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36: The Battle Uphill

The adventurers fight their way to the summit of Mount Zirma, where their final battle awaits.

This episode is brought to you by The Minotaur King, Book One of The Goblin Wars series, an epic fantasy by Stuart Thaman!

This week’s podcast recommendation is Unwell!

The Peeps This Week:

Content Warning: Violence, bodily harm, eye injury, drug use, forcible confinement, burial and HR meetings.

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

SEAN

The families gather with Jacklyn and Snegal as the ferry begins to cross the river towards Mount Zirma.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

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

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is our gummy lady.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I call her Wilma.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Moira is the one who sent me to get you so that we’d have some hope of stopping the Shattering.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I just think Moira has gone crazy and is fighting too much against the Shattering to have any sanity left.

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Derek von Frompton!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, Loxsyn!

SEAN (AS DEREK VON FROMPTON)

Then the game is over. It is time to join us.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

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!

SEAN

Eggerton has landed in the centre of a clearing with these fae stones in a complete circle.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are the Slaad all trapped in a little glass dome?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes!

A peal of evil laughter.

SEAN

You feel Celene’s laughter inside you.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Ah, my prey! Ready for me to destroy for Celene.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh snap, it’s Star.

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 Marisa King, Carter Siddall, and Michael Howie.

Episode 36. The Battle Uphill.

MOUNT ZIRMA

SEAN

The darkness of Mount Zirma is disrupted by a bright flash of light as a dome appears entrapping the three adventurers, well, and Wilma, as a tiny, six-inch tall pixie in a gossamer gown and pink wings steps forward.

Star is back.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Ah! Yes! It’s time for me to do what I should have done a long time ago, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you didn’t want to join the union. That’s fair, but why murder because of it?

SEAN (AS STAR)

Oh, I’m not murdering because of the union, though Celene’s not too happy about that. I’m murdering because Celene is back.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Celene’s back?

SEAN (AS STAR)

And you’re on her most wanted list.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

On her most wanted list?

SEAN (AS STAR)

I will be raised to a co-goddess when I bring her your body.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You want to be a co-goddess? From what I can see, being a goddess wasn’t really that great.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Oh, really? Oh, yes, just having everyone at your beck and command? Being able to take anything you want and use it like your toy? You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I was supposed to be under—

SEAN (AS STAR)

You weren’t supposed to answer that question!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was metaphorical, I’m sorry. I’m terribly sorry. You were monologuing, as all villains do.

SEAN (AS STAR)

But I’ll wait with you, and I’ll start with your two friends, shall I?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, who is this little person?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is a… Is it a pixie? Am I getting that correct?

SEAN (AS STAR)

Yes, I’m a pixie and my name is Star, thank you. And you’re going to find out just how little I am, human.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, you are little. You’re smaller than me, right? Am I right?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yes, very much so.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm hmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yes, yes. To say that she’s small is certainly apt.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

She didn’t want to give people a dental plan and now she’s all worked up about it. I don’t know why.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you talking about?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I tried to start a union—

SEAN (AS STAR)

Enough!

Tense music begins.

SEAN

And there’s a flash of light. What do you guys do? Like, it’s just a blinding bright light emanating from Star.

MIKE

I shield my eyes.

SEAN

Okay. Uh, Eggsy, as it dies down, you are a little dazed, but you can see. And Blat and Darcy are blind.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Was that really necessary?

SEAN (AS STAR)

Here I come!

SEAN

And she is darting forward.

Silence.

SEAN

And she strikes Darcy. Someone roll a d6 for me.

CARTER

Oh, lord, a d6.

MARISA

Should I be rolling?

CARTER

2!

SEAN

Darcy, you take 2 hit points of damage.

MARISA

What the heck?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, no.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Ha ha ha! I’m faster than the wind!

SEAN

And she’s spinning and twirling and starting to fly through the air as she’s coming back around to attack Eggerton.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who can see? Who can see?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can see! I can see!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Can anybody see?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can see!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, do something!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay!

MIKE

And I hide behind Blat.

CARTER

(laughs)

SEAN

And she zooms in and strikes Blat. Someone roll a d6.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aaaa!

CARTER

4!

SEAN

You take 4 hit points of damage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Nooo!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Surely we can do better than this against a pixie! I can’t see it! I can’t—

SEAN (AS STAR)

I’m not just any pixie! I’m your death!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What did you guys do to this pixie?

SEAN (AS STAR)

(scream of rage)

SEAN

And she’s zooming back in towards, I guess, Eggerton from behind.

MIKE

I pull out my sword.

SEAN

The little toy sword that’s a Pez dispenser?

MIKE

Yes.

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

It’s a candy dispenser.

SEAN

Yeah.

MIKE

And throw it at Star.

SEAN

(sighs)

Okay, roll a Volley.

MIKE

2d6.

SEAN

Sure.

MIKE

(laughing)

“Sure.”

SEAN

Do you have a Dex bonus?

MIKE

Uh…

SEAN

Oh, boy. I just saw what you rolled.

MIKE

That’s a 5 that I rolled.

MARISA

Remember to record your fails.

MIKE

Oh, yeah.

SEAN

So you rolled a 5.

MIKE

I rolled a 5!

SEAN

Which is a fail.

MIKE

Yes.

SEAN

Which means a hard move.

MIKE

Yes.

SEAN

So, Eggerton turns around, goes to throw your little toy sword at the incoming blur of a pixie.

CARTER

Throw it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hunh!

SEAN

He throws the sword. It flips almost in slow motion. You see it going straight for the pixie, except you’re not watching the pixie anymore. It’s just flipping through the air, and the pixie strikes you right in the face.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Agh!

SEAN

Roll a d6 for me, plus 2.

MARISA

Good lord.

MIKE

That’s 8.

MARISA

Ugh!

SEAN

You take a stinger… what might be right to your eye.

MARISA

(groans)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My eye!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? What’s happening? I can’t see!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My beautiful… fairy cake viewer!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I’m bringing out the mace! I’ve got the mace! I’m swinging the mace around!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, don’t use the mace blind! Oh, lord.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The mace can tell who has to be hit! It won’t hit you two!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Huh! What is up, brother?

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

There seems to be a great illumination in these premises.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Oh, yes, I see. Maybe it is the—oh! Is it the little one we’re to hit? The little fairy?

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Perhaps, but doesn’t light mean that there is goodness about?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Ah, yes! Wait, what is this little thing flying around?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mace, you should be able to figure out who’s the evil one here. Take it out! Come on!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Okay, let’s see. There’s light.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Light, yes.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

There’s an a large talking candy…

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Which we don’t recognize. Mayhap they are the villain?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Yes, yes, possibly, possibly.

Oh! is it the globe in the centre on the pedestal?

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Ah, a globe in the centre. A bit of a little tree, little tiny people running around?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Perfectly in the centre of all the mayhem!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s the little annoying thing flying around! There, right there. I can’t—aha!

I heard her! I heard it!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Oh, it could be that little pixie thing running around. Pixies are known to be slightly mischievous.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

We are to attack a six-inch woman?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! Attack, attack, attack!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Seems a little unprovoked. Whoa, whoa! She almost hit us!

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

But… our wielder is blinded. How are we to connect with said pixie?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Hmm, interesting.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Should she throw us and perhaps gravity will do the rest?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Ah! Leave it to chance, brother. A good answer!

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Leave it to chance.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Let the gods roll.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aaaaaa!

MARISA

And I throw the club towards the pixie that I can hear.

SEAN

Okay, so I will give you a—1 at Volley.

MARISA

It’s a 7.

SEAN

What’s your Dex bonus?

MARISA

My Dex bonus is a 1, so it’s an 8 minus 1 is a 7.

SEAN

Okay. That is a partial success. So, Darcy, you hear an impact and you hear Star scream—

SEAN (AS STAR)

Aaagh!

SEAN

Eggerton, you sort of blurrily see the pixie tumbling backwards into the force shield of the bubble that you’re in… and roll your damage.

MARISA

It says, “When it feels the target is worthy of smiting, gain +2.” Does it feel…?

SEAN

There you go. Well, yeah, I believe they said luck will prevail.

MARISA

It’s a 3! Plus 2 is 5.

SEAN

Okay, that is 5 damage on Star. She does not have any… okay, good.

She screams… and then you hear her starting to chant something.

Both of you are starting to be able to see, but it’s blocky, what you are able to see.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where is she?! Where is she? Do you hear that? What’s she doing? Stop her. Someone stop her!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She’s over there!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where?!

SEAN

Okay. So you sort of see a hazy Eggerton gesturing in the direction off to your left, Darcy. And you hear the chanting building and it’s like a wind is building up in the space even though it’s completely enclosed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This can’t be good! This cannot be good!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So I’ll just aim for the sound!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh oh…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Your bazooka won’t save you from this, Blat!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, let’s test that theory.

SEAN

Okay, roll 2d6 Volley. I’m going to give you a negative 1 because you’re not 100% sure where she is.

CARTER

8! Plus Dexterity was a 1, so we’ll call it an 8.

SEAN

Okay, mixed success!

You adjust and fire. The missile or shell zooming out—there is a massive explosion that sends, in this tiny little bubble, sends all of you flying backwards. You all hit the back wall.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aaaack!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I regret nothing!

SEAN

And you all take 2 damage. And Blat, I need you to also roll your damage.

CARTER

d8… 1?!

MARISA

Oh, that’s horrible.

SEAN

You sort of caught you sent her flying more than hit her directly, but she takes 1 damage. Cool.

And that’s when she basically launches Wind Strike. A blast of wind hits you all. But because you’re already thrown against the wall, I’m going to mitigate the second impact.

But it’s like… the wind is so powerful, it’s like one of those water lasers. You’ve ever seen those that can cut through metal. And it literally is just in these piercing little jabs coming at you. So can someone roll a d4 for me?

CARTER

1.

SEAN

Okay, you all take 1 hit point unless you have armour.

If any of you have armour, by the way, you should be subtracting.

MARISA

Oh. No, I don’t.

SEAN

Carter?

CARTER

I don’t have armour.

MIKE

I have.

SEAN

Why don’t you read your sheet.

MIKE

No, I have! I have 1 armour and I’ve been counting it.

SEAN

Okay, good.

What’s happening? Anybody doing anything?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How are we going to stop this wind? I can’t move! Argh!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got! I’ve got it!

MIKE

And I reach down into my pouch and grasp a fairy cake and shove it in my mouth.

SEAN

Roll for fairy cakes.

MIKE

7.

SEAN

Do you have any pluses?

MIKE

…No.

Wait, is it Wisdom?

SEAN

Yeah.

MIKE

Yeah. Plus 1. So it’s an 8.

SEAN

Partial success. Anybody at the table want to guess what the effect is?

MARISA

He’s really good at resisting wind.

Laughter.

SEAN

The side effect.

MIKE

Side effect is aerodynamics?

ELI

Or stuck to the floor?

SEAN

Okay! I love that. Thank you, Eli.

Suddenly your legs turn into roots and you are now planted.

But you gain your hit points. Roll it.

MIKE

That’s a d8… That’s the one with eight sides….

That’s a 2 plus Wisdom for 3 hit points back.

SEAN

There you go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. I’m standing up now!

Still can’t move, but I’m standing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why can’t you move?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think the fairy cakes had some, you know, earthly material in them because I’ve, kind of, ha ha, kind of grown into the ground.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MARISA

And I’m trying to move forward towards where I think Star is. Can I move at all?

SEAN

You can. But you’re fighting this wind. It is battering at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Argh! Dah!

MARISA

And I’ve got the mace up and I’m coming after her.

SEAN

No—you have the mace up? You threw the mace.

MARISA

I know, but I grabbed it again.

SEAN

Okay.

So you grab the mace, you pick it up, and you see Star standing inches in front of you as you lift your head up into the wind. And she’s smiling and she attacks you with her tail.

MARISA

I don’t like that.

So can I use the club to block the tail?

SEAN

Yes, there we go! We’re back in the game. Because remember guys, this is Dungeon World. If you don’t tell me you do something, you just take full damage, which is what’s been happening! Because we don’t do this very often.

Okay. So roll Defy Danger, Marisa. And you can use Strength or Dex for this.

MARISA

That is a 10.

MIKE

Nice.

SEAN

Okay. You can easily swipe aside her stinger, which you see is coming off her back, and she was trying to jab you with it. And you easily swipe it aside with the mace. And she spins around and actually falls backward and she’s scrambling backwards a bit. And the wind dies a little as she does that.

MARISA

So can I then raise the mace to take a club at her?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

I don’t know, brother…

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

She seems to be retreating!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

A woman on the ground, on her back, crawling.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

But she is a magic user!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Hmmm. The gods did say that luck would have a strike her once, though I wasn’t too happy about it.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

So you feel that one good strike should be enough?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Ah, yes.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

A good, firm strike?

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Yes!

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Then perhaps we shall try again.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Well, fine, brother, but this one’s on you.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Connect! Connect with aclarity!

MARISA

Plus Dex, probably, right? Maybe Strength?

SEAN

Yeah, so this, you’re actually doing Hack and Slash, so this is plus Strength.

MARISA

Okay, yeah, so I have nothing. But that is a 6.

SEAN

Okay, so while the mace is talking to itself, she manages to scramble back far enough that you impact the ground. But she’s scrambling back and the wind is really dropping now.

Anyone else doing anything?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Someone get me my sword!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Your sword is candy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It could save the day! I just, I can’t, I’m, I can’t, ’cause I, the fairy cake and the roots…

SEAN

Your hand starts to extend, turning into branches like Groot.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?! Blat, check it out!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I… Those things have just gotten worse. Just… play with your candy sword, I’m firing at the pixie again.

Darcy! Hit the deck!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hitting the deck!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, Star. Now you’re gonna see some stars.

CARTER

That would be a 9.

SEAN

Plus?

CARTER

Plus Dexterity, 10.

SEAN

All right, roll your damage!

CARTER

4!

SEAN

And you don’t have any pluses or any abilities to give you a plus on your soul-bound weapon?

CARTER

Nah, it’s just… it’s just a bazooka.

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay, so… The display pops up in your bazooka, you centre on her, it locks on, you fire. She goes to dodge but is caught in the blast, and you see her body tumbling backwards and hit the back wall, and slump down, and that’s what everybody sees, a roar of fire.

You, Mr. Eggerton, find your whole body attempting to recoil from the fire.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aghh!

Okay, okay, so… Um, my arm is stuck in the ground now too?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just get your arm out of the ground!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The fire! I don’t know, it’s weird, I can’t!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just move your body like you’ve done every day of your life!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(straining)

Agghh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is obviously a fairy cake side effect, we’re just gonna have to let it wear off.

SEAN

As the fire dissipates, almost like out of Terminator, Darcy, you see this little pixie standing up out of the embers… and she looks angry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, you’re still alive?!

SEAN (AS STAR)

I’ll be the last thing you see, Blat!

SEAN

And she begins to charge forward, right at Blat.

MARISA

Okay, so then I cast Hold Person.

SEAN

Read it?

MARISA

So… “Choose a person you can see. Until you cast a spell or leave their presence, they cannot act except to speak. This effect ends immediately if the target takes damage from any source.”

SEAN

Roll a 2d6 to Cast a Spell.

MARISA

2d6, and I get plus Wisdom, which I have a lot of.

CARTER

Yes, yes, you must be very proud.

MARISA

So that’s a 9.

SEAN

So which of those things do you want?

Uh… “You draw unwelcome attention. Your casting…” I’ll just revoke it. I’ll have my deity revoke it.

SEAN

Okay. Basically, what happens: Star, this little pixie is making a beeline for you, and you actually are still looking through your viewfinder, and you just see her getting larger, larger, larger, and the stinger is… she becomes just a blur at the end, and as you pull your head to the side, her stinger is inches away from your face, and she’s just frozen in the air, Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. I’ve stopped her for the time being, but we need to come up with a plan, and Eggerton appears to be stuck.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(straining)

I’m… my hand is…

SEAN

Eggerton’s other hand, now you see it extending out like a tree and going into the ground on his other side.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so, small problem. I am firmly rooted, and I can’t reach my sword, and I…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re not, buddy. You’re just having a freakout.

You are not a bush. You are not a tree. You are not any form of plant life.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But look, my hands, they grew, and they’re in the ground now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I see that you’re forcing your hands into the soil. That’s all I see.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Then why can’t I just pull them out?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because you’re having another dessert-oriented freak out.

You’re fine. We’re gonna give it a few minutes, and then you’re gonna ask, “Hey, guys, how come I’m sticking all of my limbs into the ground?”

And you’ll just pull yourself out.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That was not a very good Darcy impression.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, while he’s figuring that out, Blat, we have to figure out how to get out of this dome because right now we’re stuck inside it with a psychopathic pixie, and we have to get out of here.

SEAN

You hear a tapping on a glass surface.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where’s that coming from?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, I’m sorry. It’s probably our little snow globe tree-slide thing. Just a moment.

Hello? Hello?

SEAN

You see a tiny little figure in a white robe. As you get closer, it almost looks like Mother Speckley. And she’s holding a hammer, and she’s tapping—or pounding—on the glass from their side.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so they seem to have figured out that they’re in a snow globe and are trying to get out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, maybe we should be doing the same thing. Maybe you should be tapping on this thing with your bazooka!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, that’s why they’re doing it. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.

Okay! So I’ll just swing at this energy wall with a giant metal tube. Let’s see what happens!

CARTER

And Blat starts pounding against it with the bazooka.

SEAN

Where against it?

CARTER

Just against one of the walls.

SEAN

Okay, yeah. It’s like hitting a brick wall. It just like, crumples a little bit of your bazooka, and it bounces back.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, this isn’t working. That’s expected.

Now, energy, darkness, seems to be coming into one of these fae stone things. I thought maybe attacking it would be the weak point, but then I’m worried about maybe doing something to Fae World or something. I don’t know how it works.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, maybe this darkness has already done something to Fae World. Maybe we’d be saving Fae World by undarknessing it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I enjoyed these scientific conversations. I just don’t know what would happen if I should bludgeon or blow up a fae stone.

SEAN (AS STAR)

(enraged, muffled shrieking)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hey! Rooty, what do you think?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why are my hands in the dirt here?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Exactly. Exactly. Don’t know, buddy, but it really helped us a lot during that last encounter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re welcome.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so what do you think is the deal with the fae stones?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I don’t think they’re supposed to be all lined up like this. Typically, they’re actually on fae lines.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh-huh. So there are no fae lines here, is what you’re saying?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There might have been like one, but for there to be several like this is very unlikely. Um. But what we can do… Here, let me pick up my sword and put it back in the sheath—all right. I can try going into one and see what happens.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

With all that dark energy going through it, I don’t think that’s a good idea. We already had evil Blat. I don’t want an evil Eggerton.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we briefly had evil Eggerton, but I would not like to have evil Eggerton again.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, no, but what’s Mother Speckley doing? Is she trying to say something? Can you hear anything?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, let me check.

MIKE

And I pick up the globe and put it up to my ear.

SEAN

You see a bunch of figures fly through the air. You see snow swirling around. You hear what sounds like screaming, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, you have to be more delicate! You’re just throwing people around! Stop—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. I’m trying to listen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(growls)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Let me shake it and see if they…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t shake it—

(sighs)

SEAN

You just see Slaad hitting the side. You hear screams, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MARISA

And I grab it away from him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Rude.

MARISA

And I hold it up very gently in front of my face and I wait till everyone has assembled themselves back together.

SEAN

You see what looks like a very, very tiny Mother Speckley crawling towards the edge and holding up a hand to wait. And then you see some Slaad crawling forward and they have like this charcoal and they’re starting to write a word.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whispers)

What are you trying to say to us, guys?

SEAN

R…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

R?

SEAN

U.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

U?

SEAN

N.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

N? Uh oh. Guys, we gotta get out of here. We gotta get out of here now. Look, look what they’re writing!

SEAN

They’re all flying all around again and the snow is swirling.

Laughter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, sorry! Sorry, sorry, Slaad. How do we get out of here? Maybe we have to destroy the fae stone like Blat thought.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’ll go in and take a look.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No!

SEAN

Star is slowly moving in the air.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s fair.

SEAN

And Darcy, you feel this pressure on your brain as you feel the pixie fighting your magic.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. You, concentrate on keeping the pixie in place. I’ll swing a giant metallic tube at a fae stone and we’ll see what happens there.

SEAN

Okay, roll me damage. All you have to do is roll damage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And… Hyugh!

CARTER

5.

SEAN

So you connect with your tube so solidly you feel the jar all the way through your bones and the fae stone cracks a little and you see the light above it start to splutter and you sense the energy around you start to give a little but then it forms back.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, that was it! You did something! It started to fall apart!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like I’m doing a bad thing to do a good thing but I don’t have any other ideas so let’s keep hitting inanimate objects!

SEAN

And by the second or third strike, the fae stone snaps in half and the dome disappears and there’s an explosion of light that lights up the mountain and the path ahead of you and then it’s gone and you just sense Star in the air trying with all her strength to break free.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, we’re free but as soon as we start running I’m gonna have to drop this spell on Star and I don’t know what she’s gonna do to us.

So how are we gonna get out of this? With the Slaad and with gummy lady Wilma?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We are in some ridiculous situations, aren’t we?

All right, um, can we, I don’t know, tie her up or something?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

With what?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know! My necktie! I have my necktie! We’ll just take this off and we’ll tie her heads behind her back I suppose?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, and we’d better gag her too because she seems to chant a lot of spells. We should probably do both.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, so I’m sacrificing yet another shirt for the cause. Tear off the bottom part, shove that in the ol’ magic maker… and then we’ll tie the hands behind the back—

(to Star)

This is your fault! This is your fault!

SEAN (AS STAR)

(muffled growling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! Nope! No! If you just gave people dental like a good person you wouldn’t be in this situation now. But you wanted to be a co-goddess, which I don’t even think is a thing. You were tricked! You were tricked into thinking that was a thing! And if Celene comes back for you, which she won’t because she doesn’t care about you, you can tell her the same.

SEAN (AS STAR)

Hmph!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right, all right, let’s start up the pathway. I’m gonna let the spell go soon. Ready to run?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I have an idea.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now you have an idea? We just did everything!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, but I’ve got a really good idea. So when the spell lets go, Star’s gonna have momentum still, right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So what we do is you take your bazooka blast, you get in front of Star and on three, Darcy lets go of the spell, Star goes forward, and you just swing away and we see how far we can do this. You can get a real good exit velocity.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think that’s overkill, Eggerton. I don’t think we need to do that. She’s already gagged and tied up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She almost killed me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s true and you are kind of blind in that eye now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My beautiful peeper is damaged and I don’t know if it’s gonna get better.

(sniffs)

And someone needs to pay for that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(whispers)

Blat, I’ve never seen Eggerton like this. It’s kind of disturbing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, we’ll find a happy medium. Eggsy, how about this? Instead of striking a six-inch gagged and tied-up figure like a ball in a sporting event, I’m gonna dig a small hole in the ground, we’ll shove her in up to her waist and then just leave her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can you put her hands in too?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, buddy. We’ll put her hands in too.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, it’s a deal.

CARTER

And Blat begins making a hole right underneath where Star is.

SEAN (AS STAR)

(indignant noises)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s right! This is a hole! A hole that you’re going in because we don’t know what else to do!

SEAN (AS STAR)

(growling)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The fairy’s demanding vengeance.

All right, here we go. Back away, everyone. And…

MARISA

I let go of the spell.

SEAN

Is she in the hole, or have you pulled her down or is she just in the hole?

MARISA

I think her momentum is just gonna drop her into it.

CARTER

Drop her into the hole.

SEAN

You let go of the spell and she’s falling… and then she pops out of existence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gasps)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yeah, pixies and fairies can both do that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, who knows where she is now! Probably bringing Celene.

So come on, up the path.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What were you gonna make me do? We’re literally burying people now! Oh, what have we become?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m kinda hungry.

LATER

SEAN

The three of you are walking through the darkness and you’re starting to not only taste the Shattering, you’re starting to feel resistance, almost like the air has form or substance. It’s like trying to push through water, almost.

And it’s hard except for every once in a while a flash of lightning from the storm that is in the distance. Though it’s still not raining, there’s a dampness to everything, but the lightning lights up enough that you can see the path that you’re on.

And you hit a rise and ahead of you, you see a campfire flickering in the darkness.

And I need to know what you guys are doing about your health. If anything.

CARTER

Well, I’ve lost about half of mine.

MARISA

So we should rest, maybe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This looks like a great place to make camp in the middle of the creepy thunderstorm with no rain on the path to death.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I agree.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, so… but there’s a camp up over there. And we don’t know who’s at the camp. Should we camp by a camp that we don’t know whose camp?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, it’s true. I don’t imagine there’s anyone good on this path. So maybe we should just rest here before we get there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Or… we could do a campaign to get to the camp and camp at the camp.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re resting here. Okay, everybody stop. All right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Party hold.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(muffled sounds of concern)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t worry, we’re not going to eat any gummy. Rations all the way.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, everyone, I’ve gotta commune. So could you try and keep quiet?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll try and keep my babbling brook sounds down. But if I’m really going to rest, I kind of need them, because the water rolling over the stones is so relaxing and it helps kind of cancel out some of the other sounds outside.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re basically an eight-year-old.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well… maybe in half-demon years?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, so we’re going to stick Wilma beside you. Maybe her muttering will be soothing to you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That may not be a great idea, Blat. I’m a bit of a sleep chewer.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A sleep chewer?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is that what happened to my pillow? That was you?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Your pillow was purple and lumpy. And if you don’t want someone to eat it accidentally at night, you shouldn’t leave it on their bed where they’re going to eat it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But it’s obviously a pillow. You knew it was a pillow. You’re an adult and you know what a pillow is.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, we are this close from life-threatening danger. Can you two stop arguing about a pillow? Because first of all, I’m going to cure Blat…

MARISA

And I place my hand on him and I cast Cure Light Wounds, which is a rote.

SEAN

Now this is before…

MARISA

This is before we… I haven’t communed yet. I’m about to go.

SEAN

Yeah, go ahead.

MARISA

Okay, so I Cure Light Wounds, Blat. My amulet starts to glow and I rolled a 1, but because I’m a Devoted Healer, I add my level to that. So it’s actually 5 healing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohh! Well!

SEAN

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That feels so much better. I may not even have to eat!

MARISA

And then I move away from the group a little bit and I commune with Loxsyn.

SEAN

Okay, and what are the rest of you doing?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay! I’ll just stay here and have a fairy cake, I guess, to feel better!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. You may have a fairy cake only because if anything weird should happen to you, it’ll have worn off before we have to actually do anything.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Nothing weird is going to happen to me, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You literally thought you were a plant 45 minutes ago.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, you keep saying that and I’ve got soil under my fingernails, but I don’t think it was true.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why would you do that in a fight, Eggerton? Why would you do that in a fight?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was gripping the ground to propel forward.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Did you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, but that’s what I was getting ready to do and then you interrupted me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Pop your dessert item. I’m just curious now to see what happens.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well, this is a classic purple swirly.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yes. Those have never messed up in the past.

SEAN

Roll for fairy cakes.

MIKE

It’s a 9.

SEAN

So… Eggerton pops out of existence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, now that’s a new one. What the what?!

SEAN

And what are you doing, Blat?

CARTER

Blat moves his arms around to see if perhaps Eggerton is merely invisible.

SEAN

You don’t feel anything.

CARTER

Blat then sighs, tries to tuck what’s left of his shirt into his pants, hugs Wilma and tries to get some sleep.

SEAN

So, Eggerton, you see Blat reach out and pass his hands right through you. And no matter what you say or shout, he doesn’t seem to be able to hear you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat! Blat! Why’d you go through me like that?

CARTER

And then he hugs the woman gummy and then you see him curl up to go to sleep.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s interesting. I thought that he… well, I guess, I mean, I’m not going to judge if Wilma’s who he’s interested in now.

I guess Darcy’s not over here. So, okay, I guess that’s just…

Well, it seems like no one can hear me, so um… I guess I’ll just sit down… and wait.

You know what? Okay. I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to wait because this will probably pass. But just in case, I’m going to keep talking to Blat until Blat responds and then I know everything’s normal again.

Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat….

SEAN

Roll a 1d8 for me Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat? Blat? Blat? Blat! Blat?

CARTER

7!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat…

SEAN

7 hours later….

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat…

SEAN

You still don’t hear Eggerton… but Eggerton sees someone approaching.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat, Blat. BLAT.

SEAN

And it looks like a female ice troll that Eggerton has seen before.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

Blat!

SEAN

Could it be… Mumsy?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat! Blat!

SEAN

But before that happens now, you guys managed, you rolled it so you got 7 hours of sleep before this happened, so you all are fully healed.

CARTER

Hooray!

SEAN

So everyone go to full hit points.

MIKE

FYI, my fairy cake would have given me 8 which would have—

SEAN

Your Commune will have happened.

MARISA

Yeah, so I choose my new spell.

SEAN

Eggerton, you see Mumsy approaching, sort of looking not happy and then stopping when she sees the camp.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat! Blat Blat! Blat!

SEAN

Blat can’t hear you or see you.

MIKE

How far away is she?

SEAN

Just at the top of the rise, just like 100 feet away and is slowly backing up back towards what you assume is their camp.

MIKE

I try and rush forward to see if I can get closer without her seeing me.

SEAN

She is utterly ignoring you as you run forward towards her and she is reaching for her club and slowly turning but keeping her eyes on the resting people in your camp as she turns back towards her camp.

MIKE

Am I close enough to make a move?

SEAN

Sure.

MIKE

All right, I try and tackle her knees.

SEAN

And you go right through her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…No! That’s not good.

I don’t like this, and I wanted to save the day but that’s okay. I can follow her and get intelligence.

SEAN

And she turns and moves back down towards her camp at a run.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh—she’s going a little faster than me. That’s okay, I can keep up.

(panting)

SEAN

And you hear her starting to softly shout but trying not to be too loud. And she’s shouting for Bubba and Martha who are in her camp.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

(whisper-shouting)

Bubba! Martha! Bubba! Martha!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Bubba and Martha! They sound bad. Those are evil names—Martha! Martha?

SEAN

And you see two other much larger ice trolls coming out of their tents, their little lean-to tents. They are long-armed, they are white-skinned and white-haired ice trolls with long faces and ice coming off their beards and, strangely, their crotches.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mother of Loxsyn! There’s a bunch of them!

SEAN

And they see Mumsy coming back towards them and they look confused.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Bubba! Martha!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Huh?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

There are people here!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

The ones?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Yes.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh we get our clubs!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Yes, get your clubs ready!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Where’s my club? I don’t know where my club is!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

That’s my club! That’s my club!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh no, I left my club here!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

No, that’s my club! That was obviously my club.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh fine!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

You take tree branch!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Okay, I have tree branch! Okay.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay, some of them are sleeping. In fact, they are all sleeping right now.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

I’m good at sleeping-people-killing.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay, yeah I know.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

It’s really all I’m good at.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

That’s why we recruited you for this.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Thanks.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay, so you have to be quiet. It’s hard for us trolls.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Shhhh!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

I’m not good at be quiet, no.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

But try. Shh.

CARTER AND SEAN (AS MARTHA AND BUBBA)

Shhhh.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh, Mumsy, Mumsy, question.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, you may ask it.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

What’s the little man behind you doing?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

What little man?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

The man who’s not sleeping.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

The one standing behind you making gestures.

MARISA

And Mumsy turns around to see…?

SEAN

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m… not here.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Okay, for a minute there Mumsy, I thought he was actually here.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

No, he is here! Who are you?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Why would he say he’s not here?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Because he’s trying to trick us!

SEAN AND CARTER (AS BUBBA AND MARTHA)

Whaaat?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I would not try and trick three… ice trolls, I’m guessing?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh, that’s good because that wouldn’t work.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Nooo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No. You’re very smart. So, what I’m going to do is—

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

And we’re unionized now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s so wonderful to hear. Um, what’s your local?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

742.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

742.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

742 is a great local. Uh, I’d love to hear more about it, but first, let me go get my friends. We’re in an association. And we’d love to share notes with you and maybe talk about, you know, some like employee benefits.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

No, wait, he’s talking about the friends we were going to club to death in their sleep.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

But we shouldn’t club them to death because they are from an affiliate union.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

But I like clubbing people to death in their sleep. It’s all I do best!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

But as a union, we’ve agreed that there’s only certain people we’re allowed to club in their sleep.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Awww. I thought these were those people.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

I was pretty sure too.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

These must be the people. They are the people we were told about!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wha—who told you about us?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Well… Celene.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Celene.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Celene? So, last I heard Celene was trying to stamp out unions.

SEAN AND CARTER (AS BUBBA AND MARTHA)

Whaaaaat?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

That’s what she used to do. But then we fought hard and got the union.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Mumsy fought hard. She’s union leader!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

I am. It’s the legacy of my sons.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Celene rest their souls.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Yes.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Oh, so sad.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Okay! I kill people in sleep now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no, wait, wait, wait, wait, ha ha. I’ve got presents.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

(gasps)

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

What presents?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look! Look in my pouch. I’ve got these delicious treats. Who wants a treat?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

We haven’t eaten in a while, Mumsy.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

No, because you didn’t bring the icicle cupcakes last time to the meeting!

I am hungry…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look, these, these, these have blue on them like ice.

Sounds of awe.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Will they affect an ice troll who might be diabetic?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I’m pretty sure that the dietary fiber is quite low and the sugars are high so you should be good to go.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Oh, good, because maybe… someone here is…

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

What? Who?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Not… me.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Oh, okay.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

So then there should be no problem. Eat the thing!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

That would be a pre-existing condition.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Right, and a pre-existing condition would mean that certain ice trolls would not be able to reap the health benefits of a hard working union.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Yeah!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

You wouldn’t actually be allowed on this mission. We’re not covered for someone with a pre-existing condition.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Well, it’s a good thing I don’t have that.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Yeah, good.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

I’ll prove it by eating two of these.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh, good, good, good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, here you go. There’s two for you and one for you and one for you.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

I want two too.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You want two, two, too?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Yeah, yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You want two too?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Two too.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You want two too?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Yeah, two too.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Is that going to affect your head clubbing ability?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

No, no, as long as they’re sleeping, we’re good.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay, he can have two.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

These are in-network fairy cakes.

SEAN AND CARTER (AS BUBBA AND MARTHA)

Ohhhh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So here you go. Everyone have one.

SEAN

Roll for Fairy Cakes.

MIKE

11.

Laughter.

SEAN

The only time Eggerton rolls successfully!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

This is the best fairy cake I’ve ever had!

(gasps)

Your skin is looking so good! It’s the bluest I’ve ever seen, Martha!

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

I have never felt less diabetic!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Wow. Oh, and Mumsy!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Yes?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Your chin hair is icy again!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

(gasps)

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

It hasn’t been like that since the passing of your sons. Celene rest their souls.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Celene rest their souls.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Long live Boltius.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

It has been a long time. It’s true. Oh! I can feel how icy it is.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

I feel I could kill everyone sleeping now! I have never felt so good!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait…

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Let’s go, Mumsy!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Let’s go!

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Onward!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait!

Look behind you!

SEAN AND CARTER (AS BUBBA AND MARTHA)

Whaaat?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay?

MIKE

And I turn and run back to camp.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

There’s a tree…

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

A tree—oh, I took a branch from that tree, Martha.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Oh, yeah. And that tree…

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Oh, that’s where I do my business.

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Oh…

Silence.

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Wait! Where…?

(hushed)

Was he ever here?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

(gasps)

He said he wasn’t.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Maybe he wasn’t?

SEAN (AS BUBBA)

Was that all a waking dream?

CARTER (AS MARTHA)

Ghosts.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

But wait, my chin hair is so frozen.

SEAN

Eggerton, you come running up over the crest of the hill, and you see the camp, and everyone is still asleep.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(approaching fast)

Wake uuuuuuup!

The others shout in alarm.

SEAN

And Eggerton continues running right past your camp.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton! What is going on?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(already in the distance again)

Ice trolls!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? Wha? Did he say “I stroll”?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good morning to you. Do you go for a stroll first thing in the morning?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He’s going for a run, it looks like.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’d rather go for a stroll. I just woke up.

And, uh, who is sleeping with Wilma? I wasn’t!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Will you give me Wilma?! I think she’s… I think she was stuck to your side!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, she’s sticky!

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(chortles)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re going in my backpack, Wilma. You’re going in the backpack.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(petulant noises)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Now, now, be careful, because I put the globe of Slaads here, so don’t step on them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How are we supposed to carry this precarious little… tree village in a globe around, without shaking them up all the time?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Very carefully.

All right, now where is Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(returning)

Okay, so there’s ice trolls, I left my sword, she came back to pick that up, now we gotta go, let’s all run.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ice trolls? Uh. Maybe we should run.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But I can’t run and gently carry the snow globe.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I’ll carry the snow globe, I just have to carry it close to me and try and keep it from jostling. Let’s go!

CARTER

And Blat begins running after Eggerton.

SEAN

Okay, so you guys are running… which way, Eggerton?

MIKE

Away from the ice trolls. Is there a way to go up the mountain path still, or is it just…

SEAN

So you’re gonna cut around, not go back the way you came?

MIKE

We’re gonna flank to the east.

SEAN

Okay. So Eggerton is leading over rough terrain to the east and around, and you do catch glimpses of three large ice trolls, or maybe ice zombies, who knows, who seem to be investigating where you were all just asleep.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton was actually right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What do you mean “actually”?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, you’re not usually. There are some huge creatures over there.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my… I think I know one of them.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? How do you know them?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There was one that I remember from Celene’s castle… which is also where I saw Star before.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh-oh.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So Celene is back and getting her old employees, or the parents of old employees, back working with her.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, wait, this makes no sense! Does Celene have anything to do with the Shattering? It’s like we’re being attacked from all these different angles.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we have angered a lot of people since we’ve showed up.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sure, yeah, that’s true.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, now seriously, I’m usually right.

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Ehhhh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Like, 80% of the time?

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Ehhhh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

65.

MARISA AND CARTER AND SEAN (AS DARCY AND BLAT AND WILMA)

Ehhhh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, you know what? You have not been around long enough to weigh in on this, Wilma.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(grumbling)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, we’re gonna call it 62% and just move forward.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, we should probably move forward quickly.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who else from our past will we run into?

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI

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

SEAN

Hey everyone, Sean here. And thank you all for being with us and all the support you gave. I think I’ve got an idea for Tier 4, so those packages are going to be going out soon. I’ll be posting an update.

And thank you to everyone who has reviewed the show, who has liked the show, who has shared the show, and who is listening.

And I want to give a shout out to another show right now, Unwell. It is a beautiful show, hard to describe, it’s mystery and a little scary and creepy and it’s wonderful. Eli has been doing sound design for them, and the latest episode that’s just going up now that will have dropped by the time this goes out was actually sound designed by him. Super amazing. It’s from the people that do Our Fair City and I can’t get enough.

And we have our sponsor, Stuart Thayman returning. And this one is free. You heard me right. This one is free. If you’ve been listening to me talk about the Stuart Thayman books, this is your chance to get a taste, to get in, and to download a whole book. And experience this for yourself and then come back and get the other ones on Amazon. Because they’re only like . But this one is free.

So this one is called the Goblin War series. And you can get it by going to OtherBothers.com/Goblin. And again, it’s a free download. I think you put in your email, it’ll send it to you. And it’s the first one that I read and I then went on to read all the other ones. So I was hooked.

It is dark. So all of these series have that. It’s hack and slash. It’s intense and very reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons.

I don’t want to give too much away, but basically what Stuart Thayman has done is said, “What if you were playing a minotaur?” But minotaurs as they were originally written in D&D, one of those early monster manuals with the cool illustrations and the write-up and the social structure elements. And that’s all here. He brought it all to life.

And as always, you can find all of Stuart Thayman’s work at StuartThaymanBooks.com. But you can get a free copy of the Goblin War series, book one, by going to OtherBothers.com/Goblin. That’ll take you right where you need to go. And now, let’s get back to the midroll.

Music sting.

MIDROLL: SALES PITCH

SEAN

Hey everyone, thanks for coming in. Did Michael not come with you?

CARTER

No, Michael didn’t come with us.

SEAN

But Michael called this meeting. He said it was really important. He has something he needs to talk to us all about.

MARISA

Well, he’s late.

CARTER

Again.

MIKE

Kick in the door! Here I am, everybody!

And I’m glad you’re here with me, because I’ve got news, big news, that’s going to change everything for all of us.

SEAN

You haven’t joined another Multilevel Marketing Scheme, have you?

MIKE

No. This one is a pyramid.

CARTER

Have you actually paid off everything you owe from the last Multilevel Marketing Scheme?

SEAN

I know I haven’t.

MIKE

Once your sales clear through an upward trickle up effect, then I will be able to pay off my debts, and that will trickle down to you as well. But anyway, here’s the big new thing, all right?

SEAN

Okay.

MIKE

Pyramid-shaped business, selling fairy cakes.

MARISA

But fairy cakes aren’t real, right?

MIKE

That’s the brilliant part! There’s no overhead.

CARTER

So you’re selling people ideas?

MIKE

Yes. But they’re actual fairy cakes. It’s a bakery.

MARISA

But… Mike, do you bake?

MIKE

No.

CARTER

And the whole point of fairy cakes is that they, about a third of the time, do something crazy to people.

MIKE

Yeah.

CARTER

So really, this is just a business that will be sued into oblivion within the first month?

MIKE

Probably, but that’s why we do it on the DL. We set up a system where someone drives down the street and flashes the lights at their car. Then Carter gets that message, runs into a house, and tells us. Then Marisa runs out with a paper bag full of fairy cakes, drops it off.

SEAN

We could do this, Michael, or everyone could just go to OtherBothers.com and support us, because that would be amazing too, and wouldn’t get anyone arrested.

MARISA

(laughing)

I thought Eggerton was going to run the bakery. I think that’s what they want.

CARTER

Don’t give the fans exactly what they want.

ELI

Give them what they need.

CARTER

Yes, yes, surprise! That’s what all good storytelling’s based on.

MOUNT ZIRMA

SEAN

You manage to climb and crest up a craggy cliff face going along the edge where you can see the old path down far below. And you’re off on a bit of a tangent but following the same direction.

And ahead of you, rising up out of mostly a desolate mountainscape, is a forest. A very lush forest. But in the darkness, it’s like, you know how sometimes at night and forest the trees all look like they’re reaching for you? Sort of what it looks or feels like, and the blackness is pressing in even tighter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yay. This is so much better than where we were.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Evil forest.

Better than ice trolls? Maybe?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m not sure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you think they have a breakfast bar there, too?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

In the evil forest?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Gonna say no, buddy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s too bad.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sorry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, wait, I have an idea. Maybe if we check in on Mother Speckley, she might have a feeling about this place and can give us some advice.

MARISA

And I pull up the globe up to my face level very gently, and I look and see what’s going on in the little dome.

SEAN

You see that they are running back and forth from the tree, and they’ve got rope lines run, and they’re tied onto them now, and they’ve got this whole system running, and they’ve been riding something on the globe.

And it says…?

CARTER

“Please stop running around so much. It’s obvious that it’s hurting us.”

MARISA

Ahhh. They are not happy with us.

SEAN (AS A SINISTER VOICE)

(sinister whisper)

They’re not the only one.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did you hear that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Was that Blat?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I don’t think it was Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello? Have we met before?

SEAN (AS A SINISTER VOICE)

Oh yes, we have.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thought as much, thought as much…

(realizing)

No…

SEAN (AS JERRY THE JOLLY JESTER)

Oh yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Jerry.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

You’ll never see me now. I blend right into the darkness.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Are you a tree now?

SEAN (AS JERRY)

No.

SEAN

And you do catch a quick movement, but you can’t really get any sense of form.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who’s Blat talking to?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I dunno.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is Jerry. He’s a Shadowborn, and I do recall greatly upsetting him once upon a time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is there anyone you haven’t greatly upset?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, you’re still talking to me, so obviously not!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I have some…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, some issues?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s what I was going to say, yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Great.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I really think we all need to sit down and talk this out.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Can everyone please focus on how I’m going to kill each of you one by one?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, you know what? Excuse me, excuse me. We’re having a moment here. We have a conflict resolution process.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

But I’ve been planning this for days.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You know what? HR planned this process for weeks. This is not just some, like, you shake hands and you shake hands and then we’re all fine. This is advanced problem solving conflict resolution—

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Okay, how long do you need?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’d say three hours, guys. What do you think?

SEAN (AS JERRY)

(sighs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

For safety’s sake, let’s go with four.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Four? Four? Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Four is good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, look, sir, sir, like in the corner of my eye over there in the darkness, you?

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

If you want to just like, I mean, you can hang out, you can listen in and maybe learn something. And you know what? It would actually be great to have an objective third party weigh in.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

What?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, and kind of let us know, you know, because I hear both of—I’m going to run the session. I have the binder. But Blat and Darcy, they’re so used to hearing each other talk at each other. Having a third party like you come in and really just sort of lay it out in a different way could really help this whole process move forward.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

You want to know what I think about things?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Of course we want to know.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Oh. Uh… okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so now if we all sit down cross-legged here in a circle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(grunting)

SEAN

A shadowy form comes forward, it’s hard to see, and sort of crouches down.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right. And take the binder out and flip through…

Page 1: “Conflict Resolution, The Nexus Way.”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where did you get that binder?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve been carrying it around for a while.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Huh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Didn’t you guys have to do the HR program?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yeah, I totally did that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, and well, this was a big part of the trade. I spent weeks learning about this.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I skipped that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You could have skipped. I thought this was necessary.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(noncommittal noise)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, if it’s not necessary, then you know what? I don’t want to do it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…

SEAN (AS JERRY)

I’m sort of invested in this now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Let’s keep going. Let’s see this through.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Or we can go back to me just killing you all one by one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no. Let’s do the conflict resolution thing. That sounds better.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so page 2 says, first we have to go around and state our names, pronouns, and origins.

So I’ll go first. I’m Eggerton. I go by he and him. I’m from Balgomar. I worked in the Emperor’s propaganda department, Long Live Boltius.

CARTER AND MARISA (AS BLAT AND DARCY)

Long Live Boltius.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Long Live Boltius.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s so nice of you to participate in that.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

I just feel like I’m part of the circle.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s really nice! I’m glad to know that the circle’s working.

Okay, now we can skip. I already know who all of you are, so we’ll just skip ahead and sit in a circle.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

I was sort of looking forward to participating in that part.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, Eggerton, maybe we should let this one introduce themselves.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

I’d like to hear everyone too.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So it’s Jerry, is it? Jerry?

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Well, to my friends, I’m Jerry.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s nice. Okay, well, why don’t you go ahead? So start it with your name, your pronouns, where you’re from. Let us know a bit about you.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Oh, I’m the Jolly Jester, or Jerry. I guess he or him would be fine. And I came from a small wisp of will from Celene. I was birthed into the world millennia ago and have been living alone in the forest ever since.

(suddenly tearful)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aww.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All alone?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s bad, Jerry.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, Jerry. Here, here, you know what? I don’t want anyone in the circle to start out sad, so why don’t you just have one of these little candies?

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Thank you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s a fairy cake. It’s an orange cube.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Oh, you mean the thing you’re holding out, not the talking, mumbling one?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, no, no, this is actually a sentient being. We ask that you not eat that one. But the fairy cakes are good!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah, so have a fairy cake. Here you go. See if that helps.

SEAN (AS JERRY)

Okay. Thanks.

SEAN

Roll for fairy cake.

MIKE

That’s a 7.

SEAN

We cut to hours later and the Jolly Jester is drunkenly singing and they’re all swaying in a circle and talking about their history until Jerry falls over and passes out, sleeping.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

He’s down!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(weary)

Oh, that took far longer than I thought it would. It’s a good idea to give the fairy cake, though.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I just wanted him to be in a better mood for circle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t care about circle? I never did any of this HR stuff. We’re just trying to incapacitate the enemy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? He’s the—no, he’s part of the, what are you talking about, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m talking about, he’s a Shadowborn who tried to murder me once and was going to try to murder all of us again!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait—I—you mean, I saved us?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You saved us.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You did, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Conflict resolution binder for the win.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well, I guess we should move on.

SEAN (AS WILMA)

(triumphant chortle)

LATER

SEAN

It is hard to say how many hours later. Your feet are rubbed raw. It’s getting really cold and harder and harder to move, but the darkness is dissipating visually. You can see better.

And ahead of you, the mountain suddenly changes. You get the sense that the path continues to climb up, but at the same time, it’s like you’re suddenly standing on an old road through a ghost town, abandoned storefronts, as far as you can see leading up to a castle. Not Celene’s castle, a castle made out of the very darkness itself.

And standing a few hundred yards ahead on the road are two centurions.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is this actually it? Is this the home of the Shattering?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Kind of bleak.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, that would track then, wouldn’t it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m saying if I was in charge of ending all of time, I’d spruce the place up a bit first.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is probably what they consider—okay, it doesn’t matter. Look, there’s two centurions up ahead. Now what do we do?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Are they from this era or our era?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I can’t tell from this distance.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, you should probably go in for a closer look.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And say what exactly? “Hi-diddly-ho. I’m from the future. Are you? Oh, by the way, blam, ba blam, ba blam, blam, blam.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I mean, if that’s what you want to say.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

I don’t know. Maybe I should just fire at them from a distance. Talking to them seems so involved.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, wait a minute. Maybe we need them to get into the castle. I don’t know yet. Maybe they could be useful.

So, “Hi-diddly-ho. Are you from the future too?” Is that what we’re going with?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t have anything better.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, Blat, why don’t you take some candy with you?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Sure. Give me some sword candy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Here you go. And one, two, and one for you. All right. One each!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thanks a lot, pal. Let’s see if I can yap my way out of this.

(shouts)

Hello!

SEAN

Blat begins to walk forward….

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… hi-diddly-ho!

(silence)

Hello, uh, you two gentlemen.

My name’s Bernard, and I’m a traveling candy associate for Candies R Us. I was wondering if I could interest two of you in a free sample?

(no answer)

Hello? Sentient beings?

Eerie music.

CARTER

And Blat raps on the helmet of one of them.

SEAN

It falls over and hits the ground.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh! My heavens. So that would mean…

CARTER

And Blat pushes at the other one.

SEAN

It falls over. It’s like a cardboard almost cut out of a centurion.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, well that’s just embarrassing.

SEAN (AS A HUGE VOICE)

It works for most.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Lord. What have I walked into?

SEAN

And you see tendrils of blackness rising up out of the ground all around you like a giant hand to grasp at you.

The music turns more ominous, a reprise of the Shattering music from Episode 19.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhhh… it’s the Shattering.

SEAN

And the hand closes. And all of you see this hand come out of the ground of just oozing blackness and close around Blat… as an entire giant starts to rise up out of the ground, lifting Blat in its hand up into the air.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

Celene told me you would come and she would stop you.

I was hoping she would fail.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now you might not be confused with someone else. My name is Bernard. I’m from Candies R Us. Free sample?

SEAN

The hand clenches tighter around you, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(straining)

Erk… I can see about putting you on our mailing list.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

(laughs)

I know you well, half demon.

Celene is my ally now that she has defeated Morrigu on the moon. You have cost me much, little man.

And where, pray tell, are your friends?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m from a Candies R Us satellite office. We’re three villages away. We’re above an old tavern.

SEAN

You see the giant in anger throw Blat towards the ground. So Blat, you suddenly feel yourself being lifted in the air and then thrown downward as he releases you.

CARTER

I try to scramble out of my shirt so I can fly.

SEAN

Okay, roll to Defy Danger.

CARTER

6.

SEAN

Plus your Dex?

CARTER

7.

SEAN

Partial success. So Blat, you barely managed to rip your shirt off, having to rip it. Your last shirt that you owned in this world potentially or ever.

And your wings sprout out. But you still hit the ground, but you’re like a skimming rock. So you’re like bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, sliding all the way down towards your friends with wings outstretched.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat! Blat! Did you get him?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I got him. I defeated him by being slammed into the ground with great force.

SEAN

You take 2 hit points damage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Dohhhh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How are we supposed to take that on? It’s a huge giant!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, we can try to maintain the fiction that we work for Candies R Us in a satellite office three villages away. We’re above a tavern.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is that what you told it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re second place in our division, but that just means we try harder.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, he either really hates candy or I think he saw through your charade.

SEAN

And the giant is now lumbering towards you all at the end of the street. And you sense that it is grinning.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

You should have taken my job offer. Now I will finish you as I end all time. This time stream is mine.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, bazooka to the crotch? I think we’re all agreed. Bazooka to the crotch?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

For a start!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And… bazooka.

SEAN

And a bazooka appears and as you go to press the button, you see tendrils of blackness shooting out at everyone. What do we do?

MIKE

I dive behind Blat.

MARISA

And I also dive to the ground.

SEAN

Okay, both of you, roll Defy Danger. Blat, what are you doing?

Blat swings his bazooka around trying to knock the tendrils away from him.

Okay, roll Defy Danger.

MIKE

6.

MARISA

Mine is a 10.

SEAN

Do you have a Dex bonus?

MIKE

Nope.

SEAN

Okay. Darcy, you hit the ground as one of the tendrils goes right over your head and you sense its impact. Like, it hits the ground hard, like almost like a mini explosion of rocks and dirt behind you. And you just hear Eggerton as he is struck like a batter in a game and his body flies off into the distance.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ungh!

SEAN

And Eggerton, you’re going to take… someone roll a 1d6 for me?

2.

SEAN

2 hit points of damage. And Blat, what did you roll?

CARTER

I rolled an 8.

SEAN

Blat, you managed to connect with the tendril, but it is like hitting a train that is in the air and it demolishes your bazooka. But it causes it to miss you. But you are literally holding a crumpled piece of exploded metal.

And you hear a roar above you.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

I am a god. No, I am more than a god. You are over.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka?

Another bazooka appears.

SEAN

Anybody else doing anything?

MARISA

So I grab my mace and I start running towards the base of this giant yelling with the mace.

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

Now this is obviously a great villain.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

No contest here, brother!

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

I have never struck a giant before!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Someone who proposes to be bigger than a god himself!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(battle cry)

Aaaaaa!

MARISA

And that’s a…

SEAN

Plus?

MARISA

Would it be Dex?

SEAN

Strength.

MARISA

Oh, then it’s just a 7.

SEAN

Okay. So that is a connect.

SEAN

So you connect with what part of the…?

MARISA

I’m going for the base.

SEAN

So the shin?

MARISA

The shin.

SEAN

So you connect and there’s an explosion of light when your Mace of Righteousness connects. Roll your damage.

And then what did you roll?

MARISA

I roll a 7.

SEAN

7 damage on the Shattering.

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

I will pretend to write that down.

MARISA

(laughs)

Damn you.

SEAN

Okay, “Shattering… Hit points: unlimited.” Okay, minus 7, Darcy.

Darcy, your amulet, though, does begin to glow with bright light.

And Blat, you were also, I think, bazooka-ing at the crotch area?

CARTER

The crotch of the Shattering.

SEAN

I’ve made bazooka a verb. Oh boy.

MIKE

Bazooka-ing or bazooking?

SEAN

Bazooka-ing.

MIKE

Bazooking.

CARTER

Ohhh, that’s only a 4.

MARISA

You’re terrible.

SEAN

A tendril comes out of nowhere and actually knocks the bazooka out of your hand, sending it spinning off into the distance as you hear a giant laugh above you.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

(gleeful laughter)

What is Eggerton doing as you tumble off into the distance?

MIKE

I notice that the bazooka’s in my direction now as it’s been knocked aside.

SEAN

Yeah.

MIKE

So as I kind of stumble and land, I run to the bazooka and pick it up.

SEAN

And?

MIKE

And push the button.

SEAN

Roll 2d6. I’ll give you… I won’t even put a minus on it.

MIKE

(laughing)

It’s a 9!

SEAN

So, Blat, you hear the sound of your bazooka firing. You think, that’s random that it would land in such a way as the…

And then the missile strikes the crotch of the giant Shattering. And you just hear him roar above you.

And you hear the scream of Eggerton as he basically is sent flying backwards off into the further distance, tumbling head over heels and lands and takes 2 hit points of damage.

Darcy, you have just connected. You saw this burst of light. You see a hole appear in the ankle and then fill back in with blackness.

MARISA

So is there any opportunity to run past this being?

SEAN

Yeah.

MARISA

So I think we should try and do that!

SEAN

So you’re going to continue running?

MARISA

Yeah.

SEAN

Okay. And you sense a tendril though coming down for you at high speed.

MARISA

Okay. So I just run really fast.

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger for me. Blat, you are suddenly…

MARISA

I’m a 3.

SEAN

Okay.

SEAN

You are suddenly swallowed from beneath, a tendril coming up out of the ground and closing around you, and then pulling you down towards the ground, trying to crush you like an ant.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Lordy…

Bazooka.

SEAN

Okay.

CARTER

And Blat swings the bazooka sideways to try to keep the walls from closing in on him.

SEAN

(laughing)

Love it. Okay. Roll Defy Danger.

Marisa, you missed your Defy Danger.

MARISA

Yeah.

SEAN

You are caught right in the stomach by a horrific blow that doubles you over. Someone roll 1d6 for me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh!

CARTER

2.

SEAN

So you take 2 hit points of damage, and that is a stress attack on you with your Rage.

Yeah, Rage.

SEAN

It hurts. Like, some blood comes out of your mouth. It is a hard hit. You bit your tongue.

MARISA

Okay.

SEAN

Blat, you’re rolling Defy Danger. Eggerton, you hit the ground. You’ve slid even further off. You see them way in the distance, when a hand is placed on your shoulder.

CARTER

7.

SEAN

7. Blat, you actually manage, and then your bazooka explodes with the force, but the blackness dissipates around you, but you take 2 hit points from the shrapnel.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aaooww!

SEAN

But it stops you from being crushed to death.

Darcy, you are seeing red as you stand back up, and you just see this giant lifting its foot to come down on top of Blat, who’s just shaking his head on the ground.

MARISA

Okay, so then I throw my club across the ground to come under this foot that’s coming down, to kind of just slice it through the bottom. You know what I mean?

SEAN

Okay, so you’re throwing it at the foot.

MARISA

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SEAN

You’re trying to connect with the foot. Okay.

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Brother, we are airborne!

CARTER (AS THE MACE)

The Achilles is a sensitive area!

SEAN (AS THE MACE)

Remember the Achilles!

SEAN

Okay, you’re going to roll Volley.

MARISA

It’s an 11, which is a 12.

SEAN

You see his foot explode into black ooze and ichor and then reform—but totally miss Blat. A foot slams the ground, actually so hard that it sends you sprawling backwards. It was so close to you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Urgh!

SEAN

Eggerton… Moira steps forward past you.

MARISA

(gasps)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, uh, ha ha, hey Moira, how’s it…? So there’s a thing—

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Get close to the others!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh…

SEAN

And she’s moving past you and running forward towards the darkness and these two.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay…

MIKE

So I start running behind her.

SEAN

Okay.

Darcy, you sense all of the attention of the Shattering shifting to you and you feel a crushing force around your head and your amulet glows even brighter, but it’s dimming in the darkness as he, you feel him start to—the Shattering enter your brain.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Aaagh!

SEAN

Roll Defy Danger for me.

MARISA

It’s a 6.

SEAN

You have a Wisdom bonus on that.

MARISA

Do I?

SEAN

Yeah.

MARISA

Then it’s a 9.

SEAN

Oh. Okay.

Relieved laughter.

MARISA

I’m very wise.

SEAN

You are brought to your knees and you are stunned, but you feel him pushed out.

He’s like,

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

You won’t push me out for long, Darcy.

SEAN

Doing anything, Blat?

CARTER

Blat looks up and sees the undercarriage of the giants.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, what am I looking at? What am I seeing?! Don’t let this be the last thing that I see!

Bazooka!

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

Kilts are manly, I’ll have you know Blat.

SEAN

And you fire?

CARTER

(laughing)

Blat fires straight up.

SEAN

And you also, as you fire, you sense someone running towards you from the distance and two people out of the corner of your eye running into you towards you.

Eggy, you’re still running behind?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(desperate panting)

MARISA

That’s a yes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I told you you should do more exercises!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(wheezing)

Darcy, sitting there stunned, you see a form that looks like Moira running into the melee and she’s holding some kind of staff.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wha—who is that? It’s Moi… what?

SEAN

Roll your Bazooka Volley.

MARISA

Oh, terrible.

CARTER

4—plus Dex—5.

MARISA

Fail. Remember to record the—

SEAN

You were looking at such a horrific sight, Blat, that you closed your eyes and you pressed the button and the Shattering had already stepped past you and you fire straight off into the air.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(broken)

I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I can’t! I can’t.

SEAN

And you see Moira slam the staff into the ground and begin saying some words as a rippling explosion comes out from where she is, sending her flying backwards… and a portal begins to form in the middle of the road, a giant swirling portal like the ones you have seen so many times in your work.

And she’s crawling forward, blood dripping down her nose.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

We don’t have long!

SEAN

And there’s a wind now growing and coming out of the portal and also pulling you towards the portal.

And stepping out of the portal is Eggerton. But he’s dressed strangely, like wearing knight’s armour from ye olde days. He flips up his visor and it’s the Eggsy you know.

Everyone is shouting over the sound of the wind.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON IN ARMOUR)

Okay, I need you to come in the portal now!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s… what’s going- what’s going on?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We had the wrong Eggerton this entire time?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON IN ARMOUR)

No, no, that’s—that’s the right me, but this is me too! So it’s okay. It all makes sense. Things are a little twisty sometimes, but you need to come through the portal!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It sounds like him! I’m going for the portal!

MARISA

And I start running for the portal.

SEAN

What does the other Eggerton say?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But that’s not me! I would never dress that way!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton! Run towards Eggerton!

MIKE (AS THE EGGERTONS)

Okay!

MIKE

And both Eggertons start running towards each other.

SEAN

Moira turns and raises her hand and casts a beam of light into the Shattering. But you see the Shattering shrugging it aside and snarling, stepping forward.

SEAN (AS THE GIANT)

No! You will not win! You are done!

SEAN

And he’s pushing into the beam of light and she’s screaming.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

You must listen to the other Eggerton!

MIKE (AS THE EGGERTONS)

Yes, listen to me!

I am listening to you!

Okay, I don’t need you to listen to me, I need them to listen to me because you’re gonna listen to me because you are me and I’m you and it’s all okay. Just everyone through the portal, quick!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m through the portal!

MARISA

And I barrel through it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was hoping there’d be a way to abandon the final battle and I’m going to take it!

MIKE (AS THE EGGERTONS)

Okay, Eggerton!

Yeah, Eggerton?

Let’s do it!

Do what?

Go through the portal!

But you came through the portal!

Yeah, to get you, ’cause you need to come through the portal!

But you already came through the portal!

Exactly!

MIKE

And Eggerton throws himself through the portal.

SEAN

And the other Eggerton, the one wearing the armour, stays.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggsy! What are you doing?!

A great whoosh of energy as the portal closes—then all sound stops.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

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: Kim Bellinger and Kona.

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-giving lead on Discord. Look for the Patreon link at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: PEEP-HOLE

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You are kind of blind in that eye now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, my beautiful… peep-hole!

MIKE

(instantly)

No! Not that!

Laughter.

MARISA

So many double entendres in this episode.

CARTER

Peeper!

MARISA

Okay.