3-Page Treatment 14 - The Chosen One

Bah. I'm not pleased with this treatment. This was the first time I really felt like I just didn't have enough time to work on it. Though that's mainly because I had to go through several iterations before I figured out how I wanted to structure it. Was the twist a surprise ending? Was that the Ordeal in the middle of the story? Maybe it actually comes pretty early? And then is the Chosen One the protagonist the entire time, or is it someone close to her? Do they become enemies?

Most of the time, I finish a treatment on Wednesday or so, and then spend Thursday and Friday polishing it, or sometimes even just ignoring it and working on other things. This time, I spent probably two, two and a half hours on Friday - as much time as the treatments normally get in a week - redoing the entire second and third acts.

So the moral of the story is, this one is not incredible, and is very unpolished. But it's posted, dagnabbit, and it's not awful, either.

The logline it's based on:
A young girl, prophesied to defeat the evil wizard, is trained to fulfill her destiny. But when she kills the wizard, rather than restoring peace to the land, she decides to take power for herself - leading to massive civil war.

The Chosen One

Gunda lives with her family in a small village out in the country. Her family managed to escape from their home kingdom when the evil wizard-king Oppo conquered it. Gunda’s village is three month’s journey from Oppo’s empire’s border, and so, while they occasionally feel the touch of Oppo, they’re usually beyond his reach.

Gunda’s father often bemoans the fact that nobody can stand against Oppo because they refuse to work together. There was a prophecy foretelling a Hero who would overthrow Oppo, and so nobody wants to fight Oppo until the Hero is fighting with them. So the only kingdom ever willing to fight is whoever Oppo picks a fight with.

Gunda is out hunting with her sister Hedy and their father one day when a sudden storm sweeps over the sky. It’s clearly magical in nature, and they flee back home, but before they make it, Gunda is struck by lightning. She survives, and her family braves the storm to take her to the village healer.

He notices a strange scar on her palm where the lightning struck her. He tells the family it’s the “Mark of the Prophecy,” marking her as the Chosen One, destined to overthrow Oppo and bring lasting peace to the land.

Her family, who wants no trouble, doesn’t tell her about what the healer said. She recovers, and things get close to normal, but there’s something different about her, and she knows it.

Gunda takes Hedy out alone into the woods to show her something. Hedy’s worried that Gunda knows something, but she’s not at all prepared for what Gunda shows her: Gunda can shoot lightning from her palm. Gunda’s terrified and confused, but when Hedy explains what happened when she got struck by lightning, Gunda calms down; she knows her purpose now.

Gunda sneaks away with Hedy in the middle of the night so that their family won’t try to stop them. They stop by the healer on the way and ask him for the help that they won’t be able to get from their family. He tells them they don’t need his help; they’re destined to succeed. He does send his servant, Heinrich, who knows the roads and who should be able to guide them to Oppo.

They meet with every noble, important or otherwise, that they can along the way, displaying Gunda’s mark and power and begging for aid. Most nobles prove to be cowards, though; even with the Chosen One on their side, they fear Oppo’s wrath. They’re convinced she’ll get the help she needs - she’s prophesied to, right? - and don’t want to be the ones Oppo attacks to try to get to her.

They finally get some help from the Qirsh king, who doesn’t just “help;” he gives them an entire army. The general, Ekram, swears to Gunda that he’ll get her to Oppo. They do some strategizing, the decide that the best path to Oppo is south, through the neighboring kingdom of Perun; Oppo is currently has the bulk of his army in the north, so by going south, they might be able to avoid his army altogether.

There’s only one problem: Qirsh and Perun are ancient enemies, and Perun will never allow a Qirsh army inside their borders. They would rather fight Perun than Oppo, though, so they send a messenger to Perun begging safe passage and hope for the best.

They encounter the Perunnan army at the border, determined to stop them. Ekrem tries to explain that they have no intention of taking any action, aggressive or otherwise, towards Perun, but the Perunnan general refuses to believe him.

Ekram meets with Gunda, Hedy, and Heinrich in private, to ask them only one question: how certain are they of the prophecy? How certain are they that Gunda can stop Oppo, if they can reach him? Gunda is nervous and awkward. Rather than answer the question, she tells him she doesn’t want to cause a war. Ekram tells her that this war has been brewing for a while; both sides have only been looking for an excuse to start it.

Hedy tries to tell Ekram that it’s okay, they can sneak across the border alone; the prophecy guarantees that they’ll succeed. But Ekram won’t accept that either; if the prophecy guarantees their success in that, it should have similar guarantees for the battle here. No, he says, the only thing the prophecy guarantees is Gunda’s eventual success, someday. And he’s going to do everything he can to make that day come as soon as possible.

He tells them that they’ll fight, and warns them to stay hidden and out of the way. The last thing he wants is for Gunda to be personally targeted by Perun.

They attack, and the fighting is brutal. The battle starts to turn against the Qirsh, and Gunda leaps out from hiding to sake Ekram’s life. She quickly turns the tide in their favor with her lightning, but also makes herself a target. Hedy takes an arrow for her, and dies. Gunda ragemurders the entire Perunnan army.

Once they’re through there, they’ve passed the last major obstacle between them and Oppo - excluding, of course, Oppo’s own army of magically animated creatures. Gunda has much more control of her magic now, though, and finds herself capable of animating defenders of her own.

True to Ekram’s predictions, they encounter only a token resistance from Oppo’s army once they’re inside his borders. The resistance does increase the closer they get to his tower, but they’re pretty optimistic about their chances.

At the tower, all optimism fades. The army Oppo has stationed there is easily four times the size of the army they’ve brought with them. Ekram rallies his men with the promises of success from the prophecy; even if every single one of them should die today, they can die knowing that they will succeed in their goal. They attack the tower, with their primary objective being getting Gunda into the tower.

Gunda’s lighting is especially effective against Oppo’s creatures, and she finds herself actually able to seize control of some of them from him. Ekram’s army takes heavy losses, but they get her to the entrance of the tower. She breaks in, and Ekram swears to her that they’ll hold the entrance until every last one of them is dead.

Gunda scales the tower unassailed; it seems all of Oppo’s defenses are outside. It’s still a tall tower, though, and her climb to the top takes time. She tries to run at first, but gets exhausted after running up stairs for ten minutes.

When she reaches the top, Oppo is waiting for her. He attacks immediately, flinging a jet of fire at her, which she parries reflexively. He holds up his hands in surrender and apologizes; he just needed to make sure she was who he thought she was. He breaks down a little; he doesn’t want to die. Gunda won’t take any of it; how many people has he killed that didn’t want to die, either? He refuses to accept that line of reasoning. He swears to her he never wanted to kill anyone; his only goal was unification. He was tired of seeing petty, pointless wars kill people for no reason at all. He would have peace even if he had to take it by force.

He hands her his staff, tells her that all of his power is hers, now. He begs of her to consider his mission, to not let everyone that had already died die in vain. Then he sits down and tells her to do what she came to do.

She does.

As soon as he dies, his minions stop attacking. Ekram, Heinrich, and a couple dozen survivors cheer in the entrance of the tower. At least, until Gunda glides down the steps to address them. She thanks them for their service, but tells them she now has another task for them: to serve as her heralds. They are to return to their homes and tell everyone they see that she is coming. Anyone who accepts her with open arms will have peace; anyone who refuses to bow before her will die.

Everyone flips out. She tells them she’s sorry, and she desperately hopes they choose peace. She throws them out of the tower and slams the door shut.