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9: Journey to the Temple, Part 2

Ananka’s visions are failing her as she, Blat, Darcy and Eggerton wander in search of the Oracle Idris — and find themselves at a mysterious inn.

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Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Michael Howie, Carter Siddall and Marisa King
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: Tactlessness; lack of safety gear.

This week’s podcast recommendation: The Infinite Bad!

LAST TIME…

Fast‐paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on the End of Time and Other Bothers…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka, I don’t feel like this was a successful field trip.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

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

SEAN

The Oracle is only about five days away…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Water… please…

SEAN

And you’re going into your sixth or seventh day.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

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.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?!

SEAN

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

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Now is officially the time to panic—I’m in charge!

SEAN

Another zombie tries to latch on to you and grabs your leg—RAR GNAR GNAR…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Witchy stick, over here to the back of the tent! Witchy stick!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Od śmierci pochodzi życie!

SEAN

You cut through two of them and they explode into pieces.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaa!

SEAN

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

CARTER (AS BLAT)

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

SEAN

You hear a creaking sound. 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 (AS ANANKA)

No, Blat, no!

THE CHICKEN HUT

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Blat, for the last time, this is not a threat. Do not bazooka my chicken hut!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I have a kill shot! I have a long distance kill shot! It’s a freaky house with the chicken legs and we’re not going to be taken by surprise again, I got the kill shot! Give the word, I give the kill shot!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No kill shot, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fine. If this is your hut, why does it follow you about?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Because it’s my hut?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh well, that’s a wonderful explanation! That makes perfect sense. And now I’m totally at ease. Does someone else find the chicken walking hut at all disturbing?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There. Ha. You see?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think it has very pretty legs.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I saw what you did to that zombie and now your opinion doesn’t hold water with me.

SEAN

The hut comes to a stop, the chicken legs all flexing, bending and then lowering it down, so it’s just a foot or so off the ground… and the front door opens.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s how it eats you, you know. It just says hello, I’m a hut, please come in, and then the kitchen eats you, or something. I don’t know how it works.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Do not be afraid, everyone. This is a place of safety for those who I deem it so. You are all my friends. You may all come in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aww, she called us friends.

MIKE

And I trot along behind her.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

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 9: Journey to the Temple, Part 2.

CHICKEN RUN

Soft wind chimes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m keeping myself locked and loaded because I don’t trust architecture that walks about.

SEAN

Do you want to describe what the entry room is?

MAGGIE

Sure. Basically it is just one room. There’s a sort of bed off to the left hand side with some hay on top of it, as well as a blanket. There’s a bit of a lofty area upstairs as well, just for whenever she needs to relax and work with her spells. And then to the front is just a giant window. And then on the right hand side, we have just a very basic kitchen setup for, you know, cooking.

SEAN

So as you step in, Blat, the last person, the door slams shut and the hut starts to herk and jerk forward in a completely different direction than you were all traveling.

And Ananka, this is unusual for the hut to be so animated. It’s often of its own mind, but it clearly is doing something here.

The Eastern European‐influenced melody returns, this time on mandolin.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why are we moving?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That is a good question.

Kura? Why are you moving on your own? This is not what we agreed on when I first met you millions of years ago. You are mine. You are not supposed to be moving on your own.

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

BAWWCK!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(sighs)

Kura. Where are you taking us?

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

BUCK! B’GOCK!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I think that is chicken for “to the Oracle”.

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

Ba‐guck.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s the oracle?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why is it a chicken?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why am I still allowing myself to remain here?

MIKE

(laughs)

MAGGIE

Because Ananka is not trusting her vision as much, she trusts that and knows somewhere in her heart that her hut is taking her where they’re supposed to go. Because this is basically like a companion to her and goes with her wherever she goes… so trusts that it’s taken into the right place.

Little by little, the music begins to speed up.

SEAN

The hut is clearly perturbed about something and moving at a pretty brisk pace. So the hut starts to run and it’s a very jerking kind of run. It’s hard to stay standing in the hut when its four chicken legs are all running out of sync with each other.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Does this chicken house that is running have seatbelts, Ananka?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

There are no seatbelts, but you can feel free to roam around as you wish, and trust that you will be safe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t feel very safe, because it’s kind of jumping back and forth and the floor is uneven and there’s, you know, hard edges on things that I feel like I’m going to fall on…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Maybe grab some hay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thanks.

MIKE

I grab some hay from the bed and hold it, looking around.

Laughter.

MARISA

Darcy’s just pressed herself against the wall as tightly as she can.

CARTER

Blat’s shifting back and forth from wall to wall just muttering to himself,

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t trust the house. I don’t trust the house. I don’t like the house, don’t trust the house.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

If there’s one thing you can trust today it is my house. It is Kura. She will take us to where we need to go. Despite her current demeanor and temperament.

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

BUCK!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Question. If this house knew where to go, why did we get lost before in the desert when we were attacked by all the zombies? Where was the house then?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

The house, it was… I believe it was perhaps helping another possible recruit. So it had to get them to the safe place. And now it is here to help us.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s great. We’re the second‐tier recruits. That’s comforting.

Blat, you can put the bazooka away now. We can’t use it in close quarters anyway. Just put it away.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I would hope that you of all people would realize that the talking angry chicken house is not a normal situation. I will keep myself locked and loaded, thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Listen. We already left behind a crater where you destroyed the last of those zombies. Let’s not make a new one here. Let’s just try and relax. Ananka trusts the house. Let’s trust the house.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Perhaps I don’t trust Ananka. Has she given a single vision summary yet that was correct?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Not that I’m aware of.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Great. So now we’re in a giant chicken house. I should feel so much safer about where we are now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

The music is now at double its original tempo and still accelerating.

SEAN

And the hut has reached escape chicken velocity. So if you’ve ever seen a chicken run at full speed where it sort of flaps its wings and almost flies, then comes out to the ground… It sort of leaps off the next dune and you hear the flapping of wings, even though there are no wings, and then it hits the sand hard you all go stumbling. Then it’s running up the next dune and it reaches the top and it squawks and leaps off the next dune… And continues to do that at a high speed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka. I’m feeling really sick. I’m feeling chicken house sick. Can you do anything about this?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You just have to enjoy the ride!

Laughter.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh Kura, this is just like old times!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(groans)

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

BAGUCK!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And Darcy falls to the floor and just lays there gripping the floorboards.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I lean down and give Darcy some of the hay I picked from the bed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How is this supposed to help me?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How is it supposed to hurt?

MARISA

(laughs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay then.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re welcome.

SEAN

And suddenly, on a dime, the chicken house stops.

By now, the music has reached a ridiculous speed as well, and thrashes to a halt. Everyone gives a shout of alarm except for Ananka, who laughs heartily.

SEAN

And the kettle boils and the door opens.

MARISA

There was a kettle boiling? That’s impressive.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Out of the chicken house! Getting out of the chicken house now!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I will also exit the chicken house.

MAGGIE

And Ananka has also only now realized that Greg is not in the chicken house. She does not express this out loud, but is wondering what has happened to Greg. Because the last time she left him she was pretty sure he was in the chicken house. He was in the hut.

SEAN

You watch the house as it nudges against Ananka, like a bit of a rub, and then a little harder, pushing her in a certain direction.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This is the way we must go.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right, let’s go in the direction of the chicken house.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m sorry. I thought the chicken house wanted her to pet it or something…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that may be. Maybe it wants both. But let’s just go in this direction. What is this Oracle you mentioned, Ananka? Why are we here?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So this is Oracle Idries. She is a very old friend of mine. I believe that she will quantify my visions and she will confirm the things I’ve been seeing. At the very least, she will set Moira’s mind at ease.

SEAN

So you’re standing on a cart path and it is green. There is no desert. And you see a sparse forest around you and the cart path leads in two directions: one towards the chicken hut, which is now menacingly shoving Ananka forward again, and the other way away from the chicken hut.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I walk up and start petting the chicken house.

SEAN

It actually coos a little.

(coos)

Like a dove.

(laughs)

Laughter.

MARISA

Sean cannot do chicken noises.

MIKE

He forgot what a chicken sounds like. There are also female chickens, if you were wondering.

SEAN

Thanks. Good to know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See, everybody? It’s a nice chicken house. It likes to be pet.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m fine with the chicken house. Let’s just follow the chicken house to this oracle. Is that where we’re going, Ananka?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Indeed, that is where we going.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey Blat! Come pet the house.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I… Quit saying chicken house like this is a regular turn of events! I’m not petting the weird freaky house!

SEAN (AS KURA, THE CHICKEN HUT)

BAAAWK!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay! It won’t bite you.

Well, it might bite you. I don’t know anything about it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Exactly! Which is why I’m not going to pet it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I’m petting it and it’s not biting me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s making weird dove noises. It doesn’t even know what type of bird it is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fine. Let’s go then.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Can you put the bazooka way before it goes off and hurts someone?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I did not have the bazooka out yesterday. What happened? Massive zombie attack! The chicken house showed up, we’re all like, “Ooh, it’s just the chicken house, it should be fine, put your bazooka away.” Well, I’m sorry! I’m keeping myself locked and loaded and ready for action.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fine. I’m walking behind you then.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(under his breath)

Walking behind me… you should walk behind me and get possessed by some demonic force. You can go ahead and walk behind me, I don’t care.

SEAN

Okay, so I assume all of you are—are you also going, Eggerton or are you going to stay and pet the chicken house?

MIKE

Yeah, no, I’m following. I am following.

SEAN

Okay. So you are following the cart path forward. Ananka! This feels familiar, like the last time you went to the Oracle.

MAGGIE

Suddenly Ananka definitely feels clearer. There’s a bit more certainty now in her walk.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This way, everyone! We are moments away from meeting my old friend.

SEAN

Three hours later…

Laughter.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So like I said, sometimes in my head time is that a jumbled. So three minutes becomes three hours. It’s no big deal.

We made it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(weakly)

Yaaaay.

Crickets.

SEAN

Three hours later…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So if you double the three it becomes a six, and so you know, things scramble. So this is definitely… We are we are here. We are definitely here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you sure? I don’t see any Oracle.

SEAN

Around the bend, you do see a weathered two‐story half‐barn, half‐road weary inn. It sits in a clearing beside the now quite overgrown path. It doesn’t look like too many wagons or carts have traveled this path in some time. There’s a sign half sort of falling off its hook, so it’s hooked by only one hook and it reads: “The Final Inn”.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Normally I would be terrified to approach such a foreboding bar tavern inn. But it doesn’t have animal legs, so I say we take a pit stop here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What does it mean by “Final”?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It only means this is the last place where you can enjoy a half‐decent drink or a meal before we’re eventually murderized.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that sounds nice.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, no, no, no. It’s the last place you look. What you are looking for is always the last place you look.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So, do you think they have, like, drinks and food?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You know what? This is something I can clearly see!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well! The Oracle has spoken. The great witchy powers have finally come to the surface. I believe the tavern serves food.

SEAN

Okay! So who goes into the tavern?

MAGGIE

Ananka leads the way because she’s very familiar with this path. She knows what she’s doing.

SEAN

Okay. So Ananka, you open the door of this tavern and it really squeaks. Like, you have to put your shoulder into the door to open it. And inside is a pretty decrepit inn. Nothing like you remember. Except the bar is sort of in the same place, but there’s a lot of stacked dishes and some broken tables and clearly hasn’t been used in some time.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This is very strange, not how I remember it. Little bit worse for wear. Could use makeover.

MAGGIE

So she approaches the bar because it’s the one thing that looks familiar and similar to what she remembers it looking like.

SEAN

You all enter this inn that has chairs stacked on tables. Looks like they’ve been stacked there for some time. A lot of dust, broken furniture, some old dishes and things stacked on the bar. And Ananka is walking up to the bar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello? Anybody here in this creepy deserted bar?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t think there’s any food.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got my fairy cakes if we need them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You mean the witch was wrong?!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs heavily)

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Huh? What’s that? Hello? What?

SEAN

You hear someone coming down the stairs.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s already out.

The bazooka materializes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve got two now.

Laughter.

CARTER

One on each shoulder, just in case.

SEAN

Okay, so Blat has two bazookas. That’s canon now. Okay!

MIKE

He looks so proud of himself. “I broke the game again!”

SEAN

You hear a voice from up the stairs.

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Um… Is it safe to come down?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whispers)

Blat. Put the bazookas away. This might be the Oracle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s safe if you’re safe. Are you safe? Do you just run a bar and that’s it? Nothing else?

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Bar? What?

SEAN

And this old man starts coming down the stairs. He stops at the bottom of the stairs and pulls out his old glasses and puts them on.

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Hah? Visitors? Visitors? Oh. Visitors. Most peculiar.

SEAN

He starts coming forward to go behind the bar.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you do know you live‐slash‐work at a bar, correct?

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

(chuckles)

Not in some time, young man, not in some time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka? Is this the Oracle?

MAGGIE

Ananka takes a close look, just in case the Oracle has somehow shapeshifted in that few years since she’s seen the Oracle.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, this is definitely not the Oracle.

Excuse me, sir. Where are we? Where is Idries?

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Idries. The Oracle Idries?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

The one and only.

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

No one has come asking for the Oracle in many years.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well, we are here today, my friend, and I hope you can help us. We have come a very long way.

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Hm. All right, well, let me see if I can find some water, some glasses…

SEAN

And he’s picking up empty tankards and sort of dashing out what’s in them, and trying to fill it from an old water barrel.

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

Okay, I’ll get you some water from the road.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Thank you. Much appreciated.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you have any Impescor fizzy water?

SEAN

He doesn’t even answer.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’ll just have regular water. Thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Again, Eggerton, Impescor is a brand that will not exist for several more centuries. You don’t need to continue asking people in this timeline if…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You never know. Maybe the Emperor also came back in time and set up his lovely Impescor brand that we all have come to appreciate so much.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

MARISA

Darcy sidles over to the bar, and plonks her sleeping roll and her other equipment on the top.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Listen, old man. We’re really tired. We’ve been walking for three hours—no, wait! It was six hours, wasn’t it. Six hours! We’ve been in a battle with zombies. We’ve been in the desert. We’re thirsty, we’re hungry. We don’t know where we are because apparently Ananka doesn’t know where we are. What’s going on? Who are you and what is this place?

SEAN (AS AN OLD MAN)

The name is Joe.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh. Hi Joe, I’m Darcy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m Eggerton.

SEAN (AS JOE, THE OLD MAN)

Good to meet you.

SEAN

He puts a dirty tankard in front of you with water in it, Darcy, and he starts filling up a second one.

SEAN (AS JOE)

I’d make you food but there’s not much. I wasn’t expecting visitors.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

For some time it seems. If you don’t run this bar any more, how do you make a living? Do you know of anyone who lives in this area?

SEAN (AS JOE)

No. Not much happens since the Oracle stopped speaking. There haven’t been visitors in many years. You’re the in first some time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

A moment please.

MARISA

And Darcy turns and looks at Ananka.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The Oracle stopped speaking? Shouldn’t you have known about this?

MAGGIE

So she turns to Joe and says,

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

What do you mean the Oracle has stopped speaking? This is the first I’ve heard of this.

SEAN (AS JOE)

It’s been many many years now. But again, we don’t have many travelers, so maybe news travels slowly. People stopped coming to see the Oracle… I think it was five, no, maybe it was ten or more festivals ago.

SEAN

He puts another dirty tankard out in front of you, Ananka, with some water, and starts trying to clean and find a third one.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well, I know she will speak to me. Where is she?

SEAN (AS JOE)

She’s still at the tree but the tree is… it looks dead. It’s just barely a stump now.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I was hoping that was wrong. I was hoping when I saw that it was just a scrambled version of reality.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Saw it with my own eyes. Sort of sad. Hard to get too close with all pieces that have fallen off.

SEAN

He starts filling up another tankard.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What pieces fell off and why are they hard to get past?

SEAN (AS JOE)

Is this your first time to see the Oracle?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It is my first time to see the Oracle! Where I come from we don’t really have oracles and, well, it’s been a long time. It is a really long time—there were zombies and the house with chicken legs and Blat had his bazooka and then he had another bazooka and it went on really long and he was saying there’s no Impescor—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It is his first time.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Huh. That’s pretty apparent.

SEAN

He puts a dirty mug in front of you with some water.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, thank you very much sir.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I’m sorry, I can’t watch this. I worked in food services. Listen, give me those.

MARISA

And I grab all the tankards and I dump the water back down the barrel that’s beside him and I start taking old rags that I find and washing out the tankards and I’m refilling it and I just push the old man out of the way.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is really unsanitary. You can’t run a place like this. You need proper food, you need proper water. We’ve been going for a long time. Just let me deal with this and you tell us what happened to the Oracle.

MARISA

And Darcy, quite professionally I might add, starts pouring in water, handing out tankards, wiping down the bar.

SEAN (AS JOE)

That’s quite impressive.

SEAN

He takes a seat on the other side of the bar.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Sorry, since the wife passed, you know, I never really did all this that much, I just—oh thank you.

SEAN

He takes a mug.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Could you put some of the ale in it from the second barrel?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, absolutely.

MARISA

And Darcy expertly juggles the two tankards and then takes this from the barrel he pointed to, and slides it down the bar, and then slides three more down the bar to Eggerton and Blat and Ananka.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Be sure to charge them a silver each.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’ll be a silver each.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I got this covered.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excellent.

SEAN (AS JOE)

The name is Joe Moodless and it’s… again, you’re the first visitors—I didn’t really expect any visitors. I just sort of live upstairs now. I don’t really come down here much. The raccoons have sort of taken over this part.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…and I’m not sitting here any longer.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I like raccoons.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, there’s one now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, hello, raccoon.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He’s gone.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll go find him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No—

MIKE

I wander off after the raccoon.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

Oh no.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Well, you’re close. You know, the tree is only a few hours north through the path. There’s no sign any more, but you’ll see the path outside. But it’s not much of a tree anymore.

MAGGIE

And Ananka can’t wait any longer to figure out why the Oracle isn’t speaking, and would really like to move along in this point in their journey and tries to get Eggerton to come back from his raccoon hunt.

SEAN

How? Eggerton has now run into the kitchen after a raccoon.

MAGGIE

(laughs)

Ananka calls one of her soul companions, which are random hands that come out of the sky. And it corrals our dear friend Eggerton and brings him back to the bar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What… what? There’s a hand!

SEAN

So you all see Eggerton come floating into the room, a giant hand holding him by the lapels, and depositing him back in the room with you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have questions to ask, everybody. First, did anyone else see the hand? Second… why was there a giant hand? And why did it grab me like that? Third, really, did everyone else see it? Because I think that I may have had fairy cakes and forgot about it? That happens sometimes, I’m a nervous eater—so if someone could please explain what the hand was, I would appreciate that. Raccoon, my little friend, he left me to the hand; he did not want to get involved and now I’m out here. It’s a little disconcerting…

SEAN (AS JOE)

Is he going to go on for a long time?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

He tends to. He tends to.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’ll punch himself out in a moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(losing steam)

I… I just wish I could… oh no. Oh no. I’m going to sit down here.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Eggerton, these are my soul companions. Sometimes, when I need them, they will come from the sky and do what I need them to do. Right now I needed you to get the hell away from that raccoon so we can go talk to the Oracle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You could have just asked.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay. Next time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

SEAN

The old man’s just sitting there looking at all four of you.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Joe… The path is still the same?

SEAN (AS JOE)

Yup. Path is still the same.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Have you noticed any unusual activity around here?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Like zombies?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, or other evil presences? People with black eyes, perhaps. Have you noticed that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mostly zombies.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Just the Slaad.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m sorry? The wha?

SEAN (AS JOE)

The Slaad.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What is, per se, the Slaad?

SEAN (AS JOE)

They wear these robes, they sort of—I don’t know, look like frog sort of people? But they walk around. They call themselves the Slaad.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are they friendly?

SEAN (AS JOE)

They don’t seem to be bothering anyone that I’ve seen.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I always like to make new friends. We should go see them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, yes. Let’s see the frog person cult! No! What we’re going to do is spend the night here in the creepy Final Inn, and then in the morning head off to the dead tree where the Oracle won’t tell us anything.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That sounds like a good plan.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fine.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It sounds like a terrible plan! But it’s the best plan we have.

SEAN (AS JOE)

I’d make your rooms but, well you know. There’s no locks on the doors. Just find a room that’s not too dirty.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know if that’s possible, but thank you very much.

SEAN (AS JOE)

The room with the red door, that’s mine. Any other room’s fine.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So we’re sleeping first.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think that’s a good idea. Just in case we have any other problems.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Demonic problems. Or zombie problems that could have perhaps been solved by giant hands that appear out of nowhere—yes! Let’s get ourselves a room apiece.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Don’t make me call them to slap you.

Let’s get some rest.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So Darcy drains the tankard in front of her. And then I pick up my sleep roll and my other equipment and I march up the stairs.

SEAN

He holds out his hand for the silvers.

MARISA

Do we have any silver on us?

MAGGIE

Well, Ananka’s got it covered. So Ananka pays Joe.

SEAN (AS JOE)

Thank you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thanks, Ananka!

SEAN

So you go upstairs…

MARISA

I go upstairs and I choose a room. And despite my razzing of his bazooka‐toting I sort of feel comforted by having the half‐demon with the bazookas in the room next to me so I shout down,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat! Blat, you should you should take this room next to me. Uh. Yeah. This one here with the green door. I think that would be a good room for you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, very good. I’ll sleep there…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Maybe keep your door open just in case you have a nightmare, and you need someone to come in and comfort you, you know, something like that. Okay, g’night!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll take the first watch!

Laughter.

MIKE

And I sit down…

MARISA

I feel so comforted.

SEAN

Where are you sitting?

MIKE

I sit down along the wall between their two doors.

SEAN

Okay. In the hall.

MIKE

Yeah. In the hall. And promptly fall asleep.

Laughter.

MIDROLL: PODCAST SHOUT-OUT—THE INFINITE BAD

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

SEAN

Hey everyone. Sean here with a quick message before we get to the funny part.

This week, we want to point you to another of our favourite live‐play podcasts: The Infinite Bad. From the people who brought us MarsCorp and The Bunker, we join a group of everyday misfits caught in a nefarious web of evil beyond their reckoning. While this is definitely a horror live‐play, the first two seasons were so laugh out loud funny that I listed it in my list of 2017 best comedies of the year. It’s a must listen.

Search for The Infinite Bad anywhere you listen to podcasts, or visit definitelyhuman.co.uk.

MIDROLL: A 26‐STEP SYSTEM

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, Blat…!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, Snegal.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

There you are, Your Evilship! I didn’t see you hiding behind the door of your office.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I didn’t think we were in this episode together today.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh. Oh! I was told to report to you for training, sir!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh yes. So. I’m going to teach you the most important thing that I learned from my era.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(gasps)

Yeah? Oh… Wait! Wait! Snegal going to go get paper. Be right back!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

There was paper in here.

Silence.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! (laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m still in here. It’s the same room.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

You’re still hiding behind the door. Yeah. Okay!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So the most important thing—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I need a pencil. Be right back!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay.

I was holding a pencil.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, Blat! I’m ready!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay! The most important thing that a young man must know to work in my era.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yes?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And that… is the alphabetization of files.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Ohhhh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s a 26‐step system. It’s all very easy…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Wait… Okay. Step 1! Ready.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

A… Okay, Step 2!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…B.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, hold on. B…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s just the alphabet, that’s… That’s all it is. It’s just—the alphabet goes in a certain order, and that’s the system.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

So Step 3 would be… C.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I gotta write down Step 4. 4… that’s, um… E? No… D!

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(aside)

So we’re going to let him figure this out.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Step 5. E…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If you enjoy the parts of the show where I don’t teach an imp the alphabet, perhaps you’d like to become one of our Patreon supporters. Go to patreon.com/albasalix to get early access to episodes. Or, what you can also do is use the hash tag #otherbothers on Twitter to talk about the show.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Did you know an N upside down is still an N, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. We talked about that quite often in my era.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

O… P…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So please… rate and review the show. Tell a friend if you like it, and uh, if you know of any more intelligent imps that you can send our way, it’d be much appreciated.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, I got all 26 steps written down, Blat. Now… what’s next?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You just stick files that start with each letter on that letter’s shelf.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! So If I were to take your bazooka… Where would I put the bazooka?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, you see, I’m not actually going to let you touch that. See, the only way for that to appear is if I were to say it, and the last thing I want you to do is to get access to my bazooka.

Blat’s bazooka clatters into being.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

WOOOO! Look! The bazooka! Let me touch! I can touch! Oh ho ho ho!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, what have I done?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Hey little flower!

(laughs)

You think you can stop time?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Outside! Outside!

(sighs)

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I’ll show you who can…!

(he imitates the rocket noises)

MORNING AT THE INN

SEAN

Blat, you are having a dream. There’s Impescor sugars and pastries…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like I’m having the wrong dream. This is someone else’s dream! Someone that I know quite dearly.

SEAN

And everything’s ordered in the filing cabinets are all sorting them selves.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ooooh, there you go.

Laughter.

SEAN

And there’s the scent, though, this lovely scent of a beautiful breakfast, slowly heating up… when your eyes open and you realize you smell the most amazing breakfast being cooked.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well! I don’t know whether that’s Joe or Darcy who has prepared such a fine repast, but I will certainly take full advantage before we go on another pointless and exceedingly dangerous adventure.

CARTER

So Blat unfurls his wings from around him, folds them back onto his back…

SEAN

And you are in a beautiful room in an inn.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hmm! I didn’t notice this when it was dark last night. Actually, I would pay more than a silver in night to stay here! Perhaps we did get a bit of a bonus.

CARTER

Buttons up his shirt… Blat opens the door to the hall.

SEAN

You see Eggerton snoring against the far wall.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(snores)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

When he said first watch, perhaps someone was meant to relieve him. Ah well.

Eggsy!

SEAN

You hear the sound of cooking downstairs.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sleepily)

Yeah, what?

(wakes up)

I am defending our homestead against the forces of evil.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And how’s that going?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I… there’s no evil, so… you’re welcome.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, then! flawless logic. It’s time to wake up! There’s food cooking downstairs. Perhaps this day will begin not totally sucking.

SEAN

So both you ladies, you wake up to the sounds of talking in the hall.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I get up and I peek my head out the door.

SEAN

The room you’re in is beautiful. It is crafted, well tailored…

MARISA

So I bolt out of the room, and I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re not in the same place anymore! We’ve been teleported! Where are we? Where are we? Aaa! I didn’t go to sleep in this room!

MARISA

And I look at Blat and Eggerton who are staring at me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is there an evil breakfast being made? Where’s the evil cook?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s a breakfast being made. That’s really all I’m concerned about at the moment. Usually when crazy stuff happens, we don’t at least get a meal out of it, so let’s count ourselves lucky thus far.

MAGGIE

And Ananka, who’s been sitting up because she sleep sitting up, gets up to meet the rest of them, and is equally perplexed by the fact that everything suddenly looks so different.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why is it so nice? It was not this nice last night.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I thought it was very nice.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You think everything’s very nice.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Not everything.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(accusing)

Oh, you apologized to that zombie before you gnawed on his face.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It was his back, and he was trying to eat Blat alive? So I don’t feel like you should probably judge me for that. And I did feel pretty bad about it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

Is this Joe’s place still?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I just hope that in the past, Joe is a better cook that he appeared to be in the present. Or the future. Which was our present. Which actually is further in our past. Whatever! I’m going to eat something!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I hope he uses clean utensils.

SEAN

The orange door at the end of the hall opens and a younger‐looking man steps out and is sort of staring down at himself, quite perplexed. He’s dressed similarly to the old man you met, but the clothes are much nicer put together, sort of a country feel, sort of a nice flannel and some corduroy pants.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, do his eyes look black. They look kind of black.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I think they’re just a dark brown.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sure? Really?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m going to go in for a closer look.

MIKE

And I walk towards him.

SEAN

He looks up at you. He’s like,

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

I’m alive!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, you are, and… What color would you call your eyes right now, kind sir?

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

I don’t know!

SEAN

And he runs back into the room to look in the mirror.

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

Uh, they’re still brown.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They’re just brown, everybody. It’s okay. We have a brown‐eye situation.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is it Joe?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Joe, is that you?

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

Uh…. I think so.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s Joe, he says, but I don’t know if we can trust him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well perhaps the breakfast downstairs is being cooked by his wife, who is… not around from last night.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She was dead.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think it might be a sensitive subject for him though, so you should probably—

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

My wife is dead?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh, no…! Your wife is most likely downstairs cooking breakfast for us all.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But she was dead yesterday, yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aghhh.

SEAN

Joe runs down the stairs.

SEAN (AS YOUNGER JOE)

Darling!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Trying to tapdance around the D‐word and you just stop right on it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is going on?! Blat, get your bazookas ready.

MARISA

And Darcy starts slowly going down the stairs, peeking between the banisters and trying to keep a low profile.

SEAN

You hear talk and some singing coming from the kitchen, a woman’s voice. You hear Joe saying something. There’s sounds of cooking going on, and wonderful scents coming up: cinnamon and chocolate.

MARISA

So Darcy gets to the kitchen and I…

SEAN

First of all when you hit the main floor… this inn is quite nice. I wouldn’t say it’s stunning, but it’s a well put together inn with standard tables, and everything’s clean and there’s some tapestries hanging on the wall…

MARISA

So I’m just weaving my way through the tables going nope, nope, nope, nope. Nope nope nope nope. No, this is not what was here last night.

And I walk over to the entrance to the kitchen, and I peek my head around, expecting to see raccoons.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello?

SEAN

You see a woman who is—light is just radiating off of her and she wears a golden crown, and long flowing golden robes. And she is moving from the stove to the pantry and back, and laughing and singing, and Joe is just drinking something and laughing and watching her. And she just spins and catches your eye, and she’s like,

SEAN (AS THE WOMAN)

There you are! Grab a table, Darcy! I’ve got it all under control.

MARISA

And I’m quite mesmerized by the light that’s emanating from this woman. So I slowly shuffle in and take a seat, and I’m still staring at her in awe.

SEAN (AS THE WOMAN)

I made the table right here in the kitchen for all of you.

SEAN

And she puts down a bowl of oatmeal that has cinnamon and chocolate in it, and she dashes away to the stove. And Joe is just watching her, enraptured.

MIKE

I come down the stairs next.

SEAN

K.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, you should come she went through overnight cleaning crew did. It’s pretty impressive.

CARTER

Blat comes downstairs and looks about, very impressed by how nice the inn is. Not at all surprised that they’ve somehow got back in time, because that’s just their lives now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, my friend. I don’t think this is a cleaning crew that did this. I think once again, we’ve slipped backwards in time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What do you mean, “once again”?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This time though, I think perhaps we’ve only gone back, eh, 30, perhaps 40 years? So in the grand scale of things not too badly. Is that oatmeal that I smell? Lovely!

SEAN

Ananka, you’re coming down as well?

MAGGIE

Ananka comes down the stairs. And yes, she feels like she’s not as shocked by the fact that they’ve slipped back through time because it’s very common for her to do this. She didn’t choose to do this, but it just happened, so…

SEAN

Yep. It feels pretty normal.

So all three of you walk into the kitchen, and you see Darcy sort of just blinking and staring her bowl, and this woman who is gleaming light, and is wearing a gleaming crown, in a set of golden robes, is moving around the kitchen and putting down other bowls on the table and utensils, and sort of tousling Joe’s hair every once in a while, and gestures at you all.

SEAN (AS THE WOMAN)

Please, please, please! Eat! You’ve been on the road a long time. Well, give or take.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Mrs. Joe might be an oracle?

SEAN

She laughs, and it’s sort of a song when she laughs. She says,

SEAN (AS THE WOMAN)

You may call me Celene.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello Celene. Um… You’re not what I was expecting from an innkeeper’s wife.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Oh, no, I’m not an innkeeper’s wife!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh no, of course not! You’re merely in an inn, serving us breakfast. How best would you describe yourself, Celene?

SEAN

She laughs.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Why, I’m the goddess of the moon, of course!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course you are! The goddess of the moon! Why wouldn’t you be?

They both laugh merrily.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Would you like extra chocolate with that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I would absolutely love that! That would be spectacular! I’ll take my bowl over here while I silently scream into the corner.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Very well!

SEAN

And she brings over some extra chocolate for you—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(a long, muffled scream)

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I too would like extra chocolate.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Oh, but I made something special for you, Eggerton, being as you are one of the fae.

SEAN

And she slides this pile of cakes over towards you, whereas everyone else has oatmeal.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Thank You. I like cakes.

MIKE

And I start digging into the cakes.

SEAN

They are unbelievable.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps, tries to talk with his mouth full)

Wha ah you hahe…? So good…

SEAN (AS CELENE)

(playfully)

No no no! Can’t tell my secrets!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sighs dreamily)

MIKE

And I keep eating.

SEAN

She tousles Eggerton’s hair.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hee hee!

MARISA

So I like to think I might have a way with goddesses now, so I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh! Celene! Goddess of the moon yes. I—

SEAN

She puts a finger right on your lips.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

You are very charming, Darcy, but you worship another!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, “worship” is a strong word! But I’m interested in other goddesses… I’m really interested to know why you would appear here in this inn, where Joe is thirty years younger, I want to say…?

SEAN

She laughs—ha ha ha ha!—and then everything gets really dark in the room. She’s like,

SEAN (AS CELENE)

(huge, booming voice)

Because I’m being spited!

(back to normal)

Oh wait, let’s keep this let’s keep this pleasant.

SEAN

And everything gets lighter again and she starts going back to cooking

MARISA

And I just start eating my oatmeal mechanically.

MAGGIE

And Ananka is also eating her oatmeal, trying to figure out exactly what is happening, because again, her sight is quite unreliable and she can’t really understand why this is happening.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did anyone else notice it get really dark just now?

SEAN

She goes,

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Shh. Shush, shush, shush. It’s all good. Enjoy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, they’re very good cakes. But it got dark and it’s light outside, so I don’t know why it would get dark like that—

SEAN (AS CELENE)

(sharply)

Pssst! Psst!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh… Yeah? What?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

That’s enough.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. I’m just trying to solve the mystery of the dark room.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Psst! Pst pst pst pst!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Oh, fine! I’m going to sit and eat—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Blat takes a spoonful of his yogurt and lobs it at Eggerton’s head.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Awww…

MAGGIE

Where did you get yogurt?

MARISA

Yeah, when did you get yogurt?

Laughter.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Ohh. I would kill for some Greek yogurt right now.

SEAN

Okay, she puts some yogurt in front of you.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Thank you.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

So we don’t have a lot of time. Who has questions?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I—

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Good! Because I have some things that I want to say.

So. I believe you are trying to reach the Oracle.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That is correct.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Mmm hmm. I don’t have much time. I really shouldn’t be here during the day, as I’m sure you know. But…

(furious)

I need you to do something about what they’re doing!

SEAN

And the room gets dark again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whispers)

That’s the dark room thing I was talking about before.

MAGGIE

And Ananka is unfazed by this, because she’s encountered such beings before.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Clearly.

MAGGIE

And asks,

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

What do you need us to do?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

(booming)

I don’t know. Everything is corrupted. Everything!

(normal again)

Oh, excuse my manners. Everything is corrupted. Nothing can be trusted.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I have sensed this too. There’s been darkness in my visions and things I thought were safe are no longer safe. I need to understand why this is happening. I’m having trouble. This is not usually what happens. I usually have no trouble seeing what I need to see.

MAGGIE

And she looks around pensively, because she doesn’t want anyone to really have an idea that she’s kind of doubting her abilities.

SEAN

The Goddess laughs.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Ha ha ha! Well, us goddesses are not having that problem. That would be insane! We are gods and goddesses!

The Old One is waking. And she is playing games.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… frog cult?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Oh, the frogs! You want to talk about the frogs!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t need to talk about the frogs…

SEAN (AS CELENE)

The Wardens of the New Moon, they call themselves! They are not related to me. They are not related to the moon at all. They are evil. Evil! They walk with the Old One herself.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

When did this start happening?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

I’m not sure.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Our plan… our timeline—

SEAN (AS CELENE)

(booming)

I care not for your timeline!

SEAN

And the room gets dark again.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

The world is out of balance, partly because of your meddling!

(bright and happy again)

But… You are here and you are travelling to see the Oracle. Which just happens to be the temple of the Old One! So, so, so! Perhaps you could just tie it all up in a pretty bow!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What happened to Roderick, the raccoon I met? He was very friendly and then these hands came and took me away and I couldn’t play with him anymore.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

I’ll return you to Roderick shortly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you.

MAGGIE

And Ananka’s quite annoyed by the goddess’s attitude, because she resents the meddling accusation… Even though she knows that she’s technically meddling a little bit.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me, Moon Goddess?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Yes?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you trying to say that there’s someone at the Oracle that you don’t like, and you need help disposing of…?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Like a goddess needs the help of mortals! Please! I’m simply saying that you’re in an opportune time for the balance to shift.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t really understand all the balance stuff. We were just supposed to come here for the Oracle. Is the oracle still at the Oracle place?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh! Well, that’s good. We thought she was dead.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Nope! Not dead.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Is she speaking?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

No. Not speaking at all.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is that because of the Old One?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ooh. I think I’m getting this.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

I think I need to slow down for you mortals.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Little bit. Little bit.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I resent that.

SEAN (AS CELENE)

Good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Could I have some more chocolate to go with my—

SEAN (AS CELENE)

NO!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So… we go to the Oracle who is being… kept prisoner by this Old One you’re talking about? And we free the oracle. Right? Is that what you’re talking about?

SEAN (AS CELENE)

I give up.

Well! Good luck to you all.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Wait! But! I like chocolate! No!

SEAN

And the room just—zooomp!—resets, and all the food is gone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(a stricken gasp)

SEAN

It’s cobwebs and no fire. And you hear a chariot lifting off outside and heading off into the sky.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One of them sky chariots are outside.

MARISA

Is Joe old again?

SEAN

Yeah, you don’t see Joe.

MARISA

Ohh.

CARTER

Blat runs upstairs and knocks on the red door.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Joe?

SEAN

There’s no answer.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sadly)

Oh, Joe.

CARTER

Blat slowly opens the door.

SEAN

You see a room that’s actually kept quite perfect from where it was. You see a bunch of tapestries, like, too many on the walls, as if all the tapestries downstairs were all put up here. But they’re old and dusty… and you see a skeleton laying on the bed.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(brightly)

All right…

CARTER

Blat slowly closes the door again, walks downstairs to see the others…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, did you did you wake Joe? Was he up there?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! Joe was up there and said that this is something that sometimes happens… and all we need to do is go to the Oracle place and investigate for ourselves. Joe is just an old man who wants us to take care of this problem.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow. Well, okay, I guess he must know something then…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yep. Good old Joe…

So have we all had our fill of imaginary oatmeal and yogurt?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent. So. Off we go ito a several‐hour journey to the Oracle who’s being held by the Old One.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So, as they were assured by Joe that the path is still the same, they follow the path to the Oracle.

SEAN

So you exit outside the inn. As you all step out into the morning light you see that there is the chicken hut sitting outside the inn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi, Chicken Hut!

SEAN

It sidles over towards Eggerton and leans into you.

MIKE

I give it a good stroke along the side.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I suppose we’ll save time if we travel in this ridiculous domicile.

SEAN

And the door opens, and… Darcy and Blat, you see the minotaur standing in the doorway.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s the minotaur!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ll handle this! Bazooka!

The bazooka appears.

MAGGIE

(laughs)

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Would you put away that goddamn bazooka?

Grishka! Greg! Oh my god, where did you go?

SEAN (AS GREG THE MINOTAUR)

I’m sorry Ananka. I had to do something.

SEAN

And he steps out of the chicken hut and starts approaching you all.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The last time I met this minotaur, he bagged and tagged and roofied me and I wound up in this ridiculous era.

SEAN

He nods to you, Blat, and turns to Darcy.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Darcy. It’s good to see you made it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(stiffly)

Thank you. How are you?

SEAN (AS GREG)

I’m fine. I’m sorry for what I had to do, but I’m glad I saved you both. And You too, little one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Who are you?

SEAN

And he turns to Ananka.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Ananka… you have to come with me.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I will follow wherever you need me to go, Greg.

SEAN (AS GREG)

No, you don’t understand.

I’m the one who told the Shattering.

MAGGIE

…and Ananka just looks like she’s been stabbed in the back five million times.

SEAN (AS GREG)

I’ll explain. I’m trying to fix it.

MAGGIE

She’s speechless.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel perfectly justified in calling for my soul weapon. He is responsible for the Shattering! He is the reason why I am here beside a chicken house and not at some future point in time, sleeping in my orthopedic bed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat. He might be the only one who knows how to get us out of here. Just be quiet for a minute!

SEAN (AS GREG)

Ananka. You have to come with me. We only have a small window to fix this.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Why should I ever trust you again?

(sighs)

I saved you. I tried to help you. This is all because of you.

SEAN (AS GREG)

It’s not. It’s because of what they tried to do. They tried to destroy everything, not me, Ananka. I made a mistake.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well, it’s a pretty big one, Greg.

SEAN (AS GREG)

I know.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

We have to fix it.

SEAN (AS GREG)

I know. You have to come with me. But someone needs to reach the Oracle.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(exhales)

We have to make a decision.

MAGGIE

So Ananka turns to all three of her companions and hopes one of them speaks up and is happy to take on the task.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m sorry. Am I understanding this correctly? You… are going with the minotaur and leaving us? Here?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Not all of you. Just one has to go. We can’t abandon this part of our mission.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hmm. Let’s See. What do I want to do? Go with my kidnapper? Or perhaps moving forward and solving this whole moon goddess Celene‐Idries situation. I choose Idries!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You can’t go to the Oracle alone! No one can go there alone. We don’t know what waits there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I still have questions… Why—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He put you in a bag when he put you in this era. That’s why you’re here, okay? That’s who the minotaur is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ohh.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Darcy. I feel there is something magical in you. I feel she will recognize this, and you are the one with the most chance for her speaking again.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Gee, no pressure. Well, what do you think, Mr. Minotaur? Am I supposed to go to the Oracle? Do you know anything?

SEAN (AS GREG)

I’m afraid I made a lot of this mess. Darcy… I’m not sure. I’m just trying to do the right thing.

(sighs)

I need Ananka to come with me but someone has to reach the Oracle.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fine. Blat and I will go to the Oracle. Eggerton, are you coming to the Oracle?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(nervous)

Why is everyone looking at me like that?

Uh…

ANNOUNCER

There may be strength in numbers.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay… I’ll go with Blat and Darcy, because they’ve got bazookas and… I’ll go with them.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Good. Because I wouldn’t trust him with you. I barely trust him with myself. I’d rather walk with the devil myself than have you three face it with him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well that settles it, then!

SEAN

So Greg gets back into the chicken hut.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

My three. I have faith in you. I know you will make it. This is what you have been waiting for. This is what you’ve been training for. Please, go. And take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay! With me in charge. Nothing bad could possibly happen.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

One of us is actually in charge, right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Let’s go forth, Teeeam Fairy!

MAGGIE

Ananka reluctantly enters the hut and goes with Greg.

SEAN

The door closes and the hut starts running off down the road.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like there’s a lot there that’s remained unsaid.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

She just left us here. In the middle of nowhere. With an oracle and an Old One and a Goddess of the Moon and a frog cult.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Don’t forget about Joe. He seemed pretty nice.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And Eggerton is our leader. I don’t have a good feeling about this.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I’d say we would be better off with Ananka, but all we usually get is, “I’m sorry, I don’t know why this isn’t working.” So really we’re no worse off. We don’t have a chicken house, so frankly, I think we’re ahead of the game. Now… l let’s walk for several hours so we’re good and exhausted before we actually meet anything of any import.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Which came first, the chicken house or Ananka?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, what will really blend your brain is… Where did the chicken house come from? Was there an egg house?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe it was just an egg apartment.

SEAN

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now you’ve blended my brain.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I’m the new leader. Let’s go.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with Carter Siddall as Blat, Michael Howie as Eggerton, 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 our Patreon for weekly bonus content, access to our Discord server, and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: A GIANT WHAT?

SEAN

We begin in the desert. And the four adventurers! are sitting around a giant…

What did you call it?

MIKE

(laughs)

MARISA

…turd? What are we talking about?

Laughter.

SEAN

Therrre’s our outtake.

MARISA

What?!

SEAN

You said you wanted to open with them sitting around…

MARISA

Oh, a giant crater.

SEAN

Thank you.