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8: Journey to the Temple, Part 1

Darcy, Eggerton and Blat make their way across the desert to visit an ancient oracle, with questionable guidance from Ananka.

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Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Marisa King, Michael Howie and Carter Siddall
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: Zombie horror, violence and serious ickiness.

This episode is sponsored by Liberty: Vigilance!

LAST TIME…

Fast‐paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on the End of Time and Other Bothers…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Greetings and salutations, guardians of the castle! I am Blat, he’s a drunken idiot, and she’s wearing pants that are too big for her.

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

SEAN

There does appear to be someone in the cell next to you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you drawing?

SEAN (AS THE PRISONER)

(whimpers)

I don’t know!

SEAN

It is the city of Steadfast, as seen from above—the four‐petaled flower shape.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

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

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re stuck in this cell and this, this really creepy guy—I think he called himself a Chancellor?

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!

MARISA

Darcy takes the beetle and clamps it on his arm…

The beetle’s metal legs snap shut. It beeps.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Aaagh!

A huge wave of energy.

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.

SEAN (AS CONSORT VARNOS)

(applauding wildly)

Best day ever!!

SEAN (AS THE GHOUL)

You freed my kingdom and my story.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

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

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.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

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

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Moira, we come to you triumphant! Not only were we able to defeat the Shattering in that storyverse, but look! We’ve brought someone from our timeline.

(aside)

Scribbles? Come. Come, Scribbles.

All right! We don’t know Scribbles’ real name… or where they’re from exactly… or their gender—

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Are they drawing pornography on my floor?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh! Heh. They weren’t doing that before. Scribbles, you might want to stop doing that. No, you see, we found Scribbles in the storyverse, drawing things from our era.

Now, you’ve mentioned that there were two other people from our era who were brought back, so we found one of them: Scribbles!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are these books important?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(aghast)

Oh God. Please! Not the books, they can draw on anything else. Not the books!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Scribbles, away from the books. Let’s go in this direction. Follow the fairy cakes, Scribbles! Yum yum yum! Come over here…

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Is that what I think it is?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I’m actually not sure if that is possib… Well, if you look at it from another directi… oh, yes, that is what you think it is.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh my.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m sorry about your floor. It’s just we thought that Scribbles came from our era, so…

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

So you were in a storyverse…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

And you found a… provocatively drawing character…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Again: wasn’t doing that before. But yes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

And assumed that you should yank them out of that storyverse… because they would belong here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It was Blat’s idea.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So what you seem to be intimating is that, instead of doing a grand heroic deed—rescuing someone from a storyverse that they should not be in—you seem to be saying that we’ve grabbed a random person and brought them to another reality and are thus… kidnappers.

A long pause.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

…Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhh, I’ve done a bad thing.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Now, Ananka, would you say that this Scribbles was an integral part of the storyverse, which is probably now collapsing in on itself horrifically? Or maybe just a tertiary character that has caused minor damage to that storyverse?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I wouldn’t say he was very important. I think, you know, he is like footnote. So if we take him out, no one’s going to notice.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Well, I’ll notice! Look what he’s drawing on! That’s an original!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Lighten up, Moira. It’s the most action you’ve seen in 3000 years.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(sweetly)

Oh, Ananka, yes… Let’s talk about you, dear, and your sending them into a “perfectly safe world” that you had a “very clear vision” on.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes… in my mind it was clear. I don’t know what happened.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You ladies seem like you’ve got a lot going on… so maybe Eggerton and I’ll just get out of your hair for the time being.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Yes! And please take Scribbles with you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(laughs nervously)

Okay then.

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

Episode 8: Journey to the Temple, Part 1.

THE DESERT

Moody guitar music reminiscent of a western soundtrack.

SEAN

We find the adventurers! in the desert, following a road. They are bedraggled. They are covered in dust. Their clothing is faded and ripped. Their beards have grown—those who have beards. They have been traveling for many days.

In the lead we see Ananka, head bowed against the wind. Some steps behind, we see Darcy. Further behind we see Blat, smiling and skipping through the hot desert. And way, way back we see Eggerton huffing along following their path.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(weakly)

Slow down!

SEAN

So all of you are far southwest of Paradox. You have been traveling for five to seven days.

Ananka, it’s been a long time since you’ve been to see the Oracle, and the Oracle is only about five days away… and you’re going into your sixth or seventh day. It’s a bit confusing, with all the weather and everything. And what you do know is that the Oracle is across the border of Mediocria, which is a forested, pleasant area and not the desert. So your fear is that you might be a little off course, and heading into the Pointy Lands.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I feel we will be there soon. Let me just consult my vision.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There seems to be a lot of sand Ananka. A lot. A lot of sand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m just glad we finally reached an area with a decent temperature. Ah, so pleasant!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Water, please…

(gasps)

Slow down. Water. Please…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(mildly)

You used all of your water to make your last batch of fairy cakes, didn’t you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You need fairy cakes for the desert… because it sounds kind of like dessert.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I suppose that’s true if you’re very bad at spelling. Just… try to suck moisture out of another fairy cake. Any excuse to eat a fairy cake, eh?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay!

MIKE

So I take a fairy cake out of my pouch, and I nibble on it for the moisture.

SEAN

Rolling fairy cakes.

MIKE

That is a 2.

Laughter.

MARISA

Oh no…

SEAN

(laughing)

Now… I’m a little confused, because I believe Eggerton has a special ability about sustenance. Can you read me that ability before we deal…? We’re going to deal with the fairy cake incident. But…

MIKE

“You don’t need to eat or drink.”

Laughter.

MIKE

That’s the first sentence.

SEAN

Okay!

MIKE

So maybe we can redo a little bit of this…

SEAN

No!

MIKE

No? We’re just going to plough ahead?

SEAN

Who was it that said he’s Mr. Organized and had everything all neatly laid out?

CARTER

I would like “does not need to eat or drink” stricken from the record.

Laughter.

MIKE

It’s emotional.

SEAN

So Eggerton starts to nibble on a cherry cake and then there’s a—

MARISA

A cherry cake?

(laughs)

CARTER

It’s a cherry fairy cake.

SEAN

It’s a cherry fairy cake!

MIKE

Cherry fairy cake.

SEAN

Eggerton starts to nibble on a cherry fairy cake, and there’s a gust of wind and he starts to choke.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(choking sounds)

Laughter.

SEAN

And his face is turning blue…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(more choking sounds)

MARISA

Unfortunately I don’t notice because I’ve continued to plough ahead behind Ananka.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t believe that a man of your size has problems with eating.

SEAN

He’s turning purple, Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(continued choking sounds)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

All right.

CARTER

So I walk up slowly behind Eggerton, place my two hands… just on his stomach…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(still choking, but begins to crack up)

CARTER

And begin pumping, in a rhythmic fashion, to the tune of a popular song from our era.

MIKE

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(singing, casually)

Deh dit dit deh dit dit deh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(rhythmic heaving sounds, then a spit and gasping breaths)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There, now being thirsty is the least of your problems.

SEAN

So I will say you don’t take any damage for that Eggerton. Everyone is at full. You have been—you’re miserable. Except for Blat, Blat seems pretty happy. There’s sand in everything: in your food, in your canteens, and your clothing…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The sand acts as an exfoliant!

SEAN

But you are all at full HP, just so you guys are all aware because it’s been many days since our last—

MARISA

I feel like that’s going to become necessary.

SEAN

(laughing)

—after our last adventure. Okay… you were going to check your Sight?

MAGGIE

Okay.

SEAN

So you have an ability on the front of your sheet, which is called The Sight.

MAGGIE

Yes… yes.

It’s late afternoon, early evening. You would need to spend three hours, so you would need to set up camp… and be uninterrupted for three hours, which, I will point out—you haven’t had a lot of uninterrupted time on this trip.

MAGGIE

Right.

SEAN

You have these herbs you pull out and chants and you have to be left alone for three hours to roll for The Sight.

MAGGIE

Okay. So Ananka says, you know,

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I need to be alone for three hours. I need to figure this out and consult the Sight.

SEAN

So you hear Ananka say something about, “I need to be alone for three hours,” and she starts setting up a little lean‐to…

MARISA

And I think that’s fine because I could use a break, and that means I can do some communing with Loxsyn, who is my goddess. So I just sit down, a little ways away from Ananka, and cross my legs and close my eyes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why are they sitting down in the middle of the road?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

I believe this is a religious break.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you want to continue our game of Candy World? I’ve got the board game in my bag.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(to himself)

Oh, how I wish I was a religious sort.

(to Eggerton)

Fine. Let us continue with Candy World.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right. I had three green goojubes and you had seven.

MARISA

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes… I was winning, despite not really knowing or caring about the rules.

What can I do with my seven? Is there anything I can purchase to perhaps make this game end sooner?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no. For every eight greens that you have, you can get one red, and if you get ten red you can get one purple swirly, and whoever has the most purple swirlys in the end wins.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I see. But if I have seven and you have fewer than that… does this not mean I’ve already won?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it means you’re in the lead for now, but you never know what happens when we go around Fluff Top Mountain. See it’s here on the board, next to the Sea of…

MARISA

So then three hours pass.

Crickets chirp in the background.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…and if you get more than ten, you get to go ahead and collect three reds. But if you only roll a 6 then you get two greens. And when you add all of those up at the end of the session we redistribute, and ultimately if you have all of the purple swirlys, then you win—but first we have to get around the mountain, so you go ahead and roll.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, I’ll just roll quickly here.

Oh, a 13! Oh, good for me. I’ve made it all the way around.

(stretching)

Well! Ahhhh. That was a great session. Purple swirlys all around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The dice only go up to 12…

Laughter.

BLAT

Don’t know how that happened but… yep, I did it. Unfortunately, you did not see it. Well, yes! Let us see what the religious folks might be up to.

SEAN

Okay, so Darcy, you are in Commune… so you go into a meditative state.

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

And that basically means that you are able to refresh, right?

MARISA

And prepare all my Rotes.

SEAN

And Ananka, you get to roll The Sight at the end of the three hours. Even with the strange murmur in the background of some weird Candy game, you were able to stay focused enough and you roll 2d6 plus your Wisdom bonus.

MAGGIE

Okay. 7.

SEAN

Plus…

MAGGIE

+2, so 9.

SEAN

So on a 9, if you want to read what it says on a 7 to 9.

MAGGIE

“On a 7 to 9 you get an unrelated vision.”

Laughter.

CARTER

Well, thank goodness we stopped for three hours so that could happen.

SEAN

So, what I will say, Ananka is that you’ve been sitting in your little lean‐to, you’ve got everything out, you’ve been doing the ritual, spending extra care this time.

And for the last many times you’ve just felt when you get your Sight, something… Something’s just bugging you and you’re not sure what. And you get that same feeling this time. Just—it’s hard to put your finger on it. Whereas before, you always believed, right? You just… your whole life, you believed what you get.

So you see the Tree of the Oracle. The Tree of the Oracle Idries is a 200‐foot, massive tree, like it is 30 to 40 to 50 feet wide at the base, and is 200 feet tall, and its branches go out and it’s usually green and vibrant.

And what you see is a tree that has next to no branches. It is as if it’s been struck by lightning, but it’s so large—what lightning could ever do that? But it is a burnt‐up husk.

And that’s what you get.

And you hear Blat approaching the two of you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How is our religiousing doing? Do we know anything that needs to occur?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m ready to go. I don’t know what Ananka is doing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello within the lean‐to?

Coming into the lean‐to. Hello!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes. I’m trying to understand why I am seeing what I am seeing.

MAGGIE

And Ananka’s a little bit weary… because she doesn’t want them to know that she’s faltering a little bit, and can’t quite see what she wants to see and she can’t trust herself. But she doesn’t want their confidence in her to waver.

SEAN

Yup.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Maybe if we just travel eastwards rather than west. We’ve been going a little bit too much west. We need to veer a little bit more and go to east and—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So… back the way we were going.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes, I think we just missed a little… um, there was fork in the road, and I think we took wrong fork. And, you know, I haven’t really been eating a lot, so… we have to go back just a little bit the other way. It’s just slight little problem.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Normally, I would be upset about this news. But again, I find it just so refreshing in this area that I don’t mind.

Now, if food is a problem, might I suggest partaking in some of the fairy cakes that Eggerton has. I don’t see how there could possibly be any negative side effects if you were to try one!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That sounds like very good idea. Eggerton, do you have any more of your fairy cakes?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shouts)

What?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(yelling)

Do you have any more of your fairy cakes?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, yeah yeah.

MIKE

And I come trotting over to the lean‐to and reach in.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He lives for this. He’s very excited about this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Now, let me look at your aura. Yeah ok. I think you’re kind of an orange person, so I’m going to pull out one of these special orange‐icing ones. Here you go. And if you just take that… and I’d say eat half now, and maybe half in about an hour? But don’t eat all of it at once.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Thank you, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re welcome.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This is very nice. I will eat half.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Go ahead. I’d like to see you eat it, though.

MAGGIE

So Ananka breaks it in half and eats half, places the other one somewhere beneath her cloak.

SEAN

It is powerful, what you eat. It’s a powerful fairy cake. Roll Fairy Cakes!

MIKE

Rolling Fairy Cakes.

That is a 10.

MARISA

Wow.

SEAN

You are fully refreshed, vibrant, lots of energy. You feel better than you’ve felt in a long time, Ananka.

MAGGIE

Excellent.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Wow. Thank you so much for this fairy cake Eggerton, my fairy boy. This is very very good. Okay! I am 100 percent confident. We just have to veer this way—

SEAN

And suddenly you are filled with a cold dark chill, Ananka. Something is nearby.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(lowers her voice)

It is him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh‐oh… the fairy cake went bad.

This happens sometimes. Now, everyone just stay calm.

Now, listen to my voice. Everything’s going to be okay. You sit down, maybe think about a nice story from your childhood. Focus on that. We’ll keep everything nice and calm and quiet for you until this passes—it’s totally normal, it happens to some of us sometimes.

SEAN

It is so close. It is literally outside the flaps, what you feel.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I don’t think this is just the fairy cake. This is something very strong. I have not felt this in a very very long time. We have to keep moving. We must go on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’ll go get Darcy.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, wait!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No… I’ll… I’ll not go.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, he’s—he is right outside.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Who’s outside?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh no.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I believe that is just Darcy who would be outside.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(calls)

Darcy, are you outside?

SEAN

There’s no answer.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh‐oh.

SEAN

You just hear the wind outside.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, you should go check on the wind.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I’ll go see… what the wind is doing.

CARTER

Blat lifts up the flap of the lean‐to, pokes his head out…

SEAN

So the sun is starting to go down. It’s quite beautiful, the desert, and you see a silhouette of Darcy, standing maybe six feet away. You can still see her pretty well. It’s light enough.

And she’s not moving.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… Darcy? I don’t mean to be rude, but based on the conversation that we just had, your behavior is freaking people out a little. So I’m just talking now as a means of gaining your attention.

SEAN

Her head slowly turns toward you… and you see that her eyes are completely black.

Crickets.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I see.

Just a moment; I’m going to be returning to you after I speak to the others inside the lean‐to.

CARTER

I close the flap… sit down, and in a calm measured voice…

Nervous laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

In the brief time that we’ve been inside, Darcy has been possessed by the Shattering.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The what? No, what? Wait.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, it’s all right…

I don’t know why I said that. Nothing about this is all right.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Now is officially the time to panic; I’m in charge. Everybody, stand up. And we’re going to start shaking a little bit.

(his voice begins to shake)

I’m going to cry. It’s okay though, because everything is not okay, and that’s what we do when things aren’t okay! We cry, because it lets out all of the sad…

(he breaks down)

Oh no…!

SEAN

The flap opens.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaa!

MAGGIE

Ananka shoots up and makes sure she’s in front of Eggerton and Blat, because she does love these guys. She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to them and especially because she’s the one that brought them along with her on this trip.

SEAN

You step in front and you see Darcy—well, Darcy’s face, but it looks strange. And there are black orbs where her eyes would be. And a voice comes out—

Darcy speaks in a low voice that echoes unnaturally.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There you all are.

Rapid‐fire:

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fairy cake. Give her a fairy cake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I got… I got a fairy cake!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do something with the fairy cake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

MIKE

I throw a fairy cake at her.

SEAN

(laughs)

And Darcy, suddenly you are standing in the tent. And they’re all like, panicking and they’re all staring at you—Eggerton’s peeking out from behind Ananka, and he’s throwing a fairy cake at you.

MARISA

So a fairy cake bounces off my forehead.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Got her!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! What are you doing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It worked! Fairy cakes work against the Shattering!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fairy cakes are the greatest invention ever! You know, I don’t even know why we’re bothering with all of these medallions and beetles and stuff. We’ll just bake a big batch of fairy cakes—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—we’ll go find the Shattering…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(chanting)

Fairy cake! Fairy cake! Fairy cake! Fairy—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is going on? What am I… I don’t even remember coming in here! What are you doing in here? What? Why are you throwing fairy cakes at me?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because your eyes are black.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, no, Eggerton, my eyes are not black, thanks for noticing—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because I threw the fairy cake. And it worked!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me. Ananka, could you make any sense of this for me? Because I don’t understand what the fairy is saying.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This is something I have not seen in a very long time, and I don’t understand how he’s able to find us this easily.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me. Blat, could you please tell me what’s going on?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You were possessed by the Shattering and now I’m debating whether or not we leave you in the desert to die.

Laughter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?! Are you saying that something possessed me?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just briefly, for just a moment. You seem all right now… but I don’t know if perhaps you’ve developed some sort of connection to the Shattering or not. How do you feel generally?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I feel fine. I don’t feel connected to any Shattering or… Are you sure? Are you sure it wasn’t just a trick of the light or something?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know if your opinion can be trusted.

(hisses, to the others)

What do we do with her?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, I have a question. Can you say “There you all are”?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(puzzled)

…“There you all are.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, that wasn’t the light.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay… I don’t know what’s happening. Ananka, you said that you felt something? Or something’s going on?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I don’t understand why! I don’t understand how! He should not be able to find us this easily. This was not supposed to happen. I did not see this.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We hear this quite a bit. “Not supposed to”, “shouldn’t have”, “there’s no way this is going to”… But it always seems to occur! Now we’re getting picked off one at a time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, maybe we should get out of this place. Maybe we should head off. I don’t know—what direction, Ananka? Where should we go?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, let’s see… to the north it’s desert; to the south is desert; if we go east there’s desert; and if we head westward—oh, there’s desert! Where can we go?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

At least it won’t be here where this thing is stalking us!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Let us keep walking. I feel… East. Let us go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Towards the darkness it is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(without enthusiasm)

Huzzah…

SEAN

So you pack up, and the four of you head off east, perhaps walking a little closer together this time?

MIKE

With Darcy in the middle.

CARTER

So we can watch her.

SEAN

And it is starting to get dark.

CARTER

Oh, good.

SEAN

It’s starting to get hard to see where the path is because it’s sort of like an old road through the desert. And after a while, because of the wind, you no longer see your footsteps. Now, I need to know the order. Who’s first? I know Darcy is in the middle‐ish.

MAGGIE

I will be first again.

SEAN

Ananka is first.

MIKE

I’m going to be last. The most important position in the line.

SEAN

(laughs)

Okay.

CARTER

And I’ll be behind Darcy.

MARISA

No. No. I think Darcy is behind Blat, who’s behind Ananka, because I’m feeling a little unsure of myself, and I’m actually walking a little closer to the big half‐demon that I would normally.

SEAN

How does Blat feel about having Darcy clinging to his back?

CARTER

Every so often I’ll look behind myself just to make sure that her eyes are still their original colour.

SEAN

Okay. So it’s to get a little difficult. But it’s pretty, it’s a desert, it’s pretty flat. You hear you know the desert sounds are changing, the wind’s dying down a little. It’s starting to get pretty cold, pretty quick… and how long do you guys want to keep walking?

MAGGIE

Until we see green.

Laughter.

MARISA

That’s a long time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey, Ananka. I read stories about these creatures that used to chase fairies called Snufflesaurs. And I’m wondering if maybe Snufflesaurs are out in this desert? I wasn’t too clear on where they are, but I feel kind of exposed back here and I can hear things. And you know there was the black eyes and everything. So, is that something, you know, like I need to be looking for? should I carry a stick or a bell or some kind to frighten them off?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Don’t worry I brought my automated mortar and pestle, so any of those creatures try to attack you, I put them in here, I smash. I make big smash. They are made into food for me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

O… okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Second question, I’m getting pretty tired. Do you think we could stop and make camp here or somewhere close to here?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The last time we made camp you were possessed by the Shattering.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, if we don’t sleep soon I’m going to be possessed by something worse.

MAGGIE

So Ananka is concerned that morale is really weakening. So she wavers and decides to give in and set up camp—making sure they are all in the same tent.

SEAN

Okay. So you are setting up a one of the large tents that you brought. Everyone is going to be in the tent? Anybody have anything you need to do alone like in a horror movie? Anyone need to go outside in their underwear without a flashlight for any reason?

MARISA

I am not going outside at all. And in fact, I put myself right in between Blat and Eggerton with my sleeping roll.

CARTER

Blat does not require a sleeping roll. He merely wraps himself in his wings due to it being very cold in the desert at night.

SEAN

So he takes his shirt off for bed!

CARTER

Yes he does. But turning his back to others so that no one can see.

MIKE

I take out my body pillow that I brought with me. It’s inflatable.

Laughter.

MIKE

And put on my sleeping hat. And I’ve got a little bowl with some stones in it that tumble over each other gently and sound like a river. And I set that to one side and I kind of snuggle up close to Darcy and I say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can we keep the lantern on for a little while?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s… That’s fine with me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

SEAN

Ananka, you’re…?

MAGGIE

Ananka sleeps sitting up.

Laughter.

MAGGIE

Because she can’t.

MIKE

That’s not creepy. Wake up in the middle of the night in the tent and the witch is sitting in the corner, cross‐legged, staring.

CARTER

Check her eyes! Check her eyes!

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay, so everyone roll 2d6 for me…

MARISA

Oh God.

(laughs)

SEAN

And let me know who rolls the highest number.

MIKE

9.

MAGGIE

4.

CARTER

9.

MARISA

9!

MIKE

What! And they’re all 6 and 3 too!

MAGGIE

Fixed!

MIKE

That’s crazy.

The guitar music returns. Stabbing, suspenseful chords.

SEAN

Okay.

Blat, Darcy and Eggerton… your eyes all open. You don’t remember falling asleep, because you’re sort of snuggled and afraid.

Your eyes all open at the exact same moment, and you hear a shuffling and a moaning sound outside the tent.

A chorus of zombie groans.

MIKE

Oh geez.

MIDROLL: OUR SPONSOR

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

SEAN

Hey everyone. Sean here. And I’m super excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by Liberty: Vigilance. Are you looking for more audio‐drama‐meets‐live‐play with amazing characters and sound design that stands out from the rest?

What if it also includes a colourful and dangerous futuristic world and high‐stakes adventure? Get all that and more with Liberty: Vigilance. It’s a crew heading out into the Fringe, far from the safety of the Atrius walls. I truly adore the show and their approach to using actors to voice the GM and non‐player characters.

Search for Liberty: Vigilance anywhere you listen to podcasts or learn more at LibertyEndures.com. That’s LibertyEndures.com.

MIDROLL: COOKING EGGERTON STYLE

TV theme music.

ANNOUNCER

It’s time for Cooking Eggerton Style with your host Mike Howie!

MIKE

All right, everybody! Thanks so much for joining me. So Carter here helped me put together some of these fairy cakes that are actually based on the ones that Eggerton would make in the show.

CARTER

So these are real‐life fairy cakes that you’ve made.

MIKE

Well, they’re about as close as we can get to real life fairy cakes. I mean, obviously fairy powder isn’t really a thing.

CARTER

Sure. Of course.

MIKE

So I had to replace a few ingredients… but this is purple swirly. This is the one I probably talk about the most.

CARTER

It’s very purple. It’s really colourful!

MIKE

Yeah. So I’ve I’ve set one aside here for you—why don’t you give it a shot and see what you think!

CARTER

Okay. Well, I’d be really curious to know what you put in this to make it so bright, so colourful! Mm… It’s quite—

(he tries it and starts to gag violently)

MIKE

What… What’s?

CARTER

This tastes like laundry detergent!

MIKE

What do you mean it tastes like…? Aw jeez. Okay. I was going to do this other show about laundry.. and I may have mixed up the props a bit. So that may actually be a detergent pod.

CARTER

This is why it’s so colourful?!

MIKE

Well, no, the fairy cake is colourful because of the food dye. But I guess it kind of looks the same with the purple… and it’s kind of swirly and stuff. But if you actually look at the the real fairy cake, you’ll see it’s pretty cool: I used a little pen of dye to write hashtag-#OtherBothers, for the fans. I thought they would like that. Isn’t that a great idea, Carter?

CARTER

(weakly)

I don’t feel so good…

MIKE

You’re fine. And we actually saw on a review on iTunes—it’s a great place for people to review—that they love the idea of fairy cakes, and how much it’s influenced the show. So thanks, everyone who does that!

CARTER

I’d like to leave a poor review.

MIKE

Okay, well… here. I’ve got a glass of almond milk here. Why don’t you take that, just you know, wash it a little bit down.

CARTER

All right.

MIKE

Get it out of your system.

CARTER

This is not almond milk!

MIKE

Oh yeah. That’s the bleach from the laundry.

CARTER

Ugh. Oh… Oh God…

MIKE

Oh shoot.

All right. Fortunately a lot of people have been really helpful in going to Patreon.com/AlbaSalix and supporting the show. And that means that we can probably afford the ambulance ride!

CARTER

(heaves)

MIKE

Well, I think that’s all the time we have for the Eggerton Cooking Show today…

CARTER

Call 9–1-1!

Theme music plays.

BONES

Zombie groans.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(in a low voice)

Eggerton… is that your water rock thing making that sound?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, the rocks make more of a tumble sound—that’s a shuffle sound. And I left my Shuffler at home.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(carefully)

Is the witch… in the lean‐to?

SEAN

Ananka is there.

You wake up with a start as they’re talking, Ananka.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Why is everyone awake? I thought we were supposed to rest. I stopped because we had to rest.

CARTER

Oh, we’re just terrified, that’s all.

MARISA

Zombie. Zombie. Zombie.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I personally like my brains the way they are. And last time, they said they wanted brains and I wasn’t okay with that, so I think that someone should probably go ask the zombie to go away and play with a snufflesaur.

SEAN

Something bumps the outside of the tent.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay! So I’m going to go over to this side of the tent now, away from the bumping and I, um, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, I think you should probably, you know, go play bazooka with the zombie.

SEAN

I just want to point out, Eggerton is wearing a sleeping hat and clutching his body pillow.

Laughter.

MIKE

Mhm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because I have a soul bound bazooka I am the one that constantly has to deal with zombie attacks.

SEAN

There’s a ripping sound and you see something trying to claw its way through the side. Clearly not intelligent enough to try and come in the flap, just trying to rip through—and the moaning is quite loud now.

MARISA

So, I just assume that this is a zombie or one of the undead. So I grasp the stone around my cord, and I hold it aloft and I call on Loxsyn for protection, which is one of my abilities.

SEAN

What does it say?

MARISA

It says “Roll +Wisdom.”

That’s a 7… It’s a 9 with my +2. And it says, “On a 7+, so long as you continue to pray and brandish your holy symbol, no undead may come within reach of you.”

MIKE

Ooh.

SEAN

Okay. So all of a sudden the ripping stops in the tent and you just hear them moaning and it’s moving around the tent.

MARISA

And I’m just mumbling a prayer and holding my stone around my neck.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I need to get a stone like that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Now that that’s happened, I feel confident that I may then heroically step out of this tent and see what is occurring!

MAGGIE

Ananka does not let Blat step out of that tent, because she feels extremely responsible for the situation.

SEAN

Okay, so what do you do?

MAGGIE

So Ananka gets them to go to the back of the tent, and she exits the tent to see what is happening.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But… I have a soul bound w… all right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You go girl.

SEAN

Okay, so you push him back—you don’t let him… or you grab him, okay.

And you let her? You’re okay with that?

CARTER

Yup.

Laughter.

CARTER

You do you.

SEAN

And so Ananka, you open the flap and it is not yet dawn. So it’s a little hard to see, but you see there must be… There’s a lot. There’s a lot of shambling half‐humanoid‐like creatures shambling slowly around the tent. You see three or four just on this side, and they all turn towards you as you open the flap, and they start moving towards you.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

What the hell.

Okay, so you seem to have made it this far. You can follow us no matter where we go, it appears.

MAGGIE

Can Ananka reach for her weapon?

SEAN

She may!

Okay, so you see Ananka step outside the flap and you draw your weapon. And I’m very excited to learn what this weapon is, Ananka.

MAGGIE

The weapon is a staff… made out of the bones of her three former horsemen.

MARISA

Oh my goodness.

MIKE

What?!

CARTER

Dear Lord in heaven!

SEAN

So just as the flaps close, you see her pull something white and long from her back… and Ananka, there are four of them moving towards you as you step outside the flap—and you want to attack?

MAGGIE

I do. I would like to attack.

SEAN

Okay. So that’s Hack and Slash. Roll 2d6 +Strength, your Strength bonus.

Maggie rolls.

MIKE

Ooo, that’s a 14.

SEAN

You just rolled a natural 12?!

MAGGIE

+2!

SEAN

So 14.

SEAN

Okay so on a 10+… Normally, in battle, you take damage when you give damage. You can actually do full damage to one of them and not get hit at all from that one you’re attacking—there are four coming out so none of them will be out to hit you this round—or you can do an additional +d6 damage, but you’re going to take some damage.

MAGGIE

I will take some damage.

SEAN

Okay. So let’s first of all, you roll your d10 plus your bonus, which is 2. Your Strength bonus is 2, so that’s 4 and then roll d6 + 8…

So you guys hear… What does Ananka do when she attacks with her staff what do they hear? Do you scream something?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(roars)

Od śmierci pochodzi życie!

(Polish: From death comes life!)

SEAN

(laughing)

Awesome.

And you guys hear what sounds like bones exploding outside, as basically you cut through two of them and they explode into pieces. So two of them are down. And the problem is that there are two others that do attack you.

So can you roll… well I’ll just roll it. In Dungeon World, you’re supposed to roll, but I like to roll once in a while.

So you take 2 damage. So Ananka, you take 2 damage; however, your robe has an Armor of 2 and it absorbs 2 damage.

So basically, one of them latches onto you from behind and is like trying to bite you, but it’s just bouncing off your robe. You take no damage.

So that’s what you guys hear: you hear a war cry, and you hear these explosions of bone and you hear scrabbling from outside the hut.

MARISA

So I start moving towards Blat and Eggerton at the back of the tent to try and reach out for their arms to bring them into my circle.

SEAN

And the second you let go of your amulet, you hear the moaning increase and zombies start to crash through the tent walls, ripping it apart.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Must keep praying. Must keep praying!

MARISA

So then I my hands fly back to my throat clutching the stone and I start doubling my my praying and stop moving.

SEAN

Instantly you see the zombies that are now half in the tent all sort of stop, and sort of just be looking at the the three of you. They are all just standing there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whispers)

Loxsyn grant me strength. Loxsyn grant me strength. Loxsyn—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I really need to get one of those stones.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton, make sure you stay close to Darcy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s time to use a long‐range weapon at close range.

Bazooka!

The bazooka assembles itself out of thin air.

SEAN

And instantly you call your weapon to you, and a bazooka materializes on your shoulder… the tube coming out in front of you and a display popping up, and a little green light says ARMED AND LOADED.

CARTER

Blat flips it around in the other direction, uses the end of the bazooka, smashing it in the face of a zombie in front of him.

SEAN

Roll Hack and Slash!

Carter rolls.

MARISA

Oooh.

CARTER

That’s a 10.

MARISA

A natural 10.

SEAN

Plus Strength. Do you have a Strength bonus?

CARTER

That is a negative. So that’s a 9.

SEAN

Okay. Blat you basically do damage. So let’s roll your damage die, which is a d8.

CARTER

6.

SEAN

Okay. So you have to sort of step forward further than you expected, but you put your bazooka right through its head and it just drops to the ground lifeless—but you stumble forward away from Darcy. And another zombie tries to latch on to you and grabs your leg, and is gnawing on your leg—RAR GNAR GNAR—for 3 hit points of damage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Need the witchy stick! Witchy stick over here to the back of the tent! Witchy stick!

MIKE

I jump up, suddenly remembering what I got from the quartermaster… and I reach into my fairy pouch to the very bottom, and pull out a handful of burned fairy cakes. And I take aim at the one chewing on Blat’s leg and throw it as hard as I can.

Laughter.

MARISA

Look at Sean’s face.

MIKE

I broke Sean.

SEAN

…Where did these burned ones come from?

MIKE

The Quartermaster? We visited….

SEAN

Yeah?

MIKE

And he gave me a battleaxe I left behind because it was too heavy, and a bunch of burned cakes and I didn’t understand what they were for.

SEAN

Okay! So… thank you?

So you see Eggerton throw a blackened fairy cake, which bounces off the zombie on your leg.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Witchy stick! I asked for witchy stick! Soiled dessert items aren’t going to help in this situation!

(he screams)

SEAN

Outside, Ananka, all the zombies—like there’s a zombie on your back and it drops off and the other one that’s left—you had four there, and two are dead—they’re just ignoring you and moving towards the three that are inside the tent.

MAGGIE

So Ananka of course follows them into the tent.

SEAN

Okay.

MAGGIE

And, you know, she’s got her witching stick. So once again yells,

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Od śmierci pochodzi życie!

MAGGIE

…and stabs the hell out of them.

SEAN

So you see two zombies coming through the tent flap and then you see Ananka come through, shout this cry—and describe what they see you swinging?

MARISA

This rod made of very well‐tempered bones.

SEAN

And roll 2d6 for Hack and Slash plus your Strength bonus of 2.

MAGGIE

So 10.

SEAN

That’s a 10! What happens? Roll your damage. Let’s roll your damage and then I’ll have you tell me. But we have a choice. So that’s 1+2 is 3 damage. Do you want to roll the additional d6 and risk taking damage or…?

MAGGIE

I will roll the additional damage.

SEAN

7. Okay, so basically, there were two zombies coming and then Ananka appears, swings this crazy bone thing and one of them just explodes into dust. There’s still one zombie there. So there are—it’s hard, guys, there are all kinds of zombies coming through the tent and it’s dark—but there’s at least another three it’s maybe four. It’s hard to tell in all the action.

MARISA

So Darcy sees that Eggerton got a burned fairy cake from out of his bag. I stop my praying, and I run over to Eggerton and I grab his bag. And I empty it out and ideally more fairy cakes drop out, more burned fairy cakes.

SEAN

Yep.

MARISA

I grab all the fairy cakes in my hand and I have a I have a rote spell called Sanctify, which means that food or water I hold in my hands is consecrated by my deity.

So I cast that, Sanctify, on all these burned fairy cakes and I lob as many as I can in different directions to zombies, because these are now deified, consecrated fairy cakes.

SEAN

So… I’m going to say they are deified, sanctified fairy cake grenades.

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay, so roll… we’ll say you get two of them thrown off in different roles. Roll 2d6 to hit, first of all.

MARISA

Oh, okay.

SEAN

I’ll give you a +1 because they’re grenades.

MARISA

A 4.

SEAN

Do you have… for Volley, what’s your Dex?

MARISA

Yes, I have a +1. So I’m at 5.

SEAN

Okay. So you miss, but you see Darcy holding up, pouring out your stuff, grabbing these cakes and then just throwing them, two of them in two random directions—and they literally hit the ground and explode, just shredding the tent. And the zombies are still there, but it’s a pretty loud explosion.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Good thing I didn’t eat those ones.

CARTER

Blat once again that uses the end of the bazooka as a blunt weapon to try to get this one off his leg.

SEAN

Okay. Roll 2d6 Hack and Slash.

CARTER

4.

MARISA

Eugh.

SEAN

Okay so you’re just like slamming it down into it.

CARTER

Slamming it down into it just hitting the remains of his clothing. Thinking that I’m hitting him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Get! Off! Of! My! Leg!

(breaks down sobbing)

SEAN

And he bites hard into your ankle. You hear something crunch and you take 3 hit points.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Nooooo! Witchy stiiick!

Laughter.

SEAN

All of the zombies now are moving in on you guys now that Darcy is throwing grenades. So there’s one latched to the leg of Blat, and you see there are three others now coming through the tent walls.

MIKE

I hear Blat cry. And screw up my courage and scream—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat!

MIKE

And jump on the back of the zombie that’s chewing on his leg.

SEAN

Okay!

MIKE

And try and hammer it with weak fists.

SEAN

You can totally do that. Roll Hack and Slash.

MIKE

Hack and Slash…

That is a 6.

SEAN

Oh, you have a -1 Strength?

MIKE

I do have a -1 Strength.

SEAN

Okay. So both you and Blat are pounding the clothing that this zombie is wearing and it has continued to gnaw on Blat’s leg. Okay. Anyone else want to… Ananka?

MIKE

(laughing)

I think Ananka needs to go now!

MAGGIE

Can I do Merciless? Is that a thing I can do?

SEAN

It is a thing you can do.

MARISA

Ooh, I like that sound of that!

MAGGIE

The Advanced Move of Merciless.

SEAN

Read Merciless.

MAGGIE

So, “Merciless: When you do damage and you do +1d4 damage.”

SEAN

Yes, you could have been using that all this time.

Laughter.

SEAN

So I guess you’re gonna attack one of them with your staff.

MAGGIE

Okay.

SEAN

So tell us how you want to attack… Which zombie and how you want to attack them.

MAGGIE

I would… Well, I think Blat and Eggerton have got this one covered.

Laughter.

SEAN

We’re not so sure about that.

CARTER

We really don’t.

SEAN

But yes, it’s a valid assumption.

MAGGIE

I really think you know, two against one, and I have faith in them because like I partly why I… I didn’t expect this to happen, but I expected something might come up. So I do believe they’re well‐trained enough that they can handle the one zombie two‐on‐one.

MIKE

(laughs)

SEAN

Oh—you rolled a fail and you rolled a fail, you both get an experience point. Don’t forget. Okay.

MAGGIE

I’m sorry—how many are there in the tent?

SEAN

There are three in the tent that are converging in… Darcy is throwing some kind of sanctified grenade. There’s one latched on to Blat.

MAGGIE

All right. So I will address two of them.

SEAN

Okay. Go for it.

MAGGIE

So that’s a 6.

SEAN

Okay… so tell me what happens when you go—two of them are lined up right there like, it’s a perfect sweep… How do you miss? What happens?

The grinding bass note of the Shattering.

MAGGIE

I have another flash of just not knowing. That presence just suddenly invades my mind just for a split second and it just completely throws me off.

SEAN

I love it. You feel the Shattering enter your brain and say—

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

(reverberating, sinister)

Ananka.

SEAN

And then it’s broken but—you see Ananka stumble forward and zombie latches onto you, the third one latches onto you and starts gnawing on your shoulder for 4 damage. So one of them is now latched onto the back of Ananka.

MARISA

Okay, so I see that my fairy cake bombs are not being very effective.

SEAN

They shredded—they exploded! They look really effective! They just missed.

MARISA

They missed all the zombies. So I’ve now moved over beside Blat and the zombie gnawing on his foot and I again clutch my stone and I start praying again and I’m rolling to Turn Undead…

SEAN

+Wisdom.

MARISA

…and it’s really bad.

(laughs)

It’s a 3. So we’re never getting this zombie off Blat’s leg.

SEAN

(laughing)

There’s now three of you…!

So Eggerton, you are riding a zombie. Blat, you’re trying to bash it with your bazooka—screaming, I assume at this point.

CARTER

Absolutely.

SEAN

But you are very excited to see Darcy come over and grasp her amulet and start doing her thing, but it’s continuing to feed on your leg and it’s working its way up towards your juicy calf.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What is happening?! Bashy bashy!

He rolls.

MARISA

Oh no.

CARTER

4?!

SEAN

You got an experience point, Darcy, for the last one.

(to Carter)

You get another experience point.

CARTER

I don’t want an experience point!

SEAN

Eggerton, do you want to try doing anything?

MIKE

Yeah. I scream and I bite it.

MARISA

(laughs)

Oh God.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaa!

SEAN

Okay! I’m going to say that at this point it is so… you don’t have to roll, because it is not even trying to defend itself from you—it is just slowly eating Blat alive, so you can bite it.

Roll 1d4 or—no, roll your damage. What’s your damage?

MIKE

d10. No, I get a d6…

That’s a 6. Minus 1, so it’s a 5.

SEAN

Explain to me how Eggerton kills a zombie by biting it in the back.

MIKE

…It’s a good question.

Laughter.

MIKE

He—I just broke my pen. It’s all right.

SEAN

Use that.

MIKE

Use it.

He bites into the rotting flesh and gets this acrid taste and pulls away.

MARISA

Ugh. Ugh!

MIKE

Little does he know that there’s already a blade buried next to the spinal column from when the zombie was first killed but didn’t quite hit. So by pulling away some flesh, he moves the blade that’s been wedged in there and severs the spinal column of the zombie.

Laughter.

SEAN

So Eggerton spits out some really gross‐looking stuff, and the zombie is now a pile of bones at your feet, Blat. Now there are still…

MIKE

There’s still a horde of zombies outside the tent!

SEAN

There is still a zombie on your back, Ananka, and there are two that are now moving towards them, and there’s one on your back. What do you want to go for?

MAGGIE

Well, I throw off the one on my back, because I am strong. Despite taking all the hit points, Ananka is pretty strong.

SEAN

Okay. Roll it! Roll Hack and Slash. Let’s roll Strength. Defy Danger, Strength since you’re trying to throw it. Roll 2d6 plus your Strength.

Maggie rolls.

MARISA

Oh no.

MAGGIE

So that’s a 4.

Laughter.

MARISA

We lost our mojo.

SEAN

You get Experience. Okay… so Ananka basically falls backwards out the tent flap, and you just hear a clattering and commotion outside. And in the tent there are two zombies now coming for the three of you.

CARTER

Blat, horrified at what he has just seen, spins the bazooka around facing the proper way, screams at Eggerton—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bloody gut mouth! Take the others in the opposite direction as fast as you can!

CARTER

And Blat flies upwards.

SEAN

Into the roof of the tent.

CARTER

Into the roof of the tent, trying to pull the tent upwards.

SEAN

All right, let’s roll Defy… Basically that could be… I guess it’s going to be Strength. It can be Dex or Strength.

CARTER

It’ll be Dex.

Laughter.

CARTER

5+1 is 6.

SEAN

You get an experience point.

So tell us what happens to Blat as he tries to fly through up the roof of the tent.

CARTER

Have you ever seen a bird at the airport? Just… trying to get out and can’t.

So Blat keeps flying upwards at the very top of the tent, and every so often it goes about two inches off the ground… but nothing is really happening of any import, despite all the flapping.

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay. I’m going to say the tent comes down. So you’re all now covered in a falling tent. You hear zombies trying to crawl through it towards you. There’s a giant flapping demon trying to get his wings free.

MIKE

I send out the call—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Run away!

MARISA

So I start crawling as fast as I can, with a tent on me… just to get out of the mess.

SEAN

Roll 2d6 +Strength. Or Dex.

MARISA

It’ll be Dex.

It’s a 2!

I get an experience point.

SEAN

You get an experience point. Okay, so Darcy is trapped under the tent. Anyone else? Yes, go ahead Ananka, what do you want to do?

MAGGIE

Can Ananka try Heirloom?

SEAN

Try what?

MAGGIE

Can I try Heirloom?

MIKE

Is that a tomato?

MAGGIE

Can I “consult the spirits that reside within my signature weapon”?

SEAN

You may.

MAGGIE

I’m going to try to use Heirloom, because this is getting out of control.

SEAN

Okay, read that?

MAGGIE

“When you consult the spirits that reside within your signature weapon, they will give you an insight relating to the current situation and might ask you some questions in return.”

SEAN

Is there any kind of roll?

MAGGIE

“Roll +CHA”?

MIKE

Charisma.

MAGGIE

Okay. “On a 10+, the GM will give you good detail. On a 7 to 9, the GM will give you an impression.”

SEAN

Okay, roll 2d6 plus your Charisma bonus.

MAGGIE

So it’s 9.

SEAN

So the three spirits of your horsemen awaken. And everybody—even those who are under the flaps of the collapsing tent screaming “Run away!” or whatever—see this bright light flooding through the fabric of the tent… and…

Let me see that sheet.

Laughter.

SEAN

That is such a weird ability! That’s so cool.

MIKE

Wouldn’t the spirits be kind of pissed off at you?

MAGGIE

No, they’re happy to help.

MIKE

“Yes, yes, we will help you even though you beheaded us and turned us into a staff.” I wouldn’t trust that advice.

Laughter.

SEAN

You instantly know that you have to defeat them all—or you have to try and take on the Shattering directly.

CARTER

Thanks, staff spirits!

MARISA

I’m glad she took your bones and made them into a staff.

SEAN

Okay. So is anybody trying to do anything else?

MIKE

I’m trying to get out of the tent.

SEAN

And there’s an zombie, by the way that—you don’t take any damage, but he’s trying to bite through your robe still, on your back. You’re on top of him, you fell back on him. But there’s still a zombie trying to eat you through your robe.

MIKE

These zombies are rude. I’m going to try and run away from the tent as it’s collapsing.

SEAN

Okay, so let’s roll 2d6. That could be Dex…

MIKE

12!

MARISA

Yay!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m free!

SEAN

Eggerton escapes into the beautifully cold, refreshing nighttime desert air. And you see a tent with all these forms struggling around in it and you see Ananka on her back with a zombie under her on the other side of the tent.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Get out! Come towards my voice!

MARISA

How many zombies are left?

SEAN

You’re not sure. There’s definitely some zombies crawling around inside the tent, and there’s one outside the tent, you think, with Ananka, but you’re not sure what’s going on outside the tent. You’re sort of trapped, buried inside the tent.

MAGGIE

So Ananka pushes him off and—

SEAN

He’s under you. You are on top of him.

MAGGIE

I’m on top of him. Of course I am. Okay, so… Ananka just starts pummeling him.

SEAN

Love it.

MAGGIE

With her fists. Just pummeling him with her fists!

SEAN

Roll 2d6.

MAGGIE

So 9+2 is 11.

Wow.

SEAN

Wow. So what happens? How do you… literally this thing is dust, but what—you just roll over and start…?

MAGGIE

Just, you know… until there’s no face seen. The face is obliterated—just nothing but the innards of the face left.

Groans of horror from around the table.

SEAN

You guys hear. Some crunching and gritted‐teeth mumbling from outside. Those of you out of the tent—Eggerton, you see Ananka just decimate what’s left of this one zombie.

MIKE

I turn and throw up.

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

Urgh!

MARISA

You, who just ate acrid zombie flesh, turn and throw up.

MIKE

That was in the moment!

SEAN

Blat, what are we doing, trapped under…?

CARTER

Just trying to fly up.

Laughter.

SEAN

Roll 2d6 +Strength.

Carter rolls.

MARISA

Ooo, 9! We got our mojo back!

CARTER

8.

SEAN

Okay, so the tent starts to fly up. You’re suddenly freed, Darcy, and you see the two zombies sort of blinking and starting to—UGHHH—move toward you. It’s now like flapping up, crashing down to the ground. Flying up, crashing into a cactus going the other way… you hear screaming…

In the background, Blat flaps madly back and forth across the landscape, screaming as he runs into things.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve lifted us upward and now I shall use my bazooka to—aaagh!

SEAN

And the tent is receding into the distance.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t quite see the—auugh!

MIKE

Are there any zombies left in the tent?

SEAN

You take 1 hit point.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Augh! That was sharp!

SEAN

No, everything’s uncovered. Darcy and the two zombies are now laying there—

MIKE

It’s pretty much Blat, with a tarp over him, flying off into the distance.

SEAN

Yes.

MIKE

Awesome.

SEAN

Sort of half crashing, half flying.

MARISA

So I, freed from my bonds, leap up, and I start running towards the disappearing tent and I’m just yelling—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Bazooka! Bazooka! Bazookaaa!

The crickets fade out.

SEAN

We cut to morning.

And the four adventurers are a little bedraggled… sitting around an unlit fire with no tent as the sun rises. And there are signs of battle, and decrepit bones all around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Next time, can we stay at a hotel?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(wearily)

I… I don’t know how that could have gone worse. She was possessed. You… I don’t even want to remember what you did. And Witchy Bone Stick Lady is starting to freak me out. And I say this as a half‐demonic being.

I don’t feel that this adventuring thing is something that we should be continuing to do. I’m a file clerk from a future time. And I did not even have the wherewithal to choose a weapon that I could use at close quarters.

I apologize for your tent.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I lost my pillow.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t apologize for that.

SEAN

Is Eggerton still wearing the sleeping hat?

MIKE

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka, I don’t feel like this is a successful field trip. I feel like something went terribly, terribly wrong. And right now, I blame you.

MAGGIE

Well… I blame Moira for signing the permission slips.

Laughter.

A string quartet begins a Eastern European‐flavoured melody in a stiff, marching rhythm.

SEAN

You hear a creaking sound—like the sound that a hut would make if it was walking on four chicken legs, coming from over the next dune.

MIKE

That’s a weirdly specific description…

MAGGIE

(makes squeaking and creaking sounds)

MARISA

I’ve never met a hut on four legs.

SEAN

You have now! You see a hut come over the dune, walking sort of awkwardly on four chicken legs, heading right towards you all.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

MAGGIE

(laughs)

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No Blat, no! It’s my hut!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Long distance is what I’m good at!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I’m pretty sure Greg might be in there!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Long distance!

Laughter.

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 Michael Howie as Eggerton, Carter Siddall as Blat, Marisa King as Darcy, 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 weekly bonus content, access to our Discord server, and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: BLAT TAKES OFF

Back in the desert. Blat flaps madly back and forth across the landscape, screaming as he runs into things.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve lifted us upward and now I shall use my bazooka to—aaagh!

I can’t quite see the—auugh!

All right, skyward again and—aaa, that was sharp. Oh, I’ve hit a cactus. I think this way is up. Aaaa!

That’s the ground. This is up, I think this is—aaaaa!

What is this? A pot in my face from the stupid—aaaa!

I cant—there’s so many random items from the—aaaaaagh!