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Double Feature: “Enter the Brain Castle” and “It’ll All End In Tears”

Enter the Brain Castle by Mac Rogers
With mere minutes to live, Magnus must think his way out of danger.

It’ll All End In Tears by Eli Hamada McIlveen
Magnus and Holly are sent on a dangerous mission to collect dragon tears – at the only place where dragons are guaranteed to cry.

And find out how you can help make Season 3 of Alba Salix happen!

Enter the Brain Castle

by Mac Rogers

With Julian Sark as Magnus
Sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen
Directed and produced by Sean Howard

ELI

Hey all. It’s Eli here with the last of this series of Alba Salix minisodes.

As I mentioned last time—a huge thank you to everyone who’s supporting us, monetarily or by by reviewing or posting about us or telling your friends and family. We couldn’t do this without you. I really do mean that.

We’re working away on Season Three, and figuring out how we’re going to record while keeping our cast and crew safe. We’ll keep you posted on our various social media channels.

And more than ever, support from our listeners is essential—whether that’s a regular donation through Patreon, or a one-time donation, or by helping us spreading the word. It all makes a huge difference.

Go to albasalix.com/support to find out how you can help us make Season 3 of Alba.

All right then! We’ve got two more minisodes for you. One is brand new and the other is a Patreon exclusive that we wanted to share with everyone this time around.

This is the brand new one—it’s by Mac Rogers. You know, that guy who writes amazing sci-fi thrillers like The Message and Steal the Stars. You can find him on the web at macrogers.org and on Twitter @macwrites. We’ve loved his work for ages and we were so stoked to have him write a story in the world of Alba. You gotta hear this. It’s called “Enter The Brain Castle”.

Music sting.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING OFFICE

Magnus enters stealthily (or as close as he ever gets).

MAGNUS

(softly)

Quieter than a leopard… swifter than a—

He knocks something off the desk.

MAGNUS

Aw jeez.

(aloud)

Well hello forbidden red cabinet that I’m never supposed to touch again just ’cause last time I released a lighting-shooting murder-moth, which could literally happen to anybody. Well, the joke’s on you, Alba, ’cause guess what: I never changed back the password.

(announces)

Magnus is undervalued!

The cabinet opens. Magnus rifles through the items inside.

MAGNUS

Okay, forget cool knives, what I need is something that will help me achieve my long-term goal of being Farloria’s greatest surgeon-slash-martial-artist. So move over, ominous goblet and eerily humming pendant, I’m looking for… ooo, what’s this?

Magnus pulls out a jar, pops the cork and sniffs. He reads the label.

MAGNUS

“Cerebretol.” Jeez, whose handwriting is this on the label? “Focuses the mind. Learn whole disciplines in days or hours”—YES! I’ll be a surgeon by tomorrow night!

“Warning: take only in conjunction with a regimen of exercise, study and meditat—” Psshhh, who has the time? Make me a genius at once, sweet elixir!

Chugs whole jar.

MAGNUS

Mmm! Even tastes smart! Wait… there’s more words on the… “Dosage: one thimble-full per month. Any more is fatal within three minutes”—wow, I’m reading faster already—wait WHAT?

(Beat)

It’s fine, right? I’m sure it’s fine. Like 90 percent sure it’s fine, 82 at least, maybe 68.93 percent—I’M GONNA DIE!!

Dramatic music. Magnus dances around in a panic.

MAGNUS

No, no, wait, I’m not gonna die, I can fix this! I’m a genius! I can solve this problem with the power of my mind! Which means it’s time to pay a visit to…

…MY BRAIN CASTLE.

EXT. INTERSTITIAL SPACE

WHOOSH. Trippy magic-carpet-ride music and sounds.

MAGNUS

Hurry, Thought-Winds, carry me to my Brain-Castle, where I solve all my problems via symbolic interactions with the people in my life!

EXT. A PORTCULLIS

The winds drop Magnus in front of a portcullis.

MAGNUS

Hey, why is the portcullis closed? This is an emergency!

Alba approaches the portcullis from within.

NOTE: All characters Magnus meets in his Brain-Castle are imitations voiced by Magnus.

ALBA-MAGNUS

(a cackling cartoon witch)

Who goes there?

MAGNUS

Alba? You guard the portcullis in my Brain-Castle?

ALBA-MAGNUS

Yes, Magnus. I couldn’t take being secretly intimidated by your genius any longer, so I retreated to this menial posting as self-punishment.

MAGNUS

I love how realistically you’re depicted here! But could you, y’know, open up? I’m dying real soon and I need you to inspire me to find a last minute solution.

Alba-Magnus raises the portcullis.

ALBA-MAGNUS

Why don’t you reach out to Real World Me for help? It is my dream to be remembered as “The Woman Who Saved Magnus.”

MAGNUS

Huh? No, I can’t ask Real World Alba, I’m in enough trouble already. Thanks though!

Magnus runs past her into the Brain-Castle. We hear Alba-Magnus calling after him.

ALBA-MAGNUS

Any time, Your Greatness! Truly the student has become the teacher!

INT. CORRIDOR IN BRAIN-CASTLE

Magnus’s feet echo off stony corridors.

MAGNUS

I swear this place is bigger now. Thank you, Cerebretol!

All right, so what room would have the best solutions in it? Wait—the Throne Room, right? Because that’s where I rule! Yes! I love logic.

Holly-Magnus hurriedly approaches as another portcullis falls.

HOLLY-MAGNUS

Magnus, watch out!

MAGNUS

What? AAAHHH!

Magnus ducks out of the way as the portcullis crashes down.

MAGNUS

Why is there another portcullis inside?

HOLLY-MAGNUS

(a giggling, simpering waif)

Thank goodness you’re all right! What would I do without you?

MAGNUS

Holly?

HOLLY-MAGNUS

Over these last weeks and months, I’ve come to see you as a mentor.

MAGNUS

Oh, I could totally tell. But do you know where the Throne Room went? I’m literally about to die.

HOLLY-MAGNUS

Why don’t you just ask Real World Me for help?

MAGNUS

Because Real World You is just gonna point and laugh as I perish in a cloud of smartness-gas. I need to get to the Throne Room.

HOLLY-MAGNUS

Of course! It’s just across the moat!

The sound of running water, as if cued by her words.

MAGNUS

Yes! Exactly! Wait, why is there a moat inside the castle?

HOLLY-MAGNUS

Shall I carry you across?

MAGNUS

You can do that—WHOA!

Holly-Magnus lifts Magnus and flies him across the moat.

INT. INTERIOR BRAIN-CASTLE CORRIDOR

Holly-Magnus drops Magnus on the other side and flies away.

HOLLY-MAGNUS

It’s the least I can do after all you’ve taught me…

MAGNUS

Wait! Which way to the Throne R—

Ooooh… I don’t feel good… chance of dying… 97.362 percent… starting to think that warning label was trying to tell me something…

Guy Van Fleet approaches as a third portcullis falls.

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

Young sirrah! The portcullis! Beware!

Guy pulls Magnus out of the way just in time.

MAGNUS

Guy Van Fleet?

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

How could I let the finest outlaw in the land—even better than me—perish beneath his own portcullis?

MAGNUS

What is with all the portcullises in this castle? Or is it portculli?

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

That’s easy—they represent your oncoming death!

MAGNUS

Right, right, that. Got any brilliant ideas?

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

Perhaps to stop seeking shortcuts and commit to a life of incremental improvement in collaboration with others?

MAGNUS

Nah, doesn’t sound right. Do you know where my Throne Room is?

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

Of course! I’ll drop-kick you there now!

MAGNUS

Did you say drop‑k—aaaaaagh!

GUYVANFLEET-MAGNUS

Hyaaah!

GuyVanFleet-Magnus drop-kicks Magnus.

INT. THE AIR

Magnus flies through the air.

MAGNUS

Ow, that drop-kick really hurt! Or maybe it’s the pain of my organs all dying at the same time. Throne Room here I coooommmmme!

INT. THRONE ROOM

Magnus lands with a thud on the stone floor of the Throne Room. Alba-Magnus sits in the throne.

MAGNUS

Oof, that was one brutal landing!

ALBA-MAGNUS

Actually that’s your body entering its final death-throes.

MAGNUS

Alba? What are you—that’s my throne.

ALBA-MAGNUS

That’s what happens when you drink more than the prescribed dose of Cerebretol: it throws your brain into an unsustainable overdrive, causing your other organs to shut down in confusion.

(Magnus cries out.)

Like that. You jackass.

MAGNUS

Wait, you’re a projection of my subconscious! Why am I being mean to me?

ALBA-MAGNUS

Because I’m not actually saying any of this. You’re reading these words off a label.

MAGNUS

What label?

ALBA-MAGNUS

The label on the jar of Cerebretol that you never actually put down. I hid a message there in Gradually Appearing Ink beneath the dosage warning, and that’s what you’ve been reading.

Magnus’s Brain-Castle dissolves all around him.

MAGNUS

Wait—wait—my Brain-Castle! Where’s it all going?

ALBA-MAGNUS

Your so-called “Brain-Castle” is a manifestation of your over-active mind on too much Cerebretol. Fortunately…

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING OFFICE

Magnus, back in the office, reads the label of the jar.

MAGNUS

(reading)

“Fortunately, having anticipated your actions based on a long pattern of poor life-choices, I added a delayed-release antidote that should be kicking in now.”

(quick aside)

Huh. I do feel less death‑y.

(Back to reading)

“I hope this has taught you a lesson about raiding the Red Cabinet like it’s a cookie-jar. I’ll be by this evening to change the password forever.”

Beat of silence.

MAGNUS

Huh.

Yeah. It’s kinda like what Brain-Alba and Brain-Holly and Brain-Guy-Van-Fleet said… if I’d only just asked the people I know for help… if I made peace with a life of slow and steady improvement… I’D BE THE BIGGEST SUCKER EVER!

Forget that! Looks like I’ve got until tonight to find more cool stuff. Take your time, Alba!

Magnus puts the jar down and goes back to rifling through the shelf.

MAGNUS

Oooo, I wonder what this gem does?

It zaps him.

MAGNUS

Ow! Dangit!

Music sting.

ELI

“Enter the Brain Castle” was written by Mac Rogers, and starred Julian Sark as Magnus, Alba, Holly and Guy van Fleet.

It’ll All End In Tears

by Eli Hamada McIlveen

With Julian Sark as Magnus and Olivia Jon as Holly, and special guest Kristi Boulton
Music by Hedley Knights of Battle Bird Productions
Script and sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen
Directed by Sean Howard and Eli Hamada McIlveen

ELI

Our last story of the run is one you might have heard if you’re a Patreon backer—we put out bonus material almost every week for all our patrons, and + backers get bonus stories from Alba, The End of Time and The Axe & Crown. Bonus stories like this one! It’s called “It’ll All End In Tears”.

Music sting.

INT. OPERA HOUSE

An orchestra tunes up, while the audience talks in sibilant whispers.

FIRST OPERA-GOER

(male, a huge, snooty voice)

“A tour de force”, I’m told.

SECOND OPERA-GOER

(female, equally huge and snooty)

Well, we shall see. I hope we can at least put that wretched ballet last season behind us.

FIRST OPERA-GOER

Ugh! The music was bad enough, but the costumes!

SECOND OPERA-GOER

Say no more.

FIRST OPERA-GOER

Ugh. Have they replaced these seats? My tail is getting crushed.

Magnus and Holly work their way down the aisle, bumping into patrons as they approach.

MAGNUS

Excuse me.

HOLLY

Pardon me. Sorry.

MAGNUS

Coming through.

SECOND OPERA-GOER

(with distaste)

The human section is up there.

HOLLY

I’m a fairy, I’ll have you know.

SECOND OPERA-GOER

(scoffs)

Humanoid, then. Who can tell all you little things apart?

Holly flutters her wings angrily.

HOLLY

Look! Wings!

MAGNUS

Okay, maybe don’t antagonize everyone in our row, Holly.

They move on.

FIRST OPERA-GOER

They’re just letting anyone in now.

SECOND OPERA-GOER

Sad, isn’t it?

HOLLY

This looks like a good spot.

MAGNUS

All this fuss just to get a few dragon tears. I bet I could make a dragon cry without having to sit through an opera.

HOLLY

Who’s being antagonizing now?

MAGNUS

I’m not!

HOLLY

You always have to resort to violence.

MAGNUS

Who said anything about violence? Look, we just tell a couple dragons a sad story, collect their tears, and buzz off.

HOLLY

Dragons almost never cry.

MAGNUS

Well, this better be one sad freakin’ opera, then.

Holly opens her program.

HOLLY

Oh, dragon opera is where they let it all those feelings out! It’s always so big and tragic and passionate and emotional. And this show is supposed to be amazing.

(reads)

“Enziga Krammarbatch: an audacious new work of theatrical magic.” And we can say we saw it on opening night!

MAGNUS

You can say that. I’m gonna be over here sleeping.

HOLLY

Magnus, don’t you dare! You need to be ready with your pan.

MAGNUS

Alba got me up at four this morning and I’ve been riding on carts and wagons all day to get here. My bruises have bruises. All so I can come here to watch dragons stomp around and sing.

HOLLY

But how amazing is that? Dragons! Stomping around! Singing! It’s high culture!

The audience breaks into applause, then falls silent as the conductor taps a baton.

Then the music starts: gentle woodwinds and strings that quickly turn ominous as the soprano begins to belt out her first notes.

SINGER

Ins Foia dei us griben Gretza / Hem zen Ziga af Fronenfifa…

MAGNUS

Oh man, four hours of this?

HOLLY

Okay, this is a little different than I was expecting.

SINGER

Dal faunen eis Golfa dei / Com pritza, Fiantschi / Al Dimal dudal Tei

The music rises to fever pitch, with pummeling, atonal strings and brass. The audience begins to mutter and even boo.

SINGER

La Chita dala Picalinga / Da fonen is—

The singer hits a particularly startling note—then screams suddenly as she’s hit with flying produce, and falls over.

The audience is in an uproar, tearing up the seats and throwing them.

MAGNUS

All right! This is more like it.

HOLLY

Magnus, run!

MAGNUS

Are you kidding? This right here is worth the trip.

The shouts turn to roars. Fire starts to crackle.

MAGNUS

Yeah! Burn it all down! Woo!

HOLLY

I’m getting out of here.

MAGNUS

Haha! You scared of a little dragon riot?

HOLLY

Yes, actually!

MAGNUS

Some people don’t know how to have a good time. Whoaaa! Hey! Put me down!

One of the dragons picks Magnus up and flings him across the theatre.

MAGNUS

High culture can kiss my aaaass!

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING

Magnus and Holly stagger in, shell-shocked.

ALBA

Holly! Magnus!

MAGNUS

Dragon opera? Can go suck it.

HOLLY

I still can’t feel my wings.

ALBA

What happened?

HOLLY

It was a brand new opera. Very controversial.

MAGNUS

It sounded like a herd of elephants decided to start an orchestra-slash-wrestling league.

ALBA

That’s how it usually sounds.

HOLLY

No, no, I’ve heard dragon opera. This was… different. It was audacious and iconoclastic.

MAGNUS

You know, when those guys decide to have a riot, they don’t mess around.

HOLLY

Some people throw tomatoes. Dragons throw forty-pound pumpkins.

MAGNUS

And sides of beef.

HOLLY

And fairies.

MAGNUS

And humans.

ALBA

So, in other words, you didn’t get any tears at all.

MAGNUS

Nope, none. Except… for this huge damn bottle.

He sets the bottle on the counter.

ALBA

What? That’s… that’s nearly a pint.

HOLLY

You’re welcome!

ALBA

What’s really in this bottle?

HOLLY

Tears! Genuine dragon tears! See, after they burned down the amphitheatre…

ALBA

After they what?

MAGNUS

Yeah, I mean, you’d think dragons of all people would know how to make things fireproof.

HOLLY

We found the soprano and the theatre owner in the bar across the street, getting drunk and crying their eyes out. They were so heartbroken.

ALBA

Really!

MAGNUS

I want it on record that I had nothing to do with any of the property damage that occurred.

ALBA

All right. Good work.

HOLLY

Yay! Go team!

Holly and Magnus high-five.

HOLLY

Ow.

MAGNUS

Ow. I’m gonna go lie down now.

Music sting.

ELI

“It’ll All End In Tears” was written by Eli Hamada McIlveen, and starred Julian Sark as Magnus, Olivia Jon as Holly, Barbara Clifford as Alba and special guest Kristi Boulton as the dragon opera-goer and the dragon soprano. The music was composed by Hedley Knights of Battle Bird Productions, makers of We Fix Space Junk. Hurrah! Look them up on your favourite podcast app.

Both of today’s mini-episodes were directed by Sean Howard, with sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen.

That’s it for this series, but yes, keep an eye on this podcast feed, or our Twitter and Patreon for news of Alba Salix, Season Three!

Take care of yourselves out there and be good to each other—we’ll talk to you soon. Bye for now.