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who has ever truly understood me.
ATHENA
(without rancor)
Liar. Your wife understands you perfectly. Or you would not struggle so to rescue her.
ODYSSEUS
True. (pause as they acknowledge this, then -) What do you suggest?
ATHENA
(thinks)
My advice is this: first visit old Eumaeus.
ODYSSEUS
My shepherd?
ATHENA
He has remained faithful to you and can tell you how things stand at your palace.
ODYSSEUS
A good plan. (he rises) Where is my son?
ATHENA
On his way back from Sparta. (off his look) He went there in search of news of you.
ODYSSEUS
Good lad. And his mother?
ATHENA
Still pines for her husband.
Odysseus, moved, takes this in, then stands and looks at himself in the fine clothes Alcinous has given him.
ODYSSEUS
I would do better to disguise myself, rather than appear like this.
ATHENA
I agree. If you were recognized now it might be awkward.
She passes a hand over Odysseus from top to bottom and he MORPHS into an OLD BEGGAR in appearance, wrinkled, with shabby clothes. He has an old leathern satchel and a staff.
ATHENA (cont'd)
Now your own mother wouldn't know you.
ODYSSEUS
(grim)
She did. I have one other question...
He turns, but Athena is vanishing in the mist...
ATHENA'S VOICE
I have done all I can for you, beloved friend. Now live by your wits - that's what they're for.
Odysseus nods, understanding, and trudges into the mist in the opposite direction.
MORE MIST, REVEALING
EXT. THE SUITORS' SHIP - DAY
with Leocritus aboard, wrapped in his cloak, ill-tempered, freezing and BORED. They huddle in angry silence until -
LOOKOUT
Off the starboard bow - it's Prince Telemachus' ship!
Instantly everyone is up and alert. Sure enough, they are poking out of the shore mist and the open sea is visible - and there, not far off, is Telemachus' ship.
LEOCRITUS
Man the oars! Give chase!
Every man scrambles to his post; the HORTATOR beats the rhythm and the killer ship flies across the water in pursuit of her quarry.
THE OARS FLASH IN THE WATER
LEOCRITUS licks his lips in anticipation; draws his SWORD.
SPEARS handed out to the MEN... BOWS STRUNG...
TELEMACHUS' SHIP proceeds unconcernedly on her way, oblivious to the overtaking pursuer.
The SHIPS MEET and Telemachus' vessel is boarded by Leocritus and
his men, all armed and ready for a fight.
ON BOARD TELEMACHUS' SHIP
the atmosphere is slightly anticlimactic. The MEN, who appear to be FISHERMEN-types, look astonished at the behavior of the boarders, swinging over, pirate-fashion.
LEOCRITUS
Where is Prince Telemachus?
FISHERMAN
WHO?
EXT. MIST COVERED ROCKY SHORE, ITHAKA - DAY
Telemachus, on shore, where he was dropped earlier, strains to HEAR the altercation between ships. Too far off. Shrugging, but smiling at his own cleverness, he starts climbing inland, disappearing INTO the MIST as...
EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE, ITHAKA - DAY
Odysseus emerges OUT of the MIST near the tree line.
EXT. EUMAEUS' HUT - DAY
where Eumaeus, sitting on his porch, spies him. His eyes narrow in suspicion at the Beggar approaching.
ODYSSEUS
Good day, friend.
EUMAEUS
And you.
ODYSSEUS
Is there a shepherd hereabouts, Eumaeus by name?
EUMAEUS
Who seeks him?
ODYSSEUS
One who calls himself a friend of Lord Odysseus.
Eumaeus shifts his eyes quickly, checking out the landscape, then -
EUMAEUS
Come inside.
He holds the door open and lets Odysseus pass within, pulling him by the sleeve and closing the door quickly...
INT. EUMAEUS' HUT - DAY
the place is dark and the Beggar keeps to the shadows. Eumaeus silently bustles, setting forth a wooden CUP, filling it from a goatskin and putting a dish of scraps before him. He throws a log on the fire...
EUMAEUS
It's not much...
ODYSSEUS
(eating)
Hunger makes the best sauce. I thank you.
As he eats, Eumaeus studies him.
EUMAEUS
Have we met, then?
ODYSSEUS
I think not. I am a stranger here.
EUMAEUS
Where is my master? Do you know?
ODYSSEUS
(shrugs)
Over the seas. The God Poseidon stands between him and his homecoming. How fares his kingdom?
EUMAEUS
Badly. (off Odysseus' look) Aye, badly - his wife's besieged by villains who have taken over the palace. They wallow in the king's property and insist that she marry one or other but she refuses. Miserable woman.
ODYSSEUS
(intense)
Those evil men -
EUMAEUS
I do not blame them.
ODYSSEUS
(startled)
Who then?
EUMAEUS
I blame the master. When the cat's away the mice will play. What business had he to abandon his wife and kingdom while he went in search of glory?
ODYSSEUS
(chastened)
What business indeed. But you love him still.
EUMAEUS
Aye, I'm still the king's man, much good may it do me.
ODYSSEUS
You can never tell - the king might return.
EUMAEUS
(bitter laugh)
You may as well say that sheep will fly.
ODYSSEUS
(eating; casual)
But if he did - who is there still loyal to him, besides yourself?
EUMAEUS
A handful only. Eurycleia, his aged nurse; me, his son, of course, and Philotius, his cowherd. Melanthe, handmaid to Penelope, sleeps with the insolent Antinous - and some of the other women are sluts beside.
Odysseus takes this in - not a lot to work with.
Eumaeus picks up his shepherd's staff.
EUMAEUS (cont'd)
I must tend my flocks. Sit here and rest. For my master's sake treat this place as your own. I will return when the sun is down.
He starts out the door, opening it to face Telemachus.
TELEMACHUS
Eumaeus!
EUMAEUS
My prince! You are safe!
He kneels at the young man's feet, clasping his legs.
EUMAEUS (cont'd)
The Gods be thanked. I feared for you.
Telemachus looks over at the Beggar; then smiling, he tenderly
raises the shepherd.
TELEMACHUS
Rise, faithful friend. You have a visitor, I see.
EUMAEUS
One who calls himself a friend to your father, my prince.
Telemachus comes forward and extends a HAND.
TELEMACHUS
I am well pleased to meet a friend of my father's. Have you news of him?
Odysseus slowly takes the HAND. His own shakes...
CU THEIR HANDS CLASPING.
ODYSSEUS
Are you indeed Telemachus, son of Odysseus?
TELEMACHUS
(grim smile)
I fear that is my unhappy fate.
ODYSSEUS
I have waited long for this moment.
TELEMACHUS
Do you know if my father lives?
ODYSSEUS
He lives and I will relate what I know. But first let this good man go to your mother and tell her you have come safe home. I'm sure she also worries for your safety.
TELEMACHUS
I had come here to ask that favor. Eumaeus, will you visit my mother?
EUMAEUS
I will, young master.
He starts out, then turns -
EUMAEUS (cont'd)
(to Odysseus)
You are sure we haven't met before?
ODYSSEUS
A long time ago, perhaps.
Satisfied with this answer, Eumaeus leaves. Telemachus pours himself some wine from the goatskin as his father watches.
TELEMACHUS
So - you know my father...
ODYSSEUS
I know him well.
TELEMACHUS
What is he like?


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