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And here are my notes on the second draft outline... note we were approaching ever closer to the correct big cat.

WEISMAN 3-12-95

Notes on "Leopard Queen" Outline...

Hi, Brynne. Well, I'm at it again. Basically, I didn't feel we were there with the last draft of the outline, and given how far behind things are, I felt that it was necessary to beat it out here. My main problem was a lack of true jeopardy. The poachers were never any real threat to our gargoyles. In the end, neither were Tea or Fara Maku. The traps in the lost city had no effect on either Tea or the Poachers, so it was hard to believe that they would give Goliath and Co. a hard time. I just felt we really needed to escalate the situation, so I've added in the only character from African Mythology that I know anything about: Anansi the Spider. (And of course, I have no idea if Anansi is part of Nigerian myth, and unfortunately no time to check.) And just so you know, I wasn't secretly hoping you'd add Anansi. But he was the only thing in my head that felt authentic when I addressed the Jeopardy problem myself. Giant Spider. Worked for me. I tried to preserve what I felt was best from all the various versions we've had of this story. In reworking the legend of Kara Digi to include Anansi, I went for an animal folk tale feeling, instead of a curse, since you told me that African Myth tended in that direction. As usual, if you have problems with all or part of this thing, just call me.


II. On landing safely, no one is completely sure where they are.

A. Africa maybe, ELISA thinks, but she's not sure. She and her brother and sister came here as a child with their parents. Her mother's side of the family is from Nigeria.

B. ANGELA makes some semi-bitter comment about how she wishes her father would talk to her about her roots. GOLIATH gives the gargoyle company line in response. But it's clear that Angela wants something more personal from G.

C. Suddenly they spot something horrifying. We don't see what it is, but we can tell from their faces that it is something disgusting. Goliath is appalled. He cannot understand why any hunter would skin, defang and declaw an animal, only to leave the meat behind. Elisa explains that these jungle cats weren't hunted; they were obviously poached. An illegal practice, that's destroying the wild. Goliath thinks that may be the reason Avalon sent them here. To stop the poaching. They move off into the jungle. We do not follow them. We cut away.

III. Tribal clearing. A woman (DIANE) is telling a story to a bunch of native children. A few adults are gathered too (including FARA MAKU who has a claw mark tatoo or scar on his shoulder). In a cage nearby, a black leopard paces back and forth. We segue into her folk tale, told in arealistic "primitive" animation.

A. The Leopard Queen was the most beautiful creature in the
1. Beautiful black fur. Razor Sharp Claws. Huge white
B. But she was also very vain.
1. She mocked the Hippo.
2. She mocked the Crocodile.
3. Then she made the mistake of mocking Anansi the
C. Anansi weaved a magic spell in his web that transformed
the Leopard Queen into the first human.
1. No beautiful fur. No sharp claws. Puny little teeth.
D. The Leopard Queen begged Anansi to return her to her proper
1. He promised he would on one condition.
2. That she build him a great city shaped like a giant
3. She agreed.
E. But she could not do it alone. So she gave birth to the
human race to help her build the city of Kara Digi.
1. They followed Anansi's plans to the letter.
2. Anansi was very pleased.
F. When the city was built, Anansi kept his promise and
weaved a spell that returned the leopard Queen to her
true form.
1. With the beautiful fur, sharp claws and big teeth.
(Keep emphasizing these three elements.)
G. But Anansi had tricked the Queen. For now she was lonely
for her children.
1. She asked Anansi to turn her children into leopards.
2. He refused, because they tended his city.
3. But he told the Queen that if she hunted for him and
brought him food, she could choose one of her
children by marking him, and Anansi would turn
that child into a leopard.
H. So the Leopard Queen hunted for Anansi and brought him
1. Anansi got fat and happy. He promised to grant her
2. The Leopard Queen made her mark on her oldest son,
who was the wisest, bravest and most handsome
man of the tribe.
3. Anansi didn't want to let this great man leave his
city, but he had given his word.
I. Anansi called the Prince to him and told him of his promise.
1. The Prince did not want to become a leopard.
a. He had been born a human and wanted to stay
that way.
2. He asked Anansi if there was any way to escape this
3. Anansi told the Prince that if he killed the Leopard
Queen, Anansi would no longer be obligated to her.
J. So the Prince hunted the Queen.
1. But when he found her, he saw the beauty of her fur,
the sharpness of her claws and the hugeness? of
her teeth.
2. And he realized that she had chosen him out of love.
3. He decided not to kill her.
4. And so Anansi was forced to transform the Prince into
a Black Leopard.
K. Anansi was so furious, he banished all of the humans from
Kara Digi.
1. But that was foolish, because now he had no one to
tend his needs.
2. And so the spider went hungry.

V. As the tale ends, we see that Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx have been listening from just beyond the clearing. They are enraptured by the story.
A. We get Angela's line about: Who is that woman? Magus?
1. Elisa responds definitively: "No, that's my mother."
2. Probably at some point someone should remark on the
coincidence of her mother being there when our
travellers arrive, and someone else should point
out that with Avalon it is no coincidence, it is fate.
Maybe not here, but somewhere.
B. When the story's over, the adults (except for Fara Maku and
Diane) lead the children from the clearing for the
festival meal in the nearby Hauka village. We find
out that after the feast, the Black Panther will be set
free to honor the Leopard Queen.
C. Once the clearing is empty, Diane asks Fara with some
trepidation whether she told the story well. She'd been
studying to do this for months.
1. Fara praises her.
2. And Elisa steps into the clearing to tell her mother
she did a great job for someone born and raised in
New York.
D. That smart-ass remark is followed by a tremendous hug
between Elisa and Diane. Diane is very releaved Elisa is
all right.
1. But now that she knows that Elisa is all right, Diane
is furious that Elisa just vanished the way she did.
a. Elisa is surprised that she didn't get the
message from Matt.
b. But Diane can't believe that Elisa didn't call
home herself.
i. And Elisa's excuse that there hasn't been
time, doesn't cut a lot of mustard here.
2. Diane was so worried she nearly didn't come to
Nigeria for the Leopard festival, even though she
had been preparing to participate for a year. Peter
had to practically force her to get on the plane.
And he had to skip the festival, in case any word
came about Elisa back home.
3. So what is Elisa doing in Africa?
a. Elisa fumfers a lame excuse.
b. Diane recognizes it as lame, and is more pissed.
c. From the clearing, ANGELA doesn't understand
why Elisa doesn't tell her mother the truth.
d. Goliath explains that Elisa has some problems
sharing her secret with people. Though he
agrees that she SHOULD be able to tell her
e. Angela remarks pointedly that Goliath's right.
Parents and children should be able to talk
about anything. Goliath burns but says
E. Suddenly, Poacher's attack led by TEA. (Please find a
different last name for her than MAKA, it's just too close
to Fara's MAKU. We're asking for confusion problems.)
Tea and the poachers want to kill the ceremonial leopard.
(Though for very different reasons.) And we may notice
that Tea also has what we might take as a claw mark
tatoo or scar on her shoulder.
1. Angela is prepared to jump in right then. But the
Poachers have guns which can fire faster than even
the gargoyles can move. Goliath wants to give
Elisa a chance to try to diffuse the situation.
2. Elisa, Fara Maku and Diane obviously have no intention
of letting Tea and her men kill the leopard. Fara
seems to know Tea. He can't believe she's working
with Poachers. This is what comes of leaving the
tribe for the big city. (Doesn't have to be America,
in fact it probably shouldn't. It's a bit distracting.
What's the biggest city in Nigeria or near Nigeria?)
We see Fara's getting very upset by all this.
3. Tea doesn't want to hurt Fara, but he doesn't know
what happened to her when she went to the big city.
And one way or the other that Leopard is going to
die. If necessary, every leopard in the jungle.
4. An increasingly agitated Fara places himself in front
of the leopard. The poachers are getting angry.
Let's just get rid of them all. We don't want
witnesses anyway. Things are reaching a boiling
point, and left with no choice, Goliath is just about
to go in.
5. When Fara Maku transforms into a HUGE black leopard
-- at any rate, considerably bigger than the
ceremonial leopard in the cage.

VI. All hell breaks loose. Tea says something like "It was you!!". The poachers panic and start shooting at Fara, who attacks and is wounded. Goliath, Angela and Bronx wade into the battle. Short work is made of the poachers, but Fara/leopard flees into the jungle pursued by Tea. (We still think Tea is a villain at this point.)

Diane is stunned at all that's happened. And the appearance of the Gargoyles doesn't help. But the straw that breaks the camel's back is that Elisa clearly knows these monsters. Elisa is quickly able to convince her mom that Goliath and company are friendly, but that only raises more questions. How long have you known about this? Why didn't you tell me? Etc. Elisa doesn't want to deal with this, so she changes subject. What's the deal with Fara's transformation? Diane doesn't know. She thought the legend was just a legend. Goliath says that in his experience most legends have a seed of truth in them. At any rate, Fara's in obvious danger from that Tea-woman. They need to protect him. Elisa wants her mom to stay behind. Fat chance, young lady.

Just before they leave, they free the ceremonial panther and put the poachers in his cage.

VII. In the jungle, Tea hunts the Fara/leopard like a woman possessed. We get a sense that she and Fara once cared for each other and that for some reason she feels betrayed by him. She nearly kills him, but is prevented by Goliath and co. But when they try to apprehend her, she too transforms into a HUGE black leopard (though she seems to be trying to fight the transformation in a way that Fara didn't earlier.) Tea/leopard escapes, still pursuing the wounded Fara/leopard.

VIII. With Bronx's help, our intrepid band track Fara and Tea to the gates of legendary Kara Digi -- home of Anansi the Spider. Diane can't believe it's real, but then again, what isn't real these days? The city is layed out like a spider's web. Bronx seems confused. There are multiple cob-web filled pathways, and he seems conflicted between two of them. Angela realizes that Fara and Tea must have gone down separate paths. Angela, Elisa and Bronx will follow one path. Goliath and Diane will follow the other. (Elisa probably wants Goliath with Diane so that the big guy can keep mom safe.)

IX. The two teams split up. But both fall into death traps. Spider-themed death-traps ideally.

X. Both groups separately escape their respective death traps and continue pursuit.

XI. Along the way, Angela has a discussion with Elisa, that chastens Elisa. (Angela wishes that her father would talk to her the way Diane seems to want to talk to Elisa, or something like that). Diane has a conversation with Goliath that chastens him. (As you said, the difference between the human and gargoyle way; the unreasonableness of children, the fact that Goliath treating Angela like a daughter doesn't preclude him from loving his non-biological kids back on Avalon. Diane has three kids, and she loves them all, but that doesn't mean she can't try to be as close as possible to Elisa. You might even get in the fact that Elisa's always been Daddy's girl. In fact, maybe we should run this through Elisa and Diane's whole conflict. Or maybe not. I'll leave that up to you.)
Note: Both Elisa and Goliath should be chastened but unconvinced at this point. Also, plant little spiders throughout their treks through the city.

XII. Anyway, all paths lead to the heart of Kara Digi, the heart of the web. Everyone converges there. Fara arrives first and transforms back into a wounded human. Tea isn't far behind. She too transforms back, and pulls a primitive weapon off the wall to use on Fara. She's intercepted by the several arrivals of all our heroes. And finally we get some answers. Tea was attacked by a leopard just before she left for the big city. Now everytime she gets upset she transforms into a black leopard. Made life difficult in the big city. She knew the Tale of the Leopard Queen and figured that if she killed the Leopard who marked her, it would break the spell. So she teamed with the Poachers. They helped her kill the leopards to get the fur, claws and teeth. She still can't believe that it was Fara that marked her. She loved Fara. Fara protests that he loved her too. That is why he marked her, to force her to come back to the jungle and stay with him. That isn't love, Diane says, that's selfishness. Fara realizes that now, but he really does love Tea. (Man this jungle's just filled with lousy communication skills.) But Elisa doesn't understand. How did Fara get cursed himself. Fara's reluctant to answer....so Anansi answers for him. Anansi lowers himself on a web from the darkness of the ceiling. He is a GIANT INTELLIGENT SPIDER. Fara knew the legends and searched for the city. He found it and Anansi, who was just a hungry little thing. Fara made the old deal. He would hunt for Anansi and bring him food in exchange for the Leopard "curse". Anansi's pleased with the arrangement. He's obviously eaten well. Now Fara begs Anansi to remove the curse from Tea, even if Fara has to serve Anansi forever. Tea's touched, but Anansi figures if one hunter is good, seven might be better. Anansi knows from his little spider children (who "bugged" Elisa and Goliath's respective conversations with Angela and Diane) that each of them has a loved one here. He may send a few of them out at a time to hunt while the others serve him and act as hostages. Of course this doesn't sit well with anyone, so we have a fight. Fara transforms again, so we have gargoyles, Fara/leopard, Tea, Elisa and Diane against this giant spider, and frankly, it doesn't look good for our guys. Fara is still wounded, and Tea has to transform to a leopard to save him at some point. She still loves him. Anansi is ultimately destroyed in some cool way that ANGELA thinks of. But with Anansi gone, now there's no way to remove the curse from Fara and Tea.

XIII. Epilogue. A bandaged Fara and Tea are reconciled. Both have done bad things that they need to atone for. But they are together, and like the Leopard Queen and her son, they choose to stay together out of love. If that means occasionally turning into black leopards to protect their jungle. Well, so be it.

Goliath tells Angela that he is very proud of how his Daughter defeated Anansi. She gets the message and gives him a huge hug, as dawn breaks and they turn to stone in each other's arms.

Diane is once more, suitably impressed. She and Elisa share a nice quiet moment alone. When night falls again, Elisa plans on continuing the world tour with her gargoyle friends, but she promises to tell her Mom EVERYTHING about it when she gets home.


So that's that. I'm not sure about the break between the second and third act. You can move it if you want. And if this doesn't play for you, all or in part, give me a call and we'll talk.

Finally, this may be sticky from an S&P standpoint. I can't really justify the poachers having futuristic guns. Their rifles can be semi-hi-tech, but they can't be laser guns. Also, I want to deal as realistically as possible with Fara's wound. Both as a leopard and as a man. I'm going to copy Adrienne on this. After you've both read this, you might want to confab with her to discuss perimeters.