|Village of Jal|
|Season One, Episode 1|
|Air date||27th February 2014|
Village of Jal is the debut episode of Eternal . It is set in 1512 and focuses on Damien, in the days when he went by the name 'Edmund Lincoln' when he is sent by a young King Henry VIII to investigate a man claiming to be the second incarnation of Jel .
‘‘On the outskirts of our beloved England, just below its border with the Kingdom of Scotland, lies a village the locals have declared Jalshire,’’ Edmund read out, holding a letter he had removed from an envelope delivered to him, containing the royal seal. ‘‘It is without a doubt a threat to the realm that must be dealt with, according to our reports a man claiming to be the second incarnation of Jel, also known as Jal, has managed to amass considerable support for his campaign up North and has the support of many ignorant peasants willing to die not for their King and Country but for this fool’s false errands. By the order of the rightful sovereign of England and the House of Tudor, I task you with taking charge undercover as to learn more about the social and military structure of this dominion headed by an absolutely affirmed enemy of the state.’’
His shadowy accommodation was hidden inside the Tower of London, where he was provided with a room, books, active guards guarding the perimeter and occasional toys. It was the early winter morning where the birds had just stared their routine chirping. Edmund’s small frail body of a ten year old sat crouched in a tub filled with steaming water he used to bath and warm himself in. With both arms he playfully splashed the water about, a habit he simply couldn’t help. His head raised he looked at the mirror standing opposite him and stared at himself. He had turned 14 a while back. Yet he was physically frozen, eternally and forevermore, in the age frame of a ten year old. It had only been almost a year since he had forsaken his past and adopted his new identity of ‘Edmund Lincoln’. He liked this name and all that came with it.
It’s only been four years, he thought. Just wait how awkward this shall be upon when I have lived into the second decade of my life.
The thought that he was supposed to be an adolescent gave him goose bumps. He was guilty of lying to his King about this, claiming to be a lot older to help build up an image of invaluable living wisdom from the days of the invasion of the 1400s. His father had fought in that war.
Wrapping himself in a towel he stepped out and dried himself before proceeding to dress. His designated clothing for today, a set designed not to distinguish himself from the peasantry, short woollen trousers and a loose long fitting tunic. This trip up north into this strange village required him to be discreet and gather information. That would also mean having to blend in with the common folk of Jalshire, namely the peasants.
‘‘Do you require any assistance…my Lord?’’ he heard James ask, who was his recently appointed caretaker as well as bodyguard, one of the select few individuals of the royal court aware of Edmund’s secret and his sworn service to the crown.
‘‘I can slip on a pair of rags with relative ease’’ he responded before opening the door, showcasing his cheap new attire.
‘‘My, you look raggedy’’ smiled James before bending down to straighten some creases
‘‘Indeed, that is the point of it,’’ said Edmund. ‘‘Don’t treat these creases too much, I still need to be able to look like them.’’
‘‘No time is to be delayed’’ said James. ‘‘The carriage has been prepared and is waiting.’’
‘‘Then we must get on shan’t we?’’ Pulling on a pair of pilgrim shoes he was fully dressed and immediately marched through the door leading down towards the exit.
7 hours later
Two and half hours past noon and the carriage finally came to a stop. Edmund was relived; at last he could jump into an exciting mission of espionage and possibly apprehend this claimant. James had fitted him with a small dagger laced with poison which he carefully concealed within the tunic. If he came by the right opportunity to use it, he was to use it.
Edmund stepped out of the carriage and saw the village not too far ahead. He would have to walk the rest of the way so as to avoid unnecessary attention. James was to accompany him; they were both to pose as workers seeking paid labour, namely blacksmithery where Edmund was an apprentice and James his master.
‘‘This should be curious’’ said Edmund.
Upon reaching the outer perimeter of the village they started to hear the sound of singing. It was a choir coming out of a chapel. The houses nearby were made out of wood and straw and were modestly built to be able to just about stand the northern altitude but the chapel was full bricked and marbled. Edmund couldn’t help but admire the architecture.
‘‘We might have no choice but to burn it down when we’re done here,’’ said James with his almost never changing stern expression.
‘‘James, try to look more…normal, we don’t want to come off as threatening. And remember our primary objective is to gather information, the King can send a proper cavalry to put a halt to this more permanently.’’
Looking around he tried to see if there was anyone he could talk to, perhaps someone his physical age. As much as he would have liked, he had not been immortal for a long time yet and hadn’t truly understood the adult world as much as he would have liked to. He had wondered if they should simply enter the chapel, though it would have been rude for newcomers to interrupt so he decided against it. They would have to wait it seemed.
The singing suddenly ceased and silence befell their ears. Edmund now felt anxious, worried if they had been noticed and had disturbed the locals. The large gates of the chapel swung open and a crowd of peasants walked out, ignoring them and resuming their daily life. Edmund and James looked at each other in confusion and shrugged before entering the building.
‘‘Excuse me,’’ said James stopping in front of a young dark haired girl. ‘‘Sorry to bother you but could take us to the pastor or head priest?’’ he asked as politely as he could.
The girl just stared at him wide eyed with a blank expression before walking past him and exiting.
‘‘Well that was rude’’ he said turning around towards Edmund, only to find him gone. The boy had gone ahead without him. Edmund was standing near the stage where the priests often orated their prayers. He was talking to one of them. James hurriedly followed after him.
‘‘Ah, you must be his master,’’ smiled the priest. ‘‘The village of Jalville welcomes you and this child with open arms.’’
‘‘Oh, thank you,’’ said James. ‘‘We would really be thankful if you could provide us with some form of work, we won’t complain about the pay.’’
‘‘We have a blacksmith who is in need of a few extra hands. I am confident that you shall serve him well- oh! Forgive me, I haven’t introduced myself. I am Theodore Beeham, Chief Priest of the Jalshire Parish.’’
‘‘I take it my apprentice has introduced me?’’
‘‘Indeed, mister James More. We look forward to having you. As for the child I believe he can be of more direct service to Father Jal, as one of the choirboys.’’
‘‘I do most certainly look forward to such service,’’ smiled Edmund.
‘‘I see,’’ said James. What better way could there be to get close into the internal system of this village than to work under the institution of its leader? A group of nuns dressed in white appeared from a separate room and circled Edmund.
‘‘They shall escort you, child. As for you Mr More if you could wait here, I shall have the blacksmith messaged about your arrival.’’
The nuns guided Edmund into another room. Inside there were benches and hooks for hanging clothes. There he saw white robes, though wasn’t sure if they were meant for males or females, so they were probably unisex for children. One of the nuns then walked up to a hook and pulled off a robe his size.
‘‘This one’s your size,’’ she said.
Edmund realized they intended to change him, which apart from him not being comfortable with in the first place, would also give him away since he had still concealed the dagger in his tunic.
‘‘Thank you, but I can dress myself,’’ he said trying to hide any facial trace of nervousness.
‘‘Oh don’t be shy, you’re just a boy,’’ one of them said giggling.
‘‘No it’s alright, let him do it himself’’ said a male voice.
‘‘Father Jal!’’ exclaimed the nuns.
This is him? thought Edmund.
He was tall, carried long blonde hair and certainly spoke with the accent of the Scots. At least Edmund now had an idea as to how exactly he got an entire village to back him, though he very much doubted this man was really any reincarnation of Jel or any hocus-pocus like that, his looks alone did now partially justify why the peasants had enslaved their will to him.
‘‘If you say so Father’’ one of them said before they all exited.
‘‘My children shall be engaging in the evening sermon, I look forward to having you,’’ he said.
And he sounds like a typical preacher too! But what does he get out of this? Huge portions of the community charity collected every Monday? Probably also living inside this personal mansion of his he calls a ‘chapel’. He must live like a King and has these villagers as his subjects under his thumb. This is treason.
‘‘Oh, I do too,’’ he replied, though felt somewhat put off.
Father Jal simply nodded and headed towards a brown door opposite the one Edmund originally came in. ‘‘When you’re done we shall be waiting for you in here’’ he smiled. As he left, Edmund proceeded to start dressing into the robes. He didn’t really like them, though the ambiguously formed skirt or kilt could be worn by either gender, it felt too feminine for his taste. Nevertheless, he was undercover so wore it without complaint. When he finished he proceeded towards the brown door when suddenly behind him the other door opened and a dark haired girl poked her head in.
‘‘You shouldn’t have come here,’’ she said before pulling back and closing the door.
Edmund realized they knew. And that he and most likely James were in deep trouble. Rushing through the brown door as fast as his ten year old legs could go; he unsheathed his dagger and jumped into the next room, ready to spill blood if he had to.
‘‘Well this is sad, and you would have made a nice choirboy’’ he heard Father Jal say, standing next to Theodore Beeham. They were surrounded by children dressed in those robes, as well as the nuns. They all had their heads bent down, as if they were bowing or half asleep. James was lying in front of them, chained to the ground.
‘‘Well since our cover is compromised anyway, let me just say that these robes are just plain wrong, your chapel is worse, though nice architecture by the way, and by the order of the crown, you are under arrest for treason and religious bigotry,’’ said Edmund, his dagger pointed towards them.
The Head Priest simply laughed. ‘‘You should really revaluate your position boy, you’re the one under arrest here and sentenced to death!’’
James shouted: ‘‘Edmund! He has them under his control. He’s using a-‘’
Father Jal delivered a swift blow with his leg against the man’s chest, making him cough out blood before losing consciousness from the severe pain inflicted upon him.
‘‘Spoilers!’’ shouted Father Jal, very furiously.
‘‘Well what a ruffian Scotsman you are indeed,’’ said Edmund.
‘‘Scotsman? Don’t delude yourself,’’ the Head Priest laughed. ‘‘I had this Welshman refine his accent for months before I even changed his face to actually match that northern merry man. ‘’
‘‘I kind of already knew this was some kind of scam, but I didn’t expect you to be the mastermind behind it, I just assumed you were another blind cultist.’’
‘‘You assumed wrong boy, though I find it mocking that the King merely sent a child and his guardian after us. It is quite insulting against the true extent of our powers.’’
‘‘Powers? What powers?’’ asked Edmund, confused.
‘‘These powers!’’ yelled Father Jal as he lifted his left hand to reveal a ring fitted with a glowing red stone. The people around him raised their heads, their eyes glowing red as a ruby. They stepped forward and looked at him.
‘‘These puppets of mine do my every bidding,’’ he said with a sinister smirk. ‘‘Soldiers of mine, kill the boy!’’
Edmund prepared to fight them as they came at him holding spears and swords; he wasn’t the one who was going to worry about dying right now. He prepared to strike a run that slashed a spear at him, however he ended up blocking it and being knocked down. These people weren’t in control of their actions, and he realized he couldn’t murder anyone, especially an innocent, in cold blood. Both Father Jal and the Head Priest must have realized this as their grins only widened.
‘‘Please, I don’t want to have to hurt you,’’ Edmund desperately pleaded. It was no use however as they surrounded him and promptly impaled him multiple times. The Head Priest and Father Jal laughed in response to their surprisingly swift success against the crown’s actions. They did not notice that the pool of blood around Edmund was moving back inside his wounds, or that they quickly closed and healed. Only when the boy gave out a large gasp upon revival did they realize that they had not succeeded in killing him and that the only damage they had inflicted upon him was the tearing on his robes from the stabbings.
‘‘What…how…that’s not possible’’ stuttered Father Jal, his expression a mixture of disbelief and shock.
‘‘He’s an immortal’’ said Theodore. ‘‘A never aging, undying child cursed to walk the path of life for an eternity.’’
‘‘But...a child? I didn’t think they’d look that young.’’
‘‘I suppose neither ‘Edmund’ nor ‘Lincoln’ is your real name then?’’ asked Theodore.
‘‘Not really,’’ Edmund responded. ‘‘But they are my names now,’’ he said getting up.
‘‘Stay back!’’ he heard a female voice shout. It was the dark haired girl he had encountered earlier. Her hands glowed light blue and she chanted some spell words that sounded similar to ancient Latin mixed with Welsh. A strong current of wind blew open the doors and blasted the citizens against the wall, knocking them unconscious though with some minor injuries delivered.
‘‘You’re a…’’ Edmund tried to find a more polite word, but he didn’t think she was an alchemist, so the only term that came to mind was-
‘‘Witch’’ she responded nonchalantly staring back at Father Jal and Theodore.
‘‘Well this is a further unexpected development’’ commentated Father Jal. ‘‘An immortal and a witch. Let us see how you two can stand against this!’’
He pointed his ring towards them with his fist and the stone it carried glowed more intensely before suddenly discharging several spiralling threads of crimson energy. It immediately struck the girl with an electric impact and threw her violently against the wall. But when it came near Edmund, the boy’s eyes flashed scarlet and the crimson energy spiralled, almost danced around him. He soon realized he could somehow bend it as he willed. Raising his arms he pointed them in the direction of Father Jal. The energy jolted back like lightning towards the man, who panicked and attempted to block the offensive surge with his ring.
It was no use. The energy crackled upon contact with the stone, which then suddenly shattered. Before he could react, the stone’s entire energy engulfed the user whose body was now sparking bright red. He screamed in agony was as it covered him, before he was silenced forever when his own power destroyed him, vaporising him into redmist that dissolved into the air.
‘‘Hah! No matter, I shall simply arrange for a replacement in due time. You may be a witch girl, and you boy an immortal, but neither of you can deal against the power of a tiste!’’ shouted the Head Priest full of gluttonous pride.
‘‘Tiste?’’ asked Edmund. ‘‘You’re a-‘’
The Head Priest twisted his head left to right which made loud snapping sounds. A black ravenous wing sprouted below his left shoulder. At first Edmund thought this meant it was a Hora, the thought filled him with terror, he had heard about these creatures from tales of the invasion that occurred before he was born. But then another wing sprouted from below its right shoulder. Instead of another black feathered extension, it was a dove like white coloured wing.
‘‘I am Syncalar, Tiste Hybrida!’’
‘‘What the…a Hybrida?!’’ Edmund was the one feeling baffled this time. Half Hora and half Longa? Did that mean he possessed both their powers? This wasn’t good, he didn’t know how to fight these creatures, though he heard their partially immortal and could be killed by beheading. If he could get close enough.
The Hybrida didn’t waste any time, both its hands glowed dark purple and bright white, each respective of his dual heritage. Before Edmund could prepare to dodge, Syncalar struck too quickly and the powerful combined energy beamed against Edmund and the witch. They both screamed in unprecedented pain as their legs became weakened and they fell on their knees, barely conscious.
‘‘Fools!’’ laughed Syncalar. ‘‘You have used up your luck here. True I’m slightly inconvenienced, but nothing someone with power such as mine cannot handle!’’
Edmund passed out from the pain but still began healing. His shadow was moving strangely, rising above the walls to levels that should not have been possible for his physical position. And somehow Syncalar knew that he had invoked a power superior to even himself.
‘‘No! Please, I didn’t know-‘’ His head was instantly twisted and tore off by an unseen force. His entire body crumbled into dark and light toned sand.
Edmund awoke to find the smoky pile scattered on the ground like ash. He didn’t know what just happened but it seemed that the Hyrbida had somehow been killed. And he wasn’t going to ponder over it either, he got back up on his feet and walked towards the the young witch.
‘‘Are you alright?’’ he asked.
‘‘Yes I’m fine,’’ she said expectantly before standing back up.
‘‘Good,’’ said Edmund before he ran up to James who was still unconscious. ‘‘Can you help me with these chains please?’’
The witch nodded before tightly clutching the chains and closing her eyes. She entered into a deep trance-like state. Edmund watched in awe as the chains suddenly started rattling almost like snakes, before turning brittle and crumbling apart into metal dust.
Edmund started shaking James about who coughed out another spout of blood before reopening his eyes. ‘‘What happened?’’ he asked as he tried to regain his strength. ‘‘They’re both dead,’’ Edmund replied. ‘‘Did you...kill them?’’
‘‘I…don’t know.’’ Edmund wasn’t sure if he was comfortable l living the knowledge that he had really killed someone, it was a sick, almost nauseating feeling. James got up and saw the girl he had met when he entered the chapel. Associating her with the rest of this treasonous cult he reached out for his short sword but found it was gone. His captors must have checked him for any weapons.
‘‘It’s okay,’’ said Edmund. ‘‘She saved us, you would have been dead without her help.’’
‘‘Did the Head Priest call you can immortal,’’ asked the witch. ‘‘And how did you deflect that blow from the Philosophers Stone?’’
‘‘And you’re a w-‘’ He stopped. If he said ‘witch’ out loud in front of James he would put her life in danger. James being a loyal servant of the crown would no doubt try to apprehend her for practicing witchcraft and sorcery and he was grateful for her help so didn’t want to have her executed. But now she was already aware of his secret, Syncalar had declared him an immortal right in front of her and considering she was now looking at the holes ripped through the upper section of his robes, it seemed clear that he was repeatedly impaled but somehow avoided any injuries.
The man who called himself Father Jal had used a variant of the Philosophers Stone, one which could somehow control the minds of others, explain his sizeable following. He had also used the Stone’s power to attack him, however it had very little, if any effect on him at all and he was able to redirect it. Perhaps his immortality was linked to his own Philosopher’s Stone which protected him and gave him greater control over its power than what the False Jal was able to wield.
‘‘She knows?’’ asked James clearly not amused by this news.
‘‘You can’t just silence her,’’ Edmund pleaded.
‘‘Then what can I do? You’re secret that was meant to stay guarded for both your security and by the order of his majesty.’’
‘‘We can let this go James, we came here to deal with these two, not to kill any civilians.’’
‘‘What?’’ Edmund turned around to see that the young witch they were arguing about had vanished from sight.
‘‘Which means we have lost her,’’ said Edmund with mixed emotions. ‘‘We should report back to the King now. Have him send a cavalry to stabalize any chaos that might ensue after the deaths of its leaders, especially that so-called Second Incarnation of Jal.’’
James looked around the room but couldn’t find her. He didn’t want this girl to cause any trouble now that she knew about Edmund. But he was not going to have the whole village searched, he wanted to get back to London as soon as he could and report to his sovereign. Besides the whole village would soon know of what happened so it was safer if they just quietly left for now and let the King take care of the rest.
‘‘Let us return then,’’ said James, looking at the unconscious followers on the ground. They would soon awake to find their spiritual guides gone and no doubt blame the young King.
They quietly left the now crowded village, the people unaware of the events that took place briefly inside their beloved chapel. It was only a matter of time before the news spread, no doubt there would be a mass mourning followed by heavy riots. The whole village, its politics, its economy, its social structure, it would all fall apart without the Head Priest and Father Jal. Edmund wondered how they knew who they were. It was probably Syncalar who could sense it.
As they walked out of the outer perimeters of the cultist village they could hear some screaming. The word was out and soon the mass mourning was going to take place. They safely boarded the carriage, the horses still waiting for them where the two had left them. From afar, a young witch with dark hair and only about a year older than Edmund’s physical age, sat atop a ancient oak tree watching them go.
Damien Somerfield as Edmund Lincoln
Aneira as the Young Witch