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"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Excerpt: Once Upon a Time in the Kingdom

***I know what you're thinking. You're tired of being jerked around about Script Frenzy. Well, don't worry, it's over in two days, and for me it's over yesterday. Let me tell you a bit about what I wrote. (What can I say? I'm a writer. I like to write. And I like to write about what I write. How meta.)

So, Kingdom is a television series I developed in [country name redacted.] My idea was a sort of reverse Alice in Wonderland - a character from a fantastical fallen Kingdom falls "down the rabbithole" into the real world. After returning to The Former Kingdom he has tons of sexy adventures with - get this, this is the best part - a modern day ethos. Sort of a high fantasy version of Farscape. Anyway, super high concept, I know.

Behind all of this, though, there was a back story. There was a time before The Kingdom fell. There was a time when this fantasy world was still mundane, in the sense of not intersecting with real world pop culture except in subtext. None of the characters had met, and the fall of the Kingdom would have reverberations throughout the story. The story of the civil war that brought The Kingdom down was one I had always sort of known in the back of my mind, and one which I suspected would make a sort of a good TV movie, the way Babylon 5 used to do, or a two part episode to reveal all the back story which would have harsh revelations for the ongoing series.

Of course, you understand I'm talking about all of this in theoretical terms. A TV pilot is hardly ever written on spec, or by an uknown, let alone a whole series. But, for me, it has always been fun. Pure, unadulterated fun to write, fun like I almost never have writing novels with the hopes of publishing. Anyway, for Script Frenzy, I decided to write the prequel movie to the few episodes I've written, called "Once Upon a Time in the Kingdom." A combination of spaghetti western and high fantasy, it culminates in the climactic Battle of Bly Canwae. This is a scene I've had in my mind for almost three years, and thanks to Script Frenzy it finally exists on the page. Enjoy.***


Meritorius watches as Greifsburg's outriders close the distance quickly. Over his shoulder he hears the sound of a sword being drawn. He turns. To a man, the King's Household Guard stands. Polonius stands with his sword drawn. The rest of the century draws their swords.

Centurion, the Royal Household Guard will stand with you.

Meritorius grins.

It wasn't long ago you would've called me a shit-shoveling stable boy.

You are. But you're our centurion.

Meritorius looks the century up and down.


The King's Household Guard snaps to, but many of the legionnaires fleeing the other units around them also stop, turn, and listen.

After today, if any of you survive, for the rest of your lives they will speak of you in soft whispers. They will say, "He stood at Bly Canwae." And nothing more will ever need to be said.
Meritorius locks eyes with every man in his unit. The fleeing legionnaires start to whisper to one another.


The drummer of the Household Guard steps forward. Meritorius nods to him. The man starts to beat the tattoo to The Who's "Cry If You Want." Or, if it's cost prohibitive to afford the music, he starts to beat a tattoo legally distinct from "Cry If You Want." As the drummer plays, Greifsburg's calvary closes on them. Some of the other legionnaires, thought not whole units for the most part, rush to join the Household Guard on the battle line. There are shouts from the other units alternatingly of "Meritorius stands" or "The Houshold Guard stands!"

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