Click for Content Warnings
- Background sounds and music
- Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
- References to death and dying
- Implied cult/high control group (entirely fictional)
- Raised voices (not notably louder than the rest of the audio)
- Mentions of unnamed characters disappearing
- Background screaming (brief)
- Implied violence/torture/murder
- Discussion of cannibalism (no details, largely implicit)
SAM: Hello, Faithful Listeners! After a long day of travelling, we’re actually here, and. Well. Yes. I said we should wait, to bring you with us. We’re here now. So here it goes, I suppose. Oliver, do you want to knock or should I?
OLIVER: By all means, go ahead.
[KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK]
SAM: Remember, we’re just two, ordinary—
B: Ah, Heir Apparent! And what’s this? A Major Arcana, too?
OLIVER: Pleased to make your acquaintance.
B: Well, come on in off the street, before someone else sees us.
[THEY STEP INSIDE. FOOTSTEPS ECHO IN EERIE QUIET]
[THE DOOR SHUTS HEAVILY]
B: This way.
[THEIR FOOTSTEPS ECHO]
B: Just down here.
SAM: [WHISPERING] Oliver?
OLIVER: [ALSO WHISPERING] Still here.
[SAM KNOCKS INTO SOMETHING]
SAM: Sorry! [A MOMENT] They just shook their head.
B: Not much further now.
SAM: Who are all these people?
B: Subscribers to the Redistribution.
SAM: Subscribers to what?
B: The Redistribution. It’s not a particularly catchy name, we know. That’s why we tend to use ‘Scarce Mongers’ when we speak to outsiders.
SAM: [UNDER HIS BREATH] Anna was right. This is a cult.
B: We don’t use that word. It’s meaningless, anyway, pinned onto any set of beliefs one might consider harmful in an attempt to delegitimise it. It totally destroys the true meaning of the word. We consider ourselves a found family.
[Castlewood Marimba Band – “In Shadowland” PLAYS iN THE BACKGROUND]
[IT GETS LOUDER]
[B OPENS AND CLOSES ANOTHER DOOR, FOOTSTEPS BECOME ALMOST INAUDIBLE]
B: Drink, either of you?
B: I have… moonshine, orange juice, or I can send for tea.
OLIVER: No, thank you.
SAM: What is this place?
B: Impressive, isn’t it? It’s under the Guild Hall. Not many people know it’s here. I believe it once connected with the crypt, in the Minster. Did you see it, before nightfall?
SAM: Yes. It was very… big. How do you know who we are?
B: I listen to your show.
SAM: Uh– you do?
B: Yes! It’s an excellent archive you have attached it in those forums, you know. There’s no list of arcanists anywhere. We’re tricky people to pin down… Except for you, it seems. You don’t have any trouble pinning us down at all.
OLIVER: He’s the Heir Apparent.
B: An Heir Apparent.
OLIVER: [SCOFFS] What are you talking about?
B: The Impossible Children. You’ve heard of them, surely?
SAM: Heard of them? Are you kidding? You say you listen to the show, right? You know Madame Marie had loads of… well, I don’t know what to call them, really. But she was writing about them. Collecting information.
B: Curious, isn’t it?
OLIVER: Sam isn’t an Impossible Child. As you can see he’s a grown adult. Impossible Children don’t age. That’s why we call them ‘Children’.
B: Under the right circumstances, they certainly can age.
B: I can show you, if you like?
SAM: Show me?
B: You’ve been tracking us down for weeks, now. You must be curious.
SAM: That’s why we’re here.
B: So, would you like to see?
SAM: I– I don’t know.
B: Interesting that you look to him for validation.
SAM: I’m sorry?
B: Strictly speaking, shouldn’t an Heir Apparent have command of his father’s props?
SAM: What? Oh. Well. He’s. I don’t know, how exactly would you describe the situation, Oliver? And you and me, we’re, yeah. You know. What would you say we… Oliver, are you alright?
OLIVER: I should smite him where he stands.
B: Oh, he’s a nasty one.
OLIVER: I can get nastier.
SAM: Oliver. Leave the nice man alone. I’m s-sorry he’s all— no. That’s a lie. He does bite. But don’t worry about him. He’ll be on his best behaviour, won’t you, Oliver.
B: Please excuse me a moment.
[A DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES, THE SCREAMING CONTINUES INTERMITTENTLY]
SAM: Seriously. What’s with you?
OLIVER: [angrily] hmm.
SAM: Oliver. They know stuff about the Impossible Children. Maybe about me. We need to talk to them, in case they know something important.
[SCREAM CUTS OFF ABRUPTLY]
SAM: Don’t you want to know why a bunch of arcanists have been meeting like this? It’s unusual, right?
OLIVER: Fine. I won’t deny it’s a notable situation. But something is off about this place.
SAM: Yeah. I feel it too.
OLIVER: You don’t understand.
SAM: So tell me.
OLIVER: [FRUSTRATED] It’s. Complicated.
SAM: Well, hurry up then!
OLIVER: You know of Scourge–
SAM: This is to do with him?!
OLIVER: Would you let me finish!
SAM: Sorry. Go ahead.
OLIVER: He’s not the only one made of–
B: Sorry to keep you.
B: Now, where were we?
OLIVER: You’ve never met a Major Arcana before, have you?
OLIVER: You’re afraid. You should be.
SAM: SORRY about him, um… what did you say your name was?
B: I didn’t, people here call me B.
SAM: Well, I’m sorry B. You were going to show me something?
B: Ah, yes. Unfortunately there has been something of a complication on that front. If you come back on Sunday, you can partake of the sacrament of Scarcity.
SAM: What’s that?
B: We consume the flesh.
SAM: Like a christian sacrament?
B: Our interpretation is somewhat more literal and we are far less exclusive. We only take the flesh of the willing, of course.
SAM: Take… the… what?
OLIVER: It’s Scarcity, isn’t it? That’s what’s brought you together, got you all cooperating.
B: I have devoted my love and life to the pursuit of their pleasure, I sacrifice all they ask and spread their message to the masses.
SAM: That message being…?
B: Be grateful for the little the gods bestow upon you or reap their wrath.
SAM: Scarcity the concept, or?
B: Concept, construct, fragment of arcane dream made real.
SAM: Scarcity is like Scourge?
OLIVER: [GRIMLY] No. And yes.
SAM: Right, so, um. B. What exactly are you doing in service of Scarcity, then?
B: The sacrament. And of course we are working towards the Redistribution.
SAM: What is the Redistribution, exactly?
B: Well, it’s been said that there will be an heir apparent to the King of the Blood Rose Crown and they will be unified with—
OLIVER: [LOUDLY] It said harmony. ‘And when they come they will be as in harmony with those who hear them’
SAM: Excuse me, what did?
B: The Word of the One.
OLIVER: Oh for heavens’ sake.
SAM: What’s the Word of the One?
B: It is the word of the one who walks here and there.
OLIVER: It’s not a prophecy, it’s bullshit little rambling accidentally picked up as a prophecy. Sam, we need to go.
B: But I have answers for you. So many answers. If you would just come back for the sacrament–
OLIVER: To be the sacrament?
B: Gods, no.
OLIVER: A likely story. We’re leaving.
[OLIVER STRIDES OUT OF THE ROOM. SAM FOLLOWS HURRIEDLY]
SAM: B, I’m sorry, I– I’ll try to talk to him.
B: You may return any time.
[SAM AND OLIVER WALK]
SAM: What in hells is wrong with you?
OLIVER: I don’t know how you remained so civil.
SAM: He’s just a man who believes in something. Maybe it’s kind of weird or confusing but is that really so bad?
[THEY STOP WALKING]
OLIVER: [IN HUSHED TONES] Sam. He’s a cannibal! They’re all. Cannibals. And I strongly suspect they were contriving a circumstance upon which to eat you.
SAM: Oh! Oh right. Of course. Yikes, I thought he was being more, you know. Symbolic? Like Christians with the body of christ and all of that.
OLIVER: Lets leave. Now.
[THEY BOTH START WALKING AGAIN]
[A DOOR OPENS. THEY STEP OUTSIDE ONTO THE BUSY STREET]
OLIVER: Like Christians with… Oh, Sam. You are hopeless sometimes.
SAM: Gee, thanks, I love you too. [PAUSE] Oh. I. Sorry. I didn’t. You don’t have to say anything.
OLIVER: [GENTLY] Sam, I—
SAM: No! Don’t say anything! [PAUSE] Right. Yeah. Good. Oh, why are you. Oh no, did I magic that? I’m sorry, I’m still getting the hang of it, you can talk, it’s fine. Go on. You can speak.
OLIVER: It is extremely inconvenient when you do that.
SAM: I’m so sorry. It was an accident, I swear.
OLIVER: I know. You’ll get there, I’m sure. I believe in you.
OLIVER: And, whilst we’re at it. I do, in fact. Love you.
SAM: You do?
OLIVER: I do.
[THERE IS A LONG, WARM PAUSE]
OLIVER: [WITH A LITTLE LAUGH]Do you know what I want?
OLIVER: There is this pancake house, in New York, in on the third floor of the building, and it’s open late, and you can see all the way down the street. It’s fantastic.
SAM: Hmm, sounds great.
OLIVER: It is. Would you like to go?
SAM: Someday, maybe. I don’t even have a passport. Wait. Do I even have a birth certificate?
OLIVER: Yes, you do. It’s got ‘father unknowable’ on it, remember?
SAM: Oh yeah.
OLIVER: Madame Marie always was one for drama. But I digress. What would you need a passport for?
SAM: To go to New York to see this amazing pancake house?
[THEY START WALKING AS THEY SPEAK]
OLIVER: I could take you, and I’d intend us to do more than simply see it. I would very much like to go inside and partake of their delicious discs of dessert.
SAM: What are you going to do, smuggle me there in your suitcase?
OLIVER: No, magpie. We could briefly fold up into nothing and simply find ourselves in New York, as one does.
SAM: I– you could zap. And zap me with you?!
OLIVER: I’ve done it before. Not for any reasons quite as delightful as this, mind you, but I have done it. I don’t think it’s particularly pleasurable. It’s an uncomfortable sensation that takes some getting accustomed to and even after almost five centuries I still find it unpleasant. But there will be pancakes at the other end.
SAM: But isn’t that. I don’t know. An abuse of your power?
OLIVER: [LAUGHS] Don’t be absurd. These are arcane side effects to a curse that, amongst other things, binds me both to life and to a master I disagree with on a rather profound level. I think I can do what I like with my power.
[SOMEWHAT SOURLY] Besides. The murder is probably going to do me more damage if you’re thinking about it all karmically.
OLIVER: [SOFTLY] Take my hand.
[THE FIZZING HISS OF OLIVER’S STATIC]
[NOISE OF A BUSIER STREET, THIS ONE WITH A LOT OF TRAFFIC AND PEOPLE TALKING]
OLIVER: New York.
SAM: Gods. That was… unpleasant.
OLIVER: Do you need something? Water?
SAM: Just– ah. A minute.
OLIVER: I see. I do know of a rather nice hotel not far from here, we could–
SAM: Oh, I’m very on board for that– oh, oh! The microphone, let me just.
OLIVER: You’re still broadcasting?
SAM: Yeah. I– hang on– thank you, Faithful Listeners. I’ll speak to you next week. Until then, please, please take care of yourselves. You are worth so much more than you know. Goodnight.