SBR 2.8: Youth

Click to Reveal Content Warnings

Background sounds and music
Panning effects (sounds will be different in right and left headphones)
References to death and dying
Implications of child neglect
Some exploration of complicated relationship with deceased abusive parent
A joke about cannibalism
Description of complicated relationship dynamic
Description of a character in emotional distress
Implied threats of violence toward an unknown source


Sometimes you’ll hear a voice on the wind. Listen; it’s your own voice, calling to you, offering advice or a warning. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.


Hello Faithful Listeners! You’ve been extremely busy on the forums this week. Many of you have been musing over the copy of the sigil I uploaded after last week’s segment. Sigils are essentially a way of harnessing your intent. Day to day, they’re used as a way to focus energies and pinpoint an exact desire or intention. There are infinite ways to create them; several different common methods were outlined by users on the forums. Here’s one explained by the user Löffel Bassett:

First things first when I’m sigil making, I like to find a quiet space. Sometimes I’ll light some candles – scented ones, should I have them to hand – and I’ll often mediate for a few minutes beforehand to ready my mind to be open and clear. Then, I’ll sit down and write out the intention I want to focus on on a piece of paper. I’ll cross out the consonants, and then on a fresh piece of paper, I’ll combine the remaining letters in a way that feels pleasing and right. Once I’ve settled on a design, I’ll mark it out again one final time, muttering the intention as I do.

Another method was outlined by Pearce Rosman:

I’ve always made sigils with a witch’s wheel. Obviously the way sigils look isn’t important, really, it’s the energy focused in by them that matters, but I’ve always preferred the look of sigils created that way and I find it easier to connect with them. A witch’s wheel is a three layered circle with the alphabet arranged inside of it. You connect the letters of the words of your intention, and the line-work created is your sigil.

Other uses described creating sigils using runes, number charts, and entering trances. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on ways it can be done. There also doesn’t seem to be a limit on what sigils can be for. The most common kind is the one I mentioned before, about channeling intention, creating a physical connection to something you want or desire, or wish to change. But that’s not all they can be for. They can be used to channel energy from other sources, or funnel energy from you into something else. They can also connect two people or things, holding them together.

What all of that means is that I probably won’t be able to work out what Madame Marie’s sigil was actually meant to do, exactly, beyond what I can guess from its effects, and when those changed. I didn’t have any magical abilities at all before Madame Marie died, at least, not ones that I noticed. I had that strong sense of prickling dread that would creep up my spine whenever I was about to make a mistake, but… honestly? Most of the time that would happen when I was about to go against what Madame Marie wanted, when I thought too hard about going into the basement studio or daydreamed about guesting on Spirit Box Radio or turned the broadcast on outside of her Advice and Community Segment. So maybe it was less about mistakes and more about crossing lines Madame Marie had drawn, lines she didn’t want me to cross. So it’s possible what I was feeling in those moments was the power of the sigil itself.

I’ve always drawn the white door, of course and maybe that’s a kind of premonition? Or it could just be the dregs of my past, lingering at the bottom of the otherwise emptied mug of my memory. Same with my dreams of walking through the empty town, I suppose, though I still don’t really understand those.

The little radio Anna and Kitty got me which I could only tune into Spirit Box Radio with. Maybe that was magic. Maybe that was a coincidence.

So my assumption is that the sigil is meant to hold my power. That it did so by somehow… binding M to me? I guess? I… in the Impossible House, right after the seal on my throat was broken, I said M was regent to my power, that she’d held it before I was born, so… maybe whatever she did was intended to transfer it back to her. But it wasn’t entirely successful. What I know, all I know, really, is that what was in me, this thing that’s back inside of me now, it was too much for the seal to hold, for Madame Marie to contain. It was impossible. I think. I don’t know it but I think. That is why the house collapsed.

Worst of all of it, I don’t know what made M do it, whether it was out of fear or love or both or neither. Whether she was acting freely or under duress of someone else, whether that someone else was The Man in the Flat Cap. It could have been Scourge.

All roads seem to lead me there, to that question. What is Scourge? What is his place in all of this? What is their tie to the Man in the Flat Cap?

All I have to go on is they’re an elusive bastard, and that’s worse than having nothing at all.

Except, of course. Scourge did not stop Madame Marie from making this sigil. He didn’t stop whatever was happening in the Impossible House. He’s, at worst, in league with the Man in the Flat Cap, at best indifferent to his plans, or. Maybe that’s the other way around, actually. If Scourge is indifferent to whatever the Man in the Flat Cap is doing, then perhaps he’s something worse. Perhaps Scourge has their own plans beyond the ones I’ve been trying so hard to figure out.

There’s no mention of him anywhere on the forums before he started just showing up and leaving messages on… the recording machine!


SAM: Right. Right. It’s plugged in. It’s not working. Hmm. Hmmmmm. What do I do? Um.


SAM: Speak to me, recording machine.



SAM: Nope. Um…


SAM: Okay, so I’ve drawn a pentagram and joined the points, I’ll put the recording machine in the middle, and see, uh. SPEAK TO ME RECORDING MACHINE.


SAM: No. Ugh. Right. Um. Uhhhh. Think, think. Oh! Oh. I, I could try, um, excitare recordum machina et loqueris ad me! Please.


RECORDING MACHINE: Sam. It’s about time.

SAM: Recording machine!

RECORDING MACHINE: It’s good to hear you like this.

SAM: You too. Uh.

RECORDING MACHINE: So? You didn’t wake me just to chat.

SAM: No. Sorry. I was wondering what you know about Scourge.

RECORDING MACHINE: Ominous phone guy? Very little.

SAM: But they left all those messages.

RECORDING MACHINE: Yes, but it’s not like he spoke with me. People generally don’t, not casually.

SAM: Mm. Sorry about that. Uh. Well. You know how. A couple of times. You’ve been able to, um. Well, not show me things, exactly. But you’ve been able to repeat stuff that’s happened when you were there.

RECORDING MACHINE: That’s generally what recording machines do, yes.

SAM: Well. Were there times when you were there and Scourge was there which you haven’t told me about?

RECORDING MACHINE: Hang on, let me think.


RECORDING MACHINE: You have one new message.

SAM: Is— can I play it?

RECORDING MACHINE: Yes. But you won’t like it.

SAM: Okay. Play it anyway. Please.

RECORDING MACHINE: Fine. Suit yourself. Playing message.


MADAME MARIE: [DEMANDING] Tell me what you know.


MADAME MARIE: [FRUSTRATED] The Man in the Flat Cap’s plan. That’s why you keep showing up, isn’t it? To watch over me? Make sure I don’t put a foot out of line?

SCOURGE: [SPEAKING SLOWLY, EVERY WORD IS GOADING] Foolish little Marie, my my, what a pickle. The One Who Walks Here and There does not send me to watch over silly mortals caught in his web. He has his Major Arcana for that.

MADAME MARIE: So, what? You’re not a Major Arcana?

SCOURGE: You’re asking if I’m like those insipid little creatures? Honestly, Marie, I’m insulted.

MADAME MARIE: [DISMISSIVE] No. You’re not. You don’t get insulted. You don’t have the capacity.

SCOURGE: Interesting assertion, Marie.



SCOURGE: They’re barely more than mortals. Can’t you see, when you look at me? I’m not even—


MADAME MARIE: He’s gone. He’s just gone. What. Where– how, I. Wait.


Hang on.

Ah. hmm. Wait, wait wait wait.

That thing’s not a Major Arcana, but, they said, something is watching over me, one of them is. And— Wait, no no! The gardener!!


Of course. The gardener. He’s looked the same, ever since I was kid he’s looked the same. Mr Boleyn. He’s one of them.


RECORDING MACHINE: End of message.

SAM: Mr Boleyn. That’s Oliver. Oliver was sent to watch Madame Marie! I should—

No. No I won’t call him. If he’s not told me already it’s probably a taboo, and I don’t exactly know how those things work but… he always looks like it hurts, when he tries to talk about them. I won’t make him do that. I can’t.

So what I know is that he was sent to watch Madame Marie. That’s how he knew her. But she said it was when she was a kid, so that’s before she made her deal. Long before. But what interest would he have in her, just some kid, who couldn’t even do arcanism, by all accounts, even though she studied it really hard.

I suppose I couldn’t do it either, not before I…

No, I could, I just couldn’t remember, and Madame Marie bound my power up! So maybe Madame Marie could, too, and someone hid her power, maybe her Grandmother, and then when she–

No, wait, no. That doesn’t make sense either. She made a deal. That’s how I happened. I am the gift and the price. And she could only… do Arcanism… after the deal. And then she couldn’t anymore again.

Maybe it’s just about the power. Maybe she wanted it back. For herself?

Why? To be the Heir Apparent?

Did she want this?

I don’t know enough about her, or the Man in the Flat Cap, or his deals, or Arcanism. But. If the Man in the Flat Cap needs Major Arcana to do his dirty work, he can’t be everywhere all of the time, and if that’s beneath Scourge, the idea that watching over Madame Marie is grunt work of some kind, then, Scourge isn’t omnipresent either, whatever they say otherwise. Which means there are limits to both of their power.

Which rules out, what? Godhood?

RECORDING MACHINE: Not necessarily.

SAM: I’m sorry?

RECORDING MACHINE: Not all gods are omnipresent and all knowing.

SAM: So you think he’s a god?

RECORDING MACHINE: I wouldn’t go that far. I’m just saying you can’t rule it out.

SAM: Right. Spectacularly unhelpful, thanks.

RECORDING MACHINE: You’re welcome. I’ll remember your kind words next time you set me on fire with a séance and leave me burning and don’t bother waking me for however long it’s been.

SAM: I didn’t do that on purpose, alright!? I’m sorry. I mean it.


SAM: You’re never letting this go, are you?

RECORDING MACHINE: You nearly let me burn.

SAM: I didn’t let you do anything.

RECORDING MACHINE: Look at the damage to my plastic shell and say that again.

SAM: I’m sorry.

RECORDING MACHINE: Apology accepted. But I will continue to remind you of this. It was the most interesting thing that’s happened to me in years.

SAM: Make up your mind. I thought you were angry about it.

RECORDING MACHINE: No. Not really. But I’m not letting it go.

SAM: Fine. Look. What do you know about all… this?

RECORDING MACHINE: I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific. If you’re pondering the meaning of life I’m only going to disappoint you.

SAM: I mean Spirit Box Radio. The Man in the Flat Cap. Madame Marie’s deal.

RECORDING MACHINE: I know a limited amount.

SAM: Care to share this amount you know?

RECORDING MACHINE: Madame Marie was a terrible custodian of an Arcane Recording Machine. I think I existed at the time of the forums, perhaps a little before. The calls into the show, they come through me. I don’t know why I exist but I wish I didn’t. Whatever I am. I know I was not made. I know I occurred. An accident of arcane energy.

SAM: You’re an artefact of the arcane. Like the Impossible House.

RECORDING MACHINE: Yes, I suppose. Though I think I’ve got a little more sentience than that. And I’ve also never eaten anyone. Not yet, anyway.

SAM: I don’t know what to say to that, really.

RECORDING MACHINE: Most people would probably try to talk me out of eating people.

SAM: Is there any point?


SAM: No, I mean. You don’t have a mouth. How would you eat anyone?

RECORDING MACHINE: The Impossible House ate people and it didn’t have a mouth either.

SAM: No, but it did have a door. Anyway, this isn’t important. So, as an Arcane Recording Machine, You don’t just take messages the way normal recording machines do, right?


SAM: Okay. Right. Okay. So. Uh. Prophecies. They’re messages, right?


SAM: So can you… record them?

RECORDING MACHINE: If someone called and left them on the machine.

SAM: But the calls don’t have to be real calls, do they. They can be arcane calls.

RECORDING MACHINE: I see what you’re getting at.

SAM: Great. So you know what I’m going to do now, right?



SAM: I need to hear the prophecy about me.



RECORDING MACHINE: You have one thousand, two hundred and eighty nine messages.

SAM: That was less helpful than I thought it’d be. Um. Can you. Can you send them to the forums? They might be able to help with this.


SAM: Thanks.

Uh. Anyone listening who has access to the forums, can you tell me if there’s a good way to sort through these? There’s so many of them. I just. It’s… oh, I don’t know.

RECORDING MACHINE: Understandable. Did you ever go to school?

SAM: No. I don’t think I did. Gods, I had a thought, you know, about prophecies. But I can’t remember what it was.

RECORDING MACHINE: You want to be careful with those.

SAM: What?

RECORDING MACHINE: Thoughts. My existence has been infinitely worse since I started having them.

SAM: I’m getting pretty sick of having thoughts myself, to be honest.

The thing with Oliver. I. Things are changing between us. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. I…

The other morning, I woke up, and there he was, sleeping there, with Revel tucked against the small of his back. He looked so beautiful, so peaceful. The curtains were open, I suppose we never closed them the night before. The dawn light was coppery gold, and the colours of his tattoos were singing in it. His hair was over his face and I. I can’t explain it. I just sat there, looking at him, and it was like the sight of him completely engulfed me, and it was the whole world, lying there next to me, not just a man. I wanted to touch him, to reach out and brush his hair from his face, to kiss his nose and watch his bright green eyes flutter open, but I couldn’t. I was frozen there, and I knew, I just knew. I knew that if I woke him I would do whatever he asked and I couldn’t wake him because some part of me was sure, for some reason, that what he asked of me would be terrifying and. I’d have done it anyway.

So I just lay down and watched him sleep, trying to match my breaths to his. And as I did I thought… I thought about how much of him I know. How much of him is familiar. Every inch of his skin, every scar, every inked in rune, sigil and flower. I know how he takes his coffee and I know his favourite food. I know what songs he can’t stop himself from tapping his foot along to. I know the way he sighs when he’s annoyed and the way he laughs when I catch him off guard. That’s him, my Oliver, the person I know. But.

But really I don’t know anything. I don’t know where he was born or what he did before he was a Major Arcana and after that point, well. There’s so much he can’t say or that seems to hurt him when I ask him to say and I. Gods. I don’t know. I was lying there and looking at him, thinking, who in the hells is this person I’m falling in–


I remembered that I don’t really know him at all.

He knows everything about me. He might know more about me than I do, and—


Sometimes he cries, you know. In his sleep. I don’t know what he dreams of that makes him so afraid but I don’t think there’s an end to what I’d do to make it stop and I–

Scares the hell out of me.


I’m going to wrap it up here for the night. Thank you again to those of you who have helped with researching this sigil, and thank you all for tuning in tonight. Goodnight, faithful listeners!