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3: The Academy of the Fallen, Part 2

The new recruits undergo their pre-training assessment. Eggerton finds himself up against the wall. Darcy tries her strength. Blat goes… shopping?

Download MP3 (70 MB)

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

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

Content Warning: Ongoing post-apocalyptic trauma; physical ordeals and bodily harm; and as usual, more screaming.


Episode Transcript

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers…

A noisy explosion.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

“Welcome to the Past.”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(calls)

Hello? Mr. Minotaur?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

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

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Lousy minotaur! Take some of this!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ow!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re taking me to the Academy of The Fallen?

SEAN

You flip open the file… You are looking at your kindergarten scores. You see photos of you.

MARISA

So, Darcy’s brain about three minutes ago said, “You can stay here but I’m leaving.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whispers)

The stone of Fae…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m sorry?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Most magic was removed from your world or your future. However, in this time magic does exist.

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.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s no Boltius!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

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

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Traditionally we would have 500 to 600 knights, working to fight and hold back The Shattering. However, it all failed.

We need you three.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a rapid-fire montage of his various screams)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaa…

CARTER

…and then Blat just passes out.

Laughter.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Well. I think that went pretty well, actually.

MARISA

“Fun’s Over, Time To Save The World.”

GOOD NIGHT

SEAN

We enter the Academy of the Fallen, gliding down empty corridors worn smooth by many feet. We work our way up the stairwell to the second floor, where we hear a murmuring of voices coming from behind a door labeled BRIEFING ROOM.

Inside, we see Strand Jankings taking Blat, Eggerton and Darcy through a series of endless paperwork. They are in shock as they fill out form after form.

A few minutes later, she opens the door and leads the three of them out, each hefting their issued clothing and following dutifully behind her. She leads them up the stairs and down the hall to the dormitories.

One of the dormitory doors is open, and inside is a large room filled with beds and cots stacked on top of each other. Five of the beds have been made. The rest are empty.

The room feels stale and cold. But there is a window looking out at the night and the roar of the waterfall can be heard in the distance.

(to the players)

So, you’re standing in a dormitory holding some clothes.

(to Marisa)

You’re holding a book.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(forlorn)

That suit cost me a week’s salary. Now I’m wearing what appears to be pyjamas, that in no way is keeping my wings in check.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(despondent)

I don’t have a home.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All that furniture I bought… It’s now at some future point, frozen in time… or perhaps doesn’t exist at all.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(cheerful)

You guys see how pretty it is outside, though?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t understand how you can be so positive. Did you hear anything she said? The world is ceasing to exist.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, she said the world did cease to exist, but then we came back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But do you believe all that stuff? Do you think we’re supposed to, what, save the world?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I’ve got my fairy cakes. That helps.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You know… I could actually use a fairy cake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You want a fairy cake?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, please.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why don’t you start with a half? They’re pretty strong.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. OK. Thank you. Thank you.

MARISA

I start munching on the fairy cake.

SEAN

Awesome. So, this is our first use of a move.

So, fairy cakes actually have a move associated with them. And you had some damage at one point…

MARISA

Mmm hmm. I had 1 damage.

MIKE

When I feed someone one of my fairy cakes, sweets or nom-noms, I roll +Wisdom, and on a plus 10, I heal for… OK, I’ll do this first…

He rolls.

SEAN

On a 10-plus.

MARISA

Oooh, there it is.

SEAN

Plus Wisdom…

MIKE

Plus Wisdom, so that’s 10.

SEAN

OK, so you heal…

MIKE

I heal for d8 + Wisdom… So that’s 6 + 1.

MARISA

I only needed 1.

SEAN

So, Darcy is at max. This… this cake was amazing.

So that move—you just have to read what happens if you had rolled a 7 to 9.

MIKE

“It comes with a cost. They are either drunken, blind, tripping, etc.”

MARISA

That would have been fun.

SEAN

You’re still healed. OK.

Eating this cake—like, give us that. It’s a really powerful experience.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(breathless with amazement)

W… wow. I’ve never actually had a fairy cake. This is… This is really good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why, thank you!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, you’re… do you make them yourself?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I do. And I infuse all of them with a little bit of love.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sincerely)

I can feel that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m glad.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Let’s hug it out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(softly)

OK. There it is.

MARISA

And I sort of cling to him a little longer than maybe is comfortable.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, OK. OK, that’s, that’s… OK…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, thanks.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. Good stuff.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be vomiting in the corner in sheer terror.

(off mic)

Bleaargh!

SEAN

(laughs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…I’m going to sleep on this side of the room.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is that a bit of a sandwich? Where’d you get that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(exhales)

About 1500 years from now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, you know what, I just think… we just need to sleep on this, right? Because this is, this is a lot of information to take in, and uh, I’m hoping that when we wake up in the morning, none of this will have happened! And we’ll have never met each other…

(breaking down)

and I can just go back to ladling Impescor Zesty Golden soup to people who couldn’t care less about me. OK?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It seems that the fairy cakes may have taken her down a dark path.

SEAN

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, just to sum up: you give presentations of some kind, and you, my good lady, ladle cheap foodstuffs out to people.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I do.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I worked in a filing room.

Thank heavens we three have been chosen to be the saviours of the entire multiverse.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, Loxsyn preserve us.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If we go to sleep now, we’ll be about ten hours closer to the future event in which all reality ceases to exist.

Well, good night!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Good night.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Good night.

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

Episode 3: The Academy of The Fallen, Part 2.

BREAKFAST

SEAN

So, morning is coming up and the dining room is on the first level, back where you guys went to Admissions, when you first came in the building.

And it’s basically a cafeteria setup. So, there’s a big wall at the end with a grate that’s down, and you see this imp, this little imp, running around, trying to jump up and push the grate up. And he’s just jumping up at the grate…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(a shrill, Muppet-like squawk)

Oh! Oh! Can’t reach!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe you should go help your little friend.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ll go help my little friend.

CARTER

So, I walk up to the imp and I ask,

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is there anything that you require in any way?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yes, yes, yes, please! Trying to serve! Won’t open!

CARTER

So, I reach up and I open it all the way up.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, thank you.

(turns and gasps in realization)

Oh, Your Evilship! I bow before you! I am not worthy!

SEAN

And he’s like literally clinging to your feet.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The fact that you were unable to raise the grate is none of my concern, but thank you—do you have any hot pockets in this era?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(frantic)

I am but scum beneath your boots, Your Evilship! I am your faithful servant!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I admit, you do come from an earlier time, and perhaps your education is not quite up to snuff to my era. But that does not mean that you are the scum beneath my feet—please, do you have any toast? Any potatoes, at all?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Toast… Yes, Your Evilship! I have toast! Yes!

SEAN

And he runs all the way around, and you see him hop up onto a bench, then hop down and like, push it on wheels, over, and then hop back up and grab some toast, and then hop down. He’s right there but he runs all the way around the door and comes and holds it out on open hands for you.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Your Evilship! Smegal brings you toast!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…A plate would be nice.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, yes!

SEAN

And he runs back, and—do you take the toast?

CARTER

No. No. He’ll take it back…

SEAN

So he runs back with the toast, runs around pushes the chair holding the toast in his mouth, climbs up, grabs a plate, puts the toast on the plate, climbs back down, comes running out of breath—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, Smegal sorry sir! Toast on plate! Your Evilship.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Perhaps now… a plate with toast that hasn’t been in your mouth. I don’t know how you usually do it here… Do you have any of this—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yes! Snegal fix!

SEAN

And he takes his hands and rips off the piece that was in his mouth, and holds the plate back up for you.

CARTER

I take the plate and smile politely, then turn immediately around and walk towards one of the tables to sit down to eat.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, I hope he’s happy…

SEAN

And he runs back around and climbs up on his thing and is looking… He’s waiting to serve somebody.

MIKE

I walk over and say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello there. Do you have any Impescor Original?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Hello?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Hellllooo?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m right here.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

What?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Down. Down. You have… You’re up high. Look down.

SEAN

He leans forward.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Yes. Oh, what can I cook, what can Snegal get you?

SEAN

(aside, still in Snegal’s voice)

See, it’s Snegal, not Smeagol! I fixed it!

Laughter.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

What can Snegal get you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Could I get an Impresco, plain please?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yes!

SEAN

And he runs, slides the thing over, gets another piece of toast, waits, slides it over, puts it on a plate, leans over and then just drops it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(surprised, scrambling)

Oh! that’s all—no, I got it. We’re good. We’re OK.

Um, this this toast I’ll enjoy the toast. I’ve not had toast in a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever had toast. But do you perhaps have any Impresco? You know I’ll take Zesty—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Another one? Another Impresco?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. This this is not Impresco. This is toast.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Nnnno it’s not.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(stunned silence)

I believe that this is in fact bread that has been heated.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No it’s not.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(silence)

OK. Well, thank you very much for the Impresco, it’s very kind of you and I look forward to sampling it. I’m going… I’m going to go sit with my friend and eat it.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Wait. Is he your friend?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well we’ve not known each other too long but I like to think we’re—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Wait! Wait!

SEAN

He scoops some oatmeal, and he grabs some fruit, and he puts it on a plate, leans over and drops it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(scrambling)

Oh, I got that one too! You’re quick, but I’m pretty quick too.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, you tell His Evilship, Snegal is friend too!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. OK. I don’t think he’s all that evil, I think he’s maybe just a little cranky, not much of a morning person. He was mumbling something about files and a furnace in his sleep. But I’m sure that he wants to be your friend too. He does seem very, very kind. His name is Blat, by the way. Blat.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(practicing, softly)

Blat. Blat…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, yes Blat. Blat, just like that. Blat.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blat, Blat Blat Blat…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But only one at a time. Just… just the one.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blat, Blat, Blat…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. I’m going to go eat this now, thank you!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Buh, buh, Blat… Blaaaaat…

MARISA

And at this point I appear in the doorway looking like gloom personified.

So my normal spiky hair has drooped. I slept in my cadet clothes that I was given yesterday, so they’re all rumpled and everything. And my shoulders are all hunched. I just say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(fragile)

The world has still ended.

Do you have any Snappies?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Snappies?

SEAN

He take some toast and snaps it.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snappies!

SEAN

And it goes to give it to you and goes,

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(suddenly anxious)

Oh. Blat. Blat Blat.

SEAN

And it runs and gets a plate, puts it on the plate and then gets back up on it. It’s like climbing up and off of this little ladder, and it gets on this ladder and it pushes it over to you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no, This is toast crumbs. This is not Snappies.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yes, it is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snappies are this wafer-like thing where when you add water they pop and crackle, and they expand… This is toast.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No, it’s not.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, it is.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

It’s a snappy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(defeated)

OK.

MARISA

And I just take it and I shuffle over to the table where the others are and I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They don’t have Snappies.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, but here, you can have my toast.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have toast.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Not like mine you don’t.

THE END OF TIME

Soft wind chimes.

ANANKA

I see our old friend on the roof at the end of time. The Hunter to some. Greg the Minotaur to others.

My Grishka.

I watched him stare down his end, the end of us all. But unlike us he chose to face it alone.

When my Grishka ran, I broke. The river floods and changes course: cities underwater; death walks the land. I risk everything.

Perhaps we are doomed.

Perhaps I am too weak.

MIDROLL: SNEGAL WANTS A TRAILER

Music sting.

ANNOUNCER

It’s the beginning… of the middle… of the End! Of Time! and Other Bothers!

MIKE

Hi, I’m Michael Howie. We want to thank you for taking the time to listen to The End of Time and Other Bothers.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Snegal want to thank you too!

MIKE

Yeah and if you can, please review our show on iTunes.

(laughs)

…if you liked it that is, I mean—don’t leave a review if you didn’t like it.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Some people don’t like Snegal?

MIKE

No, I’m sure it’s not you, Snegal. It’s probably Carter.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal likes everyone, Michael!

MIKE

Now folks, feel free to share episodes with your friends and spread the word with the hashtag #OtherBothers.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal likes hashtags! Snegal cooks them with rice, and gravy, and Snappies!

MIKE

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Two dollars goes a long way and there are a lot of great perks. Just go to patreon.com/albasalix.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Elba Sellicks.

MIKE

Alba Salix. A-L-B-A,-S-A-L-I-X.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

C… P… X…

MIKE

(off mic)

Hey Eli, why couldn’t I record this spot with Marisa or Carter? Were they busy today or something?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal very popular! Snegal has agent. Do you have agent, Michael?

MIKE

Uh, no I don’t. But speaking of agents, have you ever read Lord of the Rings? Maybe seen the movie?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Mmm… No.

MIKE

What about The Hobbit? There’s just, there’s something about you that feels pretty familiar to me.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Maybe?

MIKE

All I’m saying is, your name is one letter off from being a major Tolkien character.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal was in the movies?

MIKE

(facepalms audibly)

Well, no, not you particularly, Snegal, but someone an awful lot like you and it feels like someone may have taken some shortcuts, and I’m a little worried that you’re going to set a bad precedent for the show…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Would Snegal get my own trailer? I want a trailer, Michael!

MIKE

We’ll have to put that into the budget maybe for Season 2, but people if they support Patreon maybe we can set that as one of the goals.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

P… X… C…

MIKE

(leaving)

All right, I’m done for the day. No, I’m going to my trailer…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

A…Y…

Music sting.

AFTER THE END

A light breeze stirs the wind chimes.

ANANKA

(softly)

My Grishka, wake up. Wake up, please. Greg?

SEAN (AS GREG)

Where… ohh, where…?

ANANKA

Thank goodness… You’re alive. You’re safe.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Ananka?

ANANKA

Yes, it is me.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Am I dreaming?

ANANKA

Grishka, no. You are alive. You are safe in my hut.

SEAN (AS GREG)

(breathing heavily)

The last thing I remember is running like… prey.

ANANKA

You were prey. You were the prey, Grishka. It is what they wanted. It was what they wanted me to do—to let it happen.

But I could not let it happen. Not to you.

SEAN (AS GREG)

But the plan. Ananka… At what cost?

ANANKA

I don’t know. I don’t know, my Grishka, what cost. I just know that… this cannot happen. It cannot.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Ananka, what have you done?

No, don’t answer. Take my hands. It is done. We will find a way.

ANANKA

I know we will. We will make it happen, together.

SEAN (AS GREG)

But first we need to find me some pants.

ANANKA

Grishka… where we are going, we don’t need pants.

THE ASSESSMENT

SEAN

We’re back in The Academy of The Fallen, and we’re moving down the main corridor heading towards the cafeteria. But we’re moving quite slowly, almost like we’re shuffling.

And that’s because we’re following Cyrus the halfling. A grumbling man just shy of four feet tall, with a pipe in the corner of his mouth. And he’s barefoot and his slacks drag a little on the ground as he shambles forward.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Cyrus do this, Cyrus do that. Always another errand for Cyrus.

He opens the door.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

(clears throat)

If you will lend me your attention, it’s time for your assessment.

(failing to summon any enthusiasm)

Go, go, go. Go-o-o heroes.

If you’ll just come this way please.

Their footsteps echo along the corridors.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I assume this is our physical assessment to see if we are healthy enough to eventually be killed in some horrible manner?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I ladle soup for a living.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What flavours of soup?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Original. Zesty. Party flavour. And Golden.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I never really like having Zesty in the morning.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s fair.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Original tends has to be my go-to. But that—

SEAN (AS MAN)

(nervous and fussy)

Excuse me! If you’ll just get your seats. Thank you.

SEAN

There’s three seats. It’s a giant room and it is sort of like an opal colour, but the walls have an iridescent hue to them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Very pretty.

SEAN

And there’s just three seats. And you see a man in a lab coat who is holding a clipboard.

SEAN (AS MAN)

Right, right. Sit down. Everyone just have a seat. We’ll get started right away.

MARISA

I slouch into my seat.

CARTER

I slide into mine.

MIKE

I sit down into mine comfortably and take out my notebook.

SEAN (AS MAN)

I am super excited because this is my first assessment. Whew! I’m sure it’s going to go fine. I’ve had a few hundred years to prepare.

So, what’s going to happen is, you’re going to be going through a series of, let’s say experiments, and they’re going to assess your abilities—your innate talent and your strengths.

(looking to them for approval)

Huh?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(deadpan)

Excellent.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you experimenting on us?

SEAN (AS MAN)

Well! Not quite the response I was expecting but yes, we’ll carry on!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question.

SEAN (AS MAN)

Uh… Yes. OK?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What was your name?

SEAN (AS MAN)

Zieffe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you, Zieffe.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

You’re welcome.

Now, uh… yes, we will be experimenting on you. You signed a waiver and a disclaimer yesterday.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I wasn’t told I was signing anything like that.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

It was in the admissions packet. I have it right here—

SEAN

He holds it up.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

—if you’d like to review your signature.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s fine. It’s fine.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK. So how this is going to work is each one of you is going to one at a time just enter the machine and, uh, you are going to be assessed… and then you will come back out and have a seat while the other two get assessed.

It’s very straightforward. And then we’ll get your results, and we’ll get you right into class.

So! Who’s first?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(without hesitation)

The fairy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I… Uh…

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Very good. Good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Come forward.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, thank you.

EGGERTON’S ASSESSMENT

SEAN

So Eggerton stands up, steps forward and literally a wall just drops down right behind them.

A mechanical clatter and a thump.

SEAN (CONT’D)

And you’re in a much smaller room now, the two of you. And Eggerton you hear a voice. It’s Zieffe and is sort of echoing off the walls.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(Shouting)

OK, just give me a second, Egg—it’s Eggerton, right?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That is correct, sir.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Right.

SEAN

The room lights up and you are in a royal cathedral. And light is coming down out of one point way, way up and coming right down on a stone that has a sword coming out of it.

A little fanfare. Marisa sings operatically.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Neat!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, so your first test is ready! You just need to draw the sword.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK!

MIKE

So, I take out my notebook and I sit down cross-legged with one of my pencils…

Laughter.

MIKE

…hold up my hands to try and get some perspective measurements, and start sketching.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…and you know, I was never very good at drawing, but I thought that it was something I should probably practice anyway, and you’ll see sometimes in my notebooks if you go through the little sketches of things, mostly it’s the buildings—

SEAN

Outside you hear a BZZZZT!

A buzzer sounds.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Well, that’s OK, it’s OK. There’s a lot of tests, don’t worry. Stay in there, Eggerton!

The walls shift again.

SEAN

And suddenly the room changes, and you are on a ledge against a wall. You can feel the wall behind you. And 40 feet away on the far side of the room is another platform, and you see Zieffe standing there and he waves at you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi Zieffe!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Hey Eggerton!

SEAN

In between you is basically roiling magma.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Be careful Eggerton, don’t lose your footing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

SEAN

And he’s messing around with a contraption and it looks like sort of a cannon. And he presses a lever on it and steps back and he goes,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, so we’re going to start at one per second…

SEAN

And suddenly the cannon fires an arrow straight at you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh oh.

MIKE

Well, I duck.

SEAN

OK, so you duck down, it like, pings off the wall above you but you almost lose your balance when you duck, because it’s a pretty narrow ledge you’re on and it falls down and suddenly it’s firing another arrow.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question!

Laughter.

SEAN

OK, The arrow strikes you in the leg.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OW!

Laughter.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Well, that’s not good. It’s going up to 3 per second!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why? Why, why is this a thing?

SEAN

And now the thing is starting to rotate left and right, and it’s going chuk, chuk, chuk!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question!

SEAN

Another arrow strikes you in the shoulder.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OW!

Why? Why are you doing this?

SEAN

You do manage to dodge a bunch of them. Even with one on your shoulder and one in your leg you’re doing not bad, dodging while they’re firing.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, you’re doing not bad, Eggerton! We’re going to go up to 5 per second!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why would you do more?!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Try not to get hit!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t want to get hit! It hurts when I get hit!

SEAN

So he puts it up to full, and it’s like chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk!

You guys outside hear a…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(blood-curdling cry)

SEAN

And then you hear: BZZZT.

OK, the room goes dark.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Sorry about that, Eggerton! You know see if you can… well, maybe leave the one in your shoulder, but you might break off the one on your leg…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(weakly)

OK…

SEAN

You’re down 5 hit points.

MARISA

(laughing)

Geez.

MIKE

Shocker.

The walls shift.

SEAN

OK. So the lights come back up and you’re sitting in a classroom, in one of those uncomfortable little wooden chairs with the little—

MIKE

Uncomfortable from the arrow shafts.

SEAN

Extra uncomfortable from the arrow shafts.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

So, you have 60 seconds before the candle burns down and ignites the oil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Which candle would that be?

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh, oh sorry!

SEAN

And you hear a lever get thrown, and all of a sudden oil starts pouring out across the floor down towards you, seeping down towards you, and a candle appears in the centre of the floor and is slowly burning down. Rather rapid for a candle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t think you have our best interests at heart right now, sir.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Your time has started! Focus on your test!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh… OK.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Question number one—

MIKE

I get up and I walk over and extinguish the candle.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

Your just hand goes through it but it burns you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh that’s… Why?

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

You’re losing time!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, OK, OK.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Griffin is to eagle as the Golden Kyaromont is to…

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(thinks)

Raptor.

SEAN

Bing!

A bell sounds.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

The substance most accepting of transmutation is: A) lead, B) iron, C) copper, D) gold.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Gold.

SEAN

Bing!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

What is the boiling point of an egg in pyrometres?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We never learned metric, darn it!

SEAN

Bzzzt!

And the candle stops.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Hey, I think we found your thing here, Eggerton! That was pretty good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Could I have a bandage, please?

The wall mechanism slides open.

SEAN

Blat and Darcy, Eggerton suddenly appears in front of you. Describe what they see, Eggerton.

MIKE

I have an arrow through my shoulder. I have a broken arrow in my leg and I have another one in my stomach.

But I’m still smiling.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sweet Loxsyn! What happened to you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I, I—

SEAN

Zieffe is suddenly there.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Ut! No cheating! OK, who’s next?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The demon told me he wants to go next.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What? Hey!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Yes, perfect!

The wall slams down.

BLAT’S ASSESSMENT

SEAN

Boom! Darcy, you are now sitting alone, as Eggerton crawls out the door past you on his way to the nurse’s office.

Blat, you’re in a seat in a classroom and you’ve got a little writing desk that you’re crammed into…

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh wait, I almost forgot again!

SEAN

You hear a button press and you see oil start to flood the room and a candle appears. It’s slowly burning down.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, so you have 60 seconds before the place goes up in flames. So, you just need to answer these questions as you can. Let’s go!

What colour are the following words? Grass.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Green?

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Sky.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Blue.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Fear.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… Silver?

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Clothing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Clothing could be many colours.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

I need a colour!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Rainbow?

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Empathy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Purple.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Wow, that was amazingly well done! That’s awesome. You’re the first one to ever get that one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I have no idea what I just did.

Laughter.

The walls begin to slide again.

SEAN

The room goes black, opens up again and you are, you’re literally on the edge of a precipice like you’re about to step off a doorway. But there’s like, nothing down there—it’s just water.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh, watch your step. Watch your step.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(struggling to balance)

Aaaa.

SEAN

So, Blat, you are basically… The door is behind you, but it’s closed and there’s a tiny little like six-inch lip that you’re standing on and in front of you is water—your favourite.

And there are dark shapes moving in the water and there are stilts—little like, one, maybe two-inch by two-inch pieces of wood that are sticking up out of the water every six or seven feet haphazardly. And on the far side you see an open door.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

So, what’s going to happen is I’m going to press this button and the lip you’re standing on is slowly going to go away. And so all you’ve got to do is just leap from little stick to stick—stilt—to the other side.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this.

CARTER

I begin unbuttoning my cadet shirt, and I toss it away into the water below.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh my. You definitely keep in shape!

CARTER

I unfurl my wings and I simply fly—

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh! But—uh—

CARTER

—to the opposite side.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh.

SEAN

(laughing)

OK. You have flight? You have your glide, right?

CARTER

Yes, yes.

SEAN

So, there’s a silence, and then you hear it you hear a bing outside. He’s like,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

No no, that’s not fair! That’s…! Oh well, I’ll adjust that later. OK. No flying next time.

SEAN

And the room goes dark.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(calls)

I’m gonna need a shirt.

The walls shift. The sound of a chattering crowd.

SEAN

The room comes up, light, there’s no shirt.

You’re in an outdoor marketplace. You’re just standing in this marketplace suddenly and there’s yelling and vendors… and you’re holding what appears to be a cart-like device that’s made out of a metal cage on four tiny wheels and a push bar.

And to your right are three goblins, each with their own sort of pushcarty device… and one of them gives you the finger. And you hear,

SEAN (AS SWEEPS ANNOUNCER)

(over a loudspeaker)

Welcome to the Super Bazaar Sweeps! Every contestant gets 90 seconds to follow the red path around the square. Be the first back here with the most expensive items in your cart. And remember—anything goes!

SEAN

And a horn goes,

(horn sound)

And the goblins all rush forward with their carts following this path through the bazaar.

CARTER

I quickly begin to follow one of the goblin carts, not knowing what in this area is worth anything at all, just to see what they’re doing.

SEAN

You see like one of the goblins like—

SEAN (AS A GOBLIN)

(cackles)

SEAN

He grabs something from a vendor and throws it in the cart. Another one basically rams the guy in first place and he screams, and their carts get all tangled up and there’s just one cart now in front of you, and he’s like racing towards this one booth.

CARTER

I pick up my cart and I begin racing towards the first booth—

SEAN

Picking up?

Laughter.

SEAN

OK! I love it!

CARTER

—racing towards the goblin heading to the one stall. And when I get to him, I ignore all of the merchandise. I pick the goblin up and I place him inside the cart.

SEAN

(laughing)

OK, roll Defy Danger.

CARTER

8.

SEAN

OK, so you can grab the goblin, but you’d have to let go of the cart. Like you can grab the goblin, but the other guys are like getting back up and they’re going to pass you.

CARTER

OK. So, I pick up the goblin—

SEAN

And they race past.

CARTER

And I immediately run after the last cart to see if I can grab onto it.

CARTER

So, you’re just carrying the goblin without your cart?

CARTER

Yes. Yes.

SEAN

The goblin’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GOBLIN)

Hey! Hey, hey!

SEAN

He’s like, still trying to grab things from passing vendors and trying to hold on to them.

SEAN (AS THE GOBLIN)

Hey! No! What are you doing?

CARTER

I allow him to grab stuff.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fine! Go ahead. Technically this is mine!

SEAN

OK, so you catch up to the next guy because he’s stopped and he’s pouring all the stuff from one vendor who’s yelling at him.

SEAN (AS VENDOR)

Hey, what are you doing?

SEAN

He’s pouring it all into his cart.

CARTER

I take the goblin that I’m holding. I put him inside the cart, and I begin pushing the cart, grabbing at the second goblin.

SEAN

(laughing)

OK.

Wait a minute, you’re trying to push the cart, you shove a goblin in it, you’re trying to push the cart and grab another goblin?

CARTER

Yeah. So that I could put that second goblin into the cart.

SEAN

OK, I think you do that, but you wouldn’t be pushing the cart. Like, you throw a goblin in you can then try and grab another goblin.

SEAN

OK. Yes. Yes. So, I put the first goblin in and I’ll try to grab the second goblin.

SEAN

OK. So, roll again.

CARTER

11.

SEAN

Oh my God, I was so going to have the one goblin climb out while you put the other one in.

OK, you do it. What happens?

CARTER

I grab the second goblin.

SEAN (AS THE SECOND GOBLIN)

Hey!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

C’mere, you!

SEAN (AS THE SECOND GOBLIN)

What are you doing?

CARTER

I throw him into the cart on top of the first goblin—

SEAN (AS THE FIRST GOBLIN)

Oof!

CARTER

—hoping to keep them both down, and then I begin pushing the cart with the two goblins and whatever they managed to grab from the stalls.

SEAN

OK, so in this time the goblin in front of you reached back so you hear the bong. But then you race in right after to the finish line.

So, you see Zieffe appear with his clipboard, and he’s sort of looking at you, and he’s looking at the cart and he’s like,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Uh, uh… What… what was that, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(with satisfaction)

You can’t put a price on the lives of goblins.

SEAN

One of the goblins is like,

SEAN (AS THE SECOND GOBLIN)

You tell ’em!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…and whatever this necklace is that he grabbed. This might be worth something as well.

Laughter

SEAN

And that sound goes bong and Zieffe’s like,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

It’s most most unusual. But yes, I guess you passed! OK.

SEAN

All right. So, the room goes dark.

The walls open.

SEAN

OK, Darcy you hear ding and Blat suddenly appears, looking a little befuddled. He’s naked from the waist up, his wings are fully unfurled and he’s holding a necklace.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sounds like you did very well.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(reluctant)

I don’t like to reveal my wings in public.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why not? They’re cool.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Please don’t look at me.

SEAN

K, Zieffe appears, he’s like,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, Darcy, you’re last, let’s go!

MIKE

I walk back into the room at this point.

SEAN

OK. So, you come limping. You probably would have healed yourself with the fairy cakes?

MIKE

A little sore though.

SEAN

Roll fairy cakes.

MIKE

That’s an 8 plus wisdom… total of 9.

SEAN

You’re blind but you’re fully healed.

Laughter.

SEAN

It happens every once in a while. It’s a side effect, right? Wears off.

MARISA

Too many fairy cakes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. I’m over here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, I’m, I’m feeling a bit better, but I’m… Blat, is that you? Blat? What are these big leathery things?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Please, never mind the leathery things. You don’t need to be… touching—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s very soft, but warm, too—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You don’t need to manhandle what you’re feeling. Quit grabbing!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Sorry, sorry. I’ve just never felt something so luxurious.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. Have…

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Have you gone fairy cake blind?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I mixed the fairy cake with the potion the healer gave me. And you know, sometimes when you ride the bull, you get thrown off.

DARCY’S ASSESSMENT

The walls slide closed.

SEAN

OK, so Mees, you suddenly appear in a room and you’re alone and you hear Zieffe’s voice echoing all around you. He’s like,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

OK, so we’re going to get this started. Here we go! Just do your best, Darcy!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(miserably)

OK.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

There’s the spirit!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mmhmm.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Oh boy. OK.

The walls slide around.

The sound of a lively crowd and a calliope playing cheerful circus music.

SEAN

And you hear some levers and then all of a sudden it goes totally dark and comes up… and you’re in a carnival. Like a future carnival. Like, a Balgomar carnival.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gasps)

I’m back!

SEAN

And you see a man, and everything just sort of, no matter which way you turn you keep being drawn back to this—it’s like a dream—one of those games where you have to swing the sledgehammer to ring the bell. And he’s like,

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Step up! Step up! Try your strength!

What about you, young lady?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(flatly)

I think I have to.

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Here you go!

SEAN

And he hands you the sledge hammer and he pretends that he almost drops it—

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Ha ha ha!

SEAN

—and a crowd’s gathering.

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Here you go.

MARISA

And I grab the hammer.

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Swing it! Show these men what ladies of Balgomar have!

MARISA

And I sort of mechanically just swing it over my shoulder and bring it down on the thing.

SEAN

The little thing goes bloopplunk. It’s just sort of silent.

SEAN (AS CARNY)

Come on! Come on, you can do better than that! Give it a swing!

MARISA

(groans)

So then I pick it up again, and I give it a bit of a harder swing, then I do it again.

SEAN

Bloop. You hear Zieffe go,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Uh, this is the part where everyone’s supposed to be laughing. That’s really bad, Darcy…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(with building rage)

I can’t believe… that you’ve brought me to your stupid past and trapped me in this stupid made up world to test some sort of, what, strength or something that I have?

When I get out of here I’m going to take this hammer…

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(worried)

Yeah?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And I’m gonna picture your head…

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(whimpers)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…and I’m gonna do this to it!

MARISA

And I take that hammer and I bring it down with all my might.

SEAN

Roll +Strength.

MARISA

I’m a 9, so I have no plus anything, right?

SEAN

OK. No.

MARISA

(smug)

10.

SEAN

What happens?

MARISA

(with feeling)

I swing that hammer and the stone or whatever it is, just soars right up and keeps going and breaks through the top of it, and goes soaring over the people. And the crowds cheer… and there is a new champion in Imaginary Carnival World.

The walls shift.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

That was really good, Darcy, though I’m a little afraid.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You should be. You should be.

SEAN

Outside, you guys hear bing bing bing!

(laughing)

And then you see a bell come flying up and land on the ground. Clangity clang!

OK, so Mees… you are standing on… like, you suddenly just almost lose your balance. You’re standing on a tiny lip, maybe five inches, that’s sticking out from the wall.

And even with it, stretching forward for about 30 feet, are just gleaming nails. Like, sharp, all up, about an inch apart, all the way across. And you see there is a platform that’s level with it, and a door on the far side.

And you hear Zieffe go,

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(nervous)

Uh… I don’t think I’m going to say anything. I just… you gotta to get to the door.

SEAN

And then it goes silent.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(seething)

You’re in so much trouble, Zieffe.

MARISA

(laughing)

So, I have delicate little human feet. So I do not like where this is going. But I know for this to end I just have to get across it.

SEAN

The lip beneath your feet starts to slowly retract.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Nghhh!

MARISA

So I leap on to the nails and I just run on the balls of my feet as much as I can, and the whole time I’m going—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Agh! Agh! I am going to do so many horrible things to you, Zieffe! Aaaagh!

SEAN

(laughing)

You guys hear that. You hear a BZZZT!

The walls slide.

SEAN

And there’s oil starting to flood the room—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is going on?!

SEAN

And a candle appears.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(stammering)

Uh, you’re not going to like this one, either. That’s a flammable, flammable… flammable, uh, oil and a candle. You have 60 seconds. Just answer as many questions as you can on the test in front of you. First question: uh…

Wagon A leaves Paradox with two horses pulling it—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh! I hate these puzzles!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Two hours later wagon B leaves Paradox travelling in the same direction with three horses pulling it. How far from Paradox will the second wagon overtake the first?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wherever your head ends up!

Laughter.

SEAN

Bing!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

What is the boiling point of an egg in pyrometres?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(casually)

10.

SEAN

Bing!

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Calculate the solution to the following equation:

SEAN

And the wall in front of you, the chalkboard, just fills with this massive equation.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(businesslike)

Well, if you take the hypotneski of the quorshnovati and the sningen flingen, it’s going to be the 1 over the 3 or 514—

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Fifteen seconds!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And it’s… 324.

SEAN

Bing!

The walls slide open.

SEAN

Darcy, you appear—her feet are bloody.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sobbing dramatically)

This hurts so much.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What hurts so much?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(furious)

My feet! I had to walk across a bed of nails!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did you get shot a bunch?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(mocking)

Oh, you got some arrows. Look at my feet!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can’t see your feet.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(growls)

MARISA

And I sit down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s gone… cake blind.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(snaps)

Have you not got a shirt yet?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No.

SEAN

You hear Zieffe’s voice:

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

(over the speaker)

I—I was going to congratulate you all, but I’m a little afraid of Darcy right now. So, if you’ll just go across the hall to your classroom, the adjunct has set up your first class.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gritted teeth)

I can’t walk.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can’t see.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…I’m a little cold.

SEAN (AS ZIEFFE)

Um, yeah, so if you want to carry Darcy up to the healer on the second floor, then you can go to your classroom.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you…

THE CLASSROOM

SEAN

We’re going to cut to a little bit later in time. Darcy’s feet are bandaged. Blat, you found another shirt.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent.

SEAN

Do you want to cut slits in it? No, you want to keep that stuff—

CARTER

Hidden away.

SEAN

Under wraps.

CARTER

I’m a man… with red skin. I’m not a demon.

SEAN

And you can see now again, roughly, a little bit.

MIKE

Roughly.

SEAN

It’s a little fuzzy right now—

MIKE

Fuzzy is fun though…

SEAN

But yeah, it’s a good time.

And you guys have filed into your classroom. It’s quite a large classroom. Probably could fit like 50 to 60 students or what-have-you in it. There are chairs that have built-in desks. There is a chalkboard… and on the chalkboard is written: EGO PLEBIUM.

And on three desks are three name tags, one for each of you. So, Darcy, Blat and Eggerton, there is a desk with your names on a little card. And on each desk are some books.

You all sitting down?

MARISA

We are.

CARTER

Yes.

SEAN

So Darcy, you have two books. One has a sword on it and one has a holy symbol on it.

MARISA

Ooh.

SEAN

Blat, you have two books. One has horns on it and one has a sword on it.

Eggerton…

MARISA

You have eight books.

SEAN

You have one book.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I only get one book? Everyone else gets… But you know I only need one book, because it’s a better book.

SEAN

And it has a plant symbol on it.

MARISA

Ooo.

I open up the book with the holy symbol on it.

SEAN

OK. It’s like written in some weird hieroglyphs.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Can any of you read your books?

MIKE

I open my book and try to read it.

SEAN

Same thing. It’s just weird.

MIKE

After attempting to read it I turn and say—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I cannot.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, this is the best classroom ever.

CARTER

I open up the horn book.

SEAN

Same thing. It’s just strange lines and almost like, back when you were filing, where you would have seen circuit diagrams and stuff? It’s almost like that.

CARTER

I hold the book away from me as far as I can, to see if I can make out a pattern.

SEAN

Nope.

Silence.

CARTER

I put the book down and then rest my head on my desk.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think the books are broken.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Shouldn’t we have a teacher?

MIKE

Is there a chalkboard?

SEAN

Yes, something is written on it.

MIKE

What does it say? Ego…

MARISA

Plebian.

MIKE

Plebian?

SEAN

Plebium.

MIKE

Plebium?

MARISA

Plebium.

MIKE

Plebium?

MARISA

That’s what I said.

MARISA

Does anyone speak Latin?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Let’s just say my ego is feeling quite “plebium” at the moment.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello, is anyone here? We’re in a classroom and we don’t know what we’re doing.

Silence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ego plebium?

A magical shimmer.

SEAN

Your books both glow.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(with wonder)

I think it’s a magic word.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There’s no such thing as a magic word.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I know. But look at my books!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasp of amazement)

They’re glowing!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, what what was it what that was was the word?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ego Plebium.

The shimmer returns.

SEAN

Both your books light up again.

MIKE

I look at my book and say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ego… Plebium!

Another shimmering sound, this time higher.

SEAN

It lights up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(smug)

Magic.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So apparently saying “My ego is feeling rather plebium” wasn’t quite correct…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You have to say them together, Blat.

CARTER

I hold the horn book up to my face and I whisper,

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(with distaste)

Ego plebium.

A third distinct shimmer.

SEAN

It lights up.

MARISA

So, then I…

SEAN

Which book do you open?

MARISA

The holy symbol book.

SEAN

OK.

MARISA

For me. Obviously.

SEAN

Yeah.

CARTER

I open up the horn book.

MIKE

I wasn’t given a choice.

The shimmer swells into a crackling and a rushing wind.

SEAN

Blat, you are suddenly sucked into your book, like, ripped apart into the book in pieces. It’s sort of painful. And—

MARISA

Geez.

CARTER

It’s sort of painful?

Laughter.

MARISA

As ripping apart is.

The wind builds to a crescendo, then ends sharply. Drums beat out a slow, pounding rhythm, accompanied by distorted guitar chords.

SEAN

And suddenly you’re standing on the desolate plains and fire is roaring up every once in a while, out of different pockets.

And you see a full-fledged demon—not a half-demon—striding forward toward you. And it says,

SEAN (AS DEMON)

(deep, booming voice)

Ah, so you’re the new plebe.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(wearily)

I see. Yes. Old-timey demon nonsense.

My friend, I come from a future point in history where our people have moved away from this entire Hades, oh-look-at-me-aren’t-I-so—

SEAN (AS DEMON)

DRAW YOUR SWORD!

SEAN

And an axe appears in its hands—giant, like seven-foot-long axe.

SEAN (AS DEMON)

…or be struck down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Again… I come from a point where medieval, mano a mano fisticuffs is looked down upon.

Also, I lack the “sword” that you demand that I “draw” before you cleave me.

SEAN (AS DEMON)

Oh, this is going to be fun.

SEAN

And he cleaves you in half with the axe.

A bright shing! of a blade. Another crackle of energy.

SEAN

And you rip apart into a million pieces and then you feel yourself pulled all the way back together again. And you’re standing on the lost forbidden plains. Fire is coming out of pockets to your left and your right, and you see a full-fledged demon striding towards you.

SEAN (AS DEMON)

Oh, this is going to be so much fun.

The music ends.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with Carter Siddall as Blat, Marisa King as Darcy, 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 us on Patreon for early access to episodes, behind-the-scenes information and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE

MARISA

(sings)

Assessment montage! Doo doo doo…

CARTER

(sings)

Doo doo doo…

Roll for montage.

Yeah, that’s a good roll for montage.

MIKE

(laughs)

K, wait wait wait. Can we have a Hughes roll instead?

MARISA

What’s a Hughes roll?

MIKE

A John Hughes roll.

MARISA

(laughing)

Oh.