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Would that our visit betokened some joyous occasion...
AGAMEMNON
My brother's wife has been abducted by the Trojans.
PENELOPE
The news has already reached us...
AGAMEMNON
An army to rescue her is gathering at Aulis - to be commanded by me.
NESTOR
Your husband once promised that -
PENELOPE
I know what he promised. Eurycleia, take Telemachus. I will conduct these princes to my husband.
She hands the infant TELEMACHUS to his NURSE as the men exchange glances, then starts out of the room without looking back. They follow and Eurycleia and the baby bring up the rear.
EXT. GREEN FIELD, ITHAKA - DAY
Penelope leads the men atop a hill to where they gape with astonishment -
THEIR POV
ODYSSEUS, wearing a CAP WITH BELLS, tries, absurdly, to PLOW the
field with an ASS yoked to an OX. The uneven team can only manage to go in circles as Odysseus giggles.
The DOG is yapping in distress, knows something's wrong...
The visitors look at each other, dumbfounded. Penelope is herself astonished; Eurycleia likewise amazed.
NESTOR
Your majesty - Lord Odysseus...
ODYSSEUS
Ah, ah, ah, ah...
AGAMEMNON
Odysseus, what ails you?
He responds with gibberish, hawking and spitting, rolling his eyes til the whites flash...
NESTOR
Is it possible? My lord...? (amazed) Look, that's not grain!
Crazy faces from Odysseus as he talks to himself... and sows the ground before him - WITH SALT. The DOG keeps BARKING...
EURYCLEIA
(starts to cry)
Salt! My master sows the earth with salt! To think that I, who raised him as now I care for his son, should live to see this day... woe...woe...
AGAMEMNON
My lord, do you hear us?
He pays them no heed as the ridiculous PLOW continues in circles, the SILVER BLADE breaking up the ground in RINGS.
AGAMEMNON (cont'd)
(hard pressed)
Are we to believe that noble Odysseus has lost his wits?
Odysseus cackles. Nestor eyes the troubled Penelope.
PENELOPE
My lord, you have guests from Sparta...
No response except Odysseus now foams at the mouth...
Nestor eyes the SUN, high overhead. He is thinking.
Abruptly he snatches little TELEMACHUS out of Eurycleia's arms and runs before the PLOW.
As Penelope and the nurse GASP, Nestor puts the tiny baby directly in the path of the advancing SILVER BLADE, which is about the slice him in half.
Penelope SCREAMS and tries to move forward to his rescue, but Agamemnon holds her fast, despite her struggles.
Nestor similarly prevents Eurycleia from moving...
Odysseus sees his son on the ground; his expression changes.
ODYSSEUS
Hold!
With all his might he restrains his crazy team, which still tries to go forward, dragging Odysseus with them.
CU PENELOPE
frantic -
CU THE BLADE
getting close to little Telemachus as
CU ODYSSEUS
straining to pull the team to a STOP, which he does -
CU THE BLADE
just inches from his smiling son. The DOG sits; WHIMPERS.
CU ODYSSEUS
covered with sweat - not a laugh in him. He picks the boy up, hugs him and kisses him tenderly; looks sadly at Nestor.
ON NESTOR and AGAMEMNON
also sad. Nice try. Agamemnon releases Penelope.
NESTOR
Forgive me...
CU PENELOPE
her eyes glisten, then...
ODYSSEUS' VOICE OVER
Athena, hear me...
DISSOLVE TO:
BUST OF ATHENA
WIDEN TO REVEAL
TEMPLE OF ATHENA, ITHAKA - DAY
as Odysseus, fully armed and plumed, kneels before her.
ODYSSEUS (cont'd)
...grey-eyed Goddess of wisdom. Before you I prostrate myself. Be my patroness and protector, that I may live to see my home again.
CU ATHENA
the marble expression beneath her helmet MORPHS to a small SMILE.
Kneeling, Odysseus does not see it...
EXT. HARBOR - DAY
Odysseus' WARSHIP, loaded with his ITHAKANS, their supplies, and armor, is making ready to sail. As Nestor and Agamemnon watch, Odysseus says goodbye to his little family, embracing sobbing Eurycleia, patting his DOG, who wags its tail. He kneels and kisses the feet of ANTICLEIA, his handsome MOTHER, who holds herself proudly -
ANTICLEIA
Athena protect you, my son...
ODYSSEUS
And you, my mother...
She makes the sign of benediction over his head... he rises
and goes finally to Penelope and little Telemachus, who cries at the sight of him.
ODYSSEUS
I frighten him...
PENELOPE
Not you. The nodding horsehair plume and the helmet which conceals you... it frightens me, as well...
He removes the helmet, pulls from its plume a hunk of RED HORSEHAIR and gives it to the baby, who clutches it. Then he faces his wife and takes her hand...
CU THEIR HANDS
ODYSSEUS
(looks her in the eye)
I WILL COME HOME.
PENELOPE
(simple but firm)
I WILL WAIT FOR YOU.
After embracing, he races up the gangplank to the ship, which makes ready to cast off as Odysseus' family and other WOMEN OF ITHAKA and their CHILDREN watch, with set faces.
BARKING, Odysseus' DOG tries to run up the gangplank but tear-streaked Eurycleia holds him back.
ROPES cast off, SAIL lowered from its spar... its design:
THE HEAD OF THE GODDESS ATHENA is blazoned at the center.
Penelope and Odysseus looking at each other...
CU TELEMACHUS'
little baby face against Penelope's bosom, asleep. In his tiny fist, he clutches the RED HORSEHAIR...
DISSOLVE TO:
THE SHIP
on the distant horizon, vanishing...
DISSOLVE TO:
CU THE FACE OF A TEN YEAR OLD BOY
standing atop the green peak of ITHAKA, where we saw his father watching the harbor ten years before.
Around his neck, worn as a necklace, is the bit of faded RED HORSEHAIR, long since woven into a short braid. TELEMACHUS looks out to sea with wordless longing. As always, the
horizon is empty. Stay on Telemachus. He wishes he could see.
PUSH TOWARDS THE EMPTY HORIZON...
DISSOLVE TO:
the FARTHER SHORE
EXT. EMPTY BEACH - DAY
where
THE ENORMOUS WOODEN HORSE
sits alone before the walls of Troy.
The Greek fleet has disappeared and the WIND HOWLS desolately as Trojans emerge from the safety of their walls and cautiously approach the enormous structure.
DEMODOCUS' VOICE OVER
"And so it was that after ten years' fighting, the Trojans came face to face with the imagination of Odysseus."
TROJAN SOLDIERS have discovered SYNON, (35) cowering nearby. Dragged forth, they crowd round the starving, terrified man.
SYNON
The Greeks have given up. The siege is abandoned and they have sailed for home, leaving their dead behind. You are the victors.
The Trojans look at each other, amazed at this news.
KING PRIAM
And who are you?
SYNON
My name is Synon. They judged me traitor and coward and so left me behind. I throw myself upon your mercy, great king.
He flings himself at the feet of Priam, who considers.
KING PRIAM
What is this?
ie: the giant horse.
SYNON
Their gift to Athena, Goddess of wisdom, to grant them safe passage home - built large so as to prevent you taking it within your gates and completing your triumph.
VOICES
Pull down the walls...! Breach the walls! We'll have our triumph..!
ANOTHER VOICE
Make way...
A STERN-FACED OLDER PRIEST and HIS TWO SONS thread their way through the crowd.
KING PRIAM
Lacoon - what says our high priest?
LACOON eyes the cringing Synon with contempt. He goes up to the wooden horse and RAPS it with his staff. It ECHOES.
LACOON
Beware Greeks bearing gifts.
As the crowd considers this there is a GASP. People turn to the OCEAN, where
TWO ENORMOUS SEA SERPENTS
emerge from the surf and slither directly to Lacoon and his sons. As the Trojans watch, stepping back in horrified amazement, the SERPENTS wind themselves about Lacoon and his sons and STRANGLE all three. When they are finished, the SERPENTS, the PRIEST and his SONS have all turned to STONE.
KING PRIAM
On behalf of his niece, Athena, Poseidon, Earth-shaker, lord of the wine


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