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32: Fort Knights

The Blatavan makes its way to Fort Clattering, where the children of the nearby village plead for the party’s help.

This week’s recommended listening is the sci-fi audio fiction podcast Project Nova!

The Peeps This Week:

Content Warning: Forcible confinement, kidnapping, and dangerous driving.

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The Shattering isn’t going to want us to get to where the Shattering is.

So maybe something’s being sent out to take care of us.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You mean the giant black thing with all the tendrils?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

In my mind I’ve be referring to it as “Stabby the Evil Cloud”.

SEAN

A giant figure emerges out of the darkness, fully clad in armour.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Jacklyn?

SEAN (AS POSSESSED JACKLYN)

You must not reach the Mount.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think I can actually fit in the chute.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, you’re going to climb in?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, it’s okay, it’s fine!

SEAN

Blat launches into the air, pulling an immobile Jacklyn.

MIKE (AS POSSESSED EGGERTON)

Come on Blat, I have to show you something in here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Get some of those chemically infused fairy cake goo that we had from yesterday.

SEAN

That’s when an explosion rocks the caravan, showing a giant gaping hole in what’s left of the kitchen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ohh, it’s the mixing bowl.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I see. We left an explosive substance in the care of an inanimate object.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are we going to do with Jacklyn?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

We could put them with Moira.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where is Moira?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is she angry at us?

SEAN

You see Moira thrashing in a chair when she catches sight of you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi Moira! Still working on stopping the end of time!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(muffled screams of rage)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’ll check in later. Okay, bye bye!

THE BLATAVAN

SEAN

On the western edge of the River Twist, where it loops back on itself, the Blatavan creaks along in the unearthly darkness.

High, high above, Mount Zirma disappears into the heavens.

But now the heavens are a roiling black darkness of tendrils reaching outward. A darkness that distorts your vision as you look at it, as if seeing through the void through the end of time.

A fort rises up on the banks to the west of the cart. And ahead on the road, a small village appears in the distance, and a figure is hunched over in the rain with his hood pulled up, driving the Blatavan.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, I’ll admit it. I was hoping if it took us long enough to get up to the top of the mountain that maybe the swirling, tentacle‑y blackness would have moved on to somewhere else.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t think it’s moving on.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, it appears to be getting larger.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Swirlier.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Swirlier, or tentacle‑y.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Tendrilly?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Tendrilly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Tendrilly.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Tendrilly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Tendrilly.

Evil? Definitely evil.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Evil! Lots of evil. Lots of big, big old evil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I wonder if they have ice cream up there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why would there be ice cream up there?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I kind of feel like ice cream, and we’re on our way to there, so maybe just they have ice cream.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Would it be easier then to sate your current ice cream needs to go into the back where the old kitchen is and maybe look and see if there’s… Oh, that’s right! There’s a wall missing! Was that possibly where the ice cream was kept?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe.

But while the insurance claim works its way through the system, it’s best if we not discuss it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You always mention paperwork that you’re doing, but I don’t quite know who you’re filing it with. Are you mailing this stuff somewhere? I don’t understand.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I’ve got these stamps. I’ve been carrying them with me for like, feels like a year. And just every now and then I send off a report to Moira.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But we know where Moira is. Let’s address the elephant in the Blatavan. Our former boss is tied up in one of the secret magic rooms in this rumbling behemoth of a cart, and we need to perhaps someone—maybe Darcy, definitely Darcy—go back there, untie her, and figure out what’s been happening.

Or we get Snegal to do it, either one.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey guys!

MARISA

And I lean out one of the windows of the Blatavan.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey guys! Guys, so I shoved the dinners for Jacklyn and Moira through the door. Closed it really quickly, because I’m just nervous what might go on in there.

Um, I know they’re tied up, but I’m hoping that somehow they can figure out how to get the food into their mouths.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Moira’s gagged too.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t want to go in there, okay? It makes me very nervous. I feel like providing the sustenance is enough, and maybe someone else could follow up and do the degagging. Right, Blat? Anyone?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s funny how in just a year we’ve gone from regular people to people who are trying to save the universe to war criminals.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Does it really count…? Oh no, yeah it is. We’re in a war. We have broken probably a couple. I mean, I haven’t seen any rule books, but I imagine we are likely at the very least accomplices to Snegal’s crime of kidnap and forcible confinement.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay, I see. You’re right. What I’ve done is wrong. It’s wrong. So we have to go in. We have to go in and face Moira. Who’s going to come with me?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, not it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Not it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I’ll go with you, Darcy!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, Snegal, you probably do know Moira the best and—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh wait, you’re going to see Moira?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, well—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Whoops, sorry, gotta go fix something!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snegal!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And I’m just gonna keep this thing rumbling along the old dark lonesome road. Pretty busy here!

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 players Carter Siddall, Michael Howie, and Marisa King.

Episode 32: Fort Knights.

MARISA

So I approach the door that I’ve just recently opened and shoved food through. So I open it carefully.

SEAN

Okay, you see Jacklyn, who’s tied up, does not look happy, and you see Moira sitting in the chair tied to it and gagged.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gingerly)

Hey there! How is everyone doing? Don’t want to disturb anyone, but I have some food. Feel like you guys haven’t eaten in a little while.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Mmm, mmm!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I know, you need to have the gags removed. So, I’m just going to start with you, Moira. How are you?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Mmm mmm.

MARISA

And I lean down right in her face to sort of check how things are going.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How have things been?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(enraged)

Mmm mm mmm!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I’m going to remove the gag, but you have to behave yourself. Don’t you want to eat some yummy food? So you don’t want to do anything that might cause any problems. Okay, here I go.

MARISA

And I go around behind her, and I undo the gag and let it just sort of go down around her neck, and I back away quickly.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(sighs with relief)

Oh, thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re welcome.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Now if you could just untie me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, no.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Excuse me?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s not happening. I’m going to just feed you the porridge with this spoon. Would you like some?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

No, you are going to untie me, you work for me, and we’re going to arrest Snegal, and we’re going to get the Nexus back up and running.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I don’t think that’s how this is going to go. You do realize there are a lot of rumours swirling around about you, right?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Great. Rumours? So let’s keep me locked up because of rumours, when clearly someone has kidnapped me, bound me, and gagged me against my will. Oh, where does the evidence point, Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, you were getting pretty dark, shall I say, around the time of the unfortunate incident with the Nexus, and I feel like there were other things going on with you, Moira. For instance, let’s start with where did all those really large soldiers come from, and what was their purpose?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Our purpose is to defeat the Shattering.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, but… were you perhaps constructing a bomb of some sort?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh, oh, oh yes, let’s talk about bombs, Darcy. Let’s talk about unleashing devastation.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Alright, get it out, get it out. I know you need to release your anger.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I think we’re very similar, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

We both do what we need to do to accomplish the ends.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you mean deceive people who come to believe you and trust you so that you can get where you need to go without any thought to their mental health or physical health or sanity? Do you mean like that?

SEAN

She just looks at herself and then looks at you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What—I don’t do that!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Really, Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The explosion in the Nexus was a mistake. That was not meant to happen.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

So was mine.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know about that. And by the way, where’s your sister? Where’s Ananka, Moira? What’s happened to her?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I don’t know where my sister is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hmm, interesting. Because I don’t know whether she thought too much of you. Maybe that’s why she’s not here anymore.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Maybe. Or maybe she’s doing what she needs to do. That’s what we do, us sisters.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy. This is getting tiresome. If you’re not going to tell me everything and tell me the truth and tell me what’s going on, I’m just going to put the gag back on.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Fine.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, fine. You sure you don’t want the porridge?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is the last porridge of the day.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Mm-hmm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right. Fine.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Enjoy your conscience, Darcy.

MARISA

And I put the gag back on. And I walk over to Jacklyn, who is—

SEAN

Is not saying anything.

MARISA

So is not gagged, though?

SEAN

No.

MARISA

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, Jacklyn.

SEAN

Jacklyn does not respond. Just looks at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s going on? Any Shattering in there? Any residual…?

MARISA

And I’m checking out their eyes.

SEAN

Their eyes look good.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Jacklyn? Hello?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah. What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So you’re- you’re okay?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I don’t know if I’m okay, Darcy. I attacked my friends.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, we’ve all done that. When the Shattering takes over, that is a natural step in the process, it seems. So you should not feel badly.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I’ll take some of that porridge.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Here you go. Here you go. I even put some brown sugar on it.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Thanks. You’ll have to feed me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, yeah. The tied up. Oh, okay. Sure. Here you go.

MARISA

And I dip the spoon in.

SEAN

They eat it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How is that?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. I don’t think we’re gonna have—

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

No. Don’t untie me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s wrong?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I don’t know. If I could do that, I could do it again.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you still feel something inside?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I didn’t feel anything inside. It just happened.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. That’s how it was for me, too.

Okay, well, maybe for now we’ll just leave you tied up.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But I’m sure it won’t be for long.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Oh, and take the knife from Moira’s boot. She’s been trying to get to it.

SEAN

Moira’s like,

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

(straining)

Mmgh! Mmm! Mm!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?! Moira?

Moira, let’s talk about conscienceses! Is that the right- anyway, fine.

MARISA

And I walk over and I dig down into her boot.

SEAN

She tries to kick you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Mmm mmmm mmm!

MARISA

And I grab it out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is really sharp! This looks very dangerous!

Okay. No, no, no, Moira. No.

MARISA

And I gather the two dishes up and I back out of the room glaring at Moira and I close the door.

SEAN

Okay.

MARISA

And I lean out the window.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that was fun. Thanks for that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my Lord, she has a knife! What did you do to them? What did you do to them?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Darcy, Darcy, why?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my God. Oh my God. Stop the cart! Stop the cart! We’re very bad people!

Cut to the interior of the Blatavan, a few moments later.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What you’re saying is that you didn’t actually stab Moira. You just threatened her with the knife.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I didn’t do that. No, she had the knife, Eggerton! Moira had the knife.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And was threatening you while tied up?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t understand how she had a knife and attacked you while she was like bound and gagged.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Because you don’t understand anything. That’s not what happened. The knife was in her boot.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh guys, I checked! Moira’s still alive.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(relieved)

Oh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why didn’t you just say that, Darcy?!

Okay, next time you want to tell us something, tell Snegal and then he can come and tell us directly so we get the full story.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You know what? That’s probably a good idea. Snegal’s easier to talk to.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Now listen, we have to figure out what we’re doing with Moira! Are we just going to keep her locked up in there forever?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, how is that then? We really are war criminals, I think.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Oh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Doesn’t she have to have some kind of trial, or we have to find out what’s really going on?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Oh, like in one of those books? Ha ha ha.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snegal, you’re enjoying this too much.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Oh, sorry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We need to figure out what Moira knows because we’re all in danger.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But Moira doesn’t want to talk to you about it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, she might want to talk to you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t think she wants to talk to me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can go talk to her though if you want.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mmm. I think that would make her angrier.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, wait a second. If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed about Eggerton is that he seems to bring out the best in people. Or throws them into a blind rage, but usually brings out the best in people.

So we’ll throw Eggsy in, see what she has to say to… I mean, look at him.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Ohoho.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Look at the face. Look at the face on him.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

And he’s wearing a bowl.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s wearing a bowl! If you forget for a second how crazy that is, that’s adorable! So we’ll send him in. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Check her other boot for another knife.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right. In you go. Jacklyn seems okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. So we leave Jacklyn where they are…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think for now, although we need to think when we’re going to release them because we can’t keep them like that. They’re not doing anything wrong.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why don’t we release them now?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They don’t want to be released.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, it’s interesting.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They’re nervous.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I get that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That makes sense.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, you were just recently taken over. I think you can understand.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, technically I was taken over. Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Technically you were taken over.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. Technically speaking, I was.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that’s what happened to Jacklyn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Sure. So, so I’ll go in now that you’ve primed the subject and I will use my guile to extract details on Moira’s plan that can then inform our plan to save time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sounds great.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right. Watch how the masters do it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait a second. Who’s driving right now?

Oh, just a sec. Excuse me. Pardon me!

He opens the door and hurries back up to the driver’s seat.

LATER

SEAN

A hundred feet down the road, everyone is gathered in the corridor around Eggerton and the open door trying to figure out: where’s Moira?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It wasn’t me. That’s all I can say for sure.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, when I left that room, Moira was tied up very securely and gagged. How could she have escaped?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I… I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet it had something to do with the knife you took away from her.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I took it away from her!

Jacklyn comes to, groaning.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What… Jacklyn, Jacklyn, what happened?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

What happened? You untied Moira.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I didn’t.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Moira said that if you untied her, she would tell you everything.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(laughs)

Oh, yeah. I forgot about that part.

So see, what happened is, I got her right where I wanted her. Right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

With your guile.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, with my guile.

And then she said exactly what I thought she’d say, which was, “Untie me. I’ll tell you everything.” So guess what I did?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

He untied her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I untied her. I bet she didn’t see that coming.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And did she tell you… everything?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no, she hit me on the head. But I feel like we’re further ahead than we were before.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How is that, Eggerton? Moira’s gone and we know nothing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, but we no longer have to think about what to do with Moira being tied up in this room.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, we have to think about what she’s plotting against us because she’s now somewhere out there!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, because she’s no longer in this room, thus propelling us forward.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay. This just shows we have to get up the mountain quicker because Moira’s probably headed towards the Shattering.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Whose idea was it to send Eggerton in?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It was Eggerton’s.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Best idea I’ve ever had.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But to be fair, we let him, which was stupid on our part.

Jacklyn, are you okay?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I’ll be fine. Just… man, she’s fast.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Shatteringly fast? Sort of an otherworldly quickness?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

It was insanely fast, yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Evil speed.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Like a blur.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Moira doesn’t look that nimble.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did it smell like black licorice?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

You were here, Eggerton. I was unconscious.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(laughs)

Yeah, I keep forgetting that I was here and I untied her! I should remember that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, all right, all right. Until I feel 100% comfortable, we’re tying up Eggerton again and we’re putting him here beside Jacklyn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, all I’m saying…

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I think I want to leave the room now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it’s fine. You can stay here because I just, you know, I stopped and I licked the whisk on the way from the front past the kitchen on the way here. And Blat… that elephant that was in the room earlier, is in this room now.

I don’t want anyone to look it in the eye…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Tie him up, tie him up now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, come here buddy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Awww.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, first the hands, then the feet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s kind of tight.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, it’s kind of tight. And now here’s something that I’ve been meaning to do for a year. We’re going to shove a rag into your mouth.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Umph! Ummm. Mm mmmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, now the first thing that I’m going to do is throw the whisk away.

Eggerton goes on chattering despite being gagged.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And then we’re going to continue moving forward and hope that we hit the Shattering before we hit Moira; I can’t believe I just said that.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Please, please don’t leave me in here with him, even gagged.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Come on, Jacklyn.

MARISA

And I help them up and take them to the kitchen where I get them a drink of water.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, Eggerton, you just hang out in there now.

She closes the door. Eggerton is still mumbling to himself nonstop.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, Jacklyn.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you see that out there?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah, it looks like a village.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, and then that, that figure in the cloak just sort of standing there?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s kind of odd, isn’t it?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah, who’s driving?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Lord, I forgot again. Just a second! Ha ha, I like to get involved in the conversations.

Blat opens the door and exits once again.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Luckily, it’s only a slight incline.

FURTHER ALONG THE ROAD

SEAN

Blat makes the driver’s seat and corrects the course of the cart, stopping it from going too far up the embankment and turning it back towards the road.

Ahead on the road is a small village, and as seen, there’s a figure in a cloak standing by the side of the road on the approach.

Fort Clattering is off to the west, not too far and visible, rising up out of the darkness.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, I foresee a problem.

If Moira made it to this small village, all she’s going to have to say is, “Help me! I’ve been kidnapped by a half demon and a fairy and a human-type person, and oh, they’re coming to collect me! Quick, murder them if they come!” And now we’re about to be murderized by small-town rubes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, did you seriously just leave the driver’s seat again?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Lord in heaven!

He rushes out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No one comes out here to talk to me!

Darcy opens a window.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I’m going to talk to you through the window, Blat. Just stop the Blatavan and come back into the kitchen.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It seems like a waste of time to have to continuously stop the Blatavan, and I can go back there to talk to you about important things, and I have to come back out here again.

I’ve just been putting books down on these floor pedals to allow us to keep going.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, just stop right now. We have a problem. Get down here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, so we release the left foot, and we release the right.

SEAN

The Blatavan comes to a shuddering stop.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! I guess that’s it. I’ve never actually successfully shut everything down before.

All right, I guess we’re good!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, so you make a good point about the Moira thing. She must be somewhere in this village.

In fact, do you see that cloaked figure there, Blat?

SEAN

The cloaked figure is starting to move towards you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, that can’t be Moira if they’re starting to move towards us, but I thought for a minute maybe it was Moira.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, this could be anybody. This could be someone who’s taking the official census for the town, and we have to add a few more if we’re going to rumble inside.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s a ridiculous job. Who does that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve heard that some people do that. Ridiculous as it may be.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Lame.

(calls out)

Excuse me?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

Oh, excuse me?

SEAN

A young voice answers.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello, could you tell us what that big structure in the distance is?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

Fort Clattering?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, never heard of that. Are you from the fort?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

No, I’m from the village outside the fort on the road.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, what’s the name of your village?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

Clattering.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

I’m sorry to bother you. I just…

A woman ran through town and said… said some bad things about people that were coming.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, well then we should, um, continue on in the village before these bad people show up!

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

I think it’s you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Nooooo, nooo.

Would we have stopped and started talking to you in such a friendly manner if we were the bad people?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

I hope it’s you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

I need help.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

With what?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

If you could do even some of the things that she said… We don’t have much, but we’ve gathered up all we have and we would pay you. Please.

SEAN

You see that under the hood is worn clothing, clearly designed for farming and hard labour.

She stands tall but obviously quite young and her hair is tied back and it looks like she’s been crying.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, just a minute. I’m gonna come down there and speak to you.

MARISA

So I just drop out of the Blatavan through the big hole in the wall.

SEAN

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi, my name is Darcy.

SEAN

She steps back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, you don’t have to be afraid. All those things you heard are complete lies.

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

Oh, then you can’t help us?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, maybe not all of them. What’s your name?

SEAN (AS YOUNG WOMAN)

Bree.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Nice to meet you, Bree. So what seems to be the problem?

SEAN (AS BREE)

The fort. It’s taking all of our parents.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You mean… people from the fort are taking your parents?

SEAN (AS BREE)

The knights. The dark knights. They’re taking our parents. At first it was just for a while and they would come back. But now there’s nobody left except a couple of our elders and all of us who are underage.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, has anyone been to the fort? Do you know what’s happening there?

SEAN (AS BREE)

We try. We can’t get close.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

Well, just a minute. Let me confer with my compatriot over here.

SEAN (AS BREE)

We’ve gathered up all of our… anything of value and shiny and—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s fine. You hold onto your shiny stuff.

SEAN (AS BREE)

We’ll pay you. Please!

SEAN

And she grasps at your robe.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. I’m not going anywhere.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I just need to talk to my friend. Just wait here. As you can see, this caravan isn’t going to move very quickly, so it’s not like we could run away from you.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’ll be right back.

MARISA

And I walk over to the far side of the caravan and I lean in the big hole up towards Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What do you think?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I suppose it’s possible that the fort is taking every able-bodied person to help them fight the Shattering?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Or to become the Shattering?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, right. The other way is much, much worse.

Did I hear something about… knights?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, I don’t know if they’re the same knights that Moira had. I guess we’d have to see for ourselves.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, good. And by then it’ll be far too late.

All right. Well, I don’t think it’s been long enough, but I suppose we’re going to have to untie the fairy cake maker. We’ll probably need his assistance.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, excuse me, Bree?

SEAN (AS BREE)

Yes?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The figure who ran through here, did she go towards Fort Clattering or away from Fort Clattering?

SEAN (AS BREE)

She just, I don’t know. I don’t think she went towards Fort Clattering. She was heading towards Mount Zirma.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ah. Okay, thank you.

(whispers to Blat)

Okay, here’s the problem. If we help this girl, we might lose Moira, who seems to be heading towards the mountain, where we should be going.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I think if Moira by herself is heading towards the Shattering, that tells us all we need to know about Moira.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. She hates the Shattering. I just don’t understand it. Anyway, maybe we will find some answers if we go to this fort.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Go untie the fairy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

Hopefully the fort will have more weapons or something, because right now all we’ve got is one bazooka and a bunch of dessert items.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Um, and a mace. Hello?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You maced yourself there, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, that was a first try. It was a first try.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You maced yourself.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I need practice.

INSIDE THE BLATAVAN

Blat opens the door.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, Eggsy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(lively mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t know why you think we’re having a conversation, because I haven’t ungagged you yet.

So, we’re at a fort. We’ve met a young girl. All of the adults have been taken.

But we don’t know if they’ve been kidnapped to help fight the Shattering or fight for the Shattering.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mmm mmm mm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Basically, it’s a coin flip right now as to whether this is a good situation or a bad one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm mmmm mm!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Which is why we need you and your ability to make little tiny dessert items that either help us or really make things more complicated.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mmm hmm!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so I’m just going to untie you now.

Now, I’m wondering if I untie your hands and I untie your legs, whether we can keep the gag in your mouth.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mmm mm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Maybe we’ll just give it a try, okay?

And your legs are free and your arms are free and you can now stand up.

But we’re just going to keep the gag in there just to move the—oh no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—so that’s when I said to Samantha, “Look, I don’t care if you love Mr. Big too. It’s just too much.”

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who are you talking to?! We weren’t having a conversation!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So what’s the plan?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, just get your fairy cake pouch.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Got it. Let’s roll!

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Midroll music plays.

ELI

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

SEAN

Hey everyone, Sean here. And I want to thank all of you so much for being with us on this journey.

We’re coming up to a small break, but don’t worry. You still have the rest of this episode and a whole ‘nother episode that I can’t wait for you to hear. Then we’ll be going on a short break and we’ll be back in December.

But it’s time to thank some amazing people. So I want to give a shout out to some new supporters that are with us on this journey and we couldn’t do this without you: Iona Sharma, Beth Duckles, and Alannah. Thank you all so much for joining us and pledging support on Patreon. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And we’re still working through the oldies but goldies list. See, I changed it to “goldies”. Yeah, I still don’t have a good name.

So I want to give a shout now to Leo Blondel, Rita Chen, Joshua Puchferran—I hope I got that right. Rhea Howard! It’s my sister in the house! And Johanna Veth.

Thank you all so much for being with us all this time. It is so amazing and we love you all so much.

And now, before I go to the midroll, I want to talk about a show that I got addicted to this year. It’s called Project Nova. It’s from Evil Kitten Productions.

Search for “Project Nova”. Let me tell you, you are in for a trip.

It is an audio fiction show about a group of people that wake up in a base with this creepy AI. But it’s just awesome. I love this show and I can’t get enough of it. And it’s about to come back—I think they’re just about to go into season two, so now’s a good time to get caught up.

And that’s it. I believe this week we have a midroll for you.

MIDROLL: THE FAN

MIKE

Alright, so we’ve got someone coming in, Sean, that wants to talk to us about the show.

SEAN

Alright, fine. Just bring them on in. Thanks, Mike.

MIKE

Excuse me, you can come in now.

CARTER

Finally. Alright, so, here’s the thing.

SEAN

Sorry, sorry, you’re wearing a shirt. That’s not our show.

CARTER

No, this is not your show.

SEAN

Oh, okay.

CARTER

No, I hate the show.

SEAN

Well, you hate the show you’re wearing?

CARTER

No, no, no. I listen to this show, the shirt I’m wearing right now. I listen to that ironically because I hate it a little. But this show, oh, I hate this show so much.

MIKE

Oh, thanks for letting us know. Have a good day.

CARTER

Okay, so here’s the thing. So, first of all, I listen to a lot of live play podcasts. Okay? So I feel that I’m a bit of an expert in this area. And this has got to be the worst Dungeons & Dragons live play I have ever listened to.

SEAN

This is such great… I love that you’re coming in and giving us feedback in person. Thank you for that. Just one thing. We’re not playing D&D.

CARTER

Right. That’s wrong. It’s a live play podcast. It has to be Dungeons & Dragons.

MIKE

But we—

SEAN

Okay, cool. No, no, no. That’s cool. That’s cool. Cool. Thank you. Thank you.

CARTER

So when is this going to be a Dungeons & Dragons live play?

MIKE

Well, it’s just that we decided not to play Dungeons & Dragons.

CARTER

Okay, see, no, that’s wrong. See, here’s the thing that you’re going to do that makes this show good. Okay, so everything you’ve recorded so far, how many episodes has there been?

SEAN

I think we’re on like 33.

CARTER

Okay, you got to delete all those. So you have to go back to the beginning. You keep all the characters the same, even though I don’t like the characters very much. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. But you have to start the game over as a D&D live play because I understand what that is. And when you start using other systems, there’s words that I don’t understand and I don’t like that and it makes me feel stupid.

(starting to break down)

So you have to make this a Dungeons & Dragons live play.

SEAN

Okay.

CARTER

So that I understand what’s happening. And then I can start hate listening to the show and maybe I’ll buy one of your T‑shirts.

MIKE

Oh, if you’re going to buy a T‑shirt, I feel like that’s a pretty good exchange.

SEAN

A hundred percent. We’re really sorry to cause you this much distress.

CARTER

I don’t know what Dungeon World even is! You’re using one of the words, but then there’s a second word that isn’t part of Dungeons & Dragons and I just don’t get it.

SEAN

Okay, thank you—

CARTER

I feel threatened. I feel threatened and I don’t like that.

SEAN

Just tell me here, come with me towards the door.

CARTER

Okay. All right—

SEAN

Well, thank you. Have a nice day.

Sean slams the door.

MIKE

Okay. Seriously, Sean, your brother’s a dick.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

This is why we don’t listen to reviews.

SEAN

I was going to do “Your dad’s a dick.” That’s awesome.

Laughter.

SEAN

That was my line. I was literally going to be like, “Your dad is a dick.”

MIKE

Wait, wait. Go to OtherBothers.com. Go to OtherBothers.com.

Music plays.

CLATTERING

SEAN

The Blatavan is parked in the single street that runs through this tiny village.

A few small structures that might be homes in better times are dark.

One is lit up and inside we find our adventurers and a few children.

A fire crackles softly.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So!

You’re a bunch of short young people…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Not that short.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, calm down.

Um. Anybody here ever hear their parents talk about the Shattering?

THE CAST (AS VARIOUS CHILDREN)

No. No, no.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Nobody? Nobody.

How about any comments about the inky blackness that’s above the mountain?

SEAN (AS BREE)

Oh, yeah.

Murmurs of agreement.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay. We did talk about that. That’s good. All right.

So, what was our overall opinion, parent-wise, about the inky blackness on the mountain? Good or bad?

SEAN (AS A CHILD)

Well, it’s just weather. It’ll pass.

More muttering from the children.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, basically just naive beliefs that this is just a storm cloud.

SEAN (AS A CHILD)

Maybe we upset the gods.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, oh, Lord. Upset the gods.

MIKE (AS A CHILD)

Up on the mountain, the gods.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay.

SEAN (AS A CHILD)

The mountain’s burning things.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The mountains burning things?

SEAN (AS A CHILD)

You know when you burn your trash?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You burn your trash at the mountain? Oh, Lord. All right. Okay. We still don’t really…

SEAN (AS A DIFFERENT CHILD)

My dad says that it’s a dark, evil force that will end all time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, very good. Okay, young lady. So, the dark, evil force that will end all time. That’s a bad thing, isn’t it?

SEAN (AS THE CHILD)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent. That’s all I needed to know. All right.

I think that all the parents have been taken so they can fight the Shattering.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Oh, really? They’re heroes? Why were they taken when—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let me ask a question, kids. What happened at the fort before your parents were taken? Did the fort protect your town? Were there soldiers being trained there? Was it just a club?

SEAN

Bree steps forward.

SEAN (AS BREE)

The fort’s been abandoned until recently. Dark knights appeared… and the chancellor—he wants to be called the chancellor.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The chancellor wants to be called the chancellor. Well, I guess that makes sense, but who is the chancellor?

SEAN (AS BREE)

We don’t know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know who the chancellor is.

SEAN (AS BREE)

He comes and he would demand taxes or payment, and then he would start to take people who were strong or could fight, or parents, and they were taken to train.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right. Right now, these knights that the chancellor has, do these knights—

SEAN

They all look scared.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. All right. Are we talking about people, or were they more, say, metallic and wiry?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. You know what? Here’s what we’ll do.

We’ll just climb up the side of the wall on the way into the fort. We’ll get a long rope. We’ll all just go one at a time behind each other, and then we can meet people who are on little mini window portcullises on our way up.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t we just go and offer ourselves as fodder for their army?

SEAN (AS BREE)

You won’t come back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well—

SEAN (AS BREE)

Anyone who turns 18, the knights come and drag them away, screaming. Drag them by their feet or whatever they can grab towards the keep, and they’re never seen again.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, little one, we’ve been in a few scrapes, and let me tell you, we’re seen again. So trust me, we can probably handle this. You just sit tight over there, have a lollipop.

(whispers)

Do kids like lollipops? I think that’s what they like.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispering)

I’m going to assume that they like lollipops.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, they like lollipops, right?

SEAN (AS BREE)

Look, I’m 15. I’m not a child. I understand what’s going on.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, oh, sorry, sorry.

Well, we’re here. We’re going to help you. But you need to just stay put and calm down, because we know a few things you don’t.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yo.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re kid-sized.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You can stay here with the kids to make sure that nobody else comes back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s a great idea. You know what? We’ll just share some fairy cakes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. No.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No. We’re not going to, no, no, no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You said you wanted to give the kids candy. I’ve got these fairy things.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I said lollipops.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Doesn’t count as candy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, but.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, you might as well be giving them hard booze. No, no, no fairy cakes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Bree, do not accept any fairy cakes from this fairy.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Trust me.

No, Eggerton, no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, kids, I’ve got a bunch of candy, but I’m not allowed to give it to you. It’s okay. We’ll find other things to do for this indeterminate amount of time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t you show them that—

SEAN (AS BREE)

I’m feeling a little weird about the little fairy man.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t you show them that board game you like to play so much?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, Candy World.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, that will keep you very busy for a good long time.

SEAN (AS BREE)

I think the younger kids would enjoy that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, everyone gather around!

So there’s jujubes, and there’s the mountain of pillows, and there’s…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay! Blat and I will be outside!

SEAN (AS BREE)

Wait, before you go, you have to understand.

SEAN

Bree grabs onto your arm.

SEAN (AS BREE)

There’s knights. They’re posted on the approach to the fort.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay.

SEAN (AS BREE)

We’ve tried to get close to the fort, and it’s hard.

They don’t move. They just stand there, always. They don’t take shifts. We’ve never seen them change out or, you know…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But you never tried to pass by them or sneak by them?

SEAN (AS BREE)

One did.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And what happened?

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright, I think we’ve got our answer. If they’re not moving, they sound like they’re our knights.

Don’t worry, we’ve dealt with these sorts of knights before.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Moira said the same. She said the one that looks like you killed all the knights.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, how do you know Moira? What? She told you her name?

SEAN (AS BREE)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why would she do that? She said that I killed all the knights?

SEAN (AS BREE)

Yeah, we asked her for help. We begged. We showed her.

And she said there were people coming who had killed all those knights at one time. And that they would be the ones that could help, not her.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, well, we’ll see what we can do. But you just have to wait here, and we’re gonna come up with a plan.

SEAN (AS BREE)

Alright.

SEAN

And she goes back with the kids.

OUTSIDE

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, Blat, what’s the plan?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The plan is what the plan always is. It starts with B and ends with A.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(from inside)

Banana!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, not—Play with the kids, Eggsy! Just play with the kids!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t—I think we need to be more subtle than that. I mean, one bazooka against all those knights? That’s not gonna do it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We have to… reconnoiter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Reconoiter?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We have to get in there and see what’s going on, because after all, we don’t know if this is against-Shattering, pro-Shattering. I mean, I don’t want another Nexus on my hands. What if I go in there, destroy all these knights, and they’re actually fighting for good?

Even though we don’t know that those knights were fighting for good. In fact, it’s very likely they were fighting for bad. But at this point, I just don’t know!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So… we walk up to the first knight that we see, say, “Hello, I’m old enough to shave!” And get, uh, taken to where all the other grown-ups have been taken?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well… it’s not a terrible plan.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And then we B‑A them from inside! Brilliant!

SEAN

Jacklyn steps out of the darkness.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! Oh! Oh, lord. I thought you were a robotic knight.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

No. There’s four robotic knights, I think.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

I went and…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Reconnoitered?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

That’s a good word.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Have you already been up to the fort?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Not all the way. For some reason I can see really well now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Ever since… you know.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, well, so you saw four knights?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Two aren’t moving. Dark knights. Like, clad all in black in the night. Quite hard to see until you’re almost too close. And then… I think there’s two more. But it’s really hard. They don’t move at all.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But I think they move if you get close enough? Because one little kid in there was pretty upset.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah, I tried not to get too close just in case. I don’t know. But they almost are like statues.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Alright. I don’t want to put you two in any danger. I’ll go up to one of the knights and volunteer my services. You two continue reconnoiter… ing? I think that’s the proper conjugation.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

So you’re like the face of the group.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sure! The face of the group. The big red, horned face of the group.

I’ll say, “Oh, I’m an adult. There aren’t any more adults. Take me to where the adults are!” And meanwhile, you two can scope out where they’re taking me and maybe find another way in or something.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, but there might be a big flaw to your plan, Blat. You do look like a demon. I’m not so sure you’re just going to be able to walk in there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I just have a skin condition. Don’t worry. I’m people‑y enough for them.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Alright, well, Jacklyn and I will be ready for backup. We’ll just stay back in some of the bushes and see what happens.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Very good. Okay. It’s a plan.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Alright, Jacklyn, let’s go.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay, I don’t think this is a very good plan, but all right.

Blat approaches the nearest knight.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello! Sprechen sie Goblin? Fairy? Gnome? I speak a little bit of demon.

SEAN

One of the heads slowly starts to turn and move down towards you. They’re quite large, like eight feet tall, just all clad in black armour.

But you feel like there’s wisps of blackness coming off it as one of them stares in your direction.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I didn’t realize you were this big from a distance.

I heard that you’re taking the adults somewhere. I think you took my wife, Samantha. I would like to see her and work with her in whatever her new current job is.

SEAN

The other head turns and lowers down as if looking in your direction. It’s hard to tell in the night.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, hello. Um, so I go where adults go? For, um, work? Or fighting? Wink wink, nudge nudge? To the fort?

SEAN

And they slowly, as if in slow motion, step aside.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, so, um, no one actually takes me anywhere? Okay, I’ll just keep walking forward. Thank you very much! You’re not the least bit terrifying!

MEANWHILE

SEAN

Okay. So Darcy, you and Jacklyn in the bushes see a bit of movement, hear all this, and you see Blat walking past them and towards the fort.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, they didn’t seem to give him any trouble.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, let’s just hang back a little and see if anything happens at the front gates.

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

Okay. We might be able to get a little closer.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, well you can see better than me, so you lead.

THE FORT

SEAN

Okay. Blat, you are walking up, it’s a few hundred yards, to basically a palisade. It’s an ancient wooden fort, and quite simple but fortified.

And the gates are open, and inside you see a bit of movement, and you hear clanking armour as you get closer, and it looks like a large, central, like, it just looks like a large open space inside the palisades, the wooden palisades, with what looks like what might have been a barracks, and then a small keep.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello! Fort Clattering?

SEAN

One of the knights turns and begins lumbering towards you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello! I hear you’re looking for an adult!

SEAN (AS A KNIGHT)

Down on the ground.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, all right, I will lie down on the ground, but I was just here to offer my services.

SEAN

And you’re being dragged.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh! Hello! Okay, I could have just walked under my own power. Oh, you’re gonna ruin these pants.

SEAN

And you come to a stop, and you’re released.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah!

SEAN

And you see a pair, even in the darkness, what appears to be shiny shoes, and voluptuous robes, like many layers of robes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um… Hello? Uh…

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Stand up.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, thank you. Um, I was just here to, uh, find my wife, Samantha. The missus gets upset if we’re separated for too long.

I was hoping I could help you folks out with whatever you’ve got going down here at Fort Clattering. Uh, perhaps something to do with the large, dark storm cloud at the top of the mountain there.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

Oh, it’s the ventriloquist.

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, son of a Loxsyn.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers, with your Game Master Sean Howard, and players Marisa King, Michael Howie, and Carter Siddall.

Dialogue editing by Michael Howie, transcription by Michael Howie and Marisa King. Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen. Story Consultant: Laura Packer. Game Consultant: Stephen Smith. Supporting producers: Evelyn Jones, David Friedenberg, Kim Bellinger, and Ryan Cushman.

If you like the show, check out our Patreon. Supporters get early access to episodes, weekly bonus content, and an invite to our wonderful fan community on Discord. Look for the Patreon link at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: THE DARK KNIGHTS

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, all right, are we talking about people? Or were they more, say, metallic and, um, wiry?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question as well. Did the dark knights rise?

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! Sit down! No! None of that! No!

Suppressed laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know what you were doing with “Mr. Big” and “Samantha”! No! Over there!

This is why I wanted you to be gagged! No!

MIKE (AS A CHILD)

Why is that man so angry?

SEAN

Everyone’s shaking.

MIKE (AS CHILD)

Oh no.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sorry. Sorry, kids. There’s some triggers that he has that we just don’t know anything about. You okay, Eggerton? You okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m okay, yes. Thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right.

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE CHILDREN)

It’s like the knights returned.

Snickering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now you’ve got the kids doing it! No!