confessing)
The hair was burnt in a magical ritual. Bodies, enchanted with the smell of their own hair, were sent to our door instead of Boetian.

Fotis acknowledges that Lucius unknowingly killed these enchanted beings.

LUCIUS'S BEDROOM - CONTINUED

Lucius reassures Fotis and expresses his curiosity about her mistress's sorcery. He requests her help in witnessing the enchantments.

LUCIUS
(pleading)
Show me your mistress's enchantments. I desire to learn that art. Your experience may be valuable, and I find myself enchanted by you.

Fotis, captivated by Lucius's words, promises to reveal the secrets when an opportunity arises.

FOTIS
(promising)
I'll bring you word and show you all her enchantments, but you must keep it secret.

Their conversation shifts, and the atmosphere becomes charged with desire. Fotis undresses, and they share a night of passion.

INT. LUCIUS'S BEDROOM - MORNING

As dawn approaches, Lucius succumbs to sleep, thoroughly satisfied by the night's escapades.

[another warning of violation of policy for chapter 15]

!
INT. LUCIUS'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Fotis rushes into Lucius's chamber, her eyes wide with fear, revealing her mistress's plan to transform into a bird using a magical ointment. She urges Lucius to witness the transformation that night. As midnight approaches, Fotis guides him into a hidden chamber with a narrow opening, where he can observe without being seen.

Through the crack in the door, Lucius watches as the sorceress undresses, retrieves various boxes, and begins the enchantment ritual. With each step, he witnesses the astonishing transformation: feathers burgeon from her skin, her nose warps into a beak, nails morph into claws, and she becomes an owl. The eerie screeches and cries of the transformed sorceress fill the air as she takes flight and disappears into the night.

LUCIUS
(astonished)
By the gods...

Lucius is left dumbfounded by the supernatural spectacle. As he regains his composure, he takes Fotis by the hand, confirming the reality of the events.

LUCIUS
(excited)
Fotis, while the opportunity is here, let me have the fruition of my desires. Grant me some of this ointment. I wish to become a bird, a creature of the night, bound to you forever.

Fotis, however, is skeptical of Lucius's intentions, fearing he might abandon her.

FOTIS
(skeptical)
Are you trying to deceive me? If you become a bird, where shall I seek you? When shall I see you again?

LUCIUS
(reassuring)
No deception, Fotis. Even if I soar as an eagle, my nest will be with you. I swear by the knot of your amiable hair, my love is solely yours.

Lucius further reassures Fotis that, as an owl, he won't come near anyone's house to avoid the consequences of being caught by matrons and nailed to posts. Fotis is relieved by his words but raises a crucial point.

FOTIS
(concerned)
But how will you turn back to your human form?

LUCIUS
(eager)
Tell me the way, Fotis. I must know the remedy to return to my true self.

Fotis explains the seemingly simple process involving dill and laurel leaves in well water. Lucius, eager to embrace his newfound fate, kisses the box containing the magical ointment and fervently applies it to his body, ready to embark on a fantastical journey.

[another warning of violation of policy chapter 16]

EXT. GARDEN - DAY

Lucius, now transformed into an ass, stumbles upon a beautiful garden, its vibrant colors and fragrant blooms providing a stark contrast to the miseries he has endured. As he approaches the garden, he notices an array of roses in full bloom, their petals enticingly within reach.

LUCIUS
(to himself)
Ah, fresh roses! Perhaps these could be the key to undoing this curse.

Eager for a solution, Lucius extends his neck towards the roses, intending to pluck a few. But a sudden realization strikes him – the dangers of reverting to a human form amidst thieves. Cautious and pragmatic, he restrains himself.

LUCIUS
(pondering)
No, not yet. It's not safe. I must endure this form until I find a secure place to resume my human self.

As Lucius continues his journey through the garden, he glimpses a variety of flowers, their beauty contrasting with his current predicament. Despite the allure of the roses, he decides to refrain from eating them, opting instead for the safety of hay, a sustenance familiar to an ass.

EXT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS - DAY

The journey continues as Lucius, in his asinine form, traverses through towns and villages. The burden of the thieves' loot, combined with the relentless beatings he received, makes his plight even more unbearable. Yet, a spark of hope remains – he yearns for a civil remedy, an invocation of the Emperor's name, and a return to his human self.

But the curses seem unyielding, and Lucius must navigate through challenges and adversities in his quest for redemption.

EXT. ANOTHER GARDEN - DAY

After many trials, Lucius stumbles upon another garden, this one harboring roses anew. The temptation is great, but the memories of potential dangers hold him back. He decides to endure his current state, relying on hay for sustenance, and perseveres through the challenges that fate continues to throw his way.

EXT. VILLAGE STREET - DAY

Lucius, now back in his human form after consuming the poisonous "Lawrel roses," staggers through the village streets, battered and bruised from the encounter with the gardener and the subsequent beating by the villagers. He is no longer an ass but finds himself in a pitiable state.

LUCIUS
(grimacing in pain)
Oh, cruel fate! The agony of these misadventures is beyond measure.

As he limps through the village, the townsfolk gaze upon him with a mix of curiosity and disdain. The effects of the beating are evident on his battered body. Whispers and hushed conversations follow him like a shadow.

CUT TO:

EXT. VILLAGE INN - DAY

In his quest for solace, Lucius arrives at a modest inn, hoping to find shelter, sustenance, and perhaps a remedy for his wounds.

INT. INN - COMMON ROOM - DAY

Lucius enters the dimly lit common room, the air thick with the scent of ale and the murmur of hushed conversations. The innkeeper eyes him warily as he approaches the bar.

INNKEEPER
(raising an eyebrow)
You look worse for wear, stranger. What happened to you?

LUCIUS
(sighs)
A tale of misfortune, my friend. I seek refuge and maybe a remedy for my wounds.

The innkeeper, moved by pity, provides Lucius with a modest meal and a corner by the hearth to rest.

EXT. INN - COURTYARD - NIGHT

Lucius sits by the fire, nursing his wounds and reflecting on the bizarre and painful journey he has undertaken. The flickering flames cast shadows on his face as he contemplates his next steps.

LUCIUS
(whispering to himself)
The road to redemption is long and treacherous. I must be cautious and strategic in seeking a way to break this accursed spell.

As night falls, Lucius leans back against the inn's exterior wall, the distant howls of wolves echoing in the night. The journey is far from over, and his fate remains uncertain.


CUT TO:

EXT. PLATEA CITY STREETS - DAY

Lucius and Babulus, with the bear skin and claws, weave through the crowded streets of Platea. The people cast curious glances at the peculiar sight, wondering what the two men have in mind.

LUCIUS
(whispering to Babulus)
We must be cautious, my friend. This plan of ours requires discretion and perfect timing.

BABULUS
(nodding)
Fear not, Lucius. Our scheme shall unfold as planned.

FADE TO BLACK

*INT. DEMOCHARES' HOUSE - NIGHT

Lucius and Babulus, under the cover of darkness, sneak into Demochares' house. The great game preparations are evident as they move through the corridors adorned with weapons and hunting paraphernalia.

LUCIUS
(whispering)
Remember, Babulus, we must place the bear's head in a conspicuous spot, and its claws nearby. It shall be our silent message to Demochares.

BABULUS
(agrees)
Aye, Lucius. Let him witness the consequences of his obsession with these poor creatures.

*EXT. DEMOCHARES' YARD - NIGHT

Lucius and Babulus, like shadows in the night, make their way to a prominent location within the yard. They carefully arrange the bear's head on a spike, making it look as though it's glaring into the distance, and scatter its claws around it.

LUCIUS
(whispering a mock speech)
Behold, the great Demochares, master of the bears, whose love for these creatures led to their demise. May he gaze upon the consequences of his actions.

BABULUS
(chuckles)
A fitting display indeed.

FADE OUT

*EXT. PLATEA CITY STREETS - DAY (NEXT MORNING)

The sun rises, casting its warm light over Platea. The people gradually awaken and start their daily routines. The news of the peculiar display in Demochares' yard spreads like wildfire.

CITIZEN #1
(gossiping)
Have you seen what happened to Demochares' prized bears?

CITIZEN #2
(amused)
No, what's the news?

CITIZEN #1
(raising an eyebrow)
Their heads on spikes, claws scattered around. Looks like someone wanted to send a message.

CITIZEN #2
(laughing)
Well, Demochares always had it coming with his obsession.

FADE TO BLACK

*INT. *DEMOCHARES' HOUSE - DAY

Demochares, alerted by the commotion in the city, rushes to his yard to witness the shocking sight. His face turns pale as he takes in the silent message left by Lucius and Babulus.

DEMOCHARES
(angry)
Who dared defile my bears in such a manner?

Demochares, consumed by rage and frustration, vows to find the perpetrators and make them pay for their audacious act. Meanwhile, Lucius and Babulus, satisfied with their revenge, slip away into the bustling city, disappearing like phantoms into the crowd.

FADE OUT

The next morning, as the first rays of the sun touched the earth, Lucius and Babulus found themselves well-rested, considering the hardships of their journey. They gathered their belongings and prepared to resume their travels.

BABULUS
(looking at the sepulchre)
Shall we not check on our hidden treasure before we depart, Lucius?

LUCIUS
(smiling)
Aye, good Babulus. It would be prudent to ensure our hard-earned gains are secure.

The two rogues made their way to the secluded sepulchre. As they approached, a sense of relief washed over them, knowing that their treasures were safely stowed away from prying eyes.

LUCIUS
(whispering)
Our loyal dead companions guard this secret well.

With a mixture of satisfaction and caution, Lucius and Babulus checked the contents of the sepulchre. The glint of gold and silver reassured them that their cunning scheme had paid off.

BABULUS
(smiling)
Indeed, Lucius, our artful endeavors bear the sweetest fruits.

As they closed the sepulchre, Lucius cast a glance at the resting place of their fallen comrade, Thrasileon. Despite the risks and losses, their journey continued. They mounted their steeds, and once again, the trio set forth on the winding paths of adventure.

CUT TO:

EXT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS ALONG THE JOURNEY - DAY

The days blurred together as Lucius, Babulus, and the horse traversed through diverse landscapes. They encountered bustling cities, tranquil villages, and untouched wilderness. At times, they relied on their wits to secure food and shelter, blending in seamlessly with the surroundings.

LUCIUS
(to Babulus)
Our travels have taken us far, my friend. But we must remain vigilant.

BABULUS
(nodding)
Indeed, Lucius. The road may twist and turn, but our wits shall guide us.

Their journey unfolded like a never-ending tale, filled with unpredictability and audacious exploits. Lucius, Babulus, and the horse continued to roam, ready for whatever surprises the road had in store.

FADE OUT
Secret Alias
Posts: 18641
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

INT. CITY APARTMENT - NIGHT

The city sleeps, bathed in the soft glow of streetlights. A group of THIEVES, modern-day bandits, awakens in a dimly lit hideout. They strap on their weapons, don disguises, and prepare for a night of mischief.

INT. APARTMENT KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Our narrator, once a man, now transformed into an ASS, grazes insatiably in a corner. Despite the drowsiness that should accompany the night, hunger consumes him. His eating habits have escalated from human portions to the insatiable appetite of an ASS.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
Back in my human days, I could be satisfied with a meal or two, but now, as an ass, I devour three panniers full and still crave more.

The morning sun begins to illuminate the apartment. The ASS, guided by a strange instinct, heads to a nearby river and quenches its thirst.

EXT. HIDEOUT - DAWN

The THIEVES return, burdened not with stolen goods but with a maiden – a beautiful woman dressed like a city socialite. She weeps, torn between sorrow and fear.

THIEF LEADER
(trying to comfort)
Don't weep, fair lady. We promise no harm. Circumstances force us into this life. Your parents, though covetous, will pay a hefty ransom for your release.

Despite their attempts at reassurance, the maiden continues to sob. The THIEVES summon an OLD WOMAN from the shadows, instructing her to calm the distressed maiden.

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

The maiden's cries echo through the hideout, stirring emotions even in the transformed ASS. The maiden, lamenting her fate, questions whether she can endure a life as prey to thieves and robbers.

MAIDEN
(tearfully)
Can I, a poor girl of noble birth, survive this life? Abandoned by family and friends, a captive in this stony prison, in constant danger – can I bear it?

The maiden's sorrow moves the transformed ASS to shed tears as well. She collapses into an uneasy sleep, only to awaken as a furious, desperate woman, beating her chest.

OLD WOMAN
(sternly)
Why this sudden lamentation? Speak, or face dire consequences!

MAIDEN
(despairing)
I am utterly undone. Give me a knife or a rope, for I can't endure this any longer.

The old woman, angered, demands an explanation for the maiden's renewed grief after her sleep.

MAIDEN
(sighing)
I dreamed of being forcibly taken from my home, my chamber, my bed. I roamed unknown places, calling for my beloved. In the dream, he, adorned with garlands, followed my trail, seeking help. A thief, angered by his pursuit, threw a stone, killing him. I awoke in terror.

The old woman, sighing deeply, reassures the maiden, drawing parallels between the falsehoods of dreams and the changing nature of reality. She promises a tale to lift the maiden's spirits.


FADE IN:

INT. PSYCHE'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

The room is adorned with riches and divine ornaments. Psyche, dressed in mourning attire, sits alone on a magnificent chair, her eyes filled with sorrow.

PSYCHE
(whispering to herself)
Oh, cruel fate! A serpent for a husband? How can this be? The gods mock me with their riddles.

Her parents enter, draped in sorrowful garments.

PSYCHE'S FATHER
(teary-eyed)
My dear daughter, it seems the gods have woven a tragic destiny for you.

PSYCHE'S MOTHER
(weeping)
We sought a husband for you, but Apollo's oracle spoke of a serpent, a creature with wings. Oh, what have we done to incur such wrath?

PSYCHE
(mournfully)
Am I to be wed to a monster? Is this my fate?

The parents embrace Psyche, their hearts heavy with grief.

PSYCHE'S FATHER
(softly)
We must fulfill the prophecy, my child. The gods have spoken.

PSYCHE
(resigned)
Then lead me to the appointed place, for I am bound by the will of the divine.

CUT TO:

EXT. SACRED HILL - NIGHT

The hill is shrouded in darkness, with an eerie silence hanging in the air. The black torches flicker as the procession approaches.

PSYCHE
(whispering a prayer)
Oh, gods above, if this must be my destiny, grant me strength to face it with courage.

The family, accompanied by a somber crowd, ascends the hill to the designated spot.

CUT TO:

EXT. APOLLO'S TEMPLE - NIGHT

The moon casts an ethereal glow on the temple of Apollo as the priestess, cloaked in sacred attire, awaits the arrival of Psyche.

PRIESTESS
(solemnly)
Psyche, daughter of mortals, step forward to fulfill the prophecy.

Psyche, with tearful eyes, takes hesitant steps toward the sacred altar.

CUT TO:

INT. TEMPLE - NIGHT

A dark figure lurks in the shadows of the temple, unseen by the grieving crowd.

CUT BACK TO:

EXT. SACRED HILL - NIGHT

As Psyche approaches the altar, a mysterious wind begins to blow, carrying with it a soft melody.

PSYCHE
(whispering)
Who laments for me in this moment of despair?

A gentle voice, not of this world, resonates through the air.

VOICE
Fear not, Psyche, for your destiny shall be revealed in due time.

The black torches extinguish as a radiant light envelops Psyche. The crowd watches in awe as her mourning garments transform into a gown of celestial beauty.

CUT TO:

EXT. SACRED HILL - NIGHT

The crowd gasps in astonishment as Psyche's appearance changes, and the mysterious wind carries her away, leaving the hill aglow with divine radiance.

CUT TO:

EXT. ENCHANTED GARDEN - NIGHT

Psyche finds herself in a lush, enchanted garden, surrounded by the soft glow of magical flowers.

CUT TO:

EXT. APOLLO'S TEMPLE - NIGHT

The dark figure reveals itself - a winged figure with a bow - Cupid, who watches over the unfolding scene with a mischievous smile.

CUPID
(laughing softly)
Love has triumphed over destiny.

FADE OUT:

The night, once filled with mourning, transforms into a tapestry of enchantment and mystery, as the gods weave a new chapter for Psyche.


FADE IN:

INT. PSYCHE'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Psyche, filled with both joy and trepidation, waits for the arrival of her sisters.

PSYCHE
(whispering)
Zephyrus, gentle wind, bearer of my request, carry my sisters down to this valley.

The gentle breeze responds, and soon, the air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers.

CUT TO:

EXT. ENCHANTED GARDEN - VALLEY - MORNING

Psyche's sisters, grief-stricken and tearful, find themselves in the magical valley.

SISTER 1
(looking around in awe)
Where are we? What strange place is this?

SISTER 2
(teary-eyed)
It matters not. We are here for Psyche. Our beloved sister, lost to us.

CUT TO:

INT. PSYCHE'S CHAMBER - CONTINUOUS

Psyche, still invisible to her sisters, observes them from a distance.

PSYCHE
(whispering)
Dearest sisters, why do you weep? Can you not sense the joy that surrounds us?

Sisters, unaware of Psyche's presence, continue to mourn.

CUT TO:

EXT. ENCHANTED GARDEN - VALLEY - LATER

Psyche approaches her sisters, revealing herself to them.

PSYCHE
(surprising her sisters)
Sisters! It is I, Psyche.

Sisters, startled and overjoyed, embrace Psyche.

SISTER 1
(tearfully)
Can it be? Are you truly alive, sweet sister?

SISTER 2
(overcome with emotion)
We mourned you as lost, and now you stand before us.

PSYCHE
(smiling)
It is true, dear sisters. But we must not tarry in sorrow. Our time together is short. Come, let me share the treasures bestowed upon me.

Psyche, with a wave of her hand, summons invisible servants to bring forth gifts of gold and jewels.

SISTER 1
(astonished)
Invisible hands, treasures materializing from thin air. What wonders are these?

SISTER 2
(receiving gifts)
Psyche, you live in splendor, surrounded by enchantment. We knew not the depth of your fortune.

Cupid, watching from a distance, observes the interaction.

CUPID
(whispering)
Beware, Psyche. Do not let curiosity lead you astray.

Sisters, having received gifts, become curious.

SISTER 1
(inquisitive)
Psyche, your husband—is he not here with us?

PSYCHE
(nervous)
He is not present at this moment. His ways are mysterious, and I respect his wishes.

Sisters exchange glances, sensing a secret.

SISTER 2
(slyly)
Can you not reveal his face to us, sweet sister? We yearn to know the one who has granted you such prosperity.

Suspicion creeps into Psyche's heart, remembering her husband's warning.

CUT TO:

INT. PSYCHE'S CHAMBER - LATER

Psyche, torn between love for her sisters and loyalty to her husband, wrestles with conflicting emotions.

PSYCHE
(whispering to herself)
To reveal or not to reveal? Oh, Cupid, what shall I do?

As the internal struggle continues, Psyche fears the consequences of curiosity and contemplates her next move.

FADE OUT:

The valley, once filled with enchantment, now holds the weight of a looming decision as Psyche grapples with the choices before her.

SISTER 1
(astonished)
Such sweet music! Is there a hidden orchestra in this palace?

SISTER 2
(amazed)
I see no musicians, yet the air is filled with melodies. This is truly enchanting.

PSYCHE
(smiling)
These are the delights that surround me daily. The unseen servants that attend to every wish.

Sisters, captivated by the music, indulge in the sumptuous feast before them.

SISTER 1
(savoring the food)
I have never tasted such divine flavors. Sister, your life is filled with wonders.

SISTER 2
(enjoying the ambiance)
And the fragrance! It's as if we feast in the gardens of the gods.

As the feast continues, the sisters, drawn by both envy and curiosity, attempt to steer the conversation.

SISTER 1
(slyly)
Dearest sister, you've mentioned your husband, a young man of the hills. Tell us more of him. What manner of person is he?

Suspicion flits across Psyche's face, and she hesitates.

PSYCHE
(choosing her words carefully)
He is strong and comely, with a love for the wild. A husband who roams the hills and valleys.

SISTER 2
(teasing)
But tell us, sweet sister, have you never seen his face? Does he hide it beneath his flaxen beard?

PSYCHE
(evading)
He is mysterious, and I respect his desire for privacy. I do not pry into his secrets.

Sisters, growing more curious, exchange knowing glances.

SISTER 1
(teasingly)
Does he not long for the comforts of this palace? A husband of the hills, and you with such abundant wealth.

PSYCHE
(smiling)
He is content with his realm, and I respect his desires. Now, let us enjoy this moment.

The conversation takes a turn, and Psyche skillfully diverts their attention with stories of her daily life.

CUT TO:

INT. PSYCHE'S CHAMBER - LATER

Sisters, having enjoyed the hospitality, are filled with envy and malice.

SISTER 1
(whispering)
Did you not see, sister, the riches she commands? The invisible servants and the music without musicians?

SISTER 2
(envious)
Our lives are spent in toil and misery, while she revels in luxury. We must not let this stand.

Sisters, feigning gratitude, bid farewell to Psyche and make their way back to the mountain.

CUT TO:

EXT. ENCHANTED GARDEN - VALLEY - LATER

Sisters, filled with envy and resentment, climb the mountain and plan their sinister scheme.

SISTER 1
(determined)
We must expose her husband, reveal the truth of her prosperity. Our parents must know the reality of her life.

SISTER 2
(evil grin)
Yes, and we shall strip her of this false happiness, expose her to the world. Let her see how wretched her life truly is.

With malicious intentions, the sisters depart, leaving the enchanted valley behind.

FADE OUT:

As the stage is set for the sisters' plot to unfold, darkness looms over the once enchanted paradise.

Pan continued his counsel to the distressed Psyche:

PAN
(affectionate)
O young maiden, do not let despair cloud your reason. Cupid, the god of love, has wounded many hearts, and in your grief, you must seek his favor. Cast away those thoughts of self-destruction, for they bring no remedy. Instead, dedicate yourself to the service of Cupid, who may yet be moved by your devotion.

Psyche, still in sorrow, listened to Pan's words, finding a glimmer of hope.

PAN
(smiling)
Seek out the temple of Cupid, which lies eastward, and there make your offerings with pure and sincere prayers. Entreat the god to forgive your past transgressions and to return to you. Perform these rites faithfully, and you may win back his love.

Psyche, grateful for the advice, gathered her strength and thanked Pan.

PSYCHE
(tearfully)
Wise Pan, your words have brought solace to my troubled heart. I will follow your counsel and seek the temple of Cupid. May he hear my prayers and grant me his mercy.

Psyche, with newfound determination, set forth on a journey to find the temple of Cupid.

CUT TO:

EXT. TEMPLE OF CUPID - DAY

Psyche arrives at the temple, a serene and sacred place, adorned with symbols of love. She approaches the altar with humility.

PSYCHE
(whispering prayers)
O mighty Cupid, god of love, I, your humble servant, come before you in repentance. I have erred in my ignorance and desperation. I beseech you, forgive my folly and return to me. Accept my offerings and hear my plea.

Psyche, with tears in her eyes, places offerings on the altar—fragrant flowers, sweet fruits, and tokens of devotion.

PSYCHE
(praying)
Great Cupid, I vow to dedicate my life to your service. I promise to honor and cherish you, and to follow your commandments with unwavering faith. Grant me the chance to make amends for my mistakes, and may your divine presence return to my life.

Psyche, having poured out her heart in prayer, awaits a sign from the god of love.

FADE OUT:

As Psyche awaits a response from Cupid, the temple remains silent, filled only with the fragrance of her offerings. The outcome of her supplication hangs in the balance, as the gods above observe the mortal's plea for redemption.

Continuing the story of Psyche:

The proclamation of Mercury reached the ears of both men and gods alike. The promise of seven sweet kisses from Venus herself was a reward that stirred the hearts of many, and the search for Psyche became a common quest. Those who had no information sought far and wide, hoping to chance upon the elusive maiden.

In the meantime, poor Psyche wandered alone, her heart burdened with sorrow. She roamed from place to place, uncertain of her fate. As she walked through the wilderness, she reached the banks of a river. Sitting by the water's edge, she gazed at her own reflection and spoke to the river as if it were a compassionate friend.

PSYCHE
(tearfully)
O gentle river, thou that hast often been witness to the joys and sorrows of lovers, I, a hapless maiden, seek thy solace. My heart is heavy with grief, and my eyes have shed countless tears. I am pursued by the wrath of Venus, and my beloved Cupid has forsaken me. Tell me, dear river, shall I ever find peace, or is my fate forever bound to sorrow?

The river, though unable to answer, seemed to murmur in sympathy with the woes of Psyche. As she continued her journey, she came upon a grove where she encountered Pan, the god of shepherds, playing his flute.

PAN
(smiling)
Hail, fair maiden! Why do you wander through the woods with such a melancholy air? The music of my pipes usually brings joy to all who hear it.

Psyche, recognizing the god, approached him and shared her tale of woe.

PSYCHE
(pleading)
O Pan, wise and gentle god, I am but a mortal burdened with the wrath of Venus. I seek my beloved husband, Cupid, whom I have unknowingly offended. Can you guide me to him or offer counsel on how I may win back his love?

Pan, moved by Psyche's plight, played a soft and soothing melody on his pipes.

PAN
(sympathetic)
Fear not, sweet maiden, for Pan, though a rustic god, has a tender heart. I have heard of your misfortunes. Follow the path through this grove, and it shall lead you to the temple of Venus. There, you may find the answers you seek.

Psyche, grateful for Pan's guidance, continued her journey, hopeful that she might find resolution at the temple of Venus.

CUT TO:

EXT. TEMPLE OF VENUS - DAY

Psyche approached the temple with a mix of trepidation and determination. The imposing structure seemed to echo with the divine presence of Venus. As she entered, she saw the golden image of the goddess, and with a trembling voice, she began to speak.

PSYCHE
(humbly)
O Venus, mighty goddess of love, I, your humble servant, seek your forgiveness and guidance. I am Psyche, the one whom Cupid loves. I have erred, unknowingly offending you, and now I am left alone and sorrowful. If it pleases you, grant me a chance to make amends and prove my devotion.

Psyche, with bated breath, waited for any sign or response from the goddess, her heart filled with both fear and hope.

INT. PSYCHE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

We open on PSYCHE, a young woman entangled in a tumultuous relationship with CUPID, the elusive God of Love. As she navigates the challenges of love, she becomes the target of VENUS, Cupid's mother, who unleashes her wrath.

EXT. VENUS' PALACE - DAY

Custome, one of Venus' imposing servants, discovers Psyche and drags her into Venus' presence. Venus scorns her, ridicules her impending motherhood, and orders her maidens, Sorrow and Sadness, to torment Psyche.

INT. VENUS' PALACE - NIGHT

Venus, unsatisfied with Psyche's suffering, devises impossible tasks. First, Psyche must separate various grains. In her despair, she's aided by compassionate creatures of the earth who sympathize with her plight.

EXT. MEADOW - DAY

Venus commands Psyche to gather wool from the golden-fleeced sheep guarded by ferocious creatures. A wise reed advises her on how to survive the ordeal.

EXT. MOUNTAIN - DAY

Psyche faces the daunting task of fetching water from a deadly river. A majestic eagle, recalling past services to Cupid, aids her, defying the menacing dragons and retrieving the water.

INT. PSYCHE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Returning home, Psyche is bestowed a mysterious box by Venus. She's then instructed to journey to the underworld to obtain a bit of Proserpina's beauty.

EXT. HILL OF TENARUS - NIGHT

Psyche embarks on a treacherous journey to the underworld. Along the way, she encounters a series of challenges, each demanding a sop or coin as payment.

INT. PROSERPINA'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Psyche reaches Proserpina's chamber, humbly kneeling and requesting a fragment of her beauty. Proserpina grants her wish, and Psyche prepares to return.

EXT. HILL OF TENARUS - DAY

Psyche retraces her steps, carefully navigating obstacles. But her curiosity leads her to open the mysterious box, unleashing an infernal sleep that engulfs her.

FADE OUT.

Title: "Love's Redemption"

INT. HEAVENLY PALACE - NIGHT

Cupid, now healed from his wounds, sneaks out of his confinement, retrieves his wings, and flies to his beloved Psyche. He gently awakens her from the eternal sleep induced by the deadly box.

CUPID
(whispering)
O wretched one, you were nearly lost again to your curiosity. Go, fulfill your task to my mother. I'll take care of everything. Meanwhile, I'll prepare for our reunion.

Cupid, expressing his deepening love for Psyche, ascends to the heavens, addressing Jupiter about his predicament. Jupiter, acknowledging the young god's dilemma, assures him of his support, advising caution against envious forces. Jupiter calls a council of gods to discuss the matter.

INT. HEAVENLY COUNCIL - DAY

Jupiter convenes the gods, emphasizing Cupid's plea and the necessity of a resolution. He declares that if any god fails to appear, they'll face severe consequences.

JUPITER
(to the gods)
Cupid's love has led him astray, and we must intervene. If there's a worthy maiden, let them be united in matrimony. It's time to put an end to his tumultuous affairs.

The gods assemble to decide Cupid's fate, ensuring justice prevails.

EXT. HEAVENLY GARDEN - DAY

Cupid returns to Venus, who's awaiting the decision. Jupiter's ruling is revealed: Cupid is to marry Psyche.

JUPITER
(to Venus)
He's chosen his bride, and it's only just. Let him have her and find happiness in his marriage.

Venus, reluctantly accepting the decision, conceals her discontent.

INT. HEAVENLY PALACE - NIGHT

Cupid and Psyche are reunited in the heavenly palace. A grand feast is prepared, immortality is bestowed upon Psyche, and they celebrate their eternal union.

JUPITER
(raising a pot)
Drink, Psyche, and become immortal. Let your love with Cupid endure forever.

The gods join in the festivities, music fills the air, and love triumphs. Psyche gives birth to a child named Pleasure.

EXT. HEAVENLY PALACE - DAY

The gods revel in the joyous occasion, as Cupid and Psyche, now united in eternal love, embody the triumph of love over adversity.

FADE OUT.

Title: "Fateful Reckoning"

INT. THIEVES' HIDEOUT - NIGHT

The thieves return with their ill-gotten gains, planning to retrieve the rest of their plunder hidden in a cave. Lucius, the unfortunate transformed man, narrates his predicament.

LUCIUS
(struggling)
They loaded us with burdens, beating us mercilessly as we stumbled under the weight. As night fell, we reached a cavern, and the thieves, with cruel efficiency, forbade us rest. I, weakened and injured, fell on a stone by the wayside.

Lucius describes his dire situation, realizing the thieves intend to kill him and his companion. He contemplates escape but finds himself at a crossroads, torn between the thieves and a potential death, or fleeing into the unknown.

EXT. THREE-WAY CROSSROAD - NIGHT

Lucius and the captive maiden argue about which path to take. Their disagreement reveals the impending danger. Meanwhile, the thieves return, spotting the struggling duo.

THIEF LEADER
(laughing)
Where are you in such a hurry? Afraid of spirits, or is the harlot eager to reunite with her parents? Come, we'll keep you company.

The thieves violently drag Lucius back, wielding a staff with brutal force. They mock his struggles and the maiden's attempt to resist.

LUCIUS
(desperate)
Why do you seek your own harm through me? These feet can't carry you to safety. I am your doom!

As Lucius and the maiden continue their struggle, fate takes a sinister turn.

EXT. HIDEOUT - NIGHT

Returning to the thieves' lair, they intensify their discussion about Lucius's fate. Different gruesome suggestions emerge, but one thief offers a more intricate plan, involving the maiden being sewn into Lucius's body.

THIEF
(scheming)
Let the maiden be sewn into the ass's belly. They'll both endure every torment we've planned. The ass dies as agreed, and she faces beasts, fire, and the gallows.

The thieves unanimously agree to this ghastly plan, sealing the fate of both Lucius and the maiden.

LUCIUS
(helpless)
I could only lament, knowing the horrors awaiting me on the morrow. A helpless ass, a maiden condemned to unspeakable agony.

FADE OUT.
Secret Alias
Posts: 18641
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

Title: "The Thracian's Tale"

INT. THIEVES' CAVE - DAY

The Thracian, Hemes, recounts his tale to the thieves, presenting himself as a valiant and experienced warrior seeking refuge among them. Lucius, the transformed man, listens in silent agony.

HERMES
(recounting)
I am Hemes, son of the renowned Theron the Thracian. I once commanded a mighty band that conquered the lands of Macedonia. But alas, misfortune befell me, and I lost all my riches and comrades in an ill-fated assault.

Hemes describes his descent from a powerful captain to a fugitive, compelled to flee with his faithful wife, Platina, who disguised herself to share in his struggles.

HERMES (CONT'D)
(continued)
But one night, as we rested in a house near Actium, you, my comrades, plundered our possessions. Platina, a woman of unwavering faith, raised the alarm, and by her courageous actions, we narrowly escaped the clutches of Caesar's army. She sought justice for her husband, and I, disguising myself as a woman, evaded capture.

Hemes reveals how his once-mighty band met its demise, leaving him as the sole survivor, adopting the guise of a woman to elude his pursuers.

HERMES (CONT'D)
(resolute)
Though my band was lost, my spirit endured. I continued my exploits, invading towns and castles in a woman's guise. Today, I present myself to you, seeking refuge and offering my skills in exchange for your camaraderie.

Hemes proudly displays the spoils he's collected, sharing the wealth as a gesture of goodwill. The thieves, enticed by his promise of turning their fortune, accept him as their new captain.

INT. THIEVES' CAVE - NIGHT

The thieves, rejuvenated by Hemes's presence, celebrate their newfound leader. They adorn him with better garments, embracing him as their captain. Hemes, now at the head of the table, toasts to their future successes.

HERMES
(raising his cup)
To fortune, to victory, and to our golden days ahead! With me as your captain, this stony abode shall transform into a palace of gold. Let our exploits be legendary, and may wealth flow like a river.

The thieves cheer, the atmosphere charged with renewed vigor. Lucius, the transformed man, remains a silent observer, burdened by his own miseries as the thieves revel in their newfound leader and dreams of prosperity.

Title: "The Thieves' Dilemma"

INT. THIEVES' CAVE - NIGHT

The thieves, having discussed the fate of the captive gentlewoman and Lucius, turn to their newly-appointed captain, seeking his counsel. The atmosphere is tense as they await his verdict.

CAPTAIN
(leaning back, considering)
My comrades, let reason guide our actions. I'm not one to hastily discard vengeance, but profit, if wisely pursued, can intertwine with our retribution. Hear me out.

The captain shares his perspective, advising against the brutal fate originally planned for the maiden and Lucius. He proposes a more lucrative alternative—selling the virgin to bawdy merchants who would pay handsomely for such a "brave girl."

CAPTAIN (CONT'D)
(continuing)
You may deem me cautious, but I offer you an option that ensures both revenge and profit. We'd gain gold instead of empty satisfaction. I know certain bawdy merchants who would eagerly pay for such a fine maiden. Consider the potential wealth we could amass.

The thieves, intrigued by the promise of gold, ponder the captain's words. Lucius, the transformed man, gazes upon the gentlewoman, hoping for a more merciful outcome.

CAPTAIN (CONT'D)
(concluding)
This is my counsel. You may rule me in this matter. Profit and vengeance need not be at odds. Decide what you will, and I shall follow.

The thieves deliberate, weighing the captain's advice. After a lengthy discussion, they ultimately agree to his proposition. The captive maiden is released from her bonds, and a spark of joy lights up her face at the prospect of an alternative fate.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Thus, the fate of the virgin and me, a lowly ass, rested in the hands of thieves whose decisions were swayed by the pursuit of gold. It was disheartening to witness the maiden's delight in the face of such dubious prospects.

Lucius, contemplating the complexities of human nature, reflects on the irony of women's desires and the unpredictable course of their destiny dictated by the judgment of an ass.

Title: "The Deceptive Feast"

INT. THIEVES' CAVE - NIGHT

The atmosphere is lively as the thieves, having accepted their new captain, indulge in a feast in honor of Mars. The deceptive captain, in reality Lepolemus, takes charge of the festivities, offering food and wine generously.

LEPOLEMUS
(raising a jug of wine)
To Mars, our guide in both war and revelry! May our future endeavors be as prosperous as this feast.

The thieves cheer and drink heartily, while Lepolemus discreetly attends to the maiden, Charites, offering her morsels of food and toasting to her. Lucius, the observing ass, grows increasingly wary of the unfolding events.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
As the deceptive captain played the role of a jovial host, offering morsels to the maiden and toasting to her well-being, my suspicions heightened. This feast, laden with wine and revelry, concealed a darker purpose.

In a private moment, Lepolemus reveals his true identity to Charites, assuring her of their impending victory over the captors.

LEPOLEMUS
(whispering)
Be of good cheer, my sweet friend Charites. Soon, all these enemies will be captive to you.

Lucius, perplexed by the unfolding events, continues to watch, and the thieves, oblivious to the true nature of their captain, revel in the festivities. The air is filled with laughter and the clinking of cups.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Yet, as the night progressed, I couldn't shake the feeling that Lepolemus, with his cunning demeanor, had something more sinister in mind. Little did I know, the fate of the thieves rested on a deceitful banquet, where danger lurked beneath the guise of celebration.

Suddenly, a foreboding stillness descends upon the cave, as the thieves, one by one, succumb to the effects of the food and wine. Lepolemus, the mastermind behind the deceptive feast, watches them fall into a deep slumber.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
In the midst of laughter and revelry, the thieves were unwittingly becoming victims of their own celebration, and the true nature of this nightmarish feast began to reveal itself.

Title: "The Harsh Trials of Lucius the Ass"

INT. MILL - DAY

Lucius, now a mill ass, recounts the twisted turns of his fate. Bound to the millstone, he endures the hardships of servitude under the cruel hands of his master's wife. The once-celebrated hero, now a beast of burden, bears the weight of his misfortune.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Alas, my hopes of liberty were cruelly shattered when I found myself bound to the accursed millstone, a slave to the insatiable greed of my master's wife. No longer the celebrated hero, but a lowly ass, grinding bread for the very hands that tormented me.

In the dimly lit mill, Lucius, with wounds still fresh from the jealous stone horses, endures the relentless beatings and abuses from his master's wife. Her cudgel, filled with cruel knots, becomes a tormentor in his daily struggle for survival.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Not only did she tire me with labor, but she reveled in my suffering. The cruel queen of the mill, driven by avarice, would extract her daily bread from my tormented skin.

Despite his hardships, Lucius clings to the fleeting hope that his ordeal may end soon. Little does he know that further trials await him in the fields.

EXT. PASTURE - DAY

Lucius, granted a brief respite in the fields, feels a momentary surge of joy at the prospect of freedom. However, his enthusiasm turns to despair as he encounters the stone horses, territorial and jealous, determined to maintain their dominance.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
The fleeting taste of liberty in the lush pastures brought a momentary joy. Yet, my optimism was short-lived as the stone horses, strong and aggressive, turned my brief respite into a nightmare. They, jealous guardians of their domain, unleashed their fury upon me.

The stone horses, with no regard for the laws of nature, unleash a relentless assault on Lucius. Kicks, spurns, and bites rain down upon him, turning his hopeful vision of mares into a brutal reality.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
I, once a hero, now an ass, fell victim to the base instincts of these stone brutes. Their malicious onslaught shattered my dreams of companionship and turned my pasture into a battleground.

The echoes of Lucius's brays mix with the sounds of the stone horses' cruelty, creating a haunting melody of suffering in the vast fields.

Title: "The Fiery Ordeal of Lucius the Ass"

INT. MILL - DAY

Lucius, the tormented hero-turned-ass, endures a new chapter of suffering as he is tasked with carrying heavy burdens of wood, driven by a merciless hangman boy. The mill becomes a place of constant agony as Lucius bears not only the weight of wood but also the cruel blows of his tormentor.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Fortune, relentless in her pursuit of my suffering, devised new torments for me. The mill, once a place of hopeful respite, now transformed into a chamber of relentless agony, where wood became my burden and a merciless hangman boy my tormentor.

Lucius, marked with wounds from the jealous stone horses, is driven uphill by the sadistic boy. Each step becomes a painful ordeal as Lucius' hooves are torn and worn by sharp flints. The boy, armed with a great staff, beats him mercilessly, focusing on a single spot until a gruesome hole appears, a window to the pain endured.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Beaten and battered, my body bore the scars of relentless cruelty. The hangman boy, devoid of compassion, exploited every weakness, tearing my flesh and reveling in my misery.

EXT. HILL - DAY

The hill, once a symbol of distant hope, becomes a site of further torment. Lucius is laden with burdens of wood, the weight more suited for elephants than a suffering ass. The boy's sadistic pleasure intensifies as he adds stones to balance the uneven load.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
My tormentor, driven by a malicious joy, loaded me with burdens fit for giants. Stones, wood, and misery became my companions on the treacherous journey up the hill, an ascent made unbearable by the sadistic whims of the hangman boy.

Lucius, driven to the edge of despair, finds himself subjected to a new form of torment. The boy binds sharp thorns into a fagot and ties it to Lucius' tail, creating a cruel contraption that pricks him from every side.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Thorns, as sharp as needles, pierced me from every angle. The boy, inventive in his cruelty, devised a new way to afflict me, turning my very tail into a weapon of torment.

EXT. VILLAGE ROAD - DAY

Lucius, pushed to his limits, retaliates by lifting his heels and spurning the boy. In response, the hangman boy orchestrates a malevolent scheme, setting a fiery trap to inflict more suffering on the helpless ass.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Defiance, born of desperation, led me to lift my heels against the tormentor. In retaliation, the boy devised a fiery trap, a scheme that would plunge me into yet another perilous ordeal.

Title: "The Accused Ass's Reprieve"

INT. MILL - DAY

Lucius, the ass burdened with wood and marked by cruel wounds, faces a new threat as the hangman boy concocts a scheme to bring about his demise. The boy, having sold the wood, leads Lucius unladen, spinning a tale of the ass's supposed lecherous behavior.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
The hangman boy, relentless in his cruelty, devised yet another scheme to condemn me. He spread false tales of my lascivious deeds, portraying me as a danger to women and children, a menace to all who crossed my path.

EXT. VILLAGE ROAD - DAY

The boy, with a malevolent grin, addresses the shepherds, accusing Lucius of lecherous acts. He paints a picture of a beast running wild, throwing down its burden to pursue innocent passersby. The shepherds, fueled by the boy's lies, contemplate a dire fate for the accused ass.

HANGMAN BOY
(with deceitful enthusiasm)
See this slow and dulle Asse! His wickedness knows no bounds. Just now, he sought to ravish an honest maiden, casting aside his burdens in pursuit of lecherous acts. We must rid ourselves of this vile creature before his deeds bring us great harm!

SHEPHERD 1
(resolute)
Let us make sacrifice of this common adulterous Asse. Kill him and throw his guts to the dogs. His flesh will serve as the laborers' supper.

The boy, eager to carry out the shepherds' wishes, sharpens his sword with a sinister intent. The ominous air hangs over Lucius as he faces the threat of imminent death.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
In that perilous moment, I regretted sparing the boy's life when I struck him. Now, my fate hung in the balance, with the shepherds ready to execute their harsh sentence.

SHEPHERD 2
(voice of reason)
Hold! Killing such a fair Asse for a supposed crime is a great offense. Instead, let us geld him, depriving him of his lustful urges. He shall become gentle, fat, and better in flesh. I shall fetch my tools from the market and ensure his tameness.

Lucius, realizing the alternative, contemplates the impending ordeal. The prospect of being gelded, a fate worse than death, fills him with sorrow and a desperate desire for escape.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
To be spared from death, only to face the cruel fate of gelding. My anguish deepens, and I contemplate escape, for the pain of losing my stones seemed a torment beyond endurance.

[warning about violation of company policy chapter 29]

Title: "The Fortunate Flight"

EXT. HILL - DAY

Lucius, tied to an oak by the roperipe boy, faces a perilous fate as a massive bear emerges from a cave. In a desperate attempt to escape, Lucius breaks free from his restraints and runs, leaving the cruel boy behind.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
The ominous presence of a fearsome bear granted me an unexpected reprieve. Driven by terror, I bolted from the oak, propelled by the desire to evade both the monstrous bear and the wicked roperipe boy.

EXT. UNKNOWN LANE - DAY

A stranger passing by the way encounters Lucius, who willingly submits to being ridden upon. The stranger, however, administers a few blows with a staff. Lucius, though indifferent to the beatings, embraces the newfound freedom and eagerly trots down the lane.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
I welcomed the stranger's ride, a brief respite from the impending threat of gelding. The strokes of the staff were a familiar discomfort, a small price to pay for the escape that lay before me.

EXT. OPEN FIELDS - DAY

Lucius and the stranger continue their journey, weaving through the open fields, and Lucius is content to be away from the dangers that awaited him. However, the bliss is short-lived.

EXT. HILL - DAY (LATER)

The shepherds, in search of a lost cow, stumble upon Lucius and the stranger. Recognizing the ass, they accuse the stranger of theft and demand answers about the missing roperipe boy.

STRANGER
(defending himself)
I found this Asse wandering alone, hoping to earn a reward by returning him to his rightful owner. I know nothing of the missing boy.

The shepherds, distrustful, attack the stranger, pulling him down and accusing him of murder. Lucius, though unable to speak, witnesses the unfolding injustice.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Their accusations fell upon the stranger, who had shown me a brief kindness. I wished I could speak, reveal the true perpetrator—the savage bear that tore the boy apart. Alas, my silent plea went unheard.

The shepherds, convinced of the stranger's guilt, lead him away, planning to accuse him of murder before the local authorities. Lucius, bound to an unjust fate, faces yet another twist in his tragic journey.

Title: "The Fiery Retribution"

INT. STABLE - NIGHT

Lucius, bound and helpless, faces impending doom as the shepherds plan to geld him. Meanwhile, the grieving mother of the slain boy, consumed by rage, seeks revenge.

MOTHER
(angry)
Is it fitting that this careless beast, without remorse for my son's death, continues to indulge in his gluttony? He should be punished for his crimes, and his innocence is but a ruse. He had the power to defend or save my son, yet he abandoned him to the thieves. Curse you, cursed beast!

She enters the stable, dressed in mourning attire, her grief fueling her fury. With tear-filled eyes and hair torn, she confronts Lucius.

MOTHER
(contemptuous)
You, foul creature, who denies your guilt as a thief would, how can you pretend innocence? You had the means to protect him with your heels or bite off the thieves, yet you deserted him. Such traitors deserve punishment!

Driven by vengeful determination, she binds Lucius's feet together to render him defenseless. Grasping a sturdy bar used to secure the stable door, she unleashes her wrath upon him.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
As the relentless blows fell upon me, I endured the unjust punishment, the price for the sins committed in the eyes of the grieving mother. But her wrath would not be quenched, and the beating continued until her strength waned.

The relentless assault prompts the desperate woman to find another means to torment Lucius. She grabs a firebrand from her hearth and thrusts it under his tail, inflicting searing pain.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
With no escape from the fiery torment, I faced the anguish as the flames licked at my hindquarters. But in the midst of my suffering, a moment of providence unfolded.

In an unexpected turn of events, Lucius, driven to desperation, retaliates against the relentless assault. Summoning his last reserves of strength, he releases a stream of dirty dung, aiming it directly at the woman's face.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
(narrating)
Faced with the vile retribution, she was forced to abandon her cruel assault. Blinded by the stench and filth, she stumbled back, temporarily thwarted in her quest for vengeance.

The stable, witness to the grotesque struggle, bears witness to the tumultuous clash between man and beast—a bitter, cyclical dance that continues to unfold in the tragic tale of Lucius the ass.

!
Title: "Vengeance Unveiled"

INT. COUNTRYSIDE - NIGHT

A young man, a familiar face among the servants of Charites, arrives at the dwelling of the cowherds and shepherds. Distraught, he begins to narrate the tragic tale that unfolded in the house of Charites.

YOUNG MAN
(sorrowful)
O ye house-keepers, shepherds, and cowherds, hear the tale of woe that has befallen the noble house of Charites. Our good mistress has met a miserable end, and I must share the grievous details.

The young man takes a seat before the fire, surrounded by the attentive servants. He proceeds to unfold the dark events that transpired in the household.

YOUNG MAN
(relaying the story)
There was a man named Thrasillus, once a companion in misery among the thieves, who, driven by vile desires, sought Charites in marriage. But she, wise and virtuous, refused him for his wicked ways and married Lepolemus instead.

He details the dark turn of events: how Thrasillus, consumed by lust and hatred, conspired to bring tragedy to the house. The young gentleman shares the treacherous plan and how it unfolded in the thicket during a hunt for wild game.

YOUNG MAN
(revealing Thrasillus' plot)
In the midst of the chase, a wild boar, fierce and deadly, appeared unexpectedly. Thrasillus, pretending friendship, led Lepolemus into a trap, causing his death. The deceitful plot revealed, the family mourned Lepolemus' tragic demise.

The young man, with a heavy heart, continues to narrate the aftermath: Charites' inconsolable grief, her secret vow to avenge her husband, and the revelation of Thrasillus' true colors.

YOUNG MAN
(relaying Charites' vengeance)
Charites, with cunning and bravery, lured Thrasillus into a trap of her own. She pretended to acquiesce to his advances, drugged him, and, in his sleep, rendered the traitor blind. The man who stole her husband's life now faced a life of eternal darkness.

In a final act of courage and despair, Charites, consumed by grief, took her own life at the grave of her beloved Lepolemus.

YOUNG MAN
(finishes the tale)
Thrasillus, left to his own remorse, chose to end his life within the sepulcher. The once noble house now lies in sorrow, and the friends and servants of Charites mourn the tragic fate that befell their beloved mistress.

The young man, his voice heavy with emotion, concludes the heart-wrenching story, leaving the cowherds and shepherds in stunned silence.

CUT TO:

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - NIGHT

The cowherds and shepherds, having heard the tale of vengeance and tragedy, prepare to leave the place. The weight of the story lingers in the air as they contemplate the unsettling events that transpired in the house of Charites.

[warning about content violation chapter 32]

Title: "Perils of the Journey"

INT. OPEN COUNTRYSIDE - NIGHT

The weary procession of horses, laden with various goods, is driven forward by the anxious horsekeeper. The young narrator recounts the perilous journey, now facing a new threat - the relentless wolves that haunt the nighttime landscape.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover)
The horsekeeper, laden with all his possessions, led us through the open fields, seeking refuge from the dangers that lurked in the night. Women, children, and animals, we bore a motley assortment of burdens, driven away from the looming threat of death.

The group traverses a great mountain, dense with trees, finding a momentary reprieve from the immediate danger. However, the sense of urgency to escape Thrasillus and the thieves prevails, pushing them forward into the unknown.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover, cont'd)
Once over the mountain, we approached a fair and rich castle, seeking shelter for the night. Yet, a chilling warning reached our ears - the countryside was infested with fierce and cruel wolves, notorious for attacking anything that crossed their path.

Despite the counsel to stay and face the dangers with the light of the morning, the greedy and fearful drivers insisted on pressing forward. The young narrator, remembering the impending threat of wolves, sought refuge among the other horses.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover, cont'd)
I, fearing the great danger, nestled myself among the other horses, seeking safety in numbers. The impending threat of wolves loomed large, and every man marveled at my swiftness as I scurried away with a speed that surpassed the others.

The young narrator reflects on the agility reminiscent of the legendary Pegasus, who soared through the air to escape threats. However, this escape was not for praise but born out of sheer fear.

As the night deepens, the group encounters a new danger - wolves. The shepherds and cowherds, armed like warriors, prepared to face the ferocious beasts.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover, cont'd)
Armed with spears, shepherds' crooks, darts, and firebrands, we faced the dreaded wolves. The night was filled with tension as we ventured forward, hoping to escape the deadly jaws of the beasts that roamed the open fields.

Miraculously, they passed through the wolf-infested territory, but their ordeal was far from over. The inhabitants of nearby villages, mistaking the travelers for thieves, unleashed a different kind of threat - fierce mastiffs and a barrage of stones from above.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover, cont'd)
The villagers, in fear for their possessions, set mastiffs upon us. A harrowing scene unfolded as the relentless dogs attacked from all sides. Stones rained down from windows, adding to the chaos, causing many of us to fall, wounded and torn.

The young narrator vividly describes the tragic scene of dogs attacking and stones falling, highlighting the immense peril they faced. As they managed to escape the immediate danger, the group continued their journey, bearing the wounds of both man and beast.
Secret Alias
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Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

Title: "Tragedies Unfold in the Village"

INT. VILLAGE LODGING - NIGHT

The weary travelers, battered and wounded from previous encounters, arrive at a village seeking respite. Little do they know that more tragedies await them in this seemingly ordinary place.

EXT. VILLAGE COMMONS - MORNING

The travelers gather in the village, surrounded by the ambiance of a small, peaceful town. The shepherds, eager to rest and recover, settle down to tend to their wounds. A local shepherd is approached, his flock grazing nearby.

LOCAL SHEPHERD
(in a hurry)
Do you seek food and drink here? You must be unaware of where you find yourselves.

With a swift dismissal, the old shepherd drives his flock away, leaving the travelers puzzled. As they ponder their location, another weary figure, an elderly man, approaches them, seeking help.

ELDERLY MAN
(pleading)
Masters, I pray you, succor me! My nephew has fallen into a ditch, chasing a sparrow. I fear for his life. Please, help me rescue him. I am too old and feeble to aid him.

Compassion rises among the travelers, and the youngest, still untouched by the previous perils, steps forward, volunteering to help the old man.

YOUNG TRAVELER
(pointing)
Show me where the boy fell. I'll bring him back.

The young traveler and the old man head toward a thicket, leaving the rest to tend to their wounds and packs.

EXT. THICKET - DAY

As the young traveler and the old man enter the thicket, the atmosphere becomes tense. The young traveler points to the spot where the boy supposedly fell, and suddenly, a shocking revelation unfolds.

YOUNG TRAVELER
(alarmed)
I see no boy here! Where is he?

OLD MAN
(tearfully)
A terrible dragon devoured him. I saw it with my own eyes.

The young traveler, now horrified, rushes back to the group with the grim news.

YOUNG TRAVELER
(shouting)
Run! A dragon has taken our companion!

Terrified, the shepherds abandon their quest and flee from the ominous thicket, leaving the dragon and the boy behind.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

The travelers, desperate for shelter, reach a village where a new tragedy awaits them. The master's servant, entangled in an affair, faces a gruesome fate orchestrated by his wronged wife.

YOUNG NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the village, a tale of jealousy and despair unfolded. A wife, enraged by her husband's infidelity, committed an unspeakable act. She cast her child into a pit and, in her anguish, plunged to her own demise.

YOUNG TRAVELER
(relaying the story)
The master, angered by the deaths of his wife and child, sought revenge. The unfaithful servant met a grisly end, devoured by ants after being coated in honey and bound to a fig tree.

The villagers, mourning the servant's fate, shared the harrowing story with the travelers. With horror in their hearts, the shepherds hastily departed from yet another accursed place, haunted by the relentless tragedies they encountered on their journey.


Title: "The Asse's Sacrifice"

EXT. WILD DESERT - NIGHT

The treacherous company, led by the conniving Phelibus, decides the fate of the poor Asse. In the desolate wilderness, they conspire to slay him, driven by their fear of exposure and the desire for personal gain.

EXT. WILD DESERT - OAK TREE - NIGHT

The moonlight reveals the Asse bound to an ancient oak tree, his body battered from the cruel beatings of his heartless masters. As they prepare to carry out their sinister plan, a heated debate ensues among the conspirators.

CONSPIRATOR 1
(angry)
Let's end this wretched beast's life! His noise defames our sacred rites.

CONSPIRATOR 2
(threatening)
I say we cut off his legs, once and for all!

CONSPIRATOR 3
(reasoning)
No, we need him to carry the goddess. His braying has served its purpose.

The conspirators reach a reluctant consensus, sparing the Asse's life for the time being. They reload the goddess and drive him forward with swords at his back, continuing their journey to a noble city.

EXT. NOBLE CITY - DAY

The treacherous entourage arrives at a city where the principal patron, deeply devoted to the goddess, awaits them with instruments of worship. A grand ceremony is held, and sacrifices are offered in reverence to the divine presence they carry.

INT. NOBLE CITY - MASTER'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

Inside the master's house, a tragic comedy unfolds. A gift of venison, intended for the patron, is devoured by a hungry greyhound. Panic ensues in the kitchen as the cook despairs over the loss, fearing retribution for his negligence.

COOK
(lamenting)
Oh, woe is me! The venison is gone, and my reputation with it. I'll surely be punished.

The cook's distraught wife intervenes with a cunning plan to salvage the situation.

COOK'S WIFE
(cunning)
Husband, heed my advice. Slay this strange Asse, cut off a side, and serve it as venison. It's our only hope.

The cook, desperate to avoid the consequences of his failure, embraces the idea. He sharpens his tools, ready to end the Asse's life for the sake of a deceptive feast.

EXT. NOBLE CITY - MASTER'S COURTYARD - NIGHT

Under the shroud of darkness, the cook leads the Asse to a secluded spot for his impending sacrifice. The Asse, unaware of the betrayal, brays softly, as if sensing the danger that looms over him. The fate of the sacrificial Asse hangs in the balance as the cook prepares to carry out his wife's deceitful counsel.

[content violation chapter 36]


Title: "The Asse's Resilience"

INT. INN - DAY

The Asse, having narrowly escaped the threat of sacrifice, finds himself in an inn in a village built upon the ruins of an ancient city. As the day unfolds, the inhabitants share a humorous incident that occurred in their town.

VILLAGER 1
(enthusiastic)
You won't believe the jest that happened here recently!

VILLAGER 2
(smiling)
Tell him, tell him! It's a tale worth hearing.

VILLAGER 3
(reluctantly)
Well, you see, there's a bit of mischief involving the local priest and the mischievous antics of a young boy.

EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - FLASHBACK - DAY

A mischievous YOUNG BOY, known for his pranks, approaches the VILLAGE PRIEST, who is going about his daily activities.

YOUNG BOY
(teasing)
Good day, Father! How fares the spiritual realm today?

VILLAGE PRIEST
(smiling)
Blessings upon you, my child. What brings you here?

YOUNG BOY
(slyly)
I've heard that you can turn water into wine. Is that true?

VILLAGE PRIEST
(chuckling)
Ah, the miracles of the divine. Indeed, it is possible.

The young boy, fueled by mischief, hands the priest a simple glass of water.

YOUNG BOY
(grinning)
Then, dear Father, let's witness this miracle!

The priest, amused by the boy's jest, plays along and utters a mock prayer. To everyone's surprise, he takes a sip from the glass, pretending to taste wine.

VILLAGE PRIEST
(smiling)
Behold! Water transformed into the finest wine.

The villagers who witness the exchange burst into laughter, enjoying the clever prank played by the mischievous young boy.

BACK TO PRESENT - INN

The villagers recount the story with amusement, sharing hearty laughter.

VILLAGER 1
(laughing)
Oh, the cleverness of our young troublemaker! Even the priest had to play along.

VILLAGER 2
(chuckling)
We cherish such moments in our village. Life is better with a bit of laughter.

As the villagers enjoy the tale, the Asse stands quietly, perhaps understanding the universal language of humor that transcends the boundaries between man and beast.

!
Title: "The Crafty Wife's Deception"

INT. HUMBLE HOUSE - DAY

A poor man, hardworking and unsuspecting, leaves for his daily chores, leaving his wife at home. Little does he know that his wife has a lover who frequently visits when he's away.

WIFE
(slyly)
Quick, my love! My husband will be back soon. Hide beneath the tub.

As they engage in their secret rendezvous, they hear the husband approaching.

HUSBAND
(whistling)
Home again, and with a full day's work behind me.

WIFE
(panicking)
Oh, no! He can't find you here.

The wife, quick on her feet, guides her lover under a large tub conveniently placed in a corner. She opens the door and scolds her husband.

WIFE
(accusingly)
Every day you return with nothing! Can't you provide for us? Daphne, our neighbor, enjoys life while you bring us nothing.

HUSBAND
(defensive)
But I've brought something today! I've sold this tub for five pence.

WIFE
(laughing)
Sold for five pence? You could have gotten more. This man here (pointing to her lover under the tub) offered seven!

HUSBAND
(surprised)
Who is he? What's the matter with the tub?

WIFE
(teasing)
He's checking if it's sound. Lift it, and let him see if it's worth his money.

The husband, unaware of the unfolding drama, lights a candle and hands it to her lover.

LOVER
(slyly)
Let me see if it's good for my purpose.

He removes his coat and crawls under the tub, all the while engaging in a playful banter about the tub's condition. Little does the husband know that his wife and her lover are having their own kind of 'cleaning' underneath.

As they finish their secret affair, the lover hands seven pence to the husband, who is tasked with carrying the tub back to the inn.

LOVER
(smirking)
Here's the payment. Make sure you clean it well.

The husband, oblivious to the true nature of the transaction, carries the tub on his back, heading back to the inn, while the wife and her lover share a hidden, mischievous glance. [two content violations chapter 38]


Title: "The Wise Asse's Reflection"

INT. BAKER'S MILL - DAY

The Asse, weary and worn from his labor at the mill, observes the harsh treatment of the poor slaves and horses around him. Their bodies bear the scars of relentless toil, and the pitiful state of his fellow creatures moves him to reflection.

ASSE (V.O.)
(looking at the slaves and horses)
Oh, good Lord, what a miserable lot we are, bound in servitude to the relentless grind of the mill. Some with black and blue skin, others covered in rugged sackcloth, and the horses, worn down by time and toil, their hooves battered, their ribs broken.

The Asse, once a man, feels a deep sense of empathy for his companions. He gazes at the horses, their heads drooping, their sides bare from continuous labor, and his heart sinks with a mixture of pity and sorrow.

ASSE (V.O.)
(whispering to himself)
How did I come to this pitiful state? A fate worse than death, condemned to a life of servitude.

The Asse, despite his own hardships, can't help but marvel at the resilience of his own mind. He reflects on the words of Homer, finding a small comfort in the wisdom he's gained through his unique journey.

ASSE (V.O.)
(looking up)
Perhaps there's a silver lining to my misfortune. Travelling through diverse lands has bestowed upon me a kind of wisdom, the experience of many things. In the face of misery, knowledge has become my solace.

The Asse, in a moment of irony, finds humor in his dire situation. He recalls a jest from his past, hoping to lighten the heaviness of his heart.

ASSE (V.O.)
(chuckling)
Let me share a jest, a small distraction from this harsh reality. Laughter may be the only refuge for the wise.

As the Asse prepares to share his jest, there's a glimmer of resilience in his eyes, a determination to find joy amidst the turmoil of his existence.

FADE OUT.

Title: "The Baker's Tale"

INT. BAKER'S HOUSE - DAY

The Baker's house is a humble abode, with an air of discontent lingering in the atmosphere. The Asse, a silent observer, is privy to the unfolding drama of the Baker's wife and her conniving companion, the old bawd.

OLD BAWD
(leaning in, speaking with a sly grin)
Dame, you've chosen a lover who lacks spirit, dull and cowers at the mere frown of your husband. Philesiterus, on the other hand, is a man of grace, courage, and charm. Let me tell you a tale that reveals the stark contrast between your two lovers.

The Baker's wife, intrigued and eager, leans in to listen, her eyes widening with anticipation.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
You know the stern Senator Barbarus, often called Scorpion for his severity? Well, he had a wife, a gentlewoman, whom he kept under lock and key, a bird in a gilded cage.

The Baker's wife nods, confirming her familiarity with Barbarus and his wife.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
(whispering conspiratorially)
Now, enter Philesiterus, a young man of beauty, valor, and a heart that beats for the fair damsels of the town. He hatched a plan to liberate the caged bird.

The Asse, though unable to see, perks up his long ears, straining to hear every detail of the scandalous tale.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
Philesiterus, courageous and cunning, faced the vigilant watch of Barbarus. He devised a plan to outsmart the jealous husband and win the lady's favor.

The Baker's wife, hanging on every word, urges the old bawd to reveal the details.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
(whispering dramatically)
One day, when Barbarus was away, Philesiterus dressed as a woman, and with a cunning disguise, he entered the guarded house without arousing suspicion.

The Asse, imagining the scene, brays softly in amusement.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
(laughing)
Can you believe it? He fooled them all! Philesiterus, in his feminine guise, spent delightful moments with the lady, evading the clutches of the jealous husband.

The Baker's wife, caught in the intrigue of the tale, laughs along with the old bawd.

OLD BAWD (CONT'D)
So, my dear, when you complain about your lover's shortcomings, think of Philesiterus and his daring escapades. Perhaps it's time for a change in your affections.

The Baker's wife, now entertained and enlightened, contemplates the tale and the choices before her.

FADE OUT.

Title: Shadows of Deceit

INT. BAKERY - NIGHT

The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the air. The Baker, Barbarus, a well-meaning but unsuspecting husband, prepares to leave for the day.

BARBARUS
(to his trusted servant, Myrmex)
Remember, Myrmex, guard the sanctity of my home. Threaten dire consequences for any who dare to approach my wife.

Barbarus, firm in his conviction, departs, leaving Myrmex in charge.

INT. BAKERY - DAY

Myrmex diligently watches over Barbarus's wife, who, portrayed as a woman of virtue, spends her day at the spinning wheel.

EXT. BAKERY - DAY

Enter Philesiterus, a charming and conniving young man, who sets his sights on Barbarus's wife.

PHILESITERUS
(to Myrmex)
A word, Myrmex. A favor, and gold shall flow like a river.

Philesiterus entices Myrmex with a handful of glittering coins.

MYRMEX
(agonized)
No, I cannot betray my master's trust.

Despite Myrmex's initial resistance, the allure of gold proves too strong, leading him to reveal Philesiterus's intentions to Barbarus's wife.

INT. BAKERY - NIGHT

The scene shifts to the nighttime. Barbarus's wife, tempted by the promise of gold, agrees to Philesiterus's plan.

PHILESITERUS
(whispering)
Trust me, and we shall be discreet.

EXT. BAKERY - NIGHT

As the night unfolds, Philesiterus sneaks into the house, while Barbarus returns unexpectedly.

BARBARUS'S WIFE
(panic-stricken)
Quick, hide! Into the flour bin!

She pushes Philesiterus into the bin, covering him with flour.

BARBARUS
(angry)
What mischief is afoot?

BARBARUS'S WIFE
(innocent)
A neighbor's disgrace, my love. Let us not speak of it.

Barbarus, unaware of the lover concealed in the flour bin, retires for the night.

INT. BAKERY - MORNING

Barbarus awakens, finding Philesiterus's forgotten slippers under his bed.

BARBARUS
(suspicious)
What deceit is this?

He keeps the slippers secret, commanding his servants to bind Myrmex and take him to the Justice.

EXT. BAKERY - DAY

Barbarus, in a fit of rage, heads to the Justice, accompanied by the bound Myrmex. Philesiterus, in an attempt to divert suspicion, encounters them on the way.

PHILESITERUS
(feigning anger)
You, vile knave! I should slay you for stealing my slippers.

He beats Myrmex, further deflecting attention from the true betrayal.

INT. BAKERY - DAY

Barbarus, deceived by Philesiterus's ruse, returns home.

BARBARUS
(unaware)
My trusty Myrmex, you have suffered unjustly. Release him.

As Myrmex is set free, the tangled web of deceit remains hidden from the unsuspecting Baker.

FADE OUT

Title: Enchanted Betrayal

INT. BAKERY - DAY

The quaint aroma of baked goods fills the air as Barbarus, the unsuspecting Baker, goes about his daily routine.

BARBARUS
(to his loyal Asse, the narrator)
Guard the house, my friend. I entrust you with the safety of my home.

Barbarus departs, leaving the Asse pondering the wickedness within.

EXT. BAKERY - DAY

Philesiterus, the conniving young man, sets his sights on the Baker's wife.

PHILESITERUS
(to the Baker's wife)
A secret affair awaits us. Fear not, for I can provide.

The Baker's wife, tempted by deceit and gold, agrees to Philesiterus's scheme.

INT. BAKERY - NIGHT

Unbeknownst to the Baker, the young lover is hidden in the flour bin as the Baker returns unexpectedly.

BAKER'S WIFE
(deceptive)
Quick, hide! Into the flour bin!

The Asse, witnessing the treachery, plans to expose the wickedness.

EXT. BAKERY - DAY

The Asse seizes an opportunity as he is led to water, spurning the cover of the bin to reveal the lover.

INT. BAKERY - MORNING

The Baker, discovering the betrayal, devises an unconventional punishment.

BAKER
A divided pleasure it shall be. All three in one bed.

The lover, beaten and humiliated, is expelled from the house.

EXT. BAKERY - DAY

The Baker divorces his unfaithful wife, and the scandal spreads through the town.

INT. BAKERY - NIGHT - WEEKS LATER

Driven by revenge, the Baker's wife seeks out a malevolent Enchantress.

ENCHANTRESS
(conjuring dark forces)
Revenge shall be yours. An ill spirit will bring misery upon him.

Despite the enchantment, the Baker remains unyielding, further infuriating the vengeful wife.

INT. MILLHOUSE - DAY

A mysterious, ragged woman arrives, claiming to possess dark secrets.

RAGGED WOMAN
(whispering to the Baker)
Your life is in danger. A deadly spirit is summoned.

The Baker, misled by the enchantment, takes his own life.

INT. BAKERY - DAY - WEEKS LATER

The Baker's daughter, unaware of her father's fate, mourns his ghostly visitation.

BAKER'S DAUGHTER
(in tears)
He appeared to me in the night, revealing his tragic end.

The story concludes with the daughter inheriting the bakery, selling its possessions, and leaving the town forever.

FADE OUT

Title: Bloodbound Tragedy

EXT. GARDEN - DAY

A humble gardener purchases the Asse for fifty pence, believing it to be a profitable investment.

GARDENER
(to the Asse)
You shall toil for me, my friend, and together we shall reap the rewards.

The Asse, now owned by the gardener, begins its daily routine.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

The gardener loads the Asse with herbs, embarking on a journey to the nearby village.

EXT. HUMBLE HOUSE - NIGHT

Sheltered under a makeshift roof of branches, the gardener and the Asse endure the harsh winter.

INT. GARDEN - DAY

As winter persists, the Asse suffers from cold, standing idle in the meager shelter of a hedge.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY

A kind stranger seeks refuge in the gardener's garden, promising to repay his hospitality.

STRANGER
(to the gardener)
I will provide you with corn, oil, and wine in gratitude.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY

The gardener, laden with goods, is generously feasted by the grateful stranger.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - MOMENTS LATER

As they dine, inexplicable and dreadful events unfold.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

A Hen produces not an egg but a live chick, and a well of blood emerges under the table.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The servant reports that all the wine in the cellar has mysteriously boiled out.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

A weasel drags in a dead serpent, and a live frog leaps out of a shepherd's dog.

EXT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The gardener, bewildered, witnesses these ominous events.

INT. STRANGER'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The stranger, burdened by strange occurrences, learns of his sons' deaths.

GARDENER
(to the stranger)
This tragedy calls for retribution. Your sons deserve justice.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY

The gardener and his sons confront a tyrant who unjustly takes their land.

TYRANT
(ruthless)
I care not for your laws or the presence of this city!

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - MOMENTS LATER

The tyrant unleashes fierce dogs upon the gardener and his sons.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

Amid the chaos, the youngest brother is fatally attacked by the dogs.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The tyrant, undeterred, refuses to relent, leading to the demise of the two remaining brothers.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The remaining brother, feigning injury, confronts the tyrant and, with cunning, disarms him.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The brother, mourning his family's loss, uses the tyrant's own dagger to end the tyrant's life.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

Overwhelmed by grief, the brother takes his own life.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The gardener, burdened by sorrow, learns of the tragedy and takes his own life.

FADE OUT

[content violation chapter 42]

Title: The Shadow of the Ass

INT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY

A gardener, seeking refuge, hides with his injured ass in a friend's house.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY - MOMENTS LATER

The souldier, offended and prideful, confronts the gardener in the village.

SOULDIER
(arrogant)
Quorsum vacuum ducis Asinum?

GARDENER
(innocent)
I understand not your words; I travel to the next city.

The souldier, angered by the gardener's ignorance, strikes him.

GARDENER
(pleading)
Have pity, good sir. My ass is weak and can bear no heavy loads.

Ignoring pleas, the souldier insists on taking the ass for his captain's trusses.

INT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The gardener, fearing for his life, tricks the souldier, overpowering him and seeking refuge.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

Fleeing danger, the gardener rides the ass in haste to the next village.

INT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY - LATER

In secrecy, the gardener and his ass hide in a friend's house.

GARDENER'S FRIEND
(supportive)
Fear not, my friend. You are safe here.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY - LATER

The souldier, humiliated and injured, reports to fellow soldiers about the incident.

SOULDIER
(to comrades)
I've been shamed! A gardener and his ass outwitted me!

INT. JUSTICE'S OFFICE - DAY - LATER

The souldier, seeking revenge, fabricates a story about a stolen silver goblet.

SOULDIER
(to magistrate)
A gardener found our captain's goblet and hides in a friend's house!

EXT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY - LATER

Magistrates arrive, demanding the gardener's surrender.

GARDENER'S FRIEND
(truthful)
I know not where he is.

MAGISTRATE
(threatening)
Release the gardener or face dire consequences.

INT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The soldiers search the house, discovering the ass, but the gardener remains hidden.

INT. FRIEND'S HOUSE - DAY - LATER

The soldiers, seeing the ass, accuse the gardener.

SOULDIER
(triumphant)
There he is! We found him by the shadow of the ass.

The gardener, betrayed by his shadow, is brought before the magistrate.

MAGISTRATE
(stern)
You stand accused of theft. Justice will be served.

FADE OUT

Title: The Cruel Conspiracy

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY

A somber atmosphere looms in the justice hall as the accused young man faces the grave charges.

ACCUSER'S ADVOCATE
(viciously)
He planned to poison his own brother! The servant witnessed it all.

DEFENDER'S ADVOCATE
(desperately)
My client is innocent. We must examine the servant's credibility.

The Justices, senatours, and counsellors listen attentively.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - LATER

The servant, bold and unashamed, presents his damning testimony.

SERVANT
(accusingly)
He sought revenge against his stepmother, plotted to poison his brother, and threatened to kill me when I refused.

DEFENDER'S ADVOCATE
(protesting)
This is a fabrication! There is no evidence to support these claims.

JUSTICE
(decisively)
We shall examine witnesses to unveil the truth. Summon those who may shed light on this dark matter.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY - LATER

Witnesses are brought forth, providing varying accounts of the events.

WITNESS 1
(confused)
I heard the young man and his stepmother arguing, but I cannot attest to any poison.

WITNESS 2
(hesitant)
The servant seemed eager to accuse. I am unsure of the truth.

WITNESS 3
(sympathetic)
The stepmother appeared more concerned with revenge than justice.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The Justices deliberate, weighing the conflicting testimonies.

JUSTICE
(to the accused)
Your fate rests upon the balance of justice. We shall call the servant once more to clarify his account.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - LATER

The servant, anticipating victory, confidently repeats his accusations.

SERVANT
(defiant)
He is guilty of conspiracy. The law must be enforced.

DEFENDER'S ADVOCATE
(determined)
We demand further inquiry. The servant's motives are questionable.

JUSTICE
(resolute)
We shall use the ancient method to determine the truth. Fetch the pot and stones!

EXT. JUSTICE SQUARE - DAY - LATER

The pot, filled with white and black stones, is prepared.

JUSTICE
(solemnly)
If the stones decree guilt, there shall be no reprieve.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The stones are drawn from the pot, casting judgment upon the accused.

JUSTICE
(with finality)
The stones have spoken. The accused is condemned.

The young man, bewildered and betrayed, is led away.

FADE OUT


Title: The Triumph of Innocence

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY

The justice hall, once shrouded in sorrow, now buzzes with anticipation as the truth is about to be revealed.

PHYSICIAN
(authoritatively)
I cannot allow an innocent man to face unjust punishment while the guilty one goes free.

The crowd listens intently as the physician unfolds his revelation.

PHYSICIAN
This wretched servant sought poison from me, but I, abiding by my duty to heal, provided him with a sleeping draught, Mandragora.

The accused, bound and resolute, maintains his innocence.

SERVANT
(defiantly)
His words are lies! I know nothing of this Mandragora.

PHYSICIAN
(confidently)
To prove my words, I present the sealed purse with his own mark. Let it be examined.

The purse is brought forth, creating tension in the hall.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - LATER

The physician triumphantly displays the sealed purse.

PHYSICIAN
(with conviction)
Here is the undeniable evidence. His own seal. His own mark.

The servant, now visibly shaken, attempts to refute the claims.

SERVANT
(desperately)
This is a trick! He lies!

JUSTICE
(firmly)
We shall examine the seal and mark. Bring them forth.

EXT. JUSTICE SQUARE - DAY - LATER

The purse and its seal are closely inspected, confirming the physician's account.

JUSTICE
(addressing the crowd)
The seal matches. The physician speaks the truth.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The servant, cornered by undeniable evidence, grows desperate.

SERVANT
(pleading)
I beg you, mercy!

PHYSICIAN
(unyielding)
Mercy for a traitor? His lies have endangered an innocent life.

JUSTICE
(decisively)
This court cannot be deceived. The accused shall face the consequences of his deceit.

EXT. JUSTICE SQUARE - DAY - LATER

The servant, now condemned, is led away by the officers.

INT. JUSTICE HALL - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The mood in the hall shifts from tension to vindication.

PHYSICIAN
(triumphant)
Innocence prevails. The truth has unmasked villainy.

FATHER
(overwhelmed with joy)
My son lives! I am eternally grateful.

The crowd erupts in applause, celebrating the triumph of justice.

FADE OUT

Title: The Noble Asse of Thessaly

INT. THESSALIAN MARKET - DAY

Thiasus, a man of dignity and influence, walks through the bustling market in search of remarkable animals.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the vibrant market of Thessaly, Thiasus, a man of noble birth from Corinth, sought extraordinary creatures to enhance the splendor of his public celebrations.

INT. STALL - DAY - CONTINUOUS

Thiasus examines various animals, looking for those that possess unique qualities.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Thiasus, adorned in rich attire, surveyed the market stalls, scrutinizing each creature for qualities that would captivate his audience during the upcoming festivities.

THIASUS
(to a merchant)
Bring forth your most extraordinary animals! I seek wonders to grace the celebration in Corinth.

MERCHANT
Behold, noble sir, the Gentleman Asse of Thessaly. A creature of rare intelligence and remarkable skills.

The Gentleman Asse, well-groomed and distinguished, draws Thiasus' attention.

THIASUS
(intrigued)
Tell me more of this Asse. What wonders does it possess?

MERCHANT
This Asse is no ordinary beast. It eats and drinks like a man, dances with grace, and even understands spoken words. A marvel to behold!

THIASUS
(smiling)
Indeed, a marvel it is! I shall acquire this Gentleman Asse to elevate the grandeur of our festivities.

EXT. THESSALIAN MARKET - DAY - LATER

Thiasus, now accompanied by the Gentleman Asse, attracts attention as they leave the market.

CITIZEN 1
Look! Thiasus, the noble from Corinth, has bought the Gentleman Asse.

CITIZEN 2
Such a splendid creature! It will surely add charm to the celebrations.

EXT. THIASUS' ESTATE - DAY - LATER

Thiasus and the Gentleman Asse arrive at Thiasus' estate.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Back at his estate, Thiasus prepared for the celebrations, unveiling the remarkable abilities of the Gentleman Asse.

INT. THIASUS' ESTATE - CELEBRATION - NIGHT

Guests gather for the festivities, eager to witness the Gentleman Asse's talents.

THIASUS
(addressing the guests)
Behold, esteemed friends, the Gentleman Asse of Thessaly! A creature of wit and wonder.

The Gentleman Asse performs various tricks, captivating the audience.

GUEST 1
(whispering)
Truly, a noble choice. This Asse is unlike any other.

GUEST 2
(amazed)
To think, an Asse with such intelligence! Thiasus has outdone himself.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
The celebration became the talk of Thessaly, and the fame of the Gentleman Asse spread far and wide.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - LATER

Thiasus, now celebrated for his remarkable Asse, returns to Corinth with newfound admiration.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Thiasus, the noble from Corinth, returned home with the Gentleman Asse, earning admiration and praise for the splendid festivities.

INT. CORINTH - THIASUS' ESTATE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

Thiasus and the Gentleman Asse are hailed by the citizens of Corinth.

CITIZEN 3
Thiasus, the Gentleman Asse has brought great joy to our city!

CITIZEN 4
A toast to Thiasus and his marvelous Asse!

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
The Gentleman Asse of Thessaly, a creature of grace and intelligence, became a symbol of joy and wonder in the city of Corinth.

FADE OUT

Title: The Tragic Tale of Deceit and Revenge

INT. CORINTH - THIASUS' ESTATE - NIGHT

Thiasus, the noble master of the Gentleman Asse, receives the tragic tale from a storyteller.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the luxurious halls of Corinth, Thiasus, accompanied by his trusted Asse, heard a tale of deceit, revenge, and the dark twists of fate.

STORYTELLER
(addressing Thiasus)
Noble Thiasus, lend me your ears, for I shall recount a tale of tragedy that unfolded in this very land.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - FLASHBACK

The storyteller transports Thiasus and the audience back to the events of the tragic tale.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Long ago, in Corinth, there lived a noblewoman who, bound by an unspeakable secret, faced a perilous fate.

INT. NOBLEWOMAN'S HOUSE - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

The noblewoman, pregnant with a forbidden child, receives a command from her husband's father.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
The noblewoman, heavy with child, faced a dire decree from her husband's father. A daughter, if born, must be sacrificed.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
Yet, her motherly love prevailed, and she sent her daughter away to be raised in secret.

INT. NOBLEWOMAN'S HOUSE - DAY - FLASHBACK

Years pass, and the daughter grows into a young woman.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Time passed, and the hidden daughter blossomed into a young woman, unbeknownst to her own kin.

INT. NOBLEWOMAN'S HOUSE - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

The noblewoman, fearing her husband's wrath, concocts a plan to remove her daughter.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Fearing the consequences of her secret, the noblewoman, now a wife and mother, devised a sinister plot.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
A treacherous scheme was set in motion, leading to the cruel demise of the innocent daughter.

EXT. NOBLEWOMAN'S HOUSE - DAY - FLASHBACK

The servant delivers the husband's ring to the daughter, luring her to a tragic end.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
A servant, a pawn in this tale of deceit, delivered the husband's ring, inviting the unsuspecting daughter to a gruesome fate.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
The daughter, trusting her brother's call, went willingly, unknowingly stepping into the web of tragedy.

INT. NOBLEWOMAN'S HOUSE - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

The jealous wife, consumed by madness, inflicts a cruel punishment upon the daughter.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Blinded by jealousy and madness, the wife, in a fit of rage, subjected the daughter to a horrifying end.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
A burning firebrand became the instrument of her tragic demise, sealing the daughter's fate.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY - FLASHBACK

The brother and husband, grieving, lay the daughter to rest, vowing to avenge her unjust death.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Grief-stricken, the brother and husband, mourning their loss, swore vengeance for the heinous act committed against their kin.

INT. CORINTH - THIASUS' ESTATE - NIGHT - PRESENT

The storyteller concludes the tale of deception, revenge, and tragedy.

STORYTELLER
(addressing Thiasus)
And thus, noble Thiasus, the daughter's tragic end sparked a chain of events that would lead to revenge and retribution.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the shadows of Corinth, the seeds of revenge were sown, promising a dark and twisted resolution.

FADE OUT

Title: "The Triumph of Beauty and the Flight of the Gentleman Asse"

INT. CORINTH - DAY - TRIUMPHANT CELEBRATION

The city of Corinth is alive with the vibrant energy of a grand celebration. Thiasus, the noble master of the Gentleman Asse, witnesses a triumphant spectacle.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the opulent city of Corinth, a grand celebration unfolded, captivating the senses of all who beheld it.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - FLASHBACK

The Gentleman Asse recalls the vivid scenes of the triumphant spectacle.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
As the day dawned, a splendid procession took shape, led by the noble shepheard Paris and the goddesses Juno, Pallas, and Venus.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - THE TRIUMPH BEGINS

The storyteller describes the enchanting procession.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
Paris, adorned in Barbary vestments, tended to his goats, a shepheard in appearance but destined for a greater role. The goddesses, each radiating divine beauty, graced the celebration with their presence.

INT. THEATER - DAY - THE GODDESSES' DANCES

The goddesses dance gracefully, captivating the audience.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Dancers, representing the Graces and Houres, filled the air with the sweet sounds of Lydian music, setting the stage for a divine competition.

INT. THEATER - DAY - JUDGEMENT OF PARIS

Paris, holding the golden Apple, faces the goddesses seeking his judgment.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In the judgment of Paris, the goddesses Juno, Pallas, and Venus vied for the coveted golden Apple. Each promised greatness to the one who would declare her the fairest.

INT. THEATER - DAY - VICTORY OF VENUS

Paris chooses Venus as the fairest, granting her the golden Apple.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Phrygian shepheard Paris, in a momentous decision, awarded Venus the golden Apple, sealing his fate with the goddess of love.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - THEATER UNVEILED

The storyteller describes the unfolding scenes.

STORYTELLER
(narrating)
As Venus celebrated her victory, a spectacle emerged—the hill of wood adorned with greenery, a flowing fountain, and youthful goats. The colors of Saffron flowed, transforming the goats' hair to a golden hue.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - THE TRIUMPH CONTINUES

The celebration continues with a flourish.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
The grandeur continued, with the ground opening and swallowing the hill of wood, symbolizing the fleeting nature of beauty and triumph.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - A GLIMPSE INTO THE ASSE'S DILEMMA

Amidst the revelry, the Gentleman Asse contemplates his impending fate.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
While the crowd reveled, the Gentleman Asse faced a harrowing destiny, a dark encounter awaiting him.

INT. CORINTH - TRIUMPHANT BED PREPARATION

Preparations are made for the unsettling conclusion of the triumph.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
A bed, adorned with silks and fabrics, awaited the Gentleman Asse and the condemned woman, a dark chapter in the celebration.

EXT. CORINTH - DAY - THE GENTLEMAN ASSE'S ESCAPE

The Gentleman Asse seizes an opportunity and escapes the impending horror.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
Fearing the ominous encounter, the Gentleman Asse seizes a moment of distraction and flees the scene, leaving the celebration behind.

EXT. CENCHRIS - NIGHT - A MOMENT OF REPRIEVE

The Gentleman Asse finds solace on the sandy shores of Cenchris.

NARRATOR
(voiceover)
In Cenchris, a haven by the Saronic Sea, the Gentleman Asse seeks solace on the sandy shores, reflecting on the tumultuous events that unfolded.

FADE OUT

Title: Moonlit Redemption

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Lucius, a troubled man, wakes up in the middle of the night, fear evident in his eyes. He glances at the bright moonlight streaming through the window, resembling a full moon leaping out of the sea.

LUCIUS
(whispering to himself)
This must be the secret hour, the time when Ceres holds the most power over all things.

He reflects on the ancient goddess and her influence over both the civilized and wild aspects of life.

LUCIUS (CONT'D)
(voiceover)
All bodies in the heavens, the earth, and the seas are under her control. Maybe, just maybe, there's hope for me in invoking her.

Fueled by a newfound determination, Lucius sheds his drowsiness, his face now filled with joy. He decides to purify himself in a modern twist, opting for a quick shower instead of a sea plunge.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

Lucius, with a weeping countenance, stands by the shore, his eyes fixed on the vast sea.

LUCIUS
(whispering)
O blessed Queen of heaven, whether you're Ceres, Venus, or any name they call you, end my misery, deliver me from this wretched fate.

As Lucius finishes his plea, he falls asleep on the beach.

INT. VISIONARY SPACE - NIGHT

A divine and venerable face, radiant and modern, appears before Lucius. It's the goddess, now adapting to contemporary times.

MODERN GODDESS
Behold, Lucius, your prayers have moved me. I am the mother of all things, mistress of the elements. I've come to aid you.

The goddess describes her appearance, incorporating modern elements like a smartphone instead of a timbrel of brass.

MODERN GODDESS (CONT'D)
Leave your sorrow behind. Tomorrow, during a ceremony dedicated to me, snatch the roses from the priest's hand. I'll rid you of the asinine form you bear. Don't fear, for the world will accept your transformation.

Lucius, enlightened, wakes up on the beach.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

Lucius, now confident, prepares to face the upcoming ceremony and his chance at redemption.

INT. MODERN CITY - DAY

A bustling cityscape with people going about their daily lives. LUCIUS (formerly an ass) wakes up, a mix of fear, joy, and sweat on his face. He marvels at the clear presence of the powerful goddess.

EXT. CITY STREETS - DAY

The streets are filled with people in a religious and triumphant procession. The day seems to rejoice with them. Nature responds to their celebration – birds chirp, trees sway, and the sun shines brightly.

A diverse group marches in regal attire, symbolizing various roles. A modern-day philosopher, a hunter, a soldier, and more, each representing different aspects of life.

The procession includes women in white garments, spreading herbs and flowers along the way. Others carry candles, torches, and instruments, creating a festive atmosphere.

INT. TEMPLE - DAY

In a modern temple, principal priests in white surplices carry relics of the powerful goddess. The symbolism is updated – a light representing enlightenment, an altar for succor, and more.

The climax is the great Priest, holding a tambourine and a garland of roses. He approaches LUCIUS, who's still in awe. The priest hands him a modern garment, signifying his transformation.

GREAT PRIEST
(reverently)
Lucius, you've come to the port of rest and mercy. Your past struggles are behind you. Fortune smiles upon you. Embrace our religion, serve and honor the goddess, and you'll know true freedom.

Lucius is overwhelmed with gratitude and follows the procession.

EXT. SEA COAST - DAY

The procession nears the sea coast, where a modern ship awaits. Prayers and rituals are performed, and the ship is launched with symbols of prosperity.

The crowd, both religious and secular, celebrates the successful launch.

EXT. TEMPLE - DAY

Back at the temple, the great priest and devotees place the divine figures in the secret chamber. A scribe interprets the divine service's end, and the people joyously disperse.

LUCIUS remains, captivated by the goddess's beauty, reflecting on the past and the miraculous transformation.

FADE OUT.
Secret Alias
Posts: 18641
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

Title: "Awakening to Destiny"

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

A young man, LUCIUS, sits alone, engrossed in his thoughts. He receives a mysterious message on his phone.

LUCIUS
(reading aloud)
"In the mean season news was carried into my country..."

Lucius is intrigued by the message and starts to recall his past experiences.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY (FLASHBACK)

Lucius, previously thought to be dead, is reunited with his family and friends.

LUCIUS
(to family)
I never thought I'd see you again.

His loved ones shower him with gifts, and Lucius, filled with joy, decides to dedicate himself to the mysterious goddess.

INT. TEMPLE - NIGHT

Lucius, now a modern devotee, serves at the temple and contemplates taking the sacred order. The great priest, MYTHRA, appears to him in a vision.

MYTHRA
(appearing with a lap full of treasure)
This is sent from the land of opportunity, and your servant, Candidus, has arrived.

Lucius is puzzled as he never had a servant named Candidus. Yet, he senses a foreshadowing of prosperity.

INT. TEMPLE - DAY

Lucius, determined to follow the goddess's command, prays diligently. His prayers are answered when Candidus arrives with his recovered horse.

LUCIUS
(discovering the interpretation)
This must be a sign of gain and prosperity.

Encouraged, Lucius seeks the great priest Mythra's guidance to enter the sacred order.

INT. TEMPLE - NIGHT

Lucius implores Mythra to allow him into the sacred order. The wise priest, hesitant but encouraging, advises patience.

MYTHRA
(day of initiation)
Your day has come, Lucius. The goddess has chosen you.

Mythra initiates Lucius into the sacred order, revealing secret texts and symbols, while preparations for the ceremony are made.

EXT. TEMPLE - DAY

A grand ceremony takes place with priests, offerings, and a multitude of worshippers. Lucius, adorned in a modern celestial stole, becomes the center of attention.

LUCIUS
(to the goddess)
I am ready for your divine guidance.

The ceremony unfolds, with Lucius experiencing a mystical journey, akin to his ancient counterpart.

INT. TEMPLE - DAY

Lucius, now sanctified and in a religious habit, stands before the worshippers. The goddess Isis urges him to return home.

LUCIUS
(grateful)
I'll keep you in my heart always.

Lucius leaves the temple, filled with a newfound purpose, and sets sail for the modern city of Rome.

FADE OUT.

When the year ended, and the goddess warned me again to accept this new order and consecration, I wondered greatly about its significance and what would happen. I was already a sacred person, but it happened that while I deliberated with myself and consulted with the Priests and Bishops, a marvelous thought occurred to me. I was solely devoted to the goddess Isis, not sacred to the religion of great Osiris, the sovereign father of all the goddesses. Although there was religious unity and concord between them, there was a significant difference in order and ceremony.

It became necessary for me to also be a minister to Osiris. There was no long delay, for on the night after, one of that order appeared to me. He was covered in linen robes, holding spears wrapped in ivy and other things not convenient to declare. He left these in my chamber and, sitting in my seat, recited things necessary for the sumptuous banquet of my entry. To help me recognize him again, he showed me that the ankle of his left foot was somewhat maimed, causing him to limp.

After I clearly knew the will of the god Osiris, when matins ended, I went from one to another to find him with the halting mark on his foot, as I learned from my vision. Eventually, I found it to be true. I perceived one of the company of the Priests who not only had the token on his foot but also had the stature and habit of his body, resembling every point as he appeared in the night. He was called Asinius Marcellus, a name not much differing from my transformation.

I went to him, and he knew all about the matter, having been warned by a similar precept in the night. The night before, as he adorned the flowers and garlands around the head of the god Osiris, he understood through the mouth of the image, which told the predestinations of all men, how he had sent a poor man of Madura to whom he should minister his sacraments. This was so he could receive a reward by divine providence and the other glory for his virtuous studies.

When I found myself designated for religion, my desire was halted due to poverty. I had spent a great part of my goods in travel and peregrination, especially in the City of Rome, which kept me in a low estate for a long time.

Finally, being often stirred forward, not without great trouble of mind, I was constrained to sell my robe for a little money, though sufficient for all my affairs. Then the Priest spoke to me, questioning how I could fear falling into poverty by selling my vestments for a little pleasure and entering into such great ceremonies. He advised me to prepare myself and abstain from all animal meats, such as beasts and fish.

In the meantime, I frequented the sacrifices of Serapis, which were done at night, giving me great comfort in my peregrination. It also provided more plentiful living, as I gained some money by using my Latin tongue at the court.

Immediately after, I was again called and admonished by the god Osiris to receive a third order of religion. I was greatly astonished, unable to discern the significance of this new vision or the intent of the celestial god. I doubted the previous Priests, fearing they had given me ill counsel and hadn't faithfully instructed me.

In this state, as if provoked, the god Osiris appeared to me the night following, reassuring me that there was no need to fear with so many orders of religion. The gods had called me three times, a rare honor. He explained that I should rejoice, for the religion I must now receive is essential if I intend to persevere in worshiping the goddess and celebrating the festival day with the blessed habit. This would bring glory and renown to me.

After this, the divine majesty persuaded me in my sleep. I went immediately to the Priest and declared all that I had seen. I fasted for ten days as customary and, of my own will, abstained longer than commanded. I had no regrets for the pain and charges, as the divine providence had given me an order that allowed me to gain much money by pleading causes.

Finally, after a few days, the great god Osiris appeared to me in the night in his own essence. He commanded me to be an Advocate in the court, not to fear the slander and envy of ill persons who bear me ill will due to my doctrine acquired through much labor. Furthermore, he no longer wanted me among his Priests but designated me as one of the Decurions and Senators. He assigned me a place within the ancient palace erected in the time of Sulla, where I executed my office with a shaven crown, filled with great joy.

[refused to make the last section into a movie script because it dealt with religion!]
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billd89
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Re: Ass in the 21st Century

Post by billd89 »

Drivel.
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2835
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by andrewcriddle »

I found it entertaining.

Andrew Criddle
Secret Alias
Posts: 18641
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Modernizing the Golden Ass and Setting It in New York in the 21st Century

Post by Secret Alias »

Thank you. I am telling you. There is a future for scholars of antiquity. There are books and stories ready for prime time.
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