Young Adult Fiction posted September 22, 2015 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 


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Kodiak in 1794

A chapter in the book SPIRIT BASKET

Scene 3: Governor's Daughter

by Alaskastory




Background
Background: Jared, a teenage boy, delivers his ancestors' Spirit Basket to a museum, and tells the stories it holds. Over 270 years each generation had ways changed by strangers coming to Alaska.
EXT. FADE IN TOWARD UNIVERSITY OFFICE

INT. DR. LEE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON

JARED
The family paddled north into the wind and waves to a new, free life.
(replaces ivory chip in basket and pulls out a silk ribbon)

DR. LEE
(reaches out to hold the ribbon)
This is a fine silk. Surely it's from China.

JARED
In 1894, it was a treasure to Irina when she was young in Kodiak.

DR. LEE
Ah, yes, that was a time when Alexander Baranov was the manager for Russian America Company and later became the governor.

JARED
Catherine the Great of Russia appointed him to start colonies.

DR. LEE
Tell me about Irina.

JARED
Her father was Tumgax, experienced seaman and a great hunter. Irina's mother was Morava who sewed fine dresses and made baskets.

EXT. PATHWAY THROUGH TALL FIR TREES - AFTERNOON

Barefoot teenage girl in a well-made, faded dress of once fine fabric, hurries along then is STARTLED.

CRACK sound of twigs breaking under a foot. Irina twists about, faces a turbaned young man in a shimmering silk shirt and pants that balloon above fabric boots.

IRINA
(with a gasp)
I thought you were a bear. Bears are so huge!
(showing annoyance)
May I ask who you are?

RICHARD
Good day, Miss. I am Richard Zanskar.
(speaks in notable accent)

IRINA
Did you come on the Phoenix from Calcutta, India? My Uncle Alexander Baranov spoke of the British ship loaded with flour and supplies. The first ship here in four years.

RICHARD
(appears confused)
I do not know all your Russian words.

IRINA
Then I'll speak Aleut.

RICHARD
No. I speak the words of Bengal my home and German and English.
(He hops on fallen tree, standing tall above her)

IRINA
Will you sail back to Bengal soon?

RICHARD
Captain Moore says I stay to serve Sir Baranov. Speak the English for him.
(pinches fingers together)
I speak only some little Russian words.

IRINA
(hesitates, stares at him then brushes pass)
I must hurry on to Anna's birthday tea.

RICHARD
Who is Anna?

IRINA
The daughter of the Governor.
(turns away)

RICHARD
Don't go until you say your name.
(gives broad smile)

IRINA
(calls back)
Call me Irina.

Hardened mud path up a knoll to mansion overlooking the harbor. Irina knocks on the door. Running footsteps inside are heard. Door swings open. Irina enters.

INT. FOYER OF LARGE HOUSE

ANNA
You are here at last, Irina.
(clasps smooth white hands over Irina's brown, rough fingers)
I need to talk with you.

Irina follows Anna up carpeted stairs to her bedroom.

INT. BEDROOM DECORATED IN WHITE LACE AND PINK RUFFLES - AFTERNOON

IRINA
I can guess what you need to say. Perhaps that Nikolai Rezanov is handsome and speaks French. Tell me why a true nobleman would be sent here.

ANNA
To help my father, Governor Shelikhov, prepare for coming priests, etcetera, etcetera.
(twirls about, holding out her flowing skirt)
Please tell me how I look?

IRINA
Your dress is the color of your lovely blue eyes.

ANNA
But do I look older? More mature?
(stands before an oval mirror, stretches as tall as she can)

IRINA
Why do you want to look older than fifteen?

ANNA
Because my gentleman friend is thirty years.

IRINA
Oh Anna, are you really hoping to marry Captain Rezanov?

ANNA
Just who else on this island would my father give his consent to marry me?

IRINA
No one, I'm sure. But why a man who will someday return to Russia?

ANNA
Father says he a man who can speak to Tsarina Catherine the Great and somehow get more trade with China for the Russian American Company.

IRINA
I don't understand a word about all that, Anna. When my father speaks it is of fur seals and otters.

ANNA
Everyone knows Tumgax brings great skills learned long ago. He helped make life better here, but this life is not what I want.

IRINA
You want to live far away?

ANNA
Where ladies wear tall hats and ride in horse-drawn carriages.
(pins her long, blond hair in curls atop her head)
With Nikolai I will sail to Saint Petersburg.

Anna flops down on her bed. Irina slides on beside her.

IRINA
They say it takes a whole year to journey to Saint Petersburg.
(swallows back a sob. sits up)
You will forget me and be gone forever.

ANNA
I can never forget playing piano with you. Or crocheting and writing poems. Or making baskets and bead necklaces?
(throws her arms around Irina)
You are my true friend.

IRINA
(reaches into a pocket)
I made you a present. It's for your birthday.

ANNA
(holding a tiny basket)
Oh, the lid is embroidered with red silk. You have your mother's skill. I shall hug it to my heart forever.

IRINA
It will remind you of me.
(plants a kiss on Anna's cheek)

Distant noise of front door opening, voices greeting a visitor.

ANNA
Hear that? Nikolai Rezanov is here.
(pulls on Irina's arm)
Let's go down and meet him.

IRINA
Want me to tie back your hair first?

Irina reaches for a hair brush.

ANNA
Yes. Please help me look older.

Irina fastens a barrette in Anna's hair. Then they clasp hands and leave the room.

INT. PAN LIVING AREA FILLED WITH FAMILY AND GUESTS

Anna escorts Irina into the party then leaves her on her own. Irina moves around the room toward the front door. She escapes the party.

INT. WOOD-FRAME HOME, IN LIVING ROOM- LATER

Irina hurriedly sits near her mother in a cozy living room.

MORAVA
Irina, you're back so soon. How was the tea?
(she looks up from preparing strands of grass)
What do you think of Anna's beau?

IRINA
He is too tall and his face too long. Mrs. Shelikhov insisted he play a violin that had only squeaks and no melody. Anna is too young for that old Captain.

MORAVA
At fifteen years my gift was the great hunter, Tumgax. You see the better life he gave me with a cook stove, sink for water, cushions on our chairs.

IRINA
(toys with a hair ribbon Anna gave her)
Anna lives in the finest house. Why does she want to leave?

MORAVA
Ah, she is Russian. She wants the luxuries her mother once knew in Siberia.

Irina shakes her head. As a distraction, she picks up a large unfinished basket.

IRINA
You have added a lid and red silk threads to our ancestors' basket.
(rubs a finger over the red decorations)
Shapes are like the teeth of a killer whale.

MORAVA
Signs of the Orca will keep bones of our ancestors safe inside until Tumgax can return them to Attu someday.

IRINA
Attu is far across the sea. I met someone from a strange land that is far, far away. A boy named Richard.

MORAVA
I have heard of that young man. We will see him soon. Uncle Alexander Baranov is hosting the British sea captain who landed with supplies. Auntie plans a big dinner.

INT. LARGE DINING AREA IN LOG HOME - EVENING

Long table spread with platters of roasted deer meat and salmon, dishes of oysters, clams, potatoes, green vegetables and fried bread. Baranov's guests include Anna's parents (Shelikhovs), Irina and her parents (Tumgax and Morava), British sea captain and his first mate, and a one-legged, ship builder Mr. Kuskov and Richard Zanskar. Irina sits across from Richard (in orange turban and silky white shirt).

ALEXANDER BARANOV
(rising from the head of the table)
It is our pleasure to welcome the Captain and his ship. After many months at sea, you have replenished our supplies.

Everyone joins Baranov is raising glasses of rum in salute.

ALEXANDER BARANOV
You have brought us much news from the world and we shall give you a piece of Kodiak news to take with you. It is news from Governor Shelikhov.

He sits and the Governor rises.

GOV. SHELIKHOV
(raising his glass)
I do have an announcement. I am humbly impressed to tell you the esteemed Captain Nikolai Rezanov has offered his hand in marriage to our daughter, Anna.

Glasses raise and shouts of salute. Irina swallows back tears and sinks back in her chair. Richard's dark eyes settle on her.

RICHARD
It was six days ago that we met, Irina.
(flashes a winning smile)

IRINA
That was the last day that I was able to see Anna. Soon there will be many years that I will not see my friend.

RICHARD
I must go, too, in search of a new place to build a colony. But our plan is to return.

ALEXANDER BARANOV
Yes, Richard will travel south with me and Kuskov. The Olga will test my skill to navigate.

TUMGAX
Takes great skill on stormy autumn seas and the further south you go, watch out for warlike Tlingit tribes.

GOV. SHELIKHOV
(lifting his glass)
A toast to you brave fellows for exploring as far as the sound of Sitka.

EXT. ENTRY PORCH, BARANOV HOME - LATER

Irina slips outside onto porch as the summer sky begins to darken. She settles on a bench, gazing at light fading on the ocean. Richard appears, a silhouette in light from the open door.

RICHARD
There is sadness all about you. Anna is fortunate to have such a friend in her life.

IRINA
(wipes her eyes on a scrap of cloth)
I will be lonely at many times without her.

RICHARD
It would make me glad if you let me be your friend.

Irina hesitates, looking at him thoughtfully.

IRINA
You are treated like a son in my uncle's house. Living here almost makes us cousins.
(gives him a teasing smile)

Richard sits down beside her.

RICHARD
So, you will lose a fired, but you have gained a cousin.

Irina laughs, and so does he.

EXT. FADE-OUT OVER OCEAN AND IN TOWARD UNIVERSITY OFFICE

INT. DR. LEE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON

JARED
They did sail off and one-day settled in New Archangel near Sitka. Much later, in the year 1834, the son of Irina and Richard was a teenager there.



Script is based on my book, The Spirit Basket. Adventures begin in the year 1745 and run through to 2015. Each scene depicts what a teenager may have actually experienced.
Many thanks to MoonWillow for the picture that very loosely senses the scene.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by MoonWillow at FanArtReview.com

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