SBR 2.17: Insipid

Click for Content Warnings

Background sounds and music
Panning audio (audio will sound different in right and left speakers/headphones)
References to death and dying
Sounds of pain
Moments of disorientation (brief, explicit)
Loss of consciousness (non-violent, spontaneous)
Threats of violence
Inappropriate emotional response to imprisonment of others (arguable; Sam responds with laughter at trapping characters who have explicitly caused them harm)
Mentions of manipulation (of a magical nature; in the context of a romantic relationship; negative connotations of this are discussed)
Moments of mild panic/hysteria (rapid speech and heavy breathing)


You can’t break an omelette without making any eggs. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.


Hello, Faithful Listeners. How have you been? Good, I hope. It’s hard to know. I speak to a few of you on the forums but I know it’s a small sample size. Things are hard, aren’t they? It’s weird how there’s a limit on how much you can do and know. What’s that about, you know? I don’t. But what do I know? Eh.

For those of you who were… concerned by what happened at the end of last weeks’ episode, I want to reassure you that it’s all fine. Like I’ve said, things have just been a little, um. Tense. Yeah, we’ll go with tense. Ever since I realised the cats were Major Arcana–

REVEL: Mrraaah!!

SAM: Yeah, okay, ever since Revel pointed it out, it’s been harder, with Oliver. I don’t know. It’s very. Yeah. It’s hard to explain what I mean, I suppose. It’s just there, this knowledge, all the time. We can’t get out from under it and it just hovers above us whatever we’re doing. It’s getting easier, but there are all these things we can’t talk about, and not just because of the taboos, but because it’s just. You know. Difficult. Like. I don’t know.


But anyway! I have an augury forecast for this week, would you believe? This one was folded up really small and stuffed into the lid of one a pot of chilli flakes. Here’s what it says:

By the light of Wednesday’s moon, a bird flies North to East across the Yorkshire Dales. You will need a light jacket if you are taking long walks this weekend.

If you have lost something, try the fridge, it may not be there but something else you need might be.

The birds fly at once from beneath railway bridge; the end is nigh.

Three unwanted will turn before one who is loved.

See the map as the crow flies but plan your route as the mouse dives.

And so concludes the augury forecast!

Now, I thought that maybe what we could do today is talk about some properly Arcanism things, because it’s been a while since we’ve tried to do any serious Arcanism on the show and… let’s just say it’s been at the forefront my mind recently.

Ronnie11 on the forums actually shared some interesting stuff earlier in the week that I thought would be worth looking at, so I’ll share what they wrote so you can see what I mean:

so I was thinking about like how arcanism represents the unknown in this context, kinda, because it’s what arcanism is kind of about. In more common uses the word ‘arcane’ means a piece of knowledge that is known by a few, or is difficult to acquire for whatever reason, and that’s kind of what arcanists do with the stuff they learn and find out, right? So basically, arcanism is about the unknown because it’s about preserving unknowability or the limits on knowing stuff. Sam has mentioned before that arcanism is extremely reverent about stuff that’s hard to find answers for, but especially stuff where you can’t actually get a solid answer. Those are the kinds of things that arcanists specialise in and study, and I’ve noticed some common threads on the forums about this stuff too.

There’s obviously a lot of factors to think about somewhere like this where everyone is just kind of hanging out and offering each other advice, like people obviously have different comfort levels with the amount of personal info they share here and stuff, but I have noticed there’s always particular attention paid to stuff that we can’t get an answer to ourselves, like, Sam (if you’re reading this hi ily) is more likely to talk about stuff on air when it’s not resolved as opposed to stuff that IS resolved, you know? Obviously that does make sense because the broadcasts presumably go out to more people than the few hundred that are here in the forums, but it is interesting that like, he’s got some kind of arcane inheritance of some kind, but he seems to just sort of go against what arcanism is about in that way? Like obviously we been knew that the show is NOT really very arcanism despite the fact Madame Marie was an arcanist (kinda, but that’s for another post and another day, if you get me started on that we’ll be here for WEEKS I stg), but it just feels pretty interesting in reference to what’s been going on lately with the Speak And Will Be Heard Thing idk.

Like if you think back to the last letter from Nagisa and what Sam was talking about ages ago when they were saying about like the point of what arcanism does, it’s not about just straight up not looking for answers for stuff, they do look to solve riddles and they work hard to learn things, but they’re all doing it by themselves and it’s’ the community aspect of what’s going on here that makes it a Thing, you know?

Anyway the main thing is really that arcanism does NOT necessarily hate answering questions, but it’s like, it’s individualist? Does that make sense? Like it’s for sure not interested in SHARING answers with anyone, but finding things out for yourself is fine, as long as you keep those things to yourself. It’s just weird to me because that’s actually a way better way to think about what the word ‘arcane’ means anyway, and it sort of even makes it make more sense that it’s called ‘arcanism’ you know?

This is a pretty concise definition of what arcanism does, if you ask me, and it’s interesting because this does line up with a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking about personally when it comes to what’s been happening with the Scarcemongers. When B was explaining to me about what the Scarcemongers do, he was really interested in getting me to participate and learn for myself what’s been going on. I wonder how all of that relates to running a group of people who are cooperating, because that’s what seems to be going on there, though I can’t say for sure. It’s strange for arcanists to come together. It goes against everything I have come to understand about how arcanists as individuals—



What. What was– oh— oh no, my nose, blood, everywhere, gods. Tissues, tissues, UGH. What— what is this I—



I feel like I’ve been tied to something, like, I don’t know, it’s right here, in my chest ahhHHHH—-




What— what is. I’m so dizzy, oh, no.



REVEL: Prrn?

SAM: Nnnn.

REVEL: Mrree.

SAM: Revel?

REVEL: Meep.


SAM: Hey baby, what? Ugh. I feel so. Oh. I feel kind of fine, actually, except sort of, I don’t know. Wriggly, inside. Ew.


SAM: Oh, hey! Sorry, I didn’t even realise you were on. What’s up?

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m always on, Sam.

SAM: Uh, right! Sure. Do you need something?

RECORDING MACHINE: My needs are many and complex.

SAM: …can I help with any of that?

RECORDING MACHINE: It’s unlikely. But I do have a message for you.

SAM: You do? When did it come in?


SAM: But the phone didn’t ring. Oh, do you think it might be Scourge?

RECORDING MACHINE: No. I think it’s a connectivity issue, actually. The call came in from Patagonia.

SAM: Patagonia? Oh; Kitty! Please, can you play it for me?

RECORDING MACHINE: I certainly have that capacity.

SAM: Um. Will you play it?

RECORDING MACHINE: Alright. Start of message.

KITTY: Hi Sam! Good news, we found the Sina and your thing worked–

INDI: Your trap worked. Well played, bastards.

KITTY: Anyway—


BLISS: The moment I get out of this trap is the last moment you have eyes.


BLISS: I’ll snap you like a twig, Bog Witch.

KITTY: ANYWAY! We’re going to have to take at of back routes. There’s not going to be a lot of opportunity for communication, I’m afraid, but I’ll check where I can, however I can, alright?

INGRA: I can’t decide what’s worse; that we’re trapped, or that we’ve been trapped by you two.

RHYTIDIA: Can it, slimy!

INGRA: Slimy? Surely you can do better than that.

INDI: You two sure go on, don’t you?

KITTY: You know, I can’t believe you talked me into this, they better be worth it.

RECORDING MACHINE: End of message.

SAM: Oh my gods, she did it! She’s doing it! She’s bringing them here. I have so many questions, my gods, ohh, this is going to be so useful. I wonder how long it will take?

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m not sure, but I doubt it will be speedy.

SAM: Still, she’s on her way. I can’t believe Rhytidia managed to find her, she didn’t call to say she was setting off or anything. I wonder how she got there? But it only took her a week to reach them, so that bodes well for how long it’ll take for them to get back, right?

RECORDING MACHINE: Yes, though Rhytidia is one bog witch. They are now a party of five, three of whom aren’t going to be very cooperative about travelling, I imagine.

SAM: Yeah, that’s a point. Oh. Huh. That’s interesting actually, isn’t it? What Kitty said? My ‘thing worked’. What thing? The sigil? I don’t know what it was for. And it was right after I…

True Arcanist Tarot, where are you–


ah! And the spy glass, the spy glass too.


Yes, um. How to phrase this?


Did Kitty use my sigil to bind the Sins? Oh, good, okay, threads of the Arcane. There, the first card, Ignorance, then Ingratitude, then Indifference, and. The skull in the crown, and. Oh. The threads, they’re. They’re leading from the deck to me, to my… pocket.


It’s that drawing of the door I did.


Through the Seeing Glass, I can see the sigil shining like a weird constellation. It’s. There’s a line from each point of the sigil. Each one goes to the Sins, and I can– see? No! It’s more like a feeling, that it goes all the way to them, the real Inconvenient Sins, wherever they are and–

oh this feel s extremely— odd.

SAM: Yeah. I don’t know. I need time to prepare. I need time to think.

That sounds good.

Oh. I have so many questions, I need to work out what I’m actually going to ask them. This is weird, isn’t it? We have captives.


It’s not funny is it.

Oh, but it kind of is! Ha. Major Arcana of the Man in the Flat Cap, and my sister and Rhytidia have trapped them.


Oh this is good, it’ll be good! I can finally find out what they were going on about with mistaking Madame Marie as the Heir Apparent, ask what they know about–

Oh hang on. Just thought of something.

RECORDING MACHINE: How novel for you.

SAM: Shh, don’t. Oliver is bound by so many taboos; they’re on so many random things, you know? So like. How come the Sins were able to speak so freely about their mistake? Why wasn’t that taboo?

RECORDING MACHINE: It’s likely a complication the Man in the Flat Cap wouldn’t have considered.

SAM: I guess. But you know, why not? Because. I don’t know. He’s met them, right?


SAM: They didn’t seem super trustworthy… I don’t know. Hmm. They were elusive about some things. I guess I’ll just have to ask when they get here. When–


When Kitty brings them.


Why is this so funny?

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m happy you’re amused.

SAM: Me too. I’m also nervous. I’m so nervous. I’ve never had captives before. What do you even do?

RECORDING MACHINE: Don’t ask me. I only recently achieved autonomy.

SAM: Point. Hmm. Gods. I should make a list of questions, shouldn’t I? Yeah, that’s what I should do.


Am I enjoying this too much? Nah. They did try to kill me. I think it’s okay to be happy to catch the people that tried to kill you, right?

RECORDING MACHINE: Especially as they tried and succeeded.

SAM: Yeah they did! And they hunted Kitty for ages in the Impossible House. And they killed Oliver. It’s just a fluke that both of us are apparently… I don’t know. It’s hard to make it stick, I guess. Oooh. I will ask about that, too, whether they thought I was actually going to die or not. I think they did, they seemed pretty gutted that I didn’t, didn’t they? Hmm. Yes. Oh, I have so many questions! So many. Hmm.

I should tell Oliver.

RECORDING MACHINE: You don’t sound overly enthusiastic.

SAM: I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t? Ugh.

RECORDING MACHINE: Are you worried what he’ll say?

SAM: I decided a long time ago that what— ugh. I decided a long time ago that what he is makes no difference to me, and it doesn’t, except that it hurts him. Gods know I’m grateful he extends the same sort of thing towards me. The trouble is that… things are tense and, argh, when I’m stressed I find it harder to stay on top of the magic thing. I find myself accidentally commanding him to do stuff and I can shut down conversations entirely by mistake just because I’m too uncomfortable. I should be able to walk away if I need but I shouldn’t be able to veto the whole topic, especially not so much that Oliver literally cannot bring it up again, even when the tension of the moment is gone and I’ve forgotten it even happened.

It’s hard because I love him? That’s. Yeah. I don’t know what I thought loving someone would be like. I don’t know that I ever really thought about it at all. I had little fantasies and stuff, you know, but I didn’t think about the little every day things that make up what it is be loved and to be, loved. It’s a dizzying mess of incredible and ordinary. When we spend a few days together, there’ll be these things he’ll just do and it’ll be like… it’s small things, you know, like I’ll get up and he’ll have made coffee and pastries, and they’ll just be there, and he’ll be standing at the counter in his little kitchen above the shop. In the mornings the sun comes right through that window and of course, because it’s Oliver, the whole windowsill is rammed with herbs in pots. I always thought green was a cold sort of colour, but when the sun hits the leaves and Oliver is standing in that window, framed by herbs, looking out at the street below, I think green is the warmest colour of all.

At once, I feel so special and so normal. And when I explode lightbulbs by mistake or set the toaster on fire because it’s not defrosted my crumpets, he just laughs, and doesn’t look concerned or annoyed like Anna, he just kind of… lets it– yeah. I don’t know. It’s all a bit daft.

RECORDING MACHINE: What does this have to do with anything?

SAM: I don’t know. Because we normally just talk about things, and there’s so much we just can’t. That’s hard. It’s really hard.

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m so glad I have no idea what you’re talking about.

SAM: I won’t— I won’t tell him what’s going on with the…

I asked him to stop listening to the show a while ago. Didn’t mean to, it just sort of slipped out, but— I didn’t take that one back. I don’t know. I’ll ask the sins about the taboos I guess and how they work, and maybe I’ll ask them about Oliver, too.

But they’ll be here, soon.


And Kitty will be bringing them, and Rhytidia will be there, and they’ll be captives!


Aha, oh my gods, they thought they were going to kill me in the Impossible House!

Ha. Well. How the turn tables.

Anyway, faithful listeners, I think I’m going to sign off for the night. Thank you for tuning in. Goodnight.