The Rise by Caity FitzGerald | Script Revolution

The Rise

In a Romanesque, matriarchal society, the powerful and the powerless alike will struggle for their chance to change their fate.

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47pp

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Hosted by Queen Nadya, the Festival of Heroes is underway, a day when gladiators compete to face the champion (Vesta, the legatus or General) with the hopes of obtaining glory and wealth. The Queen and her court are sitting in the royal box watching the tournament, when the legatus legionis named Pia brings news that the Castrated are rumored to be preparing to attack the neighboring city of Zephrine. The Castrated is a nickname for the outcasts of the world: men who leave society to wander in the shadows, attacking women and committing crimes. They are bitter that the world doesn’t accept them. Generally, they are known to be unorganized, traveling in groups of threes.

The Queen knows the majority of the Castrated are unable to fight and because men are not educated in this world, they do not see them as capable of much. She dismisses the warning but Laronna, her eldest daughter and the intended successor to her throne, disagrees with this. After arguing, Laronna leaves to meet with Vesta who is preparing for the tournament. They hear of a new rumor that there might be some members of the Castrated gathering at the wood mill. She takes Gyles, her childhood friend, and Pia with her to lead some troops to the woods where they might gather.

Meanwhile, the city is either watching the tournament or preparing for the feast that night. We meet Kalina as she rushes to take bets outside the Colosseum. Faiza is preparing treats for the festival dinner and sends her son, Evander, to deliver her “offering” to Agatai. Agatai is the Queen’s cousin and daughter of the previous Queen. Bitter that she was not chosen as successor to the throne, she left the castle to form a training compound for gladiators. In exchange for free training and a place to live, she expects them to collect taxes from the citizens, which she feels entitled to. If people do not pay, she sends Merinah to collect and punish.

Evander is just a boy, so he doesn’t understand this game. He delays his important delivery of tribute from his mother to Agatai, in order to meet his friend Tullia who is expecting him to trade her candy for a book so that he can learn to read and write. They decide to sneak into the temple which is off-limits to any males. He has heard about all the books and wishes he could see it. When they get there, Evander climbs through the window so he can unlock the kitchen door. While he is inside, the Blacksmith happens to walk by. Tullia gets spooked that the blacksmith might link her to the boy trespassing so she leaves Evander to explore on his own. She forgets to close the kitchen door and a thief goes inside to steal food.

The champion fight is about to begin so Evander runs back down to the kitchen and bumps into the thief. She steals his bag with his mother’s tribute to Agatai.

Kalina is done taking bets on the fight when Remus, her love interest spots her. He shows her how to sneak up on the Colosseum wall in order to watch from above. He still loves her but she isn’t ready to settle down since she’s still trying to find her place in the world.

Back at the wood mill, Laronna, Gyles, Pia, and the auxilia don’t find anyone at the mill. Thinking it’s a rumor, they start to leave but the Castrated and their hired sell-swords drop from the trees and ambush them. The auxilia are killed and the Princess, Gyles, and Pia are captured. Laronna is injured in the process.

Vesta wins the fight and maintains her status as champion. The feast begins but Merinah has reported to Agatai that Faiza did not turn in her offering. Agatai has authorized her to punish Faiza so Merinah burns down her stand at the marketplace.
Kalina has found Evander hiding. He was afraid to return to his mother without having delivered the bag. As she escorts him to the marketplace, they see the blaze. Faiza asks Kalina if she would kill Agatai for payment in order to end the taxes. Kalina refuses until Faiza tells her that she could also supply her with a knowledgeable crew who can take her to her homeland.

Laronna, Pia, and Gyles awaken in a strange cave in the side of a mountain. They are bound and can’t remember anything from when they were captured. Meanwhile, the city of Zephrine is invaded by members of the Castrated.

Kalina goes to kill Agatai, but has to take down Merinah first. They fight outside the city walls, near Agatati’s training grounds which results in the beheading of Merinah. Before she can go find Agatai, the Castrated attack Niraya.

The entire city goes on the defense and by morning, they have managed to kill all the Castrated. Zephrine, the smaller, rural city, is not so fortunate. They manage to send a rider to Niraya to ask for help. The Queen sends all able-bodied men and a majority of the fighting women.

Agatai has discovered Merinah’s body and detached head. She sends her thugs to search the city for the killer. Meanwhile, Kalina joins Remus and the other men on the walk to Zephrine.

Vesta discovers all the dead bodies at the wood mill but doesn’t find Laronna, Gyles, or Pia amongst them.

In the cave, Laronna is able to untie Pia. Pia climbs down the mountain to see who might be down there. She returns to tell Gyles and Laronna that she doesn’t see anyone, when they shoot her with an arrow and kill her. She falls from the cave entrance and some members of the Castrated laugh from down below.

Once Kalina and Remus arrive at Zephrine, she trades food through a hole in the wall to the citizens, in exchange for jewelry. She returns to Niraya to sell her goods, when the jeweler tells her that Agatai is searching for Merinah’s murderer. The thugs have been turning the marketplace upside down. A close friend of Faiza, she has heard that Kalina was hired to kill Agatai so she gives Kalina some poison.

Kalina goes to watch the training grounds, hoping to figure out a strategy for killing her target.

Vesta returns to the castle to report to the Queen. She has not found the Princess but will keep searching until she does. Queen Nadya tells her to wear plain clothes and travel the streets alone, in an attempt to find underground information.

Back at the training center, Kalina slips the poison into Agatai’s dinner. As she moves to slip away, she is discovered. Agatai, close to eating the poisoned food, begins kissing a manservant when the thugs fight Kalina. She overhears the screams and runs outside, as Kalina is overtaken by guards and captured.

Back at the cave, Gyles and Laronna are alone. Gyles confesses his love to her. She dismisses him so he bashes her head into the wall, knocking her unconscious. He is the leader of the Castrated.

End of episode.

Submitted: December 26, 2019
Last Updated: February 26, 2021

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The Writer: Caity FitzGerald

I am interested in writing stories for women, people of color, people with special needs, and to spread awareness and compassion about the human condition in all forms. I just finished The Rise in November 2020. I'm developing a second pilot and am currently writing two feature scripts. I am always happy to meet other writers, actors, and filmmakers who are willing to geek out about story, craft, and anything on screen. I'm open to collaborations, especially for short form content. I am passionate about all things film and began screenwriting to make my own way into the industry. I've studied film and writing at Arizona State University. Go to bio
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