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7: The Riddle, Part 2

The trio make their way to a storybook castle to answer a mysterious proclamation.

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

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

Content Warning: Brief zombie horror, body image issues, self-harm, substance dependency, extremely poor teamwork.

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on the End of Time and Other Bothers…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello there! Come in. Roger, over.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Eggerton, is you!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Let me introduce my sister Ananka.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Very pleasing to meet you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

As of today you’re all cadets.

(a burst of nervous laughter)

Ha ha ha ha!

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I assume you’ve all met our quartermaster, Pfillllll-thi-tckkkkt?

A little synthesizer trill.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have a picnic basket.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I had a cookie but I ate it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We have a sailboat with which to conquer evil!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

We have taken a story that Ananka assures me is free of the Shattering. You will just be going into it to retrieve something of significance from that story.

SEAN

You guys all step through the portal. You’re standing in a lush valley leading up to a storybook castle.

Zombie groans.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, just having a little interaction with the undead!

A rocket from his bazooka hisses away and explodes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There were some zombies but Blat blew them up and then he got cut on a tree and he has his bark in his pants. I don’t really know—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Yep. Yep. No.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

If you were to come across an influence of The Shattering you can just stick this beetle on them, activate it and they will be gone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m sorry, stick the beetle on who?

SEAN

Their eyes go completely black.

A deep, unnaturally echoing voice.

SEAN (AS THE VOICE)

Who are you?

Kill them all.

SEAN

“One must arrive, neither by horse or by foot…”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What about flying? Blat can fly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You should probably go check it out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(groans)

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

Violins play a solemn melody.

SEAN

The camera begins over some dead bodies in a muddy field, moves past a burning fire and up and around to see a beautiful castle in the distance. And we fly forward coming down to our favorite three: Eggerton, who appears to be shouting into a medallion that he’s holding up to his mouth; Darcy, who is looking not amused; and Blat, as they stand before a signpost in the road on the path to the castle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…so it clearly indicates that we have to go inside the castle, but we can’t go inside the castle through the door, or through the road, or through walking, and that kind of limits our options, and Blat’s being a little weird about his wings today, I’m not too sure why, but that seems like the easy way. Maybe you could advise us, because you’re our advisor and you somehow can help us with how we should go forward into this adventure—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sharply)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. Yes?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let. Her. Answer.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yeah. Over and out.

A little radio beep.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(over the medallion radio)

So you are having trouble accessing the door?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, we haven’t been to the door per se, but there’s a sign that says, hey, don’t use a door.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

OK, let me just read this part. OK. Yes, I seem to recall this. “One must come to me, neither clothed nor naked, neither on foot nor on horse and speak to me neither indoors nor out.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, Blat took off his shirt.

SEAN

So what you’re staring at on the sign reads different: “One must arrive, neither by horse or by foot, neither by road or by path. If this person comes, the kingdom will be saved. If not, we shall be destroyed. By proclamation of His Excellency King Pamir.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’re getting some conflicting information here, please hold.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think we have to go with what’s on the sign. That’s what’s in front of us, so I don’t think we need to care if we’re naked. We just need to worry about how we’re going to get there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Says the person who isn’t going to fly off by themselves they get murderized immediately.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, says that person.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(groans)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I also do not want to get murderized. So I don’t know if that should be—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And as a non-flying individual you won’t be.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Exactly. Thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Now, Blat, how will you let us know that you’ve been murderized? That’s the important part. You can use your medallion!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, good, I’m glad to know we can keep right up to the minute at the exact moment where I’ll die an excruciating death!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excellent. OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And how am I to arrive neither clothed nor naked?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s what I’m saying. Ignore that part that’s not on the sign. It was just what Ananka read from her point of view.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So, some time, is only a version of that story. The universe is basically the same, but sometimes, it’s just a little different. But it’s a version. Is just a version of that story.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s… so what I’m being told from the medallion lady is that it’s a version of the story that’s not—

CARTER

Blat grabs the medallion that’s around Eggerton’s neck—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aack!

CARTER

—and yells into it:

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What happens when we get to the door?!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

OK. In the story. Ah, OK. Is it possible that the door can ask you a question?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know! I’m not at the door, I’m here screaming into a piece of jewelry, half-naked!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

But you’re half-naked, so it means you’re not fully clothed, so you have one of the above!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like I would have more success if I was trying to order a pizza from this woman!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat. Just fly up to the castle and then come back and tell us what you see. Obviously there’s a door there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(choking)

Could you please let go of my medallion—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I’m terribly sorry.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasping for breath)

OK. OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Off I go; if I get murdered, you’ll just have to wait longer for me to come back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(calling after him)

Remember to put your dial on your medallion to comm!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(fading away into the distance)

I’m not an idiot!

SEAN

(laughs)

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 Carter Siddall, Marisa King and Michael Howie, and special guest Maggie Makar.

Episode 7: The Riddle, Part 2.

THE CASTLE

SEAN

So, Blat you are flying towards a castle. It’s not that far away—you’ll get there pretty quickly. It’s made out of white stone and it gleams almost as much as the golden conical roofs of the innumerable turrets. In fact, there are so many turrets on this castle it’s like saplings in a forest, each searching for the light. There’s almost too many for the size of the castle that it is.

The walls are many stories high, and as you’re coming closer you see a rather impressive gatehouse. It has a large portcullis that is open, and you see what appears to be four guards standing there and they’re sort of at attention. And then one of them looks and spots you, and then you see a lot of commotion and yelling and pointing.

And now you see movement on the parapet, and you see people running out with what appear like bows, running along the top of the parapet.

CARTER

And that’s my cue to land. So, I’ll slowly circle down until I… I don’t want to land too close to where the guards are on the ground. I’ll try to land about 50 feet away.

SEAN

OK. So, Darcy and Eggerton, you’re back at this proclamation that is posted on a board, and you see Blat take off, go about 500 feet and then begin to circle and land. So you can sort of see him, he’s not—he’s a few minutes’ walk for you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Shall we walk towards him?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We should probably wait for him to report back to us. I think it’s a nice spot though! Maybe we can take out the boat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gritted teeth)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fine fine. OK.

(into his medallion radio)

Uh… This is Eggerton here, uh, Medallion Lady. We are going to go forth and look for Blat. So I’m going to switch this to Recharge for a bit, because we have been warned repeatedly about that. So if you will stay tuned, we will be back with an update when an update is available to be provided to you, and we will give you the information we have at that time.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(over the medallion)

Roger that, fairy boy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. Over and out.

MIKE

And I switch the medallion to Recharge.

MARISA

And I press the Comm button on my medallion and I say:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat. Blat. Can you hear me?

SEAN

Where is your medallion set to? Have you changed it?

CARTER

I have not changed it yet.

Laughter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat? Blat? Argh! He didn’t change the dial. I knew this would happen. Let’s just go, let’s go find him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, OK, you go first.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And I switch to Recharge as well.

SEAN

OK. Blat, you circle down and hit the ground, and you see five archers on the top, all drawing bows. You hear some shouting in the distance. You see the guards that were out by the gatehouse have now run inside and they’re slowly lowering the portcullis—

(he imitates the grinding of the portcullis)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(shouts)

Greetings and salutations, guardians of the castle! I have come, neither through walking or… a wheelèd chariot—I believe your sign said something about that. So I have arrived through the proper fashion and I bid you greetings!

Hello!

SEAN

OK, so Blat, you’re going to roll Defy Danger…

Laughter.

SEAN

And you’ve got to tell me before you roll though, like… I guess you’re speaking. So it’s going to be like Charisma?

CARTER

Charisma, which I have a +2 on.

SEAN

Woo! OK, roll it.

CARTER

Blat is nothing if not charismatic.

He rolls.

MARISA

Oooh, that’s pretty good.

CARTER

That’s an 11!

SEAN

OK. So, you hear a shout go up:

SEAN (AS A GUARD)

Hold!

SEAN

And you see the portcullis coming down. You hear another shout, and some shouting back, and then the portcullis stops… and you see one gentleman sort of ducking under the portcullis and walking forward towards you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, good! The manager I assume.

SEAN

He’s still about a hundred feet away. He’s walking towards you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Kind sir! I was wondering if perhaps you could help us, since I came through wingèd flight and not through the power of… shoe leather.

SEAN

He stops about 50 paces away.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

(shouting)

Are they with you?

SEAN

He points past, over your shoulder.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, they are with me. They’ll be here in just a moment. We didn’t know if they, coming through walking, would count. We thought you preferred your guests to arrive via the air.

How’d I do?

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

What are you? What foul beast?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

“Foul beast” is a little impolite…

(shouts)

I am half-human.. and that’s the half that counts. The good half, eh? Ha ha ha. That’s right. Uh…

It’s a long story. My father had a brief dalliance during his young-man days with someone not entirely of this dimensional plane, and nine months later I arrived. But just know that I bear you no ill will and… did I mention I came by the air? That seems to be something that your castle-type folk prefer.

Laughter.

SEAN

He’s just staring at you. He’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Have your people put down their weapons. Put all your weapons down on the ground.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We have no weapons. The woman that approacheth from the north has a boat. I don’t think that counts as a weapon. We are weaponless. The larger fellow has some baked goods that perhaps might be… I don’t know how many of you there are. He has quite a few.

(stage whisper)

He could stand to get rid of some. He doesn’t need them all, if you know what I’m saying.

(raises his voice again)

Uh… So just any minute they’ll be here, and… completely weaponless; without weapons of any—do they need to keep pointing arrows at me? Perhaps that could stop while we’re doing our tête-à-tête?

SEAN

He makes a gesture and the portcullis starts to raise and you see a wagon coming out. He’s like:

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

You are within range! Stay where you are!

MARISA

So Darcy and Eggerton have now approached close enough that they can see Blat gesturing, and when he gestures towards us I put my hand on Eggerton and we stop. And then I hear him say “boat”, so I reach into my satchel to hold my toy boat aloft, thinking that this has been asked to show the boat… and I think we just stand there and wait for further instructions.

Are you holding your fairy cakes aloft, perhaps?

MIKE

I’m eating one.

SEAN

Roll Fairy Cakes.

MARISA

(laughing)

Oh no…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did… did he call me tubby?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I didn’t hear that.

MIKE

And that is a 7.

SEAN

(resigned)

OK, you’re drunk.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(slurring his words)

But he’s such a good half-demon…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton. You didn’t even need a fairy cake! Why did you eat a fairy cake?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because I’m… I stress eat sometimes! I mean, there’s all these pointy things pointing at us…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well now you seem completely out of it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(cheerfully)

Hey guyyys!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Shhhhh!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, shhh! Shh! Darcy, be quiet!

SEAN

The guy takes a step back…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not that close to them…

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

They are part of my party, but not people that I’ve known for quite some—that’s a lovely wagon. Is that for us? I didn’t think you wanted us entering via wagon.

Shall we get on the wagon? Is that customary?

SEAN

The wagon is coming towards you. There are eight guards with it and it is like a cage.

Laughter.

SEAN

And they are wheeling it out to you. Towards you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Did not see the cage; not a fan of the cage. Perhaps I could just walk in with my—all right, I don’t know why she’s holding the boat.

(to Darcy)

Put the boat down!

MARISA

And Darcy puts the boat back into her satchel.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

They may walk in. You have to ride in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I want a ride too!

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

He can ride in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right! We’re going for a ride, Blat! Let’s go for a—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! Just keep quiet!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(not quiet)

I’m being quiet! You be quiet! I can be quiet whenever I want!

SEAN

A wagon comes up to where he is and they stop and he opens the door and he’s like:

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

You are welcome into our kingdom, through your… chariot, sir.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel that the sarcasm is unnecessary.

CARTER

And Blat enters the cage…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Are you coming Eggerton? You could just walk—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wooo! Let’s go for a cage ride.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why are you getting in a cage, Blat?

MARISA

We’ve, I feel, reached Blat by now.

SEAN

Yep.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, what are you doing in the cage?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I have to enter through the cage because I’m apparently a demonic hellspawn from Hades below.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, yeah, that makes sense.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

MIKE

I run forward and jump in.

SEAN

You jump in.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So we can walk in?

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

You are welcome if you have no weapons. We’re going to pat you down. You are welcome to enter—walk in, or you may ride in his chariot.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have this boat.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

…That’s allowed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’ll happily walk in, thank you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sings softly)

We’re going for a riiiide…

SEAN

So four guards—two are on each side of you and they close the door and lock it on your “chariot”.

So Darcy, as the guard locks the door and turns, you notice that he’s got a strange rectangular nameplate-like thing that has a series of numbers on it. And it just strikes you—it’s almost like a flash—being back working in the cafeteria and how every employee had one of those, the same shape, even though this is made of different material.

MARISA

OK.

MIKE

I turn my communicator back on and say:

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, so now we’re in a cage, and we’re going for a ride, and I’ll be back to you soon!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, do not talk—

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

(sharply)

What’s he doing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, he—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s OK—

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Stop the wagon!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no. It’s perfectly fine. As you can see my friend is very inebriated and loves his medallion very much, and sometimes shares secrets with it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I loooooove it!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You share secrets with jewelry, don’t you? Yes…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I looove my medallion and the lady that talks from it!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No…

(laughs nervously)

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(over the medallion)

Hello? Are you there? What is happening?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m here! It’s OK. They’re asking about you. I’m telling them though that you’re very nice and that everything’s going to be OK.

SEAN

You hear Eggerton being grabbed and dragged away.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaa!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Uh… Don’t be scared. I think you may be going to see a king or a queen or someone very important!

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Stop that thing! Make it stop!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can make it stop but you all need to give me my hands back from behind my back.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Let one of his hands go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK so. OK, I’m going to let you go because they’ve got the arrows pointed at me and there’s a sword in my back. So I’m going to turn this off for now but I look forward to talking with you again later.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Roger that, fairy boy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, over and out!

MIKE

And I turn it off.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And that of course was our famous ventriloquism act!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The three of us travel across different counties, with our special talking jewelry. I am Blat, he’s a drunken idiot, and she’s wearing pants that are too big for her. We may shorten the name of our group, but perhaps your King and Queen will enjoy watching our special program.

THE CELL

A metal door slams, and a latch slides into place.

SEAN

Cut to all three of you being thrown into a cell and the door slams shut, and the head guard dusting his hands and walking out of the room.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh hi.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why? Why, when we’re headed towards an unknown castle, would you decide that that would be the moment to get completely blotto?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I was a little bit nervous and I heard you say that I was tubby, and when I feel bad about myself I start eating and the only thing I had to eat was a fairy cake—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Be quiet, Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is getting too much. We could be in big danger. Sometimes, I think it would be better if you weren’t with us. Maybe they should have taken you somewhere else.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shrinking away)

Oh, I’m sorry…

MARISA

And Darcy’s hair starts to stand up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why… OK, I’m going to go to this corner.

SEAN

Her eyes get a strange yellow gleam.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s very pretty, but I’m going to go over here and, Blat? Blat, Blat, can I—Blat, you just stand there and I’m going to come behind you. Blat? There we go.

MARISA

And as he goes behind Blat I grab his little pouch, I think you have?

MIKE

Yes.

MARISA

And I rip it off him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I am taking your fairy cakes until further notice!

MARISA

And I stick them in my satchel.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My fairy cakes…

SEAN

So you are all three in what appears to be a pretty standard small prison. As you came in, you would have seen that there were four cells, most of which were empty. There does appear to be someone in the cell next to you. It’s all open bars. There is an old desk in the room, but there is nobody sitting at it and all the guards have gone back out the front door.

Now, as you were coming into the castle and you were led in through the portcullis you would have gone through the inner ward of the castle. You would have noticed that it was a very large open space, but there were about 50 workers all building some kind of monument in the centre—like massive—like, Steadfast massive—monument in the centre of this castle, that appeared to be some kind of giant flower. And then they would have taken you right into the guard shack, and unceremoniously dumped you there.

MIKE

Did they take our medallions?

SEAN

They did not take your medallions.

MIKE

I’m sitting and I’ve got a tear in my eye from being yelled at. And turn my medallion back to Communicate.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sorry but they yelled at me and now I’m kind of sad. And she took my fairy cakes and I don’t know how to be sad without my fairy cakes.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Don’t be sad, fairy boy. I feel you will be okay. I have seen this. I know you will be fine. I trust the vision.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You saw us in the jail cell?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Maybe it was… Not as accurate as I had hoped. But this is minor speed bump in the road.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But maybe you could help us get out of the jail cell, because you’ve got this communicating thing, and you can see everything. So maybe you could say like, “Hey there’s a weak bar in the thing and you just twist it and it opens!” Then everyone will like me again and then I’ll have my fairy cakes back!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I can see most things but… these sorts of the little details, not really a strong point.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Ananka, I think I found another book!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh, let me see.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh no, sorry. It’s in a strange language. I’ll keep looking. Maybe we’ll find one that’s more exact to what’s happening.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Hold still hang tight. Figure something out if you can. This is what you have trained for. I know you are ready for this. We will get back to you. I’m so sorry. We will get back to you!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We didn’t get any of this training—

SEAN

And it cuts off.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, OK.

MIKE

Can I put it back to Recharge? I shift over and say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So… I talked with Ananka and she says that she saw this, but not—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We heard, Eggerton. We heard!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. There is a guard. We’re going to try to barter our way out of this with either fairy cakes… or a fairy cake lover.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right—I will barter you if I have to.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh… OK—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Guard! Guard!

SEAN

The door swings open and you see a different guard poke his head in.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Keep it down!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I would… but I have a very good offer to make to you, my dear friend.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

All right. This is going to be good.

SEAN

He turns to someone else, goes,

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

I’ll be right back out.

SEAN

And he steps in, leaving the door open, and walks over, stops about five feet away from the cell.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see like a man of refined taste. Do you have a sweet tooth perhaps?

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

(grunts)

I like meat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Meat is good. Meat is close enough. So! What my lovely assistant here has this little pouches a collection of the finest dessert items you could ever come across. These are, dare I say, magical dessert items, each with its own special surprise properties. Perhaps we could interest you in not one, not two, not three, but the entire satchelful—shut up Eggerton, I swear to God shut up—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But—OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Then perhaps if we give you this pouch—

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

That sounds good.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We can perhaps forget to lock the cell door and point us out of the portcullis. What do you say, my good friend?

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

I think this sounds good.

SEAN

And he turns and picks up a bow, pulls an arrow, points it straight at you, and he’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Toss the pouch out.

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I did not foresee this happening.

(aside to Darcy)

Throw him the pouch. Just give him the pouch, Darcy.

MARISA

And Darcy’s just looking at Blat with the most ferocious eyes, because she does feel the fairy cakes are of some value to their party.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

There’s three of you. I’ve got three arrows here.

MARISA

So Darcy pulls out the pouch. And she pushes it through the bars.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whimpers)

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Kick it a little further.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And she drops it and kicks it a bit closer to him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh no…

SEAN

He looks at you, he’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

It would have been fun to shoot you.

SEAN

And he puts the bow down, takes the pouch and walks outside.

SEAN (AS THE GUARD)

Heh heh. I don’t know—this might be poisoned. Who wants to try it?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(viciously)

All right. Fairy. Demon. Sit down and shut up.

MARISA

And again Darcy’s hair is just getting almost straight up now and the eyes are just glowing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Now listen. We actually need a plan. Obviously the guards aren’t going to let us out of here. Ananka isn’t going to magically transport us out of here. Your fairy cakes are gone. So let’s think through this. When we came in, there was someone else in here.

MARISA

Where is this prisoner? This other prisoner you mentioned?

SEAN

The next cell over.

MARISA

Oh, just right beside us, watching all this lunacy?

SEAN

Yeah.

Actually, no! The person is sort of hunched over and is seems to be driving with a stone on the wall of of their… The back wall of the building.

MARISA

So Darcy crouches down beside the open bars, right near where this person is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh… Hey. Hello. Hello?

SEAN (AS THE PRISONER)

(uncertain, anxious mumbling)

Uh… Yes, yes? Uh… must draw…

SEAN

And you notice the whole back wall of this person’s cell is a very familiar shape. Over and over. It is the city of Steadfast, as seen from above. The four-petaled flower shape that you know so well, twining around itself—which is drawn on almost every building, every piece of guards’ clothing… and it is drawn over and over again on the back wall of the cell next to you.

MARISA

So I look over at the two, the demon and the fairy and I don’t say anything but I gesture at the wall, hoping that they’ll notice, even though Eggerton is weeping slightly…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sobs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s your name?

SEAN (AS THE PRISONER)

I must draw. I must draw. I must draw.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you drawing?

SEAN (AS THE PRISONER)

What? Oh… I don’t know. I don’t know!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I believe he may have drawn my apartment complex!

MARISA

Can you describe this person a bit more?

SEAN

You’ve never seen them, ever. Sort of dirty clothing, sort of hunched over, maybe 30s? Like, a drunkard.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How… How could they know about Steadfast?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait. They said that there might be two other people coming—this might be one of those people!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

In this cell.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well we’re in this cell.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello. Hello! How how long have you been in this cell?

SEAN

The person is banging their head against the wall as they draw, over and over.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

I don’t know if this person is going to be much help. Does anyone have any ideas, not Eggerton… Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, my idea got rid of the fairy cake, so while that hasn’t solved anything, I feel as if we’ve removed a future problem.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I still have the fairy cake in my pocket.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

Could someone strip search him next time? He’s still loaded with fairy cakes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But maybe if we give one of the fairy cake to this drawing individual, they’ll be able to tell us a bit more.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, fairy cake it up. That’s the only card we have to play.

SEAN

OK, so I need you to roll Fairy Cake for me, for the guards, Eggerton…

MIKE

For the guards?

MARISA

Oh, to see if we get—oh, darn it.

MIKE

That’s 11 for the guards.

SEAN

Yeah, they’re doing great.

MARISA

No, but that might be good for us!

SEAN

They’re having a party outside with the fairy cakes. No adverse effects, because that’s a complete success.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right, Eggerton. This doesn’t seem like the worst plan in the universe. So why don’t you give me the fairy cake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. This is a Snappie flavored one, because I remember you were sad that you couldn’t have Snappies the other day, so I made it special for you and I was saving it for later—

MARISA

And I just grab the fairy cake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sadly)

Oh…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh… Hello. You must be hungry! Would you like some cake?

MARISA

And I put my hand gently through the bar.

SEAN

Okay let’s roll Parley. Let’s do it as Parley.

MARISA

It’s a 7. And what would I get a plus on?

SEAN

You would get a plus…

MARISA

On handing things to people.

(laughs)

MIKE

Charisma.

SEAN

Charisma. You’re trying to break through.

MARISA

I have zero Charisma.

SEAN

So it’s a partial success, so I’ll say you catch their attention.

MARISA

OK.

SEAN

Then they go right back to writing, but they’re like looking at you a little now. But they’re going they’re just writing and writing harder, and they’re bashing their head a little harder against the back wall, a trickle of blood coming down as they’re continuing to draw.

MARISA

OK, so I take a little piece of the fairy cake and I—just a little piece!—and I eat it, and I go,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mmmm! Num, num num. This is so good. I think it even has purply pinky sprinkles. Are you sure you don’t want any of this?

SEAN

And they reach out a hand towards you.

MARISA

OK, and I gently give them a piece of the fairy cake…

SEAN

Very hesitantly, they’re looking at you the whole time and they lick it…

MARISA

And I’m nodding,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes it’s good, isn’t it? And they bite into it. Roll Fairy Cake, please.

MIKE

Fairy cake!

He rolls.

SEAN

Oh God.

MIKE

That is a 4.

SEAN

OK. So then they go back to bashing their head into the wall and drawing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

I don’t know. This doesn’t seem to be working. I can’t get their attention.

SEAN

It was a great idea! Bad fairy cake.

MIKE

Yeah.

SEAN

Been sitting in the pocket too long.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello! You from Steadfast come. We come also! You draw apartment building. You know local dry cleaner?

SEAN

No response, just drawing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey, Blat Blat, I know you’re not too happy with me right now, but I had a question for you. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you that question, but I don’t want to get yelled at again.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we have nothing but time. Go ahead and ask me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So you know how sometimes when there’s zombies or flowers or trees, and you say “Bazooka!” And then a bazooka appears… Could you maybe be like “Key!” And a key would appear? Or like, “Bolt cutters!” Or something like that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not a wizard!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thanks to being half-demonic, I have what has been referred to as a “soul bound weapon”—not something that my mother ever told me about—but that’s it.

SEAN

(laughing)

With good reason. It’s a bazooka!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now… it’s possible—Wait! Wait! I have an idea!

PREMONITION

SEAN

Hold on that…

So Ananka, you are wracked—so just go with however you want to go with it—with an even stronger premonition. As if the Shattering is about to reach out and touch the three.

Moira’s just walking up with a book.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I found a third book of a third variation… Ananka! Are you OK?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Moira, it’s… No, the book, forget it. No.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Ananka!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I have a horrible…

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Blood is coming down from your eyes!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

There is a horrible vision—it is happening. There is a blackness. I don’t think this is pure anymore. It is not—it is not untouched. There is darkness, it is… it is spreading. It is spreading there. If we don’t get them out, they will… We will lose our—

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

OK. OK. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Let me get some water. Are you able to talk to them right now.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Hello. Is anybody there? Fairy? Fairy boy?

Blat?

We have to get them out.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

OK.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

It is not safe. There is a blackness. That is all I can say—it is all I can see. I can only see the blackness. It is spreading slowly

It is—

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Ananka. We only have one Hunter left. And it’s Greg.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Not Grishka. Not again.

MIDROLL: MERCH

Midroll theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

A knock at the door.

CARTER

Hello?

MIKE

Hey Carter, it’s Mike. I’ve got the new shipment of merchandise for The End of Time and Other Bothers.

CARTER

Now, do podcasts usually have a lot of merchandise?

MIKE

Oh yeah I mean a lot of the other ones have t-shirts and shoes and parachute bags but I thought we could try some really cool inventive stuff I saw online.

CARTER

So next-level podcast merchandise.

MIKE

You have no idea.

OK, first so I’ve got, well I’ve got a couple t-shirts because you need those.

CARTER

Sure, yeah.

MIKE

And then I’ve got this paper airplane with a dagger on the front of it.

CARTER

…I’m sorry, could you walk me through that?

MIKE

So the way it works is you fold it up…

CARTER

Right.

MIKE

Right? It comes with the sheet of paper that has hashtag #OtherBothers all over it, because want people using that. And then you glue this super-sharp dagger to the front of it, and you throw it with your friends.

CARTER

Isn’t going to just immediately fall to the floor because it’s just a piece of paper with a large knife at the front?

MIKE

Well that’s why we came up with Blat’s Guide to Knife Throwing. This book is going to sell like hot cakes. I have no doubt about it.

CARTER

But at no point does Blat throw a knife in the series.

Silence.

MIKE

So we also have these light up mugs! And when you put them down and they’re empty, the ceiling above—look, you can see it says right there: patreon.com/albasalix. It says it on the ceiling because of the mug.

CARTER

Why would you want to have one of those?

MIKE

Why wouldn’t you want to have one of those?

Another knock at the door.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (SEAN)

Five-minute call! Hey guys… Hey! Eggerton! You’re in Blat’s trailer.

MIKE

Yeah.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (SEAN)

We’ll get you into a trailer one day, I promise, Eggerton.

MIKE

That’s what you guys keep saying…

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (SEAN)

We’re going to get you a trailer, don’t you worry. So, five-minute call, Blat. Hey, did we get that—we got the new heat sinking killer drones in stock?

MIKE

Yeah! These are the best. All you have to do is rate and review on iTunes and it will target your enemies and destroy them.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (SEAN)

(impressed)

Ho ho!

CARTER

This can’t be legal at all.

MIKE

It’s totally fine, totally fine. Here. Why don’t you take one of these, buddy, and you can just go show Sean.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (SEAN)

I’m going to totally do that. All right. I’m going to turn it on.

Bye guys. Five-minute call!

MIKE

Now… let me show you the battle axes.

CARTER

No no no. I’m good. I’m good!

Music sting.

VISITORS

SEAN

We come back to the sound as Blat raises a finger high into the air with:

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know it’s probably not wise to fire off a bazooka in here in such close quarters. Don’t look at me like that, Darcy. But a large metal tube with the shell removed might be strong enough to batter down this door.

Silence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fine.

SEAN

And that is when the door opens.

And a shadow fills it and you hear a silence outside. All the workers have stopped. The guards aren’t talking. And a figure steps into the room, wearing dress shoes that clap softly on the cobbles. A rather nondescript gentleman with a small nose, fastidiously dressed in layers of robes of silver and gold, and fingers adorned with an insane number of rings… and the darkest, blackest eyes you’ve ever seen. As if the color in the room is being sucked into them.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

(low and menacing)

Are these them?

SEAN

You hear a guard from outside go:

SEAN (AS A GUARD)

(anxiously)

Yes, Chancellor!

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Hmm. What are your names?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi I’m Eggerton—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(hastily interrupting)

EggerSON, EggerSON. And I of course am Frank… this is, uh, my sister-in-law Agatha.

We are a traveling ventriloquist troupe.

MARISA

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s very good. I’m not the one speaking right now it’s the shorter with fellow, ha ha. Quite talented aren’t we? Well, we’ve taken up too much of your time. Perhaps you can let us go and we’ll never come to your county again.

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger, Blat.

MARISA

Ooo!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s a 12!

SEAN

Perfect roll.

A grinding bass note, as we heard when the zombies in the forest spoke.

SEAN

You feel his mind connecting into yours. You feel yourself losing yourself into his eyes.

And then all of a sudden he’s just—it’s like he’s thrown backwards and you actually, everyone else sees him stagger back a few steps and shake his head. And he uncricks his neck and he looks at Blat even more intensely.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

No one has thrown me out before.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(suddenly cocky)

Well, no one’s tried to enter my mind before. But that’s just what a half-demon mind can do!

So Chancellor, clinky-clinky with the key and we won’t bother you any longer.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Hmm. How did you arrive in this kingdom?

MARISA

I have a question first of all. Is this the voice that Darcy heard in her head when she cast the spell on the undead?

SEAN

No…

MARISA

OK.

SEAN

But the eyes are the same.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

How did you arrive in my kingdom?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We have these neat little things and they can turn them and then—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yep, they’re called puppets! Puppets with the ventriloquist troupe. We have many of them and we can make them talk—

(whispers)

For God’s sakes keep him quiet!

MARISA

And Darcy goes round Eggerson—

(laughs)

Eggerson!

Laughter.

MARISA

I’ve totally bought into it immediately, that’s how charismatic Blat is. Darcy goes around behind Eggerton and just pulls him back, holding him really tight and sort of putting her arm around his shoulder and almost blocking his mouth.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good work, Agatha! And as you can see, even though it appears his mouth is closed, I am still talking. Ooo, the talent! It would be a shame if we didn’t make our next performance day at the local children’s hospital, so…

Again, please let us out and we shall be on our way. Do you like fairy cakes at all?

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

This storyverse belongs to my master.

SEAN

And he turns and starts to leave the room, clacking out.

Silence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did he just say “storyverse”?

SEAN

You hear him speak to a guard:

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Kill them. Now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He definitely said “Kill them now.” I heard that one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t want to be killed now.

SEAN

You hear swords being drawn outside.

MARISA

I release my grasp on Eggerton.

SEAN (AS A GUARD)

Yes Chancellor.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh Lord. Everyone against the wall. Against the back wall. Backs against the wall…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, I’m against the wall.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is a terrible idea.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

Blat’s bazooka appears.

SEAN

And you all see this time, this bazooka materialize out of the air from on his shoulder all the way down to just sitting perfectly in Blat’s hand, the trigger right under his finger as a screen pops up. You see forms starting to block the doorway…

CARTER

I’m just going to aim at the doorway. I’m waiting for the door to open. If I see that—

SEAN

The door is open. He didn’t close it so the door…

CARTER

The cell door is what I’m aiming for, yes. So I’m waiting for the cell door to open and if it opens, it’s fire at will.

SEAN

And two guards are stepping in, and one of them’s like:

SEAN (AS FIRST GUARD)

What… Where’d he get that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Where did I get this? Ventriloquists are quite tricksy, aren’t they? Please don’t listen to… Creepy Blacky-Eye. Just let us go or I’ll be forced to use this.

SEAN

Two more are starting to come in the door and the two are stopped in the doorway.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is not just a metal tube, I assure you. This is a tube of badness. Just open the door and let us go, or I’ll be forced to pull the trigger of doom.

SEAN (AS SECOND GUARD)

I don’t like this. I don’t know what that is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Trigger of doom!

SEAN

They’re slowly backing up.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Unlock the cell door and you can back up. You. You! Do you have keys? You have keys. Get keys, give that one keys, up front.

SEAN (AS SECOND GUARD)

I don’t know what that is.

SEAN

And they’re all backing up, pouring out the door.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

One of you has to have keys! Come back with keys!

SEAN

And they slam the door. You hear a lot of murmuring going outside.

SEAN (AS GUARDS)

Fan out! Maybe he’s coming out!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is just great.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I thought you said that you could take the thing out and then we could use it to bang down the door.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, we could try that. Help me get the shell out of this thing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh… What’s a shell?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…It’s fine. I’ll do it.

CARTER

So Blat begins unscrewing and taking apart the bazooka and getting the shell out so he doesn’t blow us all to kingdom come. And with that—

SEAN

And what’s going to happen if you damage the bazooka, Blat? Do you know?

CARTER

No idea! No idea at all. Is it a new one that comes every time? I’m just guessing but I don’t know.

SEAN

OK.

CARTER

I’ll remove the shell, I’ll gently place it at the far corner of the cell, put the bazooka back together and then use it to just start hammering away at the cell door.

SEAN

And you hear voices out, sort of like shouting, you hear guards talking back. It’s a lot of craziness and you start bashing at the door. OK, so what would that be?

CARTER

That would be Strength, I suppose.

MIKE

Hack and Slash?

SEAN

Yes, let’s Hack and Slash it with a Strength bonus.

CARTER

Well, it would be a Strength negative.

MARISA

Why?

CARTER

Because my Strength is only 8 so that’s a -1. I didn’t have to do much in the way of physical labor or a cell door bashing in my life as a file clerk.

(rolling)

Come on, baby! Let’s cell door our way out. That would be a 7, which is actually a 6.

SEAN

Yeah. So you’re banging and slamming and you’re denting up your—it’s not as strong as you had hoped. And so yeah, you’re bashing it up, the screen snaps… and the door is still there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question. Did anyone check to see if it was locked.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No.

MIKE

So I walk forward and sort of try and finagle with the handle.

SEAN

It’s locked.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. Just wanted to make sure.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just wait a minute.

MARISA

And I turn my dial to comm. And I say:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello? Ananka? Ananka?

A beep.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(over the medallion comm)

Yes, hello, I am here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka, we’re stuck in this cell and this, this really creepy guy—I think he called himself a Chancellor, or someone called him a Chancellor?—came in and talked to us and he was really scary Ananka. I got a really bad feeling. Do you know what’s going on? Do you know we can get out of this? They now want to kill us.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

If the storyverse is correct… I believe there is a ghoul. Something has infected this place.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you know anything about—there’s a person here in a cell beside us and they seem to know about Steadfast. Do you know anything about that person?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I cannot see. I do not see. I’m… I’m sorry I do not. I do not see.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So we have to get out of this cell. That seems to be apparent. That’s the first problem.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes. This may sound crazy but… maybe you can tell—you can answer three questions. Your training. Three questions that you could answer.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you two know what she’s talking about?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like I’m on a game show all of a sudden!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Three questions? Tell us who the sketch artist is! Who’s Blacky-Eye? How do we get out of this cell? Don’t ask me how many fish I can name!

SEAN

You hear Moira in the background going:

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(frantic)

They haven’t finished training, Ananka! They were plebes! Here’s another book…

SEAN

You guys hear the front door to the guard shack being opened.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK Ananka, I’m going to keep this on comm! If you have anything call me back but we need to start figuring out something right now!

Blat, can you recall another bazooka?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I have absolutely no idea.

CARTER

I take the busted bazooka and I throw it to the side of the cell and I just call out:

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

SEAN

And a brand new bazooka materializes out of the air onto your shoulder and into your hands.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh thank heavens, at least that’s operating correctly.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Get us out of this cell.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

Everyone’s back against the wall?

SEAN

And the door opens and you hear:

SEAN (AS THE CONSORT)

(bold and flamboyant)

I don’t care what you say. I said stand down. Back up.

You’d better put your sword away before the Consort!

SEAN

And you hear a guard going:

SEAN (AS A GUARD)

Yes, yes, Consort…

SEAN

And you see a figure, a much smaller figure, stepping into the doorway.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Put the bazooka down. Blat, put the bazooka down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not doing anything until I see his eyes. What do his eyes look like? Then I’ll put the bazooka down.

SEAN

So you see a rather beautiful man. Hard to tell his age, early 30s? His face is angelic. His eyes dance over a mouth that seems to always show his mood. And he’s got long blonde hair and he’s wearing a long robe that seems pretty ornate. He’s like,

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Hello, visitors?

SEAN

And he’s like stepping in as if his eyes are adjusting.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Hello. Oh, there you are. My apologies. I am Consort Varnos. And you are?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Pissed off. What colour are your eyes?

SEAN

He sort of stands up a little straighter, he’s like—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Simple question—what colour are your eyes?

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Well, I like to say they’re hazel, but I’m told sometimes in the right light they’re aquamarine.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, fine.

CARTER

And Blat puts the bazooka down.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi… I’m Agatha.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Hello Agatha. I am told that you proclaimed that you answered the riddle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Sure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think he means the sign.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. Fine. We did.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Very well. Come. I will take you before King Pamir.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And suddenly it’s all very simple. All right, let’s go see King Pramir.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can I have my fairy cakes back—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No. You cannot eat another fairy cake for the rest of the day.

SEAN

You’re all just sort of standing there and then he’s like,

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Oh right, the door. Guards! The door, please!

SEAN

You see a guard sort of coming into the doorway. He’s like,

SEAN (AS A GUARD)

Um… but Consort, we were told by the…

SEAN

And he says,

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

I don’t care what you were told. I have given you an order. They are to appear before the King.

SEAN

The guard comes forward and unlocks your door, sheepishly.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

I’m not sure how much time we have. Not sure what’s going on here, but I like the cut of your jib. What was your name?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… my name was… Phil? Phil! My name was—is Phil. And, uh… excuse my lack of shirt.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Oh, I’m enjoying that part, Phil.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(an uncomfortable sigh)

CARTER

Blat puts his wings more in front of his chest, creating the right-side-up bat with pants effect again, as he drags his bazooka tube behind him.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh, one question. What’s the sketch artist in here for?

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

I’m not sure.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Maybe, um… They seem like a good egg. Why doesn’t the sketch artist come along with us?

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Are they with you?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yup. Um, they were actually the ones that solved the riddle. We were like, “Oh of course, the riddle! How easy!” …so yes.

SEAN

He gestures and the guard unlocks that cage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Agatha. Yes. See to our good friend, um… Mademoiselle Tibbert.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

You really are a horrible liar, but I love it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(laughs nervously)

MARISA

So I go into the cell, and I gently pick up this person…

SEAN

They’re quite light.

MARISA

And when I say pick up, I don’t mean I’m lifting them off the ground…

SEAN

They’re quite frail for their age.

MARISA

OK, so then I guide them gently.

SEAN

OK. They’re sort of murmuring, along with trying to still draw in the air, but you’re guiding them along.

And so Varnos leads you out into the light and you see there must be forty guards, and they’re all sort of hands on their weapons, until Varnos looks at them to them and they all step back. And he just starts walking, regally, up towards the main keep.

MARISA

Do they have fairy cake crumbs all over their mouths?

SEAN

There are fairy cake crumbs.

MIKE

I see the one with my pouch and I run over.

SEAN

He takes a step back quite suddenly, shaking.

MIKE

And I say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Give ‘em.

SEAN

He just holds the pouch out for you.

MIKE

I snatch it, I look inside, nod and run back to the group.

THE THRONE ROOM

SEAN

So you guys are following Consort Varnos up towards the main keep. It’s an equally impressive structure of flags and gleaming gold accents and again, perfectly white stone.

So as you walk up to the main entrance, two guards, dressed differently, stomp their feet and the doors swing open into a foyer that is the size of a small cathedral, with 60-foot vaulted ceilings, though it’s not that long of a room—and then start walking forward. You’re trying to stay up, I assume, with Varnos. He’s just like—doesn’t even pause. As if he owns the place. And he’s just heading for the next set of doors.

MARISA

I’m just following along with this frail person beside me.

SEAN

Who’s trying to draw in the air.

MARISA

Right, who’s trying to draw in the air.

MIKE

I’m counting fairy cookies and cakes, and looking for different types of sprinkles.

SEAN

OK. So Blat, you’re probably the only one to really have a chance, because you’re waiting on Darcy, with this person, and Eggerton’s stumbling along because he’s trying to count fairy cakes at the same time. And you probably hear some of this as well, Ananka.

But you notice as you step up the steps to go into the main keep, looking back at the structure being built in the centre of the courtyard is that same—it is the outline of Steadfast.

CARTER

Hmm.

SEAN

And as you enter into the main keep, assuming you’re all going in?

CARTER

Yeah.

SEAN

Because there’s a lot of guards out there watching you and they’re sort of like, not keeping pace but moving a little towards the keep.

Varnos walks right towards the next set of doors, which swing open immediately and you hear a horn being played. And you enter the Grand Hall. And every whisper of movement echoes across this hall. There are inlaid tiles with crazy patterns of entire stories, as far as you can see, in this massive hall, about 100-foot high vaulted ceilings.

There are two thrones in the far centre of the room. And there is a somewhat older gentleman, not too old, on one of the thrones, wearing a crown. And Consort Varnos walks right up and spins around and sits in the other one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, they ate fourteen and a half fairy cakes. And that’s too many fairy cakes for that many people who have never had them before—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Get on one knee. Get on one knee.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re in front of royalty, get on one knee.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One knee?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just get on one knee.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everyone, one-knee it. One-knee it.

MARISA

So Darcy gets down on one knee, but the person I’m with has trouble.

SEAN

Yeah they’re just standing there drawing in the air.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I get down on one knee.

SEAN

A hand is placed on your shoulder and an older gentleman says,

SEAN (AS HERALD)

How should I announce you?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… I am Phil and this is our ventriloquist troupe.

SEAN

OK. Roll Parley. You get a Charisma bonus.

CARTER

That’s a 9.

SEAN

OK. So the gentleman steps back.

SEAN (AS HERALD)

Your Royal Highness, I give you… Phil and his traveling ventriloquist group.

Laughter.

SEAN

And a hush falls on the room as King Pamir sort of stops talking with someone beside him, and turns and gestures for you all to approach.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Come on up. Come on up. And nothing about fairy cakes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No fairy cakes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just pretend you have another interest for just five minutes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Could you get Scribbly here to stop drawing in the air?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! I can’t!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

SEAN

So you’re walking up. You see King Pamir is slightly balding, middle-aged, carries himself pretty regally, sitting there, but his shoulders are hunched as if under an unseen weight. And Varnos is whispering in his ear as you approach.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Greetings and salutations, Your Majesty! We are but traveling entertainers who have come to witness the splendor of your kingdom.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Varnos tells me that you claim the riddle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! The riddle said to come not by foot, so… as you can see I’m a wingèd individual, and thus I came your to fine castle in that fashion.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

I see. Did you enter the castle by wing then?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just outside the castle, I met your guards and… oh, what a time we had! With the royal iron cage that I was wheeled in upon.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Why by chance were you arrested?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Racism, Your Honour! I—

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

I’m not asking you. Captain of the Guard, if you would?

SEAN

And a man steps forward and walks up and is whispering in his other ear.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Those are hefty charges against you, Phil.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I believe it is my demonic appearance that is the reason why I was arrested and thrown into your cell.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

My kingdom is troubled.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

With racism.

Laughter.

SEAN

And the doors swing open behind you, and you feel a chill in the room.

MARISA

(sotto voce)

Chancellor…

SEAN

And there’s a hush that falls across the room, and the Chancellor’s voice rings out.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Your Highness. I was hoping to save you from this unfortunate experience… of these vagabonds.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ventriloquists, actually.

CARTER

Blat puts one of his wings up over his face to cover a quick aside he’s going to have with Darcy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispers)

Didn’t we hear something about the silver beetle doing something against the dark?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whispers)

Do you think he’s a dark Shattering-person?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t think his eyes are like that naturally, no.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well then, yes. How am I going to get the beetle on him?

MIKE

I tug at Blat’s other wing.

Laughter.

MARISA

This is so subtle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey guys, there’s there’s a thing on the amulets, remember? We can detect! We can detect if something’s with the Shattering.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(clenched teeth)

Then why don’t you turn it to Detect?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Without having to tell us about it, and being a bit more subtle about this?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But mine’s out of power, because I was talking with the nice lady.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fine, I’ll turn mine to Detect.

(aloud)

We’re just practicing our act! We’re so sorry, we want it to be fully polished for Your Highness. We will be with you in mere seconds.

MARISA

And Darcy, with the cover of Blat’s wings, turns her medallion to Detect.

SEAN

Yours is dead.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? It’s dead.

MARISA

The problem is, Darcy wouldn’t know that, because it could just mean there’s no Shattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I haven’t used mine yet. I’ll set mine to Detect.

SEAN

And as the Chancellor is stepping past you and speaking, it vibrates so hard you can actually hear it in the hall, echoing—BZZZT! BZZZT! Like a cellphone going off, it’s vibrating so strong and it is pulsing black as the Chancellor walks past you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So I quickly set it back to Recharge…

SEAN

But everyone freezes, including the chancellor, who turns to look at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(awkwardly)

That is an amazing sound you’re doing, Phil! I don’t know how you managed to project that through the whole room. I think we need to incorporate that into our act!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Practice! Practice is the reason why that happened.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just… just incredible. Did everyone hear that? It’s simply Phil doing that noise. Isn’t that incredible, everyone?

They applaud faintly.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank you. Thank… yes. Big round of applause for constant rehearsal.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Woo! Thank you.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

They practice dark magic, Your Majesty. Please allow us to remove them from your kingdom.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Not dark magic, Your Majesty! Simply acrobatic vocal chords, if I may, that’s all that is. That’s all it is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But! Your Majesty, there is a new aspect of our act that we’re just going to try now… My dear partner Agatha is working on a very simplistic juggling routine with fine ornate figurines.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Please, Agatha—

SEAN

Varnos is clapping.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Please, Pen, let them, Pen… I want to see an act.

(shouts)

I want to see you juggle, demon!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course you do.

Agatha, if you could please hand me the special juggling prop?

SEAN

The king raises his hand and sits back down and says,

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

I will allow it.

SEAN

And he leans over and whispers something to Varnos, who giggles and they seem to be caught up with each other while you prepare your act.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I think if you’re going to juggle, Phil, you’ll need more than one… so, Eggerton, I think you’ll have to pass over your ornate juggling ball as well.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yes, my ornate juggling ball that I have as part of our ventriloquist act, because that’s who we are! We’re ventriloquists…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! Just hand it over.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, OK, here you go.

SEAN

The Chancellor is just staring at you. He’s like,

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

(hisses)

You will be mine.

SEAN

He’s just talking between his teeth.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

You will be mine. This storyverse is ours.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! I will be yours, and you will be my… volunteer from the audience!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes!

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, if I could just get the two juggling props from my two assistants, Agatha and Eggerson…

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

I don’t want to be in your act!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just a moment, please, it’s very good.

OK, Scribbly, if you could just get out of my way here—that’s very good, what you’re doing into thin air.

MARISA

And I hand over my beetle…

MIKE

I pass mine over over.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, as you can see, ladies and gentlemen, I have nothing up my sleeves, because I do not have a shirt on. Here are my wings spread open wide—

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Oh, I like this part!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now then, Chancellor…

SEAN

You see King Pamir frowning a little. And Varnos is like,

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

Oh, relax! I’m just looking.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Chancelor, if you could just… open your hands for me…

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

(growls)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re just going to try catching this and, uh… we’ll see what happens when that happens. Alley… oop!

CARTER

And instead of tossing it underhanded, I just whip it at him as hard as I can.

SEAN

All right, so it bounces off of him… He’s like,

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Agh! What is that? I’ve been attacked!

SEAN

Varnos is like,

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

That wasn’t an attack! Catch it!

MARISA

And so Darcy looks over at Blat, and then she starts a very awkward sort of dancing movement, as if she’s kind of being the presenter-assistant.

Laughter.

SEAN

The Chancellor is bending down and looking this strange beetle.

MARISA

And she’s sort of going,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(hums circus music)

A-deet deet do do doo, doot doot do do dee…

MARISA

And she starts dancing awkwardly towards the Chancellor, very smiley.

SEAN

Who’s paying you no mind. He’s staring at this beetle.

MARISA

And so I come over and go,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Whew! So sorry about that!

MARISA

And I pick up the beetle and I gesture to:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Phil! You must try the second volley!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Heh. Yes! The second volley!

SEAN

He turns and he’s watching Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Chancellor! Here’s another one! Get ready, and—

CARTER

I pretend to throw it for a second, just to catch him off guard,

MARISA

and then,

CARTER

when he flinches,

MARISA

Darcy takes the beetle and clamps it on his arm, and makes the mechanism…

SEAN

Activates it?

MARISA

Activates the mechanism, thank you.

The beetle’s legs snap shut. It beeps.

SEAN

You hear a shunk! And you hear him go,

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Aaagh!

A huge wave of energy.

SEAN

And he arches back, and he literally explodes in—it’s like a wave of blackness that buffets you all back. People are thrown against walls.

And then it dissipates. And there is no Chancellor.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(weakly)

Doot doot do do doo…

SEAN

And Varnos is like,

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

(applauding wildly)

Best day ever!!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ta dah!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And that’s our act, ladies and gentlemen! We’ll be doing another show in 30 minutes.

THE GARDEN

SEAN

Cut to… you are in a waiting room, and there are drinks, there are a few people and you are talking with Varnos, who is ushering over the king, King Pamir. And the king walks over and he’s like,

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Hmm. Again, I’m not sure how you’re going to bring back the Chancellor…

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, heh… It’s the code of the performer. When such acts of magic are performed, we can’t reveal our secrets! That would ruin the show.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, it’s not like we’re some kind of lame improv troupe or something.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Don’t hurry up with doing that part, OK?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh absolutely. We’ll maintain the mystery as long as we can.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

I really didn’t like what they were building out front. Much better this way.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, yes. Very good.

Um… Is Scribbly free to remain with us for the moment?

SEAN

(laughing)

There’s just this person drawing on the walls of the palace in the background.

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Yes, in fact the sooner Scribbly goes with you, would be great.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me, Your Majesty, but what are they building in the courtyard?

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

(thoughtful)

We are not sure what it is. The chancellor said it was a monument to a god that we had never heard of. Everything seemed to make sense when the Chancellor was around. But enough of him.

If you would please humour an old king… there is someone who wishes to speak with you all. Someone who spoke the words of the prophecy that foretold of you coming and saving us.

SEAN

And the king leads you out of the antechamber, and he waves off the guards, and down the hall and up a spiral staircase, and pauses before a door carved with a beautifully intricate tree… and opens it.

And as you follow you step out into a garden—but a garden quite majestic, because you are so high up you can see the valley spreading out in both directions. And the two mountains seem a little less tall on each side of you. It is a garden of just grass and giant trees that are somehow way up high on this palace.

There are a few little places to sit, and the king is walking towards a very large old apple tree that stands out, because all of the other trees are very sculpted and perfect, and this one is scraggly and it is very dense, way too dense for a tree—you can’t even see through the foliage. And he has stopped beneath it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am not a fan of apples so I’m going to go stand over here and work on my ventriloquism.

Laughter.

MARISA

Darcy just rolls her eyes.

SEAN

Are you guys walking up to the tree?

MARISA

Yes.

CARTER

Yep, I walk up to the tree.

MIKE

I’m going to take the opportunity to turn on my comm.

SEAN

OK. We’ll do that.

(to Ananka)

The connection goes green on the comms to you. You suddenly can speak.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

My three! Oh my God. Are you OK? What happened? I could not speak to any of you. I could not see anything. What has happened? Are you OK?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’re ventriloquists now!

SEAN

(laughs)

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh! Not so bad career. In one of my lives, I also did a little bit of a sideshow. So, OK! It turned out pretty good.

Where are you now? Are you safe?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We are near a tree and it’s got apples on it and in my experience apples can be rude and bullies so I’m going to stay away. But they’re talking with the king because there was a riddle and we knew the answer and then the chancellor had black eyes and we put one of the devices on him and then he went away and there was a little song and dance and this one guy really liked it. And there was a flower they were building that looked like Steadfast but now they’re not going to make it anymore. And the slaves, they’re not going to be slaves anymore because the king seems like a kind of OK guy, but now he’s over by the apples and I don’t like apples. So I thought I’d call and say hi. How are you?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(laughs)

Fairy boy, I have never been happier to hear your voice. I’m so happy you are all OK. It sounds like you have drawn out the poison. It sounds like maybe it is safe to bring back the artifact.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So, about the artifact… What what exactly are we talking about?

SEAN

And that’s when your comm dies.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aww, geez.

MARISA

So short!

SEAN

It takes a lot of power to talk between dimensions, people!

Laughter.

MIKE

They don’t make interdimensional communication devices like they used to.

MARISA

That’s right.

SEAN

Blat and Darcy, you are walking up to the tree with the king.

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

So he’s standing there at the tree, and he says,

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

Don’t be afraid. It is an old friend. I will leave you to talk.

SEAN

And he turns and starts walking back just around the garden. He’s like,

SEAN (AS KING PAMIR)

I’ll be nearby if you need me.

SEAN

And you hear a rustling up in the tree and suddenly a face pops out and it is—you would know this, Blat—it is a full-on ancient ghoul, with sharp teeth and bloodshot eyes, and it’s just peering down, quite large, out of the tree, and it’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

(gruff, sneering voice)

Hah? Haaaah! Oh no.

Give me something to eat, demon!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you like fairy cakes at all?

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

Whatever. Anything from your hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Egger… son?

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

From your hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just a moment! I know the rules. Eggerson!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yep, I’m here!

MIKE

And I come running up.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fairy cake me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. But did you know there’s a there’s a big thing up there? Did you see him?

MARISA

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know. I’m aware…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, OK, I just wanted to make sure we all knew…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fairy cake. Just put a fairy cake in my hand.

MIKE

And I reach in and I take a fairy cake out and I put it in his hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Here you are: something from my hand.

CARTER

And he hands the cake to the ghoul.

SEAN

And he leans—the head comes way, way down. Giant head. The mouth opens.

MARISA

Eee.

CARTER

I just sort of drop it into his mouth.

SEAN

It closes, chomping.

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

(chewing noises)

And you too, woman of the—oh… You’re interesting. Feed me from your hand.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? But you just had something—

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

Feed me from your hand!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, OK!

MARISA

And I, in a panic, reach around my satchel, and luckily, one of Eggerton’s fairy cakes fell out of his pouch into my satchel. And I pull it out and—

SEAN

The mouth opens. Giant.

MARISA

And I throw it in…

SEAN

It chews—

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

(chuckling)

Phil! Ha ha ha! That is a good one!

Well done. I did not expect you to be the one to answer my riddle. It was supposed to be a young girl.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

She’s a young girl, Agatha—

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

No she’s not.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh.

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

That’s the way of riddles.

Tell Ananka that Kuvatz…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Kuvatz.

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

…says thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank you.

Kuvatz, one question. We were supposed to bring something back to Ananka—would you possibly know what that is?

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

I would!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s going to cost us something for you to tell us, isn’t it.

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

Not this time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh!

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

You freed my kingdom and my story.

SEAN

And the head disappears with a rustle of branches, and then comes back and a small ball is dropped down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I pick up the ball.

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

It is the ball the king used to play with up here, while he pined for a lover.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So not jewellery, or—

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

A ball!!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A ball it is, then! Yes, I’ll be sure to bring this back to our dimension.

CARTER

And Blat holds onto the ball, bows.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank you, Your—

SEAN

And the head disappears and is gone.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

—Ghoulish… ness.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I… I have questions for you, Blat, that perhaps you can answer.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I doubt I can, but go ahead.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um, why was there a giant head eating fairy cakes and why did he have a ball? And why was the King playing with a ball in the tree while thinking about a lover?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because life is complicated when you don’t have fairy cakes to distract you. Here, put this in your cake pouch. We’ll bring this back to Ananka.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. OK.

MIKE

And I put it into my pouch.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right let’s turn our dials to Transport and get out of here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, let’s see if this works…

CARTER

And I set mine to Transport.

SEAN

OK. You’re all standing there, looking at each other.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, wait, wait. Get Scribbles here in the middle. Maybe if we all hold hands with Scribbles in the middle, all of us can go back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re really into Scribbles, huh?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel that Scribbles is important. If they know so much about Steadfast, maybe they can answer some questions.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Maybe we should all hold onto an arm or a leg, at least have some physical contact with Scribbles.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, very good.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right, everyone put it on Transport and then we’ll all press the button together.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’re all going to push one button together? Or we’re all going to push—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Your own button, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m going to push my own button.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And hold on to Scribbles.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, I’ve got a foot.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’ve got a hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know what—you hold onto Scribbles, I’ll press Eggerton’s and mine at the same time just to be safe.

SEAN

(laughs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right. On the count of three. One!

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Two! Three!

The medallions click and beep. A huge roaring sound of the portal opening.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I knew we were friends!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can feel everythiiiiiiing!!

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

Blat’s scream continues well into the credits.

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 Michael Howie as Eggerton, Marisa King as Darcy and Carter Siddall as Blat, and special guest Maggie Makar as Ananka.

Dialogue editing and transcription by Michael Howie.

Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Story consultant: Laura Packer.

Game consultant: Stephen Smith.

Join us on Patreon for behind-the-scenes information, access to our Discord server, and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: IT’S CANON

CARTER

I think at the time that we lived, bazookas were a thing.

SEAN

Yeah, well, it’s canon now!

CARTER

20th century?

MARISA

No, it’s a bazooka HA HA HA. Boom!

SEAN

(laughs)

MIKE

Boom! I get it.