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Alba Salix 202: Tried and Tested

The House of Healing staff face an inspection by Minister Pearcey — and a test of a different kind.

Download MP3 (43 MB)

Starring:
Barbara Clifford as Alba Salix
Julian Sark as Magnus
Olivia Jon as Holly
and Elaine O’Neal as Antalia Pearcey

with Abbas Hussein as the Butterfly
Mbula Enobong as Loria Berenice

and special guests:
Michael Howie as Travin
and Jasmin Cheng as the Catalogue

Script, music and sound design by Eli McIlveen
Directed by Sean Howard and Eli McIlveen
Associate Producers: Paul Tedesco, Keiko Kanda, Heather Collins, Julian Sark, Michael Hudson and Jack Pevyhouse
Supporting Producer: Kim Bellinger
Executive Producer: Dave Addison

Content warning: Claustrophobia, violence, doom and destruction.

This episode has been brought to you by The Amelia Project, a delightfully witty audio drama podcast about an agency who help their clients disappear. Look them up at ameliapodcast.com.

INTRODUCTION

ELI

Hey, hallo, bonjour! It’s Eli, your co‐writer and co‐producer. We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who’s been sharing the show out there on social media, playing it for a friend, all that stuff. We’re so glad to know you’re enjoying the show. It really does make our day.

This episode is brought to you by The Amelia Project, a witty and delightful audio drama podcast about an exclusive agency who help their clients to fake their deaths and start a new life somewhere else. Cult leaders, criminals, TV stars—every episode, there’s a new client planning their escape, and every client is weirder and funnier than the last.

And if that’s not enough for you, they just released a special episode that crosses over with four other shows, and one of those shows might just be Alba Salix, Royal Physician. As for the other three shows, I’m not going to spoil anything, except to say that we love them all and that the crossovers are just hilarious and so, so perfect.

That’s The Amelia Project. Search for it in your favourite podcast app, or look them up on the web at ameliapodcast.com.

Now, without further ado, please enjoy Alba Salix, Volume Two, Episode Two!

> MUSIC STING

INT. MINISTRY OFFICE

A clock ticks steadily in the background. A big wooden door opens, and Loria Berenice enters the room.

LORIA

(warmly)

Good morning, Madam Minister.

PEARCEY

(stern)

Good morning, Ms Berenice.

Do you have our presentation to the Chancellor ready for this afternoon?

LORIA

Good to go. No preamble, like you said—we’ll just bury him in numbers until he begs for mercy.

PEARCEY

And gives us our budget, I hope.

And remind me, what’s this morning?

Loria searches through a messy pile of papers and books.

LORIA

Uh… This morning… is… inspection at the House of Healing.

PEARCEY

Ah yes. The jewel in the crown of this department.

LORIA

And they should be getting their new secure storage unit installed today too.

PEARCEY

What time?

LORIA

Uh… the best I could get out of Magic Support was “some time between ten A.M. and six P.M.”

PEARCEY

(sighs)

As always. All right. I’m off to the House of Healing.

She rises and begins putting on her coat.

LORIA

Shall I bring you the whip, Minister?

PEARCEY

Hmm. No, make it a cudgel. Something that lands on a skull with a nice solid thunk.

LORIA

Of course. Who knows? Maybe they’ll actually be ready for you this time.

PEARCEY

They’d better be.

> OPENING THEME

HERALD

By appointment to the King and Queen: Alba Salix, Royal Physician, Volume Two! Episode the Second: Tried and Tested.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING RECEPTION

Busy, whimsical music as Alba bustles around cleaning. Holly enters from the back room.

HOLLY

(singing)

The laundry’s done and the beds are made!

ALBA

Thank you, Holly.

(calls)

Magnus? How’s the lab coming?

MAGNUS

(from the back hallway)

Just putting away the glassware now. Whoops!

He drops a beaker, which smashes.

ALBA AND HOLLY

Magnus!

Magnus starts sweeping up.

MAGNUS

It’s okay, it’s okay—that was a bad beaker. Very unfit for inspection. It had like, stains… and totally would not pass muster with Minister Fearsome.

ALBA

If you call her that to her face I will hit you—

MAGNUS

Uh‐uh! No physical assault on colleagues, remember?

ALBA

Damn these new rules.

Magnus enters the reception area, dusting off his hands.

MAGNUS

All right. Lab’s all done.

ALBA

And the back hallway?

MAGNUS

And the back hallway. Oh. Also, nobody open the right‐hand supply cupboard.

HOLLY

My right or your right?

MAGNUS

Holly, don’t open any of the supply cupboards.

HOLLY

Check.

The front door opens.

PEARCEY

Good morning, everyone.

ALBA MAGNUS AND HOLLY

Good morning, Ms Pearcey.

MAGNUS

So, are we all fired yet?

PEARCEY

No. No one’s being fired, oddly enough. Thank you for your efforts in adhering to the new Ministry guidelines. I know this can’t be easy.

ALBA

And the action plan?

PEARCEY

Yes! Very impressive! Very… thorough.

ALBA

You sound surprised.

PEARCEY

You were here when I visited last week, weren’t you?

ALBA

I suppose that’s fair.

PEARCEY

No, compared to the Sorceror General’s staff, the House of Healing runs like gnomish clockwork.

HOLLY

Aw, thank you, Ms Pearcey!

ALBA

Would you like a tour? You can see which items we’ve gotten done so far.

PEARCEY

Gotten done? You’ve actually done things? My word. You’re leaving those wizards in the dust.

ALBA

Holly?

HOLLY

You got it! So this is the reception area…

PEARCEY

I’m familiar, yes.

HOLLY

We’ve cleaned up and moved the desk so it’s easier to get past…

PEARCEY

I saw the new ramp at the front doorstep too, very good.

Holly leads everyone through from room to room.

HOLLY

Through here, the exam room has new easy‐to‐clean curtains. The lab’s been tidied, cabinets labeled…

MAGNUS

(under his breath)

No, not, not that cupboard…

HOLLY

Glassware and instruments cleaned.

PEARCEY

Good work.

MAGNUS

You bet.

ALBA

Everything’s a bit crowded in here today, unfortunately, but that’s because…

They continue on. The pantry is empty and echoey.

ALBA

The pantry’s been cleared out to make room for the new storage unit.

PEARCEY

They should be delivering it today, in fact.

HOLLY

(sighs)

I’ll miss you, pantry.

ALBA

I know you will. But it’s for safety.

HOLLY

I know.

PEARCEY

How is the one in your office working out?

ALBA

Oh, the cabinet is great. It’s such a relief, finally having all the dangerous magical items protected from unauthorized access.

MAGNUS

Why is everyone looking at me?

ALBA

No reason.

HOLLY

I know why we’re doing it. But I’ll miss all my bottles and jars. I won’t get to write out all the names by hand.

A moment. Alba and Pearcey at a loss.

HOLLY

And… I guess I’m still sad about the garden.

ALBA

I know.

PEARCEY

The garden?

ALBA

A couple of days ago, something came and ate nearly every flower in the herb garden. So we’ve got some replanting to do. And when we bottle the new plants, you can decorate the labels.

HOLLY

Really? Can I? Is that all right, Ms Pearcey?

PEARCEY

(reluctant)

Yes. Fine.

HOLLY

Yay! Thank you!

(pulling up short)

Right, sorry, no hugs.

They continue across the hallway.

PEARCEY

Hmm. Not so good. The hallway is still impassable.

HOLLY

This is just temporary. This will all go into the new unit.

PEARCEY

All right.

MAGNUS

At least the rakes and buckets are gone.

HOLLY

In here, the ward has been swept, scrubbed, smudged and sanitized. We’ve ordered new linens for both beds.

PEARCEY

Very good.

HOLLY

And I think that’s all for inside.

MAGNUS

Yeah, that’s it for inside

They all return to the exam room.

PEARCEY

Yes. Magnus, you raised the issue of living conditions, and we agree, it would be better to house you somewhere other than…

MAGNUS

A freezing, moldy toolshed?

ALBA

There isn’t any mold.

PEARCEY

We will begin looking for a suitable room within walking distance.

MAGNUS

Define “walking distance”.

PEARCEY

Point seven five miles, or the distance walkable by the average adult in fifteen minutes.

MAGNUS

So… if I find something cheaper further out, can I take a carriage to work?

PEARCEY

Moving right along.

MAGNUS

I mean, you get a carriage.

PEARCEY

Defining roles. We need to assess each of your strengths, and determine where we have gaps to fill.

HOLLY

(hand up)

Ooh. Ooh.

PEARCEY

Yes, Holly.

HOLLY

I’ve been reading about the Persimmon Personality Index!

PEARCEY

I haven’t heard of that one.

HOLLY

At the market the other day, there was a booth for Persimmon Personnel. They do hiring for all those big new companies in town.

PEARCEY

Oh, one of those.

HOLLY

And they created this test, so we can find out what kind of personality and working habits we all have!

ALBA

I don’t think we need a test to tell us that.

Holly has pulled out a cloth bag from under the counter.

HOLLY

They gave me the whole package. Look!

“Know Thyself—Know Thy Employees.” There’s a gem… and a deck of cards… and they’re all different personality archetypes! Don’t you want to know if you’re the Queen of Rubies or the Fire‐Eater?

PEARCEY

I’m quite sure this isn’t on the list of approved evaluation tools.

HOLLY

C’mon, it’ll be so perfect. We can discover our unique strengths—in a fun way! Find out what part of our bodies our brains are in!

MAGNUS

Uh…

PEARCEY

Then by all means, try it and see what results you get. On your own time, please.

HOLLY

You have to do it too! Fair’s fair! We want to know your personality, so we know how you like to work and how best to set you up for success in this important transition. What do you think, Alba?

ALBA

I think it’s up to Ms Pearcey.

HOLLY

Please, Ms Pearcey?

PEARCEY

Holly—

HOLLY

Pleeeease?

MAGNUS

I find it’s best just to go with it? Otherwise we’ll be here all day.

PEARCEY

I’m going to regret this. All right, let’s see what we get.

HOLLY

(a delighted squeak)

> MUSIC STING

INT. OFFICE—MONTAGE

HOLLY

Alba, I want you to look into this sapphire.

ALBA

Really?

HOLLY

It helps to focus your mental waveform.

ALBA

As if there were any such thing.

HOLLY

Just enjoy how pretty and shiny it is. Admire it. Let your conscious mind drift peacefully as you gaze… into the soothing blue depths of… the sapphire…

She falls silent.

ALBA

And at some point I suppose you ask some questions? Holly? Holly.

HOLLY

Right! Questions.

> MUSIC STING

HOLLY

On a scale of zero to ten, with zero being “completely answer A” and ten being “completely answer B”… Would you say that you are more like a pond or a brick wall?

PEARCEY

What does that even mean?

HOLLY

Just pick one! Go with your instinct.

PEARCEY

My instinct is no. Neither.

HOLLY

All right! I’ll say that’s a five.

PEARCEY

How many questions are there?

> MUSIC STING

HOLLY

The key is not to overthink your answer. Just say the first thing that comes into your head.

MAGNUS

This is so boring.

HOLLY

Magnus!

MAGNUS

That was the first thing that came into my head.

HOLLY

Magnus. On a scale of zero to ten…

MAGNUS

Seven?

HOLLY

Let me ask the question first!

MAGNUS

…point nine.

HOLLY

Question one.

MAGNUS

Can I say seven point eight three? I’m feeling precise today.

HOLLY

Rrrgh!

> MUSIC STING

HOLLY

Would you describe yourself as a catalyst or an observer?

PEARCEY

(utterly checked out)

Five.

Holly writes this down.

HOLLY

Do you prefer to set your own hours, or to think about things that could have been?

PEARCEY

Five.

HOLLY

Do you prefer going to a party or falling from a great height?

PEARCEY

Five. No, ten.

HOLLY

Which of these two circles makes you feel more envious?

> MUSIC STING

MAGNUS

I’m not sure I can even put that in a number.

HOLLY

Just say your first response.

MAGNUS

Hmm. Blue.

HOLLY

As a number.

MAGNUS

Maybe bluey‐green. With little swirls of white.

HOLLY

Magnus, stop touching the Sapphire of Assessment.

MAGNUS

I’m not touching it! I’m just putting my hand near it as I focus my brainial waveforms on it.

HOLLY

Stop it!

MAGNUS

Look! I’m not even touching it! I’m not! Look!

HOLLY

Magnus!

> MUSIC STING

HOLLY

Don’t forget, Alba! Keep looking into the Sapphire.

ALBA

It doesn’t matter where I look.

HOLLY

But it helps to focus the mind.

ALBA

Yes, yes, you’re right.

(under her breath)

I suppose it does keep the violent urges at bay.

HOLLY

Pardon?

ALBA

Nothing, nothing. Three.

> MUSIC STING

HOLLY

Question thirty‐three. Would you rather try new flavours of pie or climb to the top of the tallest mountain?

Well, pie, obviously.

I’ll put that down as a ten! Question thirty‐four. Do you prefer being physically active, or making yourself useful?

Can’t I be both?

Five, then? How about five? Hello?

So shiny…

Holly, please pay attention!

Sorry!

She laughs and laughs.

CUT TO:

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING RECEPTION—CONTINUOUS

Holly is still laughing in the background.

MAGNUS

Welp. This is fun.

PEARCEY

I knew it was a bad idea.

ALBA

It’s all part of a learning process.

PEARCEY

How much longer do you think she’s going to be? Perhaps we can get on with some actual business.

The front door opens, and the bell rings. Travin, an awkward 20‐something wizard, enters, wheeling a cart.

TRAVIN

Hey. So. I’m looking for Alba?

ALBA

Yes?

TRAVIN

I’m Travin? I’m from Magic Support. I got your new Secure Storage Unit here.

ALBA

Oh good. Thank you.

MAGNUS

That little thing? How is that gonna hold everything in the pantry?

TRAVIN

Oh, the DragonHoard 3C comes compressed. I’m gonna take it out of the packaging, and it’s gonna expand to fill basically the whole room.

MAGNUS

What! That’s so cool.

TRAVIN

Pantry’s back here?

ALBA

Down the hall on your right. You’ll see it.

MAGNUS

Can I watch?

TRAVIN

Sure.

CUT TO:

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING PANTRY—CONTINUOUS

Magnus and Travin wheel the cart down the hall to the pantry and unload a big box.

TRAVIN

Watch out, it’s heavy.

MAGNUS

You’re not kidding!

TRAVIN

So, we just gotta line it up in the very center of the room, so it doesn’t go crooked and damage any walls.

MAGNUS

Right. Makes sense.

TRAVIN

Then just cut this open, slide this off…

He cuts a couple of straps, then pulls away a wooden cover. A soft crackle and hiss, like an air mattress.

MAGNUS

And there it is. How awesome is that?

TRAVIN

Yeah. And now we wait.

MAGNUS

Is it doing anything?

TRAVIN

Takes a while for it to expand to full size.

MAGNUS

Right.

So is this your job, installing these things?

TRAVIN

Any kind of magic fixtures. We got a big project coming up for the Transmutation lab—

Down the hall, the exam room door opens, and Holly emerges. Her voice carries down the hall.

HOLLY

All right, team! Time for our results!

ALBA

Magnus!

MAGNUS

We’re busy!

ALBA

No you’re not. Get in here and get your damn results.

MAGNUS

(sighs)

Fine.

TRAVIN

Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.

Magnus trudges back to reception.

MAGNUS

(under his breath)

I should have been a wizard. I could totally go to wizard school.

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING RECEPTION

ALBA

All right, let’s get this over with.

PEARCEY

Yes. I’m due at the Chancellor’s office soon.

MAGNUS

Hey, don’t touch the Sapphire of Assessment, Holly.

HOLLY

I’m the one administering the test. I have to hold the Sapphire to my head like this while I choose the cards. It helps amplify my mental vibrations.

MAGNUS

(snickers)

HOLLY

Who wants to go first?

Silence.

MAGNUS

Fine, I’ll go. This better be good, Holly.

HOLLY

It’s not good or bad. There’s no judgement. It’s a reflection of your true inner self.

MAGNUS

So, like, the King of Hellfire.

Holly turns up a card.

HOLLY

The Princeling of Waters.

MAGNUS

“Princeling”? Seriously?

HOLLY

He’s got a nice hat!

MAGNUS

Aw, man… Even the picture makes him look like a dork. I pronounce your test officially lame.

HOLLY

(reads)

Um… “This card signifies a rebellious spirit who questions authority at every turn.”

ALBA

Well.

MAGNUS

(suddenly liking this)

Tell me more of this fascinating result.

HOLLY

“They struggle against the system and are often resourceful and inventive, even though…”

MAGNUS

…their genius goes unappreciated?

HOLLY

“…they may appear opportunistic and lazy.”

MAGNUS

To the uneducated layperson. Go back to the part about fighting the system?

PEARCEY

I’d hoped the point of this test was to find ways to channel your strengths into positive results for the team.

HOLLY

That’s right.

MAGNUS

No way, baby. I’m sticking it to the man!

ALBA

Yes, you’re quite the rebel.

MAGNUS

You know it.

HOLLY

Okay! Let’s do yours, Alba.

ALBA

All right.

Holly shuffles and deals.

MAGNUS

My money’s on The Old Maid. Of Broomsticks. Or the Tyrant. Is there a Tyrant?

HOLLY

No, it looks like—oh my gosh! The Princeling of Waters.

ALBA

Really.

MAGNUS

What? That’s my card! She can’t have mine!

PEARCEY

That is an amusing coincidence.

HOLLY

Oh, it’s not a coincidence!

MAGNUS

Clearly your cards are stuck or something.

ALBA

I suspect improper shuffling.

PEARCEY

Perhaps the two of you have more in common than you think.

MAGNUS

Like heck.

ALBA

Gods help me.

HOLLY

That’s so interesting…

PEARCEY

Alba, you were a little bit of a terror in your school days, I hear.

ALBA

People say the damnedest things, don’t they?

HOLLY

It’s true, though! Alba, you are resourceful and inventive, and you don’t listen to authority much.

PEARCEY

This will be interesting when we talk about work habits and interpersonal strategies.

ALBA

I’m curious to see what card you get, Ms Pearcey.

PEARCEY

Yes, all right.

MAGNUS

Nobody else better get Princeling of Waters.

Holly deals out another card.

HOLLY

No! It’s The Scribe. “A figure who maintains rational order and values competence, honesty and reliability.” Right? That’s so you!

PEARCEY

(warming to it)

I suppose that’s not a bad description.

HOLLY

“A keeper of knowledge…”

PEARCEY

Hmm! Fair enough.

HOLLY

“…and a keeper of secrets.”

ALBA

Secrets?

HOLLY

Ooh, that sounds mysterious.

PEARCEY

(hastily)

It just means that I’m trustworthy, obviously, and am often privy to official secrets by virtue of my position.

HOLLY

(lightly)

You don’t have any deep, dark secrets, Ms Pearcey?

ALBA

Yes, do tell.

PEARCEY

Well!

Holly, let’s find out what personality type you are.

HOLLY

Okay!

MAGNUS

Can you trust this test if you ran it on yourself?

ALBA

It’s probably just as useful as everyone else’s results.

Holly turns over a card.

MAGNUS

“The Queen of the Wind”?

HOLLY

Aw, that does sound like me!

She flutters her wings.

MAGNUS

Careful with those wings, O Queen.

HOLLY

Sorry, I just got excited! Let’s see. Oooh! “A spirit with a deep connection to the primal forces of nature.”

ALBA

That’s one way of putting it.

HOLLY

“A dynamic personality…”

(her excitement drains away)

“…who is fated to bring doom and destruction.”

Beat.

MAGNUS

Ha ha!

ALBA

That sounds about right, actually.

HOLLY

No, it can’t be. I’m a good fairy and I help people!

MAGNUS

(mocking laughter)

Bringer of doom!

HOLLY

Magnus, this is me we’re talking about! I’d never bring doom!

MAGNUS

Who almost got us eaten by bears?

HOLLY

That wasn’t my fault! I was starving and they had porridge!

PEARCEY

Bears?

ALBA

I seem to remember a fair number of lab explosions.

HOLLY

Magnus brings on way more doom than I do.

MAGNUS

(scoffs)

PEARCEY

All right. We can’t take this test too seriously. This is simply a mildly entertaining game to spark conversation.

HOLLY

But… I looked into the Sapphire. Do you think it sensed a mental vibration from deep in my spirit that I’ve been hiding from all this time?

ALBA

I think it tells us a lot of random traits that could match anyone.

HOLLY

I’m scared, Ms Pearcey.

MAGNUS

Yeah, I dunno… maybe you should take the rest of the day off. You know, just in case.

HOLLY

In case what?

MAGNUS

In case you have a mental vibration.

HOLLY

You’re a mental vibration.

There’s a crackle, then a huge BLAM! from the pantry.

ALBA

What the hell was that?

HOLLY

Oh no!

Travin appears in the doorway.

TRAVIN

(coughing)

So… slight problem with the install.

ALBA

What happened?

HOLLY

Oh my gosh. It’s happening already.

TRAVIN

I think we might have mis‐measured the amount of free space.

PEARCEY

What?! Is anything damaged?

TRAVIN

I mean… little bit. Just might need to get someone in to look at the walls, and make sure they’re still sound.

PEARCEY

This is unacceptable. Show me.

TRAVIN

Well, you know, sometimes these old buildings, they expand and contract with the cold…

Pearcey, Travin and Magnus follow him to the back hallway.

HOLLY

(whispers)

It’s all my fault.

ALBA

Holly…

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING HALLWAY

Dust and debris settle.

PEARCEY

Did you double‐check the measurements before you opened the package?

TRAVIN

(guilty)

Yeah!

PEARCEY

Did you?

TRAVIN

I… I mean…

MAGNUS

Yeah, he totally did. I saw him.

PEARCEY

I see.

MAGNUS

Can’t you just shrink it?

PEARCEY

No, he can’t. Once installed, it’s proof against most types of magic. And even if we did shrink it, I don’t trust this building to stay standing now.

TRAVIN

It’s really not that bad.

PEARCEY

I’m going to talk to the head of your department, young man. And they need to get the emergency team down here on the double. Come on, let’s clear the building.

(calls)

Everyone out! Holly? Ms Salix? Hello?

> MUSIC STING

EXT. FOREST—DAY

Holly is crouched under a tree. Alba approaches softly.

HOLLY

I’m a monster. I bring doom and destruction everywhere I go.

ALBA

I thought I might find you here.

HOLLY

Alba, no. You can’t be around me. It’s not safe.

ALBA

Holly, you pulled a random card out of a deck.

HOLLY

And then the whole House of Healing nearly fell down!

ALBA

It didn’t. And it certainly wasn’t your fault.

HOLLY

I brought this on us, Alba.

ALBA

You did no such bloody thing. It was that so‐called wizard from the Ministry. He didn’t measure properly. He didn’t even install the unit with the door facing out.

You are a good fairy and you help people.

HOLLY

That’s just a thing I say to make myself feel better.

ALBA

It’s true. You are good. You’re good because you care. That’s who you are. That’s something to be proud of.

So take it easy today. Pearcey’s not letting us back in the building anyway. Go get some rest.

HOLLY

Thanks, Alba.

ALBA

See you in the morning.

> MUSIC STING

EXT. HOUSE OF HEALING GARDEN—DAY

Magnus and Travin survey the damage.

TRAVIN

They’re being so stupid. The building’s gonna be fine. It’s just a little plaster off the walls.

MAGNUS

I know, right? That Pearcey is such a tightass.

TRAVIN

Yeah. Oh, hey, thanks for covering for me in there.

MAGNUS

You got it, dude. Oh, shoot, that reminds me.

TRAVIN

What’s up?

MAGNUS

While you’re here, Alba wanted me to ask you about a problem with the cabinet in her office.

TRAVIN

That’s the DragonHoard 11S?

MAGNUS

Yeah, the big new shiny red one?

TRAVIN

(sighs)

What’s wrong with it?

MAGNUS

It’s kinda dumb. We forgot the password. You know, we’re supposed to choose one that’s hard to guess, and Pearcey’s all like, “No, you can’t write it down!”

TRAVIN

Well, I mean, that’s good practice, but yeah.

MAGNUS

I wanna say it was something like “double, double, toil and trouble” but it’s not working. Any way you can tell what Alb… what we set it to?

TRAVIN

No, there’s no way to find out. But… if you want, I can reset the password, and you can just choose a new one.

MAGNUS

Really? That would be amazing.

TRAVIN

Oh yeah, it’s no problem.

MAGNUS

You’re saving my life, man. Seriously.

> MUSIC STING

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING OFFICE

Magnus hunts through the cabinet.

MAGNUS

Oo, nice wand.

Amulet… boring.

Teapot… lame.

Heyyy, now this looks demonic.

He flips through a book.

MAGNUS

Dammit, I gotta learn me some languages.

Whoa, that’s… graphic. Ugh.

Magnus shuts the book quickly.

He pulls out a big knife and unsheaths it.

MAGNUS

Oh ho ho. You beautiful, beautiful thing.

He swishes it through the air a few times.

MAGNUS

Ohh, that is so cool. Yeah. You probably got a name, like Blade of the Night… Sky Talon… Drinker of Souls.

The blade emits scorching, crackling flames.

MAGNUS

No way! Alba, where did you get this awesome knife?

He swings it around some more, causing great whooshes of flame.

MAGNUS

Aw yeah.

Aw yeah.

And inevitably, sets some of the nearby papers on fire.

MAGNUS

Oh crap. Oh crap crap crap.

He runs around trying to beat out the flames.

MAGNUS

Okay. Okay. Everything’s gonna be fine. It wasn’t even me! I wasn’t even here. Oh gods I’m so dead.

From the next room comes the sound of the front door bell.

MAGNUS

Aaa!

HOLLY

(calls)

Hello? Who’s here?

She runs in just as Magnus puts out the last of the fire.

HOLLY

Magnus! What are you doing in here?

MAGNUS

Me? I’m… Nothing! What are you doing in here?

HOLLY

I saw lights inside and—oh my gosh! What did you do?

MAGNUS

Nothing!

HOLLY

Yeah, right. I knew you’d be up to something.

MAGNUS

What do you mean? I saw the fire too and I came in to fight it.

HOLLY

Why is the red cabinet open?

MAGNUS

Uh… because of the fire, it popped open. Like popcorn.

HOLLY

Uh huh? Who’s causing doom and destruction now?

MAGNUS

The fire’s out! There was hardly any destruction.

HOLLY

Except for Alba’s papers.

MAGNUS

I know. Oh geez. You gotta help me hide them.

HOLLY

No! We have to get out of here! The building’s not safe.

MAGNUS

Travin says the building is totally fine.

HOLLY

Like he’d know.

MAGNUS

He’s a wizard. He knows stuff.

HOLLY

Magnus, just close the cabinet and let’s go.

There’s a faint tapping sound.

MAGNUS

Wait. What’s that noise?

HOLLY

Magnus, leave it!

MAGNUS

It’s coming from inside this bag.

He picks up a heavy cloth bag and opens it. The tapping turns into fluttering: something small battering its wings against the inside of a glass jar.

HOLLY

Stop touching things! Do you want to bring doom and—aww, it’s a little butterfly!

MAGNUS

Holly…

HOLLY

Oh no, he’s stuck. Well, thank goodness we got that fire put out. He could have been killed!

MAGNUS

Holly, why does Alba have a butterfly in a jar? In a bag? In the back of a magic‐proof locked cabinet?

HOLLY

Exactly. I’m going to have a word with her when she comes back. Look at his tiny face! He’s so sad.

MAGNUS

But don’t you think he might be dangerous too? Or is Alba secretly evil?

HOLLY

He’s just a butterfly. Just hang on, little guy.

MAGNUS

How do you even know it’s a he?

HOLLY

My people train butterflies.

MAGNUS

To do what? Harvest nectar? Carry flower petals?

HOLLY

On Midsummer’s Day they dance! You should see it—fairies and butterflies turning the sky into fountains of colour!

MAGNUS

…Right.

HOLLY

Here you go, buddy. You’re free!

She opens the lid. A tiny patter of feet on the glass.

MAGNUS

You gonna dance for us, Mister Butterfly?

BUTTERFLY

(a tiny, growling voice)

No.

Shocked silence.

MAGNUS

You talk?

HOLLY

Oh my gosh, you do talk. Hello! My name’s Holly.

BUTTERFLY

I will not dance for you, Holly.

HOLLY

That’s okay! You don’t have to.

BUTTERFLY

The two of you are going to dance for me.

MAGNUS

Shyeah right. Last animal who told me to dance, I got out a shovel and I—

He’s cut short by a blast of lighting.

MAGNUS

OW! Holy dangit it to heck in a—ow!

Tiny fluttering wings. Another blast.

BUTTERFLY

Dance, human! Come on! Ha ha ha ha!

MAGNUS

Aaa! Stop that! Holly!

HOLLY

It’s okay, Mister Butterfly!

MAGNUS

Get this thing away from me!

HOLLY

Magnus, be nice! He’s not a “thing”.

MAGNUS

He shoots lightning!

HOLLY

He’s just disoriented.

MAGNUS

Lightning, Holly!

BUTTERFLY

Did I hear right, fairy? You enslave my people?

HOLLY

What? We don’t enslave! It’s artistic collaboration!

BUTTERFLY

Lies!

Another crackle of lightning.

HOLLY

Aaa! That’s not nice. I just rescued you!

MAGNUS

Yeah, what were you doing in that jar, anyway?

BUTTERFLY

She imprisoned me. The human hag. Said she didn’t want me in her garden. She would have me go hungry, she would!

HOLLY

What? No! We have plenty of nice flowers you can drink from. Or… we did until yesterday, anyway.

BUTTERFLY

Drink from the flowers? Oh no. Nectar is sweet. But now I feed on something far sweeter—pure beauty!

MAGNUS

What does that mean?

HOLLY

It was you that ate all the flowers?

BUTTERFLY

(chuckles)

Oh, they were delicious. And all the lovely shiny beetles and ladybugs…

HOLLY

(gasps)

MAGNUS

Since when do butterflies eat ladybugs?

BUTTERFLY

I would have had that pretty little bunny rabbit, too, if that evil witch hadn’t caught me.

MAGNUS

You? Eat a bunny rabbit? I’d like to see that.

The butterfly gives a monstrous screech.

HOLLY

Eeek!

MAGNUS (SIMULTANEOUS)

Whoa! Whoa, teeth!

BUTTERFLY

That could be arranged.

MAGNUS

Nope! Nope, don’t need to see that!

HOLLY

You ate Alba’s flowers and herbs and all the little bugs, and she’s the evil one? I don’t think so!

The butterfly flaps about, gnashing his sharp teeth.

BUTTERFLY

Soon I shall feast upon her bones. But first, I shall feast upon yours, fairy!

A flash of lighting.

MAGNUS

Whoa! Help! Fire!

BUTTERFLY

I shall drink your tears.

HOLLY

Stop it!

BUTTERFLY

Fear me! I am Pelipaghh the Devourer!

HOLLY

Yeah, well, I’m… I’m Holly, the Queen of the Wind!

Holly’s voice grows low and fierce as she takes to the air too. Wind howls around her, and lightning scorches the room.

BUTTERFLY

I do not fear the little minions of the witch.

HOLLY

We’re not minions! We’re staff!

BUTTERFLY

You serve her whims.

HOLLY

Come here, you!

Another bolt of lightning.

BUTTERFLY

Ha ha ha!

HOLLY

Get back in your jar!

The wind grows louder.

MAGNUS

Holly! What the heck? Are you doing that?

The butterfly screams in terror as he is swept into the middle of a whirlwind.

BUTTERFLY

Aaaaa! No! Let me go!

HOLLY

(low and terrifying)

I am Queen of the Wind. I bring doom and destruction! Starting with you!

BUTTERFLY

Noooo!

MAGNUS

Holly!

HOLLY

Magnus, get the jar.

MAGNUS

Right. Right.

BUTTERFLY

Aaaaaa!

The whirlwind deposits the frantic butterfly in the jar, which Magnus quickly corks.

MAGNUS

Got him. Thank the gods. Here. One evil butterfly.

HOLLY

Say you’re sorry!

BUTTERFLY

(panting, defeated)

I will not! Filthy fairy!

HOLLY

Say it!

BUTTERFLY

No! You can imprison me but you can never—aaaaaa!

Holly shakes the jar, rattling the butterfly around inside. She laughs madly.

BUTTERFLY

Okay, okay! I’m sorry! Aaa!

MAGNUS

Whoa, whoa, let’s all calm down. Queen of the Wind, I got it.

HOLLY

What’s that? I can’t hear you!

BUTTERFLY

I’m sorry! Uncle!

MAGNUS

Holly, why don’t we, uh, just put him back in the cabinet?

BUTTERFLY

Yeah. Yeah. I’ll go back in the cabinet. It’s good. I’ll be good.

Still breathing hard from the fight, Holly and Magnus stuff the jar back into the bag and shut it back in the cabinet.

MAGNUS

That was amazing, Holly. I didn’t know you could do that.

HOLLY

(softly)

Neither did I. Gosh.

MAGNUS

Totally badass.

HOLLY

Thanks.

(she takes a deep breath and lets it out)

Wow.

Something tinkles to the floor.

MAGNUS

So dead.

> MUSIC STING

INT. HOUSE OF HEALING EXAM ROOM

HOLLY

New item.

Magical bells chime. A quill scribbles.

CATALOGUER

(a cheerful artificial voice)

Please state item name.

HOLLY

The Eye of Morgulan.

More scribbling.

CATALOGUER

The Eye of Morgan Land. Is not a recognized artifact.

HOLLY

Morgulan. It’s Morgulan.

CATALOGUER

Morgan Land It’s Morgan Land. Is not a recognized artifact.

MAGNUS

(sighs)

Hand me the book.

Magnus hands Holly a giant tome. She starts flipping pages as the catalogue drones on.

CATALOGUER

Please state index number from Bisnayan’s Compendium of Magical Artifacts.

MAGNUS

This is the worst.

HOLLY

Shhh.

CATALOGUER

Sorry, I don’t understand that index number.

HOLLY

(whispers)

You’re confusing the cataloguer.

MAGNUS

Well, the cataloguer is stupid.

CATALOGUER

Sorry, I don’t understand that index number. Do you want to start over?

HOLLY

No!

Meanwhile, Alba enters.

ALBA

What’s the problem now?

HOLLY

There’s no problem!

MAGNUS

Alba, what is the actual point of a magical catalogue system if you have to look everything up in the book anyway?

ALBA

It keeps idle hands busy.

MAGNUS

Right.

CATALOGUER

Sorry, I don’t understand that index number. Do you want to start over?

HOLLY

Gaaah!

> CLOSING THEME

CREDITS

ELI

In “Tried and Tested”, Alba Salix, Volume Two, Episode Two, you heard Barbara Clifford as Alba Salix, Julian Sark as Magnus, Olivia Jon as Holly, and Elaine O’Neal as Antalia Pearcey,

with Abbas Hussein as the Butterfly, Mbula Enobong as Loria Berenice,

and special guests Michael Howie as Travin and Jasmin Cheng as the Catalogue.

Script, music and sound design by Eli McIlveen. Directed by Sean Howard and Eli McIlveen.

Associate Producers: Paul Tedesco, Keiko Kanda, Heather Collins, Julian Sark, Michael Hudson and Jack Pevyhouse.

Supporting Producer: Kim Bellinger.

Executive Producer: Dave Addison.

If you enjoy the show, check out our Patreon. Donors get weekly bonus content, early access to episodes, and an invite to our wonderful fan community on Discord. Look for the Patreon link at albasalix.com.

TAG: BACK HALLWAY

TRAVIN

I mean, you’re gonna have to lose these cupboards anyway when we put in the fire suppression system.

Magnus pokes his head out of the reception area.

MAGNUS

Did someone say “sledgehammer”?

ALBA

No.

MAGNUS

Okay.

OUTRO: OUR SPONSOR

ELI

This episode has been brought to you by The Amelia Project, a delightfully witty audio drama podcast about an agency who help their clients disappear. Look them up at ameliapodcast.com.