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2: The Academy of the Fallen, Part 1

Darcy, Blat and Eggerton find themselves thrown back through time to a strange town.

Download MP3 (75 MB)

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

Additional material and sound design: Eli McIlveen
Story consultant: Laura Packer
Game consultant: Stephen Smith

Content Warning: The world ends, again. Other tragic disasters are mentioned. There is a certain amount of screaming.


Episode Transcript

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers…

SEAN (AS BOSS)

(over phone line)

We don’t have the correct files from that accident case last week.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ll pneumatic tube it up, sir! And that’s a good day from Blat. Long live Boltius!

SEAN (AS KAREN)

Eggerton, actually we need to spin this whole thing and come up with some great reason why it’s a celebration.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The large explosion … was a celebration.

SEAN (AS KAREN)

Yes.

SEAN

There’s nothing unusual in this museum.

MARISA

Right.

SEAN

Everything in this room is alien… it’s like a joke.

SEAN (AS CENTURION)

(harsh, robotic voice)

State name of appointee for interrogation.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(breaking down)

I was supposed to come into work and serve people some mystery crap and now I’m stuck in this room with a minotaur and I don’t know what’s going on.

SEAN (AS THE MINOTAUR)

This is the end, Darcy. This is the event that ends everything.

SEAN

He pulls the trigger and this dart buries itself right into your chest.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ow! I don’t see how this is helpful!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ow! What was that? It smells kind of funny.

(slurring)

Whaaa…

He collapses.

SEAN

It’s like a beetle. It’s made of gleaming metal. It’s like sharp pain into your arms as it latches in and grabs on and then the world goes white.

Darcy lets out an unearthly scream that breaks up into reverberating echoes. The music ends.

Soft wind chimes.

ANAKA (VOICE-OVER)

Time is a river. Everybody is like drops of water, carried along on the current along different paths. These three strange people you have met: the fairy, the human, and the half-demon, they are drops of water thrown up in the air like spray and just happened to land up the river. Many centuries up the river in fact.

The chimes fade out.

DARCY ARRIVES

Forest birds sing in the background.

SEAN

We open far above Farloria. An eagle soars and we go with her, circling lower and lower. A giant set of waterfalls in the distance catches a glint of the sun as we come in above a clearing. And there is a very large stone in the center of it that glows and flashes. And the eagle banks away suddenly as Darcy appears in the center of the glade.

A crackle and a powerful explosion. Birds flutter away in panic.

A violent rushing sound, heard from Darcy’s point of view.

SEAN

Darcy, the world flashes and constricts in on you and then explodes apart and everything is swimming. The ground is moving…

And you suddenly feel under your hands… soil.

The noise fades. Gradually, the birds resume singing.

SEAN

And it takes a few seconds for your vision to come back, but you realize you are on a glade on a slight knoll. And there is a perfect circle of straight white trees that go up into a stunningly blue sky, unlike any sky you’ve ever seen. And in the center of this circular glade is a very large stone, as big as a Balgem truck, with a giant crack down the center of it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(groans)

MARISA

Darcy pushes herself up slowly and looks around.

Since she has only lived after the Balgomarian Revolution, has she ever seen anything like this in terms of greenery and vegetation?

SEAN

Darcy would have seen the very manicured gardens around the palace.

MARISA

And she would have been allowed into those?

SEAN

Yes, as long as you never picked or touched anything or broke anything. There were just constant gardeners moving around tending them. To see this grass beneath you might be a little strange. You would have seen small trees that were carefully pruned. These are massive, and they go up so high and the sky is sort of disconcerting and it’s not grey.

MARISA

So, she’s pushed herself up to her knees now and I think just for a few seconds she actually revels in this feeling of her hands on this earth and this grass that she’s never really experienced. Because if you got down your knees in those gardens I imagine you were prodded along pretty quickly. So, she just takes a minute and then she slowly gets up to her feet…

SEAN

And that’s when you feel a sharp pain on your arm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ow!

SEAN

The beetle detaches hits the ground and scurries away.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(wincing)

Ah, geez.

Wait, where’s that minotaur? Hello? Are you still here? Hello? Mr. Minotaur?

MARISA

She goes to see where the beetle went just in case there’s any hope of following it. But I guess it’s disappeared.

SEAN

Yeah, you lose it pretty quickly it’s off into the forest and grass.

Now, you do see a path leading down from this knoll and you see what looks to be a sign of some kind. When you first look at the sign it’s written in a strange language. And then it’s like your vision goes a little blurry and then clears and you can suddenly read the sign. The sign is in old paint and it’s peeling, and it reads: THIS WAY TO PARADOX.

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 gamemaster is Sean Howard, with players Marisa King, Carter Siddall, and Michael Howie.

Episode 2: The Academy of the Fallen, Part 1.

SEAN

Darcy, you crest a rise and the path curves and you see a log ahead. And there’s what appears to be a man, a very short man, leaning against the log, and he’s reading a book.

MARISA

So, Darcy’s first emotion is one of relief: there’s finally someone here who might be able to help her. I run over.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(breathless)

Excuse me! Excuse me, sir, can you help me?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

(gloomy as ever)

Sorry, I’m just reading this… right here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right. I can see that. I’m really sorry to interrupt you, but it’s just that I … I don’t know where I am or what’s happening and … And I’m wondering do you live around here? Can you tell me where I am?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh. Yeah. It sounds like you need this book even more than me.

SEAN

He closes the book and hands it to you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you reading?

MARISA

And I take the book and I look at the cover.

SEAN

Again, at first, it looks alien and then it blurs and comes together, and you can read it, and it says, My Existential Crisis.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Actually, I don’t think I need a book—

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

It gets really good by about page 30.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I might look at it later…

MARISA

And she clutches the book closer.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…but right now, I just need your help to know where I am.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh, wow. You really do need that book.

SEAN

He stands up. He’s like:

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

This is the path to Paradox. And this is a log on the way to the path to Paradox.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, So I guess Paradox is the nearest town?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Now we’re getting somewhere. And I’m here to take you there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t understand what’s going on. Could you just tell me who you are and what’s happening here?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

My name, sorry, is Cyrus. I am your servant sent to fetch you with no regard for my feelings in the matter I might add.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, no, I’m not a noble person or anything. I think you have me confused with someone else. I just need to get home.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Just walk with me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK.

MARISA

So, I start following him because he’s the only lifeline I have in this world.

SEAN

You’re still clutching the book?

MARISA

I’m still clutching the book.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I’ll take you all the way to the school and then I’ll come back for the others. Assuming there are any.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m not going to any school. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Trust me you’ll want to go to the school. They’ll be able to answer your questions. No one else will.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right then just take me there.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I think that’s what we’re doing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right. Maybe faster? A little faster?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

OK.

SEAN

(laughing)

And he keeps going at the same speed.

A gentle acoustic version of the theme tune plays.

SEAN

You crest the hill, and you see ahead of you a massive valley that leads down and forward to a set of cliffs. The cliffs must be 300 feet tall and even from here you can start to hear the roar of a waterfall that’s pounding down into the valley.

Nestled up right against that cliff and right against the side of that waterfall is a town. And even from here you can see that it’s a town unlike any town you’ve ever seen before, Darcy. There are thatched roofs and it looks like people milling about and there’s no vehicles or Balgem trucks or monorails.

And that’s what you see as Cyrus pauses beside you for a second… and then tightens his backpack and heads down towards the town.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Come along. We’ll be there soon.

The music ends. We hear cheerful, chattering voices in the distance, growing louder.

SEAN

As you come into the town you start to pass a pair of talking goats that are going the other way, and you see people taking what appears to be food in carts coming and going and there are new smells. And you’re starting to weave your way down towards the town.

You’re following the river and you see that the river curves around to the left and another a river appears to the right side of the town. And Cyrus is starting to lead you in. And as you’re getting closer to the sound of the waterfall is growing and you’re starting to also get a little wet. There’s like a light mist.

The voices of the townsfolk are drowned out by the sound of the waterfall as it grows to a heavy roar.

SEAN

And it’s almost overwhelming because it’s not ordered, it’s not structured. There’s people shouting and running around. You see kids laughing… and it’s just chaos to you.

And now it’s getting really loud as you come up to the base of the cliff. It’s hard to speak or be heard over the roar and you are getting soaked by the water coming off the falls. And he stops before a massive set of open gates and above them on the top—and this time you can read it right away—it says: THE ACADEMY OF THE FALLEN.

MARISA

So first of all, I very carefully wrapped my extra centaur leg pieces around the book so that it doesn’t get soaked like the rest of me is. And I look up at this gate and I say to him:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(muttering)

This really doesn’t bode well. You’re taking me to the Academy of The Fallen? What about the School for The Gifted? That would be a better name.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

(shouting)

What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(raising her voice)

I said… uh… Never mind. Is this the school?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Huh?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

School? OK, just… just keep going!

SEAN

He shakes his… He just points, he points up the path.

MARISA

And I shrug my shoulders at him as if to say, Are you not coming with me?

SEAN

He shakes his head, and he goes to reach for the book.

MARISA

And I clutch it closer.

SEAN

He just slumps shoulders and nods. And then he turns starts walking back into town away from you. You’re standing in front of these gates that lead up to the school. And the academy that you can see up the path is a three story building that’s large sandstone blocks with strangely out of place Gothic features. The arches are all those pointed arches and it’s got ornate towers coming off of it.

MARISA

So, I have a moment of panic when he turns and walks away from me. But he said all the answers were here, so I start marching up towards what looks like the biggest building.

SEAN

So, we leave Darcy as she slumps her shoulders and starts walking up to the very large building on the grounds of the Academy of The Fallen.

BLAT AND EGGERTON ARRIVE

The roar of the waterfall gives way to the chirping of birds back in the glade.

SEAN

And we cut to the glade where the Fae stone suddenly lights up and lightning strikes out of it at two places on the ground and the sound of an explosion ripples through the air.

A rising electrical crackle, followed by two small explosions.

SEAN

And there are two bags in the centre of the glade.

And Blat, you come to consciousness first. And you’re a little constrained and your vision is a little weird.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a long groan—comically, uncomfortably, ludicrously long)

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t feel well!

SEAN

And you’re not able to move your arm one of your arms. You appear to be laying wrapped in something.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(another comically long groan)

I need assistance! Ugh.

SEAN

And that’s when there was a sharp pain in the centre of your chest—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a scream, nearly as long as the—)

Ugh, thank heavens that’s over.

SEAN

…as this large beetle pops off and starts scurrying around.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ugh, get away! Get! Ugh!

SEAN

It’s scurrying around you at your feet. And it’s starting to sort of come to you that you’re you’re wrapped. You’re in a… maybe in a giant canvas bag?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s like my fraternity days all over again.

Well, I guess that’s what the pointy bits on my head are for.

CARTER

I just start scraping my head against the top. Maybe I can cut my way free with my horns.

SEAN

Yeah. It takes a little while but one of them suddenly breaks through. You hear a ripping sound and then the other one rips through.

CARTER

And it’s just a big red head poking out of a bag, in the middle of a giant field.

SEAN

You see that you are in a glade, and there’s this very large stone in the centre of it and there’s a very bright, bright, too-bright blue sky.

CARTER

So I’ll try to stand up to get completely free of the bag.

SEAN

OK, so you manage to rip your way out and the beetle scurries off.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ugh, get away!

CARTER

I throw the bag at it.

SEAN

And that’s when you realize that there is another bag about eight to ten feet away.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why did the minotaur put himself in a bag? That’s strange.

(calls, tentatively)

Hello? Minotaur?

CARTER

I approach the bag. I start kicking at it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s what you get for shooting me! Lousy minotaur! Thought you could hide your identity by being in a bag! Well, take some of this! And this! Look, here’s what I’m going to do—I’m going to roll dice!

Laughter as Carter rolls actual dice.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’ve just taken seven points of damage, do you like that? You lousy minotaur.

SEAN

(laughing)

OK, so that is a… That is a hit. So, Carter, you just rolled an attack—that’s awesome. So that is a partial success. And so you manage to kick this bag pretty good… but you slip at the same time and fall onto this very strange…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a protracted yell)

Aaaa! My spine!

SEAN

…soft ground. It sort of gives a little. It’s not like concrete or metal or balgeolium or any of those other substances you know. It’s like… it’s like potting soil, but a lot of it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I could do so much gardening here. But it looks like they have!

SEAN

So Eggerton, you come awake being kicked.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What, what’s going on? What? What? What? Ow! Did I get kicked several times?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(guilty)

That was the minotaur!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The minotaur? What minotaur? There’s a minotaur?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… you didn’t see the minotaur?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was giving a presententation. It was an excellent presentation I was giving, and then I was eating cakes and then there was a pokey. And now… Now you’re kick… Why is a minotaur kicking me? I would have thought they kick harder than that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It was… a very weak minotaur.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, thank heavens for that. Who, who are you? Why, why… why is it dark?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re in a bag.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why am I in a bag? I don’t like being in bags.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You could just stand up. You should be able to free yourself quite easily.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

MIKE

So I stand up and poke my head out the top of the conveniently-loosely-tied bag.

SEAN

You’re both standing in a perfectly circular glade with a very large stone. And to you, Blat, it just looks like a massive stone with a giant crack through it.

But for Eggerton, it glows.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

SEAN

It is unlike anything you ever felt or seen. And for some reason, though you’ve never even heard of one or seen one, you know that it is a Fae stone.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whispers)

The stone of Fae…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m sorry?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You muttered something there very dramatically. I’m not sure what you said.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not dramatic. I don’t think that was me. This stone is a very nice stone, wouldn’t you say?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(uncertain)

Yes.

SEAN

And that’s when you hear a whistling coming down the path. A rather sad sounding song is being whistled, which is sort of unusual for a whistle. And it appears to be getting closer.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This must be it: the minotaur is coming back.

My friend, you and I have been roofied by a minotaur. We’ll have to stand here and… stand our ground.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I’m already standing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… We’re ahead of the game. So steel yourself!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Steal? How do I steal myself I already am myself?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just get ready. Whoever did this to us maybe coming so prepare for badness.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t want badness.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You already, you already have badness. You were in a bag and now you’re in a field…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s actually a very nice field though, I quite like this stone…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…And I don’t know where we are…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…And it shines and I feel kind of loving…

SEAN

And you see a hat. The top of a head and a hat start to crest up the trail leading into this glade.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He was wearing a hat!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Who was wearing a hat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The minotaur was wearing a hat! He put me in a bag after shooting… you see this hole in my shirt? This is what happened. Something similar happened to you, didn’t it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t remember. I was giving a presentation and I was nailing the presentation, because you see, there was this extremely devastating explosion.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We had to come up with a way to make it seem less bad. So what we decided to do was add…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Less bad?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…less bad, add an exclamation point to it, and then it’s…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

To an explosion?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, to the explosion. So it’s, “We’re all going to be OK!” And then there was a lot of bodies but the bodies…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Steel yourself! Someone’s coming!

SEAN

And at this point you realize that the “someone” is standing at the other side of the glade where the trail is, Blat. And he is about three and a half, four feet tall, rather curmudgeonly looking, older, little person. And he says,

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Hmph. There were more of you. OK, let’s go.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… cahoots.

You’re in cahoots with the minotaur, aren’t you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think I had cahoots as a child. They were a very tasty. I remember them being kind of purple with sprinkles on them. I’m not too sure if I’ve ever made them before I could probably try…

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Yup, I see you were bag-and-tagged.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, we were bagged and tagged, and something has obviously happened to this one’s head.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Sorry about the bag-and-tag.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So could you perhaps tell us why we were bagged and/or tagged and where are we right now?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Well, the first part of that question is pretty easy. Clearly, you didn’t participate willingly. And I’m here to take you to Paradox.

The sounds of the glade fade out.

MIDROLL: RADIO BALGOMAR

A very 1970s-radio-sounding music sting.

RADIO ANNOUNCER

We interrupt this program with breaking news from Radio Balgomar.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

This is Percy Hugginsworth, live from the scene of the explosion earlier today in the centre of Steadfast, and somebody from the Committee of State has just come on the scene and is giving a statement. We’re joining the statement now live.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, hello everybody. It’s so nice of you to come out and see me. My name’s Eggerton and I like to talk about the news and I come up with ideas for the Committee of State to help them find better ways to tell things to people.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

Excuse me! Excuse me! Sir!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, yes, yes?

SEAN (AS PERCY)

Percy Hollingsworth, with Balgomar Radio. Is there an official position on the explosion that shook the city but a few hours earlier?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We are not aware of any such explosion that may or may not have taken place somewhere around this explosion site.

(aside)

If you could just step aside, sorry, the paramedics are coming through to take away that body.

(aloud again)

We’re still gathering facts and we really don’t want to send anyone into a panic.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

Right. So, what is the official position on the reports that were made about an hour ago by a senior level official of the company who says we are at extreme risk of a second explosion?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“Extreme risk” is really strong words. I have no evidence to suggest that there absolutely will be a second explosion… and really anything can explode at any time so there’s no reason to think that another explosion would take place here. I mean that’s like saying that, I don’t know, a minotaur travels through time. It’s just not likely.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

And what can people do if they’re feeling worried about this nonexistent explosion?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The best thing to do when you’re feeling worried is to eat fairy cakes. But if you don’t happen to have any, you can go ahead and send positive vibes out into the world. So if for instance you’re listening to a podcast right now, you can leave a very positive review and make sure you subscribe which realistically you probably should have done already.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

And what should people do if they want to help rebuild the damage that’s been done in downtown Steadfast?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s very important to make sure our infrastructure, which was not necessarily damaged by an alleged explosion, stay intact. And if people do want to make sure that Balgomar can continue forward strongly they can support these efforts at patreon.com/AlbaSalix.

SEAN (AS PERCY)

Well there you go everyone. Percy Hugginsworth here and you heard it live. So, we’re going to bring you updated news be sure to tell a friend to tune into Radio Balgomar every two weeks.

Music.

ELI (RADIO ANNOUNCER)

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program already in progress.

APPROACHING PARADOX

SEAN

So, you guys crest the hill and you see the valley that we’ve already described stretching out in front of you, and you see a town in the distance nestled against a cliff that has a massive waterfall coming down right beside the town.

And Blat, this is when it hits you: This town has thatched roofs. You see what appears from this distance to maybe be a marketplace with vendors and stalls… and you see no technology or signs of technology at all. In fact, you probably see fires that are being lit for dinner.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, my small friend.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Mm hmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is it possible once we—

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Wait. Was that for me or your other small friend here?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Small-est friend. Is it possible—

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Now are you speaking about stature or personality?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Kidnapper!

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

OK, I’m clear.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is it possible when we get to Paradox that there is a Speechifyer that we could use?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Mmm… Speech… ifyer?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You don’t know what a Speechifyer is, do you?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Mmm, can’t say I’ve ever heard of that one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Never heard the word before. This is brand new information to you.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Yep. What does it do?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Nothing, it’s not important—we are several centuries in the past.

Heavy silence.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Now was that for me?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just a general observation. Please continue on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

When you say several centuries in the past, do you mean like there is some special new park nearby where they have made it several centuries in the past?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

We do have a nice park in town.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well see, there you go! It’s just a nice park.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t think we are in “Old Timeyville”, no. I think this is actually a different era from whence we came.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We came from this era?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, we came from this era in that society advanced to the point that we were from. But no, this is not the era that we were born.

(shouting)

They’re setting fires in the streets!

In the background we begin to hear the sounds of the town.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That happens sometimes, you know where I’m from there’s these explosions that happen every now and then and someone has to file them, I wouldn’t want that job, but every now and then I have to talk about them and make sure that people know everything’s OK even though these explosions keep happening. I’m pretty good at it actually. I think I might get a promotion from Karen and my coworkers…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Karen’s not born yet! I don’t know who Karen is, but she hasn’t been born yet! Karen’s grandmother hasn’t been born yet! There is no Karen! Forget about Karen! There’s excrement everywhere! This isn’t where we’re supposed to be!

Another pause.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

That was for him, right?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, that was for him. I’m sorry, I’m just very upset. I’ve been walking for 17 minutes!

Laughter.

SEAN

So, you guys are into town and you’re getting a fine mist all over you, you’re getting quite damp. And you’re heading through this town. As you get closer it’s even more bizarre, because as you’re walking you start to notice things that can’t happen.

Children laugh and shout in the distance, over the sound of the waterfall.

SEAN

Like, you see children playing. And unlike in Balgomar, where there would be the same laughter, but they’d be playing with a broken-down truck axle, here they’re barefoot and they’re running in the dirt of the road. And there are lights spinning in the air around them, and one of them giggles and lifts up into the air and is flying.

And the houses are thatched roof and made out of stone and there’s not one hard angle or piece of obsidian glass. It is just chaos and the smells are almost overwhelming and the sound of the falls are getting louder and louder.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(to himself)

I miss concrete so much.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shouting)

What?

ADMISSIONS

The sound of the falls drops away, then is cut off completely by the closing of a heavy wooden door.

SEAN

Darcy, you come up the main stairs and through a set of doors and they swing closed behind you, and you are in a warm, well-lit hallway that leads forward with inlaid stone. And there’s a T at the end where there’s a giant staircase, and there’s a hallway that leads left and right. And in the hallway that you’re in, there’s a couple of doors on the hallway. And aside from just hearing the reverberation of the door closing behind you, it’s quiet and the roar of the falls is diminished in here.

MARISA

OK, so I pick out what looks to be the most ornate and closest door to me and I head towards that to open it.

SEAN

OK, so you step up to a door and you see it says ADMISSIONS on it.

MARISA

Bingo. So, I open the door and go in.

SEAN

OK. You swing open the door and you suddenly realize as you swing open the door and are halfway coming in the room that you’re sort of stepping into one person’s office, right? It’s not like a counter or anything. And you see it’s a large office with inlaid paneling and tasteful paintings. It’s very organized.

And sitting at the desk, and somewhat startled, is a tall woman.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

(a soft, Southern U.S. accent)

Well, bless my stars.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi, I was… I was brought here by a little guy? A halfling, I think?

SEAN

She’s sort of looking at you, not quite sure about you kind of look and you get a second to take her in. She is tall, thin, wearing black pleather pants with a cream top and a blue and black tightly-woven blazer that sets off her auburn hair and her hazel eyes.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Well, here I was thinkin’ it was just going to be another boring day.

Jankings. Strand Jankings is the name.

SEAN

She steps up and steps forward to shake your hand.

MARISA

So, I’m a bit taken aback because she’s quite beautiful and charming, and I take that in, and it feels nice to see another woman and I take her hand and say:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(nervously)

Hi, I’m Darcy … I’m Darcy Kimble.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Please have a seat right here.

SEAN

And she pulls a chair up.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

We need to get you out of them wet clothes. You just wait and I’m just going to grab a towel for a second.

SEAN

And she steps—opens a door off of her office, grabs a towel and comes forward and hands it to you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, thank you…

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Perfect.

SEAN

And you see she has like, five file folders on her desk and she looks through…

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

(to herself)

Darcy, Darcy, Darcy…

SEAN

And she pulls one out, and goes,

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

My, this is a big file you have here, Darcy. You’ve been up to quite a bit, I see.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t understand … why, why do you have a file on me? I don’t come from around here. I don’t know you or this school.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Totally understand. This is a lot to take in, but it’s going to be fine. Please. We’re gonna try and answer all your questions. But there’s a few of you and it would be better if we could just answer them all at once at the briefing. But I’ll try to answer what I can right now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uhh, maybe you could tell me what’s going on. Do you know the minotaur?

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Oh, yes I do. Greg. Yes. Lovely gentleman, one of our best hunters.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(alarmed)

A hunter? He was hunting me?

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Oh, were you bagged and tagged, or did you come through willingly?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There was a thing stuck through my skin, so if you call that willingly, maybe? But yeah, he sent me through some kind of—I don’t even know what it was.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Right. I think it’s a little bit much right now probably to do the admissions paperwork…

SEAN

And she closes the folder.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

…I was being a little presumptuous. I’m sorry. Can I get you a cup of tea?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. Yeah, I think that would be nice. Thank you.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

I’ll ring for some tea and I’ll go pick up right now, I’ll pick up some clothes for you. We’ll get you out of those wet clothes. I think, we’ll just take it one step at a time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Alright… I like, I like chamomile, please. That’s that’s my favorite.

SEAN

She smiles and she rings a bell and then she goes out the door you came in.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

I’ll be right back.

SEAN

And the door closes, and you are in a large gorgeous office with a single very large sort of mahogany desk… Like big enough to fit a Centurion in. A massive desk for this woman.

MARISA

So, Darcy is still in shock. This is all way too much to take in, but she has enough presence of mind to lean over and grab her file and flip it open to see what it says in there.

SEAN

OK, love it. So, you flip open the file and, um, I’m not sure how Darcy’s going to take it.

You are looking at your kindergarten scores. You see photos of you. You see the centaur, your friend. It’s a lot. And that’s when the door opens behind you.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(high-pitched squawking voice)

Oh! I got the tea!

SEAN

And this, it’s like a demon, but tiny. You’ve never seen anything like it, with glistening red and black skin and a long prehensile tail that’s curled around a cup of tea.

And he comes in…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Who ordered the tea? Snegal has tea.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, sorry!

MARISA

And I flip the file shut and I turn around.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, I think that’s me. That’s me, I ordered the tea.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Ohh!

SEAN

And he’s just looking at you as his tail slowly lifts the tea up and over towards you.

MARISA

And I take the tea.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you. What’s, what’s your name again?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal! Snegal give tea!

SEAN

And he scurries back out the door.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, uh… Thank you!

SEAN

And the door swings immediately open again and you hear her saying something.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Oh my, thank you Snegal…

SEAN

And she comes in and she’s got a pile of clothes and she goes:

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

So, you just take these and when we take you by the briefing we’ll get you—

SEAN

And she stops. And she’s just looking at you. And then she looks at the file that’s in a slightly different position. And she looks back to you.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

—I’m going to bring you on up to the briefing room and we’ll stop on the way and get you into some dry clothes. How’s that sound, Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(uncertainly)

Sure.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

We’re going to get your questions answered and we can bring your tea.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you.

MARISA

And now I’m clutching the book and the tea very closely and following her.

STEADFAST FALLS

ANANKA (VOICE-OVER)

The shattering happens. It has happened, and it will happen. It is always happening.

Time ends.

The river ends.

A low rumbling sound in the background.

SEAN

We’re back in Steadfast, high above the smog. Coming in on a building of concrete and Obsidian that is framed against the setting sun. And there is a figure on top of the roof legs spread leaning forward as if into a great wind. But there is no wind. There is but a wall of black destruction accelerating towards this building.

Distant crashing noises. The rumbling grows louder and louder.

SEAN

The roar can be heard as it chews up buildings as if they are paper. And we see that this figure is a figure we know. It is the minotaur. He clenches his jaws and his fist tightens as he sets his stance firmer, staring down the end—his end—everyone’s end—as it races towards him. But then he flinches.

And he turns fluidly and begins to run, shouting a word at the top of his lungs: “Ananka.”

His hooves pound against the concrete as he races towards the edge of the building, the destruction on his heels. In a futile attempt, he reaches the edge and leaps with one last roar of strength as the blackness closes around and ends everything.

The crashing sounds cut off sharply.

ANANKA (VOICE-OVER)

Did I say time is a river? Time is not a river. This is stupid. River is river.

Time is a lizard.

A lizard which can lose its tail. And slowly, slowly a new one can grow back… if the lizard is lucky.

If the lizard knows a witch named Ananka.

OUTSIDE THE ACADEMY

SEAN

We cut back to outside the Academy of The Fallen in Paradox, near the falls. And we see a rather large half-demon gentleman, still talking to a smaller flightless fairy. And they are still standing in the rain on the path that leads up to the school.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

My friend, I assure you, this is not Old Timeyville. We’ a’re not in a theme park. We are in the past. Here’s a test…

SEAN

And they have to be shouting.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(shouting)

Here’s how I know this!

Long live Boltius!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(reflexively)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, long live Boltius.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, long live Boltius, but there is—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, long live Boltius, but! My point is, no one else here knows who Boltius is, because Boltius isn’t alive.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The emperor isn’t alive?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What did you do to him?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I…! I didn’t do… He hasn’t been born yet! His decend… ancestors! Nothing is…!

There’s no Boltius!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! Yes, long live Boltius, except Boltius can’t live long because Boltius hasn’t been born yet!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Then how did he win the war?

SEAN

A centaur cloppity-clops past you, and sort of twists his whole torso as he’s going past, like, he’s just watching you guys argue.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Say to him! Say it! Say it to him, he won’t know what you’re talking about!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius, centaur!

SEAN (AS CENTAUR)

(old and befuddled)

What was that, young man?

SEAN

The centaur turns around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

SEAN (AS CENTAUR)

Long… long live your… what?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Boltius!

SEAN (AS CENTAUR)

Long… Well, I hope you have a long life too, young man!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See, he knows!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He does not know! He obviously doesn’t know!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

He said “Long live”, and I think he said “Boltius” after that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(quiet)

All right. It’s raining and I’m wet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m wet too!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course you’re wet too.

Why don’t we just go into whatever this Academy of The Fallen is, and we’ll ask people inside if they know who Boltius is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(resigned)

Yes… long live Boltius.

THE BRIEFING

The front door closes and shuts out the sound of the waterfall.

SEAN

We cut to you guys inside the front door, dripping all over the stones as, a woman is coming down the hallway towards you.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Well, we have some more guests I see.

‘Scuse me gentlemen, can I be of any assist—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

(thoughtful)

Yes, long live Boltius.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, she’s just repeating. She doesn’t know…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, she said it! She didn’t even hesitate. She said it, she knows who Boltius is, she wants him to live long because she is a good Balgomarian just like I am. And I think that this proves everything that I’ve been saying.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Madam, do you know of Boltius?

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Oh, yes, I do, of course.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Damn it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know why you keep doubting all of this it seems pretty obvious that this is just a special park that has been set up like Old Timey Town so we can all explore what life was like, as hard as it was, before Boltius—long live Boltius—came along and won the war and made everything better for all of us.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

I’m afraid it’s all in your file, young man. Now, I’m sure you all have a lot of questions. I’m assuming that, by the looks of you, I’m assuming that you are Blat and you must be Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am Eggerton, and it’s very nice to meet you. Who are you?

Pause.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

That was much shorter than I was expecting based on your file.

So, my name is—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know why you’d say something like that. My file probably isn’t too short. I don’t have a file that I know of but I do have a fairy pouch. My fairy pouch is always full of fairy treats because I spent a lot of time baking…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…and there we go.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Yeah, that makes it very clear. So, first I think we might want to get you dried off so if you’ll come this way with me, I’m gonna take you up to the briefing, so we can get some of these questions answered.

SEAN

She takes you up, stops and grabs two towels and hands them to you, and then brings you to a door on the second floor, opens it and you see the door says BRIEFING ROOM. And she gestures inside.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Gentlemen, if you’ll just have a seat, I believe this might be everyone. We might wait a few minutes to see if anyone else is going to arrive and then I will let Moira know to come on up, that you all are waiting for the briefing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank you… and I sincerely hope that this is not a cult.

Laughter.

SEAN (AS JANKINGS)

Well I’m sure we’ll get that answered right away for you, Blat.

SEAN

She gestures that you step into a room. There are about twelve chairs arranged in this room. It’s a comfortable room, and there’s a sort of a dais set up at the at the front of the room and you see that you are not alone in this room.

And you see…

MARISA

…a slight young woman curled up into one of the chairs. She’s got spiky brown hair that’s unkempt and she’s wearing loose fitting clothes. And she’s flipping through this book and dog-earing pages and sipping tea.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispering)

Now, why don’t you try your “Long live Boltius” on her?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(surprised)

Long live Boltius!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See? I don’t know why you keep doing this thing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(heavy sigh)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s pretty obvious to me though that’s where we are is with Boltius because Balgomarians don’t know…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(urgently)

Wait, you know who Boltius is?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re—you’re from Balgomar?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Of course we are, we’re still in Balgomar, we’re just in the Old Timey Park.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh my goodness, thank Loxsyn. Oh my gosh! So, so, so did you get here the same way I did?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Were you in a bag?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. I was…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Then we came in a different fashion.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why… Do you know anything about this? Do you know why you’re here?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, my short friend here thinks that we’re in an old-timey theme park where I assume there’s some sort of a pestilence ride will be going on later.

I feel that perhaps we’ve been brought back to an earlier era.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gasps)

We went back through time. That would make sense, cause when I was going through the tunnel it was like I was seeing everything all at once.

Yes! Yes, we must be back in time. That makes sense!

SEAN

And the door opens. A woman steps in, in her late 40s, wearing a white blouse with maroon pinstripes, a loose dark tie and glasses. She does the librarian look really well. Her hair is pulled back in a bun and she walks to the front of the room. She has rather alert eyes. And she says:

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(calm and efficient)

Welcome everyone, and I know you’re going have a lot of questions so if you’ll all just have a seat please, if you’ll just sit down. We’ll try and get through it as quickly as we can.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(distracted)

Yep. I have no idea what that is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! You see? Ha! Told you!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She’s, she’s, she’s busy… She’s not paying that much attention. She’s probably staying in character.

SEAN

She snaps her fingers at you and says,

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Sit please.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh sorry, I’ll sit down. Do you have a preference where I sit down because I find that I can’t sit—

SEAN

She points to a chair without looking.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—OK, I’ll sit over there.

SEAN

OK, we’re going to play a game. It’s going to be a slideshow game.

So, I’m going to give the first slide. I have no idea what to say to it, I made it up, I just wrote it down. And then the next slide, one of you is going to give me what the next slide is whenever you think of it or is appropriate.

So, she presses a button and on the screen behind her, literally you see all these like, pixies and little things flying around. All of a sudden something forms, and it says, “The Academy and You.”

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Welcome everyone. This is the Academy of The Fallen, I assume you’ve all put that part together. The Academy has been here for—

(a burst of high-pitched laughter)

—sorry, tens of thousands of years, but for your case let’s just say a long time.

And traditionally we would have around 500 to 600 knights, and you know, a variety of hunters and other roles operating out of this facility. And we are in the business of keeping the balance to reality.

Any questions so far? Good. So, let’s go to the second slide.

SEAN

And she reaches to press a button. And the second slide is…?

MIKE

“The End of Time And You.”

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

So, as you all know the end of time happened, because you experienced it. That is the end of all reality.

So, I’m not sure what each of your experiences were, but I’m afraid that is the point now in the multiverse where everything ends. And for a rather unusual reason you three, and perhaps two others that we’re still attempting to locate, were pulled out into an alternate timeline, as if something in the multiverse was attempting to save your three lives. And it was delaying the inevitable. But even in your time streams it will end. All time ends.

Now the exact time is up to some debate depending on which time stream you’re in. But we’ve unified it to the Unified Event, which is, as you’ll see here, 1:15 P.M. Empire Time, the 23rd day of the 32nd year of Boltius.

(aside)

I put that in. It’s a reference so you could get it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(weakly)

Long live Boltius.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(despondent)

Long live Boltius.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

You are now, as you may have figured out, not at the end of time. So, we have brought you to a different time.

SEAN

And she goes to press a button to bring up the next slide.

CARTER

And it’s another bit of text: “Welcome to the Past!”

Laughter.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I love this slide. “Welcome to the Past.”

So, really, it’s your futures because you’re still working in linear time. However, you are about seventeen or eighteen generations from where you were a day ago.

MARISA

And you just hear a teacup smash on the ground as Darcy just drops the tea now.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

So technically, you’re in the past. Uh, so that was important, because if we had left you in your timelines what would have happened…?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Our… deaths?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Very good, Blat! It is Blat, yes? Sorry I’m still getting the files…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I’m Blat. I’m one of the survivors of the upcoming time apocalypse.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

And my apologies if I missed, on the opening slide: my name is Moira. Yes.

At this point you’re in a place called Farloria. We neighbor with Balgomar, which you know. Balgomar and Farloria are somewhat peaceful kingdoms and in the continent, there are a number of kingdoms. I know that in your future there is just Balgomar everywhere.

OK, good. Let’s move on. Next slide!

MARISA

It’s text with children playing and such. And it’s “Fun Things To Do While In Farloria”.

SEAN

(laughs)

Love it.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh, so here we are. Fun things to do while you’re in Farloria.

So, we have pubs and we have a lot of nature. Oh, and there’s magic! So, because of a variety of things that happened, most magic was removed from your world or your future. However, in this time magic does exist and we use it to do things like this…

SEAN

And she points at the slideshow.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

And things like the running water, and other things that we have in this period.

Next slide!

CARTER

The next slide is simply an explanation that says: “Yes, The Water Runs By Magic. Neat, Huh?”

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(proudly)

I built this slide myself. I love the transition!

And we’ll get to the final slide, everyone.

SEAN

She presses the button…

MARISA

And this one says, with sort of a little halfling who looks kind of sad and grumpy, “Fun’s Over, Time To Save The World.”

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Right. So, this is why we’re here.

We need your help.

My sisters and I have a new plan. The last plan didn’t end so well, because… time ended.

So, the purpose of the School of the Fallen is to maintain the balance of reality. And we fight what we call the Shattering. Some call it The Beast. The Shattering’s a more appropriate name.

And in our heyday, we had all the knights that I talked about, running through the school that were working to fight and hold back The Shattering. However, as you now know, it all failed, and the Shattering has won. And The Shattering won’t just stay in that future time. The Shattering will continue to grow that event horizon in all directions and will consume all of reality. So, we have created a breather. A place where we have time to regroup.

Now, not everyone in our organization is on board with this new plan. Some feel like the end has happened. But we believe very strongly, and we will show you how there is a way to stop The Shattering. But we need you three. It’s critical. There is some reason that you were held back from the event. Some agency has moved, and we’re still putting all the pieces together. But we are here to help you and to nurture you and to work together to hold The Shattering back.

SEAN

And she presses the button and it says: “The End.”

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Well, it’s my first time doing that presentation. Thank you all very much. Now, are there any last questions?

MARISA

So, Darcy’s brain about three minutes ago said, “You can stay here but I’m leaving.” And then just closed the door. And so she’s just humming, quietly, the Balgomarian anthem.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(hums a stirring march)

MIKE

Eggerton hears this and stands up and puts a hand over his heart and begins to sing along.

SEAN

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(horribly off-key singing)

O Boltius, you are great and wise

And we thank you for being our Emperor

And… other things—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a final, lengthy scream)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaa—

CARTER

—and then Blat just passes out.

Laughter.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Well. I think that went pretty well, actually.

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 Marisa King as Darcy, Carter Siddall as Blat, and Michael Howie as Eggerton. You also heard Maggie Makar as Ananka.

Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Story consultant: Laura Packer.

Game consultant: Stephen Smith.

Join our Patreon for behind the scenes information, access to our Discord server and lots more. You’ll find it all at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE

SEAN

We open far above Farloria.

(a long, stupefied pause)

…Was it an eagle hawk?

Laughter.

SEAN

Why can’t I figure it out now? I don’t know where I’m at. I was like, can an eagle…? I guess an eagle can be female. OK—

MARISA

Of course they can! Where do baby eagles come from?!

SEAN

I don’t know!

CARTER

I love how, “My lack of sleep will not affect my performance at all. Are there such a thing as female eagles? Is that a thing?”

Gales of painful-sounding laughter.