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19: Point of Contact

Eggerton and Darcy make their way back to the Nexus seeking answers — but instead, everything goes terribly wrong.

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Our recommended actual-play podcast this week: Fate and the Fablemaidens!

And a reminder that Sean will be at Podfest Multimedia Expo in Orlando in March!

Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Marisa King, Michael Howie and Carter Siddall
Dialogue Editing and Transcription: Michael Howie
Story Consultant: Laura Packer
Game Consultant: Stephen Smith
Sound Design and Music: Eli McIlveen

Content Warning: Battle, death, mass destruction, bodily harm, panic, drug use and self-medication, pronoun confusion, bummers.

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m Darcy. What’s your name?

SEAN (AS JILL)

Jill.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And you have… a bucket.

SEAN

Jill’s head turns, and you see dark, black eyes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Shattering!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Shattering!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Found it!

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

So, to stop me, you’re going to march on entire worlds and massacre everyone in them?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aren’t… aren’t you trying to end time?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Ask Moira who created the bomb.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’ll take the bucket.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

And I’ll take this.

A violent rumbling noise.

SEAN (AS JILL)

(voice distorting)

What’s happening?

(screams)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Holy crackers!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They took Jill!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Hey! Hello!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you by any chance Jacklyn?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Why do you have Jill’s bucket?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh-oh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s kind of our bucket now—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Aaaaaagh!

The whoosh and clang of the bucket smacking Eggerton.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

You have to help me find Jill!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

“One shall rise to claim his throne / And the earth shall be overthrown”?

Wait a second.

SEAN (AS THE LITTLE OLD LADY)

Come in, come in. Close the door behind you.

Now, if you’ll just climb into the cauldron.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It seems I have an old dark character living within me, by the name of—

SEAN (AS THE LITTLE OLD LADY)

Yes! Yes! Say her name!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Morri… gu?

A huge peal of lightning.

SEAN (AS THE LITTLE OLD LADY)

(screams and cackles with delight)

Ha ha ha! Yes! Ha ha ha…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(deep, menacing voice)

I’ve tried being good.

Let’s get rid of Celene another way.

TRANSPORTED

SEAN

We return to a storyverse that is green, in a meadow where we hear the soft sound of mosquitoes and bugs. And we come down on a sunny day, but with a cool breeze and the scent of trees and earth. And we see Eggerton off in the distance by some trees talking to… we’re not sure what. And Darcy is nearby, and Jacklyn is standing by, holding on to their bucket.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, what are you doing?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I was just having a conversation with this squirrel. He says that he thinks it’ll take about three hours for the ICE-Ts to charge. But the sparrow over here says probably only 20 minutes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. Okay, well, we could do that. Or we can just turn the thing and push the button now.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Hey, um… remember, you said you were going to take me with you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We plan to take you with us. But we need our special devices to charge, you see, to go anywhere.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay. How long is that going to take?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, somewhere between 20 minutes, three hours according to the local fauna.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The frog over here that’s sort of heading towards that pond, he said two weeks. But I don’t know if I trust him because he’s hippity hopping. And if something seems to be hippity hopping, it’s probably not going to be all that accurate, just generally as a rule. I’d be more inclined to go with the squirrel but squirrels are also very forgetful—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Is he okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m doing very well! Thank you for asking. So what I think we should do is just turn and just start pushing the button every five minutes or so and see what happens.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I was just going to say why don’t you press the button? That’s not a bad idea.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m gonna press the button. Ready? Ready? Everyone ready?

SEAN

And Eggerton disappears.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay…

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

What just happened?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So it’s working, that’s the good news…

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I thought we were gonna walk somewhere.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The bad news is, I don’t know where he went. So… what we’re going to try and do is the same thing, and you just have to hold my hand.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay. But we’re just going to disappear?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Um, it’s probably going to feel a little funny. It’s nothing like walking or riding on a wagon. But don’t get nervous! You’ll be fine and you’ll be in a different place when you open your eyes.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I’m not nervous. I’ll do anything for Jill.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, here we go, then. So take my hand. And I’m just going to push this button… and here we go!

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 Marisa King, Michael Howie and Carter Siddall. Episode 19: Point of Contact.

THE VOID

SEAN

Everything goes to black. And you see Eggerton frozen in half-motion in the air in the blackness, unmoving. And you suddenly realise that you can’t move, Darcy. And it’s hard to breathe. It’s just the blackness pressing all around you. And you see floating, not too far ahead of you, what looks like Jill from the hill… sort of as if you can see half through Jill. And everyone is just frozen in the air.

MARISA

Is Jacklyn there?

SEAN

Yes, Jacklyn is beside you, eyes wide. You can move your eyes, and maybe a little bit of muscle movement, but it’s really hard., as if all the blackness is just pressing down on you, as if you’re at a deep pressure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(straining)

Eeehhh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(straining)

Eehhhh!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Eeeeehhh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eeeehh!

SEAN

And you feel half of Jill’s voice and half of the Shattering’s voice mixed together in your minds, as if strangely disconnected—because Jill’s lips aren’t moving.

SEAN (AS JILL)

There you are.

We don’t have long.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Eeeehh!

SEAN (AS JILL)

Just think the thoughts you wish to communicate

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m kind of hungry right now and I needed to go to the bathroom before I left but I forgot to do that. I probably should have done that before I went.

SEAN (AS JILL)

This was a mistake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How can I go to the bathroom in the void? I feel frozen but I need to go. Does my bladder have muscles? I don’t really understand how that works…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(simultaneous)

We really need to know what’s happened to Jill. What have you done to Jill? What’s going on? Where’s this voice coming from?

SEAN (AS JILL)

Okay! Enough!

We don’t have long. I am going to give you both a device. When you are at a place of power, you can use it to summon a connection to me so that we may talk on heard.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is a place of power?

SEAN (AS JILL)

It is a place of power! It is a place where the walls are lowered between worlds.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think what we’re kind of asking is whether or not there’s like, a beacon on here or some kind of map? If there’s a map with an X on it… one time I had a map with an X on it and…

SEAN (AS JILL)

You are being monitored. Always.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right now we’re being monitored? Even when I’m thinking about needing to pee? ‘Cause that’s kind of embarrassing—

SEAN (AS JILL)

Not now. You are not being monitored.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh.

SEAN (AS JILL)

Take this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can’t.

SEAN

And Jill’s hand slowly moves. And you can feel Jacklyn’s panic—as if Jacklyn, you can feel Jacklyn forcing themselves forward towards Jill.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Will you let Jill come with us?

SEAN

And Jill disappears.

And there’s a… something. Someone’s going to tell me what it is.

MIKE

It’s an apple.

SEAN

There’s an apple coming towards you both in the blackness getting clearer and clearer. And you’re really having trouble moving anything on your bodies.

MIKE

I slowly open my mouth with a great deal of will.

SEAN

(laughs)

Okay, can you please roll, let’s call this… let’s call this…

MIKE

(laughs)

SEAN

Defy Danger +Strength?

MIKE

That’s a 5.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

So the apple passes Eggerton.

MIKE

(straining)

SEAN

It’s coming towards you, Darcy.

MARISA

So with all my strength, I’m trying trying to reach both my hands out for it. So at least one of them grabs it, and I’m pushing and pushing through the void.

SEAN

Please roll +Strength.

MARISA

Two dice?

SEAN

Yup, and add your Strength modifier.

(laughs)

Also zero.

MIKE

We’re strong!

MARISA

The apple will just pass us by. We’ll be stuck here forever.

MIKE

(laughs)

MARISA

(laughing)

It’s a 4.

SEAN

Okay, and it passes right through Darcy’s arms. And you sense Jacklyn moving their body. You hear almost like a tendon ripping sound, as Jacklyn gets a hand on the apple. And time restores as a flash of lights—just like the normal transportation, but more disorienting now as all these realities collide and leave.

And you are suddenly standing in the hallway of doors inside the Nexus or the Academy of the Fallen.

BACK TO SCHOOL

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(chomps)

Missed it!

Wait, wait! Oh, Jill! Jacklyn. Jacklyn!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

It’s Jacklyn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, Jacklyn! Sorry.

SEAN

Jacklyn is holding one arm but in the hand is an apple.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Good job getting the apple. Okay, hand that over—I will hold on to it, I’m a bit snacky.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It was lucky they were with us. Now. Jacklyn, are you okay? You look like your shoulder’s hurting.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah, I pulled something but I’m okay. Do you want me to give the apple to…?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Give it to me. To me.

(over Eggerton’s protests)

I will take the apple. I will take the shiny red apple away from Eggerton who is hungry.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(grumbles)

Fine.

SEAN

Jacklyn hands it to Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is a secret device that have to keep safe!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s a sacred device that looks like a tasty apple.

SEAN

(laughing)

Write down that you have a sacred apple device.

MARISA

Writing down “sacred apple device”.

MIKE

Also known as a Mac too.

Laughter.

SEAN

So Jacklyn takes some—can someone roll a 1d4 for me? The pyramid?

MIKE

That’s… 2.

SEAN

Thank you. 2 Damage on Jacklyn. Cool.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, you know what? We could call it a Magical Apple Controller. And then it’s a MAC.

MARISA

Got it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yup.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right? Right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(humouring him)

Winky wink wink.

SEAN

The knights are moving through this hall, sort of shoving you guys against the walls. And you see doors opening and two by two, knights going marching through these large doorways, coming into other doors as the portals open and deposit them. And they’re coming in groups. It’s endless. Just two by two, knights coming and going in and out doors.

And Jacklyn is just staring in amazement, like shaking a little.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So Jacklyn, don’t worry. This is our base of operations. This is where we come from. And this is where we’re going to regroup and figure out how to get Jill back and—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

(breathless)

Jill was right there. I couldn’t move! I couldn’t get her.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I know. I think she might have been possessed. And we’ve got to figure out what’s going on before we can get her back.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I want to go back. Which door?! Which door do I take?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, there isn’t a door you can take right now. You just have to wait and sit down, and… Would you like a cup of tea? Or a fairy cake perhaps. Eggerton makes very good fairy cakes—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have fairy cakes here! Okay, let’s see what we got. We got a blue one that’s kind of cube-shaped. We’ve got a green one that’s kind of decahedron shaped…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Your most relaxing one, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ohhh.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Look, I just want to get back to Jill. I’m fine. I’m good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay. I call it the MK Ultra cupcake.

Here, have one of these. It’s just little, it’s green. It’s got nice little red flecks in it. Have that.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Is this safe?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s very safe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s all good.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay.

SEAN

And Jacklyn takes a bite. Roll for fairy cakes. Do you get a bonus?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That is an 8.

SEAN

Okay, so… Marisa, give me what effect. Is it dizzy, drunk…

MARISA

Is this a negative effect?

SEAN

Yup.

MARISA

Confu… No, she’s already confused, that’s boring. Um… irrationally angry.

SEAN

So Jacklyn bites down on the fairy cake, and get some hit points back. So roll the hit points for me.

MIKE

What were the hit points on it again?

SEAN

It’s right in the move on your sheet.

MIKE

I’m sure it is, but…

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

You have one sheet. Darcy over here has 17 sheets.

MARISA

That’s why I can’t find the right sheet.

MIKE

1d… yeah, well I’m lazy. So…

SEAN

That’s a d10.

MIKE

It’s an 8.

(rolls)

1.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

You get your bonus on that. +Wisdom.

MIKE

+Wisdom is 2.

SEAN

So fully healed. You’re rolling great.

So Jacklyn bites down, gets 2 hit points back. And then you just see Jacklyn’s features set. And Jacklyn spins on both of you, stepping backwards.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

What have you done? What are you doing? Jill was right there! You—you’re part of this. You…!

SEAN

And Jacklyn brandishes the bucket, which already has a dent on it that matches Eggerton’s head.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I said the relaxing one! The relaxing one!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It took a dark turn! That happens sometimes! I don’t always have control over it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(growls)

Argh!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Bring me back to the darkness with Jill! Now!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Jacklyn, you have to listen to me. We can’t do that. It doesn’t work that way—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Arrrrgh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aaaa!

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger. You can make an argument for Strength or Dex.

MARISA

I will make an argument for whichever is my strongest… which is Dex.

SEAN

So tell me what you’re doing that would involve your Dex.

MARISA

Okay, so I’m actually hinging at my waist. I’m like, lying backwards kind of thing.

SEAN

Like bullet time.

MARISA

That’s right, like bullet time in The Matrix.

SEAN

Yup.

MARISA

Okay. 2d6, right?

SEAN

Plus your Dex bonus.

MARISA

Yep. Which is huge. It’s 1.

MIKE

It’s “yuge”.

MARISA

Ahh! That’s a 12! That’s a 13!

SEAN

Darcy just bends like a willow at the waist dashing around, the bucket in slow motion just grazing over her nose. And Jacklyn’s eyes going wide as Darcy comes right back up on the other side. And what do you do now?

MARISA

Well, I think first of all, as I’m coming out, my left leg kicks the bucket out of her hand; it flies over, lands right around Eggerton’s neck. It’s just hanging there. And Darcy now has Jacklyn in sort of a hug hold.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Agh! Let me go! What are you doing?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Calm down, Jacklyn.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Argh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s okay. It’s okay. We’re just going to take you to our room where you can lie down for a bit while we figure things out. Eggerton! Help me take them to our room.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, but look! I can just put food in this and eat it without my hands.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! You will get food in a minute.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I want my bucket back!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I’ve got the bucket right here—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I want Jill’s bucket!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s good. It’s all good. We’re all going to be calm. No one’s going to panic. I’ve got a bucket.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

(holding themselves back)

I’m really angry right now. I don’t even know why.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sing the Calming Song, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The Calming Song! I will sing it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sing the Calming Song!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sings)

Oh calm… calm down… no clowns are eating you…

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay, make him stop.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sings)

Be relaxed and calm…

Are you going to calm down?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I’m calm down. Just please make him stop.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(singing)

…the elephants are your friends!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That was your best version yet. Thank you for that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you. Thank you.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Can I have Jill’s bucket? Please.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m gonna put the bucket around your neck now. You will note—

SEAN

Jacklyn just snatches the bucket.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, you’ve got it. But I would like to point out that the around-the-neck feeding thing is technically mine. If you want to use it, I’m okay with that—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I’m not a horse.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well, you don’t need to call me names. All I’m saying is—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, everyone. Jacklyn has their bucket. And I’m sure the fairy cake is going to wear off soon because I feel like this is related. So let’s just take you to our room. Okay?

MARISA

And I lead Jacklyn up the stairs to our room.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

But we are going to figure out how to get Jill?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s the first thing we’re going to do. I just have to talk to my compatriot here, Eggerton, and we’re going to figure it all out.

SEAN

Okay. And which one of you has the other bucket?

Laughter.

MARISA AND MIKE

There’s another bucket?

SEAN

You traded buckets with Jacklyn so Jacklyn has—

MARISA

I think I have it.

SEAN

Okay, cool.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Technically, I’m the General and she’s the lieutenant, so “compatriots”—not quite accurate. It’s more of a boss-employee type relationship.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(dryly)

Yes, my liege.

SEAN

So you walk out on the second floor, out of the hidden doors that lead to the hall. You came in at the second floor and you walked up, just so you know. You guys are on the third floor, where the dormitories are. But there are knights everywhere: the dormitories, except for yours, all the other dormitories are full, and knights are just marching up and down the hallways.

The place smells different. It smells like rooms that have been dusty forever that are now all being disturbed and kicked up. It smells like steel and rust and oiled pleather and armour and sharpening oil. And there’s just this constant din of noise, whereas before it was relatively quiet, as knights in full armour are constantly clanging up and down the hallways. And you find your dormitory.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me! Excuse me—will you stop for—argh! They’re everywhere! Okay. In here, Jacklyn, into this room. I can’t even hear myself think.

SEAN (AS KNIGHT)

(booming, mechanical voice)

You are not authorised to stop.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But, uh, as General, I demands passage under the authority of the Truncated Moira Act of 037‑B.

SEAN (AS KNIGHT)

You are not authorised to stop.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got a bucket? That—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We are not stopping! We’re going into this room. This is our residence. Thank you very much. Here we go.

MARISA

And I open the door and I usher us all in, and I close the door.

SEAN

Okay, and the room is relatively untouched. You see Blat’s cot, still perfectly made as he always leaves it, and all his folded shirts.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sighs)

SEAN

And you see Eggerton’s messy cot, and Darcy, you see your cot and the other cots that are untouched.

MARISA

So I avoid looking at Blat’s cot, and I just guide Jacklyn over to mine. And I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just sit down, just give me a moment. A lot has changed here. We need to talk.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Actually, if you could go sit on that cot. This cot is technically where I dry fairy cakes, and sometimes Blat would put the bazooka—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re going to leave Jacklyn on this cot for the moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m just saying that’s not the purpose of that cot.. Your cot specifically is for the bazooka and for the sound of that elephant under the bed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right now it’s for Jacklyn. Eggerton, would you join me over here in the other corner of the room please?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I accept your invitation!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why thank you, General.

(lowers her voice)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m having some concerns that maybe Moira isn’t everything we thought she was.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, she won’t let me get Ananka’s recipes. Clearly she’s jealous of my kitchen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. Let’s focuse. Let’s focus for a minute. Everything is different here. There’s knights everywhere. It’s like she’s preparing a huge army. And normally I would think, great! because that’s going to finish this finally, and we can just go back where we came from. But then we have this voice telling us that maybe Moira has some really underhanded things going on. And now I don’t know who to believe. And I’m just not sure we can trust her anymore. And who do we trust?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re talking too much.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re right. I am.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And I just I need you to slow down.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So what I think we should do is probably just go down the kitchen and start baking, because that always helps me kind of just sort out my thoughts and clear my mind and find a way to go forward with things. And then we can talk to Jacklyn. Oh, maybe Jacklyn has some—do you think they have different recipes in their world?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton. Eggerton? Let me put this in words you can understand.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We might be the bad people right now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t think that’s—nooo.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We might be the people who hate fairy cakes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes! And stomp on flowers and cut down trees.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?! Augh!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Um, Darcy…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Nothing’s wrong over here, Jacklyn! Everything’s fine!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Everything’s wrong! Auuugh!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

No, but… Is this supposed to be happening?

A rumbling, roaring sound, growing slowly louder.

SEAN

And you see, not too far from Blat’s cot, this swirling black portal-like opening in between worlds starting to open up. And you see one of the cots sort of being pulled a little towards it and you feel a bit of a pull of air against you all.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The only time I’ve seen anything like this is when you would eat too much food. I’ve never seen this!

SEAN

And it’s growing bigger and there’s this pressure change. It’s causing your ears to pop. And you start to sort of see a vague outline, as if there is someone or something there, quite large on the other side of this portal, trying to push through. And then the portal starts to shrink and then it gets bigger again. And this swirling darkness.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Uh, is this normal?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think you have to maybe realign the concept of normal now for yourself.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is it Jill?!

SEAN

And you see Jacklyn get up and start moving towards the portal.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Wait. No…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Step away from the swirliness! Step away.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got a telegram from Jill that says, “Dear Jacklyn: How fondly I remember thee and miss you greatly. However I am not in swirly black things of doom; please do not look for me there. Always, Jacklyn. Uh, Jill.”

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

He’s reading a fairy cake.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

What is going on?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so if you come over here, I’ll show you that there’s writing on it and it’ll all make sense. C’mere!

SEAN

And you hear alarms sounding, distant in the building.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s also… that’s just saying that… it’s time for our next class. And get there quick because you don’t want to get a tardy slip!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, wait, wait!

MARISA

And I pull out the apple and I try to talk to it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy, it’s an apple.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He said…!

SEAN

So a lot’s going on. You hear alarms; this portal is like, growing and shrinking in size; your ears are popping.

As you pull out the apple, you notice that there’s two halves, like it’s not quite connected.

MARISA

Yeah.

SEAN

Like, they turn, the two halves.

MARISA

Okay. So I turn it to connect the two halves.

A metallic click that hangs in the air.

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

(nervous snickering)

SEAN

Two things happen, so quickly on top of each other. First, the portal solidifies and you see a Slaad stumble forward that you recognize. Looks maybe like Lazbo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So what I’m say—

His voice slows and hangs in the middle of the word “saying”, becoming an eerie background hum.

An ominous, grinding rhythm begins.

SEAN

And everything freezes. Everybody in the room just stops moving except for Darcy.

You just see everyone frozen in this tableau. The sounds have halted, the portal isn’t moving. And this blackness starts to pour out of the apple and rise up into a form.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Ah! Darcy. You—

(dawning realization)

Oh… you summoned me from within the Nexus?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That… might have been a mistake?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

(sighs)

I’m sorry, Darcy. I can’t pass up this opportunity.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whimpers)

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

I hope you understand.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No?

SEAN

And the darkness shoots out through the doors, through the walls, into eight different forms and disappears.

And time resumes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(quiet sobbing)

MIDROLL

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

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

SEAN

Hey, everyone, Sean here. Thank you so much for tuning in. I have a couple of quick announcements. But I also at first want to give some shout outs to our most recent supporters. We’re going to start doing that on every episode. So I want to give a super shout out to Rachel, Ryan and notabeanie. Thank you so much for your support. It means everything for us and we can’t wait to get more content out for you.

Now, for all of you—I don’t know what to call you—legacy folks? That doesn’t sound good. It sounds like you’re like a Windows 95 user. Like, all of you early adopters! The originals! The most amazing fans who have been with us for so long. We want to give some shout outs to you as well. So we’re going to start working through our backlist. So today I want to give a shout out to Paul Tedesco, Grace and George. That’s George Stankow. Thank you—I have no idea how to pronounce your name, I’m so sorry. Thank you guys so much. It means so much that you are still with us and supporting us and helping these shows come up.

I just want to give a quick reminder that I’m going to be at PodFest. That is in Orlando and it starts March 7th through the 9th I think? Something like that.

And finally, rolling it out: There is a show that I would like to bring to everyone’s attention. I have fallen in love with Fate and the Fablemaidens. This is an all-women, family-friendly actual play D&D 5th Edition podcast. It’s been created by these amazing women who I got to meet at PodCon and they are just as lovely in person as they are in the characters they play in their show. And I have to say, it’s become one of my favourites. I love it. So give them a listen at Fate and the Fablemaidens and you can find them at fatefmcast.com. Great live play D&D—love it.

And that’s it for the announcements! Let’s get back to the show.

MIDROLL: THERAPY

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Hello, welcome Eggerton. Please have a seat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, thank you! Thank you. Can I sit here or should I sit—should I sit on your lap?

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

No, no, no, it would be inappropriate, Eggerton, we’ve talked about that. You sit on the sofa.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The sofa.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

And I sit in this very tall authoritarian-like chair.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is it all right if I call it a Chesterfield?

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. I’ll call it a Chesterfield.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Are you going to sit on it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. Okay, let’s sit down. Okay, that’s nice. Velvety.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s very soft.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

So how are things going?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(laughs anxiously)

Oh, well, you know… Blat ran away and Darcy’s drinking all the time and Moira’s trying to maybe, I don’t know, end time herself? And the Shattering might be a nice guy, but then the Shattering kind of does some some evil stuff. And I don’t know, I just feel like, I gotta—

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Wait for me to ask you how you’re feeling.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. Right.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

That’s the only job I have here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right. Right. Right. So how are you feeling?

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

(sighs)

So how does all that make you feel, Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it makes me feel kind of hungry.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Mm hmm. And how’s that been going? The rubber band, is that working or helping?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I kind of broke it. Because I was eating a fairy cake. And I thought maybe I could hold two fairy cakes, like one in each hand, but still be able to use my fingers. So I took the elastic, and I wrapped it around my palm to hold the fairy cake to it. And then when I bit the fairy cake, I bit the elastic and it fell off.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Right. So it’s okay that you’re eating fairy cakes. Are they maybe filling that void deep in your soul that makes you feel so anxious that we’ve talked about?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Well, great! That’s progress.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, progress! You know what we should do? Celebrates! And I’ve got just a thing. Here have a purple swirly.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Well, you know, I really can’t have those…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, you should, though. I mean, it’s just one…

Their voices fade out, and return a moment later:

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

(completely intoxicated)

Oh, Eggerton! You’re just so amazing. Have I have told you about how nervous I am with people?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(slurring his words slightly)

I don’t think that you’re really nervous? I think—

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Really?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think that you’re just the best. And it’s okay.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

(laughs)

Aw, no! No, I don’t feel like the best, Eggy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You are the best, though! You know what, there’s so many people on this Discord thingy that keep talking about how amazing you are.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Aw. Oh, but you’re out there saving the world, Eggy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I—I am, I am.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

And just look at those little cheeks!

(laughs)

What was in that cake?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What cake?

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

The fairy cake we ate!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Right, I’m supposed to—I’ve got a note here. I’ve got a sticky note. Uh, yeah, it says—

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Ooo, I’ll put a sticky note on you!

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aw, now I can’t read it! It’s on my forehead. Oh, geez.

(laughs)

Okay, no, wait, okay. You read it.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

I’ll read it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You read it.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Oh! “Help us stay in fairy cakes by going to patreon.com/albasalix”—what’s Alba Salix?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know. But you could probably just go to otherbothers.com if you want to skip all of those weird consonant-vowel pairings.

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

Yeah. Let’s have another one of those cakes.

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right! This is—this is a yellow sprinkled with pink…

SEAN (AS THERAPIST)

(endless giggling)

TIME RESUMES

Eggerton’s voice is still frozen in the middle of “So what I’m saying…” as time resumes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…is, if you come over here and—

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(out of breath)

There you are!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, hi! It’s Lazbo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Lazbo!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, sorry. Watch the claws.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay. How are you? I haven’t seen you in so long!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Well, I’m very good. Oh, Darcy! It’s good to see you both!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How did you get here?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, I came through the portal. It was really scary.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There was a portal at your tree?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh no. Mother Speckley wants me to bring you both a message. It’s very important.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s nice of her. How’s she doing?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

She’s doing really well, actually. But actually not.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh-oh.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

The tree’s going really dark again. And there’s lightning. Yeah, I don’t want to sugarcoat it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s not good. But you know—

The ominous, throbbing music returns.

SEAN

And the alarms are sounding. Now you hear more alarms; you hear clanging knights running down the hall. You hear sounds of battle and screaming outside the room.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Seems like I got you both at a bad time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, no, it’s fine! It’s just a busy Tuesday afternoon here.

So tell me about the tree! How is everyone doing? Did that Helen ever get into circle? I always thought that she was going to have a great future.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, yes, Helen is into Circle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Helen got into Circle? That’s lovely to hear.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, but I need to give you the message. I was supposed to give it to you, Darcy.

MARISA

And I’m just staring blankly this whole time.

SEAN

(laughs)

And there’s screams and shouting and alarms outside the door.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(fragile)

I’m sorry, Lazbo. I think I might have just released the Shattering in the Nexus.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

I don’t understand most of that. But I was supposed to bring you. Mother Speckle needs you to come back to the Temple Idries. It’s very important. It’s about Blat—the Chosen One. You might know him as the Chosen One.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat? We haven’t seen him in a—you know, that’s his bed right over there.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(gasps)

No!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Can—can you please show me where the Chosen One sleeps?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, you know what? Lazbo? You should take one of these—this is a Blat shirt.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(gasps)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah! He folds them.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

My name will go down—Helen will no longer be the name of all the Slaad children.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Helen’s the name of all the—what happened?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Not any more! Not when I bring this shirt back! Lazbo will be the name of every sandwich.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s—why are the sandwiches all named Lazbos?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

It’s a long story. But I’m supposed to bring you both back. I came through the portal, but I thought we could leave right away?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can we go through the portal too?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

No, the portal is closed. See, no portal.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. Did you bring any sandwiches?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Um, yes…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can I try a Lazbo?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

No, you can try a Helen.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. It sounds kind of gross.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

That’s all I have.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fine, I’ll take a Helen, I suppose.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, I… I might have released the Shattering. I let the voice in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I don’t know what you’re talking about, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You were frozen, and the voice came in and seemed really self-satisfied that I’d let it in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. We’ll talk about that later—

SEAN

The entire building shakes as this explosion—feels like it just blew out one of the walls of the Academy of the Fallen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know if this is related… but I think I’ve done something terrible, and I think that Lazbo has to be number 2 on our priority list right now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did you put horseradish on the sandwiches?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no!

MARISA

And I hold up this apple.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I brought the apple out! I thought this was the place of power the voice was talking about. Eggerton, what are we going to do?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, let’s…

SEAN

Jacklyn’s like,

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Can someone please explain what’s going on…? There’s—there’s like a battle, and what is…

(whispers)

What is the large red thing?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Jacklyn? You’re number 3 on the priority list.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s kind of rude, Darcy—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

You said Jill was number 1.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(panicking)

Nnngh! Number… 1A, how about that?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

(reluctantly)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton. What are we going to do? Maybe we need to—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wouldn’t 1a make her number 1? Like, would that not be the first of the first?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know! I don’t know any more!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What if we make Jill 1C… okay? 1A is the sandwich…

SEAN

There’s another explosion. You hear screaming from outside, you hear the sounds of staccato kind of popping sounds, and then you hear thuds of metal hitting the ground—giant suits. It sounds like right outside your door.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I‑I have to go see what’s going on! I have to find out what I’ve done.

MARISA

And I swing the door open and look out into the hallway.

SEAN

And you see a knight turn, look at you—and then half of the knight is just gone as the head topples and hits the ground, as this blast of dark energy shoots through and knocks out three or four other knights in the hall. And you hear yelling and you see more knights coming out of doorways. And then there’s an explosion in the hall and you see the roof starting to come down on some of those knights.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And I just turn back to Eggerton, and point my arm out into the hallway as if to say You see?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ohhhhhhhh! Yeah, that’s not good.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Okay, team! Here’s the plan! We proceed in cupcake formation…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(small voice)

Oh, no.

MIKE

(laughs)

SEAN

There is a battle unlike anything you’ve ever felt happening in the halls. And it’s now starting to move down a floor.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! They’re moving away from us! Okay. So what we’ll do is we’re going to go left, to the flank by the river. That’s the thing that we were supposed to do last time. So we’ll do that again. We’ll take, uh, Lazbo, and Jill…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Jacklyn?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Jacklyn. We’ll take Lazbo and Jacklyn and flank left, not right—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Stop! It’s too late. I think it’s too late.

MARISA

So the first thing I do is, I do unclasp the apple, so I I detach it.

SEAN

Okay.

MARISA

I don’t know if that does anything.

SEAN

Nothing seems to happen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, that didn’t work. Eggerton, I don’t know if there’s anything more we can do here. I don’t know if we can salvage this!

SEAN

So you’re at the end of the dormitory hall. And it sounds like the battle is now moving. And you see a few knights now, running in formation past your door and down the stairs down towards the second floor.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We should try and find Moira.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(firmly)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Moira will know what to do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Unless she’s the reason this is happening.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Very possibly. But I might be reason this is happening.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, don’t say that about yourself. I think if you think positively, you’ll see that, you know, you lead with good intentions. And—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay. You can make me feel better later.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Okay, let’s go.

MARISA

And I shut the door on Lazbo and Jacklyn. And I grab Eggerton and we start running down the stairs towards the main floor.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Oh, so you’re leaving them in the room?

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

Okay… Cool.

MIKE

(snickers quietly)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s an interesting choice you made tactically!

SEAN

(laughing)

Okay, so Darcy slams the door, and you just see a wide eyed Jacklyn staring at this very large frog-like humanoid with claws for hands.

And the two of you are in a hallway. It smells of acid and smoke and death and rotting flesh and this strange ozone smell. And the roof is caved in behind you. There are bodies twitching on the ground, still half in armour, half not… and it’s just utter destruction. There must be a hundred knights that are dead or dying in this hall.

And you see the stairway in the distance going down, and of course it goes up to the roof. And you hear more explosions. The whole building shakes under your feet and dust rains down on you from the floor below you as the battle continues.

And alarms stop, but they don’t stop suddenly; they just sort of do that slow dying as if they’re just running out of power, as you hear more explosions and more shouting and screaming from the second floor.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let’s keep moving. Let’s keep moving! We just have to find Moira. We just have to find Moira.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, if I were Moira, where would I be?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I really hope we are on the bad side. This is the only way this is any good.

MARISA

Okay, so we run to Moira’s office.

SEAN

Moira’s office is on the first floor. You’re on the third floor.

MARISA

We’re running down!

SEAN

Okay. So you start coming down the stairs, and you just run into a wall of knights that are now backing up, like, backwards into you. And they are throwing spears down in front and then you just see a wave of five of them just become disintegrated, just disintegrated to dust as this blackness strikes them. And there’s only now about twenty in front of you. They’re all trying to retreat and back up, pushing into you. You see another three go into dust in front of you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Run back up! Run back up!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Wait, no! We know the black thing, it’s okay!

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger, both of you. You can use Dex or Strength, depending on how you sell it, but tell me what you’re doing.

MIKE

Can I use Charisma?

SEAN

Tell me what you’re doing before you roll, to get out of the way of this—it’s now getting closer and closer to you.

MARISA

Okay, well, I’ve turned around and I’m shoving Eggerton back up the stairs we just came down.

SEAN

Okay, so Strength.

MARISA

Oh darn.

(laughs)

MIKE

And I’m trying to like, swim past her arms towards it! ‘Cause we met that thing.

SEAN

Okay, so first, Marisa, you’re gonna roll.

MARISA

Okay. That’s an 8…

SEAN

Plus 0. Okay, so partial success. All right. And Eggerton, you’re trying to fight her?

MIKE

Yeah, I’m trying to get past. I have a 7.

SEAN

With a partial success.

Okay, so basically you guys are sort of stuck in position. You’re half-shoving; he’s trying to get under you. Another row of three knights disappear. There were only six knights standing and they are pushing against you. And a couple of them turn and run, like, leave you. And now there’s like five knights between you, and then another three disintegrate. What do you both do?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, the knights can’t take this! We have to get out of here! Come, up the stairs. Up the stairs! We’ll go through the portal!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay! Okay! Ow! Stop pulling at my ear!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So we head up the stairs.

SEAN

Okay, now to your left, as you hit the top of the stairs, is the little secret doors that lead to the Hall of Doorways. To your right is the room within which you have left your two friends… and the blackness is coming up the stairs. Another three knights drop. There’s only two left.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We have to go save Jacklyn and Lazbo! Quick! Back to the room, back to the room, back to the room!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, okay!

MARISA

Okay, so we burst through into the room again, that we just left.

SEAN

Okay, you burst into the door, and you see Jacklyn and Lazbo just sort of staring at each other, each sort of awkwardly staring at each other, and they both look really relieved when you burst in.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uhhh…! Badness! Badness! Lots of badness!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(stammering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Lazbo, will the portal work? Can we get through the portal?!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Maybe? I don’t know! I’m just supposed to take you. Oh wait, I have a device!

SEAN

And he tries—and he fumbles it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Nnnngh!

SEAN

So I need you guys to roll Defy Danger to see if you can catch the device. You see it leave his hand, his claws and start to go towards the ground, and it looks like it’s made of glass.

MIKE

I rolled a 3.

MARISA

(laughs)

We’re all going to die.

This is Dex, then? Come on, 12!

Oh! It’s an 11.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

So tell me how you catch this glass bauble that’s slipped out of his claws.

MARISA

I dive from the doorway onto my stomach, and I go sliding across the floor and my hand just catches it as it falls into it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Got it!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, thank God, I almost dropped it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, you did!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Uh… quick! Quick, use it, use it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How do I use it?!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Oh, throw it on the ground.

Waves of pent-up laughter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay!

MARISA

So I just throw it onto the ground in front of me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, time to go! Let’s go.

SEAN

And this black portal starts to form in the air, right where you drop it, and it starts to form, bubbling out and bubbling in, and you sort of see what might be a tree? But it’s sort of having trouble… and you hear another explosion shake the building.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Through the portal! Through the portal!

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

(breathless)

Are you sure?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Jacklyn! Look, look there’s Jill, in the portal! Quick!

SEAN

Jacklyn is through the portal. Jacklyn just leaps headfirst through the portal.

MARISA

We’re all through the portal.

SEAN

Okay.

They step through with a whoosh.

THE TEMPLE

The sound of wind and torrential rain.

SEAN

Your senses start to come back in and you realize you are face-down in muck. Eggerton, your head is under someone’s leg. You’re having trouble breathing in the water and the muck. There’s a wind and a rain that is just tearing at you. It’s like a hurricane. And you hear lightning striking. And it’s very disorienting because it’s so dark. And Lazbo’s like,

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Someone’s—someone’s on my—I don’t want to say what it is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(unintelligible gurgling)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gasping for breath)

Ohh, we made it. We made it!

(to Eggerton)

Get—off me! Ugh!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, there we go. Well, I think you were kind of on me, but you know.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, you were definitely on me. Ugh… Jacklyn? Jacklyn, are you all right?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah, I’m okay. My bucket! Oh, here’s my bucket.

SEAN

And you are on the path—a path that you were on before. You see a fallen, very large tree limb that is now covered in some kind of growth. In the darkness, it’s hard to make out, but there does appear to be a very large black form ahead of you that might be what was Temple Idries, or what’s left of it.

And lightning strikes suddenly and lights it all up, and you see that the path that was all manicured when Blat last saw it—I don’t think you guys saw it that way—is now flooded and there’s mud everywhere. And you see the tree in the distance with the doors closed.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This place has really gone downhill. Lazbo? Lazbo, what happened to the investments that you were discussing about upkeep and janitorial services?

SEAN

Lazbo stands up and is almost blown a few feet to the side by the gusts of wind. And the rain is coming sideways, like it hurts as it strikes your faces.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

There’s been a small problem with the weather since the Chosen One… well, you’ll see! Mother Speckley wants you right away! Come!

SEAN

He starts hunching down against the wind and moving forward down the path towards the door.

MARISA

And I follow him and grab Jacklyn’s hand and pull them through the weather.

SEAN

Eggerton, the water is up to your thighs.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um, now, I’m not afraid of the water per se. But there are many things in the water that could potentially try and consume me. And I’d prefer if they not. So Darcy, do you think maybe it’d be okay if just this one time, I kind of got to piggyback?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, fine. Come on. Get up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Awesome. Here we go.

He climbs up on Darcy, with much grunting from both of them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There we go. Okay, onward!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Here, do you want me to steer? Are you okay to—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I’m fine.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I can just give you a little, like—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(icy)

Just be quiet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m being quiet!

(whispers)

Okay, so what I’ll do is I’ll give you a little [nudge] in the side and you’ll go faster.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Rrrgh!

MARISA

And I start trotting along just so I can get him off quickly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There you go. Okay,

SEAN

We cut to inside the Temple Idries. The door is slammed shut by three Slaad. And you guys are drenched. Everyone is just—there’s water everywhere. It’s like you went swimming.

And you see that inside, there’s lamps lit, and aside from the lightning striking up and the rain that’s working through the repairs and the top of the tree, you see that it’s relatively orderly. You see a young woman with white skin and dark hair coming forward with her hood up.

SEAN (AS THE YOUNG WOMAN)

Welcome. Welcome. How may I—oh, Lazbo!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Yes, I brought them right away for Mother Speckley!

SEAN (AS THE YOUNG WOMAN)

I see. And you are…?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m Darcy.

SEAN (AS THE YOUNG WOMAN)

Ah, Darcy. Welcome. Please, come, come, let us get you a change of clothes. And you must be…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m General Eggerton. I lead this troop and I am here to receive word from Mother Speckley about the status of our friend Blat…

SEAN (AS THE YOUNG WOMAN)

Yes, Lazbo will get you some dry clothes. And this is…?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Jacklyn.

SEAN (AS THE YOUNG WOMAN)

Right. So, you two come with me and we’ll get you into dry clothes and in to see Speckley right away.

Eggerton is still babbling in the background.

MARISA

And I drop Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…and he will save the world and we will go forward together and—ooofa!

SEAN

We cut to the three of you in white robes. You are being led back into the main hall where the dais was that a certain individual got trapped under, Darcy.

And you see another person in a white robe, rather young, fit with frizzled, light-coloured hair. And she has, when she turns, this hawk nose, but it’s the eyes that capture you. They belie this intensity, because they hold your gaze for a millisecond, but then they dance over your entire form, as if cataloguing all about you.

And the priestess who was leading you up turns and returns to her duties. And Lazbo is no longer here so I don’t have to do the voice.

MARISA

And at this point, I’m just pacing back and forth frantically, just completely outside myself.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My robe’s a bit long. Does anyone happen to have like, a sewing kit? ‘Cause I’m dragging it and I feel like I’m going to not only just sort of like make a lot of mess on the actual robe itself—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay! Someone has to tell us why we’re here, because I might have just destroyed the place we came from and I don’t really have time for this. So why are we here? What’s going on? Who are you?

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

Oh, I’m Mother Speckey. You must be Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I am.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

And you seem very upset, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(frantic)

Yes, I I might have invited the Shattering into the Academy of the Fallen—I mean, it might really be fallen, like really fallen right now. And I don’t know what we’re doing here and—and I just don’t know. You should talk to General Eggerton right now.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

No, I understand a hundred percent.

SEAN

And she makes a gesture and the dais starts to pull back, and you see a few Slaad pushing it back. She goes,

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

We won’t tell it all, Darcy. Come.

SEAN

And she just starts going down the stairs, down the hall.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Isn’t that where, you know, that thing happened to you that time…?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t like it down there. Do we have to go down there?

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

I’m afraid so.

SEAN

She’s now halfway down the stairs.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This time, maybe just stay calm, because the last time with the spiky things was kind of gross and you made everyone uncomfortable—

SEAN

She stops.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

If you wish, we could stop and talk, but I am attempting—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Fine. Okay, we’re going.

MARISA

And I follow her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Come along, Jacklyn.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay.

SEAN

So Mother Speckley leads you down the hall, past where your event happened, to the very end to a round circular room that is in the heart of the tree. And she stops at the doorway.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

If you’d please all remove your footwear.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I kind of like wearing shoes. I’ve—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Remove. Them. Now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I just—I’ve got a toenail thing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Take them off. Take them off.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, just don’t look. Don’t look. Everyone just—

MARISA

And so I take my shoes off.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

Or if we wish, Eggerton, we could talk about your refusal to deal with your real emotions.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I—

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

Or you could just take your shoes off.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…I’ll take off my shoes.

Do you have anything to eat?

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

Yes, after. Come.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sighs)

SEAN

And she steps forward, and you see a circle that at the centre of the room, and the moonlight from above is hitting it, even though there’s a storm outside. And it at first looks like it’s made out of granite. But then it sort of glitches—you see it just like distort and it’s almost like you saw something, like a darkness, a figure with wings. And then it goes back to marble.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

(sighs)

I’m not sure how much I can or should tell you. But something is wrong. very wrong. And our primary mission is to support the Chosen One. This has been happening for some time. If you’ll just stand here a moment…

SEAN

And it glitches again, and you see destruction and there’s screams, but it’s different.

Crude, ominous heavy metal music plays.

SEAN

And you see a very familiar looking profile of Blat—and then it’s gone.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That was a picture of Blat! Did you see that?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes. What—what’s going on with Blat? What’s happening?

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

These aren’t pictures. These are what is happening. Right now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What—what is happening? Is he okay?

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

Blat may have… Blat may have done more than just upset one goddess.

Oh boy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That checks out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yep.

SEAN (AS MOTHER SPECKLEY)

I’m worried.

SEAN

And then the pool goes clear. And what do we see, Carter?

CARTER

Blat, surrounded by darkness, flying up out of the forest that surrounds the tree, looking determined.

SEAN

And beneath Blat, as he leaves the frame… you see a village on fire.

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 players Carter Siddall, Michael Howie and Marisa King.

Dialogue editing and transcription by Michael Howie.

Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Story consultant: Laura Packer.

Game consultant: Stephen Smith.

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

OUTTAKE

CARTER

“So… there’s a giant frog monster in here. Is that all right?”

Laughter.

MIKE

(with some swagger)

There’s a reason that I’m the general.

MARISA

All I see from Sean is looks of “Hmmm. This is all ending now. Everything’s over.”

MIKE

And that’s the end of the show, folks! Thanks for tuning in.