The following came from a game writing challenge to establish a setting, characters, and threat in 400 words or fewer with this prompt: You are writing a scene for a fantasy RPG were the player is leading a recon party into enemy territory. Along the way, they find their way to a small charming hamlet where something terrible has happened.
EXT. ENTERING PELCHALICE - DAY
Four soldiers, PLAYER, and GRANWALD ride into a rustic village denoted by a sign: PELCHALICE. GRANWALD sneers, summons a throatful of spit.
Pelchalice. Flea's ass of the world. Shoulda took the Green Pass.
Too risky. (beat) You know this village?
From my youth. Born, get married, sell your pigs, buy winter seeds, die.
Cozy. And you gave all this up?
Nothin' happens in Pelchalice.
PLAYER looks around. Doors ajar, pies on windowsills, clothes on the line, no people anywhere.
Normally this quiet?
Sunday. Minister Stalton's preachin'. Strange.
GRANWALD points to a BANNER overhead.
Fete's today. Biggest day of the year 'round here.
Games, food, lotsa ale. (beat) And people.
GRANWALD nods to the shuttered CHURCH at the town center.
Nice day like this, Stalton would open windows.
You'd hear him praisin' Solarus for miles.
PLAYER studies the church, then the ground. PLAYER stops, the formation stops. PLAYER dismounts, stares at the ground. We pan down. A child's doll.
Search the village. Granwald, with me.
EXT. PELCHALICE – MONTAGE OF MARKET LOCATIONS - DAY
SOLDIERS watch pigs in a pen, walk among fete stalls. SHADOWS stalk them.
INT. TOWN HALL - DAY
PLAYER and GRANWALD enter a dank, squat office.
Majestic Pelchalice Town Hall.
PLAYER plucks "parchment" nailed to the door. It’s a mad screed of hate. It droops weirdly.
Minister never preached like that. Is that…
PLAYER eyes the church.
EXT. CHURCH OF SOLARUS - DAY
PLAYER and GRANWALD batter the front doors.
Minister. Harsh? Wrathful preacher?
Gentle soul. Never thought he'd ever mean…
INT. CHURCH OF SOLARUS - DAY
PLAYER and GRANWALD burst the doors open. Corpses, covered in blood and flies, sit in prayer under a gouged statue of SOLARUS. Incense wafts from braziers. Over the altar, a crude banner: OUR VOICES SUMMON HIS DAMNATION.
PLAYER approaches the altar, draped with bloody cloth. PLAYER pulls it back revealing numerous human tongues and graffiti: OUR SILENCE BRINGS HIS LOVE.
GRANWALD lifts a WOMAN's head, recoils in shock. Her mouth missing a tongue. All the corpses are missing tongues.
(O.S.: Screams from soldiers.)
Through shutter-slats we see SHADOWS approach the church. GRANWALD and PLAYER notice it, ready for battle. Behind them, a SHADOW rises.
TRANSITION TO GAMEPLAY