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35: In The Loop

The crew cross the River Twist on their way to a fateful confrontation with the Shattering – and encounter some familiar faces along the way.

This episode is brought to you by A Dark Path, Book One of the Forsaken Talents series, an epic fantasy by Stuart Thaman!

This week’s podcast recommendation is The Ordinary Epic!

The Peeps This Week:

Content Warning: Implied death and the usual poor decisions; only one quick baby-eating joke.

PREVIOUSLY…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Previously on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

“Adventurers Wanted For Hazardous Journey.”

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And somehow the offer from the Shattering seems more palatable.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Snegal come up with plan to take back the Shattering!

SEAN

As they get closer to Mount Zirma, the dark clouds have obliterated all light, making it impossible to know what time of day it is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where is Moira?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is she angry at us?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Moira was tied up very securely. How could she have escaped?

SEAN (AS JACKLYN)

He untied her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

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

SEAN

There’s a ferry dock and there’s a giant arch.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Don’t you think that maybe it’s some sort of trick or trap?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This is Candy World and there happens to be a big black cloud with tendrils and evilness above it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you’re Player One. Congratulations!

SEAN

When he steps on it, it lights up.

SEAN (AS THE CHANCELLOR)

How many gems you find is how many of the children’s parents you find.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?!

SEAN

Eggsy steps forward daintily onto a red square and turns into a gummy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We did it! That was the craziest thing we’ve ever done. But we got the parents out. Look!

SEAN (AS A CHILD)

Darcy, why is my grandma a gummy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well… that’s a long story.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everyone has seen the inside of my pants today.

CROSSING THE TWIST

SEAN

The ferry creaks. The four adventurers stand on it with whatever they grabbed.

On the shore, the families and the children gather with Jacklyn and Snegal by the wagon. And a few of them wave as the ferry begins to cross the river towards Mount Zirma.

The mountain rises up into the darkness. It has been night for so many days now and the darkness moves, causing everything you see to shift as if it’s partly an illusion.

And quickly, the four adventurers disappear from those on the shore.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you see, Eggerton… Oh, wait, you’re not Eggerton. It’s the old lady gummy!

How did she wind up on the ferry?!

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

(muffled mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, great. How do you even feed an old lady gummy?

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

(muffled mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I didn’t expect you to know.

All right, is it possible? Do your lips open? Let’s just take a look here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

She’s just going to have to go in my backpack for now. Give her to me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Are you certain that you’re going to be able to carry her?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, what else are we going to do with her lever here on the ferry?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I don’t know… I don’t know what to do medical-wise for gummy people.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, you haven’t had any experience with gummy people before? I’m shocked. Give her to me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I just don’t see if sarcasm is needed, but fine, here she is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You now have a mumbling, grunting item in your pack.

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

(mumbles)

SEAN

The ferry shifts as if in a different current as Eggerton continues to try to use the long pole to guide the giant ferry towards the far shore.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um. How invested in stick propulsion were we?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, let’s see. If you don’t use stick propulsion, we go nowhere. So I want to say… kind of invested?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So, because you were so invested, you had a backup stick, right?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Backup stick. Backup stick.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm hmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why did we leave Eggerton in charge of steering? That seems like a poor decision.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, he’s willing to do the physical labour and I…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He’s the shortest one. It seems like a poorly thought out idea.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

He’s… stout?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So you lost the stick, huh, Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I know exactly where it is. I just can’t get to it right now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because it’s at the bottom of the river?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No. No. It’s floating behind us by about fifty yards.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s right. I would say that’s about fifty yards. Very good, Eggsy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you very much.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How are we going to get to the other side?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well…

Would a gummy person help us in this situation?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. Uh-uh. Nope.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You could sort of stick one end into the water and with a fluid motion, perhaps use that to propel—you don’t have to look at me like it’s the stupidest idea.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sighs)

Do we go into the water?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Lord no! Do you know what might be in that water?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t want to know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

At least one stick.

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 35, In the Loop.

THE RIVER TWIST

Sombre acoustic guitar.

SEAN

We cut to high above, where we see the River Twist. And it forms a complete 360-degree loop around the mountain and underneath the other side, coming out where Paradox is nestled, the town, where all of this began.

We see a raft bobbing and starting to move down the river, no longer moving towards the far shore and the mountain. And as we come closer and closer to an impossibly looping river, we notice the water is starting to get rougher. And the crew is arguing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How are we going to get through this without a stick? I mean, it’s not even a stick. It’s an oar. We should stop calling it a stick. But look! We’re all going to die. This is getting really dangerous.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we are moving. Your whole thing was, well, we’re not going to be able to move! We’re making excellent time, wherever it is that we’re going.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Too fast! Too fast!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, how would an oar help us in this situation? How could the oar slow us down if we’re moving so fast?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

At least I can beat you over the head with it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, that’s very helpful.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right! I’m stressed! I’m sorry. What do we do? Eggerton, do you have any ideas?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. We should get another stick.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Great. Can you whittle one for us right here on this raft?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you have a log?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Then how am I going to whittle you a stick, Darcy?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. All right. All right. How about this? Do we have any rope?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent. Well, tie one end of the rope around me. We’ll tie the other end of the rope here to the raft. I’ll take off my shirt, fly up in the air, and maybe if I flap my wings hard enough, we can slow our movement.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, are you referring to the rope that lashes all these logs together to make this raft?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it is a rope.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We need that rope to keep the raft together, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Don’t tell me. Tell Blat. He’s the one who wants to undo it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We don’t have a rope, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Then we’re just putting the gummy lady into the water and hopefully using her to slow us down. I don’t know what else to do!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What if you start flying, right? Up and down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh huh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And then you just like push the top of the raft while you’re flying.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OK. Get up on your tiptoes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Get up. OK.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yep.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OK, yep. All right. Steady. Steady. Now. Flap your arms a lot! Flap your arms a lot! Harder. Harder!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(panting)

I’m doing it—I can’t go much faster!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Harder! Is anything happening?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am… feeling… a pinch on my left side…

SEAN

Eggerton begins to lift into the air.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is happening?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(panting)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, Eggerton, slow down. I think I think you might—yeah. OK.

Eggerton stops flapping.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasping for breath)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m OK…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You almost killed him, but he was floating. I saw it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You also didn’t slow the raft down any. I was just trying to make a point that scientifically your plan made absolutely no sense.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whispers)

But I flew.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(in awe)

You did.

Oh, rock! Rock! Rock!

The party scream in panic as the raft smashes into a rock.

LATER

SEAN

The sound of the water comes out of the darkness and we hear dripping and we hear mumbling and grumbling as the three adventurers with the gummy lady are standing bedraggled on the shore, dripping wet, and barely able to see what might be a path leading back up from whence they should have landed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I guess this is one way to get to shore.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(wearily)

And I saved the gummy woman!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(coughing)

Oh, gosh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, wait. Oh, is this? Is this? What’s this stuff on me? Blat? Blat? What’s this green stuff?! Is it kale? Get it off!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, it’s not kale.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Get it off!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! the gummy lady just rolled over on you. Here, just…

(smacks his lips)

Mmm, minty!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s unsettling.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, you find this unsettling? You think that the four major food groups are sugar, cake, pie, and super sweet sugar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, but never once did I lick one of them and say “yummy” when they were a person.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(low)

Give me back the gummy lady.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Fine, here’s the gummy lady. I’m sure she just loves being in amongst your… things. Items. You know, whatever you got going on in there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You mean water and foodstuffs?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, can I have a snack?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s what you get for losing the stick.

OK, so where are we?

Oh! Well, I know exactly—how would I know where we are?!

SEAN

Darcy, you see what looks like a light swinging out of the darkness. It’s hard to tell distance because the darkness is so thick, as if it’s like an ink in the air. But it seems to be getting brighter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think someone’s coming. Maybe we should hide? I don’t know if they’re going to be very helpful.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Or maybe they will be… and then if we hide, then we’re avoiding help.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But if they’re not, then we can avoid killing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But the killing… the hiding—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just here, behind this rock. Quick, over here!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, I’ll be in front.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Get behind the…

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

(gloomy as ever)

I could have sworn I heard them here. They must have drifted further downriver. Such is my life.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Cyrus!

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh, joy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I thought that was your voice.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see? You see? We hid and we were avoiding help, just as I predicted!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, but then we recognized his voice and it was fine and here we are.

Hello, Cyrus.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Hello. Well, I guess I found all three of you. What… who’s that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is our gummy lady. We don’t have a name for her, as she is unable to speak properly.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I call her Bethany.

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

(muffled complaint)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No?

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

(mumbling)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wilma?

MIKE (AS THE OLD LADY GUMMY)

Hmm!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK. I call her Wilma.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I’m sorry I asked. If you’ll come this way, I’ll guide you back to where you should have crossed.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What are you doing out here, Cyrus?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

That’s a long story, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fortunately, we have lots of time as we walk!

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Why don’t we start when I was tarred and feathered and captured by all the people in the town?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhhh, that’s the last time we saw Cyrus. That’s right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Luckily, Moira came back for me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Moira!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That doesn’t seem like a good thing, Cyrus.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Why wouldn’t it be a good thing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispers)

Well, we strongly believe that Moira might actually be working with the Shattering.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

She did say you weren’t the smartest bunch.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no! This has nothing to do with us being idiots. We honestly think that maybe that she’s working with the Shattering. We actually had her captured in the Blatavan and we were holding her for a while, and then she escaped, and then she tried to get people from Fort Clattering to murderize us.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

OK. Well, just so you know, Moira’s the one who sent me to get you and bring you back to the path so that we’d have some hope of stopping the Shattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhhhh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s not good.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, Cyrus, could you just wait here for just one moment?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Yep, I love waiting. I’ll just sit here on this wet log.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OK, sit on the wet log.

(whispers)

All right, guys, huddle up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Huddle, huddle, huddle, huddle!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t even know now if we can trust Cyrus!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, well, first of all, I think you were a little inaccurate. I don’t think Moira is fighting with the Shattering. I just think Moira has gone crazy and is fighting too much against the Shattering to have any sanity left.

So, she might be kind of on our side in a really twisted, “we don’t really want her on our side” kind of thing, but I don’t think she’s actually with the Shattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, you just described Eggerton!. No! I think she’s full on working with the other side.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, wait, wait, wait! Everybody… the gummy lady is in the huddle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think the gummy lady can be in the huddle.

Wilma, Wilma, what do you think? What do you think about this situation? Do you think we can trust Cyrus here?

MIKE (AS WILMA)

(muffled chattering, at great length)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yeah, Wilma, I’m going to need you to keep this to yes or no.

MIKE (AS WILMA)

Hmm…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Cyrus… good?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mmm?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Cyrus… bad?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(ambivalent)

Mmm…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, come on, Wilma, you’re no help whatsoever.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, we know Cyrus isn’t bad. I mean, look at him. He’s just basically a potato. He’s not bad or good. He just does what he’s told.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve had some bad potatoes before.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, well, I don’t think Cyrus is one of them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But Cyrus might be unwittingly then taking us to a place where, you know, awfulness will happen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, awfulness is going to happen to us right here because we don’t even know where we are!

Maybe we need to follow him until it doesn’t suit our purposes to follow him anymore, right?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

If it’s at some point not going to suit our purposes, why should we start? Why don’t we do something different?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Because I don’t know what else to do right now, do you, Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was thinking about having a snack.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um, we could follow Cyrus, I guess, until, I don’t know, we figure out what’s up and then we can decide what to do from there. Sound like a good plan?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s exactly what she said. You really are just paraphrasing what she just said.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy, I need you to stop repeating what Blat is saying and just come up with your own ideas.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let’s just go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, team, everybody hands in… Three, two, one—whoa, Eggerton!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Eggerton.

Cyrus! We’ve decided that everything’s fine.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Right. So you’ve decided to follow me into danger because there’s no other options.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, ha ha, that isn’t what we were talking about. We were wondering, since you’re a native to this era, whether you knew of any, you know, wizarding-type spells that might cure a person of extreme gummyness.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We have a gummy lady.

MIKE (AS WILMA)

(affable mumbling)

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Um, not personally, but I’m sure there’s someone that could help her.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, yes, that is the era for this sort of thing. They will say things like, “You need to go get the sword of Blawthurnon that exists in the cave of the Dragon of Bathurissablassenblue.”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’ve literally met the Dragon of Blassenbluthinfrue.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, that was more of a tourist attraction, but… it’s like that only fraught with danger.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think that’s our whole existence here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Also, I got a miniature sword of Blawthurnon and it, I don’t know, it just dispenses these little hard candies when you tilt back the head.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, there you go. There’s your snack.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh… I can’t believe I didn’t even think of that!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hoo boy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

In my hand the whole time!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The whole time, Eggerton.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

All right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We left everything back on shore, but you decided to bring the small novelty candy-dispensing sword with you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it’s the only weapon I have.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s fair. That’s fair.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Great.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Well, if you’ll follow me…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We will, but do we have to walk that slowly?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

You can walk faster, but you won’t be following me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, that’s true.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

As we go, it’ll take us a little while, and I’ll fill you in on what’s coming.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So… what is coming?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Well, I’m told that since the Nexus was destroyed…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(coughing)

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

…that the timetable for the Shattering is basically here, and as you’re our last hope, you have to make it to the top of this mountain and defeat the Shattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(softly)

Right. Right.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh, and Moira said to tell you—let me see if I get this right—Ananka says, the only way you survive is to do your best going up the mountain.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ananka said that?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

So I’m told.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Moira told you to tell us that Ananka said that?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

When do you think Moira’s been talking to Ananka?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Last I remembered, they weren’t talking to each other because there was a little thing going on with the two of them and so on and so on.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh no, I saw all three of them together.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All three of them?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who’s three?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

The sisters.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? Are you talking about Strand Jankings?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

No… Poor Strand. No, this is the three sisters. They’ve always been the three.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? Do you know what he’s talking about? I know two sisters.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Oh look, we’re coming up on the cabin.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That went a lot faster than I thought it would have.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

It was probably my conversation that did it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You are a sparkling conversationalist, Cyrus.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mm-hmm.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Okay, this is where I leave you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Here? What? You don’t have any special wisdom to give us weapons? He’s carrying a candy dispenser for a weapon. Anything you could help us out with? A plan? A cunning plan to get to the top of the mountain and defeat the Shattering.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Moira said that in the wagon you had Pfillllll-thi-tckkkkt, so you probably would be fully stocked and ready to go.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(bitter laughter)

That would make sense, wouldn’t it? I mean, yeah, that would make sense, but the wagon’s way back on the other side of the river and we’ve got nothing.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Well, I’ve done my job. The path up to the cabin is right here.

SEAN

Ahead, you see a beautiful building that is strangely well-lit, out of this darkness, because everything else is just a muddy haze of—even looking at each other, it’s like you’re seeing double vision of each other. But ahead is a beautiful cabin that says, THE END OF TIME B&B.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That is super duper convenient.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s a little bit too convenient. So someone knows that the end of time might be happening and is monetizing it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Genius marketing. Genius!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How does that make any sense?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, the end of time is coming and we need somewhere to stay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But surely you wouldn’t want to stay at an End of Time B&B. It’s very depressing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I feel like the end of time is just sort of a state of being and the B&B probably has a great continental breakfast.

SEAN

It says “FREE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST” on the sign.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?! All right, let’s go in, guys. Come on.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is the sort of thing that you did in our era, isn’t it? You marketing folks can make any ridiculous thing seem to make sense on the surface.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I did do this thing one time with a giant explosion. But, you know, that went off pretty well, I think.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The explosion or your part of it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I didn’t cause the explosion. I don’t know where you heard that. I had nothing to do with the explosion. I just explained that it was an expected explosion, even though it was extremely devastating.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow, you may have been a terrible person in our era.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah. Am I supposed to respect you even less than I do?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no. My job for, for, what’s-his-name, that we’ve been talking about for a year and a half.

Laughter.

MARISA

What is his name?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The Emperor. Well, my job for the Emperor—long live Boltius—

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Long live Boltius.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—was to make sure that people knew that things went the way they were supposed to in Balgomar. That’s all.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…So your job was to make explosions seem like everyday events.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, they kind of were. I mean, you remember the last one?

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I remember the last one! It’s part of the reason why we’re here!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that explosion.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no, no, no. These are cute explosions.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Cute explosions?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Cute explosions. And then I just had to remind people that explosions happen sometimes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, you little sawed-off knuckle-nob. Just listen to me for a minute.

This is obviously some sort of a trap to get the three of us into it. If this were a real legitimate business, how do they operate after we eat our free continental breakfast and then leave? Who else in this area is coming to this particular End of Time cafe-buffet-bistro?

SEAN (AS A RANDOM TRAVELLER)

(squeaky voice)

Excuse me, just gotta go check in at the AirBnB! Excuse me! Coming through—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, excuse me. Pardon me. I’m just arguing with my friend here. Sorry…

SEAN (AS TRAVELLER)

No, sorry, just got my bags here…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, you have a lot of luggage.

SEAN (AS TRAVELLER)

You’re standing right on the path.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I’m very sorry. I’m just trying to make a point.

SEAN (AS TRAVELLER)

Oh, I hope there’s still vacancies.

The traveller enters. The door closes behind them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see? Who else is going to come? This is obviously a trap just for the three of us!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re definitely right, Blat. You know, this is what happens when I doubt you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see? You see? You just have to use your head, don’t you? You just have to think.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m just gonna follow those three other people towards the inn. I’ll meet you there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, you follow the three of them. I just want to make sure that he fully understands what I’m talking about.

So no one else is going to stay here. This is a terrible, awful trap. So! Do not accept the continental breakfast. Do not let yourself be left alone in a room. And generally, don’t trust anything that anybody tells you in there because they’re probably working for the Shattering.

SEAN (AS ANOTHER TRAVELLER)

Oh Lucila, look at the buffet!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good. Now, off we go to whatever this terrible place is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, should I stop trusting people now?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, right now. But not me! Because I’m with you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can’t trust you now, though.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no. You can trust me because I’m with you. See, we’re together.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But you told-

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You can also trust Darcy and you can probably trust the gummy lady, but she doesn’t really, you know, add much to the scenario—

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(affronted mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

—no offense, Wilma. I’m sorry. I can’t understand a word that you’re saying.

But just, you know, anybody else.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Anybody?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

After this point.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So starting now, I shouldn’t trust anybody?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no, no. You can trust me and you can trust Darcy and, what the heck, Wilma, the gummy lady. But no one else! After now.

MIKE

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So now…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Now…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(laughing, nearly breaking character)

Right now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right now, no trusting.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Not gonna trust you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No. Again. You can trust me—who am I?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who’s she?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay. And who’s this green lady?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wilma.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(muffled chortling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right. So since you know us, you can trust us. But you’re not gonna know anybody else, so don’t trust them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So if I know someone, I can trust them?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right.

THE END OF TIME B&B

SEAN

The door opens and the three adventurers and the gummy lady, Wilma, walk into the B&B where they see a beautiful buffet, breakfast buffet and a dessert buffet laid out. And there’s a counter with a bell and standing behind the counter is a very familiar gaunt gentleman that they all know.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Ah, you’ve made it. I see. Very nice. Very nice. Oh, I should introduce myself. Derek von Frompton.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, Loxsyn. Not that guy again.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So what do you do? You just… you just run evil hotels? This is your deal?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Oh, I wouldn’t say they were evil, per se. Just accepting of different eccentricities, ha ha.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Evil. That’s just fancy talk for evil, isn’t it? I think we’re all agreed on that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. Yes. You see? Someone you can’t trust, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(whispers)

But I know him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know him to be evil!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, but I know him and you said I can trust people that I know.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Ah, yes, you can trust me! In fact, I have your contracts here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, here! Just pass me a pen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But—don’t sign anything!

The first time, we were just humouring him and thinking we shouldn’t upset the Shattering. But this is him trying again to get you to sign up to be evil.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

The game is over. It is time to join us.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you talking about?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

The Nexus is gone. This is it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I like to think that the Nexus is being restructured. I’m sure it’s not gone. That seems excessive.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Hmm. Oh, yes. Yes. I’m sure it is being restructured from nothingness. We have won.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Maybe the Nexus is sort of a state of mind?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I like that. I like that.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

That’s not a bad way of putting it. And it’s also extinct, that state of mind.

The end of time is here, but your end may not be. You can join us—have the entire worlds and other worlds, entire universes at your beckoning by joining with the Shattering as agents. You’ll find the contract is quite fair.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have a question first.

Um. If the end of time is here—so time’s over, how are we going to enjoy the world?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Ah, yes. Well, you see, time is a construct and the Shattering and—god rest its soul, the Nexus—lived outside of time. It is possible. There are many times to live in, many streams. This one is now ours.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can I have your hat?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

(strained politeness)

But of course, I can think of no greater joy than to give you my hat once you’re an agent.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no, no. I mean, I kind of want to see how it feels first.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

…Fine. Yes. Let me just take it off.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you. I’ll just take that. I’ll take off my bowl, put this hat on and—how do I look?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Evil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Evil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Gummy lady?

SEAN (AS WILMA)

Mmm.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m ready to sign. I don’t know about the rest of you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You get one free evil hat and that’s it? You want to be evil?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no, I just think it’s a fair trade. I get this nifty hat and I sign the document.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What if I literally walk over to the continental breakfast, empty out a tray full of toast and we just put that on your head? Will that get you to not sign on for evil?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How are you going to get it to balance?

Or do you mean the tray? Or the toast?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, is the tray an improvement over the bowl?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Would you like to wear toast and or trays on your head?

I just want to look good and be my best self, Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know if this is the end of time, but it feels like it with these two.

Now, what I want to know from you, Von Evil—

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Von Frompton.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

—Von Evil. Can we get up this mountain? Do we just go through the back of your little establishment here, out the back door and can we get up the mountain?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Yes, and it’s totally your choice. If you choose not to sign the contract, you may just continue on your way.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And destroy everything that you stand for? Is that what we’ll get to do if we go up the mountain? Huh?

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

I suppose it’s, er, a possibility.

(chortles)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mr. Evil, I have a follow-up question.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Von Frompton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mr. Evil. Well, first I need to ask my friends a question.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Take your time. Sorry, I’m just going to check in this gentleman with the four eyes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. Do I look better in the hat than he does?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Everyone looks better in the hat than he does. Look at him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But specifically, do I? Like, am I pulling it off?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m pulling it off. Give me it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Oh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Here. Here’s your stupid hat. Oh, I feel dirty just touching it. How could you have it on your head?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got a lot of Brylcreem in.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh!

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

I’m sorry. That’s just the essence of the Shattering. You get used to it. Thank you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Excuse me. I need to talk to my friends over here. Listen.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. So follow up, though. I had two questions. That was the first part.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The second part is why did Moira want us to come to an evil B&B?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That was my question! Wow, we actually had the same question.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispering)

Which I have the answer to. It’s because she’s gone evil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why are you talking like that, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(whispering)

Because I’m trying not to show all the evil people checking into this evil hotel that we’re not evil.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, you really kind of look evil, actually.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know what? That’s just an anti-demonic comment. OK? That’s just anti-demonic. I’ve been fighting against that my entire life.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I was just talking about the way you were straining when you were trying to do that voice. It’s just…

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

You wouldn’t have to fight over that. Sorry for overhearing, you know. Mmm! We’d relish your evil stature in our organization.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not evil! I am not evil! Hello!

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

If you’re not comfortable coming out as evil, that’s entirely your choice.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re not evil! Not evil!

Four eyes! Yeah, point them in my direction!

SEAN (AS FOUR-EYED MONSTER)

(raspy but affable)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, I’m not evil! I don’t know about you! I am not!

SEAN (AS MONSTER)

No? I’m a little evil.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, you’re probably born to be evil.

SEAN (AS MONSTER)

I’m just going to go back to eating this baby.

(gnashing sounds)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my lord!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, what are we going to do?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I think we should have the breakfast.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What?! You have—Eat your sword candy! Just eat the sword candy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(munches)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why can’t we just go out the back of the building like he said we could and just head on up the mountain? Something tells me we’re not going to get a nice little sleep with a mint on the pillow if we should stay here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I… That was my suggestion. That’s a good idea. I just feel a little unprepared, that’s all.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course we’re unprepared! I’ve been unprepared in this place for the last two years!

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

We have noticed that, but we’re still willing to put a very nice contract in front of you, I must say.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah ha ha! Wait a second! Wait a second! We’re actually doing better than we thought!

If we’re so stupid—if we’re so hopeless—why would he be trying to sign us up? I’ll tell you why. Because he’s worried we’re actually going to be able to do it. We’re actually going to be able to stop the Shattering, despite the fact that I’m just some ignoramus who worked in a file room.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, I think you’re right!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aha!

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Fine!

SEAN

And suddenly, the B&B pops out of existence and you are all hanging in the air for a millisecond before you plummet and all hit the ground, in the cold, in the darkness, a path leading up ahead of you as if the B&B had never been there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sing-song)

Evil!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see? Not a legitimate business. Not a legitimate business. Told ya!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And you were going to trust him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I was not going to trust him. I was just going to sign the contract. But now, now that I didn’t get the continental breakfast, I’m going to write a review that no one’s going to forget.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This place doesn’t exist. You’d be reviewing a non-place.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, and that’s because they’ve refused to give out the promised continental breakfasts. You can’t lead people on expecting food and then not deliver. That’s how businesses go under and that’s what happened here.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton. Eggerton, I want you to take this in the nicest possible way that it’s meant because really I have a lot of affection for you. But sometimes quite often, in fact, I think you miss the entire point of what we’re trying to do here.

We’re trying to stop the end of time and you want to review a non-existent continental breakfast at an imaginary inn. Maybe, maybe your priorities are a little skewed?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re right. I can do it later.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But you did it. You shut it down! Look, it no longer exists! Not a single person will be tricked by them again.

(gasps)

It’s as if they’ve read your review before you’ve even written it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Holy moly!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It worked!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am a genius.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So now all we have to do is keep walking up this mountain and finally defeat the Shattering.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, I’ll lead the way. Let’s go!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(aside)

You see, you just have to talk to him in his language.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I just see that as enabling.

MIDROLL: THE EGGERTON AND BLAT SHOW

ELI

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

Music sting.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi everybody and thanks for tuning in to the Eggerton and Blat show.

Blat, Blat, wake up.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(mostly asleep)

Agh, it’s half an hour before the farm report. Wha…?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. So before the farm report though, we’re going to take your calls and answer all of your questions!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Early…

SEAN (AS CALLER)

Um, hello?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah. Caller, go ahead. You’re on.

SEAN (AS CALLER)

Is this Domino’s? I want to order a large pizza.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, a large, really? What do you want on it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, that sounds good. Let’s get one too.

SEAN (AS CALLER)

What’s going on?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’re getting a pizza. Okay, what do you want on your pizza?

SEAN (AS CALLER)

Uh, oh yeah. If you just, uh, like, I don’t know, just the vegetarian, large.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, large vegetarian.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You could have barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce.

SEAN (AS CALLER)

What’s going on? Is this Domino’s?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We could be your Domino’s. Just send us—

SEAN

(mimics dial tone)

MARISA (AS ANOTHER CALLER)

Hello? Hello? Is this Mr. Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It is! Thank you for calling in. What’s your name?

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

My name is Vanessa!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, thanks for calling in, Vanessa. How are you doing this evening?

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

I’m doing so well and you’re going to be doing great too, Mr. Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Really?

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

Because you have won our Candy World sweepstakes for being the only person to play Candy World!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(hyperventilating)

Oh my Loxsyn! It’s happened. Blat, it’s happened. I won! I won!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, it’s not. Shh. It’s probably a trick. It’s a marketing scheme.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it’s not a marketing scheme.

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

You’ve won five recipes for fairy cakes—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Five new recipes!

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

—that are guaranteed to blow people away with their aftereffects.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wow! Okay, what kind of aftereffects are we talking about? I’d love to hear all five.

MARISA

(laughs)

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

One of them is making you read extra special quickly so you can get through more books than anyone else.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s one!

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

That is one. The second one is you sing like an angel and can’t stop—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Already do. What’s number three?

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

Number three is you sleep all the time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I want number three! Please give me number three!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think Blat’s already got that one.

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

Number four is you see unicorns.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ooh.

MARISA (AS VANESSA)

And number five is YOU DIE.

A burst of flames.

SEAN (AS PRODUCER)

Oh, oh, sorry. We’re going to have to call the show there, everyone!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Are we cancelled? Please tell me we’re cancelled.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I want the recipes! I want to see unicorns!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I want to be cancelled, please.

SEAN (AS PRODUCER)

What’s going on? Oh my God, it’s getting hot in here. Everyone visit OtherBothers.com and join the Patreon. We’ll put this fire out!

MOUNT ZIRMA

SEAN

There’s the sound of thunder, but there’s no rain, but there’s a dampness. And the darkness is thicker with every step the three take, hunkered down against that bone chilling cold, and the sound of the storm somehow muffled. And yet their words have a slight echo, as if with every step they approach a giant abyss.

In the lead is Eggerton and bringing up the rear is Darcy carrying the gummy woman. And they’re fighting their way up a path they cannot see.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh. It’s always darkness! It’s always twisty, dark paths that we can’t see anything.

Eggerton. Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Keep going.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m just stopped for a second because I want to make sure you were you were still there. Because it’s not scary in the dark at all. There’s nothing to be scared of.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I know. You’re very brave.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(coughing)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You OK there, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you have a taste, like, in your throat? Gack. I just feel like there’s Shattering in the air or something and maybe I have an allergy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I get it. It does feel kind of sticky in here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s that black licorice.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a black licoricey type taste. So I’m wondering now if we have Shattering in our lungs or esophaguseses or something.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Esophagae.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Esophagae. Speaking of soft guys, how’s Wilma holding up?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’ll check.

Oh, you know what? I think the black licorice smell might be doing something with her gummy makeup. And look, she’s turning like, a darker green.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Lord! Well, we’re going to have to keep trudging. We gotta get Wilma to safety!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s OK, Wilma. We’re we’re going to bring you out of this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She’s definitely gone from emerald to jade.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(anxious mumbling)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

On her way to forest. And that’s not where anything green should be.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, keep walking.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, forward!

(singing to himself)

Not scared of the dark… It’s not scary at all. Because it’s not scary and nothing bad will happen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just watch out for any large holes ahead of you that you might fall into.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Don’t worry, Darcy. I’m not a—aaaaa!

Mysterious music.

SEAN

So Eggerton has slid down a sudden embankment and has landed in the centre of a clearing that is lit up with these blue white lights on fae stones in a complete circle around him.

But something’s wrong with these fae stones, Eggerton. They hurt to look at or be near, and they seem to be sucking blackness into them.

And there’s a pedestal in the centre of them that you don’t want to get near.

But it looks like a small round glass globe is sitting on it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shouting)

There’s something down here! The fae stones, but they’re wrong.

And there’s blue and white. And there’s… I don’t know.

It’s not—it’s not OK, though. But there’s this orb thing?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Don’t—don’t touch anything, Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, I’m not going to touch anything. I’m just going to go poke this orb.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Do not poke the orb!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Poking is touching. Touching is poking.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What if I use my sword?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no. Why don’t you just come back up here with us? Can you get back up the slope?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know. It’s pretty steep.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(lowers her voice)

Are we going to have to go down there?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we could send Wilma down there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Or maybe the creature who flies. How about that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It always comes back to the creature who flies.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, and the bazooka that he carries! I’m sorry that you happen to have the best equipment for fighting evil. You’re up, Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why is it that I’m made to feel bad because I’m awesome?

SEAN

There are sounds coming from the globe, Eggerton. Like squeaky little voices.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I hear something coming from the orb. I’m going to go poke it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do not poke the orb!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay. I’m in charge!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How are you in charge?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was in front, so I’m in charge.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That doesn’t mean you can poke things.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Have a general hat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You don’t have a general hat. You still have a bowl on your head.

Just—I’m taking off my shirt. I’m going to come down there wingèd, and then we’re going to get you out of this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, sounds good.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, I know you’re going to poke it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And… poke!

SEAN

Okay, when you poke it, it shakes slightly, and like snow appears in it and sort of settles back down. It’s like a giant tree in there, and then it all settles down.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s got a tree inside, and it’s snowing!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It didn’t electrocute you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it snowed!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(mutters)

It snowed?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It snowed! I’m going to poke it again!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No! Maybe don’t poke it!

MIKE

Poke.

SEAN

And then you hear screams inside as you rock it a little harder, and the snow swirls around the tree inside before slowly settling.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think it likes it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?! What do you see inside?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s swirly…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And it’s like snow?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, and what happens?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And there’s happy voices coming from inside, I think.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you sure they’re happy?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, they’re, hold on, let me check.

MIKE

Poke.

SEAN

You hear screaming and you see a few figures fly through the air as the snow swirls and then hit the ground and be running back towards the base of the tree.

You see one that looks like they’re in a white robe, and the other ones look like tiny, tiny, tiny miniature Slaad.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You know what this looks like? A snow globe of that big tree we were at with all of the Slaad.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! Don’t poke it anymore!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But look!

MIKE

And I pick it up.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

MIKE

And hold it up to show.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh my gosh! I think that is the tree with the Slaad!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, Eggsy, Eggsy, just put it back down, all right? Just put it back down where you found it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m gonna put it down.

MIKE

I lean to put it down. And gently place it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, get down there, now, before he destroys everything.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, I’m coming down, I’m coming down. Hi, I’m here! My grandmother used to collect these, except hers weren’t full of sentient beings!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, we don’t know technically that they’re sentient at this point. They could be just little automatons.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Little automatons that yell and run around every time you shake their world.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not shaking, I’m poking it like this.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, don’t poke—argh.

SEAN

You see the snow swirl around, you see some figures fly through the air and hit the ground, and you hear the screaming, and you see the one in the white robe is like, running towards the glass, like shaking a little hand in your direction.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you recognize anybody? Just get your face real close to it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right down there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right down there… now, just look at the one in the white robe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s kinda familiar. They’re holding some kind of sandwich, I think.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, exactly. Now, who do we know that lived in a big tree and liked to eat sandwiches and looked kind of frog-like?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The Slaad!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So you’re trying to say that our friends the Slaad in their giant tree, which were all mysteriously gone the last time we happened to cross them, are now in this little glass dome thing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, see, you’re gonna ask me how that makes sense.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And I don’t know that. But what I do know is what’s in front of me right now. So this… is the tree that we were at, yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(shouts)

Blat, are the Slaad all trapped in a little glass dome?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes, that’s precisely what’s happened!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that’s utterly terrifying!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, it is. I’m doing everything in my power to not just freak the hell out!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait! Wait! Check the other glass domes. Are there other people trapped in them?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know! Let’s see, it’ll be like walking through our own history!

Eggsy, did any of the other little snow globes have elements of our past in them?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Don’t let Eggerton poke them!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Without poking? Just looking with our eyes and not our pokey fingers?

SEAN

The other globes of light are suspended over each of the fae stones in the circle around you.

You both are standing in front of a little pedestal in the centre and those beams of light seem to be more like electricity. They don’t appear to be globes… and they’re sucking the darkness out of the air down into the fae stones. Which you feel, Eggerton, getting more and more corrupted as this continues.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t think that they’re little worlds of any kind, but I do think that they’re sort of like evil magnets that are somehow interfacing with these fae stones, which are kind of bumming me out. And normally fae stones make me feel pretty good and I can go like zip-pop-pop through them. These ones, though? Not good, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Let me just pass the message on.

(shouts to Darcy)

No, what’s happening instead is that we’ve stumbled upon some sort of fae stone device that is actually powering the cloud above the mountain. So what we’re witnessing is something really, really terrifying!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, Blat, I’m right here. I slid down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What the what? Who have I been yelling at? Oh, God, is Wilma with you?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, of course. In my backpack.

Oh, thank the lord. All right. OK.

SEAN

And that’s when all the beams of light above the fae stones all suddenly grow massively, blindingly bright and are connected by streams of energy in a circle all the way around you.

And a dome completely encloses you into this space.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you, Blat. You told me not to trust anyone!

SEAN

And Blat, you feel a presence that you haven’t felt in a very long time.

A goddess that you had hoped to never feel again… and not the dark one inside you. But you feel Celene’s laughter bubbling up inside you.

A sinister, echoing laugh.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okayyy. This is fine. Everything’s fine.

Eggsy, I’m going to need you to figure out how to get you and Darcy and Wilma into a fae stone, because I think I’m actually going to be turning evil.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

SEAN

And that’s when stepping out of the darkness inside this large enclosed space with you is a very small figure, about six inches tall in a gossamer gown with pink wings and emerald eyes… who you might remember from underneath Celene’s castle, but it’s hard to tell in the darkness.

SEAN (AS STAR THE PIXIE)

Ah, my prey… ready for me to destroy for Celene!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, snap, it’s Star.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Star, it’s Snap.

SEAN (AS STAR THE PIXIE)

And guess what, Blat?

You’re on my kill list.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well… I don’t know how any of this works, but… that fae stone looks important.

Bazooka?

Blat’s bazooka assembles.

CREDITS

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: Kona and Kim Bellinger.

If you enjoy 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: RIGHT

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(soft whisper)

…Right.

MIKE

(laughs)

Sorry. Okay,

CARTER

I’ll take that again.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Right.

Mike starts giggling again, which sets everyone else off.

MARISA

No, you won’t.

MIKE

(snort-laughing)

Okay, I’m good. I’m good.

CARTER

Okay, here we go. Ahem.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

You’ll have to get to the top of the mountain and just destroy the Shattering.

Mike is already laughing again.

MARISA

(laughing)

He can’t do it!

CARTER

Shove your hand in your mouth.

MIKE

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Right.

Mike starts laughing.