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11: Journey to the Temple, Part 4

Darcy finds danger in the passages beneath the chapel, while Blat faces a terrible choice.

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Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Marisa King, Michael Howie and Carter Siddall

Dialogue editing and transcription: Michael Howie
Additional material and sound design: Eli McIlveen
Story consultant: Laura Packer
Game consultant: Stephen Smith

Content Warning: Violence; death and brief gruesome descriptions; dementia; highly unreliable narration.

This week’s podcast recommendation: 20 Sided Stories!

ELI

It’s the End of Time and Other Bothers, Episode 11. This one’s going out to Bridge. You’ll know why.

You’re welcome.

LAST TIME…

Fast‐paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on the End of Time and Other Bothers…

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

You must come to the temple.

SEAN

Blat, you recognize the Slaad as demon brethren.

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

It is he! Meet Blat—the Chosen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

If he’s the Chosen, why are you fighting him?

SEAN (AS FATH)

Because he won’t get on the pole.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Gooo Team Blat!

SEAN

Glytha charges you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

SEAN

The tree goes up in a big ball of flame. She bites right down on your shoulder.

CARTER

Ohhh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The sticks! We’ll travel by sticks!

SEAN

The Slaad all set down the sticks with the chairs on them and bow before the three adventurers.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Darcy. Let me reintroduce myself. I am High Priestess Ithcar…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And this is your tree?

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

It is now.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Yes. These are the Wardens of the New Moon. We are returning this temple to its rightful beginnings.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ahh.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

We are looking for a new prophet.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So are you holding auditions?

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Yes.

SEAN

And that’s when one of the Slaad shoves Darcy.

MARISA

(gasps)

SEAN

And Darcy goes stumbling down the stairs…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aa! Aaaa!

SEAN

As the altar begins to close above her. And Darcy is left alone at the top of the stairs in the dark.

THE CAFE

SEAN

You feel the rumble… and the hiss. The spout dispenses what must be a bubbling acid… as the barista calmly finishes making the latte. The scent of cinnamon floating through the air, scones cooking… and a rather confused half‐demon shouting at the corner table.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Scones! I’d like some more scones, please!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Blat, you sit down and close your robe again please.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m sorry. That keeps flapping open. Look! Wheeee!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, okay, stop…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wheeee!

SEAN (AS RANDO)

I didn’t know those things could flap like that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A‐hee‐heeee!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s the half demon.

So you just… you tuck that back into its flap and close your robe, and I’ll go get you some scones. You sit here and talk with Rando about what happened next.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Okay, thanks Eggerton!

So Blat… what happened next? Like, Darcy was trapped under the altar.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Who?

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Oh, Darvin.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Darvin! Yes, yes, yes. Very frightening. The big altar just moved aside, and in tumbled Darvin.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

So what happened after?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Darvin was trapped under the altar.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Right. Yeah.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I was not with Darvin, so I do not know what occurred.

A long silence.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I’m painting pictures with words.

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers: an improvised fantasy role playing game set in the world of Alba Salix. Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with players Carter Siddall, Marisa King and Michael Howie.

Episode 11: Journey to the Temple, Part 4.

IN THE DARK

SEAN

In the darkness under the altar, we hear a scurrying.

The players make scurrying noises.

SEAN

And then we hear Darcy stub her toe.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ow!

Blat! Eggerton! Can anybody hear me?

It’s… oh geez. Oh Loxsyn.

It’s so dark down here. What are the chances of that false prophet really being down here?

SEAN

So you can sort of sense a bit of air movement, but basically just the drip of water, and the stairs appear to go down in front of you and disappearing into absolute darkness. There’s just a tiny bit of light coming in through the cracks.

MARISA

Okay, so I cast my rote spell Light.

Laughter.

SEAN

And you are standing on ornate stairs going down to a door that is open and there is a hallway. So it levels out where the doorway is, and then heads deeper under the tree from there. There’s nowhere but down the stairs. You are completely sealed, above you.

MARISA

Okay so I head down the stairs.

SEAN

Okay.

MARISA

And into the hallway, you say?

SEAN

You approach a door and yeah, there’s a hallway that stretches past the door, and as you enter there I assume the light travels with you.

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

So as you enter there, you see ahead of you a hallway that goes much farther than your light will reach.

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

And it’s a pretty wide hallway and there are dead bodies. There’s a couple of dead bodies here, and there is a closed door to your left, not that far ahead, and there’s an open door to your right.

MARISA

Okay, so I bend down and investigate one of these bodies. Can I discern how they’ve been killed or how long they’ve been dead?

SEAN

Okay, so you are going to Discern Realities. I don’t think we’ve done this before. So you’re going to roll 2d6 + Wisdom.

MARISA

It’s an 8.

So basically, how Discern Realities normally would work is, you’d have to ask me from this list of questions, but basically you can ask me one question.

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

So I’ll tell you what you see. You see a younger woman wearing what appear to have been off‐white‐coloured robes so sort of like an acolyte or what you might see in a lot of temples. And the hair sort of tied back, so not hanging down loose. And she’s been stabbed through the back, is what it looks like right now.

MARISA

Is there any symbol on her robe?

SEAN

There is. You almost don’t see it in the stains and the blood. But as you go to move her slightly, you catch a very ornate—it’s almost hard to tell at first, but it looks like it might be a number 7.

MARISA

All right. So I continue along the passage, and you say there is a door to my right that’s open?

SEAN

There’s a door on your right that’s open, and there’s a door that’s closed on your left, across from each other.

MARISA

Okay, so I look through. I peer around the open door to see if I can catch a glimpse of anything.

SEAN

Okay. You see, as your light comes around the corner, it fills up—you can’t see all the room. You can see a bit of it. There appear to be two cots that you can see, and two little chests in front of the cots and they’re almost identical. They’ve both been made up.

MARISA

Okay. So I go into the room, and I see if I can open one of the chests.

SEAN

Sure. As you come into the room the light fills it, and you see there are four cots, a couple of which have been torn apart as if someone was searching for something, and the other two are made up.

And yes, you can open the chest. You open the chest and you see what appears to be an extra robe.

MARISA

And these robes are white as well, right?

SEAN

Yes, same—looks like the same colour as the dead body outside.

MARISA

Okay. And there’s nothing else of interest in the room.

SEAN

Not that you see.

MARISA

Okay. I leave the room.

SEAN

You do hear at this point a sound, but you’re not sure where it was coming from. It sounds like in the hall.

MARISA

Okay. So I tentatively peek back out into the hall. Can I see anything?

SEAN

No.

MARISA

Okay. So I step back out into the hall and I proceed—well, you said the door was right across, actually.

SEAN

Yep.

MARISA

So I put my ear to the closed door. And can I hear anything?

SEAN

Yeah, you don’t you don’t hear anything. But you do hear that sound again from down the hall as if something was moving, but it sounds far away. It’s hard to tell, because it’s very echoey.

MARISA

Okay. So I try the doorknob of this closed door.

SEAN

It turns.

MARISA

Oh, so I open the door tentatively and peer in.

SEAN

You see another dead body, this one horribly bloodied, and wearing a similar robe.

This room is a little smaller than the other room and it has one cot and one chest at the foot that looks identical to the other room. But then it has a writing desk, and a couple other chests.

MARISA

So I go to the writing desk and I see if I can see anything on the surface.

SEAN

You do see something on the surface.

MARISA

Oooo. It’s a pen.

SEAN

There would be a pen. Now the ink jar has been spilled over, and you find… this.

MARISA

I’m being passed a very crumpled, aged letter, and it says:

To our Most Revered Mother Speckley,

We grow more worried by the day, as the Blessed Oracle has grown more and more distant. She will not eat nor speak nor even move.

Something stirs in the forests. There is a silence that is not natural. We all feel that we are being watched. The time comes that was foretold. That is all we know. It is the last words the Blessed Oracle spoke.

So many of us have forgotten our vows in these times of peace, lost in the mindless tasks of maintaining a forgotten temple. I will send this letter in the morning with our fastest rider. I pray these are simply the words of a frightened old woman and we will one day soon raise glasses of tea and laugh over this message.

And the signature is barely begun, as if abruptly halted mid‐stroke.

(lowers her voice to a whisper)

And of course this letter has not been sent.

Okaaay!

So I hold onto the letter as—are there any drawers or anything in the writing desk?

SEAN

There is a drawer.

MARISA

Okay. So I open that drawer.

SEAN

You find wax and a seal.

MARISA

Okay. And that wax appears to be what was attempted to be used on this letter?

SEAN

This letter wasn’t even sealed.

MARISA

Okay. And you said there were other chests.

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

So can I check one of those chests?

SEAN

It is locked.

MARISA

Ahhh. And all these extra chests are locked.

SEAN

No, the other chest is open, and it’s basically got linens and cloths and a couple of the same book. It’s like some kind of religious text.

MARISA

So I pull the book out and I open it. Can I understand what’s in it?

SEAN

Yep. It’s it’s written in common language, and it’s like psalms.

MARISA

Okay. And does it have the number 7 on it?

SEAN

It does have the number 7 on the cover.

MARISA

All right. So I put the letter in my satchel.

SEAN

Okay.

And you hear that noise again, a little louder in the hall.

MARISA

Right. So now can I discern—is it like a shuffling…?

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Eeee. This letter says “Something stirs in the forests.”

Okay, so I inch along the hallway.

SEAN

So going back into the hall.

MARISA

Yes, back into the hall and towards this sound, because backwards is to the staircase.

SEAN

So that’s when, out of the darkness… you hear a voice.

THE CAFE

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Okay Blat, I got you some more scones here. Now don’t try and heat these ones up yourself.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Oh no, Eggerton, this is—you just interrupted [something] amazing! He was just telling me about how he basically was going to become the next prophet!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Well…

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Which I thought you told me that you were the next prophet! So it’s like… I’m really fascinated to see how that came about, and then how you became the prophet. So this would be a perfect time for you to join us.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Oh yeah, okay. So maybe Blat’s a little confused. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he’s got a little older and he’s not entirely there all the time…

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Scone time!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Yep. Here you go, buddy. Here it is.

Blat begins wolfing down a scone.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Okay. Yeah, let me just wipe some of those crumbs off your robe for you. There you go.

Yes, thank you ma’am.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

So he just got done telling me that he basically offered to be the next prophet—

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Hold on. I need to put all of these sugars in my coffee. This might take a minute.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Okay, Blat, maybe you can pick up where you left off, where she accepted you to become the next prophet.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Yes. Because I too was demonic, and I said, “I don’t like what you did to Darvin, locking poor Darvin in the basement.” And they felt bad about that and said, “You’re right! We don’t know what we’re doing. You should be the new prophet.” And to this, I said, “Aha, of course!” And there was much dancing and rejoicing.

MEANWHILE, UPSTAIRS

SEAN

Inside the temple, Blat approaches High Priestess Ithcar.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The altar swallowed up my dear friend Darcy! What… what’s happening here?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think the tree was hungry.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

I thought it was very obvious. The altar swallowed up your friend Darcy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But why?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sure she’s going to be okay. Darcy always perseveres.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

You are the one we are interested in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s very nice of you to say. I’ve always thought there was something a little more special about me than the others. But no one ever really wants—

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Someone take that thing to the bathroom again.

SEAN

And a Slaad grabs you by the back and start dragging you back towards…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t need to go—okayyy.

I’ll be back…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Listen, people have been referring to me as the “Chosen One” all day, and then kicking my ass anyway. This is a very strange group. We’re just here to see… the fallen prophet, the false prophet, however you want to say it.

We’re not interested in your group. I just want to make sure that my friend is okay and that my other friend is not being assaulted in the bathroom.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Have you had any… visions lately?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Visions. Well let’s see what did I see?

I saw a member of the Slaad spit venom on me. Then I saw her… eat a metal tube…

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Really!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And then, yes, stairs swallowed up my friend…

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

(sighs in disgust)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And then another Slaad took my friend away. I’m not interested in your group. We just want to get out of here and find this, whozamacallit, Idris.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Fine. Very funny. Just touch the altar.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Touch the altar…

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

This altar here. Just…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, just touch the thing that swallowed up my friend.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I’m sure nothing bad’s going to happen if I should touch the altar. Here!

SEAN

Blat reaches forward and places his finger on the altar.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Look! I’ve touched your—

Ominous orchestral music blares.

SEAN

—and you are swallowed into the blackness.

MARISA

(laughs)

Oh no.

SEAN

Everything disappears. The world is exploding. And you find yourself rushing forward.

And you are suddenly standing beside Eggerton, beside Darcy. You are all covered in goop. You are slashed but you are alive and you are victorious! And you are standing on a pile of zombie bodies. And one hand starts to reach up and you just slam down with your bazooka and smash it. And you are looking out over a field that is blue. There’s a blue sun, a blue shining across this field where the tide has turned and humanity has won.

The music turns more solemn.

SEAN

And then you are zipping backwards, flying through, and you are standing in a dark chapel and you see two broken bodies.

You see Eggerton’s body, lifeless, lying there, blood seeping out. And his hand has reached out towards Darcy who is also lying in a pool of blood, her body ripped apart. And then you turn… and you actually see yourself standing over them. And your other self turns to look at you and you have no eyes. The sockets are empty.

And then you are back suddenly, standing in the chapel, looking at High Priestess Ithcar, who is watching you very closely.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I didn’t care for that at all!

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Care for what?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What I just saw!

SEAN

All of the Slaad in the room drop down to their knees and lay prone on the ground and start going,

SEAN (AS THE SLAAD)

Whooom, whooom, whooom! The Chosen! Whooom, whooom, whooom!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, stop it. We’ve seen this whole act before it, and it doesn’t mean that nothing bad’s going to happen to us. Where’s…

(snapping his fingers)

Where’s the one who spat venom on me?

SEAN

One of them sort of looks around at the other Slaad, and then stands up awkwardly and starts coming forward.

SEAN (AS GLYTHA)

That… that would be me, Chosen One!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Enough of this Chosen One nonsense. If you truly believe that I’m someone special, why the fighting? Why the acid spitting? Why the kneeling down with our hands behind our head? Why?

SEAN (AS GLYTHA)

(stammers uncertainly)

SEAN

Glytha sort of looks at you, and looks at the Priestess, and looks at you and just is shaking.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If I’m truly someone special, why am I being separated from my friends. Why?!

SEAN

She just looks at Ithcar and looks at you and starts trembling more.

SEAN (AS GLYTHA)

…I’m so sorry!

SEAN

And the Priestess is sort of chuckling and leans over toward you.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

(whispers)

It’s best to ask simple questions of the Slaad.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How much simpler could I be?

(sighs)

All right, back with the crowd.

SEAN

Glytha scurries back. She looks much relieved.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Now if you would come with me, Prophet.

SEAN

Cutting over to Eggerton… you are being dragged back to the place you already peed, and all of a sudden a Slaad with you, even though you’re out of earshot, just lets go of you and drops prone to the ground. And you are released.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! I’ve been trying to tell you I don’t need to pee again. Thank you for listening. Uh, I’m going to head on back and see what Blat is up to. So thanks very much for the lift… and I’ll see you soon.

MIKE

And I wander back from whence I came.

SEAN

Okay. So you wander into the large chamber and you notice all the Slaad are just down, prone on the floor, and they’re listening as Blat and the High Priestess speak quietly at the altar.

MIKE

I am going to try and quietly approach.

SEAN

So… I don’t think you’re in any danger, so yeah, you quietly approach.

MIKE

All right so I’m going to walk up you know in between the rows…

SEAN

They’re all ignoring you.

MIKE

And sort of duck down and go,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wumpa wumpa.

SEAN

(laughs)

Kay.

MIKE

And then wait a second, walk a few more rows up and go,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wumpa.

SEAN (AS THE SLAAD)

Wumpa, wumpa, wumpa. Chosen One.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wumpa. Chosen One… One who is chosen.

MIKE

And walk a few more steps.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wumpa. Wumpa wumpa?

MIKE

And then walk up so I’m in the front row.

SEAN

Okay. So now you can hear what’s going on with Ithcar and Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So now I’m the prophet. I don’t—how can I be the prophet? I don’t know anything about your group. We just met you a few hours ago.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

It is not my place to speak for Morrigu, the Ancient One.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, of course not! Who can speak for Morrigu? Morrigu is so mysterious—I don’t know who Morrigu is.

I… all right. How about this: So I’m the new prophet? Well, I then say that Morrigu has beamed a message into my brain that says—

SEAN

And you swallowed by the blackness.

MARISA

(laughs)

An otherworldly rumbling sound. Blat’s distorted voice echoes, speaking in an unknown language.

You come back into the room, and the High Priestess car has now dropped prone and is shaking, and everyone is shaking… and Eggerton is looking at you with very wide eyes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uhhhhhh…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, that happened before—

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

The Prophet has spoken! His words are of Morrigu and true!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I, um…

DARCY

SEAN

And we cut to deep down into the darkness.

And Darcy, you hear a voice, and it sounds like one of the Slaad. And you start to just see something in the light, just at the edge of the light approaching you.

Tense music begins.

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

I am to battle you, little one.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh… why? Sorry, why am I battling anyone? I’m not a Chosen One or anything.

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

State your own name for a battle.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I can say my name—I’d rather not be in battle though. It’s Darcy? I’m Darcy Kimble. I just want to go back up to my friends, up the stairs?

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

Darcy. Battle accepted.

I am Waffles.

Laughter.

The music grinds to a halt.

CARTER

Okay, flag on the play.

Laughter.

CARTER

If you want to maintain mood, his name can’t be Waffles.

MARISA

(laughing)

Yeah! He can’t be Waffles!

SEAN

(in a Slaad voice)

Sorry, I did not make up the names. I asked Eli for the names. He gave me Waffles.

MARISA

No! You’re going to ruin Darcy’s moment! Now pass me tissues. I spat all over myself.

CARTER

How about Wafla?

SEAN

Waffles.

MIKE

Wafla?

CARTER

Wafla.

The music resumes.

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

Waffles is the name.

SEAN

And starts taking the robe off. Long, red claws, you see gleaming, as Waffles steps into the light.

MARISA

So my light goes out. I let my light go out, and I run back towards the staircase and I run up as far as I can. I’m just pushing against the altar bottom.

SEAN

You hear,

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

(sinister chuckle)

SEAN

And you feel something chasing you through the darkness.

MARISA

(anxious groan)

SEAN

And you hear—the feet are pounding, but you hear this tap as the nails also hit the ground, the claws. So you’re going to roll Defy Danger as you’re running for the end, I assume screaming.

MARISA

Waaah!

(rolling the dice)

And weeping a little bit.

11!

SEAN

Okay, you feel something swipe past you and then hit the doorjamb and bounce back into the hall.

MARISA

Oh, because there’s a door up to the staircase.

SEAN

Yeah. So you come right through the door and up the stairs, scrambling up. You see faint lines of light leaking in. You’re scratching at them and you hear something standing up behind you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(in a panic)

Open the altar, open the altar, open the altar! Help! Help!

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

This will be my day.

SEAN

And something leaps towards you. Roll Defy Danger.

MARISA

Oh geez. I can’t roll 11 twice in a row…

SEAN

Maybe you can.

MARISA

It’s a 7.

SEAN

Do you have any pluses on Strength or Dex?

MARISA

Dex, I think I have a plus on. I have a +1 on Dex. So it’s an 8.

SEAN

So it’s a partial success.

You just manage to turn, but one of the claws catches you on the side of your shoulder and spins you around further, so you are actually going to fall away, like back down towards the door and scrambling backwards.

MARISA

Okay

SEAN

But you’re going to take 5 hit points of damage as one of the claws scrapes right along your shoulder.

MARISA

Oo, wow.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aaah! Aaa!

MARISA

So of course I’m now on the other side of him, so I run back down the hallway.

SEAN

Down the hall. Okay.

He laughs and tears after you… and you can sense that he runs faster than you.

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

And you’re going to have to roll Defy Danger again as he’s on your heels.

MARISA

That’s a 5.

SEAN

You feel a claw go right through your right shoulder—and if there was a light you’d see it come out and then pull back. And it spins you around, and you drop to your knees. And you sense this very large demon body just right in front of you as he laughs…

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

Ha ha!

SEAN

…and raises a claw to give you the killing blow.

The music has become a ‘70s action‐movie soundtrack. It begins to build to a crescendo.

MARISA

Okay, so I feel this terror take over, and with the pain that’s just gone through my shoulder also this rage is starting to rise within me. And my hair starts to stand on end and my eyes start glowing—and this Slaad can see them now in the dark, as they glow through the dark. And my body starts to get bigger and push up against the creature that’s bending down over me. And as I’m pushing up these huge spikes are coming out of my back and I’m just going,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hurrrgh! Raaaargh!

MARISA

And suddenly I’m as big if not slightly bigger than this Slaad. And what is standing in front of him is this huge glowing‐eyed werecupine… which is a were‐porcupine.

SEAN

He is stumbling backwards, just in shock—you take another 5 hit points, by the way. You were at full coming in here…

MARISA

Just so you know I’m now at 2.

SEAN

I know.

MARISA

So let’s not kill Darcy off.

(laughs)

SEAN

Wait for it…

He literally stumbles back, like—

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

What… what is this? What are you?!

SEAN

And he’s sort of he doesn’t know what to do. So it is your advantage to do what you will Darcy.

MARISA

Well, I have a few things that happen here when I have my Curse of the Were‐Morph.

SEAN

Okay, let’s work through them.

MARISA

Okay, I have the tags Close. I don’t actually know—but I have Armor 2. So now I gain 2 Armor.

SEAN

Okay, so I’ll say the armor worked on that last blow, just so you—that subtracts 2, so you only got 3. So you’re at minus 8. Yeah, so you’re at 4 hit points.

MARISA

Okay, 4 hit points…

SEAN

So Armor 2 is something you have to remember. That means that if you take damage more than 2 that’s not called Piercing, and even there we have to look at it, it means you subtract 2 from incoming damage.

MARISA

Okay. When I take damage, I gain 1 Rage, just so you know, so I guess that would have been a Rage.

SEAN

Okay. That would have been a Rage.

MARISA

+1…

SEAN

Okay, so you start with a Rage of 2 when you become enraged…

MARISA

And when—if—I make a 10+ (ha ha) successful attack, I overwhelm my enemy with a flurry of attacks and they’re going to take some some issues.

SEAN

Right. And I think we’re also going to be changing your attack die, right? d12?

MARISA

d12! Boom!

SEAN

Oh, and on here, there is a Rage meter.

MARISA

Ooo, a Rage meter!

(laughs)

SEAN

So you’re technically at 3.

MARISA

We need the noise for that. Beep‐beep‐beep‐beep‐beep!

SEAN

Beep‐beep‐beep‐beep!

MARISA

Rage meter.

SEAN

So what does giant werecupine Darcy do to this cowering Slaad that’s slowly stumbling backwards with glistening claws that are covered in your blood?

MARISA

Well, first of all, your depiction of—Glytha, is it?—in the earlier scene made me very sympathetic to the Slaad. You made me feel very sorry for her, so…

But this is not Darcy. This is werecupine!

SEAN

(laughs)

MARISA

So since I’m coming up with my back to the Slaad, I then stand up straight and as I arc back a little bit, these spikes come shooting out of the back of me, right into the Slaad. And I don’t know where they get him because I’m not looking, but I imagine they get them somewhere soft and gooey.

SEAN

Well, let’s find out. Roll 2d6 to Hack and Slash.

MARISA

7.

SEAN

Okay, so I’d say that’s a partial success. So what’s going to happen is—it’s sort of your first time in a while in this form? You don’t judge the size of the hallway and you sort of come off‐kilter a little…

MARISA

Sure.

SEAN

And fall backward.

MARISA

Like a turtle.

SEAN

Like a turtle, you’re gonna fall back on your back—but you’re going to do damage. So that is a d12 that you’re going to roll.

MARISA

It’s a 10! It’s a 10!

Thok‐thok‐thok‐thok!

SEAN

You hear a horrible crunching sound…

MARISA

Awwww…

SEAN

And as you land on your back… two giant porcupine quills stuck in his chest, you see a light start to fill the hall, this red light. And you see as the Slaad is just consumed by this fire that’s roaring up from his feet, all the way up. And he looks a little surprised, and then he looks at you and goes,

SEAN (AS WAFFLES)

Bye‐bye.

MARISA

(laughs ruefully)

Awww!

SEAN

And waves, and foof! He’s gone in a flash of smoke.

MIDROLL

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

It’s the beginning of the middle of The End of Time and Other Bothers.

SEAN

Hey everyone. Sean here.

I am super excited to tell you about one of my new favorite podcasts ever, and it is 20‐Sided Stories. It is an improvised roleplaying podcast where there’s a rotating cast of comedians, artists, performers, nerds and what‐have‐you. They’re playing a tabletop RPG, but this is a little different. This is a show after our own hearts here at The End Of Time. They are combining improv, great stories and roleplaying zaniness, and characters, with music and sound design to create a must‐hear podcast—and they just started a Pokémon series. Come on people—Pokémon roleplay live play. We are so in for this.

Find out more at 20sidedstories.com.

MUSIC STING

SEAN (AS FATHER)

Hey Timmy! Hey, Timmy, I’m home!

CARTER (AS TIMMY)

(a little kid)

Hello? Are you home finally?

SEAN (AS FATHER)

Hey hey! Sorry, it was a long day at work, but you know what? I stopped at that new comic book shop on the way home.

CARTER (AS TIMMY)

(gasps)

No you did not! Did you get the thing that I really wanted? The thing that I wanted more than anything else?

SEAN (AS FATHER)

I hope so.

CARTER (AS TIMMY)

The thing that I never thought would ever be published ever ever ever ever in the known universe?!

SEAN (AS FATHER)

I hope so! It’s so hard—I get them so mixed up. You wanted The End Of…

CARTER (AS TIMMY)

Time and Other Bothers?!

SEAN (AS FATHER)

Yes! It’s the Bizarro version!

CARTER (AS TIMMY)

Ohh, the Bizarro variant! It’s a double‐sized variant issue. Oh! What will the characters of this show be like as their complete opposites?

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

(singing, in the manner of a Disney princess)

It’s morning, it’s morning, it’s morning!

Hello, fellow adventurers! As I whip open all the curtains and let the sunlight stream in.

Wake up, wake up, wake up, Blat! Wake up, Eggerton! It’s a beautiful morning!

CARTER (AS BIZARRO BLAT)

(a lecherous drawl)

It is most certainly beautiful, but not quite as beautiful as the thing that I’m seeing right in front of me. Ohhh yeah.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

Are you drinking beer again, Blat?

CARTER (AS BIZARRO BLAT)

I am indeed, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t drink in a little something else, which is the sight of you. I’m willing to be back in time if I can be back in time with your pretty little butt.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

(chiding cheerfully)

Naughty, naughty, naughty! Not today!

CARTER (AS BIZARRO BLAT)

Mmm mmm.

SEAN (AS BIZARRO SNEGAL)

What are you doing looking at her?! I’m here in bed with you!

CARTER (AS BIZARRO BLAT)

No… Snegal—

SEAN (AS BIZARRO SNEGAL)

Don’t you “Oh, Snegal” me! Darcy, he’s allll yours. I’m out!

CARTER (AS BIZARRO BLAT)

Aww.

MIKE (AS BIZARRO EGGERTON)

(growls)

This is why I need my own room. The bunch of you people just talk so much.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

But Eggerton, I made fresh pancakes!

MIKE (AS BIZARRO EGGERTON)

Do I look like someone who likes food?

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

Everyone looks like someone who likes food!

MIKE (AS BIZARRO EGGERTON)

Oh my God.

All right. This is how it’s going to be.

You go do your thing.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

I am doing my thing. I’m serving pancakes.

MIKE (AS BIZARRO EGGERTON)

You missed the part where I said “go”.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

(sighs)

SEAN (AS BIZARRO CYRUS)

Hi everyone! It’s Cyrus! Ha ha!

Oh, here’s your briefings. I’ll hand them out. Darcy… I got a special one for you.

MARISA (AS BIZARRO DARCY)

Thank you!

SEAN (AS BIZARRO CYRUS)

Eggerton. Man, this is going to be good. I got a good one for you. Heh heh! Here’s your briefing. Heh! You gotta… you gotta… I’ll just leave it right here next to your—

MIKE (AS BIZARRO EGGERTON)

Could you do that in two words or less?

SEAN (AS BIZARRO CYRUS)

Ha ha ha! You’re a kidder! Have a good mission, guys!

MIKE (AS THE BIZARRO SHATTERING)

Hi guys! It’s me, the Shattering! I just want to remind you that we are all going to patreon.com/albasalix tonight! Where we’re going to support our friends and family and make everyone’s dreams come true, and make sure that time continues forever and ever and ever!

I’m the Shattering! Thanks for coming! Hashtag #otherbothers!

Theme music plays.

THE CAFE

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Yes, so after he gave the prophecy of… Morrigar? Mora…

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Morrigu.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Morrigu.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Morrigu, yup.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Morrigu. I saw terrible visions where I was standing in front of Eggerton and Darvin’s bodies. Poor Darvin had been cleaved in two. And that’s what I knew: I shouldn’t do that. And I swore I never would.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I never did kill you, did I Eggerton?

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Well, you… We’ll talk about that later.

As I remember it, Blat’s eyes kind of went dark, and he said something like “MORRIGU WILL DESTROY ALL.”

Silence.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Nope, don’t remember that at all.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

So how did you guys get out of the temple?

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

So that’s when I pulled my trusty sword from its scabbard, that I had not told anyone about up until this point. And I said “Release my friend, Morrigu!”

THE TEMPLE

SEAN

We cut back to the temple.

Blat is staring at a sea of quaking Slaad, and the Priestess, and Eggerton looking at him as if you just stole his fairy pouch again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh, Blat, Blat, hey Blat, I have a couple questions for you buddy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So, when did you learn to talk like that? Because it was kind of creepy, I mean I know we joked about about being ventriloquists a while ago, but that was going a little too far, I think it really kind of ruined the mood here, and…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Could you perhaps, um… I just sort of blacked out there for a second. Could you perhaps repeat what just happened?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes—

SEAN

And right then you hear a pounding on the stones…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(from under the altar)

Help! Help! Somebody help me!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that sounds like Darcy. We should probably go take care of that right now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. All right. Someone, for heaven’s sake, move the altar. Get my friend out of the tree basement.

SEAN

The Priestess looks up, but is staying prone and says,

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

It is your will. You are Morrigu’s voice. You are the next prophet. You must simply use your power.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The power of moving a chair?

All right. All right. Eggerton, get up here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If we put our shoulders against this thing, maybe we can move it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

MIKE

So I lean forward and put my shoulder up against it, and start scrabbling my feet, trying to push.

SEAN

Yeah, you guys are both scrabbling your feet on the smooth wooden floor.

Eggerton and Blat grunt and strain mightily, to no avail.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Okay. Blat, I think maybe that you should use your newly‐found prophesizing to tell all of the Slaad to help us. Or maybe, you know, do you have powers? Did you get powers?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know! I don’t know what this Morrigu nonsense is. I just have some… weird visions in my head that I’d rather not discuss.

All right. All right. Venom girl!

SEAN (AS GLYTHA)

Yes, Prophet?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Get up here and tell us how to move this chair.

SEAN (AS GLYTHA)

Uh…

SEAN

She just starts shaking.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

Enough with the shaking. Everyone here is either stupid or evasive.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! I’ve got an idea. I’ve got an idea. Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. You, think about moving the altar. Okay? Think about it. Are you thinking about it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought that’s what I was thinking about.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Think about it. Close your eyes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. I’m closing my eyes. I’m thinking about it. Move the altar. Move the altar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Think about it. Thiiink about it. Think about it.

MIKE

And I slap Blat across the face.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Augh!

Why did you do that in front of the Slaad?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I didn’t do it in front of the Slaad… but I thought, you know, if you were thinking about it and then you got really angry, that would be the burst you need to make it move.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I see. So you think what would happen is, if one of us would get outrageously angry, that some amazing thing would happen that would then solve a very dire problem that we were in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, exactly! I think that is a very clear solution we should be exploring.

SEAN

You guys hear a roar

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(a strange hissing sound)

SEAN

…from down underneath you, muffled.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See? It’s starting to work.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Starting to work…? It sounds like an old dishwasher! I don’t know what you are talking about.

Listen, could someone please… Priestess!

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Please, just help us move this altar. We need to get to our friend.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Very well. You’d like my help?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fine. The magic words. Yes, please, I need your help. Help us get to our friend!

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Sure. First, though…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s always a “first”. You see, Eggerton? There’s always a “first” for these people.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

We can’t move the altar. Only you can. But I can help you be able to move it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Well. This doesn’t sound like it’s going to end badly for me at all. Fine!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I… actually, I think it might end badly for you, that’s what it sounds like to me—

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Slaad. Kill the little one.

MARISA

(gasps)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

MIKE

And I look around.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

The Slaad are all talking:

SEAN (AS VARIOUS SLAAD)

Do you want to do it?

No, I did the last one.

I’ll do it!

Okay. We’ve decided that Lazbo will fight the little one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The little… who’s the little one? I don’t… The Slaad all look roughly the same size to me.

SEAN

One of the Slaad stands up and search removing their robes. The giant arms hanging down, and the claws…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so… where’s the little one?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, Eggerton, get behind me. Get behind me, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. All right. Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Lazbo!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(hisses)

Yes, Prophet?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

The bazooka starts to appear, but something’s wrong. The ground rumbles.

SEAN

And that is when, Darcy, you feel the tree move. There is a roar of lightning coming down from the heavens that strikes the tree and sends everybody flying back from the dais, including Eggerton and Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaa!

SEAN

Lightning races down over all the wood and strikes in at Blat and almost—you can see the bazooka half‐forming and then half‐unforming and the lightning is dancing around the room. And then there is an explosion that sends everyone flying hundreds of feet towards the wall of the heart chamber. And you hear a horrific sound as one of the giant limbs tears off the tree, and then hits the ground, sending a shockwave back towards the room you’re in.

And then it’s all quiet.

And the Priestess stands up and brushes herself off.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

There, Prophet! You are close. But a few more and you will have the power of Morrigu. And then you’ll have all you’ve ever wanted.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(weakly)

I don’t need…

Ugh, excuse me. Pardon me. I’m sorry.

I do not need the power of Morrigu. I’m perfectly happy with the power of bazoo—okay, we’re not going to say that again…

SEAN

(laughing)

They all look up, hopeful.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no, no.

Eggerton, are you all right?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m okay over here! I landed on a couple of…

SEAN (AS SOME SLAAD)

It’s okay, we got you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We landed on a couple of the Slaad. They broke my fall.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. I don’t know.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Wait! Am I supposed to still fight the little one?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No! You’re not supposed to fight me any more. The lightning, the tree, everything—

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Yes, Slaad, you are.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, okay—

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Kill the little one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, don’t make me say the word again… Bad things happen when I say the word.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll say it! Bazooka! Bazooka! Come on, bazooka! Bazooooka!

SEAN

Nothing’s happening, but you see a Slaad starting to move towards you slowly, stalking like a cat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t like that. I don’t like it. Bazooka! Bazooka! Blat! Hey, Blat…

SEAN

And the Slaad launches herself at you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaa!

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger, Eggerton.

MARISA

(laughing)

Oh gosh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s a 9.

MARISA

Wow.

SEAN

So you scramble backwards, and manage to not get devoured by this demon. But you do slam your head back, tripping over, so you hit the hard floor for 1 hit point of damage.

And the Slaad is turned, and is hissing—Chthhhh!—and is still advancing on you. What do you do?

The other Slaad are backing away, trying to get out of the way, forming a circle like a fight at high school.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat! I don’t want to fight him, Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t want you to fight him either, you silly little fairy cake.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Just call your power, Prophet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, If you call… I don’t know, though, because then we might explode again and I didn’t like exploding but I also don’t want to fight him, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know what else to…

(whining)

Oh, I don’t wanna be a Prophet of Morrigu. Don’t make me be a Prophet of Morrigu…

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

It’s very simple.

SEAN

And the Slaad is going to attack you! What are you doing?

MIKE

Uh, I’m going to run and duck under him as he jumps.

SEAN

Okay! Roll Defy Danger.

MIKE

It’s a 9!

SEAN

Okay, so you run at the Slaad, who looks a little confused, and swipes at you and catches you on the side as you slide under and through. But then the Slaad is looking through her legs and sort of half falls over. So you take you take… ooo, 4 hit points of damage.

MARISA

Oooo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t wanna fight, Blat! Blat, please don’t make me fight!

SEAN

And we cut back to underneath, in the darkness, the werecupine. And you just felt the entire tree shake and be ripped half apart, and dust is falling down.

But you don’t hear any other—well, you hear the sounds of some kind of something going on upstairs.

MARISA

I’m still on my back, so I’m rocking back and forth to try and get up.

SEAN

I say you manage to get up.

MARISA

All right.

SEAN

With a roar. Give me a roar.

MARISA

(laughing)

Well, remember, everyone, porcupines don’t really roar. So that’s why I sound like an old dishwasher.

SEAN

Wait, what does a porcupine sound like?

MARISA

(a strange, gutteral chittering)

SEAN

Okay. So you’re back up…

MIKE

(laughing)

You looked so red in the face when you did that.

MARISA

Okay, so I’m up!

SEAN

And you suddenly notice smells…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sniffs alertly)

SEAN

Like, it happens when you’ve done this in the past. Right? It’s this beautiful ability to smell in a way that you’re not able to smell as a human. And you don’t smell any other demons near you.

MARISA

But I smell a lot of death because of all the dead bodies around!

SEAN

Yes. You do smell a lot of rotting flesh.

MARISA

Yes. So I run to the end of the hallway, away from the stairs. Do I come to anything of interest?

SEAN

Yes. You enter a large chamber, not quite as large as the upstairs chapel, but there is a beam of light coming down and hitting basically a round, wooden, perfectly smooth, glistening like marble, circular dais in the centre.

MARISA

So I approach the dais and I… is there anything for me to touch or a button or…?

SEAN

It just looks like a smooth glass dais.

MARISA

Um… Is there anything else in the room?

SEAN

There is a… as you look around, there is one door, far in the far wall, and that’s it.

MARISA

Okay, so I run to the door in the far wall, and I throw my weight against it to try and open it.

SEAN

Okay. It takes a couple hits and then it just bursts in, wood flying everywhere.

MARISA

Okay. And what’s in the room?

SEAN

Stairs going up.

MARISA

(gasps)

Stairs!

So I scramble up the stairs as quickly as I can.

SEAN

Okay, you come to the top and there’s a door. And you now… the commotion, you hear shouting and “I don’t want to die!” and hissing and you hear Blat screaming, “I don’t want to be Morrigu’s prophet!”

And there’s a door in front of you.

MARISA

Okay, so I again throw my weight at the door and burst through.

SEAN

Okay, after a couple times times it explodes outwards. A couple Slaad are laying prostrate on the ground, and they glance at you, but then go back to

SEAN (AS SOME SLAAD)

Whoom whoom whoom! Prophet! Whoom whoom whoom! Prophet!

SEAN

And then there’s a hall you’re in, there’s a door straight across from you, and that’s where you can hear the sounds of battle.

MARISA

Okay. So I keep scrambling towards that door, towards the battle sounds.

SEAN

The giant werecupine… as you go to touch the door…

MARISA

Yes.

The grinding bass note of the Shattering.

SEAN

Blackness overtakes you.

MARISA

Ah, great.

SEAN

And you know—you’ve done this a couple of times now, and this time it’s a little different. You’re suddenly present. You know what’s happening and you’re suddenly forward into the darkness and there is a form there, somewhat humanoid… and it’s just looking at you with what might be eyes? It’s all just sort of murky. It’s black, in the blackness but you can sense there’s some type of sentience there.

MARISA

And so this is just a vision I’m having?

SEAN

You can’t tell if it’s real or it’s a vision or if you’ve been teleported.

MARISA

Okay. So can I approach the figure?

SEAN

Sure. You’re just, you’re not sure! You’re just in blackness and you see this figure not that far away. Do you want to try?

MARISA

Sure. And what form am I in? Am I still a werecupine?

SEAN

Yep.

MARISA

Okay. So I approach this figure.

SEAN

You’re not able to move, but then all of a sudden, as you think of it, you start suddenly getting closer as you think of it. So now you’re like, a few feet away.

MARISA

Okay. So I look up—you said the figure is humanoid.

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Actually, I’m pretty big, so I might be eye to eye, anyway.

SEAN

Yeah.

MARISA

And I go,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(chattering porcupine noises)

SEAN

What is Darcy’s deepest desire?

MARISA

Hmm.

To not transform into a werecupine.

(chuckles)

SEAN

So the Shattering speaks in your mind—the voice you’ve heard before says,

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Ahh, my little one. You can have all you desire. You can be normal. Human. The curse gone.

MARISA

And I think in my head:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you offering me?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You always were the smartest of the three.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I agree.

MIKE

(laughs)

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

(chuckling)

So do they.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

It is difficult, what I ask. You must let the fairy fall.

MARISA

And I consider it…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hmmm.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You must not do it with your own hand. Just let his fate happen.

MARISA

And I, in my mind, say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I can’t do that. Is there another way?

The sound of the Shattering vanishes again.

SEAN

And you’re standing in the hall right in front of the door. But you get a sense of disgust from the thing.

MARISA

Like I’ve been rejected.

SEAN

Yep.

MARISA

Okay. So then I batter through the door.

SEAN

(laughs)

Okay. So, back into the hall.

Eggerton, you’re now scrambling madly way with a big gash on you. And Blat, what are you doing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh Eggerton, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I have to do this, I’m sorry buddy, I have to do this…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it’s okay! I’ve got an idea. I’ve got an idea! I’m gonna… uh… uh…

I don’t have an idea.

Laughter.

Dramatic music.

SEAN

And the Slaad launches at at Eggerton.—roll Defy Danger, Eggerton.

Mike rolls. Groans around the table.

MIKE

3.

SEAN

And skewers Eggerton right on one claw, and lifts him up to the sky.

More groans.

SEAN

Eggerton you’re going to take 4… oh no, sorry, it’s the wrong die.

MARISA

400 damage.

SEAN

Now do you have armour, Eggerton?

MIKE

No.

MARISA

Ha! No.

He has arms?

SEAN

Okay, so 4 damage, 2+2, 4 damage.

MIKE

I have 1 hit point.

MARISA

(gasps)

SEAN

So the Slaad is lifting this little body up to the sky—and that is when the door explodes inward. And what do they see come bursting into the hall?

The music returns, triumphant.

MARISA

They see this larger‐than‐Slaad, humanoid, but more porcupine, so there’s sticky‐uppy spines on the head, and the back is full of these spines which are fully erect, and a long tail sweeping back and forth with the same kind of spines. Just running, loping down the aisle between the pews.

SEAN

With gleaming eyes.

MARISA

Making dishwasher noises.

(hisses and gurgles)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I certainly didn’t expect that to happen.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(groans)

MARISA

So I run right for the Slaad that’s got Eggerton.

SEAN

Yup. Roll.

MARISA

What am I rolling?

SEAN

Roll Hack and Slash.

MARISA

(rolling, laughs)

Well, Sean, what if I don’t roll well?

SEAN

Well, this may be the end of Eggerton!

MARISA

Yeah, see? It’s a 6.

I can do a special feat?

SEAN

Yes. So you could use one Rage to perform an impossible feat of strength.

MARISA

So could I use it to roll myself up in a ball and take out the Slaad?

SEAN

Sure.

MARISA

Okay. We’re going to say that to save your life.

SEAN

Okay, so you’re going to take a Rage point…

MARISA

Yup.

SEAN

You’re going to spend a Rage. So she’s going to spend a Rage…

MARISA

And so as I’m running, I just curl myself up into a ball and head right for the Slaad.

SEAN

So basically it’s like werecupine bowling. And it just sends the Slaad and you and everyone flying in every direction and takes out a bunch of Slaad. And the priestess stands up and is like,

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Rrrrgh! I must do everything myself!

SEAN

And she is going to turn on…

MARISA

Darcy?

SEAN

Darcy the werecupine.

MARISA

Who only has 4 hit points.

MIKE

I have 1 hit point.

SEAN

So you see her hold her hands in front of herself and then this energy starts to form and then she just slams it forward. This bolt just flies right past you as you roll through, sending Slaad flying, and it hits a bunch of Slaad in the distance that all immediately just look up, confused, as their bodies all roll up in flame. And they all wave “Bye‐bye!” and they just, poof! disappear.

MARISA

(laughing)

It’s so sad.

Okay.

SEAN

So the Slaad that dropped Eggerton is getting up and is looking around:

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Where is he?! I must defeat him!

MIKE

I’m gonna pop a fairy cake.

MARISA

That’s a very good idea.

SEAN

Okay. Roll Fairy Cake.

MIKE

That is an 8… +1! 9.

MARISA

Nice.

SEAN

(laughs)

I will let you pick which affliction you are afflicted with. And roll what you get back.

MIKE

I’m going to be drunk.

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

And I’m not a nice drunk.

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay. So you are afflicted with angry‐drunk.

MIKE

I got 8! 8 points.

SEAN

You get 8 hit points back. Okay.

And the priestess is charging forward. Blat, you see her charging towards the werecupine.

So you sense the bolt just miss you.

MARISA

Yup.

SEAN

And then you see her running towards you in her plate armour, Darcy.

Any of you can act at any time.

And the Slaad is moving in on Eggerton. She found him.

MARISA

Okay. So again, Darcy flings herself upright, and again does the the spike throw.

SEAN

Okay! On who?

MARISA

On the priestess.

MIKE

High Priestess Ithcar.

SEAN

Okay! Roll it! This is Volley, you get your Dex bonus.

MARISA

Right.

I’m a terrible roller. 6.

SEAN

Okay so the priestess literally… there’s just a look of shock on her face as she slides on her back, and so slides right under as these two darts fly through the air. And Blat, you see them slam on the wall just past you, these giant, almost metallic‐looking darts, as the priestess then rolls forward and she actually slams into you so hard that one of your spines goes right into her chest…

MARISA

Excellent.

SEAN

But she touches you, and you feel this horrible life force draining. You can see the blackness seeping into her, out of you, your soul.

And that’s 4 hit points.

MARISA

I’m dead.

Oh wait! I had Armor.

SEAN

What? Oh yeah. You would have taken 2 less.

MARISA

So I’m not dead though.

SEAN

Well, you just hit the ground. Don’t worry, you’re still alive.

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

But you think she’s dead.

Okay. And Darcy’s body hits the ground, and transforms back into the lifeless form, and is in the exact place that you saw that body, Blat.

Gasps.

MIKE

Snap.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s. It.

I’m sorry, Eggerton. I don’t know what else to do.

You want Morrigu? Well, here comes mother‐flippin’ Morrigu.

BAZOOKA!

The bazooka starts to materialize and once again stalls, metal pieces zinging through the air in slow motion.

SEAN

Okay. You feel this force, Blat, fighting at your brain, trying to take over. Roll.

Carter rolls.

SEAN

Partial success. What’s your Wisdom? Do you have Wisdom?

CARTER

7. No. Just 7.

MARISA

(laughs)

There’s no wisdom there.

SEAN

Okay.

Lightning flies out from Blat in every direction, striking seven or eight or ten Slaad that all just go “Bye‐bye!” as they disappear in puffs of smoke.

And the bazooka appears. But it is so—the lightning is just hitting it and shocking you, so you’re going to take some damage. But the bazooka does appear. You take 2 hit points of damage, Blat.

And at the end of it the screen appears in front of your face. But it’s like zipping out—zipping in—zipping—MALFUNCTION. And then it goes green.

A last resounding click.

SEAN

OPERATIONAL.

MARISA

Ha ha.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s Priestess Time.

SEAN

The priestess turns to look at you and her eyes get wide.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

As the Slaad say:

Bye‐bye.

Laughter.

CARTER

Pull the trigger.

SEAN

Roll Volley.

CARTER

8. +Dex would be a 9.

SEAN

Okay. That’s a partial success.

So the priestess, at the same time fires her Corruption Blast at you when she realizes we’re going to do. But then…

So roll your damage. As your missile fires off, steam coming out of it, as it comes in short range to take her…

CARTER

8.

MARISA

8! Nice.

SEAN

And there is this fiery explosion. You just see all these waving hands—“Bye‐bye!” “Bye‐bye!” “Bye‐bye!” And you see her scream as she’s thrown backwards, part of her armour melting into her skin, for 8 damage. She looks hurt.

MARISA

Oh, she only looks hurt.

MIKE

Her makeup’s still in place.

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

But as the fire and smoke all clears, you see her on one knee, slowly standing up.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

That was a mistake, Prophet.

SEAN

And the Slaad is going after you, Eggerton. The Slaad has now found you, and what are you doing?

MIKE

I saw Darcy fall down.

SEAN

Yup?

MIKE

And that, as an angry drunk, made me angry.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

It looks like she’s lifeless. Her body just hit the ground.

A distant hum of harp music.

MIKE

And I remember something the mixing bowl said, in a bit of a haze. And it was:

MIKE (AS THE MIXING BOWL)

You can be any of them that you see.

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Oooo.

MIKE

And I howl with anger.

SEAN

Yup.

MIKE

And roar like a giant bear.

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

And charge at the Slaad.

SEAN

So you see Eggerton suddenly—give us what Eggerton’s bear roar would sound like?

MIKE

Rarrrarrarar!

SEAN

And he just suddenly… charges the Slaad. And if you are looking closely, you might notice that his teeth have gotten a little, like, sharper.

And roll to Hack and Slash as this tiny little fairy impacts with the Slaad.

Mike rolls.

SEAN

+Strength?

MIKE

That’s minus 1 for a…

MARISA

(laughing)

Oh no.

MIKE

6.

SEAN

…and so basically bounces off the Slaad, and goes skimming across the other direction, sliding past a couple other Slaad that sort of try to step out of the way. And the Slaad leaps after you, chasing.

The priestess is now slowly approaching you.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

Let’s go, prophet boy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is one messed up religion.

SEAN

And she runs at you with her hand outstretched, trying to touch you with her hand.

SEAN (AS THE HIGH PRIESTESS)

In Morrigu’s name!

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought I was Morrigu!

Carter rolls.

MARISA

Ooo. That’s a good one.

CARTER

That’s an 11.

SEAN

What happens?

CARTER

Well, it’s the old middle school trick. She flies at me; I step aside and stick my foot out.

SEAN

And she goes headfirst into the altar, and you hear this horrible clang! of the metal hitting.

She takes 3 hit points, and blood is trickling down her armour plate as she slowly stumbles back to her feet.

And Darcy. You’re starting to come back. You realize that… the room is blurry, and there’s Slaad running around, and you see Eggerton dash past you, roaring, and bounce off of a Slaad. And the High Priestess is turning, now that she’s closer to Blat, and is about to reach out to touch him.

MARISA

And you’ve… I am back in human form?

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Yes. Okay. So I stagger up, or I crawl over—I’m obviously very disoriented. And I just touch Blat’s ankle.

SEAN

Yup.

MARISA

And I cast Cure Light Wounds.

SEAN

Roll it!

MIKE

(to the tune of “Rawhide”)

Git that light wounds rollin’. Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’… Rawhide!

MARISA

(laughs)

It’s a 7.

SEAN

Okay. So when you cast a spell, the only thing on Cast A Spell is whether you keep it or not.

MARISA

(reading)

Yeah, here we go. And I don’t, I believe.

SEAN

In this case, yeah. You have a choice: you can draw unwelcome attention…

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

You can take a -1 ongoing to Cast Spells, or you can lose this spell. It’s your choice.

MARISA

But I can relearn it once I commune with my goddess?

SEAN

Yes.

MARISA

Yeah, I’ll lose it for now.

SEAN

Okay, so you’re losing the spell. So did you roll what he gets?

MARISA

And then I “Heal an ally you touch of 1d8 damage.”

(rolls)

1. Sorry!

SEAN

So you get 1 hit point back, Blat.

MARISA

You have 6!

SEAN

And she lunges forward to try and touch you, just to slap you with her hand. But you see her hand is glowing the strange dark black as she tries to just slam her hand into you. Roll Defy Danger.

MARISA

Pretty good.

CARTER

9.

SEAN

Okay, so that’s a partial success. So you dodge her hand… but you stumble backwards and you fall off the the raised where you’re near—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yagh!

SEAN

And you’re now on your back, so you’re at Disadvantage. And you see her just turning her attention to Darcy who is half dead, her feet just laying there.

And you now have a Slaad that’s coming for you. What are you doing?

MIKE

I’m going to challenge the Slaad as a grizzly would!

SEAN

Okay, which is?

MIKE

Well, a grizzly would stand up and roar, and then run forward and grapple with claws and teeth. So I’m going to run forward with really short fingernails.

SEAN

Yup. That you bite.

MIKE

Yeah, because, you know, nerves.

And try and jump on the Slaad as it runs at me.

SEAN

Love it. Roll it!

MIKE

That is a 5.

Laughter.

MARISA

We’re all going to die.

SEAN

So tell me what happens. Play this out for me?

MIKE

I jump onto the Slaad, and it doesn’t see me at first, because I’m kind of little. And it kind of turns around, and when it turns really quickly I go flying off again.

THE CAFE

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Wow! So… really, Eggerton! Like as a little fae, you took down that Slaad?!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

I took it down with just one hit. It was really impressive. I know Blat, you know, he likes to remember his role in all of this, with his—we’ll just call it a banana for right now. Really, though, it was…

SEAN (AS RANDO)

So you were just, like, one with the grizzly?

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Yeah! You know, I had learned that I had this shapeshifting ability through my druid training, but I was always a little shy about it—

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Morrigu is inside me!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Yes, Morrigu is very good.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

So what happened, Blat? You were on your back and you saw your friend, what was it? What’s her name?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Darvin!

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Darvin. What happened? How did you ever get out of that situation?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

The thing I knew what to do. I simply aimed for the priestess and fired away.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Wouldn’t that… wouldn’t that also kill Darvin?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Quite possibly. But again, I didn’t know what to do. It might actually have been the worst decision I ever made.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

Solemn music.

SEAN

Inside the temple, we see the Slaad sort of wandering around in disarray.

SEAN (AS SOME SLAAD)

Uh, I’m not sure what to do…

SEAN

And we come in closer, and we see Eggerton limping up with a giant gash to stand beside Blat as they stare down at the slightly‐charred, dead body of Darcy.

The music grinds to a halt.

THE CAFE

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

That’s not what happened, Blat!

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I’m pretty sure that’s what happened.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

No it’s not. Darcy was fine! She’s the one who shaved both of us.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Darvin did?

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Yes. Okay, this is off the record right now, Rando…

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Okay.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Look, I was trying to be a grizzly, but you know, it wasn’t really working out—

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

You’re little!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

(laughs, pauses to collect himself)

Yeah. Yeah and it wasn’t really going so well for me, but I was I was hanging in there, and you had already shot your banana off…

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I did what?

I haven’t done that in years.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Rando, quiet.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Okay.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Okay, so you were standing there and you’d already fired your banana off. And when the priestess turned to come back at you, that’s when Darcy used the last bit of strength she had to stand up and pick up a quill from the ground…

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Ah!

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

And jab it into the priestess’s eye.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

(horrified)

Oh.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED NEXT

SEAN

Eggerton is stumbling up, with a giant gash, to stand beside Darcy. And both of them are looking down at Blat, who is laying on his back, mumbling.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(weakly)

Did I do it? Did I do the thing?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(weakly also)

Yes, Blat. You did the thing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think Morrigu is inside me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Mor… it’s not important.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We all have a bit of goo inside us, Blat. It’s okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

See, this is why I’m not religious. Because frankly, it all gets a bit weird after a while.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

(whispers)

Did you see what she did with that quill? It’s so gross!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No I didn’t see—I thought I fired off a last bazooka shell.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

No, you were out of bazooka shells. You were stumbling around, and then you hit your head off of one of the Slaad, and were lying down mumbling about goopy stuff, and that’s when the High Priestess was about to lean over and suck your soul or somethin’, and Darcy grabbed a quill and just jammed through her eye.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What are you talking about? The priestess was—AUGH MY LORD.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Yeah, right there!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(heaving)

Ugh! Augh!

SEAN (AS A SLAAD)

Prophet? Would you like a bucket? Here you go.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ugh. Yes. Thank you very much.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It was surprisingly easy to do.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, don’t say… that makes it worse!

And also—what the hell happened to you earlier?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t want to talk about it.

THE CAFE

The front door jingles and Darcy enters.

MARISA (AS OLD DARCY)

Oh no. Are you just wearing a robe again?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Hey, look everyone, it’s Darvin!

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Oh you’re Darv—you’re Darcy? They were just telling us about the amazing—the temple, with Idris and how you won the day by putting one of your quills through the eye of the Priestess!

MARISA (AS OLD DARCY)

Oh, yeah, yeah. That wasn’t the last time I put a quill through someone’s eye, let me tell you.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

Oh wow. Wow. This is the best story ever! I’m going to go get this down. Thank you—thank you, Eggerton, for introducing me to both of them.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

No problem! Thanks for everything. Now remember, when you describe this, I had rippling muscles, and a large broadsword.

SEAN (AS RANDO)

And the sword. Got it. Thank you all. It was nice to meet you, Blat. Nice to meet you. Darcy.

MARISA (AS OLD DARCY)

Okay, son.

SEAN

And he leaves.

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Darcy! How are you doing. We haven’t seen you in a while.

MARISA (AS OLD DARCY)

No, it’s true, it’s been a long time.

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

I have scones!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Can I have one?

CARTER (AS OLD BLAT)

Oh yeah. Here’s a scone.

(whispers)

I’m not allowed to heat it up. But I’m going to heat it up.

MARISA (AS OLD DARCY)

No—

MIKE (AS OLD EGGERTON)

Oh no…

The smoke detector begins to beep.

SEAN

Beep‐beep‐beep‐beep!

SEAN (AS THE BARISTA)

Oh no, the alarm! What’s going on?

SEAN AND MARISA

Scene.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers: an improvised fantasy role‐playing game set in the world of Alba Salix.

Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with Carter Siddall as Blat, Michael Howie as Eggerton and Marisa King as Darcy.

Dialogue editing and transcription by Michael Howie.

Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Story consultant: Laura Packer.

Game consultant: Stephen Smith.

Join us on Patreon for weekly bonus content, access to our Discord server, and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE

Laughter.

MARISA

Ah, lord…

CARTER

“You shall battle me! The Great Waffles!”

SEAN

There’s tea everywhere.

ELI

That was autocorrect.

Laughter.

MARISA

Oh God.

ELI

And I was like, “Well, it kind of fits. As long as he doesn’t choose it for like, a major character.”

MARISA

Yeah, way to go, Sean!

MIKE

Yeah, with a really heavy, dark plot point.

SEAN

(laughing)

I’ve been waiting for this moment.